So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts

Title:  So Damn Lucky

#3 Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Series

Author: Deborah Coonts

Genre:  Mystery; Humor; Light Romance

Published:  February 2012 – Forge

My take:  When a magician’s act seems to go tragically wrong Lucky O’Toole, head of customer relations/chief problem solver at the Babylon Resort, feels she must find out what happened since it happened at her hotel. Another disappearance in Lucky’s life is that of her boyfriend Teddie. He’s off to Europe to follow his dream of being a music star. That’s left a void in Lucky’s life but she soon has suitors vying for her attention. Add to the mix the fact that it’s Halloween week in Vegas – let the games begin!

I love it when the third book in a series is even better than the first two. So Damn Lucky is a fun adventure that goes from Las Vegas to Area 51. Oh yeah, there’s also a meet-up of UFO aficionados at The Babylon. They add a lot of color to the plot – and then some!

Fortunately, for Lucky, she has the loyal support of coworkers and friends in solving the mystery and getting through the hectic week. So Damn Lucky is a fast paced and entertaining novel that makes me want to book a flight to Las Vegas (I’ve never been) and visit many of the sites mentioned in the series. Is there really a drive-through wedding chapel?!

So Damn Lucky can be read without reading the first two books in the series but I highly recommend starting with the first: Wanna Get Lucky? Deborah Coonts left me wondering what could possibly come next for Lucky  – at work and in love. I can’t wait to find out!

Source:  FSB Associates

Disclosure:  see sidebar.

Excerpt: So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts

Click here to read Chapter One of

So Damn Lucky (on sale today!)

by Deborah Coonts

Author Bio
Deborah Coonts, 
author of So Damn Lucky, says her mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she’s not totally sure — her mother can’t be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can’t get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas adventure series.

Her first book, Wanna Get Lucky?, was released in 2010.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Sunday Post #8

Last week I was in caretaker mode. As usual I had my days with granddaughter Grace.  Then, on Friday, my youngest daughter had her wisdom teeth extracted. She’s making a great recovery and is looking forward to when she can stop icing her jaw and eat regular food again.

I joined the Bess Crawford Read-Along at Book Club Girl. Click on the link to read all about it. I’m currently reading A Duty To The Dead – the first book in the series.

I finished the cowl I’ve been knitting for eons (ok, several weeks). I don’t have a photo of mine but it looks exactly like the one pictured below. It can be worn a few different ways.

Note:  that’s not me – I’m neither blonde nor as young as the model 🙂

Pattern:  GAP-tastic Cowl by Jen Geigley.


Now I want to start a new project. I’d like to try an easy sweater for my granddaughter.  I’ve never knit one before so emphasis is on easy. Any suggestions?

Blood Orchids by Toby Neal

Title:  Blood Orchids – The Lei Crime Series

Author:  Toby Neal

Genre:  Crime fiction; series

Published:  November 2011 – Amazon Digital Services

About:  (Goodreads synopsis) Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.
Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers—one of whom she’d recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl’s harsh life and tragic death affect Lei deeply. She becomes obsessed—even as the killer is drawn to Lei’s intensity, feeding off her vulnerabilities and toying with her sanity.
Despite her obsession with the case and fear that she’s being stalked, Lei finds herself falling in love for the first time. Steaming volcanoes, black sand beaches and shrouded fern forests are the backdrop to Lei’s quest for answers—and the stalker is closer than she can imagine, as threads of the past tangle in her future. Lei is determined to find the killer—but he knows where to find her first.

My take:  Blood Orchids is definitely outside my reading comfort zone but I’m glad I gave it a try.  Lei Texeira is a deeply wounded character. She’s also very brave.  She survived a horrible childhood but never truly worked through her issues which has resulted in her being a bit of a loner. She avoids romantic relationships. Her abuser called her DG (for damaged goods) and that’s what she’s carried with her since that time. Lei relies on coping mechanisms to get through the times when her past comes to the forefront. Thankfully she has a great friend in her Rottweiler Keiki who offers her security and unconditional devotion.

When the case she’s working on shows possible similarities to what happened to her she vows to find the murderer and bring him to justice. Detective Michael Stevens is just as determined to solve the case as Lei. In addition, they are attracted to each other. She knows a relationship would be doomed so she tries to discourage him. He had a tough childhood as well and is determined to show Lei he’s willing to wait until she’s ready. Together they work on finding the murderer.

