Friday, May 29, 2009

Prism ~ Faye Kellerman & Aliza Kellerman

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: June 23, 2009
Age Range: 12 and up


Prism takes us to a slightly alternate universe in which medicine and health care do not exist, and in which sick people are allowed to die without any care. Set in New Mexico and California, the novel features three teens who fall through a cave at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico while on a field trip. They are plunged into a frightening parallel universe--seven weeks in the past, in which their "normal" worlds of family and high school remain the same...except for the fact that no medicine exists and when people die in the street they are picked up and disposed of.

Where do I begin? I am a bit speechless. Prism was simply amazing! Prism was so wickedly delicious I had to pinch myself to make sure I didn't have the most awesome of dreams.

I mean, was this a Jerry Bruckheimer production? Was I on the Warner sound stage? This book definitely has what it takes to make it to the silver screen.

Psst! I have a feeling Prism won't take too long to make it to the big screen.

Now, I'm not sure how much I want to divulge since this is a stunning book w/ so much going on.

Faye & Aliza Kellerman definitely have a best seller in Prism. While Faye is no stranger to the list, Aliza will definitely make her best seller debut this summer w/ her break out Young Adult novel, Prism.

Prism has an eclectic array of action, adventure, suspense, chills & thrills. Prism is like riding the cyclone unbelted during a black out. Really!

Aliza & Faye definitely know how to formulate characters. Kaida is my fave. I found myself not just relating to her but understanding her. The characters in Prism are exceptionally written.

The players are lavishly coated, extremely authentic & incandescent. The cast is sweeping w/ real adolescent expectations, imperfections & misgivings. The teens are not written by some adult "remembering" their teen trials & tribulations, but by a bona fide teen. Bravo!

Faye & Aliza have entered the YA arena w/ this gripping debut. While Faye's name is on the cover, it is Aliza's striking aura that takes center stage. Prism has a distinctive voice that is so different from Faye's usual compelling drama you know you've stepped into Aliza's literary orb.

Aliza is a luminous star on the rise. Prism is just a morsel of what Aliza has in store for reader's looking for ingenious stories that make your brain do imaginative calisthenics.

At times, Prism left me holding my breath. Prism has a soulful inflection that speaks volumes for an artistic sixteen year old making her literary inauguration!

Throughout most of Prism, the characters are superbly three-dimensional ~ from time to time even four-dimensional! ~ and move along smoothly through the narrative.

Faye & Aliza left me shaking my head because this mother-daughter duo set the benchmark for how we should look @ parental author collaborations.

Prism is an outstanding read! A definite must for all ages.

The plot is absolutely striking & it poses the question, "What if ?" " What if ? " "What if"... Utterly chilling!

Trust me there was a "Do Not Disturb" vibe while I was curled up w/ this baby!

Faye & Aliza are exquisite storytellers, seizing your attention from the first page. Aliza & Faye used a kaleidoscope of color to saturate this vibrantly rich tome w/ spine-tingling paranormal suspense.

So, get comfy, grab a tight grip & prepare for an awesome adventure from the minute you open Prism!

Prism will be released on 6/23. Hurry! It's available for Pre-order now.

Check out Faye @

Aliza's website is still under construction.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dead On ~ Robert W. Walker

Publisher: Gale Group
Pub. Date: July 17, 2009
A Marcus Rydell, Kat Holley PI Thriller


PI Marcus Rydell is set on rehabilitating his chaotic life. Dr. Kat Holley seeks an impetuous vengeance on a psychopath who has ruined both their lives.

Together Marus & Kat reach common ground & learn to respect & understand one another. Kat & Marcus grow closer as they join forces to set things right. Oh, yeah, there's Paco ~ a delightful black dog that steals the show.

Marcus has to come to grips w/ a past he refuses to acknowledge. Kat pulls Marcus into a dangerous hunt in the inky forests to capture a cold, calculated, twisted former marine, Iden Cantu.

Psst! Iden's face is located next to the words "certifiable demented loon"! Really! I was so spooked I thought I saw infrared reflecting off my windows while reading.

Did I dare look? Heck No!!! Geez! Hel lo! I'm from Noo Yawk! Let the freak play Rambo in my yard ~ have @ it twisted nutty bar!

The book kicks off w/ a high octane throttle. Marcus Rydell is about to have a pistol sandwich when a kid in trouble thwarts Marcus from digesting the metallic condiments.

Like a house on fire, Dead On takes off & doesn't burn out until the conclusion, by then you want some more flames coming your way.

Marcus Rydell is a terrific character. A real man w/ genuine issues. No watered down protagonist in this roller coaster thriller! Kudos to Walker for making everything flow like melted butta!

Walker's descriptive expertise is absolutely astonishing! Applause to Walker for accomplishing this skillful talent so darn effortlessly.

Walker knows how to write gritty scenes like he's been hanging out w/ nefarious scum in the seediest of locales.

Walker also knows how to pen riveting characters who just make you feel you are living their lives ~ good & bad characters alike. His writing grips you like a python & you are hooked!

Kat Holley isn't your dainty maiden or damsel in distress. She is a powerful character that kicks butt & tells it like it is. This is definitely a welcome addition when so many female protagonists are just written as curvy cupcakes.

Dead On is definitely a strap on your seat belt thriller. The suspense element is akin to TNT. I found myself not just reading it but wanting to read it. I will scope out his Gaslight series because of this impressive thriller.

