Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My 2016 Clocks, Cogs and Mechanisms Challenge

(used under a creative commons license)

The Clocks, Cogs and Mechanisms Challenge 2016 is hosted by Rebecca at Writing Your Own Fairytale blog.  From the site:

What do I let count as steampunk?
You can count books like “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells and other books that are considered precursors to steampunk, I have no problem with you counting graphic novels like Full Metal Alchemist.

They do not have to be on a paper to count, your ebooks count as well.

You can also count these books towards other challenges.

Brass Gears: Read 1-3 steampunk books

Flight goggles: 4-6 books
Button-up boots: 7-12 books
Clockwork Corset: 13+ book
Go to the tour signup page to find out the rest of the details of the challenge.  I'm going for the Brass Gears level, and have downloaded 3 books already.  I'm hoping to move up at least one level.

My 2016 Deal Me In Short Story Challenge

The "Deal Me In Short Stories Challenge" is hosted by Jay at the Bibliophilopolis blog.  Click on the button to go to the information page.



A♥ - Doggone It: Find Me! by Gianna B. Reid
2♥ - Strong Arm Creek by Rod Moore
3♥ - Stage Door: A Cue to a Kill by Lillian Watts
4♥ - Gabby's Haunted House Book 1 by Lorrie Bannett
5♥ - Gabby's Haunted House Book 3 by Lorrie Bannett
6♥ - The Fake Santa Clause Book 2 by Lorrie Bannett
7♥ - "The Father" by Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson (part of a collection of short stories)
8♥ - "The Griffin and the Minor Canon" by Frank R. Stockton (part of a collection of short stories)
9♥ - "The Piece of String" by Guy de Maupassant (part of a collection of short stories)
10♥ - "The Man Who Was" by Rudyard Kipling (part of a collection of short stories)
Q♥ - "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe (part of a collection of short stories)
K♥ - "The Gold-Bug", by Edgar Allan Poe (part of a collection of short stories)

A♦ - "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne (part of a collection of short stories)
2♦ - "Ethan Brand," by Nathaniel Hawthorne (part of a collection of short stories)
3♦ - "The Sire de Maletroit's Door" by Robert Louis Stevenson (part of a collection of short stories)
4♦ - "Markheim" by Robert Louis Stevenson (part of a collection of short stories)
5♦ - The Trash Collector by Monica Shaughnessy
6♦ - Unexpected Gifts by Bronwyn Green
7♦ - A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stoneley
8♦ - House of Justice: Short Horror Story by Vincent Bivona
9♦ - Living it Up in Fiddly Falls by Brenda Coulter
10♦ - Breaking In by Stephen Leather (part of a 2nd collection of short stories)
J♦ - Stranger on a Train by Stephen Leather (part of a 2nd collection of short stories)
Q♦  - Inspector Zhang and the Hotel Guest by Stephen Leather (part of a 2nd collection of short stories)
K♦ - Cat's Eyes by Stephen Leather (part of a 2nd collection of short stories)

A♣ - Christmas at Pebble Creek by Vannetta Chapman
2♣  - 619 George Pope Morris-- The Little Frenchman And His Water Lots (1839) (humorous short story collection)
3♣ - 738 Edgar Allan Poe-- The Angel of the Odd (1844) (humorous short story collection)
4♣ - 917 Caroline M. S. Kirkland-- The Schoolmaster's Progress (1844) (humorous short story collection)
5♣ - 1174 Eliza Leslie-- The Watkinson-- Evening (1846) (humorous short story collection)
6♣ - 1491 George William Curtis-- Titbottom's Spectacles (1854) (humorous short story collection)
7♣ - 1874 Edward Everett Hale-- My Double: And How He Undid Me (1859) (humorous short story collection)
8♣ - 2173 Oliver Wendell Holmes-- A Visit To the Asylum For Aged And Decayed Punsters (1861) (humorous short story collection)
9♣ - 2341 Mark Twain-- The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1865) (humorous short story collection)
10♣ - 2455 Harry Stillwell Edwards-- Elder Brown's Backslide (1885) (humorous short story collection)
J♣ - 2779 Malcolm Johnston-- The Hotel Experience of Mr. Pink Fluker (1886) (humorous short story collection)
Q♣ - 2995 Henry Cuyler Bunner-- The Nice People (1890) (humorous short story collection)
K♣ - 3178 Frank Stockton-- The Buller-Podingham Compact (1897) (humorous short story collection)

A♠ - 3527 Bret Harte-- Colonel Starbottle For The Plaintiff (1901) (humorous short story collection)
2♠ -4035 O. Henry-- The Duplicity of Hargraves (1902) (humorous short story collection)
3♠ - 4281 George Randolph Chester-- Bargain Day At Tutt House (1905) (humorous short story collection)
4♠ - 4725 Grace MacGowan Cooke-- A CAll (1906) (humorous short story collection)
5♠ - 4982 William James Lampton-- How The Widow Won The Deacon (1911) (humorous short story collection)
6♠ - 5108 Wells Hastings-- Gideon (1914) (humorous short story collection)
8♠ - Awaken by Zach Bohannen
9♠ - The Shelter by SunHi Mistwalker
10♠ - Rent a Bride for Christmas by C. L. DeCarr
J♠ - Here Comes the Santa Claus by Vivian Wright
Q♠ - The Shamrock Case by Vivian Wright
K♠ - A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson


Using the card page on, I came up with the following schedule for the year.  As each story is read, I will fill in the list below with a link to my review.  I've put in about 2 hours work on this post alone today (12/30/15), so any other changes will come later.

