Saturday, September 26, 2015

Isolation Book Review


Mary Anna Evans on Tour September 2015

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Women Sleuths
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Number of Pages: 284
Series: A Faye Longchamp Mystery, 9
ISBN: 9781464204029

Archaeologist Faye Longchamp-Mantooth has dug herself a deep hole and she can’t make her way out of it. As she struggles to recover from a shattering personal loss, she sees that everyone she loves is trying to reach out to her.

If only she could reach back. Instead she’s out digging holes all over her home, the Florida island of Joyeuse.

In their old plantation home, Joe Wolf Mantooth is surrounded by family—Faye, the wife he loves; their toddler son he adores; and his father, who hasn’t gotten around to telling him how long he’s been out of prison or how he got there—yet Joe has never felt so helpless or alone.

Then a close friend at the local marina is brutally murdered, the first in a string of crimes against women that rocks Micco County.

Joe, desperate to help Faye, realizes she is in danger from both her inner demons and someone who has breached the island’s isolation. Local law and environmental officials say they want to help, but to Faye and Joe they feel more like invaders. A struggling Faye reaches back over a century into her family’s history for clues. And all the while, danger snakes further into their lives, threatening the people they love, their cherished home, even the very ground—some of it poisoned—beneath their feet.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this murder mystery about Faye and Joe and how they coped in different ways when they lost a child. Add in a person who goes around killing people and the story takes on a whole new meaning.

Joe knows Faye is at risk but she doesn't because she's so lost in her grief that the only thing she can do is dig, looking for something to heal her wounds. It takes a friend being murdered to shake her out of her shell and start helping Joe to figure out what the heck is going on.

The story is very compelling and you won't want to put the book down until you know the ending. If you are like me, that is what I do. Once I am invested in a story, it's hard to put down, even if I have to stay up all night to finish it.

This is one of those books that definitely will not bore you. There is too much going on for that. If you like reading mysteries, then this book will be right up your alley. I did not know when I first got the book that this is a series type of book about Faye Longchamp, but it won't matter. Each book is a stand alone mystery of it's own, so don't worry, you will pick up the story and run with it.

You will enjoy the book for the sake of the story and it's a great one, so don't miss out on getting this book, you won't regret it!

Happy Reading!

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One
Fish know which docks are owned by people who are generous with their table scraps. In the evenings, they gather around wooden posts that vibrate with the footsteps of a human carrying food. They wait, knowing that potato peels and pork chop bones will soon rain from the sky. They race to skim the surface for floating bread crumbs. They dive, nibbling at each half-eaten hot dog as it sinks. When a restaurant, even a shabby dive where hungry people clean their plates, throws its detritus off one particular dock every night, fish for miles around know all about it.

On this night, the fish wait below a dock that has always offered a nightly feast. Tonight, they feel the vibrations of familiar feet. The food falls into the water, as always, and the sound of a stainless steel spoon scraping the bottom of a stainless steel pot passes from the air above to the water below. Everything is as it has been, until a sharp noise jabs into the water hard enough for the fish to hear it. The spoon falls.

The spoon is large, designed for a commercial kitchen, so it hits the water with a smack that can be heard both above and below the surface. A scream falls into the fishes’ underworld along with the spoon.

A big pot, with food scraps still clinging to its inner surface, hits the water an instant later. Only creatures with the agility of the waiting fish could scatter quickly enough to avoid being hit.

After another heartbeat, something else falls among them, something bigger and softer. Soon there are two somethings, both with arms and legs and feet and hands, one that gurgles and another that leaves when the gurgling stops.

The thing that stays behind is a human body. As it settles in the water, tiny minnows nestle in the long hair that floats around it like seaweed. Catfish explore its ten long fingers with their tentacled mouths. None of them associate its two bare feet with the sprightly vibrations that had always signaled a rain of food.

Before long, predators appear, drawn by the smell of blood.

  Chapter Two
Joe Wolf Mantooth was worried about his wife.

Faye was neglecting their business. She was neglecting her health. He wanted to say she was neglecting her children, but it would kill her to think he believed such a thing, so he spent a lot of time telling that part of himself to be quiet. He also wanted to say she was neglecting him, but it would kill him to believe it, so he spent the rest of his time telling that other part of himself to be quiet. Or to shrivel up and die. Because if he ever lost Faye, that’s what Joe intended to do. Shrivel up and die.

