Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery

I am a scrapbooker in my heart and have horded thousands of photographs and materials for scrapbooking but I just have not gotten fully into it. So consequently I was drawn to these books out of maybe guilt? This book, Cut, Crop & Die, is the second in a series starting with Paper, Scissors, Death the first. Joanna Campbell-Slan created a really warm cozy about a scrapbooker designer who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time situations. Kiki is helping out at a special cropping event when one of the attendees has a severe allergic reaction to something she ate. When the women goes to inject herself with her epi pen, she discovers the pen is empty and doesn't make it. All in all a suspicious death but not surprising when Kiki finds out what a menace the victim was. With the tying in of wonderful scrapbooking info and the obsession of her mother in law to get rid of her moles, these are wonderful cozies. And little interesting romances thrown in. These are should reads and I will continue to seek them for inspiration as they come out. Photo, Snap, Shot in the next book which I will be looking forward to.

St Just Mysteries

Sorry I got a little behind on my reviews so I will be playing catchup now. I just got done reading the first two books in the St Just series by G.M. Malliet, Death of a Cozy Writer and Death of a Lit Chick. Our mystery solver in this series is a DCI Arthur St Just, a likable widower who seems like an easy going guy. In Death of a Cozy Writer, Sir Adrian Beauclerk-Fisk is the guy who gets stabbed, preceded by his son who got whacked, and really no one is sorry to see the man dead. He was a vengeful writer of Agatha Christie like mysteries and toyed mercifully with his family for rights to his fortune when he dies. And so he does. There unfortunately are too many suspects available at the time of death, including his new trophy wife. In Death of a Lit Chick, St Just finds himself sent off to attend a writers conference, staying at Edinburgh's Dalmorton Castle, to talk about police procedures. The victim in this one is a chick lit writer newbie who had taken the writing world by storm and left many upset people in her wake. Not a nice person outwardly and again with many suspects around to pick from. St just evens meets a writer who leaves him breathless and we will see where that leads. I thoroughly enjoyed both books and will seek out the next, Death at the Alma Mater. These are should reads and will written.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Caroline Burnes Familiar series

Okay, I have to admit once I found out about these books about a year ago, I absolutely devoured this entertaining series. These books are about a black cat detective named Familiar. Familiar has a girlfriend, Clotilde, and a place to call home with Eleanor but he pretty much does what he wants and goes where he wants to help anybody out. This is one smart cat that has a very interesting way of getting his point across and humans believe it all. It seems in every book and adventure, and he has many, it only takes one or two astonishing acts upon Familiar's part, for humans to be convinced this is one intelligent cat and one to be obeyed. He is a swift, sly, crafty, matchmaking cat, (I could keep going with the adjectives), that always get his man. There are 19 Fear Familiar books written by Caroline Burnes, a pseudonym used by Carolyn Haines. I just completed Familiar Vows, #18, and again I chuckled out loud many times at the dynamics of this cat. In this one, a photographer accidentally takes a picture of a person in witness protection and that picture is unfortunately broadcast on the news from a gallery display. The photographer then becomes the hunted and needs Familiar's help, and the hunky ex Us Marshall named Lucas, to stay alive while trying to help the person in the witness protection program stay alive. Unfortunately, there really is not a Familiar website. Library book. You really should read these.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Avian cozy mysteries

I totally enjoy the avian cozy mystery series by Donna Andrews. Every book has a different type of bird in it and you learn little tidbits of info about those birds. Her newest one, Swan for the Money, is a hoot. By the way, the swans in this one are black and very intimidating as they are big birds and actually able to do some serious damage when provoked. But the part that was the hoot was the black and white, fainting goats ( supposedly there is such a thing). Just the thought has me snickering imagining them being startled and falling over in a faint. I know, I'm bad. In this book, Meg's parents have developed a new hobby: growing and showing champion roses. Who would of thought the whole business was so complicated. Meg gets roped into being the organizer for the rose show to be held on the grounds of a very strange, monochromatic woman's estate. Everything on the property is black and/or white, inside the house and out, to the point of being truly and obscenely obsessive. So we have a delightfully funny story about a rose show, a dog napping, attempts on the strange woman's' life with one fatality (case of mistaken identity?), guys showing up in the middle of the night to take animals and Meg wondering if she is pregnant but afraid to buy a pregnancy kit from the local drug store because the word would hit the town and she would be deluged with calls. These are should reads, people. Library book

Monday, October 26, 2009

Witchy good read

I backtracked on a series that I read the third book in a few weeks ago. The light, witchy fun chic-lit book called Sorcery and the Single Girl by Mindy Klasky is the second. In this one, Jane the librarian, newly developed witch, has to prove her metal to the area coven. She will have to prove herself to them that she is worthy of joining their ranks, by completing a task thought up by the coven. Jane brings a valuable copy of the Illustrated History of Witches, specific to that area, with a citrine stone binding it to the Coven Mother as a gift. It is then she learns she will be given the honor of setting the cornerstone for their new building to protect the coven. She practices and practices with her familiar and her warder, even with a distraction of a hunky british guy and some supposed help from one of the coven members. She quickly learns who is actually helping her and who is hindering her, which proves to be suspenseful and funny. At the end when she does her thing and finds out if she is in or not, is entertaining and surprising. This was another good read and I am now in search of the first! Library book

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another smart one

Oh, you think I am so smart, don't you? I have been reading books about smart girls, that's why. Another one involving sisters called The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire Lazebnick. What's interesting is that you start reading this story about two sisters, Ava is a lawyer and dresses frumpy and Lauren is a fashion diva and works as a clothes buyer. At the end, you have to really start wondering which one is classified as the smart one and which is the pretty one because it is sort of like they switch roles. So the facts are, Lauren is a over the top spender, on clothes, of course. Their mother has to do chemo for a small breast lump. Lauren is the one that takes the mom to chemo and meets a guy there that is also taking his mother for chemo. Humm, kind of a morbid relationship and probably is doomed. The next fact is Lauren finds a contract that had been signed by her parents about Ava, when she was a young girl, supposedly bonding her to a friends son for marriage. She calls the son and sets her sister up with her intended, which I think was a hilarious relationship from the start. So with all the matchmaking going on, it is with wonder that you find out how they end up happy. This was a good read. Library book

Monday, October 19, 2009

Smart girls think twice

Or in this case, the smart girl got the hunk. And what a hunk. A ex-extreme sport junkie. Another opposites attract. In this book, Smart Girls Think Twice by Cathie Linz, Emma decides to make good use of her time back in Rock Creek, due to her two sisters getting married two weeks apart, and publish a sociology study pertaining to why people are congregating to small towns. One of the first people she decides to interview is Jake, who is bar tending at Nick's while trying to find his birth mother. Secretly. Jake had had a epiphany when he was seriously hurt in a rock climbing accident in which his best friend dies. He disappears off the extreme sport scene to show up in Rock creek, supposedly looking for a place to put a resort in. So sets the story of Emma wanting yummy Jake and Jake finding it hot that a smart girl wants him. Good love scenes. A good hot read.

Unquiet Spirit

Nathanial Gye is a lecturer in parapsychology at Beaufort College and sort of moonlights as a paranormal investigator. Whether he wants to or not. This is the third in a series of books by Derek Wilson. Tripletree introduces the character and Nature of Rare Things is the second. Both I will have to find to read. When a professor is strangely killed while investigating a paranormal incident at St. Thomas' College in Cambridge, Nat is called in to put the spirit to rest, so to speak. The so-called spirit is of a demented student that apparently died of a drug overdose 10 years ago and is purported to be haunting his old room since then. Through a very twisting and turning investigation, he discovers more than he bargained for when figuring if it was murder or an accident. This was a very well written and gripping story and I really liked it. It is definitely a must read. And hopefully there will be more. Library book

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hot Flash

Okay so I read another foodie romance. I can't help myself. This one didn't so much talk about her job as she talked about her stage in life. In Hot Flash by Kathy Carmichael, Jill is a single mom just turned forty and working as a sous chef for a hotel restaurant. And she seems to be going through premenopausal symptoms, which she finds incredibly hard to believe. The beginning of each chapter starts with a letter she has just received in response to a survey she sent out to couples she saw in the anniversaries section of her newspaper. She wanted to know the secret to having a long and happy marriage. She gets some surprising answers but the one that seems to appeal to her are the ones that state the husband is either a traveling salesman and is gone a lot or the ones who are sports widows. So Jill decides to find a traveling salesmen and crashes the conventions at the hotel. After many debacles, the guy that is ultimately right for her is right under her nose but she fights it. It was a nice lighthearted read and funny. Library book

