Aug 30, 2014

Sunday Salon: Fall Books

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week.Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey and Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's Reviews.

Very hot this weekend after signs recently that fall was near. The flowers and plants are as confused as we are, it seems.

Our garden has been a joy, however. We planted lots of colorful zinnias, asters, marigolds, hollyhocks and cone flowers and the butterflies, hummingbirds, bumble bees, and the occasional golden finch just love it. We also harvested a few giant zucchini, a few dozen hot Caribbean peppers, and some herbs from the vegetable garden.

My reading list has expanded to include these new and soon to be released books:

Crooked River

Death at Chinatown

The Language of Silence
Click on the covers or the blue titles under the pictures for book descriptions. 

Heroes Are My Weakness
Dark Spies (Spycatcher #4)
What are you reading this fall?

Aug 29, 2014

Book Review: Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance

Remains of Innocence
Title: Remains of Innocence (Joanna Brady #16) by J. A. Jance
Published July 22, 2014; William Morrow
Genre: mystery, suspense

Lisa Matchett hasn't seen her penny pinching mother, a hoarder in the worst possible way, in about eleven years. When Selma is taken to hospice, Lisa cleans out the house and discovers her mother's secret.

But others begin to kill for this secret, and Lisa rides with truckers to hide her trail to her brother in Arizona.
Her story later links up with Sheriff Joanna Brady in Arizona who is solving the mystery of Junior, a man found dead at the bottom of a deep cave with the bodies of  pets around him. Was Junior a torturer of animals, and did someone push him to his death?

I loved the two different stories - a suspenseful trip with Lisa fleeing the bad guys, and the mystery of Junior and the dead and injured pets. The separate events come together well and in an unusual way. The plot of this novel is fantastic and as a mystery lover, I really enjoyed the action and the suspense, the detailed investigation techniques that Sheriff Brady and her team follow.... until, that is, I got to the very end.

The ending made me want to have an existential and theological discussion with the author Jance about evil and the nature of evil. The motive she gives for one of the murders was incomplete and that spoiled the book for me. Rating? Five stars for the suspense, two stars for the unsettling and, in my view, unresolved ending to one of the murders.


Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together. J. A. Jance’s tale of suspense brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest's beauty and mystery.
An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers that her mother was hiding a secret.
Liza flees dangerous pursuers on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee.  Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out. (publisher)

About the author: J. A. Jance is bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont mystery series, the Joanna Brady series, three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family, and Edge of Evil. Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.
Thanks to Partners in Crime Book Tours and the publisher for a review ARC of this book. Visit the tour schedule for other reviews.

Aug 28, 2014

Library Find: Above the East China Sea: A Novel by Sarah Bird

Above the East China Sea
My latest library find, an historical novel with some magical realism, is set in Japan in the present and right after the war.

Above the East China Sea by Sarah Bird
Published May 27, 2014; Knopf
Genre: historical fiction
Book description: The story of two teenaged girls, an American and an Okinawan, whose lives connect across seventy years by the experience of profound loss, the strength of culture, and the power of family love. 
Luz James, a contemporary U.S. Air Force brat, lives with her sergeant mother at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. Luz’s older sister has just been killed in the Afghan war. Unmoored by her sister’s death, the desolate girl contemplates taking her own life. In 1945, Tamiko Kokuba is plucked out of her elite girls’ high school and trained to work in the Imperial Army’s horrific cave hospitals. Tamiko finds herself squeezed between the occupying Japanese and the invading Americans. Like Luz, she aches to be reunited with her beloved sister. On an island where the spirits of the dead are part of life and your entire clan waits for you in the afterworld, suicide offers Tamiko the promise of peace. 
Luz tracks down the story of her own Okinawan grandmother and discovers that, if she  allows herself to connect completely, the ancestral spirits will save not only Tamiko but her as well.  
 Above the East China Sea shows how war shapes the lives of conquerors as well as the conquered and is a moving account of family, friendship, and love that transcends time. (publisher)
I'm interested in the magical realism incorporated into the historical fiction of two girls years apart, who somehow manage to connect.  The author, now a columnist and writer, grew up on air force bases around the world. 