1.  Jan 3 - Jack of clubs - The Hotel Experience of  Mr. Pink Fluker (location 2779)
2.  Jan 10 - 6 of hearts -
3.  Jan 17 - 7 diamonds -
4.  Jan 24 - 8 diamonds -
5.  Jan 31 - king of hearts -

6. Feb 7 - 5 of hearts -
7.  Feb 14 - 10 of diamonds -
8.  Feb 21 - 6 diamonds -
9.  Feb 28 - 2 clubs -

10.  Mar 6 - 4 clubs -
11.  Mar 13 - 3 hearts -
12.  Mar 20 - queen clubs -
13.  Mar 27 - 4 diamonds -

14.  Apr 3 -10 hearts -
15.  Apr 10 - 6 spades -
16.  Apr 17 - 4 spades -
17.  Apr 24 - 9 clubs -

18.  May 1 - 5 clubs -
19.  May 8 -queen diamonds -
20.  May 15 - 8 spades -
21. May 22 - 2 hearts -
22.  May 29 - 9 hearts -

23.  June 5 - jack spades -
24.  June 12 -10 spades -
25.  June 19 - 2 diamonds -
26.  June 26 - ace diamonds -

27.  July 3 - king spades -
28.  July 10 -9 diamonds -
29.  July 17 -10 clubs -
30.  July 24 - 5 spades -
31.  July 31 - queen spades -

32.  Aug 7 - 7 clubs -
33.  Aug 14 - king diamonds -
34.  Aug 21 - jack hearts -
35.  Aug 28 - 8 hearts -

36.  Sept 4 - 2 spades -
37.  Sept 11 - ace hearts -
38.  Sept 18 - 8 clubs -
39.  Sept 25 - 3 spades -

40.  Oct 2 - 7 hearts -
41.  Oct 9 - ace spades -
42.  Oct 16 - jack diamonds -
43.  Oct 23 -5 diamonds -
44.  Oct 30 - 9 spades -

45.  Nov 6 - king clubs -
46.  Nov 13 - 3 diamonds -
47.  Nov 20 - 4 hearts -
48.  Nov 27 - 3 clubs -

49.  Dec 4 - queen hearts -
50.  Dec 11 - 7 spades -
51.  Dec 18 - 6 clubs -
52.  Dec 25 - ace clubs -

My 2016 Literary Loners Reading Challenge Sign-Up

Thanks to Jamie at the Whatever I Think Of! blog for hosting the 2016 Literary Loners Reading Challenge!  Here is some info from the site:

There will be two options for this challenge and you may choose one or both.  The first option is to read books featuring a character identified as a loner, outcast, recluse, wallflower, or introvert. This can be the main character (such as Bella from Twilight or Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower) or a secondary one (such as Miss Havisham from Great Expectationsor Boo Radley fromTo Kill a Mockingbird.  The second option will be to read works written by writers known to have been loners or recluses. The great poet Emily Dickinson was very much a loner as was author J.D. Salinger,  and this link says the ancient Greek playwright Euripides was something of a loner.  A biography of such writers may be read as well.

Visit the blog for more details (such as links to lists of books and authors who would fit the loner category) and to sign up!


There are no levels per se in this challenge, so completely arbitrarily, I will list 6 reads that would fit this category.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My 2016 Prequel-Sequel Reading Challenge Sign-up

From the host site:

For each prequel and sequel read this year, points will be awarded as follows:
  • 1 point for each prequel or sequel novella read and reviewed
  • 2 points for each full-length sequel read and reviewed
  • 10 points for completing and reviewing a full series (doesn’t require novellas)*†
  • **You do not get points for the first book in a series
10-25 points: Newbie
25-50 points: Amateur
51-75 points: Advanced
76-100 points: Professional
101+ points: Veteran

(Please visit one of the host sites - Novel Heartbeat or Writer Grrl Reads - for the details and to sign up!

Since I am reading challenge record-keepingly challenged, I am starting at the Newbie level and aim to collect between 10-25 points, always with an eye toward climbing a level during the year.  I'll be tracking my progress on this post and on my 2016 Reading Challenges page.