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Accidental Bestseller

Truly the title says it all. Wendy Max wrote a book about 4 authors who write a book together about 4 authors. supposedly loosely based on their own lives, and then the book hits the bestseller list. It wasn't expected. So the story mostly centers around Kendall, who is majorly dumped upon all at once, with not winning a coveted author award, finding out her publisher doesn't want her anymore and then to come home and figure out her husband is cheating on her. She finally leaves the house, after wallowing in self pity for days and takes off to a cabin in the North Carolina mountains. There she discovers a yen for DIY and seeks the local Home Depot and meets a handy hunky guy to help her get started. Anyway, with a deadline for her book looming, which she already has gotten an advance for and spent, she interestingly get the assistance of her writing friends to help write her book. The book quickly comes together and is sent off to the asst editor of the bitchy editor to review. She loves it and has to jump hoops to get it noticed. The book ends with their lives unfolding in ways they never imagined and pretty much a happy ending all around. This is a book everyone should read. Library book

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another foodie romance

All of these culinary romances are making me hungry. Another delicious romance I just finished is With a Twist by Deirdre Martin. I found out later it is sort of a sequel to Just a Taste, which I will now have to find. These books feature Vivi and Natalie, migrated Parisians, now working in Brooklyn. In this book, Natalie has decided to leave her half sister's bistro and venture out into Manhattan to be a restaurant manager. Lovesick Quinn, a newspaper reporter married to the job, persuades her to work at his parents Irish pub until such time as she can actually find someone to hire her as a restaurant manager. And so starts the relationship that proves to be very volatile. In pursuit of his great story, involving the Irish mob, he stumbles along believing his life is the job and women come second best. Of course for this story to work out right, he has to learn the error of his ways. It is quite amusing the interaction between Natalie and Quinn, French and Irish. With some suspense thrown in, the story moves along well and I feel was a good read. Library book

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lost Recipe for Happiness

Okay so I am learning since I have been on a diet that I have been gravitating towards books that have to do with food. I discovered a delicious romance called the Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal. What drew me to the book was first it was about food and second it had ghosts. This is a story about Elena, who is lovingly haunted by ghosts of her family who died in a car accident that she survived only to be scarred for life. After she recovered, she moves on with her life to attend culinary school and to cook in a lot of different facets of the culinary industry. The story starts as she is fired by her chef partner Dmitri, who didn't like the fact she hogged the limelight in a recent restaurant review. As she leaves the establishment, the owner catches up with her and offers her a position as a executive chef in a new restaurant he is opening. She jumps at the chance and again moves on with her life. This is a heartwarming love story between two people who have been burned from bad relationships, that finally happens when both accept closure on their pasts. It is a very moving story that keeps you interested through the whole book. And even throws in a nicely written gay relationship between two of Elena's friends, too. I really like books that are constantly evolving and moving along. This is a should read. Library book

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Prince Harming Syndrome

I have always known that my relationships have always been a little off and now I know why. Because I pick the wrong guys to go out with. And so does my daughter. That's one of many eye opening revelations that I learned in reading The Prince Harming Syndrome: Break Bad Relationship Patterns for Good - 5 Essentials for Finding True Love by Karen Salmansohn. This was my first how to book that I have read that spells out what is wrong with the men I pick and why I picked them. It gave me insightful information on what I really should be looking for in a guy and important questions I should be asking them and myself about where relationships fit into our lives. Karen uses Aristotle's teachings, amongst others, to prove that there is a way to meet the right kind of guy, soul mate, for you and to boost your self esteem in the process. This book opened an line of communication between my generation and my daughters' to show that we all suffer from the same issue, except for a lucky few. Lack of true love. So even if you are in your prime and a little past, there is valuable information that you can glean from this book to give you a goal of a growing and nurturing life with your Prince Charming. This is a must read if you need good advice on the subject and will be donating my copy to my university library for all college girls to read .

Salt and Silver

I was attracted to this book because the thought that mere mortals could unwittingly open up a door to hell in the basement of a diner, by accident, was different. In a weird kind of way. But Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine is definitely different. Allie and her two friends get drunk and start spewing magic words to get wishes granted and wake up to find a doorway where there wasn't one before. Only this doorway lets in demons and such into this world and hotty demon hunter Ryan, showing up the day the door opened, sits outside it killing what ever comes through, be it vampire, demon or werewolf. The story starts after this has been going on for 5-6 years and everything is working well. And then one day the door disappears and others start opening in new places. That gets everyone in a uproar and it is decided that a small group of hunters, and Allie, have to go through a door into hell to find out how to stop them. They travel through nine different hells or dimensions and overcome many obstacles, to ultimately find out that someone has taken the door. I liked the story, a good read, and the sexual tension is hot. Library book

Monday, October 5, 2009

Knit the Season

Oh, I am now in the mood for seasonal books with the cold weather finally coming. And I read a really good one over the weekend. I received a ARC of Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs, fourth in the series of the Friday Night Knitting Club. I have read all the books so far and they are all keepers. I especially liked this one, centering on Dakota, and the countless memories of her mother and her learning things about her she didn't know. When her Mom's passing left her co-owner of a yarn store, Dakota is at odds over the running of the store and her desire to because a pastry chef. But she is able to find the best of both worlds and learns a lot along the way. Between all the events happening to the Friday Night knitters, from weddings, job offers, and secrets ultimately shared, we find a very thoughtful, warm story about family and friends. A great way to get into the Christmas season. This book invoked the all important needs for family, following your dream and keeping the traditions going. All Kate Jacobs Friday Night Knitters books are must reads! Knit the Season comes out on Nov 3 along with the pbk of Knit Two also being available. Amazon has it at 34%, off for 16.47, preorder price right now at I am a sucker for a good deal on books. Gave ARC to girlfriend to read.

Benny and Shrimp

Bennie and Shrimp, real name Desiree, is a captivating Swedish import by Katarina Mazetti. This is a story about two emotionally deficient people who meet in a cemetery, visiting their loved ones final resting place. Each one is from a vastly different walk of life and all it takes is a friendly smile to open the lines of communication. So what happens when you take a dairy farmer (mommas boy type), missing 3 fingers from a saw accident at an early age and combine it with a rather drab looking librarian, (recently widowed), who have really nothing in common except they both feel empty? You get a very hilariously funny story of the trials and expectations of two people who desperately want someone in their lives but not necessarily each other. You should read this book amd decide is it love or lust? Donated this book sent by publisher to review to university library

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Man Who Loved Books too Much

I am finally coming up in the world. I am getting Advance Reading Copies to review. I feel so special. So my first one I really wanted to read was one where Allison Hoover Bartlett gives you an insightful glimpse into the world of rare book collecting. In this world of e-technology, people seem to have gotten away from the bonding experience of holding a first edition of a old rare book and stroking it's spine, wondering where this book has been and who has touched it. Though you hear about all the glamorous thefts of priceless artifacts and paintings, you never really hear about old and fragile books that have been easily stolen and disappearing only to possibly showing up on Ebay for sale as there is no real means of tracking them. But there are people in this world who obsess about obtaining books through many illegal means, such as the ones used by the one this book is based, John Charles Gilkey. Allison shows you the workings of Gilkey's mind and his rational for stealing rare books for his amusement. She takes you through the many facets of rare book collecting, book fairs and exclusive rare books stores and introduces you to the many challenges of this collecting business. Because to some it is and to some it is a passion to possess these rare tomes. And on the other side you meet a special book dealer named Ken Sanders, who seeks justice for the victims of book theft and spends much of his time tracking down Gilkey, as a "bibliodick" for an organization of book sellers. To think it all starts with the delivery, to the author, of a 400 year old book supposedly not returned to a library on time and so it was pawned off from generation to generation, partly I'm sure of fear of the fines involved. This is a must read for sure!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bookbinder cozy

