Interview: Tracy Weber, author

Weber Small HeadshotTracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel.

A certified yoga therapist, Tracy is the owner of Whole Life Yoga, a Seattle yoga studio, as well as the creator and director of Whole Life Yoga’s teacher training program. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible. Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their challenging yet Murder Strikes Poseamazing German shepherd, Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

Karma’s a Killer is her third novel. For more information on Tracy and the Downward Dog Mysteries, visit her author website: http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/

Tell us about your new release.

My newest release is Karma’s a Killer. Here’s my favorite blurb.

When Yoga instructor Kate Davidson agrees karmaCover768px[1]to teach doga—yoga for dogs—at a fundraiser for Dogma, a local animal rescue, she believes the only real damage will be to her reputation. But when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning, a few downward-facing dogs will be the least of Kate’s problems…

The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism, organizational politics, and the dangerous obsessions that drive them.

And if solving a murder weren’t complicated enough, Kate will also have to decide whether or not to reconcile with the estranged mother who abandoned her over thirty years ago. Not to mention having to contend with an almost-bankrupt animal rescue, a cantankerous crow, an unwanted pigeon houseguest, and a rabbit in a doga class. What could possibly go wrong?

Which is more important characters or setting?

That’s a really tough one. I guess I’d have to say characters, because readers see the fictional worlds I create through my characters’ eyes. Yet it’s impossible not to be influenced by setting, and my work is firmly set in the setting of the Pacific Northwest. I only write about places I love, and I immerse myself in those places when I write. Still, without the characters, the setting would be meaningless.

Do you have an interesting quirk about your personality that you’d like to share?

I love dogs. Seriously. Major big time. So much that I always stop strangers and drool Weber--A Killer Retreat Coverall over their canine companions. My husband’s nickname for me is “The Creepy Puppy Lady.”

What do you do when you are not writing?

I divide my time pretty much equally between running my yoga studio, teaching yoga, writing, and fawning over my special-needs German shepherd, Tasha. Actually, that’s not true. Tasha get’s 80% of my time. The remaining 20% is divided between writing and yoga. My husband gets any scraps that are left over.

Do you read the same genre you write?

Absolutely. I love all mysteries, but I’ve been a cozy mystery reader since long before I knew there was a genre by that name. I also love courtroom dramas, suspense and most anything written by Stephen King.

What is #1 on your bucket list?

Traveling to Africa and going on safari. I’ve wanted to do this since I was about three!

What social media do you participate in?

I love Facebook, though I have to admit, I’d get a lot more writing done if I spent less time on it. Still, how can you not love something that connects you with old friends, introduces you to new ones, and inundates you with cute puppy pictures! If you want to “friend” me at https://www.facebook.com/tracywe, I’d love it. I also have an author page at https://www.facebook.com/TracyWeberAuthor/, but I post much more frequently on my personal page. When it comes to Twitter, I’m a Twidiot. I don’t even use any of the others.

Would you share an excerpt from your book?

I’d be delighted to! This scene takes place while Kate does a little breaking and entering, looking for clues. I don’t want to say much more for fear of giving anything away. ;-)

EXCERPT FROM KARMA’S A KILLER:

I sat at the keyboard and tried to guess the computer’s password. DogMa, HEAT, PuppyLove, password1, and PasswordsSuck all netted nothing. I picked up the dog-shaped paperweight and absently tossed it back and forth between my hands. Its eyes seemed to glitter.

Look at me, dummy!

Could it be that obvious?

I set the fake dog next to the keyboard and typed in several iterations of the words “golden retriever.”

Nothing.

Well, it was worth a try.

I was trying various combinations of the names Maggie and Sally when the floor boards behind me creaked. I would have sworn that Rene had been gone less than two minutes.

“Wow, that was quick. You do have a small bladder.”

Rene replied with a high-pitched squeak. The door clicked shut behind her.

“Raise your hands and don’t make any fast moves.”

Adrenaline jolted down my spine.