1. (book title, author, link to review, #points)

My "Bout of Books 15" Sign-up

Bout of Books

he Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

And, since the first post I saw about BoB 15 was from Andrea at Bookish Lifestyle included the following nifty schedule, I hope she won't be too upset if I *ahem* borrow the style.

Monday, January 4
  • Currently Reading: The Masquerading Magician by Gigi Pandian; Death of an Alchemist by Mary Lawrence
  • Number of pages I've read today: 50
  • Books Read: 0
  • Challenge:  Bout of Books - Introduce yourself #insixwords - "I am a Kentucky blogger extraordinaire!"

Tuesday, January 5
  • Currently Reading: same as Monday
  • Number of pages I've read today: 311
  • Books Read: The Masqueraing Magician by Gigi Pandian
  • Challenge: Writing My Own Fairytale - Would You Rather
  • Would you rather Lend books to someone who dog-ears pages or to someone who reads with cheesy Cheetos fingers?  I'd rather lend books to someone who dog-ears.  While I don't care for dog-eared pages...cheesy Cheetos fingerprints and food crumbs all up in your bookbook will attract creepy crawlies and destroy your book faster.
  • Would you rather Be able to meet one character of your choice or meet one author of your choice?  Author - because they have many characters inside them.
  • Would you rather: Never be allowed in a book store again or never be allowed in a library again?  I'd rather not be allowed in a library again.  While I love me some libraries, in book stores you don't have to be quiet and you can keep the books you take out.
  • Would you rather: Have to choose one of your favorite characters to die in their book or have to pick one of your favorite couples to break up in their book?  I'd rather a favorite couple broke up.  You can usually find somebody else to love.  Death is a little more permanent.
  • Would you rather: Be required to read Twilight once a year for the rest of your life or The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of your life?  The Scarlet Letter.  Nothing against Twilight, but while it is immensely popular, it hasn't stood the test of time ... and you're still more likely to be required to read TSL in an English class than you would the other one.

Wednesday, January 6

    Thursday, January 7
    • Currently Reading: Death of an Alchemist by Mary Lawrence (review coming week after next)
    • Number of pages I've read today: 211
    • Books Read: Immortal Reign by Aiden James
    • Challenge:  Bingeing on Books - Villain Mashup

    Friday, January 8
    • Currently Reading: City of Gold by Carolyn Arnold
    • Number of pages I've read today:
    • Books Read: 
    • Challenge:  The Book Monsters - Scavenger Hunt.  My entry is here

    Saturday, January 9
    • Currently Reading: 
    • Number of pages I've read today: 
    • Books Read: 
    • Challenge:  Once Upon a Chapter - Comfy Reading Spot

    Sunday, January 10
    • Currently Reading: 
    • Number of pages I've read today:
    • Books Read:

    I plan on reading the following titles during the Bout of Books:

    Death of a Brooklyn Landlord by Susan Russo Anderson.  I've read several titles in her Fina Fitzgibbons series, and can't wait to see what her MIL (Lorraine McDuffy) does in this book.  I'm reading this as part of a book tour and my review will be up on January 20th.

    Plain Dead by Emma Miller.  Amish. Cozy. Mystery.  Nuff said.  Also part of a book tour, to be reviewed on the blog on January 20th.

    ***all my other January book tour reviews have already been read.

    Blog Essentials:  Finding Your Voice and Living the Blogging Lifestyle by Ponn Sabra, Heidi Nazarudin and Habeeba Husain (editor)

    Christmas Romance 2015 - by Jennifer Conner, Sharon Kleve, Angela Ford and Natalie-Nicole Bates.

    Daughter of Earth and Water: A Biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley by Gerson Noel Bertram

    If I manage to get through those, I will probably edit the post to add links for those titles.


    Also, since I tend to forget stuff like this, I am going to add the info on the Twitter chats for BoB:

    Twitter Chats
    (chats last approximately one hour)
    TZC = Time Zone Conversion

    Monday: 8pm CST (TZC)
    Saturday: 10am CST (TZC)


    I will post updates on this post.

    Monday, December 28, 2015

    My 2016 Mount TBR Reading Challenge Sign-up

    Thanks to Bev at My Reader's Block for hosting this challenge!  I will include basic information, but please click on the button above to go to the site, get all the details and to sign up!

    Challenge Levels:

    Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s

    Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
    Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
    Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles/s
    Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
    El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
    Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s

    Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

    As I am a reading challenge addict, so I'm going to start at the lowest level (Pike's Peak-12 books) with a hope of upping the challenge during the year.

    1.  Too Quiet in Brooklyn by Susan Russo Anderson
    2.  Mercy Row Retribution by Harry Hallman
    3.  Coexist by Anna Tan

    My 2016 Vintage Scavenger Hunt Reading Challenge Sign-Up

    The Vintage Scavenger Hunt Reading Challenge (gold and silver editions) are hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block.  Thank you Bev!

    I've tried to give a very basic idea about the challenge, but please visit the host site for both more information, the rules (if any) and to sign up!

