Friday, October 28, 2011

McDonalds Peppermint Mocha

Was just at McDonalds to pick up a Puss in Boots Happy Meal toy (can't wait to see that movie!!) and lo and behold they now offer peppermint mochas for the season. It was delicious...and much cheaper than Starbucks version! I will be picking one up each time I pass by a McDonalds :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Couple Halloween Shorts

Collecting material for a book of ghost stories, Kate travels to North Carolina's beautiful Outer Banks to hear an eyewitness account of a haunting. She has a few difficulties finding the house, but eventually she meets Mrs. Corley and listens in growing horror to her tale of terror.

And although she doesn't realize it, Kate may find more material than she knows what to do with. 

When the local town drunk sees a murder committed on Boot Hill on Halloween night, will anyone pay any attention to his story? Sheriff Joe Grubbs, though skeptical, investigates and finds the new grave. Now, he has a job to do and risks losing the love of his life doing it. It's a harrowing Halloween night in Haleyville, Texas. 

The last 2 nights I've treated myself to a couple Halloween short stories. The first is a ghost story set on North Carolina's Outer Banks; the second an Old West murder on Boot Hill. Loved 'em both!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


When Alice's Aunt Polly passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily surly cat Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.

Suddenly Alice is thrust into the center of a piestorm, with everyone in town trying to be the next pie-contest winner ... including Alice's mother and some of Alice's friends. The whole community is going pie-crazy . . . and it's up to Alice to discover the ingredients that really matter. Like family. And friendship. And enjoying what you do.

I don't normally read YA, but the cat and pie on the cover drew me in. Then I downloaded a free sample of the first 2 chapters and immediately pre-ordered the book. Set during the summer of 1955 (love the '50s...wish I'd been around in that more innocent time!), Alice is a young girl grieving over the loss of her beloved aunt. She feels lost because they were so close, spending everyday together in Polly's pie shop. Alice doesn't get along with her mother, who was jealous of her successful sister. Then a mystery is dropped into Alice's lap...where is the recipe for Polly's famous pie crust, and how does her cat Lardo hold the answer? Love the small town feel, and I will admit I teared up at the end. This book is absolutely as sweet as pie.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25 Releases

These are today's releases that I'm really excited about:

*The Puppy That Came for Christmas-Megan Rix
*Killer's Christmas in Wales-Elizabeth Duncan
*A Christmas Homecoming-Anne Perry
*Christmas Note-Donna VanLiere
*9 Lives of Christmas-Sheila Roberts
*Scotched-Kaitlyn Dunnett (The holiday book in this series, A Wee Christmas Homicide, is FREE today for Kindle and Nook!)

Happy Reading!!! Any new releases you're really excited about?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Liver Let Die

Jordan McAllister can't cook her way out of a macaroni & cheese box, but filling in for the culinary reporter at The Ranchero Globe is better than writing personal ads. Her first assignment to review the new steakhouse in town is a disaster that ends with her waiter murdered outside her door-with her name and number in his pocket. Now Jordan is the prime suspect, as well as the main course on the murder menu. 

This is the first book in Liz Lipperman's Clueless Cook Mystery series, and it's a winner. Jordan is a fun and fearless protagonist, and oh the trouble she manages to get herself into! I loved the scene where she couldn't eat the foie gras after she learned what it was...I would have the exact same reaction she did! And the recipes in the back of the book from her columns look divine. I made the Pumpkin Pie Crunch yesterday and it's wonderful! I'll definitely be trying out more of the recipes, and will be looking forward to more books in the series.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adventures of Goldilocks and the Three Behrs

Victoria Goldenrod (Goldilocks) is forced to leave the security of her wealthy family and embark on a journey to the Wild West. Her wagon train is robbed at gunpoint while Victoria is out on a walk through the forest, and she's the only survivor to the brutal killings. She's also the only witness, and she needs a place of refuge where the Blackstone Gang can't find her.

Victoria stumbles across a cottage deep in the forest and makes herself at home, assuming the family is away on a trip, but what she finds in her bed when she awakens the next morning could be more than she's prepared to handle. The Behr family isn't like others. And they'll do anything to make sure Victoria becomes one of their own. Even if every one of them have to seduce her.

For as much as I love my historicals as hot as possible, I have to say this one was a bit much for me. I'm a pretty traditional gal with my romances...I want a love story between one man and one woman. These stories of untraditional relationships with three and four people leave me quite uncomfortable. That being said, I enjoyed the western aspect of this one, especially the wagon train journey in the beginning.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bone Yard

Fourth Installment in the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery Series: a short novella

Dog trainer Raine Stockton has lived all her life in the quiet community of Hansonville, North Carolina. She is the daughter of a judge, the niece of a sheriff, and the ex-wife of a deputy. She does not lead the kind of life, generally speaking, in which people get buried in her back yard. But when Cisco, Raine’s mischievous golden retriever, digs up human bones beneath the site of what will soon be her new training kennel, mayhem ensues. With the state police swarming everywhere, concerns about a mass grave and suspicions of a serial killer, Raine is surrounded by chaos. But when her beautiful collie Majesty keeps disappearing and cryptic messages from a pet psychic only add to the confusion, Raine soon finds herself plunged into the midst of a mystery that is far too close to home. Can she and Cisco track down the truth before it’s too late?

