Posted in Book Releases, Promote an Author, Review Thursday

Book Review: Murder on the Mother Road


Bobby Navarro decides to visit the Grand Canyon, so he decides to stay in the little town of Williams. As soon as he pulls into town, he sees someone hit a car and then drive off. But it is what’s in the trunk of the car that he hit that upsets Bobby the most: the body of a young girl.

After being questioned and released by the police, Bobby can’t help but ask a few innocent questions about the young girl. He suddenly finds himself drawn into the investigation by one of the local police officers, Lucinda, a woman he knew in high school. She wants him to keep asking questions without being too obvious, and see if he can learn anything that will help nail someone she suspects helped the man they have arrested for the girl’s murder.

Bobby’s questions lead him to the Holiness Pentecostal Church of the Brethren, where Lucinda’s second suspect works part time. Bobby starts to get the weird feeling that things are not what they seem at the church, and that perhaps Pastor Martin and his two right hand men may be doing more than leading their flock to the Lord.

But the closer Bobby gets to the truth, the more dangerous it gets. And when he finally learns the truth, another murder happens, and another young girl who was a friend of the murdered girl is almost killed. Bobby needs to step into make sure that no one else gets hurt, but will he be in time?

Glenn Nilson has written an intriguing mystery set in the Arizona desert. Having grown up in the New Mexico desert myself, I didn’t have a hard time imagining what Bobby was seeing (and it makes me wants to go visit the Grand Canyon myself!). Beautiful descriptions, a wonderful storyline, and plenty of action keep me hooked from beginning to end. I enjoyed it because it was not graphic or gory. I also like the idea that Bobby is a roamer, so that means an always changing cast of characters, so it will keep the series fresh and new. This is the second book in Nilson’s series, and I have every intention of checking out his first book, Murder on Route 66.

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Posted in Book Releases, Promote an Author, Review Thursday

Book Review: Something’s Knot Kosher


When Birdie Watson’s husband, Russell, is murdered during a bank robbery, her quilting friends Martha Rose and Lucy rush to her side. As they help her make funeral plans, long kept secrets start to surface, shocking Martha and Lucy. How could they have not known these things about their dear friend’s life?

After someone tries to break into Birdie’s house, the FBI warns the three friends that someone may be after Birdie as well. Since Russell will be buried in Oregon in his family plot, Martha figures that Birdie will be safe if they get out of town. But in the journey from California to Oregon, the hearse driver suffers a heart attack, leaving Martha to drive the hearse. When they are involved in an accident, they discover that Russell’s body isn’t the only one in the coffin.

So who killed Russell, and who’s after Birdie? The past and present collide as Martha and Lucy try to protect their friend while trying to find the mastermind behind the murders, before one of them becomes the next victim.

I have read one other book in this series and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I couldn’t wait to read the latest book, and I wasn’t disappointed! Mary Marks has written a delightful, exciting book that I could not put down. From the shocking beginning to the heart stopping conclusion, you will be glued to your seat and cheering on these fierce, brave women. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

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Posted in Promote an Author, Review Thursday

Book Review: Nun But The Brave






Giulia Driscoll is back in a new mystery that hits a little too close to home. When her sister-in-law suffers an apparent overdose, Giulia knows this is not normal. A missing person case comes along to take her mind off her brother’s troubled marriage. A young woman who never met a person she didn’t like, or a cat she didn’t love, suddenly becomes secretive and then disappears without a trace. Her twin sister believes she is still alive, although the police think otherwise. So Giulia goes undercover and dives into the world of Doomsday Preppers, hoping to find her missing person alive. But the deeper into the Preppers’ world she gets, the more she realizes that something more devious and sinister is going on. Now it becomes a race against time to save not only the missing girl, but quite possibly herself.