Looking for an action packed, frightening read this summer? Dead On is loaded w/ thrills, excitement & a strong cast.

Grab a copy of Robert W. Walker's Dead On & get to meet Marcus, Kat & Paco.

Dead On will be available July 17th!

Pre-Order a copy of Dead On if you like breathless suspense!

Check out Robert @

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Perfect Chemistry ~ Simone Elkeles

Publisher: Walker & Company
Pub. Date: December 2008
Age Range: Young Adult


When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Simone Elkeles is an accomplished storyteller. Perfect Chemistry introduces us to the riveting world of Brittany Ellis & Alex Fuentes. The cover is reminiscent of West Side Story w/ Romeo & Juliet whisked in. The plot may be a timeless one of star crossed lovers, rich girl/poor guy but that's where the similarities end.

Perfect Chemistry
is a compelling story filled w/ passion, promise & hope. Elkeles crafted a fast-moving, emotionally tense & heart-wrenching love story.

Perfect Chemistry
is skillfully narrated in alternating voices showcasing Brittany's heartfelt conflict w/ achieving perfection while her world is rippled w/ tumultuous waves while trying to make her precarious family whole. Alex's abrasive sphere is filled w/ despair, turmoil & a membership into the seedy world of gangs.

Gangs? Gangs? What the heck? Hmmm... How on earth can a gang member be a hero? OK, Elkeles, bring it on. Let me give ya a tip, Ms. Elkeles, I'm a high maintenance, in depth, pampered snob & don't do gangs, ghetto or discount, so let's see what you're made of.
Oh, Elkeles, don't you dare script together a cheese bookwich either.

So, I opened up Perfect Chemistry late last night & did not stop until the wee morning hours. It was dark but the birds were singing along w/ my heart. Beautiful work, Ms. Elkeles. Not only did you bring it, you served it to me Serena Williams style. I had my own Kleenex for the gripping tale & I did shed a few tears. Oh! OK! There were more than a few, but you know that.

Elkeles writing is absolutely mellifluous. Perfect Chemistry delves into the gritty gang environment & Elkeles delivers . Elkeles describes the hideous under belly of gang life as if she went undercover to gain insider info because it is that darn chilling! She did not glide over Alex's life but excavated it à la Indiana Jones. Applause to Ms. Elkeles for delving into the heart & soul of these gripping characters. She did not give us a watered down love story either. She scribbled a three-dimensional story that is matchless, hard to put down & even harder to duplicate.

Perfect Chemistry
is a pungent novel filled w/ action, drama, romance & lessons learned not crammed down to make a statement or to say "The End".

Perfect Chemistry
is an emotional read & richly displays genuine love knows no boundaries.

After closing Perfect Chemistry, I took a breath. I didn't want the journey to end. Elkeles showed her prowess from beginning to end. I felt as if I lived Alex & Brittany's lives. I was spent w/ emotion & it was glorious!

Perfect Chemistry displays you can't judge a book by its cover. Elkeles illustrates love emanates from deep within & labels have no place in the purist of hearts!

It is one of those books you want to read again & again & again...

So, what are you waiting for? Hurry! Grab a copy of Perfect Chemistry!

Check Simone out @!

Psst! I just adore her site :}.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sugar Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #6) ~ Joanne Fluke

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Pub. Date: October 2005
Hannah Swensen Series, #6


The holidays are the icing on the cake for bakery owner Hannah Swensen. Surrounded by her loved ones, she has all the ingredients for a perfect Christmas—until murder is added to the mix...
When it comes to holidays, Minnesotans rise to the occasion—and the little town of Lake Eden is baking up a storm with Hannah leading the way. The annual Christmas Buffet is the final test of the recipes Hannah has collected for the Lake Eden Holiday Buffet Cookbook. While Hannah is baking the day’s goodies at The Cookie Jar, the evening’s plans begin to jell. Start with the best Lake Eden
culinary creations, add two of Hannah’s “sometime” boyfriends, a pinch of her ready-to-pop pregnant sister, and a dash of her mother and new significant other, an actual British lord, and what do you get? A recipe for disaster, but the juiciest ingredient is yet to come...
The recently divorced Martin Dubinski arrives at the buffet with his new Vegas showgirl wife—all wrapped up in glitter and fur. His ex-wife, however, seems as cool as chilled eggnog. And when Hannah’s mother’s antique Christmas cake knife disappears, its discovery in the décolletage of the new—and now late—Mrs. Dubinski puts the festivities on ice.
With everyone stranded at the community center by a blizzard, Hannah puts her investigative skills to the test, using the ingredients at hand: half the town of Lake Eden—and a killer. Now, as the snowdrifts get higher, it’s up to Hannah to dig out all the clues—and make sure that this white Christmas doesn’t bring any more deadly tidings…

Guess what? This yummy novella includes over twenty-five original recipes! Delicious :p!

Hannah Swensen Rocks! It's that simple. I love Hannah ~ what's not to love?!

Joanne Fluke's first holiday mystery is an enticing read. I devoured it in one sitting.

Sugar Cookie Murder is a well thought out mystery that isn't your typical cozy. Sugar Cookie Murder is an extremely tempting read that is half mystery & half cook book.

Sugar Cookie Murder is brimming w/ scrumptious recipes that would make Julia Child smack her lips & shout, "Whoa! Talk about mouthwatering goodness"!

Fluke's veritable brilliance simply glows in this delectably captivating series. Sugar Cookie Murder whisks up a little mystery, a murder, tasty recipes & a deeper look @ the fascinating characters that reside in the charismatic Hannah Swensen Mystery series.

