Murders, Mystery, and Suspense
Mystery and detective books and TV series have always been popular. A good whodunnit can keep its audience riveted and make them play along—dodging red herrings, looking for clues, and deciding who did the dirty deed. Usually, guilt is rotated on characters after more clues are uncovered.
It’s not a complete list, but here are a few popular TV shows that are sure to jog your memory. In the 1970s Kojak, Starsky & Hutch, Rockford Files, Police Woman, Hawaii Five-O, and Columbo were solving crime. In the 80s, Cagney & Lacey, Magnum PI, Miami Vice, Moonlighting, Remington Steele, and Simon & Simon cracked cases. In the 90s, Law and Order, and X-Files, and in the 2000s, Bones, CSI, NCIS, and Psych added more forensics, aliens, and humor to the small screen. With too many popular book series to list, two authors whose work has stood the test of time are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with his Sherlock Holmes mysteries and Agatha Christie.
Only Murders in the Building
Cozy mysteries involving amateur sleuths are especially fun because the protagonist is put into a situation where they need to solve a crime, usually murder, and have no idea how to do it. Only Murders in the Building, Hulu 2021 to present, is a show where three amateur sleuths are solving crimes together. Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez’s characters get hooked on the same mystery podcast and eventually begin to live their own murder mystery. It’s a fun show and keeps you guessing. The clues are there, you just have to watch closely.
I created a sheet to keep track of characters for Season 1 in case you haven’t seen the show and want to give it a try. It’s like playing the board game, Clue. I love the show, but you have to give it a chance past the first episode where it starts a bit slowly. It gets rolling after that. The sheet does NOT contain any spoilers. It is simply a list of characters and a place to note clues.
Cozy Mystery Novellas
If you’re looking to read a cozy mystery but don’t have time to read five hundred pages, give the Fit Girl mysteries by Ann Audree a try. Each of the four books in the fun and fast-paced series is around one hundred pages. The first two are available in large print versions. In Exercise Is Murder (book 1), fitness trainer Paisley Summerhill and her friend Ellie Cruz are at an exclusive mountain resort when their sleuthing begins. The duo have a knack for running into trouble—it seems to follow them in Weddings Are Murder, Pet Shows Are Murder, and Train Trips Are Murder.
If you have any favorite TV shows I didn’t list (past or present) or a good mystery novel you would recommend, please leave it in the comments.
The stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are getting a reboot. As graphic novels, the Text Me Mystery series is meant to engage younger audiences. Sherlock & Watson Re-Wired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ann Kimbrough book 2 is the latest release in the series. Sherlock & Watson Ablaze will be available in the upcoming months.
Check out the Travels With Sherlock website to find out about the books and the Holmes, Doyle, & Friends Conference in March 2023.
Tales from the Fluffy Bunny, a collection of hilarious stories told at the Fluffy Bunny bar, is on sale this week only on Amazon. For four bucks and change, you will be happily entertained by a plethora of authors. So pull up a stool, grab a cup of your favorite brew, and place an order to get yourself a copy or give one as a gift.
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper is book 1 in The Witches of Thistle Grove series.
Thistle Grove is a town brimming in witches and witchcraft. It is steeped in tradition upheld by a group of magical families for generations. One witch, Emmy Harlow, has distanced herself from Thistle Grove, even at the cost of losing her magic and close friendships. All the witches who live in the town would lose their magic if they left, so they don’t. However, some prominent witch families have more power than others. Emmy’s family isn’t one of them—or so she believes. After ten years of trying to run from being a witch and starting a magicless life, she returns for what she anticipates will be a quick visit.
Lana Harper puts you in the town and gives you a clear look into Emmy’s past and why she ran from it. The tale of her discovery, rekindling old friendships and mending others kept me turning pages.
Happiness Starts with You is a quick read with many positive messages. Let’s face it. Challenges will always come up, and we can use a reminder that we are in charge of our own happiness.
The book talks about ideals that should be the focus of obtaining a joyful outlook. Being grateful and appreciative of family, friendships, love, and nature is a start. It covers getting out of a rut and stepping out of our comfort zone to follow our dreams. The book gives tips on making a plan, following mini goals, and facing fears.
With tips for growth, combating bad habits, managing stress, and building positive relationships, Happiness Starts With You makes you think about how to increase the happiness in your life. I really liked the section about paying it forward. It builds a better world. You can pick up a copy at BodyMakesSense.com.
New TV Shows
If you’re looking for a new TV series to follow, here’s a few new shows that I like.
So Help Me Todd – A legal drama that has a lot of comedy. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite shows, Psych. It’s about a thirtyish ex-private eye who ran into some bad luck and is now doing detective work for his lawyer mother at the law firm where she works. He never plays by the rules. Laugh out loud funny.
