The Royal Dragoneers – M. R. Mathias, Author

June 30, 2011 at 10:29 pm (Uncategorized)


The Royal Dragoneers – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘He saw that his bow was lying back where he had dropped it.  His knife wasn’t at his hip either.  Beyond the flames, he saw the shredded remains of the stag’s carcass.  The dragon had torn half the meat away in only a few seconds.  The trolls would have the rest of it, he figured.   After they had him.  A fist-sized rock slammed into his chest, knocking all of the wind from his lungs.  Other stones followed and the primitive troll beasts soon went into a frenzied ritual of howling and savage fighting over feeding position.  Luckily for Jenka, a well-thrown chunk of stone bashed into the side of his head and spared him from having to see himself being torn to pieces.  All he could think of as he slipped into unconsciousness was that he would finally get to see his father, and he hoped his mother would never have to gaze upon what the trolls left of his body.  After that was nothing but blackness.’
Sixteen year old Jenka De Swasso is out on a hunt in hopes of bringing fresh meat back to his mother.  When he spotted the aging stag he knew he would have no problem bringing it down but the sun was setting which meant he would have to track the stag after hitting it with his arrow and spend the night trying to protect it, as well as himself, from the trolls that lived in the woods around his home of Crag.  Jenka’s mother was Crag’s village kettle-witch, which meant she could cast spells and at times even heal.  Jenka’s father, whom he was very proud of, had died while saving the king’s son Richard.  With his father being one of the King’s Rangers, Jenka’s dream was to become one too.  And if he could get his stag back to town, it might just give him an up on his training to serve the king.  But, fate had it that the trolls would spot his fire and come in for the kill and the meal awaiting them.  What the trolls didn’t expect was an emerald green dragon named Jade to come to Jenka’s rescue.  The bond that formed between Jade and Jenka was eternal.  Jenka would find that there were others who were bonded to the pure dragons and along with them they will sacrifice all to save mankind.
The Royal Dragoneers is a book of mystery, magic and love.  It stresses the strength of love between man and his devoted friends and in this case his dragon.  I must warn you though, The Royal Dragoneers is a very graphically visual book which should not be read by nor to young children.  I see this as an adult version of Harry Potter.  And since the story has come to no end, I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
2009
301 pages

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Old Loves Die Hard – Lauren Carr, Author

June 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm (Uncategorized)


Old Loves Die Hard – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“We did have a good marriage,” she choked out. “If I hadn’t made that one mistake—” Clasping her arms around his neck she tried to kiss him.
While diving backwards to dodge her lips, he released her hold on his neck. “You threw me out of my own home.” He folded her hands in her lap.
“You were always such a gentle man.” Each word came out slowly and deliberately in her effort to appear in control.
“Funny,” Mac said, “that’s not what your lawyer told the judge.”
“Stephen told him to say that.” Her tears fell anew. “If he hadn’t seduced me – he made me all these promises and told me how you didn’t treat me right and how I deserved so much better than our little house in the suburbs with its little lawn and…He said that I deserved so much more and that he could give it all to me because I deserved more…” She tried to make her smile as becoming as possible in her condition. “What about us?”
“There’s no us, Christine.”
“You can’t abandon me like this Mac,” she cried. “I’ve lost everything. I’ve got nothing. When Stephen left…” She broke into heavy sobs. “Oh, Mac…” She collapsed into his lap.
Mac Faraday is Christine’s ex-husband. She left him for greener pastures that have now turned brown due to no more money on her part. Stephen Maguire promised Christine the stars but when her money ran out, so did Stephen.
The divorce virtually put Mac on the streets. Christine was awarded their home and everything that went with it. But, to Mac’s surprise, he inherited his birth mother’s estate and everything that went with it. In other words, Mac went from being dirt poor with nothing but a policeman’s salary to becoming filthy rich and retired. Now, Christine wants another chance.
When Christine appeared at Mac’s door, she had had more than enough to drink and he knew he couldn’t just put her out on the streets in her condition so he decides to put her up in the penthouse of the five-star hotel that was part of his inheritance. His plan was to deal with her the next morning after she sobered up. What he didn’t expect was to find not just Christine, but also Stephen–dead in his own private quarters of the hotel.
Old Loves Die Hard was a jewel to read. Mac is the perfect ex-policeman turned wealthy character.  Archie, the computer whiz that lives in the guest house, is taking on a more personal role in this Faraday Mystery. But my favorite character has to be Gnarly the Kleptomaniac dog.  Gnarly was actually a member of the military that was given a dishonorable discharge for reasons unknown to Mac.
Old Loves Die Hard has everything…murder, suspense, politics, action and humor. As the plot of the story takes you back into the past, I feel the ending will come as much a surprise to you as it did to me. Author Lauren Carr, hooked me with It’s Murder My Son so I’m asking her to “Please keep this series going!”
2011
239 pages
ISBN#

