Dial Meow for Murder – a book for lovers of eclectic characters, pets and all that accompanies the Halloween Season.

a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/premonition/”>Premonition

via Daily Prompt: Premonition

I actually have experienced a few premonitions during my lifetime, a couple of them coming as dreams revealing scenes and details I could never have known might happen, but that did in fact come to fruition. The dreams seemed different from “normal” ones. I sensed that they had meaning, though I was in denial until the events occurred. So I’m a true believer that there is a lot about the universe that we don’t know.

I have a strong desire to make sense of everything, but the world from our perspective doesn’t seem to make much sense, so faith and trust are necessities. From that point of view, I value my unexplained experiences, as they are proof that there’s something beyond the physical world with all it’s flaws.

I have a premonition today, well, really a reality based prediction that those of you who are interested in the spirit of the Halloween season, parties, costumes, and pets, will love the book I was planning to review today.

So, here’s the review. I hope you enjoy it and perhaps click the link to order a copy, and let me know in the comments section if you have had premonitions that came true too:

Book Review of Dial Meow for Murder – A Lucky Paws Pet Sitting Mystery by Bethany Blake

Dial Meow for Murder (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)

I’ll have to read the first in the series, Death by Chocolate Lab, now that I’ve become a fan of Daphne and Socrates, oh, and Tinkleston too, the crazy little kitten Daphne just adopted after the death of his owner. Socrates, the basset hound is Daphne’s sidekick and protector. Daphne has her own pet sitting business, though she doesn’t seem to do that job too much in this book. She’s too busy creating costumes, celebrating at Halloween events and solving murders.

A casual romance/friendship is featured, as is a drama concerning the large home of a lady who passed away, which was for sale by Daphne’s mother’s real estate company at the time of the death of the owner.

Daphne’s sister Piper is a veterinarian. Both young ladies are animal lovers so cute pets permeate the tale. Fund raising for pet rescue organizations is a prime pastime for the interesting cast of characters.

I liked how everything turned out in the end, the several plots coming together pretty seamlessly. Well, one character I really liked is leaving Sylvan Creek (PA), which made me a bit sad, but it’s probably a good thing for that character. I’m not sure what the title has to do with the story, but I do like the take on the vintage film “Dial M for Murder”.

A recommended read for those who love pets, and the lovely season of Autumn, and Halloween.

To learn more, view the link below:

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On Blogging: Is it Just My Imagination . . .

Imagination

via Daily Prompt: Imagination

or does regular blogging really help build writing skills and spur imaginative ideas for more blogs? When first blogging, I wondered how I would find enough material for ongoing articles. I imagined each post would require major research and much editing.

Since I’ve been publishing posts on a regular basis, I find myself writing, and typing, much faster, with fewer obvious errors. I have running lists in my pocket, purse, and by my bedside of new topics I’d like to research or simply post my opinion about.

It seems amazing how much more I’ve actually accomplished in my personal life too, since blogging more. It seems I’ve found my passion, and pursuing it doesn’t drain my energy as much as wondering what my passion really was for most of my life. I’ve learned a lot about various topics over the years, well actually decades, I must admit: dog behavior and competitive obedience trials, gardening, home arts, environmental issues, wellness and fitness, and of course, the passion behind this particular blog, reading  – about everything- but especially cozies. So, there’s a wide range of topics to choose from.

The writing adage – write about what you know is so true. Writing about what I know was the key to triggering my imagination, enabling me to begin composing fiction too, a few years ago, something I thought I could never do, and it’s the obvious key to blogging.

Start with what you know, and imagination will lead you to share your thoughts in a new way. Once you’re on that trail, you tap into that creative chain of consciousness, becoming in-spirit (inspired), putting things on paper before they’ve even entered your mind. You type faster and more efficiently, with less errors. Your confidence increases.

For years I fought my inclination to write, feeling I lacked training to accomplish anything worth while, that I was wasting my time. Once I got over my sense of denial, I learned I could create compositions that some would want to read.

I’m still far from being a greatly skilled writer, but blogging is making me a better one, I believe.

Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss”, to achieve success. That’s as true for blogging as it is for any pursuit. The more we blog, the better we can become. So, to all beginning bloggers and to veterans too:

“Keep Calm and Blog On”.

P. S. Since The Daily Post requires working quickly to post the same day, it’s a great way to build experience and trigger one’s instinctive imagination.

