Book Review: ME AND MURDER, SHE WROTE by Peter S. Fischer

Publisher: The Grove Point Press

Published: September 09, 2013

Format: Paperback (264 pages)

ISBN: 9780988657137  

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Ratings is everything in network television . . . It’s a do or die world.

Peter S. Fischer is the first one to tell you that many people helped him along the way, behind the scenes of television—from his brother Geoff’s first hand up onto the scene to a meeting with Stephen Bochco (before Hill Street Blues)His history is long and winding through scripts, sets, or budgets, but he will show you how things worked behind the shows you’ve watched—who did what to make it all happen. Further, he will also put you into the many stories about the stories you or your loved ones watched, enjoyed, or turned off.

Peter became a household name through one of the longest running closed murder mystery series on television via Murder, She Wrote. 

However, if you were a Columbo fan, Ellery Queen buff, or Movie of the Week (MOW) watcher, you met Peter long before you knew it. Have you ever heard of Mrs. Columbo (the show) and wondered what happened?  Sure, you’ll see how and why she died, but to know who masterminded her death will leave you stunned. 

And who hasn’t watched this movie with Robert Urich? 

 

My Take:

ME AND MURDER, SHE WROTE by Peter S. Fischer will present you with a fascinating history of television, shows, stars, writers, directors, and plots that you’ll never guess. It’s as if you’re the live audience, when things unfold, people meet, or the stars come in and out.  

Meanwhile, you’ll learn about shows or stars that could never be, almost was, hadn’t yet been discovered, and awards that were not given. This book proves that writers write even when no nibbles are abounding, and nothing gets tossed in the trash. Some stories wind up in trunk storage, while still others are rekindled, rebranded, reissued, and reordered.   

Peter S. Fischer’s ME AND MURDER SHE WROTE holds a place in TV history that reads like a novel, and it’ll have you turning the pages to find out what happened next. This one book will leave you hungry for more of Peter’s storytelling, and you’ll discover this amazing author’s political thrillers of Washington DC, starting with BLOOD OF TYRANTS, and the golden years in The Hollywood Murder Mysteries, starting with JEZEBEL IN BLUE SATIN to fill in that need! 

 

 

Book Review: DARK TIDE by Susan Sleeman

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: March 1, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445882         

Series: The Justice Agency

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Gina’s brother mourned his wife’s death, worked for the Coast Guard, and raised his newborn daughter, Sophia.  Gina Evans takes care of Jon’s daughter and did what she could for her brother, until the unthinkable happened. Jon died.  She didn’t believe his crash was an accident, but the police wouldn’t even listen to her.    

Now, Gina is trying to raise Sophia. Being a single stand-in mother, she sees the world through different eyes.  These deaths brought her parents closer to her, as their relationship had been strained from her childhood, and it helps that she lives close to Jon’s Coast Guard teammate and best friend and his wife. 

However, once Gina was attacked, she fled to a friend’s home in Portland. 

She wasn’t gone long, but a struggle was evident. The door told that story.  All she could think of was finding Sophia.  Wrapping the child in a blanket, she headed outside to look for her friend, Lilly.  

Everything happened so fast.  She watched her friend die and the murderer was coming for them.

Meanwhile, Derrick Justice didn’t know this number, but working for the family private investigation agency, these calls can happen.  The whispered voice couldn’t be a dream.  It was real.  The woman who left him in college is calling for help.  He’d be the first to admit he wasn’t happy about this, but he wasn’t going to leave anyone in trouble, especially a child. 

He made it to her location to find Gina hiding with a seven-month old girl behind a Dumpster, but nobody else was around, until heavy footfalls sounded from behind.  

 

My Take:

Susan Sleeman’s DARK TIDE is an engaging read where the suspense doesn’t end but a romance does blossom!  

I took a liking to Gina Evans right from the start.  She’s strong, loving, and loyal.  At times,  you’ll wonder if her loyalty is misguided in some directions.  Her life has been filled with rejection, accidents, deaths, and family crisis, but her faith is strong.  No longer the heady school girl, she’s a woman who is trying to do right by this child who has now become hers.  Her attraction to Derrick is still alive, but he’s stayed a person who can’t commit.  Gina won’t let Sophia pay that kind of price.

