Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Diva Cooks a Goose

If you love Abbott and Costello’s who’s on first skit then you will love this book, for the rest of us, keeping straight who is dead, who is married to whom, which kids belong in which families and who is dating who gets a bit difficult to keep straight. My best advice is to take notes.

Besides the character confusion, the plot is interesting, taking place during the Christmas holiday season, when the home organizer extraordinaire is found dead after a music box releases a combination of deadly gasses. But was she the intended victim – with all the re-gifting going on, it is hard to tell. Inhaling toxic fumes is a unique form of murder for a cozy, so since it is not your typical form of murder the “who could have done it” list should be short. Well, not so with this group. Apparently, there are many that didn’t like the local clutter buster and with the shenanigans that she pulled at the Christmas dinner, the tangled web of Old Town, Alexandria gets a bit more jumbled.

Krista Davis pulls in the usual cast of characters from her previous books and adds more than a few additional cohorts. For a cozy, I am not sure why it had to be so complicated, but I do not know that she could have left anyone out since each person holds a bit of a clue as to the victim’s death.

I love how Ms Davis dangles the end of each chapter. Just when you think that you will close up the book for the night, she zings you with an end of chapter paragraph that makes you want to read just one more, which then turns into one more and one more.

Somewhere midway through this book you figure out who the murderer is. The signs are all there and the process of elimination does send you in other directions to begin with, but in the end, if you go with your gut feeling you will be right.

"The picture of Mars’s Aunt Fay that hung near the fireplace swung to a slant. There were those, namely Mars’s mother, June, who thought her sister’s spirit resided in my kitchen.”

I do enjoy this series, I just wish she would delve into the apparently haunted picture of Aunt Fey and how June talks to her. Maybe I just like a little supernatural with my cozies. I will definitely continue on with this series. Next time I just might need to add annotations, but sometimes a book demands a bit of interactive reading.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot
Bruce Leininger and Andrea Leininger


The story of James Leininger is the best American case of a child’s past life memory among the thousands I’ve encountered. It’s extraordinary because little James remembers names and places from his past life that can be traced to real people and actual events—facts that can easily be verified. He was even reunited with people who knew him in his former life as a World War II pilot.

Chapter 1
Midnight, Monday, May 1, 2000

The screams came out of nowhere. One day James Leininger, just three weeks past his second birthday, was a happy, playful toddler, the centerpiece of a loving family of three living on the soft coastal plain of southern Louisiana. And then suddenly, in the darkest hour of midnight, he was flopping around on his bed like a broken power line, howling at the sky as if he could crack open the heavens with his ear-shattering distress.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

And The Winner Is:


Karen Joan

Thank you to all that participated in my first giveaway

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pray For Silence

First off, if you are at all squeamish, stay away from this book. Linda Castillo is a very talented author that has a knack for being able to draw the reader into very horrific scenes describing every nuance to the point that not only can the reader see it, they can almost feel it.

"If I’ve learned anything in my years in law enforcement, it’s that the living come first. We can always deal with the dead in our nightmares.”

Once again the Amish community of Painters Mill is rocked by the apparently senseless brutal killing of the entire Plank family. Called to the scene, Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force are thrown into one of the most horrific scenes that any of them have ever been witness to. Knowing once again that this is over her head, her first call is to State Agent John Tomessetti. They have a history, both professionally and personally, but Kate knows that if anyone can help her figure out this mess then it is John.

But John comes with his own demons, two and a half years ago his wife and daughter were brutally murdered and John threw himself into a downward spiral of prescription drugs and alcohol in which he “sucks them down with the self- destructive glee of an addict”. Now on administrative leave and seeing an overly preppy therapist, John is on a road to recovery but he is not exactly the ideal patient. He wants back to work, he wants to be a contributing member of the BCI force and most importantly he wants to be with Kate and help her through this investigation.

Kate and John are drawn into Mary Planks life and into a world that she was ill equipped to handle. What had Mary gotten herself into? Who was this English boy that she writes about in her journal? They needed to find him. They needed answers as to why the whole family is now dead and Mary’s cryptic writings may hold the answers.

“Where there is a secret, there will be a revelation”

The climatic ending was a bit predictable with a few “oh my gosh” moments. A couple characters stood out to me as reasonable suspects though Ms Castillo blended them into the background of the story she was telling. No one is above suspicion and the Kate Burkholder series teaches you to pay close attention all characters, not just the obvious ones.

