31 December 2011

A SLICE OF MURDER: A Pizza Lover's Mystery - Chris Cavender

From Publisher's Weekly: Pizza lovers will relish the pseudonymous Cavender's delightful first in a new cozy series, which introduces Eleanor Swift, owner of A Slice of Life, a pizzeria in Timber Ridge, N.C. When late one winter night Eleanor delivers a pizza ("one of my specials decked out with pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon, hamburger, and little bits of sliced sirloin"), she finds her customer, Richard Olsen, lying dead on the floor with a kitchen knife in his chest. Kevin Hurley, the surly local police chief who pursued her back in high school, responds to her 911 call. Suspecting Eleanor is guilty, Kevin does his best to make her life difficult. Olsen's dotty sister thinks so, too, but once she's convinced of Eleanor's innocence, she asks Eleanor's help in solving the murder. Eleanor's occasionally married sister, Maddy, assists in the sleuthing. A lively pace and a thrilling climax more than compensate for some distracting chatter and not always relevant sibling spats.


I think PW liked this one better than I did. I'm not sure what it was that put me off. Might have been the waffling between how the pizzeria wouldn't make it after Eleanor is a suspect in the murder of a pizza delivery recipient and then a truckload of customers would arrive, then the waffle would begin again the next hour or the next day. It got a little irritating.

I could understand why Eleanor and Maddie wanted to investigate, since Eleanor is the main suspect. And I liked how they went about gathering the suspects, though I had the murderer figured out about halfway through. I kept reading to see if I was right and to get one more book read in 2011.

I wanted to enjoy this book and series. I have the second one on Mt Git'r'Read and will see how it goes. I like the premise and the setting and mostly like the characters, so I think the series shows promise. And there're recipes in the back of the book..that counts...

Three a pizza that shows promise beans.....

WHO DO, VOODOO?: A Mind for Murder Mystery - Rochelle Staab

From the back of the book: Rochelle Staab's first novel in her thrilling new series features no-nonsense Liz Cooper, a psychologist forced to embrace the occult to clear her best friend of murder...

When Liz Cooper's friend Robin Bloom finds an unusual tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz writes it off as a prank. Robin refuses to ignore the omen---her late husband drew the same card, the Three of Swords, in a reading the night before he was killed in a car accident. As more cards and darker threats appear, Liz realizes someone very dangerous is upping the ante....

Liz turns to her brother's ex-college roommate, occult expert Nick Garfield. As Nick leads her into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the deck, she can't ignore their attraction to each other. Then, a woman is found murdered and Robin becomes the prime suspect. Determined to clear her friend, Liz teams with Nick to unravel otherworldly secrets and seek help from beyond---or risk being outwitted by a cunning killer.....


A slight lean into the paranormal for this cozy. It made me want to go out for a reading of my future after I finished reading it. It was as informational on the occult as it was excellent a mystery to read.

There's a murder, a missing spell book, evil spellcasters, wannabe voodoo queens and princesses, all kinds of con artists...all set in the music world in Los Angeles.

I liked watching Liz fight her abilities. She's all about logic and rolls her eyes at her mother's beliefs in tarot and her friend's belief in omens.

Liz is single and has a psychology practice with patients that she can reschedule while she goes on the investigative trail to help her prove her friend innocent. That's better than the cozies where the women have families that they can seemingly drop off with neighbors so they can prove the innocents of those found guilty. Or I could just be envious.....

You can visit Rochelle here:

Five heading out for a tarot reading beans......

PLEATING FOR MERCY: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery - Melissa Bourbon

From the back of the book: All the Cassidy women possess special gifts. Harlow Jane Cassidy's is creating beautiful dresses. But she's about to discover secrets in her own family and another gift-one that can reach beyond the grave....

When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But soon after she opens Buttons & Bows, a custom dressmaking boutique in the old farmhouse she inherited, Harlow begins to feel an inexplicable presence....

One of her first clients is her old friend Josie, who needs a gown for her upcoming wedding. But when Josie's boss turns up dead, it starts to look as if the bride-to-be may be wearing handcuffs instead of a veil. Suddenly, Josie needs a lot more from Harlow than the perfect dress. Can Harlow find the real killer-with a little help from beyond?


A highly enjoyable paranormal cozy mystery! It would be highly enjoyable no matter the genre label.

