Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books Read December 2014

Adams, Ellery
  • Lethal Letters 
Fiction.  Sixth in the Books by the Bay series set in North Carolina.  Olivia Limoges finally sets the date for her wedding to Sawyer Rawlings, inspired by the wedding of her chief chef and his bride.  While talking to the local minister, who is overseeing the renovation of his church, a workman interrupts to inform the minister that a box has been discovered under the floor.  It’s a time capsule, one whose discovery puts several people in danger.

Babson, Marian
  • Murder on a Mystery Tour 
Fiction.  American tourists spend a murder mystery weekend at an old English manor expecting to be entertained and challenged to find whodunit.  They’re are a tempestuous group, so there’s no surprise when one of them is found dead.  A blizzard has blanketed the area, and all contact with the neighboring town has been cut off.  Can they find the true murderer before another person is found dead?

Beaton, M.C.
  • The Murderous Marriage
Fiction.  Fifth in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  Agatha has finally landed James, and preparations for their wedding are going along well.  Agatha is anxious to have James’ ring on her finger, as she hasn’t quite been honest with him.  Just as the couple are saying their vows, the wedding is interrupted by a strange man who claims to be Agatha’s long lost husband.  Suspicious falls on both Agatha and James when the man is found dead in a ditch.

  • The Potted Gardener 
Fiction.  Third in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  Agatha returns from her extended vacation only to find that James, her crush, is involved with a newcomer to the village, Mary Fortune.  Everyone in the village seems to like Mary, and once Agatha manages to push her jealousy, she begins to like Mary, too.  But Mary’s facade begins to crack, and when is found dead, Agatha teams up again with James Lacey to discover the murderer.

  • The Terrible Tourist
Fiction.  Sixth in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  James has fled to Cypress, but Agatha is still hopeful of a reunion with him, so she follows him to the island.  While there, she meets two British three-somes who are also on vacation.  One of the women, Rose, is quite the flirt, and when Agatha introduces her to James, Rose turns her eyes to him, infuriating Agatha.  They all go out dancing at a disco and are feeling no pain from all the liquor they’ve been drinking, when Rose slips under their table.  As the men help her up, they realize she is covered in blood, and this time Agatha becomes one of the prime suspects.

  • The Vicious Vet
Fiction.  Second in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  Agatha has a crush on her next door neighbor, James Lacey, but he has no romantic interest in her.  A new vet has come to town, a very handsome man with whom all the village women cluster around, but when Agatha takes her cat for a checkup, she finds him rough and uncaring with the animal, raising her ire and her suspicions.  When he is found dead, Agatha and James team up to find his killer.

  • The Walkers of Dembley 
Fiction.  Fourth in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  Agatha returns to Carsely after spending six months working in PR in London, and she’s very pleased to be back in her village.  Having wined and dined clients for months, she has put on a few pounds and decides to take up walking, once she finds out James Lacey has joined a rambling group.  The nearby town of Dembly also has a rambling group led by militant feminist Jessica, who makes it a habit of putting people’s backs up.  When she is found dead in a field from a blow to the head, one of the Dembley ramblers contacts Agatha to help solve the murder.  She and James join forces and pose as a married couple and join the group to figure out who killed Jessica.

  • The Wellspring of Death
Fiction Seventh in the Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series.  A water company in Ancombe wishes to siphon off water from a natural spring, inciting a debate among the town council members.  Agatha, ignorant of the issue, travels to the spring to fetch some water for her tea.  To her surprise, she finds a body with a head wound turning the water red.  After the murder has been reported, she receives a call from her old friend, Roy, who works in PR at the London company that Agatha used to own.  He’s offering her a PR position with the very same water company, which Agatha agrees to in order to help solve the  murder.   

Berry, Steve
  • The Balkan Escape
Fiction.  Short story in the Cotton Malone adventure series telling how Cassiopeia Vitt meets Lev Sokolov in an ancient Thracian tomb.

  • The Emperor’s Tomb
Fiction.  Sixth in the Cotton Malone adventure series.  This time Cotton is drawn in by a video of Cassiopeia Vitt undergoing waterboarding.  She is being held by a nemesis of Cotton’s, and he must go to her rescue.  Cassiopeia has gotten involved with the kidnapping of a young Russian/Chinese boy, whose father has asked for her help.  The boy’s Russian father is in hiding in China, being sought by various parties who want the knowledge he has that can alter China’s future in the world arena.  Deception and murder follow, and Cotton isn’t sure who he can trust other than Cassiopeia, herself.

  • The Paris Vendetta
Fiction.  Fifth in the Cotton Malone adventure series.  Cotton is contacted y his best friend, Henrik, who needed his help.  Henrik is determined to kill the man responsible for his son’s death two years  ago, but he needs Cotton to steal a book from a museum to help trap the man.  The book is one that Napoleon included in his will and was supposed to go to his son when the son turned sixteen.  That never happened.  It supposedly holds the clue to where Napoleon’s long lost vast treasure is located.  But Henrik isn’t the only person who want the book. 

Charles, Ann
  • Better Off Dead in Deadwood
Fiction.  Fourth book in the Violet Parker paranormal cozy mystery series set in Deadwood, South Dakota.  Things are looking up for Violet’s relationship with Doc Nyce, though she fears her children might chase him away.  While recovering from the death of her employer, she is surprised to find that the woman’s ex-husband is now taking over Calamity Jane Realty, and Violet has to prove to him that she can do her job.  Not easy when the spooks around her won’t play fair.

