Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Aloha to Cozy Mysteries, Book Clubs, and Books With A Past




I am a frequent shopper at Books With A Past in Glenwood, MD.  From its website (link), 

Books With A Past was opened in 1996 by Marvin and Mary Alice Schaefer. Over the first few years, the Schaefers expanded from a small 1400-square-foot store with 7,000 volumes to a 4,200-square-foot, 100,000 volume size. In December 2009, the Schaefers sold Books With A Past, name and all, to Erin Matthews. Erin is an avid reader who has wanted to own a bookstore since she was 15. She is grateful to the Schaefers and to the local community who have made this dream possible.


Erin noticed that I indulge in cozy mysteries ... and she asked me to host a monthly "Cozy Mystery Book Club" in the satellite shop at Savage Mill.  We agreed upon the first Sunday at 3 pm ... with the kick off on Sunday, February 5.  Hey, that's Super Bowl Sunday!   So here's my promo:

Books With A Past is kicking off the Cozy Mystery Book Club on Sunday, February 5, 3 pm at Savage Mill.  For our first meeting, we'll celebrate what makes cozy mysteries so ... super.  We'll share our favorite themes - cooking, sewing, home renovation, etc. Then we'll select our featured book for discussion in March.  No party is complete with light refreshments and giveaways!

The Cozy Mystery Book Club will meet on the first Sunday at 3 pm at Book With A Past in Savage Mill.  For more information, contact:

Books With a Past - Glenwood: 410-489-2705
Books With a Past - Savage Mill: 443-753-3131

Kim Lowe - Coordinator: sos.aloha@yahoo.com.


I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Can you recommend any cozy mysteries?  Do you have any advice about coordinating a book club?  What refreshments are you serving for Super Bowl?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, January 22, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, January 23.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Aloha to Weekly Winners, Sharon Hamilton, and GIDEON: HEAVENLY FALL

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Sunset Beach

We have winners at SOS Aloha - Janice, Dani, and Pam win a book choice from my convention stash.  Winners, please contact me at sos.aloha@yahoo.com.

This winter weather has me dreaming of the beach ... readers at the RT Booklovers Convention can experience BEACH BLANKET BINGO hosted by Kim Rocha and moi (link):

Join Annette Funicello (Kim Rocha) & Frankie Avalon (Kim Lowe) for a special edition of Book Cover Bingo. Expect spontaneous singing, dancing, & flirting with lifeguards inspired by the beloved 60s film. Readers will join sun loving authors at their favorite beaches and compete for the book laden gift baskets ... perfect for the sand and surf!



I am looking forward to seeing again the California golden girl, Sharon Hamilton (link),

Sharon Hamilton is a NYT and USAToday bestselling author most known for her SEAL Brotherhood series.

Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany are not like any vamps you've read before, since they don't have to go to ground and can walk around in the full light of the sun.

Sharon's Guardian Angels struggle with the human charges they are sent to save, often escaping their vanilla world of Heaven for the brief human one. You won't find any of these beings in any Sunday school class.

All of Sharon's books are available on eBooks (most formats), print and Audible.

A lifelong organic gardener, Sharon lives with her husband in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place. When she's not writing, she's getting verra verra dirty in the mud or wandering Farmer's Markets looking for new Heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.



Sharon is ready to celebrate the release of  GIDEON: HEAVENLY FALL (Fall from Grace Book 1), available January 17 (link):

Gideon's Fall From Grace comes after one too many boring days atop the Golden Gate Bridge as a Watcher. Tethered by celestial restraints and feeling abandoned by the very beings who "enhanced" him, he rebels in a very public fashion, forever altering the San Francisco skyline. At first he just wants to escape. But later, he wants revenge from a heartless Supreme Being and his angelic minions for having ruined his immortal life.

Can a freak who dwells somewhere between Heaven and Hell find love and happiness in a typical Wine Country small town?


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I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about bridges - love 'em or loathe 'em? I'm sure the Golden Gate Bridge is gorgeous ... but bridges intimidate me!  I loathe the Chesapeake Bay Bridge - the high winds make it a challenge!