This second book in the Kate Burkholder series after (Sworn to Silence) most certainly lives up to its predecessor. I highly recommend that you start there since there are many references to the Slaughterhouse Murders, which was the case that originally brought Tomasetti and Burkholder together.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Restorer

Called the Graveyard Queen, Amelia Grey has been working alongside her father, the local cemetery grounds keeper since she was a child. All grown up, she is now a renowned historian and restorer of cemeteries but being able to care for the hollowed land is not the only thing she can do, both Amelia and her father can see the dead.

"I was twenty-seven years old and I'd never had a best friend, never had a real confidant and had never once fallen in love. From the time I was nine years old, the dead that walk among us had isolated me from the living. With that first sighting, my life had been changed forever. Like my father, I'd learned to live with my secret, had even come to embrace the solitude, but there were times, like tonight, when I wondered if madness might not also wait for me behind the veil"

There are very strict rules when it comes to having this gift; one is never to make contact. Second, do not let them know that you can see them or they will attach to you and you will never get away. The third is to never get close to a person who has a ghost attached to them." That one is a bit harder for Amelia since she has feelings for John Devlin, a police detective, assigned to investigate the recent body that has turned up in the cemetery after a storm. Of course, it cannot be as simple as a washed up casket; this is definitely a newly deceased person who did not have a proper burial. But of course, that isn't the only body in this story. Just when you think you have all the creepiness tied up Tom Gerrity, an ex-police officer who wants to torment Devlin shows up with some information of his own. Who is the Prophet and why does it set John Devlin off?

What does bother me about this story is that both Amelia and her father have the same ability, but yet Amelia is adopted. It hit me as strange that two people who are unrelated coincidently have the same gift, but now I am wondering if there is more to this story that will be revealed in future installments. Just one more twist in a very interesting tale.

"We can learn so much from the dead"

The end is quite twisty so be prepared to pay close attention. Things that you think are, aren't, things that didn't make sense are left dangling for the next in this planned trilogy, so be prepared to be left questioning and having to draw your own conclusions until next time.

Amanda Stevens definitely has a series to keep any eye out for.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fatal Error

I do not know how to classify this book. I would not call it a mystery because from the get go you know exactly who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. It is not a thriller, since the book takes a meandering path to an obvious conclusion, but yet, general fiction doesn’t make sense either since there are both mystery and thriller elements associated with the story.

Alison Reynolds is finishing her Arizona Police Academy training when she is informed that due to budget cuts, there is no current opening for her, now what is she to do. Her parents are on a long overdue vacation and she is spending her mornings and afternoons at the Sugarloaf Cafe but she is not the type to just sit around and wait for something to happen. Well, into her life comes Brenda Riley another ex-anchorwoman who has an interesting tale of a man that she is engaged to but has never met. That is curious. Said fiancé is now missing and Brenda is asking Ali to help her track down this wayward man.

With the help of Detective Gil Morris , Ali soon finds herself on the trail of Richard Lowensdale who apparently through his cyber stalking has strung many women along but this time his luck has run out when he is deemed expendable by an evil woman with her own drug cartel connections.

I have really enjoyed the previous five books in this series, but somehow this one fell off the rails. It felt to me that Ms Jance either was bored with the series or decided that her previous accomplishments were enough to get this out to her readers.

I can recommend the previous books in this series, but I would have great difficulty recommending this one. In addition, as for where the title came from, that was just tucked into the final chapters of the book more as an afterthought then having any real purpose.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bonneville (Movie)

(Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen and Christine Baranski)

This is an OK movie, not great but something nice to have on in the background while you are doing your stuff around the house.

The movie is formulaic with the typical best friends helping a grieving widow. After having been married for 20+ years, Arvilla has lost her husband. One of his dying wishes was to have his ashes spread over the places that he loved; this does not sit well Arvilla’s stepdaughter who wants her “daddy” to be interred next to her mother. Throwing salt in the wound, if Arvilla does not comply, nasty stepdaughter will take the family home away from her.

Instead of flying from Pocatello, Idaho to Santa Barbara, California they decide to take the late husband’s Bonneville on a cross county excursion stopping in the places that dear dead husband enjoyed. Funny, apparently there are no freeways from Pocatello to Santa Barbara since they seem to be in some rather out of the way gas stations.

