Friday, May 27, 2016

FridayReads for May 27, 2016

Happy #FridayReads!

I am so happy that the books I ordered from Aunt Agatha’s arrived yesterday!

A USEFUL WOMAN by Darcie Wilde (signed!) (first in a new Regency mystery series)

KILLER COCKTAIL by Tracy Kiely (I loved the first in this series, MURDER WITH A TWIST)

VANILLA BEANED by Jenn McKinlay (a very fun series set in Scottsdale, AZ)

I also picked up DETROIT HUSTLE: A MEMOIR OF LOVE, LIFE & HOME by Amy Haimerl from the library. You can take the girl out of Detroit, but you can’t take the Detroit out of the girl!

I finished DESIGN FOR DYING by Renee Patrick Thursday morning. Old Hollywood glamour with a murder thrown in, and assistance with sleuthing from Edith Head—I should have saved it for the weekend too!

So, as you can guess, I’ll be reading this weekend. What are you reading, and what are you up to this weekend?

Happy Reading!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

Hello All!

I have been reading what seems like a lot of good books, and this is another one. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson is wonderful.

This book takes place in the seaside village of Rye, beginning in the summer of 1914. It brings together (Aunt) Agatha Kent, her husband John, their nephews Hugh and Daniel, the new Latin instructor Beatrice Nash, the Mayor, his wife, the local gentry, Lady Emily and Colonel Wheaton and a young man, called Snout, who is part gypsy. Over the course of the book, the world seems peaceful and full of possibilities, then war breaks out. The village welcomes refugees from Belgium, some more welcome than others, and sends some of its sons to war in various ways. There are parades, fetes, and dances, all to raise money for the war effort.

This is a meaty book, told from several points of view. I enjoyed all of the characters, except the mayor's wife (I don't think anyone is supposed to like her). I didn't read this as fast as some of the others I've been reading, and it seemed a book to be savored this way. Out of concern for several characters, I did keep checking ahead, not finding out too much, but just enough to encourage me. I was pretty happy with the end of the book too.

I highly recommend this book!

Happy Reading,

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, Random House, March 22, 2016; ISBN 9780812993103

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Bed of Scorpions by Judith Flanders

Hello All,

Happy New Year! I finished my third book of the new year on January 13th, and all three have been terrific. I believe 2016 may hold many wonderful books!

The first book I'm blogging about is A Bed of Scorpions by Judith Flanders. Samantha Clair (Sam) is an editor in London, and one of her oldest friends, Aidan, has just found his business partner dead in their gallery. Sam does try to keep out of the situation, but not only is her boyfriend, Jake, a Scotland Yard detective who is working this case, but Sam's work keeps her in the mix of this investigation.

Sam has a bike accident, and several other things occur, including a second murder, to make Jake think that someone is after Sam also. He's slightly overprotective, but for awhile, Sam doesn't think she's in any danger.

What I love about this series is that Sam is a fully fleshed-out character. She's a professional, in her forties, has some issues with both her mother and her boyfriend, and she's smart. I really enjoy spending time with her.

I'm looking forward to the next book! I highly recommend both the first in this series, A Murder of Magpies, and A Bed of Scorpions.

Happy Reading!

A Bed of Scorpions by Judith Flanders, Minotaur Books, March 1, 2016; ISBN 9781250056467

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley

Hello All,

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley begins with the title; Detective Kubu’s father is murdered. The book takes us through all the sadness and work that everyone goes through when death occurs. The funeral, the grieving, the horrible sense that nothing is right. All of this is made worse by the fact that Wilmon Bengu was murder. Why?

And then the house is robbed, and Mr. Bengu’s will is missing. What now?

Next, a riot ensues when a chief and elders of a community decide against allowing mining on tribal lands; the younger men of the tribe need and want the jobs. The chief and at least 2 elders are killed. What now?

Detective Kubu, who is now an Assistant Superintendent, is heartbroken when his father is murdered. Of course he is told to stay away from the case, but he still hovers at the edges, making several mistakes that earns him the ire of his boss. He is even sent to New York, to give a speech at a conference for his boss, and he still does a little detecting there.

The reader gets more than one point of view in this story; among others, we get the viewpoint of Kubu’s superior, an excellent detective in his own right as well as several others within the police force. I enjoyed the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, Jacob Mabaku’s view, and how hard he also worked on the cases.

Upon Kubu’s return, things really heat up, both towards solving who instigated the riot, and who murdered a second man. Unfortunately, Kubu makes a grievous error when interrogating a suspect, and is forced to take a leave of absence. Despite this mistake, the case(s) draw to a close, but not without one final twist at the end.

Happy Reading,

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley, Minotaur Books, October 27, 2015; ISBN 9781250070890

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Kill by Jane Casey

Hello All!