  • Jackrabbit Junction Jitters
Fiction. Second in the Jackrabbit Junction cozy mystery series set in the Arizona desert.  Claire is helping out at the general store in the RV park while her grandfather and Ruby are getting ready for their wedding.  Everything is disrupted when Claire’s sister, Kate, arrives with their overly-controlling and overly-critical mother in tow.  While Deborah tries to derail the upcoming wedding, Mac sends Claire into a panic when he utters, “I love you,” to her.  To further discombobulate her, Claire finds a mummified hand  in Ruby’s safe and is determined to find the owner.

  • The Old Man’s Back in Town
Fiction.  Short story introducing a new series set in Nevada.  Montana owns a bar in an old gold mining town.  Her cousin, Buffalo, is at the bar still drinking, although everyone else has long gone and Montana is cleaning and closing things down.  The door opens, and in walks her ex-boyfriend, the one who had left her to move to Las Vegas.  This story is told in three parts with a surprise ending.

Gilad, Suzanne
  • Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies
Non-fiction.  The skills needed for copyediting and proofreading careers, tips on getting those first jobs, books essential to the field, and many resources, both in print and online.

Jaffarian, Sue Ann
  • Early Retirement
Fiction.  Short story about a lawyer, George Waring, and his sister, Edna Brewer, who worked as his office manager.  George is late coming into the office one morning, and Edna is surprised when two police detectives arrive to ask her about George’s secretary and lover, Sarah, with whom George had spent the weekend in Las Vegas.  Edna is duly shocked when the detective shows her a picture of Sarah, who is obviously dead.  The detective informs her that Sarah was found in the trunk of George’s car at LAX.  Edna promises to let them know if she hears from George, and after they leave she begins making phone calls.

  • Ho Ho Humbug
Fiction.  Two Christmas-themed short stories in the Odelia Grey series.  In Ho Ho Humbug, Odelia takes her step-mother to the mall for some shopping.  Taking a break, she sits on a bench when Santa sits beside her.  Then dies.  She is accused of killing Santa.  In Ho Ho Hell, Odelia takes her mother to the mall to pick up a gift for her niece.  There is an altercation in the parking lot involving a TV star and a stolen golf cart.

Roberts, Nora
  • Dark Witch 
Fiction.  First in the Cousins O’Dwyer fantasy trilogy.  Iona Sheehan was born and raised in America, but at her grandmother’s knee, she learned much about the land her family comes from, and she longs to visit Ireland to meet her relatives there.  She arrives at the castle she will be living in for a week, but after meeting her cousins, she is invited to live with them.  She is hired at the local stable, quickly falling in love with the owner.  While she is getting used to her new life, her cousins are teaching her the family magick, as one day soon, they, along with their friends, will be facing a terrible enemy.  One who has waiting centuries to reap their power.

Weiland, K.M.
  • Outlining Your Novel
Non-fiction.  How to outline a novel.  What questions to ask yourself and your characters.

  • Outlining Your Novel Workbook
Non-fiction.  Workbook detailing how to create a winning outline.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Books Read November 2014

Archer, Connie
  • Broth of Betrayal
Fiction.  3rd in the cozy mystery series set in Vermont and starring Lucky, owner of By The Spoonful, and soup and sandwich shop near a ski resort.  The town is in an uproar because a developer wants to build a car wash right in the middle of their picturesque village.  Unfortunately, the town council has voted to let the construction go through, but the townspeople band together to picket the site and disrupt the construction.  Just as the bulldozer is beginning to move, a sack of old cloth buried in the dirt starts moving.  Up pops the town drunk, but the real surprise is the human femur he has grasped in his hand.  The construction is halted as archaeologists arrive to excavate the site and dig up a full skeleton.

Cates, Bailey
  • Some Enchanted Eclair
Fiction.  4th in the Magical Bakery paranormal cozy mystery series set in Savannah, GA.  Katie Lightfoot and her aunt and uncle own the Honeybee Bakery.  Along with a group of friends known as the spellbook club, they’ve been known to solve a mystery or two.  A movie crew has invaded the town to film some scenes for a historical romance, and Katie’s uncle, Ben, and her beau, Declan, have been hired as part time security.  Honeybee has been hired to cater lunch for the crew, but when Katie delivers their lunch, she arrives just in time to hear an awful scream coming from the leading lady, only it’s not part of the movie.  A man lies on the ground with a knife sticking out of his back.  A knife that belongs to Honeybee.

Chapman, Lyssa
  • Walking on Eggshells: Discovering Strength and Courage Amid Chaos 
Non-fiction.  Lyssa Chapman is the daughter of Dog the Bounty Hunter.  This is the story of her tumultuous childhood and how she has risen above it all to become a strong and brave woman who concentrates on bringing up her two daughters with love and grace.

Dams, Jeanne M.
  • Day of Vengeance
Fiction.  15th book in the cozy mystery series set in England.  Dorothy and her husband, Alan, are drawn into another mystery when a clergyman candidate for the bishopric of Sherebury is found murdered in his cathedral.  Alan is on the selection committee, and as they know he’s a former police inspector, the other committee members ask him to look into the matter in an unofficial capacity.  With the help of their friends, Alan and Dorothy begin their search.

Galenorn, Yasmine
  • The Men of Otherworld: Collection One
Fiction.  Collection of short stories about some of the lovely men in the lives of the D’Artigo sisters.

  • Priestess Dreaming
Fiction.  23rd book in the Otherworld urban fantasy series set in a Seattle altaverse.  The three D’Artigo sisters and their family and friends are called upon by the Raven Mother to awaken The Merlin from a millennia-long sleep in order to defeat Yrann, one of the ancient wyrms who spawned the dragon races.  Working with others she doesn’t fully trust, Camille teams up with Morgaine to find the wizard.