The children seemed oblivious to the changes in their mother.

Michael, at two, saw nothing strange about her leaving the house every morning with her archaeological tools. She had always done that.

Amande was away from home, doing an immersion course in Spanish at a camp situated so high in the Appalachians that she’d asked for heavy sweaters long before Halloween. Faye had been too distracted to put them in the mail. Joe had shopped for them, boxed them up, and sent them off. Faye seemed to have forgotten that her daughter had ever said, “I’m cold.”

Amande was perceptive for seventeen. If she hadn’t noticed that Joe had been doing all the talking for the last month, she would notice soon. Lately, when faced with a call from her daughter, Faye murmured a few distracted words before pretending that Michael needed a diaper change. If Faye didn’t come up with another excuse to get off the phone, Amande might soon call 911 and ask the paramedics to go check out her brother’s chronic diarrhea.

Though Joe did speak to Amande when she called, surely she had noticed by now that he said exactly nothing. What was he going to say?

The closest thing to the truth was “Your mother’s heart fell into a deep hole when she miscarried your baby sister, and I’m starting to worry that we may never see it again,” but Joe was keeping his silence. Faye had forbidden him to tell Amande that there wasn’t going to be a baby sister.

Was this rational? Did Faye think that her daughter was never going to fly home to Florida, bubbling with excitement over her Appalachian adventure and the coming baby?

If she did, it was yet more evidence supporting Joe’s fear that Faye’s mind wasn’t right these days. Every morning brought fresh proof of that not-rightness as she walked away from him…to do what? As best he could tell, she was carefully excavating random sites all over their island. If she’d found anything worth the effort, he sure didn’t know about it.

In the meantime, Joe sat in the house, face-to-face with a serious problem. This problem was almost as tall and broad as Joe. His hair had once been as dark. His skin was the same red- brown, only deeper. This was a problem Joe had been trying to outrun since he was eighteen years old.

His father.


Try this spot.

Faye Longchamp-Mantooth believed in intuition. It had always guided her work as an archaeologist. After she’d gathered facts about a site’s history, inspected the contours of the land, and scoured old photographs, she always checked her gut response before excavating. Her gut was often right. It was only recently, however, that her gut had begun speaking out loud and in English. Lately, her gut had been urging her to skip the boring research and go straight for the digging.

“Have you ever excavated here before?” its voice asked. Faye’s answer was no.

“Then try this spot.”

Every day, Joyeuse Island sported more shallow pits that had yielded nothing. Of course, they had yielded nothing. Faye had failed to do her homework. But going to the library or sitting at her computer would require her to be still and think. Thinking was painful these days, so she skipped it.

“Okay,” she said, not pleased to see that she’d begun answering the voice out loud, “I’ll give it a shot. But I don’t think there’s anything here.”

Her hand was remarkably steady for the hand of a woman who’d been hearing voices for a month. She used it to guide her trowel, removing a thin layer of soil.

She would have known this old trowel in the dark. Her fingers had rubbed the finish off its wooden handle in a pattern that could match no hand but hers. Since God hadn’t seen fit to let her grow the pointy metal hand she needed for her work, she’d chosen this one tool to mold into a part of herself.

Faye was working in sandy soil as familiar as the trowel. It was her own. She’d been uncovering the secrets of Joyeuse Island since she was old enough to walk, and she would never come to the end of them. As she grew older, she saw the need to mete out her time wisely, but she rebelled against it. The past would keep most of its secrets, and this made her angry.Faye didn’t know where to dig, because she didn’t know what she was trying to find. It would help if the voice ever offered a less hazy rationale for ordering her out of the house. All it said was “You can find the truth. Don’t let this island keep its secrets from you.”

Her frenetic busyness was an antidote for the times the voice tiptoed into ground that shook beneath her feet. It crept into dangerous territory and then beckoned her to follow. It asked her to believe that she was to blame for the baby’s death, for the mute suffering in Joe’s eyes, for every tear Michael shed.

