Thursday, November 24, 2011

Skeleton Letters - Laura Childs

Skeleton Letters

by Laura Childs

Is nothing sacred?

The last thing scrapbooking maven Carmela Bertrand expected to bear witness to in St. Tristan’s Church was a crime.  But now a beloved member of her scrapbooking circle is lying lifeless next to a smashed statue of St. Sebastian – and a mysterious hooded figure had absconded with an antique silver-and-gold crucifix.

With the church, a popular New Orleans tourist site, pretty much open to the public, it looks like the police don’t have a prayer of finding the killer.  Good thing amateur sleuth Carmela and her wacky voodoo shop-owning friend Ava are hot on the trail.  With suspects that range from a deliveryman, to the strange Brother Paul, to the cult group The Seekers, Carmela and Ava comb New Orleans for clues.  And end up in a bayou at midnight, stalked by an enraged killer!

A cross between a cozy and a thriller – a thrillzy! – Skeleton Letters delivers great characters, action, humor, spooky cemeteries, scrapbooking tips, and New Orleans recipes.  This is the Halloween read you’ve been waiting for!


Laura Childs is the author of the Scrapbook Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries and Cackleberry Club Mysteries.  Her books have been named to the USA Today and New York Times Bestseller Lists, and have been featured selections in the Literary Guild’s Mystery Book Club.  She is a former Cleo Award-winning ad writer and CEO of Mission Critical Marketing.


Book Trailer:

Barnes and Noble

Tea Shop Mysteries
Death by Darjeeling
Gunpowder Green
Shades of Earl Grey
English Breakfast Club Murder
Jasmine Moon Murder
Chamomile Mourning
Blood Orange Brewing
Dragonwell Dead
The Silver Needle Murder
Oolong Dead
The Teaberry Strangler
Scones & Bones
Agony of the Leaves

Scrapbook Mysteries
Keepsake Crimes
Photo Finished
Bound for Murder
Motif for Murder
Frill Kill
Death Swatch
Tragic Magic
Fiber & Brimstone
Skeleton Letters
Postcards from the Dead

Cackleberry Club Mysteries
Eggs in Purgatory
Eggs Benedict Arnold
Bedeviled Eggs
Stake & Eggs
(December 2012)

Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN 978-0-425-24389-3

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Delicate Armor - Connie Claire Szarke

Delicate Armor

by Connie Claire Szarke

Set in the Upper Midwest, 1950s-1990, Delicate Armor is the coming-of-age story of Callie Lindstrom, a cheeky girl who shares a special bond with her father. After the loss of his baby boy, Will Lindstrom places his energy in young Callie, teaching her his love for the outdoors. Accepted into the world of men within her family and privy to their dreams and struggles, she learns to navigate waves of conflict and loss while realizing her own place in the world. This book is about lost time, the tenacity of the human spirit, and our narrator’s emerging consciousness as she passes from young girl to self-possessed woman. Delicate Armor is Callie’s tribute to the land and to her microcosm of men.


Midwest author, Connie Claire Szarke, grew up in “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” A writer of fiction and poetry, she also taught high school French for many years. She enjoys playing classical piano, painting, alpine skiing, and kayaking with her Shetland sheepdogs near her home west of the Twin Cities. Much of her work has been published in literary journals and magazines, including The Talking Stick, Dust & Fire, Stories Teachers Tell, Lake Country Journal Magazine, and Community Connections: The Minnesota Project.

  • November 19 - signing at The Reading Frenzy Bookshop in Zimmerman, 11:00-1:00 p.m.
  • November 26 - signing at Cherry Street Books in Alexandria 11:00-2:00 p.m.
  • November 29 - Lake Minnetonka Shores in Spring Park at 2:00 p.m.
  • December 3 - Barnes & Noble Ridgedale/Minnetonka from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
  • December 5 - reading/signing at the Westonka Public Library in Mound at 6:00 p.m.
  • December 6 - Common Good Books in Saint Paul - 7:30 p.m.
  • December 16 - 11:15 a.m. telephone interview with Ron Specker, Party Line Talk Show, KLTF radio, Little Falls
  • December 17 - Valley Books in Stillwater - 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
  • December 19 - Bookin' It in Little Falls - Scrooge Days
  • December 21 - Gillespie Center in Mound - 10:45 a.m.
Connie is also actively seeking book clubs. Delicate Armor makes for a good group read and discussion regarding the "lost culture" of the 1950s.