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to find as many objects on the scavenger hunt list as possible on the covers of the mystery books you read. As has been the case for Vintage Bingo you may play along in either the Golden or Silver Mystery Eras (or, for the more adventurous, both). See check lists below.

    I'm going for both, because I'm am book crazy like that.  I suppose I will go to one of those graphic altering sites (Picmonkey or Canva, etc.) and update the above graphics as needed, or maybe once a month or so - because altering after every single book would be a whole different kind of insanity, and I really need the time to READ!

    I will however make a list below of book titles (linked to reviews) and which scavenger hunt item it 'checks off'.


    My 2016 Non-fiction Reading Challenge Sign-up

    Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

    The Challenge:  Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult.

    That's it. You can choose anything. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge.  
    I always like levels in my challenges, so here are mine:
    Dilettante--Read 1-5 non-fiction books
    Explorer--Read 6-10 
    Seeker--Read 11-15
    Master--Read 16-20

    Since I am record-keepingly challenged, I will go for the lowest level (Dilettante 1-5 nf books) and hope for more.

    Many thanks to Jen at The Introverted Reader blog for hosting this reading challenge!







    My 2016 Eclectic Reader Challenge Sign-Up

    The Eclectic Reading Challenge is hosted by Shellyrae at Book'd Out.  Click the button to go to the sign-up.  Categories for 2016 are:

    1. A book about books (fiction or nonfiction)
    2.  Serial killer thriller
    3.  Paranormal romance
    4.  A novel set on an island
    5. Investigative journalism (non fiction)
    6. Disaster fiction
    7. Steampunk sci fi
    8. Any book shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
    9. Psychology (non fiction)
    10. Immigrant Experience fiction - Emigrating Home by Yasseen
    11. YA historical fiction  - Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell
    12. A debut author in 2016

    I will use this post to keep track of my choices and hopefully transfer the information to the page where I track all of my RC's together.

    Are you a reading challenge addict like myself?  How many have you signed up for?

    My 2016 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge Sign-Up

    The 52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Challenge is hosted by Robin at the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks blog.  Read the rules here.  Sign up here.

    My List:
    (books without links attached have reviews that are scheduled for a future date.)

    1.  Death of a Brooklyn Landlord by Susan Russo Anderson (read Jan 1; review to post Jan 20)
    2.  Plain Dead by Emma  Miller (read Jan 1; review to post Jan 20)
    3.  Elysium Dreams by Hadena James (read in January, review posted Jan 29)
    4.  Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell
    5.  The Other Side of Life by Andy Kutler
    6.  A Turtle Roars Through Texas by Russ Hall
    7.  The Plans I Have for You Devotional and Journal by Amy Parker
    8.  Mercy Row Retribution by Harry Hallman
    9.  A Clue in the Stew by Connie Archer
    10.  Coexist by Anna Tan

    Monday Bookish Posts - Dec 28, 2015


    Hi!  My name is LuAnn and I am a bookaholic.  Here are the books I read/downloaded/reviewed last week:


    Sean and Sara are supposed to have a relaxing vacation in Vail, but it all goes up in a puff of powder when there’s a suspicious death on the mountain. And the deceased is not just anyone; it’s Adrian Blackwell, a two-time Olympic skiing gold medalist.

    Rumor has it Adrian died in a skiing accident, but he was too skilled for Sara to accept that as fact. But she doesn’t want to disappoint Sean by ruining his ski trip, even though she’s convinced Adrian was murdered and she’s itching to find the killer.

    Sean has never been able to say no to Sara, but this time he plans to. However, all it takes a call from their PI firm back in Albany to change his mind. A job’s come in to investigate Adrian’s death, and his agent is the one footing the bill, leaving Sean with more questions than answers.

    Yet one major problem remains: their New York State PI licenses hold no legal authority in Colorado. They still can’t help but look into Adrian’s death on the sly, though. This case will definitely involve some underhanded tactics, all while trying to dodge the local police over the course of the investigation.


    My name is Izzy. I drink too much, am clumsier than a newborn foal, and my brain-to-mouth filter often malfunctions. My daredevil husband killed himself in a parachuting accident five years ago and my best friend Jack has decided it’s time I jump back in the dating pool. He’s perfectly happy to throw me in if I don’t listen. Just when things in the dating world start to heat up, my grandma dies. Only her knitting group of Jessica Fletcher wannabes is sure it’s murder. I’m not convinced but I’m always up for a bit of excitement as long as it doesn’t lead to a night in jail. Well, more than one night anyway. Will I miss my chance at love because I’m chasing imaginary killers? Did someone really kill grandma or am I and my merry band of geriatric thieves imagining things?

    On the night of her engagement, Rae Lynn Dobbs stumbles across a dead body on the beach of White Sands, Florida. Not only does she recognize the murder victim as one of the retirement-home residents where she serves dinner, but it looks increasingly likely that someone there also killed him.