In 2006-2007 I devoured the first 3 Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries: Smoky Mountain Tracks, Gun Shy, and Rapid Fire. They quickly became my favorite in the "dog cozy" genre. (If you haven't read them, run to your Kindle NOW!!!) Then they stopped and I was heartbroken. So a couple months ago I was thrilled, thanks to marvelous ebooks, to discover a new novella in this gem of a series and couldn't wait to become reacquainted with Raine and her 4 beautiful pups. This is a wonderful mystery, along with some changes in Raine's life, including an ending that completely broke my heart. I can't wait for the Christmas novella, Silent Night, in December, and hope and pray that the series can last a long time in ebook form.

Monday, October 17, 2011

River Bound

What do a madame and a bounty hunter have in common? They want the same man.
Bound and Tied, Book 3
When Rosalyn Smythe, aka Madame Rosie, steps aboard the Marie-Dearie, she hopes it’s the end of a year-long search for her runaway fiancé, Dalton Black. Her cabin holds a surprise: James McKendrick. Notorious bounty hunter, old lover…a man only too happy to help her clear the air—and her heart—of her murdering, thieving bastard fiancé once and for all.
In disguise as a riverboat gambler, Dalton is determined to find who framed him for killing two U.S. Army soldiers and who stole the gold they were carrying. He wants his life back—and his woman, who just happens to be on board and on the arm of his former best friend.
Convincing James he’s innocent is easier than winning back Rosalyn’s heart. Especially since Rosalyn seems to be enjoying their competition for her affections a little too much. There’s only one place to work out his dilemma. In bed.
As the sheets become unbearably hot, threads of evidence leading to the real killer are unraveling, leading toward one fateful card game—and one man who’s hell-bent on making sure Dalton has nothing left to lose. 

The 3rd book in Myla Jackson's Bound and Tied series, I haven't read the first 2 but definitely will after reading this one! Set on a steamboat on the Mississippi River in 1861, this story features the classic good boy/bad boy choice for our heroine, bordello owner Rosalyn. It is hot and steamy and action filled, with a mystery to be solved as well.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

99 cent Kindle books

There has been a lot of online chatter about the flood of independently published 99 cent Kindle books. Some say it's a great way to introduce readers to new authors, to whet their appetite and increase the likelihood of future sales. Others say it's lowering expectations, that readers will think they're going to get what they pay for, in other words, they're not going to be getting much.

I'm not an author so I don't have a strong opinion either way, except to say this: in the past week I have read 2 Kindle books that I paid 99 cents each for...Wild Wild Widow by Emma Jay and Happy New Life by Tonya Kappes. They couldn't be more different genre-wise; all they have in common is that they both completely blew me away. Both without a doubt "5 paws up" reads.

I'm sure there are 99 cent klunkers out there, but I've yet to come across one yet. The ones I've read so far have happily exceeded my expectations, and in many cases been better reads than some of the traditionally published, full price paperbacks and hardcovers out there. A great book is a great book, no matter how it's published, period.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy New Life

There is nothing cozier than winters in Grandberry Falls.

Interior decorator and divorced mom, Liz Day, is living her dream by opening up The Mole Hole Interiors. Life couldn't be better with best friend Jenna Greenlee and boyfriend, Cole Michaels by her side. Until she discovers a deep secret between Jenna and Cole that will change the lives in Grandberry Falls.

Jenna vows to make the new year, the beginning of a NEW LIFE. . .HAPPY NEW LIFE. 

Over the past year Tonya Kappes has become a dear Facebook friend. She has an infectious personality and I can always count on her posts and blogs to put a smile on my face. She has a passion for her craft that shines through in everything she writes.

Just a year ago her first short story was published in the Something Spooky This Way Comes anthology, where we were introduced to the characters that would make up her first novel Carpe Bead 'Em. I was there when subsequent novels The Ladybug Jinx and were released, reading them as fast as I could download them.

With Happy New Life, her 4th novel of the year and 2nd in the charming Grandberry Falls series, I can honestly say her work just gets better and better. This is my favorite so far, which is really saying something as I have adored everyone of her completely refreshing stores. I love how this one centers on 2 people brought together by a sweet dog, Tramp. There's a little romance, a little mystery, but above all else it's a heartwarming look at the power of love, friendship, and forgiveness. And set during the holiday season in a picturesque little town is just the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wild Wild Widow

Rebecca Chatham is no stranger to scandal. She and her husband delighted in shocking San Francisco society with their sexual exploits, not hard to do in 1888. But now her husband is dead. He left her penniless, forced to live under her wealthy father’s thumb. While searching for a protector, she once again becomes the focus of society gossip, and her father exiles her to her brother’s ranch in Central California.

Rebecca is miserable, until she meets the very handsome, very virile ranch foreman Judah Merrill. A real cowboy. Though she’s aware of their differences in status, she pursues him with a single-mindedness, until he catches her in the creek (and in the barn and on horseback). But what happens when she falls in love with him? Will he accept her wild wild heart? 

