"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



Monday, May 31, 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"
  • Toast Mortem by Claudia Bishop
Click Here to read my complete review.

  • A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams
Click Here  to read my complete review.

  • Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy
Click Here to read my complete review.
This one was my favorite this week!

  • The Case of the Great Granny by Thomas Emmon Pisano
Watch for my review later this week.


The Island: A Novel
The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
Sent to me by Publisher for Review
Publication Date July 6, 2010
Little Brown Publishing


Amanda Memories
Amanda Memories by Dr. Joel R. Gecht
 For Review

After that I have a bunch of cozy mysteries calling my name from my TO-BE-READ PILE, so I am just going to choose a couple to read to finish out my week.

Last week I also reviewed:
Dropped Dead Stitch (Berkley Prime Crime Mysteries)

  • Dropped Dead Stitch by Maggie Sefton
Click Here for my complete review.

Half-Price Homicide: A Dead-End Job Mystery

  • Half Price Homicide by Elaine Viets
Click Here for my complete review.


  • Quicksand by Marilyn Randall
Click Here for my complete review.

I hope you are all enjoying a Beautiful, Safe And Happy Memorial Day Weekend and that you have squeezed in a little time to enjoy a good book.






Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy ***** I LOVED IT!!

Paperback Release June 1, 2010

This is the first book in a brand new series by July Hyzy who is also the author of the White House Chef Mysteries.

Grace Wheaton moves back home to nurse her mother in her last days and inherits the family home, which is a Victorian Painted Lady that needs a lot of work.  She ends up living there and finds two roommates, Bruce and Scott, who own a little wine shoppe in downtown Emberstowne.  She also lands her dream job as Assistant Curator at the famous Marshfield Manor.  Her family was always drawn to the manor and she had visited many times as a child.

Her mettle as Assistant Curator is tested as an intruder causes a disturbance at a very important tea being held in the Birdcage Room of the manor.  Security arrives and after a mad chase through the tables, chairs and attendees, the man is apprehended, the staff puts the room back in order and the tea continues.  Grace feels the situation was handled as well as could be expected, but within minutes she learns that the man in the tea room was just a diversion for the real crime that took place elsewhere in the manor. Her boss, the Head Curator, Abe, a lifelong friend of the manor's owner, Bennett Marshfield, is found dead in the private residence, and the killer as disappeared into thin air. 

Grace then finds out Bennett has been receiving threatening letters, and he is the primary witness against one of his former friends who was running a complicated Ponzi scheme that was responsible for many people to loose their family fortunes.  Grace starts to think that the real target was Bennett and Abe was killed by mistake.  Grace steps into Abe's shoes to run the manor and begins to investigate the murder as she has no real confidence in the overworked Emberstowne police force.  She also has to deal with a very unreasonable customer and the roof of her "Painted Lady" is leaking.

I absolutely loved this book!  The story has more twists and turns than any ride in a amusement park!  The story was told so well I felt like I was a bird on Grace's shoulder taking the entire trip right along with her.  The character descriptions were ideal, they came to life right off the page.  The hint of romance, a secondary plot that will continue as the series develops, and a mystery that kept you guessing until almost the final page all make this book a definite MUST READ!  I usually don't like to give my highest praise to the first book in a series, as it sets the bar pretty high for subsequent editions, but this book was excellent!! I can't wait to see what comes next!! 

I always say it takes a very special person to be an author, someone who can tell a story so well that you can forget the world around you and escape into the pages of their book.  Since starting this blog I have cyber-met some wonderful authors, that have the true gift of being great storytellers.  Today I am adding one more author to that list and I hope I am lucky enough to cyber-meet Julie Hyzy soon.  She definitely has the gift.

To find out more about Julie Hyzy and her books be sure to check out her web site http://www.juliehyzy.com/

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Berkley Publishing Group 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, May 28, 2010

Dropped Dead Stitch by Maggie Sefton

A Knitting Mystery
Paperback Release June 1, 2010

This is the seventh book in Sefton's Knitting Mystery Series.  In this one Kelly Flynn, CPA and amateur sleuth learns that one of close friends, Jennifer, has been raped and refuses to report it to the police. Kelly encourages Jennifer to attend a workshop for other women who have also suffered sexual violence. Kelly will be there teaching a fiber art classes with physical therapist Lisa Gerrard, taking place between the heavy counseling sessions.  The retreat is being held at the Lazy C Ranch and Jennifer agrees that a change of scenery may be a good idea so she decides to attend.  Everything is going along fine until the ladies are introduced to the owner of the ranch, Cal Everett.  Jennifer has a breakdown and tells her friends that that Everett was the man who raped her.

