Monday, November 18, 2019

Knot on Your Life by Betty Hechtman

First Line: "That was intense," I said, coming in the door to my kitchen.

A change of pace is in the cards for Casey Feldstein. Instead of the usual yarn retreat where she has to plan everything from soup to nuts, a client has requested a "birthday retreat" and told Casey of all the things she wanted to be included. Yes indeed, Casey is looking forward to a stress-free weekend, but she should know better. When she walks into Vista del Mar where the retreat is being held, the lobby is already jammed with people attending a mindfulness retreat and another for birdwatchers.

When Casey discovers the body of an attendee of the mindfulness retreat on the rocky shoreline of the resort, it doesn't take her long to suspect that the man's death was not an accident but a calculated murder. Now to prove it...

I continue to enjoy this cozy mystery series even though after seven books, I'm beginning to think that a real Vista del Mar resort might be bankrupt from all the murders that have taken place there. (Lethal word of mouth, don't you know-- and imagine the Yelp reviews.) The enjoyment arises from a wonderful California coast setting, a fun cast of characters, and a succession of intriguing mysteries to solve.

There's quite a bit of fun to be found while Casey tries to solve another murder. Where does one of her retreat members keep sneaking off to? Is learning to crochet really that easy? Will resort manager Kevin St. John get a chance to enforce his No Pets on the Premises rule? And how about that mindfulness retreat he put together? (Three raisins?!?) Other things that made me smile were the attempts Casey makes in order to keep her burgeoning romance a secret in her small town, and the fact that it seems as though everyone beats a path to the Blue Door Restaurant after hours to talk to her. How on earth does she manage to get her baking done?

And guess what? While I was having so much fun with the characters and the various situations, I found myself led astray by some very good misdirection in the mystery. All in all, Knot on Your Life is light and fun and a pleasure to read. More, please!

Knot on Your Life by Betty Hechtman
Beyond the Page Publishing © 2019
eBook, 275 pages

Cozy Mystery, #7 Yarn Retreat mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley


Sunday, November 17, 2019

On My Radar: Martin Walker's The Shooting at Château Rock

As someone who reads a lot of mystery series, I've become accustomed to a few things. One of those things is visiting the same part of the world at roughly the same time each year. You can imagine my little happy dance when I found out that I would be visiting with Bruno in the Périgord region of France again next year. My taste buds are already smiling in anticipation.

Let's see what Bruno will be up to in the latest book in Martin Walker's delightful series...

Available May 26, 2020!


"It's summer in the Dordogne. The heirs of a Périgordian sheep farmer learn that they have been disinherited, and their father's estate sold to an insurance company in return for a policy that will place him in a five-star retirement home for the rest of his life. But the farmer never gets his life of luxury--he dies before moving in. Was it a natural death? Was there foul play? Bruno begins the investigation that leads him to several shadowy insurance companies owned by a Russian oligarch with a Cypriot passport. The companies are based in Cyprus, Malta, and Luxembourg, but Bruno finds a weak spot in France: the Russian's France-based notaire and insurance agent. As Bruno is pursuing this lead, the oligarch's daughter turns up in the Périgord, and complications ensue, eventually bringing the action to the château of an aging rock star. But, as ever, Bruno makes time for lunch amid it all."

It seems as though the mystery in The Shooting at Château Rock won't have ties to World War II this time but with Russia and insurance companies instead. Not that it matters to me-- getting my hands on a new Bruno mystery is always a cause for celebration! I can see all you Bruno fans nodding in agreement. And if you haven't sampled one of Martin Walker's mysteries? There's no time like the present...err...make that next May!

Friday, November 15, 2019

He's a Will Do Sort of Guy Weekly Link Round-Up

I'm still on house arrest and still healing. It's wonderful to be able to ease into my old routines because I'm feeling better and have more energy. There's nothing much interesting to talk about. Reading. Knitting. Watching the hummingbirds. *yawn* So I thought I would praise the most important person in my life, my husband Denis.