However, Derrick Justice has moved on since his college days, but on a personal level his inability to commit still rules him. It’s not that he’s always thinking the next best thing is around the corner.  In fact, he knows the best person that ever happened to him is back in his life.  This hero is in need of faith, fixing, and a whole lot of loving care, but he’s too scared to reach for it.  What I liked about Derrick Justice is that the Alpha male he is on the outside, isn’t the person he is on the inside.  He wants more than the empty life he has, but he has fear issues that are too much for him alone. 

DARK TIDE by Susan Sleeman is a standalone title, but also it is the last in a series about a loving family, the Justice family.  These titles have suspense abound but romance will fill this family along the way.  I know the Justice Agency series is one you’ll want to uncover: DOUBLE EXPOSURE  (Love Inspired Suspense June 2012), DEAD WRONG (Love Inspired Suspense November 2012), NO WAY OUT (Love Inspired Suspense May 2013), and THREAD OF SUSPICION (Love Inspired Suspense October 2013!

COVER REVEAL: A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A CAREGIVER’S TALE OF LIFE, LOVE, AND CHAOS

cover

by: Linda Brendle

Publisher: Anaiah Press

Release Date: July 1, 2014

***Courtesy of Anaiah Press . . . 

Book Blurb:

Sometimes reality really bites. Alzheimer’s has wrapped Mom’s brain into knots, vascular dementia has attacked Dad, and, instead of carefree retirees, we have become caregivers. Regardless, dreams die hard, and we somehow stumbled into the purchase of a forty-foot motor home. That’s when all four of us set out on this seven-week trek across sixteen U.S. states. Now, Dad stopped-up the toilet again, Mom wet her last pair of clean jeans, and David just announced that he was hungry. My head is beginning to pound, and I know this isn’t going to be the easygoing retirement we’d imagined for ourselves.

My Look:

Linda Brendle takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotional and spiritual challenges that many families are facing right now. Co-dependency, mental breakdowns, and finding love after divorce are just a few of the issues weaved into this journey of caregiving. Whether you’re looking for an inspirational story to help teach you how to “let go and let God,” considering becoming the caregiver for one of your own parents, or are just looking for an entertaining travel book, this story is sure to strike a tender nerve.

About the author:

 After 15 years as a family caregiver, Linda began writing to encourage, inspire, and amuse other caregivers. She loves to travel and since retiring has traveled mostly by motorcycle and RV. She and her husband live in a small East Texas town where she gardens, writes, and attends church.

Website: http://www.lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LindaBrendle/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/linda.brindle

Google+: http://goo.gl/5Ov8qo

Goodreads: http://goo.gl/SeqyBz

Yahoo Voices: http://goo.gl/NT0bdt

Red Letter Christians: http://goo.gl/xYSvRf

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20983741-a-long-and-winding-roadhttp://goo.gl/xYSvRf

http://www.anaiahpress.com/

Book Review: TREACHEROUS SLOPES by Terri Reed

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: February 4, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445837         

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Julie Frost gains a chance for promotion, from production assistant to on camera personality, if her interview with her former high school crush goes well.  Dressed in stylish not sensible clothing, Julie was half-frozen talking with a television audience while waiting for the final event that would choose the Olympic team for the Freestyle Aerial Ski Jumping set.  However, the man who was about to take to the air was the local favorite and her school days distraction.  Although she was filled with excitement, she knew this man had never noticed her before and would be off to bigger and better things afterward.  It was key to keep herself guarded, professional, and detached during this promotional interview. 

She watched him take to the air, but something just seemed off.  Soon, his ski was gone, and he was going down.  It was hard to remember to be a reporter as she raced to see if he was alive.  How could his parents lose both children to ski accidents? 

Nick Walsh felt the adrenaline rush many times over, but he also knew someone wanted him dead.  With this hard landing, someone could get his or her wish. The air whooshed out of him, and his head felt almost disconnected, when a rush of people came to him. 

The vision in pink he knew from years gone by.  Why was Jules here?   

Of course, his manager was thrilled he wasn’t dead like Cody, but this close one only heaped more guilt on Nick over his brother’s death.  Had he not made that last jump trying to imitate him, his brother would still be here to go for the gold. Everybody had expected it would be brother verses brother going for the gold.  However, it would be brother going for his brother, now.  And it was somebody’s desire to stop him. 