When Everett is found dead below the steep deck of the meeting building and Jennifer's afghan project is draped over his body she becomes the prime suspect in his murder.  Never fear, Kelly Flynn and her friends are on the case and they will knit the clues together to find the real murderer.

This could have been a real heavy topic for a cozy mystery but Sefton handles it by spinning in some happier moments like a wedding, and the wonderful descriptions of the beautiful yarn at the Lambspun Shop.  The patterns and recipes are the icing on the cake or the fringe on a beautiful scarf.  This is a sensationally written series with a grand cast of characters set in the beautiful state of Colorado.  You don't have to be a knitter or even crafty to enjoy these mysteries, just a fan of a great who-dun-it.

Skein of the Crime (A 
Knitting Mystery)Maggie also has her new book Skein of the Crime coming out in hardcover on June 1, 2010.  I hope to be able to review that for you soon.  

To find out more about Maggie Sefton and her books be sure to visit her web site http://www.maggiesefton.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was from my private collection. 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.”


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 
wanted to try it this is my first 
Feel Good Friday!

Since this is my first week I'll post the prompts here and the steps to follow to give you some idea of what this meme is about:
Step 1: 
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!

Step 2:

Come back to my blog, the little girl next door grows up on Friday and link up with Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.  Then go and read at least one other blog and leave them a comment to make their day brighter.

Step 3:

Have fun.  Feel good.  Smile. 
Then, start looking for all of the good things you can write about for next week!  Once you start looking for the “good”  you will find it everywhere.
5 Things That Made Me Happy This Week

  1. My friend got some very good medical news!!
  2. I made a connection with an author whose books I really enjoy.
  3. I survived the 90 degree heat here in Wisconsin.
  4. I read and reviewed some really good cozy mysteries, still have a couple more reviews to write.
  5. I was able to spend a little extra Grandma time with Kaden.
 I hope you will join me in this meme, it is fun to remember the good things and push the bad away and start the weekend FEELING GOOD!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A KILLER PLOT by Ellery Adams

Release Date June 1, 2010 Paperback and Kindle

A new series set in Oyster Bay, North Carolina, where Olivia Limoges returns to her home town after many years away, her return as mysterious as her leaving has everyone in town is talking about her. She keeps to herself, with her talented dog Captain Haviland and is working on her unfinished manuscript, unfortunately at the moment she is suffering from a severe case of "writer's block".  At the local diner she meets charming young man, Camden Ford, and with a little help from diminutive Dixie the waitress, she agrees to join The Bayside Book Writers where she actually makes a few friends.

Sadly one of her new friends ends up dead in an alley with an obscure Haiku poem left with his body and his will not be the only body found before this mystery is solved.  Olivia enlists the help of The Bayside Book Writers to help the police find the killer.

This is a really fun mystery, there are so many quirky characters, and a captivating plot.  We learn enough about Olivia's past and her potential romances that will keep us wanting more stories from Oyster Bay.  I am terribly jealous of Captain Haviland as my 2 dogs can barely sit still for a minute let alone help sniff out a killer.  Please Ellery don't make us wait too long for another visit with Olivia and the people of Oyster Bay.

To find out more about Ellery Adams visit her web site at http://elleryadamsmysteries.com/ .

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Berkley Publishing Group 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.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Toast Mortem by Claudia Bishop

A Hemlock Falls Mystery
Paperback and Kindle Release June 1, 2010

The nice quiet village of Hemlock Falls has been intruded on by "The Grouchiest Chef in the World" Bernard LeVasque and his multimillion dollar cooking school just across the gorge from the Inn at Hemlock Falls.  While the Inn in fully booked, the restaurant in almost empty and that has Chef Meg Quillian ready to throw frying pans, 8" saute pans to be exact.  To make things worse he plays some awful tricks on the sisters. While both sisters wish he would just go away, they never dreamed he would end up dead.

Just who would want to kill the chef, one of his students, his wife, one of his devoted foodies?  Maybe the scrap of paper found in his hand will lead to the killer.  It would be a Hemlock Falls Mystery if the sisters weren't investigating and Quill will stop at nothing until she finds out WHO STABBED THE CHEF??