Aug 26, 2014

Book Review: Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn

Paw and Order
Paw and Order: Chet and Bernie Mystery #7 by Spencer Quinn
Published August 5, 2014; Atria Books
"Did you know Mr. St. John kept a diary?" Soares said.
"Of course not," Suzie said. "I told you - we weren't close."
"Yet," Soares said.
"Yet?" said Suzie. "What is that supposed to mean?" (
ch. 6, from an uncorrected proof. Final copy may differ).
Bernie Little and his sidekick Chet the dog, partners in the Little Detective Agency in Arizona, visit Bernie's girlfriend Suzie in DC where she is an investigative reporter for the Washington Post. Eben St. John, a British man with intelligence connections, who is close to Suzie, is killed and Bernie is at first a suspect. After law enforcement tries to get him to leave town and stay out of the investigation, Bernie stays, hired by the St. John's father to find the killer and concerned about Suzie's safety.

There is politics involved, as far as Chet the dog narrator of the book knows, though he may not understand much of that aspect of the case. I followed Chet's thoughts closely and like him, the details of the case remain a bit fuzzy. I had a grand adventure reading the book and following Chet's thoughts or lack thereof, but I did remain a bit unclear at the end about the people and their involvement. In general, I got it, but the detailed plot and people connections? I stand with Chet. Who cares, as long as the "perp" is apprehended.

A fun read as always with this series in which Chet the dog tells the story. I give this a 4 out of 5 just because  Chet is such a good storyteller, from his point of view, of course...

Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of this book.

Aug 23, 2014

Sunday Salon: Where Did Summer Go?

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week.Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey.

Getting to be early autumn? Yes, it's that time of year. The birds are ready to head south and I wish I could go along! Some books for fall reading.

Someone Else's Love Story

Further Out Than You Thought
Early Decision

Three Story House
One of Us
The Girl From the Well

The Drop

Click on the blue titles below the book covers to see book details and synopsis.

Now that summer is winding down, do you have any special books for fall reading? 

Any new resolutions for reading, writing, and/or blogging the rest of the year?

I'm still thinking ...

Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series by Tyler Knott Gregson

Title: Chasers of the Light: Poems From the Typewriter Series by Tyler Knott Gregson
To be published September 2, 2014; Perigree Trade
Genre: poetry

Oh  what  we
could  be  if  we 
stopped carrying
the remains  
of  who  we  were.

Here is the story of how a photographer became a poet...a typewriter poet.
One day, while browsing an antique store in Helena, Montana, photographer Tyler Knott Gregson stumbled upon a vintage Remington typewriter for sale. Standing up and using a page from a broken book he was buying for $2, he typed a poem without thinking, without planning, and without the ability to revise anything.
Three years and almost one thousand poems later, Tyler is now known as the creator of the Typewriter Series: a collection of poems typed onto found scraps of paper or created via blackout method. Chasers of the Light features poems that illuminate grand gestures and small glimpses, poems that celebrate a life spent chasing the light. (publisher)
The one-page poems are written as though typed on different kinds of scrap paper -  on graph paper, beige or blue or brown paper, red paper on occasion, and on photographs. Some poems are created using a black out method, with white words standing out on a black background.

Most of the poems in this book are love poems:
A  moment,
a  smile;
a  single burst
of  laughter
that  sounds  exactly  like
the  rest
of  my  life.
I think the value of the Typewriter Series is that is makes poetry more approachable for those who might shy away from it, those who feel poetry too esoteric for them. The presentation of words in this informal, casual, and typed format makes poetry seem "down to earth" and thus easier to appreciate.

I would give this book to anyone I'd like to convince to start reading poetry.

Thanks to Oleg Lyubner Publicity for a review copy of this book of poems.

Aug 21, 2014

Book Review: The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar

The Story Hour
Title: The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
Published August 19, 2014; Harper
Genre: fiction, women's fiction
Objective rating: 4.5/5

The power of stories to heal and connect. That seems to be part of the message of this novel by Umrigar, with its intriguing characters and storyline.

