Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Walled Flower

If Katie Bonner's late husband hadn't invested all their savings in the crafts fair Artisans Alley, the Webster mansion could have been hers to remodel into a bed-and-breakfast. Instead that dream belongs to another young couple. But that dream becomes a nightmare when a skeleton is discovered sealed in the walls of the mansion. The bones belong to Heather Winston, who went missing twenty-two years ago. Heather's aunt, a jewelry vendor at Artisans Alley, asks Kate for help finding her niece's murderer. The case may be cold, but the killer is very much alive-and ready to go to any lengths to keep past secrets buried...

This is the second book in Lorraine Bartlett's Victorian Square Mystery series, and it is a series that just keeps getting better and better! I really feel for the main protagonist Katie, a widow with so much on her plate, struggling to keep Artisans Alley afloat while aching to own the Webster mansion. In this book she's also desperate to find a new place to live, questioning her boyfriend's reasoning behind not letting her live above his pizza restaurant, dealing with the pressure of being a matron of honor and organizing a bridal shower, PLUS solve a murder or two!!! And I must commend Katie on her patience...Polly and Gilda would've been shown the door immediately if I were her!

The secondary characters in the series also shined in this book, especially sweet Rose. I love her friendship with Katie despite their age difference and hope to see more of her in future books. Katie's romance with Andy is a joy to read as well, and I find it cute how sick she is of pizza. (Never had that problem myself.) It will be fun to see Andy's cinnamon roll business take off. Heather was an extremely strong character even though we "met" her 22 years after her death.

This is definitely a page-turner with many twists and turns, and I enjoyed the revelations as to why the victims were killed. I can't wait to spend time with these characters again.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Fitting End

Business is booming at Harlow Jane Cassidy's custom dressmaking boutique-even with her great-grandmother's ghost hanging around the shop. But when a local golf pro is found stabbed with dressmaking shears, the new town deputy suspects Harlow. Now she has to clear her name before the next outfit she designs is a prison jumpsuit...

A Fitting End is the second book in Melissa Bourbon's Magical Dressmaking series set in Bliss, Texas. In this one Meemaw is gaining strength and able to assist her descendents more; I hope this continues! I love the Cassidy women, their relationship with each other and their gifts. There were so many revelations in this book about the Cassidy family tree and who knows about their powers, and I enjoyed spending more time with the residents of Bliss, especially the Lafayette sisters. Of course I love the Butch Cassidy history, and the relationship between himself, Sundance, and the fictional Texana Harlow and Etta Place. This charming series will enchant lovers of paranormal cozies.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Diamond Heart

After catching her no good cheat'n rat bastard ex-fiancé in bed with her best friend, Rowan Belmont leaves the mills and factories of the Midwest to move nearer her sister in San Francisco. After being robbed in Kansas City, she loses the money to complete her journey and she tries to pawn her engagement ring, only to find out that it‘s fake. Alone, broke, and on the edge of giving up, Rowan hopes for a miracle.

Marcel Champlain can't get the beautiful woman he met at the Kansas City hotel out of his mind. When she turns up at his family’s jewelry he knows that God has brought them together. He makes Rowan a job offer: Go with him to Freewill, Wyoming to open a new jewelry store and pose as his wife.

With only three months to convince Rowan that she should become his wife in truth, Marcel intends to show Rowan that no other man on earth will ever love her as much as he does. Their time together may be cut short by when it seems like fate will take Marcel from Rowan all too soon and leave her once again alone in the world.

I've been so excited about Decadent Publishing's new Western Escapes line-a mix of historical and contemporary series set in Freewill, WY, since I first heard about it a few months ago, so I was thrilled to receive an ARC of the first book in the line, an historical (YAY!!!) by Ann Mayburn.

I loved watching Rowan and Marcel's pretend marriage blossom into the real thing. Rowan is an incredibly strong western woman, and Marcel-oh Marcel. It's appropriate this was released on Valentine's Day because Marcel will just make you melt into a puddle-strong, sensitive, patient, and oh so sexy.

