07 January 2014

New blog address

Somehow my blog template became corrupted, so I've switched to a  new url:
which will go live on Thursday.

If you follow my blog, please remember to change your links.


06 January 2014

Pets Rule

A guest post by Annie Knox.

In our house, we occasionally joke that the cats need to get jobs and start earning their kibble. But the truth of the matter is that they already earn their keep every day. They make us laugh, they ease our stress, and they provide unconditional affection.

Am I giving the cats too much credit? I don’t think so.

There’s a growing body of scientific research demonstrating the amazing emotional benefits of having companion animals in our lives. Dogs are working with prisoners, the elderly, the chronically ill, veterans and students—all people living with considerable stress—and studies indicate that those dogs make a difference in the lives they touch. Cats, too, are providing comfort to people with depression and anxiety disorders, helping them cope with their emotions.

Our cats have definitely made a contribution to our happiness. When my husband was recovering from major surgery, Squeak-a-doodle provided the best kind of physical therapy. Together, my husband and Squeaky would make laps around the house, stopping at the end of each circuit for a quick petting session. Iphy, our old girl, has lost her hearing; she spends her evenings moving from lap to lap and gazing up at our faces with a look of complete contentment. You can’t help but feel loved when she’s staring at you!

The real stress relief champion in our house is Todd. Todd was a stray for at least a year before he joined us. One day, he wandered up on our porch with a big wound on his neck. We got him fixed up at the vet and planned to find him a new home, but he walked into our house, peed all over the basket of cat toys, jumped on our bed, rolled onto his back, and fell asleep. Clearly, he was already home.

Todd teaches us the art of relaxation every day. He conks out on his back, belly bared to the world, front paws tucked beneath his chin. He loves to have his belly scratched, and will roll over for a scritching without any real regard for the position of his body (he’s fallen of the couch more than once). When he snuggles, it’s a full contact snuggle. He’ll inch his way up your body until he’s nose-to-nose with you. And he loves everyone who walks through the front door. Our cuddle ninja, our snuggle pirate, our nap hero . . . he’s a living testament to the joy of loving with abandon.

Our pets enrich our lives in so many ways. That’s one reason I had such a great time writing about Izzy McHale’s dorky pug-bulldog mix Packer and her regal Norwegian forest cat Jinx. Throughout Paws for Murder, this dynamic duo contribute comfort, clues, and welcome comic relief. Throw in Rena Hamilton’s kleptomaniacal ferret Val, and you’ve got yourself a menagerie of fun.

I hope you get a chance to cuddle up with Packer, Jinx, and Val, and I hope they provide you with a fraction of the joy our real furry friends have to offer!

While Annie Knox does not commit--or solve--murders in real life, her love of animals is 100% real. She's also passionately devoted to 80s music, Asian horror films, and reality TV. Annie, her husband, and their spoiled cats (Todd, Iphy, and Squeak-a-doodle) make their home in a small town in north Texas, just blocks from the town’s courthouse square.

03 January 2014

Favorite Fiction of 2013

This is the last group of my favorite books that were published in 2013 (except for one that was published earlier that had to be included because I loved it SO much).  Once again, they're posted alphabetically by author.  

A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert (Persevero Press hardcover, 1 September 2013).

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Beth Croy Barker (Pamela Dorman hardcover, 1 August 2013).

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (Ballantine hardcover, 30 April 2013).

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman (Pamela Dorman hardcover, 28 May, 2013).

Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield (Harlequin MIRA trade paperback,  26 February 2013).

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (Skyscape e-book, 11 September 2012).*

Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's Press hardcover, 9 April 2013).

Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope (HarperCollins hardcover, 29 October, 2013).

02 January 2014

Top Mystery/Suspense of 2013

(Listed alphabetically by author.)

The World Beneath (Joe Tesla #1)  by Rebecca Cantrell (Amazon Digital Services e-book, 5 December 2013).*

The Sound of Broken Glass (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #15) by  Deborah Crombie (William Morrow hardcover, 19 February 2013).

Evil  in All Its Disguises (Lily Moore #3) by Hilary Davidson (Forge hardcover, 5 March 2013).

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly (Pamela Dorman Books hardcover, 21 February 2013).

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin trade paperback, 30 July 2013).

Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine hardcover, 15 January 2013).

The Girl Next Door (Carter Ross #3) by Brad Parks (Minotaur hardcover, 13 March 2013).

(Ballantine hardcover, 15 January 2013).
Watching the Dark (An Inspector Banks Novel) by Peter Robinson (William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).
(William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).
(William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).
(William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).
(William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).
(William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).
(William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).
(William Morrow hardcover, 8 January 2013).

The Wrong Girl (Jane Ryland #2) by Hank Philippi Ryan (Forge hardcover, 10 September 2013).

The Accused (Rosato & Associates #12) by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's Press hardcover, 20 October 2013).

 *Review to come.

31 December 2013

Teen Tuesday - Top 10 of '13

Here are my favorite books published in 2013, listed alphabetically by author, because there's no way I could rank them in order of preference.

Don't Look Now (Persefone Trilogy #2) by Michelle Gagnon (HarperCollins hardcover, 27 August 2013).

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry (Henry Holt and Co. hardcover, 11 June 2013).

Hero (The Woodcutter Sisters #2) by Alethea Kontis (HMH Books for Young Readers hardcover,  1 October 2013).

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (HMH Books for Young Readers hardcover, 2 April 2013).

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young (Simon Pulse hardcover, 27 August 2013).

Kenning Magic by Lizzie Ross (Saguaro Books, 6 March 2013).

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin's Griffin hardcover, 10 September 2013).

This Song will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover, 17 September 2013).

Star Cursed (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2) by Jessica Spotswood (Putnam Juvenile hardcover, 18 June 2013).

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Disney-Hyperion hardcover, 10 September 2013).

30 December 2013

Cozy Monday - Top 11 of 2013

I planned to be on hiatus until next week, but managed to get my "Top" lists for 2013 finished earlier than expected, so I thought I'd share them this week.

These are my favorites of the cozies I read over the past 12 months, listed alphabetically by author (clicking on titles will link to my reviews).

The Christie Curse (Book Collector Mystery #1) by Victoria Abbott (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 5 March 2013).

Poisoned Prose (Books by the Bay #5) by Ellery Adams (Berkley Prime Crime mass market,1 October 2013).

A FĂȘte Worse Than Death (Hemlock Falls Mystery #18)  by Claudia Bishop (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 5 March 2013).

A Cookbook Conspiracy (Bibliophile Mystery #7) by Kate Carlisle (Obsidian hardcover, 4 June 2013).

Buried in a Bog (Cork County Mystery #1) by Sheila Connolly (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 5 February 2013).

The Thrill of the Haunt (Haunted Guesthouse Mystery #5) by E.J. Copperman (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 5 November 2013).

Yarn to Go (Yarn Retreat Mystery #1) by Betty Hechtman (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 2 July 2013).

Cloche and Dagger (Hat Shop Mystery #1) by Jenn McKinlay (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 6 August 2013).

The Body in the Piazza (A Faith Fairchild Mystery) by Katherine Hall Page (William Morrow hardcover, 30 April 2013).

Gluten for Punishment (Baker's Treat Mystery #1) by Nancy J. Parra (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 7 May 2013).

Skeleton in the Family (Family Skeleton Mystery #1) by Leigh Perry (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 3 September 2013).


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