After arriving late for the funeral with guilty looks on their faces, the ashes are finally presented to wicked stepdaughter only there is quite a funny surprise when the ashes are accidently spilled. Actually, that is the best part of the movie.

There are a couple of things that just did not make sense in this movie - Why was it necessary to make reference to a characters Mormonism when in fact they just made fun of the customs of that religion throughout the movie. How did the truck driver find them at yet another out of the way gas station driving a little blue truck instead of his 18-wheeler?

The little things here and there drove me crazy. I guess if you are looking for mindless entertainment this would suffice, but if you are hoping for something to dig your teeth into, this just is not it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sometimes You Have to Applaud Ingenuity

Regina Mayer jumps with her cow Luna over a hurdle in Laufen, southern Germany, on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. When Regina Mayer's parents dashed her hopes of getting a horse, the 15-year-old didn't go sulk in her room. Instead, the resourceful teen turned to cow called Luna to make her dream come true. Hours of training and tons of treats, cajoling and caresses later, the results are impressive. Not only do the two regularly go on long rides together through the picturesque southern German countryside, they even do jumps over a homemade hurdle of beer crates and painted logs.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Other Boleyn Girl (Movie)

I have been watching The Tudors and decided to take a little side trip and watch The Other Boleyn Girl (Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana) to get a feel for more of the Boleyn story. Well, now I am completely confused.

Though both stories are dealing within the same period and the same basic characters, the two adaptations could not be any more different. Now I understand poetic license, but when facts are toyed with, it leaves the watcher quite befuddled.

For instance, Mary Boleyn is referred to as the older sister in The Tudors and the younger sister in The Other Boleyn Girl, so off to Google to find out. According to The House of Tudor, Mary is the older sister. OK, The Tudors got this one right. The Other Boleyn Girl tell of an illegitimate child that Mary bore during her time with Henry the VIII, The Tudor’s doesn’t comment on this. This time to Wiki. Apparently, Mary bore two children, but then again who is counting. So I will give that one to The Other Boleyn Girl. Now the most curious part, the end of The Other Boleyn Girl shows Mary taking the young Elizabeth and leaving Court to raise the child. Really, does anyone think that was possible? I thought Governess cared for her, but then people do like a happily ever after ending when dealing with royalty.

The more I look into the Tudor history, the more confused I get. I understand that movie making is supposed to be fantasy, but how hard would it be to research what is “known” and go from there instead of making it up as you go.

Now back to the actual movie. Overall, it is quite a stunning spectacle. The costuming and staging are beautiful. The casting is reasonable, though Henry should have been shorter and rounder, but then again who would want to see that. I have also seen in some reviews that the sex scenes in The Other Boleyn Girl shocked people. Well, if you are offended by that, which there really was not much shown, it is a PG-13 after all; I suggest that you completely bypass The Tudors. That one will make you blush.

Unless you know some of the prior history of the time, you would have been lost in this movie. The timing is a bit choppy, sort of like a Cliff Notes version of a small part of the Tudor Period. If you are not looking for a history lesson you might like this movie, but just be warned that it is an adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction novel and not necessarily a work of fact.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Iron Lake

If you enjoy Craig Johnson, then William Kent Krueger is right up you alley. Both write the cold backcountry police procedural with folklore and the surrounding environment being as essential a character as anyone else mentioned in the storyline.

Cork O’Connor and his attorney wife Jo are in the middle of a separation due to his downward spiral after losing an election to maintain his position as sheriff. Now out of the house and trying to keep an old run down seasonal restaurant afloat, Cork receives a call from a friend that is panicked over her missing son. Of course, there is more to the story, since Paul’s last newspaper delivery was to the local judge’s home and now the judge has been found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Everyone but Cork is in a hurry to close this case, but there is something nagging at Cork. This suicide is tied up too neat and clean and that is just something that does not settle right with the ex-Sheriff in him.

Then one night it all comes to a boiling point. A Windigo is calling out names, ambitions fuel murder, secrets that should stay hidden are photographed for all to see and Cork is right there in the middle with an unlikely ally and a future that will undoubtedly be even more complicated then what he was bargaining for.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next in the series. There were a couple of loose ends left dangling and I am glad that Krueger did not wrap everything up in a neat little bow. This is a book that you have to let sit with you for a little while. You have to let the relationships float around in your brain and wonder aloud, what if or what about, before you can put the whole story to rest.

