29 June 2011

SKETCH ME IF YOU CAN: A Portrait of Crime Mystery - Sharon Pape

From the back of the book: Police artist Rory McCain never needed a partner to create a likeness of a suspect. But now, working as a sleuth on the side, she's got a partner who's been dead for over a century....

When Rory's favorite uncle dies suddenly, he bequeaths to his niece a beautiful Victorian home and a list of clients from his private detective business. As Rory tries to get settled in the house, she is startled by a ghost from the 1870s---federal marshal Ezekial Drummond, aka Zeke---who was helping Uncle Mac with his cases. In exchange, Mac had agreed to help Zeke find the killer who had shot the lawman in the back.

When Zeke proposes a similar partnership with Rory, she balks. Having a ghost as a housemate is bad enough. But as she's drawn into one of her uncle's unsolved cases, Rory finds she needs the help of an experienced investigator---even one who is stubborn and old-fashioned, cantankerous and sexist---not to mention long dead. Faced with a cold-blooded killer, Rory may even need the marshal's ghostly help in staying alive herself....


Paranormal mysteries can be tricky. Some can feel forced, sort of gratuitous ghosts. Thankfully, Zeke's definitely a ghost of least as much as a ghost can be substantance-y.

I liked the dueling dialogue between Zeke and Rory. Zeke is old-fashioned and ornery and Rory is modern and touchy and the sparks are flying like crazy, especially when they are working out how to exist in the same house.

The mystery was portrayed well and I like how Rory realizes her abilities as a true detective and not just in name only as a sketch artist with a badge.

I still want to know how he got to Mac's house from the Wild West, so it's a given I'll be buying the next in the series, TO SKETCH A THIEF. It's in the shopping cart!

Four sketching beans....

27 June 2011

Spa Week 2011 - Diggin', Plantin', Extractin', and Zombies

Welcome to Kansas....our annual photo op at one of the coolest rest stop/visitor's centerAn afternoon of creating hypertufa pots and troughsHauled a hewgah house exhaust fan out of the wall of my mom's mud room for one of our projects. Seester and I thought it would make for a nice planter for Dad's place if Dad was up for it.....He was....And after a paint job and a load of xeric plants....I love how it turned out Zombies in the back garden

And at the Sno Shack.....the zombie movie is for another day.....too much fun...

Books in the House - 27 Jun 2011

From Dad:

THE SILENCED - Brett Battles, thriller, MPB

THE CUTTING - James Hayman, thriller, MPB (Tess Gerritsen digs this one)

CHURCHILL'S SECRET AGENT - Max and Linda Ciampoli, suspense, MPB

26 June 2011

Blooms on Sunday - 26 Jun 2011

New planting thought....Hen and Chicks in an old teapot

Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) is happy happy happy

Hollyhocks near the fence

Hollyhocks in the Funky Garden...

Hollyhocks appearing in the craziest spots...why I love them so

20 June 2011

Books in the House Monday - 20 Jun 2011

From the fabu Jenna who goes above and beyond and gets books signed for me at Powells at Cedar Hill Oregon location:

MAGIC AT THE HUNT: Allie Beckstrom Novel # 6 - Devon Monk, UF, MPB, signed

MAGIC ON THE LINE: Allie Beckstrom booklet - Devon Monk, UF, MPB, signed

BLOOD OATH: Nathaniel Cade Book One - Christopher Farnsworth, HB, UF, signed

THE PRESIDENT'S VAMPIRE: Nathaniel Cade Book Two - Christopher Farnsworth, HB, UF, signed

DEFIANCE: Strange Angels Book 4 - Lili St Crow, TPB, YA UF, signed

And because Jenna knows my love o' the cozies:

A MURDEROUS GLAZE: A Clay and Crime Mystery - Melissa Glazer

THE CRACKED POT: A Clay and Crime Mystery - Melissa Glazer

A FATAL SLIP: A Clay and Crime Mystery - Melissa Glazer

That Jenna is soooo sweeeeeet!

19 June 2011

Blooms on Sunday - 19 Jun 2011

The snapdragons that just started popping up in front of the house

Penstemon 'Elfin Pink' between two sages

The California poppies that happily re-seed themselves

I think this is Geum 'Lady Stratheden'

And the happy columbine aguiligia

17 June 2011

Off to Kansas for Spa Week!

