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.