Monday, 16 January 2012

My Review of Much Ado About Marshals by Jacquie Rogers

This Historical Western Romance set in 1885, Oreana, Idaho, is a hoot. It’s hot, funny, and romantic; in others words this is a seductive read. I couldn’t put it down. Guilty secrets, love triangles, mistaken identity, forbidden love, Shakespeare couldn’t have given us more, but Jacquie Rogers does. She includes bank robbers, a wannabe lady detective and a whole town full of memorable characters who take us on a rollicking ride in the Wild West. 

Warmth of innocence and true love are endearing qualities in the main characters.
Cole Richards living a lie as the Marshal Sidney Adler is loveable because, as well as his fear of capture for his unintentional part in a bank robbery, it’s his sense of honour and commitment to his new role and his love for the Mayor’s daughter that prevents him revealing his true identity. The marshal clearly understands the difference between true love and lust.

Daisy Gardiner is lovable because she knows what she wants and in her innocence she works out how to get it. She wants the marshal. Married to this handsomely sexy man she can be his helpmate and pursue her career as private detective, like the fictional Honey Beaulieu in her detective novels. But first she must nurse him back to health after the gunshot wound to his leg and prove her usefulness by helping to capture two unethical miners.

Ms Roger’s humour swings between slapstick (e.g. scenes with the boy and his dog) to irony (e.g. the proposed use of the medicinal “Dr Liebig’s Lost Manhood Restorer.”) She plays on Bosco Kunkle’s love of food which brings out the sweet and sad side of the lonely widows who fawn over him. She uses the naivety of young women in this by-gone era and has her reader smiling and laughing out loud.

Much Ado About Marshals is an adult novel; educational too. It would make a perfect gift for the bride-to-be. J

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Wendy's Review Of Trencarrow Secret by Anita Davison

This Victorian novel rates among the best of the Romance books I’ve read.
The vivid detail and tense love story had me turning the pages well into the night and first thing in the morning. This is a colourful, well researched story driven by aristocratic attitudes and relationships.

The engagement of beautiful, wealthy Isabelle Hart to the self-assured Jared Winters will be announced at Isabelle’s Twenty-First Birthday Ball. The match has been anticipated from childhood, but circumstances begin to pile up which cause Isabelle to question her readiness for marriage and her true feelings for Jared. Complications involve her courageous mother who is terminally ill, her adored father whom Isabelle sees kissing her mother’s nurse and the arrival of the gorgeous Lord Strachan, a houseguest who attracts Isabelle. Lord Strachan and Isabelle appear to have many interests in common and he obviously likes her. This is more apparent to the reader and the other characters than it is to Isabelle. The handsome nobleman seeks a wife, but since Isabelle is spoken for, her friend Ellie, once engaged to Isabelle’s brother David, hones in on the lord.

In Trencarrow’s beautiful Manor House, Ms Davison spins her intrigue, weaving threads of deception, misunderstandings and insecurity. Cads clash with admirable men, and manipulating women befriend genteel ladies, but at the heart of Trencarrow is gut wrenching sorrow and unconditional love.

All of the characters are distinct individuals with their own needs and agendas. All of them brought something substantial to the story. Trencarrow Secret tugs at the heartstrings on many levels, and, most unexpectedly, my heart broke for one of the women whose true story becomes suddenly evident at the end. Try as I might I could not hold back the tears.

Trencarrow Secret begins and ends in its maze, at the centre of which is a treasure some might consider more valuable than gold, and the maze gives up more than one secret. A symbol of wrong paths, fear and claustrophobia, the maze also symbolizes achievement, satisfaction and victory. Ms Davison provides all of these elements in Trencarrow Secret and its haunting atmosphere remains long after the book is closed.

If you love Historical Romance, you’ll love the characters and the story of the beautifully crafted Trencarrow Secret.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

In Converation with the real fictional PI LEE ALVAREZ

It isn’t every day we get to meet a real fictional character,
straight out of the pages of author               HEATHER HAVEN’s

Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series.

This is a huge treat.

I wonder how long it is safe to keep Lee in real life. We’ll keep all three books open, then if Murder is a Family Business and A Wedding to Die For accidentally close, Lee can quickly jump back into her new story Death Runs in the Family which enters the public domain in May.

Welcome, PI LEE ALVAREZ. It’s lovely you have taken the risk to step out from your comfort zone for a while. Thank you for being here. Tell the truth now, Lee. What’s one thing about you that you’ve never told anyone?

I always tell the truth, except when I prevaricate. But here’s something nobody knows. I’ve always wanted to play the ukulele. In fact, I have one gathering dust under the bed. It’s been there for three years. I tried to play it when I first got it, but it’s really hard.  For about two weeks I would practice every day. The tips of my fingers were raw. I asked a musician friend and he said that if I practiced for the next two years or so, maybe I could advance from ‘horrible’ to ‘amusingly bad.’ I don’t know if it’s pride or just the time factor – I mean, I do spend the majority of my life investigating the theft of intellectual property and software piracy, with a few murders thrown in every now and then. Do I see myself like Sherlock Holmes and his violin?  Maybe. Maybe I’ll pick up my uke one of these days and play Tiny Bubbles for all the world to hear.