I like reading the acknoweldgements for a book from time to time. In PLEATING, Melissa thanks her mother for teaching her to sew for the pride she felt in her newfound ability as a child and that sewing helped her come up with the character of Harlow Cassidy.

Harlow is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Butch Cassidy who threw a coin in an Argentinian fountain and made a wish. So starts the magical abilities of the Cassidy women with their charmed lives. Charmed being what you make of it. Each woman has their own unique ability and Harlow is hard-pressed to figure hers out. She knows she likes dressmaking and hopes to make a go of her dressmaking shop in Bliss, Texas, her hometown.

The mystery solving comes across as natural since Harlow wants to help her friend, Josie, and the police aren't moving in the right direction. The characters are engaging and believable, even the ghost of Meemaw who is a bit of a prankster.

I can't wait for the next in the series, A FITTING END, to come out on 7 Feb 2012. It's pre-ordered with Cynthia at High Crimes Mystery Bookshop (

You can visit Melissa:

Five Texas ghosts and dresses beans.....

30 December 2011

Winter Break Movie Fun - Day Five - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

DH went with Lady K and me to the movies today. The only movie he's been interested in seeing over the holidays has been Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, so we waited until he told us when he wanted to go. He said he had enough hours this week to come home early and we could make the 4:10 show. Yippee!
So very glad he could go with us, we don't get to see movies together very often. He's not a fan of getting up early like Lady K and I to make the first show of the day. Any later and the theater can get crowded.
We lucked out tonight and it was quite manageable and I had two passes from a previous trip to the show that led to a bunch of shuffling from one theater to another due to a scheduling mixup. Only had to pay for Lady K this time...bonus.

That luck only enhanced the enjoyment of the fab movie that is the sequel to the superb Sherlock Holmes of a couple of years ago.

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) and his longtime trusted associate, Doctor Watson (Jude Law), take on their arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), with the help of Holmes's older brother Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry) and a gypsy named Sim (Noomi Rapace).Written by ABID NAZIR


The story is well told with superb action and humor. I'd love to go see it again tomorrow if we had the time. I can't do too much in reviewing without feeling like I'd be giving up some spoilers. The disguises and dialogue are perfection and I'll leave it at that.

Highly enjoyable and definitely recommendable. Go see it!

29 December 2011

Winter Break Movie Fun - Day Four - The Muppets

Day four of the Winter Break Movie Fun featured 'The Muppets'. What a fun movie!!! Jason Segel, Amy Adams, a host of Muppets, and a lot of cameos are the good guys with Chris Cooper as the evil Tex Richman who wants the Muppet theater for his own selfish means. It's so much fun, good tunes especially when the song and dance scene ends and Amy Adams' or Jason Segel's daydream gets back to reality....kind of like when you sing out loud to the tune on the radio and your forget that you have your earbuds in? And everyone is looking at you kinda funny? It's perfectly played in the movie.
When 3 muppet fans learn that Tex Richman wants to drill under the muppet theater for oil Gary, Mary and Walter set out to find the muppets who have been split up for years Kermit lives in his own mansion depressed in hollywood, Gonzo is a high class plumber at Gonzo's Royal Flush, Fozzie performs with a tribute band called The Moopets , Miss Piggy is the plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, and Animal is at a celebrity anger managment rehab center in Santa Barbara.Written by Dre

Excellent tunes that make the audience grin especially if you are a fan of the show from back in the day. I am, so I was grinning like a fool the whole time. It was excellent sharing this with Lady K. We can both highly recommend this fun movie.

28 December 2011

Winter Break Movie Fun - Day Three - Arthur Christmas

Day three brings us to 'Arthur Christmas', a very cute, rather funny holiday animated movie. It's a different take on the Santa Claus story where the Santa mantle is handed down father to son when the father retires. The current Santa, Malcolm, is on his 70th mission and everyone, especially his oldest son, Steve (as perfectly pompously voiced by Hugh Laurie), thinks this is the year Santa will retire and hand over the reigns of the sleigh. And not just any sleigh. This is the S-1, a HUGE sort of spaceship with plenty of elves on board to help deliver the presents in a timely, sort of military precision, fashion.

