Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Monday, December 31, 2012

We've Moved!

Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Good Wives Assailed by Robert J Conley



Good Wives Assailed by Robert J Conley
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Short Story (14 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Fat Stuff maybe the worst criminal in town, but he isn’t the smartest. When he sets out to con the wives of the richest ranchers around, Fat Stuff finds himself in a terrible mess at the hands of the women.

In this Old West retelling of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, Fat Stuff and his gang of outlaws are always causing trouble. Most recently, they broke into Justice Short's warehouse, killed his cow, and beat his men. Somehow the men always get away with their misdeeds.

Then Fat Stuff comes up with his most conniving plan yet—to make the wives of the richest ranchers in the area think he’s in love with them. When one of the wives asks him to her ranch, Fat stuff thinks he’s got it made, but he is in for a big surprise.

The women have a plan of their own which puts Fat Stuff right where he belongs.


Fat Stuff deserves what he gets. He’s a thief and conman and has bamboozled the men of the town, but then he decides to take on the woman. Bad move…

Mr. Conley writes an amusing story that kept me reading. This is short and sweet and has a nice ironic ending. I like those. The story has also stuck with me; it’s not one you will forget right after reading it.

Fat Stuff is brazen in his actions and even admits his guilt, but no one is willing to testify against him and everyone denies seeing anything. His men are as bad as he is and they enjoy flaunting the law. Fat Stuff’s problem is that what he’s already stolen and the damage he’s done isn’t enough for him. Now he’s going to spark the two biggest ranch owner’s wives and get himself a pretty woman and a ranch of his own. At least that’s his intent.

Here’s where things get more interesting. Women being women, they talk about the letters Fat Stuff sent them. He’s not real smart and both letters say the same thing. So the women decide to get even.

This story is a cute western. The women develop a plan, Fat Stuff knows they’re just drooling over him and his offer, and when the men get the scent of what’s going on, they ride in with weapons drawn! It’s amusing, entertaining, and all the men in story have some learnin’ to do.

Mr. Conley had to write this story tongue-in-cheek. He’s done a good job with it and I really enjoyed reading it. Why not read the story and find out what Fat Stuff’s special surprise was? I even almost (just almost) felt sorry for him, but I was too busy laughing.





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last Diner Standing by Terri Austin



Last Diner Standing by Terri Austin
Publisher: Henery Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (294 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by: Camellia

Rose Strickland is having a blue Christmas. Her friend is arrested for attempted murder, her sexy bad guy crush is marked by a hit man, and her boss is locked in an epic smackdown with a rival diner. Determined to save those she loves, Rose embarks on an investigation more tangled than a box of last year's tree lights. With her eclectic gang at the ready, Rose stumbles across dead bodies, ex-cons, chop shops, jealous girlfriends, jilted lovers, and a gaggle of strippers in a battle for freedom she might not survive.


Not having read the first book of the series, I suffered a tad of culture shock. Terri Austin’s “oh-so-real” descriptions of The Bottom Dollar strip club, Axton’s house, Penn’s Cigar Bar, and a few other places along with the R-rated language plopped me right down into a unique environment and into a mystery that had so many suspects they needed to take a number. Last Diner Standing is crammed full of complex characters with clandestine actions running amok.

Rose Strickland, who hasn’t earned a bachelor’s degree in six years of college, juggles her many lives as she tries to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. Her family’s high society life that she must be a part of at times always gets short changed. Her waitress job she does pretty much on auto-pilot and full speed ahead because she needs the money and feels an unshakeable loyalty to Ma, the owner of the diner who gave her a job when she didn’t know how to do anything. Her detective work that she races about doing takes her into the company of criminals, cheats, dope-addicts, strippers, not-so-clean cops, and lots of ne’er-do-wells. Amidst all these she is also a peacemaker and a loyal friend that sees beyond human flaws and failing to help unstintingly when help is needed.

The secondary characters are a mottled lot in this entertaining story. Ms. Austin’s great descriptions of them bring out a unique type of humor and unusual outlooks on life and the conventional rules of society.

Roxy, Rose’s co-worker and bestie, with her blue hair and attention-getting attire, not to mention her lock-picking skills, has her own agenda but never fails to go help Rose when needed. Dane Harker, the lawyer; Sullivan, entrepreneur aka criminal; and Axton Graystone, Rose’s unfailing friend of many years who is also a dropout from high society, are all ever willingly to come to Rose’s aid when the chips are down and things get in a bind.

