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Monday, December 11, 2017

End of Year Giving

I love cats.  I like dogs too, even grew up with a poodle born two weeks before me.  But I love cats personally.  For the last three and half years I have volunteered at a cat shelter as the media and event coordinator.  If you don't love cats, perhaps you love other animals and can relate to some of this post.

Look What the Cat Brought In Rescue and Shelter was the first cat exclusive shelter in my town (since 2008).  They are an adoption guaranteed outfit that takes most cats brought to us (if we have the room).  We have taken cats rushed to us from other states (New Mexico and Kentucky off the top of my head) to save them from high-kill shelters or literally on death row.  

One year we took in over seventy (that's 70+) cats from one severe hoarding situation!  We take care of all the medical costs for these cats, get them physically patched up and out of pain.  We work with an animal behaviorist to heal their emotional traumas, too. 
Snickerdoodle came to us with a severe eye
infection and her eye had to be removed.

For many of these cats, it is their last chance and other shelters won't even take them because they aren't a quick turn around item.  We have rescued so many abused, abandoned, and neglected cats it makes my head spin.  But the beautiful thing is we have just as many success stories of healed cats now in well matched homes, a loving part of a forever family.  

This time of year we hear about miracles and blessings.  I have witnessed the transformation of a surly abandoned cat rescued from a Walmart parking lot who, once we took care of healing the medical issues and getting them out of pain, become nurturing and cuddly.  No cat (or any pet) makes the choice to suffer. The choice is made for them through neglect or abandonment. We make a different choice for our cats when they are in pain, ill, or injured.  
Dolly was simply not a kitten & took longer to find
a home.  She is a joy and we found her a home.

I wanted to share this because this is also the time of year when many people make donations to non-profits as part of the holiday good will.  We are a volunteer organization, even or executive director is a volunteer.  Any money is truly going to care for these little furry angels, giving them a chance - for many the last chance - at a happily ever after.  
Please consider partnering with us to save cat's lives.  If you
Hope came to us weighing only ounces and her eye
in bad shape.  Her eye had to be removed and she
finally put on weight.  She is in a loving home now!

are interested, here is our fundraising campaign (click here.)  If you don't live in Colorado, the incentives offered by businesses won't be as meaningful for you.  Any amount you give we appreciate, and the cats are grateful even if they don't understand what you have done for them!

Join us on Facebook (click here)
Join our newsletter (click here) or text "Kitty" to 42828.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my life with you!

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Secret Santa for Readers

SantaThing: Secret Santa for Book Lovers

SantaThing is LibraryThing's Secret Santa for book lovers. This is their ELEVENTH year!
How it works:

Become a Secret Santa. Choose your gift level ($15–50) and bookstore, such as Powell's, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. 

LibraryThing takes no "cut." If you pay $30, you get $30 worth of books (plus shipping at some sellers).

1) You can sign up for yourself, or make it a gift for a friend on or off LibraryThing.  You can do multiple SantaThings, one for yourself, gift ones for a family member or friend.

2) They choose a LibraryThing member to be your "Santee," the person you'll be buying for. They try to match up members with similar tastes in books.

3) You pick books for your Santee within the SantaThing system.

4) LibraryThing elves order the books and the books are shipped directly to your Santee. Only LibraryThing and the bookseller see your address.

5) You receive a package with the books from your Secret Santa—and rejoice!

Dates to know:
Monday, December 4th at 12pm EST (18:00 GMT). Sign-up ends. Secret Santas are chosen, profile messages are sent to the Secret Santa, and you can then enter your gift choices.

Monday, December 11th at 12pm EST (18:00 GMT). After the weekend, gift picking ends. LibraryThing sends the order via eight tiny ponies to the bookstore you chose.

Go here to sign in or start an account.

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Review - Murder Between the Lines

I was excited to read this historical from the endorsement from author of the Maggie Hope series: "Radha Vatsal succeeds once again in fleshing out a strong-willed, ambitious, and thoroughly delightful young heroine, who struggles against the society's restrictions on so-called career women, while solving crime-and writing news stories-with aplomb." - Susan Elia MacNeal.  Read on to find my review of this new-to-me series.

Author: Radha Vatsal

Copyright: May 2017 (Sourcebooks Landmark) 320 pgs

Series: 2nd in Kitty Weeks Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Cozy

Main Characters: Kitty Weeks, Women's page reporter for the Sentinel

Setting: 1915 New York City, NY

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review-Edelweiss

From the book cover: "When Kitty's latest assignment for the New York Sentinel Ladies' Page takes her to Westfield Hall, she expects to find an orderly establishment teaching French and dancing-but there's more going on at the school than initially meets the eye.