    To her fiancé's dismay, Rae Lynn launches her own investigation. Between the gossipy widows, the home's last surviving bachelor, and her coworkers, Rae Lynn doesn't have any shortage of suspects. But the more she learns, the more it seems anyone could be guilty. And if she doesn't find out "whodunit" quickly, her fiancé might just become fed up enough to leave.


    I’m having the suckiest day ever. First, my father, aka Mr. Grumpy Pants, calls to say his nurse just walked out on him. Likely story. I rush home to pack, only to walk in on my husband getting it on with his younger, skanky secretary. Unfortunately, my quick weekend trip home to fix Dad’s problems turns into a stay of a few weeks. Luckily, I’ve got Danny, the neighbor boy I’ve had a crush on since I was a dorky, braces-wearing, nose-buried-in-a-book teenager, and a brand-spanking new blog to keep my mind off things. Before I know it, I’m writing product reviews of vibrators and getting questioned by a store rent-a-cop at the world’s worst date ever. All while trying to figure out how to take things with Danny to the next level. Not to complicate things or anything, but my boss decides to give me an ultimatum—come back in four weeks or don’t come back at all. How in the world did my life get so complicated?

    Fire chief Stella Griffin has been put in charge of judging the annual recipe contest, but Eric—her resident ghost and true culinary genius—has vanished. Before she can track down his latest haunt, she’s called in to investigate a local moonshine distillery that was set ablaze, making her realize there’s more than pies and cakes cooking in Sweet Pepper.

    As rumors of a revived whiskey war ignite, Stella turns to the town’s elders to help her find answers. The past might have some clues as to what has sparked the present fires. But when following a lead lands her in buried rubble, Stella realizes she must extinguish this case fast or she might be going down in flames.



    Ack!  I didn't post a single review this week!  Looks like I've got my work cut out for me in between Christmas and New Year's Day!



    (There are too many of these in the last week to put pictures of them all up.  I am addicted to free downloads on Amazon.  I do try to - eventually - also download another title for the author.  Links here go to GoodReads.  I don't read erotica, so some of these may become DNFs.)

    My Little Pet Dragon by Scott Gordon
    Lawful Deception by Pamela Samuels Young
    The Billionaire Boyfriend Trap by Kendra Little
    Baby, I'm Back! by Laurie Kellogg
    His Captive Bride by Shelly Thacker
    The Use by D. L. Carter
    Catch Me When I Fall by Vicki Leigh
    The Helios Rain by Peter Glassman
    Mystery: Perfect Crime by Varun Vashist
    Song at Dawn by Jean Gill
    Ties that Bind by Carolyn Arnold
    (I will be reviewing her new title, City of Gold, on February 4, 2016)
    Spectre Rising by C. W. Lemoine
    Christmas Romances 2015: Places to See by Jennifer Conner
    Daughter of Earth and Water by Gerson Noel Bertram
    (author's name appears in several ways)
    Marked by Kim Richardson
    Primal Unleashed by Jack Silkstone
    Wanted by You by Stephen Nuss
    Taste for Trouble by Susan Sey
    The Trouble With Being Wicked by Emma Locke
    Fin Gall by James L. Nelson
    Emissary by Thomas Locke
    Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer
    Lahn's Edge by Chuck Driskell
    Heart Raider by Sophia Knightley
    Charlotte's Summer by Annie Lane
    Beginnings by Lori King
    Tutti Frutti by Mike Faricy
    Rachel's Folly by Monica Bruno
    Trusting the Boss by Mallory Crowe
    The Warrior's Game by Denise Domning
    Bowl of Fruit (1907) by Panayotis Cacoyannis

    Sunday, December 27, 2015

    2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge #kickoff Post

    1. Write a blog post about joining the 2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge on your blog. For those of you who would like to participate but don’t have a blog, post about it on Facebook or Twitter.
    2. In your post, please include: the button, a link back to the sign up page, a link to both  Somewhere Only We Know and Words Fueled by Love, the level you hope to achieve, and (optional) a list of the series you hope to complete.
    3. Place the button for the challenge in your sidebar (use the “grab this code” at the bottom of the post here).
    4. Link up in the linky using the direct link to your post/tweet/etc.
    Levels: (how many series enders you are planning to read)
    Level 1: 1 – 5
    Level 2: 5 – 10
    Level 3: 10 – 15
    Level 4: 15+


    Many's the time this past year, 2015, that I've added 5+ books to my TBR list because the book I read for review was part of a series.  (I believe my record is adding 17 new books, but don't quote me on that.)

    So, I'm starting out with Level 1, and going for the bottom end of the scale of 1 series ending book.  I've seen some of the other participants with lists they already know they're going to read in 2016.  As most of the series I have read this past year (and maybe all) are open-ended, I cannot therefore say that "x" installment is the series ender.

    That will be my first challenge.  Suggestions of series not more than R-rated would be most appreciated!

    Are you doing any reading challenges in 2016?

