Review: Adult Coloring Books

61nxQbGy7vL._AA160_DOODLE ART ALLEY BOOKS by Samantha Snyder Here’s a great gift idea for the kids and the kids-at-heart in your life – Doodle Art Alley Books. They come in 7 designs/subjects to inspire, uplift and generally deliver good feelings.

Volume One – Imagination Will Take You Everywhere



Volume Two – Mistakes Are Proof That You Are Trying


61EcMh+WpsL._UX160_The one I received for review is Attitude is Everything. Yes, I’ve been coloring. Yes, I’m having fun. And yes, it does relieve stress.

So what’s your favorite medium? Felt tips, colored pencils or crayons? Me? I’m a crayon gal all the way. Love the smell. So grab whatever your heart desires and put a smile on your face and some new art on the refrigerator!

It looks like this is the year of adult coloring books!


51GLpQTr2QL._AA160_CREATIVE HAVEN OWL COLORING BOOK by Marjorie Samat Released June 2015



THE OFFICIAL A GAME OF THRONES COLORING BOOK by George R. R. Martin Release October 2015



51YnpuOLgaL._AA160_CREATIVE HAVEN CREATIVE CATS by Marjorie Samat Released May 2015




THE OFFICIAL OUTLANDER COLORING BOOK by Diana Gabaldon Released October 2015


61WohABiOHL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_And coming in 2016 … DOCTOR WHO COLORING BOOK by Price Stem Sloan Released Feb 16, 2016

New Releases

CF - Rogue Wave (2)ROGUE WAVE An Emma Winberry Mystery/Adventure By Helen Macie Osterman Mystery Released Sept by Oak Tree Press.

Emma Winberry and Nate Sandler, her significant other, plan a vacation on a sailboat on the Caribbean. Emma has misgivings about the trip and discusses it with her Guardian Angel who tells her there will be trials ahead. Follow the characters through the world of storms at sea, piracy, drug lords, and heroism to the pulse pounding conclusion.


choosing carter coverCHOOSING CARTER By cj petterson Mild Contemporary Romantic Suspense Released Sept 17 by Crimson Romance.

Bryn McKay has always tried to save her brother from his risky choices, but a near-tragic truck accident landed him in prison and her in the hospital. Now, a year later, he’s converted to radical Islam and escaped, vowing revenge. To clear her mind, Bryn goes on a rafting trip with her best friend, naturalist and outdoor guide Carter Danielson – and she wouldn’t mind if things turned romantic. Unfortunately, Carter is a recovering alcoholic who shies away from commitment. That is, until the two of them stumble across her brother and must flee for their lives. Will Carter figure out where his heart lies, or will Bryn face her biggest fear: watching someone she loves die?

Miss RufflesMISS RUFFLES INHERITS EVERYTHING by Nancy Martin Cozy Mystery Released Nov 3 by Minotaur Books

Rich and flamboyant Honeybelle, the most colorful character in Mule Stop, Texas sudenly dies a suspicious death and enrages the whole town by leaving her vast fortune to the most underserving recipient: her dog. The incorrigible Miss Ruffles is a Texas Cattle Cur, not a cuddly lapdog, and when Honeybell was alive, Miss Ruffles liked nothing better than digging up Honeybelle’s famous rose garden after breakfast, chasing off the UPS man before lunch and terrorizing the many gentleman callers who came knocking at cocfktail hour.

Review: CLOSER TO THE HEART by Mercedes Lackey

Closer to the Heart / Book 2 of the Herald Spy by Mercedes Lackey ~ DAW, October 2015 ~ 5 Stars

Blurb: Mags was a Herald of Valdemar. But he had once lived the brutal life of a child slave. When he was Chosen by his Companion Dallen, his young life was saved, and he slowly adjusted to being well fed, educated, and treasured as a trainee in the Herald’s Collegium at Haven. Singled out by the King’s Own Herald, Mags would thrive in his secret training as a spy. His unusually strong Gift—an ability to Mindspeak and Mindhear anyone, not just others who were Gifted—made him a perfect undercover agent for the king.

Sequel to Mercedes Lackey’s Closer to Home, this adventure continues Mags’s journey as Valdemar’s herald spy.

