Share This

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 29, 2012

Author Interview - Michelle Rowen

I reviewed the debut novel, Blood Bath and Beyond, in the new Immortality Bites Mysteries (click here).  Although Immortality Bites and its characters started as a paranormal romance, it is making the transition over to the mystery side.  I am tickled that author Michelle Rowen graciously gave us an interview.  The blog hop is below.

Do you start your next mystery with the killer, the victim or a plot idea?

The heart of my mystery series is my main character, Sarah Dearly, fledgling vampire. Everything that happens plot-wise in the books stems from her, so she’s where I start. What hasn’t she experienced? What does she need to learn? What “creature” do I want to focus on? In BLOOD BATH & BEYOND I stuck with vampires to establish the series. In book 2, BLED & BREAKFAST, I shift over to ghosts and witches. The mystery – and I suppose I’m lucky this way (so far!) – seems to evolve organically from there.

Do you outline the plot or some variation of that (a little/a lot of detail, a strict 3 act structure etc) before sitting down and writing?

I do outline before I write, and I usually gravitate to the three act structure. I like to know generally what’s going to happen and especially how everything is going to end (key in writing a mystery), so I spend a lot of time brainstorming and working on essential plot points before I even think about starting to write.

Sarah Dearly is a unique anti-hero character, and the rest of the crew is great as well. What is your process for developing a character? Do you use pictures, a worksheet or just let the character(s) tell you about him/herself as you write?

I’ve been working with Sarah for ten years now and she was the star of my original non-mystery paranormal romance series Immortality Bites so I know her pretty well by now. She is unique to any character I’ve ever written since she developed herself without much input from me. My original notes on her wanted her to be a bookworm who hadn’t experienced much from life until her transition to vampire. As soon as I started writing her, however, she turned into a sarcastic trouble-magnet who’s led by her heart and gut (sometimes, unfortunately for her, more so than her brain).

This is a bit more Urban Fantasy-ish than the typical paranormal cozy.  What attracted you to this middle ground for a mystery series?

I like to think that Sarah defies category. She’s everything but the kitchen sink. She’s a bit mystery, a bit paranormal romance, a bit chick lit, a smidge of horror, and a whole lot of urban fantasy. Cozy, to me, essentially means that it’s an amateur sleuth who’s doing the mystery-solving. She definitely fits that bill. A cozy mystery, to me, will also have a dead body early in the story. Everything else is up to my imagination and I sometimes do like to paint outside the lines and let my characters do whatever they like without being overly defined by genre.

You had to do some world building for your paranormal setting with the Ring organization etc, what was the good, bad, and ugly in the process?

I created the Ring a few years ago when I needed to reference a vampire council in my original series starring Sarah. It was just your typical shadowy organization then and I didn’t go into much detail. Now that Thierry works for them, I’m fleshing them out a bit and finding out lots of interesting things. It’s not a difficult process – I have seen plenty of other vampire councils to be inspired from in TV and movies – but I do want mine to be just a little different from what’s expected as we start to learn more about them on the page.

Do you have anything special you do before writing, particular music or a special room/location that helps you get in the zone and write?

All I really need is silence. I usually make up an iTunes soundtrack to inspire my writing of any given book, but when I’m actually writing I like things to be quiet. I’m easily distracted by shiny things. ;)

What is your work schedule like when you're writing and how long does it take you to write a book?

When I’m writing first drafts, I like to immerse myself in the book and characters. They are constantly in my thoughts as I work out scenes and pesky plot points. I would describe myself as a binge writer, since when I write first drafts I like to do between 10-20 pages a day consistently until I’m done. If I have time, I let the first draft sit for a few days, then I’ll read it over and start my second draft, which usually takes me longer to write than the first one since I’m going slower and looking closely at detail. On my current schedule, I can finish a book (not including the initial brainstorming or the editorial revisions/copy edits, etc.) in 3-4 months.

What in your background prepared you to write not just mysteries but an edgier paranormal mystery?