It's that time of year...time for Lady K and I to hit I-70 and make our way out to Dad's place in Ottawa, KS for what we, on my side of the immediate family, have dubbed Spa Week. My sister and her two boys come out from Chicago 'burbs, Mom comes up from her house in Fort Scott, KS and Lady K and I out from our Denver 'burb and we all meet up at Dad's. Typically, it's a week of building something for Dad, playing in his pool, going to the movies, digging in the dirt to add to Dad's landscape. This year it's more about maybe building one thing for Mom at her house and mostly about goofing off. I am bringing out the mosaic schtuff to work on the bowling balls Dad has from the closed bowling alley he and Mom found. We'll try our hand at making mirror balls of a sort. Also bringing paints to make some clay pots purdier. We plan on lots of movies and going roller skating. Still dig in the ground since we like to do that so much. Fun time had by all and Mom will cook up the fam favorites of fried chicken, tacos, chicken and noodles....and Seester and I will be hitting the bricks every morning to hammer out a walk for me and run for her to work off the fried chicken, tacos, and chicken and noodles.....

See ya when we get back!!

16 June 2011

A HARD DAY'S FRIGHT: A Pepper Martin Mystery - Casey Daniels

From the back of the book: Cemetary tour guide and reluctant medium Pepper Martin is enjoying quite a reputation on the ghostly grapevine. So when a free spirit from the sixties needs closure, she knows just who to haunt.....

What happened to a teenager named Lucy one night in 1966 after a Beatles concert? She rushed the stage, kissed Paul, started home with her friends, and was never seen again.

Until Pepper sees her---as a ghost who has heard of Pepper's gift of communicating with dead people and solving their murders. Lucy's spirit can't rest in peace until her body is found and buried. But how will Pepper track down a missing corpse after forty-five years?

With a little help from her friends......


Pepper Martin mystery series has had me hooked since DON OF THE DEAD. The titles are fab, matching each book's premise. The covers are excellent with Pepper, never full face or looking away from the reader, posing among the tombstones.

Pepper has become quite good at detecting for the dead after solving the last six ghosts' issues. She knows research and hoofin' it around to get answers. She still likes to look stylish doing so and she still isn't overly adoring of her job, but she does love her boss, Ella, and now Ella needs her help. There's a ghost who needs rest, Ella's daughter who needs a mentor and a murderer who needs to be caught. And Pepper is just the right woman for the job whether she wants to be or not.

Five ghost talkin' in style beans......

14 June 2011

DELICIOUS AND SUSPICIOUS: A Memphis BBQ Mystery - Riley Adams

Welcome to Aunt Pat's barbecue restaurant--family run and located in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee. Named in the honor of Lulu Taylor's great aunt, the restaurant is known for its ribs and spicy cornbread, but now the Taylor family will be known for murder---unless Lulu can clear their name.....

Rebecca Adrian came to Memphis to suss out the best local BBQ for a prominent Cooking Channel show. Trouble is, Rebecca doesn't live long enough to mention a bad review. A mystery ingredient has killed her---and now all fingers are pointing to Aunt Pat's restaurant. Horrified that her family is being accused of murder, Lulu fires up her investigative skills to solve the crime before someone else gets skewered....

Includes recipes!!!!


I have been perusing a couple of maps and seeing what DH thinks about a trip to Memphis someday. After reading this book, the start of this delectable series, I hope we can go soon. We will go on our wee tour of the best BBQ joint. Would that Aunt Pat's was a real place.

Until the trip, I will happily read more of this series and dream of ribs, spicy cornbread, coleslaw, red beans and rice.....sigh.....

Lulu is an older woman, has kids, grandkids, but the reader isn't left with any kind of certain age nor of any kind of age-related issues that would keep Lulu from finding the cause of the death of producer from the Cooking Channel. She knows it just could not be her restaurant, but where or who would do this?

Besides Lulu, my favorite characters are the Graces, docents at Graceland who come in on quite a regular basis. They are good friends and confidants and each has a spectacular personality and can't wait to read more about them in future books.

Five BBQ is AWESOME beans.....