Alaska Daily – A drama series about the journalists who work at a small newspaper in Anchorage. The paper gets a bit of a shake up when a big city journalist gets hired.
Will Trent – Based on the Will Trent book series by Karin Slaughter. In this crime/drama series, GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigations) agent Will Trent has a very traumatic past. He also hides his dyslexia and his inability to read. By determination and honing his skills, he’s become a very good detective. His rescue dog, Betty, is adorable.
If you like any of my suggestions or just want to say hi, please leave a comment.
Starting the New Year with a New Mindset
New Year’s resolutions don’t always stick—in fact, for some people, they never take off. The resolutions that seem to be the frontrunners are losing weight, eating healthier, saving money, and quitting a bad habit. Just pairing up those four resolutions could work together—eating healthier would probably help with weight loss and saving money. Quitting a bad habit, such as smoking, would definitely save money and probably lead to making healthier food choices. It would seem that if resolutions work together, keeping them going would be easier.
Resolutions don’t have to make you cringe or fill you with dread. You are in charge of making your list, so throw in some fun stuff.
- Make a resolution to broaden your musical tastes. Sample music genres you don’t normally listen to. With a lot of crossover and collaborations, you may find new vibes for your new workout.
- Add one new recipe to your lunch/dinner menu. Even if you don’t cook, you’ll have one more than you did before! Besides, not all recipes require cooking. Salads, smoothies, and parfaits are three examples.
- Read a book in a genre that you don’t normally select. If you don’t ever read books, this is even easier. You can make a resolution to read ONE book this year. If you get a book that is less than 365 pages long, reading one page a day will result in success.
Change Your Mindset
Resolutions or any project can be tough to tackle without the proper mindset. The phrase “mind over matter” is more powerful than some people believe. Do your research and find what works best for you. Sites such as Body Makes Sense give recommendations on books, essential oils, products, and resources to adjust your mindset. Courses are offered that promote mental and emotional resilience.
Broaden Your Musical Tastes
Even if you don’t fall in love a new genre, you may come away with a couple new songs on your playlist, and you made an attempt—cha-ching! You fulfilled another resolution. Here’s a mixture of songs or pick your own.
Best of You – Andy Grammar with Elle King
I Need to Go Somewhere – Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
Sinister – Taylor Acorn
Same Beer Different Problem – Darius Rucker
Ready for a Good Time – Art of Dying
Lost – Hunter Brothers
A Special Place – Danielle Bradbery
South On 65 – Hillions
Pocket Knife – Bronze Radio Return
Read a Book
With the number of books available that cover any topic imaginable, it’s easy to acquire a paperback, Kindle, or audio selection. If you’re not a reader—where to start?
Tips for non-readers: Since many movies and TV shows are adapted from books, it may be interesting to pick up a book that influenced a movie or show you like. If you choose a shorter book as opposed to a five-hundred-page novel, you have a better chance at finishing it. An audio book would work well for a long work commute by car. Kindle books are convenient because you can read them on your phone while you’re on your exercise bike or waiting in line at the grocery. Also, don’t think because you’re an adult that you can’t read children’s books. Harry Potter is technically middle grade, written for children ages 8 to 12. The Hunger Games book series is Young Adult, which is typically 12 to 18 years old.
So go ahead and make a New Year’s resolution that you don’t dread. Learn twenty words in a different language, write a poem, paint a craft, go to a park you’ve never been to and take a walk, have a picnic, rent a bike or ride one you have that’s been collecting cobwebs. The possibilities are endless. Whatever you select, make it a positive. Here’s to a wonderful 2023!
Mysteries – With a New Twist
A good mystery book is hard to put down. You jump through hoops to find out whodunnit, and along the way, compile your own suspicions. Just when you think you have it all figured out—BOOM!!!—the author makes you guess again…and then again. That’s what makes a good mystery fun.
The following novels add to the intrigue by blurring time. Characters from the present join with those stuck in the past to unravel the clues and solve a mystery. Sharpen your detective skills and help Sherlock Holmes solve crime in 1910 Cornwall, England, and homicide detective Mallory in 1869 Scotland. Just watch out for the red herrings!
Be the Detective
Sherlock & Watson Wired is the first book in the Text Me Mystery series. It is based on The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot, a story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1910. The 2022 mash-up version by Ann Kimbrough puts a new twist on sleuthing. Four teenagers from the present communicate by texting with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson who are living in 1910.
The amateurs and professionals collaborate on clues, and you are welcome to join in. The Text Me Mystery books have blank pages to make notes while trying to solve the crime. Hints in the back of the book will confirm or deny your suspicions. The reading age is 9 to 15 years, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t join in the fun.