Prior to selling a book in paranormal mystery (which I absolutely love to write), I had written a whole bunch of books in paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and young adult. Other than my writing history, I’m just drawn to stories that have a mystery in them – and I really love a story that has a satisfying resolution at the end.

In literature (not your own) who is your favorite mystery/suspense character and who is your favorite paranormal character?

Tough question… so many I love – Victoria Laurie’s Abby and M.J. J.D. Robb’s Eve. LKH’s Anita. Evanovich’s Stephanie, Jim Butcher’s Harry. They’re all so much fun to read… I can’t pick a favorite!

Which author has influenced or inspired you the most?

In the very beginning, I’d say that Laurell K. Hamilton inspired me to write urban fantasy/vampire fiction with a mystery twist. Her early Anita Blake books were great fantasy sleuth novels at their heart.

How did you get your first break to getting published? Was it at a writer's conference or mailing a query letter?

My first break would definitely be getting my agent back in late 2004. I got him through a slush pile query letter – so, the old fashioned way!

What are you currently reading?

Currently, I’m not reading any mystery, alas! I’m reading a bunch of YA, including Lili Peloquin’s THE INNOCENTS, Fiona Paul’s VENOM, and I’m rereading Karen Marie Moning’s urban fantasy Fever series.

If your Immortality Bites mysteries were to be made into a movie, who would you cast in your top character's roles?

I’ve had these two actors in mind since I first got the idea for Sarah and Thierry –Sandra Bullock for Sarah Dearly, and Hugh Jackman for Thierry de Bennicoeur are seared into the theater of my mind as I’m writing these books!

Tell us your thoughts on the growing genre of paranormal mysteries and its popularity (i.e. is it here to stay or a fad, is it pushing the mystery genre envelope etc?)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in six-plus years of being a published author, it’s that I have absolutely no idea what’s the future of publishing. For me, I absolutely LOVE paranormal mystery and the freedom it gives authors to write whatever their imaginations offer up. I love the fun, the romance, the whimsy that’s accepted in this sub-genre. And I hope very much that it’s something that’s here to stay because I want to keep writing it!

THANK YOU Michelle for that great interview!!
I love the visuals of Sandra Bullock and Hugh Jackman.  The first author interview where somebody actually got discovered through a query letter, nice to know it does work.  I am looking forward to many more mysteries from you!

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review - Let Them Eat Stake

This week I review the second in the Vampire Chef mystery series just in time for Halloween.   I reviewed the first book, A Taste of the Nightlife in the series (click here) and interviewed the author (click here) as well.  If you are looking for the Spooktacular Blog Hop, just scroll down to the next blog post.

Author: Sarah Zettal

Copyright: April 2012 (Signet) 320 pgs

Series: 2nd in Vampire Chef Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: paranormal cozy

Main Characters: Chef Charlotte Caine, Owner of Nightlife Restaurant catering to day-bloods and night-bloods both.

Setting: Modern day, New York City

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

The book opens with Felicity, a friend of Charolotte's, barging in Nightlife's kitchen in tears.  She is a wedding and event planner whose chef quit on her with only days till the wedding event of the social pages.  Felicity talks Charlotte into stepping in as chef for the wedding of a wealthy witch and a vampire.  Dollar signs were in her eyes or she would not have taken a job that Chef Oscar Simmons had run from.  Charlotte soon discovers that this isn't just any witch family, it is the Maddox witches, headed-up by grandpa Lloyd Maddox, who has been pushing to deny legal rights to vampires and make killing them legal again.  

Then there is a fake ICE raid during one of the dinners at the mansion, supposedly to catch unregistered vampires from the groom's family, but turns out to provide a distraction for the theft of a powerful witch talisman.  Then Chef Oscar dies of a stroke, or was it poisoning? On top of that, the bride's family is crazy dysfunctional, with a vengeful sister-of-the-bride and secrets everywhere.  Charlotte is up to her eyeballs in this volatile situation.  Brendon, her kinda-sorta boyfriend, is on the case too, as well as the golden haired vampire Anatole.  Anatole is still trying to woo Charlotte away from Brendon. 

