Thursday Reviews: A High-End Finish and Starlight …

A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle

A High-End Finish is the first Kate Carlyle book I’ve read, and you bet your cozy cup of coffee I’ll be reading more. It has everything in it 517mszr+w4lto make a wholesome, entertaining read.
What woman hasn’t dreamed of owning a Victorian house, having a handsome cop lend her a hand, sharing a kiss with a charming mystery writer who used to be a Navy Seal and compliments you constantly? Sigh.
If that doesn’t interest you enough, let me tell you it’s a well-paced mystery with vividly depicted characters and a nasty murderer. The seaside town of Lighthouse Cove in northern California is gorgeous. The heroine has a strong, independent character and yet she’s emotionally vulnerable. She’s the kind of woman you would want to hang out with, self-effacing, funny and loyal to her friends and family.
Carlisle pulled me into the book with the story of Shannon, the heroine, going on a blind date with a man who seems charming at first, but then assaults her. She aims her kick for his family jewels and the story goes on from there.
I recommend this book for lovers of cozy mysteries with good plots and charming characters. I gave the book a 5-star rating on, Bookbub and Goodreads.

Starlight and Tinsel by Judith Hudson

41n1gxn+iwl._sx311_bo1,204,203,200_Starlight and Tinsel is a heartwarming story about two highly-independent individuals who lived nomadic lives until they arrived in the small town of Fortune Bay. In each other, they find love and a sense of home.
Judith Hudson’s richly descriptive prose pulled me into this story. From the first page, I rooted for Star, a woman who has had a hard life.
I recommend this novella for readers who like romantic, women’s fiction. (5 stars)

You can hear my Christmas podcast episode with Judith here.

The Lefty Award Nominees #Mondayblog

The nominees for the Lefty Awards have been announced.

51oedescatlWhat is a Lefty? It’s an award given at the annual Left Coast Crime Conference. This year it’s happening in Vancouver, B.C. Canada (March 28-31st). I’ve never been to a mystery author/writer conferences and since it’s happening only one ferry trip away, I have to go. My first step is to read some of the books by the Lefty nominees.



Here’s the list:

Lefty Awards

Our thanks to all who submitted their nomination forms. There are more nominees in each category this year due to unusually close voting. The Lefty awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday, March 30, at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. We are delighted to announce the Lefty nominees.

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. The nominees are:

  • Ellen Byron, Mardi Gras Murder (Crooked Lane Books)61cinw3mthl
  • Kellye Garrett, Hollywood Ending (Midnight Ink)
  • Timothy Hallinan, Nighttown (Soho Crime)
  • Leslie Karst, Death al Fresco (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Cynthia Kuhn, The Spirit in Question (Henery Press)
  • Catriona McPherson, Scot Free (Midnight Ink)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1960. The nominees are:

  • Rhys Bowen, Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding (Berkeley Prime Crime)
  • 51g4giepe1lDavid Corbett, The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday (Black Opal Books)
  • Laurie R. King, Island of the Mad (Bantam Books)
  • Sujata Massey, The Widows of Malabar Hill (Soho Crime)
  • Ann Parker, A Dying Note (Poisoned Pen Press)
  • Iona Whishaw, It Begins in Betrayal (Touchwood Editions)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel. The nominees are:

  • Tracy Clark, Broken Places (Kensington Books)
  • A.J. Devlin, Cobra Clutch (NeWest Press)
  • A.J. Finn, The Woman in the Window (William Morrow)
  • Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder (Kensington Books)51aakzf-aal._ac_us218_
  • Aimee Hix, What Doesn’t Kill You (Midnight Ink)
  • Keenan Powell, Deadly Solution (Level Best Books)
  • J.G. Toews, Give Out Creek (Mosaic Press)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories). The nominees are:

  • Lou Berney, November Road (William Morrow)
  • Matt Coyle, Wrong Light (Oceanview Publishing)
  • Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind (Minotaur Books)
  • Lori Rader-Day, Under a Dark Sky (William Morrow Paperbacks)
  • Terry Shames, A Reckoning in the Back Country (Seventh Street Books)
  • James W. Ziskin, A Stone’s Throw (Seventh Street Books)

Borrowed from the Newsletter for the conference.