    Saturday, December 19, 2015

    Framed and Burning by Lisa Brunette - #review

    The Dreamslippers are a family of private investigators who solve crimes by using their ability to 'slip' into your dreams. But that isn't easy. In Framed and Burning, they have to defend one of their own. Someone sets fire to Mick Travers’ art studio, killing his assistant, and Mick won't give an alibi. His sister is convinced he's innocent, but her granddaughter and the police aren't so sure.

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015

    The Body in the Landscape by Larissa Reinhart - #review #giveaway

    When Cherry Tucker’s invited to paint the “kill portrait” for the winner of Big Rack Lodge’s Hogzilla hunt, it seems like a paid vacation. Back home in Halo, a Hatfield-McCoy-style standoff builds between Luke and Cherry’s families. She’s ready for a weekend away, hobnobbing with rich and famous hunters, where she can forget her troubles and nobody knows her name.

    As Georgia sunshine turns to bleak December rain, Cherry’s R&R goes MIA when she finds a body in the woods. While the police believe the local drunk took an accidental spill, Cherry has her doubts, particularly when a series of malicious pranks are targeted at the rifle toting contestants. With loyal companions at her side—sort-of-ex-husband Todd and a championship bayer named Buckshot—Cherry tracks suspects through a forest full of pitfalls and perils. And all the while, a killer’s stalking the hunt party with a bead on Cherry.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2015

    When Life Gives You Lemons, Drink Coffee! by Deanna Martinez-Bey - #review #giveaway #trailer

    Janine is a smart and sassy southern girl from Triple Creek, North Carolina, who knows what she wants and fearlessly goes after it.  Janine's goal of making a life for herself and marrying the man of her dreams finally became a reality. She was a newlywed, married to a successful business man named Tom Whitfield and owned her own bakery.  Their life seemed perfect and all was well in Janine's world until her faith is rocked through a course of events that would challenge her own beliefs and change her fate forever.

    Tom is unexpectedly promoted to a new job that requires change for both he and Janine.  Leaving her life in Triple Creek to support her husband's career took a leap of faith for Janine and was a risk so early in the marriage.  But the bigger threat comes when Janine discovers some of Tom's darkest secrets and learns valuable lessons while she was there.

    Janine makes new friends in New York, but she still misses her family and friends in North Carolina. She discovers that love is not always predictable when faced with new challenges.  Can love truly conquer all? Or are some things best left behind?  After seeing things that shock her, Janine feels betrayed by people who she thought she could trust.

    This is the second installment written by author, Deanna Martinez-Bey, and focuses on Janine, a character we met in her first book, Twinkle, Twinkle Christmas Star. Told from the perspective of Janine and her funny southern humor, this story will move you while you share in this journey of discovery, love, betrayal, and the realization that you can make anything you like out of what life gives you.

    Monday, December 14, 2015

    Paint the Town Dead by Sybil Johnson - #review #giveaway

    It’s June in the quiet Los Angeles County city of Vista Beach, the place computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson calls home. Decorative painters are flocking to the newly built Akaw hotel to attend the Ocean Painting Society’s inaugural convention.

    During the week-long event, Rory plans on shopping the trade show floor, working in her mother’s booth, taking classes and connecting with other decorative painting fans. She doesn’t expect to witness her childhood friend collapse in class and die. When the police find no evidence of foul play, Rory embarks on her own investigation. Can she brush aside the lies to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice?

    Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, craft and hobby mysteries.

    Wednesday, December 9, 2015

    Lone Star by Paullina Simons - #review

    Falling in love was the easy part . . .

    Chloe and her three best friends are weeks away from finishing high school and beginning their new grown-up lives apart from one another. They have been friends since they were kids, their families and lives intertwined, but this is their last summer together. They plan a magical trip to sun-drenched Barcelona, with its possibility of adventure and passion. But first, Chloe has an old family promise to keep, and the four of them must detour through historic Eastern Europe.

    In this fledgling post-Communist world, Chloe meets a mysterious American vagabond named Johnny, who carries a guitar, an easy smile, and a lifetime of secrets. From Treblinka to Trieste, from Carnikava to Krakow, the unlikely band of friends and mismatched lovers traverses the Old World on a train ride that becomes a treacherous journey into Europe’s and Johnny’s dark pasts—a journey that jeopardizes Chloe’s plans and all she ever thought she wanted.

    The ties that bind Chloe to her friends and her future are about to be put to the ultimate test. Whether or not they reach Barcelona . . . their lives will never be the same again.

    A sweeping, beautiful tale of old friendships and new love that mesmerizes and enchants, Lone Star will linger long in the memory even after the final page has been turned.

