Thursday, October 27, 2011

Killer Fiction...with a twist

A Killer Among Us
Lynette Eason

Genre:  Mystery, Suspense, Faith
Series:  Women Of Justice (Book 3)
Pages:  343
Rating:  *****

When I was scanning the shelves of new books, at the local library, I came across a mystery book with a pink spine sticker.  I stopped.  Pink means faith.  I have never come across a mystery novel with a pink label.  In my brain 'faith' and a murder mystery seemed like odd partners.  So of course I had to read it.  All of the preconceived notions I had were dashed.  But first....

A Killer Among Us, is a novel centered on Kit and Noah they are police officers and partners.  Kit is a trained hostage negotiator and Noah had recently lost his old partner to a deadly accident.  The two have doubts about each other at first but soon learn to trust each other.  Through the book you learn about Kit's past and family issues and why she became a cop.  You learn more about Noah's character and faith in God than you do his past, at least until the end.  Kit and Noah are investigating the deaths  of law students when the killer becomes interested in them.

A Killer Among UsI expected warm and fuzzy.  I have read some Christian fiction, I didn't like them because they were too warm and fuzzy.  I was so wrong.  This book is full of energy and action.  It is a faced paced roller coaster.  I stayed up late last night just to finish it.  I could not put it down.  (I almost cried in the end.  I loved the storyline, even the gross parts (there are a few).  I loved the characters. I have never been so happy to be wrong about a book.  If you are not a reader of Christian books, give this one a try.  You won't be hit over the head with religion.  Noah's faith is a part of his life and therefore it is a part of his police work.  It fits his character and the story. 

I highly recommend A Killer Among Us.  I am going to the library today to find more of the series!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Hop

Today I am taking part in a blog hop to feature:
   "Dressed To Kill"
      by Brian Bianco

His website has a cool trailer, I love book trailers!

Product DetailsTwo convicted felons, in a rape and murder case, turn up dead after the acuittal.  (That's such a pitty.)  Miles, a Chicago Tribune reporter discover similar cases.  He thinks he knows who the killer is.  Miles gets on the wrong side of the FBI and plans on solving the case and getting all the glory.

Sounds good to me.

Dressed To Kill,can be found on Amazon here, for $12.99

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just in time for Halloween...

Monster in Miniature
by Margaret Grace

Genre: cozy mystery
Series: A Miniature Mystery
Pages: 287

This is the thrid and final book in completing my Goodreads mini challenge for October.  I joined late, so I only read 3, next month I will do better!  This is also my first time to read a Miniture Mystery or a book by Margaret Grace.  I am so glad I did.  I never knew there was so much interest in 'dollhouses'.  I don't know why I am a super crafter, there can never be enough glue or glitter in the house.  I have even built a dollhouse.  Of course now it sits abandoned in the corner, (sigh).

A brief synopsisi first.  Gerry, short for Geraldine, is an avid miniaturist.  She is working on a haunted house with her eleven year old granddaughter Maddie.  Maddie is a Nancy Drew wanna be!  While the two are strolling down a street covered in Halloween decorations they, along with a group of teenagers, discover a dead body.  In true cozy fashion the victim is related to a fried of Gerry's and she must find out what happened.  Along the way city corruption is discovered along with secrets of her late husband.  If that's not enough Gerry maybe on the cusp of a new relationship with a nice retired gentleman, who also like to be crafty.  Sounds like a match made at Michael's!

Monster CoverSome of you may know, I love books with old ladies in them.  So I was thrilled to read about an older sleuth.  Gerry is agaile, smart, and a lot of fun.  She stays hip with the constant help of her technologically gifted granddaughter, Maddie.   One of the things I loved about the book was the constant sprinkling of wit and wisdom from Shakespear.  I didn't appreciate him in high school.  Monster in Miniature, is very well written.  It flows well and the plot is interesting.  There was a point when I thought I had figured it out, but I was wrong (I hate to figure the ending out ahead of time).   The 'extra' charaters were nice additions to the well thought out main charachters.  One in particular was surprisingly sinister, but I can't tell you anymore than that.   It was a great read, and I plan on reading more in the series.

