Diane's books

The Miracle Lady: Kathryn Kuhlman and the Transformation of Charismatic Christianity
The Girls at 17 Swann Street
Cut and Run
Last Light
24 Hours of the Phoenix
A Thousand Doors: An Anthology of Many Lives
Death on the River
Saving Annie: Book One--The Fall
Eye for an Eye
Close to the Bone
Watching You
Winter Song
The Girls Across The Bay
Bring Them Home
Something Wicked
Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light
Past Tense
The Practice baby
Modern Patchwork Home: Dynamic Quilts and Projects for Every Room
Tell Nobody

Diane's favorite books »

Visit My Other Interests Photography and Quilting...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Bittersweet Surprise by Cynthia Ellingsen Family, Friendship, Mystery, and Romance at Starlight Cove!


A Bittersweet Surprise by Cynthia Ellingsen is a wonderful return to Starlight Cove! There is an awesome chocolate shop managed by Emma Laurent. Her father owned the shop and created the recipes which are used to make the mouthwatering chocolates. He died when she was very young, so the ownership of the shop passed to Emma's stepmother Gillian. The relationship between Emma and Gillian has been strained since the death of Emma's father. There are some shocking surprises in the future for Emma. Gillian plans to sell The Sweetery and move on with her life but Emma does not have the money or credit resources to buy her fathers chocolate shop.
A mysterious couple comes into the shop and offers to purchase a very special painting which has been on display for years. When Emma was about five years old a traveling artist called Montee had painted a winter scene of The Sweetery. The painting was a view through the window of a little girl with butterscotch color hair sitting and drinking a cup of cocoa. Why would strangers to Starlight Cove insist upon increasing their offer to acquire the painting?
I won't post spoilers but there is a hint of danger in store for Emma and a possible romance, too! Oh, those Henderson brothers...Oh-La-La!


Photograph by Diane Lochala
Painting by Mary Whittington

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston OLD BONES Searching for the Lost Camp...

Old Bones by Preston & Child is a new thriller series featuring Nora Kelly. WOW, one of the best books of the summer! Old Bones grabbed my attention and I was so engrossed with the subject matter of the book! Nora is a top field archaeologist with the Santa Fe Archaeological Institute.  She is asked to lead an expedition to try and find the last lost settlement of the ill-fated Donner Party from 1846-47. Nora will be accompanied by Clive Benton, a historian with ties to the Breen's, of one of the perished families. Dr. Benton stole a journal written by Tamzene Donner which gives additional information about the area and logistics of the travel. What they must keep secret is the possibility of finding a cache of one thousand Liberty Head gold eagle coins, uncirculated and minted in 1846 with a market value of approximately twenty million dollars!
As I read the book and thought of the true despair, distress, and horrid conditions and deaths of these families in 1846, it made the present-day mysteries and search for the Lost Camp very intriguing!
There is also another new character which I hope will continue to appear in this series. Agent Corinne Swanson with the FBI, based in Albuquerque, NM.  She is a new agent and is given her first real case which leads her to believe a there is a connection to grave robbing and deaths related to a family with the surname Parkin. How could this case possibly be connected to the Donner party? The interweaving of the stories with historical events makes Old Bones a wonderful page-turning book you just can't stop reading until the end.
.I am so happy we will have a series which seems to feature archeology and the investigations of mysteries regarding historical events!
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Photograph by Diane Lochala

"She Weeps"

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Carla Neggers Rival's Break (Sharpe & Donovan #9)

Rival's Break (Sharpe & Donovan #9) by author Carla Neggers opens with the Emma, Donovan brothers and extended family attending Andy's wedding reception. Kevin, a marine patrol officer, is called away and brother Colin goes along. When they reach the marina and board a yacht where more than a dozen partiers are down with what appears to be a sudden onset of food poisoning. Could there possibly be a sinister biological poison at play on the yacht? The case of 'food poisoning' becomes more suspect when Colin recognizes Jeremy Pearson, an MI5 British undercover officer who is posing as an art consultant. During the confusion of getting the sick transported to medical care, a painting owned by Georgina Masterson goes missing from the yacht. This sets off a search for answers which will touch the lives of family and friendships. I have enjoyed this series about the Sharpes and Donovans through all of the books. Even though it is a series, this book can be read as a stand-alone book with no problems.
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala

Saturday, July 13, 2019

101 More Mixed Media Techniques Cherril Doty, Marsh Scott, Heather Greenwood, Monica Moody

101 More Mixed Media Techniques: An exploration of the versatile world of mixed media art by Cherril Doty, Marsh Scott, Heather Greenwood, Monica Moody is an awesome compilation of mixed media art projects. I was amazed at the variety of techniques and projects in this one book. Embossing, paints, yarns, fabrics, and metals are just a few of the options you have as your creativity has no limits. Be inspired and grab some paint, pencils, wax, or stencils and have fun. There is also a project for making pulp for your own art paper. Enjoy!

Clare Chase Murder in the Fens Tara Thorpe #4 and final in the series...

Murder in the Fens (Tara Thorpe #4) written by author Clare Chase has suspense, murder, and romance! This is the final installment in the Tara Thorpe Mystery series. The author has written an in-depth current mystery and answered questions about Tara's stalker from the past. The current mystery involves the murder of Julie Cooper whose body was left in a field. Is Julie's death linked to any of the causes she was known to support? Tara works with her team to find a motive and suspects responsible for Julie's death. Blake is tormented by Babette's unfaithful behavior and a decision he must come to terms with making.

Photograph by Diane Lochala

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Angela Marsons Child's Play DI Kim Ston #11 A Wildly Weird Thriller!

Child's Play (Kim Stone #11) by author Angela Marsons is a shocking suspense featuring DI Kim Stone in another non-stop thriller. The book opens with an eerie brutal murder. I won't post spoilers, but there are two cases which overlap and have Kim's team without Penn to help find a killer. What was the true relationship between the sisters, Veronica and murdered Belinda? 
I like Kim's sarcastic wit as the search for a psychotic murderer progresses.  There is such an interesting element to this book. I was fascinated by the information regarding the lives of child geniuses and creative prodigies. I was pleasantly thrilled that not only were there two cases to solve, but the background behind the reason for the current murders was eye-opening. If you are a fan of this series, I think you are gonna love Tink!
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Photograph by Diane Lochala

"Hiding in Full View"

Monday, July 8, 2019

Lisa Gray Thin Air Murder Mystery with a twist of Identiy!

Thin Air by Lisa Gray is a double mystery until you get closer to the ending. I enjoyed the story and the character of Jessica Shaw. I am looking forward to reading more in this series. The book opens with a brutal murder which is a bit shocking and will hook the reader. Then we meet Jessica Shaw and follow her as she learns some hard and unexpected truths about her life. Could she be the child in the picture which was emailed to her by "John Doe"? Thin Air is a murder mystery spanning two generations which have been affected by one woman, Eleanor Lavelle.


Photograph by Diane Lochala
"Night Secrets"

Saturday, July 6, 2019

STEENA HOLMES The Patient: A Novel WOW..... A Disturbing Psychological Suspense!

The Patient by author Steena Holmes is WOW...absolutely shockingly different than any other books I have read by this author!. This is a dark, psychological suspense novel...but oh, so interesting! I started reading The Patient: A Novel this morning and could not put it down until the very end. I won't post spoilers.
Danielle Rycroft is a therapist who resides in the small town of Cheshire, where she feels she is needed. Danielle is new to this town where the theme of Alice in Wonderland is prominent in the shops, parks, and library. Since childhood, Danielle has used the Alice in Wonderland book as an escape and she has loved the characters in the story. As the reader progresses further in the story, you meet Danielle's closest friends: Sabrina, owner of a tea shop and Tami, a detective with the local police. Soon Danielle is thrown into the midst of a mystery as she begins to suspect one of her three patients may be guilty of murder! I enjoyed how some chapters were primarily the documentation of her patients' personal sessions. There are clues and insights among the therapy sessions as to the murderer.
A wonderful novel, Steena!
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photographs by Diane Lochala
"The moon was shining sulkily..."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Helen Phifer The Girl in the Grave Beth Adams Forensic Pathologist

