Merr-E Holiday Treat

Plan Ahead for SLACK FRIDAY: NOVEMBER 28, 2014 Avoid crazed shopping crowds!  Keep calm and carry on at home with this great Merr-E Holiday Treat from Pocket Star eBooks! EXCERPT: Sometimes things aren’t what they seem, but it seemed to Cordy that indeed, there was a man in a tuxedo riding down the chairlift in Aspen. And he was probably drunk, which meant she wanted nothing to do with him. It was exactly six-thirty-two a.m. on May 16, four hours before the lifts opened. She stood there, panting and staring. He was floating toward her, one arm slung along the back of the chair and a foot, also in formal wear, perched on the seat. The bands of his unfurled bow tie fluttered in the breeze. My first morning in Aspen and already there’s a guy in a tuxedo. Talk about a town living up to the hype. The app on her phone beeped, telling her she’d logged five miles and could begin her cool-down....
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Real Elves: A Christmas Story by Helen Smith

Real Elves is my first Christmas read of the year and it was a cute little mystery, a little silly maybe, but it has a light-heartedness that fits Christmas. And I would love to visit the Magic Forest, pick a golden apple,  and see Santa. It's a short story, only 35 pages or so, so I don't want to give away too much of the plot. I will say that there's no violence and it has a happy ending all around. I've read a couple other stories featuring Emily Castles. She's smart, funny and a bit quirky, but I don't think you actually get much of a feel for her characters here, it's more about the magic and mystery, not the recurring character. That does mean it works well as a stand-alone though. It'd be a nice gift to sneak into a stocking or a small gift exchange....
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The Paradise of Devils by Franco Di Mare

I enjoyed the rather meandering quality of The Paradise of Devils. The story centers around Carmine Cacciapuoti, but skips around in time from his present, to his childhood, to defining moments in his life. Carmine is a lot like Naples itself. He's a philosophical former scholar, who has become a hit man. His girlfriend Lena, a teacher, thinks he's a computer salesperson of some type and he is trying to keep the two parts of his life, his home and his job, separate. Of course, you can only keep secrets like that for so long before the whole thing starts to unravel. The book is translated from Italian and as far as I could tell it was done well enough. There are a couple of odd Americanisms, like Lena wondering if Carmine would say he was working with the Secret Service or FBI - of course not, he's in Italy; that would be a stupid lie to tell. Carmine is many...
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Thursday’s Tale: Wickedly Magical by Deborah Blake

"Wickedly Magical" is a re-working of the Baba Yaga lore. As you may know, Baba Yaga is a strong, powerful, frightening witch who comes to us from Slavic folklore. She often lives in a hut that  stands on chicken legs and is sometimes surrounded by a fence with a skull on each pole. Sometimes the hut has a door which is not revealed unless a magical phrase is uttered. In most tales, Baba Yaga is portrayed as an antagonist; however, some characters have been known to seek her out for her wisdom. She often fulfills the function of donor; that is, her role is in supplying the hero, sometimes unwillingly, with something necessary to further his quest. Seeking out her aid is a dangerous act though. Any hero, or heroine, who seeks her out needs to be properly prepared and pure of spirit. He or she also needs to be polite. It is said she ages one year every time she is...
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Review: The Art Whisperer by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

Title: The Art Whisperer (Alix London #3) Authors: Charlotte and Aaron Elkins Published: August 19, 2014 by Thomas Mercer Genre: Mystery Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Add: Goodreads Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Audible When art conservator Alix London spots a forgery, she knows trouble will follow. So she’s understandably apprehensive when her connoisseur’s eye spots something off about a multimillion-dollar Jackson Pollock painting at Palm Springs’s Brethwaite Museum—her current employer. Alix is already under fire, the object of a vicious online smear campaign. Now the Brethwaite’s despicable senior curator, obsessed with the “maximization of monetized eyeballs,” angrily refuses to decommission the celebrated Pollock piece. But it’s only when a hooded intruder attacks Alix in her hotel room that the real trouble begins. And when FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth—with whom Alix had inadvertently, but thoroughly, botched a budding relationship just a year prior—turns up to investigate the Pollock, Alix knows she’s about to have her hands full. In her third mystery, Alix London must see...
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Review: I Adored a Lord by Katharine Ashe

Title: I Adored a Lord (The Prince Catchers #2) Author: Katharine Ashe Published: July 29, 2014 by Avon Genre: Historical Romance Rating: 4½ out of 5 stars Add: Goodreads Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride? All that clever, passionate Ravenna Caulfield wants is to stay far away from high society's mean girls. All that handsome, heroic Lord Vitor Courtenay wants is to dash from dangerous adventure to adventure. Now, snowbound in a castle with a bevy of the ton's scheming maidens all competing for a prince's hand in marriage, Ravenna's worst nightmare has come true. Now, playing babysitter to his spoiled prince of a half-brother and potential brides, Vitor is champing at the bit to be gone. When a stolen kiss in a stable leads to a corpse in a suit of armor, a canine kidnapping,...
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