I just zipped through a really good cozy, about a rare book restorer, called Homicide in Hardcover: A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle. First in a series, it had a very good story line and I admit, if the cozies have to do with books, I pretty much already like them. Anyway, Brooklyn, (cool name), is a relatively new bookbinder of rare books. She had been a apprentice/partner with Abraham Karastovsky, until she decided she was ready to go out on her own. During a showing of some book restorations that her mentor had completed, she finds him dying from a apparent homicide and hears his last cryptic words of "Remember the Devil". He had been in the process of restoring a copy of Goethe's Faust and now it rests in Brooklyn's' hands to finish the supposedly cursed book. She meets some interesting characters along the way, including a sexy British security agent, has some funny, outlandish family and friends and again stumbles across another dead bookbinder. Obviously not a safe occupation. I did figure out whodunit early on but it was a very rousing tale. It is definitely a should read. Purchased book and donated to city library

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another great Dan Brown

This book is one of those instances in which I really regretted reading reviews before reading the book. There were such mixed ones that I read, I wasn't sure about how I was going to like it. But I can assuredly say I loved The Lost Symbol. It was every bit as good as The Da Vinci Code. I am delighted with the my education of the mystical aspects of our national capitol and the religious undertones that came out in this book. The storyline flowed well, entrancing and gripping me to not want to put the book down. I found I was carrying the book everywhere with me so I read as much as I could because I wanted to see what happened next, so compelling. So Robert Langdon finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as a result of a tattooed madman. He gets corralled by the CIA to save the world, thinks he dies but survives and ultimately becomes the only person who is not a Mason to know the secrets of the group. He becomes instrumental in the solving of a mystical quest involving the Masons and the Lost Word. Another symbolism clue hunt with a really unexpected ending. I would like to share a small excerpt that really made me chuckle, though. 'Langdon had once agreed to take care of Solomon's hundred-fifty-pound mastiff, Hercules, during Solomon's travels. While at Langdon's home, the dog apparently had become homesick for his favorite leather chew and had located a worthy substitute in Langdon's study - an original vellum, hand-calligraphed, illuminated Bible from the 1600s. Somehow "bad dog" didn't quite seem adequate.' This book is an absolutely must read. Cool website, too. Library book

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jane Austen rewritten

I was intrigued by this book by something that was written on the back cover in the synopsis. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read." Up until this point, I had not ever read Pride and Prejudice due to the fact I was told it was long, boring but famous love story. I may not have to now since I read this. What I am sure is that this version was probably much more livelier than the original. So you have the basic story by Jane Austen but with the Bennett Sisters butt-kicking, zombie killers trained in the arts in China, not Japan. What was comical is the fact that if you ventured outside the house, you were pretty sure you would run into a group of zombies. And depending how quick you were, they would have you for lunch, eating the delish part first, your brain. Even going out in daylight was usually impossible. But be sure you are with one of the Bennett sisters, or Mr Darcy and one of the few other characters who were trained in the ruthless killing of zombies if you expected to survive. Seth Grahame-Smith is the revision-er and I give this a good read rating. Library book

Friday, September 25, 2009

New blog name

Just so you know that I was never really satisfied with my blog name from day one so I finally came up with a suitable name for my blog, I think. Of course I am willing to listen to the peanut gallery but I think this one is the keeper. I would really like to know if someone else has this, as I googled and nothing came up.

Evil at Heart

Now, psychological thrillers are really not my forte usually, but this series by Chelsea Cain is gripping. This one had a additional level of mystery with it as far as the killings were concerned. But it also takes a look at the issue of sensationalizing gruesome things like serial killers in the media to the point of being obsessive. This story about Gretchen, the beautiful, dangerously smart serial killer and her stalking of the police detective, Archie, is riveting to the point that I felt glued to the book. He has been technically hiding out in a psych ward to get over his painkiller drug addiction and haunting of the torture he endured by Gretchen. But when she escapes from the prison, he knows deep down that he needs to help find and kill this savage killer. But she is one sick puppy and has been keeping watch over him all along with the help of her twisted minions. This book was a roller coaster and kept me clutching the book, not wanting to put it down. And even though there were a few sickening parts, as there should be, they were not to much over the top. This is a must read and of course there will be more since she is still out there waiting. Library book

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lost Hours

I would have to say I would give Lost Hours by Karen White a 2 hankie rating. I cried twice, towards the end. This book was a haunting, moving story rooted in the deep south during racial prejudice times of the 30's. What starts out as a sisterhood with 3 girls, one black, and the terrible secret that they carried with them until they died. The sad part is they all were deeply affected for different reasons because the whole story hadn't been really sorted out and each felt a guilt that they really didn't have to carry. So fast forward to present day, as the last of the three finally wants closure, she unknowingly admits the granddaughter of one of the other women into her life, and with her help, is able to find closure and understanding and forgiveness. The grand daughter is searching for a kind of closure of her own, as she is a equestrian mangled by a fall from a horse and feels afraid to get back on the horse, so to speak. So this hunt for answers gives her purpose and in the end a whole new perspective on life. It is a must read. Library book

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cats and Quilts

The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse by Leann Sweeney is the first book in a new cozy series starring Jillian Hart, a recent widow who moved to Mercy, S. C. to move on with her life. She makes her living making quilts, mostly for cats, and they sound very inventive. And she owns 3 cats, all who were rescue finds and each has their own funny personality. All named for wines. One of her cats gets catnapped right out of her house and she is frantic to find it, putting up signs only to find that they were immediately ripped down due to a city ordinance. Up until this point she has mostly kept to herself but the need to find her cat puts her out there and she seems overly eager to make friends. And desperate that they like her. After finding out about a man who collects cats, she decides to pay him a visit only to find him brutally stabbed in his kitchen. It was a very cute story with some good twists and cheered her messed up romance with the alarm guy. I expect that the rivalry between her and the lady coroner over the guy will continue as the coroner is a beauty pageant nutcase. I did feel the heroine was a little insecure with her need to be liked by everyone but it was a good light quick read. Purchased book and donated to city library

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pet Psychic calling

So a truly unique cozy mystery series, written by Joyce and Jim Lavene, involves a pet psychic named Mary Catherine. She is a 50 something woman, married 4 times with 4 husbands who died, while married to her, in bizarre ways. She has inherited a house from an aunt, who supposedly had the same ability as her, and moves in, remodeling it into a free vet clinic and apartment upstairs for her. And on top of that, she does a radio program, going out nation wide, on her pet psychic ability and answers questions about people's pets. She gets involved into a murder because of a turtle who calls to her and tells her he is hurt and she responds to find a dead body. The whole thing ends up involving things close to home and she finds kinship with a down and out detective turned PI, who supposedly has some psychic power but thinks he is nuts. Actually a lot of her answers that involved common sense, not really psychic power. It was a very cute story and a good quick read. I checked it out of the library, which is good as I probably would not have read it otherwise. Library book

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spartan Gold

Clive Cussler has started a exciting new series. Spartan Gold features his new heroes Remi and Sam Fargo. Though it wasn't as good as his Dirk Pitt books, this was a very good treasure hunting adventure reminiscent of National Treasure as far as clues taking them to another place for another clue. But these clues were complex riddles written by Napoleon himself. The amount of clues and places they had to go was maybe a bit much, but the book was very riveting with the Indiana Jones type - Macgyer style of seeking the lost treasure. It all was very interesting how the whole story was intertwined through history starting with Xerxes I and his plundering and how Napoleon stumbles upon the treasure by accident. There are even little side finds that make the story entertaining. And of course we have the bad guy, who in this case figured he was a direct decedent of Xerxes and everything rightfully belonged to him. This book is a should read and I will catch the next book when it comes out but like I said, I prefer the Dirk Pitt books more. Library book

Friday, September 18, 2009

Today's Topic: Share your goals for your blog one year from now AND say what you love best about your blog, each in 50 words or less.

One year from now I hope to …

  • have improved my blogging skills,
  • have knocked done my TBR list alot,
  • have at least 25 people following my blog, and
  • have satisfied publishers that I am a sincere reviewer!

