Thursday, December 14, 2017

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday (on a Tuesday) 12/12/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday (on a Tuesday) 12/12/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Velveteen Daughter, Mute Stones, Bushm...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Velveteen Daughter, Mute Stones, Bushm...: Reported by Kristin Nevermore read a wide variety of books this week, beginning with The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis H...

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: A Bill Crider Blog-O-Book: AND STAY OFF HIS LAWN!

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: A Bill Crider Blog-O-Book: AND STAY OFF HIS LAWN!: A recycled post from 2010.

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: A ROOM FILLED WITH GIFTS FOR THE KIDS

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: A ROOM FILLED WITH GIFTS FOR THE KIDS: Please welcome one of my best friends, Anna Jeffrey, an award-winning author. Not only does she write as Anna Jeffrey, she has also co-writ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries by Beverly Allen

Jeanne of the Bookblog of the Bristol Library is back today with her latest review…

Treadmill Books:  Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries by Beverly Allen

Audrey Bloom is the appropriately named owner of a flower shop that specializes in bridal bouquets.  The shop’s claim to fame is that brides who carry her bouquets have had happy marriages, but it appears that streak might be broken when Audrey’s childhood friend Jenny wants a bouquet, only to have the groom expire before the walk down the aisle.  Of course, this being a mystery series, foul play is involved—as is one of Audrey’s bouquets.

That’s the plot of Bloom and Doom, the first of three books in the series.  Audrey is a plucky heroine with a healthy dose of self-respect even though she was dumped by her fiancĂ© and her father ran off when she was a child.  Spending time with her beloved Gran and cousin Olivia was her salvation.  Now she lives in Gran’s old house and Olivia is a partner in the flower shop.  Audrey’s breezy personality and self-assurance were selling points for me, especially as she is a. . .  um, healthy girl. (One of my favorite scenes came in the second book when a fashionista told Audrey snidely there was no way that Audrey was a size 12, to which Audrey responded, “You just have to know where to shop.”  As someone who is baffled and bemused by sizing these days, I could identify even as I revel in vanity sizing.)

Another selling point for me was learning about the Victorian Language of Flowers. Audrey likes to be sure that her bouquets send the right message, though it can be confusing at times since the same flower can have several different meanings.  Some reviewers didn’t care for that aspect of the series, but I loved it.  I cut my mystery teeth on Agatha Christie novels, and many’s the time that the solution of a case involved the message sent by bouquet.

Although Bloom and Doom had its share of “first in series” moments (i.e., when time must be spent to lay groundwork and to introduce characters) but I liked it well enough to read the second, For Whom the Bluebell Tolls, in which a reality wedding show is filming in quaint little Ramble, Virginia, where the series is set.  While the series doesn’t have a strong sense of place, the expectations of the film crew are played for some comic effect. 

I just finished the third, and apparently final, book in the series, Floral Depravity. Audrey is doing the flowers for a wedding with a serious medieval flare: it’s being staged at a re-enactors’ encampment where cell phones are forbidden and one can be tossed out for having potatoes.  Unfortunately, someone has indeed added a little something extra to a stew which, while authentic to the period, is also lethal—monkshood.  The father of the groom promptly expires and Audrey finds herself involved in another murder case.

The plots are well done enough, but the real appeal for me is the sense of humor displayed in the books.  I also appreciate the tidbits of information which this time around included details of medieval life.  Let’s just say I would rather not wear any yellow garment authentic to the era. The characters, especially Audrey are delightful.

Most of all, I appreciated the way that the third book ended.  My suspicion is that the author thought it might be the last in the series, so while the door is left open for the characters’ return, a number of ongoing plot lines were wrapped up in a most satisfying way.  Thank you, Beverley Allen (aka Barbara Early), for treating your readers so well!

I finished Floral Depravity on the treadmill yesterday. Due to inclement weather (i.e., it was as cold as kraut out there!), I had a LOT of steps to do and I couldn’t have asked for a better book for the journey. My feet were sore, but I had a smile on my face. So, yes, this is a good treadmill series.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: CUPID SANTA!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: CUPID SANTA!: Please welcome my longtime friend and a bestselling author, Sylvia McDaniel. Sylvia has a giveaway to someone who comments. Commenting also...