The Girl in the Grave by author Helen Phifer is the first in the Beth Adams series. Elizabeth Adams is a forensic pathologist who is also a survivor of domestic violence. Her live-in boyfriend Robert, who was an orthopedic surgeon is serving time in prison for attempting to murder her. Beth fights her fears each day to become stronger and to try to live a normal life. An order to exhume a body is received for analysis and DS Josh Walker is called in when the body of a young woman is found in the bottom of the grave under the coffin. No one knows how she got there or if it is any connection to the burial of Florence Wright, an older woman who had died of natural causes due to complications of pneumonia. The story is a psychological thriller with Beth and Josh as the main characters. I was so pleased to read a very good thriller with good characters, scary scenes, and no obscene language. I am anxiously awaiting the next Beth Adams suspense thriller!
Publication Date: July 16, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala
"Red Roses"

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Nevada Barr What Rose Forgot A Witty Mystery with lots of heart!

What Rose Forgot by author Nevada Barr is a mystery with comic scenes which had me laughing. Rose Dennis wakes up in a strange place and with lots of missing time in her memory. As she looks at her arms, legs, and body, she wonders what has happened to her, how much time has passed and even what is her age? Is she sixty-eight or has she slept until the age of one hundred and three?! As she becomes more aware of her surroundings she is terrified and then angry to realize she has been placed in a memory care unit of a nursing care facility.
I could so totally understand the beginning of the story which explains Rose's reactions to recovering parts of her memory and her wanting to escape. She is trying to determine if her memory problems are from age-related dementia or over medication. I cheered Rose along as she and Mel tried to find answers as to why Rose had such severe memory problems. Who would want her out of her home and possibly dead?
Nevada Barr has captured and expressed the fear, anger, and lack of ability to concentrate and focus whether a person's memory is clouded from age-related dementia or medication.
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Photograph by Diane Lochala

"Fragile Memories"

Monday, June 24, 2019

Susanne O'Leary Sisters of Willow House Charming Romance

Charming Sandy Cove Series!

Sisters of Willow House by Susanne O'Leary is the second in the Sandy Cove series. The delightful story is about family, loyalty, and commitments with a lot of romance. Roisin and her husband Cian seem to be at loose ends after selling their company and sending their teenaged sons to boarding school. Cian surprises Roisin with a huge camper van/ motorhome and tells her they are going touring and camping for the next few months. Roisin is appalled because she hates camping and refuses to agree with these new travel plans. So, they negotiate a compromise and Cian takes a buddy with him and starts on his camping adventure. Roisin's sister Maeve calls and asks her to please come help with the restoration project of Willow House. Roisin thinks this is the perfect solution for her empty days and heads to Sandy Cove. Soon Roisin is faced with more than she bargained for as problems with the building project begin to surface. Oh-No! More trouble shows up when Roisin begins an unexpected friendship with Declan O'Mahony and suddenly becomes the talk of the town!
Publication Date: July 26, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala

Paula Brackston Secrets of the Chocolate House A Charming new Adventure in Time Travel

Another BEAUTIFUL Cover!

Secrets of the Chocolate House by author Paula Brackston is the second in the 'Found Things' series. I do recommend the books to be read in order to prevent confusion about the sequences of events in Xanthe's life. During a buying excursion with Flora for the shop, Xanthe hears the familiar singing from an old copper chocolate pot. She knows the item has chosen her for a specific reason, and this frightens her a bit. Xanthe pushes aside her reluctance because as she brushes the sides of the pot she sees a vision of Samuel being held in jail. She must go back and try to help him! Secrets of the Chocolate House is another charming story of suspense, mystery, and adventure for Xanthe as she learns more about the role of Time Spinners. She does not want to continue to lie to her mother as she accepts the challenges to secretly travel to a different time period and try to fight injustice for others. If you enjoy reading of mothers and daughters as survivors, or time travel adventures, you will love this series!
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala

"Time and Space"

Friday, June 21, 2019

Kenfra Elliot A Merciful Promise Mercy Kilpatrick #6 A Fast Paced Thriller!!