The voice didn’t belong to Rene.

Interview: Tamela Miles

IMGL1254Tamela Miles is a California State University San Bernardino graduate student with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and a former flight attendant. She grew up in Altadena, California in that tumultuous time known as the 1980s. She now resides with her family in the Inland Empire, CA. She’s a horror/paranormal romance writer mainly because it feels so good having her characters do bad things and, later, pondering what makes them so bad and why they can never seem to change their wicked ways.

She enjoy emails from people who like her work. In fact, she loves emails. She can be contacted at tamelamiles@yahoo.com or her Facebook page, Tamela Miles Books, as well as @jackiebrown20 on Twitter. She also welcomes reader reviews and enjoys the feedback from people who love to read as much as she does. Ms. Miles has a current short novella 3 book series on her writing plate, entitled the Hell On Heels Series. For those who are already excited about it (yippee!), please feel free to check out the author’s soundtrack playlist for Hell On Heels on YouTube.com, listed as Hell On Heels:Songs from the Edge by Tamela Miles.

A compilation of all of her short stories, entitled Rock Paper Scissors, which includes four new short horror/paranormal romance stories is now available from Broken Publications.

RockPaperScissorsBookCoverBrokenPubTell us about your new release. Thanks to the The Book Breeze for taking time out to interview me! I’m pleased to have the opportunity to share a few things about me and my writing. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS is my first horror/paranormal romance short story anthology and it’s newly published by Broken Publications. It features stories that are classic, leave-the-lights-on horror to softer, but still intense paranormal romance.

What led you to write this book? I wanted to share my writing visions with readers, let them take a peek at what unfolds in my mind. I like to think that those readers who enjoy my writing really are seeing very similar to what I see when I craft a horror story that scares me as I’m writing it and also fall in love with the darkly atmospheric romantic elements in my paranormal romance stories. I wrote strictly as a hobby for about 25 years until 2011, when I decided to self-publish my work. The decision to do that came from my disappointment in reading novels and short stories that ended with an unsatisfying conclusion. For days afterward, I would re-work the stories in my head, coming up with endings that made me happy. In spite of reading some not-so-great books, I realized that many authors spend a considerable amount of time creating something tangible they’re proud of and share it with the world. I said to myself, “Well, what about me? If these other authors can do it, why not me, too?”

Which is more important characters or setting? Setting definitely takes backseat when I’m writing. The process of crafting a story always begins with envisioning strong characters who, I’m convinced, have always been in the back of my mind begging me to bring them to life on the page.

Do you people watch for character inspiration? I love watching people for character inspiration! I’ll typically see an unusual face in a crowd and the face sticks with me before, invariably, I make that stranger a familiar face with a character name. It’s not just faces – I’m always absorbing what goes on around me, like an intriguing voice or overheard conversation that I use as a basis for a new story.

Which book impacted you as a teenager? I loved, loved any and all Christopher Pike novels, usually written for tweens and teens. I spent countless hours reading his books and tried to figure out what made him such a great author. I now know that a lot of it was sheer hard work and persistence, as well as a vivid imagination.

Do you read the same genre you write? Yes, absolutely! I love losing myself in paranormal romance and horror fiction so much that even tv takes a distant second to my reading.

Have you ever written a scene that ‘creeped’ you out? Oh, yes! I often write about angels and demons, holy war kinds of things. I was writing a particularly dark scene, both in terms of horror and emotionally. Putting the characters words on the screen made the whole scene just a little too real and I had to stop because the Santa Ana winds (which come to Southern California every year around the holidays) were blowing so fiercely that it was like a perfectly creepy backdrop for the scene of good vs. evil that I was working on. The intense alternative rock music I had playing in the background only made it worse! What social media do you participate in? I’m on Twitter as @jackiebrown20 and I have a Facebook author page, which is Tamela Miles Books.

What’s next for you? I’m excited and overjoyed to announce I’m very recently contracted with The Wild Rose Press for Book 1 in my Hell On Heels Series, entitled “Heart of a Hunter”. It’s a solid paranormal romance, which I’m proud of! Once the editing process is complete, I anticipate a 2016 release.

