"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Saturday, July 31, 2010


First in a Brand New Series

Rory McCain loved her Uncle Mac so much and is terribly shocked when he dies of an apparent heart attack.  He bequeaths to her everything he has, including a huge Victorian home and his private investigation company.  

Rory works as sketch artist and detective for the police department, and is not allowed to moonlight.  She starts to review her uncle's open cases and contacting the clients to refer them to another agency, but one of the clients begs her to continue with his case.  She agrees but cannot accept any payment so that technically she is not moonlighting.

As she gets settled into her uncle's home and begins going over  her uncle's notes for the case she has agreed to investigate, she finds she is not alone in the big, beautiful Victorian. The house is haunted by the ghost of a federal marshal from the 1870's, Ezekiel "Zeke" Drummond.  A letter from her uncle explains the apparition and tells her the ghost has been very helpful in some of his investigations.  Not quite sure what to believe, she finds the ghost continually sneaking up on her and finds him to be quite stubborn, crotchety,  and sexist.  She doesn't understand how he can help her, but as she gets further and further into the investigation she finds her own life at stake.  She decides she really needs a partner, even if he is ghost, it is better than trying to solve the mystery on her own.  

I am not really into the paranormal genre, but I truly enjoyed this book.  I found myself almost forgetting that Zeke was a ghost.  The story is well thought out and while the current mystery was solved it leaves another than can continue for the rest of the series.  According to the back cover this is the author's first mystery and that is hard to believe. She told the story with just the right element of suspense and intrigue that keeps you turning page after page.  There are bits of humor, how can there not be when living with a ghost?  I look forward to reading more of this spirited series for more delightful mysteries.

To learn more about this author visit her web page at http://www.sharonpape.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Berkley Prime Crime, a division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, July 30, 2010


Erika is on blogcation this week so Tami at 29 and Holding is hosting today.  So write your post and add to Mr. Linky at Tami's blog!!

Welcome to Feel Good Friday! 

Laura had found that a lot of her bloggy friends reading posts about being positive, so she thought she might try her very own meme.  She just want everyone to feel good and have some happy thoughts as you begin the weekend.  

I thought it sounded like fun and
it is never too late to join!!! 
 I have posted the prompts here to
give you some idea of what this meme is about:
Pick one of these prompts and write about it on your blog!  You can: 
  • Just make a list. List 5 things that made you really happy this week. No matter how bad or boring you think your week was, I bet you can find 5 things.   
  • Write about something that happened to you this week that really made you smile.  Was it your child, husband, or maybe a complete stranger did to you?
  • Write about something that YOU did for someone else that really made them happy or laugh.
  • Is there something you treasure so much that every single time you look at it, it brings you happiness?  Post a pic and tell everyone about it.
  • Having a hard week and can’t find one good thing about it?  Well then, what is your happy place?  What do you think of that makes you happy? A past vacation?  A childhood memory?  We want to know!

This has been quite a week around here....
1.  My son and his wife will be celebrating their first wedding anniversary on August 4, and they have been living in our basement apartment for a few years.  This week they gave us the news that they have found an apartment and are moving out on Sunday.  I am happy for them but sad for the rest of us, it just won't be the same here without them.  Yes, I know it's time but it is still hard and they are taking two of our/their cats with them, so the house is losing 4 occupants.

2. I had a wonderful visit yesterday with my sister. She lives nearby and we talk on the phone often but it is nice to see her in person once in awhile. :)

3. My grandson Kaden who will be 3 in November is growing way too fast, he his talking in complete sentences and is repeating everything we say, especially a few curse words that are spoken occasionally. 
4.  I reviewed a wonderful book this week Murder Past Due by Miranda Dean.  Here is the link to my review! You really should check it out, I started it at my son's basketball tournament last weekend, not while he was playing, we were in between games.  But it was so good!!  If you like cats, mine are all pictured in my post.  
5.  Happened just today, Penguin Books is celebrating it's 75 year anniversary and they have given me a book to giveaway.  It's a classic Lady Chatterley's Lover!  The entry form is right below this post!  Be sure to enter.

I hope all of you have had an amazing week!!!  Please add a link to the post at  29 and Holding or just add your comments below.  I would love to know what made you smile this week!!!

Giveaway to Celebrate Penguin Publishing 75th Anniversary!!