Tragedy strikes when a student named Elspeth is found frozen to death in Central Park. The doctor's proclaim that the girl's sleepwalking was the cause, but Kitty isn't so sure.

Determined to uncover the truth, Kitty must investigate a more chilling scenario-a murder that may involve Elspeth's scientist father and a new invention by a man named Thomas Edison."

Capability "Kitty" Weeks lives in a penthouse, has servants, and a chaffeur but works half days at the paper. She is smart and very capable.  Her father, Julian Weeks, was a single parent raising her after her mother died shortly after giving birth.  He has always been a distant father.  Helena Busby, Kitty's editor, is typical of a mature woman who struggles with remaining traditional yet provide relevant material for the Women's pages.  Jeannie Williams, Kitty's coworker, lives in a boarding house and they share duties.  Sylvia Lane is Julian's first romantic interest since her mother died, which causes tension. Mr. Mills is a fellow reporter, but works with the men on a separate floor and could be interested in Kitty.  Time will tell.

The time period is rich with the political tensions with WWI Germany and Women's Suffrage movement. Submarians are dependant on batteries and Edison's battery may leak a gas that is explosive in closed quarters of a submarine.  This battery could be what Elzpeth was studying.  All of these bring the lesser written about war into focus as Kitty investigates.  Of course, the proper role of the era for Kitty is every present also.  The girl's school is delightfully atmospheric.

The plot is a solid mystery of accident versus murder and there are plenty of red herrings.  Subplots are Kitty's other writting assignments of President Wilson visiting a Womens Suffrage group (giving Kitty plenty to think on) and covering the shocking Times Square New Year's revelry.  Another subplot is Kitty's father becoming serious in a romance, the first since her mother died after giving birth.  The pacing is generally like the Jacqueling Winspear novels,

I will be honest, I have mixed feelings about the killer confrontation.  It is a confrontation, but satisfaction isn't of the expected or usual kind.  It is a bit realistic in that respect and the resolution isn't cut and dry either.  There was a bit of "save-the-day" which gave the aredrenaline kick.  The wrap up ensures more Kitty adventures in the future.

I liked Kitty, her money allows her freedom of movement, and she is gutsy.  I would like Julius, the father, be developed further.  He could be a great character.  I enjoyed Kitty being challenged by her coverage of the Suffrage group, which seemed realistic for the era. Overall I think this is a solid historical mystery and I will read the next one.

Rating:   Good - A fun read, I really enjoyed it.  Give it a try, particularly if you enjoy Jacqueline Winspear.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Review - City of Lies

This is the debut novel in a new series by the bestselling author of the Gaslight mystery series with midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Frank Malloy.  I jumped at the chance to read and review this new series based on the cover blurb.  Let's take a look at Ms. Thompson's new series.

Author: Victoria Thompson

Copyright: Nov 2017 (Berkley) 320 pgs

Series: 1st in Counterfeit Lady Novel series

Sensuality: Nothing graphic, but some violence in workhouse and occasional swearing.

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Suspense

Main Characters: Elizabeth Miles, smart and cunning grifter

Setting: 1917, Washington DC, Occoquan Workhouse, and New York

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review (Netgalley)

From the book cover: "Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women [Suffragists picketing the White House] who have an agenda of their own [get women the vote at any cost]. 

She never expects to like or understand these privileged women, but she soon comes to respect their intentions [after being arrested with them and meets historic Lucy Burns], forming an unlikely bond with the wealthy matriarch of the group whose son, Gideon, is the rarest of species—an honest man in a dishonest world. Elizabeth knows she’s playing a risky game, and her deception could be revealed at any moment, possibly even by sharp-eyed Gideon. Nor has she been forgotten by Thornton, who’s biding his time, waiting to strike. Elizabeth must draw on her wits and every last ounce of courage she possesses to keep her new life from being cut short by this vicious shadow from her past."

Elizabeth Miles is an outstanding character.  She was raised a con artist and thinks on her feet.  When she is arrested with Suffragists picketing the White House in her effort to escape Thornton's thugs, she assists the women in dealing with the ordeal at the Occoquan Workhouse.  Once they are released she really has to be creative to stay alive with Thornton on her trail and maintain her new identity.  

Anna Vanderslice is a gentle and fragile suffragist that Elizabeth befriends and assists to get through the workhouse.  Anna bonds with Elizabeth quickly, relying on her courage.  David Vanderslice is Anna's brother who becomes a part of the story once they are released from the workhouse.  Mrs Bates is an older lady arrested who takes Elizabeth under her wing.  Gideon Bates, is her son and a lawyer who fights to get the Suffragists released and remains a key figure.