SleepingSLEEPING BEAUTIES, Tamela’s first short novella which introduces the beautiful ladies of The Trifecta trapped in a nightmarish landscape, is now available.

Excerpt from ROCK PAPER SCISSORS short story, “One”

Anya and Ethan were seated across from each other in the college cafeteria, their plastic plates and soda cans pushed to the side of the table. The place was humming with activity as students exchanged hurried goodbyes on their way to their next class.

“Sleeping better these days?” Ethan inquired, laying one long leg on the empty chair.

Anya smiled tiredly. “Sadly, no. I used to be dead to the world as soon as my head hit the pillow, but now…,” she trailed off. She rested her chin in her hand, shaking her head. “And, my love life sucks right now as my little brother pointed out this morning.”

Ethan grinned. “Ah, yes. More tidbits of wisdom from the idiot Chris.” His gaze moved away from hers to just above her head and licked his lips. He appeared to be in deep thought. “Chris has a real respect problem,” he said softly.

Anya blinked in astonishment, leaning forward on the table. “My dad said the same thing this morning. Chris and I have always been at war.” She rolled her eyes.

Ethan rubbed his stubbled chin and gave her a warm smile. “You need to craft your life just like we craft our stories, Anya. Your life is like a story, slowly unfolding from one day to the next but you maintain control over the main character. You need to shape things to be the way that you want them, not wait around on some mythical predetermined course of events to make your decisions for you. Fate is what you make it.”

Anya nodded. “Yes, I agree. I have sort of taken my hands off the wheel when it comes to my life. I’m guilty of drifting. Ever since I broke things off with my last boyfriend, I’ve just been drifting from one day to the next, I guess.” She shrugged. “I suppose I really was in love.”

She stood up, grabbing the handle of her rolling bag. “Gotta run, Ethan. I’ll be late for class. Call me tonight?”

Ethan nodded, rising to his feet. He caught Anya in his arms, hugging her fiercely. He kissed the top of her head. “Things often get better. You’ll see, things will be as they should be again soon,” he whispered. She kissed his cheek and headed out of the place with a wave.

As Anya exited the cafeteria, the buzzing returned, louder and more insistent. She paused and rubbed her forehead. “It’s all in the telling,” a voice said in her mind, chuckling. She turned around quickly, expecting to see Ethan directly behind her. He wasn’t there, just as her dad hadn’t been there in the kitchen earlier. But I heard his voice so clearly, she thought to herself, heading down one of the concrete paths to class.

New Releases

51mCihageJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_DESTINY Montana Dreams Book 2 By Cait Jarrod

Released Nov 23, 15 by author in print and ebook

Autumn Wilcox receives a note, a request to find the elusive rainbow her deceased friend insists will reveal Autumn’s destiny. For her friend, she agrees and seeks a pilot. Life’s tragedies cause Travis Carson to withdraw and plunge into work. After his brother settles in Montana, he quits Search and Rescue to join him. The day he heads out, friends ask him for a favor— to give a woman a ride. Simply done, but the swirl of energy radiating off her has him agreeing to and doing the unimaginable.

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]CAPTURING GABRIEL Romancing the Guardians, Book 3 By Lyn Horner

Spicy Romantic Suspense/Paranormal Released Dec 29, 2015 by author in print and ebook

Josie Tseda has vowed to find Gabriel Valdez, a Guardian of Danu, and bring him to meet with the other Guardians. Locating him in the mountains of Colombia and convincing him to accompany her to the U.S. proves a challenge. Their mutual attraction only complicates matters. Seeking revenge for his mother’s death, Gabriel battles drug traffickers in his country. He distrusts the feisty female who delivers an urgent message, supposedly from the High Guardian. It may be a lie to ensnare him. As romance blooms, will her mission and the secret power he wields stand between them?

