Archive for July 26, 2017

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The House On Devil’s Bar

The Linn House Mysteries #1

by Jessie McAlan

TheHouseOnDevilsBar cover

Genre: US Amateur Sleuth


My Review

There’s no one thing that makes me like this book. I do like a good mystery. Especially one with no real obvious suspect. I also enjoy humorous and snarky dialogue between characters. And it sure adds to my enjoyment when the scenes are visually written, putting me there in the story. And last, but not least, the surprise reveal of who did it and why. This book had all of this, and something else. This is where I wish I was a writer so I could spit it out. Something just really charmed me. Maybe the compelling prose.

Rona is finally seeing progress with her bakery and events business. When a mysterious woman shows up at Linn House asking questions and then disappearing, Rona shrugs it off. But the strangeness of it keeps niggling at her. And soon she’s thinking all kinds of things. And her fears are justified when the woman’s body is discovered drowned in the river.

Not one to sit on her hands and wait, Rona delves into the woman’s life, feeling duty bound to prove her death wasn’t an accident and see justice done. This leads to some threatening occurrences. The success of her business, and her life are now in question.

Rona is very likable. She’s kind and professional, stubborn and determined.  And while she’s a bit lonely, she doesn’t feel she has to have a man to be happy. Then her ex shows up and their back and forth banter comes naturally. She’s now having second thoughts. Can’t help but like a second chance romance. Even if it doesn’t go the way you want. Won’t tell you how it goes with these two.

Lots of lovely scenery, plenty of mystery and false trails, and humor and romance, what more could you ask for. I hope you try The House On Devil’s Bar. You’ll want to read more about these characters.

4 Stars



The police verdict of a woman’s accidental drowning in the Mississippi River does more than set tongues wagging in the small Missouri town of Klim; it starts a flood of cancellations that threaten to sink Rona Murray’s bakery and events business. And blacken her good name. Determined to save both, she starts her own investigation to prove she and her property are blameless.  Barbara Lindborg had stopped by Linn House to consider renting it for a party. Yet, when Rona returned from accepting a delivery, the woman had vanished.

Rona’s preliminary search for Barbara yields nothing more than suggestive footprints on the Bar.  Did the woman accidentally fall into the river?  Was she pushed – and if so, why?  A later hunt reveals Barbara’s cell phone in the woods. How did it get halfway up the hill if the woman drowned a hundred feet below? The phone’s camera holds snaps of Klim, its residents, and the Bar. Do any of these hold a clue to her death? Or did her and Rona’s earlier conversation about history and treasure have a different meaning?

Suspects and motives pop up like bubbles in yeast. Is Matt, an employee, still bitter about his and Barbara’s divorce? What about Rona’s own ex, Johnny? Is he trying to drive her out of business, or is his current girlfriend, Crystal, jealous of their relationship and trying to eliminate the competition? A bit like calling the kettle black, for Crystal seems very friendly with Frank, the bad boy neighbor. Frank isn’t lily-white, either. He dislikes Rona; is he behind the pranks on her property or mixed up in Barbara’s death?  It isn’t until Rona’s life is threatened one stormy night that she learns the killer’s identity and her true feelings about Johnny.



Clouds cloaked the moon, and the darkness in the woods closed around her. She increased her pace. The ground and leaves were slick, causing her to lose traction. When she slid downhill the second time, she heard the whispers.

She remained where she was, her back against a tree trunk, her palms on the ground. The wind had kicked up while she’d started back from the Bar, and it sighed as it wandered through the pines. A cricket chorus grated beneath the melody, strident and sharp, punctuating the wind’s fluid lament. A crack, like someone stepping on a branch, bore through the song, and Rona froze. Was someone walking through the woods, walking without a flashlight?

Which could only mean he was sneaking up on her.


Author Jessie McAlan

A family trip to the Big Spring area in the Missouri Ozarks introduced Jessie to the wonders of nature.  Her summer stints as a camp counselor and canoeing instructor cemented her enthusiasm.  This love of the natural world and the river flows through her Linn House mysteries.

In 2001 Jessie graduated from Webster University with a BA degree and departmental honors in English.

She lives in the St Louis, MO area and spends as much time as she can camping and watching the barges on the river.

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It’s time for some Hump Day Reviews.

Got a couple of good ones for you.

Check out Behold! and Iced


Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders

edited by Doug Murano



Genre: horror / fantasy/ Short Story Collection

My Review

The moment I got my greedy little hands on this book I was giddy with glee. I love the strange, unusual and creepy and this had it all.

The story has three parts, Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders. Not wanting to risk spoilers, I’d say that sums it up nicely. Creepy gardens, gnomes, clowns, mysterious whatevers and more all await your curiosity.

There is just too much awesomeness in this collection to single out any favorites. Some of these talented authors are old friends and some are new to me. All of them are in top form, entertaining me with their various tales.

Make sure you don’t skip past the foreword. It’s a smart piece of work in itself, explaining what awaits you when you get to the meat of the book. As R.L. Stine says, “Beware. You’re in for a scare.”

Loved every bit of this book. I bet you will too. Try it and see. And remember to breathe.

5 Stars


 I received my ARC copy of BEHOLD! from Crystal Lake Publishing. Thanks so much and thank you to these amazing authors.


Crystal Lake Publishing and Doug Murano, the Bram Stoker Award-nominated editor of GUTTED: BEAUTIFUL HORROR STORIES, are proud to present BEHOLD! ODDITIES, CURIOSITIES AND UNDEFINABLE WONDERS.

Slide into the spaces between the ordinary. Embrace the odd. Indulge your curiosity. Surrender to wonder. Witness as the finest talents of our time bring you tales of the strangeness at the edges of existence.


Clive Barker, John Langan, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Brian Kirk, Hal Bodner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Erinn Kemper, John F.D. Taff, Patrick Freivald, Lucy Snyder, Brian Hodge, Kristi DeMeester, Christopher Coake, Sarah Read, and Richard Thomas.

With a foreword by Josh Malerman.

Pre-order on Amazon



A Resort To Murder Mystery  #1

by Avery Daniels



Genre: Mystery

 My Review

I have a fondness for cozy mysteries. They have such quirky titles and colorful covers. And there are so many themes. Food, pets, sewing, clothing and more. The theme for this book is new to me.

It’s never a dull moment for Julienne. She works at a luxurious resort as an event planner. Everything must run smoothly and last minute changes will be accommodated. Except when it’s a dead body. Somebody killed the beloved Pastor Tom. Ran him through with an ice sculpture.

Julienne had an earlier incident with the pastor so she’s suspect number one in the eyes of Detective Lawrence. If it was up to him, they need look no further for the killer.

She knows she didn’t kill the pastor and Julienne enlists the help of some friends and the sexy new neighbor to sort things out and bring the killer to justice.

Quite the mystery. There was no clear suspect. My radar pinged on one, but then I didn’t read about that person again until way further in the story. And I was wrong.

I enjoyed reading about Julienne’s personal life as much as I did the mystery. She’s fighting for her independence. Her dad thinks she should get married and have babies. And her boyfriend seems to have her future all mapped out for her. When she’s finally had enough and puts her foot down, or rather stamps it, I applauded her. I like strong female protagonists and I was with her all the way as she carved out her own life.

You don’t have to be a cozy fan to enjoy this book. It’s got lots of colorful characters, fun dialogue, and an ending that comes out of left field. It’s good clean fun.

4 Stars



Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what’s best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn’t understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice.

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?



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You can find a list of my reviews HERE.

For a list of free eBooks go HERE

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