Book Spotlight

Book Spotlight: Lay Death at Her Door by Elizabeth Buhmann

Today I’m spotlighting a book that sounds like a really good read, I hope it sounds as interesting to you as it does to me.

About the book: 

Cover-Lay-Death-BuhmannTwenty years ago, Kate Cranbrook’s eyewitness testimony sent the wrong man to prison for rape and murder. When new evidence exonerates him, Kate says that in the darkness and confusion, she must have mistaken her attacker’s identity.

She is lying.

Kate would like nothing better than to turn her back on the past, but she is trapped in a stand-off with the real killer. When a body turns up on her doorstep, she resorts to desperate measures to free herself once and for all from a secret that is ruining her life.

 

 

 

 


About the author: 

EbuhmannElizabeth Buhmann is originally from Virginia, where her first novel is set, and like her main character, she lived several years abroad while growing up. She graduated magna cum laude from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. For twenty years, she worked for the Texas Attorney General as a researcher and writer on criminal justice and crime victim issues. Elizabeth now lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, dog, and two chickens. She is an avid gardener, loves murder mysteries, and has a black sash in Tai Chi.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, July 29, 2013

Mailbox Monday’s July host is Book Obsessed.

One of these days I will learn to stay out of the bookstores, but I had a B&N gift card burning a hole in my pocket and couldn’t resist!

Lie Still

When Emily Page and her husband move from Manhattan to the wealthy enclave of Clairmont, Texas, she hopes she can finally escape her haunted past – and outrun the nameless stalker who has been taunting her for years. Pregnant with her first child, Emily just wants to start over. But as she is drawn into a nest of secretive Texas women – and into the unnerving company of their queen, Caroline Warwick – Emily finds that acceptance is a very dangerous game.

It isn’t long before Caroline mysteriously disappears and Emily is facing a rash of anonymous threats. Are they linked to the missing Caroline? Or to Emily’s terrifying encounter in college, years earlier? As the dark truth about Caroline emerges, Emily realizes that some secrets are impossible to hide – and that whoever came for Caroline is now coming for her.

Mr Churchill's SecretaryLondon, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But non of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for code breaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined – and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

 

 

And then I had one show up from Atria’s Galley Alley:

The Longings of Wayward Girls It’s an idyllic New England summer, and Sadie is a precocious only child on the edge of adolescence. It seems like July and August will pass lazily by, just as they have every year before. But one day, Sadie and her best friend play a seemingly harmless prank on a neighborhood girl. Soon after, that same little girl disappears from a backyard barbecue – and she is never seen again.

Twenty years pass, and Sadie is still living in the same quiet suburb. She’s married to a good man, has two beautiful children, and seems to have put her past behind her. But when a boy from her old neighborhood returns to town, the nightmares of that summer will begin to resurface, and its unsolved mysteries will finally become clear.

Recipes

RECIPE: Cheesy Salsa Mini Meatloaves

Cheesy Salsa Mini Meatloaves (6 servings)

  • 1 lb.  ground beef
  • 1/2 cup  finely chopped onions
  • 1 egg
  • 12 Saltine Crackers, finely crushed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-1/2 cups Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Thick & Chunky Salsa, divided

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Mix first 4 ingredients with 1 cup cheese and 1/2 cup salsa.
  3. Press into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Use back of spoon to make indentation in center of each. Place muffin pan on foil-covered baking sheet.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 min. or until meatloaves are done (160°F). Top with remaining salsa and cheese; bake 3 min. or until cheese is melted.

Recipe Source: Kraft Recipes

 

photo

Personal Review: This is another really good recipe that I use often. It’s easy to throw together on a weeknight and it’s something a little bit different too.

There’s not much of anything to say about this recipe, really. It’s fast, easy, and delicious. I would definitely recommend it.

