Archive for the ‘book’ Category
Eve Appel settles in Florida to escape her manipulative cheating husband and opens a secondhand store with a friend. Things get dicey when a customer is stabbed while shopping. The victim somewhat resembles Eve–was Eve the real target? That doesn’t matter, because she’s a suspect. There’s a history between her and the victim…lots more than the cops know. Eve is determined to find the killer and clear her name. With the help of her friends, family, a hunky PI, her cheating ex-husband who really needs a divorce, and mobsters from up North secrets are about to be told.
This book gets a shout out for setting. Who doesn’t like reading about Florida–even rainy, chilly Florida–from frigid Chicagoland? Gators, palm trees, and boats sound perfect to me!
Plus there are cars blowing up. Accident-prone best friends. Sexy private detectives to tempt the heroine. A sassy grandma. Dead bodies piling up.
I’m glad this is the first book in a new series. I can’t wait to see what kind of mess, I mean adventures!, Eve gets into next.
I was a lucky kid. My mother may have been bat shit crazy, but I had an aunt who adored me. She was a part-time bartender at a local drinking establishment. When Mom was too sick to take care of me, my aunt took me with her to the bar. I sat on one of the stools next to the guys who shook salt into their beers, ordered me Shirley Temples and gave me nickels to put into the juke box. My aunt often met up with her married boyfriend at the bar, something she did not want her parents to know about. I kept her secret and both of us hid from my mother that auntie was taking me into the bar with her. This was when I was about three or four years old. I felt older and more sophisticated than other kids my age. I was. How many kids of five can say they know the difference between a martini and a dry martini?
Years later my aunt took me with her when she bowled on a team, an event that happened in the back of the building that housed the bar. The bowling took place when I was older, around ten or so. The best thing about it was that I got to stay overnight with her because the game didn’t end until around ten at night. Actually, it ended at nine, but she and I went to the bar and drank cokes with her boyfriend who preferred to hang out there than go home to his family. By that time my parents were in bed so it was too late for me to go home. I got to sleep in my aunt’s queen-sized bed. She lived with her parents, my grandparents. Since the bowling was on a week night, I was always tired at school the next day, but I never complained because I didn’t want my parents to insist I stay home instead of going with my aunt.
This was exciting. I was living a secret life along with my aunt. I never told anyone that my aunt met her boyfriend at the bar although I’ll never figure out why she found the guy so appealing. As I remember him, he had a bad overbite and smelled always of cigarettes and whiskey. And although he finally divorced his wife and married my aunt, I never saw him as good husband material. He did have a great dog, so maybe my aunt liked the dog.
What’s also funny is that other members of my family also chose me as their confident. My grandfather who was not supposed to smoke cigarettes would let me sit with him in the garage while he smoked. Then he and I would eat sensens, a licorice candy to remove the smell of the smoke. I don’t’ know if it fooled my grandmother, but it was yet another secret I enjoyed keeping. I didn’t much like the candy. But it was fun watching him blow smoke rings. And it was a secret.
My grandmother on my mother’s side of the family loved to go to funerals. Perhaps that’s why I relate so well to Grandmother Mazur in Janet Evanovich’s work. My grandparents lived in Rockford, Illinois. To a small child after WWII, Rockford seemed like “the big city.” On one occasion when I visited them, my grandmother and I took a number of buses to get to a funeral home where she said one of her friends was being buried. We walked in before the service and headed up front to the casket. My grandmother leaned over the body for only a moment before she grabbed my hand and pulled me out of there.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“That wasn’t my friend. Wrong funeral. Don’t tell anyone,” she said.
So I didn’t say a word. Wrong funeral or not, I loved these outings because she would always buy me a coke and French fries at the Walgreen’s drugstore in downtown Rockford and let me cut out the Brenda Starr paper dolls from the Sunday paper.
I spent a lot of time with my aunt and both sets of grandparents due to my mother’s poor health. My father’s mother sewed me a skirt for tap class and paid for my dance lessons. I was terrible at tap, but I loved that skirt. On Sundays I stopped by her house for fried chicken and on the week days I was there after school to watch “The Howdy Doody Show.” We didn’t have television in my home until I was in high school.
Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent at my paternal grandparents’ house with my bartending aunt making all of us Scarlet O’Haras and then running off to meet her married boyfriend after the meal. My grandparents disapproved. By the time she married him, both of my grandparents were dead.
As an adult I now realize how fortunate I was to have relatives who stood in for a mother who couldn’t cope. Maybe that’s why I love mining these family memories for material I use in my fictional creations. And because they did such a good job with me, as always, my writing about them is filled with humor. In my most recent work, A Secondhand Murder, my protagonist’s grandmother is modeled after my own grandmothers. Eve’s grandmother, or Grandy as she is called, joins her granddaughter in tracking down a killer and manages to win the admiration of a mob boss in the caper. Set in rural Florida, the story is filled with lively characters, wild adventures and a few hunky cowboys.
My childhood is proof that the absence of a mother doesn’t always mean the absence of mother figures. Do you have some favorite childhood memories of relatives?
About Lesley A. Diehl
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida–cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats, and of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She is author of several short stories and a number of mystery series including the microbrewery series, a rural Florida series, and her most recent, the Eve Appel mystery series.
Maybe it was reading about a romance set in the warm Christmas season in New Zealand from the frigid land of Chicago, but I got lost in the story of Cy and Ellie.
Cy Hathaway needs a wife, fast, to win custody of his son, Jonty. He returns home to discover the childhood sweetheart he once left behind has become a vibrant, beautiful woman. Even though wanting to sweep her off her feet wasn’t part of the plan…
For Ellie, Cy’s sudden reappearance awakens a flood of memories—and resentments for the way he’d abandoned her all those years ago. But she has a life now, a career. She can’t simply drop everything and get hitched, even if the sight of him still makes her heart race.
But after Ellie meets his little boy, she can’t refuse. Certain she has a grip on her old feelings for Cy, she agrees to marry her first love until he gains custody. But when did helping out a friend become something with the capacity to hijack her heart?
The setting is perfect. The characters are likable. The book is definitely one to read.
About Barbara DeLeo
Barbara DeLeo’s first book, co-written with her best friend, was a story about beauty queens in space. She was eleven, and the sole, handwritten copy was lost years ago, much to everyone’s relief. It’s some small miracle that she kept the faith and is now living her dream of writing sparkling contemporary romance with unforgettable characters.
After completing degrees in Psychology and English then travelling the world, Barbara married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins.
She still loves telling stories about finding love in all the wrong places, with not a beauty queen or spaceship in sight.
Find Barbara Online:
Find Last Chance Proposal Online:
I’m happy to report that Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich was a page-turner! I was concerned after the disappointing collaboration Evanovich had with Lee Goldberg. But that appears to have been a fluke. Because I laughed out loud a lot–in public!–while reading this book.
This time around, Stephanie needs money so she’s determined to collar two missing big money bonds. One is a dead-eye gang banger and the other is Joe Morelli’s mob guy god father. It shouldn’t be to hard catching either of them because Lula’s there to help. Except a renegade giraffe is roaming the Burg and Lula’s named him and is leaving lettuce on street corners to feed him.
Morelli and Ranger are tempting her. Grandma Bella’s giving her the evil eye and guaranteeing her an eternity in hell. Grandma Mazur’s still using funeral homes as entertainment and kicked up her dating life. Which coincides with the recent appearance of a killer of elderly women: they’re left inside a dumpster, wrapped inside a sheet, and neatly labelled.
When things get a little to dicey, Stephanie decides bonds aren’t the life she wants. Maybe being a butcher is something she can try. Except there’s a fire…and a crushed Porsche…and stolen goods…
You might want to put this on your Christmas list!
That’s the challenge Robin Bricker faces as her show The Holdout airs. To keep herself busy, she relishes the idea of being on a jury and losing herself in a trial of possibly faulty Greek yachts that may or may not have been improperly stored in Iowa.
Laurel Osterkamp brings us Robin’s story in the aptly titled The Holdout. Robin played the Survivor-like game the best she could. It isn’t her fault she also fell for fellow-castaway Grant. Too bad everyone in America, including her family and her fellow jury members, get to witness her humiliation as she sees exactly how Grant plays her and another female castaway. Creative camera editing doesn’t help maintain her dignity either.
Osterkamp weaves the tale, alternating chapters between the island contest and the television season. It’s nice to see how Robin evolves. The supporting characters are fun, with dramatic side stories that add to the overall drama of the book.
