Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Girl at the Grave
by Teri Bailey Black

Valentine Deluca has learned to study hard, keep her head down and try to stay as invisible to the others at Drake’s Academy as possible.  She’s only able to attend the school through the generosity of a mysterious benefactor.  It’s her final year and she’s not sure what the future holds for her.  Her past is certainly dark enough.  Living with and looking after her father in the once grand home of her mother.  A mother who was hanged for the murder of Rowan Blackshaw’s father when Valentine was a small child.  Is that what he sees when he looks at her?  A murder’s daughter? The day the vicar approaches her and quietly tells her he thinks her mother was innocent sets Valentine’s life on a road she never thought she would be traveling. 

Black offers up a dark gothic tale of vengeance, betrayal and romance that will hook teens from the beginning.  She delivers up a story of a strong young woman bent on setting the record straight regardless of the powerful people who try to stop her.  She is a survivor and readers will celebrate her courage.  This is a good ‘fall into, escape from reality’ reading while addressing issues of self-worth, courage, confidence and honesty. A definite purchase for libraries.
#GirlAtTheGrave  #NetGalley

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for access to the digital Advanced Reader's Copy for my honest review.

PUB: Macmillan-Tor/Forge
PUB DATE:  August 7, 2018
ISBN:  9780765399489

Genre:  Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery      

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Deepest Grave
by Jeri Westerson

Like any detective, Crispin Guest is always looking for his next case.  When Father Bulthius comes to him with the incredible story of phantoms carrying off bodies from the graveyard he can’t pass it up.  Soon he and his apprentice are witness to this strange sighting as well.  As he begins his investigation, he is asked to take on another investigation.  It involves the seven-year-old son of a prosperous merchant who is being accused of murdering a neighbor and stealing a priceless relic.  The case is difficult and made more so by the fact his former lover is the mother of the young boy.  Time is running out for the boy and for Crispin.  For as long as he is involved with the boy, the emotion he has banked deep within his heart is threatening to go into full flame.  

I’ve never read any of Westerson’s Crispin Guest mysteries. I like historical mysteries but don’t usually go back as far as the 1300s.  The historical detail feels well researched and the characters realistic.  The plotting of the story is nicely paced and the surprise twist at the conclusion was very gratifying.  Those who enjoy their mysteries without all the bells and whistles of the modern detection field will find this a satisfying read.

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review. 

PUB:  Severn House
PUB DATE:  August 1, 2018
ISBN:  9780727887948

Genre:  Historical Mystery           

Tiffany Blues
by M J Rose

Set against the backdrop of 1924 New York, Rose has created a beautiful story using color and the bohemian lifestyle of artists and speakeasies as her canvas to create a portrait of Jenny Bell, a gifted artist whose dream is to paint light.  Try as she may, Jenny only creates in monochromatic tones.  Minx Deering wants to help her break out of this pattern by secretly applying for a special artist symposium at Laurelton Hall, the magnificent estate of Louis Comfort Tiffany.  Surrounded by the beautiful furnishings of the mansion, the beautiful gardens and the promise of love, perhaps Jenny can put aside her past and become the artist of her dreams.  Jenny is amazed when Tiffany selects her to model and wear a suite of his newest design of jewelry at an exclusive party.  Little does she know that this wonderful and exciting event will possibly be the unraveling of her life as she knows it.  

Rose’s prose truly paints a wonderous landscape using the color of words and emotions.  I have read several novels by Rose and I believe this is at the top of my list.  The research she put into the background of Louis Comfort Tiffany and his estate make you want to hop in your car or jump on a plane and go visit this amazing place of color.  Sadly, it no longer exists but you can still walk the halls and grounds through this novel.  The wonderous renditions of this lost estate almost overshadow the mystery at the heart of the book.  This is excellent story telling. 

I wish to thank the publisher and Edelweiss for providing an Advanced Reader’s copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Atria Books/Simon and Schuster
PUB DATE:  August 7, 2018
ISBN:  9781501173592

Genre:  Fiction/Historical Fiction/Historical Mystery

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Bimini Twist:  A Jane Bunker Mystery
by Linda Greenlaw

Jane has been a wonderkin at bringing down the drug traffic in Green Haven, Maine.  However, the temperature is warming up and tourist season is getting underway. The local businesses and city’s politicos aren’t too keen to have the summer visitors scared off by the drug related press, so the sheriff has asked her to cool it on the busts and points her to the cold case files.  Eager to escape she takes on a case of a missing girl who has been working at a local resort on a student visa, unaware it has a tie-in to a cold case from the previous year. 

