Monday, December 28, 2015

Editorial: Being Sick and Slowing Down

Anyone who has been following my blog and Facebook has had to have noticed my downfall in posting.  At the end of October I had to have life threatening surgery for an ulcer caused by bacteria introduced into my body.  Not just a normal thing a man made bacteria.  

So I've been recovering from this but during the course of that I have also been diagnosed with Gall Stones and according to my new doctor grossly anemic and now they are still trying to figure out what is wrong with me now.  I have a lot of pain and discomfort and am on pain medication to get through the days I can't even concentrate on reading as much as I use to which makes book tours very hard.  

Granted I work with the best person in the world Lori who is very accommodating to my issues.  So while I am reading slowly you will see posting is sporadic at best.  And I have to have another surgery but they can't cause I'm halfway through healing from the last surgery so they have to wait longer 6 more weeks of recovering.

Thank you to all the authors, publishers, anyone book related who has been working with me through this tricky time.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Review - The Vegetarian by: Han Kang

Title: The Vegetarian
Author: Han Kang
Publisher: Hogarth
Pages: 192
Format: Kindle
Source: Received from for review
Release Date: February 2nd, 2016


Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

My thoughts:

Before I started writing this review, I typed “being vegetarian in South Korea” to see what came up. According to, Korean food has a lot of meat in it, and it’s mostly side dishes that are vegetarian-friendly. The owner of the blog talks about how problematic it is to be on a vegetarian diet living in South Korea and shares survival tips. Maybe this kind of thing is why Yeong-hye’s going vegetarian made her get into big, big trouble…

In her husband Mr. Cheong’s eyes, Yeong-hye is a regular woman without any qualities that pop: she’s not beautiful, not sexy, doesn’t really have any qualities to speak of. The one thing that makes her different from other women is that she chooses not to wear a bra (and you’ll know how she came make that decision as the story progresses). She can manage the house well, and this is enough for Mr. Cheong who seems to limit himself when it comes to wanting to get more out of life. However, after a dream she has, Yoeng-hye goes vegetarian. Her entire family is against this, and it comes to the point where her father forces meat down her throat as her sister In-hye and Mr. Cheong hold her arms down.

The book is in three parts, and we see how what people have is very different from what they actually want, how when they are so suppressed when it comes to taboos and how they explode at certain points. Mr. Cheong, for example, keeps lusting after his sister-in-law. In-hye’s husband, on the other hand, is lusting after Yeong-hye. The events that start to unfold with Yeong-hye’s declaration about vegetarianism only get weirder and weirder afterwards. At one point, Mr. Cheong forces himself on his wife, and then, at another point, we see In-hye’s husband using Yeong-hye in an art film he’s making at the end of which they end up having sex.

I don’t have much knowledge about Korea except for some common historical facts, but I do think some situations in The Vegetarian are reflections of the country’s cultural and moral values. For example, Mr. Cheong is very worried when he has to take his wife to a business dinner. And his worries come to life, too: how can there be a braless woman refusing to eat meat at the dinner table?! In-hye’s husband, on the other hand, draws flowers on both Yoeng-hye and himself for the art video, and they end up having sex like that. And what’s In-hye’s first reaction when she catches them the next morning? To call the mental hospital!

All these events do add up to Yoeng-hye ending up at the mental hospital, questioning, “Is it such a bad thing to die?” However, what I kind of got stuck on is the kind of “if your father says eat, you eat” kind of dialogues. As far as I can see, Korean women are expected to do the house work, bow to their husbands and other men in the family, acting like silent dolls.

The Vegetarian is about how people are afraid of the different, how those who try to be themselves are alienated, how some people have to choose between themselves and their families in order to live life the way they see fit. It’s a magical, yet dark book, so handle with care.

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Review - Hold Still by: Sally Mann

Title: Hold Still
Author: Sally Mann
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: Personal purchase



A revealing and beautifully written memoir and family history from acclaimed photographer Sally Mann. 

In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her.

Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land . . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder."

In lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs, she crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.

My thoughts:

Among mandatory classes I had to take in college, there was Documentary Photography. As if it wasn't enough to spend most of my money on a manual Nikon camera, the pring papers and film also helped empty out my small bank account. Leaving that aside, I'm the kind of person who's passionate about creating photographs with words ever since I was little. Accordingly, I'd chosen journalism as my focus in college, so I didn't understand why I was being forced to create visual stories when I felt like I should be focusing on writing. Moreover, I cannot draw at all, I'm not the kind of person who goes, "This is so beautiful; wish I had a camera." This was among the reasons why I was also scared, thinking that I might fail the class.

During that semester, I burned lots of films in the dark room, I had to go out and try to capture what I lost many, many times, while printing the pictures, I ruined my favorite shirts with all the chemicals. While 1/10 of my photographs were suitable for sharing in class, the rest remained neglected in the washed negatives. Of course, the class also did add value to my life in general: my term project was voted #1 among my classmates. And then, one night, when I printed the same picture over and over again and still couldn't get the exposure right, I ended up having a crying fit in the hallway. That's when I met the love of my life who offered to help me out. And, getting back to the review, Documentary Photography was also the class that introduced me to Sally Mann and made me fall in love with her.