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Dragonfly Dreams – Franki deMerle, Author

June 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm (Uncategorized)


Dragonfly Dreams – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Shortly before 2:30 AM, Daphne awoke from a vivid dream.  She dreamt she was in Scotland and had just been widowed.  Her husband had been murdered.  It was some distant time in the past, and she was dressed in a long black gown with a stiff white headdress  She could feel the tightness of her corset contrast the softness of her gown’s material on her skin.  Richard was there, but other people in the dream were saying he was responsible for her late husband’s murder.  She was confused and didn’t know what to believe.  She had thought she could trust Richard, but a voice in the dream announced, “During the Protestant Reformation, these sides were divided.”  As she wondered what that meant, Richard captured her and took her against her will to a castle, where he raped her.  Then, when he left her alone with a woman companion to look after her, the two women escaped.  They disguised themselves as men and used bed linens to climb through a window and down the castle wall.  She was terrified.  She and her companion rode across the nearby border to England, where they thought they would be safe.  At first, when they told their story of what had happened, they were given sanctuary by kind people.  But after about a week or so, word came to the household from the authorities that she was to be held as a prisoner again.  She did not understand why.  Then she was told that Richard had also fled Scotland and was also imprisoned, but in another country.’
Daphne Robin and her sister Deandra were both accustomed to strange dreams.  Deandra has dreamed, since childhood, that she was a soldier with lots of brothers.  In her dream she was a man and someone was beating her face in.  Daphne’s dream about Scotland came shortly after her marriage to Richard Gatorman, owner of a construction company as well as Daphne’s boss.  Scotland was a place Daphne had always wanted to go to so when the dream coincided with Richard announcing that they would be honeymooning in Scotland, she let her excitement override the possibility of a warning.  But, Richard had always been the perfect mate.  He was loving, caring and offered her everything she could ever want…so she thought.  The honeymoon would turn out to be the beginning of her seeing the true Richard she had married.  A marriage that she soon realized had been a big mistake.  The only out for Daphne becomes sleep in which her dreams have her flying the skies with a handsome man.  If it weren’t for her dream time she would probably give up on life itself.
Deandra, being an officer in the Army, enlists the help of her friend Major Ursa-Barrios to help Daphne escape the abuse being inflicted by Richard.  Major, as he likes to be called, has had his own dreams over the years.  In his dreams he would help a young lady and falls in love with her.  Could Daphne possibly be the woman in his dream?  Could Major possibly be the man in Daphne’s dreams?
As Deandra, Daphne and Major come together, they start searching for the answers to their dreams.  Deandra wanting to know who the person getting their face bashed in is and who are the brothers.  Daphne wants to know who the woman in Scotland could be as well as who she soars the skies with.  And Major wants to meet the lady from his dreams.
Franki deMerle has done it again with a book of mystery, love and a certain air of suspense.  The more I read, the more I wanted answers to the character’s dreams but I wasn’t really expecting what the dreams actually turned out to be.
2010
iUniverse
299 pages
ISBN# 978-1-4502-7244-5

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Mysteerie Manor II – Sharon Hays, Author

June 25, 2011 at 12:13 am (Uncategorized)


