Friday, January 29, 2016

Elysium Dreams by Hadena James-#review

He skins his victims alive, taking pleasure from their pain.

In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Tracking Unit have just finished up another case when they get the call. Now they are packing their bags and heading for Alaska in March. The team must overcome the hostile locals and harsh climate to catch a killer before he strikes again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Montana Wild by Roni Hall - book blast and #giveaway


Out Now is MONTANA WILD by Roni Hall…Born and Bred in NYC, Fate Leads Jamie to the Wilds of Montana Where the Reluctant City Girl Comes Alive. Empowered, She Risks It All To Save A Life, Befriend A Wild Stallion and Fall In Love…Only To Have It All Taken Away By Past Demons…Check Out MONTANA WILD by Roni Hall!



Spiraling downward after losing two loved ones within one week, Jamie’s world was closing in…until she grabs an unexpected lifeline and escapes. Knowing only New York City, Montana is another world and she is unprepared by how the land, the people and even the animals touch her.
After risking her life to save a child, Jamie shares an undeniable bond and the beginning ripples of deep emotions with her co-rescuer, Kevin. However, her past follows her to Montana and threatens all that she loves there.

Jamie has no choice but to hurt Kevin in order to save his life and returns to New York with her ex, Derrick. Broken, Kevin refuses to believe she doesn’t love him and searches for Jamie, only to find her in Derrick’s lair. Once again Jamie tries to protect Kevin but this time gets caught in the cross fire…

On Sale in Digital: January 20, 2016 Amazon

Add MONTANA WILD to your TBR pile on Goodreads!


Grand Prize: $25 Gift Card to Amazon


Jamie had amazed herself at her reaction when she saw Kevin. It was like she was watching herself on a TV screen with no controls. I must be drunk on this fresh air. Pleasantly surprised at Kevin’s rugged good looks, she tried to deny the raw sensual tremors he set off and helped him unpack the truck. He was tall and muscular with sand-colored hair, deep blue, kind eyes, and a small cleft in his chin. Don’t even think about it. The last thing I need is to get involved again. “We need to pick a spot and set up our tents,” he informed her as they trekked toward camp. Many of the choice areas were already taken so Kevin continued to search for patches of level ground for the tents. Common areas with picnic tables, fire pits, and tents were scattered everywhere. They hiked a little farther, toward the outskirts of the tent city. He put the gear down and explained how he needed to closely scrutinize the ground for rocks, large sticks, and other natural decorations that could cause the body sore spots by morning. “The tents aren’t big so they don’t need much ground area. This looks good.” As he pulled one tent out of its pack sack, Jamie instinctively began to help, but her inexperience was obvious. “I don’t know what to do, but I’m teachable.” Kevin laughed. “Here, let me show you. It’s pretty simple. Even a city girl can do it.” “Who? Me? What makes you think I’m a city girl?” Wide-eyed, she pointed to herself. “Maybe the fact that you’ve lived in New York City all your life?” “You’ve got a point there. But like I said, I’m teachable.” They bantered back and forth as they erected the first tent. “Okay.” Kevin stood back and admired their success. “One down. This’ll be yours. Now I’ve got to find a spot for mine.” Eyes focused, surveying the ground, he walked away from her tent. “Where are you going? Where’s your tent going to be?” The concern was obvious in her voice and he turned to look at her. “I don’t know. What’s wrong?” His eyes searched hers. “Like you said, I’m a city girl and I’m not used to sleeping out in the woods. How far away are you going to be?” He laughed. “With all these tents, you don’t have to worry about animals if that’s your concern.” His face softened as he asked, “Would it make you feel better if I stayed close by?” Relief flooded through her. “Yes.” And with that, Kevin chuckled and pitched his tent nearby. They made a return trip to the truck for the remainder of the gear. As they unloaded their bags at the tents, Ben and Tommy came walking up. “Hey, dinner’s ready. You guys going to eat?” Ben asked.

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Author Bio: The summer after high school graduation, Roni worked two jobs to pay for nursing school. During the midnight shift as a waitress, a charismatic young man at the counter flirted with her for hours as he consumed seven cups of coffee. Their first date was eventful enough to be a book itself! Thirty-seven years and two kids later, the love story continues. Just like her novels, life can’t be too simple and you must make it an adventurous ride!   Her favorite place to write is in her hammock at their small Michigan cottage where she literally dodges the feeding hummingbirds while being serenaded by the lake’s loons. Besides writing, she loves Slow Rollin’ in Detroit and the combination of good food, better wine, and dear friends.  

  You can also visit her online at the following places: 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Plans I Have for You Devotional and Journal (for kids) by Amy Parker - #review #giveaway


About The Plans I Have For You Devotional

The devotional is an illustrated 90-day devotional written by bestselling children's book author Amy Parker and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, teaching and inspiring kids to dream about their future, to focus on faith, love, and joy, and recognize that God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Turtle Roars in Texas by Russ Hall - #review

A Turtle Roars in Texas
By Russ Hall
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Trouble rides through Texas.

Detective Al Quinn had hoped to spend his retirement fishing at his lakeside home and taking care of the local deer. That bubble pops when Gladys Sanders, the sixty-year-old co-owner of an organic farm, is found dead by her two sisters, her body displayed like a scarecrow. On the same day, her son is run over in his kayak.