This is a quick, easy read. Definitely a nice way to spend a cold winter’s night!
I was given an advance copy of Accidental Boyfriend in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own as are any mistakes! Read to the end for details about the giveaway!
Accidental Boyfriend by Robin Bielman is a fun romance. Tossed together to fool Kagan’s father’s choice for his daughter, Kagan and Shane certainly have some fun. There’s camping, kayaking, cooking, and movie watching. Both these characters are fun to read about. Yes, they are a little perfect…but not syrupy. That really does make a difference. The setting of Cascade is picture-perfect and made me want to live there!
All sex is off-page, but there is some making out and fantasizing. Nothing too hard core, though.
This is a definite fun read. Kept me turning pages and enjoying myself. Can’t ask for anything more!
Kagan Owens has a secret. One she thought she’d escaped by leaving New York, but when her past follows her to her temporary new life, Kagan lets a teeny lie slip. And now the town’s biggest playboy and flirt, Shane Sullivan, has become her pretend boyfriend–just until she’s ready to return to NYC. But the handsome, fun-loving Shane makes it tough to determine where their friendly agreement begins and ends…
Shane has no intention of settling down–in fact, his job depends on it, and nothing’s more important than his work. Still, he can’t help but agree to Kagan’s scheme, if only to find out more about the mysterious beauty. But when every touch from her sets his heart and body on fire, he realizes playing an accidental boyfriend may be more than he bargained for–and more than he can give.
About the author:
Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart husband, two sons, and crazy-cute mini Labradoodle, Harry (named after Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books). When not attached to her laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a book. She also likes to run, hike, and dip her toes in the ocean. Filled with wanderlust, she longs to visit many different places and fulfill her curiosity. She wouldn’t mind indulging her sweet tooth in every location either. She’s a lover of Post-it notes, cable television shows and café mochas. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches herself to be sure it’s real.
Her other novels include Kissing the Maid of Honor, Worth the Risk, Risky Surrender and Yours At Midnight. She loves to connect with readers. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter on her website.
In Her Accidental Boyfriend Kagan designs jewelry similar to this beautiful pink pearl double wrap bracelet that is up for grabs.
Praise for Robin Bielman
“Robin Bielman is a must-read!” NYT Bestselling author Vicki Lewis Thompson
“Sweet, sassy, and toe-curlingly sexy, my ‘secret wish’ is to live inside the pages of this story!” Rachel Harris, author of Seven Day Fiance
I bought this book for my e-reader eons ago.
I don’t know how she does it, but each Jennifer Crusie book I read becomes my favorite. I’ve been stuck on Agnes & The Hitman (co-written with Bob Mayer) for quite awhile, but now I’m declaring Maybe This Time as my new (latest?!) favorite.
After ten years of being divorced, Andie Miller visits her ex-husband, North Archer, to return all the alimony checks he had sent. She’s engaged to another man and needs to close the door on her relationship with North. It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t seen nor spoken to him in any of those ten years. Somehow she ends up agreeing to be a nanny for the orphaned children of a distant cousin in his care. Nannies have been coming and going. There are wild stories about ghosts at the remote mansion where they live. He just needs the children to feel secure enough to be moved to his house.
Andie finds the ghosts, the kids, servants…and a nosy reporter who’s looking for her next big break. Her former brother-in-law brings the reporter, who brings the paranormal investigator, the psychic, and her cameraman. Andie’s mother comes to see what’s happening. Her mother-in-law does the same. And North follows, not quite ready to let Andie go.
Yet another book that goes against the claim I don’t like paranormal books. I guess as long as it’s done right I can handle. I just wish I knew how to define “right.” Because the ghosts in this book are perfectly done.
Andie is a wonderful character, as are the two children in her care. Crusie doesn’t spend a lot of time on description, but through actions and words you get a real sense of who these characters would be in real life.
As with every Crusie book I’ve read, I was sorry to see it end. I want to know the daily ins and outs of these kooky, lovable people.
This is a must-read. As with all the other Crusie books I’ve read, I’ll be re-reading this one again soon. I want to go back to southern Ohio…
I was provided an ARC of this title to review.