 

perf5.000x8.000.inddFORGET ME NOT By Maureen L Bonatch

Mild romance/fantasy Release Jan 6, 2016 by The Wild Rose Press in ebook

What if your memories hadn’t been made yet? The car accident totaled Sabrina’s convertible and reinvented her memories. She can’t recall dumping Cole ten years ago. What her new clairvoyant visions tell Sabrina is he’s her husband. Any practical girl would question her sanity. But if Sabrina wants to make this imaginary future a reality, she’ll have to regain Cole’s trust and eliminate her rival, the coffee shop waitress who’s pegged Cole as husband #4. If Cole can’t believe she’s a changed woman, can Sabrina accept the only second chance she has at love exists in her memories?

Review: LAST LIGHT FALLING by J.E. Plemons

41UGn5Ah-uL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_LAST LIGHT FALLING BOOK 1 THE COVENANT by J.E. Plemons

Dog Ear Publishing, March 2014 ~ 3 Stars

If your fate has already been chosen for you, would you change it?

Fifteen-year-old Arena Power blindly accepts her destiny in a world filled with tragedy, chaos, and a lingering wickedness that will tempt every man’s soul until the last days on Earth. Set in the United States in the year 2053, America, like most of the world, has undergone catastrophic earthquakes, famine, and an economic collapse, which has rendered the nation hopeless. It has turned to other nations, like Russia and China, to help restore what was once a world power. Unfortunately, the new America has grossly caused civil unrest that will eventually be the precursor to a much bigger war of biblical proportions.

Orphaned at the age of nine, Arena and her twin brother, Gabe, have learned to rely on each other through the toughest times. Not only do they share the same birthday and the tragic loss of their parents, they both have a birthmark on the back of their necks in the shape of a crucifix. This is only but a small sign of the destiny that will follow. On their fifteenth birthday, they receive a mystery letter and key from their estranged Uncle Finnegan. This key will unlock their fate, and it will be up to a priest, who has vowed to protect them since birth, to unfold the layers of their destiny-to undo the evil that has spoiled the world, and to help unleash God’s wrath upon those who have turned from Him in the last days of history.

LAST LIGHT FALLING weaves righteousness with evil, treachery with truth, and shows just how far the will of man can survive on faith alone. Arena and Gabriel’s fate will determine that course of history for which has already been written. They were not born to save the world; they were chosen to prepare it for the final days.

51Q0vrx30eL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_LAST LIGHT FALLING BOOK 2 INTO THE DARKNESS by J.E. Plemons

Dog Ear Publishing, May 2015 ~ 3 Stars

Arena has left the nation’s administration with a dead president and a weakened military, and while the tragic memories continue to scar her, the government struggles to regroup without its leader. For the people who still remain in hiding, it’s evident the country is all but lost, and with Russian operatives taking over, the nation’s hope of recovering is grim. After months in hiding, Arena and her brother, Gabriel, fight to survive the aftermath while they trudge through unkindly terrain across the country to rejoin their friends, but what they soon discover may staunch their journey. The government’s failed attempt to rebirth a broken nation has caused civil unrest like no other. After reuniting with their friends, Arena’s decision to stay changes when she discovers the secrets of a refugee camp behind a clandestine group of rebels, known as the Southern Resistance. With an opportunity to escape to a permanent safe haven, Arena risks her life to lead the new fellowship. But the darkest days are upon them, and with a new war brewing, Arena’s path will take a dark turn as her survival is in jeopardy. Into The Darkness captures the cruel truth behind our darkest secrets which may often cause us to question our faith. In this graphic second installment of the LAST LIGHT FALLING series, J.E. Plemons continues the grim story of Arena Power’s fate, testing her faith while she and her brother search for an answer to their survival in a brooding world filled with chaos.