This year, the unthinkable happens. One child is missed and the only one who seems to be concerned about it is Steve, Santa's youngest son. Steve works in the mailroom, answering the letters to Santa. Steve has a big heart, but bigger feet. He's a bit clumsy and tends to get in the way, but he knows he needs to do something to get that last gift out to the little girl in England. She believes in Santa and Steve wants her to continue believing in the magic.

The rest of the movie is the mission to get the gift delivered and it's hilariously played out with three generations of Santa's and a whole lot of elves.

We can both definitely recommend this one to those with kids and those who are kids at heart.

27 December 2011

Winter Break Movie Fun - Day Two - We Bought a Zoo

Day two of the Winter Break Movie Fun was my choice, "We Bought a Zoo". It is based on a true story and stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church and is directed by Cameron Crowe, so I went in knowing it would be good. And I was right (I like being right). It was highly enjoyable for both Lady K and myself.
Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) is coping the best he can as a single father of two after his wife succumbs to cancer. She's been gone for six months and the oldest child has become a surly teen and the youngest is the sweetest and doing her best to help her sad father. Benjamin has always been a self-admitted adventure junkee and newspaper writer. The newspaper biz is going under and his son has messed up one too many times and is expelled after his third strike.
Benjamin knows the family needs a change of scenery and goes in search of a new home. He finds the perfect house with eighteen acres attached. That eighteen acres is necessary since it's a zoo.
Benjamin sees an opportunity to begin a new life and have a new adventure. The zoo is on its last legs and is in danger of being closed with all of the animals being disposed of.
Benjamin thinks otherwise and buys the place against family's advice.

The movie is about family and doing the right thing even against all odds. A family movie with something for everyone. I liked that it wasn't just parents and kids at the movie when we went this morning. There were couples, young and old as well as extended families of grandparents bringing their kids and grandkids.

I'd go see this again and will definitely get it on DVD.

26 December 2011

Winter Break Movie Fun - Day One - Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Lady K and I are on day one of our turn at winter break. One of the nice things about winter break timeframe are the movies that get movies especially. Lady K and I plan to see one movie a day at the show, doing out part to support AMC and popcorn growers.

Lady K has been wanting to see this third in the Alvin and the Chipmunks series of flicks for the longest time. The only reason I'd watch these is because of having an 8-year-old who loves the Chipmunks and Chippettes and tunes to dance to.

A reasonably decent storyline with cute catchphrases throughout. Even a mention of the honeybadger is in there, which made me grin.

The Chips and Dave are on a cruise ship destined for the International Music Awards. Alvin causes trouble resulting in the gang ending up on a desert island. Plenty of bits borrowed from other movies like 'Castaway' and 'Goonies'.

Then there are the tunes by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, The Go-Go's done by the Chipmunks and Chippettes....catchy...

Tomorrow will be my choice, 'We Bought a Zoo'.

RAVEN BLACK: Shetland Island Quartet Book One - Ann Cleeves

From the back of the book: Winner of Britain’s coveted Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award, Ann Cleeves introduces a dazzling new suspense series to U.S. mystery readers.

Raven Black begins on New Year’s Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.


I don't know what it is about mysteries set anywhere in England, Scotland, or Ireland, but they seem to be darker. Dark days, darker nights, dark personalities to decipher.

Inspector Jimmy Perez has a murder of a young girl to solve, one that has similar patterns to a girl who went missing years before. That one has gone unsolved, the girl still missing. The one tie is a solitary, slightly unhinged man. The girls were seen at Magnus' house before going missing.

There are side stories that intertwine throughout the book, lonely characters with dark secrets interacting bringing the book to a startling conclusion.

I really cannot wait to read the rest of the quartet. I have the second, WHITE NIGHTS, on the WWBL highlighted as a soonest get.

Visit Ann at:

Five dark Shetland Isles beans......

25 December 2011

Happy Christmas 2011

I hope your holidays are warm and wonderful and best wishes for a splendid 2012!!

24 December 2011

The Waitresses - Christmas Wrappin'

LEGACIES: A Repairman Jack Novel - F. Paul Wilson

From the back of the book: Repairman Jack isn’t your average appliance repairman—he fixes situations for people, often risking his own life. Jack has no last name, no social security number, works only for cash, and has no qualms when it comes to seeing that the job gets done.

