Friday, July 28, 2017

Winners & No Contest This Week

Congratulations to the winners of the last contest. G.B. from East Lansing, MI won the copy of Kate Carlisle's Once Upon a Spine. Betsy L. from Midlothian, VA won A Just Clause by Lorna Barrett. I'll put them in the mail tomorrow.

There's no contest this week. I'll be at a conference next week, and won't have a chance to run the contest or mail the books. If you're only here for the giveaways, come back on Friday, August. 4 when I kick off another giveaway.

If you're here for more, check out Kristopher Zgorski's blog today, Sometime today, under Articles, and then Composite Sketch, Kristopher will post the interview he did with me. He asks interesting questions, so I hope you stop by.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth

Local History and culture. Politics. And, of course, murder. Branson, Missouri's Sheriff Hank Worth faces it all in Claire Booth's Another Man's Ground. It's an outstanding police procedural with touches of humor throughout.

When Vern Miles reports the theft of bark from his trees, Sheriff Worth doesn't realize it will snowball into a murder investigation, solve a cold case, and, either help him win an election. Or, the case may go all wrong, and the voters might see him as a bumbling fool who doesn't understand the local politics. Miles harvests bark to sell for the growing herbal medicinal trade, but someone stripped and killed his trees. But, when Worth returns to the scene of the crime, he and a deputy startle workers, illegal immigrants who flee. One, though, falls into an old grave, uncovering a body. It's only going to get worse as Worth tangles with one of the most powerful men in the county.

And, of course, he's standing for election while dealing with the investigation. A second body brings claims of incompetence from Worth's opponent and his supporters. And, Worth is the first one to blame himself. He can't stand the thought of campaigning and working with a political consultant, but if he's to clean up some of the cronyism in the department, and stay in the area, he has to put up a fight. But, Sheriff Hank Worth would rather be on the ground fighting crime instead of at a luncheon making a speech.

Booth's second book in the series is an outstanding follow-up to The Branson Beauty. Worth is a dedicated lawman whose family life adds traces of humor to the book. However, it's Booth's outstanding writing of police work and investigation that shines in this fascinating story. Crime, politics, and racism in southern Missouri, along with the good old boy network add up to Another Man's Ground.

Claire Booth's website is She's also on Facebook at

Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth. Minotaur Books. 2017. ISBN 9781250084415 (hardcover), 320p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to participate in a TLC Blog Tour.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What Are You Reading?

I hope you're all around today because I'm a day early with this question. I promised Thursday for a book review - go figure. I'll be reviewing Claire Booth's second Hank Worth mystery set in Branson, Missouri, Another Man's Ground. In fact, that's what I'm reading right now. Once I finish it, I'll be picking up Kevin Hearne's Besieged: Stories from The Iron Druid Chronicles. If I finish it by Tuesday (and I should), I can pass it on to my nephew. I introduced him to this series, and he and I both enjoy it.

What are you reading or listening to this week? You can still tell us on Thursday if you only stop by then. We'd love to know!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant

It's release day for Sophie Littlefield's historical novel, The Dress in the Window, written under the name Sofia Grant. The character-driven book takes readers back to the period from 1948 to 1952, a time when women who lost men in the war had to find a way to make a living and survive, while learning to be harder and stronger than they had planned.

In 1948 in Brunskill, Pennsylvania, a former mill town, three women struggle to make a living. Jeanne Brink lost her fiancé in the war, and she's now living in the attic of the house owned by her sister's mother-in-law, Thelma. Jeanne's sister, Peggy, is widowed with a young daughter, Tommie, named after her late husband. Jeanne, a talented seamstress, alters and makes dresses for other women. Some of those dresses are based on Peggy's designs. And, Peggy, who finds work in a department store, has bigger dreams. She wants to work in advertising or fashion design. But, those are wild dreams that would take her out of the mill town where she grew up.

For a while, Jeanne and Peggy are a team, but the family needs conspire against them. Although Thelma finds a way for the group to keep the house and make more money, her plans tear about dreams, and the family unit. And, suddenly the two sisters find themselves with different needs and desires.

The Dress in the Window is a bittersweet novel. None of the characters are perfect, but all three women are striving to find some sort of success, some sort of happiness in a world without the men they loved. At times, they take desperate measures. But, it's a time when women were sometimes forced to take desperate measures in order to survive and make it in a world where men held the power.

Grant, who has written novels about women taking control of their lives, and finding their own strength and power, addresses a forgotten period in The Dress in the Window. In some ways, she has taken on the story of forgotten women, those left behind by the war, forced to fight their own battles. As I said, it's a bittersweet story.

The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant. William Morrow. 2017. ISBN 9780062499721 (paperback), 384p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist sent me a copy of the book so I could participate in the blog tour on release date, with no promise of a favorable review.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Murder at Chateau sur Mer by Alyssa Maxwell

Don't make the same mistake I did. If Alyssa Maxwell's Murder at Chateau sur Mer sounds interesting to you, go back and start at the beginning of the series, not with the fifth book. I have an excuse. I was reading it for a review. But, you've been warned that it's best to start at the beginning and get to know the characters. It's not that you can't start with this one. It's fine, but I was so intrigued that I wish I didn't know what had happened in the previous books.

