Wednesday, December 31, 2008

100 + Reading Challenge



January 1st ~ December 31, 2009

The 2009 100+ Reading Challenge will be hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Since I read 200 books last year, I can't see this being too hard :) But I do enjoy seeing what everyone else is reading. At the end of each month I'll come back here and post what I've read for that month.


Here are the guidelines:

1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.
2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.
3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009. 4) If you don’t have a blog, please join our Yahoo Groups.
5) When you sign up under Mr. Linky, list the direct link to your post where your 100+ books will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed.
6) All books count: children’s, YA, adults, fiction, non-fiction, how-tos, etc.
7) Feel free to post in the comment section or on Yahoo Groups your monthly progress as well as your favorite books that month.
January books read (20)
  • A Crazy Little Thing Called Death by Nancy Martin
  • A Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton
  • A Wedding To Die For by Leann Sweeney
  • Breakneck by Erica Spindler
  • Bronx Justice by Joseph Teller
  • Evil Without A Face by Jordan Dane
  • Fatal February by Barbara Levnson
  • Fed Up by Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant
  • Find Me by Debra Webb
  • Getting Old is a Disaster by Rita Lakin
  • Hail to the Chef by Julie Hyzy
  • In The Dark by Brian Freeman
  • Killer In High Heels by Gemma Halliday
  • Leftover Dead by Jimmie Ruth Evans
  • Out of Circulation by Jo Dereske
  • Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • The Spare Room by Helen Garner
  • Torn by Chris Jordan
  • Trick My Truck by Don't Mess With My Heart by LuAnn McLane
  • Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin

December Books Read

Dead Men Don't Crochet by Betty Hechtman
Eggs In Purgatory by Laura Childs
Extracurricular Activities by Maggie Barbieri
Face of A Killer by Robin Burcell
Fit To Die by J.B. Stanley
Getting Old Is To Die For by Rita Lakin
Murder on Bank Street by Victoria Thompson
Murder on The Down Low by Pamela Samuels Young
Murder On The Menu by Miranda Bliss
Perfect Victim by Jay Bonansigna
Serendipity by Louise Shaffer
Six Seconds by Rick Mofina
The Agency by Ally O'Brien
The Ghost & The Dead Deb by Alice Kimberly
Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 ARC Reading Challenge


Now through December 31, 2009
Teddy from So Many Precious Books So Little Time is hosting the 2009 ARC Reading Challenge. It's all about reading Advance Reader's Copies (or Advance Reader's Editions) of books.
Here are the rules:

1. To sign-up , leave a comment and a direct link to your blog post about this challenge that includes your list from rule #2.

2. List all of the ARC's that you have to read right now. Then throughout the year, you must continue updating that list as you receive more ARC's. (This is important). You should also strike out the ones that you finish.

3. a. All of us who have or will have more than 12 ARC's must read and review 12.
b. All of us who have or will have less than 12 ARC's must read all of the ARC's we have. Note, that if you have 11 ARC's and then receive a 12th one you will be bumped up to catagory a.

4. You don't have to make a list of which ARC's you plan to read, but you can if you want.

5. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed and Audio-books are allowed as long as they are ARC's.

6. Read the books and review them on your blog. If you don't have a blog, you can post your review on sites like Powells, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Leave a comment on this postwith a link to each of your reviews.

7. Please subscribe to Teddy's blog , as she will be posting updates to the challenge periodically.

8. Enjoy!

Note of clarification: I guess I use the term ARC loosely. I consider anything sent from a publisher or author as an ARC because they are sent to us with the expectation that we will review them.
  • Among The Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Bronx Justice by Joseph Teller - done 1/16/09
  • Defending Angels by Mary Stanton
  • Don't Tell A Soul by David Rosenfelt
  • Fatal February by Barbara Levenson
  • Fractured by Karen Slaughter
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet by Jaime Ford
  • I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass
  • Identical by Ellen Hopkins
  • Lark & Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
  • Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein
  • Locke 1928 by Shawna Yang Ryan
  • Show No Fear by Perri O'Shaughnessy
  • The Spare Room by Helen Garner ~ done 1/12/09
  • Testimony by Anita Shreve
  • Thanks For The Memories by Cecilia Ahern
  • The Believers by Zoe Heller
  • The Condition by Jennifer Haigh
  • The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
  • The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay
  • The Miracle of Prato by Laura Morwitz & Laurie Albanese
  • The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory
  • The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar
  • Ultimatum by Matthew Glass

A Crazy Little Thing Called Death




The Blackbird sisters—Nora, Libby and Emma—tackle their sixth arch mystery (after 2006's Have Your Cake and Kill Him Too) set among Philadelphia's contemporary blue-blooded (and red-handed) set. When former child star Sweet Penny Devine goes missing and is presumed dead, her brother, Porter "Potty" Devine, opts for a memorial party and polo match instead of a funeral, which Nora, a society reporter, covers for a Philadelphia paper. The festivities falter after Nora discovers a severed hand that could be Penny's. Nora, Libby and Emma aid detective Ben Bloom in an investigation whose suspects include Potty; Vivian, Penny's cat-crazy sister; the Devines' former housekeeper's daughter, Julie Huckabee; Julie's missing father, Kell Huckabee; and Crewe Dearborne, a food critic. Sleuthing provides a welcome distraction for Nora, still grieving over a miscarriage and a little nervous about her engagement to Michael Abruzzo, son of a notorious New Jersey mobster.

Once again Nora and her sisters find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation. This time former child star Penny Devine has gone missing (again). Usually Penny reappears after a few months, but now her family is very quick to want her declared dead. Why are they in such a rush this time? And does the hand they find during the celebration have anything to do with it? Trying to find out what happened to Penny is a great distraction for Nora as she continues to grieve for her lost baby while at the same time is nervous about her engagement to Mick. Will they stay together this time?? Nora and her sisters are a hilarious trio who despite everything work well together to find out what happens. While there is a nice twist at the end, this wasn't my favorite of the series (and I do love this series). I would love to see a little more focus on Libby & Emma ~ who seems to have a mysterious side to her. And I think there should be a resolution to the Nora/Mick thing once and for all.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fit To Die


Fit to Die: A Supper Club Mystery by J.B. Stanley ~~

Welcome back to Quincy's Gap, Virginia, where James Henry and his dieting group contend with dangerous secrets, dark intrigue, and delicious praline sundaes. Six months after starting their low-carb diet, the Flab Five are feeling motivationally- challenged. A new ice cream shop has come to town, but so has the Witness to Fitness weight loss center, run by the fanatical Veronica Levitt. Maybe Veronica's "take-no-prisoners" approach is just what the group needs.

Between dieting, caring for his cranky father, and struggling with his growing affection for Lucy, James has his plate full. But when he and his fellow dieters poke around in an arson case that turns into a murder investigation, the Flab Five discover that they may have bitten off more than they can chew.