Evidence slips away from the scene right under the noses of two deputies, so Sheriff Clayton asks Al to mentor a younger detective. That simple task explodes into raw danger when three rival biker gangs with ties to Mexican cartels start mixing it up in earnest.  ICE Agent Jaime Avila tells Al that old turtles ought to leave the fighting to the young. But when the danger involves Al’s brother, Al dives into the heart of the ruckus. Before the war is over, the gangs just might get to hear the turtle roar.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Plain Dead by Emma Miller - #review

When a newspaperman is murdered in the Amish community of Stone Mill, Pennsylvania, Rachel Mast digs up the dirt to find out who wanted to bury the lead…
,br/> Although she left her Old Order Amish ways in her youth, Rachel discovered corporate life in the English world to be complicated and unfulfilling. Having returned to Stone Mill, she’s happy to be running her own B&B. But she’s also learning—in more ways than one—that the past is not always so easily left behind.

After local newspaperman Bill Billingsly is found gagged and tied to his front porch, left to freeze overnight in a snowstorm, Detective Evan Parks—Rachel’s beau—uncovers a file of scandalous information Billingsly intended to publish, including a record of Rachel pleading no contest to charges of corporate misconduct. Though Evan is certain of her innocence, it’s up to Rachel to find the real killer. A closer examination of the victim’s unpublished report leads Rachel to believe the Amish community is far from sinless. But if she’s not careful her obituary might be the next to appear in print…

Death of a Brooklyn Landlord by Susan Russo Anderson - #review

When newly widowed Lorraine McDuffy gets a call in the middle of the night, it’s not the ghost of her dead husband on the line, but the trembling voice of an old flame, Frank Rizzo, a local butcher. He’s found the battered body of rent-gouging Brooklyn landlord Viktor Charnov. Felled by blunt trauma to the back of his head, the victim lies in the fetal position in the back of Frank’s shop, a pork chop clenched between his teeth. The distraught butcher asks Lorraine to investigate.

As the story moves through the entangled web left behind by the landlord’s evil dealings, Lorraine searches for Viktor’s estranged wife as well as a missing teen with ties to the landlord, believed to have jumped in despair from the Brooklyn Bridge two months earlier. Along the way, Lorraine spars with Detective First Grade Jane Templeton and cares for the victim’s ten-year-old son, baseball-loving Joey Charnov, while she searches for his mother. And despite her guilt, Lorraine and Frank deepen their relationship in fits and starts.

If you’re a fan of Fina Fitzgibbons and her crew, you’ll recognize the main characters in this new series—Lorraine McDuffy, Fina’s mother-in-law and protagonist in charge of the Fina Fitzgibbons Detective Agency while Fina and Denny are on their honeymoon; detectives Jane Templeton and Willoughby, her partner Minnie, admin assistant at Lucy’s and now taking on a greater role in the agency; Cookie and her husband, Clancy; and a newcomer, Fina’s estranged father, Paddy Fitzgibbons, who creates his own boozy havoc as he tangles with Lorraine and Cookie.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Passion: Songs of Praise and Worship - #audio review

Who wants some new music??  How about the newest album Salvation's Tide Is Rising (releasing on January 29th) from the Passion Conference and sixstepsrecords/Capitol CMG?  Rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8, Passion exists to glorify God by uniting students in worship, prayer and justice for spiritual awakening in this generation.  From its start in 1995, the Passion Movement has had a singular mission--calling students from campuses across the nation and around the world to live for what matters most.  This yearly conference uses live worship music and teaching to encourage young people to live for the glory of God.  In 1998, Passion decided to document the musical portion of the annual conferences via live worship recordings -- raw, in-your-face praise songs with an alternative edge.

Track List:

1.  Salvation's Tide is Rising - Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill
2.  My Victory - Passion featuring Crowder
3.  Remember - Passion featuring Brett Younker & Melodie Malone
4.  God & God Alone - Passion featuring Chris Tomlin
5.  Simple Pursuit - Passion featuring Melodie Malone
6.  I Turn to Christ - Passion featuring Matt Redman
7.  Your Grace Amazes Me - Passion featuring Christy Nockels
8.  All We Sinners - Passion featuring Crowder
9.  Surrender - Passion featuring Jimi Cravity
10. Good Good Father - Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill

About Passion albums:

Since the first release in 1998, Passion albums have sold over 1.3 million units while introducing the church to worship songs like "Our God", "Holy Is The Lord", "How Great Is Our God", and "God Of This City".  Passion is coming off its best charting radio success in 5 years with the single "Even So Come", which went Top 5.

About The Passion Movement:

The Passion Movement and the messages of founder Louis Giglio have marked the lives of millions of people around the globe, calling people everywhere to live for the glory of God.  From its inception, the movement of Passion has birthed new anthems of worship, influencing countless churches and helping to define the current worship climate and establish artists Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill and others.  Louie Giglio is the pastor and founder of Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA.



I felt a range of emotions while listening to this cd...and they were all good.  I'm a big believer in the power of music.  When I am sad, music can commiserate.  When I am happy, music can double the joy.  When I am in need of motivation, music can get me going again.  Of course, depending on the intent of the musicians, music can build us up or, well, not.

Luckily for us, every single track on this cd is uplifting.  Yes, I cried some of the time, but it was a good, cleansing cry.  I felt that it was possible that I could obtain forgiveness for things that I have done wrong.