Dr. Alicia Clayton, a pediatrician who treats children with AIDS, is full of secrets. And she has just inherited a house that holds another. Haunted by painful memories, Alicia wants the house destroyed—but somehow everyone she enlists to help ends up violently killed. The house holds a powerful secret, and Alicia’s charmless brother Thomas seems willing to do anything to get his hands on that secret himself.

But not if Repairman Jack can find it first!


I know, I know...not your typical Christmas holiday read, but I like to opt of 'typical'. (C'mon, you knew that)

Jack is such an intriguingly diverse character to read. He's one of the best protagonists in the thriller world. He knows he should keep to himself, but loves the two women in his life, Gia and her daughter Vicky. He'd do anything for them and when Gia asks for Jack's help with what's going on at the Center for Children with AIDS where she volunteers, Jack doesn't hesitate.

Someone has stolen the toys that were donated for the children so that they might have a semblance of a normal Christmas. Jack does his magic and the toys are returned and crapweasel Grinch is definitely taught a valuable lesson the Repairman Jack way and put behind bars.

The rest of the book is repairing the issue of who's killing everyone involved in the house that Dr Alicia Clayton, a pediatrician who works at the Center, has inherited from her father. She doesn't want the house, but she wants help finding out what's going on and why her half-brother wants it so badly. What's in the house that someone is willing to kill?

Seriously awesome scenes abound throughout the book that has Jack defying the odds and fighting the good fight to make things better for good guy and doing what it takes to put away the bad crapweasels out there. I luh-huv this series!!

Five thriller holiday beans.....


From the back of the book: It’s Christmastime in the seemingly tranquil town of Stone’s Throw, South Carolina, but amid all the caroling, cookies, and cheer, a murderer casts a not-so-jolly pall on the holiday season.

Augusta Goodnight, guardian angel, sometime sleuth, and welcome boarder with longtime resident Lucy Nan Pilgrim, comes to the aid of her friends when, as Lucy Nan is searching for the perfect Christmas tree on her grandmother’s abandoned estate, a mysterious stranger plummets to his death from the mansion’s balcony. Lucy Nan can’t shake off childhood stories of the ghost of a girl who fell from the same spot long ago---has the ghost come back to haunt the living, or is there an all-too-human murderer at work?

Mysterious events are soon heating up faster than spiced punch left on the burner, and it will take Augusta’s help, not to mention some celestial Southern cooking, for peace to be restored and Christmas lights to shine once again in the little town of Stone’s Throw.


A perfect little cozy to read at this hectic time of year. Didn't have to think too hard and let the enjoyable story flow.

The little town of Stone's Throw is another place that seems pretty neat to live if it weren't for all the murder and mayhem. Everyone has a part to play, either as friend or foe.

Lucy Nan is lucky to have her coffee loving guardian angel, Augusta Goodnight, around for all the help Augusta is able to give. Augusta cooks and bakes magnificent goodies for Lucy Nan and her friends to enjoy. She also helps Lucy Nan solve the murders that crop up.

Had plenty of people to keep track of while I read as well as keeping tally of the suspects and clues. There's a shady character, Melrose, who is courting one of Lucy Nan's dear friend, Idonia, and when he arrives on the scene, there's also the murder of a not very nice man whose body is discovered in Lucy Nan's ancestral home. Idonia is also wearing a locket given her by Melrose and this locket has caused an uproar.

All is solved in a pleasing pattern and makes me wish I had a guardian angel like Augusta Goodnight and friends like Lucy Nan and her buds to spend Christmas with.

A handful of yummy candycanes for this one.....

21 December 2011

A SHEETCAKE NAMED DESIRE: A Piece of Cake Mystery - Jacklyn Brady

From the back of the book: Sweet success can be a motive for murder....

There aren't many things pastry chef Rita Lucero hates more than losing. But two years after her marriage to fellow baker Philippe Renier fell apart, she's still trying to get him to sign the divorce papers. Exasperated, Rita visits Philippe's high-end New Orleans shop, Zydeco Cakes, to get his signature---and discovers that her marriage is already over when she finds Philippe dead with a chef's knife in his chest.

Rita is shocked to discover the body, and overwhelmed to learn that since the divorce wasn't final, she now inherits part ownership in Zydeco Cakes. But it's a mixed blessing: the gorgeous shop is actually in financial trouble, and Rita's windfall sets her up as a prime suspect in Philippe's murder. Her former mother-in-law demands that Rita find out who killed her son, and his former employees don't know whether to trust her. The feeling is mutual---especially since the real culprit is still out there, and Rita may be the next victim served....