The Flab Five are back for another go round at the weight loss challenge. Of course everyone has been "cheating" and it's time to get tough. When the meet uber "coach" Vernoica at the market they can't help but being sucked into her new weight loss center. At first everything seems to be working for them, until of course the murder! And the Flab Five just can't let it go. They've got to work together to figure out who killed one of their own. In the mean time uncovering some dark secrets and manipulations that have far reaching affects. Will they be able to solve the murder? Will James finally tell Lucy how he feels????? A wonderful read that brings you more into the everyday lives of these five people as they struggle, like everyone else, to take the weight off. This is one "indulgence" that should be on everyone's diet :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Extracurricular Activities



English professor Alison Bergeron wishes she'd stop getting uninvited visits from her ex-husband, Raymond Stark, fornicator extraordinaire and fellow professor at St. Thomas, a small Catholic university north of New York City. Ray's past conquests include Alison's slutty neighbor, Terri, and St. Thomas student Kathy Miceli, whose recent murder shocked the campus. Then Alison comes home one night to find Ray's body in her kitchen, hands and feet chopped off: the slaying signature of chubby mobster Peter Miceli, Kathy's father. Peter begins stalking Alison, showing up uninvited in her house to proclaim his innocence. Alison reluctantly turns to her soon-to-be-divorced former boyfriend, Bobby Crawford, an NYPD homicide detective, for help and comfort. The plot thickens when Terri disappears, leaving Alison in charge of Trixie, a scene-stealing golden retriever who makes a gruesome discovery.

Allison really wishes her ex-husband Ray would just leave her alone already. But she didn't mean permanently - as in dead! When Ray's body shows up in her house she has no choice but to turn to sometime boyfriend, not yet divorced "Detective Hot Pants" Bobby Crawford. As Allison tries to figure out who killed Ray, she is pestered by mob boss Peter Miceli - much to her and his wife's dismay. There are a lot more bodies, more quirkiness and less fainting on Allison's part. The killer's identity will certainly surprise you. Why the writing style is a bit more choppy, and there seems to be a lot of repeat phrases and switching from first to third person, you won't be disappointed in this installment.



Friday, December 26, 2008

The Ghost & The Dead Deb




Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure wants her resident sleuth-ghost, Jack, to stop haunting her customers. But when a pretty author is murdered, Jack can't rest in peace.

When I first started this series, I was hesitant to believe the concept of Penelope and Jack's Ghost. But I think Ms. Kimberly has done an excellent job in putting these two together. When a "hot topic" author is murdered, Penelope will once again stop at nothing to prevent someone she knows from being railroaded into an arrest. And with the help of Jack, she is able to do just that. Especially when she finds out the key to "releasing" Jack from the confines of the book store. I love how Jack relates a case from his past, and how it relates to Penelope figuring out the current murder she finds herself involved in. I really enjoyed the hint of romance between Penelope and Jack and can't wait to see how this develops with upcoming books.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Murder On The Menu




Annie, Eve, and their former cooking teacher are in the trenches, trying to keep a new restaurant, Bellywasher's, from going belly up.

Everything's simmering along just fine until Annie and Eve find their friend Sarah, staffer to a powerful congressman, lying dead in her tub. The cops want to write it off as a suicide, but the facts just don't add up. Then, after a series of suspicious "accidents," Annie and Eve realize that this kitchen fire isn't about to put itself out.

What's someone like Annnie ~ who can't even boil water ~ doing working at a restaurant??? Well thankfully she's not working in the kitchen (except for one hilarious night!). When Annie's sometime boyfriend opens his new restaurant, she and Eve find themselves working for him - and involved in yet another murder! I thought this book was really cute. A fun read, and enough twists and turns to keep your turning the pages. Not only do we get more of these wonderful friends but we also get a peek into what makes them tick. I love how their friendship continues to be a central part of the story line as they work together to solve what appears is going to be murder after murder. I look forward to seeing what they dish up in their next book.

Book Giveaway - Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush ~ ARC



Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush (ARC) ~~



ONE BY ONE, THEY'LL DIE.

Twenty years ago, wild child Jessie Brentwood vanished from St. Elizabeth's high school. Most in Jessie's tight circle of friends believed she simply ran away. Few suspected that Jessie was hiding a shocking secret-one that brought her into the crosshairs of a vicious killer.

UNTIL THERE'S NO ONE LEFT.

Two decades pass before a body is unearthed on school grounds and Jessie's old friends reunite to talk. Most are sure that the body is Jessie's, that the mystery of what happened to her has finally been solved. But soon, Jessie's friends each begin to die in horrible, freak accidents that defy explanation.

BUT HER.

Becca Sutcliff has been haunted for years by unsettling visions of Jessie, certain her friend met with a grisly end. Now the latest deaths have her rattled. Becca can sense that an evil force is shadowing her too, waiting for just the right moment to strike. She feels like she's going crazy. Is it all a coincidence-or has Jessie's killer finally returned to finish what was started all those years ago?


Now on to the RULES ~~~

  1. Open to residents of the US only
  2. Post a comment here. You MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ACTIVE BLOG ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT. Any comment that DOES NOT INCLUDE this information WILL BE DELETED. I have to have a way to contact you if you win!!!!
  3. If you blog this contest and leave a link in your comment so I can check it out, you will receive an extra entry to the contest.

Contest open through January 4th. Winner will be announced on January 5th.

Book Giveaway - Face of A Killer - WINNER!!!!!

CONGRATULATIONS

Wendy

My friendly randomizer picked Wendy as the lucky winner of Face of A Killer. Congrats!!! I've sent Wendy an email requesting her address so I can get the book right out to her. If I don't hear from Wendy by Sunday I'll pick another winner.

Thanks, once again, to everyone who has signed up. Don't forget to check back for my newest giveaway :)



Monday, December 22, 2008

Murder on Bank Street




In the four years since her husband’s death, midwife Sarah Brandt has become an angel of mercy in the tenements of turn-of-the-century New York, helping the less fortunate bring new life into the world––and, with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy, seeing that justice is done for them.

Now, Malloy has taken up the task of solving the murder of Dr. Tom Brandt, believing he’s found a motive among the families of the doctor’s patients. But when he discovers what he believes to be the truth, the shocking revelation may destroy Sarah–– and Malloy’s hopes for any future with her…

I am a huge fan of this series and am so glad I'm finally all caught up, as this has to be one of my favorites :) After 9 books, and 4 years the murder of Dr. Tom Brandt is finally solved with Frank Malloy heading the case. This time Frank doesn't get help from Sarah in solving the murder, but from her nursemaid Maeve, an unlikely, but productive "detective". But will the solving of this murder help or hurt Sarah? And what will be the ramifications to Sarah & Franks relationship? Not only does this book involve finding Dr Brandt's murder, it also serves as a history lesson on The Pinkertons, the bicycle and "Old Maid's Disease". The author does a fantastic job of weaving these history lessons into the telling of the story as well as keeping the reader in the dark as to the shocking reason for the murder, all the way until the final chapter. I can't wait for the next installment to see where things go with Sarah & Frank.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Getting Old Is To Die For


Getting Old is to Die For by Rita Lakin ~~


Gladdy Gold may have gone from dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker to South Florida retiree, but she’s loving every minute of it. Between poolside gossip, a hot-to-trot boyfriend, and a booming detective business, life couldn’t be sunnier—until a trip back north with her sister Evvie leads to murder and mayhem starring the usual suspects.

Unbeknownst to Gladdy, her fellow detectives are hot on her trail. Sophie, Bella, and Ida no sooner land their tootsies in the Big Apple than trouble promptly finds them. But while the girls go deep undercover, posing as bag ladies to catch a criminal, there’s another surprise awaiting Gladdy. Her boyfriend, Jack, is in town too—and he’s reopening a forty-seven-year-old cold case: the murder of Gladdy’s husband. Can Gladdy and Jack join forces to solve a decades-old crime—and maybe heal some wounded hearts in the process?