Good job Mr. Krueger.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One Good Turn

OK, I will give it to Kate Atkinson; she has a way of zinging an ending where you do not see it coming. There is always something at the end that makes your head do a whip-a-round and you find yourself saying, “Really, what did I miss that got us to this point”.

If you are one of those cheater types that reads the last chapter or paragraph before you start a book, then you will ruin this whole reading experience, so just take your time and get to the good parts in due course.

Like the previous book, there are multiple plotlines – an automobile accident with a brawl in the middle of the street; a home developer and his wife who have a problem with deceptive business tactics not to mention missing money; and then there is Jackson Brodie, the former cop and private investigator who while in Edinburgh to see Julia in a play discovers a body. Of course, this body cannot stay put and washes out to sea before the local constable can come to verify its existence, making Jackson look like a daft fool.

As the stories weave their way to the conclusion, the reader begins to see how each are interrelated. How even the slightest nuance actually has a point and the dry humor that is exhibited in the unlikeliest moments has you rereading wondering in this politically correct day and age if they can really say that.

Overall, I don’t think I liked this book as well as the first Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, I just couldn’t find myself attaching to the characters in the same way as I did the first time around. Though the writing and the stylizing of the stories are good, the overall enjoyment of One Good Turn was not the same as Case Histories. Will I read more, maybe one day, just need to take a break and wait until the feeling hits me again.

I do suggest that you read them in order since some of the characters flow from one into the next and you might feel that you are missing something even though Ms Atkinson does an admirable job of rehashing some bits from the previous story so you do not feel completely in the dark.

I do recommend that you do check out this series, from the beginning and be prepared for an enjoyable time and a thinking person’s adventure into storytelling.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Giveaway

In Honor of my 4 Year Anniversary. I have decided to host my first book giveaway.

Compliments of Simon and Schuster


An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

Geneen Roth

No matter how sophisticated or wealthy or broke or enlightened you are, how you eat tells all.

After three decades of studying, teaching and writing about our compulsions with food, bestselling author Geneen Roth adds a powerful new dimension to her work in Women Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God.

A timeless and seminal work, Women Food and God shows how going beyond the food and the feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul—to the bright center of your own life.

Geneen Roth is the author of eight books, including the New York Times bestselling When Food is Love and The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It, a memoir. She has been teaching groundbreaking workshops and retreats for over thirty years. Roth is a contributor to many publications from Huffington Post and Good Housekeeping to O:The Oprah Magazine, and has appeared on numerous national shows including Oprah, 20/20, Good Morning America, The View and NPR's Talk of the Nation . She lives in northern California with her husband. For more information about her work, please visit

 To Enter - Just leave a comment with an email address in case you win.
 US Shipping Only
 Winner will be selected on Sunday - April 24th
 Good Luck to all who enter!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cozy Mystery Challenge 2011

Cozy Mystery Challenge:

1. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure (Haunted Bookshop, Bk 1) :: Alice Kimberly (Berkley)

2. Town in a Blueberry Jam :: B. B. Haywood(Berkley)

3. The Diva Cooks a Goose :: Krista Davis (Berkley)

4. Agatha Raisin and The Day the Floods Came :: M. C. Beaton (Minotaur Books)

5. Holiday Grind :: Cleo Coyle (Berkley)

6. Vision Impossible :: Victoria Laurie (NAL)

7. The Main Corpse :: Diane Mott Davidson (Bantam)

8. Dead and Berried :: Karen MacInerney (Midnight Ink)

9. Aunt Dimity Down Under :: Nancy Atherton (Viking)

10. Chocolate Covered Crime :: Cynthia Hickey (Barbour)

11. Buzz Off :: Hannah Reed (Berkley)

12. Bean There, Done That :: Sandra Balzo (Severn House Publishers)

This year I swore I was not going to particiate in any more challenges. I am awful when it comes to going back to the original posting and letting the challenge sponsor know what I have completed. So I just seem to fade into the abyss.

But this year,I am hoping it will be different. As they say, there is always hope.

I had already put together my list of books that I want to read by the end of the year and there just happened to be 12 cozies, so I figured, why not.

Here are the rules, if you wish to join, stop by and let Kris know you are interested.