I loved the pace of the story. I found myself looking forward to picking the book up each day which is saying a lot since the book involves gruesome crimes. Neal is a native Hawaiian as well as a mental health therapist which came through in the novel. At one point Lei is ordered by her chief to attend counseling sessions. That is when she begins to address her childhood abuse. I liked the understated and compassionate therapist and wonder if she’ll appear in future books.

While not completely surprised by the identity of the murderer (there were a few possibilities) I was absorbed in the novel right through to the exciting conclusion. I recommend Blood Orchids and look forward to the next book in the series.

Source:  BookSparks PR.

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

♦  ♦  ♦

Raised on the island of Kauai, Neal uses her native knowledge and first-hand experience as a therapist to create realistic settings and experiences, complex characters and an all around chilling crime thriller.

For information about Toby Neal and Blood Orchids, visit Neal’s website.

You can also connect with her on Facebook and  Twitter .

Book Time with Bess – The Bess Crawford Read-Along

I signed up for the Bess Crawford Read-Along at Book Club Girl. This is what hooked me:

About Bess Crawford, and A Duty to the Dead, the first book in the series:
So who is Bess Crawford? The creation of the mother and son writing team of Charles Todd – the team that brought us the acclaimed and bestselling Ian Rutledge series – Bess Crawford is a singular woman living in a time of great change in England. Independent-minded Bess Crawford’s upbringing was far different from that of the usual upper-middle-class British gentlewoman. Growing up in India, she learned the importance of responsibility, honor, and duty from her officer father. At the outbreak of World War I, she followed in his footsteps and volunteered for the nursing corps, serving from the battlefields of France to the doomed hospital ship Britannic.

On one voyage, Bess grows fond of the young, gravely wounded Lieutenant Arthur Graham. Something rests heavily on his conscience, and to give him a little peace as he dies, she promises to deliver a message to his brother. It is some months before she can carry out this duty, and when she’s next in England, she herself is recovering from a wound. When Bess arrives at the Graham house in Kent, Jonathan Graham listens to his brother’s last wishes with surprising indifference. Neither his mother nor his brother Timothy seems to think it has any significance. Unsettled by this, Bess is about to take her leave when sudden tragedy envelops her. She quickly discovers that fulfilling this duty to the dead has thrust her into a maelstrom of intrigue and murder that will endanger her own life and test her courage as not even war has.

More from Book Club Girl’s post:

As an added bonus to get you started, the e-book of A Duty to the Dead is just $1.99 for a limited time, so order up today and get reading!

The read-along officially kicks off today (but don’t worry, our first discussion won’t take place until March 26th) and it runs through the publication of the paperback of the most recent Bess Crawford novel, A Bitter Truth (on sale 5/1), as well as the new Bess Crawford hardcover, An Unmarked Grave (on sale 6/5). We’ll end the read-along in June with a Book Club Girl on Air Show with the Charles Todd writing team to discuss all the books in the series.

Here’s the schedule of when I’ll post questions about each book for us to discuss:

March 26th – A Duty to the Dead discussion
April 30th
 – An Impartial Witness discussion
May 1st – A Bitter Truth paperback goes on sale
May 29th
 – A Bitter Truth discussion (May 28th is Memorial Day)
June 5th – An Unmarked Grave – the new hardcover goes on sale
June 25th
 – An Unmarked Grave discussion
June 28th
 – Book Club Girl on Air Show with Charles Todd to Discuss the Entire Series

Look for updates along the way here, on Twitter (#besscrawford), and on the Book Club Girl and Charles Todd Facebook pages.

Sunday Post #7

Last week went by in a flash. I finished listening to The Rose Garden – the review will be up in a few weeks but for now I can tell you I loved it! I began reading a review copy of So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts. I enjoy my visits to Lucky O’Toole’s Las Vegas – lots of fun.

I subscribe to a weekly podcast about all things Kindle: The Kindle Chronicles. This week’s episode mentions a link to a video tour of Audible. I found it interesting and thought you might too.

Ali in Wonderland:And Other Tall Tales by Ali Wentworth

Title:  Ali in Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales

Author:  Ali Wentworth

Genre:  Memoir

Published:  February 2012 – Harper

About:  (from the publisher) Growing up in a family of political journalists—and daughter of President Reagan’s White House social secretary—Ali Wentworth rebelled against her blue-blood upbringing, embracing Hollywood, motorcycles, even a few wildly inappropriate marriage proposals. Today she is an acclaimed comedic actress and writer, former Oprah regular, wife of political and media star George Stephanopoulos, and a mother who lets her two girls eat cotton candy before bed. Though she’s settled down, her rebellious nature thrives in her comedy and her view of her crazy world.

