Her Royal Spyness is great fun

Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #1)

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


If you enjoy British humor and settings you will love this fun story. The heroine is young, smart, 34th removed from the throne and broke. Having had her allowance cut off when she turned 21 she now has to venture out in the world and make a living. But how does one do that when one has had servants all one’s life, you ask? It isn’t an easy task.

With a host of interesting cousins and men vying for her royal hand, Georgiana is determined to find love and a job, not necessarily in that order. What she discovers is a dead body and the distinct impression that someone is trying to kill her, too. You’ll enjoy this fun romp, I certainly did.



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A book you can sink your teeth into…

Bite Me (Demon Underground, #1)Bite Me by Parker Blue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes you need a little fantasy in your life. A wee bit of butt-kicking, a girl with a few drops of demon blood to ramp up her skills. Killing vampires seems to help Val keep the demon under control, but it leads to unforeseen consequences. After being kicked out of the house for supposedly endangering her younger sister Val is bereft, but soon finds solace and a furry partner who is part Terrior and part hellhound, and does a mean job of grabbing for the dangly bits on vampires.

This was great fun to read and no doubt I will read more in the series. Parker Blue makes the dark and seedy side come to life with humor and just the right amount of tension. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

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A Stranger in the House – you never know!

A Stranger in the HouseA Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. There’s a lot of twists and turns in this suspense novel. It kept me turning the pages! While I suspected a couple of things (like the nosey neighbor), I didn’t expect the ending. Thanks for a thrill ride, Shari Lapena. This was a very good read.

A seemingly normal housewife receives a call that sends her dashing out of the house. It’s obviously an emergency because she forgot to lock the door, take her purse or her cell phone. None of which are at all like her.  When the police call hubby to say her car has been in an accident he rushes out to see if the woman in her car, in a very hinky part of town is really his wife. Not only is it his wife, but the police suspect her of no good. Why was she there, otherwise? And when a dead body is found near where she lost control of her car she becomes a suspect. There’s just one problem. She doesn’t remember anything that happened that night.

This lady gets into deeper and deeper trouble as they investigate, her and her husband’s “perfect” record. Nothing sticks out, which in itself seems strange. Add a nosey neighbor, a stalker and you have a bit of suspense that will keep you reading all night.

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Excerpt from “Feisty Family & Friends” the third book in the series.

The next morning Tillie woke with a start. “What time is it?” The clock read nine and she was impossibly late with deliveries to the café. “Oh, no. I’ve never been late before. This is so bad. Joe!” She jumped out of bed and looked down at her sleep shirt. It read: I can’t adult today.
“Bad omen.”
She dove into her slippers and dashed into the kitchen. “Joe!”
The room was clean, with lingering scents of cinnamon and butter.
Opening the door to the garage, Tillie poked her head out and found her SUV missing. She grabbed the wall extension and dialed Joe’s cell.
He picked up after two rings. “Good morning, sunshine. You finally woke up!”
“Oh, Joe, what have I done? What’s Peggy’s going to do without pastries today? Where are you, by the way?”
He chuckled. “I took care of this morning’s baking while you slept, delivered today’s goodies, ran an errand and I’m on the way home.”
“Thank, God. I never even heard the alarm this morning.” Tillie felt like crying. This was not a good way to start the day.
“That’s because I woke up before it sounded and flipped it off. You were snoring so nicely I didn’t have the heart to wake you up.”
“You did? But you didn’t have to. I love getting up with you and baking in the morning.” Tillie couldn’t believe she was complaining about getting to sleep in. “I’m sorry. I’m an ungrateful wretch.”
“Ungrateful, maybe, wretch – never! Go get a shower and I’ll see you in a couple of minutes. I have one more stop to make before I get home. Love you.”
“I love you, too. And, thanks.” Tillie hung up and shook her head. “I’m losing my mind. Maybe a little hot water will help to clear my brain.” She started the shower and dragged her silly tee off and into the laundry basket. “I’m saving you for day time, no more jinxed sleep.”
The water felt wonderful sluicing down her head and back. She squirted her scrub with lavender scented soap and rubbed everywhere. After washing her hair and rinsing all over she sighed. “I don’t remember the last time I took a shower and got dressed so late. It feels positively indecent.”
A tall silhouette approached the steamy shower door. “Want some help drying off? I have a nice fluffy towel all warmed up for you,” Joe said. “Come and get it!”
She slid the door open wearing nothing but a grin and walked into the towel he held out to her. He wrapped her tightly and slowly rubbed his hands all over her to banish the wet and to warm her skin.
“How’s that?” he asked.
Her eyes were closed, and she sighed. “Wonderful. You should pamper me more often.”
Joe laughed. “That’s my plan.” He ruffled her short white curls with the towel and kissed her nose. “Better?”
Tillie wiggled her arms free of the fabric and hugged his neck. “You smell good, like chocolate and cinnamon. Did you try a new recipe?”
“No. I’m not that brave, I’ll use your recipes a while if you don’t mind.” He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the bedroom. “Want to mess around?”
“As tantalizing as that sounds, I think I need to eat. I’m getting dizzy from hunger.”
Reaching into her drawer Joe pulled out her long-sleeved Mighty Mouse tee shirt and handed it and some underthings to her. “How about some sweats and wooly socks?”
“Sure,” she said, donning the appropriated clothing as quickly as her chilled fingers would move. When the last sock was on, Joe picked her up again and carried her to the dining room.
“Put me down, you lovely dolt. I can walk.”
“I know, but let me play the gallant servant today, okay? Just one day.” His eyes pleaded with her.
“Okay.” Tillie laid her head on his shoulder, reached up and kissed his strong jaw and smiled when goose bumps flashed on his neck.
He cleared his throat and gently set her on one of the dining chairs. “I’ll get you something to eat, but coffee first?”
“Definitely, coffee first.” She grinned and pulled her stocking feet up onto the lip of the chair seat, hugging her knees.

