Views from the Mountains

DSC03560 (480x640)Hey, guys! Molly the Adventure Dog here. Guess what? My girl and I went to the mountains! Yep, one of our best adventures ever. (But then, I say that every time, don’t I?)

Here are some photos we took. Enjoy!


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Favorite Reads of 2015

2015-05-06 BooksIn Iceland, they have a wonderful holiday tradition. Everyone gives books and chocolate to each other on Christmas Eve, and they spend the rest of the night reading.

It isn’t Christmas anymore, and neither do I live in Iceland. But this tradition is too charming to pass up. So I’m doing my own version, in case you were looking for something for your bookshelves. I thought I’d pass along the best books I read in 2015. I may even make this a holiday tradition here at the Hearth & Homicide Blog! (Let me know in the comments if you think that’s a great idea!)

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2016-01-04 Kidnapped book cover Robert Louis StevensonRobert Louis Stevenston, Classic.

Young David Balfour, a lad who grew up with a simple life in the Scottish countryside, learns that he is, in fact, heir to a manor. His subsequent kidnapping by his greedy uncle, followed by a ship collision at sea, throws David into company with Alan Breck Stewart, wanted as a prominent Highland rebel against the British Crown. Further strange events eventually place him as witness to a murder, for which Alan becomes the chief suspect. Based on actual events, Stevenson artfully weaves the tale of fictional young David into the facts of a famous Highland murder during a time when kilts were outlawed, and the name of exiled Bonnie Prince Charlie wasn’t dared to be whispered. (Confession: This is my favorite book of all time, and will probably show up in my “Best Of” list every year!)


2016-01-04 Treasure Island book cover Robert Louis StevensonTreasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson, Classic

The life of young Jim Hawkins is upended when a wild and secretive sea captain takes lodging at his father’s inn. Going by the name of Billy Bones, he warns Jim to keep an eye out for a sea-faring man with one leg. After the inn is attacked by pirates, Jim learns that the murderous crew were after a map to buried treasure – a map which Billy Bones was hiding, but ended up with Jim by accident. Jim and his friends go to sea to unearth the treasure – but one of the crew is a sea-faring man with one leg: Long John Silver. Possibly one of the best debut novels of all time. (Further confession: This is another one of my perennial favorites!)


Heather Day Gilbert - Miranda WarningMiranda Warning
Heather Day Gilbert, mystery
Book 1 of A Murder in the Mountains series

Tess Spencer has reason to worry for her friend Miranda Michaels. A spunky lady, Miranda doesn’t let a little thing like assisted living get in the way of romance. But when Miranda receives a warning note in the handwriting of her lover’s long-dead wife, things get more than strange. Tess quickly finds herself embroiled in doings that took place in secret forty years ago. Did Rose’s husband abuse her? Was Rose murdered? Or did she commit suicide? Either way, was her husband to blame? And what does all this mean for Miranda’s plans to marry him on New Year’s Day? Twists and turns happened around every corner, and everything I believed to be true in the beginning was turned on its head two or three times by the end. Hands-down the best book I’ve picked up in ages (after Kidnapped).


Dan Walsh - When Night ComesWhen Night Comes
Dan Walsh, suspense

Jack Turner, a successful young author and history teacher, has come back to the small college town of Culpepper to guest lecture for his old professor. Shortly after his arrival, he starts having strange dreams about his favorite era, World War II. But these aren’t your usual nonsense dreams, or even nightmares. They play out exactly as written in the history books, and upon waking, Jack remembers every detail – as if he’d experienced for himself the horrors of the war. He can’t tell what’s causing them – or why two promising history majors have suddenly turned up dead. Walsh knows how to put his characters through a crucible to see what kind of stuff they’re made of, and the results are fantastic. I was literally holding my breath.

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Note: Both Miranda Warning and When Night Comes can be found in the Fatal 5 boxed set, along with three other mystery and suspense titles. The price is just $0.99!

And for the fun of it, I’m also including a movie – because it was that good. This was the movie my Dad and I went to see during our daddy-daughter date.

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2016-01-04 In the Heart of the Sea movie cover imageIn the Heart of the Sea – MOVIE
Ron Howard, sea adventure based on a true story

A young Herman Melville raps at the door of an old sailor – the last survivor of a ship that was rumored to have been destroyed by a menacing white whale. Melville is after research for a book he intends to write, working title Moby Dick. Tall tales have circulated about just such a monster – and this old salt knows what really happened to the Nantucket whale ship Essex. With persuasion, he opens a tale few would dare to believe. The story was artfully told. This is definitely a movie I wouldn’t mind owning and watching again and again.

2016-01-04 Favorite Reads of 2015