I absolutely love this series. It reminds me so much of my grandparents when they were living in Ft Lauderdale. I can vividly picture the shopping scenes at Publix as well as everyone "hanging out" by the pool. This time Gladdy and her boyfriend Jack are trying to work things out. He feels that the only way she'll truly be his is if he goes to NY to solve the murder of her first husband. And off he goes - without telling Gladdy!! Meanwhile Gladdy and her girls take on the case of a couple who want their daughter to attend their anniversary party, but she won't come. After the emotional reunion between this family, Gladdy and her sister Evvie decide to head north to visit their families - not knowing that Jack is there as well. In the meantime, the rest of Gladdy's friends are hurt because they aren't heading north too and decide to go on their own adventure - and boy do they find one. After getting over the shock of Jack being in NY and his reason for being there, he and Gladdy team up to solve her husbands murder. I thought this was a great addition to this series. The amount of love that Jack has for Gladdy - to do this for her, is heartwarming. I can't wait to find out what kind of trouble Gladdy and her girls find next.

Murder On The Down Low


Murder on the Down Low by Pamela Samuels Young ~~


A high-profile lawsuit erupts into chaos, revealing its place in a larger spree of violence in this scandalous tale of lust, lies, and vengeance. A brazen gunman is targeting prominent African American men on the streets of Los Angeles, and police are completely baffled. At the same time, savvy big-firm attorney Vernetta Henderson and her outrageous sidekick, Special, lead the charge for revenge against a man whose deceit caused his fiance's death. For Special, hauling the man into court and suing him for wrongful death just isn’t good enough. While she exacts her own brand of justice, a shocking revelation connects the contentious lawsuit and the puzzling murders.

Why are wealthy African American males in LA being gunned down? There are lots of theories as to why and the police are clueless. When the reason is disclosed you'll find each person dealing with the "why" in their own unique way. Meanwhile a young woman dies of AIDS seemingly infected by her fiance. In steps Vernetta Henderson and her sidekick Special to assit in the case since they knew the young woman. Will Special's obsession with getting to the truth be the end of her? There are enough twists and turns in this story to keep you guessing until the very end. Ms. Young does an amazing job creating a riveting novel you won't want to put down. Unbeknownst to me this was not the first book featuring Vernetta and friends, but you can be sure I'll be picking up the rest and settling down on the couch for some marathon reading sessions!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush


Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush (ARC) ~~


ONE BY ONE, THEY'LL DIE.


Twenty years ago, wild child Jessie Brentwood vanished from St. Elizabeth's high school. Most in Jessie's tight circle of friends believed she simply ran away. Few suspected that Jessie was hiding a shocking secret-one that brought her into the crosshairs of a vicious killer.


UNTIL THERE'S NO ONE LEFT.


Two decades pass before a body is unearthed on school grounds and Jessie's old friends reunite to talk. Most are sure that the body is Jessie's, that the mystery of what happened to her has finally been solved. But soon, Jessie's friends each begin to die in horrible, freak accidents that defy explanation.


BUT HER.


Becca Sutcliff has been haunted for years by unsettling visions of Jessie, certain her friend met with a grisly end. Now the latest deaths have her rattled. Becca can sense that an evil force is shadowing her too, waiting for just the right moment to strike. She feels like she's going crazy. Is it all a coincidence-or has Jessie's killer finally returned to finish what was started all those years ago?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Book Giveaway - Face of A Killer


Face of a Killer by Robin Burcell ~~


In this strong first in a new series from Burcell (Cold Case), San Francisco FBI forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick races to unravel the 20-year-old mystery of her father's murder before the upcoming execution of his convicted killer, Johnnie Wheeler. When Sydney interviews Wheeler in San Quentin against her mother's and stepfather's wishes, Wheeler's claims of innocence have a ring of truth. As Sydney begins to investigate her father's past, she uncovers unsavory secrets linking him and some old army buddies, including one who's now a high-powered U.S. senator, to a bank engaged in illegal activities. Sydney's dogged persistence and willingness to bend FBI rules endangers her family, but an 11th-hour meeting with Wheeler for a new forensic sketch points to the answers she's been seeking. Burcell, herself a former FBI-trained forensic artist, keeps her appealing heroine hopping just a step ahead of mortal peril in this intricately plotted page-turner


Now on to the RULES ~~~


  1. Open to residents of the US only

  2. Post a comment here. You MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ACTIVE BLOG ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT. Any comment that DOES NOT INCLUDE this information WILL BE DELETED. I have to have a way to contact you if you win!!!!

  3. If you blog this contest and leave a link in your comment so I can check it out, you will receive an extra entry to the contest.


Contest open until December 24th. Winner will be announced on December 25th.

Book Giveaway - Weeding Out Trouble -- Winner~

Congratulations

Nicole

My friendly randomizer picked Nicole as the lucky winner of my autogrpahed copy of Weeding Out Trouble. Way to go!! I've sent an email to Nicole requesting her address so that I can get the book out to her. (If I don't hear from Nicole by Wednesday I will pick another winner.)

Thanks to everyone who signed up! Don't forget to sign up for my next giveaway -this time a mystery/thriller :)







Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Six Seconds


Six Seconds by Rick Mofina (ARC) ~~


A vengeful woman who aches for her place in paradise…

In Iraq an aid worker who lost her husband and child in a brutal attack saves the life of an American contractor. Believing he can help her avenge her family's deaths, she follows him back home to the United States.

An anguished mother desperate to find her child…

In California a soccer mom arrives to pick up her son from school, only to discover that her husband has taken their child and vanished without a trace.

A detective who needs to redeem himself…

In the Rocky Mountains an off-duty cop rescues a little girl from a raging river moments before she utters her final words in his arms. Haunted by failure, he launches an investigation that leads him to a Montana school where time is ticking down on an event that will rewrite history.…

Three strangers entangled in a plot to change the world in only six seconds…

What could an Iraqi aid worker, a soccer mom from California and a off duty Canadian RM cop have in common? Not much you would think except they are all drawn into an evil plot to assassinate one of the nost powerful people in the world. The reasoning behind the assissination is not outrageous - it's the way in which it is to be carried out. The author does an amazing, and scary, job of leading you to the culmination of this sick plot - the six seconds that will change the world. To think that this method of elimination could possibly exist is enough to chill you to your bones. Rick Mofina has always been a favorite author of mine, and once again does not disappoint. You will be turning the pages late into the night to see how and if the impossible is possible.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Agency


The Agency by Ally O'Brien (ARC) ~~


Meet Tess Drake. She’s earned everything she has. Now it’s time to get what she deserves…

Sexy super-agent Tess Drake has worked hard to make a name for herself in the glamorous yet cut-throat entertainment industry. Tess works at an international agency, where she skillfully manages some of the world's biggest egos—her company, Bardwell International operates in the thrilling, fast-paced worlds of Rights, wrongs and revenge. Tess has been an agent there for longer than she cares to remember and now she's in trouble. Real trouble. After the mysterious death of the agency's senior partner, Lowell Bardwright, Tess's sworn enemy, Cosima Tate, has taken over and would do anything to send Tess's career down in flames. And Cosima is only one of the rogue’s gallery of agents in London and New York who want Tess to take a fall.

Tess has another little complication, too. She’s sleeping with men on both sides of the Atlantic who are in bed with the women who are trying to sink her.
Can Tess jump ship without losing her clients and breaking her heart? Or will she lose everything before finding out if she really has what it takes to do what she’s always wanted?