In class, while our professor was talking about Sally Mann, he showed us photographs from the Sally Mann: Immediate Family, which consisted of pictures of her family that she took on their farm in Virginia. Before telling us the story, he waited for us to examine the pictures. While looking at them, all I could think was this: "They've had a wonderful childhood in nature; free and fun and serene and they have magical pictures to remember those times." 

However, because most people are dirty-minded and interpret innocence as evil, there came a lot of contraversy with the publication of Sally Mann: Immediate Family photographs. Sally Mann was accused of being a pedophile. Because her children were involved, she mostly stayed silent when it came to the press, therefore I only knew about one side of the story. In Hold Still, I got to see what she went through during that period, and how that got her to question the meanings of art, family and society. I honestly loved Sally Mann even more after reading the book, and, at the same time, I was even more disgusted by most of my fellow humans.

Of course, I started talking about the part of the book that was the most interesting to me, but Sally Mann's story isn't limited to this, of course. We listen to stories about her childhood, teenage years, her family from her point-of-view, and witness the love he has for her hometown, Virginia, through her words and her pictures. And we question life, family, love, society and ourselves with her.

I found myself questioning mostly what art is. Who decides that art is "art?" When something is dubbed art, is it really art? For example, Sally Mann has taken a lot of landscape pictures in Virginia. If I go and capture the same frame with the same camera, am I making art? Or, if Sally Mann took a picture of me (I WISH!), would it be art? If it is, is my passport photo art as well? In that case, is the photo the art or am I the art?
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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Review - Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by: Becky Monson

Title: Thirty-Two Going on Spinster
Author: Becky Monson
Publisher: Exclusive Publishing
Pages: 349
Format: Kindle
Source: Received from Turkish publisher for review


Julia Dorning is a spinster, or at least on the road to becoming one. She has no social life, hates her job, and lives in her parent’s basement with her cat, Charlie.

With the arrival of Jared Moody, the new hire at work, Julia’s mundane life is suddenly turned upside down. Her instant (and totally ridiculous) crush on the new guy causes Julia to finally make some long-overdue changes, in hopes to find a life that includes more than baking and hanging out with Charlie.

But when the biggest and most unexpected change comes, will the new and improved Julia be able to overcome it? Or will she go back to her spinster ways?

My thoughts:

I kind of panicked when I read the blurb of Thirty-Two Going on Spinster. Why? Because, our main character who is seriously questioning whether or not she's a spinster is 32 (I'll turn 32 in January), lives with her cat Charlie (I live with my cat Sally). I was relieved a bit afterwards because Julia doesn't have a social life (I do have some of that; thank goodness!) and hates her job (I'm not the #1 fan, but I do like it most days). However, I picked it up wondering if I fit the 'spinster' criteria, and finished it in about two hours. Normally, it's not my cup of tea, and I must admit I wouldn't willingly pick it up to inspect at a bookstore, but this fun book came at such a stressful time that it helped me forget all that for a while.

In Thirty-Two Going on Spinster, Julia is looking for 'the one,' and at the same time trying to sort out her life. I didn't quite understand while she waited so long to start doing so, but I honestly didn't question it. Of course, I must say that the new, handsome co-worker helped jumpstart things for her. At first, you can't quite tell what kind of a guy he is, so much so that for a minute, Julia and her best friend at work think he might be gay. Afterwards, even though they do realize one another's feelings towards each other, the guy seems to disappoint Julia, but then he makes up for it.

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster reminded me of Bridget Jones's Diary a little bit. But I didn't enjoy Julia as much as I did Bridget. First, I was much younger when I read Bridget Jones's Diary. Secondly, I sensed that Julia was very much fed up with life itself and didn't do anything to change it. I know from personal experience that we all get depressed at times and even hit rock-bottom, we all have a hard time pulling ourselves out of unwanted situations due to many different factors, and, most importantly, we cannot reach all our goals but I don't think any of this is a good reason to let oneself go as much as Julia had at the beginning of the book. On the other hand, it was fun watching Julia pull everything together.

If you're bored or stressful or feeling down, I feel this book might help you feel better.
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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Review: The Body in the Landscape by: Larissa Reinhart

Title: The Body in The Landscape
Author:  Larissa Reinhart
Publisher: Henery Press
Series: A Cherry Tucker Mystery #5
Pages: 276
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley & Great Escapes Book Tours


When Cherry Tucker’s invited to paint the winning portrait for Big Rack Lodge’s Hogzilla hunt, it seems like a paid vacation. Back home in Halo, a Hatfield-McCoy-style standoff builds between Luke and Cherry’s families. She’s ready for a weekend away, hobnobbing with rich and famous hunters, where she can forget her troubles and nobody knows her name.