I typically serve it with chips and salsa and spanish rice. You can round it out with a salad as well.

wkendcooking

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2013, Review Book, S

2013.31 REVIEW – Torn Apart by Marta Sprout

Torn Apart: The Abduction of Gillian Curtis
by Marta Sprout

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 327
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 13 – July 21, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 31
Format: Print
Source: Author for review

Blurb: On a night she’ll never forget, sixteen-year-old Gillian Curtis stumbles into the middle of her father’s fraudulent and lucrative scheme that puts millions of lives at stake in the biggest health insurance scam in US history – and he will kill anyone who gets in his way – including her.

Within seconds of running away Gillie finds herself kidnapped by Walter Lovett, who ironically shows her more kindness than her own father. Clearly he has no intention of hurting her – it’s her dad, Dr. Curtis, who’s the real target. Walter’s wife died becomes of him.

When her dad’s hired guns show up to take on Walter they get more than they bargained for from this retired Green Beret. With his formidable skills, Walter jumps into action and puts it all on the line to protect Gillie. Only a few steps aead of a bullet, they careen through city streets and the dark wooded hills of New Hampshire in a race to expose the truth before it’s too late and face the one man she hates the most – her father.


Review:  I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book, but it sure wasn’t what I got from it! Let me just say that you will love, love, love Gillie’s character. She is fun, spunky, and honest. I mean, who would actually like being kidnapped? I have to say that her kidnapper, Walter, was not your typical kidnapper, but still … she was kidnapped and it was like a big adventure to her! It was hilarious in the first few pages when all that initial action happened.

Overall I felt as if this was a very good book. Anyone who reads my blog consistently knows that I am huge on character development. It is very important to me and definitely has a direct impact on my feelings on a particular book. Luckily, this book’s characters are all so awesome! Obviously we know Gillie and Walter the best, but even Lyn, Kip, and Deter felt so very real to me. Ms. Sprout definitely knows how to develop her characters, no doubt about that.

The storyline was interesting. Healthcare is obviously a big debate in America right now, and although this book didn’t necessarily revolve around that particular issue (the story really concentrated more on Walter and Gillie fighting for a change), it is a big part of this story. I honestly think that it helped the book seem so much more relevant. Walter was a good man, but he was a changed man because of what he experienced when his wife got sick. And so many people in this world get sick each and every day, and so many people do not get the healthcare that they truly need … yeah, it definitely makes this story very relevant.

The writing was good and strong. The action was non-stop and exciting. The characters were well-developed. There was some much-needed comic relief when you wouldn’t expect it (Deter’s orange flip-flops come to mind). Overall a very good book and it definitely makes me look forward to Torn Apart 2: Finding Ryan, which will hopefully give the reader some answers in regards to Deter’s story.

Highly recommended.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, July 22, 2013

Mailbox Monday’s July host is Book Obsessed.

Had a small but great mailbox this week 🙂

A wishlist book from Paperbackswap, I read the second in the series (The Prophet) last year, loved it and wanted to read the first:

The Shepherd

 

Meet Francis Ackerman, America’s most terrifying serial killer.
What excites him most is the game of chance.
He likes to play with ordinary people. Innocent people.
Someone just like you.
If you take part in Ackerman’s game, he’ll stalk you, then take you prisoner.
Will he let you live? Or will you die?
There are so many different ways to die, and Ackerman knows them all. It’s part of his game.
Do you wanna play?
Francis Ackerman does.
And he’s found you…

 

 

A win from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program, I’m really excited about this one … I snagged the previous book in the series (The Wrong Man) from LT last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Last AlibiJames Drinker is a bit of an oddball. A funny-looking, geeky loner, he walks into Jason Kolarich’s office one day with a preemptive concern: two women have recently been murdered, seemingly by the same killer, and Drinker thinks he will be the police’s main suspect. One woman was his ex-girlfriend, he says, and the other was a friend. He’s the only link between the victims and he has no alibi for the night of either murder – surely the police will realize it soon. Believing he’s the target of a frame-up, Drinker hires Kolarich for his defense.