Fluke has created an absorbing character in Hannah Swensen; she not only charms but warms your heart like a delicious cup of cocoa.

Lake Eden, Minnesota is a town that has a lot charm & the characters are irresistibly engaging.

Joanne is a gifted storyteller that electrifies Hannah Swensen w/ every book she pens.

Quick! Grab a copy of Sugar Cookie Murder.

Check out Jo's site @

Saturday, May 23, 2009

All The Way Home ~ Wendy Corsi Staub

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Pub. Date: April 2007


Lake Charlotte. A quiet little town in upstate New York. People still talk about the summer ten years ago when four teenage girls mysteriously disappeared. No one remembers that summer more vividly than Rory Connelly. Her older sister Carleen vanished from her bed in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. When she left Lake Charlotte, she vowed never to return. But now, ten years later, Rory Connelly is coming home.. "It's only supposed to be for the summer. Rory has to cope with her mother's slow descent into insanity and her rebellious teenage sister Molly. The arrival of Barrett Maitland only makes things worse. The handsome stranger knows too much about the past and is constantly asking Rory questions.. "Then, on the anniversary of the very first disappearance, another teenage girl vanishes. Once again, Lake Charlotte is gripped in fear, and for Rory, it's the past nightmare revisited. Only this time, her own life is in jeopardy. For walking through the streets of the town, wearing a familiar face, is a cunning killer with a chilling personal message:. "Welcome home, Rory. You've been gone such a long time, but now that you're back, you're never going to leave Lake Charlotte again....".

Let me start off by saying Wendy is one of my absolute favorite writers. She writes those creepy thrillers like nobody's business. I love that she sets her books in our home state of NY. So, I'm a tad biased there.

I think of Wendy as a Gothic scribe for the now generation. Yep, no heaving bosoms, no heavy garb & no men treating her heroines like children or a fragile bird... puh-lease!

Wendy takes her heroines to the next level where the protagonist is in charge. Yes, the ladies are confident, intelligent, powerful, engaging, witty, attractive, and authentic! They don't need a man to survive in this world... they have them to add extra flavor to their lives. If they want their bosoms to heave that is the heroine's choice to bare her assets. Unfortunately, danger & suspense looms wherever these ladies go. Love it!

Rory is an incredibly drawn character. I felt all of her emotions & held my breath in some scenes. I'm still waiting for her to return somewhere... someday. Hint :]. Rory is one of my favorite empowering leading ladies. She felt like family. I warmed to her instantly.

When I want to sink my teeth into top-notch suspense, Wendy always delivers the goods.

Wendy knows how to create characters that are entertaining. She doesn't let up when her characters get pulled into the spookiest of situations. She doesn't overkill the menacing plights either. She writes all of her characters w/ an in depth look into their psyche & you see where the characters are coming from. Wendy doesn't "tell" she shows.

I especially enjoy reading Wendy's books when there is a thunder storm raging.

Psst! I stash a new book away for just that occasion. Really!

Barrett was an engaging addition & was well thought out.

I felt the charm & macabre of Lake Charlotte wash over me.

All The Way Home
is a remarkably worthy chilling tale.

Mary Higgins Clark may be the Queen of Suspense, but Wendy Corsi Staub is the Duchess!

Wendy Corsi Staub is skilled @ delivering astonishing endings. Her shuddersome killers are often concealed in plain sight. However, Wendy does an expert job of keeping them disguised until the exact second that she has chosen to unmask them. Voilà! Crazy eerie.

If you like your thrillers to really put a fright in you, All The Way Home is the book for you. Wendy Corsi Staub is scary scribe extraordinaire.

All The Way Home is definitely a page turner & it is brimming w/ red herrings!

Wendy's trademark is ominous suspense w/ an sinister twist.

Quick! Grab a copy of All The Way Home before the thunder claps.

Check out Wendy @

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bulls Island ~ Dorothea Benton Frank

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: April 2008


After twenty years, Elizabeth "Betts" McGee has finally managed to put her past behind her. She hasn't been home to beautiful South Carolina and untouched Bulls Island since the tragic night that ended her engagement to Charleston's golden boy, J. D. Langley.
And why is that? Really, this is the story of two old Southern families. The Langley family has more money than the Morgan Stanley Bank. And they think they have more class. The Barrett family made their nineteenth-century fortune in a less distinguished manner—corner grocery stores and liquor stores. It's no surprise that when J.D. and Betts fall in love and decide to marry their parents are none too pleased. And when the love affair comes to an end, everyone is ready to place blame.
Now twenty years have gone by and Betts, a top investment bank executive, must leave her comfortable life in New York City to return to the home she thought she'd left behind forever. But spearheading the most important project of her career puts her back in contact with everything she's tried so hard to forget: her estranged sister, her father, J.D., and her past.
Once she's home, can Betts keep the secret that threatens all she holds dear? Or will her fear of the past wreck her future happiness? And what about that crazy gator? All will be revealed on Bulls Island.

Sunblock... check. Bottled water... double check. Shades... got 'em! Cooler... 'course. Towels... Duh! Flip flops... on. Hand sanitizer... x's 2... u betcha! Disposable wipes... oh, yeah. Brimmed hat... reluctantly grumble yes 'cause it messes my 'do, but I refuse to look like a prune, so on it goes. Lifejackets for the yacht boat. Swimwear... Swimwear... Swimwear... shoot! Did I really need that 2nd 3rd sliver slice of key lime pie? Yes! It's not my fault Memorial Day weekend arrived so darn soon. Grrr.... : /

Let me remove the Doritos & pack healthy snacks... wait, I'll take a few individual packages for portion control. Yeah, that's it.