In the 1890s, Newport, Rhode Island was an enclave for the Four Hundred, the wealthy who dominated society. Emma Cross is a less-well-off cousin of the Vanderbilts. She has to work to keep Gull Manor, the house she inherited from her great aunt. She takes in "less fortunate sisters". Emma is a society reporter for the local newspaper. She's covering a polo match when she overhears snippets of conversation about U.S. Senator George Wetmore, conversation that sounds threatening. When a young woman tries to approach Mrs. Wetmore during the match, Emma's curiosity is aroused. And, when a police detective friend, Jesse Whyte, calls in the early morning, and asks Emma to go to the Wetmores' house, Chateau sur Mer, she's even more curious. That same young woman from the polo match has been found dead at the foot of the stairs at the Wetmores'.

Mrs. Wetmore asks Emma to investigate, but she never intended Emma to pry into her family life and secrets. But, Emma is even more interested in the life of the victim. When she finds the victim was a prostitute, she follows the clues into a brothel, knowing none of the men in her life would get answers there. It's just the first place Emma goes that scandalizes society, and results in changes to her own life. But, she's driven for a passion for the truth. Who killed the young woman? Who wanted to ruin Senator Wetmore?

Murder at Chateau sur Mer is a fascinating historical mystery with a cast filled with recognizable names. Emma herself is an attractive narrator who understands the gifts she's received because of her family connections, and the lack of support for the victim. It's a mystery of class and division, an intriguing story of the haves and have-nots during the Gilded Age.

Don't do as I did. Go back, and start with Murder at the Breakers if you like American historical mysteries.

Alyssa Maxwell's website is

Murder at Chateau sur Mer by Alyssa Maxwell. Kensington. 2017. ISBN 978149703323 (hardcover), 304p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received a copy to review for a journal.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Have You Heard? - Charlaine Harris' Living Dead in Dallas

Thank you to Sandie Herron for another audiobook review!

Living Dead in Dallas Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery Book 2
Written by Charlaine Harris
Narrated by Johanna Parker
Unabridged Audiobook
Listening Time: 8 hours and 52 minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books (5/8/2008)
Originally published by Ace Books as a PBO on 3/26/2002

Telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse lives in Bon Temps, Louisiana and works at Merlotte’s Bar and Grill.  While Sookie works the late shift at the bar, Detective Andy Bellefleur ties one on, and they must call his sister to pick him up since he cannot drive home drunk.  Upon arriving at Merlotte’s the next day, Sookie finds the cook Lafayette very dead in detective Andy Bellefleur’s car which had been left at the bar.   It looks as if Lafayette’s bragging about a sex party he’d attended has gotten him into trouble.  Who are the people who hosted this party, and who else attended?  What are they hiding?

Sookie’s vampire lover Bill and Sookie herself have been summoned by his superior Eric who runs the vampire bar Fangtasia in nearby Shreveport.  As Bill and Sookie drive to see Eric, they quarrel, and Sookie jumps out of the car. In the dark night, Sookie is accosted by a maenad, a creature that fills her body with poison via the wounds she inflicts on Sookie’s back. The only way to save Sookie’s life is to suck the poison out, which the vampires at Fangtasia happily do.  They replenish her blood supply with their own blood which is very healing to humans.  Her payback is to help the vampires in Dallas, Texas who have requested help in dealing with trouble from a group of people who have joined together to form the Church of the Sun that in the broad sense opposes vampires completely and more specifically may be hiding a missing vampire.

Upon her arrival in Dallas, Sookie is asked to read the minds of some local human bar patrons in order to determine if they saw a specific vampire just before he disappeared.  With that knowledge, the nest in Dallas hopes to find their “brother.”  Suspecting that he is being held by members of the Church of the Sun, Sookie and another human pose as a couple interested in joining the church.  The pair is given a tour of the church but then is prevented from leaving, being introduced to vampire Godric who wants to repent his ways and “meet the sun” at dawn.  

As a church member attempts to rape Sookie, she fights back and with Godric’s help she avoids deadly attempts on her life.  Sookie escapes the church helped by a local shapeshifter.  Unfortunately, members of the church pursue them and cause an accident. Sookie and the shapeshifter are upside down and trapped in the car when more church members chase them.  

Will police arrive in time to free Sookie before church members reach her?  What happens to the shapeshifter who helped her?  Will Sookie find Bill and warn the vampire community of these church members claiming retribution?    Will the missing vampire be returned to his nest unharmed?  Will Godric meet the dawn?  And if Sookie makes it back to Bon Temps, will she discover who killed Lafayette?

Johanna Parker narrates the audiobook superbly. She conveys the many emotions presented in this second series entry.  Her reading brings the book to life and contributes realistic voices along with Sookie’s lively southern accent.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Winners and Book-Related Mysteries

Congratulations to the winners of the last giveaway. Dianne O. from Oak Park, IL will receive the ARC of Hannah Dennison's Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall. Virginia D. from Tempe, AZ won Shadow Man by Alan Drew. The books will go out in the mail tomorrow.

This week, I'm giving away copies of book-related mysteries. I have a first edition of Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile mystery, Once Upon a Spine. This time, bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright's interest is a rare editor of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It's just part of the rabbit hole world of bookshops, murder, and rare books. And, while she deals with all of that, Brooklyn faces the first meeting with her future in-laws who are arriving from England.

There's family problems in Booktown in Lorna Barrett's A Just Clause, another first edition.  Mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, Tricia Miles, is in for a surprise when her "ne-er-do-well father, John, comes to town - and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia's faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time." Tricia is determined to clear the family name before another body shows up.

Which book-related mystery would you like to win? You can enter to win both, but I need separate entries. Email me at Your subject heading should read either "Win Once Upon a Spine" or "Win A Just Clause." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. The giveaway will end Thursday, July 27 at 5 PM CT.