He didn’t consider the woman in pink his enemy until he found out she was a reporter.  Those people are breeds that watch their ratings go up as their lens focused on bringing someone down.  Even the dead was not protected from their subterfuge.   The rumor mill churned with charges of made-up drug abuse to sully his brother’s reputation.  It didn’t matter how beautiful this woman was; she wasn’t going to use him or his brother to get ratings.  However, his sponsor put together this interview, and he would have to tread slowly. 

He hadn’t planned to tell her about the death threats or the actual attempts on his life, but he didn’t have to.  The person doing this has thrown her into the crosshairs with him.

My Take:

Terri Reed’s TREACHEROUS SLOPES starts off with the Olympic adrenaline rush, keys up the suspense, and creates romance in the process!   

This heroine is not only a reporter but does a great job at amateur sleuthing too.  I could see her staring in her own series with a town of tourists for victims discovered by the roving reporter.  She’s caring, considerate, and is just trying to make it on her own as a reporter with vision and scruples.  Julie Frost lost her mother and understands grief, but she seems to be getting along better with her stepfather who now wants a family more than a career.     

Inside Nick Walsh, you’ll find a hurting man who blames himself for his brother’s death and projects his guilt onto his mother and father.  He’s a believer who has lost his way but being back home has him face the truth about himself, his family, and his faith.  His reason for going for the gold isn’t what it once was, and he is realizing that where he is at isn’t where he should be.  However, he needs to finish this Olympic walk for Cody, and not even a murderer is going to change his path.  However, his walk easily intersects with what he wants his future to become.

TREACHEROUS SLOPES by Terri Reed is a suspense filled standalone title that will have you head to the summer Olympics reading more books by this author such as the COWBOY TARGET (Love Inspired Suspense 2013) and THE DOCTOR’S DEFENDER  (Love Inspired Suspense 2012) just to name a few!

 

Book Review: ALONG CAME TROUBLE by Erin Kern

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing imprint of Hachette Book Group)

Published: November 19, 2013

Format: ebook (432 pages) 

Series: Trouble

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley, (eGalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Brody McDermott has a son, is divorced, and runs a family restaurant that is failing.  He is well aware that his father is near to kicking him to the curb.  What else can go wrong?

Unfortunately, for Brody, more is going to happen.

His ex-wife’s mother is elderly and ill, and his ex and her husband may have to move three states away with Brody’s son.  Now, this man already carries the burden of the failed marriage, the enormous amount of time he was buried at work and didn’t spend with his son, Tyler, and now the possibility of really losing him.   His decision to move, if need be, to be with his son comes easy, but everything else gets harder, once he meets Elisa.

Elisa Cardoso is a photographer who is waiting for her big break.  A former teacher keeps in touch and promises to call, if he can ever use her for his work at National Geographic, but she needs income, now.  Living in Trouble Wyoming provides beautiful panoramic views but nothing much in the way of a career.  However, she does manage to make some money doing food photography.  It doesn’t take her long to figure out this dying eatery would and could change her life.  Brody seems to wake something inside of her.  Yeah, she did the hard breakup thing and swore she’d never give her heart.  However, her hormones are refusing to listen to the heartbreak song.  Will she be sorry?

My Take:

Erin Kern’s ALONG CAME TROUBLE  is a heart-wrenching romance where all the pieces refuse to fit into place.  Can they have it all or will having it all cause them pain?

It was different to meet Brody McDermott first and have his story told in detail, but then add Elisa to the mix and you’ll find yourself hoping these two have more than sparks.  However, getting to the ever after seems to not be happening.

At times, I found myself wanting Brody to get out of his own way, but during other times, I found myself wanting Elisa not to risk it in Trouble.  In so many ways, I figured heartbreak was sure to come.  Brody is a man who is sensitive but hides it, while Elisa wants to be strong but really doesn’t have the armor she tries to wear.  Be warned, these two definitely will get hurt.

However, sometimes what isn’t right isn’t always wrong.

I liked Brody, and I found his family endearing.  Elisa took awhile to really get to know, but I liked her early on.  She’s selfless, loving, and just not sure about her future.  Maybe we all can relate to not knowing where we are meant to be and when we are meant to be there.  Short on family, she easily makes friends, but when her heart is exposed, she’s scared of more scars.