This was craziness. Two-year-olds cried several times a day. Men who had lost babies suffered. And there was rarely any blame to be handed out in the wake of a miscarriage, even late miscarriages that carry away a child who has been bumping around in her mother’s womb long enough for mother and daughter to get to know one another.

Still, the voice said Faye was to blame, so she believed it. And it told her that it was possible to dig up peace, so she dug.

Author Bio:

authorMary Anna Evans is the author of the award-winning Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries–Artifacts, Relics, Effigies, Findings, Floodgates, Strangers, and Plunder. She has degrees in physics and chemical engineering.

Her background includes stints in environmental consulting and university administration, as well as a summer spent working offshore in the oil fields. Writing lets her spend weeks indulging her passion for history, archeology, and architecture, and months making up stories.

Mary Anna is preparing to move to Oklahoma since accepting an Associate Professor position with the University of Oklahoma.

Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stuck In A Good Book Giveaway Hop**Closed**

Hosted by: Stuck in Books & I Am A Reader
Welcome to Mary's Cup of Tea and the Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop!
I have several books I want to share with whoever wins this giveaway. I am going to mix them up and not do the same theme so that way you get a little bit of everything, just in case you don't like one genre, you don't get stuck with several of them. Instead, you will hopefully get at least one or two that is your favorite type! I have bolded the titles because they are also links back to my review so you can see what they are about.
This giveaway is open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!
1.) Growl by Ashley Fontainne
2.) Lucky Strike by Bobbie Pyron
3.)  Treasure Among the Shadows by Marie Romero Cash
4.)  The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Back 2 School Giveaway Hop**Closed**

Welcome to the Back 2 School Giveaway Hop
Mary's Cup of Tea!
I will be giving away a Mystery Box filled with goodies that you will you get back to school in style! It will be filled with socks, Kushyfoots, a pair of gloves, a set of pens, snacks, hair products, perfume and many more surprises! This is in addition to the following products. You will definitely want this fun filled box.
You will also get something for your Kindle or other ereader to protect it from Hardrock Cases! The value of this protector is $50.00. This is coming from me and is included in the Mystery Box!
You will also get something for the shower, a Fogless Mirror valued at $30.00! This one is also from me and is included in the Mystery Box.
The total value of my Mystery Box is $125.00.
In addition to that, YumEarth is giving my winner $20 worth of their awesome fruit snacks to help your children make it through the day! I have given you the link back to my review of YumEarth's products so that you know what you can possibly get with that $20!

The total value of this package including YumEarth's Snacks is $145.00!!
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The host of this event, The Review Wire, will be offering 4 prizes! 3 winners will each receive a Student All Star Set and 1 Grand Prize winner will receive a mix of products worth over $50.00 from TreeSmart. Make sure to swing over and enter to win!

Disclaimer: This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on September 30, 2015. The Back To School Hop Event Bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. Companies and bloggers, if you would like to participate in events like this one, visit Review Wire Media and sign up to be emailed about future events hosted by The Review Wire.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Water Gallery Bottled Water Review

I was recently sent a set of Water Gallery's bottled water to try and Wow! You won't believe how beautiful they are! One bottle was Spring Water and the other one was Sparkling Water. The scenes that they paint inside of the bottles is absolutely breathtaking.
Here are some interesting facts:
*Our premium Italian Rocco Bormioli glass bottles, each of which feature a 22k gold frame, are decorated in California.
*Each bottle is filled with pristine natural spring or sparkling water, sourced from Southern California’s beautiful Palomar Mountain.
*Every bottle can be collected, gifted, displayed, and most importantly, creatively reused before it is recycled.
*A percentage of all sales will be donated to the Wyland Foundation, an organization committed to wildlife education and conservation.
*Each artistic design is limited to no more than 1,000 bottles and new images will be introduced every six months.
It's kind of hard to take a picture that really shows how beautiful they really are, so please stop by their website and check them out for yourself to understand how awesome they are.
The waters were both crisp and tasted amazing. And the best part is, you can re-use these bottles!
Of course, I may just keep mine up on the mantle for the art alone. Because of the way that they made the top of the bottles, you can keep on using them forever to fill them up with whatever your favorite beverage is and be stylish at the same time.
Just remember that they change the pictures every 6 months, so they will never stay the same. That might mean that someday these bottles might be collectibles, who knows? I have seen other things that I never thought would happen, so I think I will be keeping mine for sure.
Here's a little bit about the artist:
Renowned marine life artist Wyland changed the way people think about our environment when he started painting 100 life-size whales on the sides of buildings all over the world in the 1980s.  
Water Gallery has the honor of featuring Wyland's iconic artwork on our collectible bottles and we give back by donating a percentage of all sales to the Wyland Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s ocean, waterways, and marine life.
And don't forget that they would make excellent birthday, anniversary, wedding or whatever else you want to celebrate with someone and get them a gift that they will treasure for a long time to come!