2. Comments are open through Sunday, January 22, 10 pm in Baltimore. 

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, January 23.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Golden Gate Bridge

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Aloha to Juliet Blackwell and the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series

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I've spent considerable time at my local library, looking for new cozy mysteries to discover.  Enter Juliet Blackwell (link),

Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot from New York and an editor from Texas. She graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn Masters degrees in Anthropology and Social Work from the State University of New York, Albany.

Juliet lives in a hundred-year-old house with extensive botanical gardens in Northern California, but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America. She believes in the magic of language, travel, and cultural exchange to open hearts, minds, and souls.



Blackwell kicks off the Haunted Home Renovation mystery series with IF WALLS COULD TALK:

Melanie Turner has made quite a name for herself remodeling historic houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now her reputation may be on the line.

At her newest project, a run-down Pacific Heights mansion, Mel is visited by the ghost of a colleague who recently met a bad end with power tools. Mel hopes that by nailing the killer, she can rid herself of the ghostly presence of the murdered man-and not end up a construction casualty herself...

Blackwell draws from her own life as an anthropologist - turned - historical house renovator to create a memorable character with Melanie - a divorced anthropologist who takes over her father's home renovation business, which specializes in historic houses, after her mother's death takes its toll on her Marine dad.  Mel would rather run off to Paris but she puts her best steel toed boot covered foot forward to keep her family together.  

Blackwell adds colorful characters to create more chaos in this cozy mystery as Mel proves herself as a female contractor while communicating with the ghostly inhabitants of the historic homes she lovingly restore.  As a fan of reality TV shows that feature house hunting, remodeling, and flipping, IF WALLS COULD TALK drew my attention to Mel's love for vintage charm of historic houses. Mel acknowledges that she always felt the "bricks and mortar" speaking to her ... and she reluctantly embraces her ability to hear the spiritual being soon after she begins remodeling (just as I feel when I explore crumbling castles).

I have also read MURDER ON THE HOUSE (Book 3) and HOME FOR THE HAUNTING (Book 4) thanks to my local library.  I found myself drawn into Mel's zany life, her description of the San Francisco Bay Area, and her heartfelt love for restoring a house to its former glory.


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I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Have you visited San Francisco? Do you watch any home renovation shows? 

2. Comments are open through Sunday, January 15, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, January 16.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Aloha to Celebrity Apprentice, Abraham Lincoln, and King's Hawaiian Barbeque Sauce - TV Review


I have enjoyed the first four episodes of The New Celebrity Apprentice.  From NBC (link),

Sixteen celebrities are set to compete for their favorite charities when "The Celebrity Apprentice" shifts to Los Angeles for its eighth season, where twice-elected California governor and international movie superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger reigns over the Boardroom.

The celebrity lineup is Laila Ali, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Eric Dickerson, Boy George, Matt Iseman, Carrie Keagan, Carson Kressle, Lisa Leslie, Jon Lovitz, Vince Neil, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Kyle Richards, Chael Sonnen, Porsha Williams, Ricky Williams, and Carnie Wilson.

Can reality TV promote charity?  Think of the Real Housewives taking a break from breaking dishes to create marketing campaigns for sponsoring businesses.  In fact, Real Housewives have been contestants over the past 8 years ... and this season includes two housewives! 


The contestants are initially split into two teams - men versus women.  Given the strong personalities on both teams, it gives us a glimpse of how celebrities handle stress.  During one boardroom scene, Arnold aka The Governor asked the men about teamwork. The project manager suggested it was difficult to manage different ideas in the short time period for each task.  Arnold responded that Abraham Lincoln did not surround himself with yes men to expose himself to different perspectives, even from those who opposed him on the campaign trail.  Wow - Arnold quoting Lincoln!    