Hmmmm. Why am I cringing? Sorry ,but the ‘amusingly bad’ still resonates in my ears. J
Having murder as part of the family business must be difficult. How do the events around you affect you as a person?

OMG, I can’t tell you the stress.  My kid brother, Richard, head of the Discretionary Inquiries Research and IT Department, is always giving me some new fangled piece of equipment no bigger than a cigarette lighter, and then yelling at me because I can’t get it to work. I mean, I’m chasing down murderers in the middle of San Francisco winter storms and it’s my fault his stupid scanner doesn’t work? I haven’t read the instructions? I don’t think so. And then there’s my mother, the lovely Lila Hamilton Alvarez, a serious fashionista. She sends me out on jobs no other self-respecting gumshoe would take, and then it’s my fault somebody gets killed on my watch? And God forbid, I should be wearing navy blue with black. She’ll tell me to stop chasing the perp and go change my clothes.  At least I have Tío, my wonderful uncle, a retired Mexican chef who can do things with chorizo and cheese that stops traffic in the streets. Speaking of streets, there is a new addition to the Alvarez Family, a little kitten I found wandering the streets in the rainstorm. I’ve named him Rum Tum Tugger. He’s my new guy. I’ve been getting into a lot of messes lately, so I’m lucky I’ve got my family around, warts and all.

Your life sounds hectic and dangerous, but I’ll bet you wouldn’t change it for the world. What would you say to people who ask, “Why do you do what you do? Why not take up some dream job in a part of the world where no-one has ever heard of you?

There’s a dream job in some other part of the world? Lead me to it. Just kidding. Detective work is the family business. Before Dad’s sudden death two years ago, due to an aneurism, he taught me everything he knew about being a good detective, hoping I would follow in his footsteps. He built up this thriving business specializing in tracking down law-breakers in software and intellectual property computer fraud, here in the Silicon Valley. But in my heart of hearts, what I really wanted to become was a ballerina.

You wanted to be a ballerina!?

Oh yes, I studied ever since I was five years old. I worked really hard at it. But the truth? There’s no substitute for talent. I am, at best, a mediocre dancer, no matter how hard I work at it. It doesn’t help that I’ve 5’8” tall, either. A good ballerina is usually around 5’4” in height. Anyway, at about sixteen-years of age I had to face it. I could never get a job in anything more than the chorus of a second-rate ballet company. We all have our secret ‘what ifs’, things we wish had turned out differently. But I’m smart enough to know that not being able to do a first-rate glissade arabesque is probably one of life’s better regrets.

Ranks up there with the ukulele, eh? Never mind, you are a wonderful detective. What makes your style unique? Do you have a trade mark?

I like to read Dashiell Hammett detective stories and watch old black and white movies while on my laptop hunting some suspect down. I think of myself as colorful. At least, that’s what I say to my mother. She’s not buying any of it, though. She wants me to stop being impulsive, think ahead before I leap, and for heaven’s sake, act like a lady. Ha ha., as if. And my trade mark? Hmmm… Picture me a sort of a modern California gal-PI, dressed in Vera Wang, with a big crush on Humphrey Bogart.

I see. So, you are inspired by fictional detectives? Very interesting. Ironic, but interesting. J  What makes you happy?

Sapphire Bombay Gin martini - shake that sucker, please -- two olives, served icy cold. Throw in a bowl of mixed nuts, and a Barbara Stanwyck movie. Curled up with those and Tugger, my cat, and my Snub Nose Lady Blue Detective Special, life doesn’t get much better. OMG. I just reread that. Does that sound as pathetic as I think it does?

No definitely not ‘pathetic’. I’d say ‘cosy’ would be a more appropriate word. If you could have anything at all what would you want or need to make your life complete?

World peace. No kidding around. I’m lucky and I know it. I have a wonderful but weird family, who love me despite my many faults. I live in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, California’s glorious Bay Area. I have a great job as a PI in our family business. My health’s good, I’m pretty smart, and reasonably attractive. In the best of all worlds, I would like to have someone to share my Kashi GoLean with most mornings, but I’m working on it, I’m working on it.

Well, LEE ALVAREZ, I’m sure we all wish you much success in that area. Thank you for spending time on the outside. Allow me to help you step back into your book.

Lee is safely inside her story so I close the books. You can reopen them by going to:
 MuseItUp Publishing for:
Murder is a Family Business
A Wedding to Die For 

Murder is a Family Businees    
And meet the author, Heather Haven at:

Friday, 6 January 2012

January Calamity's Corner

Calamity's Corner begins 2012 in a burst of colour, with the
Lady in the Yellow Hat, Rebecca Ryals Russell, as Author
of the Month.

Alanna from France shows us more of the beautiful coast of

Carole Sutton isn't prepared for what she finds in her bed!

Jacquie Rogers has a historically musical treat for older
rockers in her Blast from the Past column.

L.J. Roberts convinces us to read 'A Corpse's Nightmare
and my writing exercise is rather cool, if I do say so myself.

If you've ever wondered why Buddhist monks spend so
much time meditating, join Mark as he shares his 10 day
meditation experience which he describes as 'way outside
my comfort zone.'

Please come and join us at Calamities Corner.
Just ask to receive  Calamities Corner free on the 1st of each month.