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Compromise is Key to Contentment and Continuity in Personal Interactions and National and World Relations

Compromise
via Daily Prompt: Compromise

Your significant other has planned an impromptu all weekend trip to the Lake, reserving a room for Saturday night. You are tired and hoped to stay home to find out who murdered Mrs. Worthington- a character in the latest installment of a favorite mystery book series, of course.

Would you normally battle it out, resulting in a bad weekend for both of you, perhaps with neither of your plans seen through? Or cave, go on the trip, kicking your spineless self all the way, returning to work on Monday drained, disoriented, and difficult to work with as you’re still focused on finding that killer?

Wouldn’t it have been better for both parties to discuss their feelings, perhaps coming to a compromise of a one day lake trip.

Or, alternatively, to go on the all weekend trip with the agreement that the planning party drive and do what he/she wishes on one day while you spend that day relaxing and discovering the outcome of the investigation?

Of course it takes two to compromise. Sometimes that’s the problem, but one person must make the first move toward discussion rather than disagreement.

Not all situations present options for compromise, but next time you disagree with a course of action, why not consider if a compromise might be possible. Present your thoughts rather than simply complain.

Imaging how much better the world might work if leaders could more often compromise. There seems little we as individuals can do to support that goal, especially in light of the fact that the public seems so divided. Perhaps if we began to consider compromises as solutions to our differences with those we live or work with, the effect might reverberate, creating a better world for us all, personally, politically, globally.

I haven’t read this book but perhaps many of us should start here, as marriages present some of the most difficult, yet imperative situations for which to find compromise.

He Wins, She Wins: Learning the Art of Marital Negotiation

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Book Review of Glow of Death, a Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery – By Jane K. Cleland

Cats, Books, Mystery Books,

Lecture
via Daily Prompt: Lecture

Perhaps I should attend a lecture on the proper way to review books – learning from the experiences of others is a valued way to improve one’s own talents. But just now I’m too busy reading books I love and hoping to share them with others who like the same kind of cozies I do. – In addition to my other personal and professional responsibilities.

So I hope that readers are ok for now with the fact that I share my honest impression of books with you- my online friends, in the same natural manner I would use with “in person” friends.

So here’s my review of  Glow of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries): My latest favorite from Jane K. Cleland, set in my very favorite place to visit in person, Southern Coastal New England:

It took me a while to read this one. A bit longer than most cozies, it seems, but the plot held the reader’s interest the entire time.

A complex winding plot with some unexpected suspense at the end.   I must admit I got a little lost for a time, keeping track of characters and plot twists, but that was okay.

A tiffany lamp was the star of the story. I learned some details of how to tell a real one from a reproduction, but it does require an expert to be sure. If an item has enough value, people will find a way to accurately make copies.

This one was stolen, replaced with a fake, and Josie was challenged with finding the real one, and finding the murderer of the lady with whom she had met to appraise the lamp. Well, maybe. That’s all I’m saying

I learned a bit about tomato cultivation, as a side character did nothing but tend to her plants it seemed, each time Josie passed her home. It seemed a bit repetitive, but I would love the meet the character in person, very pleasant and a great sense of style.

Josie finds romance with her cop boyfriend who’s out of town assignment finally comes to an end and they can spend more time together. And Hank, the watch cat of Prescott Antiques gains a new friend.

If you find antiques fascinating, love cats, and the New England Coast, and appreciate an assortment of interesting characters, all entwined into a detailed plot you will enjoy this story.

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Keep Calm and Read On

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Creating Space-Time for Reading-Writing

Cats, Books, Mystery Books,

via Daily Prompt: Profuse

The biggest challenge for many of us as writers, is finding a place and making moments to pursue our passions of working/relaxing with printed words.

I work one nearly full time job and another that takes up a few hours each week. Add to that the profuse amount of personal responsibilities that tug at my brain each day-housecleaning, catbox cleaning and personal time with pets, bill paying, grocery shopping, meal prep, reading . . . . You all get the picture, as we share the same struggle between meeting our obligations, and fulfilling our personal needs.

It’s amazing to me that I’ve been able to do as many blog posts as I have lately, here and at http://www.thepennymasonpost.wordpress.com. I guess I’ve managed because I’m making it my priority just now, as I did my book projects. Blogging is, admittedly a bit easier as once you click publish, a post is done. Longer projects consume my mind as I’m trying to focus on other activities. Still, it blogging takes up time.