Mysteerie Manor II – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘The fateful day she walked into the Valencia Manor, her life had taken many turns.  What had started out as a property investment opportunity had become an intriguing nightmare of unexpected events and mysterious, supernatural phenomenon.  Murder, strange accidents and tragedy all took their turns in the bizarre adventures at the Valencia Manor.  But through all of the mystery and misery, it had become a reality.  The Valencia Manor would be legally transferred into Maryanne’s name today… Maryanne was reluctant at first, to accept the unbelievable gift of the Valencia Manor, because she felt so bad about the death of the lovely Mrs. Dirkshire.  Maryanne spent weeks trying to find other relatives who might otherwise be next in line to inherit the property, but after careful searching, to no avail and legal counsel, she felt more at ease in accepting the gracious offer.’
The Valencia Manor was built in the 1800s.  After several mysterious deaths it was put on the market and bought by John Farthington.  The deaths continued with his child and wife both dying while living at the Manor.  After succumbing to illness himself, Farthington moved in with his sister Irene Dirkshire.  He later died leaving the Manor to her.  She, in turn, decided to sell and contacted Joan Bishop to be her agent.  Joan and Maryanne O’Donnell were close friends and when Irene saw how much Maryanne loved the old Manor she wrote a new will stating that if anything should mysteriously happen to her it was to go to Maryanne.  Upon her death a few weeks later, Maryanne inherited the Valencia Manor.
The Manor wasn’t the only thing that Maryanne inherited.  She acquired all of the ghosts, both good and bad, that called the Manor their home.  So she decided to sell her home and move into the Manor, but before doing this she first had to have the place completely renovated.  After finding the perfect contractor, her plans progressed with a good offer being placed on her home and Maryanne and her new husband Mario made plans to move into what was to be their new home at the Valencia.  Maryanne had already had the Manor swept of its spirits by her physic friend Vivian but when the contractor took out a wall and found an unexpected guest, Maryanne had to call on her friend again.  Vivian found more than expected when she returned to the Manor and with Mario informing her of the mysterious deaths that had been occurring around the area she had no choice but to give them her idea that they may be dealing with the “undead.”
Reading Mysteerie Manor and Mysteerie Manor II made me remember reading my very first “horror” book.  It was called Salem’s Lot.  I read it at night, which was a mistake, and had trouble sleeping afterwards. I couldn’t even leave a curtain open for fear that an unsuspecting predator would be looking in.  That was years ago, but these two books bring some of those feelings back.  Author Sharon Hays has succeeded in giving me the creeps, even while reading during the day.

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A Necessary End – Diana Rubino, Author

June 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm (Uncategorized)


A Necessary End – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Booth felt like going behind the saloon and blowing his brains out, so maybe getting it off his chest would help.
 “The day after the election, I decided it was time to begin planning this capture plot we’d discussed in Montreal. So I went to Nettie Colburn Maynard, the Lincolns’ spiritualist, to get information on his whereabouts. Not for any other reason,” he emphasized sternly. “But during the very first visit, strange things started happening to me. She went into trance and conjured up what she believes is a spirit who’s been haunting me ever since, haunting me in the hotel room, backstage at the theater, everywhere. I’ve had this recurring dream where I’m in ancient times, Rome or some old place like that, everybody dressed in tunics, and they’re waiting for me so we can murder somebody. And in real life, I’m constantly looking over my shoulder, feeling someone behind me. It’s all very unnerving. Some days, I can barely get through.” He paused for a sip.
Sam hunched forward, anticipating every word.
Booth went on, “I began to think there was something to all the mumbo-jumbo. It even started to bother Alice. She feels cold drafts in the room and sees things moving about like I do. It’s not just me going loony. And now I’m convinced someone from the spirit world is after me to do this deed to Lincoln, and won’t leave me alone until I do.”
This is John Wilkes Booth’s conversation with his childhood friend Samuel Arnold.  Arnold, David E. Herold, Mary Surratt and a few other handpicked friends and acquaintances were all responsible for several failed attempts to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln.  Most of their attempts were foiled by actress Alice Grey. Gray was solicited by Senator John Parker Hale to help protect the president by acting as a spy against Booth.  What neither of them expected was for her to fall in love with Booth and even more unexpectedly was for Booth to fall in love with Gray.  His love for her was so great that he asked her to marry him.
With all attempts to kidnap Lincoln failing, the surrender of Lee and the ending of the war, Gray knew Booth would give up his attempts allowing them to lead a normal life.  But as history proves, that was simply not to be.
I’ve always had a fondness for certain eras of history, the 1800s being one. Reading the John Wilkes Booth story was like stepping back into time for me. A lot of what I read, I know from reading the history books to be declared as being true.  I had read that Booth was an actor, that he was at one time engaged to Lucy Hale, the daughter of Senator Hale. Reading history books told me that Mrs. Lincoln was heavy into mediums and spiritualists in hopes of contacting her two deceased sons.  And I may have even read somewhere that Booth kept a diary.  So, the writing of A Necessary End was a pleasure in reading for me. I’ve always said that if the history novels written by John Jakes were to be made into history books, kids would enjoy history and learn more.  I feel the same way about A Necessary End’s author Diana Rubino.  She has made reading the history of this event enjoyable.
Now I leave you with one question.  Did John Wilkes Booth really die in that burning Garrett tobacco barn or did he escape to live a ripe old age?