Today marks the official 75th anniversary date for the launch of Penguin Books!! They have a whole website dedicated to their anniversary: http://www.penguinbooks75.com/

A bright-orange Penguin Mobile (an adorable mini-cooper with the Penguin logo) is driving to bookstores all over the US to bring some of our bestselling authors to parties in their hometowns, increase awareness of The Nature Conservancy, and promote literacy.  At each event, a set of 75 Penguin Books is donated to a local library or literacy group. Each author is signing the Penguin-mobile as it makes its way across the United States, and the summer’s events will culminate with a party at the New York Public Library in September where Penguin will auction the car with the proceeds going to the New York Public Library.  Penguin is also donating sets of books to numerous U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Penguin’s founder Allen Lane started the paperback revolution with that little flippant but dignified Penguin (his secretary came up with the name and he sent another colleague off to the zoo to make sketches).   One year later, 3 million Penguin paperbacks had been sold.  Today, the Penguin imprint alone has over 4000 books in print.  To learn more about our history, see here and here.
We are hands down the publishing logo most recognized internationally---including the story of Terry Waite, the Anglican clergyman who was held hostage in Beirut.  Six months into his captivity, Waite made friends with his jailer, and although they spoke different languages he managed to tell the jailer he wanted a book.  He drew an oval, and he drew a penguin, and he said, “find me a book that looks like that, and it will be a good book.”  That story says everything about what Penguin stands for around the world.

To celebrate this momentous occasion Penguin Publishing is providing me with 
1 Copy of a Penguin Classic.

One of the most extraordinary literary works of the twentieth century, 
Lady Chatterley's Lover 
 by D.H. Lawrence 
for this giveaway.

(The cover is not the one shown above, 
Lady Chatterley's Lover: A Propos of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" [LADY CHATTERLEYS LOVER]just received them in the mail and the cover looks like this, sorry for my mistake.)
 Edited 8/3/2010.

It was banned in England and the United States after its initial publication in 1928. The unexpurgated edition did not appear in America until 1959, after one of the most spectacular legal battles in publishing history.

At the heart, "Lady Chatterley's Lover" is a story about the invisible bonds between lovers, companions, and husbands and wives. Against this backdrop, Lawrence also explores the relationship between physical desire and spiritual fulfillment, often using sensual and explicitly sexual language. 

Use the form below to enter.
US Residents Only
You do not need to be a follower to enter but I hope you will look around and find that you want to become a follower.
Contest Ends at
Midnight CST August 5, 2010

Thanks for entering!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Quick and the Thread by Amanda Lee

An Embroidery Mystery
Release Date August 3, 2010
First in a Brand New Series

Marcy Singer packs up her life in San Francisco, including her Irish Wolfhound, Angus and moves to Tallulah Falls, Oregon, at the urging of her friend Sadie to fulfill her dream of owning a needlework shop called The Seven Year Stitch.  Sadie and her husband Blake own MacKenzies' Mochas down the street from Marcy's store.

A big grand opening is planned and the whole town is invited.  As the party gets going the store's former tenant, who appears to have had way to much to drink, is following Marcy around slurring that he has something very important to tell her.  Other guests keep rescuing her from having any conversation with Mr. Enright.  The party ends and Marcy can't wait until the next day as her business actually opens. People have signed up for all the classes she has offered and she is excited that her dream is finally coming true.

When Marcy and Angus arrive at the store, the dog runs to the storeroom door and starts pawing at it feverishly. Marcy opens the door to see why Angus is causing such a fuss, she screams as she find the former tenant, Mr. Enright on the floor.  At first she thinks he had just passed out there during the party, the smell is awful he must have thrown up, she notices he scratched a message on the floor with a tapestry needle and that the storeroom is quite a mess.  She finally realizes that the man needs help and calls the paramedics.  They arrive and that is when she learns poor Mr. Enright was not just passed out, he was indeed dead.  Her beautiful new shop has become a crime scene and she has become a murder suspect.

Before Marcy finds herself embroidered into a corner at the local jail she has to stitch together all the pieces of this darn mystery and find the real killer.

This was a fun little mystery, I had to refresh my memory about the term "straw buyers", but the plot was very interesting and a little scary as we see how easily identity theft can happen. The characters were well developed but with definitely more for us to learn as the series continues.  I hope Marcy's mother is featured more in future stories, she sounds like a hoot!   The next installment entitled "Stitch Me Deadly" is set for release in February 2010.