I love that my blog …

  • as it gives me an outlet to express my impression of books I like to read,
  • it connects with other people who feel the same way I do about books,
  • gives people a small insight into a book they might not have read otherwise, and
  • actually keeps me a little saner.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cedar Cove revelations

Having lived on Whidbey Island, WA, for a few years, I can relate to the homey, small town atmosphere in the Cedar Cove books by Debbie Macomber. I love these books. I read 8 Sandpiper and 92 Pacific Blvd and am still feeling the goodness and love from these should reads. Yes, they are definitely feel good, happily ever after type love stories, without the steamy sex scenes, but have a little mystery and turmoil mixed in. In each book, you get a taste of the residents with the emphasis on the character that lives at the house in the title. That person is usually in a struggle over their love life and/or life choices. Debbie has a way that you can step into the book and read it without feeling that you need to really go back and read the ones before. But it is a good idea. I have read all of this series and will continue to do so as I do love the story lines and can easily get drawn into the ambiance of Cedar Cove. Oh and I bought her new Cook Book, too. Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Cookbook. Yummy!!! Purchased these books and then donated them to city library, except for the cookbook. Mine!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend light reading

I hate to say this but there was another one that I started reading and it wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be and I couldn't get into it. I feel bad that I decided to not finish it because it was losing me but that is the way I felt about Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson. This one had been a 'if you liked that one, you probably would like this one' type book and I checked it out of the library, so no great loss. Again I got halfway through it and it wasn't keeping me. The story starts with the conception of a baby from the day 1 and goes from there. I think it was difficult because the main character is a fetus. I didn't finish it, so it is a don't bother. But my weekend did get better. I read Magic and the Modern Girl by Mindy Klasky and I am hooked. It is actually, I think, 3rd in a series, and I will have to backtrack the first two, (OCD) to read. The main character is a librarian, yes I gravitate to those books since I work in a library, and she is a newly unveiled witch. Her mom and grandmother have powers, too, but not as much as Jane has. I felt this book was very modern witchy and fun, with the exception of maybe her creation of a anima, kind of like bringing a doll to life thing. It seems when she was doing the spell, her mind was drifting and the purpose of her anima gets blurred and whacked out of proportion. The final showdown with the anima is a little strange but interesting. The love life issues were breath-holding and the storyline was quite good, with some historical info on the DC area thrown in. It is a should read and I will read more. The other book was a sure thing. I read the next in the Shenandoah Album books by Emilie Richards. These books to me are a good down home, snug in my bed, warm feeling reads. This one, Lovers Knot, takes the reporter from the last book and delves into her traumatic life. She is carjacked, while at a pharmacy getting medicine, and shot twice. She recovers only to decide that her life will never be the same. Her relationship with her husband is strained so she plans to take a timeout at her husbands' grandmothers house up in Toms River, that had been left to him along with a quilt. The quilt unravels a very interesting mystery surrounding the Shenandoah National Park and the removal of people for the building of the park. Again this is another flip the house book, a happy ending book and a very interesting historical mystery of sorts. I will continue to read the series and recommend as a must read. All library books

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fun suggestion from J. Kaye's Book Blog

J. Kaye got this idea from and I thought it would be fun to fill out.

1. What author do you own the most books by? The only author I own all the books from is my good friend Janet Spaeth.

2. What book do you own the most copies of? The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber (I have 2 copies)

3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Ethan Gage from William Dietrich's books.

4. What book have you read more than any other? The bible.

5. What was your favorite book when you were 10 years old? The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer.

6. What is the worst book you've read in the past year? That How to Buy the Love of Reading didn't impress me too much.

7. What is the best book you've read in the past year? So far it was is the Dakota Cipher by William Dietrich.

8. If you could tell everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be? Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber

9. What is the most difficult book you've ever read? The Lord of the Rings

10. Do you prefer the French or the Russians? Russians?

11. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer? Chaucer, if I had to choose.

12. Austen or Eliot? AUSTEN!!

13. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? My friends can't figure why I haven't read the Stephanie Plum books.

14. What is your favorite novel? Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

15. What is your favorite play? Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

16. Poem? The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

17. Essay? Don't have the first clue.

18. Short Story? The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

19. Nonfiction? the Don't Know Much About Series by Kenneth C. Davis

20. Graphic Novel? No idea

21. Science Fiction? I would say a toss-up between Robert Silverberg, Andre Norton and Terry Brooks

22. Who is your favorite writer? Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, and many more.

23. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? Stephenie Meyer. Really I can't imagine the pull these books have. I wasn't impressed with either the books or the movie.

24. What are you reading right now? Sparta Gold by Clive Cussler

25. Best memoir? The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

26. Best history? Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by David McCullough.

27. Best mystery or noir? Anything by Agatha Christie or Rex Stout.

A cozy here, a cozy there

I bet you were beginning to wonder what happened to me. Long story short, I got a flu bug and have been indisposed for while but I am up and running now. So on to my reading escapades during my illness. So I started the book 'How to Buy a Love of Reading' on Thursday last week. On Friday night, halfway through the book, I closed it and decided that the book was no way turning out to be what I thought it would be and that I couldn't read anymore. From what I did read, it was not that interesting. Having to do with a high school girl with emotional issues, whose parents want to buy her her own book, written by an obscure author, for her 16Th birthday. She has a friend who is a boy that apparently is a hunk, she's overweight, he is a druggie, alcoholic. I have to say, don't bother. I don't feel that way too often. But I will say I might have been the process of getting sick and the book didn't help. So to make me feel happy during my sickness, I read a bunch of cozies. Comfort food for my brain. I am sorry to say I will not go into great detail over them but will give a one line comment of each book and impression. First book was 'Sew Deadly' by Elizabeth Lynn Casey. Very sweet book about the new librarian, from the north, in a small town in the south and her initiation into local society. New series that I will now follow and was a should read. Second book was a second in a new series by Mary Stanton, 'Angel's Advocate'. Brianna inherits her uncles law firm, whose major clients are dead and sent to the wrong great beyond. This was just as good as the first and entertaining. A definite must read and a keeper. Third one was another second in a series, by Julie Hyzy called 'Hail to the Chef'. I especially loved this books' insight into the workings of the chef for the president. Great story and premise and a must read and another keeper. Fourth book was the fifth in a series that I faithfully follow. The Haunted Bookshop mystery, 'The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion' by Cleo Coyle writing as Alice Kimberly. Imagine owning a bookstore where a private detective was murdered and having his ghost as a cohort in detection. This was a ghost story inside a ghost story and great to read. I think I read this all in one day because I didn't want to put it down. Love the series and must read all. And lastly I read one that borderlines cozy. 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie" by Suzann Ledbetter, an author that I have read other mysteries by, came up with a cute one about a private investigator who meets up with a short lady burglar who only needs cash to cover her mom's medicare bills, above and beyond her many grooming jobs. The interaction was lovable and storyline was fun. I rounded out my week very well and I am satisfied with this should read. Okay folks I am back to my list and reading 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum'. So far so good. Will let you know. I am thinking of doing author weeks, where all the books I read are from a specific author. And leaving my weekends to cozies since I have many to polish off. And I have the privilege of being sent some ARC's to review which are on my next weeks list of books to read. Have a good one!!! All these books were purchased and then donated to my city library

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I thought it was a cute idea. A place where you can go and pretend you are in Regency England during the Jane Austin period for three weeks and really get into the time. That is what the book 'Austenland' by Shannon Hale is about. Of course our main character's name is Jane and she gets the opportunity to go to said place as a gift from a deceased great aunt, who understand the concept that Jane was looking for her Mr. Darcy who looks like Colin Firth. Going there was like being in a play and really wasn't a set up place, which is what you are hoping is suppose to happen. The book was light and cute, definitely being able to go for teenagers on up to read. Definitely a nice summer read. Library book

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A magicians world

If you have read Maria Snyder's Study series, you have to read her Glass series. Book one in the series, Storm Glass, took a plot line from the Study books and came up with a wonderful, enchanting and mystical story centering around Opal. Opal is a student at Magician's Keep, is mostly a family taught glassmaker and trying to learn what her magical powers ultimately will be. She starts off a little bit on the insecure side, thinking she is only a 'One Trick Wonder' but we soon find out she is capable of many tricks. Her first mission is to find out why the Stormdancer's orbs are shattering. With forensic type thinking she deduces the formula for the melt and what is wrong with it. The glass making procedures in this book are extremely fascinating. And I especially loved the insight of storms and their emotional aspects that was described. Opal finds love in a round about way, perfects her craft and then learns shockingly she can be a either a valuable tool or a terrible weapon. The imagery in this book was good and again I loved the story as I did with Maria's previous books. There may have been a part towards the end dealing with the key that I had to reread a couple of times and then still didn't quite get it (yes it was a small detail but got to me anyway) but otherwise this book is a must read. I can't wait to read her next one, 'Sea Glass'. Purchased book and then donated to university library