If you haven't read a Margaret Grace book, grab one now.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Blog Hop

Book Blogger Hop

I am joining the Book Blogger Hop!  It looks like so much fun.  If you are interested go to Crazy for Books (here)

There rules are simple
1.  Must be a book blogger (I am)
2.  Must link back to the primary link (I did)

10/21- 10/24
Question of the Week: 
What is your favorite type of candy?
I am torn.  My absolute favorite is my mom's fudge.  It is awesome and incredibly hard to make.  My second favorite is Divinity with pecans.  It's the only thing I WANT to have pecans in!

Go ahead and join the blog hop!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Calling all Chocoholics

The Chocolate Cupid Killings
by JoAnna Carl                                                              Chocolate Cupid

genre: cozy mystery
series:  A Chocoholic Mystery
pages:  230
rating: ***

This is book 2 in my attempt at the Goodreads mini challenge for October.  The category was something sweet for Diabetes Awareness Month.  I must admit I am shocked that a mystery centred around chocolate has missed me.  I am a total chocoholic.  I love everything about chocolate.  It comes from a bean therefor it must be good for you.  So when I found the series I knew I had to read it.

The Chocolate Cupid Killings is about Lee and her Aunt Nettie, who owns an expensive chocolate shop.  Nettie has gotten herself into helping a woman in the battered women's underground railroad.  True to cozy fashion, everything, or everybody, is not what it seems.  Dead bodies start popping up, secrets start growing with in the family.  Lee must solve the crime and the identity of the mystery woman.

This was the first book by JoAnna Carl I had read.  I really enjoyed the story and the plot.  The characters were interesting, but not amazing.  I cared about what happened to them, but I don't know if I cared about who lived or died.   I did feel like the writing didn't flow as smoothly in some places, not that I'm an expert.   I really enjoyed the chocolate facts sprinkled throughout the book. 

All in all it was a good read.  I will read one more book in the series to see if I like it better.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Won?! So cool!

I can't believe my little bitty blog won an award.  That is so cool.  Toni over at One Chocolate Box awarded me with the Versatile Blogger Award.  How cool is that.
I do so love awards.  Thank you Toni!

Here are the rules:
1.  Thank and link the blogger who nominated you. (Be sure to check out Toni's blog.)
2.  Share 7 random facts about yourself. (frightening!)
3.  Spread the love.  Pass the award on to 5 other bloggers.  Contact them and let them know.

Short and simple.

Here are my 7 Random Facts:
1.  I pretend that I am Mrs. Claus every year by turning my kitchen into a cookie shop.  I end up baking cookies for anybody who will eat them.
2.  I want to visit Middle Earth.
3.  I have a crush on Spock.  (Don't tell my husband he doesn't know.)
4.  I have more books on my side table than I can possibly read in the time allotted by the library.  (I've also paid for the new library with all of my late fees.)
5.  I dream of being able to fly, yet I am terribly afraid of heights.
6.  I am an art quilter.
7.  I just myself another small silver Christmas tree.  I had to this one was taller and came with lights!

I searched high and low for bloggers to nominate (I didn't know if they had to be book bloggers or not)

Here are the nominated, Check them out they are all cool:
1.  A Sea of Books
2.  Bonnie's Books
3.  Wren's Thoughts
4.  Book'd Out
5.  Straight from the Writer's Mouth

Congratulations all.  Good luck to all on their blogs. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Agatha Raisin strikes agian...