In this addictively funny and warm memoir, she takes us through the looking glass and into the wonderland of her life, from a childhood among Washington’s elite to a stint in the psych ward they called a New England prep school; days doing L.A. sketch comedy (with then-aspiring artists Will Ferrell and Lisa Kudrow) to a series of spectacularly failed loves (that eventually led her to Mr. Right). Constant throughout is her mother, Muffie—a flawlessly elegant yet firm, no-nonsense force of nature and pure WASP convictions.

My take:  Ali in Wonderland is a very entertaining memoir and Ali Wentworth is a very funny storyteller. After reading about a couple of her experiences I wondered how she was still alive. Most of the time I was laughing out loud at her tales of growing up in a privileged family, going to boarding school, and her various love interests.

My favorite part of the book? That would be from the point she met her future husband to the end of the book. Her stories of their brief engagement, planning a wedding, and the birth of their first child are hilarious.

Source:  Harper

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Sunday Post #6

The groundhog was wrong. Snow on Friday and frigid temps on Saturday were good reminders that February is a winter month. That made it even easier to spend the weekend at home. I’m listening to The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley and still knitting the cowl I mentioned last month  🙂

Last week I read and reviewed the entertaining Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J. B. Lynn. I also posted a Spotlight on M. J. Rose’s The Book of Lost Fragrances. There’s a special promotion that ends March 1st so click on the link and check it out!

And wouldn’t you know it – I completely forgot my 4th blogiversary last weekend. Thanks to everyone who stops by to see what I’m reading. I really appreciate your comments, recommendations, and friendship.

Special Promotion: Perfume inspired by The Book of Lost Fragrances

M.J. Rose is asking if you’ve ever smelled a story?

“He struggled to separate out the notes he recognized from the ones he didn’t, searching for the ingredients that gave the blend its promise of hope, of long nights and voluptuous dreams, of invitation and embrace. Of an everlasting covenant ripe with possibility.  Of lost souls reunited.”  The Book of Lost Fragrances

Discover the perfume inspired by The Book of Lost Fragrances 

Pre-order The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose and we’ll send you a free sample of Âmes Soeurs, the Scent of Soulmates. This exclusive fragrance, inspired by the novel, was created by Joya Studios and is not yet for sale.  Joya’s Âmes Sœurs hints of Frankincense, Myrrh, Orange Blossom and Jasmine. It’s smoky uncommon finish suggests the past and the future, and lost souls reunited.
Just use one of the links at and follow the directions there.

Offer ends March 1, but pre-order now since we have a limited number of supplies! US and Canada only.


The Book of Lost Fragrances has received terrific advance praise:

Selected by Indie Booksellers for the March 2012 Indie Next List.

Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the Top Ten Mystery/Thrillers Spring 2012

“From 18th-century Egypt and France to present-day Paris, New York, and China, Rose’s deliciously sensual novel of paranormal suspense smoothly melds a perfume-scented quest to protect an ancient artifact with an ages-spanning romance. A complex plot that races to a satisfying finish.”  Publishers Weekly, Starred and Boxed Review

” A sensuous thriller combined with a heartbreaking love story.”  — Karen Briggs at Great Northern Books & Hobbies in Oscoda, MI

“A spellbinding love story and historical novel of mystery, reincarnation, ancient Egypt.  Being immersed in Rose’s fictional world is one of those times when you don’t want to come back to the real world.” —Susan Wasson of Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

“Smoothly blends historical events, compelling characters, and international intrigue into an absorbing and thrilling ride through the centuries.” Library Journal

Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J.B. Lynn

Title:  Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman

Author:  J.B. Lynn

Genre:  Thriller/Crime/Dark Comedy

Published:  January 2012 – Avon Impulse

About:  Maggie Lee survived a tragic car accident that took the lives of her sister and brother-in-law. Maggie’s three-year-old niece also survived but is in a coma. When Maggie is told the hospital insurance is about to run out she vows to do anything to keep Katie from having to leave the first-class hospital – even if anything means taking the local crime boss up on an offer to remove a thorn from his side. That thorn is his son-in-law.

