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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Blog Carnival

We are celebrating spring here at Mysteries and My Musings with a giveaway!  

To all the participants in the Spring Carnival Blog hop who stopped by and those who found a new place to visit and hangout - Thank YOU!

If you are joining us as part of the Spring Carnival Blog hop, look around and stay for awhile.  We celebrate everything mystery and suspense here - no doubt you can find something of interest!

Winners have been contacted.

Two-toned 11 oz mug (dishwasher and microwave safe) with flying books picture and "Anywhere you want to go" on the backside and "Books are magic" facing a right-handed drinker.  Works nicely for left-handed drinkers as well.


Entry for giveaway lasts until March 8 noon (EST).

Prizes are shipping directly from the shops/companies providing them.

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 will accept entries for this giveaway Sunday May 1 beginning at midnight (EST) through to noon (EST) on Sunday May 8.  

Winners will be announced Monday May 9 on the original 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 of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.

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

And in celebration of books that we each enjoy (or you wouldn't be here) here is a humorous note about books and a video I hope you get a chuckle out of them both:


Introducing a new idea in compact information transportation: the Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-marked, BOOK™. BOOK™ is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, no charging, nothing to be connected or switched on (no need for a Wi-Fi hotspot or internet connection).

It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by a fire. Yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

Here's how it works: BOOK™ is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of (recyclable) paper, each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder, which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOK™'s registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.

BOOK™ may be used at any time merely by opening it. There is no lengthy "boot up." BOOK™ never crashes or requires rebooting, though, like other devices, it may be damaged if coffee is spilled on it, but it remains usable even if dropped on a hard surface. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional "BOOKMARK™" accessory allows you to open your BOOK™ to the exact place you left it in a previous session, even if the BOOK™ has been closed. BOOKMARKS™ fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKMARK™ can be used in many different BOOK™s, even if made by different manufacturers! Conversely, numerous BOOKMARK™s can be used in a single BOOK™ if the user wants to store multiple access points. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK™.

You can even make personal notes next to BOOK™ text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (PENCILS.)

Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK™ is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK™'s appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to invest. Watch for a flood of new titles soon.



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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review - Blast From the Past

Today we go to Cape Cod for a little movie magic - and murder!  If you like cozy mysteries with a confident amateur sleuth then this will interest you.

Author: Toni L.P. Kelner

Copyright: Feb 2010 (Berkley) 294 pgs

Series: 3rd in"Where Are They Now?" Mysteries

Sensuality: innuendo

Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth - cozyesque

Main Character: Tilda Harper, freelance journalist specializing in the formerly famous

Setting: Modern day - Cape Cod

Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest review

I had not read the prior two entries in this series but was able to jump right in and understand Tilda and her work easily. Tilda typically writes articles on formerly famous people in the "Where are They Now" features, but this time she is given the golden oportunity to interview John Laryea who is filming his latest movie. Tilda's ex-boyfriend's father owns the company handling security for the location filming and arranged for her to get a prime interview. Laryea had gotten his start on a Saturday morning kid's show.

The producer and director of the film are impressed with Tilda and ask if she would help them out. The movie is based on a comic book that only had 12 issues but has a strong cult following. The fans are already mad, claiming the movie isn't true enough to the original comic. They ask Tilda to please find the elusive writer who did his own illustrations cryptically named Leviathan.

Tilda makes a deal to do her best to find the original comic book author/artist in exchange for some interviews and a pass to the filming. This is why Tilda is still at the five-star resort Glenham Bars Inn when she witnesses Laryea and his assistant run down on the road. The assistant is killed and one of the security company employees is blamed. But Tilda doesn't think so and partners with her ex-boyfriend to prove it.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was drawn into the story. Even Tilda's search for the elusive comic book author/artist was interesting with the comic fandom brought to life. The setting of Cape Cod and Monomoy lighthouse was a good backdrop. The descriptions of filming and the harried tension to get a shot of a sunrise etc add to the overall story.