As Georgia sunshine turns to bleak December rain, Cherry’s R&R goes MIA when she finds a body in the woods. While the police believe the local drunk took an accidental spill, Cherry has her doubts, particularly when a series of malicious pranks are targeted at the rifle toting contestants. With loyal companions at her side—sort-of-ex-husband Todd and a championship bayer named Buckshot—Cherry tracks suspects through a forest full of pitfalls and perils. And all the while, a killer’s stalking the hunt party with a bead on Cherry. 

My Thoughts:

Cherry Tucker is away painting for a winner of the Hogzilla Hunt  she gladly takes this time away as the feuding between her family and Luke's family is getting to be too much!  Not long into this Cherry finds a body   Cherry finds herself trying to find out whose out killing and whose out pranking the contestants and what they are out for before Cherry winds up in the killer sights.

I love this series Cherry is just full of charm and wit.  I also love the people that are introduced in various books.  She is one of my greatest fans to read books by I can't wait to see what is next!
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review: Death In The Memorial Garden by: Kathie Deviny

Title: Death in the Memorial Garden
Author: Kathie Deviny
Publisher: Camel Press
Publication Date: October 15,2012
Pages: 141


Just as the sexton is about to inter the ashes of one of Grace Church’s last wealthy patronesses in the Memorial Garden, he unearths a wine crate containing the ashes of an unknown. Next to the ashes is a distinctive pair of shoes. Not only are the woman’s relatives furious at the interruption, but they soon have grounds for a lawsuit: yet another piece of the church’s tower comes crashing to the ground.

With their congregation dwindling and their world literally falling in around them, Father Robert Vickers and his colorful staff members and volunteers put their heads together to solve the mystery of the anonymous ashes and find the means to save Grace Church from the developers … all in time for the Bishop’s visit.

My Thoughts:

This was a great cozy that takes place in Grace’s Church where the church is having some issues.  First the Church is falling apart and the pastor is feeling depressed, secondly while burying the ashes of a church member the congregation finds a pair of patent leather shoes and a box of ashes.  It is up to the members to find out what is going on.  Meanwhile someone also used this to murder another church member who spent time with birds.

This book was typical cozy mystery with a big mystery to solve and colorful characters to meet I look forward to reading her next book!
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Review - Forever, Interrupted by: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Forever, Interrupted
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from Turkish publisher for review


Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.

Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year's Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn't expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they've eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn't even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben's charmed romance with Elsie and Susan's healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there's more than one way to find a happy ending.

My thoughts:

I do, of course, can name 'chick-lit' books that I've enjoyed in the past, but this isn't a genre that I go searching for. And the ones that I did enjoy are usually the fun, entertaining, kinda silly ones and not serious, full of emotional rollercoasters ones like Forever, Interrupted. I had received this book from its Turkish publisher, and after reading the back, I admit that I was intrigued. The fact that the main character Elsie loses the love of her life, Ben, just after 9 months into marrying him caught my interest (THIS IS NOT A SPOILER, BTW, you find out right in the beginning). In college, I lost my fiance to a car accident and how I coped with it (and I still do, honestly) is a big blur in my life. The worst part of it was feeling alone, like it only happened to me and not anyone else, that they wouldn't, didn't understand. This is the main reason why I was very curious about Elsie's story.

Elsie goes out to pick up her pizza order one night and serendipitously meets Ben, who will be her husband in a few months. First, they don't really know where it's going; they just start to hang out and flirt, and then we see very clearly that they fall head-over-heels in love. I'm the kind of person who doesn't believe in love-at-first-sight; I believe in LUST-at-first-sight. However, I do believe that 6 months is enough of a time for you to want to be with someone all the time, especially when you get together as often as Elsie and Ben do and get to know one another. Both Ben and Elsie are likable characters. Especially Elsie will be adored by all of us bookworms because she works in a library. On the other hand, among Ben's "guilty pleasures" are young adult books, so as you can see, Reid is rather successful in knowing her audience and creating relatable characters.

In Forever, Interrupted, we go back and forth between life with Ben and life without Ben. In Elsie's situation, it is indeed very hard to continue living your life and we watch her try and go through all that. As expected, she takes her anger and sorrow out on her best friend Ana at times, and she is very lucky that Ana understands and refuses to leave her alone. Things get a lot more complicated when Ben's mother decides to show up. Ben hadn't had a chance to tell her about Elsie, let alone telling her they got married. And to make things worse, since it was so new when Ben passed away, Elsie doesn't even have a copy of their marriage license to prove that she's indeed his wife.

Like many of its genre, Forever, Interrupted ends on a happy note as well. It's not the kind of "jumping among flowers singing showtunes" happy note, but it is as good as it can get, really.
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Review: A Talent For Murder by: Teresa LaRue

Title: A Talent For Murder
Author: Teresa LaRue
Publisher: FiveStar Engage
Series:  A Flower Patch Mystery #1
Pages: 247
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours


A Talent for Murder is a cozy, southern mystery filled with humor and colorful characters, with a touch of romance thrown in for added fun.

When Kate Spencer learns her aunt's fiancé is two-timing her with an old rival, she has no choice but to pass along the information to her mother. They are as shocked as the rest of the town when the rival turns up dead and the two-timing fiancé disappears.