Wow. Wow. Wow. This is now my "go to" book the next time I'm asked for a recommendation for a western historical and/or erotic historical. For a 99 cent novella this one packs a serious punch. I was completely taken away to the California ranch along with Rebecca, and have to say I fell in love with Judah myself. In my eyes he is the perfect cowboy. Gentle and passionate, yet incredibly strong, and his tender way with the horses he trained just made me melt. Poor Rebecca didn't stand a chance once he set out to tame her!
Seriously, download this and read it. You won't regret it, and it might just tempt you to read more books in one of my favorite genres.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Pizza to Die For

Though it's an unseasonably chilly October in Timber Ridge, North Carolina, Eleanor Swift is warm and cozy in A Slice of Delight--her scrumptious pizzeria. But when snooty Judson Sizemore breezes into town to open an upper-crust pizza parlor nearby, Eleanor's biggest worry is that her beloved restaurant's days may be numbered. . .until she hears Judson's days have come to a most gruesome end. . . Since half the town saw Judson causing a ruckus in A Slice of Delight before he expired, Eleanor and her saucy sister, Maddie, are the prime suspects. The only way out is to prove their innocence. Soon, a little surreptitious sleuthing reveals that the dough behind Judson's impending pizzeria came from Timber Ridge's resident recluse: crusty oddball millionaire Nathan Pane. It turns out he's Judson's long-lost uncle. . .and someone is after him, too.
As Eleanor digs deeper, her suspect list grows longer than the local soccer team's pizza order--and life in the once quiet town heats up like Maddie's five-alarm Volcano pie. Could it be Judson's gold-digging sister? Or her secret boyfriend? Between working on the case, keeping her customers happy, and even finding time for an old flame, Eleanor's plate is full. But with an unhinged murderer closing in, she'll have to move very quickly--and very carefully--because the killer is already much closer than she thinks. . . 

This is the 3rd book in Chris Cavender's Pizza Lovers Mystery Series, featuring sisters Eleanor and Maddie, owners of pizzaria A Slice of Delight. Anyone who has followed this series from the beginning as I have knows Eleanor has been having difficulty moving on from her husband's sudden death. This book made me nervous as much is resolved in the end, but I'm happy to see the 4th book, Rest in Pizza, scheduled for release next spring :) This is the perfect read for this time of year, as the book is set at Halloween. Highly recommended!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Favorite Things

Today's blog is about a couple of my favorite recent purchases. Not books (the horror!!!), but related to my favorite genres.

The first item is the mug I drink my coffee, mochas, and cocoa from everyday. I first saw it on a Facebook picture from one of my favorite authors, Ellery Adams. I looked for it on ebay and found my favorite color, pink! Now you tell me, isn't this the perfect mug for a cozy mystery lover???

The second item I picked up just yesterday at my favorite place to buy western collectibles, Tractor Supply Company. I collect gingerbread men. Come Christmastime my house is filled with the little cutie pies, so what could be more perfect for a reader of western historicals than adorable pajamas featuring gingerbread men dressed as cowboys!!! I also picked up a fantastic illustrated book of Old West always comes back to books, doesn't it? LOL

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Waltz of Seduction

A painful personal experience makes Lord Lockhart believe that a gentleman doesn’t inflict his passionate desires on a wife. The marriage bed is for begetting heirs, not animal lust. No matter how much he desires his wife. But under Lady Lockhart’s shyness is a determination to tempt her handsome husband, to satisfy them both and spend every night together in her bed. Innocent waltzing lessons in their chambers soon become indecent, and may lead the newlyweds to overcome their preconceptions and learn to be lovers, as well as man and wife. 

This is a fantastic short story about young marrieds learning how to move past society's restrictions in the Regency period and to communicate with each other. I couldn't figure out why Lord Lockhart treated his wife the way he did in the beginning, but the explanation was perfectly plausible as time went on. I really enjoy stores where the main characters are already married, and this one has a very unusual slant involving the "innocent" dance lessons leading to so much more. Who knew the waltz could be so steamy???

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Death by the Dozen

Melanie and Angie are determined to win the Challenge to the Chef to promote their Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery. Mel's mentor from culinary school, Vic Mazzotta, may be one of the judges, but Mel and Angie will have to win fair and square. But, when Vic's dead body is found inside a freezer truck, Mel and Angie will need to use their best judgment to find the cold-blooded killer or they may lose more than the contest- they may lose their lives. 

This is the third book in Jenn McKinlay's Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, taking place at a cooking competition where all kinds of unusual but wonderful baked goods are made from a mystery ingredient. But death comes knocking at Mel's door once again when her mentor is murdered on the grounds of the competition.

I love the dynamics between Mel and her best friends Angie and Tate, who are hopelessly in love with each other but both too stubborn to make the first move. In the first book of the series Tate's fiancee was in the picture, now it's Angie's rocker boyfriend Roach. My heart broke for Tate by the end. And I just adore little Captain Jack and the circumstances of how Mel came to adopt'll just have to read the book to meet the little fur baby!!!