ALONG CAME TROUBLE by Erin Kern is a romance that is different from most but is lovable just the same!

Book Review: THE WORLD BENEATH by Rebecca Cantrell

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Published: January 10, 2014

Format: ebook (315 pages)

Series: Joe Tesla 

Origin: Recommendation

***Though the author provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Most would agree that Joe Tesla is a successful millionaire.  After all, his company made today’s facial recognition abilities possible, but Joe’s success seems to have become stymied by fear. Those who know Joe know he doesn’t relent to people or governmental agencies, but those who know Joe, now, call him everything but brave.

Joe doesn’t even understand how this happened. 

One day he was normal and one morning he was too scared to go outside. The doctors call it one thing while his former colleagues call it something totally different. Unfortunately, he agrees with most of them, during most times. 

Agoraphobia is known to occur, but it didn’t occur to him until one day, after one night, a couple of drinks, and a government agency fight later.  He’s been trying to piece out this puzzle, but he’s also been learning to adjust to life inside and outside his old Victorian home.  Joe’s Victorian is a home inside one of the many connected underground tunnels of New York City.  It’s owned by a family friend of his and much to her brother’s dismay, Joe stays here.  There are many secrets held in these tunnels and with his penchant for a puzzle he puts things together to distract him from the knot in his mind barring him from the world outside.  He often studies and explores these amazing places.

At least, he did until he meets Subject 523, known also as Rebar.  

It was kind of normal to meet strange people underground, and Rebar seemed to be some form of military by stance and speech but one look at this man labeled him homeless.  However, he wasn’t just down here looking for a place to stay, this man was taking down a tunnel wall by sledgehammer, and the pieces he already removed seemed to expose yet another part of the tunnel.  This man was so intent on his task he didn’t mind Joe watching him.  Also, when the wall fell, he wasn’t at all surprised by his discovery.  On the other hand, Joe’s astonishment leads Rebar to realize Joe wasn’t in on it with him and up comes the hammer.  Joe takes off running. 

What Joe Tesla couldn’t know was that his nightmare of running doesn’t end, it just stops for a bit and reloads.  Like in some gamer’s paradise, at every turn, something else is to happen and others will join in the fun.  

The rest of this nightmare begins when Joe Tesla couldn’t just forget about what he saw in that exposed wall.  He went back to poke around, but discovered his former threat as demolished as those bricks, and a new threat sends Joe and his dog Edison running for their lives, with even more questions.

How many people know of this secret?  How many of them want Joe dead?

My Take:

THE WORLD BENEATH by Rebecca Cantrell is a heart-pounding thriller with an infective puzzle!

Rebecca Cantrell brings to life the amazing world beneath the sidewalks of New York. Her character, Joe Tesla, is a down-to-earth computer geek who struck it rich but maintains his giving heart; his kindness and affection for people shows through in all of what he does, while his resourcefulness will astound you.  Joe doesn’t need his wallet to solve a problem, his brain doesn’t work that way.  Give the guy a can of beer and some Wi-Fi, and he could literally change he way you see the world around you.  He uses his powers for good not evil, even though everything he does is not exactly lawful.

Joe Tesla lives the story of many, but his world holds more dangers than these panic attacks induce.  With him and Edison, you’ll be racing the clock to find answers that can save thousands of lives, but his adversaries come out of the walls within the ranks of government bureaucracy, having more pull than any imagination could muster.

Rebecca Cantrell’s THE WORLD BENEATH is a virtual page-turner!

Book Review: SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE by Shirlee McCoy

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense  

Published: January 7, 2014

Format: Paperback (224 pages)      

ISBN: 9780373445783         

Series: Witness Protection

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Annie Duncan isn’t used to this life, to this name, or to raising her child alone, without any help from family, friends, or a job.   In fact, Annie—who actually isn’t Annie Duncan—knows she’s doing the right thing, but she does not think things will all work out in the end. 

She’s not having a crisis of faith, but she’s having a crisis of the human kind. Can she let go? Can she trust those who have kept her safe, even when safe can’t be safe right now?  

Hunter is right.  There is a leak.  Could it one of these people?  Who is friend? Who is foe? These questions are hammering at Annie who misses life, her child’s independence, and going to Sunday Services. Even through all of this, however, there is one man she doesn’t doubt. 