Monday, August 31, 2009

Flip that house

Have you noticed that the "in" thing, to write your book about, is flipping houses? It just seemed to me that that was in a lot of the books I have been reading. Hummm, a subconscious thing maybe because I would love to flip houses and I gravitate towards those kinds of books. Okay, so I just finishing a really, really good book called Fixer Upper, yupp the title tells you everything, by Mary Kay Andrews. This is a must read. I thoroughly enjoyed this story about Dempsey Killebrew, love the name, and her lot in life. She was a lawyer and a lobbyist in Washington that gets suckered by her boss to be the scapegoat for a scandal involving buying a senator. Anyway, after being disgraced and fired, she escapes to Guthrie, Georgia, to fix up a house that just happened to have been left to her dad from a distant relative. The house, which once sounded fab, is a mess and Dempsey has her hands full doing most the renovation herself with the help of many of the town's helpful good looking men. Yeah, she has them lined up at the door. In amongst this restoration, she is trying to clear herself of the charges with the scandal, helping the FBI nail her boss and the senator. I particularly liked the interaction between Dempsey and the agents. Very funny. She makes many very interesting friends along the way, with most of the town of Guthrie being a distant relative in one way or another. I have read other Mary Kay Andrews books and highly recommend them. Library book

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stealing WIth Style

So I just finished Stealing with Style by Emyl Jenkins, which turned out to be a very fascinating book of tidbits of info. It is a mystery of sorts with the main character, named Sterling Glass, Glass being her married name but decided to keep it after the divorce. In fact Sterling is her third name, her first being Clara Elizabeth. Anyway, she is an antiques appraiser. And she writes a column on antiques for the paper, so the beginning of every chapter is a question and answer from each column and I learned a lot about antiques. The book is mostly about some antiques that are being smuggled out of old people houses by caregivers and then put up for auction. It is a very complicated scheme and the story was well written. I really liked the flow of the story with the influx of historical tidbits of knowledge. Sterling is drawn into this as an expert on antiques and helps solve breaking into the theft ring. With an interesting side story about old molds of Art Deco figurines that had been smuggled out of Germany in the war and now have surfaced. All were intertwined skillfully and proved to be a very engrossing book. It is a should read. I will now have to find her latest, The Big Steal.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Quickie backread

So if you may remember the beginning of August I read a book called Fat Chance by Rhonda Pollero and had then realized that she had written 2 books before in the series. Well, over the weekend I read the first two books: Knock off and Knock 'em Dead. This series is about 'Finley Anderson Tanner (F.A.T.), a 29-year-old West Palm Beach paralegal whose designer name-dropping prattle and discount shopaholicism obscure her smarts'. Yes, you do get a little sick of her details of the shopping hunt and her deals she makes. But it is funny. The first mystery dealt with a case that was pawned off on her by a senior partner thinking the client was bonkers, trying to get someone to listen about her husband's supposed accident. Only through long investigation do we find he was murdered along with other jurors who sat on the same trial. Along the way she is helped by a private PI who she instantly has the hots for. But she has a pilot boyfriend who is safe. Anyway, it was a pretty good read and so was the next one, that dealt with one of her friends being set up for a murder through a dating service. Okay the penis in the box was a little overboard but it is amusing that she is a regular yo-yo with the law firm. Constantly getting let go and coming back. She has a tendency for getting into trouble and coming in late. Like I said these books are a good read, with the shopping details a little old after a while. I will watch for future books.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Magical Sugar Maple

I have really gotten into this new series by Barbara Bretton. The first book, Casting Spells, sets up the scene. A little town, hamlet more like, tucked between two mountains in NW Vermont. It will remind you of Old Salem a little. Anyway, the villagers in this town are all magical beings - vampires, werewolves, witches, fae, silkies, and the list goes on. Chloe, our heroine of our story, is the mayor and half sorceress and protector of the town. She also owns the knitting store in town called Sticks and Strings, where your yarn never gets tangled. In this first book, you get introduced to Luke, a human law enforcement agent investigating the drowning of his friend. It a really interesting tale of how he solves the crime, with Chloe's help and falls in love with her and stays on a police chief. It is a very fun read and a keeper. So I was looking forward to her next one , Laced with Magic, with equal hunger and wasn't let down. Again a very fun read and a keeper. In this one Luke's ex wife shows up in town with delusions of seeing their dead daughter but it was really a diversion on a much larger scale from the fiend who gets dispersed in the first book. A Bad Fae. The story flows well and is very entertaining. Only one disturbing love scene during a earthquake like scene but heh, the whole book leaves you smiling while turning pages. These books are must reads and I hope Barbara keeps them coming.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another knit lit book

So I have now finished the second Sweetgum Ladies Knit Lit 'Knit for Love' by Beth Pattillo. A book I recommended for the library to get since they had the first one. I do that alot. Recommend that they continue on with series. And they usually listen. This is story about a group of women, all ages, who get together to talk books and knit. This new year, it comes with a theme - Great Love Stories in Literature and pairing them with specific stitches. What's interesting about this book is how you end up comparing the lives of the women to the characters in the books they read. So each woman has a troubled love life and they all don't really get worked out, just like in the books but the story of their trials and tribulations is enthralling. You really should read these if you are into lite women's fiction. I wish there were more talk about the knitting part but the character study was just right. But I would said the most enticing part is about Eugenie and her recent marriage to the town preacher, who she had fallen for 40 years ago and just recently reunited with. I felt for her that she thought she had to defend her right to be married to him. Like she wasn't good enough for him in the congregation's eyes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

She's NQR

That's part of the description on the back of the book is about my next title - Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen. How it really reads is 'Brain Damaged after a tragic car accident that took both her parents, Gibby is now NQR (Not Quite Right), a real challenge for a fledgling newspaper reporter...' I found this story had a touch of everything - romance, mystery, laughs, crying, revelations, racism and mysticism. Gibby lives with her Grandfather since the accident, living with memory losses and a tendency to cuss up a blue streak without her knowing it. She stumbles across a body of someone transpiring to be the next governor of Kentucky, and doesn't tell anyone because she wants to figure out who did it before she does, with the help of her handy book, The Importance of Perception in Meticulous Investigation. Told you she is a little off. In the meantime she is slowly remembering things, becoming enlightened as she goes along, as well as is believing that some day she will be Quite Right. She is a very lovably character and it is truly interesting watching the story unfold. By the way, Land of a Hundred Wonders is a antique store/fortune telling parlor with 100 signs that line the front of the house that relay deep thoughts like: Wonder #15 - The highway of life hardly ever takes you to where you're heading. It's a cute should read.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rocking birthday weekend

Yep, it was my birthday today and I am extremely happy to admit that this one was the best I have had in 20 years. I am humbled and deeply moved at the same time. I love my friends and co-workers for there gifts and goodwishes.
Soooo I also read 2 really, really good books. The first one I knew without a glance that I would love it as I have loved everything else she wrote. I am talking about Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy. This is a must read. She is fresh, contemporary and out there. The story is: Delaney can see dead people and has a demon for a BFF. She equates herself to the Ghostwhisperer. But she wasn't always that way. Only after her boyfriend freakishly dies and unknown to her, he has signed a deal with the devil, does she disperse his body parts for transplants. That messes up the devil's deal and she starts seeing ghosts. 15 years later, Clyde shows up, a heart recipient from the boyfriend, on a mission from the devil. To get Delaney to hell but he shouldn't have been down there to begin with and Delaney figures it out. It has style it has flare and it has many laughs. Another great one, Dakota!!
And then to top off the weekend I read 'A Little Light Magic' by Joy Nash. A very good fun romance that I totally enjoyed. Tori inherits a house in Atlantic City and decided to make it into a New Age shop. In walks Nick the contractor who is so opposite that the sparks fly. The story was attention keeping and I read it in one day. Good flow, good hot love scenes and good chemistry. And some family values thrown in with of course the usually misunderstandings that weren't done stupidly. That makes a difference to me. Conflicts that are ridiculously done. Another must read and I liked it a-lot.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Part two quilting