A Merciful Promise by author Kendra Elliot is the final installment in the wonderful Mercy Kilpatrick series. Mercy is an FBI agent who is engaged to be married in three months to the only man she has ever trusted and loved, Truman. She is approached by the ATF to go deep undercover to help extract information about a threatening attack on the ATF by an extremist survivalist group known as America's Preserve. Mercy will not be allowed to tell anyone where she is going or what the assignment involves, even Truman. Meanwhile, Truman is seeking answers concerning a dead body which was dumped on Britta's Vale's land. Britta is very cool, even though she has suffered previously, she is a very strong woman.
Once Mercy has arrived at the compound, she realizes this assignment has huge risks and problems. Her contact embedded within the group, Chad, seems a bit suspicious and Mercy does not feel as if she can completely trust him. There are children in the compound who are not receiving healthcare or proper nourishment. Things soon go from bad to much worse as Mercy cannot make herself play the compliant girlfriend as she watches atrocious treatment of the people living in the group. The punishment for any disobedience is swift and extreme. I won't post spoilers but soon Mercy is using all of her skills and endurance to survive!

***** Spoiler..but I HAVE to say the wedding is beautiful! I wanted to sketch the dress it sounded so perfect and stylish for Mercy. I love their patchwork family!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Photograph by Diane Lochala

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tess Gerritsen The Shape of Night Psychological Thriller

The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen is a psychological thriller with unexpected twists. Ava is looking forward to several months in a huge old house by the sea. She is past her deadline to finish her cookbook which will also contain histories of the recipes from coastal Maine. As she arrives at the secluded Brodie's Point, she feels hesitant about the house. After the realtor drives up and goes inside with her, she feels a warmth as if the house has accepted her and Hannibal, her main Coon cat. Ava is carrying the burden of a terrible secret and refuses to answer the calls from her sister.  It is apparent that Ava has a little bit of a drinking problem. She drank so much during her first evening at the house until I thought I would be in a stupor myself! Some nights, Ava begins to experience some very strange and sensual encounters after she goes to bed. This begins her obsession with the history of the house, and the builder, Captain Brodie. Soon Ava decides to contact a person to help her understand if the house is haunted.  The Shape of Night is a suspenseful story which will keep you reading without taking a break!
Publication Date October 1, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Photographs by Diane Lochala

Lisa Jewell The Family Upstairs Family Drama and Deceit

The Family Upstairs by author Lisa Jewell is a gripping thriller with family secrets at the core. I felt so involved with the depth of the story until I had a reader's hangover when I had finished.  The story begins with Libby Jones inheriting a huge old house upon her 25th birthday. As she is going through the details of learning about the house and the true story of  her biological parents, in the background a text is being passed between several phones..."The baby is 25"!  The extended family members add to the number of characters, but once you understand the family 'tree' it all makes perfect sense.
Oh, the terrible treatment of the children and teenagers as you really progress through the story is heartbreaking. You figure out the identity of the main narrator as the story unfolds. It is a story of parental weakness, deceitful friends, and the struggle of children to cope and escape. You need to read this when you can curl up in your comfy chair with hot tea or coffee. (Don't drink the chamomile!)
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala
"Weeping for the Children"

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Elizabeth Macneal The Doll Factory Obsessions, Artists, and Cruelty

The Doll Factory by author Elizabeth Macneal is a disturbingly dark thriller. The women of the era set in 1850  London were treated with very little respect unless you were of a certain class. Iris and Rose are twins who were happy children but later before her marriage, Rose was stricken with polio, which left her face and body filled with scars. Iris always felt that Rose resented her for her clear skin, They work side by side each day in a doll factory painting faces. Iris seizes a chance to change her life and breaks away from her respectable job to become a painter's model. Now Iris has been shunned by her family and has attracted the attention of a madman. I appreciate the author allowing Iris to fight her horrible fate and become a survivor! The book is well written and held my interest, but I was repulsed by the graphic descriptions of animal cruelty.
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.


Photograph by Diane Lochala

"Fragile Beauty 2"