Thanks to an advance reading copy from Minotaur Books and one or more reviews in Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Bookshop’s newsletter, I have spent the last few months reading Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan mystery series, catching up this week with The Kill.

Maeve is an interesting, smart, yet somewhat insecure Metropolitan Detective. For most of the series she is partnered with DI Josh Derwent, who is very obnoxious mostly (including sexist) but does have a softer side, buried way, way, way deep. There are other parts of organizational structure of the police department that Maeve has to deal with.

Over the course of the series, Maeve also learns to let a great guy into her life, Rob. He even moves to a different department so that they can continue their relationship. She is a bit shy of commitment, but Rob is the guy for her.

I think The Kill is the best of the series. The homicide victims in this book are police—different levels of officers, no connections to each other—how and why are they being murdered. This case for Maeve affects her coworkers, her partner Derwent, and her relationship with Rob. The story is excellent.

Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!

The Kill by Jane Casey, Minotaur Books, June 2, 2015; ISBN 9781250048844

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

The Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey
The Burning (2010)
The Reckoning (2011)
The Last Girl (2012)
The Stranger You Know (2013) 2015 Mary Higgins Clark Award

The Kill (2014 British publication date; 2015 U.S. pub date)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

And the Books Just Keep on Coming!

Hello All,

I continue to be one of the luckiest librarians I know! I have received some awesome advance readers' copies that I want to share with you. I have not read these yet, but hope to in the next few months.

The list is in reverse publication (by month, approximately) order--meaning I'll start at the bottom and work my way up.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin 
The Man in the Washing Machine by Susan Cox
Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver (I really liked the first in this series)
Buster: the Military Dog Who Saved a Thousand Lives by Will Barrow (nonfiction)
City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship by Marilyn Yalom (nonfiction)
Food Whore by Jessica Tom
In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward
Spare Parts by Joshua Davis
Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart
Sisters in Law  by Linda Hirshman (nonfiction)
Art in the Blood by Bonnie Macbird
Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Trombly
Zeroes by Chuck Wendig
Fishbowl by Bradley Somer
Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters
Rome in Love by Anita Hughes
The Drowning Ground by James Morrison
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston
Vanishing Games by Roger Hobb (still need to read Ghostman)
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Days of Awe by Lauren Fox
A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd (I actually would like to read the whole Bess Crawford series)
Armada by Ernest Cline (I'm so excited about this one--Ready Player One was excellent!)
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Circling the Sun by Paula McClain
Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen
Bell Weather by Dennis Mahoney
Ways of the World by Robert Goddard
Thin Air by Ann Cleeves
The Kill by Jane Casey
The Tide Watchers by Lisa Chaplin
Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson (I loved Shadow Divers by the same author) (nonfiction)
Ruined Abbey by Anne Emery

I'm currently reading Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy, and Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews. I finished In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume last week and really enjoyed it.

Now, just a little more time to read...

Happy Reading to all of you!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Blessings Brought To You By Beverly Jenkins

Hello All,

I was lucky enough to have met Beverly Jenkins during a library program I hosted when I lived and worked in Michigan. At the time, she was writing African American historical and contemporary romance; since then she has also given readers a wonderful new series, the Blessings series.

In Bring On the Blessings, Bernadine Brown catches her husband in bed with another woman. She takes him to court and along with her divorce, she is awarded 275 million dollars. She then opens her heart and asks for guidance to do something positive and meaningful with her wealth. Within a short period of time, she finds a town who has put itself up for sale on Ebay, and she buys it.

The town of Henry Adams, KS is rich with African American history, but low on funds to maintain the town, let alone invite growth. Once Bernadine arrives, things start happening. She uses her finances to start rebuilding the town, and to build new structures for more people to move to Henry Adams. Bernadine had also read about foster children, and matching them with parents who are interested in the long haul; really committed to one child and giving them love and family to grow up with. She matches five children with five sets of parents, herself included. Much of the remainder of the book is about how these new families negotiate life with each other, and how Bernadine helps Henry Adams grow into a special town.

Here is the series:

1. Bring on the Blessings
2. A Second Helping
3. Something Old, Something New
4. A Wish and a Prayer
5. Heart of Gold
6. For Your Love (published April 28, 2015)

Each of the books in the series shows the growth of the adults and the children, and especially of the love that is shared in this small, special place. They are best read in order.

I received the most recent title in the series, For Your Love, as an advance reader copy, and I read it a week or so ago. As I have with all the others, I loved it. Ms. Jenkins has added a few new characters, and each family experiences growth and change.

I love these books and these characters--and some of them are real characters (in the humorous sense)! The town really comes together to raise these foster children. One of my favorite things is that when the kids get in trouble, either together or on their own, one of their punishments is to paint a white picket fence! This has been a punishment for a generation or two. Also I really, really love how the town works together to solve problems, and they create ways to really be together as a community.

I wonder if Henry Adams needs a librarian...

Happy Reading!!!