Tilda is a character I easily liked, she is self-disciplined and observant, which pays off for her. Tilda's keen insights into people play well as a writer and a sleuth. I didn't like her roommate and felt the home struggles didn't add to the story. It seemed counter to Tilda's character to be self-disciplined enough to make a living as a freelance writer and yet get a rather flaky roommate who brings nothing but conflict.

The character of her ex-boyfriend Nick is just realistic enough, a bit awkward at times but they are good to each other without petty baggage. The movie star John Laryea was interesting, a good measure of spoiled and insulated while showing a vulnerability that only Tilda seems to have figured out. Even the man blamed for the hit and run, Pete, is well drawn as a recovered alcoholic who fell off the wagon and is tagged as the culprit.

The confrontation of the killer has some good suspense to it. I had suspected who the killer was, but I mostly just sat back and enjoyed the journey. The wrap up had several good revelations - who the real Leviathan was and a door opens concerning Tilda and Nick to keep the reader coming back.

This was a very enjoyable read with a good mix of plot and characters against a great backdrop of Cape Cod. Give it a try, it might surprise you.

Now for a humorous video - enjoy!

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Children's Book Week

Children's Book Week is the national celebration of books and reading for youth. This year it is May 2-8 and I hope your library or school is participating.

Since 1919, Children's Book Week has been celebrated countrywide with author & illustrator appearances, parties, storytelling, and other book-related events in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs -- anywhere where kids and books connect.

It all began with the idea that children's books can change lives. In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children's books. He proposed creating a Children's Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians.

Visit the website for more information:

I think that mysteries are great for children. Mysteries encourage using analytical skills, cause and effect thinking, and logic.

I loved the Three Investigators growing up. Everyone knows of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Let's see what else is out there.

I found Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett that features a pair of precocious kids on an artful quest full of patterns, puzzles, and the power of blue M&Ms.

Next is Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach featuring a search for the missing "Murphy Diamond," a precious jewel that supposedly disappeared from a neighbor's house.

I stumbled across an intriguing premise of an orphan who is recruited to be a spy of sorts in The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.  There are a few in the series so far.

Then there is the 39 Clues (11 books that I know of in the series) that starts with The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan. The story line is that a brother and sister follow clues left by a deceased relative to a treasure. This is reported to be filled with "suspense, peril and puzzles in a fast-paced read." Each book in the series in written by one of seven or so authors.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler b y E.L. Konigsburg we have siblings Claudia and Jamie caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn't it? Claudia is determined to find out.

Of course there is the book Holes by Louis Sachar that was made into a movie.

How about the Enola Holmes mysteries by Nancy Springer. There are about six in the series that I know of, starting with The Case of the Missing Marques. This series features the intriguing, much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes.

The Theodosia series has Theo Throckmorton, a combination of Nancy Drew and Indiana Jones. I believe there are four so far in this series.

Please share what mystery novels you have found for children.


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review - Bad Moon Rising

This week we have a police procedural book that is suspenseful and has some delicious paranormal elements.  Join this cruise ship that stops in New Orleans and Jamaica for a nail-biting excursion by an award winning author.

Author: L.F. Crawford

Copyright: Feb 2010 (Five Star) 256 pgs

Series: 2nd in Murry/Kidman Suspense

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Police Procedural

Main Character: California Police Detective Art Murry

Setting: Modern day - New Orleans, on-board a cruise ship, and Jamaica

Obtained Through: Author for an honest review

What would it be like to be a police detective and have psychic visions? Detective Art Murray has learned to pay attention to his "insights". In the first book in this series he followed his visions and saved his girlfriend from a serial killer - but she is left traumatized. This book picks up with his girlfriend Mary having retreated to family in Iowa and Art's opera star brother drags him on a cruise to cheer him up. Murry's single police partner Billy tags along and finds the dating possibilities endless while Art tries to bury his pain of possibly loosing Mary in booze. That is until the ship docks in New Orleans and the woman Billy was out with is found brutally murdered in the ship's jacuzzi. Billy is the prime suspect and Art sobers up fast to sort out the vision he has of wolves involved in the murder.