A Rip Though Time, not to be confused with A Rip in Time, is the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s new Rip Through Time detective series. Modern-day homicide detective Mallory from Canada and 1860s housemaid Catriona from Scotland have one thing in common—they were both strangled on the same day at the same time on the same spot but over 100 years apart.
Somehow, Mallory survives her attack but travels through time and winds up in Catriona’s body. Mallory must adjust to life in Victorian Scotland as a housemaid who is not very well-liked. Another question she has is where did Catriona go? As if those problems aren’t enough, Mallory’s attacker may have been caught in the same rip through time, which means he or she wouldn’t be in the same body either.
This mystery gives you a lot to think about as everybody seems suspicious at one point.
I have read and recommend both of these books. If you have any other mystery books you would like to recommend, post them in the comments!
‘Tis the Season of the Witch
Halloween is in the air. Skeletons and pumpkins line store shelves and are scattered in front yards. Scary movies run non-stop for horror junkies in October. The latest anthology through WolfSinger Publications—Never Cheat a Witch—is available just in time for Halloween. Filled with spooky and funny short stories, these creative witch tales will get you into a seasonal mode.
Discounts and Links
Anthologies are a great way to get a variety of stories and author styles in one book. At the reasonable price of $15 for a paperback and $6.95 for an eBook, the anthology makes a great read for yourself or the perfect gift for the bibliophile on your gift-giving list.
If you pick up a paperback copy of Never Cheat a Witch before 11/15/2022, you can get a 25% discount, using the discount code NewReleaseWitch at the WolfSinger Publications website.
If eBooks are your choice, download a copy from Smashwords. The coupon code FG24V will give you 25% off the cover price of $6.95. This discount is also valid to 11/15/2022.
Support Indie Authors
By making purchases through small publishers, you are making a difference in supporting small businesses and indie authors. Your support is very much appreciated.
A pirate, lawyer, farmers, and others tried their best to cheat a witch. How did it turn out for them—buy a copy of Never Cheat a Witch to find out.
Non-Fiction Indie Review – The Frustrations of Being Deaf by Dave Blackwell
I usually don’t read non-fiction books, but I’m glad I picked this one up. I give it five stars because it was well-written and placed me in the scenes instead of just telling a story.
The Frustrations of Being Deaf is a compilation of short stories about incidents that happened throughout Dave Blackwell’s life. He also writes about his cochlear implant.
I enjoyed the book, spending a lot of time in awe of how stupid some people are. He diffuses many situations using humor, but some people go too far. One lady thought she could “catch his deafness” and others treat him like he’s lacking intelligence because he can’t hear—when their actions prove they’re the ones with a problem.
Comedian Bill Engvall has a “Here’s your sign” skit where he’d like to give a sign to stupid people so nobody else has to waste their time talking to them.
Mr. Blackwell would’ve handed out a lot of signs. Pennywise the Dancing Clown, an ex-coworker of his, should definitely wear a sign.
If you like non-fiction, would like to understand some of the problems hearing-impaired people run into, or just want to read a good book, pick up a copy.
Songs About Getting Off the Grid
I like many types of music, but country is probably the genre I listen to the most. I’ve been updating my playlists, and the following is a small percentage of the songs that made it. I’ve added a line or two from each song that sticks with me. By the way, it’s just country this time.
These new releases point out the truth about the strangeness going on.
Same Beer Different Problem – Darius Rucker
Granny’s eatin’ gummies, mama’s online
All I know for sure is we’ve all lost our minds (ain’t that the truth)
Out Yonder – Elle King
It’s all this he-said, she-said
Always two sides and the truth
There’s so much $hit around these parts
Gonna get some on your boots (also true)
Strange – Miranda Lambert
Country don’t twang, rock and roll ain’t loud
Every elevator only ever goes down
Everybody’s looking for a little cheap fame, yeah
And times like these make me feel strange (that’s cause these times are strange)
Songs about women who are not going to be held back.
Thrive – Cassadee Pope
You were a bullet that I dodged, a sickness that I never caught
A building burning down and I can see that now (she told him)
Raised Right – Reyna Roberts
My daddy taught me how to give
More than I take, but don’t take no $hit
I flip that switch, call me crazy if you wanna
But y’all never met my mama (fair warning)
Songs about love and family.
Put ‘Em On Mine – Riley Green
If you wanna draw hearts on a window
Play a song on the radio
Put your bare feet on a dashboard
Baby, that’s what I’m here for
You can put ’em on mine (awww, he’s just sweet)
Down Home – Jimmie Allen
I still hate that you’re gone
I wish you were here
But I hope I’m making you proud
‘Cause I know you’re up there lookin’ down home (hits home)
Miscellaneous songs about a free spirit, and a preacher with a side job.