Connect with Water Gallery:

Phone:  949 290 6518
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Blog | Newsletter (bottom of page) |

Water Gallery will be giving the winner of my FALLing for Giveaways September Giveaway Hop, 2 of their own bottles of water! I don't know if they will be the same scenes as they may have changed by now, but they are going to be just as beautiful. Good Luck Everyone!

Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you. 

YumEarth Fruit Snacks Review

I know you have seen YumEarth's products on my blog before but now I have another new item to share with you called the Fruit Snacks, which is the one on the left in the dark blue bag. These were so good, I ate them before Mike had a chance to get any!
There are four flavors in each mini bag that is inside the bigger bag and you can also get them in bulk but I would never have any need for that many since we don't have any children at home anymore. The four flavors are banana, strawberry, peach and cherry. These delicious fruits are made with real fruit extracts and no gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, or artificial colors and dyes. Then they are shaped just like the real fruit is!
Another thing I liked about them is that they are not sticky and won't stick to your fingers and leave that yucky residue. I also like that they are completely Vegan and Gluten Free. So, for those of you out there that have to eat Gluten Free, these would make an awesome snack for you.

And they are only 70 calories per snack bag. Each small bag contains 5 snack bags. I think if you get the bulk package it has 50 snack bags in it. YumEarth only chooses real fruit extracts and
planet friendly ingredients grown on sustainable family farms to sweeten their snack products!
Take a look at how they are packaged:
The Main Features of the Fruit Snacks:

*Certified Organic
*Gluten Free
*No artificial dyes
*Real Fruit Extracts
*Tree Nut-Free
*100% Natural Flavors
*Peanut Free
*Soy Free
*Dairy Free
*Fat Free
*100% Vegan
*Non GMO
*No High Fructose Syrup

If you are an all natural, organic eater and consider yourself Vegan, then this is one product you will love. You can either shop online or you can find a store near you that sells the products. Check click on the link above and check out where your nearest store is.

And guess what everyone?!! They are now available in a lot more stores across the USA, so go check out their website to find out where they are near you! I know they are in Walgreens, Costco, BJ Wholesale Warehouse, Whole Foods, Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Toys R Us and many more. Now you have options! Isn't that the best news? They still have several options if you need to shop online also or live outside the USA, so you will also be able to get their delicious snacks too!

Connect with YumEarth several ways:

Mailing Address:
79 N Franklin Turnpike
Suite 200
Ramsey, NJ 07446
Phone:  201 857 8489  ** Fax: 201 606 8215
Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest | Email

YumEarth will be giving the winner of my Back 2 School Giveaway $20 worth of their snacks! Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you.

Mystic Mayhem Book Tour & Giveaway**Closed**

Mystic Mayhem
A Mystic Isle Mystery

Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens

Humorous Cozy Mystery – Gemma Halliday Publishing

Melanie Hamilton is not your average artist. She brings home the bacon by inking tattoos at New Orleans's Mansion at Mystic Isle, a resort in the middle of the bayou that caters to fans of the peculiar and paranormal, but her true passion comes alive when she volunteers restoring Katrina-ravaged landmarks. Between her day job, her restoration work, and selling her paintings in Jackson Square, Mel's life is more hectic than Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday. But when a guest of the resort, a millionaire's widow, is poisoned, and Melanie's close friend is arrested for the murder, things go from hectic to downright dangerous.  

