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Monday, October 28, 2019

Review - Death and Relaxation

This is another great book to get into the Halloween mood.  This book is imaginative and absorbing.  There is some heat/steam in one scene, but nothing really explicit.  Check out my review and see if it is for you.

Author: Devon Monk

Copyright: June 2016 (Odd House Press) 326 pgs

Series: 1st in Ordinary Magic Mystery series

Sensuality: One steamy petting scene

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Police Procedural

Main Character: Police Chief Delaney Reed

Setting: Modern day, beach town Ordinary Oregon

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Book Blurb: "Monsters, gods, and mayhem...

Police Chief Delaney Reed can handle the Valkyries, werewolves, gill-men and other paranormal creatures who call the small beach town of Ordinary, Oregon their home. It’s the vacationing gods who keep her up at night. 

With the famous rhubarb festival right around the corner, small-town tensions, tempers, and godly tantrums are at an all-time high. The last thing Delaney needs is her ex-boyfriend reappearing just when she's finally caught the attention of Ryder Bailey, the one man she should never love. 

No, scratch that. The actual last thing she needs is a dead body washing ashore, especially since the dead body is a god. 

Catching a murderer, wrestling a god power, and re-scheduling the apocalypse? Just another day on the job in Ordinary. Falling in love with her childhood friend while trying to keep the secrets of her town secret? That’s gonna take some work."

Delaney Reed sleeps with her gun and is trying to fill her deceased father's shoes as the chief of police, while still grieving his sudden death.  She is reliable and overworked.  Sister Jean has the intuition ability, sensing when something bad is approaching but sadly doesn't get details with it.  She is a bit more adventurous than her two other sisters, dying her hair various colors. She handles calls for the police station.  Sister Myra has great timing, always showing up where and when she is needed and is calm and collected. She handles forensics for the small police station.  Ryder Bailey, Delaney's teen boyfriend and heart-throb, had been back in town for a year and she had managed to avoid him. Until now.  Cooper Clark, the ex-boyfriend, is a self centered beach bum.  Thanatos, aka Death, decides to vacation in Ordinary and his character is much like a stiff undertaker who learns to loosen up a smidgen.  I love this character as he attempts to wear Hawaiian shirts with his pressed slacks.

Ordinary Oregon is a great setting.  The idea of a beach town that gets the usual tourists plus various mythical gods wanting a vacation from their duties is a tough one to pull off, but Devon Monk did it expertly.  The town has the atmosphere of fog rolling in and crashing surf along with wooded secluded sections.  Great Gothic touches.

Who would want to kill a god on vacation, or was it one of the mortals that didn't know he was not a regular fisherman?  Surprisingly, there are several people that had a motive. I was so involved in the story that I couldn't waiting to read the next page, and the next chapter.

The killer reveal was a surprise and had some tense moments.  Nicely done.  The wrap-up takes a few chapters to tie up the threads of the story to satisfaction.  I am anxious to read the next in the book as I already miss Ordinary and the Reed sisters.

The book is well rounded with suspense, some sprinkled humor, a little steam but not much, and a mix of quirky and serious characters. The world building of a playground for gods is brilliantly handled and the personal struggles of Delaney grappling with grief and loneliness made me invested in the story.

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

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Spooktacular Giveaway Blog Hop 2019

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


We are celebrating Halloween here at Mysteries and My Musings with a giveaway for the eighth year!  One combination prize to a winner, 3 winners!

1)  Bewitched and Betrothed by Juliet Blackwell and Death Waits in the Dark by Julia Buckley

2)  Marigold For Malice by Bailey Cattrell and Booking the Crook by Laurie Cass

3)  Cookies and Clairvoyance by Bailey Cates and A Date with Murder by Donald Bain and Jon Land

Entry for giveaway lasts until October 31 6:00 p.m. (MST).  U.S.  entries only please.  

I will be shipping the books to the winners.

How to enter:

*** First, you must be an email subscriber to this blog***

All entries are to be in the comments for this post.  ALL ENTRIES WITHOUT AN EMAIL ADDRESS ARE DISQUALIFIED.