    Friday, December 4, 2015

    Heliotrope by JC Miller - #review

    Buckle up your Birkenstocks and travel back to 1975. Discover (or relive) the pre-digital age in Arcata, a remote Bohemian college town on the northern edge of California. Meet Kit, a hard-working, bookish senior, on track for graduation--that is, until she falls for Jonathan, one-time bestselling author, now her stand-in professor. Jonathan, a master in the art of deception, isn't who he appears to be. As their bond grows, Kit's desire blinds her to the truth-- a shocking discovery shatters her faith and ultimately tests her integrity.

    From the first blush of fall quarter to the final breath of spring, hard lessons will be learned. To "graduate" into an uncertain future, Jonathan and Kit must first embrace the present--including the injustices, ambiguities and absolute beauty of their lives.

    Beneath the ever-changing Humboldt skies they forge ahead; they stumble and sometimes fall.

    Heliotrope, a coming-of age story for the ages.

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

    High Strung by Janice Peacock - #review #interview #giveaway

    ***High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery ebook will be 99 cents from Dec 5 to Dec 9. A Bead in the Hand, book two in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, is now available.  Both can be found in paperback and ebook editions on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

    After inheriting a house in Seattle, Jax O’Connell is living the life of her dreams as a glass beadmaker and jewelry designer. When she gets an offer to display her work during a bead shop’s opening festivities, it’s an opportunity Jax can’t resist—even though Rosie Perez, the store’s owner, is the surliest person Jax has ever met.

    The weekend’s events become a tangled mess when a young beadmaker is found dead nearby and several oddball bead enthusiasts are suspects. Jax must string together the clues to clear her friend Tessa’s name—and do it before the killer strikes again.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2015

    King Harald Canine Cozies by Richard Audry - #review #giveaway

    When springtime arrives in picturesque New Bergen, so do the tourists and antiquers. This year, though, there are some unwelcome visitors. Extortion. Arson. And murder.

    After his business tanks and his wife leaves him for a Pilates coach, Andy Skyberg flees the big city for the peace and quiet of his hometown. All he wants is a decent job, a steady girlfriend, a plasma screen TV with a hundred-plus channels, and one loyal dog. But fate has something else in store for Andy, when his big mutt King Harald starts sniffing out crime.

    It’s clear that someone has it in for the town’s New Age retailer, Trudi Bock. And it’s also clear that Trudi wants to rekindle the steamy romance she and Andy enjoyed back in college. Andy has to fend her off, while placating his fiery girlfriend, Deputy Sheriff Cass Conlin.

    Meanwhile, Harald keeps digging up more mayhem. And it falls to Andy to channel his inner sleuth and make sense of it all.

    Throw into this mix one legendary (but lost) ebelskiver recipe…a gimlet-eyed church lady…a van full of federal agents…a crusty socialist…a beloved iguana…and an overabundance of rosemaling…

    And you have all the makings for The Karma of King Harald.

    Murder Fir Christmas by Joyce and Jim Lavene - #Review #Giveaway

    Down the mountain from Sweet Pepper, Tennessee is Christmas Tree Valley, a place filled with hundreds of Christmas tree farms where generations of growers have made people’s lives brighter. Yet even here in this quiet, postcard-perfect corner of the world, darkness and murder can still stalk the night.

    Federal Wildlife Agent Bonnie Tuttle has always had a special gift with wild animals. It was one of the reasons she decided to train with the wildlife agency. She’s spent the last ten years in Alabama working, but her mother needs her home and she’s back despite all the bad parts of her life she hoped to leave behind.

    Her first day home begins with a fire on the island in Sweet Pepper Lake and the death of Harvey Shelton, the wildlife agent she’s supposed to replace. Bonnie manages to rescue dozens of animals from the fire – including a wolf pup that was shot with the same bullet that killed Harvey.

    Now she’s hot on the trail of Harvey’s killer and trying to reintegrate the wolf back into the wild even though he seems to want to stay with her. Yet old memories persist in the small community where she grew up, and the killer now seems to believe that she has what he killed Harvey for. All she has to do is figure out what that is before it’s too late.

    Monday, November 30, 2015

    Empty Nest by Marty Wingate - #Review #Giveaway

    In Empty Nest, Julia Lanchester’s life is interrupted by a murder most foul—and a killer who’s watching her like a hawk.
    Manager of a tourist center in a quaint British village, Julia Lanchester finds herself with more ideas than time. Her boss is the Earl Fotheringill himself, but apart from him, she doesn’t mix well with the aristocracy. Unfortunately, toxic mold forces her from her cottage and into one of the earl’s countless spare rooms at the Hall. She tries to get a handle on her overload of work, while she finds herself arguing with dinner guests, chaffing at the sudden interest the earl’s son has in running the estate, and missing her new beau, Michael Sedgwick.

    Her life goes from bad to sinister when Julia discovers poisoned sparrowhawks on the expansive estate grounds. And soon after, she finds one of the Hall’s visitors murdered—felled by the same poison. While simultaneously both spooked and angry, she still can’t keep herself from snooping, and dragging Michael along into her investigation. But will she find the culprit before her own wings are clipped?