Charlotte is developed better in this book.  It still bugs me that the character is full figured and dark haired, but the covers insist on a pencil thin blond.  Charlotte deals with her relationship with her brother more in this book, realizing that she may be older, but Chet has some things right.  That is an interesting break through for her.  I liked Chet much better in this book.  She is not very successful in resisting Anatole's charms even though she is clearly falling for Brendon.  I am not sure about the chances of her relationship with Brendon based on this book.  They just don't seem to really connect meaningfully.  Brendon needs to have more "page-time" for the reader to get to know him.  I enjoyed Charlotte's staff, they are a great group with a lot of potential there.  A breakout character is the groom's brother, Jacques, who is a great surprise with some depth.

The mansion of the Bride's family is where the majority of the story unfolds.  It adds to the story mostly because it is outside Charlotte's comfort zone.  This was a perfect setting to add a few gothic suspense touches, but no. 

I did take issue with one scene towards the end of the book.  Charlotte has been staying at the mansion so her roommates have not been part of the story on any level.  Charlotte stops by her apartment and her roommate gets demanding of her.  It seemed completely out of place. Otherwise, the plot kept moving and there were enough suspects and secrets everywhere to be entertaining.

The killer confrontation is devised as a trap for Charlotte that isn't obvious.  It was suspenseful and even tragic.  The wrap-up has touches of bittersweet, some may need a tissue.  It does make me want to read the next book immediately.

For the second entry in a new series, this one tops the debut for drama and twists.  This was nicely developed and kept me reading. 

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.

Now for the Monster Mash, you knew it had to be included! 

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop 2012

If you are looking for the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, you are in the correct place and thank you for stopping by.  We are #151 on blog hop list.  We celebrate everything mystery and suspense here - no doubt you can find something of interest!  This month we have been spotlighting paranormal mysteries and authors. Don't you love this time of year where we let our inner child out to play and be spooky-silly?

GIVEAWAY PRIZES:   4 gift packs of 3 titles each and 1 single book

Prize pack 1 - Angel Condemned by Mary Stanton, Bruja Brouhaha by Rochelle Staab, and Copycat Killing by Sofie Kelly

Prize pack 2 - It Takes a Witch by Heather Blake, Sleight of Paw by Sofie Kelly, and Due or Die by Jenn McKinlay

Prize pack 3 - Angel's Verdict by Mary Stanton, How to Dine on Killer Wine by Penny Warner, and Cloaked in Malice by Annette Blair

Prize pack 4 - Deadly Patterns by Melissa Bourbon, Old Haunts by E.J. Copperman, and Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates

Single book giveaway - Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

Entry for giveaway lasts until October 31 6:00 p.m. (MST).

I will be shipping the books to the winners.

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 Tuesday October 24 beginning at midnight (EST) through to 6:00 p.m (MST) on Wednesday October 31.
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.

For your Halloween enjoyment, here is a classic music video with a monster twist from Huey Lewis and the News!  Enjoy :-)

The other blogs in this hop:

Bookmark and Share

Author Interview - Carolyn Hart

This week we have a great author interview with Carolyn Hart.  Growing up she worked on school newspaper, anticipating a future in journalism. She is a mutliple award winner, and was nominated for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her WWII novel "Letter from Home." From her website: She was born in Oklahoma City and met her husband to be, Phil, on a student trip to Europe during her junior year in college.  Her current felines are charming (and huge) Cat-A-Thomas and imperious but beautiful Sophie (who bites).  Please extend a warm welcome to a fellow cat and mystery lover!

Photo credit: Robert H. Taylor, Univ. of Oklahoma

Why do you write? Do you love it or love having done it? What motivates you?       

I love language and books. Fashioning a good sentence is a huge pleasure.  Moreover, I've always felt that I am supposed to write. That is my purpose in life.