The face that brightened my hospital stay.
I never thought I would marry. I was never much interested in the whole matrimonial thing, but when I encountered this Englishman, my preconceived notions took a nosedive. There's something to be said for a first marriage at the age of forty-seven. I had my head screwed on straight. I knew what was truly important to me, and I knew the personality traits in others that meant the most to me.

Of course, there was a learning curve involved. The house of one now contained two and someone else's opinions had to be taken into account, but that was relatively easy. Denis made it easy, probably because this was his second marriage so he had a better idea of what to expect.

We've had so many adventures together, and I'm looking forward to many more.

The hospital fitted me with a "pic line" (a mini-catheter) in my upper right arm before I could come home. I had to inject myself with antibiotics every morning, and you can see in the photo the line-up of what had to go into my arm. Denis walked past one morning and watched me for a few seconds. I could tell he was a bit squeamish about it, so I did my antibiotic thing a little earlier so he wouldn't have to see. I also timed the dressing change on my leg for when he wasn't around because that made him even more squeamish. (My leg looked like something out of a nightmare-inducing sci-fi movie. It was awful! It actually looks like a leg now, thank goodness.)

But you know what? If I'd needed Denis's help with injecting the antibiotics, if I'd needed his help changing the bandages on my leg, he would've been right there, doing what needed to be done. (He'd helped me once with my leg when it was at its worst, bless 'im!)

I love this wonderful man for his intelligence, for his sense of humor, for his sense of adventure, for his can do/will do attitude. I love him for so many things. But I also love him for his compassion. He is, without doubt, one of the most caring human beings I have ever met.

Do I know how lucky I am? You bet I do!

Now let's get out to that corral. Head 'em up! Moooove 'em out!

►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄

►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄

►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄

►Fascinating Folk◄
  • Craig Johnson on the enduring popularity of Longmire and its deeply human characters.
  • Women scientists were written out of history, and it's Margaret Rossiter's lifelong mission to fix that.
  • A new biography spotlights Jo Bonger, the sister-in-law who helped rescue van Gogh from obscurity.
  • How Madame Tussaud built her house of wax.

►The Happy Wanderer◄

►I ♥ Lists◄

That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.

Have a great weekend, and read something fabulous!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Mirror Image by Dennis Palumbo

First Line: Shame is a deep well.

Dr. Daniel Rinaldi is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of victims of violent crime. As a result, he's become a consultant for the Pittsburgh Police Department.

Rinaldi's patient, Keven Merrick, is a victim of violent crime. The troubled young man is desperate for a role model and a sense of identity. The role model Kevin has chosen is Daniel-- dressing like him, acting like him, even mirroring his appearance. Before Daniel can work with Kevin on this, he finds the young man brutally murdered. Both he and the police suspect that Daniel, not Kevin, was the intended target. And now the killer is coming after Rinaldi.

Feeling responsible for Kevin's death, Daniel is determined to solve the crime. What he isn't prepared for is all the secrets he will uncover along the way.

Palumbo infuses Mirror Image with a strong sense of place, and I certainly enjoyed his descriptions of Pittsburgh. Another strength is his pithy one-line descriptions of characters that often made me laugh.

Daniel Rinaldi is a strong character whose major "fault" seems to be caring too much for the welfare of others. He thinks nothing of putting himself in danger to protect someone else. As he says, "Justice and compassion. Everything else is" Throughout the book, Rinaldi provides excellent insight into both himself and the behavior of others.

Mirror Image is a strong mystery that deals with mental illness and how to make the real bad guy pay for his crimes. If there was any weakness to the story, it was Rinaldi's love interest and the-- to me-- unnecessary love scenes. It was also rather easy to identify one character's true identity. However, with those complaints out of the way, Dennis Palumbo has created a strong, sympathetic character that I enjoyed getting to know. I'm looking forward to another visit to Pittsburgh.

Mirror Image by Dennis Palumbo
eISBN: 9781615952397
Poisoned Pen Press © 2011
eBook, 332 pages

Amateur Sleuth, #1 Daniel Rinaldi mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

October 2019 Additions to my eBook Stockpile

My leg is healing so well that I have time to do a little catch-up work here on the blog. It's wonderful to have an appendage that's actually beginning to look and act like it's supposed to!