For me, Greenlaw’s books get better with every addition.  Running her own lobster boat pays off big time as she describes the action in and around Green Haven.  Though mystery fans will likely figure out what is going on, the story is still intriguing and well written.  Her descriptions of small town life and how the boating community works is engaging.  As Jane heads out on one exploration, Greenlaw’s realistic description of what it’s like to work a boat in the fog with a good-looking guy and the actual way your appearance ends up is both tragic and hysterical.  (Though I’m sure Jane would disagree.)  This is an entertaining and satisfying book for a good afternoon in the hammock.  Teens who are interested in possible summer work visas could pick up a few pointers from this one. 

I wish to thank Minotaur Books and Macmillan Group for providing an advanced review copy of this title for my honest review.

PUB:  Minotaur Books/Macmillan Publishing Group
PUB DATE: June 26, 2018
ISBN:  9781520107589

Genre:  Fiction/Mystery

Murder at the Mansion
by Sheila Connolly

Having just received the news that the hotel she was running has been purchased by a large conglomerate and they wish to install their own personnel, Kate finds herself able to consider a proposal brought to her by her high school best friend.  Her home town of Asheford, Maryland is slowly dying.  The city council has purchased the large Victorian mansion once owned by Henry Barton.  The same mansion where Kate was humiliated by the clique queen and high school nemesis, Cordelia.  Now Cordy wants to take over the mansion and turn it into a high chrome, flashy hotel by ripping out the historical charm that has been painfully maintained with funds left by Barton.   As Kate is finishing up her tour of the mansion with the caretaker, they find the troublesome Cordelia, dead on the front steps.  Can Kate figure out what Cordelia was up to and why she was so interested in the mansion?

Books with storylines that deal with historical treasures hidden in basements and attics are a big draw to me.  Kate’s story moves along though clues and ideas do not come easy.  Connolly does not give Kate a smooth and effortless path to figure things out.  She stumbles and trips like a ‘regular’ person would.  Fans of Connolly’s Museum Mysteries will be happy to see Nell Pratt featured.  My one whine is against reading this book on an e-reader.  It abruptly ended.  I was so engrossed in the story that when the last line came up and I turned the page, I was agog that the book had ended.  I was not prepared.  Needless to say, that last line leaves it wide open for more installments. I will be waiting patiently.

I wish to thank the generosity of the publisher and NetGalley for providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

PUB:  St. Martin’s Press
PUB DATE:  June 26, 2018
ISBN: 9781250135865

GENRE:  Cozy Mystery

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Word About Summer Reading

With summer around the corner and schools opening their doors and releasing the wild hoards of offspring into the communities, I hope you will lasso yours and take them to your local library to indulge in some summer recreational reading.  What I wish to stress here is the word summer and recreational.  Having worked so long in a public library, I was witness to gaggles of kids embracing the fun time of being able to read what they wanted, what they enjoyed. Mysteries, adventures, tall-tales, and fairy tales.  We didn’t care as long as they were continuing to practice and exercise those reading skills. 

Parents!! Nothing will kill the joy of reading quicker than telling your child they must read something classical.  Something of merit, educational.  YUCK!  They get SO much of that nine months out of twelve.  Give them a break and allow them to pick up a graphic novel.  Who cares?  If they are not sitting in front of a television or computer, let them read it.  There are some great authors out there whose works will introduce your child to the wonders of the world through fiction.  Allow them to stretch their imaginations while reading a book of fantasy or science fiction.  (Do you honestly know how many modern contraptions have been developed because of a man who pushed the boundaries of imagination on a little scifi program called Star Trek?)

How many kids have learned how to stand up to bullies by reading Harry Potter?  How many have picked up a biography or non-fiction title because they read one of the Dear Diary series or a Magic Tree House? Summer is a time to rest the brain a little but keep it exercised by reading and exploring realms they don’t see a lot of during regular curricular cramming. 

How about this idea?  Why don’t you grab that bodice ripper, who-done-it or spy adventure and join them on the sofa for some page turning escape time?  Order out for pizza and enjoy.  You’ll be so glad you did. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Still Here

Letting you know I’m still around and breathing.  I may not post consistently but I’m always reading a book, listening to a book, all while probably purchasing a book or checking one out of the library.  LOL  I don’t have a lot of followers, nor do I expect many.  Those who do follow my blog know that if I’m not posting here, I’m probably reading.  Now, that reading activity may take place on the shore of the lake, in the parking lot of Home Depot, Tractor Supply or North 40.  Mostly it’s on my patio when it’s warm or in front of the fire when it’s cold.  Yes, I do need to get more exercise and I’m working on that.  Think I might just have to knuckle down and sync my phone to my Bluetooth head phones and my Libby app so I can listen to my downloaded audios without dragging my tablet on a bike or a hike.  (see what I did there?  Uh huh!  A little rhyme time.)   Hang in there, folks.  If you want to know about what I’m reading or have read.  Stay tuned.  (plus, my old laptop died a slow and painful death.)  We’ll be holding services for it at the end of the week.  In lieu of flowers, go to your local indie bookstore or library and give generously in the name of my old technology.  We thank you for your thoughtfulness.