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Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Moongypsy Press
ISBN-10: 1463557132
ISBN-13: 978-1463557133

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Sojourn With a Stranger – Kedta Diablo, Author

June 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm (Uncategorized)


Sojourn With a Stranger – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“The doll was on my pillow when I returned to my room.”
“What madness is this?” Derek paced the hallway.  “Someone is up to no good.”  When he stopped to look at her, she reminded him of a frightened child.  Her cheeks were pale, her eyes ringed with dark circles.  “I’ll get to the bottom of this.  The Bible and Baby can not walk from that trunk in the attic,” he looked toward the ceiling, “and suddenly materialize in your bedchamber.”
“Poor man.  The master has finally met a problem he doesn’t understand and doesn’t possess the ability to control.”
 “What is that supposed to mean?  I tell you, someone in the manor dupes you, Raine.”
 “No, Derek.  A spirit placed the objects in my room, a tormented, recently passed spirit.”
“You drag the ghost into the conversation again.  Tell me, what are you insinuating?  You mean to say Cinda’s-?”
“How would I know?”  She hissed the words and wrung her hands.  “You can’t expect me to know what evil machinations occurred before I arrived.”
“Evil?”  He felt his forehead wrinkle.  “Nothing evil transpired.  Lucinda lost her mind, took her life.”  Despite the facts surrounding his wife’s death, a niggling fear crept up his spine.  “If evil played a part, I swear I wasn’t aware of it.”
* * *
Derek Stafford’s father Julian never misses a chance to express to his two sons that the first to provide him with an male heir will inherit Stafford Manor.  Lyman, being the oldest of the two has tried unsuccessfully to produce the male heir but so far his efforts have produced three daughters.  Derek, through an arranged marriage, tried with the death of each child and his wife Lucinda losing her mind, ending with her walking into the river committing suicide.  So, as time goes on, Julian’ pressure for an heir strengthens.
When disaster strikes one of the ships owned by the Staffords, leaving two dead and one 18 year old young lady alive, Derek and Julian come up with an idea that is sure to produce a male child.  All they have to do is convince the girl, Raine Brinsley, to go along with their scheme and acquire a little help from the Madeline, the local ‘healer’ and all problems will be solved.  What they never expected was the ghost of Lucinda to come into the picture as a protector for Raine.  Lucinda tries desperately to make Raine understand that her life and the death of her babies were not natural and that she will be next if the killer isn’t exposed.  But will Raine understand the clues before it’s too late?
 Sojourn With A Stranger is a story that includes greed, a touch of history and is iced with the paranormal.  By combining all of these into one story Author Keta Diablo has created a beautifully, erotic love story that keeps you on the edge. It was a very enjoyable read.
Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Buy Sojourn With a Stranger on KINDLE: http://amzn.to/gQLMV2
Also available on NOOK: http://bit.ly/gS6XvG
Keta Diablo’s Author Web Site: http://www.ketadiablo.com
179 pages

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Burn Out – Victoria Heckman, Author

June 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm (Uncategorized)