Now that we're ready to hit the shore... Yes, we're kicking off summer w/ Dorothea Benton Frank's Bulls Island.

So, grab your lemonade, iced tea, mint julep & let's relax as the South Carolina scents intoxicates, invades & seduces you.

Let the balmy breeze caress your sun kissed body as the sun's radiance penetrates your warm skin.

I'm not going to mince words. This book is fabulous. JD Langley is titillating. Southern ambrosia!

I think I need an iced drink... make it a double. Heck, just pass me the cubes! (Yes, I'm spoken for but this spicy tamale wants to know one thing... Does Dot actually know a "real" life JD??? Why! Why? You ask... uhhh... inquiring minds want to know. Geez!)

Bulls Island
is Southern charm @ its finest!

Betts McGee ~ love that stripper/poker ace name ~ is a force to be reckoned with. Dare I say a hybrid of a Koala bear, gator & pit bull. She is a splendid heroine. Betts has an admirable spirit & an incredible heart.

JD's mama, Louisa Langley is an intimidating bitch! This matriarch was born w/ talons & tries to reign over her son, daughter-in-law, hubby & Charleston society. Think about a Southern Queen mum. Cool visual, eh?

Frank's characters are so believable ~ the secondary have a voice that shines as bright as the main. No one in Frank's watercolor palette gets watered down. She knows how to formulate well fleshed characters ~ flaws & all.

This chick can write. Dorothea created a world of magic & I was a Southern Princess.

Opening up Bulls Island was pure bliss. I was whisked to the South Carolina Lowcountry. I envisioned beautiful American Oystercatchers, loggerheads, painted buntings, gorgeous endangered red wolves & running ~ screaming ~ from gators (not cool).

I smelled the briny salt air & walked along the palmetto grass. I dreamed of cycling along the wide, sandy roads that traverse the island. Frank's lush setting made me want to pack some toiletries, round up my pets & head down to South Carolina. After settling down, I'd hop a ferry to Bulls Island. I wanted my body to kick back in the sultry lowcountry because that was the only part of me that wasn't there. Frank's rhythmic writing had me enjoying the southern warmth & genial hospitality she imagined.

I was pulled into the captivating family dynamics. Frank wrote about the Langley & McGee drama effortlessly. She did not drop the ball once writing it from Betts & JD's viewpoint. It unfolded smoothly. No easy execution. Kudos to Dorothea for the mellifluous transition.

Betts deserves an award for taking so much drama from her future mother-in-law from the land of fire & brimstone... I would not have been as classy. Just think of those fantasy scenes Jennifer Lopez had in Monster-in- Law! Just sayin'...

Reading Bulls Island was a sweet vacation. It was escapism @ its best. This is one of the beach reads for the season. I mean, how could you not love juicy secrets & lies that aren't yours?

The Southern community does do secrets & lies w/ panache.

For me, the ending was a bit too easy. I wanted a bit more. I guess I didn't want to say goodbye to the characters. The epilogue tied it together magnificently, but I wanted more Betts & JD before the epilogue made me say my tearful goodbyes.

Hello... Ms. Frank? A sequel would do me a world of good.

C'mon show your Southern charm & toss me a crab cake.

So, grab a copy of Bulls Island.

Some book stores may have broken their street date of 5/26 & it may be out now;].

Well, I declare! Git it!!!

What a terrific way to kick off the long weekend of sun & fun, huh?

Check out the awesome lyrical poet @

PB available on May 26

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Candy Apple Dead ~ Sammi Carter

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Pub. Date: September 2005
ISBN-13: 9780425205327
Series: A Candy Shop Mystery


Abby Shaw has returned to her hometown of Paradise, Colorado--leaving behind a career in corporate law and a cheating husband--to take over her aunt's candy shop, Divinity. But her sweet new life quickly turns sour when a fellow merchant dies in a fire. With all clues pointing to arson--and Abby's brother as the number one suspect--she must sink her teeth into finding the killer.

What could be more delish than a mystery series that takes place in a candy shop? Adding pizza, cheese & baked goods is the only thing that comes to mine. Oh, talk about sheer deliciousness.

Sammi Carter's Abby Shaw is the latest amateur sleuth to join the ranks in the cozy mystery genre.

Candy Apple Dead is a luscious read.

I enjoyed getting to know Abby in this tempting debut. I loved the small town feel of life in Paradise, Colorado.

Carter created a likable heroine who has chutzpah. Abby seems to have no fear & thrusts herself right into the thick of things.

While Abby does stick herself into the midst of some precarious situations & you often wonder,"what the heck is she doing?" it makes sense.

Granted, it is a bit frustrating but you can't help but root for her as she tries to get to the bottom of the murder. Which is what makes her a believable & endearing protagonist. You just want Abby to persevere.

The characters are interesting & not all syrupy sweet. Love that!

The family dynamics between Abby & her brother are intriguing. You want to know more about what lies beneath all of their tension. You want to know what makes Wyatt behave the way he does. Why two children growing up under the same roof veer off into two very different paths.

Carter pens Wyatt in a way where you want to know what makes him tick ~ you just want to know more about him, his wife & children.