Making matters worse, the lead investigator happens to be Kate's old boyfriend. If her aunt has any hope of being cleared, the trio must conduct their own investigation. Even if they have to alienate a few friends and tell a few lies to discover the truth.

My Thoughts:

This book follows the story of Kate Spencer who is opening planting class.  When she learns about her aunt Lula Mae has a new boyfriend who just proposed.  She also learns this boyfriend is two timing her with her worst enemy Camilla Davenport.  When Camilla ends up dead and her fiancé winds up missing things get very weird.

This book was fun to read and see who killed Camilla and why.  I loved the southern charm and the characters created in this book.  This book had so many twists and turns in this book; and the relationships I can't wait to see what Ms. LaRue comes up with next in this delightful series.  Definitely great for those who love southern mystery books; Definitely a blooming mystery to dive into!
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review: Picture This by: Jayne Denker

Title: Picture This
Author: Jayne Denker
Publisher: Kensington
Series: A Marsden Novel #2
Pages: 315
Format: Kindle e-book
Source: Author sent book


It’s where everyone knows your business—and remembers everything you’d rather forget. But somehow the little Catskills town of Marsden draws the most unlikely people back home, turns their lives every which way, and helps them finally figure out what—and who—they want most…
As a celebrity photographer’s assistant, Celia Marshall is used to seeing all kinds of weird antics. But subbing as the model in irrepressible movie star Niall Crenshaw’s latest endorsement ad—while wearing his silk boxers, no less—is definitely not in her job description. Neither is falling for him, especially since he’s dating his latest co-star. To complicate things further, Celia is returning to Marsden to keep an eye on her eccentric grandmother—and Niall is driving her there, then staying to judge a talent contest…

Soon Celia is pulled in a dozen different directions, trying to get her grandmother to act her age, placating her frantic former boss who’s organizing the contest—and attempting to stay away from funny, sexy Niall. Celia’s always been level headed, but suddenly she’s wishing she could get reckless right along with him. Has the time come for sensible Celia to cut loose?…

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Marsden series this book followed good girl Celia as she moved to NYC and is working for a photographer as his assistant but when she becomes the model with Niall Crenshaw the actor Celia’s world gets turned upside down.  Not long after meeting the famous actor she gets called back home to convince her grandmother to enter a senior community.

I love this series I can’t say enough about it the people that show up in this book are great and offer all sorts of advice whether it’s needed or not.  This book was really about Celia growing up and standing up for herself and saying no which took quite a bit and finding her inner opinion and actually vocalizing it while not loosing the guy in the process.

Niall has never met someone like Celia she stirs something in him that he hasn’t felt in a long time.  He wants to protect her and be with her and find a way out of a contract with his latest co-star.  Finally when he gets the green light he finds himself putting on his own brakes to protect Celia without asking her what she wants.

This is such a fabulous series can’t wait to read the next book in this series:

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Tour Reviewers Needed

If you are looking to be tour host Lori at Great Escapes Book Tours is looking for more tour hosts she offers alot of cozy book tours and some not so cozy book tours!

From her page:

Hello Bloggers!
We have been hosting great tours at Great Escapes since September 2013. The authors have loved our promotion and we are all gaining new readers to our blogs.
There is always room for more tour hosts as we are now booking more tours than the current team can handle. I would love to have you join our team!
Being a tour host is fun and a way to drive more visitors to your blog. You receive a free book from the author or publisher to read and post a review on the date scheduled in advance. Most authors will do guest posts or interviews and giveaways.
Be A Great Escapes Tour Host - Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
Check it out you won’t be disappointed!
There is a form there to fill out and join the fun of book touring with her!
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Friday, December 4, 2015

Review: Murder Fir Christmas by: Joyce & Jim Lavene

Title: Murder Fir Christmas
Author: Joyce & Jim Lavene
Publisher: J. Lavene
Series: Christmas Tree Valley Mysteries #1
Pages: 208
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours


Down the mountain from Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is Christmas Tree Valley, a place filled with hundreds of Christmas tree farms where generations of growers have made people’s lives brighter. Yet even here in this quiet, postcard-perfect corner of the world, darkness and murder can still stalk the night.

Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle has always had a special gift with wild animals. It was one of the reasons she decided to train with the wildlife agency. She’s spent the last ten years in Alabama working, but her mother needs her home and she’s back despite all the bad parts of her life she hoped to leave behind.

Her first day home begins with a fire on the island in Sweet Pepper Lake and the death of Harvey Shelton, the wildlife agent she’s supposed to replace. Bonnie manages to rescue dozens of animals from the fire – including a wolf pup that was shot with the same bullet that killed Harvey.