Ann's historical research made me feel like I was walking the boardwalks of Freewill. I enjoyed the setting of the jewelry store, and the cultural diversity of the characters. I can't wait for subsequent books in this series, because this one is a pure delight.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

File M For Murder

Athena College's new writer in residence is native son and playwright Connor Lawton, known for his sharp writing-and sharper tongue. After an unpleasant encounter, librarian Charlie Harris heads home to a nice surprise: his daughter Laura is subbing for another Athena professor. Unfortunately her old flame Connor Lawton got her the job.
But before Connor finishes his newest play, he's murdered-and Laura is the prime suspect. Charlie and his faithful cat, Diesel, follow Connor's cluttered trail to find the true killer before his daughter is forever catalogued under M...for murderer.

This is the 3rd book in Miranda James' Cat in the Stacks series, and I think it's the best one yet! Diesel absolutely steals the show; his head bumps and warbles will melt the heart of any cat lover. I enjoyed the addition of Charlie's daughter Laura, and his protectiveness of her. A cozy series with a middle aged man as the lead character is unusual, but it works. His interaction with the supporting cast of his children and boarders is very enjoyable as well. Any lover of cat cozies (and cozies in general) will fall in love with this series.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy 200th Birthday Charles Dickens!!!

I couldn't be happier this morning when I saw Google's homepage:

My first introduction to Dickens was going to the movie theater with my mom in 1992 and watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. I had never read the book, but instantly fell in love with the story. Since that time I have watched the movie every single holiday season, as well as all of the other theatrical versions. I've read the story every season, collected many different editions of the book, as well as figurines, dolls, ornaments, village pieces. During the holiday season I have an entire table just of my Dickens collection. My favorite character is Scrooge, which is ironic because I am the biggest Christmas lover you will ever meet, but he is all over my home during the holidays.

I adore the time period of Victorian London. I would love to walk the streets of that time, would love to wander dark halls holding a candlestick.

I have since read Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities. I adore Pip and Miss Havisham. All of his books are on my Kindle. But for me A Christmas Carol will always be my first love. It's my favorite story of all time.

Happy 200th birthday, Mr Dickens.

Monday, February 6, 2012

If Tombstones Could Talk

Had someone asked Melanie Sparks if she believed in ghosts, she'd have laughed before voicing an emphatic "No."

Then she takes a walking tour of the cemetery in her new hometown of Lindeman's Crossing, Colorado and meets one of the residents face to face. The story behind Andrew Lindeman's tragic death after the Pike's Peak Gold Rush in 1859 triggers dreams in which she relives his last moments.

Drawn to the handsome ghost, attraction builds, and she resolves to clear his tarnished name. A passionate kiss sets his spirit free, but will Melanie lose her heart forever?

This is a fantastic story blending 3 of my favorite genres-western historical, paranormal, and a little mystery. I loved the scenes with Melanie and Andrew in the cemetery, and the historical aspect of the bank robbery back in the Gold Rush. And the contemporary romance is incredibly sweet. I just wish it had been longer...a sequel would be wonderful!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Gnome on the Range

Once you get the zing you can’t go back.

Jane West has everything a woman could want. A job in a small Montana town’s only adult store, two busy young boys and one dead husband. Everything except a little excitement--a little zing. But that changes one summer morning at a garage sale when her kids buy some garden gnomes.

Now someone wants those gnomes and will let nothing get in their way. Including Jane. This new excitement for Jane spells trouble for a relationship with new neighbor--and hot fireman--Ty Strickland. Can Jane and Ty handle a relationship meddling mother-in-law, crazy kids, and stay alive while trying to solve the mystery of the garden gnomes?

This book caught my eye because I adore gnomes and was looking to read something different from my usual genres. I didn't know what to expect, but the book description sounded fun. And fun it was!!! You won't believe how much trouble a person can get into by buying 2 cute garden gnomes at a garage sale! I found myself laughing out loud many times at Jane's (and Goldy's!) adventures.