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    A Wedding at the Paragraph Ranch by Kay Ellington and Barbara Brannon - #review

    Can she piece together a dream on a shoestring? As new owner of the falling-apart family homestead in West Texas, Dee Bennett is wrangling ways to earn a living, mend fences with farm and family, and manifest her dreams as a writer—all while nurturing the budding relationship with her beau, outdoorsy photographer Max Miller. But when a drop-dead-gorgeous, high-powered handler for a candidate in a key statewide election blows into Claxton, rivalries bigger than politics and football develop. With stakes running high on the campaign trail, as well as in publishing dreams and love lives, a Bennett family wedding must be attended to. And Dr. Dee, with the assistance of her motley writing-group protégés, must search her soul and fend off a host of challenges to live the life she just might learn to love.

    Letter from Hell by M. Lee Mendelson - #review

    A simple, routine call to 911 unexpectedly erupts into a grisly suicide. Mike, a well-seasoned deputy is uncharacteristically disturbed by the gruesome scene. Who was this tortured soul, and why did this happen? Innocently, most of us accept our destiny. We assume our life experiences are the result of mere chance. Few of us discover that our fate is actually an orchestrated tapestry woven from beyond our world. When that influencing weaver is from the netherworld, you may likely find yourself on a dark, terrifying, and tragic journey. What if you discovered a letter penned by a desperate soul from beyond the grave, a literal letter from hell? What if that letter could alter your perception of reality by revealing that you are not in control? Would you dare read it?



    M. Lee Mendelson is a sick and twisted individual - BUT then so are Stephen King (author) and M. Night Shyamalan (filmmaker) - two masters of the horror genre.  The story is so frightening that it should come with a warning, like you might find on a particularly exciting amusement park ride:  "Do not ride if you have a heart condition."

    That being said, if you are a fan of the horror genre and adore things that go bump in the night, you should be addressee of a "Letter From Hell".

    Lots of people talk about writing a letter to their 'younger self'.  I suspect many of the 'younger selves' walking around today would take a look at such a letter from their 'future selves' and think, "Ye-e-e-e-ah, right," crumple up the letter, maybe burn it, visibly shudder and then go watch some episodes of The Smurfs.  Silly, silly, younger selves!

    I felt a LOT of sympathy for 'young Mike'.  Bullied relentlessly in middle school, he vows one summer to work out a lot and buff up before starting high school.  His father, a former college sports hero, and his mother, a former college cheerleader, had previously I think 'given up' that they would get a repeat of their glory days through the efforts of their son.  But when they see he is serious about getting in shape, they start to take notice and an interest in their flesh and blood.

    I could have done with much less description of episodes of his *ahem* daydreams in his bedroom and the numerous references to "Mr. Crunchy" definitely made me uncomfortable.  Especially in this case, the term 'crunchy' brings up a whole lot of visuals that killed my appetite for a while.

    And the summer between middle and high school, he starts catching the attention of young ladies, including the daughter of the family newly moved in across the street.  She is less than happy when she notices other young ladies noticing Mike when the school year starts up.

    I don't think it's giving too much away to remind people of a little movie from a while back called "Fatal Attraction".  Hmmmm?

    Mike goes on to have a brilliant college sports career until an accident ends that future for him.  So he turns to police work.  As time wears on, he becomes a detective and just happens to catch the really disgusting, grizzly crimes, especially child abductions and ritual murders and the like.

    The 'bad guys and gals' in Letter from Hell make Freddy Krueger, Michael Meyers, Frankenstein and most others of their ilk look like the "Little League of Horror".

    This book is definitely disturbing and riveting as....well, ... h-e-l-l!



    A first time author, M. Lee Mendelson and his wife Yvonne have six children between them, three boys and three girls. Yes–the Brady Bunch.

    He was inspired and encouraged by Yvonne to write his first book after he proposed the concept to her. M. Lee never dreamt of writing anything before his first book, but has now discovered he has a passion for writing, with one idea after another pouring out of him.

    A rare native Floridian, M. Lee recently retired from a career as a full-time firefighter and part-time law enforcement officer. His twenty-six years of experience on the streets have given him a vast array of experiences; some good, some bad. His recent retirement allows him much more freedom to dedicate to his new-found obsession with the written word.

    His first book, “Letter From Hell,” is a complex horror novel with a little something for everyone M. Lee’s real-life experiences, coupled with an active and vivid imagination, allow his stories to come alive. Striving to paint pictures with words, he immerses the reader into his scenes.

    His ambition is that people will enjoy reading his work and deem it worthy to recommend to others.

    Click the link to go to the tour site where you will find more reviews as well as guest posts and author and character interviews.  You can also apply to become a virtual book tour host site yourself!

    (Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for my objective review.  This post may contain affiliate links.)



    I did not post my review on the day it was scheduled.  The mistake was my fault and I deeply regret any difficulties this may have caused for the author, publishers or tour organizers.