What is your routine when you're facing your next novel? What is the process like for you.  Do you start your next mystery with the killer, the victim or a plot idea?

I am a what if . . . writer. I will have an idea, what happened the night of the Fourth of July dance? (The basis for DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE which will be out in May.) The Peking Man bones disappeared during the early days of WWII in China and possibly reappeared briefly in New York City in the 1970s. What if someone had those bones and contacted a young anthropologist? (The reissue of SKULDUGGERY in November.)

Do you outline the plot or some variation of that (a little/a lot of detail, a strict 3 act structure etc) before sitting down and writing?    

I do not write a formal outline. I start with my "what if" question and that gives me a possible background. Then come the characters, at first shadowy and indistinct. They become more clearly delineated as I write. When I begin I know the victim in a traditional mystery or the goal in a suspense novel. I know who committed the crime and why, but I have no idea how I will get from page 1 to page 300.

Nela Farley is a great every-person character, and the rest of the crew is great as well. What is your process for developing a character? Do you use pictures, a worksheet or just let the character(s) tell you about him/herself as you write? 

The characters become themselves as I write. Often there will be changes and I go back and rewrite.

What do you and your main characters, like Nela Farley, have in common? How are you different?

Nela and I both love reporting. I planned to be a reporter but worked as one only briefly before turning to fiction. Differences? I am not as crisp and asssertive as she is.

What's the one thing a reader has said that you've never forgotten and perhaps found startling? 

Touching would be a better description of my feelings when a reader told me how my books had helped her during long hours spent at the hospital with a dying husband.

Do you have anything special you do before writing, particular music or a special room/location that helps you get in the zone and write?

I work in a small office behind my house. I remind myself that I have a deadline to meet. That is always a powerful impetus.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing and how long does it take you to write a book?  Writing more than one series (Death on Demand series and Bailey Ruth Raeburn series, now Nela Farley)  must be a challenge, how do you manage that in your schedule? 

If all goes well, I can complete a ms., including revisions, in five to six months. I am a morning person and usually start about 8 am. I try to write 3 to 5 pages a day. I am currently writing two books a year and that is a challenge.

What in your background prepared you to write mysteries? 

I grew up loving mysteries, reading widely, everything from Agatha Christie to Raymond Chandler. I majored in journalism. I have always thought of life in terms of writing.

In literature (not your own) who is your favorite mystery/suspense character and who is your favorite paranormal character? 

I have many favorites. Miss Marple, of course. Juanita Sheridan's Janice Cameron and Lily Wu. Erle Stanley Gardner's Donald Lam and Bertha Cool. Phoebe Atwood Taylor's Leonidas Witherall. Noel Coward's Elvira in "Blithe Spirit" is my favorite paranormal character.

Which author has influenced or inspired you the most?

Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart.

How did you get your first break to getting published? Was it at a writer's conference or mailing a query letter? 

I read The Writer magazine, saw a contest for a mystery for girls 8 to 12 and wrote THE SECRET OF THE CELLARS, which won the contest and was my first published book. Next spring's DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE will be my 50th book.

If your Nela Farley mysteries were to be made into a movie, who would you cast in your top character's roles?

I will have to ask readers who are movie goers to nominate an actress. I will confess that though I enjoy movies, I always prefer a book.  [Okay readers - comment on who you think the DreamTeam would be to portray her characters in the movies!]

Tell us your thoughts on the growing genre of paranormal mysteries and its popularity (i.e. is it here to stay or a fad, is it pushing the mystery genre envelope etc?) 

I suppose it is odd, but I never consider myself a paranormal writer because the late Bailey Ruth Raeburn who returns to earth to help people in trouble is simply a sleuth who happens to be dead and my cat in WHAT THE CAT SAW is, as one reviewer said, simply a cat who watches and sees as all cats actually do.
    Re: paranormal fiction in general, all things are possible in heaven and earth and readers respond to that deep primal understanding.

What are you working on now? 

