Posted in Promote an Author

Book Review Thursday: Dirty Deeds by Jenna Bennett

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

CS9-matchNow happily settled in their home, Savannah Martin and Rafe Collier are looking forward to planning their wedding while they start decorating a nursery for the baby they are expecting. Savannah decided to sublet her apartment for a couple of months for extra cash until her lease runs out, and so far it has worked out well. Until she goes to the apartment to clean it before the next arrival, and finds a dead woman, who eerily looks a lot like her, in her bed.

The investigation is being handled by their old friend, Detective Tamara Grimaldi, so Rafe won’t have to investigate this time. While he’s busy at the TBI, Savannah is cleaning out her office, having just been fired. Liz, the new hire (probably there to take Savannah’s place, she thinks), tells her that her sister came by on Saturday looking for her. But when she checks with her sister, Savannah finds out that her sister wasn’t in Nashville that day, but someone else she knows was…her ex-boyfriend, Todd Satterfield. And the “sister” that showed up at her office sent him a message using her computer, asking her to come to Savannah’s apartment. And they signed Savannah’s name to it.

Grimaldi sends Rafe down to Sweetwater to talk to Todd, who lawyers up, and he drives to Dix’s office (Savannah’s brother). But he doesn’t give much information to Rafe, making himself look very guilty. When Todd’s connection to the dead woman is uncovered, Rafe is forced to go to Atlanta to find out what happened during the time that Todd lived there. So Savannah goes home to Sweetwater, where her mother is still holding out hope that she’ll dump Rafe and marry Todd.

However, Savannah’s main concern is to keep Todd from being railroaded. But he doesn’t say much to her that will help his case. During a visit to the Bog, she meets Ronnie Burke, the owner of the construction company who is turning the Bog into a community of homes. The next day, she also meets his mother, Frances, who lets Savannah know exactly how she feels about the way Savannah has been behaving, and how disappointing her relationship with Rafe, Sweetwater’s bad boy, is to everyone who knows her. Unable to control herself, she tells Frances and her mother what her plans are for her own wedding and her future. (Yay Savannah!)

Between Rafe’s investigation in Atlanta, Grimaldi’s investigation in Nashville, and Savannah’s…non-investigation (after all, she promised Rafe she wouldn’t stick her nose in his investigation), the pieces slowly start to come together. Savannah heads home to Nashville, confident that, for once, she’s not the one in harm’s way. But when she gets home, she realizes that the danger is coming from someone they never suspected…and they are closer to Savannah than anyone realizes.

I’ve been waiting very patiently (ok, maybe not THAT patiently) for the next installment in this wonderful series to come out, and I am happy to say that the wait was worth it. I think my favorite scenes (besides the descriptions of Rafe without various pieces of clothes on) were the ones between Savannah and her mother. It’s wonderful to see how much Savannah has grown and become more of her own person. The speeches she makes to Frances and her mother, and then later, the one at her mother’s house, were things I’ve been waiting for her to say for the last two or three books, and Jenna did not disappoint. She did a wonderful job writing these powerful, “I am me, I love this man, get over it” speeches for Savannah. I was laughing and cheering at the same time (my husband thought I had lost my mind) as I read them. As for whodunit, I figured out one part, but the rest of it had me guessing until the very end. Again, it was well worth the wait. A worthy addition to this delightful, awesome series. And now, I have to start patiently waiting for number ten…is it done yet?

Get your copy of Dirty Deeds:

Posted in Promote an Author

Promote an Author Tuesday: Jenna Bennett

It’s Promote an Author Tuesday! Today I’m thrilled to be promoting the wonderful Jenna Bennett who I ADORE to death. If you haven’t read any of her books, then well, you better start now!

Dirty Deeds

CS9-matchWith hotels in downtown filled to capacity months in advance, real estate agent Savannah Martin decides to pick up some extra money renting out her empty East Nashville apartment. She’s living with her boyfriend, and the place is just sitting there, begging to be put to use.

But when her latest tenant ends up dead—strangled in Savannah’s bed by what might have been a paying customer—the promise of easy money quickly turns sour.

