Scrapbook of the Dead by Mollie Cox Byran

This book is the latest in the Cumberland Creek Mystery series by this author.  This book will be released September 29, 2017


Reporter Annie Chamovitz is a former investigative journalist who is now a stay at home Mom.  In order to get more adult communication and out of the house, she is part of Saturday night crop group called the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop.  They are making new scrapbooks for Halloween. However their new member is a little mysteries, the victims are sisters and there are gangs in the area who may have something to do with this crime.

Scrapbook of the DeadBook Review plus 4.3 stars

This is a very new read for me  because I was introduced to the author via her Cora Craft series.  However, I like cropping (don’t have a lot of time) and I like the fact that the main character has some experience.  Plus, this group of ladies is interesting.  I think it is a great read and a page turner.


Mystery Thriller Interview: Christine Hoag


How old you when you wrote your first story?

hoag-headshotWhen I was six years old, I won a prize for “writing interesting stories.” I still have the little certificate but I don’t have any of those stories! In high school, I was about 14-15, I wrote a story that made it into the school literary magazine.

What genre was that?

It was a contemporary literary piece about a comic book artist who gets tired of drawing superheroes. I have no idea where I got the inspiration for it!

Do you have a series in mind? Where would it be located?

I’m currently writing a book with series potential about an investigative journalist who travels the world unraveling mysteries. One of the things I love about it that each book would be set in different country tackling a different issue.

Do you enjoy any sports or crafts?

I’ve never been a sporty type person. I like to swim, and I walk as much as I can to take a break from the computer. I have a whole bunch of orchids that I love to coax into bloom.

Where do you write from? Place in your emotions?

I draw from experiences in my own life and things people tell me, as well. I find that works well and gives fiction a realistic grounding.

Place in your house?

My desk is located in my bedroom because it’s quieter. I do most of my writing there. I have written in coffee shops and sitting on the couch, too.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

I would be some type of designer, such as interior design. Many people have told me I have a good eye for that. Or I’d be a comedienne. I love comic acting. I find being zany and way out a huge release. It’s weird because I love reading, writing and watching drama.

How much support do you receive in relation to your writing and eventual publication? From where and whom?

Honestly, while friends and family have been generally supportive, it’s mostly just been me, delving deep inside myself to keep going despite rejection and disappointment.

If you could do only one form of writing, would you write stories or keep a blog? Why?

Definitely stories because I love making stuff up! Writing fiction is both challenging and stimulating.

How did you find your niche?

I think it found me! I like to read character-driven books with crime and drama, especially those with exotic settings, but written in a literary style. So that’s what I aim to write.

How much research do you do for your books?

Quite a bit. The internet is a writer’s best friend. I often look stuff up as I’m writing. I love doing research and find out stuff, so that’s one of my favorite bits of the process.

What surprised you most about the publishing process?

How important knowing your genre is. I thought writing a good story was enough, but it is not. You need to be able to neatly categorize it into a genre because that what publishers use to market your book. If they can’t categorize it, they shy away from it.

What do you want your obituary to say? What do you want engraved on your headstone?

Something simple: “A chronicler of life,” that’s it.



Christina Hoag is the author of Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishers, 2016) and Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, 2016), which was named Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2016 YA. She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014). She lives in Los Angeles.

For more information, see




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Girl on the Brink

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MTw Book Review #11


Book Review:  Skin of Tattoos

by Christine Hoag


Cyco Lokos is a gang member of the Magdaleno (Mags) Argueta.  He  comes home to Los Angeles after serving a prison term for robbery, for which he was framed by Rico. Interestingly enough Rico is the new leader of the Cyco Lokos. Consequently, all he wants is start of new life and have people leave him alone.  He just want to start a new life. 

The problem with being in prison and a gang is that no one forgets, even though Mags tries to let go of his bitterness and stay out of gang life for the sake of his Salvadoran immigrant family and his girlfriend Paloma.   As he tries to find a job, where no wants to hire a former gang member or convict, Mags makes a decision that he feels is his only choice, given his options.   

Mags is caught between a rock and hard spot as a series of web of secrets, revenge, lies, and murder all come to pass, which may just cost him more that he can pay. 

My opinion and rate of 4.5

I like this story and I didn’t expect too.  A few years ago a young man moved into our neighborhood who was trying to leave his gang life behind him.  His body was covered with tattoos.  He and my husband would talk occasionally about life in general. One day he walked by and said he was moving, but we should know a local gang was trying to imitate our son.  We ended up keeping our son home a few days and our friend and my husband got involved and the gang left my son alone.  However, our friend had to move, he had little choice. Once you are in a gang you don’t get out, alive .  I felt sorry for Cyco, it’s a tough world that he lives in and from my peripheral view of his world and brief involvement I feel for him.  It’s not an easy situation no matter from what aspect you look at his world. 

This book is good and I think that if you want a glimpse into this hard life, you can check out Skin of Tattoos.  Nevertheless, I think you will find the book well paced and the characters well-developed and interesting.  Check out the book!

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