Hunter has been her steadfast Marshal, friend, cheering crowd, and babysitter, but all of this is just his job. 

Meanwhile, the latest danger surrounding Annie and Sophia has Hunter Davis questioning those around him.  And his attachment to this witness is gnawing at who he is and what he does.  Maybe, Hunter had become jaded, since many in his protection, over the years, had been placed in their situation by their own actions and their own design. Annie was different. 

Angel Delacourte’s only mistake was mistaking the wrong man for a husband and father.  And maybe it still does bother Hunter that despite her husband’s lies and gambling debts that’s he’s dead, not suffering, but she’s living a nightmare.  He’s a by-the-book kind of Marshal who is faced with knowledge that doing exactly those things can cause this innocent woman and child harm.  There is no doubt that someone is a leak, he just doesn’t want it to be one of those within the team.  Hunter has to walk a fine line of trusting those around him with only so much.  He also seems to walk the fine line of being part of this woman’s life but keeping from becoming apart of it, as the rulebook dictates. This, by the book, Marshal is now having some problems with the book, the life, and the job.  However, his problems with these can prove deadly for those he cares about.

My Take:

SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE by Shirlee McCoy takes the amazing lead in this continuity series that amps up suspense and lets the romance begin, but she leaves you knowing more can come! 

Annie Duncan is a heroine who is great at being strong, but sometimes her strength is the one weakness that can put her and her daughter in danger. All throughout the nightmare she is living, the love of her daughter is foremost in evidence, and she knows her husband’s love for his daughter is true, despite his lies.  However, she must grieve the loss of a husband she loved but didn’t really know, the life she had that wasn’t what it should have been, and her own loss of innocence and trust. 

However, Marshal Hunter Davis charged into a career but left behind much in doing it. This was exactly what he wanted, but until now, he didn’t feel a loss.  Maybe that was his problem.  He just didn’t feel.  As a Marshal, one stays in the background, does the job, and moves on.  How could he feel and do this job?  Some of these answers become obvious, but some of these answers can cause him to make a mistake and hurt the ones he cares about. While he watches Annie and Sophia, Hunter has come to grips with his own mistakes and a grieving he didn’t even expect.

Shirlee McCoy’s SAFE BY THE MARSHAL’S SIDE is a standalone title, but also is the first in a continuity. I can’t wait to see what other suspense filled discoveries are abound in this series! With me, be on the look out for the rest if the WITNESS PROTECTION continuity: THE BABY RESCUE by Margaret Daley (Love Inspired Suspense February 2014), STOLEN MEMORIES by Liz Johnson (Love Inspired Suspense March 2014), and TOP SECRET IDENTITY by Sharon Dunn (Love Inspired Suspense April 2014)!

 

Book Review: FORGET ME KNOT (A QUILTING MYSTERY) by Mary Marks

Publisher: Kensington

Published: January 07, 2014

Format: Paperback (384 pages)

ISBN: 9780758292056

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Martha Rose, Birdie Watson, and Lucy Mondello are on their way to meet with Claire Terry.  They’ve discussed whether Claire would be a good fit for their quilting club for Quilty Tuesdays, and now they want to be sure . . .  

These gals are a bit dubious, as a previous new member really wasn’t a good fit at all.  All three women know Claire Terry’s quilting abilities, as she’s won many awards, but this grouping is made of friends not frenemies, and being an award-winning quilter isn’t a requirement. 

Upon arrival, it was odd the host wasn’t answering her door. 

The meeting was scheduled and therefore expected; Claire hadn’t cancelled.  Martha Rose looked in the window and saw someone laying on the floor. The resulting alarmed conversations brought forth the nearest neighbor to the rescue with a key, but no rescue attempts could help Claire Terry. This grouping discovers her dead body, lying unseeing on the floor with bloody hands. 

Fast forward to a quilt showing, knowing it would be her last, it was hard to see the dead woman’s quilt hanging with its award. However, what was even harder was to see her quilt and a few others stolen. A masked thief had caused many disturbances upon his escape, but a detective wants to know why these women seem to show up at crime scenes. Just when things couldn’t possibly get worse, Martha Rose was asked by the association to make the condolence call on the Terry family. 