Review: The LAST LIGHT FALLING series introduces the reader to fifteen-year-old twins, Arena and Gabriel Power destined to lead the fight not to save the world and its inhabitants, but to prepare it for the apocalyptic end of days as foretold in the Old Testament. A master of all weapons, Arena accepts her role a little too easily while her brother has more difficulty accepting their supposed destiny. This makes him more likeable as a character and a person at the beginning of the story. He’s willing to do what needs to be done to change his world, but unlike his sister doesn’t see most people as expendable. Virginia Roth in the Divergent series showed how making just one choice changes lives not only that of the heroine’s when she opted for a new faction rather than remaining with the one where she was born. However, Arena Power isn’t a Tris Prior and obviously doesn’t share the other girl’s ability to empathize with those around her.

Meanwhile Arena does get along fairly well with him and their foster parents, but looks for trouble when she’s at school. Her behavior and motivations remain inconsistent much of the time. She isn’t sure what she wants other than to kill pretty much everyone who annoys her and the list of these folks continues to grow as time passes. Of course, then there are the days when she actually finds someone she likes such as Jacob, a shy teen from school. Their initial, mutual attraction escalates far too quickly into a lifelong passion. The same thing happens with Gabriel and his first girlfriend, Juliana. These two couples may meet nearly as soon as school starts, but this kind of romance generally needs time to flourish. In addition to the rapid fire romance and Arena beating up bullies, little of an educational nature occurs at school. It isn’t clear if this is a symptom of the disintegration of their society or just the way of life in 2053.

Arena barely connects to most of the other students or any of the teachers which is probably good since they are all destined to die horribly and she doesn’t seem to particularly care. Neither will most readers. Only a few of these characters have names and the majority of these people are mere place-holders. The urban setting of a town that is supposedly ‘poor’ also lacks credibility. In The Hunger Games, readers love Peeta because he burns the bread, then throws the damaged loaves to Katniss who in turn uses them to feed her little sister. Here, the foster parents manage to not only provide nourishing meals for Arena and her brother, they also have enough food to feed guests despite the severe economic downturns. Everyone subsists on credits provided by the government, but it isn’t clear if their foster parents are paid to care for Arena and Gabriel or somehow manage on their own.

Arena displays yet another flaw in the way she holds other girls in contempt. Again, there is little to choose from between these stereotypical teens and their interests, i.e. clothes, make-up, boys. It is a bit of a stretch because if everyone truly struggles with everyday survival and their town continues to crumble to pieces, how can anyone afford to buy anything new, much less flaunt it? The soldiers who maintain order and represent the totalitarian government are a different set of placeholders. As a brutal mob, they rape women and children, pillage through the town, slaughtering the men and teens. Their horrendous abuses become more difficult to believe when the story continues, especially when this fictional American military would rather torture and kill their own citizens before defending their country from the attacking Russians.

Often dystopian fiction portrays a battle between good and evil. In the Last Light Falling series, it becomes a case of evil versus evil. There is little to choose from between Arena and her allies as the civilized world slowly dies. The measured pacing of each book emphasizes the hopelessness of the situation. Mr. Plemons definitely knows the Biblical story of Armageddon, but Arena’s constant harangues of how terrible America has become will exhaust many readers and her lectures often slow the action, although since this has numerous, gruesome scenes of rape, torture and slaughter, that’s not all bad. In addition her lack of compassion and inability to show mercy as well as the constant episodes of violence and gore may prove difficult to overcome.

Reviews provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space in the Jan 2016 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: WARRIOR KIDS by Michael J Bowler

With the ever-increasing popularity of The Hunger Games, the Divergent series and even The Giver making it to the ‘big screen’ as well as flying off bookstore shelves, dystopian young adult and new adult fiction comes in all shapes and sizes. Some is highly derivative, with clichéd heroes battling tyrannical authorities or oppressive governments, but many titles are truly impressive.

