It’s Release Day!

Hey, Readers. Happy Friday the 13th. I hope you’re not superstitious (I’m not) because today is the release date for my short story collection Menagerie.

If you don’t already know, it’s a collection of thirteen multi-genre stories. I’m kicking off a thirteen-stop book tour beginning next Tuesday, January 17, and continuing through February 28.

In the meantime, if you haven’t grabbed a copy, you can do so by clicking below. I’m excited about this release and I hope you’ll enjoy this collection.

The tour stops will be on various Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I’ll post links each day, but I’ll be here each Monday with more mysteries, legends, and lore.

Visiting Teri Polen ~ Bad Moon Rising

Hey, everyone. It’s that time of year again. Yes, Halloween is just around the corner, but it’s also time for Teri Polen’s annual event, Bad Moon Rising.

Teri works tirelessly each year to host and promote thirty-one authors – a post each day of the month. I’m delighted to take part in this event again, but first a little bit about Teri.

She is the author of several books. The Insurgent and Subject A-36 are in the YA/dystopian/sci-fi genre. The Gemini Connection is YA/sci-fi/thriller, and Sarah is YA/thriller/horror. She also has a time travel story included in the anthology Quantum Wanderlust.

I purchased a copy of Sarah a few months back but purposely waited until this time of year to read it. I wasn’t disappointed. Look for my review next week.

In the meantime, I’m off to Teri’s site. Hope to see you there!

Book Reviews ~ The Shaman’s Secret, Final Arrangements, and Cast a Cold Eye

Hey, everyone. August is marching right along, and I for one am counting the days until the 31st. Last week, I reviewed three books of the Manny Rivera series. This week, I’m sharing another three. (Note, these are the seventh, ninth, and tenth books of the series. I read and reviewed book eight a few months ago.)

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Shaman’s Secret is another fine installment in the Manny Rivera series. This time, Manny is investigating the poaching of bighorn sheep in the remote Utah wilderness.

A member of a local militia group is gunned down and Manny is sent to investigate. While pursuing the shooter, he discovers another crime with origins linked to the activities of a Ute medicine man in the 1700s.

Manny enlists the help of a young anthropologist to unravel “The Shaman’s Secret” in hopes of solving the murder.

There are familiar characters, including BLM Agent Adam Dunne and the incompetent sheriff Denny Campbell who is running for re-election. Gloria Valdez, from Death Saint also makes an appearance.

As usual, Manny’s persistence shines through, and we also see the side of him that values family and relationships.

The ending is satisfactory, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Manny Rivera has just returned to Moab after visiting New Mexico to meet his fiancé’s parents and introduce her to his family. He’s a little miffed that while he was gone, Sheriff Louise Anderson solved a murder case where a well-known member of the community was arrested.

Not long after he arrives home, another murder takes place. The victim’s name is Iggy Webb, a rockhound that came to Moab a few years earlier and had a somewhat shaded past. However, Iggy decided to put that behind him and build a new life. He was a loner, and his only friends were fellow rock collectors. Who wanted him dead?

Manny’s investigation leads him to believe the two murders were connected. Did Anderson arrest the wrong person? Manny’s tenaciousness leads him into the world of rockhounding. In his usual fashion, Curtin paints vivid descriptions of the Utah landscape and teaches readers a bit more about the area.

This book had an interesting twist, and although I won’t give away any spoilers, the title holds a clue. Another fascinating read!

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cast a Cold Eye may be my favorite Manny Rivera book yet. Manny, fresh off his honeymoon with Gloria is called to investigate the murder of a young man who was planning to write a historical novel about a historical Moab area ranch.

Everyone who knew him liked Rusty Randall and none could figure out why anyone would want to kill the young man. Manny is at a loss to figure out a motive for the murder. Then he learns Rusty had found a cigarette case while exploring the ranch with his metal detector. It had been buried for a long time and the name engraved was that of a woman who had been missing for almost thirty years.

In the meantime, his boss, Sheriff Louise Anderson is running for re-election and her opponent is none other than Rivera’s nemesis, former sheriff Denny Campbell. Campbell is leading in the poles and if elected, Manny knows he’ll have to resign. That puts him in a dilemma since Gloria has just relocated to Moab.