Faithful, a novel by Alice Hoffman is a must read

FaithfulFaithful by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alice Hoffman writes so well, I always enjoy her books.

When an ordinary girl is involved in a life-changing accident and her best friend is damaged beyond repair, she is overcome with guilt and despair. With the help of her mother, strangers, and rescued pets she eventually realizes she is a good person with something to offer and is no longer defined by the tragedy she survived.

A story of family, faith, forgiveness, and survival – something we can all relate to.

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“Need to know” keeps you guessing to the very end.

Need to KnowNeed to Know by Karen Cleveland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vivian has it all, a wonderful husband, a home, an important job, and four lovely children. She’s having trouble juggling it all, being super mom and super central intelligence analyst. When she discovers the unthinkable, everything she believes is not what she thought it was, nor is she sure what she can do to protect her family. Lies have a habit of compounding and this story kept me enthralled. She finds she’s made of tough stuff, but the more she finds out the worse things get. Will she ever escape the downward spiral of her life – good question.

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Shanghai Girls, an amazing read.

Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1)Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa See has recreated Shanghai China in the 1930’s and the escape from the Japanese invasion by two sisters. Their experience is compelling. They eventually make it to Los Angeles and Angel Island. Although they are married (arranged by her father) to young Chinese American men, they struggle with interrogations and accusations by the authorities. Their new lives in America are difficult and opportunities become fewer as World War II rages. They are able to maintain a semblance of Chinese tradition and culture by living in Chinatown and working there. This story centers around the sister’s stories, their closeness, and their difficulties. It is not always an easy relationship because they are very different. One sister bears a child then the other raises it. The other sister loses her child. When one sister betrays the other once again, the results are catastrophic.

I was mad when I came to the end of this novel. There was so much more to the story. That’s when I found “Dreams of Joy” the second book and read it in two days also. Thank you, Lisa See for bringing such richness to the story, the people, the places and the time.

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New Author of Historical Fiction: Z. Minor

Please help me welcome: Louise Pelzl who is writing under the name of Z. Minor. She’s a delightful lady that I’ve known for a very long time and has been supportive of my writing journey. She’s past president of the Kansas Writer’s Association and a dear friend.

What parts of you and your background feed your imagination?

Everything around me; people, TV Shows, the what-if when I see or hear a headline either on the news or in a magazine.

Tell us a little about the very first story you remember writing?

The Sisterhood of the Coin. It was my first endeavor into writing a novel and it got published!

Creative people are often creative in other ways, besides writing what else does the muse encourage you to do?

I do decorative painting on wood – my favorite is snowman or Christmas decorations. I love to garden. I love having my home-grown cut flowers in the house. I plant a lot of flowers so when I bring them in the house my garden doesn’t look bare.

What genre(s) do you like to write?

Historical romantic suspense
Contemporary mystery novels
Play at sci-fi for fun
Most of my stories have murder and mayhem in them.

Tell us a little about your novel, its plot and the main character(s).

Sisterhood of the Coin is a series of three historical romantic suspense books.
The second book – I just sent my edits back to my editor, while I’m working on the third.