There’s risk and reward in this wickedly funny novel that turns the world of agenting inside out and lays bare all the ambition, sex, adrenaline, bad luck, and good luck at the center of one young woman’s success.

I was all prepared not to read this book because I know who one of the authors really is, and I didn't want to be let down if this book wasn't up to his usual standards. I'm so glad I changed my mind though. I thought this book was hysterical. Tess Drake is a hoot. She speaks her mind so freely you often think- man how I'd love to be able to get away with saying something like that! She's smart, sexy and knows exactly what she wants!! When her strongest supporter at her agency dies Tess feels it's time to go out on her own. But can she make it? Will her clients follow or will someone sabotage her and leave her on her own? When her worst fears happen Tess doesn't know who to trust ~ her new boss who she can't stand but seems to want her to stay, her married lover or even mega earning client. Or will she be her own worst enemy? In the end the culprits will shock you, but you won't be completely surprised. Although there is one not 100% believable aspect to the story ~ I'd LOVE for it to happen to me :) I am so glad I picked up this book as I really Tess and her fiestiness. I hope our two mysterious authors write more with this sassy, fun character.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Eggs in Purgatory




Suzanne, Toni, and Petra lose their husbands but find independence when they open the Cackleberry Club. Then their cozy cafe becomes the scene of a crime when a lawyer dies with a secret on his lips and egg on his face. What this all has to do with a religious cult and Suzanne’s past could put her own life on the line.

What a wonderful beginning to a new series. For one reason or another, Suzanne, Toni & Petra have all lost their husbands but find out who they really are by opening a wonderful place called Cackleberry Club. Not only is CC a restaurant that also serves as a tea shoppe in the afternoon, but it's also a bookstore and a knitting shoppe. When Suzanne find her lawyer dead in the parking lot she decides she must find out who killed him. Then there is a second murder and Suzanne finds herself a potential target. The main character is very realistic and has a well formed supporting cast. There is an "actual" reason for Suzanne to get involved and she works in a logical way to get at the information she is so desperately seeking. The author throws plenty of potential legitimate suspects at the readers to prevent them from figuring out "who done it" to early in the book. Cackleberry Club was a fun read and sounds like a really fun place to visit. I can't wait to go back there again. A.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dead Men Don't Crochet




When a member of Molly Pink’s crochet group is suspected of murder, it’s up to Molly and her pals to pick up the dropped stitches and catch a killer.


Molly and her Tarzana Hookers are back! When one of their own crochet group is the prime suspect in a murder, Molly will stop at nothing to help clear her friend. Molly leads the group in rounding up clues to help solve the murder, once or twice finding herself in a sticky situation - again! All of the original crocheters are back, along with some new members. And Adele still loves getting in her little digs at Molly whenever she can. On top of trying to play Joe Detective, Molly has to figure out what she wants in her personal life ~ with two men vying for her attention! I can't wait to figure out which road she takes personally, not to mention what murder she'll get entangled in next. A fun read!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Perfect Victim


Perfect Victim by Jay Bonansinga ~~


Relentless pacing and well-crafted suspense drive the fourth Ulysses Grove thriller. When FBI profiler Grove wrote a textbook on the psychopathic mind, he never expected that someone would use it as an instruction manual. Then two murders are committed, copied from the examples in the text's pages. Called to the scene of one of the killings, Grove finds details that only appeared in his draft manuscript, things no one else could know about. His only clue comes from a cryptic message written by a dying friend. To catch the killer, Grove must delve into secrets of his past, enlist the aid of FBI recruit Edith Drinkwater and make an arduous cross-country trek. With skill and intelligence, Bonansinga (Twisted) combines intricate mystery, macabre deaths and a horrifying villain with a slight supernatural twist, leading to a heart-stopping climax.

Guest Post ~ J.L Miles

Thank you to J. L. Miles for stopping by to see us today :)





Biography ~~






J.L. Miles (Jackie Lee), a resident of Georgia for over thirty years, hails from Wisconsin via South Dakota. She considers herself “a northern girl with a southern heart”. Her paternal grandfather was christened Grant Lee by her great-grandmother in honor of the many fallen soldiers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Ms. Miles is a former D.I.A.L. Systems Engineer for Baker/Audio Telecom, one of the premier forerunners of voice mail. In addition to systems application, she provided voice tracks for several major companies, including Delta Airlines and Frito-Lay Corporation. A former Miss Racine, Wisconsin, Ms. Miles, made television, print and fashion appearances, and participated in various stage productions, including “Joan of Lorraine”, “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” and “The Miracle Worker”.

She resides in a suburb of Atlanta with her husband Robert. Her debut novel, the critically acclaimed Roseflower Creek, was Cumberland House Publishing’s lead book when it debuted in hardcover. It is also available in Trade paperback. Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons called it, “A powerful, extraordinary novel.”
N.Y. Times best-selling author William Diehl wrote: “The lyric prose will thrill you, the story is unforgettable, and the characters will stay with you forever.”

Cold Rock River, the journey of two young women born a century apart, debuted September 2006 in hardcover. N.Y. TIMES best-selling author DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK writes: “Cold Rock River by J. L. Miles is a powerful story of family, love and loss that will keep you up into the wee hours. Absolutely wonderful! Beautifully told and straight from the heart of an exquisitely talented writer.”

Miles latest project is the Dwayne Series, a three-book southern anthology featuring Francine Harper, who is under felony assault charges for shooting at her husband Dwayne and his stripper/lover Carla from the Peel ‘n Squeal. Francine finds her strengths and reclaims her dignity via a trial and many errors. Divorcing Dwayne debuted April, 2008. Dear Dwayne releases April 2009. Dating Dwayne to follow.

When not writing, Miles tours with The Dixie Darlin’s, four nationally published book-writing belles—with a passion for promotion—serving up helpings of down-home humor and warmth. Visit the website at http://www.j.l.miles.com./




HAVE BOOK, NEED AGENT . . .