It’s Gloria who discovers something that helps Manny solve the case. I don’t post spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that.

Cast a Cold Eye blends modern-day and history. The only thing I had an issue with was the easy confession of the killer, but it didn’t distract from the story.

This is the tenth Manny Rivera book, and I’m hoping it won’t be the last.

That wraps up the Manny Rivera series, or at least to date. These books are simple and easy to read. They aren’t complex stories, but nonetheless enjoyable.

On another note, my last two weeks at work are shaping up to be busy ones, so I’ve decided to take a blogging break for the rest of the month. With the exception of Story Empire, I won’t be around much, but I’ll be back in September.

Book Review: Small Bones

Hey, everyone. I joined Net Galley a few years ago, but until recently hadn’t taken advantage of requesting many books until now.


If you can’t trust your father and you can’t trust the police, who can you trust

Sue Hearn is planting a herb garden on the site of her grandfather’s old greenhouse. She’s spent the morning digging up all sorts of odds and ends already. But she doesn’t expect this grisly find.

A skull.

Could it be the remains of her mother, Monica, who went missing thirty years ago?

Sue’s father, in hospital with dementia, insinuates that a police officer was involved in her mother’s disappearance. But can he be trusted?

So now Detectives Asha Harvey and Aaron Birch might be looking for a bent copper.

As they dig deeper into the past, Sue and Asha find secrets so dangerous it will put all their lives in danger.

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I always enjoy a good “who done it” story. After a friend recommended Small Bones, it sounded like it would deliver.

And it did.

Set in Belfast, this is the second book of Kerry Buchanan’s Harvey & Birch Mysteries. While I haven’t read the first one, this could easily be a stand-alone novel.

When Sue Hearn discovers a skeleton at the site where her grandfather’s greenhouse once stood, she fears someone in her family might have been responsible. It also brings back painful memories of her own mother’s disappearance thirty years earlier.

Detectives Asha Harvey and Aaron Birch are sent to investigate, but someone on the police force doesn’t want them to learn the truth. Whoever it is will stop at nothing to silence them.

Buchanan threw in plenty of breadcrumbs to keep readers guessing, and although the culprit’s identities are soon made known, it’s unclear who Asha and Aaron can trust. What’s more, the author left us with a twist at the end, the answer I hope will be explored in future books. I also enjoyed the relationship between Asha and Aaron—they make a great team.

A special thanks to Joffe Books at Net Galley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Dark Hollows

Hey, everyone. I’ve been working toward wheedling down my TBR list. Okay, so that’s laughable, but I’ve only purchased six books this month. (So far.) We won’t talk about my Net Galley list.

Anyhow, I’ve had Dark Hollows sitting on my Kindle for a year, so the time to read it was long overdue.


Jacob Reese enjoys the quiet life, running a coffee shop and renting out his cottage in The Hollows, Vermont.

But the calm is shattered when a woman who looks eerily similar to his ex-girlfriend Laura turns up to stay in the cottage, and leaves a mysterious note in the guest book.

Now Jacob’s seeing Laura everywhere—a glimpse of her face across the street, her music box left outside his house, a gift he gave her years before hanging from the trees.

Someone knows Jacob’s secret—what really happened the night Laura died—and they’re out for revenge…

But it can’t be Laura. Because Laura’s dead.

My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dark Hollows is the first novel I’ve read by author Steve Frech. As with many books, the cover drew me in, and the story line sounded intriguing.

The setting of the book is charming—a quaint New England town. The lead character, Jacob Reese, owns a coffee shop and also has a cottage that he rents to visitors looking for a short getaway. When a woman rents the cottage for one night, his nightmare begins. Mysterious sightings of his ex-girlfriend, objects turn up that belonged to her, and it’s apparent someone is out to destroy his life.

I had mixed feelings about Jacob. His past life is less than upstanding, and he’s lived a life of lies. Maybe it’s his beloved dog Murphy that kept me rooting for him. After all, a dog lover can’t be all that bad, and everyone makes mistakes. The unknown villain is extremely unlikeable, which made me root for Jacob.

The book was easy to read. The ending is sudden, and leads one to question a few things, but overall it’s a satisfying story.