Hoffman, Alice
  • The Dovekeepers 
Fiction.  Set in 70 CE when the Romans were burning Jerusalem, a young girl is forced to flee the city with her father and brother.  Traveling through the desert, they find their way to Masada, a fortress built 100 years prior by Kind Herod to protect his people.  This story is told by four incredible women whose lives are woven together as they strive to live their lives in the face of war and their faith in God.

Hunter, Maddy
  • Fleur de Lies

Fiction.  9th in the traveling cozy mystery series.  The group of seniors from Iowa are on a river cruise in France.  Tour group leader, Emily, has her hands full trying to keep track of her rambunctious group, as they visit several famous sites from WWII.  Calamity strikes when a beautiful young woman on the tour collapses and dies.  Not an accident, it’s murder.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Books Read October 2014

Allan, Barbara
  • Antiques Roadkill
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series about a recently divorced woman and her eccentric mother who are getting used to living together again.  Brandy, dealing with the depression after her divorce is on Prozac, and her mother has her own medicinal supply of drugs.  Their house had been full of family treasures and antique furniture, but a quick-talking dealer had conned Brandy’s mother out of many of them during one of her off spells.  At a luncheon where the dealer is the main interest, Brandy challenges him about ripping off elders, a challenge that puts her in the guilty seat when he later turns up dead.

Baron, Aileen G.
  • The Gold of Thrace
Fiction.  First in a mystery series starring Tamar Saticoy, an American archaelogy professor who is on a dig in Turkey.  One the last day before the dig is shut down for the season, she discovers a floor mosaic, but before she can take pictures of it, it is stolen in the night.  She goes on a quest to find the missing mosaic, which takes her to Switzerland.  The theft of antiquities and the search for the thieves is big business, and Tamar finds herself in mortal danger.

Byrne, Kerrigan with Cynthia St. Aubin, Cindy Stark, and Tifinie Helmer
  • Which Witch is Which?
Fiction.  First in an erotic fantasy series about four elemental witches living in Port Townsend who are destined to die at the hands of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in order to save mankind.

Christie, Agatha
  • Destination Unknown
Fiction.  Hilary Craven has lost her husband and her young daughter, and all she wants is to disappear somewhere.  She gets her chance when an airplane crash changes her life.  A famous scientist, Tom Betterton, is also wanting to escape his life and leaves his wife behind in England to join a group of scientists behind the Iron Curtain.  Their paths cross when Hilary takes the place of his wife, who has died in a plane crash, and their adventure is only beginning.

Dale, Risa
  • Darkness Brewing
Fiction.  13 haunting tales written by members of the Coffee House Writers Group.

Galenorn, Yasmine
  • Flight from Hell
Fiction.  First in the Fly by Night urban fantasy series set in Seattle.  It introduces Shimmer, a blue dragon who was caught stealing from the white dragons and sentenced to spend five years in Seattle to work off her debt.  Her boss, and sort-of parole officer, Alex, runs the Fly by Night Magical Private Investigation company.  An old foe of Alex’s arrives in town to destroy him and manages to kidnap Shimmer, forcing the D’Artigo sisters and their friends to search for her.

Hart, Carolyn
  • Merry, Merry Ghost
Fiction.  Bailey Ruth is back in this second incarnation which once again sends her back down to Adelaide, Oklahoma, the town she lived in with her husband Bobby Mac.  In her second mission to the land of the living, she is charged with the protection of a young boy who is set to inherit millions, millions that were initially promised to other people.  At least one of them doesn’t want to share, and Bailey Ruth is like a mama bear trying to protect the child.

George, Anne
  • Murder Runs in The Family
Fiction.  Third in a cozy mystery series about two 60-something sisters in Alabama who keep ending up involved in solving murders usually somehow connected to their friends and family.  Meg, a professional genealogist meets with the sisters for lunch, then an hour later is seen plummeting to her death from the 10th floor of the courthouse.

Lamb, John J.
  • The Mournful Teddy
Fiction.  First in a cozy series set in Virginia.  Brad is an ex-police detective who has retired after an injury in the line of duty.  His wife, Ashleigh, creates teddy bears, and they both enjoy going to teddy bear shows.  A special and very rare teddy bear, The Mourning Bear, is supposedly coming up for auction at the show,  but the bear never arrives.  In the meantime, Brad finds a body in the river at the edge of their property, only the deceased wan’t drowned, he was strangled.  Brad and Ash work together to solve both crimes.

Myers, Time
  • At Wick’s End
Fiction.  First in a cozy  mystery series set in North Carolina.  Harrison Black has just inherited his great-aunt’s candle shop.  She recently died after a fall from a ladder.  Harrison knows nothing about making candles, but luckily, his great-aunt employed a very capable worker named Eve to help her with the shop.  Eve offers to help Harrison learn the craft, and Harrison finds that he truly enjoys the work.  Soon after he moves into the apartment above the shop, his apartment is ransacked, then the locker room is ransacked, and Harrison starts to believe that his aunt, Belle, didn’t merely have an accident.  He believes she was murdered.

Penny, Louise
  • Still Life 
Fiction.  First in the Inspector Gamache mystery series set in Quebec.  Gamache travels to a small village outside of Montreal to investigate the death of an elderly painter.  She seems to have been killed by an arrow, and at the beginning of hunting season, it’s reasonable that  her death is an accident, but Gamache finds soon enough that her death has a sinister element, and he brings his team in to help solve the mystery.

Pressfield, Steven
  • The War of Art
Non-fiction.  What Resistance is and how to fight it.