Two very different women are brought together by fate and circumstance - the unhappily married immigrant to the U.S., Lakshmi, who is healed by and in turn helps to heal her psychologist and friend, African-American Maggie, by telling Maggie stories of her life growing up in India. Both women are married to Indian men, have sad memories of mothers who died when they were younger, and both women harbor secrets from their past that hamper their lives in the present.

These two are fully developed characters and their interaction, not always a smooth one, brings the novel to life in a vivid and affecting way. Don't miss reading this book if you get the chance.
Book description: An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man...  
Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn't need a shrink; she needs a friend....When Maggie and Lakshmi share long-buried secrets, the revelations jeopardize their close bond and force them to confront painful choices. (publisher)
I received a proof/galley of this book for review. 

Aug 20, 2014

Book Review: Tahoe Ghost Boat by Todd Borg

Title: Tahoe Ghost Boat (Owen McKenna #12) by Todd Borg
Published August 2014; Thriller Press

This new release came out this month, one of a series of Owen McKenna thrillers set in and around Lake Tahoe, many of which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. I think Tahoe Ghost Boat is one of Todd Borg's best!
My synopsis: A woman calls private detective Owen McKenna desperately asking for help as she is being chased in her car. McKenna comes to the rescue and finds out that his new client, Nadia, is being blackmailed to hand over the $2 million in insurance money that she is due after the death of her husband, Ian Lassitor. Lassitor was recently found drowned in Lake Tahoe when his boat was cut in two by an unknown boat in the middle of the night. 
So begins the suspense surrounding the mysterious "ghost" boat, the people who threaten Nadia, and McKenna's attempts to protect Nadia's 15-year-old estranged daughter Gertie, who is a target for kidnappers. But the plot is even more involved than it seems.
The action: The thrill of reading this novel lies in the multiple times McKenna risks his life while protecting Gertie from criminals that seem to come straight out of a James Bond movie - seemingly indestructible bad guys that have unusually and imaginatively cruel tendencies.

I loved every roller coaster ride as McKenna escapes and eludes his pursuers(we know he has to escape, as he is the main character, after all) many times.  But rest assured, you will get multiple thrills reading Tahoe Ghost Boat, as well as an intimate knowledge of the lake itself - the beauty and uniqueness of it as well as its possible dangers, in all seasons. A tremendous setting for a mystery series!

Objective rating: 5+ out of 5.  I didn't want it to end, and now I can't wait for Borg's next in the series.

Thanks to the author for a review copy of this book.

Aug 19, 2014

Book Review: CLAM WAKE by Mary Daheim

First Chapter, First Paragraph is a weekly meme hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea.

Clam Wake

First chapter:
Judith McMonigle Flynn stared at the mail on the credenza, glared at the thick packet's return address, and squared her broad shoulders before marching out of the front hall to confront her husband in the kitchen. 
"It's here, Joe," she announced. "Come and get it."
Book description:
Innkeeper Judith and cousin Renie face a cold-blooded killer in a beach community in this Bed-and-Breakfast mystery from author Mary Daheim. With the holidays gone and Hillside Manor almost empty, Judith has a housesitting stint at her aunt and uncle’s retirement home on Whoopee Island with cousin Renie. Surrounded by retirees in the off-season sounds peaceful and pleasant but it isn’t long before a dead body pops up. With suspicion over her and Renie, Judith begins sleuthing—if only to prove they didn’t commit the crime.
Digging for clams and answers, the cousins discover that retirement can be deadly—at least among the eclectic, eccentric residents of Obsession Shores.

My comments: A good plot in this newest in the series, with interesting and likeable main characters. Much of the book rests on the relationship between Judith and her cousin Renie; their amusing banter and commentary makes for interesting reading and a good chuckle, though their interchanges do not always hit the high mark for comedy.

Recommended for an easy and entertaining summer read.
Author Bio: Seattle native Mary Richardson Daheim lives three miles from the house where she was raised. Upon getting her journalism degree from the University of Washington, she went to work for a newspaper in Anacortes WA. Then, after her marriage to David Daheim, his first college teaching post was in Port Angeles where she became a reporter for the local daily. Both tours of small-town duty gave her the background for the Alpine/Emma Lord series.