I have confessed in the past that I have an addiction to Food Network and the Cooking Channel and I do love a good cozy mystery, especially a foodie cozy mystery. A SHEETCAKE NAMD DESIRE combines a fix for both of these two addictions most spectacularly.

The Food Network/Cooking Channel aspect is covered with cake baking like one of my favorite shows, Ace of Cakes, since the setting of this mystery series is a cake bakery, Zydeco Cakes, where they create extravagantly crazy cakes for those willing to foot the bill.

I loved the setting of this book. I've been to New Orleans several times in the past and am fascinated with this old world feel city. The book shows more than Bourbon Street, thankfully. The whole city has something to offer, not just having a good time drinking a Hurricane in Pat O'Brien's.

The bakery and the employees felt so real, I want to visit this place and order a cake.

The reader doesn't get a chance to meet the victim. He's killed before we are introduced. I learned about him through everyone else's descriptions and experiences. I'm not sure if I'd have liked him, but others did. Others..not so much. Others with agendas.

Rita, the main character, has decisions to make, her life to get on with. I liked watching her emotional roller coaster as she dealt with how she felt with her not-so-ex-husband and his death. And that his death will mean changes to her life.

Her getting involved in solving the murder is done well. She is a suspect since she had something to gain with Philippe's death and she needs to prove that she is innocent. She's good at asking questions and getting involved in a non-irritating way.

I like Rita a lot and I want to see her succeed.

I look forward to reading the rest of this series. It will be on the 'must get' list as soon as each book comes out.

Five sparkly New Orleans and cake (what's not to love) diamonds...

19 December 2011

Books in the House Monday - 19 Dec 2011

Only three this week from a couple of trips to B&N to get Lady K's book for her classroom's book exchange for the holiday party and then a trip the next day as I found I had some coupons in my purse...must use copons....

A SHEETCAKE NAMED DESIRE: A Piece of Cake Mystery #1 - Jacklyn Brady, cozy, MPB

NAPOLEAN'S PYRAMIDS: An Ethan Gage Novel #1 - William Dietrich, historic adventure thriller, MPB

MOON OVER SOHO: Peter Grant Novel #2 - Ben Aaronovitch, UF, MPB

18 December 2011


From the back of the book: It's Christmas time in Bigtime, New York, but society reporter Carmen Cole isn't in the mood to celebrate since her husband, Sam, has to go on a business trip and might not make it home for the holiday. But Carmen has plenty to keep her busy, since she moonlights as Karma Girl, a member of the Fearless Five superhero team. On Christmas Eve, Carmen, as Karma Girl, is assigned to guard toys, clothes, food, and more that are intended for needy children and their families. But an ubervillain also has his eye on the toys and plans to steal and then sell them to the highest bidder. Carmen will have to use all her empathic powers just to stay alive, not to mention make sure Christmas is a happy one for all the kids who are counting on her. It's all in a night's work for a superhero ...


I have this series somewhere on Mt Git'r'Read and will definitely be on the lookout for it ASAP. This is a fun addition, or introduction for me, to the series.

There are superheroes and ubervillains and it's a campy tale. I liked the names of all of the characters and how they got the names, when Jennifer shared it.

Having a superhero guard the presents for the deserving kids who have little was looked at by Carmen/Karma Girl as a good cause, but wanted to know when she was going to be considered not the new-girl-on-the-superhero-block. This was a job for a rookie, not a bonafide, proven superhero like herself.

That all changed when the bad guys showed. Excellent kick butt action, kicky dialogue, fun story. I look forward to reading more in the series, especially once I find the books on Mt Git'r'Read.

Four kicky superhero beans......

17 December 2011

DEATH BY THE DOZEN: A Cupcake Bakery Mystery - Jenn McKinlay

From the back of the book:
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.


What is not to love about a mystery series that has a good mystery and cupcake recipes shared at the end of each book?

I love the setting of Scottsdale, Arizona for this series and the idea of a cupcake bakery like Fairy Tale Cupcakes is nifty. And the animosity between Mel and Angie and the rival bakery Olivia Puckett cracks me up. Olivia is truly off her rocker and it's fun to watch her go off.