WarriorKids-PosterWARRIOR KIDS by Michael J. Bowler

Create Space Publishing, October 2015 ~ 4 Stars

Blurb: The future looks bleak unless eighteen-year-old Lance and his New Camelot Earth Warriors can save the planet from catastrophic climate change. Spurred by twelve year-olds Billy, Enya, Itzamna, and his ten-year-old brother, Chris, Lance creates a branch of Earth Warriors, a youth-led movement designed to save the earth from its greatest enemy – greed. His involvement leads to Earth Warrior crews springing up all across America. Millions of kids leap into action, paralyzing the country and alarming the rich and powerful.

Having adopted his father’s philosophy of doing what’s right, rather than what’s easy, Lance makes serious enemies when he calls out New Camelot donors who represent fossil fuel or other polluting industries, and then barely escapes a series of “accidents” designed to kill him. When he challenges the United States Congress to step up and act immediately on the climate crisis, the attacks on him escalate. With the majority of America’s kids on his side, Lance and his young Earth Warriors prepare for the United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris, where they will call upon world leaders to stop talking about sustainability and start acting on it. But whoever wants him dead isn’t giving up. Will Lance and his crew live long enough to even get to Paris?

Review: This entertaining novel has an ensemble cast of young characters working together to make a difference and will undoubtedly engage most middle-grade audiences. While it has a few elements from the Arthurian legends, such as the mythical sword, Excalibur, the majority of the plot revolves around saving the world from pollution. Chosen by the sword, the new King Lance guides his mostly pre-teen warriors to step up and lead by example, reusing and recycling whenever possible. Using social media to connectwith a larger audience, other youngsters join this crusade, the latest in Lance’s battles. Occasionally, Lance refers to a previous engagement, probably detailed in an earlier book that gave kids more rights than those enjoyed in our society.

Since they have ‘civil rights’ and can choose where and how they live, it means they can answer Lance’s call to action when he confronts Congress and asks for controls to save America from the increasing perils caused by pollution. When sixty-million kids stop talking, it creates an impressive impact. This silent protest doesn’t stop them from emailing their representatives, so they’re not really quiet, are they?

As the group continues their strategy to stop pollution and the use of fossil fuels, the danger escalates for Lance. His enemies plot to destroy him, figuring this will also destroy his organization. However, the younger set is fairly adamant in carrying out his goals. For the most part, the characters are well defined and it is easy to tell them apart, although Enya is the only young girl who plays a strong part in the organization of New Camelot.

One of the major flaws in the book is the single-minded passion to save the earth. Yes, that is important and shouldn’t be downplayed. However, all the characters seem so united in this pursuit that they have few other interests. In addition, Lance spends all his time with this younger, middle-grade crew. Doesn’t he have any friends who are his age? If not, why not? We hear in some of his speeches that he does draw followers who are his age, but the reader doesn’t have the opportunity to see them in action. And we should!

In addition, could there be more description? One of the best scenes in the book happens when Lance takes his young warriors on a camping trip and they enjoy the opportunity to see huge trees and pristine streams. Despite the few shortcomings, this book provides important messages about climate change and making a difference in the world.

In an interview with The Book Breeze in October Indie Author Michael J. Bowler had this to say about WARRIOR KIDS.

It’s a standalone sequel to my Children of the Knight series. This one deals with the environmental crisis and climate change. I’m making the eBook free to all educators to share with their students. Teachers can purchase the paperbacks from me at my cost or from the publisher through their schools. The themes and messages in this book are important and very timely – the finale takes place at the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris this past December. As a teacher, I seldom found supplemental books that would entertain my students and also educate them about important issues, so I decided to write one.

Review: MAGIC BREW: EDGE CHRONICLES

Magic BrewMAGIC BREW: EDGE CHRONICLES

By T. Rae Mitchell

New Adult Urban Fantasy / Released Sept 2015 by Original Mix Media 300 Pages

Lace up your tennis shoes for the non-stop action in MAGIC BREW as the supernatural gang the Forsaken battle to get back to their own turf after a summit meeting goes south.

Nineteen-year-old Edge is second in command of the gang of throwaways. Everyone is on edge when a meeting of all the gangs is called but betrayal occurs when someone tries to offer up Edge as a sacrificial lamb to gain power.