Mel joins forces with the resort's delish manager, Jack Stockton, to prove her friend's innocence. Soon they find themselves dealing with séances, secret passages, the ghost of the millionaire himself, gators, swamp rats, and a sinister killer who proves that not everything is what it seems in the Louisiana bayou.

Come on along, and get your creep on. 
*   *   *   *   *

The Inspiration for our Mystic Isle Series

The Magic Castle in the hills above Hollywood Boulevard is the headquarters and private clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc., a worldwide organization devoted to the art of magic. Its membership consists of magicians as well as those who just love magic. If you ever have the chance to go there, DO. It’s mysterious, haunting, spellbinding, and a little creepy.

The Magic Castle was the inspiration for Mystic Isle Mysteries, our new series debuting September 15th from Gemma Halliday Publishing. Our series takes place in the bayou near New Orleans, Louisiana on Mystic Isle where The Mansion at Mystic Isle is now open and taking guests. It’s a place similar to the Magic Castle only Mystic Isle is dedicated to all that’s magical and paranormal. Its guests experience the skills of magicians, mediums, fortunetellers, astrologers, and much more. Of course, none of it is real—or is it?

The Mansion at Mystic Isle was where Cat and I worked. Located in Jefferson Parish across the Mississippi from New Orleans at the edge of a bayou, the main building was an old plantation house set among cypress trees and expansive green lawns. It had been handed down through the Villars family for centuries. Not all that long ago, Harry Villars, the down-on-his-luck, but no less genteel and stylish owner, had the brilliant idea to turn his liability into an asset by repurposing the place into a resort where folks dedicated to the supernatural and all kinds of magic could come and get their creep on.
The Mansion was decorated like the haunted house we've all seen at that theme park—you know the one. Ours was similar—creepy organ music when you crossed the threshold, drafty hallways, creaky doors, secret passages, even fake cobwebs. The whole shebang, chere. Harry Villars sank every cent he had into it and crossed his fingers that the place would raise him to the ranks of the solvent—then he hired all of us, a complete cast of soothsayers and charlatans, to convince hotel guests the supernatural stuff that went on at The Mansion was the real deal. But just between you, me, and the gators, it's not.
About the Authors:
Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package.

You can email them:


Two great giveaways going on right now !!
#1 Giveaway:
To celebrate the release of MYSTIC MAYHEM on September 15, Jean and Sally are giving away an awesome New Orleans Café du Monde basket full of goodies from the Big Easy—13 ounces of French Roast coffee, 13 ounces of Chicory Coffee, a box of their world famous Beignet Mix, and two gorgeous Café du Monde mugs to put you in the mood while you’re visiting Mystic Isle.

Entering’s a breeze. Just go to the ABOVE LINK between now and September 30, & sign up!
#2 Giveaway:  $25 Amazon Gift Card
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Monday, September 14, 2015

The Secrets of Blood and Bone Book Review

I have a very good supernatural book to share with you today called The Secrets of Blood and Bone written by Rebecca Alexander.
Following her showdown with Elizabeth Bathory, Jackdaw Hammond is running from her past, hiding from her future, and hoping to contain her newfound thirst for blood. Buying an overgrown home in the middle of nowhere seems like the perfect place to escape…at least until she finds herself in the sights of a murderous family with a terrible secret and a penchant for dark magic.  
Meanwhile, her old ally Felix Guichard has gone to New Orleans to conduct his own investigation into the nature of blood magic, but is soon sucked into the intrigues of the city’s occult underworld. But Jack will need Felix more than she knows, for the battle for her soul is set to begin.