Alice Loweecey’s newest book in this series is great. I love this series because As a preacher’s kid, I can relate to Giulia’s religious beliefs. The characters are colorful and delightful; I like Her assistant, Zane, more and more. He’s awesome. Giulia’s husband Frank always makes me laugh, and Sidney as a new mom reminds me of when I was a new mom myself. Wonderful, awesome, superb, this is a series that you will love!

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Posted in Book Releases, Review Thursday

Book Review: Oliver Twisted

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Ivy and her Uncle Bob are going undercover to find some thieves…on a literary themed cruise ship. Ivy is part of the company of “Oliver! At Sea”.

It doesn’t take long for things to get complicated. First, Ivy’s cranky roommate, who doesn’t want to share a room with anyone, is found dead. Uncle Bob is hanging around with a woman named Bette, distracting him from their case. And if being surrounded by water that she’s deathly afraid of wasn’t bad enough, she missed the part of her contract that said she’d be swinging from the ceiling on a band of silk. (Next time, read the fine print, Ivy!)

When she’s not fighting off the attentions of her very handsome Russian co-star, Val, and the director, Jonas, Ivy’s trying to untangle the web of clues left behind by her dead roommate. If she’s not careful, her final performance is going to be at the bottom of the ocean.

I have been a fan of Cindy Brown’s books since the very first one, “MacDeath”, and each
subsequent book has been better than the last one. Being a theatre geek myself, it wasn’t hard for me to fall in love with Ivy and the other colorful characters that are along for the wild ride. “Oliver Twisted” is delightfully funny, thoroughly entertaining, and will keep you guessing until the thrilling conclusion. I highly recommend all three of Ms. Brown’s books (“The Sound of Murder” is the second book)!

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Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review: Secret Lives and Private Eyes

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All Chaz Smith wants to do is open his business in a nice area and help bring some money to the neighborhood. Does it matter that it’s a strip club? It matters to their neighbors, who launch a social media blitz against him, and to the mayor, who is doing his best to make sure that Chaz doesn’t get the permits he needs to open his business. Continue reading “Book Review: Secret Lives and Private Eyes”

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: Macdeath by Cindy Brown

This is my first review of 2015! How many books have you read so far already this year? If you need another, I highly recommend you pick up Macdeath on Amazon today!

MACDEATH front under 2mbIvy Meadows is an aspiring actress in Phoenix, although at the moment, she’s trying to keep from completely falling apart (thanks to the heat, a broken car air conditioner, a broken shoe heel, which forces her to wear a leopard spotted leotard) before her audition for Macbeth. She stumbles and tumbles her way through the audition, and wins a coveted spot in the production.

However, the director’s vision of the play and what the Bard intended are two different things. And while the play resembles a circus on the stage, the real show is behind the scenes. Many of the cast and crew have worked together before, and not all the memories are fond ones. One of the actors, Simon Black, asks Ivy help him stay sober during their time together. She doesn’t believe she’s the right one for the job, but agrees to help him.

Everything goes well during the three weeks of rehearsals, but on opening night, someone says “Macbeth” backstage before the show. Everyone knows you don’t say that name because of the curse. But everything goes well, and Ivy even gets a heart-stopping, room-spinning kiss from Jason, the lead actor playing the King. When she goes to see Simon before leaving for the night, she finds him dead in his dressing room. It appears that poor Simon fell off the wagon and drank himself to death. The curse lives!

With the help of Uncle Bob, a private investigator, and Detective Pinkstaff, Ivy has to figure out the complicated relationships between Simon, the cast and crew to find a murderer. But can she do it without falling victim to the Macbeth curse?

As a theater lover (and former actress, gofer, assistant director and director), I fell in love with this book right away. I love Ivy; she’s a klutzy gal after my own heart. The story is well-written, the descriptions are so detailed that I swear at times I could smell the greasepaint, and Ms. Brown kept me guessing until the very end. For those readers that are unfamiliar with what goes on backstage at a show, this will them an unobstructed view of how hard everyone works to make it a success. I had a love/hate relationship with several characters, and I was rooting for one particular character to hook up with Ivy (I’m still hoping!). There wasn’t anything about this book that I didn’t like (I loved it all!), and I am waiting with baited breath for The Sound of Murder, coming out this fall. I would definitely recommend this wonderful book to anyone who has ever spent time in theater or drama classes. This is one book I will be re-reading in the near future!


Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: A Nip of Murder by Carol Miller

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

nip of murderA group of geocachers is keeping things hopping at Sweetie Pies Bakery, and Daisy is thrilled with all the business. But everything comes to a screeching halt when she finds her friend Brenda standing in the kitchen, holding a knife…and a dead body at her feet. It seems the dead man is one of three men who broke through the back door of the bakery, and stole ninety pounds of cream cheese. Who steals ninety pounds of cream cheese? Maybe someone who is trying to set a world record for the biggest cheesecake in the Virginia mountains. But the thieves left behind a clue: a red poker chip with the initials TS on the chip.

Much to Daisy’s chagrin, Rick Balsam takes an interest in the problem at the bakery. He’s a royal pain in the behind, but even she will admit that he is one fine looking man. A few days later, Daisy and Brenda find a rather large looking man standing outside the bakery, sent there to protect them by Rick, who also gives Daisy a gun hidden in a brown paper bag. She promptly shoves it under the counter and forgets about it.

Rick’s younger brother, Bobby, has other things on his mind. He’s getting married in a week to one of the geocacher organizers, Laurel. And Daisy finds herself interested in Laurel’s brother, Chris, which irritates Rick. Unfortunately, their geocache event has been canceled because of a potential deadly disease to the bats in the area of the event. During an afternoon outing with Chris, Daisy decides to follow a lead, and finds herself at a nip joint that happens to belong to Rick. Even more upsetting is learning that Chris and his friends had been thrown out of the joint over the weekend for cheating at cards. But it’s what she finds outside of the nip joint that is the most disturbing: the crates that had held the stolen cream cheese. Did Rick have something to do with the robbery?

Another break in occurs, this time at the historical society, where some old maps from the nineteenth century are stolen. Everyone is puzzled about why someone would steal some worthless old maps. But according to Henry Brent, the man who donated the maps, they aren’t worthless. They show the area as it looked shortly after the Civil War, he says. The rumors have been around for years that there is a hidden cache of silver and gold in the mountains that were hidden there during the war. But Henry says that the silver isn’t there, but in another city. Daisy has no idea what the maps have to do with the robbery at her bakery.

Brenda frantically calls Daisy a couple of days later. She’s at the bakery by herself, and someone is trying to break in. There is the sound of breaking glass before the call is disconnected. When Daisy arrives, she finds Brenda in the alley in the back, bent over their bodyguard’s body. Even more disturbing, the gun that Rick had given her is also missing.

Slowly, Daisy starts to put the pieces together. A frantic call from Bobby takes her out to the cabins near the lake, where she finds an injured Rick unconscious in Chris’ cabin. Believing that someone has kidnapped Laurel and Chris, Bobby and a reluctant Daisy trek off into the woods to look for them. But will they find what they are looking for, or will they meet an unfortunate end when they learn the truth?

This is the second book in this series by Carol Miller (Murder and Moonshine is the first), and I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful book. Ms. Miller does an excellent job of building the suspense, especially during Bobby and Daisy’s journey through the woods. The characters are well-written, and I found myself in a love/hate relationship with Rick Balsam myself (I alternated between wanting to punch his lights out, and feeling sorry for him after he gets hurt). I love how Daisy takes care of herself and her friends, yet accepts help when it is offered to her, even if it is from one of her hated enemies. This is definitely a series that I will be following closely, and I look forward to the next book in the series. Well done indeed, Ms. Miller! Bravo!

Nip of Murder is available for purchase on Amazon.