I will accept entries for this giveaway until 6:00 p.m (MST) on  Oct 31, 2019.    I shall notify each winner via the email address you provide to get your mailing address and have the prize sent directly to you.  If I don't hear from you in 3 days, I will select another winner and notify them.

IF you are an email subscriber of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.

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

Other participating Blogs:

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Review - The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum

Here is another fun paranormal cozy to get us in the mood for Halloween.  This was on my TBR pile for a while and I finally got to it.  I am so glad I did.  It is the first in the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery series.  Check out my review and see if this is of interest to you.

Author: Kirsten Weiss

Copyright: March 2016 (Midnight Ink) 290 pgs

Series: 1st in Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy, light paranormal for eerie effects

Main Character: Madelyn "Maddie" Kosloski, unemployed and helping her friend out

Setting: Modern day in small town San Benedetto in central California

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Book cover blurb:  "When Maddie Kosloski's career flatlines, she retreats to her wine country hometown for solace and cheap rent. Railroaded into managing the local paranormal museum, she's certain the rumors of its haunting are greatly exaggerated. But then a fresh corpse in the museum embroils Maddie in murders past and present, making her wonder if a ghost could really be on the loose.

With her high school bully as one of the detectives in charge of the investigation, Maddie doubts justice will be served. When one of her best friends is arrested, she knows it won't be. Maddie also grapples with ghost hunters, obsessed taxidermists, and the sexy motorcyclist next door as outside forces threaten. And as she juggles spectral shenanigans with the hunt for a killer, she discovers there truly is no place like home."

Maddie Kosloski got fired from her high profile overseas corporate job for refusing to pay an official a bribe and has to face her siblings overachieving success and pressuring mother. Adele Nakamoto is her close friend and daughter of a vineyard owner/mayor with money to burn.  Harper Caldarelli is another close friend and a financial advisor. Detective Laurel Hammer is Maddie's nemesis from high school who picks right up were she left off making her life miserable.  Blond hunk Mason Hjelm is a potential romantic interest who runs a motorcycle shop next door to the museum.  Tall, dark, and handsome Detective Slate (Laurel's partner) is another potential romantic interest.  The cat,GD for Ghost Detecting, is an interesting adjunct staff for the museum.  

The museum, voted tackiest museum in town, is a run down attraction with  a creepy doll room and resident ghosts.  The town is quirky with its annual Christmas cow (made of straw) tradition that somehow gets set on fire every year.  Between the town and the museum, it combines for a quirky, fun feel that adds a lot to the character and mood of the book.

The plot gets twisty and it's hard to tell who the killer is among the many potential bad guys.  Although Maddie doesn't go out and hunt down clues, many of the clues find their way to her as she works at the museum and asks a few questions.  There are many red herrings complicating the issue as well.  The pacing is light and easy with well timed events which kept me engaged.  The climax is nicely done with thrills and danger.  The wrap-up is delightful with a mock re-trial of one of the museum's ghosts who had been hung for her husband's murder. I loved that touch.

If you are looking for a light entertaining read, you might enjoy this book.  The paranormal isn't dark or scary, rather a few creepy moments and more atmospheric. The premise for this series is great and the author took the idea and truly made it into an enjoyable and fun story.  I am already eyeing the second in the series. 

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

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Lefty Awards 2019

I am trying to catch up with the mystery and thriller book awards.  I like sharing them because you find some great new books to read.  

The Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Awards are fan awards chosen by registered members of the Left Coast Crime convention. Nominations for awards to be presented at each annual convention are made by people registered for that convention and also the immediately prior convention. A ballot listing the official nominees is given to each registrant when they check in at the convention, and final voting takes place at the convention. The ballots are tabulated and that year’s Lefty Awards are presented at the Awards Celebration.