Mrs. Siobhan Terry had a request.  It was one Martha couldn’t decline, although she doubted she’d be able to find anything.  Claire had once told her mother that these quilts denote her life stories.  Did they? 

Finding nothing stuffed inside the quilts begins a puzzle these three ladies are perfect to solve, but Martha Rose pays a price for playing the lead amateur detective, when death threats push up the suspense in this deadly game of hide and seek. 

My Take:

FORGET ME KNOT (A Quilting Mystery) by Mary Marks is a surefire hit in crafting cozies!     

These women are all in various stages and ages over fifty. Some of them have health problems, not so great marriages, or cheating ex-husbands, but they all they have close stitched friendships that brings each a support system.  Their love of quilting is their attachment, but their love of each other is their true bond.  Murder is a motive for growing closer and solving a puzzle, but it’s also a motive for keeping each other close and watching out for safety.  Maybe quilting is reason to kill, but it’s also a great way to gather clues.   

Meeting Martha, Lucy, and Birdie is a like being with a group of people you’d love to spend more time with. Their life isn’t yours or mine, but their situations could easily be any of ours. I chuckled, clamored, and clucked, but I rooted for a shot of romance along the way.

Mary Marks’ FORGET ME KNOT is a standalone title that will introduce you to the world of quilting, with both bad and good characters.  However, if you’ll be able to pardon my pun, you will find yourself on pins and needles until the next Quilting Mystery comes along! 

Book Review: THE SECRET ROOMS by Catherine Bailey

Publisher: Penguin Books

Published: December 31, 2013

Format: Paperback (512 pages)

ISBN: 9780143124733  

Origin: Publisher 

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

History is everything but boring within Belvoir Castle  . . .

Why was the physician of King George VI expected?  Most astonishing of all, why was this physician and others awaiting the patient to be ready for them?

These questions show only the beginning of the Duke of Rutland mystery, while England was entering the fray of World War I.  Other issues plagued the hierarchy landing many in a state of turmoil long before the war.  In fact, to some, the war was a welcome act, to others it marked the end of a lifestyle, and to some, it was a fear like no other. 

To understand this time and culture one needs to understand the history.  Further, one needs to know that history has the ability to change, albeit not sometimes expectedly.  Moreover, one needs to realize the family dynamic.  The family position was, well, everything and appearances mattered daily. However, it was the first-born male heir who mattered most, but this young heir landed at death’s door. 

Was it an accident?  Or an illness?  Or was it something more? 

Know up front that a castle was not a domicile, but it was the domain of many families, each in their own place.  A major household such as this was not a mere building, but it was sustenance to whole villages.  Villagers worked inside and outside the estate and their work earned the family wages — “a feudal system”. However, many things had changed from a long-lasting agriculture depression, where many Dukes’ positions financially suffered. Land was devalued. It was at this time, taxes became levied on the ducal aristocrats and a stripping of their political powers were meant to castrate the bunch.  

The Duke of Rutland’s problem actually was far more reaching than this and scaled many years before.  To keep from losing land, the Duke was using legal maneuvering to disinherit his second and only living son, while his mother was using whatever sway she could to keep her family growing.   From war strategies to safe keeping of documents, this family weaves itself through actual history, in both the good and bad ways, depending on who knows about it and who was on the receiving end of the deception. 

However, what exactly was important enough to hide that would cause this Duke to die while keeping it hidden?  

My Take:

In THE SECRET ROOMS, historian and author Catherine Bailey provides a narrative that changes the course of her writing and research, when mystification is inbred with fact and becomes a point of view meant to not be seen.  Her resulting true mystery raptures the reader from page one and doesn’t falter!  

Catherine Bailey brings to life yesteryear that Downton Abbey fans will relish, and her riddle manages to capture mystery lovers and history buffs too. 

The lives in this story will have you enthralled, as you race to find answers that lay just beyond indecorum and falsehoods. Strong women, weak men, appear inside the walls of Belvoir Castle, but roles change as their time progresses. If you are like me, you’ll believe that just maybe someone still living is suspicious that things weren’t right in the past.

Catherine Bailey’s book, THE SECRET ROOMS, is a book I recommend!