I grew up in a traditional church with traditional hymns played on a piano or organ.  There wasn't a lot of faster tempos, electronic equipment or other instruments.  Back then, I wouldn't have considered anything else as music appropriate for worship.

Oh boy, was I wrong!  I feel like these songs (and others like them) are services in and of themselves, helping us to feel God's presence ... and not just on a certain day at a certain time in a certain building.  God is everywhere at all times.  The songs on this cd can help you feel that with more certainty.


I received an e-copy of this cd from the music company via FlyBy Promotions in exchange for my objective review.

The Other Side of Life by Andy Kutler - #review

December 1941, Pearl Harbor. A peaceful Sunday morning turns into a devastating attack on American soil. Naval officer Malcolm “Mac” Kelsey is severely wounded while defending his ship. A flawed man abandoned long ago by his alcoholic wife, Kelsey has been mired in despair and hopelessness following the accidental death of Lucy, the young daughter he considers the only redemptive aspect of his life. Near the point of death, Kelsey is brought to what he believes to be an afterlife where he is offered an opportunity to shed his past memories and embark upon an alternate path in another place and time. Eager to escape his torment and begin a more tranquil existence, Kelsey accepts, only to feel quickly betrayed as he soon finds himself back in the midst of battle, this time as a Union soldier at the dawn of the Civil War.

Through Antietam, Gettysburg and four years of relentless fighting, Kelsey attempts to cast aside his painful past while trying to survive the horrors of combat. He crosses paths with compelling figures on both sides of the conflict determined to persevere and return to those they left behind. Idealistic Ethan Royston, promoted from the enlisted ranks, believes in preserving the Union but is plagued by insecurity and self-doubt. His closest friend, West Point-trained Cal Garrity, remains loyal to his home state of Virginia despite his misgivings about the virtue of the Southern cause. The war will divide these friends, just as it will divide Garrity from his adoring wife, Emily, the charismatic and headstrong daughter of a prominent Norfolk shipbuilder, forced to face the onset of war alone.

Each will endure unimaginable hardship and brutality that will forever reshape their core beliefs and values. Each will find their strength and resolve tested as they search for self-purpose, humanity, and reconciliation. Most of all, Mac Kelsey will discover the very essence of life and death, and whether the new beginning he has long coveted will bring him the inner peace he has so desperately sought.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Molly's Misadventures by D. E. Haggerty - #review #giveaway

I’m having the suckiest day ever. First, my father, aka Mr. Grumpy Pants, calls to say his nurse just walked out on him. Likely story. I rush home to pack only to walk in on my husband getting it on with his younger, skanky secretary. Unfortunately, my quick weekend trip home to fix Dad’s problems turns into a stay of a few weeks. Luckily, I’ve got Danny, the neighbor boy I had a crush on when I was a dorky, braces-wearing, nose-buried-in-a-book teenager, and a brand-spanking new blog to keep my mind off things. Before I know it, I’m writing product reviews of vibrators and getting questioned by a store rent-a-cop at the world’s worst date ever. All while trying to figure out how to take things with Danny to the next level. Not to complicate things or anything but my boss decides to give me an ultimatum – come back in four weeks or don’t come back at all. How in the world did my life get so complicated?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Karma's a Killer by Tracy Weber - #review

When Seattle yoga teacher Kate Davidson agrees to teach doga (yoga for dogs) at a fundraiser for a local animal rescue, she believes the only damage will be to her reputation. But a few downward-facing dogs are the least of Kate’s problems when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning.
The police arrest a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother and charge her with murder. To prove her innocence, Kate, boyfriend Michael, and German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them. All while discovering that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like hOMe.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Kaaren Christopherson of Decorum - #interview

Kaaren Christopherson’s brilliantly observed novel captures the glamour and grit of one of the world’s most dazzling cities during one of its most tumultuous eras–as seen through the eyes of a singularly captivating heroine…

In 1890s New York, beautiful, wealthy Francesca Lund is an intriguing prospect for worthy suitors and fortune hunters alike. Recently orphaned, she copes by working with the poor in the city’s settlement movement. But a young woman of means can’t shun society for long, and Francesca’s long-standing acquaintance with dashing Edmund Tracey eventually leads to engagement. Yet her sheltered upbringing doesn’t blind her to the indiscretions of the well-to-do…

Among the fashionable circle that gathers around her there are mistresses, scandals, and gentlemen of ruthless ambition. And there is Connor O’Casey–an entirely new kind of New Yorker. A self-made millionaire of Irish stock, Connor wants more than riches. He wants to create a legacy in the form of a luxury Madison Avenue hotel–and he wants Francesca by his side as he does it. In a quest that will take her from impeccable Manhattan salons to the wild Canadian Rockies, Francesca must choose not only between two vastly different men, but between convention and her own emerging self-reliance.



Kaaren Christopherson is the author of Decorum—a novel about Gilded Age New York—that began taking form in 1999 during a course on writing historical fiction. From that moment, Connor O’Casey (who had been rattling around in her brain for months) finally appeared one night and said, “All right, woman. Here I am. What are you going to do about my story?” So she began to put his words on paper, and he hasn’t kept quiet since. Soon Francesca, Blanche, Tracey, Vinnie, and the rest of the characters began arguing, gossiping, loving, and forming themselves into Kaaren’s first novel.