Burn Out – An Animal Communicator Mystery – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Cap continued to dominate the physical space and Shirley’s attention, but Elizabeth watched Missy, too.  Missy was not happy with the attention Cap was getting.  She distinctly said, He is always first.  He’s always getting fussed over.  I deserve that too.  She stuck out lower lip and rolled her brown eyes.  She’s no fun.  She thinks she’s a princess.  She doesn’t know how to have fun.  If Elizabeth had any doubt the speaker was Cap, he removed it by prancing in place, raising his hoof and waving it.  “Okay.  I see what’s going on.”  “Yes?”  Shirley asked.  “It’s an ego thing.  Missy is pretty strait-laced and came from a show background that Cap is working hard to diminish from his high up status as a dressage horse.  Cap has a sense of humor.  He knows it makes her mad to bring it up, so he does.  He doesn’t necessarily really believe that, but she’s so easy to rile.  Then Missy gets mad and retaliates by biting and chasing him.  He comes off looking like the abused one, but it’s mutual.  Like siblings anywhere.”  “I see.  I can believe that.  I’ve had Cap over 20 years and Missy only one.  The other problem is Missy has started trying to do to me what she does to Cap.  Now I understand why she does it to him, but how can I get her to stop doing it to me?”  “We have to come up with a plan and stick to it.”
Yep, you guessed it.  Elizabeth Murphy is a “Doctor Doolittle” “Horse Whisperer,” call her what you want but she communicates with animals as well as a bug now and then.  Her “talking” to the animals isn’t something that she makes too public for fear that people will think for one that she needs to be in a loony bin and for another because her husband is a firefighter hoping to make captain.  But, when fires start happening for no apparent reason, talking to the animals at the scene comes in handy.
While visiting her husband Tig at the training center one day, Elizabeth noticed an announcement for a part-time job entering data into the computer.  It was a short time job so she decided to give it a try.  After the job was underway, she started noticing “accidents” were occurring while fighting what were being called arson fires.  After doing more research she determined that the fire that had injured her best friend’s husband Terry wasn’t normal.  Someone had cut a hole in the concrete pad under the floor and dug a hole, covering it up before setting the fire.  Not knowing the hole was there, Terry fell through the burned wood injuring himself.  And when Tig was injured in a training fire, Elizabeth knew it had to be someone connected to the department.  But the Firefighters were like a big family.  Who would want to hurt their own?  With the help of the animals, Elizabeth was determined to find out.
Victoria Heckman had me guessing throughout the whole book on this one.  By page 187 I had my suspects narrowed down to 3.  By page 199 I had added another suspect to my list.  Turned out to be one of my weakest suspects!
Burn Out was a joy to read.  I laughed at some of the “conversations” with the animals.  Victoria Heckman had me believing that people/animal conversations was quite normal.  All of her characters were very creatively created making them seem like people you actually knew.  This was a fun, humorous yet serious book to read.
242 pages
2010
Revenge Publishing
ISBN# 978-0-9846098-1-9

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Energetics: The 1st Order – Ward & Britton, Authors

June 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm (Uncategorized)


Energetics: The First Order – Review by Guest Reviewer Matthew Morrison
Three MIT scientists risk their careers, reputations and their lives bringing a new form of energy to life in ‘Energetics: The First Order’ by Daniel Ward and Terre Britton.  Who wouldn’t want America to have a self-sustained energy source?  Only the U.S. government and the “Big Energy” companies.  Now, add the concerns of the entire international community as well as extraterrestrial abduction of one of the scientists, and you are ready to begin the journey.
This book has the rambling adventure of a Clive Cussler yarn, shrouded in the political intrigue of a David Baldacci thriller, wrapped in the mysterious, other worldly, enigma of a Whitley Strieber diary.  Throw in the esoteric, technical ramblings of Nikola Telsa, a personal laboratory notebook of James C. Maxwell, a cross-country jaunt and a few bloody noses and you too will believe that Energetics is just the First Order.  Be brave, follow along, and see if these inventor’s can reject their null hypotheses, break free of convention, save the world, and reduce the carbon footprint of our modern society down to zero.  I can’t wait!
2010/2011
Sirius Press
225 pages
ISBN# 978-0-9841952-0-6