As for Abby, you want her to have it all. She is charming, sassy & smart.

Candy Apple Dead
is an entertaining mystery. The clues are drizzled about evenly & it is a fast, fun read.

Carter's Candy Apple Dead kicks off the Candy Shop Mystery series & this series shows bright promise.

My only gripe was the ending. It seemed to end a tad too abruptly. For me, the big reveal was more like, "Huh?" it just didn't click well enough for me.

Perhaps, a few more pages would of done the trick?!

So, grab a copy of Candy Apple Dead & enjoy the savory goodness.

Large Print Edition

A Peach of a Murder: A Fresh-Baked Mystery ~ Livia J. Washburn

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: October 2006
Fresh-Baked Mystery


All year round, retired schoolteacher Phyllis Newsom is as sweet as peach pie-except during the Peach Festival, whose blue ribbon has slipped through Phyllis's fingers more than once... Everyone's a little shook up when the corpse of a no-good local turns up underneath a car in a local garage. But even as Phyllis engages in some amateur sleuthing, she won't let it distract her from out-baking her rivals and winning the upcoming Peach Festival contest. She and all the other contestants guard their secret, original recipes with their lives-and talk a whole lot of trash. With her unusual Spicy Peach Cobbler, Phyllis hopes to knock 'em dead. But that's just an expression-never in her wildest dreams did she think her cobbler would actually kill a judge. Now, she's suspected of murder-and she's got to bake this case wide open.

A Peach of a Murder kicks off Livia J. Washburn's mouthwatering Fresh-Baked Mystery series. Yummy!

Let me tell you straight away, you will definitely be on the hunt for a Peach Festival & some heavenly peach-pie piping hot from the oven. Oh, go ahead, toss on a few scoops of ice cream. I'm not Paula Deen so homemade is not necessary for this foodie. Good 'ole Turkey Hill or Blue Bunny does the trick. Crazy good!

I read A Peach of a Murder w/ my faux Texas accent which is actually quite good... thank you JR Ewing!

Livia's description about life in Weatherford, Texas is unbelievable. I wanted to go visit the gritty, broiling Texas climate in search of a Peach Festival. Which is a plus whenever I'm reading any book, but especially a cozy! If the author pulls me off the island & plunks me down into their fictional town it is definitely a winner.

Washburn has an uncommon way w/ words & knows how to create a stirring tale. A Peach of a Murder is a delectable debut. Washburn doesn't toss nonsense into a baking pan & expect it to taste good. It is good because all the ingredients to prepare a well written & interesting story is included in this pungent cozy.

What I thought was impressive was the way Washburn weaved the mystery, showcased the ladies various degrees of friendship, introduced a man in their enclave & touched on a very delicate matter. A Peach of a Murder isn't your standard whodunit, Washburn seasoned it w/ layers of twist & turns.

Washburn showcased her writing chops by encompassing different story lines & crocheting it all together in a delightful bow.

A Peach of a Murder has a terrific cast of characters. Phyllis isn't the only witty character to grace the pages of Washburn's baking debut. I'm not a fan of the Golden Girls... the theme song is torture enough. I just can't get into those biddies, yet I picture Rue McClanahan as Eve. 'Nuff said!

A Peach of a Murder
is a zesty start to an engaging series. Phyllis made me ache for my grandma who passed away when I was 8. For me, 23 years is too long to be w/o a grandma & while reading this baked delight she wasn't too far away.

So, what 'cha waiting for? The Peach Festival to pass ya by? Grab a copy of A Peach of a Murder. After all, Weatherford is the Peach Capital of Texas.

I also love the cover. I just wanted to jump in & voilà end up picking peaches @ Newt Bishop's Orchard.

Psst... I'm a cover tart!

A little treat...


1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoon minced candied ginger
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
4 cups sliced peaches
Preheat oven to 375º. Combine cornstarch, minced candied ginger, brown sugar, and water in saucepan. Cook until thickened and then add peaches. Cook until peaches are hot, about 5 minutes. Pour into buttered 9” pan making sure the ginger is evenly contributed.

Basic Pie Crust for 1 (9-inch) pie crust.

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon granulated or turbinado (raw) sugar

Mix flour and salt in chilled bowl, then cut shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles the texture of tiny split peas. When the mixture is the right texture, add the ice water and combine with a fork. Quickly gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Remove dough disk from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough disk on a lightly floured surface until it’s bigger than the pan. Transfer dough by carefully rolling it around the rolling pin, lift and unroll dough, centering it over the fruit. Vent crust, and sprinkle granulated or turbinado (raw) sugar on top to give a delightful sparkling appearance.

Bake cobbler for 50 minutes or until golden brown.

The candied ginger gives this dessert a warm zesty taste.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Better Off Wed: An Annabelle Archer Mystery ~ Laura Durham

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: January 2005


The murder of a particularly difficult mother-of-the-bride has cast a pall on wedding planner Annabelle Archer's latest triumph — and suspicion falls heavily on her sometime-business partner and friend Richard Gerard. Annabelle knows that even her trusted wedding emergency kit won't be able to salvage their careers if she and Richard can't find the real culprit.
It's no easy task since the slain matron was perhaps the most hated socialite in D.C., but Annabelle navigates through the city's colorful wedding industry and powerful social scene on the deadly trail of a killer. Always the bridal consultant and never the bride, she's seen her fair share of bouquet tosses. But there's no telling what surprises a ruthless killer will throw her way if she gets too close.

One word... Depends®.