I was much less profligate with my money in October-- a good thing as I began racking up hospital bills at the end of the month!-- and I even managed to get a couple of titles for free. I still find myself reading more on my Kindle than I read physical books. That Kindle is just so easy to pop into my purse that I've gotten spoiled.

I've grouped my additions by genre/subgenre. If you click on the title, you'll be taken to Amazon US for more information about the book.

Let's see what I couldn't resist last month!


Trooper: The Bobcat Who Came in from the Wild by Forrest Bryant Johnson. Set in Nevada.
 Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue by Bob Drury & Tom Clavin. Set in the South Pacific and purchased because of one of the two stories my grandfather ever shared about his World War II experiences in the Navy.

~~~Police Procedurals~~~

A Perfect Evil by Alex Kava. Set in Nebraska.
The Nightmare by Lars Kepler. Set in Sweden.
The Night Fire by Michael Connelly. Set in California. 

~~~Private Investigator~~~


Under an English Heaven by Alice K. Boatwright. Set in England.

~~~Amateur Sleuth~~~

The Only Clue by Pamela Beason. Set in Washington.

~~~Historical Mystery~~~

Offstage in Nuala by Harriet Steel. Set in Sri Lanka.

It looks as though October was the month for non-fiction, doesn't it? Have you read any of these books? Any comments about them? Did you add any of them to your own wishlists? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima

First Line: Tonight, the stage had been set for love.

When a bomb explodes and the body of outfitter Nate Fletcher is found shot through the heart outside a community dance in Timber Creek, Colorado, Deputy Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are part of the investigation.

The investigation takes them to the ranch of Doyle Redman, whose daughter is Nate's widow, but before they get much further, they receive an emergency call from a man who's been shot in the mountains. Mattie and Robo are first on the scene, and both are disconcerted when they hear the ominous growl of a large predator they've never heard before. What on earth is roaming the mountains around Timber Creek?

The animal must be tracked and caught before anyone is hurt, and as new players emerge, Mattie begins to understand the true danger that involves everyone in Timber Creek.

Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek K-9 mysteries set in the high mountains of Colorado continue to impress me with their strong mysteries and charismatic main characters. She certainly knows how to set her stage: the tracking scenes in the high country had me on red alert, listening for the deep-pitched, rumbling growl of something that wanted me for dinner as I turned the pages.

The two main characters, Deputy Mattie Cobb and veterinarian Cole Walker continue to grow and change. Mattie lived through some traumatic incidents in her childhood and she's still working through the aftermath. In Tracking Game, Cole's two daughters are learning more than they want to know about the confusing and often devastating illness of depression. The secondary characters are solid, and I like the way the entire community reaches out to help others.

There are some excellent twists and turns in the plot of Tracking Game, so if you're in the mood for a strong mystery with three intelligent, likable lead characters (Mattie, Cole, and Robo) who live and work in a vivid high country setting, pick up a copy of Mizushima's latest Timber Creek K-9 novel.

Tracking Game by Margaret Mizushima
eISBN: 9781643851358
Crooked Lane Books © 2019
eBook, 320 pages

Police Procedural, #5 Timber Creek K-9 mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Wrong Girl by Donis Casey

First Line: Ted Oliver drove up Santa Monica Boulevard to Beverly Drive, then turned onto Summit and wound up the steep side of San Ysidro Canyon until he reached the ten-acre estate of beloved motion picture celebrity Bianca LaBelle, star and living embodiment of the Bianca Dangereuse serials, the biggest money-making movie franchise in the entire Western world.

No other human can fall into the deepest depths of boredom like a teenager, and Blanche Tucker is a fifteen-year-old who's bound and determined to get out of boring old Boynton, Oklahoma and away from her boring old family. When she meets up with film producer Graham Peyton, it's as if all her wishes and dreams come true at once. In no time at all, she's on the road to Hollywood with Peyton, sure that she's just a step away from fame and fortune.

