Archive for November 10, 2015

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A Dickens of a Murder
by Joyce and Jim Lavene

A DICKENS OF A MURDER by authors Joyce and Jim Lavene, is one of their most fun and original books to date!
~Lisa K’s Book Reviews

First in a brand-new series, the popular cozy authors Joyce and Jim Lavene bring life to a small and quiet community as eccentric bibliophile Simon Canterville and business partner, long-time librarian Lisa Wellman…
~Mallory Heart Reviews

Interesting cozy mystery with a paranormal element. Well written with a good story

I’m hooked on this new series.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

A Dickens of A Murder is a charming whodunnit that will please the bibliophile that lives in all of us.
~Moonlight Rendezvous

I was so captivated by this book. Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are strong characters that really pull you in to the story.
~Shelley’s Book Case

I loved the book. It has so many of the story elements that I truly enjoy: mystery, a book store, and a struggling author who just happens to be a former librarian. It’s one of my dream worlds.
~Booklady’s Booknotes

A Dickens of a Murder
(Canterville Book Shop Mystery 1)

Cozy Mystery
Print Length: 208 pages
Publisher: J. Lavene (November 3, 2015)
ASIN: B015269QSI


My Review

A new cozy mystery by some favorite authors. Joyce and Jim Lavene have enchanted me yet again.

The combination of a librarian turned book shop owner is especially fun. I love books in all shapes and sizes and often dreamed of working in a library or owning my own book store. Imagine it, surrounded by millions of printed words, all those books begging to be read. I’d never get any work done. LOL

The main characters are Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville. There are many others too. These authors fill the pages with colorful characters that add dimension and bring the small township of Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia to life, and give us a few suspects.

Lisa left her job as librarian at the public library to pursue her dream of owning a book shop and trying to write that book she’s got in her head. In partnership with Simon Canterville, a quiet, shy man who has a penchant for vintage suits, the dream is finally happening. Their store, The Canterville Book Shop, is opening soon and just wait until you step inside.

The three story Victorian mansion, owned by Simon, is filled with beautiful antiques. The original architecture and design is glamorous and the rooms, named after different authors, contain thousands of books in all your most loved genres, especially mysteries. Who wouldn’t love to spend hours browsing all of them.

The new owners are in a pickle when a man is found dead, hanging on the roof of the book shop. Suspicion is squarely on Lisa and Simon when the body is discovered to be one Ebeneezer Hart. He’s been fighting the opening of their shop, claiming there are too many already.

Now you have it. The stage for the mystery has been set. Next comes a fun complication.

The responding officer at the crime scene is none other than Deputy Chief Daniel Fairhaven, who happens to be Lisa’s ex-husband.

Now you’ll be wondering about Lisa and Daniel. Will he believe her innocence? Will old flames be rekindled? Nothing like a little romance to sweeten things up.

Watch for the surprise ghost, I mean guest. The books not called A Dickens of a Murder for nothing. The two D’s have Lisa going this way and that.

While this story takes place in the present, you can’t help but feel tones of the past, of a Victorian era. For one, there’s the title. Then there’s the mansion and Simon’s penchant for the old style suits. The timing did it too. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, a chill of snow is in the air. People are giddy with anticipation of the holidays to come. I felt like I could step into the past.

I’m always excited to start a new book by these two talented authors. I started reading A Dickens Of A Murder and was soon smiling in delight, meeting new characters, exploring a new town, and puzzling over the mystery.

Joyce and Jim did it again. Took me away from the humdrum of real life, allowing me to escape, if but for a brief time, through there writing.

5 Stars



Christmas at Canterville!

Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are surprised to find a dead man on their roof in the midst of rushing to open the Canterville Book Shop in time for the holidays. And not just any dead man – Ebenezer Hart – the man who opposed the book shop opening in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia.
What might be more surprising is when Daniel Fairhaven – Lisa’s ex – turns up at the door of the three-story Victorian house to head the police investigation. She hasn’t seen him in years but the sparks start to fly as soon as they are in the same room together.