Authors like J.A. Jance who speak through many different characters amaze me. Each character has their own distinct and separate personality. Initially, I discovered J.A. Jance through the Joanna Brady series, but quickly went on to read her other series. If I’ve ever had a crush on a character, it would be J.P. Beaumont, investigator for the state of Washington. In Second Watch (which was released on September 10, 2013) Beaumont has just come out of knee replacement surgery–both knees at once! He’s dreaming or hallucinating, and his past comes hurtling into the present.
J.P. Beaumont is visited by the ghost of his first homicide victim and the ghost of the man who saved his life back in Vietnam in 1966. He had made a vow to the mother of the first victim that he never fulfilled: he had never been able to discover the identity of the person who killed her and left her body in a barrel of dirty cooking grease. As memories come flooding back about Vietnam, he feels the need all these years later to contact the fiance of the man who saved his life.
While Jance tells the tale of these two ghosts, seamlessly weaving the past and present together, Beaumont is forced to face other facts. How did he get his promotion into the homicide division of the Seattle Police Department when one wasn’t available? Who perpetuated the tale that his first homicide victim was killed by Ted Bundy? Who altered records and stole evidence?
This book made me cry. Jance states on her website: “Once you read it, I think you’ll agree that this story belongs to so many in my generation who remain haunted by the Vietnam war.” Through Beaumont, I hope she was able to put some of her own ghosts to rest.
Read this book and be prepared to live through Beaumont’s ghosts. Jance has a way of making them your own.
Detective Archie Sheridan is thoroughly flawed. Female serial killer Gretchen Lowell does her job horrifically well. Heartsick weaves together the tales of a current police investigation and the torture of Sheridan at the hands of Lowell two years earlier.
Detective Archie Sheridan is two years into medical leave after Gretchen Lowell, the female serial killer he was pursuing, kidnapped, tortured, nearly killed him, and, inexplicably, turned herself in to save his life. He is called back to the job when another serial killer surfaces; this time one hunting young high school girls. Sheridan is addicted to pain pills, addicted to his weekly visits to Lowell at a nearby prison, and doing his best to keep the body count from rising. In order to appease the city and the press, this time around he agrees to have a local reporter, pink-haired Susan Ward, profile him and the work on the case. What he learns is that the present is always linked to the past and some people are so good at manipulation you don’t know until it’s to late.
Caine weaves the present-day investigation with flashbacks of the torture of Sheridan at the hands of Lowell. There is nothing more chilling in anything I’ve read than Lowell’s description of how she killed a victim. I’m not sure I can crochet ever again…
This novel is equal parts horror and hope. While Archie’s visits to Lowell are to learn about more of her victims, there is also a link between the two that gave me the creeps. But he has an ex-wife and children who could give him the light necessary to excise the dark that Lowell imposes on his world. If only he will let them. Susan Ward is a delightfully flawed journalist with her own links to Lowell.
Number one in a series…you know I’m one happy reader!
I checked this out from the Roselle Public Library.
Are you ready for this? I absolutely loved Glass Houses by Rachel Caine! I read it in one day. Devoured it, actually. Then I was sad it was done. But it’s the first book in a continuing series, so I’m not all that bereft. In fact, book 15, Daylighters, will be released this November.
Claire Danvers, child prodigy, goes off to college. Because her parents want her nearby, she attends Texas Prairie Tech, in the strange town of Morganville, Texas. She starts off on the wrong foot with fellow students and that’s when the mean-girl activities start. When her life is actually threatened, she decides a place off-campus is exactly what she needs to survive her freshman year. When she finds herself in front of the Glass House, it’s not exactly calling her name. But she’s whisked inside for her own safety and they let her stay.
Because Morganville isn’t just strange. It’s downright spooky. Vampires rule the town, letting humans live in safety if they play by the rules. Claire hasn’t played by the rules and needs to keep on her toes. Luckily, her three roommates have her back. Because nothing in Morganville is what is seems on the surface. Maybe no one plays by the rules…
I was more than half-way done with this book before I realized it was a young adult novel. No, I’m not completely clueless, it was just so riveting. The writing is excellent, the characters are probably, and I absolutely believe that vampires exist in Morganville, Texas. This is the way paranormal needs to be written.
I discovered this book when I was looking for something else to read. Link after link led me to a recommendation for it and I got it from the local library.