Now she’s hot on the trail of Harvey’s killer and trying to reintegrate the wolf back into the wild even though he seems to want to stay with her. Yet old memories persist in the small community where she grew up, and the killer now seems to believe that she has what he killed Harvey for. All she has to do is figure out what that is before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

In this book we are introduced to Bonnie Tuttle who is back to Christmas Tree Valley right next to Sweet Pepper where we know the fire brigade through the book series by J.J. Cook in this book Bonnie is joining the Federal Wildlife as she has a bond when dealing with animals, they seem to understand what she is saying.  When the person she is replacing Harvey Shelton winds up dead along with a criminal for setting a fire on a small island at Sweet Pepper Lake it's up to Bonnie to find out what is going on and who had the most to gain by killing Harvey.

This book was full of adventure and mystery I enjoyed visiting old residents of Sweet Pepper along with new residents returning home.  It was such a pleasure to read such a great story full of so much going on definitely kept me going until the fires burned out.  I also enjoyed the relationship that was forming between Bonnie and her wolf who seems to have made her his mom.  If you haven't had a chance to read this grab it before the holiday is over!  You won't be disappointed!
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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Contest Time: Murder Fir Christmas by: Joyce & Jim Lavene

Fun Time of year when I give away a copy of the e-book of Fir Christmas by: Joyce and Jim Lavene. This contest is open to USA residents only. Here is all you have to do to win a copy of the book:

  • Include in your comment your email address so we have a way to get the book to you
  • In the comment share with us your favorite Christmas series or book
  • What is your favorite part of this time of year?
  • How early do you put up your Christmas Tree?
Book Synopsis:

Down the mountain from Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is Christmas Tree Valley, a place filled with hundreds of Christmas tree farms where generations of growers have made people’s lives brighter. Yet even here in this quiet, postcard-perfect corner of the world, darkness and murder can still stalk the night. 

Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle has always had a special gift with wild animals. It was one of the reasons she decided to train with the wildlife agency. She’s spent the last ten years in Alabama working, but her mother needs her home and she’s back despite all the bad parts of her life she hoped to leave behind. 

Her first day home begins with a fire on the island in Sweet Pepper Lake and the death of Harvey Shelton, the wildlife agent she’s supposed to replace. Bonnie manages to rescue dozens of animals from the fire – including a wolf pup that was shot with the same bullet that killed Harvey. 

Now she’s hot on the trail of Harvey’s killer and trying to reintegrate the wolf back into the wild even though he seems to want to stay with her. Yet old memories persist in the small community where she grew up, and the killer now seems to believe that she has what he killed Harvey for. All she has to do is figure out what that is before it’s too late. 

Pretty simple.  Good Luck to those entering the contest, Can’t wait to read your answers!

BOTM: Interview with Jim Lavene

Recently I had a chance to sit down and talk with the December Book of the Month Murder Fir Christmas author Jim Lavene.  The following is the interview I got to ask him so much questions.  Don’t forget to check out this great new series!

  1. What Genre do you write?
Cozy Mystery and Urban Fantasy. 
  1. Tell us somethings about yourself that readers may not know?
I like dragons of any kind. I like tv mystery shows as well as supernatural shows. I like to make Lattes for friends.
  1. How did you come to write cozies?
Joyce and I were writing romances for Avalon Books and the editor said we write so much plot in our books that we should write mysteries. She said she had an opening for a cozy mystery line so we sent her an idea and she let us go for it. That was the Sharyn Howard mystery series.
  1. What is your favorite character to write about in all your books
That would be like asking which of my kids or grandkids is my favorite. I love them all. They are just different. No favorites.
  1. Which series is your all time favorite?
Right now my favorite series is the Christmas Tree Valley Mysteries. I get so involved in the characters when we write them that the one I’m writing or just finished writing is my favorite.
  1. Who inspires your books?
Moms, sisters, daughters, sons, fathers and families of all sorts. Our stories are basically set around families and their lives.
  1. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I like to visit museums and historic sites. I like to read about the future and the past, Let my imagination soar.
  1. How did you come to decide to write books?
Joyce and I have always talked about her writing. I kept saying that when the kids were grown we should write together. So when our kids got in high school that is what we did. We had to figure out how we could write together, when we figure out that, everything else was history.
  1. What is your favorite pet?
I like my pet dragons best, although I don’t tickle them for fear of getting burned.
  1. If you were stuck on a deserted island what three things would you take with you?
I’d take my tablet with my Kindle app on it with a solar panel for charging and a solar powered cook stove for heating food.
  1. Do you have any upcoming books that will be released in 2015/2016
We have Murder Fir Christmas in December 2015, Fat Tuesday Fricassee in December 2015, Sweet Pepper Hero in January 2016, we are rereleasing the Sharyn Howard Mysteries in EBooks and a new Retired Witches Mystery in the fall of 2016. 
  1. Do you plan to continue writing?
I have asked my son to help me continue writing our series next year. I am not sure how often the new books will appear but we are going to continue.

BOTM: December Murder Fir Christmas by: Jim & Joyce Lavene

 Title: Murder Fir Christmas
 Author: Joyce & Jim Lavene
 Publisher: J. Lavene
Series: Christmas Tree Valley Mysteries #1
Pages: 208
Purchase Links:

Down the mountain from Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is Christmas Tree Valley, a place filled with hundreds of Christmas tree farms where generations of growers have made people’s lives brighter. Yet even here in this quiet, postcard-perfect corner of the world, darkness and murder can still stalk the night. 

Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle has always had a special gift with wild animals. It was one of the reasons she decided to train with the wildlife agency. She’s spent the last ten years in Alabama working, but her mother needs her home and she’s back despite all the bad parts of her life she hoped to leave behind. 

Her first day home begins with a fire on the island in Sweet Pepper Lake and the death of Harvey Shelton, the wildlife agent she’s supposed to replace. Bonnie manages to rescue dozens of animals from the fire – including a wolf pup that was shot with the same bullet that killed Harvey. 
Now she’s hot on the trail of Harvey’s killer and trying to reintegrate the wolf back into the wild even though he seems to want to stay with her. Yet old memories persist in the small community where she grew up, and the killer now seems to believe that she has what he killed Harvey for. All she has to do is figure out what that is before it’s too late. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: The Silence of The Chihuahuas by: Waverly Curtis

Title: The Silence of the Chihuahuas
Author: Waverly Curtis
Publisher: Kensington
Series: A Barking Detective Mystery #5
Pages: 288
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley & Great Escapes Book Tours


“Savvy sleuths come in small packages…”

Pepe, aspiring P.I. Geri Sullivan’s muy clever Chihuahua, has stopped talking. But why now, with Geri’s best friend Brad missing and her ditzy sister in grave danger? Geri’s lost without Pepe’s dogged detective work, especially when a client of Brad’s expires under very murky circumstances.

Luckily, Pepe turns out to be an excelente blogger, and his nose for clues soon has the detective duo chasing down leads. But they’ll have to put a bite on crime quickly, because danger’s afoot – and it’s making tracks in their direction . . .

My Thoughts:

Pepe and Geri have a private detective work they do but right now Pepe isn't talking and Geri doesn't know why and takes him to the vet to try to figure it out but when that doesn't work she finds herself looking into a mystery involving Geri's sister who calls asking for help.  It's up to Geri and Pepe to figure out what is going on that and find out what happened to best friend Brad who is missing.

This book was a fun adventure finding out how the mystery would get solved and would Pepe ever talk to Geri again or would she find out why he went silent?  Definitely a great book for mystery lovers who love animals in their mysteries!  Can't wait to see what is next for this dog raising duo!
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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Interview: Empty Nest Author Mary Wingate

Recently I had the chance to sit down and interview Mary Wingate author of the book Empty Nest here's the interview:

What genre do you write?

I write traditional (also called cozy) mysteries. In traditional mysteries, the main character is usually an amateur sleuth, not a police officer or detective. In traditional/cozy mysteries, setting and characters play an enormous role and violence is downplayed. I love writing characters and their stories, and making the setting – whether it be a grand house or a village pub – a place the reader would like to visit.

How did you come to write cozy mysteries?

I suppose it’s true with many authors – we write what we love to read. And what cozy mystery writer doesn’t like to read Miss Marple? And I’m a big of series (such as Dorothy L. Sayers’ Harriet Vane) where each book has a story arc, but there’s also a story arc (the growth of the main character) that spans the series.

Who is your favorite character to write about?

Quite possibly whichever character is in the scene of the moment. In Empty Nest, apart from Julia Lanchester, the protagonist, I’ve got to say that Thorne, the butler at Hoggin Hall, is near and dear to my heart. Oh wait – and Gavin Lecky, leather-clad birdwatcher who wear one earring in the shape of a hovering kestrel.

Who inspires your books?

Inspiration comes from all quarters – friends, family, places, real-life events. Everything gets tossed into the hopper (my brain) and mixed up until it comes out as a story.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

My husband and I travel – usually to England, Scotland or Ireland (surprise) where I do loads of research. I also lead garden tours to those countries; it gives me the opportunity to spend time outdoors and talk with people. And I read, of course.

If you were stuck on a deserted island what three things would you take?

I’d take my iPad filled with books and a solar charger. And a toothbrush.

Thank you,

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: Smart, But Dead by: Nancy G. West

Title: Smart, But Dead
Author: Nancy G. West
Publisher: Henery Press
Series: Aggie Mundeen Mystery #3
Pages: 246
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley & Great Escapes Book Tours


Skirting forty and appalled by the prospect of descending into middle-age decrepitude, Aggie Mundeen blasts off to the local university to study the genetics of aging. In addition to providing youthful hints for readers of her column, “Stay Young with Aggie,” Aggie is doggedly determined to stay young.
Despite conflicts with her professor, she learns about the Human Genome Project and DNA. When she discovers a dead body, Detective Sam reminds her not to “help” with the investigation. But dangerously curious and programmed to prod, she races to solve the crime, winds up the prime suspect and is on target to become next campus corpse.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, Southern humor, Southern living, and humorous murder mysteries.