Amazon, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and North Star Press of St. Cloud

North Star Press of St. Cloud

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Calling - Sharon Chmielarz


by Sharon Chmielarz

In Calling, Sharon Chmielarz recalls the lives of those, who, in Elisabeth Bishop’s words, in “Brazil, January 1, 1502  “... who kept calling, calling to each other...”  They are known and unknown  painters, musicians, the local beautician, islanders and immigrants.  They are subjects for our attention, long overdue.  These are portrait poems serving as windows into the lives of Monet’s egg girl, Galileo’s daughter, the Two Fat Ladies.  They are a record of the people we come from, recorded in lyric and narrative, with dashes of humor and anger, love and sadness at the irrefutable wash of history the poems find themselves in.  They are women who are showcases of strength, reflection, and the ordinary transformed by the desire to be counted.  They seek the remembrance due the neglected.  The poet’s drag-net sweeps them all in. 


Sharon Chmielarz’s books of poetry include Calling, The Sky Is Great The Sky Is Blue, The Rhubarb King, The Other Mozart,  But I Won’t Go Out in a Boat, Different Arrangements, and one chapbook, Stranger in Her House. Her work has been a finalist in the National Poetry Series, and in ‘99, ‘01, ‘02, ’05, ’07 and ‘10 nominated for a Pushcart.  It’s been featured on American Life in Poetry (‘07) and individual poems translated into French and Polish.  The Rhubarb King, won a Merit Award from the 2007 Midwest Independent Publishers Association. The Other Mozart has been made into a two-part opera. Her book Calling was first runner up in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, 2011, for poetry.

Feb. 10, 2012:  Banfill Locke Center for the Arts
early 2012, but as yet undated: North Star Chapter of the German Russians, Berea Lutheran Church, 7538 Emerson Ave. S., Mpls. (Richfield)



The Sky Is Great The Sky Is Blue (Whistling Shade Press, 2010)
The Rhubarb King (Loonfeather Press, 2006)
The Other Mozart  (Ontario Review Press/ imprint W.W. Norton, 2001)
But I Won’t Go Out in a Boat (New Rivers Press, 1991)
Different Arrangements (New Rivers Press, 1982)
Chapter book: 
Stranger in Her House (Poetry Harbor, 1990) -- contact author through to purchase
Pied Piper of Hamelin  (Stemmer House, 1990) (out of print)
The End of Winter  (Crown, 1992) (out of print)
Down at Angel’s (Ticknor & Field/ Houghton Mifflin, 1994)

Loonfeather Press

Monday, November 7, 2011

Review: Spyder by David Fingerman

Bottom line:

This book is hard to classify, but tantalizingly good.  Great read for mature readers--describes sex scenes, drug usage, and violence.


A streetwise thug named Spyder struggles to overcome his drug addiction, while the world around him keeps trying to drag him back in. 


o Lots of plot twists that keep you guessing throughout the story
o As a drug addict, Spyder's an unlikely protagonist.  I found myself sympathizing with him because he took a hard view on all other addicts--thinking they were weaker/whinier than him.  Spyder had an outlook on life that I could respect, even as I disagreed with his choices.
o Eye-opening revelation for me on the difficulty of breaking out of the addiction cycle.  Excellent consideration on how hard it is to change one's base character.
o Spyder grows throughout the story, but also suffers relapses as events trigger instinctive reactions.
o Spyder's voice remains true to the character throughout the story.  There was definitely a feeling of "here's the way I am, whether you like it or not" that made me respect and enjoy the character.


o Very few. I disagreed with some of Spyder's decisions, but that's because those weren't the choices *I* would make--it was my own bias that got in the way.  For his character, they were justifiable, even when the decisions led him to dangerous consequences.  And that part I liked: his bad decisions had realistic consequences for him.

I'd recommend this book to mature audiences who enjoy suspense, plot twists, dark humor, and unlikely heroes.

Full disclosure: How did I obtain this book?

Purchased myself

Purchase link

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Playing the Hand She's Dealt - David Fingerman

In the aftermath of "Silent Kill," Louise Miller is an ex-cop whose life could not be more of a mess. Unemployed and addicted to gambling, she comes home from the casino to find her front door unlocked and a corpse sitting on her sofa. Even worse, the dead man is Walter Farkos, a man she arrested shortly before resigning from the Minneapolis PD. Now Farkos' murderer is obsessed with a sadistic game of cat and mouse. The ultimate goal: to destroy Miller piece by piece. If Miller doesn't stop this madman she may not only forfeit her own life, but the lives of everyone she cares about.


As a student at the University of Minnesota, David Fingerman realized that if he switched his major from journalism to speech, he could graduate that quarter. It was a no-brainer. After twenty years of working for the Hennepin County court system an opportunity arose and he left the court system to do what he loves to do – write. It was a no-brainer. He has published a number stories in magazines and anthologies. “Playing the Hand She’s Dealt” is his third novel. David is married and presently lives in Minneapolis.

Reading & signing at:
True Colors Bookstore
4755 Chicago Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN
November 10, 2011 at 7PM




L&L Dreamspell