The stories involved three foster sisters who are interesting in finding out who their birth parents are for various reasons. The books take place between 1820 – 1824. When the women were young they formed a club called the Sisterhood of Coin. Each has an old Roman Coin. If they are ever in trouble, they only have to send their coin to another sister, and she will come to their aid.

Nicola Highbridge is the main character in the first book. She comes to London to help her younger sister and meets Clay Barber. He appears to be a common laborer but in reality, is a titled Earl. He helps her find her birth parents and in the process discovers who is one of the leading players in the Cato Conspiracy (a true fact from 1820).

My second book, Mara’s Legacy is about Mara Highbridge and what she discovers when she sets out to find her birth parents.
My third book, Emmy’s Discovery is about Emmy and an archeology opportunity that might just set the world of literature in a tailspin. And of course, as I have introduced new characters major and minor in my current works I see other books taking shape.Which might mean there will be more than three books in the series.

Are any of the characters like you and if so in what way?

I don’t think so. I think my characters are how I wish I could be.

What genre(s) or author(s) do you like to read?

I don’t have a favorite author. As long as the book is interesting, I will read it.

Where and when do you find the best ideas or inspiration for your stories?

I like to use historical facts that are not known to most people. I research the events and then add my own twists, while keeping the historically portion accurate.

If there were a message you could share with other writers what would it be?

Don’t give up on your writing- not ever!!!

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?

I write under the name Z. Minor (middle initial and maiden name). Find me on Amazon, or my website www.zminor.com. I’m also on Facebook under Z. Minor.

Book Review “Girl Waits With Gun”

Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp Sisters, #1)Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Amy Stewart read. It was fascinating to find myself in the 1914-15 era in NJ/NY, a time when our nation was growing in industry (with mills, factories, Black Hand gangs) and people who could – took advantage and bullied others. (Not all that different now.) Constance Kopp is tall for a woman, strong and smart. She watches over her sisters and stands up for them and others against all odds. When she has a run in (literally) with the local bully (crook, criminal, well-to-do bully) it starts a chain of events and torments that force her and her sisters to learn to defend themselves. With the help of the local sheriff, Constance and her sisters bravely gather proof that the man who is tormenting her family is responsible for even more, possibly deadly mischief. The pace of the book fits well with the time period. These women are full of sass and I enjoyed the story.

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Meet Alice Duncan, a Delightful Author & Editor

I met Alice Duncan ten years ago when she edited my first novel for Five Star Publishing. Not only is she a great editor but she writes wonderful cozy mysteries. I hope you’ll enjoy her interview below, Thanks Alice!

What parts of you and your background feed your imagination? Particularly in my Daisy Gumm Majesty books, my entire life, especially my childhood, feeds my imagination. The books are set in Pasadena, CA, in the 1920s. I wasn’t around in the 1920s, but I love Pasadena, and I love history, so this is a match made in … well, maybe not heaven, but you know what I mean.

Tell us a little about the very first story you remember writing? The first story I remember writing was something about dinosaurs. Even then I wanted to be funny. I pointed out to my mother that I used the word “clodhoppers” in the story in order to make people laugh. Clearly, my sense of humor hadn’t developed to any kind of pinnacle, but heck, I was only six or seven. Oh, and I also used to write illustrated newspapers when I was a kid. All I remember is a line my mother had to correct: “Team finely wins a game,” or something like that. My mother told me the word I wanted was “finally” unless I meant the team did a spectacular job in winning the game.

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Creative people are often creative in other ways. Besides writing, what else does the muse encourage you to do? I used to dance and sing a lot. I was a member of two professional folk-dance companies. I know that sounds kind of like professional basket-weaving, but it’s not, really. I still love to sing. In California, I belonged to a Balkan women’s chorus. When I moved to Roswell, Balkan women’s choruses were thin on the ground, so I started singing in the choir of the Methodist Church my mother attended. I also participate in other music venues in town (the annual Concert of American Music and the St. Mark’s Advent chorus spring to mind). Oh, and I belong to a dachshund rescue group (http://newmexicodachshundrescue.org/). That’s not necessarily creative. It’s mostly because I’m an idiot.

 

What genre(s) do you like to write? Whatever genre I write in (romance, western, mystery), it absolutely has to be historical. I don’t get along well with the world the way it is. I prefer to pretend life was better in the olden days. In truth, if I’d been born in an age without antibiotics, I’d have died when I was 22, and then whatever would my daughters have done?