My take:  J.B. Lynn’s novel takes the reader on a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride – and I loved every minute of it! Maggie Lee is a sympathetic heroine who also has a bit of a temper. But who can blame her? She hasn’t asked for anything life has dealt her but still she bravely carries on helping her loved ones. I completely suspended any need to question her actions or the direction of the novel. It’s so entertaining that I didn’t want it to end. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about a novel.

I absolutely adored the anole lizard that comes into Maggie’s care when she finds him in her niece’s bedroom. Actually, she hears him. That’s right, the lizard speaks and Maggie is the only one who can hear him. Not only does he speak but he sounds exactly like Alan Rickman – be still my heart. The give and take between Maggie and God (short for Godzilla, lol) is hilarious.

Lynn fills in a lot of Maggie’s background throughout the novel which gives the character a lot of depth. That’s not to say there’s too much detail. It impressed me that I didn’t want to miss a single word. [Do you ever just get bored with unnecessary or repetitive descriptions and want to skip ahead to dialogue? That didn’t happen to me at all while reading ‘Confessions’.]

And then there are the men in Maggie’s life. One becomes her mentor in her new job. There is definitely an attraction but that’s as far as it goes in this book. He seems to be a good guy with a very complicated life. Another man is the cop who wants to date her but somehow each date gets interrupted by a zany relative or two. I’m not sure whether or not to trust that guy.

The pages practically turned themselves near the end. As you might guess, I’m hoping there will be a second book. I’ll be waiting to buy it the day it goes on sale. Do I recommend this book – YES! It was a fun mid-winter escape.

Source: Avon Impulse

Disclosure:  I was not compensated for my review. See sidebar for disclosure policy.

Mailbox Monday – February 6



Hosted in February at Metroreader

♦  ♦  ♦


I won:

The Duke Is Mine by Eloisa James and a lovely bookmark – giveaway from Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews. Thanks, Sharon!

One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner – giveaway from Beth at The Crazy Life of a Bookaholic Mom and the publisher. Thanks, Beth!

I bought:

The Baggage Handler by Colin Browne after reading about it at Fiction Books  blog. Thanks, Yvonne!

What was in your mailbox?

Sunday Post #5

Happy February, everyone. The groundhog didn’t see his shadow in my neighborhood so I guess that means winter is almost over, right? Ok, I won’t get the patio furniture out of the storage shed quite yet 🙂

In other news: I finally did it! I finished reading War & Peace last week after deciding to power through the final 100 pages. Whew!

My brief take: I found it interesting that it was more a philosophical study of various aspects of war and human nature than an actual historical novel. Didn’t expect that. For a more in-depth and entertaining review I suggest reading Matt’s review over at Goodreads – especially if you’ve read W&P.

I was happy to finally mark it ‘read’ and want to thank Jillian for organizing the readalong. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have attempted it without seeing her blog post back in December, 2010.

A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case

Title:  A Grand Murder

Catherine O’Brien Mystery Series #1

Author:  Stacy Verdick Case

Genre:  Mystery; Crime

Published:  August 2011 – Before The Fall Books

About:  (Goodreads synopsis) When a prominent local businessman and friend of the chief of police is murdered on the front steps of his posh Grand Avenue Hill home Catherine O’Brien a pithy, vertically challenged, St. Paul, Minnesota, homicide detective with a monstrous coffee habit and her partner Louise are given two days to find his killer.

They soon discover their victim had a list of people with motives to murder him, including his fashion designer ex-wife, his mistress’s husband, and the chief of police. The only evidence they have to go on is a missing cell phone, a stolen book, the victim’s letter opener, and an ugly pair of Alpaca wool mittens.

My take:  This post is more my thoughts about the book than a true review. I liked Catherine. She’s very good at her job as a detective but is also quirky enough to be interesting. She loves her job and her husband but struggles to find a balance. She’s not as successful at attaining that balance as she is at catching murderers. Luckily, her husband loves her and understands that she loves her job.

That doesn’t tell you much about the murder mystery, does it? I’m never sure how much to share about a mystery. What I will say is that I was satisfied with how the case was solved. I wasn’t sure who the murderer was so I was kind of surprised – along with the detectives, I might add.

I really hope the personal lives of the main characters (Catherine, Gavin, and Louise) are explored a bit more in the books to follow. I’d like to see if Louise and the guy back at the station get together. And will Catherine survive vacation with her husband 🙂

Source:  I bought it.