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: The Complete Crocadilettante -or- It's a Croc(k) b...

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Writer Beware Blog: Alert: Blue Deco Publishing, Christian Faith Publishing

Writer Beware Blog: Alert: Blue Deco Publishing, Christian Faith Publishing

Monday, December 11, 2017

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: A Bill Crider Blog-O-Book: WILL THE PERSECUTION NE...

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: A Bill Crider Blog-O-Book: WILL THE PERSECUTION NE...: A recycled post from 2010.

Gilbert Curiosities: Gilbert Speaks on "The Patron Saint of Blogging"

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix: Reviewed by Christy H.             My Best Friend’s Exorcism is about two best friends – Abby and Gretchen – and how they navi...

Do Some Damage: Monday Review: WHAT WE RECKON by Eryk Pruitt

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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: BEST GIFTS CAN'T BE BOUGHT

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The Practicing Writer: Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers 12/11/17

The Practicing Writer: Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers 12/11/17

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 12/11-17

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 12/11-17: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of December 11-17, 2017:  Special Events: Kwanzaa Fort Worth Poetry & Storytelling , Decembe...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Dogstar Rising by Parker Bilal

Because I know there are dozens, even hundreds, of mysteries out there that I would like if I could just find them, sometimes I go to the library and select books at random by five authors unfamiliar to me. The outcome is what you might expect: several books are returned after I read a few chapters, some I finish with no particular desire to read more by the author, and a few are gems. I found the mysteries of Parker Bilal that way; they are one of my great finds of 2017.

Jamal Mahjoub published several critically acclaimed novels before he began writing about Makana, an exiled Sudanese police investigator, under the name Parker Bilal. Set in Cairo in the early part of the 21st century, these books, six so far, reflect the political turmoil and religious tensions of the Middle East as they affect the day-to-day lives of ordinary people. For those of us who, thankfully, only know about these affairs as they are reported in news outlets, this very different perspective is illuminating.

Dogstar Rising (Bloomsbury, 2013) is the second Makana. (I read The Burning Gates, Makana #4, earlier this year.) This episode takes place in late summer 2001, as a serial killer victimizes street boys and a mysterious figure that many believe to be an angel appears on roofs throughout the city, both causing religious zealotry, always simmering, to approach an outright boil. The son of an old friend asks Makana, now acting as an unlicensed private investigator, to help the owner of a travel agency who has received threatening letters, a seemingly simple task that is complicated when a murder takes place outside the office and the local police and the state intelligence detectives want to know what Makana is doing. While staying out of their way, he stumbles across clues to the serial killer and crosses paths with an arms dealer.

An engrossing plot with multiple threads and more characters than I could easily keep track of. Perhaps it is just me but Makana seems to get beaten up far too often to bounce back as easily as he does. However, Mahjoub writes beautifully. His use of imagery is lyrical and imbues the mundane with a bit of magic. Water spraying from a hose resembles a silvery peacock tail, cats walk like queens, the moon is a copper penny tossed into the air. The ending paragraphs of the book are nothing less than inspired.

Part political thriller, part detective fiction, these stories defy easy categorization but they make exceptional reading. Highly recommended.

·         Hardcover: 400 pages
·         Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (February 19, 2013)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1608198715
·         ISBN-13: 978-1608198719


Aubrey Hamilton © 2017
 
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Glenn Walker, R.I. P.

I just learned this afternoon that my online friend, Glenn Walker, passed a few days ago. I am stunned and incredibly sad by this news. A prolific writer of short stories and other things, he was known best around here for his Welcome To Hell blog. 2017 has been horrible in so many ways. I knew he was having health issues, but was not aware that things were this serious. His obituary can be found here.

Please keep his wife, Jennifer, and the family in your thoughts and prayers.  

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 37 Calls for Submissions in December 2017 - Paying...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 37 Calls for Submissions in December 2017 - Paying...: Joachim Lehrer There are more than three dozen calls for submissions in December. All of these are paying markets, and none charge submi...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P.D. Jam...

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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: PLAYING MONOPOLY WHILE TURKEY ROASTS

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Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: The MOST IMPORTANT BOOK of the Century?