Kaaren has had a professional career writing and editing for over 30 years and is a senior editor for an international development nonprofit organization in Washington, DC.

She has written fiction since her school days, story poems, children’s books, historical fiction, and time travel, and continues to be active in writer’s groups and writing workshops. In addition to her career as a writer, Kaaren was the owner of a decorative painting business. She loves to travel and prowl through historical sites, galleries, and museums. She is active in several churches in DC and in her local Northern Virginia community, where she shares her home with feline brothers, Archie and Sammy.

A Michigan native, Kaaren received her BA in history and art and her MA in educational administration from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

For more information visit Kaaren Christopherson’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads


1.  Who did the cover for Decorum? Decorum had reached the stage in the publishing process when work on the cover art was about to begin. I was so very fortunate that just at that time my editor at Kensington Publishing saw this painting of Olivia Peyton Murray Cutting in a Gilded Age exhibit in the Museum of the City of New York. He asked me whether I thought this would be good inspiration for the art department at Kensington to create a new, original cover for Decorum. Of course, I said yes! Before I knew it, Kensington had acquired the rights to use the actual painting for the cover. I feel very fortunate to have Mrs. Cutting represent the look and feel of the Gilded Age. She’s perfect.

2.  How did you come up with the idea for 'The O’Casey Chronicle' as a way to give your readers 'extra'?

I was trying to come up with a way to get potential readers interested in the novel in the months leading up to the release of Decorum. Decorum is my first novel, so I didn’t have a ready-made audience from previous books and readers didn’t know anything about me as a writer. I came up with the idea of an 1890s tabloid that would give backstory on the characters without actually giving the plot of the book away, plus a character biosketch, and “Miss Decorum,” which was intended to introduce the idea of etiquette and the quotations that are in the novel. So, for example, the first issue of The O’Casey Chronicle features an article about what happened the day Francesca’s family was killed, which is the opening chapter of the book, but from a reporter’s perspective. It also has Francesca’s bio and a little Miss Decorum piece. The O’Casey Chronicle ran twice a month for eight months in the run-up to Decorum’srelease. Readers can see all the issues of The O’Casey Chronicle on my website:

3.  When did you first get bitten by the writing bug?
I have always loved writing and can remember as a child making little books, drawing the illustrations, and then stapling them along the edges. The first time I tried writing anything historical was in junior high school. I had a wonderful 9th grade English teacher who had a real knack for teaching literature—not only reading it, but writing it. She had us experiment with writing using concepts that many writers have trouble with, like point of view (who is telling the story) and onomatopoeia (using words that sound like what they represent, like sizzle or hush). I wrote a short story for class about Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, from the point of view of her sister, with whom Jennie had been staying to care for her after childbirth. It was such a great challenge, using my imagination to bring a scene from history to life. I think I realized then that writing would be in my future. (I got an A for the Jennie Wade story, by the way.)

4.  What brought you from Michigan to DC? Like so many people in the Washington, DC, area, I came for a job. That was a very long time ago; I’ve actually spent more of my life in the DC area than in Michigan. I do get back to Michigan several times a year to see my family.

5.  If you could invite any writers from history to a supper soiree, whom would you invite and what would you talk about?

What a great idea! How about William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald (and Zelda), Edith Wharton (maybe she’d bring artist Edgar Degas with her), Leo Tolstoy, and Agatha Christie? I would be fascinated to hear them talk about how they approach their characters, how they handle the passage of time (meaning does the story take place in one day, over the course of a month, a year, over many years?), pacing the story, and where they get their inspiration—many of the same questions aspiring writers and avid readers ask. We never stop learning.

6.  If you could live in any time period of your choosing, when would you choose and why? Wow, that’s tough, there are so many years and eras I find fascinating, especially linked to events. I would love to have been in the crowd at Lindbergh’s landing at Le Bourget Field in Paris in May of 1927 or to have walked the streets of Boston or Philadelphia or New York before the American Revolution. I would love to have seen London before the great fire of 1666 or before the Blitz destroyed so much of London during World War II. I would love to have caught a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth I or France’s Louis XIV or to have seen San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake and fire. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the negotiation of the Treaty of Versailles or the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

7.  Some fiction authors title their chapters and some don't.  Is there some kind of rule to follow? And is a title meant to be kind of a preview?

I don’t think there’s any particular rule about titling chapters and you certainly see it done (or not) in many different ways. In the case of Decorum, the chapter title is taken from the little quotation from my great-grandmother’s etiquette book that introduces each chapter, so it has a real purpose. The chapter title and the quotation provide a set-up.

8.  What advice would you give to children who like to write?

Read, read, and read some more. Write, write, and write some more. Reading fuels writing. It’s like learning by observation. Eventually, what you love to read may become what you love to write.

9.  Where is a place (country or city) in the world you have not visited but would like to? My bucket list—goodness! I’d love to take a European river cruise. I’d love to visit St. Petersburg and the Hermitage. Turkey intrigues me. There are many, many places on the American continent I’d like to visit. Too many places, too little time!

10.  Does O’Casey et al have more stories to tell?

There are always more stories for any group of characters. I would love to write more about Connor, Francesca, Blanche, Vinnie, and the gang. I also have other stories going through my head, with characters I think could be very intriguing. So stay tuned!