All of this is in addition to a fab mystery to solve along with Mel and Angie. It's a wee bit like watching Lucy and Ethel solve a mystery, but that's not a bad thing.

Five a lot of fun beans......


From Publisher's Weekly: A small Southern town blooms into life in Albert's nostalgic first in a new Depression-era mystery series. Darling, Ala., is in the midst of financial upheaval surrounding the Darling Savings and Trust, though the ladies of the Darling Dahlias Garden Club are still excited about their clubhouse, an old estate recently inherited from Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone, whose garden includes a possibly haunted cucumber tree, which might shelter a buried treasure. Also distracting the members--especially widow and probate clerk Verna Tidwell; legal secretary and freelance journalist Elizabeth "Lizzy" Lacy, and Mayor Jed Taylor's wife, Ophelia Snow--are a prison break and the disappearance of drugstore clerk Eva Louise "Bunny" Scott, the town tart. After Bunny turns up dead in a wrecked stolen van, the ladies investigate. Veteran Albert (Holly Blues) combines great period detail with surefooted sleuthing that should satisfy fans and attract new ones.


I listen to audiobooks on a daily basis since I keep one going in the car at all times for my commute and alone errands. I haven't felt like reviewing most of them for a long while, but DARLING DAHLIAS changes that.

I love Susan Wittig Albert's 'China Bayles' series. I've read or listened to most of the series and always have a good time with the folks in Pecan Springs.

Now I get to look forward to spending time with the folks in Darling, Alabama in the 1930's. The Dahlias are a group of ladies who spend time together as a gardening club. Times are tough, but the ladies still enjoy their time and activities.

There are also mysteries aplenty to be solved. Two convicts have escaped the local prison farm, money has gone missing in the town's bank, a woman has been found dead. All of the mysteries make sense, the ladies getting involved in the mysteries are written well, and I found myself intrigued with each character. There are sweet ladies, nice ladies, peppery ladies, ornery independent ladies....all neat to spend time with. That's a good story. And I can highly recommend it.

Five sparkly looking forward to more Darling Dahlias diamonds....

16 December 2011

Less Bacon and More Shakin' - 16 Dec 2011

The scale is moving down again. Down 1.4 lbs to 232.8. Good on watching my portions and and doing a lot of walking. Shift work and the craziness that leads up to the holidays kept me from Team Weight Loss so I walked Bailey as much as possible and parked far away from destinations to get in as many steps as possible.

Fri - 9 Dec - 11052 steps

Sat - 10 Dec - 5981 steps

Sun - 11 Dec - 4409 steps

Mon - 12 Dec - 9879 steps

Tues - 13 Dec - 6616 steps

Wed - 14 Dec - 9448 steps

Thurs - 15 Dec - 8151 steps

Fri - 16 Dec - 8819 steps

13 December 2011

MORTAR AND MURDER: A DIY Mystery - Jennie Bentley

From the back of the book: Avery Baker was once a New York textile designer, but inheriting her aunt's old Maine cottage has led her down a new career path----home renovation. Finding a property's hidden potential has rewards and challenges---especially when a mystery surfaces from behind the walls....

Avery and her boyfriend, Derek, are renovating a magnificent 225-year-old Colonial on Rowanberry Island, just off the coast of Maine. The DIY is going great even if the neighbor, a reclusive thriller writer, seems as strange and mysterious as his fiction. But his reputation seems in perfect keeping with what Derek and Avery discover next....

The body of an unidentified woman with a piece of paper in her pocket bearing the address of Derek and Avery's Realtor is found floating in the sea near the island. then a second woman is retrieved like jetsam from the harbor. But it's not until Avery discovers a secret room in the house, and learns about Rowanberry Island's long tradition of smuggling, that a bizarre link is made between the dead women---and if it foretells anything, it's that things on the island are only going to get deadlier.


I love learning things as I read. Cozies with recipes or helpful tips in the back of the book are fab and this series is one of those. There are how-to's on creating your own stencils and an authentic canvas floor cloth like they did back in the day when rugs were prohibitively costly for the average Joe.

Add that to a really well done mystery with characters to get into in a location where I'd like to live (if it weren't for all the dead bodies) and you have a swell cozy mystery series.

I've not read the series in order and I'm not sure it's necessary. Not that the books are stand-alones, but they can be enjoyed on their own.