Book Review: THE GOOD GIRLS GUIDE TO MURDER: A DEBUTANTE DROPOUT MYSTERY by Susan McBride

Publisher: Witness Impulse

Published: December 17, 2013

Format: ebook (372 pages)

Origin: Publisher through Edelweiss: Above the Tree Line

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Andrea Kendricks owes her mother big.  This Debutante Dropout doesn’t flaunt or use her family position or wealth, but when a friend is in need, Andy asks her mother for assistance.  However, the repayment to her mother, Cissy, stretches a mile and then some.  For instance, Andrea Kendricks is now working temporarily for one of Cissy’s closest friends, Marilee Mabry, and this assignment is taking painstakingly long.   Andy wants to get back to her nonprofit work, but it will take a while.

However, just when Andy’s nearing the finish line for this temporary job, Cissy has yet another angle to wangle.   

You see one of the many dates that Cissy Blevins Kendricks imposed on her daughter has actually led to chemistry.  Her and Mr. Malone are doing okay in Andy’s book, but Cissy feels this relationship has stalled.  Now, Andy’s repayment includes attending the “soiree” of her temporary employer in designer duds to keep interested the many expected male counterparts that will attend. Never you mind that Andy has all the interest she wants in Mr. Malone.  

In the meantime, Brian Malone has other ideas for Andy’s time on that date.  This is when Andy comes up with a plan, hit the party, stay an amount of respectable time, and take Mr. Malone up on his timely offer.  

Accepting the duds wasn’t as stressful as Andy thought, since wearing designer fashions that made her look pretty wasn’t what this debutante dropout expected.  She arrived at the party as planned, but when she went to check out the video equipment, Andy got an eyeful.  Marilee Mabry’s daughter is, um, entertaining on the office sofa.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the man she kept busy was the young stud belonging to her mother.  Not wanting to deal with this messy situation, Andy ignored Kendall Mabry’s rant about how awful her mother is and what she’s done to deserve this treatment and set to finish the job she was there to do.

Soon, the party was getting underway and Andy saw even more cracks in the behind the scenes on set of The Sweet Life.  The domestic diva, Marilee Mabry, fights with a chef and the chef’s retaliation is something that would gross out the toughest stomach. This launch seems to be headed for a mud match, but unbeknownst to Andy, the best is yet to come. 

Marilee herself has more than one agenda. 

Her arrival on set starts out with a rare, expensive bottle of Dom Perignon and a public lambasting of Marilee’s ex-husband and his wife (husband’s playmate during his marriage to Marilee).   The two women get into a physical tussle that ignites the flames of hell, literally.  The set catches fire, the sprinklers activate, lights go out, and Andy finds a body on the floor.  Seeing Kendall down and barely breathing in bathroom leads Andy to suspect foul play, and she’s not the only one.  When Cissy adds her conspiracy theories, things only go from bad to worse, but luckily Kendall is going to survive.

Despite the mayhem of it all, the prescheduled filming of The Sweet Life segment at the Dallas Diet Club member’s home of Cissy Blevins Kendricks is still on.  Stage hands, props, filming, and audio gear turns the beautiful home into a stage of false wood floors and fights.  More disgruntled infighting comes to the surface, and the domestic diva stabs to death a pecan pie.  

Soon, the filming begins, but a life ends.  While Kendall is alive and well her mother, Marilee Mabry, is lying dead on the floor of her friend’s home. 

My Take:

THE GOOD GIRLS GUIDE TO MURDER: A DEBUTANTE MYSTERY by Susan McBride is a tale within the twisting highway of the society pages!  

Getting to know Andrea, Andy, Kendricks makes her someone to like.  She’s down-to-earth, smart, and funny who struggles to keep herself away from the wealth, glitzy, glamour, and pitfalls of the high society scaffolding in Dallas.  The mystery is not just in the murder or the happenings but also in the people you’ll meet and their motivations.  While new neighbors are welcome, they have their secrets, but the employees of the wealthy hide their own agenda and come armed with knowledge.  However, you’ll also meet those who hang on to the coat hem to be dragged along for the ride with little of their own power being expended.    

Susan McBride’s THE GOOD GIRLS GUIDE TO MURDER: A DEPUTANTE MYSTERY ebook is a re-release of her original hardcover by Avon Harper Collins (2004).  The paperback re-issue will released January 7, 2014.  While this title is a standalone novel, you’ll want to catch the other titles in the Debutante Dropout mysteries!