In New Orleans Detective Jean Gallan is investigating the murders and doesn't think Billy is the only suspect but her boss insists Billy is the killer. Detective Gallan believes it is a local woman, Sylvania, who was a prime suspect of a prior and very similar murder who happens to be on the cruise. The problem being that Sylvania Benoit is wealthy and her papa is influential so Gallan will have to risk her career to trust Art and try to prove Sylvania is the murderer not Billy.

Initially Art Murry was drowning his sorrows and I didn't care for him. But once he got focused and moved into action his character was compelling. I enjoyed the New Orleans detective Jean Gallan who was more than a rich girl playing at being a cop. The main view point shifts between Murry and Gallan smoothly and effectively. They are both well developed characters. Art's brother Lance although a minor character is lovable. The story has a few minor characters who are still quite enjoyable.

There are several twists in the plot with eerie settings in New Orleans and later in Jamaica that keep the tension and suspense high. The paranormal aspects lend to the suspense and atmosphere. This is primarily a police procedural with paranormal elements and a good dose of suspense. If you aren't a big paranormal fan this will allow you to dip your toe in the water without immersion. I liked the bit of supernatural help Art gets from a New Orleans celebrity - the deceased voudou priestess Marie LeVeau. I felt that was a nice touch.

The climax is good edge-of-your-seat suspense that will have you hooked. I enjoyed this book and will definitely look for the next in the series. If you like your books with action and more police type than amateur sleuths this book is a good choice. Although this is not a cozy, it wasn't graphic in explaining the murder etc.
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Fill in Blank Game

Let's try another game this week. I am going to list partial titles and you try to fill in the blanks. All the books are by the same author which is a clue. At the end of the titles, supply who the author of those books was. I will give you a hint that these are not new books - they have been out for a while.

I forgot to mention that you are on the honor system playing this.  In a few days I will fill in the blanks and you can post how many you got right in the comments.  I did this in a very low tech sort of way :-)

1) And Then There Were None

2)  The Mysterious Affair at Styles

3) Appointment with Death

4) The Body in the Library

5) Death on the Nile

6) A Pocket Full of Rye

7) Evil Under the Sun

8) The Seven Dials Mystery

9) They Do It With Mirrors

10) The Mirror Cracked From Side to Side

The Author of all these books is Agatha Christie who wrote 80 detective novels - and a few romances under the name Mary Westmacott.


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Review - Death Along the Spirit Road

I enjoy Native American (a.k.a Western) mystery novels like Margaret Coel writes and the late Tony Hillerman made so popular. Today I review a new author on the Native American Mystery scene. We go to the Pine Ridge Reservation - the poorest US County - in South Dakota for this novel. 

Author: C.M. Wendelboe

Copyright: March 1, 2011 (Berkley) 310 pgs

Series: 1st in Manny Tanno Investigations

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery Sub-genre: Western Police Procedural

Main Character:  Lakota FBI Special Agent Manny Tanno

Setting: Modern day, Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota

Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest review

Have you ever had a boss that enjoys making your life difficult?  Manny has such a boss.  He gets all the investigations on any reservation because he is Lakota.  All Manny wants is to continue teaching at Quantico.  His boss has really pushed the envelope this time by sending him back to his home reservation to investigate a brutal murder only two weeks before classes start up.  Big shot land developer Jason Red Cloud was found with a priceless Native war club artifact in his skull on the site of his newest building project. 

Manny is much older now and returning to his home reservation was not what he wanted.  His brother had been involved with the militant activist American Indian Movement and was even convicted of killing a man, but is out now and seems to have changed his ways.  Manny must confront his bitterness about his older brother.  He must contend with the incompetant snot-nosed lietenant he worked with in his early days on the tribal force who is now the Chief and is bent on making him look bad to everybody including his FBI boss.