Mary spent much of her non-fiction career in public relations (some would say PR is fiction, too).
She began her publishing career with the first of seven historical romances before switching to mysteries in 1991. At the time of her husband and mentor’s death in February 2010, David and Mary had been married for over 43 years. They have three daughters, Barbara, Katherine and Magdalen, and two granddaughters, Maisy and Clara. They all live in Seattle, too. 

See other reviews on the Partners in Crime Book Tour, which provided a review copy of this book.

GIVEAWAY: The publisher is giving away a copy of this book to a reader. Please leave a comment with your email address, U.S. residents only, or email me at with your entry titled "Clam Wake Contest."  The contest will end August 26 and a winner announced August 27. 

UPDATE: The winner, chosen by, is Patricia T. Congrats! 

Aug 17, 2014

Sunday Salon: Mid-August Books

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week.Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday each week.

My granddaughter has shifted her focus from all things My Little Pony to all things Frozen. Just sent off lots of Disney picture books, coloring books, and stickers, with the story and theme. Hope that will make her birthday a lot of fun. Am on the lookout for the t-shirts.

Goodreads is down right now, so here are some amazon links to books, mostly thrillers or mysteries,  recently added to my TBR:

Last Winter We Parted
Dog Beach

Blood Lake

Deadly Bonds
Lola Montez Starts a Revolution

Click on the covers and/or titles beneath the pictures to see the book descriptions.

Currently reading:

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

What books have you added to your desk and what are you reading this week?

Aug 16, 2014

Giveaway Winner of Blade of the Samurai

I cannot tell a lie. This is the number chose as the winner of a print copy of
 Blade of the Samurai: A Shinobi Mystery by Susan Spann.

My hubby had to copy this for me as a "screen shot"(whatever that means) as it would not copy as a picture  to put on this post.

Congratulations Barbara Zarrella on the win as the number 1 entry.  I know how much you wanted this book! Good Karma! Will send you an email and then forward your snail mail to TLC Book Tours.
Blade of the Samurai

Aug 15, 2014

The Art Whisperer by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

 *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice Also Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.

The Art Whisperer
What would you do if your book got these kinds of one-star ratings?

Book beginning:
The Conservation of Art: Methods and Aims, A Brief Guide
By Alix London...
 Reader's Forum Reviews. Newest First 
Worse Than Useless
Don't Waste Your Money
Shameful and Pathetic
Look Elsewhere
That was as much as Alix could take in one sitting, and not for the first time her fingers itched - literally truly itched - to send in a response of her own, a fiery rejoinder that would blow these captious faultfinders out of the water, but deep down she knew it wasn't worth the bitterness of getting into a fight with them. 

page 56:
"But I thought as lead detective on this character's cases you'd want to know and maybe -"
"Maybe get my ass over there too?"
Book description:
When art conservator Alix London spots a forgery, she knows trouble will follow. So she's understandably apprehensive when her connoisseur's eye spots something off about a multimillion-dollar Jackson Pollock painting at Palm Springs's Brethwaite Museum, her current employer. In her third mystery, Alix London must see through mirages in the desert to uncover the knotted history of the painting, and save herself in the process.

Aug 14, 2014

Book Review: Maxwell Street Blues by Marc Krulewitch

Maxwell Street Blues by Marc Krulewitch, published August 5, 2014; Alibi
Genre: crime fiction

Book description:
Who: Jules Landau, a college man turned private eye on the Windy City of Chicago's mean streets.

Chicago runs in Jules Landau’s veins. So does the blood of crooks. Now Jules is going legit as a private eye, stalking bail jumpers and cheating spouses—until he gets his first big case. Unfortunately, the client is his ex-con father, and the job is finding the killer of a man whom Jules loved like family.

What: Why did someone put two bullets in the head of gentle bookkeeper Charles Snook? Jules is determined to find out, even if the search takes him to perilous places he never wanted to go. Snooky, as he was affectionately known, had a knack for turning dirty dollars clean, with clients ranging from humble shop owners to sharp-dressed mobsters.