Reid, Terri
  • Loose Ends 
Fiction.  First in a paranormal cozy mystery series.  Mary O’Reilly in an ex-Chicago cop who was on her way to make detective, when she was shot and killed in the line of duty.  When the hospital was able to resuscitate her, she realized that she could see, hear and speak with ghosts, something that would interfere with her job.  Deciding she needed a change, she moved to a small town and set up shop as a private investigator with a special talent.  She is contacted by the wealthy wife of a state senator, who believes that her house is haunted.  Unravelling the strings of this case puts Mary in danger again, while she is aided by a very handsome police chief.

Rosenberg, Joel
  • Family Matters
Fiction.  Second book in the Sparky Hemingway series.  Sparky lives with his girlfriend and his foster daughter in Hardwood, ND.  He works as a freelance copyeditor, which pays the bills but doesn’t leave much room for spending sprees.  The mayor of Hardwood and some of his cronies are trying to lock down a Trauma Center Level III for Hardwood as a way of bringing in more people, jobs and money.  The city commission has opted to temporarily hire Sparky as chief of police in an effort to raise their chances of their town being chosen for the TC.  Sparky has a lot to learn and little patience for learning it, but he does get the job done.

Spinelli, Eileen
  • Hero Cat
Fiction.  Brave story of a mama cat who races into a burning building to save her five kittens.  Based on a true story.

Toussaint, Maggie
  • On the Nickel
Fiction.  Second in the cozy mystery series set in Maryland and starring Cleopatra Jones, accountant extraordinaire, who lives with her eccentric mother and two precocious daughters.  Cleo’s investigative skills come into play again, as she tries to clear her mother’s name in the murder of her mother’s ex-nemesis.  Though many others in the town wished the woman ill, Cleo’s mother is the only suspect.

Westmacott, Mary
  • Unfinished Portrait
Fiction.  One of Agatha Christie’s novels written under her pen name.  A man meets a woman on a hill staring out to sea.  After a brief exchange, he leaves her and walks back toward town.  A sudden impulse grabs him, and he runs back up the hill only in time to see her dive into the ocean.  He longs to hear her story.

Writers’ Mill
  • The Writers’ Mill Journal

Fiction.  Collection of short stories and poems written by members of the Writers’ Mill writing group.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Books Read September 2014

Adams, Richard
  • Watership Down 
Fiction.  The lives of rabbits told from their view.  Hazel, a brave rabbit, takes a few followers with him when he flees his home warren.  Life there had been well-ordered, but hard on the general population.  He, along with his young brother with special gifts, encourage the others to follow him far away to begin their own warren.  Along the way, they face terrifying experiences, and even when they finally reach the Promised Land, life still hands them dangers to face.

Ball, Donna
  • A Wedding on Ladybug Farm 
Fiction.  Sixth book in the Ladybug Farm series.  Lindsey and the ladies are busy getting ready for her wedding to Dominic, while he has his hands full running the winery.  Lindsey wants the perfect wedding, but something keeps preventing her from nailing down the wedding date.   Calamity after calamity befalls the preparations, while secrets held by their children end up being the biggest surprise of the season.

Befeler, Mike
  • Care Homes Are Murder 
Fiction.  Fifth book in the Paul Jacobsen cozy mystery series.  Paul, his wife and his son’s family are vacationing in Hawai’i over the Christmas holidays.  They’re taking an after-dinner stroll along the dock when a rowdy group of men pass by.  One of them crashes right into Paul and words are exchanged.  The next morning, the man is found dead in the water.  Renewing his acquaintance with Detective Saito, Paul seeks to solve the murder for which he has become a prime suspect.

  • Nursing Homes Are Murder
Fiction.  Sixth book in the Paul Jacobson Geezer-Lit series.  Paul and his wife, Marion, are getting ready to leave Hawai’i to return to their home in Venice, California, when Detective Chun requests that they stay and help solve a crime that took place in a nursing home.  Paul agrees, and Marion is set up in a nearby condo for the week, while Paul is checked into the nursing home as a patient.  With some new friends and some old friends, he sets about trying to solve the mounting crimes before he, himself, becomes a victim,

Berry, Steve
  • The Charlemagne Pursuit
Fiction.  Fourth in the Cotton Malone adventure/thriller series.  Cotton’s father died when Cotton was 10 years old.  Forrest Malone was commanding an innovating new submarine, when the sub and the entire crew was lost.  The public story was that it occurred in the northern Pacific Ocean, but the reality was much different.  In his search to find out what happened to his father, Cotton stirs up an ancient quest and becomes involved with a ruthless family who holds the key to what happened.

Bowen, Rhys
  • Evans Above 
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series set in a small village in Wales.  Constable Evan Evans has fled the city to live in quiet Llanfair.  While the local women try to woo him, he tries to keep busy with work, which can be difficult in such a bucolic setting.  But one day, the own of the new resort hotel above the town bursts in with the announcement that one of his customers has gone missing up on Snowdon.  At first, Evans is disinclined to make a fuss, believing the man would make his own way down, but when another body is reported, Evans knows something bad is visiting his village.

Carroll, Rick
  • Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawai’i’s Fire Goddess
Non-fiction.  Collection of spooky tales starring Hawai’is favorite goddess.

Galenorn, Yasmine
  • Tales from Otherworld: Collection One 
Fiction.  Collection of short stories from the Otherworld series.