Janelle, in danger of going to prison for something she didn’t do, is Rose’s friend from college and is in desperate need of help since the cops consider her guilty and are doing nothing about searching for the true culprit.

Rose figures she has sold her soul to help Janelle but declares she will worry about that later. She will do all she can to help so Janelle can stay with her two children.

In this story, told in first-person, the reader is swept into a vicarious experience that includes visits to a strip club with graphic descriptions of the action; visits to Axton’s unique home where he keeps special brownies baked for his friend, Stoner, who lives with him and where he gives sanctuary to Rose’s friends who are in harm’s way—BIG time; and visits to Ma Ferguson’s diner during a time when Ma wages war against her competitor Rudy that she feels is horning in on her territory.

Last Diner Standing is an adventure in reading I might have missed if I had not branched out from the type stories I usually read. It is a story I will not soon forget. Although the language and the some of the actions are crude, they seem to fit in with the characters and the environment they function in. The characters’ loyalty, humor, and non-judgmental attitudes create resonating themes throughout this mystery. I really did get a surprise about who the “bad person” turned out to be. How Rose saves the day is fantastic—woven in so subtle and natural.

Last Diner Standing is a memorable story that I stayed up late to finish because Ms. Austin kept me totally in the story from start to finish.





Monday, December 3, 2012

Stein & Candle: Cold Wars by Michael Panush



Stein & Candle: Cold Wars by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency Volume 2
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (221 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

A wealthy Hawaiian hotelier is chewed to death by sharks – in his penthouse office.

A traveling salesman goes missing – in a shady New England town full of monstrous fishmen.

A new casino gets supernaturally good luck in Vegas – thanks to ancient Egyptian magic.

These are the cases taken by Morton Candle and Weatherby Stein. Mort’s a hardboiled ex-paratrooper turned two-gun shamus. Weatherby’s a fourteen-year-old wiz kid and heir to the greatest family of European sorcerers.

They met in the fury of WWII, when Weatherby and his parents were being held hostage by the Third Reich and Mort’s squad was sent to bust them out. Now they’re a pair of private detectives specializing in the paranormal, the supernatural and the just plain weird.

But sometimes, arcane evil goes back a long way and a dangerous force from deep in the past of Stein’s family is about rise. Weatherby and Mort will put everything they have into stopping it – and it might not be enough.


This is an unusual book. Set in the 1950s, it has the air of old detective cartoon books about secret agents. The book follows the careers of Morton Candle, a retired army sergeant turned detective and Weatherby Stein, genius of the supernatural and inheritor of his father's knowledge of the supernatural.

Their reputation is for solving cases of the unusual kind and each section covers a different crime for the two intrepid heroes to solve. First is the case of a man killed by a shark - in the penthouse office. Other similar strange cases come their way and they attempt to solve them with their usual combination of investigative experience and supernatural expertise.

The two main characters are fun. Mort knows Weatherby is still a child as far as maturity goes, but he treats him with respect. Most of the time Weatherby goes along with Mort, but when he feels strongly about something he digs his heels in and goes his own way.

Weatherby's sister, Selena, makes a few brief appearances much to Mort's irritation. Due to the fact it's separated into different stories (or cases) it's a book that can easily be put down and picked up again as time permits. Maybe it was the 1950s style of writing, but I found although I enjoyed it, this book didn't grab me enough to want to make me read more of the series. On the whole the book is lighthearted despite the paranormal aspect and I read it with enjoyment.





Friday, November 30, 2012

November Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Mooner by Selah Janel



Mooner by Selah Janel
Publisher: No Boundaries Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (19 pages)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Astilbe



Like many young men at the end of the 1800s Bill has signed on to work in a logging camp to earn a fast paycheck to start his life. Unfortunately his role model is Big John, the camp’s golden boy known for blowing his pay as fast as he makes it. On a cold Saturday night they enter Red’s Saloon to forget the work that takes the sweat and the lives of so many. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows, something that badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door or does someone have their own plans for his future?


READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tulip Season: A Mitra Basu Mystery by Bharti Kirchner



Tulip Season: A Mitra Basu Mystery by Bharti Kirchner
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (248 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

A missing domestic-violence counselor. A wealthy and callous husband. A dangerous romance.

