Jun 3, 2011

Spider Web by Earlene Fowler - Beginning Sentences

Spider Web (Benni Harper, #15)

Music flowed out of the old ranch house's open front door like a wash of honey water - "Are you Lonesome Tonight?"
Elvis Presley's unmistakable voice rose and surrounded me as I watched from a small rise a hundred yards away. The damp, drooping branches of a pepper-scented valley oak camouflaged me and my horse from whomever was inspecting my former home. Trixie, a new mare my father bought last week, shifted beneath me. (Ch. 1)

Spider Web (Benni Harper Mystery) by Earlene Fowler
Hardcover: 320 pages 
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1 edition (May 3, 2011)
Source: Publisher

Product description: Folk art museum curator, rancher and sometime sleuth Benni Harper is organizing a Memory Festival, in which she and the ladies of her Coffin Star Quilt Guild are displaying their Graveyard quilt. But a sniper threatens to make it a day to remember in the worst way. When a local cop is wounded by a mysterious sharpshooter who seems to have a vendetta against the police, Benni fears for her loved ones, especially her police chief husband. Benni is determined to make her hometown safe-before their peaceful street fair becomes a shooter's deadly target range.

Comments: This is the 15th in the series featuring quilter Benni Harper. The setting and the plot make this a memorable mystery, in addition to Benni herself and her friends in the Quilter's guild. Folk arts and craft lovers who love mysteries will enjoy this series.

About the Author: Award-winning mystery writer Earlene Fowler was raised in La Puente, California, and now lives in Southern California with her husband. Visit her at http://www.earlenefowler.com/

Jun 2, 2011

Book Giveaway: LIFT: a Memoir by Rebecca K. O'Connor

Rebecca is offering a lucky reader a signed copy of her award-winning memoir on falconry, LIFT! (see details below). If the winner already owns LIFT, they may request the author's romance novel, Falcon's Return , instead.

About the book: Lift, A Memoir does an excellent job of combining a description of the art of falconry with the memories of a woman becoming a confident falconer in spite of growing up with uncertainty in her personal life. Left by her parents at a young age, she learns about birds and the natural world from her grandfather, and develops a love of birds including hawks and falcons. She becomes a bird trainer, naturalist, and owner of a peregrine falcon. This is her story.  (see my book review )

Rebecca is also offering a coupon code for an eBook she is working on - RISE, which will be available July 1, the same date LIFT will be available on Kindle!

Rebecca: "RISE is a collection of essays, short stories and poetry that ties into LIFT with more falconry and backstory. It also includes a stand-alone excerpt of my current novel in progress. It will be available on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and others. I will be giving a coupon code to get RISE for free to anyone who has read LIFT. (bought, borrowed or checked out from the library).

Anyone who can answer, “Who did it turn out owned the peregrine that landed on the roof of Rebecca’s house when she was a child?” and send the answer to me at rebecca@blueskywriting.com will get the coupon code. Otherwise, RISE will be available for .99. Please check out the trailer for RISE here."

Book Giveaway of LIFT: Leave a comment with your email address, U.S. residents only. For an extra chance to win, become a follower or let me know if you already are a follower. Contest will end on June 7 and winner will be asked to email me a mailing address, no P.O. boxes please, by June 10. Do enter, and good luck!

Jun 1, 2011

Book Review: Ink Flamingos, a Tattoo Shop mystery by Karen E. Olson

Ink Flamingos: A Tattoo Shop Mystery by Karen E. Olson
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Signet; Original edition (June 7, 2011)
Source: review copy provided by the Penguin Group
Objective review: 5/5

Product description: Dee Carmichael, lead singer of the pop sensation The Flamingoes, has been one of Brett Kavanaugh's most dedicated customers at her tattoo shop. When Dee is discovered dead surrounded by ink pots and needles, Brett is branded a suspect. It seems that someone is impersonating Brett. And if she doesn't act fast, the killer is sure to put the dye in dying once again...

Comments:  I enjoyed  "Ink Flamingos" so much that I plan to read the other three in the series. The setting is unique - a tattoo shop near famous hotels on the Las Vegas strip. The main character and amateur sleuth  owns the shop, is a tattoo artist, and of course has tattoos herself. The plot is original - a well known singer, allergic to tattoo dyes, is found dead in her hotel room. Brett, the tattoo shop owner, is a suspect in the death, as someone looking like her was seen leaving the hotel room where the singer's body was found. The plot unfolds...and I never guessed the real culprit. A nice easy read with descriptions of the layout of Las Vegas and some of its hotels mixed into the plot.

May 31, 2011

Dead by Midnight, a mystery by Carolyn Hart

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify the author and title for readers.
A frown touched Henny's narrow face. There had been enough time for Pat to answer the door. The dachshund's yelps continued, faster and faster. ( p. 35)
Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (March 29, 2011)
Source: Publisher

Comment: I've enjoyed many of the books in Carolyn Hart's mystery series featuring the owner of a mystery bookstore. This is the most recent.

Publisher's description: Solving puzzles comes naturally to Annie Darling, cheerful owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore on the lovely sea island of Broward's Rock. Annie is aided and abetted by her admiring husband, Max, who runs an unusual business that offers help to people in trouble.

A recent death appears to be suicide, but Annie suspects murder. To solve the case, she unravels the mystery of a towel hidden at midnight in a gazebo, the lack of fingerprints on a crystal mug, blood on a teenager's blue shirt, and the secret of a lovers' tryst. Annie believes she has set the perfect trap for a merciless killer until her cell phone rings and Death whispers in her ear.

About the author: This is the 21st Death on Demand novel written by award-winning mystery writer, Carolyn Hart. Hart has also created two other mystery series, and is the founder of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Oklahoma City.