Yikes—I’ve been orphaned! Let me explain: I had what I felt was a great agent—with a New York agency no less, but she left the industry after birthing two babies back-to-back, and she did so without telling me, so now I’m thinking maybe she wasn’t so great or maybe I’m not so hot, depending on what time of day it is I’m thinking it. In the morning I tell myself, “Hey, no problem! You’ve given a workshop titled The Art of the Query: Getting An Agent When Others Don’t at least five times to critical acclaim for petey’s sake—piece of cake.” By nightfall, and two more rejection letters later that slice of cake is getting hard to swallow. I get my good friend and Dixie Diva touring comrade Karin Gillespie of Bet Your Bottom Dollar, A Dollar Short, and Dollar Daze fame to read my query. “This is great!” she says. So what gives on this agent thing? I have two books out in hard cover (Cold Rock River and Roseflower Creek), both in their second printing, a three book series sold to Cumberland House (The Dwayne Series), Divorcing Dwayne debuting April 2008, with Dear Dwayne and Dating Dwayne to follow, and I tour with the Dixie Divas, four nationally published book-writing belles with a passion for promotion serving up helpings of down-home humor and warmth. (It says so in our press kit.) And I’ve just completed The Heavenly Heart, inspired by an actual FOX News Network program: After a fatal accident, sixteen-year-old Lorelei Goodroe follows the lives of five people who receive her organs, including that of her father, who gets her heart. Lorelei’s untimely demise has left her in turmoil. She finds she is unable to move on without first letting go—and letting go is the last thing on her agenda. Sounds good to me. Anyone else think so? Hollywood finds the subject matter appealing and is developing a one-hour drama featuring organ donors and recipients with enough weekly pathos to bring a tear to even the most hardened eyeball. And the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) is launching a national campaign on the need for organ donation (eighty thousand Americans will die this year before finding a match), so the subject is timely and rife with radio and television publicity possibilities. My good friend, bestselling author Barbara LeBey (Remarried with Children: Ten Secrets for Successfully Blending and Extending Your Family, and Family Estrangements: How They Begin, How to Mend Them, How to Cope with Them), thinks so and recommends me to her agent. I send her my query along with copies of my books and a couple of chapters of The Heavenly Heart. She calls me immediately! Boy, am I flying, let me tell you. “This is great stuff,” she says. I’m on the ceiling. “But I only do non-fiction,” she adds. I crash land on my hard wood floor. Luckily, she thinks enough of my work to recommend me to a colleague who does represent fiction. I send her my query along with copies of my books and the complete manuscript of The Heavenly Heart. I’m now waiting (and watching the calendar and swallowing my nails whole), to hear from her. I once bumped into the former president of a major New York publishing house at a book festival and mentioned to him I’d recently been orphaned. He said, “That’s worse than losing your mother!” I’m not going there. But speaking of mothers, when I commiserate with mine she says, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, honey.” Right—until you lose. I’ll let you know. In the meantime, if anyone likes my work and has an agent scouting for new talent, let me know. I have a large section of my will made out to you.

http://www.jlmiles.com/
Jackie@jlmiles.com

Book Giveaway - Weeding out Trouble - Autographed



Weeding Out Trouble: A Nina Quinn Mystery (Nina Quinn Mysteries) by Heather Webber ~~





Landscaper Nina Quinn would do anything for her employees. After all, Taken by Surprise, her garden makeover business, wouldn't be blooming if it weren't for them. So when Kit Pipe, her right-hand handyman, goes missing, Nina immediately starts digging into his disappearance. But all she finds is Daisy Bedinghaus, Kit's ex—and she's dead as dirt.
An ex-con who'd been dumped by Daisy not long before her murder, Kit's the prime suspect. But Nina's determined to prove his innocence and nip this whole thing in the bud. After all, it'll get her out of her all-too-crowded house, where her ex-husband the cop is recovering from a gunshot wound on her couch and her thorny new stepson is giving her the evil eye. But as she comes closer to unearthing the truth, Nina will find that facing the frost in her home is nothing compared to confronting the real killer's ice-cold stare.


Now on to the RULES ~~~
  1. Open to residents of the US only
  2. Post a comment here. You MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ACTIVE BLOG ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT. Any comment that DOES NOT INCLUDE this information WILL BE DELETED. I have to have a way to contact you if you win!!!!
  3. If you blog this contest and leave a link in your comment so I can check it out, you will receive an extra entry to the contest.

Contest open until December 12th. Winner will be announced on December 13th.

Book Giveaway -- Smoke Scree -- WINNER!

CONGRATULATIONS

Ladytink_534 (Jen)


My friendly randomizer picked Jen as the lucky winner of my ARC of Smoke Screen. Way to go!! I've sent an email to Jen requesting her address so that I can get the book out to her. (If I don't hear from Jen by Saturday I will pick another winner.)

Thanks to everyone who signed up! Don't forget to sign up for my next giveaway -this time an autographed copy of a cozy ;)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Face Of A Killer


Face of a Killer by Robin Burcell ~~


In this strong first in a new series from Burcell (Cold Case), San Francisco FBI forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick races to unravel the 20-year-old mystery of her father's murder before the upcoming execution of his convicted killer, Johnnie Wheeler. When Sydney interviews Wheeler in San Quentin against her mother's and stepfather's wishes, Wheeler's claims of innocence have a ring of truth. As Sydney begins to investigate her father's past, she uncovers unsavory secrets linking him and some old army buddies, including one who's now a high-powered U.S. senator, to a bank engaged in illegal activities. Sydney's dogged persistence and willingness to bend FBI rules endangers her family, but an 11th-hour meeting with Wheeler for a new forensic sketch points to the answers she's been seeking. Burcell, herself a former FBI-trained forensic artist, keeps her appealing heroine hopping just a step ahead of mortal peril in this intricately plotted page-turner.

Monday, December 1, 2008

November Books Read

  • A Fatal Slip by Melissa Glazer
  • Born to Run by James Grippando
  • Die Before I Wake by Laurie Breton
  • Fatal Fixer-Upper by Jennie Bentley
  • Have Your Cake & Kill Him Too by Nancy Martin
  • Judas Kiss by J.T. Ellison
  • Miss Zukas and the Raven's Dance by Jo Dereske
  • Murder In Chinatown by Victoria Thompson
  • Pane of Death by Sarah Atwell
  • Serendipity by Louise Shaffer
  • Smoke Screen by Sandra Brown
  • Still Alice be Lisa Genova
  • Taken To The Cleaners by Dolores Johnson
  • The Legal Limit by Martin Clark

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Serendipity


Serendipity: A Novel by Louise Shaffer ~~ (ARC)


A child of theatrical royalty, Carrie Manning is having a hard time getting her own act together. Thirty-seven, aimless, and having just buried a famous mother she never understood, she is desperate to uncover her family’s mysterious past in the hopes that it will help her understand herself.

Carrie’s search reveals the fascinating life stories of her estranged grandmother Lu, a glamorous Broadway star whose dreams came with a price; her great grandmother Mifalda, who gave up everything to come to America as a sixteen-year-old Italian bride; and her father, Bobby, the charismatic Broadway genius who wrote some of Lu’s greatest musicals and died tragically young. At the heart of Carrie’s discoveries lies the reason for her mother’s complicated life, and a dark secret that has been buried for thirty years.

I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reader copy of this book. And after reading it, I am not sure I could have waited until the end of March release.

Coming from "Broadway Royalty" Carrie struggles to find herself and her place in the world after the death of her mother. Her angst stems from the fact that while she lived with her mother most of her life, she never really "knew" her, what motivated her. After her death, Carrie decides it's time to figure out what led her mother to be the woman she was and what caused her mother Rose and Grandmother Lu to stop speaking to one another. Moving between the present tense and the early years of Lu's life (and her relationship with her own mother), Carrie begins to understand the women in her family and what made them into who they became. This was an amazing story of mothers and daughters and how each generations relationships can affect the next. A story of a woman finally finding her place in the world, and finding the happiness she so richly deserves. This is a book that you don't want to miss ~ but make sure you keep the tissues close by. You're going to need them. A++++++

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Miss Zukas & The Raven's Dance




Librarian Wilhelmina "Helma" Zukas confronts murder in Bellehaven, Wash., where interminable rain is a running gag as well as an appropriate background to her fitful romance with the chief of police. In her fourth adventure, Helma's New Age boss manipulates her into completing the catalogue at a wealthy eccentric's Native American cultural center when the prior cataloguer (whose sleazy past includes lack of proper library certification) is found dead in a bathroom stall. Despite a contrived finale in which Helma temporarily steps out of character, readers will gladly suspend disbelief because of her unwavering integrity. Helma's investigation seems secondary to Dereske's (Miss Zukas and the Library Murders) gentle chiding of the library world with true-to-life dialogue and personnel. Consistently straightforward, no-nonsense prose is a welcome bonus in this cozy. (From Amazon)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Giveaway - Smoke Screen by Sandra Brown - ARC