Now that that little matter is mentioned I can continue on my merry way.

" I just hope the MOB is happy".

Goodness, Laura Durham is friggin' hilarious... or she is related to Lucille Ball. Either way Better Off Wed is a rip-roaring adventure. Yep, this chick knows her comedy like Joan Rivers knows plastic surgery & the Don knows hair pieces. Yeah, Laura is gifted w/ comedic timing & she knows where to deliver it in a book.

Better Off Wed was given as gifts to anyone who wanted a good read. Which isn't always easy to find in a world filled w/ books w/ not much going on. Which is totally not eco cool.

Memo! Please stop wasting paper on drivel!

Better Off Wed is a tumultuous expedition in hilarity.

Laura Durham is a real-life wedding planner who held nothing back penning Better Off Wed.

Annabelle is charming, amusing & a sheer delight. Annabelle did not come from a ream of one dimensional amateur sleuths. Nope. Not even close. Annabelle owns "Wedding Belles" ~ love the name ~ & this is where the comedy & murder sprouts.

Annabelle's friend Richard is wickedly uproarious! In a nutshell... strap on some Depends®!!!

I was laughing so hard I thought I was losing it... okay, losing more of it.

Durham does an excellent job pointing the finger @ everyone... but pulls the ultimate illusion making the culprit a surprise. Applause & a bouquet of a medium-bodied cabernet sauvignon for that delectable feat.

Durham's Better Off Wed won the 2005 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Not surprised! Read it & see for yourself.

The characters are quirky ~ from Kate to yummy Detective Reese. Whoa! It's getting hot in here. Spicy! He's enough to make you want to hop an Amtrak to DC.

The twists & turns keep you turning pages. It's a fast read & when you reach the last page you want to immediately grab
For Better or Hearse Annabelle's 2nd wedding adventure.

Oh, you better just order
To Love and To Perish to round out the screaming romp you'll be having & the men in the white coats can be eco-friendly & make one trip = Q!

Check out Laura @! This way she can get to stepping on updating it ; ].

Read Excerpt

Grab a copy of Better Off Wed!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nutty as a Fruitcake ~ Mary Daheim

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: August 2000
Bed-and-Breakfast Series, #10


Hillside Manor's neighbors all adored proprietor Judith McMonigle Flynn's festive suggestion to deck the halls and houses in their cul-de-sac with eye-catching Christmas finery -- except Enid Goodrich.The grumpy old humbug refused to cooperate.Then someone cooked her Christmas goose -- silencing Enid's objections with a handy hatchet. Though Judith's already got a lot under her tree -- what with Holiday business booming and the anticipated unwanted arrival of hubby Joe's soused ex-spouse -- she's not about to let murder mess up what's left of her seasonal spirit. With the help of irrepressible cousin Renie, Judith's determined to wrap up this case for Christmas -- and expose the Scrooge-slayer who felt strongly that the only Goodrich is a Deadrich.

Mary Daheim's Bed & Breakfast series is definitely one of the best amateur sleuth series written.

The Hillside Manor Bed & Breakfast is definitely thriving w/ action, adventure, mayhem, merriment & ...murder. Yep, there seems to be bodies scattered all about the Pacific Northwest.

Just be prepared when you check in.

Judith McMonigle Flynn is too She's absolutely exhilarating! Her cousin Renie is bubbling over w/ exuberance. The two together is the perfect definition of the term
"madcap hijinks".

Nutty as a Fruitcake
is a side-splitting experience. I laughed so hard I just couldn't control my fits of laughter.

I tend to make sure I'm not alone reading this delightful cozies in public. One may think I'm balmy for roaring the way I do.

Nutty as a Fruitcake
is the 10th Bed & Breakfast mystery. The creative Mary Daheim pulls no punches w/ the characters, plot & mystery.

Kudos to Daheim for keeping the series fresh w/o recycling previous storylines!

Nutty as a Fruitcake
is a must read for cozy mystery lovers because it's a truly delightful experience. Wickedly delicious!

Judith's mother Gertrude is unquestionably a remarkable standout!

Long-time readers of the series will absolutely adore Nutty as a Fruitcake & new readers will no doubt want to pick up the earlier books in this whimsical series!!!

Check out Mary @

Monday, May 18, 2009

No One to Trust ~ Iris Johansen

Publisher: Bantam Books
Pub. Date: August 2003


He is the most terrifying of killers: ruthless, cunning, charismatic. And he has the means to get whatever he wants. And what Rico Chavez wants most is Elena Kyler—and he wants her dead. Trained as an assassin, Elena didn’t need anyone to survive. But now she finds herself on the run from one dangerous man and turning for help to another.

Sean Galen was a man without illusions. He knew it was only desperation that caused Elena to accept his help—a mother’s desperation to save her young son from a psychopath father who would raise their son in his own chilling image. And yet he was determined to get this woman who had never been able to trust anyone or anything in her whole life to accept him as her ally. But both Galen and Elena know that Chavez’s power and wealth mean there is no place they can be safe and no one they can trust—not even each other. Already Chavez’s assassins and connections to those in the highest positions of power have turned this into a war with no rules.

With two shocking acts of brutal violence, Chavez shows he will stop at nothing and that nothing will stop him. Soon a trail of horrifying murders will follow Galen and Elena across country to a last stand and a shattering showdown. For Chavez is a master of control and he wants more than just to take Elena’s life. He wants her alive long enough to see him destroy everyreason she has for living. He wants her to turn against everything and everyone she ever believed in. He wants her to commit the ultimate act of betrayal. And by the time he is through, he wants her to beg him to take the only thing she’ll have left to give: her life.