Kareena Sinha, an Indian-American domestic-violence counselor, disappears from her Seattle home. When the police dismiss suspicions that she herself was a victim of spousal abuse, her best friend, Mitra Basu, a young landscape designer, resolves to find her. Mitra's search reveals glimpses of a secret life involving her friend and a Bollywood actor of ill repute. Following the trail, Mitra is lured back to India where she uncovers the actor's ties to the Mumbai underworld and his financial difficulties - leading her into a web of life-threatening intrigue where Mitra can't be sure of Kareena's safety or her own.


Does Mitra really know Kareena?

When Mitra’s best friend Kareena goes missing, Mitra is determined to find out what happened to her. With no evidence of foul play, the police can’t offer much help. Even Mitra’s friends think she should stay out of what they view as a marital squabble. I could feel Mitra’s frustration as she struggles to make others take her seriously, and was very pleased to see Mitra take matters into her own hands. However, as she began to dig into the mystery, she gradually discovers she might not know Kareena as well as she thought. Layer by layer, Mitra steadily uncovers the truth of Kareena’s circumstances. What she finds will change her life forever.

Mitra is a very solid and likable character. She’s warm, caring, and very loyal. I’d certainly want a friend like her on my side if I were in serious trouble. Mitra’s pain and disbelief were palpable as she unearthed some hard truths concerning Kareena. Even though Mitra was at times deeply hurt by her new found knowledge, I admire her loyalty to Kareena and her determination to find out the truth no matter what. Mitra also seems to be at a place in her life where she is struggling to balance her past with her desire to find her current place in the world. Her inner turmoil makes her a very real and relatable character.

I had a very hard time understanding Mitra’s relationship with Ulrich, a relatively new romantic interest. He seemed like a nice guy at first, but as I read, it became clear that something wasn’t right. However, just like Mitra wouldn’t give up on Kareena, she didn’t seem to be able to let go of Ulrich either. While her devotion to those she cares about is admirable, I have a feeling someday she’s going to end up in serious trouble.

I must also mention that I love the way Ms. Kirchner works description into her writing that touches on all five of the senses. All the description in Tulip Season is blended so seamlessly into Mitra’s everyday experiences that it never feels overwhelming.

I truly enjoyed reading Tulip Season and getting to know Mitra. Anyone looking for a mystery with a solid, steady pace that awakens all the senses would do well to pick up a copy of Tulip Season today.





Friday, November 16, 2012

Mooner by Selah Janel



Mooner by Selah Janel
Publisher: No Boundaries Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (19 pages)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Astilbe



Like many young men at the end of the 1800s Bill has signed on to work in a logging camp to earn a fast paycheck to start his life. Unfortunately his role model is Big John, the camp’s golden boy known for blowing his pay as fast as he makes it. On a cold Saturday night they enter Red’s Saloon to forget the work that takes the sweat and the lives of so many. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows, something that badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door or does someone have their own plans for his future?


Start with a few dozen men who make their living in a socially isolated and extremely dangerous occupation. Add copious amounts of whiskey, one cup of tall tales, a teaspoon of sexual tension, and four heaping tablespoons of ill intentions. Stir vigorously. The result? A recipe for disaster.

Nineteenth-century saloons are no place for people who trust others easily. From the moment a gullible young man named Bill walks in with an older companion the proprietors of Red’s Saloon smell trouble. As soon as I thought I knew what was going on, though, Ms. Janel massaged the plot into directions I never would have predicted it would go. If this is any indication of her writing ability and creativity I cannot wait to read more of her work in the future.

It took a few paragraphs for me to adjust to the colloquialisms and non-standard speech patterns used by these characters. I had to look up a few words and phrases with which I was unfamiliar but once I grew accustomed to how the characters spoke the author’s use of authentic dialogue created such a vivid picture in my mind of what happened to these characters that it felt as though I was sitting in the saloon alongside them. I can still smell the potent combination of sawdust, blood and stale sweat lingering in the air and even though I’ve never actually tasted it I almost believe I’m a connoisseur of whiskey as well!

I had some difficulty deciding whether to classify Mooner as a mystery or as science-fiction/fantasy. The two genres are effortlessly blended that in some ways this is two stories in one. Fans of either one will be delighted by this fast-paced, exciting story full of shocking twists.