Avery is tenacious in her search for who the dead women are and I like how she keeps searching for their identity as well as who the killer might be. And what is the mystery behind the famous writer in the twin house to the one Avery and Derek are working on? She doesn't let the mystery get in the way of her relationship with Derek nor with their work.

I have another in the series on the nightstand to read and look forward to getting and reading more about Avery and Derek and their DIY-in'.

Visit Jennie Bentley:

Five DIY in New England beans.....

11 December 2011

MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX: A Queen Bee Mystery #2 - Hannah Reed

From the back of the book: Summer is approaching in the picturesque town of Moraine, Wisconsin, but when a hive of Story Fischer's bees leads her straight into the middle of a murder investigation, the result is anything but sunny....

Story has her hands full with her successful local market; her Queen Bee Honey business; and new maybe boyfriend, Hunter Wallace, but being abandoned by a hive looking for better digs puts the busy beekeeper in a bad mood. While Story looks for the hive, the rest of Moraine is searching for Lauren Krrigan, a woman with a checkered past whose return has the whole town buzzing.

When both Lauren and a gun go missing, everyone assumes the worst. The situation gets sticky when Lauren and another town resident turn up dead in the woods---exactly wehre Story was searching for her bees. When it comes to murder investigations, Story just can't seem to mind her own beeswax. But this time, sticking her nose into the swarm just might get her stung.....


Sometimes I am leery of liking a first in a new series too much. I worry the same about those as I do about liking a TV show too much. I just know that show will get cancelled if I fall for the story, characters, etc. (if only that worked on all those 'reality' shows).

I fell hard for the first in the Queen Bee series, BUZZ OFF (, which got me even more into taking care of the bees on our property as well as eating more honey.

There are recipes in the back of the book and a list of flowering plants to add to your garden to coax more bees to your landscape.

Even better was revisiting Story and the group of friendly and not-so-friendly characters in town. Hannah writes the best characters that make me 'grrrrr' when they show up in the mystery. I dig that.

Story gets aggravated at her sister who helps when she wants within reason, has an interestingly *argh* relationship with her mother, loves her sweet odd grandmother to pieces, would love to take a bat to the flat side of the hateful realtor who had the affair with Story's ex and is always interfering with all things Story and the pewp-cranium bully of a police chief who has it in for Story. I feel the aggravation and head-buttin' coming through the pages. That's what keeps me turning the pages in one sitting as much as the fab mystery of who the killer is.

Visit Hannah Reed: and fall in love with the series, too.

Five honey beans......

09 December 2011

SWITCHED: A Trylle Novel - Amanda Hocking

Overview of the book:
Amanda Hocking is an indie publishing sensation whose self-published novels have sold millions of copies all over the world. Switched is the book that started the phenomenon. Prepare to be enchanted….
When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.
Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.
Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…


This is one of those fab-when-you-find-it books, one of those books that is meant to be read in one sitting if possible. Thankfully, it was possible for me.

Fantasy can be a tricky genre for me, especially YA fantasy. It walks a fine line of being gunky or good. Since the Trylle trilogy is about trolls (yep, that's a lotta 'trah'), it could easily be on the gunky side. But it's not.

Not your stereotypical trolls of Brothers Grimm. The reader learns in the book that trolls are written badly in stories. They trade out their babies, changelings, with human babies. The troll babies look like humans, put with families until old enough to realize what they are. Troll hunters come get them and bring them home. Home is their own community in Minnesota (who'da thunk it?) and there is a distinct heirarchy in place. Wendy finds out life as she knows it is no more.

Wendy knows she's different, she knew when her mother tried to kill her when she was young that something wasn't quite right. She just didn't know how different until Finn, the hunter, comes along.

I read a few reviews of for SWITCHED before reading it and hesitated a bit. Glad it was a LibraryThing win or I might have passed it by. Some of the reviews compare SWITCHED to TWILIGHT. I am not a fan of the sparkly vampires, so you will understand my hesitance. By no stretch of the imagination is the same as the sparkly vampire series. Trylle trilogy will stand on its own, no sparkles needed.

I enjoyed my time with this book and I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. Thank you LibraryThing for sending this book my way.

Five not your historical troll beans.....

Got That X-Mas Worry - A song from Lady K

When it's 20 days til X-mas and 19 days til eve

You start on worrying the days are never gonna leave

It's when you get that X-mas worry

All the presents under the tree

When you feel the stocking from the outside

Is when you get that X-mas worry

Your parents tell ya no

But you say yes

When you were only 6

You thought you were so smart

But then you got in trouble

You weren't that smart a kid

But then as you grew

You understood you had something to look at later

But now, right now, I've still got that X-mas worry

07 December 2011

Less Bacon and More Shakin'....7 Dec 2011

I maintained this week, so still 334.2. Losing would have been better, but I know where I went astray. Not much in the activity area as I was on day shifts this rotation.

Off yesterday and went to Team Weight Loss. Today will be cardio and weights, Friday TWL. Along with walking of the Bailey in the nice cold mornings. Back to swings on Saturday, so plenty of time to hit the gym for the next week.

The title of the blog is the catchphrase Lady K came up's appropriate since I know the activity is what gets the fluff to disappear.

Pedometer and activity:

1 Dec - 6403 steps

2 Dec - 6269 steps

3 Dec - 5680 steps

4 Dec - 4808 steps

5 Dec - 7623 steps

6 Dec - 5939 steps

7 Dec - Walked Bailey 30 min, Team Weight Loss 65 min, 14575 steps

05 December 2011

Books in the House Monday - 5 Dec 2011

A nice group of books came in this past week:

Won from Library Thing (

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, DIES IN VEGAS - Mark Everett Stone, thriller, ARC

FALLEN - Traci L. Slatton, fantasy, TPB

From High Crimes Mystery Bookshop (

LEGACIES: Repairman Jack #2 - F Paul Wilson, UF, MPB (this will be a Christmas read)

MIND OVER MONSTERS: A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation - Jennifer Harlow, UF, TPB

MOONLIGHT DOWNS: An Emily Tempest Investigation #1 - Adrian Hyland, suspense, TPB

STILL MIDNIGHT: Alex Morrow Novel - Denise Mina, thriller, TPB

WELL-OFFED IN VERMONT: Pret' Near Perfect Mystery #1 - Amy Patricia Meade, cozy, TPB

WHO DO, VOODOO: A Mind for Murder Mystery #1 - Rochelle Staab, cozy, MPB

03 December 2011

Chit-chat with Santa

J was a good daddy today and took Lady K to see Santa. One of our favorite nurseries, Garden Country in Broomfield, stays open through December and Santa comes in for a visit. We've found that this is the best Santa visit out there for us. Santa isn't mobbed, the kids are mellow, they take a commemorative photo, we can take photos, there are refreshments and plants and decorations...a good time for all....

01 December 2011

November Book Journal

A good month for reading. You'll notice a copious amount of cozies going on this past month. It will be the same in December, too. Some holiday reads and plenty of cozies to relax during this possibly crazy month.

THE HOUR OF DUST AND ASHES: Charlie Madigan #3 - KellyGay, UF, MPB, excellent

NIGHT OF THE LOVING DEAD: Pepper Martin Mystery #4 - Casey Daniels, paranormal cozy, MPB, super

PROVEN GUILTY: Dresden Files #8 - Jim Butcher, UF, BOCD, excellent

THE CULTIST - Mark Boss, suspense, e-book from the author, super

WITCH HUNT: Ophelia and Abby Mystery - Shirley Damsgaard, paranormal cozy, MPB, good

MIND OVER MURDER: A Raven's Nest Bookstore Mystery #1 - Allison Kingsley, paranormal cozy, MPB, good

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM: A Mystery a la Mode #1 - Wendy Lyn Watson, cozy, MPB, good stuff

MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX: A Queen Bee Mystery #2 - Hannah Reed, cozy, MPB, really good

BLEEDING HEARTS: China Bayles Mystery - Susan Wittig Albert, cozy, BOCD, good

MORTAR AND MURDER: A DIY Mystery #4 - Jennie Bentley, cozy, MPB, good stuff

DEATH BY THE DOZEN: A Cupcake Bakery Mystery #3 - Jenn McKinlay, cozy, MPB, super

PLEATING FOR MERCY: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery #1 - Melissa Bourbon, paranormal cozy, MPB, superb

DEAD OR ALIVE: Kevin Kerney #12 - Michael McGarrity, thriller, BOCD, excellent

Books this month: 10

Audio this month: 3

Total for the Month: 13

Total for the year to date: 125