Her only salvation may lie with the secrets of 16th century master occultist Edward Kelley, and a dangerous mission he undertook in Venice to confront the Inquisition, the darkest deeds of his own past, and the fearsome power of Elizabeth Bathory.
My Thoughts:
Wow, this was a really good story! At first I wasn't sure what was going on, because there are several people in this book who are sick or who have magical powers. Another thing was that the book is told in 2 different people's lives, one in the present and one in the past.
But, it didn't take me long to figure out that they are both tied together and to understand the present story, you really do need to understand what happened in the past does effect what is going on in the present story.
It's not really about vampires and not really about werewolves, but about the perception of what people believe. It's hard to explain without giving away the whole concept of the book, because it's very complex but yet simple.
There are witches in the story for sure and in the background is a love story, although it's more about longing and wishing instead of action and doing. But, it's that love that determines the out come of the story, especially the present day story that involve Jack and Felix.
It's a story filled with passion, magic, evil and at the root, love. It's not the ending I would have liked, because I really and truly thought that something might save them all, but I guess that was wishful thinking.
But, it's still a wonderfully told story, both the past and the present and I think all of you would agree it's very fascinating and I am very glad that I read it! Oh, I didn't realize until I was reading the author's bio that there will be a sequel in 2016 to this one, so I can't wait to read it!
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
My name is Rebecca Alexander, I am a novelist and poet living in North Devon. I have completed an MA in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester. My dissertation novel 'The Secrets of Life and Death' was a runner up in the Mslexia 2011 novel writing competition. Another novel, 'A Baby's Bones' came second in the Yeovil novel competition, 2012.
I have completed A215 and A363 with the Open University. I write novels with a mystery or supernatural theme and also enjoy writing poetry. I home educated my children, and live in a Georgian house near a river. I have too many cats.
Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review." All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.    

Dark Ice Book Review

Dark Ice by Dave Stanton on Tour September 2015

Book Details:

Genre: Crime, Murder Mystery, PI
Published by: LaSalle Davis Books
Publication Date: April 11, 2015
Number of Pages: 304
Series: Dan Reno Novel #4
ISBN: 098960313X (13: 978-0989603133)


coverTwo murdered girls, and no motive…

While skiing deep in Lake Tahoe’s backcountry, Private Eye Dan Reno finds the first naked body, buried under fresh snow. Reno’s contacted by the grieving father, who wants to know who murdered his daughter, and why? And how could the body end up in such a remote, mountainous location?

The questions become murkier when a second body is found. Is there a serial killer stalking promiscuous young women in South Lake Tahoe? Or are the murders linked to a different criminal agenda?

Searching for answers, Reno is accosted by a gang of racist bikers with a score to settle. He also must deal with his pal, Cody Gibbons, who the police consider a suspect.

The clues lead to the owner of a strip club and a womanizing police captain, but is either the killer?

The bikers up the ante, but are unaware that Cody Gibbons has Reno’s back at any cost. Meanwhile, the police won’t tolerate Reno’s continued involvement in the case. But Reno knows he’s getting close. And the most critical clue comes from the last person he’d suspect…

My Thoughts:

It took me a few pages to get into this book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it! Even though it is a crime series about the P.I., Dan Reno, the way the book starts and ends, you really don't need to read the ones before to understand how Dan Reno works or how his friends and girlfriend fit into his life.

He is hired by one of the dead girl's father to find out who killed his daughter and in the midst of that investigation, another woman is killed, this time she was dating one of his best friends and they were visiting with him and his girlfriend, Candi.

The action is fast paced and the book will leave you wanting more, which is a good thing, since it is a crime series starring Dan Reno. According to the back page of the book, another one will be coming out soon. If it's anything like this one, I definitely want to read that one also!

Like I said, getting to know Dan Reno and watching him go thru the process of eliminating suspects, you get a good sense of the character and of who his friends are, which helped a lot, since I didn't get to read the other books before this one. The books can be read as stand alones, unless you just like to know everything, but each case is in of itself a separate story, so really, I felt no need to read the others to help me understand this one.

If you love murder mysteries, then this book will be right up your alley and you won't be able to put it down until you get to the end.

Happy Reading!

Read an excerpt:

The cornice stretched three feet over the sheer face below. There was about fifteen feet of vertical drop before the snow covered slope angled out at forty-five degrees. I inched my skis farther forward, the tips hanging over the void. I was wrong—it was more like twenty feet of mandatory air. And that was the shallowest entry the ledge offered.   I blew out my breath and ignored the sickly sensation of my testicles trying to climb into my stomach. Turning back now would mean a long uphill hike, while the reward for leaping off the cornice was five hundred feet of untracked powder. A slight dip to the left marked the most forgiving launch point. I pushed myself back and sidestepped higher up the ridge. A couple deep breaths, then I released my edges and glided toward the dip.  