As the hunt for the killer leads to their shared hometown of Sweetwater, Tennessee, Savannah’s boyfriend, TBI agent Rafe Collier, is tapped to help with the investigation. But a familiarity with the town and the people in it isn’t necessarily a benefit when the main suspect in the murder is the man Savannah decided not to marry. The same man who has never forgiven Rafe for stealing her away…

About Jenna Bennett

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jenna Bennett (Jennie Bentley) writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and the Savannah Martin real estate mysteries for her own gratification. She also writes a variety of romance for a change of pace. Originally from Norway, she has spent more than twenty five years in the US, and still hasn’t been able to kick her native accent.

Questions with the Author

Is there a book you wish you had written?
There are a ton of books I wish I had written. To mention a few: Elizabeth Peters’s He Shall Thunder In The Sky, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Memory and A Civil Campaign, Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me, and Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch.

What is your favorite story about your childhood that the family tells over and over?
Not sure I have one. I didn’t have that exciting of a childhood. Didn’t try to jump off any buildings to see if I could fly, or get lost for a long time, or anything. My own memories are all about getting in trouble over one thing or another. Like staging a boycott of my French teacher’s class and talking all the other students into staying away, too. She walked into an empty room. I got in trouble, but it was fun while it lasted. She never forgave me, either. And I would totally do it again. Nasty woman.

What’s on your bucket list?
See the world. Or a lot more of it than I’ve seen so far.

Where would Savannah and Rafe go on vacation?
Paris? New York? Gatlinburg? I can’t see them lounging on the beach, although I’m sure it would be a pretty sight… 😉

What is the one thing you can’t live without? That one must have item?
Tomatoes? Don’t know how I’d survive without tomatoes. I eat pounds and pounds of them every week. I’m pretty attached to my PC, too. And of course books. Don’t know what I’d do if there weren’t books to read.

Connect with Jenna Bennett





You can pick up Jenna’s latest book, Dirty Deeds, on:





Posted in Uncategorized

Summer randomness

I won’t start with the usual cliches about the heat. We all know it is hot and I promise no cracks about eggs frying on the sidewalk. As for rain, forget about it. Even the birds know it isn’t going to rain around here any time soon: one of them has built a nest in our rain gutter!

Before I go any further, I want to just throw this out there:  HOW ABOUT THOSE MAVS!!!!!!

Have you planned out your summer fun yet? In our house, June is the busiest month for our son. Last week, he was gone from Sunday – Wednesday to Waco, Tx, where he served as a youth delegate for our district at Annual Conference (it’s a church thing). He left yesterday for a week-long mission trip to Austin with the youth groups from Weatherford & Burleson. Next week, he is off for his summer vacation with my parents, who have constructed a “grandson to-do list” so he won’t be bored. Three days after he leaves, my husband is off for a week at his parents’ house, which leaves me home alone on my birthday! Just a side note to my friends, please email me your phone numbers in case I need to be bailed out. Joking, just joking…maybe.

Since it is summer, I have noticed that a lot of summer reading lists have been popping up on the Internet. Looking at these lists, my first response is “Really?” Not one list for just mysteries. I am not big on chick lit fiction, although I have read some on occasion, but it has to be really good to catch my eye. People do ask me what kind of books I read and what authors/books I would recommend. So if you are looking for something different, a new author or an old favorite, check out my list.

1. Janet Evanovich – my summer is not complete without reading her new book. This year is Smokin’ Seventeen, which is coming out June 21. Almost everyone is familiar with the Stephanie Plum series, and if you aren’t, why not?! Get busy! You should also read the between the numbers series she has involving the hunky, smoking hot Diesel. Man, I need a shower.

2. Maggie Sefton – if you are not familiar with her knitting mystery series, now is a good time to start! Her latest book, Unraveled, just came out last week.

3. Sally Goldenbaum – I just read The Wedding Shawl: A Seaside Knitters Mystery last week, and it was excellent. It made me wish I could take a vacation to the East Coast, until I remembered it is just as hot there as it is here.

4. Ann B. Ross – This is Ms. Ross’ 12th Miss Julia book, and it is just as good as her first one. Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle is sitting on the table next to me waiting to be read. I am not sure if the Miss Julia books would qualify as a pure mystery, but considering the troubles that seem to find her and the way she seems to solve her life’s little mysteries, I give it the benefit of the doubt. It probably falls more under chick lit fiction, one of the few I read.

5. Jacqueline Windspear – Her Maisie Dobbs series is set in 1930s England, and her heroine is a very strong, independent woman. I have her latest book, A Lesson in Secrets, sitting in the to-read pile.