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
  * Scot Free by Catriona McPherson (winner)
  ° Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron
  ° Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett
  ° Nighttown by Timothy Hallinan 
  ° Death al Fresco by Leslie Karst
  ° The Spirit in Question by Cynthia Kuhn

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel
(Bruce Alexander Memorial, covering events before 1960)
  * The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (winner)
  ° Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen
  ° The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday by David Corbett
  ° Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King 
  ° A Dying Note by Ann Parker
  ° It Begins in Betrayal by Iona Whishaw

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
  * A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (winner) ~~ I will be reviewing shortly on blog
  ° Broken Places by Tracy Clark 
  ° Cobra Clutch by A.J. Devlin 
  ° The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn 
  ° What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix 
  ° Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell
  ° Give Out Creek by J.G. Toews

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
  * November Road by Lou Berney (winner)
  ° Wrong Light by Matt Coyle
  ° Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny
  ° Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day 
  ° A Reckoning in the Back Country by Terry Shames
  ° A Stone’s Throw by James W. Ziskin

I hope these give you some new prospects to keep you stocked in mysteries.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Review - Bewitched and Betrothed

With Halloween approaching I thought this cozy paranormal would be perfect to get us all in the mood.  

Read my reviews of the prior books:  #1 Secondhand Spirits (click here), #2 Cast Off Coven (click here), #3 Hexes and Hemlines (click here), #4 In a Witch's Wardrobe (click here), #5 Tarnished and Torn (click here), #6 A Vision in Velvet (click here), #7 Spellcasting in Silk (click here),  and #8 Toxic Trousseau book excerpt (click here).  I also interviewed the author twice: interview #2 (click here), and interview #1 (click here).

If you are a fan, you won't want to miss this book. If you are new to this series, you can check out the reviews above and try the first, or jump right in with this 10th book.  It works as a stand alone as well.

Author: Juliette Blackwell

Copyright: June 2019 (Berkley) 352 pgs

Series: 10th in Witchcraft Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy

Main Character: Lily Ivory, powerful natural witch and owner of vintage clothing store

Setting: Modern day, San Francisco

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Book Blurb: "A supernatural force on the loose in San Francisco and a family reunion keeps witch and vintage store owner Lily Ivory on her toes as she prepares to walk down the aisle...

When Lily Ivory stumbles on the uniform of a former prisoner from Alcatraz and SFPD inspector Carlos Romero’s cousin is kidnapped, Lily suspects something dangerous has been unleashed on the ghost-ridden island of Alcatraz. She'll have to sleuth out the culprit—when she’s not busy entertaining her visiting relatives and resolving romantic conflicts as her wedding date approaches. Could recent omens be pointing to the magical threat in her adopted city? If so, she'll have to line up her allies to change the fate of the Bay Area. Because no matter what, Lily's determined to celebrate her marriage with her friends by her side—even if it means battling a demonic foe before she can make it to the altar."

Lily Ivory has come a long way in this series and she is more confident but still has her insecure moments.  Sailor is her fiance who we barely see in this book, which is surprising with the wedding fast approaching. Aidan makes only two appearances in the novel, but he plays a vital role in the climax. I know the focus is growing more on Sailor and away from Aidan, but he is still an important character and I love his part in every book.  Detective Carlos Romero has also come a long way in trusting Lily and he has become a favorite of mine in the lineup.  Oscar the Gobgoyle in the disguise as a pig is Lily's familiar and he is still searching for his mother.  Graciela’s Coven comes out for the wedding with a crew of quirky gals.  Lily's mother also joins in and I appreciated her attempts to fit into Lily's life a little.  Overall a fantastic gathering of strong characters.

The setting is bustling San Francisco and Alcatraz island specifically. Using the reputedly haunted Alacatraz was great and made this story that much more spooky.  The plot is the culmination of Aidan's warnings in the past few books of a supernatural showdown approaching for the very city and its citizens itself.  It is also the culminatin thus far of Lily's personal growth since she can't fight this power by herself and all the people she has made friends with will have to back her up.  The pacing is spot on and kept my interest riveted to the pages.

The climax was on a grand scale and delivered all the thrills and chills the book had built up towards.  It was brilliantly executed, my hat is off to Ms. Blackwell.  The wrap-up was the event the book promised and was touching.

I have been a fan of this series since the first book was released.  I am impressed at how Ms. Blackwell built this showdown up from previous books and delivered on every promise.  I hope that Aidan doesn't get shuffled off and he remains in the character lineup because his character is so much a part of the mythos of the series.  I have to wonder, after this powerful showdown, what could be in Lily's future?

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

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