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Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 62 Writing Contests in December 2017 - No entry fe...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 62 Writing Contests in December 2017 - No entry fe...: The end of the year is always marked by a substantial number of writing contests. This December there are dozens of poetry, short story, ...

Saturday, December 09, 2017

KRL This Week Update for 12/9/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Wagging Through the
Snow" by Laurien Berenson
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/wagging-through-the-snow-by-laurien-berenson/

Also up reviews & giveaways of 4 more Christmas mysteries for your holiday
reading-"Hark the Herald Angels Slay": A Year-Round Christmas Mystery by Vicki
Delany, "Not a Creature was Purring": A Paws & Claws Mystery by Krista Davis,
"Slay Bells Ring": Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery by Karen Rose
Smith, "Yuletide Homicide": A Wiccan Wheel Mystery by Jennifer David Hesse,
and "The Ghost of Christmas Past": A Molly Murphy Mystery by Rhys Bowen
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/more-christmas-mysteries-for-your-holidays/

And a review & giveaway of "12 Slays of Christmas" by Jacqueline Frost
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/twelve-slays-of-christmas-by-jacqueline-frost/

Also a review & giveaway of "Murder on the Toy Town Express" by Barbara
Early along with a fun Christmas guest post by Barbara
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/murder-on-the-toy-town-express-by-barbara-early/

And we have a review & giveaway of "Idyll Fears" by Stephanie Gayle which
features gay police chief Thomas Lynch
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/idyll-fears-by-stephanie-gayle/

And a review & ebook giveaway of "It Cannoli Be Murder" by Karoline Barrett
(and you can enter to win the first 2 books in the series as well)
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/it-cannoli-be-murder-by-karoline-barrett/

And a review & giveaway of "Tales of a Thought Reader" by Barry Wiley
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/tales-of-a-thought-reader-by-barry-wiley/

And over on KRL News & Reviews this week we have a review & giveaway of
"Ingognito" Khalid Talib
http://www.krlnews.com/2017/12/incognito-by-khaled-talib.html

Happy holidays,

Lorie

Friday, December 08, 2017

A Week Later.....

It was a week ago this morning when Sandi's suffering ended and she left us. It still feels like it just happened a minute ago. Yet, a week has passed. The pain is immense.

So, too is the love expressed by so many. Many of you never knew her expect for reading about her through my blog posts and have expressed your own sorry. I have tried to respond to everyone and say thank you. It has meant so much to me.

If I didn't get back to you, please know I screwed up here and it is not because I did not appreciate your email. A lot of times reading the emails got me crying. Crying as you sit over your laptop is not a good thing. It is also very hard to hit keys correctly when you can't see or everything is very blurry.


I miss her so much. I knew this was coming and had known for quite awhile that losing her was inevitable. And, yet, as much as I thought I was ready, I wasn't. Not by a long shot. I promised her I would go on....though I don't know how I am going to do that.

Books have always been my refuge. Whether or not they can work any magic on me now remains to be seen. For now, as I promised her right before Thanksgiving when we had our last real conversation, the blog will continue. You have seen some erratic updates from me this week as I linked to various things. Next week, guest reviews from Aubrey and Jeanne will resume. I have every intention of pulling something together to participate in Bill Crider day over on Patti Abbott's blog.

Beyond that....I just don't know. I just want the pain to stop. I just want her back. And I know neither one is possible.


The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/28/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/28/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Thirst, Blood Card, Billy Lynn, Faithfu...

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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL!

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Gravetapping: QUARRY'S CLIMAX by Max Allan Collins

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ClassicAndCozy: Writing Schedules and Other Fictions

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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: BAKING AND MAKING CANDY MAKES MEMORIES

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FFB Today 12/8/17

At 8:45 am one week ago today Sandi left us. It seems inconceivable that it has been that long as it seems like it just happened. Somehow, I am supposed to go on like she wanted. I am trying...in fits and starts. One of those little ways I m supposed to do so is by getting things up for FFB up here.

I don't have anything for FFB today. Patti does and has the links here. Next week will be Bill Crider Appreciation Day on Patti's blog and I intend to put something together for that.

Have a good Friday and make sure the people in your life know you love them. They can't know it enough.