My Thoughts:

Aggie has decided she is going to stay young and writes a column on tips on aging.  Aggie decides to go to the university and study about aging.  When the professor dies in the classroom Aggie is determined to prove the professor was murdered.  This book was full of mystery and fast paced and her curiosity at times lands her sticky situations.  This book would be great for anyone who loves mystery and adventure.  I can't wait to see what comes up next with Ms. West such a great adventure she takes you on trying to find out who killed the professor!
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Friday, November 20, 2015

Review: Cover Shot by: LynDee Walker

Title: Cover Shot
Author: LynDee Walker
Publisher: Henery Press
Series: A Headline in High Heels Mystery #5
Pages: 312
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley & Great Escapes Book Tours


It’s been a slow news month in Richmond, and crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is enjoying the downtime when ominous messages and a dead body kick things into high gear. And that’s before the guy with the rifle takes a hospital full of people hostage.

Up to the top of her knee-high Prada boots in leads, Nichelle finds her favorite detectives under pressure to make an arrest, but it doesn’t add up—and ignoring the “why” of this story could cost Nichelle the most important person in her life.

With too much to lose, a shot at the story of a lifetime, and a missing bullet that might be the key, landing this headline could save the day, but can Nichelle dig up the truth before the killer buries her with it?

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations.

My Thoughts:

In this book Nichelle Clark finds herself getting weird twitter messages which have her wondering why someone is singling her out with the texts add that a death of an older man.  This book was full of so much going on between a guy with a riffle takes creates a hostage situation at a hospital.  This book like previous books always has you on the go wanting to know what more is going to happen while Nicelle gets to the bottom of it.  I love reading this series to see where it going to go next and this one didn't fail.  A definite edge of your seat ride that I will take again and again!  Can't wait to see what is next for Nichelle Clarke!
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Review: Pain in the Tuchis by: Mark Reutinger

Title: Pain in the Tuchis
Author: Mark Reutinger
Publisher: Alibi
Series: A Mrs. Kaplan Mystery #2
Pages: 215
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley & Great Escapes Book Tours


Combining the classic charms of Agatha Christie with the delightful humor of M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin novels, Mark Reutlinger’s Mrs. Kaplan mystery series returns as a notorious crank meets an untimely fate.

Yom Kippur is a day of reflection and soul searching. But at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors, Vera Gold misses this opportunity to atone for her many sins when she up and dies. Indeed, Vera was such a pain in the tuchis to all those around her that when her sister claims Vera was deliberately poisoned, the tough question isn’t who would want to kill her—but who wouldn’t? 

Having already solved one murder with her dear friend Ida, Rose Kaplan has a sleuthing reputation that precedes her. It’s only natural that Vera’s sister turns to Mrs. K for help. So do the police, but when her conclusions conflict with theirs, they tell her to butt out! This case has more twists than a loaf of challah. And with a homicidal scoundrel on the loose, Mrs. K has to act fast—or she might be the guest of honor at the Home’s next memorial service.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Mrs. Kaplan Mystery series.  In this book one of residents of the Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors Vera Gold winds up dead, mind you Vera was a tough nut to get along with, she fought with many people anyone from other seniors to the staff and everyone in between, luckily she didn't fight with Mrs. Kaplan or Ida.  Ida tells this story from her view point while Mrs. Kaplan plays Sherlock Holmes of sorts.  When Vera's sister comes to Mrs. Kaplan and Ira to inquire in their investigative services in finding out whether or not her sister was poisoned with a little nudging they quickly find out that Vera was poisoned and it's up to the senior duo to find out who poisoned Vera Gold.  With no shortage of suspects and the police apprehending Vera Gold's son will Mrs. Kaplan and Ira figure it out or will they meet their demise instead?

I love this series as it is heavily Jewish but with the jewish phrases you also learn what they mean.  I enjoy both Ira and Mrs. Kaplan and enjoy the story as with the other one I'm in the middle of they are written very well and descriptive and really hold your attention and want to know who the bad guy or gal is.  Can't wait to see what Mr. Reutinger comes up with next in this series!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore by: Rose Pressey

Title: Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore
Author: Rose Pressey
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Haunted Vintage Mystery #2
Pages: 304
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley


This looks like a job for the fashion police!

A hot-ticket charity fashion show is the perfect chance for Cookie Chanel, proud owner of It's Vintage Y'All, to show off her stylistic savvy for a good cause. But when a famous fashionista is fatally flattened, and the ghost of a former private investigator asks for Cookie's help, she has to scurry to sew up a solution. With clever clues from Wind Song, her psychic cat, and sassy suggestions from Charlotte, her ghost-in-residence, Cookie must unravel the sinister stitches of a deadly design--before she becomes the next fashion victim...

My Thoughts: 

Cookie Chanel has her hands full with her ghosts and finding out who killed someone at a charity fashion show?  Was it the model or someone more sinister and why was a gumshoe's hat there?  Cookie is trying to get to the bottom of it hopefully get rid of her ghosts that keep her investigating at the same time.

This book had everything mystery, adventure, bad characters and ghosts added to the mix.  I really enjoyed reading this book it was loads of fun and great for vintage lovers and mystery lovers alike!
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Interview: Wrong Crowd by; Richard Goodwin

Today we had the pleasure at Community Bookstop of stopping and chatting with Richard Godwin who is releasing his book Wrong Crowd.  We look forward to hearing how well his book is!