Cover image for Agatha Raisin: There Goes The Bride by M.C. Beaton
There Goes the Bride
by M.C. Beaton
Genre: cozy mystery
Series:  Agatha Raisin
Pages:  277
Rating: ****
   There Goes the Bride is the 20th book (gasp) in the Agatha Raisin Mystery Series.  I picked this book to go along with the mini challenge at Goodreads.  This is the second Agatha Raisin book I have read.
   Before I get into the review, let's give a synopsis of the book.  Agatha finds herself invited to her ex-husbands wedding, to a much younger woman.  Before the bride makes it up the aisle she is murdered.  Of course Agatha has to solve the crime, bringing her own life close to danger...more than once.
   Let me set the record straight.  I love British mysteries.  I spent many hours this summer watching more than a few on DVD this summer.  I love to read them as well.  That stated I must also admit, I was not thrilled about the first Agatha Raisin book that I read, wasn't planning on another.  I was thrilled to change my mind after reading this book.
   If you haven't read an Agatha book let me warn you, she is feisty.  She smokes, she is vain, jealous, and very competitive.  She also seems to have a bad habit for falling for the wrong man.  My guilty pleasure is her iconic curse, which I won't print here (family friendly blog).  Agatha is smart, the books are well written, and the characters are interesting.
   The unusual thing about these books is, the mystery is not solved quickly.  A lot of cozies tidy up the mystery quickly...unrealistically quickly.  Beaton's books cover months and Agatha and her team work on the case, get sidetracked or stalled, and then find a new clue which leads to the solving of the case.  It's not neat, the sleuths get into plenty of trouble.  Which also make it seem more real.
   If you are looking for a lonely (sometimes), chain smoking, and loud sleuth give Agatha Raisin a try.  She is a breath of fresh air.
- Caren

Monday, October 17, 2011


I have just entered my very first writing contest.  I'm so excited, I don't know if want to jump for joy or throw up!

Just wanted to share,

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

I am joining the Book Blogger Hop!  It looks like so much fun.  If you are interested go to Crazy for Books (here)

There rules are simple
1.  Must be a book blogger (I am)
2.  Must link back to the primary link (I did)

For October 14-17

Answer this question:  What is your favorite Spooky book?

I must be honest.  I don't do spooky.  I have nightmares :(
BUT... when I was younger I did discover Edgar Allen Poe.  Don't laugh.  If you haven't read Edgar in awhile (or ever) try it.  My favorite is the Tell Tale Heart.  That beating heart freaks me out every time.  Murders in the Rue Morgue is another freaky favorite.  Ole' Edgar was brilliant in his word choice and flow(?)  Anyway, he sweeps you up and locks you into the story.  They are so bizarre and frightening.

So join in the fun at the Book Blogger Hop

Sweet, Little Book

Giovanni's Light
by Phyllis Theroux

genre:  fiction
pages: 114
rating: ***1/2

Sometimes you want to read a little book.  Something light, I usually tend to head for the small Christmas gift books.  That's what led me to Giovanni's Light.  I didn't read the blurb on the cover.  I could tell it was about Christmas and figured it would be a nice, easy read.  I write.

Product DetailsGiovanni's Light, is about a small town named Ryland Falls.  The town is in the process of getting ready for Christmas when a massive snowfall blankets the town.  This put all normal activity on hold, and forces people to stay inside.  Obviously, things no longer go as planned.

It is a sweet little book, a little sappy at the end.  But I really enjoyed it.  I don't want to give too much away.  The people in town are set in their ways, and do not see what they truly have.  The snowstorm makes them pause and notice what they have forgotten.  Each person learns something and in turn receives a "gift".  It's all very Norman Rockwell.

This is a great book to give at Christmas in a stocking for an avid reader.  It would also be a good book to read around the Christmas Season.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm in Love.....

Those of you who have been reading my rants know I have taken a break from reading mysteries.  A difficult break.  I have started several books and set them aside before reaching chapter 2.  Thankfully that streak has ended!

Dolci di Love
By Sarah-Kate Lynch

Genre: chick-lit, fiction
Pages: 309
Rating:  ****1/2
Favorite quote: " Their absence had just sapped the pant-peeing happiness right out of her."

   I love this book.  I stayed up late last night to finish it.  This morning I struggled with the rating.  It was not a literary masterpiece in the ranks of JRR Tolkien, but it was a wonderful book.  One I would gladly run out and buy to read again.  (A rarity for me, I am a library girl.)  So what is it about?
   It is a tale of love, broken hearts, forgiveness, and widows.  To make it even better it is set in Tuscany.  Lily is married to Daniel.  They have a problem that has caused them to grow apart, sort of.  Daniel travels to Italy a lot.  There he has another family. Lily finds out about it and flies to Tuscany to confront him.  Things don't work out as she plans.  Telling anymore would just take all the fun out of the book.
Dolci di Love   I love this book for many reasons.  One being is the language is funny.  Lynch weaves in Italian words with phrases like pant-peeing happiness and tipsy tourism (which by the way sounds fun).  She takes a story that could be very heavy and sad, and makes it bittersweet (yes), but also very funny.  Like life things don not always go as planned.  Events and people get in our way, sometimes that is for the best.
   The star(s) of this book is Violetta, Luciana, and the other members of the Secret League of Widowed Darners.  A group of very old widows trying to mend the brokenhearted.  I have realized I love a book with old ladies.  They are smart, witty, and have a wealth of experience to share.  Not to mention they add comic relief, especially here.  I'm pretty sure this group of ladies could form a coup if they so chose.
   Dolci di Love, has a cast of well formed characters, great writing, and a heart tugging story.  I loved every inch of this book.  Grab a copy now and read it.
- Caren

Monday, October 10, 2011

Author Q&A

I just love it when I get to quiz an author.  I am always interested in how a story, or series, starts and becomes a book.  This is the first time I was able to get in at the beginning.  Mitzi Kelly is the author of Classic Revenge.  I recently wrote a review on her first book, check it out here.  It is a cozy mystery and the start of a series.  This is also the first time I was able to read the first in a series, before another book was published!  So exciting.  Without further ado...

1. Since you mix characteristics from people you know, has anyone claimed to be one of your characters?

            Yes, and it’s so much fun!  I love it when someone relates to the characters and mentions they have done or said something similar.  Quite a few of the people I know will look at me suspiciously and ask “Did you create Edna (or one of the other characters) after me?”  What is so thrilling is when someone sees themselves in all three of the characters!

2. Why did you choose senior citizens to be your sleuths? (I love the name of the series Silver Sleuths)

            I felt that older women would bring so much fun into the amateur sleuth genre.  They have so much life experience that can be drawn from and their attitudes and the action can be flexible and unpredictable.  Older women can get away with anything! 

3. Being a mystery writer, do you find yourself daydreaming of ways to kill your characters?

            Sounds like a horrible way to pass the time, doesn’t it?  But, yes, there are times when I let my mind drift and play the ‘what if’ game with different murder scenarios.  What is fascinating is that almost every murder you can think of can be woven into a Silver Sleuths plot.  Given the right place and the right time, these three women can stick their noses into a sudden crime of passion murder or into a premeditated, evil murder.

4. I love the character of Millie. How much time, before writing, do you spend developing your characters?

            Actually, I don’t spend a lot of time before I start writing in the development of the characters.  I write down some basic characteristics such as appearance, age, and history as a guide, but it’s during the storytelling that my characters really become real.  They tell me what they want to do and say!

5. How long did it take to write "Classic Revenge"? After writing it, how long did it take to find a publisher?

            It took approximately nine months to write Classic Revenge but I wasn’t able to work on it exclusively.  I had a full time job and I’ve always helped my husband in his business.  Once it was completed I submitted it to Avalon Books.  They responded in a few months and then that process took about a year before it was officially released.   

6. I understand book 2 is coming out. What is the title? Can you give us a small blurb on the plot?

            Deadly Policy will be released in April, 2012.  In this book, Millie’s daughter, Michelle, is under suspicion for releasing private information to a car theft ring which leads to murder.  It becomes obvious that this is an inside job and as office manager for the insurance company that seems targeted in the car thefts, Michelle seems the likely culprit.  When the ladies begin to investigate, however, they never dream that the real perpetrators are so evil and dangerous.  Their crime-solving ability is severely tested but they plug right along in an effort to help Michelle, and to prove to the official investigators that their knack for solving crimes isn’t just a fluke!

7. When you are not writing, how do you spend your time?

            My husband and I recently built a new home and I spend a lot of time on ‘projects’ around the house and yard.  I also enjoy weekly lunch dates with my girlfriends and playing with our five dogs while trying to convince them they are not four-legged humans.

I can't wait for book 2, those silver sleuths are a hoot.   Now, this was the 2nd Q&A with an author, that I have been a part of.   What sort of questions do YOU think would be fun to ask an author?


Saturday, October 8, 2011

It sounded like a good idea...

OK  I went to the library, no this is not a joke, and I decided not to get any mysteries (shocker).  I decided to read a few plain fiction books.  The problem with that is, I keep waiting for someone to die.  No I'm serious.  I keep expecting for someone to drown in the swimming pool or die from strangulation by tinsel.  That's not to say I don't like fiction, I do....but I love mystery.

So I started reading:
Comfort and Joy
by India Knight

Genre: fiction, novel
pages:  230
Rating **

   I never made it past page 8.  The writer is British, I love British mysteries.  This was no mystery.  I read the blurb on the back and it sounded like a really good book.  It may be a good book, but I didn't make it to the end.  I didn't like how it seemed like a total stream of consciousness.  The character kept rattling off about one thing or another.  Then the language was....let's just say there were words in it that made me want to make sure my kids weren't reading over my shoulder.  Which they like to do.  Take this review with a grain of salt, but I didn't like it, so I didn't finish it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Classic Revenge, a review

Classic Revenge
by Mitzi Kelly

Series:  Silver Sleuths Mystery
Genre:  cozy
Pages:  262
Rating:  ****

   I was asked by the author for a review.  The review is mine.  I was not required to give a positive review.  She sent me a copy of the book.
   I was approached by Mitzi to read her book and give a review, in preparation for her new book coming out.  I was thrilled.  It sounded like fun, and it was.
   Classic Revenge, is about three "older" women trying to solve the murder of one of their friends.  The husband is wrongly accused, forcing the three to seek out the true killer.
Book Cover: Classic Revenge, An Avalon Mystery, by Mitzi Kelly   Sounds good to me.  The start of the book was a little slow, but it quickly made up for it.  The characters are great fun.  They are well developed.  I swear I personally know some of these women.  Mitzi steered away from the clique of old ladies.  These women are capable, bright, and feisty.  They do bicker back and forth to some degree, but it is a hoot to read.
   The plot was smooth and fast paced, once it got started.  It was refreshing to get in on the start of a series.  To see how three people with no experience, unless you count being a nosy neighbor, trying to solve a crime.  The fact that they are elderly, only in age, helps.  Older people are seen as safe and are usually overlooked.  They can get away with things younger people can not.  Age has benefits.
   It was a very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to the next  book


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Q& A with Clare O'Donohue

This a copy of the post on my quilt blog.  I thought I would share it with the readers of my book blog.  The giveaway is open to all.  Just click on the link below.

In honor of my GIVEAWAY of Clare O'Donohue's new book, The Devil's Puzzle, I have a Q&A with the author.  What fun.  I tried to ask questions of interest to quilters and readers alike.  I hope you enjoy.  Don't forget, leave a comment on the original post (here) for a chance to win.

1. I noticed, from your website, that you made a Drunkard' Path (Book #2). Have you made a quilt from each book title?
Not yet – though I’d like to at some point. I made the drunkard’s path quilt as part of an Accuquilt raffle, so I didn’t even get to keep it, but I have been collecting blue and white fabrics to make one for myself. And I’ve been thinking of making a Lover’s Knot table runner, but it hasn’t gotten past the planning stages.

2. How do you go about matching a quilt block with the books? Do you have a list of names that you would like to use?
I look for names that are interesting for both quilters and non-quilters, as well as have a mysterious feel – so something like The Devil’s Puzzle, is great. Unfortunately, there aren’t many patterns that fit the bill so it’s always a struggle to come up with a great title.   

3. I know I am fascinated by how people learned to quilt. Especially in an age of technology. Who taught you to quilt?
I’m a self-taught quilter. There’s no tradition of quilting in my family, though my grandmother did make clothes. I loved the look of quilts, and thought (foolishly) it would be less expensive to make one than to buy one, so I gave it a try. My first quilt was a 5 foot square hand-pieced hexagon quilt, which just shows you how nuts I was. My first ‘real’ quilt was log cabin. I call it a real quilt because I knew enough by then to have quarter inch seams, and to quilt evenly across the surface. 

4. What was it like working on Simply Quilts surrounded by such wonderful artists?
It was an amazing experience. Alex Anderson is a dream to work with, and I met wonderful quilters, from Eleanor Burns and Georgia Bonesteel to Jinny Beyer and Caryl Bryer Fallert. Seeing the quilts up close was absolutely heaven for me. At the end of each season (I worked on four of them) the producers would divide up the stuff, so I still have many of the rulers, fabric, pins and books that we used on the show.

5. Do you have a writing routine? I know you have a brand new book out, Devil's Puzzle, and another book, Kate Conway Series, coming out in Spring 2012. WOW. There must be a routine.
Yes and no. Usually I aim to write about 25 pages a week. Ideally, I write Monday through Friday from about 10am to 5pm, which includes time blogging, updating Facebook, and watching downloaded episodes of Dexter. Sometimes, though, it’s not ideal and I have forgo my goofing off time. I still work as a freelance TV producer. I don’t work at that job every day, but when I do, I have to travel, so I write in airports, hotel rooms and while my crew is setting up for an interview. As long as I find my 25 pages somewhere in that week, I feel I’m on schedule. 

6. With your busy schedule of writing, promoting, traveling, you still find time to quilt? I know you are knitting, that's a lot easier to travel with.
Quilting is my sanity, so I make time for it one way or another. If I’m home, I usually mark out space on Sundays to quilt but I’m also working on a few hand-pieced projects, so I can take those with me when I travel. Right now I’m doing a hand appliqué project. I haven’t done a lot of hand appliqué and this has thin vines and tiny pieces. I love it, but it’s also a challenge for me.

Do you follow a process for writing? I know some writer's just sit down and start writing with little idea of where the story will take them. Other's plan flow charts of major scenes and events. Where do you fall?
I don’t go into a book cold, but I don’t have a detailed plan either. I know the story I want to tell, and who the characters are. I usually have a synopsis of six or seven pages that highlights the major plot points. But that’s it. I don’t know every scene, and I usually don’t know who the killer is until I’m well into the first draft. I like to get to know everyone, and really let the characters determine their fate. I find it’s more fun that way.   

8. (& 9 combined) I haven't read the Kate Conway series. (My library didn't have it this weekend!) The mood seems very different from the Someday Quilt Series. Was it hard switching to a different style and mood?
It is very different – more cynical, a bit deeper. I had this character in mind and I wanted to see what I could do with her, and Missing Persons is the book that came out.  I don’t find it difficult to switch. I can keep two quilting projects separate, two friends separate… so really, keeping the characters separate isn’t much different. In fact, I think moving back and forth is refreshing. It allows me to take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes – the way working on multiple quilt projects actually makes each one more interesting.

10. I know you have pulled names for your characters from those around you. In reading the Someday Quilt Series I have fallen in love with the ladies in the Quilt Club. The experiences Nell has with the older ladies and quilting is similar to real life experiences I have had with guilds. The ladies are always so willing to help the newbies out. Are any of these characters taken from people you have experienced in real life?
While the supportive, fun nature of a group of quilters is something I’ve gotten from my own experience, none of the characters are based on anyone in particular. I wanted a diverse group, in age and backgrounds, and as I created the characters they developed their own personalities. They feel very real to me, but everyone from Nell to Barney the dog is purely fiction.

Don't forget leave a comment on the original post for a chance to win!

Happy Quilting

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Read your own Library Challenge!

This is the first installment of Read your own library Challenge.  That sounded like so much fun, so I signed up.   Then I went to my library and found....3 books to read. 
- One Thousand Paper Cranes
- Winesburg, Ohio
- Cold Sassy Tree
Most of these were leftovers from college!
That's it 3 books.  HMMMM...where did all of my unread books go?  I will have to put out an APB as soon as possible.  Anyway, in preparation for this challenge I read one of the three books.  So, for the next 2 months I will read one "old" book a month.  Hopefully, I will find my other books.  If not I can always raid my children's books!  On with the review:

