05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery · Tags:

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell., 336 pages, read by Kira, on 01/03/2015

imagesLily Ivory, a witch, runs a vintage clothing shop.  Against her wishes, she is gifted a familiar who takes the form of a pig.  During the course of  her days she discovers…

I like the nuanced characters, and the fact that Lily is a very strong protagonist.  I also liked that the villain was difficult to spot or figure out – though the clues were there.  I very much enjoyed this fulfilling mystery.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery

Greenglass House by Kate Milford, 384 pages, read by Angie, on 12/27/2014

I really wish I had been snowed in while reading this book. I would have been the perfect book to be reading while cozy on the couch with a quilt and hot chocolate as the world turned white outside. As it wasn’t snowing, I still enjoyed my couch and quilt while reading this book. Greenglass House is a hard book to categorize as it seems to shift about or meander every which way depending on its mood. I had a hard time pinning down if it was set in the real world or an alternative and whether it is in the past or the present. But in the end it did not matter. I enjoyed Milo’s story thoroughly and would definitely recommend it.

Milo lives with his adoptive parents in Greenglass House, an inn that caters to smugglers and is difficult to get to. He is looking forward to a quiet Christmas with just mom and dad. Then the guests start arriving, one after another. Milo’s quiet Christmas disappears as a strange group takes up residence in the inn. The cook is recalled along with her daughter and granddaughter, Meddy. Milo and Meddy are the only kids in the house and on their own for a lot of the time. Meddy introduces Milo to a role playing game and they don their new identities of Negret and Sirin. These new identities come in handy when items start disappearing from the guests and someone starts sabotaging the inn. They must figure out who the guests really are, what they are looking for at the inn, and who is behind the thefts.

I think the thing I enjoyed the most was Milo’s transformation throughout the book. He goes from being a quiet, unassuming boy to a confident detective. He gains confidence in himself and his place in the world through the investigation and Meddy’s influence. I also liked that his parents are present and an active part of his life. He is adopted and that fact weighs on him but never makes him doubt his place in the family. This is a longer book and because it doesn’t fit with conventional genres may lose some readers, but those who stick with it are in for a treat.

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

A Song to Die For by Mike Blakely, 352 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/23/2014

A Song to Die For — a rousing tale mixing love, music, and mystery from Spur Award–winning author Mike Blakely.
It’s 1975 and guitarist and singer/songwriter Creed Mason hopes to ride the new wave of Texas-style, Austin-based country music all the way back to the big time. A one-hit wonder whose Nashville career was cut short by a trip to Vietnam, Creed is desperate to get back into the business.  His break arrives when a country legend, Luster Burnett, comes out of a fifteen-year retirement for one last album and tour in order to pay off a huge debt to the I.R.S. As Luster’s new guitarist and band manager, Creed jumps at the chance of a lifetime.

Rosa Martini, a beautiful young mob princess from Las Vegas, is found dead just outside of Austin. Texas Ranger Captain Hooley Johnson looks into the case, only to find a second young woman murdered—a friend of Rosa’s. To complicate things, Rosa’s adoptive brother, mob hit man Franco Martini, is spotted nosing around Austin in the wake of the murders.

Soon it appears to Johnson, and to Creed, that the mob-related murders and the band are somehow connected.  When the band wins an unexpected booking at the biggest casino in Vegas, Creed begins to wonder what kind of contract his band is being set up for—a major-label recording deal, or a mob hit? (description from Goodreads.com)

05. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Short Stories, Tracy, Westerns

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories by Craig Johnson, 183 pages, read by Tracy, on 12/18/2014

Ten years ago, Craig Johnson wrote his first short story, the Hillerman Award–winning “Old Indian Trick.” This was one of the earliest appearances of the sheriff who would go on to star in Johnson’s bestselling, award-winning novels and the A&E hit series Longmire. Each Christmas Eve thereafter, fans rejoiced when Johnson sent out a new short story featuring an episode in Walt’s life that doesn’t appear in the novels; over the years, many have asked why they can’t buy the stories in book form.

Wait for Signs collects those beloved stories—and one entirely new story, “Petunia, Bandit Queen of the Bighorns”—for the very first time in a single volume, regular trade hardcover. With glimpses of Walt’s past from the incident in “Ministerial Aide,” when the sheriff is mistaken for a deity, to the hilarious “Messenger,” where the majority of the action takes place in a Port-A-Potty, Wait for Signs is a necessary addition to any Longmire fan’s shelf and a wonderful way to introduce new readers to the fictional world of Absaroka County, Wyoming. (description from Goodreads.com)

03. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Katy, Mystery

Sacrifice Fly by Tim O'Mara, 307 pages, read by Katy, on 01/01/2015

thRaymond Donne wasn’t always a schoolteacher. Not only did he patrol the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as one of New York’s Finest, but being the nephew of the chief of detectives, he was expected to go on to bigger things. At least he was until the accident that destroyed his knees. Unable to do the job the way he wanted, he became a teacher in the same neighborhood, and did everything he could to put the force behind him and come to terms with the change.