I suppose the phrase in the first sentence (making moments) of this post holds the key to finding time to read or write. I make notes of ideas for posts while at breakfast. I take a book to work or compose a post while on my lunch break, I stay up too late typing many nights, but feel I won’t sleep if I don’t put on paper what’s in my mind, or finish that next chapter before a book is due at the library.

I don’t really have a personal place to read or write, but that doesn’t really matter. The kitchen table works, as does my recliner, my car, or a park bench. When we’re focused upon the world of words, it’s like an out of body experience anyway.

Regarding writing, as other bloggers can confirm, I’m sure, when our mind holds a profuse amount of ideas we’ll invent a place and time to put the words on paper.

Share your creative ways to make time-space for reading-writing in our comments section . . .

Keep Calm and Read On

http://www.pennymasonpublications.com

 

Book Review of The Witches’ Tree by M. C. Beaton – An Agatha Raisin Mystery

The Witches' Tree by M. C. Beaton - An Agatha Raisin Mystery

The Witches’ Tree: An Agatha Raisin Mystery (Agatha Raisin Mysteries)

In the latest installment of the Agatha Raisin series, Agatha takes great risks while investigating murders she believes may have been committed by members of a coven of proclaimed witches, in a nearby village. The victims were found hanging from a landmark referred to as the Witches’ Tree.

As usual, Agatha encounters some eccentric characters, some of them suspects also. She and her top assistant Toni suffer an attack, a warning to stay away from the investigation.

Throughout the story, middle aged Agatha suffers her usual insecurities concerning the changing figure and facial features that come with increasing maturity and her ongoing dream of a perfect relationship and of finding a companion for her senior years.

Her marriage to Jimmy Raisin, before the series started didn’t last long, nor did her marriage to James Lacey, her next door neighbor. Sir Charles Fraith, longtime friend/sometimes lover plays prominently in this story, and Agatha entertains thoughts of settling down with him, but also forms a fleeting fetish toward the brother of a client. Assertive Agatha seems destined to live alone, as her strong will seems to override her sensitive side.

Toward the end of the story, though, age and stress seem to overwhelm her, she doesn’t bounce back as fast as the Agatha we’ve seen so far.

Hodge and Boswell, her cats play supportive parts.

Colorful character Roy Silver her young friend and former employee drops in briefly.

After following all the trails through the witches’ village and the collection of garden gnomes on the lawn of a cottage whose residents feature in the investigation, the solution to the murder came suddenly, surprising me.

Agatha Raisin former public relations professional – head of her own detective agency solves another case that baffled the police. As Agatha mentions, sometimes the authorities today get caught up in technology, depending upon DNA and waiting for physical evidence to solve cases rather than doing creative sleuthing.

Agatha never hesitates to tell it like she sees it, in quite colorful language, making these stories vastly entertaining.

For more information about this book, click the link below:

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Book Review of X Marks the Scot by Kaitlyn Dunnett

X Marks the Scot (Liss MacCrimmon Mystery)

Liss Maccrimmon – Ruskin serves as the focus of this installment in the Liss MacCrimmon  Scottish Mystery Series. Liss is the proprietor of Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium, a business started by her father and Aunt Margaret in the nineteen fifties.

A trip to Canada with Liss’ Aunt Margaret, the discovery of a dead body and several break-ins pepper the pursuit of the map’s significance. It’s at first not apparent whether the events are related to the map or not, but it soon becomes clear that others are aware of the treasure map as well.

A Shirley Temple lookalike and professed scholar, Benny Beamer, who is seeking material for the historical publication she is planning to further her career plays prominently in the tale as do those involved with The Chadwick Mansion, the estate where Liss believes the treasure map leads.

The antics of Lumpkin and Glenora, Liss’ cats, and Dandi and Dondi, Aunt Margaret’s Scottish Terriers (what else!) entertain animal loving readers like myself. And then there’s the attraction of Liss’s handsome husband Dan who, in addition to assisting his family’s businesses, Ruskin Construction, and The Spruces, a historic hotel his father restored and reopened, is a craftsman who creates specialty “puzzle tables”.

Liss’ friend Sherri Campbell, the local Chief of Police, as always assists in solving the mystery and strives to keep Liss safe, but in the end, Liss takes a risk and confronts her suspect, making for a suspenseful conclusion to the story. Will Liss survive this confrontation? Read and see.