I am so glad I am able to visit The Inn at Hemlock Falls again, it has been too long.  This was the first set of cozy mysteries I collected for my keeper shelf after my accident.  I searched E-bay, Amazon and many other online bookstores to complete the set, even buying two online from a bookstore in Canada.  As each new book is released I would add it to my wonderful collection.  The last one was A Carol for a Corpse was released back in 2007.  I was so thrilled to learn about Toast Mortem and am excited to finally have it in my hands.

This book took me back to my old friends Meg and Quill with her 2 year old Jack, Dina is still at the reception desk, and Doreen is more a grandmother to Jack than the Inn's housekeeper.  This new plot was original and once I started I couldn't stop reading.  The added adventures of Jack's lion made my laugh out loud.  If you haven't started this series, it's never too late. The author is a true master when it comes to writing a cozy.  Add this one to your Summer Reading Lists, you will not be disappointed.

Be sure to check out Claudia's web page http://claudiabishop.com/ to learn more about the books and the other series she writes the Dr. McKenzie Mysteries  and follow her over to her other site to learn about the paranormal series she writes as Mary Stanton http://www.marystanton.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Berkley Publishing Group 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.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Half-Price Homicide by Elaine Viets

A Dead End Job Mystery

This is the ninth story in this series and I have enjoyed every one.  

This time Helen is working at a high class consignment shoppe at the beck and call of some pretty snobby customers.  Rich women can buy anything they want with their pricey store charges, so they buy the clothes and purses from the stores and then resell them at the consignment shoppe at a fraction of the price just so they have spending money, because their husbands won't give them a dime for themselves.  The owner Vera has to make sure the customer who buys the items doesn't run in the same circles as the client who sold it.  It is a stressful job, but Vera loves it.  One of the husbands figures out the scheme and catches his wife in the act of selling her pony hair purse, and a huge argument is played out in front of many customers, Vera and Helen. The husband leaves the store as do most of the customers, but his wife doesn't, she is found dead in the dressing room.  Helen again finds herself on yet another suspect list.

Meanwhile, Helen's mother passes away and she must make the arrangements to get her mother home and her fiance Phil talks her into handling her legal woes when she returns home for the funeral, which is no easy task, as her ex-husband again shows up to make trouble but will find himself buried in problems of his own.

And again the tenants in 2C are nothing but trouble.

The plot is tight and moves right along, the regular characters are now like old friends, and the new ones are excellent.  This book has it all, murder, mayhem and mischief.  The humor factor is high but is blended seamlessly with drama.  Many loose ends seem to be tied up in the edition, I don't think this is the end of the series, but Viets may be taking Helen in a different direction.  I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next.

FTC Disclosure:  Received from a friend..

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quicksand by Marilyn Randall

An Interracial Love Story
This is a love story written in first person narrative about Natalie, 63, an artist/author who recently lost her husband to cancer after a long and debilitating illness.  After some time she decides to try online dating to meet someone new, she exchanges emails, and "flirt messages" with a few different men.  She is totally drawn to Randy, a black man who is eleven years her junior and they fall deeply in love.  Love and lust are not the only things building in this relationship.  Difficulties due to the interracial factor, the age difference and Randy's anger issues keep this a truly bumpy romance. The author intertwines some very powerful and beautiful poetry throughout this story which gives the reader a peek of just how deeply she feels about this relationship. 

The poetry and prose was wonderful, the story was satisfactory, but I do have to say a lot of the problems in this relationship could be attributed to any relationship, having nothing to do with the race of either party.  Randy may have loved Natalie, but he thoroughly took advantage of her.  They lived on entirely separate sides of the United States (Washington and Florida) and Natalie paid for everything, his airfare to see her, all the trips they took, hotel, gas, food, his clothes, everything.  He started out as a gentleman, opening doors for Natalie, etc., but as the relationship grew in time, he didn't even walk next to her, walking far ahead, losing her many times and then was angry because she wasn't keeping up with him.  Lastly, the very first time he put his hands on her in anger that would have been it for me, but she kept going back.  She claimed he made her so happy.  I feel she deserved someone so much better.  I think there were a few times race may have played a part of his anger, but it was not the major issue.  The ending was indeed a surprise.

Yes, I liked this book, the poetry saved it.  The story could have been about any couple.  If you want to read some truly powerful poetry, this is a wonderful book, the story was okay and as I said above the ending was quite surprising.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author through Bostick Communications. 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.”