6. Robert B. Parker – There is not a summer that goes by that I don’t go on a Robert B. Parker reading binge. I am still waiting to get my hands on Sixkill, which came out last month. Even though Mr. Parker passed away last year, I have heard that there will be more Spenser & Jesse Stone novels in the future.

7. Jennie Bentley – Her Do-It-Yourself Home Renovation series has her main characters fixing up old homes while solving murders in their spare time. She doesn’t have a new book coming out until October, but that gives you plenty of time to grab the other books in the series to get caught up!

8. Katherine Hall Page – I have been reading Ms. Page’s books for years, and her latest entry into her Faith Fairchild series, The Body in the Gazebo, doesn’t disappoint. As a preacher’s kid, I personally love this series because I can relate to some of the things Faith goes through being married to a local minister.

9. Sarah Graves – After reading Ms. Graves’ and Ms. Bentley’s series, I have serious doubts about doing any type of home repair on my house! Bodies, bodies everywhere! Ms. Graves’ “Home Repair is Homicide” series is a bit darker than the others mentioned above, but it is an excellent series and well worth all the nightmares about bodies in my crawlspace or attic. Her latest entry is Knock Down.

10. Joanna Fluke – be warned, you could gain weight just reading her Hannah Swenson series. I wish I could bake as well as Hannah does! If you feel adventurous, you can try some of the yummy recipes that are found in every book. Devil’s Food Cake Murder came out in March, but it is a definite must add to any reading list.

11. Mary Daheim – She has two excellent series: the bed and breakfast series and the Alpine series. If I had to choose which one I like better, I would have to say the bed and breakfast series. There is a book out for each series right now: Loco Motive: A Bed and Breakfast Mystery and The Alpine Vengeance. I fear that the Alpine series may end when she gets to Z, but I have no definite proof of that.

12. Sue Grafton – Since we are talking about series ending, any fan of Kinsey Millhone will realize the end is coming soon. V is for Vengeance comes out November 21 (my grandmother’s 93rd birthday), so you have between now and then to read the whole series. I will miss Kinsey very much when the series ends, but I hope Ms. Grafton has plans for a whole new series when she finishes with this one.

13. Lillian Jackson Braun – I learned last week that Ms. Braun recently passed away at the age of 97. Her “The Cat Who” series is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

14. Brad Thor – if you are looking for suspense & thrills, then check out Mr. Thor’s Scot Harvath series about an ex-Navy Seal who works for a secret government group with their own set of rules that don’t always fall within the lines of the law. He does have a new book coming out July 26, Full Black.

15. Steve Berry – I cannot mention Mr. Thor without mentioned Mr. Berry’s Cotton Malone series. I like this series because of the intriguing mysteries and the locations that Mr. Berry sends his characters. The Jefferson Key is Cotton’s latest adventure, which I will be looking for at my library tomorrow! Well-written and nail-biting!

16. John Sandford – I have been reading his Lucas Davenport series since the first one was published. Excellent series! Buried Prey came out last month, and I am waiting to get my hands on it. He has another series featuring Virgil Flowers that is worth reading as well.

17. Kate Collins – She writes a Flower Shop series featuring Abby Knight. This girl gets in more trouble, accidentally and intentionally, than any character I have ever encountered, with the exception of Stephanie Plum. And her boyfriend, Marco…oy vey!

18. Diane Mott Davidson – Goldy Schultz has a knack for finding bodies, and a knack for cooking. Crunch Time is the latest book in the series. I promise you will fall in love with Goldy. The whole series is a must read!

19. Laura Childs – If you are looking for a mystery series with a southern flair, then Ms. Childs’ Tea Shop Mystery series is for you! Her 12th book in the series, Scones & Bones, is a recent release. If you prefer some New Orleans jazz, then read her Scrapbooking series.

20. Denise Swanson – I think there are more dead bodies in Scumble River, Illinois than there are living, breathing citizens! When she isn’t finding dead bodies or counseling students, school psychologist Skye Dennison is trying to balance her love life between the sheriff and the local undertaker. There are thirteen books in the series, the latest being Death of a Bookstore Babe.

I could go on and on. Jill Churchill, Victoria Laurie, Cleo Coyle, J.A. Jance, Lorna Barrett, Leslie Meier, the list is endless. But there are plenty of books in each series to keep you busy inside, where it is nice and cool, and the eggs are frying in a pan, not on the sidewalk. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.