This story has everything – action, romance, and death, all seasoned with secrets. Well written with vivid characters T. Rae Mitchell delivers a well-crafted story that I hope leads to a series.

Review: THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS

This si Where it EndsTHIS IS WHERE IT ENDS

By Marieke Nijkamp

YA / Released Jan 5, 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire, 288 Pages

I don’t think there are many things more terrifying than a school shooting. THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS immerses the reader into the minute-by-minute terror from the viewpoint of four students over the span of 54 minutes. What added to the terror was the fact that it was all over before the police could even mobilize.

I didn’t walk away with any insights as to how a kid could shoot other kids. Only that sometimes things happen that causes a fracture in someone that isn’t seen until it’s too late.

Superbly told, this tale will haunt you. I couldn’t put it down even though there were times I just wanted it to stop. I have often referred to a book as a “must read” but THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS is more of a read if you dare.

Review: THE DIRT ON NINTH GRAVE

Dirt on the Nineth GraveTHE DIRT ON NINTH GRAVE

(Charley Davidson Series Book 9) By Darynda Jones

Paranormal Romance / Released Jan 12, 2016 by St. Martin’s Press, 337 Pages

I was very excited when I was asked to review this book. I absolutely love this series. Book 8 was incredible. I told friends that “Darynda Jones really knows how to escalate a story.” Heavens, we even found out the story behind Mr. Wong so I anxiously awaited Book 9, excited to see what happens next. I was underwhelmed.

Book 8 ended with a very powerful scene and Charlie getting amnesia. Dirt on the Ninth Grave begins with Charlie working in a diner as Janey Doerr, with no sense of who or what she is. She is surrounded by her friends, though she doesn’t remember them, they are there to protect her as they wait for her memories to return.

I enjoyed meeting Osh, Garret, Reyes, Cookie and Uncle Bob through fresh eyes. Ms. Jones’ wonderful sense of humor and masterful storytelling is still present but by the time I was half way through the book it was just a little too dejavu. I was ready for Charlie/Janey to remember and move the story forward.

Maybe if Book 8 had not been so incredible I wouldn’t have felt so let down but I did. Will this stop me from continuing with the series? Hell no! I am anxiously awaiting Book 10 – THE CURSE OF TENTH GRAVE coming out June 2016 especially since THE DIRT ON NINTH GRAVE ended on a very ominous note.

Mystery Reviews

Long winter nights are good for cozy mysteries… here are a few for a good night’s read.

51w3y3ccz4L._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_Christine Husom has a new series, centering on a curio shop specializing in snow globes. The first in the series, SNOW WAY OUT (Berkley, 2015, $7.99) Cami Brooks has returned to her old home town in upstate New York after being involved in a distressing scandal, to open a new store and a new life. She’s making a good start, but life gets more complicated when she finds the body of the town troublemaker with a knife in his back, right after her first snow globe making class. Things get more confusing when snow globes appear and disappear from the shop. Is the addled Vietnam veteran responsible? Or is there something more sinister going on? Past sins come to light, long-lost brothers are united, and the guilty are punished, in this slice of small-town life. Instructions for making a snow globe are included

51H19P2pVzL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_BITE THE BISCUIT, by Linda O. Johnston (Midnight Ink,2015,$17.50) also features a new shop, this one featuring healthy treats for dog. Carrie Kennersly works as a veterinary technician at a local clinic, but she’s always wanted to have her own business. Now she’s opening The Barkery, as an annex to a local bakery, and it looks as if her dreams are coming true… that is, until a rival pet store owner arrives at the opening and makes it clear that there will be only one pet store in town! When the rival is found dead, with one of Carrie’s trademark dog buscuits nearby, it looks as if the rivalry has taken a nasty turn. It’s up to Carrie to find the killer, while keeping her own pets in line and providing treats for the canine population of Knobcone heights, CA. There are red herrings a-plenty, and Carrie goes on several wrong trails before confronting a most unlikely killer. Recipes for dog-friendly treats are included.