Hannah, Sophie
  • The Monogram Murders

Fiction.  Policeman Catchpool is staying at the same boarding house as the famous Hercule Poirot, who seeks to spend some quiet time away from solving crimes.  The crimes find him, unfortunately, when a woman rushes into a cafe looking as if she fears for her life.  Poirot attempts to calm her, but she is convinced someone will be coming to execute her.  Not murder her, because she deserves the death, at least in her eyes.  The mystery intrigues Poirot later, when three bodies are discovered at the Bloxham Hotel, and Catchpool is assigned to solve the murders.  Poirot can never resist sticking his toe into mysteries, and he and Catchpool team up to track down the murderer.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Books Read August 2014

Befeler, Mike
  • Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder
Fiction.  Fourth installment in the Geezer-Lit cozy mystery series about Paul Jacobson, an 80-something man with short-term memory who is on a cruise to Alaska with his bride, Marion.  Even before he boards the ship, he stumbles into trouble when he finds a dead homeless man in a garden.  A man he had just had an argument with.

Berry, Steve
  • The Alexandria Link
Fiction.  Second in the Cotton Malone mystery/thriller series.  Cotton is surprised to see his ex-wife, Pam, in Copenhagen.  She has come for his help.  Their son has been kidnapped, and they  must put aside their animosity toward each other to try to rescue him.  Part of his ransom is to find the location of the ancient Library of Alexandria, and Cotton and Pam race from country to country to find the solution to the clues, while the Israeli, Arabian and even the American governments all seek to obtain the location, putting everyone in grave danger.

  • The Templar Legacy 
Fiction.  First in the Cotton Malone adventure series.  Cotton, and American ex-government agent now owns a bookshop in Copenhagen, Denmark.  His former boss, Stephanie Nelle, is in Denmark to buy an antique book, but has decided to work with another bookseller in obtaining it, which raises Cotton’s interest.  He is further involved in her business when a thief grabs her bag and runs off with it.  Cotton, upon seeing what happened, races after the man, only to see him plummet to his death soon after.  The look of peace on the thief’s face seems oddly curious, and Cotton is swept into an intriguing, and centuries-old, mystery.  

  • The Venetian Betrayal 
Fiction.  Third in the Cotton Malone mystery/thriller series.  Cotton once again teams up with Henrick, Cassiopeia and Stephanie to stop the Supreme Minister of the Central Asian Federation, who fights with no rules, kills indiscriminately and plans on using biochemical weapons of mass destruction to get her way.  At the root of the mystery is the location of the tomb of Alexander the Great and what the elephant medallion coins were used for.

Bevill, C.L.
  • Amber Moon
Fiction.  Second in the Moon trilogy of Cat Clan shifters.  Mirie and Jack have been sent to keep an eye on an elvish prince.  A hot elvish prince.  When his bodyguards chase them down, Jack escapes, but Mirie is captured and is taken to the elven realm to face the king.  She explains that she is searching for the Eyes of the Amber Moon, a quest that will challenge her life, while at the same time revealing secrets about her own heritage.

  • Arcanorum 
Fiction.  Third in the Lake People paranormal trilogy.  A woman is hit by a truck and taken to a local hospital, where she finds that she has no memory of who she is or what her past is.  The fact that she has also been beaten and is wearing handcuffs deepens the mystery.  The doctors try to help, to no avail.  One day, she is shocked to find a note under her meal tray telling her that she is in grave danger, so flee the hospital she must.  Can he get to her in time to save her?  Or will the bayou magic be too much for them?

  • Black Moon 
Fiction.  First in the Moon trilogy of the Cat Clan shifters.  Donovan watches from the trees as Isabella runs past him as fast as she can.  On her heels are some of the Whitelaw werewolves to reclaim what she has stolen.  In scenting her, Donovan realizes he has no choice but to try to save her, as he is well aware that she is his mate.

  • Blood Moon 
Fiction.  Second in the Cat Clan shifter series.  Sage is taking a couple of days off from college and her jobs to head up into the Colorado Rockies for an overnight camping trip.  As she hikes up the trail, enjoying her time alone and all the fresh air, a warning shouts in her head.  She’s in trouble!  She drops her backpack and grabs a large branch lying on the ground and runs back down the trail.  But she’s too slow, and a heavy body crashes into her, and a blindingly painful wrench on her calf.  She’s been bitten!

  • Crescent Moon 
Fiction.  Third in the Cat Clan shifter series.  After the seige at the facility in Wyoming, Ula is desperate to find her sister.  Although all of the living weres have been evacuated from the underground building, and after being warned not to by Killian, she rushes back inside to find any records that might tell her where her sister has been taken to.  The Council has its own agenda and has set explosives through the tunnels that are set to go off any minute.  Killian is aware of the danger but runs back in after the wolf-shifter to get her safely out.

  • Crimson Bayou 
Fiction.  Second in the Mignon Thibeaux mystery series set in the bayou country of Louisiana.  Mignon’s and John Henry’s relationship continues to have problems, as the two can never seem to communicate properly with each other.  John Henry’s rigid sense of right and wrong versus Mignon’s stubborn independence and struggle to get over the past collide time and again.  While Mignon is out in the bayou taking photographs of the sun filtering through the trees, she feels a bump against her leg and fears the worst.  But rather than an alligator, it’s the hand of young woman floating in the water, a rope still tied around her neck.

  • Hunter’s Moon 
Fiction.  Fourth in the Cat Clan shifter series.  Claire had been abducted from her Canadian wilderness home with her sister and taken to an unused military base in Wyoming.  While Ula is left behind, Claire is taken to Paris and dumped in a cage far below Paris in the catacombs, kept prisoner by the Council who will use her to bait her father, the Bloodletter, to come looking for her.  Once there, the Council plans to use him as an example to other weres who oppose the Council.  But there are a few there who despise the Council’s avaricious and cruel tactics, and one in particular will do whatever he can to free Claire and support her father.