Something about James Drinker seems off from the start, but Kolarich doesn’t give it too much thought. Until another murder occurs. And then another. And as he begins to probe his client’s life and story more closely, it quickly becomes clear that nothing about James Drinker is what it seems … and that the target of the frame-up isn’t Drinker, but Kolarich.

Unable to stop a serial killer – and prove his own innocence – without breaking his sworn attorney-client privilege, Jason Kolarich must hunt for the truth about James Drinker, the series of brutal murders, and why he’s been set up to take the fall. The answers will be beyond anything he could have imagined.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, K, Maggie O'Dell, RATING, Read in 2013, Review Book, SERIES

2013.27 REVIEW – Stranded by Alex Kava

Stranded
by Alex Kava

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 23-26, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 27
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

Blurb: Tired travelers and weary truckers have stopped at rest areas on the nation’s highways for decades to refuel, grab a bite, and maybe get some shut-eye, but one man’s rest stop is another’s hunting ground. For decades the defenseless, the weary, and the stranded have disappeared along the highways and byways, vanishing without a trace, but these seemingly unconnected incidents are no coincidence, and a madman stalks the freeways.

When FBI special agent Maggie O’Dell and her partner, Tully, discover the remains of a young woman in a highway ditch, the one clue left behind is a map that will send Maggie and Tully on a frantic hunt crisscrossing the country to stop a madman before he kills again.

As the body count rises and Maggie races against the clock to unmask the monster who’s terrorizing the nation’s highways, she turns to a former foe for help since he seems to know just what the killer’s next move will be. As she gets closer to finding the killer, it becomes eerily clear that Maggie is the ultimate target.


Review: I was over the moon excited when I found out that Alex Kava’s newest book was available to request on Edelweiss. I try not to request too much on Edelweiss or NetGalley. I’m not a huge fan of e-books in general, so I typically shy away from them altogether. However, Alex Kava’s Maggie O’Dell series is one of my absolute favorites and I couldn’t resist. You can imagine how excited I was when I was approved for it.

And let me tell you, dear readers, this was really a book I needed to read. I had been in a little bit of a slow slump, but I devoured this book in 3 days and loved every single word of it.

I don’t even know what to say about this book. The writing was good. The storyline was good. The character interaction and development was good. The killer was a surprise to me. I feel like Maggie O’Dell is back on top of the game with this book, and I was really excited about it!

I am really a fan of Maggie O’Dell’s character. She just seems so real to me. She’s likeable, she’s tough, she’s determined, she’s successful. And yet she’s flawed in some ways too, she has commitment issues. A few books back there was a big change-up with the characters, and at first I was not impressed. However, I must say that I really liked the direction Maggie’s boss is headed back in. There was very little mention of another character, highlighting Maggie’s commitment problem, so I’m kind of confused as to how Creed plays into the storyline in future books.

I’m excited to see what happens in future books. Between the introduction of Creed’s character and Gwen’s diagnosis, I am very interested in seeing where the series goes in the next book.

This is a series that I recommend to a lot of people, since for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem to be as well-known as some other series out there. There are a couple of duds in the series, in my opinion, but overall the series itself is extremely good.

Overall a great and exciting book for summer reading! Highly recommended.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, July 15, 2013

Mailbox Monday’s July host is Book Obsessed.

Well, I haven’t posted a Mailbox Monday post in ages … not since May, in fact. So I’m just going to do a quick visual to catch myself back up on my acquisitions.

From the used book store:

Back SpinWhere All the Dead LieSeparation of PowerPrivate SectorEvery Secret Thing

 

From Paperbackswap and Bookmooch:

The Faithful SpyThe Sixes

 

Purchased New:

World War ZA Discovery of WitchesThe Lincoln LetterUnspeakable

 

From my grandmother:

Defensive WoundsLive WireStay CloseThe HunterHelplessKill Alex Cross

 

Won from No More Grumpy Bookseller:

Sentinel Blood Line

From LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program:

Kind of Cruel

 

From the author for a blog tour in September:

Arctic Fire

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2013, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

2013.30 REVIEW – Where All the Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison

Where All the Dead Lie
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 392
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 6 – July 12, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 30
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: In her showdown with the murderous Pretender, a bullet taken at close range severed the connection between Taylor’s thoughts and speech. Effectively mute, there’s no telling if her voice will ever come back. Trapped in silence, she is surrounded by ghosts – of the past, of friendships and trusts lost … of a lost faith in herself and her motives that night.