How: As Jules retraces Snooky’s last days, he crosses paths with a way-too-eager detective, a gorgeous and perplexing tattoo artist, a silver-haired university administrator with a kinky side, and a crusading journalist. Exposing one dirty secret after another, the PI is on a dangerous learning curve. And, at the top of that curve, a killer readies to strike again.

My comments: 
This is a hard-boiled detective/PI novel of the old school style. A new PI Jules tries to find out who killed his father's old friend Snooky, the bookkeeper for the mob, so to speak, and hides Snooky's sought after notebook while he investigates. The notebook would reveal names and corruption in all the usual places - in politics, on the streets, in the police force, and even among the university elite whose reputations should have been clean.

If you like hardboiled crime fiction and the mean streets of Chicago, this is a book to pick up. Not extraordinary in any sense, the author does however seems to be following in the footsteps of the classic writers of the genre and is a writer to keep an eye on.

Visit TLC Book Tours for more reviews.

About the author: Marc Krulewitch’s Jules Landau mysteries take place in Chicago, where he was born and where his family has lived for generations. He now resides in Colorado.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for a review e-copy of this book. 

Aug 11, 2014

Book Review: Blade of the Samurai by Susan Spann

Blade of the Samurai
Blade of the Samurai: A Shinobi Mystery by Susan Spann
Published July 15, 2014; Minotaur
Genre: historical mystery
When they had almost reached the end of the block Hiro asked, "Did you think I wouldn't reveal you as the murderer? Or did you just think yourself too smart to be caught?"
"I did not kill Saburo," Kazu muttered through clenched teeth. "I swear it on my honor." (ch. 25)
The second book in the series, a stand alone mystery novel, begins much as the first, Claws of the Cat. Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo, the Portuguese priest he is sworn to protect, in sixteenth century Kyoto, are called on by the shogun to solve a murder, which they must do or forfeit their own lives.

In Blade of the Samurai, Hiro suspects his own kinsman, Kazu, of the death of Saburo, who was killed with Kazu's own sword in the shogun's palace. Politics is heavily involved, Hiro surmises, as there are opposing clans and groups plotting to overthrow the shogun. But who exactly are the guilty parties in this case, among so many potential suspects?

I enjoyed this second book as much as the first - the unusual main characters - a ninja (shinobi) investigator and a Portuguese Jesuit priest, the historical setting, the involved customs and politics of sixteenth century Japan, the role of women, and the code of the samurai and the ninja. Also intriguing are how Hiro and Father Mateo go about their investigation, the people they interview, and the clues they put together to arrive at the surprising conclusion. Well written and plotted, this is an exciting new series for me!

Susan Spann is a transactional publishing attorney and the author of the Shinobi Mysteries, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo. CLAWS OF THE CAT was named a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month. Susan has a degree in Asian Studies and her hobbies include cooking, traditional archery, martial arts, and horseback riding. She lives in northern California with her husband, son, two cats, and an aquarium full of seahorses. Visit her website.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the author for a review copy of this book.
 For other reviews, check the book tour schedule.
GIVEAWAY: The publisher is offering an ebook or a hardcover copy of The Blade of the Samurai. Please leave a comment here or via email to Winner will be chosen at random on August 16 and notified by email. U.S. and Canada only, please.
UPDATE: Congrats to Barbara Z, the winner of the giveaway. 

Aug 10, 2014

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

Visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday each week to see what's new on readers' bookshelves.

The Good Dog
Storm Surge
Us: a Novel
Click on the blue titles under the book covers for the book descriptions.

Which of these would you open first?

Aug 7, 2014

Book Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride
Title: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
Published August 5, 2014; William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: historical fiction, fantasy
"Tell you what," said Fan. " If you wish to go to the Plains of the Dead, I'll show you the way. For a price." (ch. 13)
The plot: A young Chinese woman, Li Lan, in colonial Malaya of 1893, is promised to the wealthy Lim family as a ghost bride for their dead son, so that he may still bring pride to his family.   However, the young woman is in love with the dead son's cousin, Tian Bai, who is very much alive.