So I finally finish the second book in the Shenandoah Album series by Emilie Richards, Endless Chain. Again a long book but this one doesn't seem to be centered around the quilting like the last. This centered around a refugee from Guatemala, Elisa, who shows up in Toms Brook as a result a sort of a coup in her country. Her mother had originally been from there and so she felt she would be safe. The main story is about her and her waiting for her brother who escaped the country about the same time but they got seperated. In the process, she falls in love with the pastor of the church, Sam, where she works as a sexton. At the same time, she is working at a nursing home where interestingly her grandmother is. There is racial unrest around the church due to its mission for the Latino children in a old Civil War house, who you learn was in the Underground railroad. This is another nice read and will continue on with the series.
I also had started to read Norse Code and gave up about half way through as I was getting confused with all the history and characters. Too much information to process and I actually didn't like the story, when I thought I might. The author really didn't prove to me that Odin myths would work in today's society. So I rated it a don't bother.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weird book weekend

That's what I am calling it and sticking to it. The word that came to me over the first book was freaky. I read 'Hothouse Flower and the 9 Plants of Desire' by Margot Berwin. Of course the whole book centers around plants. A newly divorced babe moves into a newly renovated apartment in NY and decides she wants foliage for it. She finds it first, at a outdoor vendor, in the way of a Bird of Paradise plant. Hard to grow, I would have thought. But from there she moves up to a $200 chinese windmill palm tree, imagine it, with a croton thrown in and a mild interest in the plant guy. In amongst this action, she wonders into a laundramat with a dash of rainforest thrown in and meets Armand. He explains the 9 plants of deasire and how they affect your life. While shes proving herself worthy of learning about the 9 plants, the outdoor plant vendor swoops in and steals the 9 plants from the laundramat, because he knows the value of the plants. From there, Lila, the babe, gets drawn into an over the border adventure searching for replacements for the plants and finds a hunk, while trying to evade the outdoor vendor badguy. I say it was a nice, bizaare read. After that one, I went onto another strange book called 'Embrace the Grim Reaper' by Judy Clemens. In this one, the women is a victim of a tragic car accident that took the life of her husband and newborn child. The car company representatives are in a tizzy over it and trying to sweep it under the rug. Casey decides she has had enough and hitchhikes it out of town to get lost. She ends up in a small midwestern town of Clymer, which is dying due to the closing of a appliance factory. She gets drawn into a recent death of an ex employee who supposedly committed suicide but no one thinks she would do it. Through lots of twists and turns she solves the mystery with the help of her co hort - Death. Yes, the Grim Reaper himself is helping her solve the crime. He is a somewhat likeable character that shows up at odd times and offers quips to make her think. I gather this is a series but was a little disturbed by how this book ended. I won't give it away. I would recommend this book as a should read, more for the entertainment value with the Grim Reaper.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cold Case Mystery

I noticed that quite a few of the last few mysteries were ones that included cold case mysteries. I mean 'Black Hills' had a cold case murder that affected that was perpetrated by the serial killer. 'The House on Tradd Street' was another one. The one I just finished was 'Death Books a Return: A Scrappy Librarian Mystery' by Marion Moore Hill. It is apparently the second book in the series, again something unknown to me at the time I looked at this book. I may have to find the first one because this one was pretty good. The murder was a ethnic one set in 1959 and our heroine, a librarian named Juanita, decided to write up kind of a history of her town. Specifically this murder that had been swept under the carpet. It took a lot of poking and persistence on her part talking to both the African Americans and the white folks involved. A pretty good account of life and times back then. She had to carefully sift through all the information that she picked up until she figured out who did it. All on her own. And then it was almost too late but she held up under the pressure. Even after being badly tousled on a carnival ride, ending up in the hospital. This is a nice read. Got it from the library. Marion Moore Hill also writes another series that I will also check into. Check her website out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cougar country

I just finished Black Hills by Nora Roberts and have mixed reviews about it. It is a Nora Roberts. Guaranteed a good read. What I liked about it first was I anticipated it be more about the Black hills. But that is where it was set, not much there. First and foremost it is a love story about Lil and Coop, who meet up in the first part and become friends as kids. Second part they are 10 years older and realized they have always loved each other and they make out right before each goes on their merry way to chosen professions. Third part is when it gets a little more interesting, 10 years later. They have grown apart and have got a lot of hurt to deal with. Lil now has a wildlife refuge for cats and other local critters and been there, done that around the world to different refuges. Coop was a cop in NY until him and his partner get shot and then he goes into PI work. They find themselves both back in SD. There is a psycho serial killer that has it in for Lil apparently, and he 'hunts' her. Coop is her protector and together they solve the crime. Lots of turmoil with emotions. It was drawn out a little more than I would have thought needed. But it was very enjoyable. It is a should read. I was the first person to check this book out from the library due to reserving it with anticipation. Good thing because I doubt I would have bought it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shoppers book

I figured out that quite a few of the books I read mention shopping and brand names. Ever since Devil Wears Prada which I read the book then watched the movie and the book is 10 times better. Meryl Strep should have been bitchy-er. Well, Fat Chance by Rhonda Pellero is a fun summer shopping mystery. In this book, first for me from this author, Finlay Tanner finds herself the new owner of a cottage on a swanky beach road, thanks to her mom and deceased step-dad. What she was prepared for was #1, that it was trashed and listed for demo and #2, finding a skeleton in her closet. Finlay is a paralegal who shops for brand names systematically, on sale and on ebay. It seems to be the matter of the hunt with her. Anyway, through doing her job, gutting and renovating the house and taking night classes to get up on the new criminal laws due to being assigned to a new criminal lawyer partner, she tries to solve the case of the skeleton. This book talks about great friends, lots of sexual tension, and makes you want to run out and go shopping. I wasn't aware until after I started that there 2 books ahead of this one. So now I will have to backtrack on those but I am looking forward to waiting for the next one. It's a nice read.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Jane Austen fans

Any Jane Austen fan would appreciate this book. In 'Jane Austen Ruined my Life' by Beth Pattilo, we find a English professor specializing in Jane Austen, Emma Grant, yes named after Emma, feeling that Jane Austen was wrong with the happily ever after thought. So after ditching her cheating husband and losing her job because of her lying personal assistant, who is the one the husband was cheating with, she sets out on an adventure locating lost Jane Austen letters. She goes to England, where she is set upon tasks by a group called the Formidables, people who have been hiding the letters from prying eyes. These tasks take her to Jane Austen places and shows her a side of Jane Austen she never knew. The point being to find if she is worthy of viewing the letters. The story is quite good, kept you involved and I learned a lot about Jane Austen. It inspires you to read or reread her books. This author has also written the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society books which I also highly recommend.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Funny mysteries

If you haven't read Laura Levine Jaine Austin's mysteries, you are missing out on very funny books. Jaine Austen, supposedly no relation, is a freelance writer, mostly writing ads for customers. (And they are very funny.) Anyway, she finds herself thrust into situations that drag her into solving them, like a friend getting killed with a thighmaster. I got turned onto these books by an independent book seller and she was right about them. So I have read them all and just finished her lastest, Killer Cruise. On this one she is approached to get a free cruise in exchange for teaching a class on writing memoirs because the previous author couldn't make it. So off she goes, with her cat stowing away in the suitcase. Only about 5 people sign up for the class including a couple renewing their vows only to get into a fight over their memories of their first date. An on board escort gets ice picked and she is going to figure out who did it. With many trips to the 24 hr buffet for food for the cat and stealing sand out of the on-board sand box, she spends most of her time evading the on board sculptor who can sculpt out of anything - including jello. These are should read books for a good laugh.

I see dead people.

Yes, I just finished a I see dead people book. And I loved it. It is a must read I feel. The House on Tradd Street by Karen White is a story about a realtor who gets invited to a old victorian house that she is supposedly going to list. The elderly gentleman who greets her mystifies her with questions and then sends her on her way. He passes 2 days later and leaves her his house and estate on the condition she live there for 1 year and renovate it while solving the reason why his mother left him mysteriously. The book has lots of suspense, a little romance, interesting ghosts, reconnection with family and a lively treasure hunt. There are lots of old family secrets from hers and the old mans family to uncover that are intertwined.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good garbage?