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: The Red Queen’s Run by Bourne Morris

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

Red Queen's Run coverFaculty meetings can be contentious at times, but associate dean Meredith “Red” Solaris has noticed that their meetings lately have been downright hostile. She’s afraid that one day there will be bloodshed, and she has no idea how her friend, Henry Brooks, dean of the journalism school, handles it all without going crazy.

Unfortunately, she’s about to find out, because three days after their last meeting, Henry is found dead on the stairwell at the school. Red believes the murderer is one of three people: Simon, who used to be the dean, but now, he is a bitter man who is fighting the changes that are happening to the curriculum and to his beloved school; George, a pompous egotistical bully who wants to deny the tenure of an associate professor, and also supports Simon’s views on the changes; and Edwin, the third senior member (along with Simon and George) who is aggressively fighting with Henry about anything and everything.

Red is named interim dean, much to the chagrin of the three men. After Detective Joe Morgan tells her Henry didn’t die of natural causes, Red starts to take a closer look at all of her co-workers. She learns that Henry wasn’t as quiet and shy as she thought, either: it seems he was having an affair with a faculty member’s wife. Did the affair get him killed?

In between dealing with the everyday pressures at work, Red and Joe start dating, and they share any information they learn along the way. But everyone Red suspects seem to have an alibi. As she digs through Henry’s files about the other professors, she discovers one of the faculty has been accused of plagiarism, but she cannot find the name of the person in Henry’s notes. Was there a confrontation that turned fatal?

Red starts to receive threatening notes, telling her to quit her job or suffer the consequences. And the deeper the investigation goes, the more dangerous it gets for Red. With the killer closing in, will she be able to figure out the truth before it’s too late?

This is an excellent book by Ms. Morris. As a former teacher, I could relate to the contentious meetings and backstabbing that was going on behind closed doors at the university. She gives the reader an exciting mix of intrigue, mystery and romance for a man-wary Red, and conveys her conflicted feelings about suspecting someone Red knows as being a possible murderer with the right mix of anger and sadness. I did figure out who did it, but the downward spiral she sends the characters through is just heart stopping and gut wrenching. I thoroughly enjoyed The Red Queen’s Run, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series!

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: Shadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

SHADOW OF DOUBT cover 1Pepper Millhouse is an agent to the stars, and they adore her because of how hard she works for them. Her latest star, Amber Marx, has just won a major award, and seems poised for a breakout year.

But there are people in the industry who don’t appreciate the way Pepper operates.  A couple of hours after the awards show, Pepper dies under mysterious circumstances in her hot tub…alone.

Carol Childs is a rookie reporter for KCHC, a divorcee with a teenage son, Charlie, and she has started a new relationship with a smoking hot FBI agent, Eric Langdon. She’s working hard at the station to prove she can be a good reporter. And she thinks she’s finally got her big break when her neighbor, Samantha Millhouse, bangs on her door early in the morning and breaks the news that her aunt, Pepper, is dead.

Sam’s relationship with her aunt wasn’t a good one, and Sam has made her feelings about her aunt crystal clear to anyone who will listen. Pepper managed to alienate almost everyone who knew her, including Sam’s twin sister, Sarah. In fact, the suspect list is so long, it seems unlikely the police will ever be able to solve her murder.

Kari, one of Carol’s co-workers, speculates on the air that perhaps someone is trying to kill off the top people at Pepper’s agency in a power play to take over. Two other agents died under mysterious circumstances just weeks before Pepper’s death. Kari seems to point the finger at Sam, and when the will reveals that Pepper left the agency to Sam, her sister makes it clear that she believes Sam is a murderer.

Carol doesn’t believe it, but her boss, Tyler, is reluctant to let her handle the story. He assigns her a story about waterless urinals on the UCLA campus. But when she gets there, Eric is already there because of a missing girl case. He introduces her to Misty Dawn, a psychic who led the police to the girl’s body.

When Sam is arrested for Pepper’s murder, Carol is shocked. The autopsy results reveal that Pepper was poisoned, and Carol begins to suspect Misty Dawn, who has a connection to Amber Marx. Sam is also charged with the murders of the other two agents from the agency, and then a young star with connections to the agency dies on a flight overseas. Is her friend Sam a serial killer, or is someone else trying to frame her?