Smoke Screen: A Novel by Sandra Brown ~~



When newswoman Britt Shelley wakes up to find herself in bed with Jay Burgess, a rising star detective in the Charleston PD, she remembers nothing of how she got there...or of how Jay wound up dead.
Handsome and hard-partying, Jay was a hero of the disastrous fire that five years earlier had destroyed Charleston's police headquarters. The blaze left seven people dead, but the death toll would have been much higher if not for the bravery of Jay and three other city officials who risked their lives to lead others to safety.
Firefighter Raley Gannon, Jay's lifelong friend, was off-duty that day. Though he might not have been a front-line hero, he was assigned to lead the investigation into the cause of the fire. It was an investigation he never got to complete. Because on one calamitous night, Raley's world was shattered.
Scandalized, wronged by the people he trusted most, Raley was forced to surrender the woman he loved and the work to which he'd dedicated his life. For five years his resentment against the men who exploited their hero status to further their careers -- and ruin his -- had festered, but he was helpless to set things right.
That changes when he learns of Jay Burgess's shocking death and Britt Shelley's claim that she has no memory of her night with him. As the investigation into Jay's death intensifies, and suspicion against Britt Shelley mounts, Raley realizes that the newswoman, Jay's last sexual conquest, might be his only chance to get personal vindication -- and justice for the seven victims of the police station fire. But there are powerful men who don't want to address unanswered questions about the fire and who will go to any lengths to protect their reputations. As Raley and Britt discover more about what happened that fateful day, the more perilous their situation becomes, until they're not only chasing after the truth but running for their lives.Friends are exposed as foes, heroes take on the taint of criminals, and no one can be trusted completely. A tale about audacious corruption -- and those with the courage to expose it -- Smoke Screen is Sandra Brown's most searing and intense novel yet.


Now on to the RULES ~~~


  1. Open to residents of the US only

  2. Post a comment here. You MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ACTIVE BLOG ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT. Any comment that DOES NOT INCLUDE this information WILL BE DELETED. I have to have a way to contact you if you win!!!!

  3. If you blog this contest and leave a link in your comment so I can check it out, you will receive an extra entry to the contest.


Sign ups open through December 2nd . The winner will be announced on December 3rd.

Book Giveaway - Simmer Down - Winner

Congratulations

Janel

My friendly randomizer picked Janel as the lucky winner of my autographed copy of Simmer Down. Way to go!! I've sent an email to Janel requesting her address so that I can get the book out to her. (If I don't hear from Janel by Wednesday I will pick another winner.)

Thanks to everyone who signed up! Don't forget to sign up for my next giveaway -this time an ARC :)




Saturday, November 22, 2008

Have Your Cake and Kill Him Too




The three sisters Blackbird—Nora, Emma and Libby—return in Martin's charming and funny fifth novel (after 2005's Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die). Zell Orcutt, a dirty old man on the periphery of the Blackbirds' high-society Philadelphia circle, is found dead. If the arrow shot through his heart at first seems a tad improbable, well, all his disgruntled relatives are archery fans. From a state senator who may not be as dumb as he appears to an obnoxious, busty teenager who thinks she'll come into big bucks now that Zell is dead, the suspects are legion, and Nora, of course, can't resist detecting. But the real mystery is the paternity of the baby Nora's carrying, and whether she is really, truly, finally through with her hunky but oh-so-dangerous lover, Michael Abruzzo. (From Amazon)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Legal Limit


The Legal Limit by Martin Clark ~~


Martin Clark's compelling legal thriller may be set in southern Virginia, but it also occupies the no-man's-land between what is lawful and what is just. Its central character, Mason Hunt, is a young attorney who finds his ascent from hardscrabble childhood to career success undermined by his complex relationship with his older brother, Gates, a former high school football hero turned bad. Mason knows Gates is poison but cannot forget the debt he owes his brother for protecting him from their abusive father. The inevitable trouble comes one drunken night when the Hunt boys, still in their early 20s, find themselves cornered by a vengeful redneck on a deserted country road.

The brothers cover up the resulting crime, and Mason goes on to marry a beautiful artist and work as the district attorney in his home town of Stuart, in Patrick County. Hunt's life takes a very different trajectory; his wild ways land him in jail on a 44-year sentence for drug trafficking. He comes to resent his younger brother's refusal to use his power to spring him. Fraternal bitterness leads to blackmail, leaving Mason "morally hog-tied, an accessory after the fact, the entire damnable bundle laid at his feet by someone he loved dearly."

In The Legal Limit, Clark, a circuit court judge in Stuart and the author of two acclaimed novels, The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living and Plain Heathen Mischief, has struck a fine balance between down-home ambiance and high-octane plot.

His Patrick County is "a splendid, serene, no-frills spot where the population is satisfied to be on the banks of the mainstream, clear of the current, passed by." It is a place where people carry their dope in Allman Brothers cassette covers and the cocktail of choice is "SunDrop and vodka without any ice to dilute the potency." Clark has a fine way with characters, such as the brothers' beleaguered mother, whose youthful beauty had "long ago been swallowed whole, replaced by sags and pallor and veins popped by punch-clock days on unforgiving factory floors." Equally memorable is Mason's wisecracking African American assistant, who must hide a painful secret as he negotiates the region's racial fault lines.

As good as the atmospherics are, what's best about The Legal Limit is Clark's ability to delineate Mason's ethical and emotional quandary as he is forced to choose between blood and principle. Skillfully weaving a plot that includes lie detectors, wiretaps and arcane legal principles, the author creates a world in which family ties can easily turn into nooses.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taken To The Cleaners




When Betty the Bag Lady brings in a Dyer's Cleaners bag stuffed with a bloody suit, it doesn't take long for Mandy Dyer, the owner, to start wondering which of her clients may have been murdered, or worse, which of them may be a murderer. She soon learns it could be both when a high-priced lawyer is found bludgeoned to death in his office at a local law firm that Mandy handles for cleaning. Even though she turns the suit over to the police and finds herself smitten with the handsome (and single) detective in charge of the case, she can't help but start her own search for clues in the enormous catalogue of her customers' clothing.

Someone, however, wants to make sure there are no clues: Dyer's Cleaners is ransacked in the middle of the night, Mandy is suddenly receiving calls from a heavy breather, and someone is trying to track down Betty the Bag Lady. And everything takes a turn for the worse when Mandy finds Betty half dead from stab wounds in front of her store.

Now Many, along with her best stain remover, Mack, are going to scour through every detail to search for a murderer who is much closer to them than they think.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Born To Run


Born to Run: A Novel of Suspense by James Grippando (ARC) ~~


Jack Swyteck gets caught in a dangerous web of intrigue and murder at the top levels of the United States government in his most high-profile and disturbing case yet.

Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck guards his own family secrets closely, after his father's two terms as Florida's governor made some personal rifts public. Things between the two men are finally better, and whenever Harry Swyteck asks for Jack's help he gets it. Suddenly, Harry needs it more than ever before.

When Harry's friend, the vice president of the United States, goes hunting for alligators in the Everglades and winds up dead, the president positions Harry to be his new VP. Harry immediately asks Jack to be his lawyer. The prestige that comes from the job turns lethal, however, when Jack finds himself at the heart of a complicated cover-up that spans nearly fifty years and the globe. Before hostages can be released, an old secret must be revealed, one that could threaten the life of the president of the United States himself.