I am halfway through a new Annie and Max, FATAL CHOICE.  A doctor looks across a room and recognizes evil in a glance and makes a fatal choice. 

Thank you so much for the interview.  Congratulations on you upcoming 50th book!!  Readers, please chime in.

Mummy Gingerbread Men

Halloween Cake

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review - Blood Bath & Beyond

This book is a new series that spun off a paranormal romance series also titled Immortality Bites.  This is the debut for the main character to enter into the mystery realm, so let's see how this transitional book did.

Author: Michelle Rowen

Copyright:  August 2012 (Signet) 336 pgs

Series:  1st in An Immortality Bites Mystery

Sensuality:  n/a

Mystery Sub-genre:  Paranormal Amateur Sleuth

Main Character:  Sarah Dearly, newbie vampire

Setting:  Modern Day, Las Vegas Nevada

Obtained Through:  from publisher for an honest review

Sarah Dearly is only months old as a vampire (due to a blind date with an undead), but she is now engaged to a 600 year old Master Vampire named Thierry de Bennicoeur. Thierry takes a fifty-year job with a shadowy group called "the Ring," essentially a vampire counsel.  He admits it was an offer he couldn't refuse. This job entails a lot of travel over that next fifty years as well.  Thierry is surprised, and a little pleased, that Sarah refuses to sit in Vancouver, but insists on traveling with him.  Beginning immediately with an assignment in Las Vegas to coral a vampire child beauty pageant contestant, Victoria Corday, that could expose the existence of vampires when people notice she never grows up.  

As soon as they arrive at their hotel they are confronted with a vampire serial killer on the loose, leaving bodies along the strip with fang marks showing on their necks.  Then before you know it, another high-profile master vampire and old nemesis, Bernard DuShaw, is staked and Thierry is taken away by the Ring's top Hunter.  The Ring's Hunter's are widely feared and it looks like Thierry has been setup for DuShaw's murder by an expert.  Sarah refuses to go back to Vancouver where it is safe, and finds herself alone on the streets trying to figure out who killed DuShaw.  While she is at it she finds a Starbucks blood bar and ends up in several dangerous run-ins.

Sarah Dearly is honest to a fault and is genuinely kind to people. In this debut of the mystery incarnation of Immortality Bites, Sarah is challenged to find her inner courage and bad-ass.  As a character, she is a likeable optimist that seems to fall into bad situations.  Thierry is full of secrets and epitomizes the tall, dark, and dangerous vampire.  But Thierry himself came across as a chess piece being maneuvered and I found myself wanting more from his character.  The relationship between Sarah and Thierry is tested and the emotional strain is portrayed well without becoming dark.  The character of Victoria Corday is a surprising breakout and is setup to be a continuing one.  The concept of a child vampire who has a couple of centuries of worldliness yet is still a child is great and was written well. The Ring's top Hunter, Markus Reed, is a mystery on top of being a deadly vampire with a license to kill.  He clearly has some ulterior motive, but we don't get any hint as to what or why.  The ending leaves Markus free to appear in future editions.

Las Vegas was good for this debut novel because of its nightlife and wide-open possibilities for characters like magicians and unique stores.  The gambling or elaborate show aspects were not in evidence as part of the storyline.  The idea of the shadowy Ring who employs hunters and investigates vampires creates a layer of sinister puppet masters that was more prevalent than the city for atmosphere. 

There were several things going with this and the initial assignment is the least important.  The murder of DuShaw and the Vampire serial killer are more critical in the plot.  I had not read the initial Immortality Bites romances but the necessary background was filled in easily.  The story maintains a good pace and seemed to go quickly. My interest was maintained throughout and I just enjoyed the story.  There is plenty of humor as we hear Sarah's commentary.  The humor and the writing style make this lighter than I expected. The confrontation with the serial killer was tense and the wrap up was emotional.