The task for fourth episode was especially fun for me - promoting King's Hawaiian new line of BBQ sauce.  From the King's Hawaiian (link),

Back in the 1950's in Hilo, Hawaii, a young man named Robert Taira had a passion for baking. Through the years, he created a bread that was irresistibly soft, sweet, and became a Hawaiian classic. Today, the Taira family continues his legacy with an equally irresistible BBQ sauce. No high fructose corn syrup, no artificial color or flavors, and no preservatives. Only quality ingredients combined with the Aloha spirit that brings a taste of Hawaii to your table.

Flavors include:

- Original Sweet Pineapple
- Big Island Lava
- Smoked Bacon
- Light Roasted Kona Coffee

Yum!


I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about any or all:

- If you were to appear on Celebrity Apprentice, what charity would you represent?

I would represent the USO.

- Do you have a favorite Arnold movie?

I enjoyed him in Kindergarten Cop.

- What BBQ sauce would you like to try?

All! 

Comments are open through Sunday, January 15, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, January 16.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekly Winners ... and More Opportunities to support Military Families

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We have winners at SOS Aloha -  Jane and Sharlene win a book choice from my convention stash.

Plus Library Pat wins a copy of IT HAPPENED IN SCOTLAND from Patience Griffin.

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Last week, I mentioned the RT Booklovers Convention (link). The agenda includes the SOS Military Tribute (link):

Our military is the backbone of our country. They pay the price for our freedom through all of their sacrifices. This military tribute is a multi-author-sponsored event to pay a moving tribute to our military and all they have done for our country. This event is open to all. Tables will be decorated by authors representing Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, etc.

Host(s):

KaLyn Cooper
Sharon Hamilton
Cristin Harber
Elle James (AKA: Myla Jackson)
Cat Johnson
Kennedy Layne
Kim Lowe
JM Madden
Trish McCallan
Donna Michaels
Megan Mitcham
Caitlyn O'Leary
Ella Quinn
Julie Rowe
Susan Stoker
Natasza Waters
Sabrina York

Thursday, May 4, 2017 12:20pm – 1:20pm
LL1/Ballroom Level, Room: Centennial 3


Thanks to my fellow Romvet Elle James for organizing this event!  

I will set up a table in RT Bazaar (link) for readers to:

- sign cards for deployed personnel

- donate Box Tops for the public schools who serve military children in the Atlanta area
- donate unwanted books from the convention for military spouses in the Atlanta area.

How can you help from afar?


Donate greeting cards and Box Tops.  Contact me at sos.aloha@yahoo.com for my mailing address.
boxtops4education.com

Meanwhile, I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about greeting cards - what kind do you give to your friends and family?  Sentimental?  Humorous? Sweet?   

I am partial to cards with cats and Maxine. 

2. Comments are open through Sunday, January 15, 10 pm in Baltimore. 

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, January 16.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


explore.hallmark.com/maxine


Friday, January 6, 2017

Aloha to the RT Booklovers Convention, Beach Blanket Bingo, and Geri Krotow


The countdown begins for the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta (link). I  am participating in four events (link), including cohosting BEACH BLANKET BINGO with Kimberly Rocha (link):

Join Annette Funicello (Kim Rocha) & Frankie Avalon (Kim Lowe) for a special edition of Book Cover Bingo. Expect spontaneous singing, dancing, & flirting with lifeguards inspired by the beloved 60s film. Readers will join sun loving authors at their favorite beaches and compete for the book laden gift baskets ... perfect for the sand and surf!

Alison AimesChristi CaldwellJulia DayEileen Dreyer (AKA: Kathleen Korbel)Elizabeth EssexAvery Flynn, Maggie Mae Gallagher (AKA: Anya Summers)Andrew Grey (AKA: Dirk Greyson)Sharon HamiltonHeidi HormelJessica JamesHarper KincaidGeri KrotowTamra LassiterAnn LethbridgeSiera LondonKim LoweJanna MacGregor, Stacy McKitrickKate Pearce (AKA: Catherine Lloyd)Ella QuinnKimberly RochaJulie RoweTracy Solheim


I personally invited each author to participate ... Geri Krotow will bring her smile!  From her website (link),

Extended Twitter Version

A U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former Naval Intelligence Officer, Geri left her Naval career to pursue a writing career. She has travelled the world, living in such far-flung places as Whidbey Island, Washington State and Moscow, Russia. Geri enjoys creating love stories that stand the test of time, and with settings that she has personally experienced. She's lived it, now she writes it!