Then Frankie Rivas, a student in Ray’s class and a baseball phenom, stops showing up to school. With Frankie in danger of failing and missing out on a scholarship, Ray goes looking for him, only to find Frankie’s father bludgeoned to death in their apartment. Frankie and his younger sister are gone, possibly on the run. But did Frankie really kill his father? Ray can’t believe it. But then who did, and where are Frankie and his sister? Ray doesn’t know, but if he’s going to have any chance of bringing them home safely, he’s going to have to return to the life, the people, and the demons he walked out on all those years ago.

From www.goodreads.com.

02. January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Leslie, Mystery

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell, 500 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/23/2014

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Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward. In the days that follow, Scarpetta; her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley; and her niece, Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic computer investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-too-real streets of the city; an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew, and much, much too close to home.

I really enjoyed this Scarpetta book more than the last one I read.  This one had more twists and turns than I remember seeing in awhile.  Some of her books had gotten a bit predictable, almost bordering on typical and boring to me, but this one kept me on edge.  I recommend it to those who enjoy her books and those like it.

31. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Eric, Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction

Coming Home by Jack McDevitt, 358 pages, read by Eric, on 12/21/2014

Antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his assistant, Chase Kolpath, are back for another galaxy-spanning hunt for ancient artifacts, and to help rescue the travelers stuck on an interstellar liner, the Capella. The artifacts are from Earth, several thousand years in the past, during the early days of space exploration. The Capella is caught in a space/time warp, which has the liner resurfacing into normal space every few years, but only a for a short time, before being swallowed again by the warp. To the passengers and crew, only a day or two have passed.

McDevitt returns now and again to tell another of Chase and Alex’s adventures. I’ve lined up for each, but had a tough time getting into this one. The dual plots don’t intersect enough, to the point that I wished he had just focused on one, and fleshed it out. Much time was spent jumping back and forth to Earth, yet most of what they accomplished here didn’t matter much in the end. An average mystery, combined with a reasonably-exciting rescue adventure.

31. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Becky, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller/Suspense

Haunted by Kay Hooper, 310 pages, read by Becky, on 12/28/2014

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When Deacon James’s younger sister Melanie calls him, terrified, he goes to her aid in the small Georgia town of Sociable. What he finds is a scared young woman in the grip of what she insists is a paranormal nightmare–and murder. Two local men have been killed under mysterious circumstances. And Melanie is the prime suspect. Trinity Nichols left a high-stress job for quiet, small-town life. But news of the murders has left her–and the town–on edge, especially when there is nothing remotely ordinary about how the men died. And her investigation is yielding more than she bargained for, including a group of strangers who have descended on Sociable, some with abilities Trinity finds hard to believe, and agendas she refuses to trust. For some reason, they know a lot more than they should about what’s happening in town. And what’s happening is growing stranger by the minute. Now Trinity, Deacon, and this odd band of FBI agents must work together to solve a series of disturbances so incredible that Trinity, and the town of Sociable, will be changed forever. She just isn’t certain who–or what–will be left standing when it’s all over

29. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags: , ,

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas (Jane Austen Mysteries #12) by Stephanie Barron, 329 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/28/2014

jane austen  The newest Jane Austen mystery book out in time for your holiday reading pleasure. Jane discovers family secrets and murder during the twelve days of Christmas in Regency England. Jane, Cassandra and her mother are invited to spend the Christmas holiday with her brother James and his family in the home Jane grew up in. James is now the rector of their father’s church but unlike his fun-loving father is a serious minister who questions any holiday frivolity. The whole family is invited to to stay at The Vyne a nearby manor house. The ladies are thrilled with the chance to see the house again and become re-acquainted with their neighbors especially in a festive household. But international politics, love affairs and murder creep into even the fashionable of society and dampen the holiday spirits of all those staying at The Vyne. Will Jane discover who the murderer is and why before everyone goes their separate ways?

26. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Mystery · Tags:

The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, 320 pages, read by Kira, on 12/26/2014

the sth A blending of genres, this is a mystery set in medieval times, with a little bit of magic, and a large amount of Guy Noir (a more serious version).  Eddie LaCrosse is a sword for hire/detective with a tragic past (as far as women are concerned).  His childhood best friend, hires him to clear the queen of having murdered her own son. Not quiet sure how the title fits.  Great pacing, and an intriguing story, though I wish the female characters had been drawn more completely and less tending toward objects.  Eddie_LaCrosseeddielacrosse86efb52beeea082270089188ca448ce6

22. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Tammy · Tags:

The Virgin in the Ice: Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #6 by Ellis Peters, 220 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/21/2014

virgin in the ice It is the winter of 1139. A civil war in England has sent refugees fleeing from Worcester to the abbey at Shrewsbury hoping to find a safe haven there. Traveling with a young nun the group, including an orphan boy and his 18 year old sister. But somewhere in the dangerous countryside they disappear. Brother Cadfael sets

In the winter of 1139, raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester, among them are two orphans a boy of 13 and his beautiful 18-year-old sister and a young Benedictine nun. They set out but disappear somewhere in the wild countryside. Brother Cadfael wants to go search for them but he is called to the Church of Saint Mary where a monk has been found beaten and bleeding beside the road. He will surely die without Cadfael’s medicinal knowledge. The monk’s fevered ravings give Cadfael a clue to the missing party and he soon embarks on a dangerous quest to find them.

22. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Greetings from the Graveyard by Kate Klise, M. Sarah Klise (Illustrations), 160 pages, read by Angie, on 12/21/2014

The residents of Spence Mansion are going into the greeting card business. Ghost Olive C. Spence writes the cards and young Seymour Hope illustrates them. The new business came about because author Ignatius B. Grumply started getting letters from an old love who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Nadia S. Richenov is determined to get Ignatius back now that he is a successful author and she is having money troubles. Then there are the two escaped criminals who look a lot like the new couple in town offering home security systems. There is a rash of burglaries but no one will listen when Seymour tries to tell them the truth. Olive brings back her old butler, also a ghost, to act as security at the mansion, but he just drives Ignatius crazy. The book is told through letters, greeting cards, newspaper articles, text messages and notes. I’m not a huge fan of this format as I think it doesn’t do a great job of telling the complete story. However, the book was a fun, quick read with a nice light mystery.

19. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Lisa, Mystery

The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter, 318 pages, read by Lisa, on 12/04/2014

 In 1960s Toronto, two girls retreat to their attics to escape the loneliness and isolation of their lives. Polly lives in a house bursting at the seams with people, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly is a down-to-earth dreamer with a wild imagination and an obsession with ghosts; Rose is a quiet, ethereal waif with a sharp tongue. Despite their differences, both girls spend their days feeling invisible and seek solace in books and the cozy confines of their respective attics. But soon they discover they aren’t alone–they’re actually neighbors, sharing a wall. They develop an unlikely friendship, and Polly is ecstatic to learn that Rose can actually see and talk to ghosts. Maybe she will finally see one too! But is there more to Rose than it seems? Why does no one ever talk to her? And why does she look so… ghostly? When the girls find a tombstone with Rose’s name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family… before it’s too late. (from Goodreads.com)

17. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon G. Flake, 288 pages, read by Angie, on 12/16/2014

Octobia May lives with her Aunt Shuma who runs a boarding house. Octobia is obsessed with Mr. Davenport, one of the boarders. She believes he is a vampire for much of the book. Octobia and her best friend Jonah start following Mr. Davenport and belief he killed a girl. No one believes them until Mr. Davenport and banker Mr. Harrison try to railroad Shuma when she goes for a loan. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue in this book as Octobia and Jonah try to figure out what is going on with Mr. Davenport. Octobia is a strange child who seems obsessed with death; she died for a little while and talks to the statues in the graveyard. There is a lot of important topics discussed in the book that aren’t often talked about in middle grade fiction. Some of the boarders are holocaust survivors, no one will loan Aunt Shuma money because she is black and single, schools are segregated, there is talk of passing as white for light skinned Blacks, mixed race children and what it means to be free. You would think all of that would make this a more enjoyable story. It doesn’t! I think Octobia’s vampire obsession at the beginning of the book just made the whole thing seem more unrealistic and put me off the rest of the story. It was a bit on the long side and seemed less cohesive than I would have liked.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

09. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery · Tags:

Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits by Michael D. Beil, 288 pages, read by Angie, on 12/08/2014

Henry is traveling with his mother and sister on the Lake Erie Shoreliner. He meets chatty heiress Ellie who decides they are going to be great friends. They also meet conductor Clarence and his telepathic cat Sam. When Ellie disappears soon after Henry, Clarence and Sam are determined to find her. Someone has kidnapped Ellie and demanded her mother’s priceless necklace, the Blue Streak, as ransom. There are a lot of characters on the train with secrets and hidden agendas. Our intrepid investigates must sort through all the hidden motivations and identities of the passengers to figure out who is behind Ellie’s kidnapping.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book and was a bit skeptical of the telepathic cat, but it all worked here. As an adult reader I was able to pick out the bad guys pretty quickly, but I am not sure younger readers will figure it out quite as fast. There are a lot of twists and turns to this mystery that made it even more fun to read. I especially liked the confined environment of the train as the setting; it gave the mystery a feeling of immediacy as the train got closer and closer to its destination. Train travel in the 1930s was nothing like it is today and the setting highlighted just how much it has changed. The mystery of Ellie’s kidnapping is interspersed with Lantern Sam’s autobiography as he tells of his many adventures and nine lives. This part of the story seemed to justify having a telepathic cat in the plot and added a lot of humor to the story. Sam is a smart aleck calico with a love of adventure and sardines and perhaps the star of this story.

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Cookie Dough or Die by Virginia Lowell, 295 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/28/2014

Olivia Greyson is the proud owner of The Gingerbread House—a quaint shop that specializes in all things cookie—and her best friend, Maddie, is her sidekick, baking up scrumptious treats for their cookie-themed parties. But now they must take a break from baking and turn their attention to recreating a recipe for murder…

No one is more shocked than Olivia when prominent business owner Clarisse Chamberlain is found dead. It was Clarisse who encouraged Olivia to open The Gingerbread House—and she was one of her best customers. The sheriff is ready to call the case a suicide, but Olivia’s convinced there’s a murder to solve.

Then word spreads that Clarisse left Olivia a large sum of money, along with a collection of valuable, antique cookie cutters. Suddenly, Olivia is the prime suspect, with some fingers pointing to Maddie when the local postman falls ill after sampling one of their cookies. If the cookie-loving duo doesn’t find the real killer, their reputation—and quite possibly their lives—will be battered for good…

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy · Tags:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 560 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/15/2014

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy · Tags:

Dick Francis's Damage by Felix Francis, 400 pages, read by Tracy, on 11/01/2014

Felix Francis is back with another edge-of-your-seat thriller, in the classic Dick Francis tradition.

Undercover investigator Jeff Hinkley is assigned by the British Horseracing Authority to look into the activities of a suspicious racehorse trainer, but as he’s tailing his quarry through the Cheltenham Racing Festival, the last thing he expects to witness is a gruesome murder. Could it have something to do with the reason the trainer was banned in the first place—the administration of illegal drugs to his horses?

Then many more horses test positive for prohibited stimulants, and someone starts making demands, threatening to completely destroy the integrity of the racing industry. In order to limit the damage to the sport, it’s critical that Jeff find the perpetrator . . . but he’ll soon learn he’s up against someone who will stop at nothing to prevail.

01. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Jane, Mystery

Love you More by Lisa Gardner, 368 pages, read by Jane, on 11/01/2014

WHO DO YOU LOVE?

One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self-defense, and bears the bruises to back up her tale. For veteran detective D. D. Warren it should be an open-and-shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter?

AND HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO . . .

As the homicide investigation ratchets into a frantic statewide search for a missing child, D. D. Warren must partner with former lover Bobby Dodge to break through the blue wall of police brotherhood, seeking to understand the inner workings of a trooper’s mind while also unearthing family secrets. Would a trained police officer truly shoot her own husband? And would a mother harm her own child?

. . . TO SAVE HER?

For Tessa Leoni, the worst has not yet happened. She is walking a tightrope, with nowhere to turn, no one to trust, as the clock ticks down to a terrifying deadline. She has one goal in sight, and she will use every ounce of her training, every trick at her disposal, to do what must be done. No sacrifice is too great, no action unthinkable. A mother knows who she loves. And all others will be made to pay.

Love you more . . .

22. November 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Katy, Mystery

Invisible City by Julia Dahl, 295 pages, read by Katy, on 11/17/2014

Dahl_1024x1024“Just months after Rebekah Roberts was born, her mother, an Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, abandoned her Christian boyfriend and newborn baby to return to her religion. Neither Rebekah nor her father have heard from her since. Now a recent college graduate, Rebekah has moved to New York City to follow her dream of becoming a big-city reporter. But she’s also drawn to the idea of being closer to her mother, who might still be living in the Hasidic community in Brooklyn. Then Rebekah is called to cover the story of a murdered Hasidic woman. Rebekah’s shocked to learn that, because of the NYPD’s habit of kowtowing to the powerful ultra-Orthodox community, not only will the woman be buried without an autopsy, her killer may get away with murder.”

It was tough to put this one down! A great debut novel and good read for Gillian Flynn fans.