It doesn't take but a matter of hours before he is attacked with a hammer, which is only the beginning of the several attempts on his life as he investigates the developer's murder.  One thing is very clear, Jason Red Cloud was broke and he didn't have the money that was invested to build the Red Cloud Resort the tribe was counting on.  That makes for several suspects - but his brother appears to be the best fit for the murder.

Manny is a fresh character struggling with having stopped smoking, trying to loose weight, and not been in a relationship for a good while - on top of facing his demons over his turbulant  youth on the dirt poor reservation.  I liked Manny for his self-effacing attitude mostly.  Manny gets a young tribal cop assigned to him, Willie Looks Twice.  Willie is a good counterpoint for Manny.  I look forward to the next book because of Willie as much as for Manny.   The writing style flowed easily and is highly enjoyable with touches of dry humor.

There are many real life details added, even the radio station KILI 90.1 on the reservation.  The plot itself had enough turns and secrets to be dug up to keep interest high.  I suspected the killer fairly early on but the story was such a journey that I was never sure.  The emotional landmines for Manny add depth to the investigation.  The capture of the killer and the wrap up were convincing and exciting.

If you enjoy Native American mysteries, this debut novel promises a great new series to follow.

I am including a movie clip of Thunderheart that featured an FBI agent investigating a murder on Pine Ridge reservation.  It was actually filmed on the reservation.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Online Book Clubs etc

Do you like book clubs but can't commit to a particular day to gather and discuss a book?  

There are many options online anymore, available 24/7 so you can immerse yourself in discussing a book whenever you want.

You may loose the face-to-face interaction, but you gain convenience.

First there is the Book Forum that I stumbled across.  It is divided into main categories which include Mystery and also Thriller (among several others.)  They pick several books each month to read.  You read which ones grab your interest and you enter the online forums to "discuss" that book.  I believe this idea is still catching on but I think it definitely has great potential.  They do have a variety of books they pick which keeps the ideas fresh.

I stumbled across  It claims it "is a free book discussion group, book club or online reading group with thousands of members and hundreds of forums. We read and discuss fiction, non-fiction, short stories, and poetry and host live chats and interviews with leading authors."

Of course there is, which although it isn't a book club in a traditional sense, you can join the mystery groups and start a discussion about a book you have enjoyed.  There are many groups to get involved with and follow what others think of books they have finished. has been around for a bit also.  You can "friend" those who have read similar books, join groups involving your literary interests and follow message threads.

I stumbled across this bookclub after posting this, but I am posting it after-the-fact for any readers.  It is called The Women's Nest.  Geared towards women it has a book club section that picks one book a month and discuss in the forum.  You get the book but the rest is free.

A different twist on the idea is Dear Reader.  Sign up for what category books you like (I signed up for Mystery, Thriller and Author Buzz) and receive an email M-F mornings with a short 5-minute excerpt from the book-of-the-week for that category.  You can enjoy the daily excerpts with your morning cup of coffee and this way you have test drove the author and beginning of the book to see if you like it.  For those with little kiddos, they have a kids book section too.  There are also giveaways in the emails and specials.  

The last one I will mention is the social networking site CrimeSpace - "a place for readers and writers of crime fiction to meet. Find new authors to delve into and discuss the latest in crime fiction. Share photos, videos and make some friends."  This is still being perfected in some of its bells-and-whistles, but it is growing and should be a great place to network with other crime fiction readers.  Join the groups and discuss books. 

There are many others out there, and it can be easy to spend endless hours on these.  But the point is, if you don't have time for a face-to-face book club and have wanted to have those dynamic discussions over books - these might give you a convenient option on your terms.

What book club or similar online venues do you know of?  Please share!

Today I just had to share this book - it has nothing to do with crime fiction.  I just think it is funny and I hope you get a chuckle from it too.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review - An Uninvited Ghost

Need a break today? Need to just get away - maybe to the beach for a little R&R? This week we go to the New Jersey shore and a newly renovated guest house. It has two resident ghosts, but they won't bother you...much.