This novel setup the basis for the ongoing mysteries with Thierry's job having them investigating, as well as hints of revelations from his past, and ongoing power-plays with the Ring. It is essentially a cozy with a pretty good fantasy world for the paranormal framing the story for a series thread early on.  I would say that the move from romance to mystery was smooth and successful.  I am certainly looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.

Here are some holiday cake decorating ideas!

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 15, 2012

Adult Halloween Party Fun

I came across a Better Homes and Gardens Halloween Magazine that had a great idea for the grown ups this Halloween.  They featured a dinner party with an Edgar Allan Poe "the Raven" theme.  I thought it was an inventive idea, after all, there are few literary works that seem so appropriate for a bit of adult spooky fun.  

The magazine has some amazing yet simple party ideas all utilizing the famous poem.  Online they highlight some of the ideas (click here) which includes links to raven artwork, menus, and stencils.  Additionally, there are extra ideas exclusively online (click here) that are different from the publication.  This would be a fun party and guests could dress the part with black feathered masks etc.  

Alternately, a gothic theme can be fun.  Check out these ideas for a Ghoulish Gothic Party (click here) that also includes recipes.  You could even combine this with the Raven theme too.  This one would be perfect for Munsters or Adams Family costumes!  These provide ideas galore to spur your own creativity.

There are sewing patterns as well if you are good at sewing.  
Or perhaps you are more the Fall Harvest Party type of person.  Here are some ideas to help you out too (click here) and also (here too).

A word of caution, please keep your cats (especially black cats) inside around October 31.  It is sad to say, but they are often snatched and horribly hurt by demented people this time of year. 

Here is a way to make your own Morticia costume from scratch creating your own pattern.


I couldn't resist sharing this poster!

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Review - In a Witch's Wardrobe

This week's book review is of the newest book in a series I have followed since it first began.  Here are the reviews of the prior books in the Witchcraft series:  Hexes and Hemlines #3 (click here), A Cast-Off Coven #2 (click here), and Secondhand Spirits #1 (click here).  I also interviewed Ms. Blackwell (click here).  Let's see how this new book rates in this great seasonal read.

Author:  Juliet Blackwell

Copyright:  July 2012 (Signet) 336 pgs

Series:  4th in A Witchcraft Mystery

Sensuality:  mild heat

Mystery Sub-genre:  Paranormal Cozy

Main Character: Lily Ivory, hereditary witch

Setting: Modern day, San Francisco

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Lily gets to attend an Art Deco fancy ball, but the evening barely gets underway when a women falls ill in the ladies room.  Lily is convinced it is a hex on the corsage as Miriam slips into a coma right there in the bathroom.  Lily just has to help, who else is going to know a "Sleeping Beauty" curse and how to deal with it? Additionally, Inspector Carlos Romaro has asked Lily to help him investigate Tarra Dark Moon's death since her coven members aren't opening up to him.  Lily realizes that Miriam and Tarra belonged to the same coven and suspects the two instances could be related.  As if this weren't enough, there is a group calling themselves the "Defenders of Morality" vandalizing anybody's business involved in pagan spirituality, and Lily could be a prime target.

Lily is a great character, a powerful witch who doesn't know her own strength, has low self-esteem, and is finally developing friendships for the first time in her life.  Her familar, Oscar, a Gargoyle-Goblin mix, who appears as a pot-bellied pig when other people are around, is the comic relief with mixed loyalties.  Aidan continues to be a shady character that Lily can't really trust since he is involved in the cases but won't explain how.  Sailor is back in this book and major developments between Lily and Sailor occur since he must help her to save Miriam.

San Francisco is always a great setting in this series, providing a cosmopolitan panorama with a variety of interesting locals to utilize.  The plot was well developed, sending Lily and the reader following a few red herrings.  The motivations of the Miriam/Tarra cases are murky enough to keep the reader guessing through the investigating.  The confrontation with the killer is great magickal suspense.  The wrap up is bittersweet and leaves the reader with a bit of a cliffhanger to ensure eager anticipation of the next book.  It can't come soon enough!