Sweet Pepper Hero by J. J. Cook - #review, #interview #giveaway

Old rivalries heat up in the fourth Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade mystery from the national bestselling author of In Hot Water.

Fire chief Stella Griffin has been put in charge of judging the annual recipe contest, but Eric—her resident ghost and true culinary genius—has vanished. Before she can track down his latest haunt, she’s called in to investigate a local moonshine distillery that was set ablaze, making her realize there’s more than pies and cakes cooking in Sweet Pepper.

As rumors of a revived whiskey war ignite, Stella turns to the town’s elders to help her find answers. The past might have some clues as to what has sparked the present fires. But when following a lead lands her in buried rubble, Stella realizes she must extinguish this case fast or she might be going down in flames.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bookish Mondays, January 11, 2016



The Masquerading Magician by Gigi Pandian
Last Dance by Joyce and Jim Lavene (review to come asap)
Death of an Alchemist by Mary Lawrence (review scheduled for Feb. 17)
Immortal Reign by Aiden James


The Masquerading Magician by Gigi Pandian
Stabbing in the Senate by Colleen J. Shogan
Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell


Elysium Dreams by Hayden James (for review Jan 29)
Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling (because I read it as a child)
and a busload of others

Thread and Gone by Lea Wait - #review

When a priceless antique is stolen, murder unravels the peaceful seaside town of Haven Harbor, Maine…

Angie Curtis and her fellow Mainely Needlepointers know how to enjoy their holidays. But nothing grabs their attention like tying up loose threads. So when Mary Clough drops in on the group’s Fourth of July supper with a question about antique needlepoint she’s discovered in her family Colonial-era home, Angie and her ravelers are happy to look into the matter.

Their best guess is that the mystery piece may have been stitched by Mary, Queen of Scots, famous not just for losing her head, but also for her needlepointing. If they’re right, the piece would be extremely valuable. For safekeeping, Angie turns the piece over to her family lawyer, who places it in her office safe. But when the lawyer is found dead with the safe and ransacked, the real mystery begins. . .

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Memorizing Matthew Six

A couple of times per year, Do Not Depart hosts a group Bible memorization.  This time around it starts January 11 and ends May 23.  Now there are 34 verses in Matthew 6 but there's never more than 2 verses done during any single week.  Well, I'm going to to it, and intend to do a Sunday post at the end of each week, to share what I've pondered while reading/memorizing the week's verses.

For anyone wanting to start or continue their practice of memorizing verses in the Bible, I do hope you will consider joining in!

Skiing is Murder by Carolyn Arnold - #review

Sean and Sara were supposed to have a relaxing vacation in Vail, but it all goes up in a puff of powder when there’s a suspicious death on the mountain. And the deceased is not just anyone; it’s Adrian Blackwell, a two-time Olympic skiing gold medalist.

Rumor has it that Adrian died in a skiing accident, but he was too skilled for Sara to accept it as fact. Though she’s convinced Adrian was murdered and she’s itching to find the killer, she doesn’t want to disappoint Sean by ruining his ski trip.

Sean has never had the ability to say no to Sara before, but this time he comes close. It takes a call from their PI firm back in Albany to change his mind. A job’s come in to investigate Adrian’s death, and his agent is the one footing the bill, leaving Sean with more questions than answers.

Yet one major problem remains: their New York State PI licenses hold no legal authority in Colorado. But they still can’t help but look into Adrian’s death on the sly. This case will definitely involve some underhanded tactics, all while trying to dodge the local police during the course of the investigation.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Bookish Post - January 8, 2016


Thanks to Freda from "Freda's Voice" and Gilion at "Rose City Reader" for hosting these bookish link-up!  Click one of the buttons to go to the link-up page.

(click on the cover to go to GoodReads)


Sean and Sara are supposed to have a relaxing vacation in Vail, but it all goes up in a puff of powder when there’s a suspicious death on the mountain. And the deceased is not just anyone; it’s Adrian Blackwell, a two-time Olympic skiing gold medalist.

Rumor has it Adrian died in a skiing accident, but he was too skilled for Sara to accept that as fact. But she doesn’t want to disappoint Sean by ruining his ski trip, even though she’s convinced Adrian was murdered and she’s itching to find the killer.

Sean has never been able to say no to Sara, but this time he plans to. However, all it takes a call from their PI firm back in Albany to change his mind. A job’s come in to investigate Adrian’s death, and his agent is the one footing the bill, leaving Sean with more questions than answers.

Yet one major problem remains: their New York State PI licenses hold no legal authority in Colorado. They still can’t help but look into Adrian’s death on the sly, though. This case will definitely involve some underhanded tactics, all while trying to dodge the local police over the course of the investigation.


(from 58%, or location 1125 on the Kindle)

"Hey, we were here first," a man in his fifties bellowed above the crowd.  His squat frame was easily carrying an extra fifty pounds.

Sean faced him and put on a polite smile. "We had reservations."  He didn't mention that they were held under the name of Benjamin Franklin."

(the above was edited 1/9 to correct two errors.)


(OK, you caught me.  This quote is from the first page or two of the book, not the very beginning.)

"He was sitting there thinking about how love the day had been.  No murder.  No mention of murder.  Just him and Sara relaxing."