She is distraught by the dead son's haunting her in her dreams and takes too much medicine by mistake, lapsing into a coma. Her spirit leaves her comatose body and enters a gate to the underworld, where she encounters the spirit of her dead mother in the Plains of Death. She also meets the ghost Fan, who is to play an important role in the outcome of her wanderings, and falls under the spell of a mysterious and handsome spirit, Er Lang. Er Lang enlists her help for a task in the underworld and later gives Li Lan the energy or qi she needs to stay connected and not to disappear completely from the physical and spiritual worlds.

I have perhaps given too much away about the plot, but be assured there is much more to the book than my brief synopsis.

My comments: I loved the imagination of the author who created this world of wandering spirits and ghosts, combining aspects of Buddhist philosophy of death, punishment, and reincarnation, with the Christian hell as seen in Dante's Inferno, and the Chinese traditional beliefs in the fate of the dead who are not buried and provided for in the afterlife by their living relatives.

Chinese mythology, Buddhist and faint echoes of Christian beliefs seem to mingle in this world that Li Lan wanders into and out of, with the help of other spirits. The plot also holds suspense, as Li Lan helps Er Lang to find evidence of wrongdoing among the underworld spirits, evidence to convict and detain them, depriving them of freedom in the underworld and freeing her from the haunting spirit of the dead son, her would-be ghost husband. I was also reminded of the Greek myth of Orpheus's visit to the underworld to bring back his dead wife, Eurydice.

Recommendation: If you love fantasy, adventure, a mystery, mythology, romance and magic, this is a book I would recommend wholeheartedly. My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Visit the book's TLC tour schedule for other reviews.

Yangsze Choo is a fourth-generation Malaysian of Chinese descent. She lives in California with her husband and their two children, and loves to eat and read (often at the same time). The Ghost Bride was the Shirley Jackson Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013) and the Goodreads Choice Nominee for Fantasy (2013).

Connect with the author on Facebook or on her website

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for a review copy of the book.

Aug 6, 2014

Groomed for Murder: A Pet Boutique Mystery by Annie Knox: Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
Groomed for Murder
I enjoyed the first in the Pet Boutique mystery series, Paws for Murder by Annie Knox, and am eagerly looking forward to reading the second in the series, a stand alone cozy, Groomed for Murder.

Publication date: September 2, 2014 by Signet.
Here is the goodreads book description. You can decide for yourself if this is a cozy you would wait for.
Izzy McHale wants her new Trendy Tails Pet Boutique in Merryville, Minnesota, to be the height of canine couture and feline fashions. Izzy is hard at work coordinating two special weddings at Trendy Tails. First, Izzy’s friend and mentor, Ingrid, will be tying the knot with her old flame. And a week later, Izzy will host “pupptials” for two lovable dogs.  
The Trendy Tails crew is intrigued by Daniel, an enigmatic writer boarding above the shop. Unfortunately, Daniel  drops dead at the altar on Ingrid’s wedding day. When Izzy's Aunt Dolly is found at the scene with the murder weapon, Izzy, her pals, and her scrappy pets, Packer and Jinx, have to find the real killer...
The pet boutique solves a crime as it preps for a doggie "wedding," holey moley!

Aug 4, 2014

Book Review: Billionaire Blend by Cleo Coyle

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B; choose two teaser sentences from your current read.
Billionaire Blend
How can it be? This club of the rich and powerful has been completely duped. Someone's passed off this dud of a bean as the Village Blend's signature Ambrosia, which it decidedly is not! Not even close! 
"Clare?" Eric said, obviously sensing my distress. 
Scene or not, I could not let this situation stand. "Please call the waiter back." (ch. 31)
Billionaire Blend by Cleo Coyle is the 13th Coffeehouse Mystery, a stand alone cozy with the coffee house theme. Set in Manhattan, the novels follow owners Clare Cosi and her ex-husband Matteo Allegro, along with Matteo's enigmatic mother, who are all co-owners of the successful coffee house, The Village Blend.