About this Author from Amazon.com:
Amanda Lee is the lady next to you in the grocery line or car pool. She has twins: one boy and one girl; she's a baseball fan, she likes to decorate cakes, she rocks at Guitar Hero... Oh, and she likes to think about murder. But it's okay! She only writes about murder...a lot!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Obsidian, a division of Penguin Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Channelle P.
Sophie Redesigned
by Karen Dahood

Nancye D.
Unbreakable Hostage
L.E. Harvey


Books Recommended
for A Great Escape

Thank you to everyone that entered! 

Winners were selected using Random.org

Please be sure to check back tomorrow 
for a very special giveaway celebrating 
Penguin Publishing 75th Anniversary.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Murder Past Due by Miranda James


This is a brand new series featuring Diesel, a Maine coon cat rescued by  Charlie Harris, the kindly librarian, who takes Diesel almost everywhere he goes in a halter with a leash.  Maine coon cats are huge, they can weigh as much as 25 pounds and it is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically native to the state of Maine, where it is the official State Cat.  They are known for their intelligence and gentle personalities.

Diesel and his owner reside in Athena, Mississippi where Charlie, who has recently lost his wife to cancer returns to his hometown to live in a home left to him by his aunt. He works in the Archive Department of the college library and  Diesel is well known at the library but stays pretty close to Charlie. Charlie also rents out rooms in his home to college students just as his aunt did. Diesel has a unique trait, in that he knows when people around him need a paw, a head bump or a cuddle, and is especially close to Justin, a freshman at the college who is rooming with Charlie.

Charlie is immersed in his work when he learns that famous author and former classmate, Godfrey Priest, is returning to Athena to promote his current book and take care of some personal business.  Charlie remembers his classmate as an arrogant jerk would thought he was better than anyone else and there are quite a few people who agree with that assessment.  His homecoming is very eventful, by lunch he had put one man in the hospital, turned some of the town's residents lives upside down, and by dinner he is found dead in his hotel room. 

Charlie finds himself pawing through all the information he can find to determine who killed a man not very many people liked, most of whom are his friends and co-workers.  It is quite a "purr-plexing" mystery.

This book had me from page one, I fell in love with this cat and the rest of the story very quickly. I was at a high school basketball tournament and couldn't put it down.  Charlie and Diesel make a formidable detective team in their purr-suit of the truth. The characters are so well developed you become invested in their lives without any effort at all.  This is a wonderful debut to what I know will be a paws down successful series. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Berkley Prime Crime, a division of Penguin Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Some Thoughts

I was never a cat person and was quite allergic, then my kids brought home Felix. I never sneezed once and like Diesel he knew my feelings and was always there for me, especially after my accident, the cat hardly left my side.  After brightening our lives for several years, he suddenly passed away.  I was crushed.  Then a friend of my daughter's came to help us bury Felix. On his way home he stopped by a gas station and this little kitten just walked up to him.  He knew exactly where to go with that kitten.  He brought him right back to me and this kitten acted just like Felix, the cuddles, the head bumps, it was like a reincarnation of my beloved cat.  His name is Wiley and he is a very special and rare cat, he has a flank curled tail,  a lovable disposition and is very intelligent, just like the feline in the story above. I am so happy he came into our lives when he did.

Wiley spends many hours sitting right here on my desk watching me type, sometimes trying to help.  He takes his afternoon nap on the top of the living room sofa, and spends his evenings pawing my husband's stomach and then curling up on our bed to sleep, sometimes as close to my pillow as he can get. He makes the dogs quite jealous, but some days you can find them all sleeping on our bed, as close together as they can get. 


I don't want to leave out our other cat Oscar but his main residence is in the basement apartment with my son and daughter-in-law and their cat Jack.  Felix and Oscar were our first family cats, and while Felix did very well when we added two puppies to the family, Oscar is not a fan of the dogs and decided the basement was his home.

Maybe this little peek into my life explains why I love cozy mysteries that feature cats and dogs so much.  

Be sure to pre-order Murder Past Due right away, it is definitely a must read, especially for all the cat lovers of  the world.   

WINNERS! The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Thanks to Doubleday I have 2 copies
of this book to giveaway!