Is the quote from the Friday 56 portion or the Book Beginnings section more of an enticement for you?


edited to add:
Book Blogger Hop    

Thanks to Billy B at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicated Writer and  Ramona At Create With Joy for hosting these link-ups.  I only found the Book Blogger Hop through Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews and Ramona is just so cool I have to do Friendship Friday as well!

Questions for the Book Blogger Hop:

Have you made any improvements on your blog since your started your blog? 

Scads and scads!  I've made more changes to my blog than the number of reading challenges I've enrolled in this year!

Did you change the format? 

When I started blogging in July of 2007, I believe my blog had a purple-y theme, because purple is my favorite color.  Then I switched to a wine-colored background with a map of the earth motif.  Then, when I found my blog turning into more of a book blog than anything else, I figured I should get something 'bookish'.   There may have been others...I just don't remember. ;)
Did you change your header? 

Well, there were the changes that came with the color changes.  Then in some kind of blog challenge last year I added the tag line "Life happens on the back porch."
Did you add or remove items from your side bar? 

A while back I switched to the format/layout I have today (1 column of text and 2 sidebars).  I had had only one sidebar on the left side for a couple of years, but when I had all my reading challenge buttons and counters in the sidebar, those puppies went on forEVER!


Now I've got a question for y'all:

I've been thinking of changing the blog name to reflect my new focus on books and writing.  If you were faced with the same question, would you keep the familiar name or go for something more bookish?


The Masquerading Magician by GiGi Pandian - #review

Deciphering an ancient alchemy book is more difficult than Zoe Faust bargained for. She’d much rather be gardening and exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon—but time is running out for living gargoyle Dorian Robert-Houdin. If Zoe isn’t able to unlock the alchemy book’s secrets soon, the French gargoyle will remain awake but trapped in stone forever.

When Zoe gives herself a rare night out to attend a classic magic show that reminds her of her youth, she realizes the stage magicians are much more than they seem. A murder at the theater leads back to a string of unsolved robberies and murders in Portland’s past, and a mystery far more personal than Zoe and Dorian ever imagined.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

My 2016 PopSugar Reading Challenge Sign-up

PopSugar hosts a popular reading challenge each year.  There's not a sign-up (linky), that I know of, but I'm sure they would love people to participate and 'talk amongst ourselves' about the challenge itself and the books we are reading to fulfill it.

I could not make the list show up the way I wanted it to (print either too small or when I enlarged the graphic, it was too blurry), so I'm going to type in the whole dang thing!  Oh, and that graphic up there is adapted from PopSugar's challenge page.


1.  A book based on a fairy tale -
2.  A National Book Award Winner -
3.  A YA bestseller -
4.  A book you haven't read since high school -
5.  A book set in your home state -
6.  A book translated to English -
7.  A romance set in the future -
8.  A book that's under 150 pages -
9.  A New York Times bestseller -
10.  A book that's becoming a movie this year -
11.  A book recommended by someone you just met -
12.  A self-improvement book -
13.  A book you can finish in a day -
14.  A book written by a celebrity -
15.  A political memoir -
16.  A book at least 100 years older than you -
17.  A book that's more than 600 pages -
18.  A book from Oprah's Book Club -
19.  A science-fiction novel -
20.  A book recommended by a family member -
21.  A graphic novel -
22.  A book that is published in 2016 -
23.  A book with a protagonist who has your occupation -
24.  A book that takes place during summer -
25.  A book and its prequel -
26.  A murder mystery -
27.  A book written by a comedian -
28.  A dystopian novel -
29.  A book with a blue cover -
30.  A book of poetry -
31.  The first book you see in the bookstore -
32.  A classic from the 20th century -
33.  A book from the libary -
34.  An autobiography -
35.  A book about a road trip -
36.  A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with -
37. A satirical book -
38.  A book that takes place on an island -
39.  A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy.
40.  A book set in Europe - (ok, so this is #8 on PopSugar's list, but considering I'm going back and forth, if that's my only error, I'm good with it!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#IWSG January 6, 2016

The "Insecure Writer's Support Group", or #IWSG as the hashtag goes, is a site dedicated to helping people who like to write get over their fears of:

1.  not being enough
2.  being too much,
3.  not smart enough
4.  not interesting.
5.  (fill in your favorite "not enough" or "too much")

It is hosted by Alex Cavenaugh, and this month's co-hosts are:  L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey. Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace.


One of my earliest memories is of my mother saying she didn't want me to apply to be in a children's 'beauty pagent'.  For all I know, we may not have had enough disposable income at the time.  Hey, I was a kid ... and this was a lo-o-ong time ago.  What I heard was:  "You're not (pretty) enough to win."

So I've dealt with these feelings a long time.

I still get those feelings sometimes, when I've started out like gangbusters and then the "not good enough" monster pops up so his cousin monster "what's the use" can slide in and get to work undermining whatever I'm working on at the moment.

The funny things is last November I got in a couple of day's worth of 'just getting the words on the paper' and turning off the inner critic (and let me tell you, I can be harsh on me) - and it was wonderfully liberating.  I am determined to have more of those days this year!