  • Mountains of Dreams 
Fiction.  Book two in an apocalyptic YA series.  Sophie reaches Washington, D.C. with the intent of speaking with the new president about all the changes in the country and the new creatures that have appeared.  What she finds is chaos and the power-hungry man who believes his personal power is more important than the people and creatures he is supposed  to govern.  When Sophie finds out that he has been kidnapping people and creatures, she gathers forces to go against him, wanting to show everyone the kind of man he really is.  Putting herself in danger is a byproduct of her quest, but she has a job to do and won’t quit until she’s accomplished it.

  • Sea of Dreams
Fiction.  First in an apocalyptic YA series starring 17-year-old Sophie who goes hiking with her father only to wake up the next day and find that he is missing.  Unable to find him, she sets out on a journey to find someone to help her and runs across strange new creatures and a psychopath before she finds others like herself who have been left behind in this strange new world.

  • Silver Moon
Fiction.  Third in the Moon trilogy of the Cat Clan shifters.  Jack Drake must continue on where his former partner, Mirie, has left off and track down the location of the Silver Moon’s Mystery, one relic of a trio that can cause the obliteration of the world.  The problem is that the Whitelaw clan of werewolves are also after the item, and Jack must think on his feet to stay alive long enough to find and recover the Mystery.  A not-so-friendly black and white cat seems to be helping him, though the connection he feels for the feline confuse him greatly and might cost him his life.

Blackwell, Juliet
  • A Vision in Velvet 
Fiction.  Six in the paranormal cozy mystery series starring Lily Ivory, owner of a vintage clothing shop in San Francisco.  Lily buys a trunk full of old clothing, and nothing is of value except for the gold velvet cape she gets a strong feeling for.  The cape takes her back in time to the witch trials of 17th century Massachusetts and whirls her into a new mystery, in which the life of her beloved familiar is in jeopardy.

Dugan, Ellen
  • Practical Prosperity Magick
Non-fiction.  Theory, lessons and rituals on the history and practice of prosperity magick.

Harwin, Patricia
  • Slaying is Such Sweet Sorrow
Fiction.  Second in the cozy mystery series set in Far Wychwood, England.  American Catherine Penny has fled to England after the demise of her marriage and has settled into a quaint village in the beautiful countryside.  Though she has no interest in seeing her ex-husband and his current girlfriend who have shown up to visit their daughter, Catherine is persuaded to attend a gathering at the college where her son-in-law teaches.  He is due to receive the nomination for head of the department, but things turn sideways when the detestable Edgar Stone wins the chair.  His troubles only increase when Edgar is found dead, and Catherine’s son-in-law is the prime suspect in his murder.

Shaber, Sarah
  • Simon Said
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series starring history professor Simon Shaw who works at a small NC university.  While dealing with clinical depression after his wife left him, he’s called upon by a fellow professor to identify the body of a woman found buried on campus 50 years prior.  Rooting through old documents and files, Simon believes he knows who the body belongs to, a murdered young woman whose family used to own the property the university now sits on.  But Simon can’t let things go with just that.  He wants to know who put the bullet hole in her head, and that leads to danger for the professor.

Winspear, Jacqueline
  • Maisie Dobbs

Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series starring Maisie Dobbs, investigator and former WWI nurse.  From her humble beginnings as the daughter of a costermonger (fruit and vegetable vendor), Maisie intelligence and quick wit leads her on a journey into the patronage of Lady Rowan, who introduces her to the man who will become her mentor as she goes off to university.  Her plans changed when the Great War began, and she felt the need to do something more for her country.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I am a published author!

Today is the day that the Chicken Soup for the Soul cat book goes on sale, how exciting!  The first in many such experiences, I'm hoping.

Haven't been posting much, but I've been doing a lot of reading (148 books so far this year), and I've started studying Spanish with Rosetta Stone.  Even with all the Spanish I've taken in school, I decided to begin with level 1, and I'm so glad I did.  This is a whole new way of learning.  Rather than making you memorize the laws of grammar, they show you in context, so you learn in an organic way, the way children learn their first  language.  It's also quite fun.

I've also joined Luminosity and have been faithfully playing the games every day.  They suggest that you work on them 3-4 times a week, but they're too fun not to play them every day.  Memory has my lowest score, which comes at no surprise, but I'm hoping to bring those numbers up with practice.

I've sent several poems and short stories off to contests and am hoping that something will come of them.  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

First short story published next month!

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What? edited by Amy Newmark, goes on sale August 19, 2014.  On page 283 will be my first published short story called, "Cat-astrophe Avoided" as written by my pen name, NL Shank.  Yay, me!  It is exciting and addictive, and I can't wait to see my name in print on other projects in the near future.  

Whatever shall I do to celebrate?  Ah yes, the purchase of an extremely finely crafted knife by Jay Fisher and James Beauchamp, called Creature EL.  It's the second knife I've bought from Jay, and I'm so excited to receive this present to myself.

Books Read July 2014

Ashley, Jennifer
  • Shifter Made
Fiction.  First in a shapeshifter series.  Set in Ireland, Alanna travels through the standing stones portal to get the blacksmith Niall to forge a special silver sword for her brother.  Shifters and the fae do not get along, and now that the shifters are free and not tied to being the fae’s servants, Niall has no intention of granting her order.  When she informs him that his cubs have already been kidnapped and taken to the land of Faerie, Niall is forced to create the sword, one that Alanna intends to use in stopping her brother from his nefarious purpose.