When Memphis Highsmythe offers Taylor his home in the Scottish Highlands to recuperate, her fiancé can’t refuse her excitement, no matter his distrust of the man. At first, Memphis’s drafty and singularly romantic castle seems the perfect place for healing. But shortly the house itself surrounds her like a menacing presence. As Taylor’s sense of isolation and vulnerability grows, so too does her grip on reality.

Someone or something is coming after Taylor. But is she being haunted by the dead … or hunted by the living?


Review: This is a hard review for me to write. I am a huge fan of the Taylor Jackson series. But this book left me a little flat. I think my problem with it is that it is nothing like the previous Taylor books. It is completely different and at times I had to wonder what on earth Ms. Ellison was thinking at the time. It really wasn’t until the very end of the book that it felt like we got to actually see the Taylor that the readers know. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily disliked this book, because I really didn’t, but if this is the end of the Taylor Jackson series, I’m not sure that Ms. Ellison did Taylor justice.

I had a big problem with the change in setting. This series has always been set in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve always liked that – I live about 2.5 hours from Nashville and go down there occasionally. But in this book it is set in Scotland. It felt like it was way out in left field at times too, honestly. There is no doubt that the author definitely did her research in regards to this new setting, but I think it was just too drastic of a change for my liking.

It’s hard not to like Taylor Jackson. I’ve always liked her. And I pitied her in this book, and that’s not something that I ever wanted to do. At the same time I was a little more than frustrated with her. She knew better than to go off to a foreign country with a man like Memphis! I didn’t like what that did to Baldwin … and she didn’t even seem to care at first. It wasn’t until she really got there that she realized that she hadn’t given Baldwin a fair shake in everything.

I don’t know. It’s really hard to explain my feelings on this book. Overall, I’m glad that I read it. But if this is really the last Taylor Jackson book (I don’t know that it is – I just know that Ms. Ellison has taken off with a spin-off series with Sam’s character) I feel like it could have been wrapped up better. But then again, maybe I’m just bummed because I really don’t want Taylor’s series to end. Who knows. I might add that this book could probably be read as a standalone, just because it is so different from the other books, but then you would be spoiling a lot of the storyline with Memphis in the earlier books.

Bottom line: Recommended, but probably only to die-hard fans of this series.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Grant County, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, S, SERIES

2013.29 REVIEW – Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter

Blindsighted
by Karin Slaughter

Copyright: 2001
Pages: 376
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 25-July 6, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 29
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear.

Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation – a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he’s got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county’s sole female detective, Lena Adams – the first victim’s sister – wants to serve her own justice.

But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath … or mean her death.


Review: For whatever reason I have never started this series. It’s definitely a series that I’ve wanted to give a go for quite some time … and now I can say that I’m very glad that I started it (even if the last thing I need is another series!)

Overall I thought that this book had a very good storyline. I really liked how everything unfolded as the book went on. And while I had guessed who the killer was about halfway through (there are some pretty obvious clues), it was still interesting to see how Sara and Jeffrey solved the case.

So let me talk about the characters now. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am huge on character development. It’s a must for me. And it’s probably why I read so many books that are part of a series … you really get to know the characters when they are featured in numerous books. But I have to say that I really liked Sara’s character. Here you have a woman who has a dark secret in her past. A terrible thing happened to her and she’s done nothing but try to move on from it. But she really hasn’t dealt with it, actually, she’s just tried to put it out of her mind and only her family knows about it. That’s really a sad way to live, but understandable at the same time. I was just shocked that she had been married to Jeffrey and never felt the courage to open up to him. I can’t imagine keeping such a part of your life from your spouse. But then again, having never experienced that kind of pain, who knows how someone would really react. Either way, I really enjoyed seeing how Sara and Jeffrey interacted. You can tell that there’s still a lot of feelings on both sides, but who knows if they will ever really work out as a couple. Whatever happens, I’m interested in seeing how it works for them.