Rebecca W.
Suzy L.


Your books will be shipped direct from the publisher.
Winners chosen using Random.org

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How To Crash A Killer Bash by Penny Warner


A Party Planning Mystery with Tips

This is the second book in this series following How To Host A Killer Party.

In this installment Presley Parker is hosting a Murder Mystery Party as a fundraiser for the de Young Museum in San Francisco.  She has been hired by the museum's leading fundraiser and philanthropist, Mary Lee Miller.  The murder weapon for the party is an exact albeit harmless replica of a dagger that is part of the museum's vast collection and Mary Lee Miller has volunteered to be the victim of the "murder".  She has also demanded parts in the production for her son and other employees of the museum.  The rest of the participants will be friends and co-workers of Presley who have helped her with parties in the past.  

Trouble erupts during the dress rehearsal when Mary Lee confronts her son about his girlfriend, who is also Presley's friend and assistant, Delicia. After the argument Delicia is heard saying some not so nice things about her boyfriend's mother. 

Guests start to arrive for the performance and to help solve the mystery in costume as their favorite sleuths, Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, etc.  The performers are introduced and the mystery party begins, everything is going as planned when a bloodcurdling scream is heard and Delicia comes out a door with blood on her hand, this is not in the script, the guests are supposed to find her over the body.  Presley finally understands someone is really dead and to her shock it is Mary Lee Miller.  As the real cops and EMTs arrive the guests all think it is part of the performance.  Then it is announced the the murder is very real and everyone will be questioned, but very soon the officers hear about the comments Delicia made about Mary Lee and is she is arrested.

Presley knows Delicia wouldn't hurt a fly and knows that she has to uncover the real murderer because the cops already have their killer.  Her investigation turns out to be nothing like a party and she must be careful or she will end up dead just like Mary Lee Miller.

This story was just a lot of fun, quirky characters, a very believable plot, suspense, humor and even a little romantic tension.  This book is the full package, everything  you love about cozy mysteries is here, all wrapped up like a pretty party present.  The Party Tips at the start of each chapter are just an added bonus.  This definitely is a series to watch and I am excited to read about many more KILLER PARTIES!!

To find out more about this author visit fer website http://www.pennywarner.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Obsidion, a division of Penguin Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Monday!! What Are You Reading???

This great meme is hosted by Sheila at "Book Journey" formerly
"One Person's Journey Through a World of Books".
First of all I have to tell you I had a blast this weekend participating in the GOT BOOKS? Blog Event.  I found a bunch of new blogs, made some new friends and the giveaways were amazing.  If you didn't participate this time I hope you will consider taking part in the next one. Danielle at There's A Book and Gina at Satisfaction For Insatiable Readers did a phenomenal job of organizing and hosting this event.


 Inked Up (A Stamping Sisters Mystery)
Inked Up by Terri Thayer

False Impressions (A Stamping Sisters Mystery)
False Impressions by Terri Thayer
Release Date August 3, 2010

How to Crash a Killer Bash: A Party-Planning Mystery (Party Planning Mystery)
How to Crash A Killer Bash by Penny Warner
 Release Date August 3, 2010

Murder Past Due (Cat in the Stacks Mystery) 
Murder Past Due by Miranda James
Release Date August 3, 2010


The Quick and the Thread: An Embroidery Mystery

The Quick and the Thread by Amanda Lee
Release Date August 3, 2010

Wrinkles, Waistlines, and Wet
 Pants: Improbable Scenarios Of The Not-So-Rich And The Not-So-Famous 
 Wrinkles, Waistlines and Wet Pants:  
Improbable Scenarios Of The Not-So-Rich 
And The Not-So-Famous     
By Jeanne R. Kraus


Sketch Me If You Can (A Portrait of Crime Mystery)
Sketch Me If You Can by Sharon Pape
Release Date August 3, 2010

Buzz Off (Story Fischer)
Buzz Off by Hannah Reed (ARC)
Release Date September 7, 2010

Psych: A Fatal Frame of Mind
psych A Fatal Frame of Mind by William Rabkin
Release Date August 3, 2010


Be sure to enter the three giveaways in the left sidebar. 
I will also be hosting a GIVEAWAY starting on 
Friday and ending next Monday at Midnight.  
It will feature a Penguin Classic to celebrate
Penguin's 75 years in publishing.