A subplot has Liss worried about why her aging parents are returning to Maine after many years of living in Arizona.

Kaitly Dunnett is one of my very favorite creators of cozies. The style and characterization of this series has always resonated with me. It’s been very inspirational in the composition of my own cozy mystery manuscript, Black Cats, Schemes, and Childhood Dreams, which is nearing completion.

I highly recommend  X Marks the Scot and all the earlier works in the series.

To learn more, click the link below:

X Marks the Scot (Liss MacCrimmon Mystery)

Kilt Dead

Scone Cold Dead

A Wee Christmas Homicide

The Corpse Wore Tartan

Scotched

Bagpipes, Brides, and Homicides

Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones

Ho-Ho-Homicide

The Scottie Barked at Midnight

Kilt at the Highland Games

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Keep Calm and Read On

http://www.pennymasonpublications.com

X Marks the Scot (Liss MacCrimmon Mystery)

Book Review of Thread the Halls by Lea Wait – a Mainely Needlepoint Mystery

Thread the Halls (A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery)
My holiday season in 2017 was speckled with a bit of suspense as I spent many stolen moments of December days buried in the pages of Lea Wait’s latest Mainely Needlepoint Mystery, Twisted Threads.

Each book in the series features a fascinating quote from a historic sampler created by a talented, usually very young lady from an earlier time, long before smartphones took over the lives of our youth; a time when the fingers of young men and women were occupied with learning useful and artistic crafts rather than scrolling across screens in search of entertainment.

Ms. Wait possesses a thorough knowledge of life on the coast of Maine, the struggles to survive of the townspeople in earlier times and today, by working a variety of jobs as well as creating arts and crafts for the tourist industry.

Twisted Threads takes place during the Christmas Season as main character Angie Curtis looks forward to celebrating the season at Aurora, the local mansion restored by actress Skye West. Skye’s son Patrick and Angie are currently a couple and Angie has been invited to spend Christmas eve at a party featuring the cast of Skye’s latest movie, the members of which the wealthy star has had flown back from the filming site in Scotland for the holidays.

The perfect plans are marred by a murder, which Angie must assist in solving in part to clear her own name, as the perpetrator attempts to point a finger at her.

Along with the murder plot, readers will enjoy vicarious shopping experiences for gifts and vintage gowns at a local antique boutique, and see Santa arrive on a lobster boat in typical Maine fashion.

Whether you’ve visited Maine for the holidays and wish to recapture the magic or simply wanted to visit but never made the trip you’ll love this book.

To learn more about this book, click the link below:

 Thread the Halls (A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery)

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Book Review of The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Keeper of Lost Things: A Novel

The most intriguing read I’ve discovered in some time, a feel good story with a grand conclusion. The Keeper of Lost Things tells the tale of a nearly middle aged woman, Laura who, after a troubling divorce finds her place in life as the assistant of writer Anthony Peardew, working in his grand house, and caring for the treasures throughout his home as though they were her own.

He is exceedingly grateful for Laura’s dedicated service and the wonderful professional relationship they have formed, but forbids her to enter one room of his home, leaving readers guessing the reason. Upon his death he bequeaths his estate to her and though the contents of the room are revealed, they lead to more questions.

The discoveries Laura  makes and the relationships she forms with the home’s caretaker and an interesting young neighbor, hold the readers interest, and keep pages turning as one chapter triggers a craving for the next.

An isolated subplot is sprinkled amid the main narrative. Both tales come together impressively in the end, bringing a fascinating conclusion to the thoroughly enjoyable experience of this enchanting read.   The Keeper of Lost Things encourages the belief in the possibility of modern miracles.

 

Ornaments of Death by Jane K. Cleland

Ornaments of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries)

This book has been around awhile, but especially at the Holidays, it’s always great to revisit favorite stories. And favorite places too. Rocky Point is a fictional town in the real setting of Seacoast Region New Hampshire.

Southern Maine and Seacoast New Hampshire towns and beaches have been the setting for many of my New England escapes, and I love them dearly.

In this story, a visit from a newly discovered distant relative is in order for Josie Prescott, owner of Prescott’s Antiques a prestigious auction house. His visit coinsides with the holiday party planning of Josie and her small trusted staff.

The suspenseful events regarding the theft of an antique, the disappearance of her newfound family member and the interest added by Hank, Josie’s captivating cat make for a memorable holiday season.

To learn more about this book, click the link below:

Ornaments of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries)

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