Stabbing in the Senate by Colleen J. Shogan - #review

Life is good for Kit Marshall. She’s a staffer in D.C. for a popular senator, and she lives with an adoring beagle and a brainy boyfriend with a trust fund. Then, one morning, Kit arrives at the office early and finds her boss, Senator Langsford, impaled by a stainless steel replica of an Army attack helicopter. Panicked, she pulls the weapon out of his chest and instantly becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Circumstances back Kit’s claim of innocence, but her photograph has gone viral, and the heat won’t be off until the killer is found. Well-loved though the senator was, suspects abound. Langsford had begun to vote with his conscience, which meant he was often at odds with his party. Not only had the senator decided to quash the ambitions of a major military contractor, but his likely successor is a congressman he trounced in the last election. Then there’s the suspiciously dry-eyed Widow Langsford. Kit’s tabloid infamy horrifies her boyfriend’s upper-crust family, and it could destroy her career. However, she and her free-spirited friend Meg have a more pressing reason to play sleuth. The police are clueless in more ways than one, and Kit worries that the next task on the killer’s agenda will be to end her life.

Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters by Lida Sideris - #review

Watch out Southern California! There’s a new entertainment attorney in town and she’s got game. Only problem is, it’s not the one she should be playing. Corrie Locke belongs behind a desk, not behind a Glock. She should be taking VIP calls, not nosing around a questionable suicide. Instead, she’s hot on the trail of a murderer.

Luckily, she’s the daughter of a late, great private eye and she’s inherited his love of sleuthing…and illegal weaponry. It doesn’t help matters that her gene for caution is a recessive one. Corrie finds herself in the center of a murder case, unearthing suspects in shocking places. With a cold-blooded killer on the loose, Corrie will have to up her game, or die trying.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bookish Tuesdays - Jan 5 2016

Thanks to MizB for hosting Teaser Tuesday at her blog, A Daily Rhythm.

Thanks to Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea for hosting FCFP.

Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


(links to GoodReads)


Life is good for Kit Marshall. She's a staffer in D.C. for a popular senator, and she lives with an adoring beagle and a brainy boyfriend with a trust fund. Then, one morning, Kit arrives at the office early and finds her boss, Senator Langsford, impaled by a stainless steel replica of an Army attack helicopter. Panicked, she pulls the weapon out of his chest and instantly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.


"A burst of adrenaline propelled me into action.

I grabbed the Apache model with my right hand, 

Pulling with all my strength, The Apache model came out of his chest more easily than I had anticipated."

First Chapter, Fist Paragraph:

"Ascending from the underground depths of the Metro, I confronted the alabaster dome in the distance.  The sight never failed to leave me awestruck.  It was a imposing reminder of the city's fundamental purpose.  New York City has the Empire State Building, Paris the Eiffel Tower, and Washington, D.C., the Capitol Building.  The stillness of the morning on the hill was a rare gift.  Only a few ambitious politicos beat the nine o'clock cattle call, summoning over 10,000 congressional staffers to their lairs."


So, what do you think?

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Blogging Better: A New Year's Reading Challenge

(Background image from

The 2016 Blogging Better Reading Challenge is hosted by Katie at the Doing Dewey blog.  Click the logo above to go to the sign-up page.

The main idea is to read books that give ideas about becoming better bloggers.  Other than that, it is a free-form challenge.  You can read whatever titles you want.

>Several people seem to be going with 1 book per month and several participants give the names of books they will be reading as part of the challenge.  The 1 book/month rate sounds good to me.  I know I've got several in my Kindle and a couple of PDF files.

So, I'm going with the 1 per month rate as well.


January 2016 - My Online Business Blueprint by Andre Bennett (covers private labeling and blogging for profit)
***This is the book I plan to read for January.

February 2016 - Blog Design Basics
March 2016 - Blog Essentials by Ponn Sabra and Heidi Nazarudin
April 2016 -
May 2016 -
June 2016 -
July 2016 -
August 2016 -
September 2016 -
October 2016 -
November 2016 -
December 2016 -

Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell - #review

In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer…

December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia’s engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men.

But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady’s maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery.

As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case—before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them…

Sunday, January 3, 2016

My 2016 The Bad Boys of Romance Challenge Sign-up

Thanks to Shari at for hosting this challenge!

From the site:

The Challenge (if you choose to accept it)

Level One – 5-9 books – Capturing the Bad Boy
Level Two – 10-15 books – Engaged to the Bad Boy
Level Three – 15 books or more – Taking the Bad Boy to the Alter

Those pesky rules….

* The minimum goal is 5 books.
* The books have to feature a bad boy hero:
Rock stars, MC members, streetfighters, assassins, mafia, loners, geeks, etc. 
* Only romance series are accepted. Any sub-genre of romance accepted.
* Sign up between December 1, 2015- December 31, 2016.


I'm starting at Level One of 5-9 books.  Once I capture that bad boy, I'm going to take the relationship to the next level! :p


My 2016 NetGalley Reading Challenge Sign-up


Thanks to Ariel at the Fictively blog for hosting this challenge!

As with my other challenges, I am starting at the lowest level and moving up as possible during the year.

1.  Plain Dead by Emma Miller

My 2016 Read Harder Challenge

(Background image from Wikimedia Commons.)

Thanks to the folks at for hosting this challenge!  Click on the button above to go to the sign-up page for all the details!