Wild as Her – Corey Kent
She never wanted to be white-picket fenced in
Her heart’s like a feather in a Tulsa wind (it’s a really catchy opening)
Holy Water – Michael Ray
Jar tops twist when the sun starts settin’
It burns like hell, get you high like heaven, and Lord
Have mercy if they knew where they were gettin’
That holy water (a lucrative side job…)
With Memorial Day weekend up ahead, many people will be on the road. Here is a list of new and old songs about getting off the grid.
Don’t Come Lookin’ – Jackson Dean
So long, four wheels turning
Got a tank full of gas, down the road I’m burning
Can’t say I would and I can’t say I wouldn’t
If I don’t come back, don’t come lookin’ (that’s how I feel when I’m hitting the road)
Lost – Chris Young
Come on, baby, let’s go
When we get there we’ll know
No bars on the cell phone
Sounds good to me (Me, too)
One of my all-time favorites…
Heads Carolina, Tails California – Jo Dee Messina (by the way, Cole Swindell has a good new song based off this called She Had Me at Heads Carolina)
Heads Carolina, tails California
Somewhere greener, somewhere warmer
Up in the mountains, down by the ocean
Where it don’t matter, long as we’re goin’ (It’s so tempting to flip that coin…)
Blacktop Gone – Jason Aldean
Blacktop gone, four lane fast
Topping off the tank with some never look back
Chase that sun, race that wind
With them horses that you can’t fence in (f.r.e.e.d.o.m)
Where the Blacktop Ends – Keith Urban
So come on
Give me some fresh air give me that farm
Give me some time with you in my arms
Far away from the hustle and the pressure and the noise (Off the clock and outside)
If you have any song suggestions or requests for other lists, drop a comment.
Another Indie Book Winner
Another Dead Intern is a humorous dark comedy by Joel Spriggs. It’s for readers who love “absurd detective comedies, macabre humor, and paranormal investigations,” which I do. It is also relatively short at 216 pages, which I also like. I give it a solid four and a half stars. The book kept me entertained and was hard for me to put down.
The Main Characters
Hemlock Connal, a half-Sidhe (fae)/half human is actually Sidhe royalty. However, she has been banished from the Sidhe for several years as a punishment for a prank and doesn’t have all of her magical abilities. As a PI (Preternatural Investigator) in Boston, she handles the usual investigator cases, such as tracking cheating spouses, only her clientele are supernatural beings. For some reason, all of her interns are getting killed on the job. Enter Morgan Burns, her fourth new intern. He’s a human fresh in town from Indiana and very clueless about supernatural anything. He’s just out of college and looking for something exciting and dangerous. He’s found it. Hemlock and Morgan take on a client that runs the Irish mob, and the case involves a dead drug dealer.
Fun and Gruesome
The main characters are likeable and well-rounded, and their investigation turns up a batch of interesting secondary characters. Alice the pixie is a trip. The description of her eating lunch paints a perfect picture of this grubby little creature. Bob and the rest of the riders also a nice touch. There is a lot to like in this book, but my favorite part has to be the lecture Hemlock gives Morgan. “Let me clue you in to one of the biggest lies ever pushed on women’s fashion. Pockets.” She goes on to state (and it’s spot on) “If there is a pocket, it’s either too small or tight to be useful.” Hemlock’s solution to the “pocket problem” is very creative, as is many of the supernatural elements.
I recommend this book, and I already purchased the sequel.
Some activities are great in pairs. For instance, listening to music while cooking or taking in a podcast while riding an exercise bike go well together. Pick your activities to pair with these recommendations.
Music for Relaxing
If you love opera with a mix of easy listening, get a copy of Amara Frances’s CD Angel. Among the fourteen songs on the CD, are:
L’ Ultima Notte
Un Giorno Per Noi
Because We Believe
You Raise Me Up
Over the Rainbow
To snag one of these hidden gems, contact email@example.com.
Ready for Something Scary?
If you want to delve into the unusual side of human behavior, check out the iScary Podcast on Spotify, hosted by Ann Kimbrough. The podcasts are less than a half hour and briefly cover two news stories taken from the legitimate newspapers. A discussion with a guest host follows each story. The content can be anywhere from a “bit odd” to gruesome, but the hosts bring up good points that make you scratch your head and eventually wind up laughing. Some of the podcast titles include:
Scan the QR code or follow the link to get iScary.
Listen and Watch
Finally, if you just have a couple of minutes to kill, and usually find yourself scrolling through TikTok to pass the time, take a look and listen to the Reno Red: Reckless book trailer at the bottom of the blog. It’s guaranteed to give you a laugh—or at least, make you shake your head. By the way, everybody’s favorite vegan vampire is back in book 2 Reno Red: Coming Up Roses.
Get busy with your multitasking! Feel free to leave a comment.