Review: A former child slave who worked as a miner, Mags has grown up since being chosen by Dallen, a charming, but slightly arrogant white horse or Companion. Mags attended school, the Collegium, with other new student Heralds, made friends, became a champion in the athletic, but brutal game of Kirball, fell in love with Amily and now works as a Herald-Spy to protect the realm of Valdemar. His adventures fill several books, yet each can also stand alone, a tribute to Lackey’s skill as a writer, but where is the fun in that?

By this point in the series, new engaged Mags and Amily are committed to each other. What they want to do is get married and have some time together. However with a civil war brewing in an adjacent country, Mags must continue spying for the Crown and Amily must perfect her skills as a newly chosen advisor to the King. Readers familiar with Lackey’s work will recognize that it may seem odd to have a young woman barely out of her teens tell an authority figure what to do, but this is a frequent occurrence in the the series. What does seem odd to me is the reappearance of Rolan, the Companion who chose Amily. Yes, he’s immortal, so why doesn’t he avoid mistakes?

Perhaps, it could have been made clearer that he is at the start of his career as the Companion to the ‘King’s Own’ and will learn more before he appears in later stories. It felt a bit contrived that he accepted the apparent accidental death of the former advisor, Amily’s father so quickly in the previous book, Closer to Home. Rolan chose Amily to succeed him. It seemed as if Rolan should at least discover if the man was truly doomed. Yes, for the purposes of the plot, it worked – but why not have a different Companion choose Amily? It still isn’t clear why she must be the most trusted advisor to the King, but perhaps it will become clearer as this series progresses. One of the joys in Valdemar is the fact that while Companions may look like beautiful, telepathic white horses, they don’t suffer from the everyday problems that equines do in the ‘real’ world such as colic and after spending a week nursing a sick pony back to health, it is wonderful to escape to such a fantastic place. Add in the fact that there is very little stall mucking and more horse owners would undoubtedly join me there.

Despite this weakness, the story works. Mags and Amily both build networks of spies since each knows that knowledge is power. These two likeable, smart, strong characters will engage readers as long as the series does, especially when they head off to find the traitor fomenting a war in their homeland. The ensemble cast is so well depicted that readers will want to see them as heroes and heroines of their own tales, not simply supporting characters. The same goes for the setting. Lackey describes the city and country well enough that long time followers will recognize familiar landmarks, yet newcomers will also feel at home.

Mags and Amily’s adventures don’t end on the last page of the book. Of course, there are hints of more to come, but this was an enjoyable visit to a beloved world.

Review provided by Shannon Kennedy for her column Shannon’s Space in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: SMARTY BONES by Carolyn Haines

SMARTY BONES by Carolyn Haines

St. Martin’s Press / Mystery – Crime

Take a town deep in Mississippi, reveal a mysterious grave where the perfectly preserved Lady in Red rests her unclaimed body, add a handful of professorial types, throw in a paramilitary group of rednecks, shake the mix with Zinnia’s society ladies, and before long, the only way to get anything straightened out is to hire Sarah Booth Delaney. This is a tightly plotted and well-paced book from Haines’ Bones series. Based on a true story in Mississippi, the book includes the right amount of history coupled with contemporary events to make the story exciting, fast-paced, and interesting. As always, Sarah Booth’s team of local dignitaries, including live-in haint, Jitty, keeps Sarah Booth on the straight and narrow, as bodies begin to turn up, abductions balloon, and Zinnia’s prominent citizens are caught in the net of accusations. All in a day’s work for the intrepid Sarah Booth Delaney.

Review: AND THE DARK SACRED NIGHT by Julia Glass

And The Dark Sacred NightThorndike Press Psychological Literary Fiction

Glass goes right to the heart of the question from the first page: nature or nurture. Do we have to know who gave us our gene pool to know truly who we are? For Kit Noonan, the answer would be a deliberate yes. Daily, Kit is sucked further into a debilitating depression, which his wife finally articulates with an ultimatum. He needs to uncover the secrets his enigmatic mother has held from him for forty years. What could be so bad that his bold, independent mother can’t disclose it? He is about to discover that not all things need to be discussed, or do they? Risk taking has not been his strong suit, in fact, he avoids it religiously, but now, he must prepare for battle. And what better place to find oneself than in an isolating blizzard filled with people from his past?