In this novel, Clare helps save the life of online game app and tech wizard, Eric Thorner, who is injured in her coffeehouse when a car bomb goes off outside, killing Eric's female chauffeur. Clare jets all over the world to exotic coffee growing locations in South America, Jamaica, Africa, and Asia, sampling coffee to find the right beans to create the Billionaire Blend, a blend Eric is planning to create and market exclusively to the very rich.

Clare's love interest, the detective Mike Quinn, helps with the solving of the car bombing and its link to Eric and his high tech businesses. Matchmaking for her daughter Joy is another concern for Clare, and the subplot takes on Clare's reuniting Joy with her true love.

Recommendations: I liked going on whirl wind trips around the globe with Clare and learning about different types of coffees and how they are grown and produced. The trips are never dull, the characters are always intriguing, and the plot does keep you on your toes, just like a cup of strong coffee. You can tell that Cleo Coyle is an experienced cozy writer as she takes you effortlessly into her world, in this case around the world with coffee. A five star rating, in my books.

Thanks to Berkley and Penguin for a review copy of this book, which will be released in paperback August 5, 2014. 

Aug 3, 2014

Sunday Salon: Reading In Spite of Lake Erie Water Disaster

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week.Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday each week.

We need a lot of heavy rain, winds, and lower temps to get rid of the toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie that are growing near the water intake for Lucas County, Ohio's water supply.
Our water advisory started early yesterday morning and we were told not to drink, cook, or brush teeth with the local water. Now they are saying those with compromised immune systems are advised to not even shower or bathe in the water. And washing clothes in cold water will still leave some of the toxins in the clothes. Of course, boiling the water will only increase the concentration of the toxin in the water.

We drove a hour south of the Great Lakes to find bottled water yesterday morning. There was a drain on bottled water in all the stores starting 2 a.m. Saturday, and by the time people woke up to the news on TV, water was very scarce. We found bottles in Lima, Ohio, thank heavens. By today, the local stores had trucked in millions of bottles of water so there is no shortage. And free water is being distributed at points around the city and county.

How long will this water emergency last? One can only hope not too long. The neon green algae can be seen from outer space, it's so dense. Not all of Lake Erie is affected, just our shallow portion of the lake, on its lower west. The algae blooms have not congregated on other sides of the lake, so Sandusky and Cleveland's water supplies are safe this time.

What's the point of being near the nation's greatest bodies of water, the Great Lakes, when they can become so polluted and toxic?

In any case, the reading of books goes on. I was absolutely delighted to get these two mystery novels in my mailbox.
Paw and Order
Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn is a stand alone novel in the Chet and Bernie mystery series with canine detective Chet and his human partner Bernie. I just love Chet the narrator and his doggie's point of view.

In the seventh book in the brilliant New York Times bestselling mystery series, canine narrator Chet and P.I. Bernie journey to Washington, DC, and the dog-eat-dog world of our nation's capital.

The Bone Seeker by M.J. McGrath is the third Edie Kiglatuk mystery in the series and is a stand alone novel.

 The intrepid Edie Kiglatuk discovers one of her female students dead in a toxic lake in her third arctic mystery...

Toxic lake?  That sounds familiar, but this lake is in the Arctic.

What are you reading this summer weekend? 

Aug 1, 2014

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: Book Beginning

Visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader for other books chosen for this meme.

Title: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Published July 15, 2014; Atria Books

Book beginning: A Man Called Ove Buys a Computer That Is Not a Computer
Ove is fifty-nine.
He drives a Saab. He is the kind of man who points at people he doesn't like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman's flashlight. He stands at the corner of  a shop where owners of Japanese cars come to purchased white cables. Ove eyes the sales assistant for a long time before shaking a medium-sized white box at him.
"So this is one of those O-Pads, is it?" he demands. 
Page 56: 
You miss the strangest things when you lose someone. Little things. Smiles. The way she turned over in her sleep. Even repainting a room for her.
Publisher description: "In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations."

Would you keep reading the book based on the beginning and the excerpt?

Travel Can Be Fun or Not: Sunday Salon

Books read and to-be-read The Trip by Phoebe Morgan, May 25, 2024; HQ, NetGalley Genre: mystery, adventure, travel fiction, adult fiction B...