Evil Justice by Evan marshall is the second in a series of cozies named the Hidden Manhattan Mysteries. I started with this author, who is a literary agent, with his Jane Stuart mysteries. His new series has the solver as a sanitation supervisor named Anna Winthrop. Anna has worked her way up the ladder to sup and has found herself solving crimes. The story centers around a serial killer called the Ankh killer, who carves an ankh on the chest of his victims. It even had a blackmail scam, underground exploring and a socialite doing community service. This was a nice read. It may be a little farfetched with the sanitation worker aspect but the story is good and different. It had more than one mystery going on but tied it all in well. It even had a cliffhanger that gets left open to be continued I'm sure in a future book.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Diary

I know in a previous post I mentioned I was done with diaries but this one caught my attention. To explain that, I should say I am mostly a visual book picker. I am attracted by cover pictures, then titles and then synopsis of the story. I am usually not persuaded by reviews. I usually don't read a best seller or if I do it was because I found out about it before it was out for sale and before it made the best seller list. I anticipate books. Look forward to them from reading about them ahead of time, not by what a reviewer said about them. So why I do I go through all the trouble of reviewing them myself? Do I really think someone will read a book because I said it was good? Doubt it. We all have different tastes and read books for different reasons. But at least books make me feel things that I have recently discovered I enjoy expressing through this blog. Why I am doing this. A wonderful novelty. Now I will let you in on another new thing for me. A rating system I finally figured out. In order of how good I think a book is: #1 - Absolutely have to read, #2 - must read, #3 - should read, #4 nice read. #5 - don't really bother.
So I read 'A Diary' by Eileen Goudge and was very impressed. I would rate it a should read. This is the first of her books I read. I was intrigued by the idea of discovering this diary while cleaning out their parents house by two daughters while their mother lies dying. This book actually brought a tear to my eye at one point. Hard to do. This book drew me into the story of their mother back in the 50's when she was finding herself and who she should marry. For love or for security. It is a dilemma that I have been to myself. Marrying someone that you know will be a good provider and a safe bet that you love but are not in love with, against someone who brings out the passion in you but may not be a good prospect for a future. Which do you choose. In the 50's, what your mother told you to do? You have to read the book to find out which she chooses.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Cozy Weekend

I had a very nice cozy weekend. Got a few cozies down and watched a pretty good movie. Tin Man. All I can say about the movie is it was pretty good. I can't decide now if I want to buy a copy but I liked it. Next generation of Wizard of Oz.
So I completed 4 cozies this weekend and I will list them in the order as I liked them.
#1 was Magnolias, Moonlight and Murder by Sara Rosett. This is another series I follow and really enjoy. I can relate to the life of a military wife as I was once was one. I enjoy these Ellie Avery mysteries and the organizing tips that comes with them. In this one she has just moved again, to Georgia from Washington state. A climatic move as the military likes to do. She ends up renting a house that used to belong to a girl who was missing. The storyline was very interesting as she wove a cold case from the 50's into the storyline finding the missing girl, which she just felt compelled to help solve. Of course tragedy marked the end but the person who did it was not exactly what you expected. This was a very good read and I got totally into it.
#2 is Getting Old is a Disaster by Rita Lakin, another very funny series. A series about jewishy senior citizens who like to solve problems. Mostly a bunch of women with a few guys here and there, namely Jack, who is into Gladdy our main character. Gladdy and Jack just can't seem to get together. Her friends are always around hounding them. In this one, the Grandpa Bandit issues a challenge of catch me if you can while he robs banks. It is a rolling on the floor book by the time we find out whats going on. I hope you will read these books for a good laugh and a fun read.
#3 was Mothers Day Murder by Leslie Meier. Again another series of books I follow that feature important events and dates. Even though the murder did not actually occur on Mother's Day, it was connected in a way and it was a mother that was killed. Lucy Stone, a reporter for the local newspaper, witnesses some awkward moments with 2 opinionated moms. You kind of think it will be like the cheerleading murder at first with rivaling families but it surprises you. I was able to figure out the ending half way through but it was a nice, light read.
#4 lastly was Patterns in the Sand by Sally Goldenbaum. This was second in a knitting series, as I read the first. I will let you know, I liked the first one better as this one was not as flowing. The word that came to mind when I was done was tedious. The book lost me a little after about the third chapter. The ending was pretty good and not quite predictable. I may have to ponder if I will continue with this author.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2 for deal

I think I am slowly getting the hang on this blog but it is still a learning process. I am in awe at looking at some others blogs and the design of them. I'm getting there. So be patient and watch me grow.
I latched onto a what will be another wonderful quilting series that has been dealing with hot topics. The books are by Marie Bostwick and there are terrific. The first book, A Single Thread, is about the main character Evelyn and her discovery of having breast cancer one day before hosting her first Quilt for Pink event at her new quilting store. The book is a keeper and the storyline intriguing. Evelyn starts a new life for herself after divorce in a totally new area of the country for her, CT. She opens up a quilting store and makes new friends from all walks of life. The unfolding of her life is fascinating and kept me engrossed. Her second book was equally gripping, centering on Ivy, someone who is a victim of spousal abuse and is hired by Evelyn in her store. I was drawn into her struggle from running from her husband, the hiding and secrets and ultimately the showdown in court after he found her. I know both books touched me and am looking forward, very much, to more.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It was a cozy weekend

Yes, I stayed in and had a cozy weekend. I read 2 cozies that are from series' that I anxiously await their newest books to come out. First was Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof by Blaize Clement, number 4 in the Dixie Hemingway pet-sitter series. I have loved these books from the first and she is keeping the plots fresh. Ex-deputy Dixie has her hands full taking care of a seizure-assistance dog while it's young charge undergoes surgery. The dog is visibly distraught for not being able to accompany the boy and Dixie tries various methods to help. In turn, she meets up with the next door neighbor, who proves to be a contradiction in all ways and turns up dead. The list of culprits is many and I didn't figure it out till almost the end. And like many cozies, I liked the light mystery and my little tidbit of info I got from this one, as I tend to glean from each novel I read, was about the Havana Brown cat. Now I want one. I will keep Blaize on my list and her website is
Second cozy again was from one of my favorites series to read. Dropped Dead Stitch by Maggie Sefton, the 7th in the series. This one is a knitting mystery, which I have many I follow. I was fairly happy with the story, but there were good points and bad points. This one had our hero, Kelly Flynn - a CPA accountant displaced to Colorado, helping out with a canyon retreat for abused women. Helping her teach a class was a close friend, who had just been raped herself but had not persued it with the police. The owner of the ranch they are at, shockingly ends up being the friends rapist and becomes the victim of a plunge of a long drop over the side of the mountain. I felt there could have been a little more meat to the story. The whodunit was a little predictable. However I will admit the last chapter was a hoot and I was rolling. I will keep up with the series as there are more romantics issues to be resolved. And to keep me addicted to knitting and fiber fever.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fantasy thriller

Every once in a while I will read a fantasy. My favorite author of those is Terry Brooks. But I was intrigued by a synopsis for 'The Knights of the Cornerstone' by James Blaylock. The story centers around a reluctant hero of Calvin Bryson, who is enticed to visit his aunt and uncle in New Cyprus, CA, which is right on the CA and AZ border on an island. Once he gets there, he is drawn into the world of the Knights of the Cornerstone, sort of a templar theme. The whole town are knights and they are guardians of certain holy relics, in this case the Veil of Veronica. The significance of the veil is that Veronica swabbed Jesus's brow as he was in route lugging the cross and was to have taken his pain away onto the veil. As it does supposedly to this day. Bad guys want this veil and all the silver that the knights have been hording. It was a riviting story of good vs evil with a dramatic ending. I did feel that it dumped a lot of details on you but it was a good read anyway. I would be interested if there are more, which I suspect there will be.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good summer read

A really good book to curl up on a summer day and read is 'A Year on Ladybug Farm' by Donna Ball. This book was a sheer delight to read. I thoroughly enjoyed the seasonal blow by blow of the lives of 3, 60-something, women, friends without husbands for one reason or another, as they decide to leave the fast life in town and move out to the country in rural Virginia. They find a old house and proceed to fix it up using each one's talents. Cici with art and building, Bridget with cooking and animals and Lindsay with decorating and sewing. There may have been alot of narrative on the rebuilding part, but overall the story is wonderful. These women end up picking up many strays along the way, like sheep and a sheep dog, a 16 yr old runaway boy who everyone accepts since his dad is a drunk and the old housekeeper of the house, who they first thought was a ghost. This farm really sounds like a dream come true and I would live there in a heartbeat. It was truly inspiring and I highly recommend finding a copy to read.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Can't do diaries anymore