This is another rock solid entry in the series that seems to keep getting better with each book.  The secrecy surrounding Aidan and Sailor have revealing tidbits in each entry providing a tantalizing thread through the books.  Great addictive story telling.

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

Here is a video interview with Juliet Blackwell when she was writing the second book in the series.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 8, 2012

Online Book Sale Manager

Shaped bookshelf
Have you heard about Book Sale Manager (click here), the online database of used book sales?  It is a quick and easy way to see if there is a book sale occurring near you, often by charities or libraries.  You can search for book sales by state for one-time sales or regularly occurring sales (such as an ongoing Friends of Library sale.)  Find your next book buying bargain with this tool.

Our database contains many used and library book sales for you to browse through. The state book sale finder is our most basic form of search. It is a great way to get a quick list of used book sales. If you are looking for a more detailed search, consider using our Zip Code Book Sale Finder tool or Custom Used Book Sale Search tool. These tools offer a powerful way to narrow down your search for book sales based on a specific set of parameters.

From their site: Book Sale Manager is a national directory containing thousands of used book sales, book stores, and other book events in the U.S. every year. Our site is packed with features that make searching, sharing, and saving sales easier than ever! Use our zip code book sale finder or map below to find book sales near you.

Be sure to create a free account so you can:

  •     Save and track book sales with our online calendar
  •     Export book sales to your Outlook or Google calendar
  •     Receive email alerts when new book sales are listed in your area
  •     Download book sale data to your GPS device for easy navigation

All of us are trying to make our finances stretch further, so perhaps Book Sale Manager is another tool in your favor to keep you in fresh reading material and in budget!


Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review - What the Cat Saw

My first Carolyn Hart mystery novel. Some may wonder just how I have gotten by so long without a Carolyn Hart in my TBR pile.  I don't quite understand it myself, but this title broke the cycle.  Find out about this new book (series, I hope) from this prolific writer.

Author: Carolyn Hart

Copyright: October 2012 (Berkley) 304 pgs

Series: 1st in Nela Farley Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Traditional - Cozy

Main Characters: Nela Farley, unemployed investigative reporter

Setting: Modern day, Craddock Oklahoma

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Nela Farley is a newly unemployed investigative reporter - and she is greiving the loss of her fiance.  So she helps her free-spirited sister Chloe by temporarily doing her job at the Haklo Foundation while Chloe goes on a free trip to Tahiti. Nela thinks she is expressing her grief by imaginging that she can hear cats lately. 

Nela arrives and finds that she is staying in the apartment over a garage on the grounds of a mansion.  Within minutes of arriving, the resident cat, Jugs, that she is also to care for, seems to be talking to her.  That is disturbing enough, and then Jugs shares that his former owner died when the "board on the second stair moved" and Nela thinks a suspicious skateboard was placed on the stair.  Her first night is disturbed by an intruder searching and smashing possesions.

Monday morning rolls around and Nela plunges into the political hotbed at the Foundation. Then there is the matter of the newspaperman with the troubling blue eyes who is investigating a long string of vandalism over the last few months at the foundation.  Unfortunately, the killer is watching and does strike again.

Nela is a great amateur sleuth, reasonable, calm, and thoughtful.  Her grieving is not too much, but makes her real.  The Reporter Steve is a great addition as he deals with his distrust of women since his divorce, yet he finds himself drawn to Nela.  The various employees at the Foundation are all detailed portrayals, and all are suspects.  It makes for a large field of possibilities.  Jugs, the cat, is such a dear.  But don't think that Nela hears Jugs often.  You can count the instances on one hand.  It is not a lynchpin to the story.

Craddock makes a good smallish town where you grow up knowing all your neighbors. This makes the reporter and the police really stretch to understand the events.  Unfortunately, it is easy to blame the new people, like Nela and her sister Chloe.

The story grabs you in the first few paragraphs and the pacing keeps the reader engaged.  I found it hard to put down.  The plot felt very natural and the believability held strongly.