510-Hb9yOhL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Deirdre Verne’s DRAWING CONCLUSIONS (Midnight Ink, 2015, $14.99) takes us to the darker side of the mystery world, as Constance “CeCe” Prentice searches for the truth about her brother Teddy’s death. On the face of it, Dr. Theodore Prentice’s death was an accidet, triggered by his eating a cookie containing an allergen, but the police decide that it’s murder, and for some reason, CeCe is next on the list. The answers lie in the research institute funded by a mysterious Balkan entrepreneur, headed by CeCe’s father, where CeCe’s brother discovered the terrible secret behind their experiments. CeCe’s skteches are important clues in finding the killer, whose motives are as warped as his experiements. Not an easy read, but a compelling one.

51jrdcRFjIL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_In a lighter mood, CATNAPPED!, by Elaine Viets (Obsidian, 2015, $7.99) is another case for private eyes Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont, now happily married and living together in Palm Beach, FL. A tearful socialite wants them to get her beloved cat out of the hands of her soon-to-be-ex-husband. It looks like an easy job, but then the husband turns up dead, and the cat is missing. Helen takes on yet another “dead-end job” as a cat groomer, while Phil checks out the dead man’s background. The sleazy side of cat shows gets exposed, and so does a thoroughly nasty murderer. Another great entry in a long-running series.

Weber--A Killer Retreat CoverMore pets take center stage in A KILLER RETREAT, buy Tracy Weber (Midnight Ink, 2015, $14.99). Yoga teacher Kate Davidson takes Bella, the temperamental German shepherd along when she’s given an offer to teach at an exclusive resort. Trouble starts early, when Kate and her boyfriend Michael run afoul of one of the guests at the resort, whose unleashed dog sets Bella into a frenzy. Bella isn’t the only one; this woman manages to insult or distress everyone in the place. It’s not surprising that she turnes up dead; unfortunately for Kate, she has no alibi for the time of the murder. There are plenty of other suspects, all at cross purposes, and Kate finds herself fighting off the least likely of them at the edge of a cliff, before the murder is solved, and Kate resolves some of her personal issues. Plenty of character, and oddball characters, in this expedition into the Northwest. DON’T MISS OUR INTERVIEW WITH TRACY WEBER IN THE JANUARY 2016 EDITION.

Reviews provided by Roberta Rogow for her column Roberta’s Ramblings for the December 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.

New Releases

FINAL COVER  SILICON BEACH (2)SILICON BEACH By Davis MacDonald / Thriller Mystery Released Jan 12 by author in print and ebook

Attacked on Santa Monica Beach. The Judge has made more than his fair share of enemies over his ten years on the bench. But this came out of the blue…or did it? So starts the Judge’s desperate search along the boardwalks of Venice, through the swank bars and restaurants of Santa Monica, the yuppie ghetto of Playa Vista, and the sex clubs of West LA as he relentlessly pursues adversaries who threaten him — and anyone who gets too close to the secrets buried in Silicon Beach. All the while the Judge must try to negotiate the compromises required to maintain his new marriage to a woman 20 years his junior, and come to terms with the child she carries. As the Judge closes in on his adversaries and the body count continues to mount, he finds his new bride and the child may become collateral damage in this deadly contest with conspirators who risk all to win all on Silicon Beach. Follow the Judge as he upends public reputations, turns out private obsessions, confronts the power brokers of Silicon Beach, and unearths a secret so vast it threatens to overturn an entire industry.

DivineDIVINE Montana Dreams Book 1 By Cait Jarrod / Released Nov 23, 2015 by author in print and ebook

Matt Carson and Trina Lovett befriend each other during turbulent times at a young age. Over the years, their friendship strengthens building a strong, unbreakable bond. At least that is what they believe. Life choices put an ocean between them, and the depth of their bond is tested. Under the stress of being apart, heart-wrenching events leave them plagued with doubt. Danger forces them to make irrefutable decisions about what they want from life.