12 June 2011

Blooms on Sunday - 12 Jun 2011

This pineleaf penstemon is my favorite....there's another in a red that hasn't bloomed yet

One of the prettiest groundcovers we have...Snow in Summer

Pincushion or scabiosa...I love foliage as much as I love bloom

First one bloom....

...then the other.....I want to say this is Fendler's Cactus...whatever it is, it's gorgeous

08 June 2011


From the back of the book: More than seven hundred years ago, a gold box was unearthed near the village of Megiddo, only to disappear again. The clues to its whereabouts were embedded in a cryptic verse known as the quatrains. For centuries, it has been the most sought-
after treasure in the world....

Photographer Edie Miller is eyewitness to a murder---and the theft of an ancient Hebrew relic known as the Stones of Fire. Fearing the D C police are comlicit, she turns to historian Caedmon Aisquith for help. At first neither understands the breadth of the crime: what was captured on film, its ties to a government conspiracy, or the true value of the astonishing work of art that could lead the bearer to the most valuable relic of all....

The Ark of the Covenant

Marked for execution, Edie and Caedmon are on the run. From Washington, DC, to Canterbury Cathedral to the island of Malta, they must follow the clues of the quatrains if they are to discover the truth, ward off a global conflagration, and stay alive.


I have had the book on the shelf for the longest time and finally decided that I needed to read some more thrillers and suspense since Spa Week is coming up and I need a stack of thrillers and suspense to take to my dad and sister. I've been heavy into the cozies/amateur sleuth and paranormal and my fam isn't into those as much as I. I like having something to bring out. Reached into the back of the third drawer of chest of drawers one of Mt Git'r'Read and found ARK OF FIRE. And so very glad I went a diggin'.

ARK OF FIRE is what Dan Brown wishes his books aspired to now that he's all big name and doesn't have to try anymore. My own personal opinion, but that's what reviews tend to be, so there it is.

Edie is a photographer who finds herself in a situation of flee or die, but she knows she has to do the right thing and tell the recipient of an emailed file that his life is in danger. Edie has the fleeing part down in part, but Caedmon, the recipient of the email, is ready with the rest. He is a professor now, but used to be with MI5.

The chemistry of Edie and Caedmon is fiery and interesting to watch as they find their way through the clues of the quatrains they need to decipher and keep as far ahead of the religious army that is after them.

Highly intriguing and stay-up-late-past-bedtime excellent!!! I can't wait to get the next in the series, THE TEMPLAR'S CODE and TEMPLAR'S QUEST.

Five archeological thriller rockin' beans.....

06 June 2011


From the back of the book: A lost civilization. A dangerous quest. A deadly secret.

It's one of history's most enduring and controversial legends---the lost city of Atlantis. Archeologist Nina Wilde is certain she's solved the riddle of its whereabouts---and with the help of reclusive billionaire Kristian Frost, his beautiful daughter, Kari, and ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie Chase, she's about to make the most important discovery in centuries. But not everyone wants them to succeed: A powerful and mysterious organization will stop at nothing to ensure that a secret submerged for 11,000 years never resurfaces.

More than one would-be discoverer has already died in pursuit of Atlantis's secrets---including Nina's own parents. Failure isn't an option. From the streets of Manhattan to the Brazilian jungle, from a Tibetan mountaintop to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, Nina and Eddie will race against time---and follow a trail of danger and death to a revelation so explosive, it could destroy civilization forever....


I enjoy reading thrillers, the well-written ones that keep me turning the page even when I know I have to major league suspend belief. I have sort of stopped reading Clive Cussler because I want Dirk to just take a nap...he keeps going even after multiple beatings, running for what seems like days on end, never tiring....take a nap Dirk, dagnabbit!

Nina and Eddie actually get some rest from time to time and the action is almost non-stop, but is believable with a weensie bit of suspension of that there belief. I really like the chemistry and growing camaraderie of the pair.

I have been fascinated with the Atlantis legend for what seems like forever. The search for the lost city, the good guys trying to keep ahead of the bad ones, some very cool explosions, Nina learning how to climb through a sewer, Eddie's snarks....Nina's comebacks....

Five lost city thriller fun beans......

05 June 2011

Blooms on Sunday - 5 Jun 2011

The one landscape effort from previous owners we left...this is the most gorgeous pink rose

I would plant every container with nicotiana and sweet potato vine if left to my own devices

Lady K's container

DH's touch

One of my favorite pots

02 June 2011

HEXED - Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James, Jeanne C Stein

From the back of the book: Four of the bestselling names in romance and fantasy come together in this collection of thrilling novellas featuring powerful women who know how to handle a hex or two...