The climax was wonderfully tense and exciting.  The reveal of the killer was not necessarily surprising, simply because I had seriously considered all the suspects by that time.  The wrap-up leaves the the possiblity of another Nela Farley mystery and I am looking forward to it.

This is a suspenseful cozy reminiscent of a traditional mystery.  It may not be set in England, but I see it as very close to a modern American Christie in the style of mystery.

Rating: Truly Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 

If you crochet, here is a cute hat you can whip up for a party to wear or for decoration.  Does your cat enjoy hats?  The pattern comes in several sizes.

Some spooky cupcakes!
And a fun coffin themed bookcase

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mystery & Crime Fiction Blog Carnival - October 2012

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Freedom to Read is September 30−October 6, 2012 (click here).  Check your library for local events. This year they have a "50 State Salute" that will consist of videos (no longer than 5 minutes) that emphasizes ways in which each state’s community celebrates the freedom to read during Banned Books Week.

It is the first Monday of the month - time for another highly anticipated Blog Carnival.  Please help the newsletter for the blog carnival to get more subscribers.  If a blog reviews mystery/suspense/thrillers (even occasionally) then I would like to feature those reviews.  I send the newsletter out once a month announcing the deadline for submitting to this blog carnival.  Multiple entries from a blog are welcome.  Now on to this month's blog carnival.  Click on the title or author's name to go to that link.

Police Procedural / PI Book Review / Legal

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Death Where the Bad Rocks Live by C. M. Wendelboe - 2nd in Spirit Road Mysteries.

A Year of Jubilee Reviews gives us Dying to Read by Loreena McCourtney

Robert French reviewed Only the Innocent by Rachel Abbott and Follow the Money by Fingers Murphy

A Year of Jubilee Reviews gives us If Fried Chicken Could Fly by Paige Shelton

Amateur Sleuth / Cozy book Review

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Bufallo Bill's Dead Now by Margaret Coel - the newest Wind River Reservation Mystery.

A Year of Jubilee Reviews gives us Going Organic Can Kill You by Staci McLaughlin

Booking Mama reviewed Shelter and also Seconds Away by Harlan Coben

A Date with a Book reviewed Sew Deadly by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Booking Mama reviewed The Boy In The Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis. Was originally published in Danish and then translated.

A Date with a Book reviewed 50% Off Murder by Josie Belle

Thriller/Suspense Fiction Book Review

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver

Booking Mama reviewed From Blood by Edward Wright

Jims Got Web reviewed 11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King
What if you had the opportunity to go back to that day and try to stop JFK's assasination?

A Date with a Book reviewed Sweet Vengeance by Cindy Stark - romantic suspense.

Booking Mama reviewed Spy Mom: The Adventures of Sally Sin by Beth McMullen - a  fast-paced, but very fun, spy thriller that features a stay-at-home mom who is an ex-spy for a secret government agency.

A Date With a Book reviewed Sweat by Mark Gilleo - From the sweatshops of Saipan to the most powerful offices in Washington.  This is a story of crime and consequences with lightning pacing, a twisting plot, an unforgettable cast of characters.

Author Interview

Chanting of Muses gives us an interview with Marian Lanouette.

Writing Tips and Advice

Cathy Stucker's Selling Books gives us Dealing with Negative Reviews on Amazon.  Every writer has to deal with bad reviews. Here are some tips on how to deal with negative reviews on Amazon. Should you dispute the review? Can you get it removed? Find out the best strategies for handling those nasty reviews.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A huge "Thank You" to all the wonderful bloggers out there who contributed to the carnival.  Keep them coming.

Let's make next month's Carnival even better. For more information on the specifics of the Carnival and how to submit your posts go here.
Submit your blog entry for next month's Carnival here: (

Spread the word far and wide!!!

Post a widget on your blog for this carnival here (

Subscribe to our Carnival Reminder mailing list

* indicates required

Bookmark and Share

Related Posts with Thumbnails