Simon and Lisa are obviously the best suspects for the murder. Each of them had something to gain by Hart’s death. Then an attempt on Simon’s life throws that theory into a tailspin.
But the biggest surprise yet comes when the ghost of Charles Dickens turns up to help Lisa with the murder investigation – and writing the mystery novel she has been working on for years.
Without a doubt, Daniel and Dickens in Lisa’s life means trouble. And there’s still the matter of trying to get the book shop open with a killer on their heels.

Authors Joyce and Jim Lavene

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Author Links

Website / Facebook / Amazon / Twitter

Purchase Link



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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page.
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My Teaser for this week is from

 Tropical Depression

A Billy Knight Thriller #1

by Jeff Lindsay



I just reviewed the second book in this series, Red Tides. Check it out and enter the giveaway HERE.

My Teaser from 29% in the eBook.

I have known guys who would chase a humpbacked sheep if she had large breasts, or great legs, or a firmly rounded butt. I have always been more attracted to a woman’s hands. To me they reveal so much more about who she is than any other feature. Faces can be made up or controlled. Figures can be accidental, or contrived. And legs, after all, are just something to walk around on.

The hands alone are naked.


My Review

Right from the beginning, the author sets a fast pace with action, drama, horrific events, and intrigue.

When a botched hostage rescue goes horribly wrong, LA police officer Billy Knight loses everything. It’s all too much and he leaves the force, heading for calmer waters.

Key West is his final destination. He hangs up his gun and starts over as a charter fishing boat captain. Sun, cold beer, and the salty breeze over aquamarine waters give Billy a tenuous hold on his sanity.

So, he wasn’t happy to see Roscoe. He’d left all that behind. He agreed to listen, but flat out refused to get involved in the investigation of the murder of Roscoe’s son, and he sent him on his way.

Later, Billy goes looking for Roscoe, feeling bad about how he treated his friend and former co-worker, but he’s already grabbed a flight back home.

The news of Roscoe’s murder a few weeks later hits Billy hard.  No matter how much it hurts. No matter how difficult it is. No matter how dangerous it is. Billy will not rest until the killer or killers are caught, dead or alive.

Billy Knight is a wounded warrior. He’s been through so much, more than most can bear. When he went back to investigate the murders, I was reminded of that saying, “let a sleeping dog lie.” Billy woke up and did whatever he had to do, regardless of anyone’s approval or cooperation.

There are some guys you don’t want to get angry. You won’t like them when they’re angry. And Billy is angry.

Lots of intrigue, dirty little secrets, and corruption keep you emotionally engaged. The cast of characters go from funny to sad, from boorish to just plain bad.

The story never bogs down. The author helps you visualize places and scenes clearly. And the doses of humor give you a bright spot in a dark venture.

I happily recommend this book and the series to all thriller and suspense fans.

4 Stars


Read on if you want to know more.


Before there was Dexter, there was Billy Knight.

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Jeff Lindsay mastered suspense with his wildly addictive DEXTER series. Before that, however, there was former cop and current burnout Billy Knight. When a hostage situation turns deadly, Billy loses everything—his wife, his daughter, and his career. Devastated, he heads to Key West to put down his gun and pick up a rod and reel as a fishing boat captain. But former co-worker Roscoe McAuley isn’t ready to let Billy rest.

When Roscoe tells Billy that someone murdered his son, Billy sends him away. When Roscoe himself turns up dead a few weeks later, however, Billy can’t keep from getting sucked back into Los Angeles, and the streets that took so much from him.

Billy’s investigations into the death of a former cop, and his son, will take him up to the highest echelons of the LAPD, finding corruption at every level. It puts him on a collision course with the law, with his past, with his former fellow officers, and with the dark aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Jeff Lindsay’s considerable storytelling gifts are on full display, drawing the reader in with a mesmerizing style and a case with more dangerous blind curves than Mulholland Drive.


How about you? Got a tease? Tell me!

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