Have you read any of these titles? I love the titles. They draw me right in.

WOLF NOTES: An Uncommon Interview – Jayne Barnard

I enjoyed this intervirew and I thought you might too.


081Welcome to WOLF NOTES, where interview questions stray from the rest of the pack. It’s nice to know the usual stuff like where an author gets their inspiration and why they write, but sometimes we need a little fun in our lives.

Jayne Barnard Ice FallsJE (Jayne) Barnard is a Calgary-based crime writer with 25 years of award-winning short fiction and children’s literature behind her. Author of the popular Maddie Hatter Adventures (Tyche Books), and now The Falls Mysteries (Dundurn Press), she’s won the Dundurn Unhanged Arthur, the Bony Pete, and the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Award. Her works were shortlisted for the Prix Aurora (twice), the UK Debut Dagger, the Book Publishing in Alberta Award (twice), and three Great Canadian Story prizes. Jayne is a past VP of Crime Writers of Canada, a founder of Calgary Crime Writers, and a member of Sisters In Crime. Her most recent book is When the Flood…

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Thursday Review: Death of a Dapper Snowman and more from James Bond

This week I’m reviewing two fast and funny stories.

Death of a Dapper Snowman (Stormy Day Mystery, Book 1)

by Angela Pepper

The opening of this story is AMAZING. Pepper pulled me slowly into her tale and then 51E1msNhz2Lbam, knocked me off my reading chair with a shocking event. I don’t want to give away the plot, but she hooked me.

Stormy Day is a likable heroine, the kind you want to hang out with. She left her big-city job to return to her hometown to help her dad recuperate from hip surgery and ease into retirement. The characters Stormy meets are so richly drawn the town becomes very real.

And then there’s the cat, Jeffrey. He’s adorable and indispensable.

The mystery is so well plotted  I didn’t figure it out until the end. I highly recommend it to readers who love cozy mysteries. (5 stars).

Click the cover for the Amazon link. Last I looked it was free.

Secret Bond (Jamie Bond Mysteries Book 2)

by Gemma Halliday and Jennifer Fischello

Jamie Bond runs a detective agency, which mostly tracks down cheating spouses, but this time the main case is personal. The gun used to shoot her father, Derek, three years ago has been found. In order to protect her, he hasn’t told her what really happened. Slowly she unravels the truth and almost gets herself killed.

51Gcb9mXOjLThe two secondary plot lines add a lot of humor. One involves a nudist colony and the other requires her best friend Danny (who we all know wants to be more than a best friend, and who is as straight as they come) posing as a gay guy. Lots of jokes, and situational humor.

Adding to the bedlam is an emerging love triangle between Jamie, her best friend Danny and the grief-stricken DA Aiden. I’m personally rooting for Danny, but I’m not at all sure he’ll win and of course, I have to read the next story to find out.

Its’ the second Bond mystery I’ve read and I’m eager to start a third.

I strongly recommend it for people who like humorous cozies, with Janet Evanovich-like humor. (5 stars)

Click the cover to get the Amazon link.


Thursday Review: The Girl in the Mayan Tomb


If you like the adventures of Indiana Jones, you’ll love this book. It’s an action-packed archeological thriller, filled with strong, well-defined characters that had me sitting on the edge of my seat from the first word to the last. There are many things I like about this story, but I’ll focus on one. The story opens when a young boy discovers the location of an ancient archeological site; that event captured my imagination and from there I was hooked.

I’m looking forward to reading more in Kevin Tumlinson’s,  Dan Kotler series.  I highly recommend The Girl in the Mayan Tomb to readers who like thrilling, archeological adventures.

Amazon Link

2 Marketing Tips from Kevin Tumlinson

For the full interview go to my podcast Blood, Sweat and Words.

Kevin Tumlinson’s #1 Writing Tip

This clip is from my interview with Kevin Tumlinson, which you can listen to here.