The stakes become dangerously high when Charlie’s life is in danger, and Carol has to figure out the ending to this crazy, murderous script before someone else dies. But will she be able to toss out all the red herrings before she is taken off the air – permanently?

Nancy Cole Silverman delivers a delightful novel with plenty of twists and turns. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, she throws a wrench into the works that makes you scratch your head in frustration. Carol is a good, strong woman with a wonderful supporting cast, and while I found Misty Dawn to be the wackiest woman in the world, I’m kind of hoping Silverman brings her back in the future. Shadow of Doubt is a well-written mystery with an ending that will leave you gasping in shock, and waiting to tune in for the next story.

Shadow of Doubt is available for purchase on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere!

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: Fatal Brushstroke by Sybil Johnson

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

FATAL BRUSHSTROKE front under 2mbRory Anderson didn’t expect the furious barking coming from her backyard to turn her life upside down. But that’s exactly what happens when she goes outside and discovers a hand buried in her garden. That hand is attached to the body of Hester Bouquet, a local celebrity painter, and someone Rory had been avoiding. Did her suddenly missing gardener, Javier, bury Hester in Rory’s garden and leave town?

It doesn’t help Rory’s plea of innocence when she intentionally leaves out a few things when she first meets Detective Green. They aren’t that important, are they? She notices him talking to her neighbors, who all start to look at her suspiciously. And the fact that Chief Marshall has a personal vendetta against her doesn’t help her case at all.

With the help of her friend, Liz, Rory starts poking around in Hester’s life. The logical suspects appear to be the not-so-grieving widower, Julian, who seems to be a wee bit too close to another woman, Trudy, and their son, Kevin, who seems to resent his mother for some reason. Rory feels sorry for Julian’s assistant, Nora, who was very close to Hester and seemed to worship the very ground Hester walked on.

A nosy wannabe reporter,Veronica, starts stalking Rory, posting stories and pictures on her blog that make it clear (without actually printing her name) that Rory is the one and only suspect. And at Hester’s funeral, a close encounter with Chief Marshall reinforces this belief, making Rory more determined than ever to clear her name.

After inventorying Hester’s art supplies the day after the funeral, Rory becomes distracted when someone breaks into her mother’s art store, and her mother is attacked. As she cleans up the mess, Rory discovers a damning piece of evidence that she believes is going to lead her straight to the killer. But after she confronts Trudy with what she has found, she is shocked when she finds Trudy dead the next morning. Even worse, Detective Green discovers Trudy’s cell phone and a near empty pill bottle in Rory’s back seat that makes her look very, very guilty.

Undeterred, Rory and Liz keep digging into the history of all the players involved, until an innocent moment helps Rory realize who the real killer is. Can Rory and Liz trap the killer, before the killer can turn the tables and send Rory to the great beyond in a blaze of glory?

Fatal Brushstroke is a good book, and on a scale of one to five, I would give it a four. I felt that Ms. Johnson was trying too hard at the beginning to make Rory look guilty as sin, and I got a bit tired of her withholding information from Detective Green. I understand Rory’s reluctance to trust the young detective because of Chief Marshall’s influence, but it bothered me that Rory kept saying she was innocent, but didn’t do much to prove it in the eyes of the law. As a writer, I do the same thing sometimes with my characters, but I felt this was a bit extreme. Once I figured out who the killer was, I did read it to the end to make sure I was correct (I was). Things did start to pick up from about the middle of the book to the end. Overall, it is a very good mystery, and I am invested in the characters enough that I am looking forward to the next Rory mystery. I wish I was talented enough in the art department to try some of the things Ms. Johnson describes in the book, because they sound like fun projects. Well done, Ms. Johnson!

Fatal Brushstroke is available on Amazonand through IndieBound.