Author:  E.J. Copperman

Copyright: April 5, 2011 (Berkley) 293 pgs

Series: 2nd in Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy

Main Character:  Alison Kerby, single mother, owner and operator of a Guesthouse

Setting: Modern day, New Jersey Shores

Obtained Through: Publisher for an honest review

A lot is going on for Allison as she opens her guesthouse for business.  She has her first Senior Plus Tour showing up and they expect daily ghost activity as part of the bargain.  In order to get her two resident ghosts to agree to playing with the senior guests everyday, Allison had to promise to help the PI ghost, Paul with investigations figuring it would never amount to anything.  No sooner have the first senior guests arrived and a ghost comes to Paul for help - meaning Allison has to do the legwork.  As if that weren't enough to keep her busy, the reality show, Down the Shore, needs a last minute place to film their spoiled bikini clad participants - and they make her a financial offer she can't refuse - so she goes along.

While investigating their ghostly client's concerns that an elderly lady may have been hurt, Allison finds it is the wealthiest member of the town, Arlice Crosby, and she is fine.  Allison and Arlice hit it off so she invites Arlice to the guest house for the "seance" she is doing with her two ghosts that night for the seniors.  The Seance ends up being filmed as part of the reality show with a packed room - when somebody kills Arlice.

Allison is a fun character, just enough gumption and smarts without being over-the-top.  The supporting cast includes the serious police Lt Melissa McElone who grows on me with each book, the ghosts Maxie and Paul are each developing into great sidekicks, Allison's mom and daughter, then her friends Tony and Jeannie add some good fun to the mix. 

There is a houseful of suspects since they were all in attendance when Arlice was killed.  The story moves along at a steady clip and has a twist occasionally.  The three storylines of juggling guests, an investigation, and the never-ending-drama of a reality show taking over were balanced and kept the story moving without bogging down.  The killer even has a twist in his/her identity and the big confrontation takes place in grand style and has some classic moments and surprises. 

This is a sparkling cozy that brings fun into murder.  This second entry's plot was stronger than the first book I felt.  If you want a fun read to create your little escape, this may just be the ticket!

We have not had some food lately so in honor of spring here is a delicious (at least it sounds amazing) fruit desert.  I am definitely making this soon.

6 oz whole wheat flour by weight (about 1 1/3 cup)
6 tablespoons ice cold butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup ice water (plus 1 tablespoon if not using vodka)
1 tablespoon ice cold orange or plain vodka, optional
1 cup cherry pie filling

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Mystery & Crime Fiction Blog Carnival - April 2011

It is the first Monday of the month - time for another highly anticipated Blog Carnival. Below is the line-up. Click on the title or author's name to go to that link.

Police Procedural / PI Book Review

Booking Mama reviewed An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

How Mysterious! reviewed A Corpse in the Koryo by James Church

How Mysterious! reviewed The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

Mysteries in Paradise reviewed Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie.  Kerrie says "It lived up to my expectations of a good read. I confused myself just a little by having read a later title last year. If you are starting out, then do read some of the earlier titles in order."

Booking Mama reviewed Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Not Enough Books reviewed Bone Thief by Thomas O'Callaghan

Amateur Sleuth / Cozy book Review

Random Ramblings from Sunny Southern CA reviewed The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson

Mysteries in Paradise reviewed Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Kerrie says "This is a very powerful story, describing a piece of history that few of us have had first hand knowledge of. How many other stories like this one, we wonder, are buried in our past?"

Thoughts in Progress reviewed Scones & Bones by Laura Childs

Thoughts in Progress reviewed Angel Lost F. M. Meredith

Thoughts in Progress reviewed Opal Fire by Barbra Annino

Thriller/Suspense Fiction Book Review

Booking Mama reviewed Learning to Swim  by Sara J. Henry

Thoughts in Progress reviewed Love You More by Lisa Gardner

Not Enough Books reviewed First Family by David Baldacci

Author Interview

O.C. Heaton presents Do words count? And if they do, should I be counting them?

O.C. Heaton presents "What would you rather have: a penny or £1 million?"

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