This contemporary looks at the ways families in the 21st Century are made, torn asunder, reconfigured, set adrift, and remolded. How do parents keep their children feeling safe and loved in the middle of the shifting tide of emotion? How do parents keep themselves from succumbing to the confusion? A heartbreaking , yet pertinent topic written in an absorbing way that brings the reader into the story, alternately rooting for Kit and wanting to thrash him.

This review was provided by Mahala Church for her column Barefoot Book Reviews in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.


Move Your Blooming Corpse

Minotaur Books Cozy Mystery

This delightful look into the world of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins’ continuing story is a tightly written, well-plotted book, and best of all, it lets us continue our fascination with the pair and their steadfast friend, Colonel Pickering. Between Eliza’s raucous father and stepmother and a host of other less than desirable company, Eliza and Henry find themselves up to their posh hats in bodies. The story is set against the backdrop of the suffragette movement in England, which became quite violent at times and emotions run high as the women fought for the right to vote. Merging the suffragettes with the racing crowd—an energetic blend of toffs and laborers—at Ascot, they are all shocked to see a victim trampled during the Gold Cup race. Dialogue is spot on and when Eliza drops into her pre Henry Higgins brogue, I could hear her voice. The team of D. E. Ireland took Eliza and Henry beyond their original story with a plausible tale, which certainly could have been pedestrian, but most definitely is not!

This review was provided by Mahala Church for her column Barefoot Book Reviews in the November 2015 edition of The Book Breeze.

Review: BUTTERFLY WALTZ by Jane Tesh

518K4jOYxfL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_BUTTERFLY WALTZ by Jane Tesh

Fantasy Released June 2015 by Silver Leaf Books

Desmond Fairweather, a young musician whose creative efforts are hampered by fears he may possess destructive magical powers, is swept up in a world of mystery and intrigue as he helps his tabloid writer friend Jake Brenner, who is on the hunt for a big supernatural story. Skeptical of the validity of the stories Jake hunts, Des reluctantly accompanies his friend on his latest adventure with the promise that Jake can help him secure an audition with the city symphony, a break Des desperately needs. This latest story brings the two out to the country to investigate some talking flowers at the Snowden estate. While investigating the flowers of Christine Snowden, a startlingly beautiful young woman appears to Des who claims to be magical. She is Kalida, a mysterious creature who has escaped from the people of the Caverns and renounced their evil ways. However, her people have found her and are pressuring her to return to their world.

The way this is written I would call this a cozy fantasy with beautifully written scenes such as:

Her long black hair glittered as she ran her comb down its length. Faint sunlight picked its way delicately through the forest and bathed the small room in pearly light.

This is a great book to snuggle up with on a chilly winter’s day.

Jane Tesh is the author of a couple of cozy series: Grace Street Mysteries and Madeline Maclin Series.

Review: SUTPHIN BOULEVARD by Santino Hassell

Sutphin BoulevardSutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell

Dreamspinner Press GLBT

Very much an adult story – not just due to the sex, but because of the situations and themes. This is no sweet romance – Michael and Nunzio have been best buddies for most of their lives, , but an unexpected sexual encounter changes the dynamic of their friendship just as Michael’s family is falling apart under the burden of his alcoholic father who has come home after abandoning the family years before. The pressure creates problems for Michael at work – he teaches in an inner-city high school — and exacerbates his own issues. When his father dies of the illness created by the alcoholism, Michael goes into a death spiral that lands him in a rehab center, where he finally confronts his own alcoholism, and his own emotions.

I am not a big-city person, but this novel would have to be set in a big city and Hassell wears New York like it was tailored for him. Even the minor characters are unique individuals, and besides heaving a sigh of relief when Michael finally gets his act together, I found myself with a strong admiration for anybody teaching in the NYC school system.

Not a light read, but one I couldn’t put down.

Got to give this one an A … that is, 5 paws up.

Review provided by Ace Katzenbooks for the October 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.

Review: THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS by Catherine R Hyde

The Language of HoofbeatsThe Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine R Hyde

Lake Union Publishing GLBT

This month brought me a couple of books I would probably not have chosen to read for recreation. Both deal with some difficult situations in problematic environments that are polar opposites.