New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews spins "Magic Dreams". Shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau finds herself in deep waters when she must challenge a dark being to a battle of wits or risk losing the man for whom she secretly longs.

In "Ice Shards", New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn returns to the Otherworld as Iris Kuusi, a Finnish house sprite, journeys to the frozen Northlands to confront the crazed shadow of her former lover and break the curse that is keeping her from marrying the man she loves.

National bestselling author Allyson James takes you to Magellan, Arizona, where Stormwalker Jane Begay and her friends are trapped by a powerful curse. It will take every bit of magic simmering beneath her skin for the Stormwalker to survive being "Double Hexed".

From national bestselling author Jeanne C. Stein comes "Blood Debt", in which bounty-hunter-turned-vampire Anna Strong is visited by three witches who ask her to right an old wrong. Anna will have to live up to her last name to make it through alive.


For me, historically, an anthology is one strong story, one reasonably good and the rest rather weak filler.

I was highly pleased to find that HEXED happily underexceeded my historical expectations....each and every novella smoked!

I was introduced to two new-to-me authors, in that I've heard of them, but not read as yet, Allyson James and Ilona Andrews. I have added their books to the WWBL because of their novellas in this book. Each one kept me up way past my bedtime so I could see what else was going to happen to the characters. Especially in Allyson James story, 'Double Hexed'. A multiple of supernatural characters working together to figure out who or what was keeping them trapped inside their hotel.

I've read Yasmine Galenorn's Sisters of the Moon series in the past, but meandered away for some reason. I will be going back after reading 'Ice Shards'. I like how Yasmine draws other characters into the main story, not just the sisters. I've been fascinated with Iris' place in the household and her backstory is uniquely told.

And I absolutely adore Anna Strong's story as written by Jeanne Stein. She's tough, family oriented, and trying to learn her place in the world as a vampire and as The Chosen. I am highly intrigued to read what is going to happen next since it looks like Anna might have a new love interest. YAY!

Thank you, Jeanne Stein, for giving me this signed ARC to enjoy and have on the keeper shelf to dig into again. HEXED comes out 7 Jun. Go get this highly excellent anthology!!

Five sparkly smokin' diamonds......

01 June 2011

BONES OF A FEATHER: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery - Carolyn Haines

From the back of the book: A missing four-million-dollar necklace makes for high stakes for PI Sarah Booth Delaney when its wealthy owner is also snatched up in the latest charming southern mystery from Carolyn Haines.

When PI Sarah Booth Delaney takes on Monica and Eleanor Levert as clients, she doesn't have much hope of solving the case. The wealthy heiresses of Briarcliff in Natchez, MS, claim that a necklace worth four million dollars has been stolen, and they think that they can hurry the insurance payout if a reputable PI investigates. Sarah Booth has her doubts, and not just about the payout. All of hte evidence suggest the sister might be committing fraud.

Then, just when she begins to scratch the surface of the Levert family's sordid past and the blood money that their wealth was founded upon, Monica goes missing. The police suspect that the heiresses are still playing, and Eleanor isn't doing anything to make them think any different. But how can she? If she says or does anything besides pass on the insurance money to the kidnappers, they'll kill Monica.

With a family history that runs deep and dark and a twisting plot where no one is exactly what they seem. Sarah Booth is the Levert sisters' best and only hope in the latest in Carolyn Haines sparkling southern mystery series.


Oh, how I love this series!! Sarah Booth and Tinkie are some of my favorite ladies in the book world. Smart, funny, resourceful and feisty. They take on the stolen insurance case for the Leverts even though they've promised their significant others that they will be more careful with their cases. It seems innocuous enough at the beginning, but everything begins to escalate with the abduction of one of the sisters.

There is a serious Gothic texture to this, the eleventh outing for Sarah Booth and Tinkie. I love Southern humor, Southern mystery and Southern Gothic. BONES OF A FEATHER has all three to the nth degree!!

BONES OF A FEATHER comes out on 21 June, do yourself a favor and buy this fine addition to the series.

Five sparkly Southern diamonds......