Bio told over cookies and coffee

Geri loves to write and will never have enough years to translate onto paper the characters and stories that persistently knock on her mind’s door. When not writing Geri loves to knit and bake. Cookie baking is a favorite, but knitting often replaces the baking as yarn doesn’t add the dimensions to her figure that the cookies tend to. Walking and yoga are other passions, as well as birds, dogs, and foreign languages.

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I am reading (and enjoying) Geri's latest release, HER SECRET CHRISTMAS AGENT (Silver Valley P.D., Book 3):

Can a former marine and an undercover cop crack a deadly Christmas case?

When a cult threatens the high school where he teaches, ex-marine Mitch Everlock is on the case. His priority: protecting his students. His world is rocked when one of his pupils, Nika Pasczenko, reveals she's an undercover police officer! But can the agent with secrets of his own trust his partner-in-crime?

The last thing Nika expected on this investigation was meeting a sexy veteran who makes her heart light up like a Christmas tree. But with both their lives at risk, and the students in danger, neither of them can afford the slightest distraction. Especially one as big as falling in love just as a killer closes in…

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More book in the series ...


Stay tuned for my review! I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about your favorite kind of coffee and/or cookie.  I don't drink coffee but I would enjoy a hot chocolate with chocolate chip oatmeal cookie with Geri anytime.

2. Comments are open through Sunday, January 8, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, January 9.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Image and recipe from Not Just Cookies (link)




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Aloha to Patience Griffin and IT HAPPENED IN SCOTLAND - Book Review

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Christmas in the sleepy Scottish fishing village of Gandiegow this year is a time for quilting, patching up broken hearts, and rekindling an old flame...

After pulling herself out of a three-year fog of grief over the loss of her husband, Joe, Rachel is bringing their five-year-old daughter to see his hometown of Gandiegow and visit with his grandfather. But Rachel wasn’t planning on running into Joe’s cousin, the man who made her have second thoughts at the altar...

Brodie has come home to help his grandfather’s fishing business, but he’d prefer not to see Rachel. Although she did break his heart six years ago, the grip she has on him hasn’t faltered. If they can stop butting heads long enough and learn to overcome the past, they may find new love in the new year...



Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss

Rachel is hesitant to return to Gandiegow, Scotland, but does so for the sake of her daughter.  It does take long for Rachel to bump into her husband's cousin - the one man who took her breath away on her own wedding day. Still, it was important for Rachel to bring her daughter to the Scottish fishing village so she could meet her paternal relatives.  Fate gives Rachel the opportunity to not only relive the painful memories of her wedding day but follow her heart for everlasting love.

IT HAPPENED IN SCOTLAND is a second chance romance embedded in small town romance topped with Scottish culture and quilting metaphors.  IT HAPPENED IN SCOTLAND is Book Six in Griffin's Kilts and Quilts series - characters from previous novel contribute to the fishing village's second industry, the quilting retreat.  While I am not quilter, I appreciated how the quilting squares - representing each villager - are sewn together for a strong community and a compelling read..  Griffin has a knack for creating "comforting" romances akin to snuggling under a handmade quilt.

Likewise, Griffin offers the escape to Scotland.  Sigh. Alba.

IT HAPPENED IN SCOTLAND was published on January 3, 2017, by Berkley, making it the first keeper of the new year.

Learn more about Patience and her books at patiencegriffin.com.



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Patience Griffin is giving away a print copy of IT HAPPENED IN SCOTLAND to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about quilts - do you have any?  I have three quilts - one for my wedding and one for each child - hand made by my husband's childhood piano teacher.  Cathy has since past away so the quilts are now a tribute to her kind heart.  They are so beautiful that we hang them rather than use them.

2. Comments are open through Sunday, January 8, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, January 9.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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More books in the series ....