I have been a HUGE James Grippando fan since stumbling on one of his books a few years ago. He's one of my top 5 authors and one I have no problem going out and buying the book as soon as it comes out in hardcover! This time Jack manages to get himself in the middle of a dangerous web of deceit and murder that runs all the way up to the White House Oval Office. When Jacks' father is tapped to replace the dead VP, Jack is brought in as his counsel for the Congressional Hearings. Will this effect the newly restored relationship between Jack and his father? Soon mysterious emails show up and two reporters with info that could bring down the President are murdered. Among the typical political BS is a man known as "The Greek", his long ago wife, and a corrupt Secret Service agent. All of who will stop at nothing to have the Presidents secret exposed. And when "The Greek" takes Jack and several others hostage all bets are off! Mr. Grippando does a magnificent job of throwing out the red herrings and making the reader wonder ~ what secret could possibly be this big to cause all these deaths and cover-ups? And kudos's to him for coming up with a reason that I don't think anyone could have thought of, one that this avid reader never anticipated. A stunning tale of lies, secrets and murder that climaxes with the ending to beat all endings ~ one that had me up at 3am turning the pages in anticipation. A++++

Friday, November 14, 2008

Judas Kiss


Judas Kiss by J.T. Ellison (ARC) ~~


Sex, lies and videotape.

It was a murder made for TV: a trail of tiny bloody footprints. An innocent toddler playing beside her mother's bludgeoned body. Pretty young Corinne Wolff, seven months pregnant, brutally murdered in her own home.

Cameras and questions don't usually phase Nashville Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson, but the media frenzy surrounding the Wolff case is particularly nasty...and thorough. When the seemingly model mommy is linked to an amateur porn website with underage actresses and unwitting players, the sharks begin to circle.

The shock is magnified when an old adversary uses the sexy secret footage to implicate Taylor in a murder--an accusation that threatens her career, her reputation and her relationship.

Both cases hinge on the evidence--real or manufactured--of crimes that go beyond passion, into the realm of obsessive vengeance and shocking betrayal. Just what the networks love.

I never thought J.T. Ellison could surpass the work of All The Pretty Girls & 14, but man does she ever!!! Lt Taylor is back from her "honeymoon" and called out on one of the most horrific crimes of her career. Little does she know that this case, along with her fiancee Baldwin's case and our good ole friend The Pretender (from 14) are all connected. But how could she? Soon everything Taylor holds dear is on the line ~ her job, her reputation and her relationship with Baldwin. This roller coaster of a ride will have you on the edge of your seat. I found myself holding my breath at times as I turned the page to find out what was going to happen next. The astonishing conclusion will leave you shaking your head in wonder! Make sure that you have nothing planned for the rest of the day once you pick this book up as you won't be putting it down again until you're done. I can not wait for the next book featuring Taylor, Baldwin and her team! A+++++++

Guest Post from Mary Burton

I am delighted to share a guest post from Mary Burton , author of the thrilling book Dead Ringer. If you missed my review on it, click here to check it out.

About The Author



Mary Burton confesses to a baking addiction and a fascination with the people who hunt serial killers. The former is genetic. The latter began during the twenty years that the Southside Strangler, D.C. Sniper and the Hampton Roads killers stalked her home state of Virginia. These killers terrorized residents and claimed twenty-six victims before their capture.


Why did they kill? What demons drove them? How did they choose their victims? Burton’s questions led to inspiration and the USA Today best selling author began developing the characters whose horrific assaults would drive the plots of her romantic suspense novels I’M WATCHING YOU and DEAD RINGER.

A Virginia native whose family’s Richmond roots run as deep as the nation’s, Burton graduated from Virginia’s Hollins University and began a career in marketing. After a decade she decided to do something about the myriad stories buzzing around her brain, which seemed to dare her to try to write them down. She took up the gauntlet, left her job and began her first novel. That very first manuscript, a historical romance, was published in 2000.

The world of serial killers seems like a far cry from that book, a western set in the Colorado of 1876, and it is. Yet Mary notes that “the dark side of life is always just beneath the surface for all of us,” including in fiction and, in that first book, the protagonist flees a rapist and escapes to a new life. “For that story the crime was merely a plot device.” Now, crime and the destruction it creates are integral to her stories. “I’m exploring the power of premeditated violence and how it changes my characters’ lives.”

Placing a romantic relationship side by side with the story of a serial murderer may seem daunting, but as Mary says “life goes on despite us and—especially in the face of horror and loss of control—it’s important to me to show the resilience of human beings, who somehow, someway eventually find hope even under drastic circumstances, who continue to believe that good can conquer evil, and who still can’t help falling in love.”

As a reader and writer of suspense novels, Burton sees a link between intense, unforgettable real-life emotions and the allure of fiction dealing with crime and relationships.“

I think it’s beyond the appeal of police procedures and forensics and the untangling of a mystery. People have long used fiction in all forms to safely face real life horrors. With fiction, they are in control. They can stop the story at any time. They can appreciate and try to understand the characters’ motives and emotions, experience the commitment of those trying to stop the killing, touch as much or as little of the fear as they want, and be comfortable knowing the atrocities aren’t real. They can even afford to have some empathy for the killer. Through it all, they’re confident that justice—so often elusive—will be served.”

After selling her first novel, Burton wrote eleven more books for Harlequin and four contemporary romantic suspense novels for Silhouette before entering the dark world of multiple murderers and their motives. Once there, she wrote her romantic suspense novels I’M WATCHING YOU and this November’s DEAD RINGER, both published by Zebra Books. Her novella Christmas Past appears in the 2008 holiday anthology SILVER BELLS along with stories by New York Times best selling authors Fern Michaels and Joann Ross, and award-winning novelist Judy Duarte. Previously her story Snow Maiden was featured in the USA Today best selling anthology A Hero’s Kiss.




You can visit her website at http://www.maryburton.com/.


Guest Post from Mary Burton


The holiday season came early for me when I received word from my editor that SILVER BELLS hit #16 on the New York Times Bestseller List during the first week of sales. Of course it helps to be teamed with the legendary Fern Michaels along with JoAnn Ross and Judy Duarte. I hope readers enjoy the telling Nicole Piper and David Ayden’s story. The couple struck a strong cord with fans of I’M WATCHING YOU and now DEAD RINGER.

Being in the holiday spirit gave me the chance to indulge my other passion—cooking. When I’m not writing I’m baking. In fact, I came up with a new recipe, which I call my SILVER BELLS Teacakes. Check out my blog for the recipe.

Holidays are also a chance for me to kick back and do some reading. A few of my favorite reads of late include: Lisa Jackson’s SHIVER, SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourn and Joanne Bourne’s MY LORD AND SPYMASTER. Both Raybourn and Bourne are fellow Virginia writers.

It’s hard to be thinking of Christmas without realizing Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I’m so thankful for lots---my miniature dachshund puppies, Buddy and Bella as well the chance to write books I love so much.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Die Before I Wake


Die Before I Wake by Laurie Breton ~~


Just five days after they meet, Julie Hanrahan and Dr. Thomas Larkin exchange vows on a moonlit Caribbean beach, the whirlwind conclusion to a romance that's swept her off her feet. Tom is sexy, witty and charming and Julie's sure she's found her Prince Charming.