May 29, 2011

Sunday Salon: Cozy Mysteries

The Sunday Salon.comWelcome to the Sunday Salon. Click on the logo to join in!

Will I be sitting in and reading all day, every day? No, it's too nice out - sunny and warm after a longgg winter! Drives into the countryside, a visit to a flower market, bird watching, a movie..... I don't even miss the Florida beaches as Lake Erie views will do for now!

Ink Flamingos: A Tattoo Shop Mystery

I'm reading Island Girl for a TLC tour early June and enjoying it!  Watch out for my review, please!

Several cozy mysteries from Penguin arrived, which I can't wait to read, including one I started, Ink Flamingos: A Tattoo Shop Mystery, intriguing to say the least!

The Art of Saying Goodbye: A NovelTwo books came from HarperCollins Publishers, which I'm also eager to read - The Art of Saying Goodbye: A Novel and one with a great title,  Insatiable, about a vampire war in NYC. I haven't seriously read many in this genre but am ready to dig into this one!

It's a great year for print books, even though eBook sales have gone up! I can't resist the covers of print books! How about you?

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

May 27, 2011

First Sentences: The Bone Yard: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass

"I held the last of the dead man's bones in my left hand. It was his skull, which I cradled upside down in my palm, as comfortably and naturally as an NBA player might hold a basketball. As I searched for a place to hide it, I felt the tip of my index finger absentmindedly tracing the edges of a hole in the right temple. It was a square-cornered opening, about the size of a small postage stamp, and it had been punched by a murder weapon - a weapon I'd tucked into a angle of honeysuckle vines a few moments before." (ch. 1)

The Bone Yard: A Body Farm Novel

The first few sentences from the crime novel, The Bone Yard by Jefferson Bass; Hardcover, 336 pages. Published by William Morrow, March 8, 2011. Genre: thriller. Source: Publisher.

Product description: The onset of summer brings steamy weather to East Tennessee and the Body Farm, Dr. Bill Brockton's human-decomposition research facility at the University of Tennessee. But Brockton's about to get more heat than he's bargained for Angie St. Clair, a forensic analyst with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, asks him to help prove that her sister's death was suicide, but murder.

Brockton's quick consulting trip takes a long, harrowing detour when bones begin turning up amid the pines and live oaks of the Florida panhandle. Two adolescent skulls - ravaged by time and animals, but bearing the telltale signs of lethal fractures - send Brockton, Angie, and special Agent Stu Vickery on a search for the long-lost victims. The quest leads them to the ruins of the North Florida Boys' Reformatory, a notorious juvenile detention facility that met a fiery end more than forty years ago.

About the authors: Jefferson Bass is the writing team of forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass and journalist writer and documentary filmmaker, Jon Jefferson. Visit them at http://www.jeffersonbass.com/

May 26, 2011

Method Writing - guest post by Kate Lord Brown, author of The Beauty Chorus

Beauty Chorus
by Kate Lord Brown
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Corvus (April 1, 2011)

Welcome, Kate. Thanks for talking to us about your research for your WWII historical novel, The Beauty Chorus.

Kate's post: Method Writing

Doing the research for a new book is in a lot of ways the best part. Rather like Method actors are advised to ‘walk in the shoes’ of their characters, I love immersing myself in the world of the book completely.

After the initial ‘lightbulb moment’ when I read a small obituary about a woman who had flown Spitfires during WW2, I spent months learning all I could about the incredible women of the Air Transport Auxiliary. I scoured archives and museums, read every first hand account I could of what life was like for these brave and beautiful women who came from the US, the UK, from countries all over the world to fly planes to Allied fighter stations in Britain.

I always advise my writing students to engage all their senses when they are writing. If you can let your readers feel what it is like to really be there – what you see, smell, taste, hear, touch – it brings a story to life. Writing ‘The Beauty Chorus’ I immersed myself in the world of a WW2 pilot. I went to aviation displays, walked among people in uniform re-enacting scenes. I researched the perfumes the women might have worn, smelt samples. I experimented with wartime cooking from archived cookbooks, listened to swing music and jazz standards from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. I looked at vintage clothing, touched the fabrics, got up close to fighter planes and felt what it was like to handle them.

Hopefully all this will bring my debut novel to life. I’ve woven fact and fiction together – I hope readers will really feel they are part of this world, and that they won’t be able to spot the join between what really happened, and what I have imagined.

Book Description:
"New Year's Eve, 1940: Evie Chase, the beautiful debutante daughter of a rich and adoring RAF commander, listens wistfully to the swing music drifting out from the ballroom, unable to join in the fun. With bombs falling nightly in London, she is determined that the coming year will bring a lot more than dances, picnics and tennis matches. She is determined to make a difference to the war effort. 5th January, 1941: Evie curses her fashionable heels as they skid on the frozen ground of her local airfield. She is here to join the ATA, the civilian pilots who ferry Tiger Moths and Spitfires to bases across war-torn Britain. Two other women wait nervously to join up: Stella Grainger, a forlorn young mother who has returned from Singapore without her baby boy and Megan Jones, an idealistic teenager who has never left her Welsh village. Billeted together in a tiny cottage in a sleepy country village, Evie, Stella and Megan must learn to live and work together. Brave, beautiful and fiercely independent, these women soon move beyond their different backgrounds as they find romance, confront loss, and forge friendships that will last a lifetime."

About the Author: Visit Kate at http://www.katelordbrown.blogspot.com/
Kate studied Philosophy at Durham University, and Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is currently taking a Masters degree. She worked as an art consultant, curating collections for palaces and embassies in Europe and the Middle East, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She was a finalist in UK ITV’s the People’s Author competition in 2009. Her debut novel ‘The Beauty Chorus’ is published by Corvus, Atlantic 1/4/11. 

Her book is available at Amazon.UK

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...