Yupp, I have decided that I just can't deal with diaries anymore. The book I just finished, which took me 4 days, is not high on my recommendation list. It wasn't very thick, I admit I was distracted a little this week and the title of the book really didn't work too well with the story. There could have been a better title. But you have to admit it catches your attention. The book is No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club: Diary of a Sixtieth Year by Virginia Ironside. It really is a diary of a woman turning 60 and her dealing with becoming a grandma for the first time, deciding if she is still interested in a relationship at her age and having a gay friend die. What messed me up was she threw in an entry of a spam email she got some days. Ranging from penis enhancement to gibberish. Didn't need that. Yes, diaries are giving a more personal perspective of the character but again, this one just didn't do it for me. Now on to the next good read, I hope.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cinema time

To be honest, I have distracted lately to do much reading. I know a shock. But there two shows that I wanted to rave about. First is the movie Transformers 2. Like the first, a nice gripping clean action flick with some laughs. I highly recommend it and will buy it when it comes out in DVD. Then last night I watched the premiere of Warehouse 13. The show makes me think that it took the end scene of Raiders of the Lost ark, when they put the ark away in the warehouse in amongst thousands of other boxes to remain hidden, and ran with it. This warehouse is where most of the world's objects that have a questionable lineage or should I said aftereffects, are stored. They still have paranormal residue on them, an aura. So 2 secret service agents get bamboozled in becoming hunters of objects that need to be stored into this warehouse. The premiere had to do with Lucretia Borgia's Hair Comb and the effect it can have on people when held while saying the magic words, in Italian. It was very good. I liked the premise. And can't wait for more episodes.
I am in the middle of a book and one part stood out to me. A statement that read: You can always persuade rational people to do anything, as long as you have the logic ready. Emotional people are far less easy to win round. Humm... more about the book when I am done.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Paranormal Romance

I do have a propensity for paranormal romance. And I can safely say that one of my all time favorites have been the Accidental series by Dakota Cassidy. I just finished the third in a series, called the Accidental Human, and was again tickled. I love these stories. This one was a little different then the first two as it kept you partly in suspense waiting to find out exactly what life threatening cancer Wanda had, what the deal with Heath is and finally what paranormal calamity will be dealt to Wanda. The first book, Accidental Werewolf, one of the Bobbie Sue cosmetics trio, Marty, gets bit by a werewolf in a dark alley after a meeting. The second book, Accidentally Dead, Nina gets bit by a vampire in a dentists office. These are funny, romantic and crazy stories about love in the paranormal lane and hot love scenes. It also appears there will be a fourth, called Accidentally Demonic coming out next year which is keeping me in suspense as to who gets it in this book and how. I am figuring Linda the b. I highly recommend reading these books.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Literary Tour mysteries

I discovered Livia J Washburn first through her Fresh Baked mystery series, which I ate up and yummed over. But she also has another series which I decided to start. The first book 'Frankly My Dear, I'm Dead' is a riotious read about a new business venture called Literary Tours. The first tour idea stemmed around the bestselling book and movie, Gone With the Wind. The tour starts at the Margaret Mitchell house and Museum, moves onto a tea room and the next day goes to a remarkable facsimile of Tara, where there are role playing actors in the roles of the hit movie. While at the plantation, you are treated to a wonderful tour and ball and an overnight stay. What isn't counted on was the murder of the actor playing Rhett Butler and later of a pickpocket tourist. One member of the tour company thought that this premise was a great gimic stating 'Murder is interesting. If it wasn't, there wouldn't be so many books written about it'. This was a fun read and had me laughing in a few places, especially when Delilah admits she should play detective. After all,'...I was curious. Like I said, I guess I'm just a natural-born snoop. Maybe all mothers are, to a certain extent. When our kids reach a certain age, they make us work like detectives to find out what's going on in their lives and some of us never get out of the habit'. I got this book from an out of town library, so you will have to find your own. But you should read all of her books. Very good.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Goldmine of info

Wow, it is Wednesday already. Seems like I lost a day. I just finished a 'hankie-read'. Now it is my goal to find out what the true hankie rating is and maybe who started it. But I have continuely read where someone gives a book a 2, 3 or 5 hankie read rating. With me, it takes a lot to get me crying, where this rating gets its start. How many hankies it takes to read the book. The book is 'Prayers for Sale' by Sandra Dallas. I was drawn to this book because it is set in early 1900's Colorado mining towns. Hennie is the person in the story who has the prayers for sale. Actually she has a sign on her house that states that but she will pray for you for free, and tell you lots of stories. I really liked the flow of the story from her life in the confederate south, losing her daughter to drowning ( a small hankie part) and husband to the war and then being encouraged to move to Colorado, where the men out number the women 10 to 1. I guess you could say she ended up a mail order bride. Anyway, she ends up in Middle Swan and I was drawn into her life and struggle at the time. Accidents in the mining business were plentiful. But she is the encouragement of the town and well liked. She befriends newbie wives and married prostititutes and will help them out with supposed old handmedowns which in reality she has purchased from Sears catalogue. And the story centers around quilting. The clincher for me. This was a good read from the library and have one of the author's previous books in my To Be Read stack.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Laid back weekend

I think with the threat of a tornado on Friday kind of set the tone for the whole weekend. I really did not get much accomplished. Except sleep. But I did watch a new movie. Yes, Man with Jim Carrey. I like Jim Carrey and I really liked this movie. Probably because it didn't have the slapstick stuff as much as he usually has in his movies. I suppose he is slowing done. But it was a cute movie. The premise of a man who is basically letting life slip by him and is in a hole. He says no to everyone about everything, thinks up excuses not to do stuff. Along comes a new idea: Open yourself up for life's unexpected pleasures by saying yes to everything. Without thinking about it. Well, that gets him into some trouble and it actually is a thought provoking premise. Ultimately in the end it works out, of course and it is a hoot.
And I reread a quilting mystery book, Lover's Knot by Clare O'Donohue, because I actually couldn't remember reading it. Sad, but true. I think I was halfway before I was absolutely positive I had read it before but I read it anyway. Nice light read mystery and start of a series.
Lastly it is with sorrow that I mourn the passing of many icons that I enjoyed - Farrah Fawcett, Ed Mcmahon and Michael Jackson. I really loved MJ's music and wish he had had a better life and dealt with stardom better. It is sad. RIP.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quilting fiction

Another confession. I seemed to have become obsessed with quilting fiction and the rich history that goes along with the quilts and makers. The ones that I have read and kept up with are : Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini, Harriet Truman/ Loose Threads Mysteries by Arlene Sachitano, Quilting mysteries by Terri Thayer, Someday Quilts Mysteries by Clare O'Donohue and purchased used: Quilting Romance Series set, produced by Jove Publishing. Now I don't know how to quilt at the moment. But I want to. I am already collecting fabrics to produce a multitude of quilts. If I learn how. Of course, that will be the first step. But I wanted to mention a new set of books that I just started reading by Emilie Richards called Shenandoah Album. The first book is Wedding Ring, which is a type of quilt of intertwining rings. TBA on the rest of this blog.
Sorry, I started writing this in the middle of the book and the book ended up being a little intensive. Anyway, here is my review: This is about 3 generations of women in the Henry family. All had issues with their marriage and all needed to resolve them. Grandma married her honey, Fate, the day before he shipped off to WWII and had one night of sex. He died in the war and she was preggy. Never really got over it and sheltered herself from everyone including her daughter. The daughter now has issues with expressing feelings and married her husband because she got knocked up. It was a marriage of poor girl, rich boy. They had basically a show marriage. And then then daughter, who has the best marriage out of the bunch and has a daughter, loses her to a drunk driver. Their marriage ended up each handling the loss differently. So ultimately in the end, all the women are changed, as a result I would say, of the quilts the grandmothers has made over the years. Many, many quilts that sound absolutely stunning. Good book but long.

Delicious cozy but tired

Fatally Flaky is number 15 in the cozy series involving Goldy Schulz, a caterer in Aspen meadow, Colorado. I have read all the books in this series and seem to becoming disappointed in the plotlines. It just seems like reading the same story over and over. With slight deviations. This book centers around kind of a Bridezilla who is really over the top. This mystery involves the death of, first, her godfather's best friend and then the godfather himself. First issue is the godfather is talked alot about by Goldy and how much she cared about him but he really is written in as not a particularly wonderful guy otherwise. Second, there just is alot of arguing, drinking and throwing up for my taste. Some things were just a little too far reached, like her withholding evidence and lying to other characters and to top it off, the use of a deputy as her own personal bodyguard. And the ending was a disappointment. I will keep reading them for enjoyment but will continue to check them out of the library.