But Peyton is a predator, not a producer, and it's only through quick thinking, hard work, and a bit of luck that Blanche does indeed find her way to Hollywood. Six years later, she's been transformed into Bianca LaBelle, the reclusive star of a series of wildly popular adventure films. When Peyton's remains are uncovered on a Santa Monica beach, is there a connection to Blanche/Bianca? Private detective Ted Oliver is determined to find out what really happened.

Long-time fans of Donis Casey's Alafair Tucker series about a crime-solving farm woman in 1910s Oklahoma just might remember Alafair's daughter Blanche from The Wrong Hill to Die On when Blanche was sent to Arizona to recuperate from a respiratory ailment. Of all Alafair's children, Blanche was the prettiest and the most dissatisfied with life on the farm. As far as Blanche was concerned, Boynton was just a flyspeck on the map and not worthy of notice, so she's the perfect Tucker rebel to start a new series.

Yes, Alafair and other family members are mentioned in The Wrong Girl-- and some of those "mentions" made me laugh-- but this is Blanche's show, and she turns out to be one very fine actress. The main thing I liked about her was that she admitted when she did stupid things and used her intelligence and what she learned at her mother's knee to get past the bad bits and persevere to get what she wanted.

The Wrong Girl is a departure for Casey. We move from Oklahoma slang to 1920s Hollywood slang. The outlook is fresh and spirited. Blanche is showing readers how fast the country was changing during the '20s. The chapter headings are the dialogue cards used during old silent movies, and I have to admit that the fast pace and all the action made me think I'd walked into an episode of The Perils of Pauline.

Yes, I really enjoyed The Wrong Girl. It's amazing how different a book can be from its predecessors and yet be so reminiscent of them. Blanche has chosen a completely different life from the rest of her family-- a life many of them would probably frown upon-- but she is a Tucker, and you can see this from first page to last. I'm looking forward to her next adventure with a great deal of anticipation.

The Wrong Girl by Donis Casey
eISBN: 9781492699217
Poisoned Pen Press © 2019
eBook, 256 pages

Historical Mystery, #1 Bianca Dangereuse mystery
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


Blind Search by Paula Munier

First Line: Henry Jenkins was lost.

It's a bad time to be lost in the Green Mountains of Vermont: it's hunting season, the most beautiful and dangerous time of the year. It's not the first time nine-year-old Henry has been lost, but this time he's seen something terrible.

Former Army MP Mercy Carr and her retired bomb-sniffing dog Elvis have found Henry after discovering the body of a young woman killed with an arrow to the heart. Mercy thinks the woman was murdered. She also thinks Henry knows something about it. But the young autistic math genius isn't talking.

It soon becomes clear that there's a murderer hiding among the hunters in the forest, and it's up to Mercy and Elvis and their other crime-solving friends, game warden Troy Warner and search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear, to find the person before the death toll gets any higher--and to protect Henry at all cost.

A strong mystery combines with strong characters in Paula Munier's second Mercy & Elvis mystery set in the Vermont wilderness. Speaking of that wilderness, it comes to life under Munier's pen. I can feel the snowflakes on my face, smell the trees, and hear the crunch of the snow under my boots as I follow the characters along on their search for a killer.

For those of you who may worry about a child being endangered in Blind Search, I want you to know that I was wondering about that myself. Without giving too much away, I'll just say that you shouldn't worry too much about that. Munier has it covered, and covered well-- and she still keeps the story exciting.

She also has her characters covered well. Henry took center stage for me, and I really liked how both Mercy and the two dogs related to the young boy. Elvis and Susie Bear are stars, which should please dog lovers everywhere. Troy and Mercy have their own baggage to deal with which makes a relationship between them somewhat prickly, and if there's anything that didn't sit well with me in Blind Search, it's the appearance of a character from Troy's past. It's something that's been done so often that it's tired and worn out.

If you're in the mood for a fast-paced, exciting story with strong, likable characters and two marvelous dogs, it sounds to me like you should pick up a copy of Blind Search. As for me, I'm looking forward to my next visit to Vermont to see Mercy and Elvis.

Blind Search by Paula Munier
eISBN: 9781250153067
Minotaur Books © 2019
eBook, 352 pages

Law Enforcement/Working Dogs, #2 Mercy & Elvis mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley