Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Murder in Half Moon Bay by: Nancy Jill Thames

Title: Murder in Half Moon Bay
Author: Nancy Jill Thames
Publisher: Createspace
Series: Jillian Bradley #1
Pages: 191
Format: Kindle e-book
Source: Purchase


All Jillian Bradley wants is to spend a quiet weekend by the ocean and enjoy her afternoon tea. But a startling discovery draws Jillian and her garden club friends into solving a mystery that threatens her life and changes her future.

The unlikely team helps the chief uncover a series of mysterious events that lead to solving several murders, both past and present. Could it be the mean spirited conference director? Perhaps it's the wealthy widow on the make for her next husband; or maybe the killer is the haughty business woman who shows no regard for her brow beaten husband.

“Murder in Half Moon Bay,” Book 1 in The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series, introduces Jillian's little companion Teddy, a Yorkie who falls prey to danger but rises to become a sleuth dog in the next book.

My Thoughts: 

I got this book as a free download on Amazon's site, it starts out with Jillian setting up a garden club gathering.  It doesn't take long to meet a group of interesting characters that are so different from one another.

The hard part I had with this book was that the chief of Police seemed to accommodating to Jillian.  Usually in cozy's it's all the cops saying "Butt out, or obstruction of justice" this book he was too willing to let Jillian and her friends snoop around.  Which I found odd.

Overall a great cozy mystery with a couple of murders, love affair, kidnapping and everything else is entailed.  I was generally thrilled with it!
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Review: Let Loose by: Rae Davies

Title: Let Loose
Author: Rae Davies
Publisher: Lead Dog Books
Series: Deals Mystery Series: Book #4
Pages: 215
Format: ebook
Source: Cozy Book Tours


No good deed goes unpunished. The rule has kept Lucy Mathews out of trouble for most of her 29 years. That is until her part-time partner decides Lucy’s image needs a little polishing and shoves her in front of every do-good bandwagon she can find.

Luckily for Lucy, her dream charity runs right up to her doorstep in the form of a sexy Canadian musher who’s in town to help organize the local sled dog race.

Not so luckily for Lucy, sexy Canadians and detective boyfriends do not a happy mixture make.

One dead race organizer, a group of rambunctious octogenarians, and a team of sled dogs in need of a home later and Lucy is confident this punishment is more than anyone, much less one lone antique store owner, can handle.

My Thoughts:

In this book Lucy Mathews finds herself deep in a murder mystery on top of a thief running loose add to that contending with a dog sled team she is fostering.  When a sled dog team owner winds up dead and Lucy ends up with his team of dogs it's up to Lucy to figure out who killed him and why, and what is she going to do with the team of sled dogs.

I love reading about Lucy and her companions along with the dogs and all the antics they were up to. It was definitely a different spin on a normal cozy mystery and definitely worth the adventure you get taken on.  I will definitely look for other books by Rae Davies she is a great story teller!
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: If You Ask Me by: Betty White

Title: If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)
Author: Betty White
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Pages: 258
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchase


It-girl Betty White delivers a hilarious, slyly profound take on love, life, celebrity, and everything in between.

Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White's wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty's candid take on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to her beauty regimen ("I have no idea what color my hair is and I never intend to find out") to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to host Saturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times already.

Featuring all-new material, with a focus on the past fifteen years of her life, If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and to the point-just like Betty White.

My Thoughts: 

Betty White has had an exceptional life.  I know myself I grew up with her on the Golden Girls and loved watching her and the other ladies make us laugh.  I loved her when I was older in Lake Placid as she played the brassy Mrs. Delores Bickerman.  Me and my husband love her brassiness in this movie she rocked!  We also watched some Hot In Cleveland and thought she was great in it.  Something about Betty White we just love her as an actress she knows how to thrive in whatever she puts her hand to.

Now after all my gushing about Ms. White onto this book which is great she talks about various topics whether it is her marriage to Allen Ludden, or her love of animals which she has a great theory about.  She connects more with animals because an animal won't lie to you, hurt you on purpose.  They may have bad days but they have their ways of dealing with it.  Got to love that theory!

This book was incredible being able to see what her life was like, what advice she has to offer others and how she has dealt with certain situations.  I am just in awe of her talent and ability!  We are blessed to have Ms. White around for as long as we can and to be able to enjoy her acting ability.  She has played so many different characters but I think her best one is herself.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Dyed and Gone by: Beth Yarnall

Title: Dyed and Gone
Author:  Beth Yarnall
Publisher: Entangled: Select
Series: An Azalea Mystery #1
Pages: 400
Format: ebook
Source: Cozy Book Tours


Hairstylist Azalea March is looking forward to a wild weekend in Las Vegas with her friends. Oh, sure, they’re supposed to be there on business, attending the biggest hair show on the west coast, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun. But fun quickly turns to drama. On the first morning of the show, Dhane, the biggest celeb of the hair-styling world, is found dead. As it urns out Azalea’s friend, Vivian, not only knew Dhane, but the tale she weaves of how they met is faker than a showgirl’s uh… assets. When Vivian confesses to the murder and is arrested, Azalea knows there’s no way she could have done it and suspects Vivian may be trying to protect someone. But who?

Azalea now has to convince Alex, the sexy detective from her past, to help her prove Vivian’s innocence and comb through clues more twisted than a spiral perm. But the truth is stranger than anything found on the Las Vegas Strip, and proving Vivian’s innocence turns out to be more difficult than transforming a brunette into a blonde.

My Thoughts:

This book follows Azalea March as she is having a wild weekend with her friends in Vegas when death pops it's ugly head.  When Dhane a big celebrity winds up beheaded and Azalea's friend Viv confesses to committing the murder but Azalea knows her friend didn't commit the crime and now it's up to Azalea and Juan Carlos to find out who killed Juan Carlos and why her friend Viv is sitting in jail.

Azalea meets some interesting characters connected to Dhane like his sister Trinity who's got a few screws loose, and finds herself in trouble soon enough.  Who is angry enough at Dhane to commit this murder and what do they hope to gain by it?

This book was great and a lot of fun to figure out who killed Dhane and why they did it.  You meet all sorts of characters that Azalea runs into and the ones that mean the most to her.  It was definitely a great book and worth taking the ride with this author.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review - You Are Not So Smart by: David McRaney

Title: You Are Not So Smart
Author: David McRaney
Publisher: Gotham
Pages: 302
Format: Epub
Source: Personal purchase


An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise. 

You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you're as deluded as the rest of us. But that's OK- delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion. It's like a psychology class, with all the boring parts taken out, and with no homework.

Based on the popular blog of the same name, You Are Not So Smartcollects more than 46 of the lies we tell ourselves everyday, including:

Dunbar's Number - Humans evolved to live in bands of roughly 150 individuals, the brain cannot handle more than that number. If you have more than 150 Facebook friends, they are surely not all real friends. Hindsight bias - When we learn something new, we reassure ourselves that we knew it all along. Confirmation bias - Our brains resist new ideas, instead paying attention only to findings that reinforce our preconceived notions. Brand loyalty - We reach for the same brand not because we trust its quality but because we want to reassure ourselves that we made a smart choice the last time we bought it.

Packed with interesting sidebars and quick guides on cognition and common fallacies, You Are Not So Smart is a fascinating synthesis of cutting-edge psychology research to turn our minds inside out.

My thoughts:

Those who see the title of the post might go, "and you're SO smart, right?" Well, that's the whole point, really. None of us are. And David McRaney is the one saying it, not me. And he says it at least once in every single chapter. He doesn't stop there, either; he claims we have no idea why we love what we love, how we react to anything, in short, he says we have no idea about anything at all. And he's right, mostly...

In saying this, we're actually aware of everything he mentions in his book. We come face to face with most of them in our daily lives. However, they've become so routine that we don't really think about them much, if at all. And, because we don't think about them, we're not really aware that we don't think about them. You know what I mean? This is what McRaney really says. He explains all of this by giving examples from research conducted by names famous in their own fields and by drawing from popular culture.

Everyone who reads this book will find a piece of themselves in it. For example, McRaney talks about marketing methods. He says that because we're stupid, we buy advertisers' and marketers' games. In actuality, he uses this to sell his book because the main reason why I read it was seeing the "why you have too many friends on Facebook" quote. Otherwise, I'm not sure I would even pick it up. 

If you like, you can visit the website first, and then dive into the book if you find the content matter interesting. I must say it's a very fast read; you can read it in about two hours, so you won't lose much time if you end up disliking it in the end.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review Out of Circulation by: Miranda James

Title: Out of Circulation
Author: Miranda James
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Pages: 289
Series: Cat in the Stacks #4
Format: ebook
Source: Purchase
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | Amazon


Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. He's returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but when a feud erupts between the town's richest ladies, the writing on the wall spells murder.

The Ducote sisters are in a tiff with Vera Cassity over the location of this year's library fundraising gala, and Charlie would rather curl up in a corner than get into the fray. It seems everyone--even his housekeeper Azalea--has it in for Vera. And at the gala, she gives them good reason, with a public display of rancor aimed at anyone who gets in her way.

But those bitter words wind up being her last. When Charlie discovers Azalea standing over Vera's dead body, it's up to him--with a little help from Diesel--to clear Azalea's name, and catch a killer before his last chapter is finished.

My Thoughts:

This books goes back to Athena Mississippi where we catch up with Charlie Harris, his Maine coon cat Diesel, his kids Sean and Laura and the various people in their lives.  In this book Charlie is joining the other members of the library board to get donations for the library with a fundraising Gala.

Not long into this Charlie finds everyone seems to have a passionate dislike for Vera Cassity, including his maid Azalea, what Charlie can't figure out is why?  That is until Vera goes head to head with Charlie about trying to access the Ducote files, which can't be accessed without permission being granted by the lawyer of the estate or surviving family members.

The night of the Gala shows so many things going on like a heated argument between Vera and Azalea, Vera and her husband get into a heated fight over his having an affair.  Later in the night when everyone is packing up to go home Vera is found murdered the question is who had the most to gain by shutting down Mrs. Cassity and why?

This book was great I love going back to Athena to see what everyone is up to, and this book didn't fail in this one we also saw more of Stewart which was nice seeing him interact with the family I enjoyed it a lot.  Cat in the Stacks won't disappoint anyone in the slightest!
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Review: Burnout by: Teresa Trent

Title: Burnout
Author: Teresa Trent
Pages: 199
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services Inc.
Series: Pecan Bayou Series #5
Format: ebook
Source: Cozy Book Tours


It's November in Pecan Bayou, Texas and while the town is getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday a deadly fire breaks out at the newspaper office. When Rocky, the editor is nowhere to be found, Betsy refuses to believe he has perished in the fire. The entire town is coming down with the stomach flu and Betsy must deal with her husband's new found celebrity as an on-air weatherman filling in for and under-the-weather Hurricane Hal . Leo loves all the attention he's getting, especially from the sexy administrative assistant who works at the station. Is their new marriage in trouble already? Find out in the fifth book of the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series. All the characters you've come to know and love are back and you'll find plenty of the Happy Hinter's recipes and tips included at the end of the book.

My Thoughts:

In this book we follow Betsy who works at the Pecan Bayou Gazette that is until someone decides to burn it down.  Now Betsy is determined with the help of her cop father to find out where Rocky the editor is and if he died in the fire.

Also a flu is running rampid first hitting Betsy's son Zach, then about half the town including local weatherman Hurricane Hal.  Betsy's husband Leo has been called in to fill in the weather spot until Hurricane Hal is back to work.   With that includes Leo spending time with the bottle blond Jeanette Burris who seems to be getting too comfortable with Leo.

Who is Jeanette Burris and what does she want with Leo?  And where is Rocky?  And who died in the fire?

This book was great I loved it.  I love the antics that Betsy comes up with when she tries to get to the bottom of things.  I loved watching her interact with her kids and her friends and family.  This book really grabbed and pulled me wanting to know what happened to certain characters.  I just enjoyed it so much!!
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Giveaway Winners Announced

Well the contest winners have all been chosen and I'm waiting to hear back but for this contest the winners are:

Death on Eat Street: Gina Butler

A Roux Revenge: Michelle F.

Congratulations to The winners and thank you everyone who entered I'm sure we will have more contests.  So keep your eyes out and thank you for commenting and feel free to comment again, or even share your thoughts on a book!

Review: A Killing Notion by: Melissa Bourbon

Title: A Killing Notion
Author: Melissa Bourbon
Publisher: Signet
Series: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: ebook
Source: Cozy Book Tours


Harlow Jane Cassidy is swamped with homecoming couture requests. If only she didn’t have to help solve a murder, she might get the gowns off the dress forms....  

Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows—without letting clients know about her secret charm. When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls—including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow’s heart—she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause.

But when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won’t be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player’s name. If Harlow can’t patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.


My Thoughts:

In this book we follow Texan Harlow Jane Cassidy as she is helping teenage girls get ready for homecoming.  When quickly in the book Gracie Harlow's boyfriend's daughter's boyfriend ends up loosing his dad then getting accused of his death.  Did Shane really kill his father?  And is there more to Chris Montgomery than meets the eye?

Helping Harlow investigate the murder is Harlow's dead grandmother who leads her to clues to solving the murder.  This book dealt with a lot families and the children of those families and how they deal when things go wrong and kids find out.

I enjoyed journeying to the truth in this story of who had the most to gain by Chris's death.  What you find out will really give a whole new angle for cozy mysteries I have never read one like this with such a twist that you wonder how these secrets stayed quiet for so long.  I loved how Gracie and Harlow really connected in this book with making homecoming dress and accessories used.  It was great!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Review: Easter Bunny Murder by: Leslie Meier

Title: Easter Bunny Murder
Author: Leslie Meier
Publisher: Kensington Books
Series: A Lucky Stone Mystery #19
Pages: 263
Format: Nook ebook
Source: Purchase


Spring has sprung in Tinker's Cove, and Lucy Stone has a mile-long to-do list. From painting eggs with her grandson, to preparing the perfect Easter feast, to reviving her garden after a long, cold winter, she hardly has time to hunt for a killer with a deadly case of spring fever... Lucy has always loved covering the annual Easter egg hunt for the Pennysaver. Hosted by elderly socialite Vivian Van Vorst at Pine Point, her luxurious oceanfront estate, it's a swanky event where the grown-ups sip cocktails while their children search for eggs that are as likely to contain savings bonds as they are jelly beans. 

But when Lucy arrives with her three-year-old grandson, VV's normally welcoming gates are locked, and a man dressed as the Easter Bunny emerges only to drop dead moments later… Lucy discovers that the victim is Van Vorst Duff, VV's grandson, and soon learns that not all is as it seems at idyllic Pine Point, where the champagne and caviar seem to be running dry. Always a social butterfly, VV has been skipping lunch dates with friends, and her much-needed donations to local charities have stopped with no explanation. Maybe she's going senile, or maybe her heirs are getting a little too anxious to take over her estate… As Lucy gathers a basketful of suspects, she's convinced someone's been hunting for a lot more than eggs, and she'll have to chase the truth down a rabbit hole before the killer claims another victim…

My Thoughts:

Everyone in Tinker's Cove is eagerly getting ready for Easter and with that comes a annual Easter Egg Hunt at Vivian Van Vorst's massive house.  When people get there they find something isn't right.  Nothing has been prepared for the festival.  And not long does Van dressed up as the Easter Bunny.  As people in town begin to notice that something isn't right in the Vorst's house.  Everything from Vivi's treatment to people being fired and not getting what standard pay is.  As a slew of deaths start to pile up it's up to Lucy to figure out what is going on.

There are no shortage of suspects between Vivi's granddaughter Vicky and her husband to their questionable lawyer.  To any number of people who might have been wronged by Vivi. Who is the guilty party and what are they hoping to gain by this?

This was a great seasonal themed book.  I loved reading about Easter themes intertwined with the story of a great murder mystery.  I really was left wondering who committed the horrible crimes, it was such a page turner and one I would read on another Easter when I'm needing my Easter Egg fix!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review - Too Much Happiness by: Alice Munro

Title: Too Much Happiness
Author: Alice Munro
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 304
Format: Turkish translation paperback
Source: Received from Turkish publisher for review


Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writers—the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize. 

In the first story a young wife and mother receives release from the unbearable pain of losing her three children from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other stories uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and how a boy’s disfigured face provides both the good things in his life and the bad. And in the long title story, we accompany Sophia Kovalevsky—a late-nineteenth-century Russian émigré and mathematician—on a winter journey that takes her from the Riviera, where she visits her lover, to Paris, Germany, and, Denmark, where she has a fateful meeting with a local doctor, and finally to Sweden, where she teaches at the only university in Europe willing to employ a female mathematician.

With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.

Too Much Happiness is a compelling, provocative—even daring—collection.

My thoughts: 

After reading Too Much Happiness, I understood why Alice Munro has received so many awards, including the Nobel Prize in 2013. I should admit from the beginning that she entered my radar with her latest award, and on our first date she made me sad, got me mad, made me think, and made me question myself and all those around me. 

Munro tells us about the lives of different women, and it becomes obvious right away that she's an amazing observer. Not only an observer of actions, either; also an observer of emotions. Doree, for example, is someone who lets her husband psychologically pressure her and still visits him at jail. In another story, a young woman visits an older guy at his home and reads to him naked. In another one there's murder, and then a different one focuses on a woman who won't stop brestfeeding her baby even though the baby's past 5 months.

Most of them are women who stand up to authority, to public approval, women who do as they wish. Munro puts them in situations that we might come along every day as well as situations we can't even imagine. And while doing so, she pulls out the details that we wouldn't have noticed otherwise. I'm rather excited that I have at least one more Munro book to read this year.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review - Instructions for a Heatwave by: Maggie O'Farrell

Title: Instructions for a Heatwave
Author: Maggie O'Farrell
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 304
Format: Epub
Source: Personal purchase

Sophisticated, intelligent, impossible to put down, Maggie O’Farrell’s beguiling novels—After You’d Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of the Costa Novel Award; and her unforgettable bestseller The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox—blend richly textured psychological drama with page-turning suspense. Instructions for a Heatwave finds her at the top of her game, with a novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976. 

Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta’s three grown children converge on their parents’ home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adored; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret.

Maggie O’Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our lives—the secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City’s Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O’Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are.

My thoughts:

In 1976, there was a heatwave that took over the UK, and especially in June and July, the temperature went over 36C and stayed there for a long time. Especially during the summer and fall of 1975 and 76, there was immense drought. It was at a point where there was no rain fall at all in some parts of the UK. As a result of this, food prices went record high when crops died.* And, the father of the Riorden family went out to buy the newspaper and didn't come back... That's where our story starts. 

Instructions for a Heatwave is the 6th novel by Irish author Maggie O'Farrell. I should say right from the beginning that I'm looking very much forward to reading the rest of her work. I can also say though that the subject-matter of the book wasn't my favorite part. Here's how I can summarize it in one sentence: it takes place during the drought I've mentioned above, and it's the story of a mother and her children looking for the father who took off and didn't come back. 

Gretta Riorden, the mother, was born and raised in Ireland. She's a very colorful character, still hanging on tight to her Catholic upbringing. She talks loudly and even has conversations with inanimate objects. The oldest son is Michael Francis, then there's Monica, and the Aofie (Irish for Eva) is the youngest and really way much younger than both her siblings. 

When we first start getting to know the family, Michael Francis lives close to his parents with his wife and two children, working as a teacher. Monica has been divorced once, is living with her new husband and trying to make the husband's kids to love her. Aofie, on the other hand, has left London and is living in New York City, working as the assistant of a famous, successful photographer. She is also keeping it as a secret from everyone else that she never learned how to read. The father, Robert Riorden, leaves to get the newspaper one day and doesn't come back. This is the incident that brings the entire family together: the quest to locate their missing father. Like I've said, I wasn't very crazy about the subject-matter...

If you ask me why I didn't just leave the book and move onto something else...

O'Farrel has a good eye for details and shows this to the reader in every page. However, unlike most authors who do like a good detail or two, she doesn't use them to describe tangible things; she uses them to create atmosphere and emotion, also dropping little clues about the characters themselves here and there. For example, when Gretta takes out the crafts she's abandoned a long time ago, you know she's restless. Monica's mind keeps drifting off to her sister Aofie even though she herself doesn't seem to understand why. Michael Francis gets mad at his mother because they always seem to "leave Monica alone" and bother him instead. With these clues, we really get an in depth feeling of the characters' emotions, what they're feeling at certain times and how they might react to something later on. Another example... Here's how O'Farrell explains Monica and Aofie's relationship, the sisters who shared a room before they both left home:

If you sleep near someone, night in, night out, breathing each other's air, it is as if your dreams, your unconscious lives become entangled, the circuits of your minds running close to each other, exchanging information without speech.

I was rather excited when I read this because I know from experience, having shared my room with my sister when we were little, that this does indeed happen. O'Farrell is very crafty in switching back and forth between past and future that you just take a smooth ride in time, finding out more and more secrets and realizing why the characters are the way they are.

I still had some questions left when the book was over. Like, why did the father chose that day and time to take off? Some of the "unusual" behaviors seem to be tied to the abnormal heat throughout the book. Is that it? Did the heat cause him to act out of character? I don't think this was really answered in the book, but it will also make it a book that I will find myself thinking about from time to time.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: A Roux Revenge by: Connie Archer

Title: A Roux Revenge
Author: Connie Archer
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: Soup Lover's Mystery #3
Pages: 305
Format: Paperback
Source: Cozy Book Tours



Snowflake, Vermont, is known for its skiing in winter—and its soup all year round, thanks to Lucky Jamieson’s By the Spoonful Soup Shop. Autumn brings golden leaves, pumpkin rice soup, the annual Harvest Festival… and murder.

Lucky’s soup shop is busier than usual this October, with groups of itinerant travelers in town to work the Harvest Festival. One newcomer seems to take a particular interest in Lucky’s young waitress, Janie, spying on her from across the street. Is the stranger stalking Janie?

After an unidentified man is found murdered in a van by the side of the road, simmering suspicions about the travelers are brought to a boil. But when Janie is put in harm’s way, Lucky must join forces with the travelers to turn up the heat on a killer…

Recipes included!

My Thoughts:

This book was sent to me as part of a book tour.  It follows the story of Lucky Jamieson and her grandfather Jack as they work at the Spoonful Soup Shop.  Early in this book a man is found dead and the chief of Police Nate is trying to figure out what happened.

Then we get introduced to Lucky, Jack, Sage, and Janie and other colorful characters.  Janie is having a hard time dealing with her mother they are fighting and Lucky offers Janie a place to stay while the women work out their issues and Lucky learns about traveler's gypsy people who run festivals around different states and Miriam's connection to them.  It's a sad story, from there a man keeps watching Janie and Janie can't figure out why.  Pretty soon Janie figures out why, but no one can figure out how the dead guy is connected to all of this.

To make things harder on Nate everything goes missing from the vehicle the dead guy was in to the dead guy himself.  Which puts more pressure on Nate to wrap up this case.  Will Nate ever solve this case?  And how does Janie apply to this murder investigation?

This book was great we get to see so many different stories and what people are up too.  Also we get to see how Lucky's love life is and where it is headed.  I really enjoyed reading this book along with the different soup recipes!


This giveaway is U.S.A. only.  I have one copy of this book and some swag as well, to giveaway to a luck winner all you have to do is list your favorite cozy mystery series, and why.  Easy peasy!  Please include your email address so that I can contact you.  Good luck everyone!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Small Town Spin by: LynDee Walker

Title: Small Town Spin
Author: LynDee Walker
Publisher: Henery Press
Series: A Headlines in High Heels Mystery #3
Pages: 280
Format: NetGalley ebook
Source: Cozy Book Tours



When a superstar athlete's son turns up dead in a tiny town on the Virginia coast, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke gets the inside scoop. But she quickly spies a gaping hole her inner Lois Lane cannot ignore.

Determined to unravel the mystery, Nichelle fights off paparazzi cameras and an unexpected rival. She uncovers an illegal moonshine operation, a string of copycat suicides, and a slew of closets stacked with more skeletons than slingbacks. Chasing a killer who’s a breath from getting away with murder, Nichelle realizes too late the culprit has her number—and it might be up.

My Thoughts:

When a up and coming baseball star in school is found dead by apparent suicide it's up to Nichelle to figure out what is going on in the small town of Matthews.  All points suggest not a suicide but something else.  Could someone have wanted him dead?  When TJ's girlfriend comes back to town and winds up dead as well another apparent suicide it's falling on Nichelle to find out why the kids are dying and who has the most to gain by it?

Nichelle also stumbles upon a moonshine operation and is determined to figure out if moonshine is to blame in the recent deaths.  When the truth unravels Nichelle finds it more shocking that anyone would think.

I loved spending time with Nichelle and her co-workers and associates to see what they are like and what the small town of Matthews is all about.  It's a quite, quaint little town with locals knowing everything before it makes the news.  Every stones gets turned over in this book to figure out what is going on, and who had the most to gain by the teen deaths.

The ending had a great spin all of it's own when something happened to the prime suspect in Nichelle's eyes.  It definitely had a great twist that all cozy mysteries have even when you think you figure it out there is always the big twist in the story.  Can't wait to read more by LynDee Walker!

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Review: I'll See You In My Dreams by: Michael Edwin Q

Title: I'll See You In My Dreams
Author: Michael Edwin Q
Publisher: Michael Edwin Q
Pages: 256
Format: bound book
Source: Author Request


85 year old Christopher Goodman and 84 year old Irene Kelly live thousands of miles from each other. But ever night they meet in a shared dream where they are young lovers. It's time they meet in the real world. Christopher runs away from home, and with the help of his grandson, Walter Jr., they journey on a quest to Irene - his intentions - marriage! A cast of characters you will never forget. There's Romance, Mystery, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, but most of all LOVE! You have a date tonight! Don't forget I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS.

My Thoughts: 

In this book we follow the story of Christopher Goodman and Irene Kelly.  When Chris goes to sleep he dreams of an island where a beautiful girl is there, the girl is Irene Kelly who has been on the island as well.  The two find out they were high school sweethearts until they broke up long ago and met other significant others and since the death of their spouses have found their way to the island.

Chris decides to make the trek to San Diego where Irene is.  No matter how much she tells him to go back to Texas he just can't let Irene go when they could get married in the real world.  What he doesn't realize is what awaits him in California.

This book was great we get to see the relationship between Chris and Irene and Chris's relationship with his family.  When Chris goes missing his grandson Walter Jr. sets out on trek to find his grandfather and give him his happy ever after. 

The two meet some interesting characters and travel all over the country to get to San Diego, helping those along the way they can. One man they met they were able to help heal a relationship between a father and son.  Another was helping a family get away safely.

I just enjoyed this story so much it was great.  The characters were definitely intriguing and had you wanting to continue to read until the story was told!  What a great adventure to go on!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: Death by Cashmere by: Sally Goldenbaum

Title: Death by Cashmere
Author: Sally Goldenbaum
Publisher: New American Library
Pages: 320
Format: ebook
Series: A Seaside Knitters Mystery #1


Not long after Isabel "Izzy" Chambers opens up a knitting shop in the sleepy fishing town of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, a diverse group of women begins congregating each week to form the Seaside Knitters. Izzy raises some eyebrows when she rents the apartment above her shop to Angie Archer, whose reputation for loose behavior and a quick temper has made her unpopular with many locals. But could any of them have wanted her dead? Angie's body is discovered drowned in the harbor, her long red hair tangled like seaweed in a lobster trap. 

 An official investigation rules the death an accident. There are speculations of too many whiskey sours, a slippery wharf, a dark night...But Izzy and the Seaside Knitters smell something fishy. When several strange incidents occur above the shop, the women decide to take matters into their own hands. But before long, their small-town sense of security is frayed, and the threat of more violence hangs over this tightly knit community...

My Thoughts:

This book follows Izzy Chambers and her friends as they find out Angie Archer has been found dead in the water tangled up in lobster trap of a friend of theirs.

Izzy Chambers settled in Sea Harbor, Massachusetts after being a lawyer and leaving it behind to open a knitting shop.  Above her shop is an apartment where Angie Archer lives.  When Angie is missing one night people begin to wonder where she is but she turns up short enough, granted not alive.  Now the residents are trying to figure out if she committed suicide or was she murdered?  If she was murdered to who had the most to gain by her death?

There are in this book so many people that could have had something to gain by her death.  Was it her boyfriend or a guy who thought politeness was love?  Or a angry wife realizing her husband was in love with her?  Or a worker in the town who some thought was very weird?  There are so many possibilities, but the real truth really flames up the situation!

In this book we also meet Sam who is an old family friend of Izzy Chambers who is in need of an apartment and Izzy offers up Angie's old apartment. Angie looks to have spent time working on something for a kind old man of the community.  Uncovering long ago buried secrets.

I loved meeting all the local neighbors and learning about them and their connection to Nell, and Izzy.  It was a great adventure to read about!

Next in the series is:

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Death on Eat Street by: J.J. Cook

Title: Death on Eat Street
Author: J.J. Cook
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Cozy Book Tours


Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery… 

When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.

My Thoughts:

Zoe Chase has ended her career at a bank, and has been trying to ditch her boyfriend and building her life as a food truck owner.  She works along side some colorful characters from a local homeless shelter where she donates her unused food.  When another food truck owner winds up dead and stuffed in Zoe's truck it's up to Zoe and her friends to figure out what happened?

This book was awesome we got to meet all sorts of people, learn about the various characters and how they worked together for a common goal, to find the truth.  In the midst of all this is a Thomas Jefferson recipe that went missing for Crème brûlée, many people seem to think Zoe has the recipe and she spends a great deal of the book finding out what is so special about this missing recipe, and who has the most to gain by it being missing.

I enjoy reading books by J.J. Cook and have been a great fan since the fire brigade series, and this one didn't disappoint either.  It really pulled you in seeing how J.J. wove the story together, can't wait to see what is next for Zoe and whether this recipe will appear again!


This giveaway is U.S.A. only.  I have one copy of this book to giveaway to a luck winner all you have to do is list your favorite cozy author.  Easy peasy!  Please include your email address so that I can contact you.  Good luck everyone!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review - Umbrella Academy Vol. #1 by: Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba

Title: Brain on Fire: The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite
Author: Gerard Way, Gabriel Ba
Publisher: Dark Horse
Pages: 192
Format: E-book
Series: The Umbrella Academy
Source: Dark Horse comics iPad app.


Gerard Way, of My Chemical Romance, makes his comics writing debut in this outrageous superhero epic that Grant Morrison called "An ultraviolet psychedelic sherbet bomb of wit and ideas. The superheroes of the 21st century are here at last..." In an inexplicable, worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born by women who'd previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, "To save the world." These seven children form The Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again.

My thoughts:

My love for Gerard Way dates back to 2002, the year My Chemical Romance's I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love album was released, and I listened to it for the first time. Even though the band split up last year, they'll always hold a special place in my heart. I love them so much so that I even have a tattoo of the artwork from their The Black Parade album. I'm sure by now you get the level of my fangirlness.

It's been a while since Gerard Way (the frontman of My Chemical Romance) started writing these comics, so yes, it took me a long time to get to them. I was mad at myself for dragging it so long. I've read volumes 0 and 1 so far, and even the character descriptions alone makes it worth one's while. 

The story is around the 43 extraordinary children who were born all over the world. They have different qualities such as time travel and mind control. And they're all students at The Umbrella Academy. And, of course, they set sail to various adventures you can't even imagine!

I honestly don't know what else to say. Gerard Way did it, and it turned out great.

Isn't he cuuuuuute?


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Friday, April 4, 2014

Review - Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Title: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Publisher: Free Press
Pages: 264
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from Turkish publisher for review.


A gripping memoir and medical suspense story about a young New York Post reporter’s struggle with a rare and terrifying disease, opening a new window into the fascinating world of brain science.

One day, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four year old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.

Susannah’s astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. As weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning her to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined her team. He asked Susannah to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing her with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

With sharp reporting drawn from hospital records, scientific research, and interviews with doctors and family, Brain on Fire is a crackling mystery and an unflinching, gripping personal story that marks the debut of an extraordinary writer.

My thoughts:

Those who saw me reading this kept asking me how it was going so far. And when they saw I gave it 5 stars, they asked me if I really liked it. And my answer is that I LOVED IT. The short version of why I did is that it satisfied me both in the journalism and a story telling sense. And the subject matter was something I was interested in, which led to my loving it.