I don’t think I could ever have imagined a pediatrician also being a local coroner. The two just don’t mix for me. But for some reason, I really think it works. I think it provides a good balance for Sara’s character – she gets to have the easy, but busy, office work while at the same time gets the challenges of doing autopsies and solving murders … sounds like a good balance, right? I know it sounds funny, but I actually really liked it for some reason! Maybe I’m just that macabre, ha!

There is one thing that I was a little confused about. There was a whole lot of emphasis on the restaurant owner and his employee, and then all of a sudden that whole storyline disappeared. I didn’t ever feel like there was any conclusion to that part of the story. I know it wasn’t the main storyline, obviously, but I just felt as if things were left hanging in some way. It’s hard for me to really describe my feelings on that, but like I said, something didn’t feel wrapped up in regards to those characters.

Overall, a very good first book in what I hope will be a very good series. Highly recommended.

Book Blitz, Pump Up Your Book

Blog Tour: The Alchemist Agenda by Marty Weiss

Join Marty Weiss, author of the thriller novel, The Alchemist Agenda, as he tours the blogosphere July 1 – September 27, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

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The Alchemist AgendaABOUT THE ALCHEMIST AGENDA

When Charlie Rocklin and his company Gold Diggers Exploration set out to recover a 17th century shipwreck, they discover an undocumented Nazi submarine with enigmatic symbols. Ariel Ellis, a femme fatale historian with a mysterious past, proves that the U-boat contains the key to a formula more valuable than any sunken treasure, and more deadly than any weapon that has ever existed. In this globetrotting international adventure, Charlie and Ariel uncover an accelerating tempest of secrecy, lies, and agendas, fighting not only for the truth, but for their lives. Weiss’s debut novel is a lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn, and shows us that our personal legends may be more real than we ever could have imagined.
Purchase at:

amazonbn

Add to Goodreads:

goodreads

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ABOUT MARTY WEISS

Marty Weiss was born and raised in Chicago and decided that he wanted to make movies after spending a summer working on the set of John Hughes’ movie “Sixteen Candles.” After earning a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and an M.F.A. in film and television from New York University, he directed national and international TV commercials for major Blue Chip brands as well as TV movies. He helmed his first feature film, “Vampires: The Turning,” for Sony/Screen Gems Entertainment – an action/horror movie that evolved out of John Carpenter’s “Vampires.” It was filmed in Chiang Mai, Thailand and released worldwide in 2005. Weiss has filmed throughout North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Southeast Asia, and has garnered numerous industry awards. His screen adaption of his debut novel, “The Alchemist Agenda,” was the honored with the Best Screenplay award from Amazon Studios and is currently on their development slate for production. Weiss lives in Los Angeles with his wife Elisabeth and children Jasmine and Jake.

Visit his blog at http://www.martinishotfilms.tv

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The Alchemist Agenda Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Monday, July 1 – Book featured at Inside BJ’s Head

Monday, July 1 – 1st chapter reveal at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, July 2 – Book reviewed and guest blogging at Rainy Day Reviews

Tuesday, July 2 – 1st chapter reveal at Bibliophila, Please

Wednesday, July 3 – Book featured at Book Journey

Friday, July 5 – 1st chapter reveal at Mom with a Kindle

Monday, July 8 – Book reviewed at Miki’s Hope

Tuesday, July 9 – Book featured at Tales of a Book Addict

Thursday, July 11 – 1st chapter reveal at Read 2 Review

Tuesday, July 16 – Book featured at My Cozie Corner

Thursday, July 18 – Interviewed at Review From Here

Tuesday, July 23 – Book reviewed at My Devotional Thoughts

Tuesday, July 23 – Guest blogging at Rural Mom

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Pump Up Your Book