From the site:

  • Read a horror book.
  • Read a non-fiction book about science.
  • Read a collection of essays.
  • Read a book out loud to someone else.
  • Read a middle grade novel.
  • Read a biography (not a memoir or autobiography
  • Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel.
  • Read a book originally published in the decade you were born.
  • Listen to an audiobook that was won an Audie Award.
  • Read a book over 500 pages long.
  • Read a book under 100 pages.
  • Read a book by or about a person who identifies as transgender.
  • Read a book that is set in the Middle East.
  • Read a book by an author who is from SouthEast Asia.
  • Coexist by Anna Tan
  • Read a book of historical fiction that is set before 1900.
  • Read the first book in a series that is by an author of color.
  • Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years.
  • Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie.  Debate which is better.
  • Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist issues.
  • Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction).
  • Read a book about politics in your country or another. (fiction/nonfiction).
  • Read a food memoir.
  • Read a play.
  • Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness.

Yeah, I'm going to need help finding some of these! :O)

My 2016 Winter's Respite Read-a-thon Sign-up

Thanks to Michelle at the Seasons of Reading Blog for hosting this read-a-thon and giving us a reason to get our reading years off to a great start!

I'm borrowing the following 'schedule' from my Bout of Books sign-up which probably means that it was created by Andrea at Bookish Lifestyle:

Monday, January 18
  • Number of pages I've read today:
  • Books Read: 
  • Challenge:  
Tuesday, January 19
  • Currently Reading: 
  • Number of pages I've read today: 
  • Books Read: 
  • Challenge: 
Wednesday, January 20
  • Currently Reading: 
  • Number of pages I've read today: 
  • Books Read: 
  • Challenge:  

Thursday, January 21
  • Currently Reading: 
  • Number of pages I've read today: 
  • Books Read: 
  • Challenge:  

Friday, January 22
  • Currently Reading: 
  • Number of pages I've read today:
  • Books Read: 
  • Challenge:  
Saturday, January 23
  • Currently Reading: 
  • Number of pages I've read today: 
  • Books Read: 
  • Challenge:  
Sunday, January 24
  • Currently Reading: 
  • Number of pages I've read today:
  • Books Read:
I'm not going to bother listing books I intend to read during the challenge, because I know for a fact that I will have read at least one of them before the challenge event starts!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My 2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge Sign-Up

Corinne Rodrigues

Thanks To Corinne at for hosting this challenge!

My record-keeping for 2015 was *ahem* not the best, so I'm pretty sure that I read more than the 83 books reflected on my GoodReads 2015 Challenge.  But I'm going to go with 83 as the number of books I read and build on that.

Click on the button above to go to Corinne's blog for all the details and to sign up!  Here are the levels for this challenge:

Getting My Heart Rate Up: read 1–5 more books (or 250–1,499 more pages)
Out of Breath: read 6–10 more books (or 1,500–2,749 more pages)
Breaking a Sweat: read 11–15 more books (or 2,750–3,999 more pages)
I’m on Fire!: read 16+ more books (or 4,000+ more pages)

I'm starting at the lowest level due to the number of challenges for which I signed up for 2016.  There is always the hope that I can raise the level during the year!


My 2016 Southern Reading Challenge Sign-Up

Southern Literature Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Thanks to Jen at The Introverted Reader blog for hosting this challenge.  Click on the button above for the details and to sign up!

Basic challenge info:

Definitions of the South are flexible, so I've decided to define it the way I want. That's the fun of hosting your own challenge, right? :-)

The states:

South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, >Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana,
Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Florida

Level 1--C'mon in the house! Read 1-2 books.
Level 2--Pull up a seat and stay a while! Read 3-4 books
Level 3--Have a glass of sweet iced tea, honey. Read 5-6 books
Level 4--Y'all come back now, y'hear! Read 7-8 books


I am choosing to start at Level 1 (1-2 books).  I feel pretty confident that I will exceed that level, but want to make sure my recording of books read gets a little better in 2016 before I commit to a higher level.


Bookish Mondays - Jan 4, 2016


FREE DOWNLOADS (Dec 29 - Jan 4):
Love in a World of Sorrow by Fanya Gottesfeld Heller
The Lost Pony of Riverdale by Amanda Willis
Mental Math: 2 Manuscripts by Athena Trotter
Echo Forward by Rachel Emmerton
Desolation Run by James Snyder
Sing Me To Sleep by Chris Simms
The Rabbit Ate My Flipflops by Rachel Elizabeth Cole
Bad Boy Bear: Paranormal Shifter Romance by 
Dead Wood by Dani Moore and Dan Ames
Only in Vegas by Lindsey Brookes
Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina (steampunk reading challenge)
Assassins of the Steam Age by Joseph Robert Louis (steampunk reading challenge)
The Steampunk Club by E. A. Deverell (steampunk reading challenge)
The Woman on the Painted Horse by Angela Christina Archer
The Apollo Program - Charles River Editors
A Hearth in Candlewood by Delia Parr

I really don't have any book reviews posted this week.  I have read 2 books so far this year, Death of a Brooklyn Landlord by Susan Russo Anderson (review coming Jan 20) and Plain Dead by Emma Miller (I think that review comes on Jan 20 as well.

I'll have some reviews to talk about next week.

Mon, Jan 4:  Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell
Wed. Jan 6:  Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters by Lisa Sideris
Wed. Jan 6:  Stabbing in the Senate by Colleen J. Shogan
Fri. Jan 8:  The Masquerading Magician by GiGi Pandian
Sun. Jan 10:  Skiing is Murder by Carolyn Arnold
Mon. Jan 11:  Thread and Gone by Lea Wait