What genre do you write?

I am known for writing psychological thrillers. I also write Noir, literary satire, horror, straight crime, mystery, hybrid and slipstream.

How did you come to write (said) genre?

It was a natural evolution.

Who is your favorite character to write about?

I do not have one. I like finding new characters and ensuring they are all realistic and dramatically functional.

Who inspires your books?

No one. I am exploring the human condition.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

So many things, apart from the usual, reading, travelling.

If you were stuck on a deserted island what three things would you take?

A flare, enough food, a gun loaded with hollow points.

Thank you,

Friday, November 13, 2015

Review: A Dickens of A Murder by: Joyce and Jim Lavene

Title: A Dickens of A Murder
Author: Joyce and Jim Lavene
Publisher: J. Lavene
Series: Canterville Book Shop Mystery #1
Pages: 201
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours


Christmas at Canterville! 

Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are surprised to find a dead man on their roof in the midst of rushing to open the Canterville Book Shop in time for the holidays. And not just any dead man – Ebenezer Hart – the man who opposed the book shop opening in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia. 
What might be more surprising is when Daniel Fairhaven – Lisa’s ex – turns up at the door of the three-story Victorian house to head the police investigation. She hasn’t seen him in years but the sparks start to fly as soon as they are in the same room together. 

Simon and Lisa are obviously the best suspects for the murder. Each of them had something to gain by Hart’s death. Then an attempt on Simon’s life throws that theory into a tailspin. 

But the biggest surprise yet comes when the ghost of Charles Dickens turns up to help Lisa with the murder investigation – and writing the mystery novel she has been working on for years. 

Without a doubt, Daniel and Dickens in Lisa’s life means trouble. And there’s still the matter of trying to get the book shop open with a killer on their heels. 

My Thoughts: 

First I want to take the time to offer our condolences to Jim Lavene for the loss of his wife Joyce recently.  She was a pleasure to work with in both of your various book series.  She will deeply missed.

This book follows Lisa Wellman whose working with Simon Canterville to open a book shop when they discover someone hanging from their roof not long into it Simon finds himself in trouble and Lisa finds herself wanting to find out who killed the victim and why they are framing Simon!  What she wasn't counting on is her ex-husband Daniel Fairhaven investigating the crime. 

I love the books Jim and Joyce write they never fail to deliver they always leave you wanting more or wishing the book was longer this one was full of all sorts of intrigue and mystery trying to figure out who the killer was and why they did what they did.  As always a gem of a book and one for cozy lovers old and young!

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Review: Look Both Ways by: Carol J. Perry

Title: Look Both Ways
Author: Carol J. Perry
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Witch City Mystery #3
Pages: 352
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tours & NetGalley


In Salem, Massachusetts, there are secret everywhere--even in the furniture. . .

When Lee Barrett spots the same style oak bureau she once had as a child on the WICH-TV show, Shopping Salem, she rushes to the antiques shop and buys the piece. Just like the beloved bureau she lost in a fire, this one has secret compartments. It also comes with an intriguing history--it was purchased in an estate sale from a home where a famous local murder took place.

The day after the bureau is delivered, Lee returns to the antiques shop and finds the owner dead. The police suspect the shop owner's unscrupulous business partner, but Lee wonders if the murder is connected to her new furniture. At least part of the answer may be revealed through a mirror in the bureau, tarnished and blackened, allowing Lee to tap into her psychic visions. Using this bureau of investigation, Lee may be able to furnish her policeman beau with the evidence needed to catch the killer--before the next one to be shut up is her. . .

My Thoughts:

This book follows Lee Barrett whose living with her aunt in Salem and working on decorating her apartment when she buys a dresser that matches one she had a child including hiding spots in it.  The dresser mirror is trying to tell Lee something but she's not sure what and when the antique store owner winds up dead it's up to Lee to figure out what is going on before she winds up the next victim.

I enjoyed this book reading about Salem and the people Lee interacts with from her aunt, her boss, Her boyfriend and her friend River North.  I love how this book also dealt with an old crime as well and a missing pink diamond. 
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Monday, November 2, 2015

BOTM: Chasing Clarity by: Sylvia Stein

Title: Chasing Clarity
Author: Sylvia Stein
Pages: 257


What happens when you lose the person most important to you and are left to pick up the pieces?

Mia Gerard had always wanted to be a trained dancer yet she has just lost the love of her life in a tragic accident. Leo Dancy was her best friend and soul mate. As she tries to deal with losing him, she finds his absence unbearable and she feels lost without him.

But then a great opportunity arises for Mia that she just can’t turn down.
She is accepted into the New York Dance Academy of performing arts.
At first she is overwhelmed but once she gets there she begins to allow herself to heal.

This is when she comes across Henry Watson a painter with aspirations of acquiring his own exhibit one day. While she ponders her feelings for Henry, will she be too late? or will she find the clarity she needs and chase after him?