I enjoy reading Ms. Johansen but No One to Trust left me wanting...

a. To toss it out... fast!
C. To say,"What the... hay!"
D. To make sure Iris did in fact write this book???
E. To use it as tissue to wipe the tears of hysteria from forcing myself to read just one more page.
F. To lQQk for the VISINE®.
G.To run naked through the countryside to detoxify my system.

No One to Trust lacked significance. For me, there was no nitty-gritty.Elena Kyler did nothing to make me care about her life or her situation. Bor~ing!

I continued reading hoping it would get better. It didn't.

I just wasted good reading time on babble. I found myself wanting to do other things instead of reading Ms. Johansen's novel. I thought it was more fun to pour honey on myself & sit under a bee's nest.

Reading is all about perception, so many may enjoy this bunk book, but I enjoyed my time w/ the bees. Buzz~Buzz!

Check out Iris Johansen @

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Murder of a Small-Town ~ Denise Swanson

Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: July 2000
Scumble River Mystery Series


When Skye Denison left Scumble River years ago, she swore she'd never come back. Now, having been fired from her job, jilted by her boyfriend and rejected by her credit cards, she has reluctantly returned....

Immediately, Skye's determination to keep a low profile as the new school psychologist is assaulted by an army of small-town busybodies and well-meaning family members who can't wait to pry into her life, dole out advice, and volunteer her services in the Chokeberry Days festival.

And when the fair erupts in chaos and controversy, the Cow Chip Bingo sabotaged and the jelly contest ruined, Skye closes the event down altogether by finding a dead body....

The deceased, who at first appears to be the elderly host of a beloved children's TV program, and a dear, sweet thing, turns out to be quite different — a sexy young woman with a wild past and more secrets than are in Aunt Minnie's Jello Surprise. And if this stunning revelation weren't enough to intrigue Skye's inner snoop, soon her own brother is accused of the crime....

Denise Swanson had me laughing so hard tears rolled & rolled... & rolled again! This series is hysterical. Skye is friggin' hilarious!

My favorite was the Cow Chip Bingo. I had to wipe the tears away. It was unbelievably uproarious!

I would combust into fits of laughter telling anybody & everybody about the wickedly delicious Scumble River series.

Watching Skye Denison return to her hometown was enjoyable. Skye is definitely well loved & is welcome w/ open arms. Of course, there are a few sarcastic comments made about her extra padding ~ she put on a few pounds while away from home.

Skye offers to be a jelly judge at Chokeberry Days, a local tradition that had me doubling over from laughing so hard. Some Scumble River residents advocate it as a way to bring revenue into the town, while others oppose it, groaning it is bringing a little too much change.

Swanson knows how to create characters who are a vibrant mix of personalities. Skye's a quick-witted woman w/ an abundance of intuition into human frailty. Swanson does an excellent job keeping Skye credible.

Skye's dichotomy of indecision is spot on. Skye's thrilled to be home embracing her family's nurturing affection, yet disillusioned by her own feelings of inadequacy. Which Swanson does an extraordinary job describing. Bravo to Denise!!!

Denise Swanson's Murder of a Small-Town depicts life in a small town effortlessly. I wanted to pack my bags for a weekend stay w/ Skye & the rest of the quirky Denison's.

Murder of a Small-Town Honey
is a charming, rapid paced mystery that will leave you absolutely impatient for your next visit to Scumble River.

Hurry pick up a copy of Murder of a Small-Town Honey...

Warning! Refrain from noshing or drinking while reading!!!

Check out Denise's website @

Mum's the Word ~ Kate Collins

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: November 2004
Flower Shop Mystery Series, #1


Abby Knight is the proud owner of her hometown flower shop, but a new low-cost competitor is killing her profits-and a black SUV just rammed her vintage Corvette in a hit-and-run. She's determined to track down the driver, but when the trail turns deadly, the next flower arrangement might be for her own funeral.

Abby Knight is an intelligent, engaging character that is wrapped in spark & humor. She is a welcome addition to the amateur sleuth genre.

The mystery genre is saturated w/ writers chomping @ the bit to find their place in a market that many enter but few remain.

Where standouts are few & far between. Trust me. I am a cozy mystery aficionado.

I am picky when it comes to my mysteries. Downright critical actually but Abby Knight shines!

Mum's the Word kicks off the first of the Flower Shop Mysteries & what an amusing story.

Kate Collins does a terrific job linking a lot of interesting ribbons into her delightful plot.

Mum's the Word
is a smartly crafted, well written mystery. Kate does an excellent job keeping it entertaining as she steers a course of mayhem, family dynamics, fun & humor.

Abby is a feisty protagonist who speaks her mind & sticks her nose in places she shouldn't. She is extremely likable & her scenes w/ her family are hilarious.

Enter Marco Salvare... hotness. Marco is dark, enigmatic, esoteric being that adds to the series.

Did I mention hot hot?

The chemistry between Abby & Marco was like watching a fireworks display. Enough said!

Marco! Quick let me grab an icy bottle of water.

Abby's flower shop, Bloomers, is a rare gem. Her employees are enthralling.

Collins writes w/ a warmth that enhances this adorable series.

Kudos to her for the cozy feel that covers you from the first page.

Collins characters are charismatic, witty & truly enchanting!