One Thousand Paper Cranes
by Takayuki Ishii

Genre: children's,  age 10 and over, non fiction
Rating: ***

  I have had this book for years.  When I was a teacher I would have my students read an "easier" version.  Then we would make paper cranes.  I bought this version, but never got around to read it.
One Thousand Paper Cranes: The Story of Sadako and the Children's Peace Statue   One Thousand Paper Cranes, is the story of Sadako Sasaki and the effort to build the Children's Peace Statue in Japan.  The title comes from the myth that one who folds a thousand cranes, gets their wish.  The book covers a brief explanation of what the atomic bomb was and it's effects on people and objects when it hit.  Some of this may be difficult for a small child to read and understand, which is why I put the age at 10.  It will also bring some hard questions.  The book moves into the first hand accounts of the Sasaki family on the morning when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  If you have never read Japanese accounts of that day, this book is an easy one to start with.  Most of the book centers around 9 year old Sadako as she becomes ill, years after the bomb hit, and her struggle and eventual death.  There are photos of Sadako and letters from her and friends.  Lastly, the book follows the children of Sadako's school and their effort to build a monument for all the children who had died from Atomic Bomb Disease.
   I had difficulty rating this book.  It is a great book, very moving, and is still timely.  It is well written, if simplistic.  The topic is hard to read, especially with the first hand accounts of the time right after the drop of the bomb.  It is meant to persuade readers against the horrors of war and it does. 

- Caren

Monday, October 3, 2011

Short Stories

The Civilized  World
by Susi Wyss

Genre: Fiction, short stories, novel
Pages: 226
Rating:  ***
Released: 2011

   I have read nothing but mysteries for months.  I am in the mood for something different.  So, this weekend when I went to the library I headed straight for the new releases.  I came home with only two mysteries.
The Civilized World Susi Wyss Cover   The Civilized World is something different.  It is a collection of short stories, that also forms a novel.  The stories follow a group of women in Africa and one in America.  The tales weave the women together, mixing them  and moving them around.  It allows the reader into a glimpse of a modern Africa, through the eyes of the native born, recent white arrivals, and long term white ex-pats. 
   When I picked the book out I didn't really read the blurb on the back cover.  I skimmed it and remember it said something about a woman opening a beauty parlor in Africa.  That sounds interesting.  After reading the first story I wasn't sure I was going to finish the book.  But I was curious about the next story, so I read on.  I'm glad I did.
  The stories are bittersweet.  They don't leave you depressed, but like a good blues song they leave a lot to think about.  They actually remind me of southern folk tales.  They are rich in character and each has a nugget of truth about life.
   This is not the type of book I normally read, but I did enjoy it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Review

The Devil's Puzzle
by Clare O'Donohue

Series: Someday Quilts Mystery Book 4
Genre: Cozy, Mystery
Pages:  276
Rating: ****

Full Disclosure:  I was given a copy of this book by Plume.  This review is my own opinion.  I was not paid for this review.

  When I was given this copy, from Plume, I was thrilled.  I have read three of the Someday Quilts Mysteries and love them.  The Devil's Puzzle, does not disappoint.  Yet, there are quite a few differences between this book and the previous books.
  The same enjoyable characters are back to solve a murder.  Nell, her grandmother Elenor, Jesse, and the rest of the crime solving quilters return with a full cast of the town's movers and shakers.  All of the things a reader expects from an O'Donohue novel is here.  Great characters, vivid scenes, snappy dialogue, and quilt history, are woven through the story. 
   In Devil's Puzzle, the town of Archers Rest is faced with a skeleton, that's been buried in Elenor's backyard, for 30 years.  Questions and accusations fly as everyone tries to solve who the skeleton belongs to, and who put him there.  No one is safe.  Residents have old skeletons popping out of  every closet.  The investigation goes on while the town readies for a huge Founder's Day celebration.
   This book, more so than the others, has colorful characters.  There are suspicions of witches and ghosts.   There are rumors of affairs, engagements, and babies.   It is fast paced and fun to read.  Given the topic it is a great read for October.  If you don't like scary books, but want something with Halloween overtones, give it a shot.
   This is a series book, but they do not have to be read in order.  You can pick up anyone and read without fear of discovering the plot from an earlier book.  A few events in the character's lives will be spoiled, but that's about it.