 

: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004I8WPDK

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13 Horror Stories – John McDonnell, Author

June 15, 2011 at 10:51 pm (Uncategorized)


13 Horror Stories – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
As the title states – 13 Horror Stories is made up of 13 horror stories.  They range from The Beauty Part, which is a story about a woman who didn’t accept rejection, to Stuck, which is a story about a man who can’t get the image of a tree, a car and the moonlight out of his head.  You also have The Thing in the Basement.  You can imagine what the outcome will be when Billy is sent to the basement as punishment – or can you?  The Box can bring knowledge to the one who opens it — or maybe not.  In Conclusions – will the wife allow the girlfriend to move in with her and her husband?  And the stories go on…….
13 Horror Stories is an amusing book that may be short but it’s packed full of horror.

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The Body in the Gazebo – Katherine Hall Page, Author

June 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm (Uncategorized)


The Body in the Gazebo – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
 
‘Where could she hid it?  It wouldn’t do to have her daughter come across it.  Not that Pix was nosy, but she sometimes put Ursula’s wash away, so the Sheraton chest of drawers was out.  And the blanket chest at the foot of the bed that had been her grandmother’s was out, too.  Pix regularly aired the contents.  There wasn’t much furniture in the room.  Some years after Arnold died, Ursula had removed his marble-topped nightstand – the repository of books, eyeglasses, reading lamp, alarm clock, and eventually pill bottles – replacing it with a chaise and small candlestick table, angled into the room  It felt wrong to go into bed during the day, but she wanted a place to stretch out to read and, increasingly, to nap.  Somehow the chase made her feel a bit more like a grande dame than an old one.  There was a nightstand on her side of the bed, but her granddaughter, Samantha, often left little notes in the drawer and might notice the envelope.  Ursula always saved the notes – bits of poetry Samantha liked or just a few words, “Have sweet dreams, Granny.”  Generally Ursula did.  Her days had been good ones and she felt blessed.  Arnold, the two children, although Arnold junior lived in Santa Fe and she only saw him and his wife during the summer in Maine and on her annual visit out there.  Three grandchildren, all healthy and finding their ways without too much difficulty so far.  But you never know what life will hand you.  She stood up, chiding herself.  The six words – “Are you sure you were right?” – had entered her system like a poison, seeping into the very marrow of her bones and replacing her normal optimism with dark thoughts.’
Ursula Rowe has a problem.  Someone is sending her notes pertaining to something that happened years before when her brother Theo was still alive.  The notes threaten to tell her family about Theo whom her family doesn’t even know existed.  When she was young, her parents never talked about him and Ursula never found the right time to tell her own family that she had a brother.  This is something she can’t handle alone so she decides to solicit the help of her daughter Pix’s best friend Faith Fairchild.
Faith finds Ursula’s story quite intriguing and will do whatever needs to be done to help but she too is faced with her own family problems.  Her husband, the Reverend Tom Fairchild has been “accused” in so many words, of dipping his hand into one of the church funds.  It appears that there is $10,000.00 missing and only he has access to the account.  As for Pix, she has gone to Charleston to meet her son’s new in-laws and help plan for the wedding.  But she adds to Faith’s building plate of problems by admitting that she recognized the bride’s father.  He turns out to be someone she met while in college and that the over a weekend party, the 2 got to know each other “very” well.  Problem is, she recognized him but he apparently didn’t recognize her.
So in The Body in the Gazebo, I found Faith with her plate full in trying to solve everyone’s problems as well as comfort those who needed comforting.  But, being the true friend and the creative person she is, she can handle just about anything.  See, she isn’t like her husband, seeing only the good in people.  And that’s just part of what made The Body in the Gazebo such a fun read.   Oh, did I forget to tell you, Faith is also a caterer?  Throughout the book you will find her preparing different dishes for different events with the treat of the recipes for her dishes being given at the end of the book!  Being a cook myself, this made a good read even better.
2011
HarperCollins
259 pages
ISBN# 978-0-06-147426-2

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