Jennifer Zane is an exciting new voice in fiction, and I look forward to reading more from her. This book will appeal to readers of all genres-women's fiction, romance, mystery. It's just a great read!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Guest Blog-Author Chastity Bush

Thanks for having me here today, Melissa!
I’m thrilled that you enjoyed my western romance, Tumbleweeds. This book was a lot of fun to write. Westerns have always been one of my main interests, be they books or movies. The first western romance I ever read was For the Roses by Julie Garwood. After that, I was in love with not only reading, but anything to do with the old west as well. So when the idea for Tumbleweeds popped into my head, (which surprised the stuffing out of me because paranormal is my forte) I knew I had to write it, or lose my mind!
I wanted to make this book as historically accurate as possible, so I did a good bit of research to do just that. Our library here is quite small, so thank heavens for Google!
I have to admit; I don’t think I could have lived in those days. All the clothing these women wore on a daily basis was more than I could ever handle. 
I didn’t plan on this book being a series, but after all the good reviews and reader remarks, I’m planning a sequel. This one will be about Deputy Robbie, as everyone seemed to love him, of course, I did my best to make him as loveably sexy as humanly possible.
In the meantime, I just signed two contracts with Liquid Silver Books for two contemporary romances, The Stranger Next Door and Guarding Eden, so look for those to hit the shelves soon, and my three other paranormal romances, Killer Kisses, A Taste of Terror and Passions Bite are all available at and almost everywhere ebooks are sold. 
I had a great time here today, and I hope you all have a chance to enjoy my work.
Thanks again for having me here today, Melissa!

 As the adopted daughter of the town’s madam, Strawberry Meadows has seen it all. After ten years of living in Lily Bell’s saloon she believes all men are the same: wild cads, cheating husbands, tumbleweeds, and outlaws. Marriage is not an option, but when Berry comes face to face with the town’s new sheriff, she finds herself fighting feelings she has never before experienced. With friends and family playing matchmaker, controlling the urge to throw herself into the lawman’s arms proves more difficult than she ever imagined.

Sheriff Tavis Wilks came to Chamberlin to begin life anew. Perhaps find a wife and settle down. Unfortunately, not one of the women in the town caught his eye or held his interest, until he met Berry. Something about her set his blood on fire. From her hot tempter to her unwillingness to let him close, he wants her, needs her. The only thing stopping him from making her his own is Berry herself.

When an old enemy rambles into town and takes a special interest in Berry, Tavis must scramble to rescue the only woman he has ever loved before his future is destroyed by his past.

Chastity Bush is the author of several romance novels known for their spicy romance, suspense and humorous edge. She’s completely addicted to Dexter and True Blood, and she loves to spend time with her husband and their two daughters. Chastity loves to hear from her readers, and personally answers all email she receives.
Send questions or comments to Chastity at:
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

If Fried Chicken Could Fly

At Gram's Country Cooking School, Betts and Gram are helping students prepare the perfect dishes for the Southern Missouri Show-Down, the cook-off that draws the first of the summer visitors. Everything is going smoothly until they discover the body of local theater owner Everett Morningside in the school's supply closet, and Everett's widow points an accusatory finger at Gram. Now, Betts has to dig deep into Broken Rope's history to find the modern-day killer-before the last piece of chicken is served...

This first book in Paige Shelton's Country Cooking School Mysteries is a fun read filled with twists and turns and a cast of delightful characters. But my review must focus on my 2 favorite aspects of the book:

1. The town of Broken Rope...a town that got it's place on the map by it's recreations of the Old West. OMG I want to LIVE there!!! I love how the cook-off judging even takes place on a hanging platform. Too fun!!!

2. The ghost of outlaw Jerome Cowbender. I must confess I fell a little bit in love with him, as did Betts. I sure hope he's a part of future books, and that we get to see his relationship with Betts grow. Sparks can fly between a ghost and a mortal, can't they?