“Hoofbeats” is set in rural California. The main POV narrator, Jackie Archer-Cummings, is moving with her wife Paula and their adopted son Quinn to a small town of Easly. Also with them are two foster teens, a troubled teenage girl named Star and a young man of Guatemalan descent, Mando, whose mother is in prison on a falsified charge. The reason for the move is Paula’s career – she’s a veterinarian who had been unable to set up her own practice in Napa Valley due to an overabundance of vets. In Easly, she will be the one-and-only vet around. Though this was a plan Jackie agreed to, she finds herself isolated and lonely as a stay-at-home mom to the kids.

The prospect of making new friends seems dim when her first contact with the neighbor across the road is a shrill complaint from an angry middle-aged woman who objects to Star trespassing to visit her horse. Clementine D’Antonio is nobody’s friendly neighbor; she seems to exist to attack anyone and everyone who comes near her, and upon finding the new arrivals to be a same-sex couple, she immediately runs back home and starts complaining to her husband. And for her husband Vernon, that is the last straw; after many years of enduring her displeasure with the world, he packs up and walks out.

This could so easily have been a dance of cardboard characters, but over the course of the story the reader gradually comes to know and understand even the least likeable of them. This is a terrific story because it allows the characters – even the youngest, Quinn – to grow and change. I hadn’t expected to like this novel very much, but it drew me in and even though I really could not identify much with any of the characters (for instance, I would not want to take responsibility for a teenage girl with the habit of running away), I’m glad to have met these folks and wish them well.

Five hoofprints!

Book Excerpt: SUICIDAL SUSPICIONS by Kassandra Lamb

51ufwcFfKuL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_EXCERPT FROM SUICIDAL SUPICIONS by Kassandra Lamb

Josie jolted upright, blood pounding in her ears. A vise squeezed her chest. Her hands fisted around clumps of damp, rumpled sheets.

The shadows shifted, morphing into the dark outlines of her bedroom furniture. The vise loosened. She sucked in air.


She’d had the damn dream again. And just when she was starting to feel better.

She shuddered. The dream often foreshadowed the beginning of another bout of depression. Which would be so freaking unfair, since she was just coming out of one. The lows didn’t usually come so close together.

There’d be no going back to sleep right away. The best thing to banish the dream, she’d discovered by trial and error, was to read for a while. She turned on her side and reached toward the lamp on her nightstand.

No! No lights! The stern, male voice from the dream.

Adrenaline shot through her. She’d never heard the voice while awake before. She fumbled for the switch on the lamp, almost knocking it off the little table. It rocked wildly. Finally she got her hand wrapped around its neck. Her thumb found the switch.

Light flooded the room.

No lights! the voice screamed in her head.

Her heart pounded, threatening to explode in her chest. She leaned back against the headboard and tried to take a calming breath, like Kate had taught her.

That usually helped. But this time the anxiety wasn’t subsiding, not even a little bit. She was about to jump out of her skin. Fear closed her throat. She tried to swallow but her mouth was too dry.

No more voices yelled at her, but she had the gut sense that she wasn’t going to feel better until she turned the light off. She did so with a shaky hand. Her eyes darted nervously around in the blinding darkness. But the rest of her began to relax, her body shifting from full-alert terrified to moderate jitters.

Maybe she should call Kate. What time was it? She didn’t have an alarm clock. The natural one in her head always woke her when she needed to be up.

She felt around on the nightstand for her watch, found it, and pressed the tiny button that backlit its face. She held her breath, waiting for the voice to object.


It was two-thirty in the morning. She couldn’t call Kate. If she was suicidal, yeah, but not over a stupid dream. And she’d have to give the whole background on the dreams–dreams she’d never mentioned to Kate before because they hadn’t come all that often in recent years.

And because a previous therapist had told her the dreams were symbolic of some kind of unconscious wish fulfillment. How could her psyche be secretly wishing to be scared witless?

Of course, that therapist had turned out to be a jerk, so why had she believed him about the dreams? She would tell Kate about them during their next session.

The fear raged back, flooding her system.

No, you can’t tell anyone! The disembodied male voice again.

Why couldn’t she tell Kate about the dreams?

The vise returned, squeezing her lungs. Panic was building in her head. Voice or no voice, she had to have light.

She threw the covers back and dropped her feet to the floor. In the darkness, she fumbled her way down the hall to the bathroom and flipped the light on.