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.