The settings are all a matter of historical record, even the Occoquan Workhouse.  Ms. Thompson did an amazing job of bringing the Suffragist movement to life, and gives the reader a slight taste of what women endured to get us the vote.  I found the depiction of the workhouse and the infamous "night of terror" well done without getting graphic.  

The plot twists and weaves and kept me turning pages.  The pacing is perfect, suspense is maintained and I never had to drag through any sections.  The interweaving of the historical events of the Occoquan Workhouse with Elizabeth's flight to escape a murderous man was pure genius.  

The climax was full of tension and some edge of your seat thrills, loved it!  The wrap up was equally enjoyable, with it's own twist. 

I had high expectations from the book blurb, and the story lived up to all of them.  Besides the importance of what it took [historical accuracy is high in the story] from many brave women to literally fight for the vote as a backdrop to the plot, the characters shined.  Elizabeth is a complex lead and Anna has her own depths that come forward.  The plot twists kept coming and I had to known how Elizabeth was going to get out of each challenging situation.  I give high praise for this novel and already am a fan and want the next installment.

Rating: Shear perfection - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend.

Here is a very short informative video.  FYI, women received the right to vote by one swing vote!

Here is a four minute informational piece worth the time.

The movie Iron Jawed Angels starring Hillary Swank is great as well.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Review & Giveaway - Room With a Brew

I have followed this series since the debut novel, To Brew, or Not To Brew (click here), the second novel Tangled Up in Brew (click here) and two guest posts (click here and here).  Let's check out the third release in this series and see how our lady brew master is doing!

Author: Joyce Tremel

Copyright: Oct 2017 (Berkley) 288 pgs

Series: 3rd in Brewing Trouble Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Maxine "Max" O'Hara, brewmaster and owner of Allegheny Brew House

Setting: Modern day, Pittsburgh PA

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From the book cover: "It's Oktoberfest in Pittsburgh, and brewpub owner Maxine "Max" O'Hara is prepping for a busy month at the Allegheny Brew House. To create the perfect atmosphere for the boozy celebration, Max hires an oompah band. But when one of the members from the band turns up dead, it's up to Max to solve the murder before the festivities are ruined. 

Adding to the brewing trouble, Candy, Max's friend, is acting suspicious... Secrets from her past are fermenting under the surface, and Max must uncover the truth to prove her friend's innocence. To make matters worse, Jake's snooty ex-fiancée shows up in town for an art gallery opening, and she'll be nothing but a barrel of trouble for Max."

Maxine "Max" O'Hara is busy brewing, running a restaurant, running to church and her folks place every Sunday, and oh yeah solving a murder.  Apparently her personality is fueled by caffeine running through her veins.   Jake Lambert gets to be more present in this outing and he acts more like a boyfriend with Max.  Book two in the series was lacking in that regard and now we have that back.  Candace "Candy" is a stubborn and independent character with an incredible past that comes back around.  Tommy is Candy's ex husband who shows up to help deal with her past redux and quickly becomes the break out character.  Victoria is Jake's ex-wife who plays a role in the story and shows just how bad Jake's marriage really was.  Hops is Max's kitten who is just adorable throughout.

Pittsburgh is great and filled with such potential as a setting.  I enjoyed all the references to local quirks and sayings.  I enjoy the history touches here and there too.  The Brew House is a good setting as usual, although not as much time spent there this time around.

The plot reached a bit and it worked well while remaining in the cozy wheelhouse.  The pacing was fast paced and kept interest.  The climax was a little surprising in that it snuck up on me when I wasn't expecting it.  The wrap up was delightful and brought a smile. 

I was grateful to have some chemistry back between Jake and Max.  I had figured out the motive to the murder and the killer fairly early on, which happens - but it seemed a little too obvious.  I can't be that good of an armchair detective!

Rating:   Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The publisher has offered one copy of Room with a Brew for giveaway!

Entry for giveaway lasts until Monday November 6th 6:00 p.m. (MST).  U.S.  entries only please.
The publisher will be shipping the books to the winner.

How to enter:

*** First, you must be a member (follower) of this blog.***

All entries are to be in the comments for this post.
I shall notify the winner via the email address you provide to get your mailing address and have the prize sent directly to you.

IF you are a member or follower (including email subscriber) of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.

BECOME a member/follower/email subscriber of this blog if you aren't already and enjoy the celebration of all things mystery and suspense.

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