Ball, Donna
  • The Hummingbird House
Fiction.  Derrick and Paul have their hands full trying to get The Hummingbird House B&B up and running.  The problem is not that the B&B isn’t ready, it’s that they aren’t, and running a B&B isn’t turning out quite how they thought it would be.  The ladies at Ladybug Farm decide it’s time for the boys to stand on their own two feet, and with the assistance of some unique characters, their Grand Opening is a success.

Bevill, C.L.
  • Bayou Moon
Fiction.  Mignon Thibeaux returns to the Louisiana bayou country where she had been born and lived until her mother’s disappearance when Mignon was five years old.  A lifetime of unanswered questions revolve around the event, and Mignon is determined to find the truth even if it puts her own life in jeopardy.

Christie, Agatha
  • The Under Dog and Other Stories
Fiction.  Collection of Hercule Poirot short stories.

Daley, Kathi
  • Pumpkins in Paradise
Fiction.  First in the Lake Paradise cozy mystery series set in Nevada.  Tj lives at the resort that her family owns, and she juggles her coaching job at the high school with raising her two half-sisters and helping to run the family business.  When her good friend dies, she questions his apparent suicide and follows a trail that takes her back in time and leads to the killer.

Galenorn, Yasmine
  • Night’s End
Fiction.  The final book in the Indigo Court series starring Cecily Waters, Queen of the Snow and Ice.  Cecily and her cohorts ready themselves for the final battle with Myst, Queen of the Indigo Court. 

Glazer, Melissa
  • A Murderous Glaze 
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series set in a small Vermont town.  Carolyn Emerson, owner of a pottery store, arrives at work one day to find a town nemesis dead inside her store, and the sheriff thinks Carolyn is a great suspect.  She, along with her friends known as The Firing Squad, work together to discover the true murderer.

Hopkins, Shawn
  • Progeny
Fiction.  The story of an ex-Ranger who has found God and refuses to kill any more.  Ex-SEALs, who worked with his brother, have contacted him to let him know that his brother has gone missing from Bermuda, and though they’ve been estranged, he agrees to travel to the island to help find his brother, only to find himself lost in a nightmare of epic proportions.

Hosseini, Khalid
  • The Kite Runner
Fiction.  Heart-wrenching tale of a young Afghani boy growing up in the turbulent 60’s and 70’s in Kabul, Afghanistan, his friendship with the son of his father’s servant, and how he betrayed that friendship, not once, but twice.  The guilt follows him through his life even after he moves to America and can possibly only be released by returning to his war-torn homeland to save one of his own.

Newmark, Amy
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?
Non-fiction.  Collection of short stories written by humans who share their homes with felines.  Happy, sad, heartwarming, they’re all entertaining.

Ross, Barbara
  • Clammed Up

Fiction.  First in a clambake cozy mystery series set in Maine.  Julia Snowden  received a frantic call from her sister begging her to return to the small coastal town in Maine where she grew up.  Leaving her New York life behind her, she returns to Busman’s Harbor to pick up the reins of her family’s business, The Snowden Family Clambake Company, which is on the edge of being taken over by the bank.  Her experience as a venture capitalist might help her straighten out the company’s finances, but nothing will help her deal with a dead body.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Books Read June 2014

Aames, Avery
  • The Long Quiche Goodbye
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series centered around a cheese shop in Providence, Ohio.  Charlotte Bessette and her cousin, Matthew, run Fromagerie Bessette and the attached wine shop.  Her grandmother is the town mayor, and with the next election coming up soon, stakes are raised as her grandmother’s rival begins casting aspersions on the mayor.  What could be worse than her grandmother being accused of murder?  

Abbott, Victoria
  • The Sayers Swindle 
Fiction.  Second in a cozy mystery series starring Jordan, who works as an assistant to the most hated woman in town.  Vera Van Alst’s Dorothy L. Sayers’ collection has been stolen, and it’s Jordan’s job to recover it.  One that leads her into all kinds of trouble.

Andrews, V.C.
  • Flowers in The Attic
Fiction.  First in the Dollanganger series.  Corrine and Chris are living a wonderful life with their four precious children.  Flaxen-haired and blue-eyed, the neighbors call them the Dresden Dolls.  When the police come to tell Corrine that her husband has been killed, she panics and flees back to her childhood home, a home that she’d been banished from years ago.

  • Petals on The Wind
Fiction.  Second in the Dollanganger series.  The children have escaped and try to rebuild their lives with the help of Paul Sheffield, a doctor who takes them in.  Catherine is eaten up by hate and the need for revenge against the mother that treated them so badly, but Chris wants to put the past behind them and move forward.  Carrie, who suffered so badly, struggles to make friends in their new home.

  • If There Be Thorns
Fiction.  Third in the Dollanganger series.  Life has changed for Cathy and Chris.  Paul, Bart and Julian are dead.  Chris has moved the family to Northern California, where he works as a physician.  Jory, Julian’s son, is growing up kind and healthy, but his half-brother, Bart, lives inside his own fears and hatred.  Jory knows there is a secret that haunts his mother and step-father, but he is also afraid of learning the truth.  A mysterious veiled woman rebuilds the mansion next door, and Bart can’t resist finding out more about her.  He finds much more than he expected.

  • Seeds of Yesterday 
Fiction.  Fourth in the Dollanganger series.  Cathy, Chris and their children have returned to Foxworth Manor, which Bart has inherited from his grandmother.  The Sheffields plan only to spend a few weeks there before moving to Hawai’i, but tragedy strikes, putting their plans on hold indefinitely.  A surprise guest awaits them at Foxworth, a long-lost brother of Corrine who had been thought dead.  He moves in with a fanatical religious zeal that he learned from his parents, and Cathy is worried that he wields too much power over Bart.

