Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Southern Comfort by Fern Michaels

This is a great summer read.  It's fast paced and easy reading.  There's adventure, a bit of romance and a good ending.  In between, you'll find a lot of trouble and some nasty people.

Ex-homicide detective Patrick 'Tick' Kelly wound up in a beach house on Mango Key, Florida after losing his family and giving up his job. He has turned into a bestselling author, and would gladly stay a recluse forever if his brother Pete hadn't shown up  trying to drag him back to the land of the living.

After years of sacrificing her personal life in favour of her DEA job, special agent Kate Rush resigned and moved back to her native Miami. But the unofficial assignment that has just come her way is too intriguing to pass up. She and a fellow ex-agent are relocated to Mango Key to keep an eye on an imposing, mysterious fortress believed to be at the centre of a human trafficking ring.

At first, the Kelly brothers are suspected of involvement, but Kate is sure Tick poses no danger - except for the slow-burning gaze that makes her breath catch and her heart race. Tick finds himself fascinated by Kate's investigation - and by her inviting mix of courage and kindness. Teaming up, they uncover a web of betrayal, blackmail, and ruthless greed. And as danger mounts, Tick realizes how far he'll go to protect the rare and surprising gift that's come his way: a second chance at a happy ending.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

I love the Stephanie Plum series.  I've followed this series from book 1 and haven't been let down yet.  This book follows Stephanie through her usual daily adventures: donuts and wrecking cars with the usual great cast of characters, my favs are grandma and Lula.
 Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.

Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ghost a la Mode (A Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery) by Sue Ann Jaffarian

I loved this book, the pages kept slipped through my fingers like water.  The characters were so rounded I wanted to meet each and every one of them - even Granny Apples - the main ghost. Ghost a la Mode is the first of the Granny Apples series and I can't wait to read the rest.    There is mystery, mayhem, romance and plenty of talking ghosts.

This first book in the series introduces Ish Reynolds (aka Granny Apples), a charming turn-of-the-20th-century spirit and pie maker, who asks Emma Whitecastle, her great-great-great-granddaughter, to prove her innocent of murdering her husband, Jacob Reynolds. Strung up by vigilantes in retribution for the crime, Granny Apples first tried haunting Emma's mother, Elizabeth, who couldn't handle her visitations.  

Emma, who is in the midst of divorcing her obnoxious TV talk show husband, is ripe for a diversion. After getting advice about her new clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities from psychic Milo Ravenscroft, Emma goes to Julian, a former mining town near San Diego, Calif., to research Ish's story. Emma's fluttery feelings for Phil Bower, a crusty rancher and lawyer who owns Granny's old property add a touch of romance.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guest Post from Kathleen Kole, author of Breaking Even

I would like to thank Kathleen for this guest post on my blog.
Today she discusses how she comes up with plots for her novels.

Kathleen writes:

I would think for most writers, no matter what the arena, one of the biggest “issues” is subject matter.  How do I come up with ideas for an article, a commentary, a story.  How will I develop that article, commentary and/or story.   

For myself, I’d say that before I can even think about writing a story, I must have feelings about it.  I must have some sort of “ah-ha” moment, where I feel inspired by the idea.  Depending upon the day, it is either a blessing, or a curse.  By that I mean I have had, or heard of, so many wonderful ideas, but if they didn’t capture my feelings I had no choice but to move on.  Plain and simple, I cannot fake enthusiasm.  My readers would feel it.  My heart has to be in the mix in order for me to discover my characters and tell their stories effectively. 

“Breaking Even” is, in my humble opinion, an example of a blessing day.  Each of the characters, as they came to life in my head, captured my attention and I knew they had a story I would happily tell.  I could imagine what it was like to be in their separate pairs of shoes and, from there, the tale almost wrote itself. 

Thankfully, I have had many more “blessing” days than “curse” days.   As a result, I’ve managed, thus far, to create two more novels (both in the editing process) and have ideas on the back burner for even more tales to come.  I’ll continue to give it my best and, with a heart full of feelings and fingers on my keyboard, make every effort to do my characters justice as I bring their stories to life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Breaking Even by Kathleen Kole

A fast, enjoyable summer read and lovable characters.  The grass is not always greener on the other side and this book has us looking at both sides of the grass.
Penelope has been engaged to wonderful, kind and caring Ben Miller ... a man she has known forever. They've been engaged for a number of years, yet have not felt committed enough to set a wedding date.  Enter Single Dad. While on a school run for her good friend, Penelope accidentally locks her keys in her car. A seemingly boring event, until she is offered aid by an extremely attractive and personable Single Dad. The two immediately feel a connection.  Shaken by the encounter, or, more to the point, shaken by her reaction to the encounter, Penelope begins to take a close look at her life and her future with Ben.

Her whole world, including her friends are shaken by the events that follow.  I was rooting for Penelope and Ben.  What would you do?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Already Home by Susan Mallery

I enjoyed this book so much, I'm sorry it ended the way it did.  I would have enjoyed a series following Jenna the main character.  In fact, all the characters are so lovable I hated to close the book on them.
The story revolves around Jenna, recently divorced and in the midst of an unexpected career change. So her life is already in a state of flux when she’s hit with the sudden appearance of her birth parents who are, to put it mildly, nothing like Jenna’s “real” (aka, adoptive) parents. Jenna was raised in a conservative Texas town by loving but traditional parents. Her birth parents are throwbacks to the 1970s, vegetarian hippies who get messages from "the Universe" and have an unnatural dislike of dairy.
Jenna opens a great kitchen store and I love the focus on her cooking and how Jenna and Violet work together to build a fantastic store that I would love to walk in.

Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson

This is another great mystery in the Goldy Shultz series.  I love all the main characters in this series so it was like seeing old friends again to read another installment.  One of the things I like is that the previous stories don't need to be rehashed through each book.  Occasionally there is a wink and nod to a previous story but nothing to strenuous.  In this story, Goldy's godfather who has helped her out while starting up her catering business has moved across the street from her.  After that life takes a lot of twists and turns her friends gather round to help her solve another murder including Goldy's patient cop husband, Tom, and her capable culinary assistant, Julian Teller.
As the book begins, Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz doesn't have a moment to spare as she frantically tries to pull everything together for two upcoming wedding receptions, including last-minute venue and menu changes from a spoiled bridezilla.  When Harold Doc Finn, Aspen Meadow's beloved retired doctor, dies under mysterious circumstances on his way to the first wedding ceremony, Goldy wonders if it was an accident or murder. When her godfather and Doc Finn's good friend, Jack Carmichael, is also attacked, it's obvious that Goldy will have to venture out of the kitchen and put her detecting skills to use once again. Stir in a slimy spa owner, rumors of a malpractice suit.