Once I started reading Mum's the Word it was difficult to put down.

While visiting New Chapel, Indiana, take a walk around the square & grab a bite @ Marco's bar & grill. Dee. Lish!

Head on back to Abby's for a chat w/ Grace, Lottie & Abby while sipping on tea & munching on some scrumptious baked goods. Yum! Even say hi to Jillian on her way out... or yours.

Although the mystery was somewhat obvious to figure out, there are more than enough bumps & zigzags in the road that I didn't see everything coming @ me.

Mum's the Word
is an exhilarating new series that should be added to everyone's reading list.

Grab a copy of Kate Collins fabulous Mum's the Word. You won't be disappointed. Well, you may if you don't have the next in the series.

So, scoop up a copy of Slay It With Flowers while you're @ it ~ to follow Abby on her next sleuthing adventure.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pick Your Poison ~ Leann Sweeney

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: May 2004
Yellow Rose Mystery Ser.


Out of school, out of work, and out of motivation, Abby Rose is contemplating her life and wondering what to do next. It's the kind of situation that would get some girls down, but luckily Abby's got a heart the size of Texas -- and a bank account to match...

When Abby discovers her gardener, Ben, dead in the greenhouse one afternoon, the emptiness of her own life hits her like a glass of ice-cold Texas tea. Ever since her father died, she's been mooning around the pool, making herself as useful as a junebug on a daisy. When the sexy detective from the Houston P.D. tells her it was poison that killed Ben, Abby realizes what she needs to do with herself: solve a murder. Little does she suspect that the answers to her questions about Ben's death will unlock secrets about her own past -- and might change her entire future...

Pick Your Poison is an outstanding debut!!! Leann Sweeney has penned a saucy, sassy, lovable character in spitfire Abby Knight!

Leann delivers the goods & there is no sleuth like Abby ~ she is a standout!

It's hard to believe Pick Your Poison is Leann's first mystery. I wondered if she was writing incognito.

Trust me, I did my own bit of sleuthing to make sure Sweeney wasn't writing under a hush~hush pseudonym. Yes, it is that splendid.

Leann's setting is a character all its own. I wanted to loll poolside w/ Abby, Webster & Kate. I'd sip on Raspberry Lemonade w/ crushed ice while kissing Webster in between dips in the luxurious pool.

Yes! I imagined living in River Oaks. I wanted to visit Houston & Galveston while reading this delightful series.

Leann described the setting so distinctly she deserves recognition for that alone. I felt the scorching Texas heat cloying me like molasses.

Pick Your Poison showcases impressive characters. Abby may be an amateur sleuth by cozy standards but there is nothing amateur about Abby! Pick Your Poison has absorbing characters that make you give a darn!

Despite the fact that Leann Sweeney is one of my absolute favorite authors, I will tell you a little too much is given early on, but it is a debut & she has only gotten better as the series progressed.

Now that that's out of the way...

Pick Your Poison is chock-full w/ action, mystery, romance & an uproarious fun time!

I don't know about you, but in today's erratic economy where on earth can you find a boisterously wild & exciting adventure for $6.99?

Grab a copy ~ copies to keep around for gifts is even better ~ of Leann Sweeney's Pick Your Poison.

Pick Your Poison is top-notch! Leann Sweeney deserves a platinum dagger.

Leann doesn't try to write funny~ it is a natural talent.

Leann is one of my comfort reads... no matter what she takes me away from it all.

"Don't Mess with Texas" "Don't Mess with Abby Rose"!!!

Psst! Leann's new Cats in Trouble series is out now. Grab a copy of The Cat, the Quilt, and the Corpse while you're @ it.

Just don't forget my gal Abby!!!

Check out Leann @

Buy from Amazon

The Yellow Rose Mysteries series is now available through Recorded Books &

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blue-Eyed Devil ~ Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub. Date: March 2009



His name is Hardy Cates. He’s a self-made millionaire who comes from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s made enemies in the rough-and-tumble ride to the top of Houston’s oil industry. He’s got hot blood in his veins. And vengeance on his mind.


She’s Haven Travis. Despite her family’s money, she refuses to set out on the path they’ve chosen for her. But when Haven marries a man her family disapproves of, her life is set on a new and dangerous course.


Two years have gone by. Now Haven has come home. This time, she is determined to guard her heart. And Hardy Cates, a family enemy, is the last person she needs darkening her door—or setting her soul on fire.

It begins w/ a kiss...

Haven Travis' chance encounter w/ the delicious Hardy Cates in the wine cellar @ her brother's wedding ignites a spark that propels into an explosion.

However, the detonating kiss isn't enough to derail her plans to marry Nick.

Haven's marriage to Nick is far from what she imagined. He transforms from a gentle, caring husband into an abominable combustible egomaniac.

I will say up front, there were a few scenes that were disturbing. For some readers it may mean the end of the book. With that said, I urge you to continue as this needs to be addressed to demonstrate the brutal scenes of domestic violence Kleypas was brave enough to shine a light on.

At times, I was left paralyzed as I experienced life through Haven's eyes. I cried & was left raw. It was that emotionally driven. I just wanted to erase a lot of the intense feelings or hit delete to make Haven's heartache go away.

Haven's struggle to find her own identity & acknowledge that what happened to her was not her fault is beautifully delivered.

Lisa pens an ultra sexy story. Blue-Eyed Devil displays how priceless Lisa Kleypas' writing is.

The love story will rob you of your breath.

Check Lisa out @