In a second I launched over the precipice, my hands thrust forward, my knees tucked toward my chest. As I dropped, I could see the distant desert floor of Nevada fall behind the stands of pine and fir at the bottom of the bowl. I extended my legs in the instant before I touched down and absorbed the shock, blinded for a second by a blast of snow. Then I cranked my skis on edge, bounced out of the fluff, and made a second turn through the deep powder. It had snowed about a foot last night, but here the fresh coverage was at least two feet, maybe more.

Bottomless under my boots. Twenty turns to the glade below, my heart pounding, my body disappearing in blasts of powder, the white coating me from head to toe. When I reached the tree line, I skidded to a stop and caught my breath. Then I looked up and admired the S-turns I’d left on the otherwise unblemished slope. Not bad, I thought, smiling at the understatement. Most of the winter storms that blow through the Lake Tahoe region come out of the warm Pacific and dump wet, heavy snow, creating the notorious Sierra cement. But last night’s blizzard swept in from Alaska, bringing colder and lighter snow. As a result, I was in the right place at the right time.

I skated along the terminus of the bowl and turned into the trees when they became sparse enough to allow passage. This was the Nevada backcountry, unpatrolled, accessible by ducking the boundary ropes at the highest elevation of South Lake Tahoe’s ski resort, right at the California-Nevada border. Before me lay 4000 feet of descent to the high desert floor where I’d parked my truck, near Route 207 outside of Gardnerville.

It was slower going now, the terrain interrupted by tangles of deadfall and icy patches where the wind had scoured the surface. I picked my way through it, my skis alternately sinking in powder then chattering and scraping across slick bands of ice. Finally I spotted a clearing—a wide, sweeping snow bank that fell toward a collection of pines hundreds of feet below. I rode the section like a surfer on a wave, turning down off the lip then riding back up, staying high and avoiding a flat area that would likely necessitate a hike.

When I reached the trees below, I entered a broad glade, the trunks spaced at wide intervals, the snow as soft and uniform as a white pillow. The morning sun had just appeared from behind a swath of swift moving clouds, and the snow glittered with pinpricks of light. I took a long moment to take in the scenery, then I picked a line and pushed off into the mild grade. The pristine snow held no surprises, the powder light and consistent, making it easy to find a rhythm. Floating through the trees and leaving a wake of rounded tracks, I become immersed in the splendor of the moment, as if the setting had been created solely for my indulgence.

My grandiose thoughts came to a crashing halt when I came around a tree and my skis rammed into something solid beneath the snow. My binding released with a loud click, and I flew forward and face-planted in a poof of powder.

“Son of a bitch,” I said, wiping the snow from my goggles. I took a quick inventory of my body and found no injuries. Then I crawled back ten feet to where my ski lay. When I pulled it from the snow, the edge caught, probably on a hidden stump, I thought. Then the powder fell aside, and I saw a flesh-colored streak. I froze for a second, certain my eyes were playing tricks on me. Blinking, I used the ski to push away more snow.

“No way,” I whispered, my heart in my throat. A bare shoulder revealed itself, then a snarl of blond hair strung with ice. I reached down with my gloved hand and carefully pushed aside the hair. The face was half-buried, one eye visible, lashes thick with mascara, a blue iris staring blankly. Using both hands like a shovel, I pushed away the bulk of the snow covering the upper body. A sour lump formed in my gut. The body was naked, the skin that of a young woman, perhaps a teenager.

Author Bio:

authorDave Stanton is the author of five novels in the Dan Reno private eye series. They do not have to be read chronologically to be enjoyed, but for those who want to know, the order is: Stateline, Dying for the Highlife, Speed Metal Blues, Dark Ice, & Hard Prejudice.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1960, Dave Stanton moved to Northern California in 1961. He received a BA in journalism from San Jose State University in 1983.

Over the years, he worked as a bartender, newspaper advertising salesman, furniture mover, debt collector, and technology salesman.

He has two children, Austin and Haley, and lives with his wife, Heidi, in San Jose, California. Stanton's five novels all feature private investigator Dan Reno and his ex-cop buddy, Cody Gibbons.

Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product.  All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you.