Tell us a little about your novel, its plot and the main character(s). UNSETTLED SPIRITS is the 12th (actually, it’s the 13th, but that’s not my fault) book in my series of cozy historical mysteries featuring Daisy Gumm Majesty, a fake spiritualist-medium in Pasadena, CA, in the 1920s; and her family and friends. In this present book, Daisy and her fiancé, Detective Sam Rotondo (who used to be her worst enemy), are in Altadena’s Mountain View Cemetery. Daisy wants them to receive a blessing from their deceased spouses before she and Sam marry. She wants to ensure this happens by visiting their late spouses’ graves. Sam thinks she’s nuts, but he goes along with her. Rather than a blessing, what she gets is her late husband’s dachshund, Spike, bringing her a shoe. Unfortunately, the shoe contains a foot, and thus the action begins.

Are any of the characters like you and if so in what way? Daisy is actually me, only she has a supportive birth family and none of my crippling neuroses. She also goes to a lot of the places I used to frequent in Altadena and Pasadena, and she lives in a house I used to own. What’s more, she goes to the doctor to whom I used to take my daughters when they were little. She also likes to dine in a Mexican restaurant called Mijare’s. Mijare’s was opened in 1920, and it’s still going strong! It has great food. I recommend it to anyone visiting Pasadena. In my Daisy books, one of Daisy’s clients, Mrs. Bissel, lives in the house my aunt used to own in Altadena. I kind of grew up in that house, and I love it.

What genre(s) or author(s) do you like to read? History is my passion. I love to read about specific periods in time, or books that explain historical eras or phenomena. For instance, I recently read a great book called GET WELL SOON, by Jennifer Wright, which documents the world’s worse plagues. Fascinating reading. I recommend it to anyone who’s interested in stuff like that. I enjoy historical mysteries, too. Lately I’ve discovered T.E. Kinsey’s Lady Hardcastle books. The only problem with them is that he doesn’t write them fast enough. I’m also a huge fan of Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series.

Where and when do you find the best ideas or inspiration for your stories? Honestly? I dunno. They pop up here and there. An old dancing and singing buddy of mine, Stephanie Cowans, is the person who gave me the beginning of SPIRITS UNEARTHED. We were e-mailing each other, and she suggested Daisy and Sam go to the cemetery to seek the blessings of their late spouses before their upcoming marriage. So I took that idea and ran with it. Well, that is to say, I sort of stumbled along with it, before hitting my stride.

 

I also love to cook. This is a peculiarity I don’t share with Daisy, who can burn water. In order to make up for Daisy’s deficiencies in the kitchen arts, I gave her an Aunt Vi (actually, my Aunt Wrennie, who owned Mrs. Bissel’s house) who is a fabulous cook. SPIRITS UNEARTHED features a recipe from Aunt Vi’s repertory: smothered Swedish-style chicken. In order to create this dish, you’ll first have to haul out your Scotch kettle. I puzzled that one over for a minute or two, then did some research and discovered a Scotch kettle is a Dutch oven! See?

 

If there was a message you could share with other writers what would it be? Never give up. There’s no assurance you’ll ever be published by anyone other than yourself—unless you give up. Giving up is a sure-fire guarantee you’ll remain unpublished. There’s also a quotation by Henry Van Dyke (he wrote THE STORY OF THE OTHER WISE MAN, which is definitely worth a read) I love it a lot: “Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

 

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work? If you’d like to find out more about Daisy and the gang, please visit this page: (https://ebookdiscovery.lpages.co/aliceduncandaisygummbook12excerpt/ ), where you can read an excerpt from SPIRITS UNEARTHED and learn more about my Daisy books. That page also contains links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and everywhere else if you’d like to buy the book. If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Thank you!

Author Biography:

In an effort to avoid what she knew she should be doing, Alice folk-danced professionally until her writing muse finally had its way. Now a resident of Roswell, New Mexico, Alice enjoys saying no to smog, no to crowds, and yes to loving her herd of wild dachshunds.

Alice has written historical cozy mysteries under the names Alice Duncan, historical and paranormal romances under the names Emma Craig and Rachel Wilson, the Titanic series as Anne Robins, and western adventures as Jon Sharpe.

A prolific author, Alice has been praised for the Mercy Allcutt Mystery series, a cozy series called “a silly madcap romp” and “great fun.”

Her thirteen-book series, The Daisy Gumm Majesty Mysteries, are set in the roaring twenties in Pasadena, and are “absolutely endearing and linguistically spot on” with a “funny, spunky heroine” who works as a spiritualist and medium. “There is pluck, and then there is Daisy.”

She’s also known for The Dream Maker series, Meet Me at the Fair series, the Pecos Valley Diamond series, and many others. Visit Alice at www.aliceduncan.net.