Dec 13, 2011

Book Review: Teed Up for Love by Barbara Weitz

Title: Teed Up for Love by Barbara Weitz
Paperback and e-Book 
Publisher: Champagne Rose (April 28, 2011)

"A man who thought me a thief then turns around and sears my lips with unbearable passion. Top it off with learning Dad and Laine were teenaged lovers, and I had to admit, a recipe for disaster was brewing." (ch. 13)

Book description:
A WORKING GIRL JUST HAS TO BLOW HER LID... Using her quick wit and take-charge attitude, Miranda Stiltgaard lands a marketing job for Stuart Golf Enterprises in Chicago determined to prove a well-educated girl raised in a small Alaskan town can succeed in a big city.

WHEN ACCUSED OF A CRIME SHE DIDN'T DO... Embezzlement of company funds sends aloof London bachelor, Keegan Stuart, roaring into Chicago to ferret out a thief and protect the family business.

THEN RISKS HEARTBREAK TO BOOT... Miranda hates that this unreadable Brit sees her as a backwoods frontierswoman dragging bear home for dinner. Or that she's capable of a crime. But if it's a fight he wants, she'll show him how it's done. Never does Keegan expect a woman of fortitude to rock his resolve and steal his heart...a heart he doesn't intend to lose.

Comments: This is a romance coupled with a mystery, not a murder mystery, but a crime of embezzlement that cries to be solved. Miranda is at first accused, the suspicions are later dropped, but the problem remains to be resolved. The novel takes us to different world cities and places in England and the United States, thus enhancing its international appeal.

About the author: Barbara Weitz lives in a suburb of Chicago. Visit her at
Visit Pump Up Your Book virtual book tours for more Blog tour stops and reviews.

I received a complimentary copy of the novel for the Pump Up Your Book virtual book tour.
© Harvee Lau 2011

Dec 12, 2011

Book Review: So Far Away: A Daughter's Memoir of Life, Loss, and Love by Christine W. Hartmann

Title: So Far Away: A Daughter's Memoir of Life, Loss, and Love
Author: Christine W. Hartmann
Vanderbilt University Press (2011), Paperback, 224 pages

Comments: I was totally amazed by this author's situation - having a physically healthy mother who made a conscious decision to end her life at age 70, coupled with a father who became disabled after several strokes and had to be cared for in a nursing home. The father's situation seemed not out of the ordinary - many people are faced with the care of an elderly parent who becomes seriously ill and who may even develop dementia. The mother however, seemed to be out of the ordinary although the author seemed to feel she was healthy psychologically, just with a determination to end her life and to have a say in how and when she would die.

I had to admire the author for coming through this situation and deciding that her mother's action showed her self-absorption, while her father cared more about communicating with her, his child. I would have liked to see what other medical personnel thought about her mother, as it's hard to see her mother's decision as a normal reaction to life and death.

The book was well written and described the family situation very well. It left me, however, with quite a few more questions.

About the author: Christine W. Hartmann is a research health scientist at ENR Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass. and assistant professor in the School of Public Health at Boston University. She has published articles on health care quality improvement, focusing on long-term care.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book for the tour by TLC Book Tours.

For other stops on the tour, visit TLC Book Tour reviews.

© Harvee Lau 2011

Dec 11, 2011

Sunday Salon: New for the Holidays

The Sunday Salon.comWelcome to the Sunday Salon. Click on the logo to join in.

I haven't deserted my old computer; I'll still use it but I was overdue for an up to date and much faster web experience. I swear my blood pressure would go up each time I had to wait for a page to load on my trusted oldie. Now hopefully, I can write faster with this more modern one.
I finished reading The Dressmaker: A Novel by Kate Alcott, about the sinking of the Titanic and how the survivors fared during the subsequent investigations into the causes and effects. Based on historical records, the book details the behavior of the "millionaire" survivors who put their own safety first as the ship was sinking, and describes the media frenzy that followed when the details became known. I rated this novel 4.5/5 and recommend it to Titanic history buffs and anyone interested in good storytelling.
A review of the enjoyable cozy, Shoe Done It: An Accessories Mystery by Grace Carroll, was posted last week, one I gave a 3.75. I've been reading other cozies too, some not as enjoyable, either because of the writing or the lack of action that could encourage a reader to flip quickly through to see the ending, as I did with one or two. Too many books, too little time...unless the books are really good.
I wanted to read another historical novel, Victoria Hislop's The Thread, but see it won't be out in the U.S. until early summer 2012, so I've put it back on the shelf.
Next to read will be the ARCs of two well know thriller writers, Leighton Gage's A Vine in the Blood is due out on Dec. 27 and Daniel Palmer's Helpless is due Jan. 31, 2012.

I also received an ARC of The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees, a thriller about computer game reality merging with true reality. My husband has snagged a first read ahead of me as this is just up his alley.

What have you been doing and what do you plan to do this week?