I think any kind of illness, but especially one even doctors can't put a name on must be the worst thing that can ever happen to a person. Medicine even has a solution for cancer, which is considered to be one of the worst things, if it's detected early and everything works out, yet I felt like human kind knows very little about the mechanics of the brain after reading Brain on Fire. As far as I understand, when someone's considered to have gone "crazy," they don't know if it's something physical or mental or emotional causing it. That was the case for Susannah Cahalan; the blood tests, the EEGs and everything else you can think of were useless to find out what was going on with her. 

I must admit Susannah was living my dream until she got sick. After graduating from journalism school, she was working at The Post in New York as a reporter, writing on several topics, interviewing people... And I was very jealous of her.

Her sickness sort of started when she thought there were bedbugs infecting her apartment. First, due to her weak state, people around her think she caught a cold, and then a doctor announces she has mono. Then we watch Susannah go "crazy," which seems to unfortunately happen very quickly, and watch her get back to her own self with the support of her boyfriend, mother, father, brother, friends and through efforts of the doctors who obviously value people and their lives. She was a dedicated worker, a talkative, fun and friendly person before she got sick. But with the illness, she becomes someone who thinks people on TV are spying on her, who stares at walls and yells at her father to get the hell out when he tries to visit her at the hospital. 

Susannah admits right from the beginning that she doesn't remember what she's gone through, what happened when she went "mad." It was very obvious she did a lot of research about what went on with her as well as the illness itself. She filled in the blanks by talking to people who were around and by using the diary her father kept all through it. Her medial research, in fact, was so detailed that I got kinda nauseous while reading the part about her brain surgery. 

Susannah also admits that she isn't completely herself ever since she beat the "madness." The first thought that goes through her head when she hears a weird noise or sees a bug is "am I going crazy?" She also talks quite a bit about the aftermath of the illness. When she finally goes back to her job at The Post, she builds up the courage to write about what she went through. After her article was published in The Post, there were a lot of people who got in touch with her to ask for advice, to just talk to and to thank to thank her.

If the subject matter interests you, I think you're going to love this book. It's also a very fluent, quick read.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review - Let's Pretend This Never Happened by: Jenny Lawson

Title: Let's Pretend This Never Happened 
Author: Jenny Lawson aka "The Bloggess"
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 318
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase

For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller,Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text.

My thoughts: 

As far as I know her through her blog The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson is a weird, crazy, smart and funny woman. I’ve been following her for quite a while now, and it usually makes me laugh (out loud, most of the time) so I was rather excited when I heard she had a book out.

Just like she does in the blog, Jenny focuses on her private life in her book as well, including many a weird/funny situation she finds herself in. Of course, while the blog posts are current, the book takes us back to her childhood and teen years. Yes, Jenny was always kinda crazy. Yes, she still makes you laugh out loud. Yet, 318 pages of Jenny Lawson was way too much for me. Even though I did rather enjoy it, I think I could do without reading the book and just following her blog. I enjoy her more in small doses.
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: Boiled Over by: Barbara Ross

Title: Boiled Over
Author: Barbara Ross
Publisher: Kensington
Series: A Maine Clambake Mystery #2
Pages: 304
Format: ebook ARC
Source: NetGalley


For Julia Snowden, the Founder's Day summer celebration in Busman's Harbor, Maine, means helping her family's clambake company to prepare an authentic taste of New England seafood. Any Mainer will tell you that a real clambake needs wood for the fire . . . so why is there a foot sticking out of the oven?

The townspeople want to pin the murder of the RV park owner on Cabe Stone, a new employee of the Snowden Family Clambake Company--who bolted from the crime scene and disappeared. Julia knows having another murder associated with her family's business is a recipe for disaster . . . but who is the killer? Cooking up a proper investigation doesn't leave much time for the rest of Julia's life, and this is one killer who'll do anything to stop her from digging up clues . . .

My Thoughts: 

In Boiled Over Julia Snowden is preparing for the Founder's Day celebration when the worst thing possible turns up.  A body under the wood in the fire.  With that new employee Cabe Stone has disappeared, running away quickly.  Julia believes in her heart that Cabe is innocent, but isn't sure why he's running.  She is determined to find out what is going on and how Cabe plays to all this?

There was so much about this book I enjoyed the fact that it takes place in small town Maine on the water was a great treat for me.  I love ocean side books something about small towns and oceans just draws me in.  Also meeting all the people Julia interacts with was also fun.  I also enjoyed watching Julia grow relationship wise realizing what she wants just hoping it's not to late with Chris the man whose taken her heart.

As for the murder that seems to head in one direction which is Cabe the newcomer to the island.  Where did Cabe come from?  What is his story?  Julia is determined to find out what his story is so she can help keep him out of jail.  And the victim how many people wanted to snuff him out?  Was it a previous enemy or someone new?  It was fabulous with all the twists and turns this book had.  This one will definitely catch you and reel you in wanting to solve it as much as Julia does!

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