But not every fairy tale ends happily ever after.

With a workaholic husband, a hostile mother-in-law and a resentful stepdaughter, the honeymoon doesn't last long. Especially after Julie finds out that Tom's first wife didn't die in an accident after all. The cops called her death a suicide, but Julie is convinced that somebody helped Beth over the side of the Swift River Bridge.

Every marriage has its secrets. Julie is starting to wonder if she'll survive discovering the truth about hers…or die before she wakes.

Book Giveaway - Simmer Down (Autographed)



Simmer Down: A Gourmet Girl Mystery by Susan Conant and Jessica Conant-Park ~





After a trendy club owner is bludgeoned with a food processor, Gourmet Girl Chloe Carter finds the list of suspects longer than the line to get in to Simmer, her chef boyfriend's hot new restaurant.


Now on to the RULES ~~~
  1. Open to residents of the US only
  2. Post a comment here. You MUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR ACTIVE BLOG ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT. Any comment that DOES NOT INCLUDE this information WILL BE DELETED. I have to have a way to contact you if you win!!!!
  3. If you blog this contest and leave a link in your comment so I can check it out, you will receive an extra entry to the contest.

Sign ups open through November 21st. The winner will be announced on Nov. 22nd.

Book Giveaway -- WINNER! Left To Die ARC

Congratulations

Tracey

My friendly randomizer picked Tracey as the lucky winner of my ARC copy of Left To Die by Lisa Jackson. Way to go!! I've sent an email to Tracey requesting her address so that I can get the book out to her. (If I don't hear from Tracey by Sunday I will pick another winner.)

Thanks to everyone who signed up! Don't forget to sign up for my next giveaway -this time an autographed cozy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Murder in Chinatown




Midwife Sarah Brandt's patient, Cora Lee, is an Irish woman with a Chinese husband. In New York at the beginning of the twentieth century, impoverished immigrants often married one another, but cultural differences led to conflict. As Sarah attends the birth of Cora's son, Cora's young, half-Chinese niece, Angel, runs into the room to ask for help. Her father has arranged her marriage to an elderly Chinese man. Angel later disappears, and Sarah helps the family investigate. When Angel turns up dead in an alley, Sarah asks her friend, Frank Malloy, a New York City police detective, for help. It seems that Angel had a secret lover, a young Irish boy. As the plot unfolds, readers will learn about the miseries of tenement life, the discrimination against Chinese and Irish immigrants, and the hardships and dangers facing young women. They will also be drawn to Sarah, a strong, caring female protagonist who is not afraid to help those in need. The unexpected climax adds to the impact of this first-class historical mystery (From Amazon)

I am a huge fan of this series. Set at the turn of the century, we are brought into Chinatown, were more often than not Chinese men are marrying Irish women. This time Sarah & Frank are drawn into the case of a young girl found dead shortly after running away from home ~ after finding out she has to marry and "old chinese guy". I love how even after nine books in the series I'm not bored with it but look forward to the next one! The characters continue to grow with each and every story. As much as I would love to see Sarah & Frank "hook-up", I was glad to see them pull back a little bit. It shows them as being real people who know that they come from completely different worlds. While this wasn't one my favorites of the series, I enjoyed it just as much as the others. A-

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Smoke Screen


Smoke Screen: A Novel by Sandra Brown ~~


When newswoman Britt Shelley wakes up to find herself in bed with Jay Burgess, a rising star detective in the Charleston PD, she remembers nothing of how she got there...or of how Jay wound up dead.

Handsome and hard-partying, Jay was a hero of the disastrous fire that five years earlier had destroyed Charleston's police headquarters. The blaze left seven people dead, but the death toll would have been much higher if not for the bravery of Jay and three other city officials who risked their lives to lead others to safety.

Firefighter Raley Gannon, Jay's lifelong friend, was off-duty that day. Though he might not have been a front-line hero, he was assigned to lead the investigation into the cause of the fire. It was an investigation he never got to complete. Because on one calamitous night, Raley's world was shattered.

Scandalized, wronged by the people he trusted most, Raley was forced to surrender the woman he loved and the work to which he'd dedicated his life. For five years his resentment against the men who exploited their hero status to further their careers -- and ruin his -- had festered, but he was helpless to set things right.

That changes when he learns of Jay Burgess's shocking death and Britt Shelley's claim that she has no memory of her night with him. As the investigation into Jay's death intensifies, and suspicion against Britt Shelley mounts, Raley realizes that the newswoman, Jay's last sexual conquest, might be his only chance to get personal vindication -- and justice for the seven victims of the police station fire.

But there are powerful men who don't want to address unanswered questions about the fire and who will go to any lengths to protect their reputations. As Raley and Britt discover more about what happened that fateful day, the more perilous their situation becomes, until they're not only chasing after the truth but running for their lives.

Friends are exposed as foes, heroes take on the taint of criminals, and no one can be trusted completely. A tale about audacious corruption -- and those with the courage to expose it -- Smoke Screen is Sandra Brown's most searing and intense novel yet.

This book is vintage Sandra Brown. One of her best I've read in years. When TV reporter Britt wakes up next to the dead body of a detective she has no idea what happened. She can't remember anything from the night before except meeting Jay at a bar for drinks ~ and the scoop of a lifetime. Five years before a fire at the police station made hero's out of 5 men. But was the fire all it seemed to be? Are people getting to close to the truth? Britt finds herself working with (ok at first kidnapped by) Raley ~ the original fire inspector who had a similar experience. One night he woke up next to the body of a dead girl with no memory of the night before. They must work together to find out the truth about the fire and who wants them both dead now. Secrets are told ~ old frienships are questioned ~ new love is found. Ms. Brown does an amazing job of drawing you into the lives of her characters. She makes you see what they're seeing and what they're feeling. I found myself unable to put this book down - and that's the sure sign of a winner for me! A

Pane of Death




Glassblower Emmeline Dowell finds herself accused of murder after a priceless stained glass collection is stolen and the owner is killed. And since the police chief is also her boyfriend, she needs to crack the case fast—before their relationship is permanently shattered.

When a very rich business man hires Em to work on his glass collection she is beside herself with joy. It's a dream project. However, when he turns up dead, her life shatters like the glass projects that she makes. When a competitor accuses Em of the murder, she must then put her relationship on hold - the one with the police chief who is now investigating her for the murder. And no matter how many times she's told to stay out of it, she won't just sit back and let others think she's a murderer. This is the second book in the Glassblowing mystery and I think there is huge progress since the first. While I enjoyed the first, I thought there was too much detail in the explanation of glassblowing. This time the focus is more on the murder and Em's desire to solve it. The characters continue to grow and find themselves. A fun and easy read. A-

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Fatal Slip




When a building inspector is found drowned in a bucket of liquid clay slip, potter Carolyn Emerson’s husband Bill is the prime suspect. It’s up to Carolyn to clear his name and not let the real killer give her the slip.

Carolyn has the chance of a lifetime ~~ to buy the building her clay store is in. The only catch is that everyone on the block must agree. Once that happens she and Bill start renovating, only to be shut down by the building inspector. When he's found dead later that night, of course Bill is the primary suspect. Now Carolyn and her loyal "firing squad" must get to work and figure out before Bill is arrested and the real murder gets away. I really enjoy this series. I think each one gets better as it progresses. The characters are strong and the storyline engaging. It's always a hoot to watch Carolyn and friends at work. A