Dec 9, 2011

Book Review: Shoe Done It by Grace Carroll

Title: Shoe Done It: An Accessories Mystery by Grace Carroll
Paperback: 288 pages, Berkley
Publication date: October 4, 2011
Rating: 3.75/5
"Could you tell her she is in serious legal trouble if she doesn't return the shoes to me right now? Otherwise I'll be forced to call the police." (ch. 3)
San Francisco society lady MarySue Jensen insists on having these special hand spun silver shoes to wear to a Golden Gate Park gala event, even though she can't pay for them. She walks out of Dolce's Boutique with them anyway, which leaves Rita Jewel, the new shop assistant, with the idea that she must get them back at all cost. Loss of the shoes would mean ruin for her employer Dolce and her high end fashion shop. When Rita tries to climb into the second story window of MarySue's house to recover the shoes, she is pushed away by Rita, the ladder she is on falls, and she is taken to the hospital with a concussion.

In the meantime, the gala event takes place but MarySue is found dead there, sitting in an Adirondack chair with her feet bare and the shoes gone. Rita and Dolce may both be suspects, even though Rita can prove she was unconscious in the hospital when MarySue was murdered. It's up to Rita to clear her employer Dolce,  find the real killer, and save both the shop and her job.

Comments: An enjoyable cozy if you don't mind brand names of high end clothing and shoes going over your head; at least they did over mine. What carried the book was the character, Rita Jewel, whose fashion sense and gutsiness made the book fun to read.  I had to suspend disbelief though, at the thought that loss of the silver shoes could lead to the end of a successful clothing shop. It was hard for me to imagine the extremely valuable "hand spun silver shoes" although later in the book, too late, they were described as having encrusted jewels. Apart from that, it was easy to get through this cozy, the first in a new series.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book.
© Harvee Lau 2011

Dec 6, 2011

Teaser: The Dressmaker: A Novel by Kate Alcott

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify the author and title for readers.

Title: The Dressmaker: A Novel by Kate Alcott
Publisher: Doubleday, February 21, 2012
Tess opened the bag and gasped as Lucile's moonstone earrings - sparkling with light even in this dense, windowless space - tumbled into her hand. "I can't take these," she stammered.
(ch. 3 - quote from an uncorrected proof; the final copy may differ.)

Book description: Just in time for the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic ship comes a novel of romance and history, about a spirited young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself embroiled in the media frenzy after the tragedy.

Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she's had a lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. On board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes...

Dec 3, 2011

Library Finds: Mystery Novels and Historical Fiction

My tour of my local library turned up four mysteries and an historical romance.

Title: The Real Macaw: A Meg Lanslow Mystery by Donna Andrews
Meg juggles twins, murder, and a back-talking bird in the next side-splittingly funny installment in the award-winning, New York Times bestselling series. (book description)

Title: Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn
Meet Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog On It, who works alongside Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private eye. Chet may have flunked out of police school but he's a detective through and through. (book description)

Title: Thereby Hangs a Tail: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn
In the second Chet and Bernie mystery, Chet gets a glimpse of the show dog world turned deadly.What first seems like a walk in the park to canine narrator Chet and his human companion Bernie turns serious when pampered show dog Princess and her owner are abducted. (Goodreads)

Title: Mr. Monk Is Cleaned Out by Lee Goldberg
Monk's been swindled out of his savings-but now it's payback time, in the original mystery featuring the famous detective with OCD.

Title: Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors
A man and a woman from different worlds, whose love is put to the ultimate test as they struggle to survive an extraordinary set of circumstances. A small band of survivors from the sinking of a hospital ship during WWII, including an injured Japanese soldier and a young American nurse whom he saves from drowning, makes it to the deserted shore of a nearby island.

I enjoy mysteries with animals and my husband is a fan of Monk. He has just finished Shors' latest book and so I got Beside the Burning Sea for him, hoping he'll like this one too.

Any library books you want to share with us?

Dec 1, 2011

Book Review: The Goat Woman of Largo Bay by Gillian Royes

Title: The Goat Woman of Largo Bay by Gillian Royes
Paperback: 320 pages, Atria Books
Publication date: September 27, 2011

In a nutshell: Simone finds and retreats to a small uninhabited island off Largo Bay in northeastern Jamaica, returning after years of living in the U.S. The tiny island belongs to an American expatriate - Eric, who runs a bar on the mainland and who rents her his island although he worries about her safety there.

In the meantime, a mysterious foreign businessman nicknamed Man-O-War has hired local thugs to influence votes in the upcoming general election for a new government. The two plots connect when a serious threat to Simone develops. 
She tapped the gun once in her palm, held Eric's gaze, then glanced at Shad....

"This island belong to him, miss," Shad said in a low voice. "You're trespassing...."

"He should've had a sign," she said. The words were guttural but crisp - an American accent with some Jamaican underneath. (p. 19)
My comments: The main character is a mysterious, determined woman whose actions and unusual retreat to the island arouses suspicion and concern among the residents of Largo Bay, who wonder about her sanity. These include Eric and his bartender Shad. To protect the woman Simone, they call on local people including a medicine man who performs black magic or obeah.  I enjoyed seeing the Jamaican culture and its current economic and political situations woven into the plot. These, in addition to the characters, carried the novel, which did not have a complicated crime plot. It's the first in a new detective series. I rate the novel 3.75-4 out of 5.

Author: Gillian Royes was born in Kingston, Jamaica and lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She earned a doctorate in American Studies at Emory University, and is the author of Business is Good and Sexcess: The New Gender Rules at Work. The Goat Woman of Largo Bay is her first work of fiction.

© Harvee Lau 2011
I  received a complimentary copy of this novel for possible review.  

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro. Intellect having "heart" Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of suc...