  • Garden of Shadows
Fiction.  Fifth and final book of the Dollanganger series.  This prologue tells the story of Olivia Foxworth, how she met Malcolm Foxworth and became the mistress of Foxworth Hall.  Though she expected to have a warm and loving marriage, she suffered through many disappointments and heartaches with few moments of joy to see her through.

Bradbury, Ray
  • Zen in the Art of Writing
Non-fiction.  Collection of his essays having to do with his writing process.

Childs, Laura
  • Steeped in Evil
Fiction.  Fifteenth book in the Tea Shop cozy mystery series set in Charleston, SC.  Theodosia and Drayton are invited to a local winery for a wine tasting.  As the oak barrel for the winery’s newest creation is being opened, a slight accident causes the barrel to tip over revealing an even greater sensation...a dead body.

Christie, Agatha
  • The ABC Murders
Fiction.  Captain Hastings is back from Argentina on business and to visit with his good friend Hercule Poirot, who has recently retired from solving mysteries.  A letter arrives address to Poirot and announcing a murder that will take place an Andover, where someone whose name begins with A shall be the victim.  It’s the beginning of a series of murders that follow the alphabet, and time is running out for Poirot to find the killer.

Cohen, Nancy J
  • Permed to Death 
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series set in Florida and starring Marla Shore, proprietor of the Cut ‘N Dry beauty salon.  As if dealing with a vindictive ex-husband and his equally annoying girlfriend isn’t enough, Marla begins the day working on her nemesis, Bertha, a wealthy older woman for whom blackmail is a pastime.  When Bertha demands a cup of coffee while waiting for her perm to set, Marla fixes it with Bertha’s special cache of powdered creamer.  A few minutes later, when Marla returns from the back room, she finds Bertha dead in the chair, her coffee cup in pieces on the floor.

Evanovich, Janet
  • Top Secret Twenty-One
Fiction.  Stephanie Plum works as a bond enforcement agent in her cousin Vinny’s bail bonds office.  She also moonlights with Rangeman, a high-tech, high-end security company.  Along with Lula, she has to figure out who is killing members of a poker game, who keeps bombing Randy Briggs’ apartment, and how to help Ranger stop a Russian terrorist.

Fifield, Christy
  • Murder Hooks a Mermaid 
Fiction.  Second book in a paranormal cozy mystery series set in the Florida panhandle.  Glory Martine owns Southern Treasures, a souvenir shop in the small fishing town of Keyhole Bay.  Her friend, Karen, needs Glory’s help in trying to get Karen’s ex-brother-in-law out of jail, but his troubles are just beginning when murder charges are added, and Glory and her friends, along with the help of her deceased Uncle Louis in the form of her parrot, must scramble to solve the case before danger comes for them. 

George, Anne
  • Murder on a Bad Hair Day
Fiction.  Second book in a cozy mystery series set in Alabama.  Two sisters in their 60’s attend an art show gathering where Mary Alice introduces Patricia Anne to the owner of the gallery.  The next day, they find out that the owner has been found dead of an apparent heart attack, but that diagnosis is altered when digitalis is found in her system, a drug she doesn’t take.

Golden, Karen
  • The Cats that Surfed the Web 
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series that begins in New York and ends up in Indiana.  Katz Kendell’s great aunt died and left her a fortune, a gorgeous old house, and a cat.  The stipulation is that Katz has to move into the house and take care of the cat.  With the sudden loss of her job, there’s nothing left for her in New York, so she heads west with her three cats to start a new that begins with a murder.

Harris, Charlaine
  • Shakespeare’s Christmas 
Fiction.  Third in the Lily Bard cozy mystery series set in Arkansas.  Lily’s sister is getting married, and Lily needs to reconcile with her family in order to attend the wedding.  When her significant other, Jake, follows her to town,  he tells her that he’s working on a kidnapping case and is looking for a young girl.  The man that Lily’s sister, Verana, is about to marry has a young daughter of the right age and coloring, and it’s up to Lily to figure out if her sister is about to marry a kidnapper.

Herr, Michael A.
  • Is “Chicken Skin” A Local Delicacy?
Fiction.  A second collection of stories about the locals on Kaua’i staged around Primo’s Bar.  

Hoffman, Alice
  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things
Fiction.  Odd and depressing story of two people who grew up with strange lives who finally find each other, as a lotus that rises out of the mud.

Jaffarian, Sue Ann
  • Baited Blood
Fiction.  Second in the Madison Rose Vampire cozy series.  Madison is living with the Dedhams, working for the California Vampire Council and attending college classes.  It keeps her busy, though she gets lonely for human contact.  Early one morning after an all-night Council meeting, she walks outside to relax before heading up to bed when she finds a body floating in the pool, a body with a stake through the heart.

  • Murder in Vein
Fiction.  First in a paranormal cozy mystery set in California.  Madison Rose is a full-time waitress and part-time college student with no family.  Coming out of the foster care system, she’s been working hard to find her place in the world.  One night changes her entire life, when she’s kidnapped and beaten and in her dizzy haze, watches as her attacker is attacked by a creature in black, one that changes everything.

Landis, Jill Marie
  • Two to Mango

Fiction.  Second in the Tiki Goddess series.  Things are back to normal, as normal as they can be, at the Tiki Goddess bar.  The Hula Maidens are quarreling, Sophie is tending bar, and Em is trying to make sure the bar brings in more money than it sends out.  Roland, the hunky fire dancing detective asks Em for help in trying to solve two murders that nobody believes have happened.  As part of the ruse, she needs to convince the Hula Maidens to enter a hula competition, one that they did very poorly in several years ago, so Em has to work to talk them into it.