Monday, September 30, 2013

Books Read September 2013

Armstrong, Lori G.
  • No Mercy 
Fiction.  This is no cozy mystery.  The story, like the protagonist, is tough and gritty.  Mercy Gunderson returns home after serving as a soldier in the U.S. Army for twenty years.  She is wounded, as is her heart.  Her father dead, she struggles to figure out if she’s ready to return home for good to hold onto the land generations of her family has lived on.  Prime land that others are willing to kill for.

Beck, K. K. 
  • Death in a Deck Chair 
Fiction.  On a ship bound from England to America, Iris Cooper, who has been accompanying her aunt on a trip around the world, receives a shock as a young gentleman she danced with the night before, is found dead.  Murdered.  All is not what it seems, and a foreign king being pursued by enemies is hiding amongst the passengers.

Blackwell, Juliet
  • Murder on the House
Fiction.  Mel Turner has the chance to renovate a 1911 Italianate mansion in San Francisco, but when she arrives to speak to the owner, she finds that she will be bidding against another contractor for the job.  It’s an unusual bidding process this time, as the two contractors must spend the night in the supposedly haunted mansion, and the contractor who stays the longest will win the bid.

Blair, Annette
  • Tulle Death Do Us Part 
Fiction.  Sixth installment in the Vintage Magic paranormal cozy series about the owner of a vintage clothing shop with the gift of psychometry.  When she touches vintage cloth, she sometimes has visions connected to crimes.  With the help of a goth BFF, her father, her witchy aunt and a hunky cop, she does her best to solve them.

Charles, Ann
  • Nearly Departed in Deadwood 
Fiction.  Violet Turner struggles to keep her job and has just a few more weeks to sell her first house.  A new tenant moves into the office next door who has her libido springing into action.  The problem is that her best friend has laid claim to him.  On the other hand, a handsome and wealthy jeweler wants her to sell his family home and begins showing her a lot of personal attention.  With two precocious twins to care for, Violet has her hands full of men who suddenly seem to be coming out of the woodwork.  And that family home she is hired to sell?  It’s haunted.

Childs, Laura
  • Photo Finished 
Fiction.  Carmella and her friends are getting ready for the Monsters and Old Masters’ Ball, when Ava stumbles over the body of the owner of the antique shop next door to Carmella’s scrapbooking store.  As she tries to solve the murder and prevent an innocent boy from being arrested, Carmella’s relationship with her estranged husband heats up.

Christie, Agatha
  • Evil Under The Sun 
Fiction.  Hercule Poirot takes a vacation at a hotel on an island.  He truly meant to simply relax and enjoy his stay but finds himself investigating the murder of a beautiful woman, with more suspects than he needs.

Connolly, Sheila
  • One Bad Apple 
Fiction.  Meg Corey finds herself at loose ends when she is downsized from her job at the bank and the end of a romance.  Her mother is trying to sell their old family farm, but the house will need a lot of care to get it in shape to sell.  They decide that this is just what Meg needs right now, a challenge she can sink her teeth into as she tries to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.  But her past comes back to haunt her when her ex-boyfriend turns up on her doorstep, and murder follows.

Fluke, Joanne
  • Red Velvet Cupcake Murder 
Fiction.  A renovated hotel is the scene for a party that Hannah’s bakery, The Cookie Jar, is catering.  After touring the lush new condos, Hannah returns to the lobby to join the other party-goers.  Their celebrating comes to a quick end when they hear a scream, and someone falls from the penthouse down to the ground.

Gustainis, Justin
  • Black Magic Woman 
Fiction.  Shades of the past arise when descendants of two women connected by the burning of a witch in the Salem Witch Trials collide in a flurry of revenge.  Libby Chaistain and Quincey Morris unite to help a young couple under attack from evil magic users.    

Lavene, Jim & Joyce
  • Hooked Up
Fiction.  Second installment in the Stock Car Racing cozy series.  Glad Wycznewski, ex-cop, and his much younger wife Ruby come to Dover to watch the races.  When Ruby picks up a battered hitchhiker to come to his aid, they’re thrown into the middle of a mistaken identity murder.

Luce, Carol Davis
  • Night Passage
Fiction.  Mysteries from now and twelve years ago are entwined in this fast-paced suspense tale.  Trying to find out who did what will keep Roni on her toes as she tries to stay out of the line of fire and hopefully will help a young boy to a more fulfilling life.

Patterson, James
  • Pop! Goes the Weasel 
Fiction.  Alex Cross is hoping to take some time off after his last case, but already murders are happening that will draw him in.  Across town, a homicidal maniac is already preying on people in the city.  Men and women, nobody is spared.

Whitehurst, Tess
  • The Art of Bliss
Non-fiction.  A wonderful blending of Feng Shui, the I Ching and western philosophy about creating harmony and fulfillment in the Self and the home.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Surnames Wordle

Surnames of my direct ancestors.  Hopefully this list will grow as I find more.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Random Reading Challenges

Clue Challenge

One of the most famous detective board games is Clue/Cluedo made by Parker Brothers. This challenge will be based around the characters, weapons and rooms from the original game. The challenge will run for a year, until Oct 1, 2011. Books may only be used once for this challenge, so you'll be reading 17 to 22 books to complete the challenge.

Clue Characters: 
Read a book where someone on the cover is wearing the same color clothes as the clue character. (ie a red dress, a green suit, etc. Outfit on cover does not have to be specifically a dress or suit, as long as the person on the cover is prodominately dressed in the color.) Read one book for each person.

Miss Scarlet (a red piece) 
Colonel Mustard (a yellow piece) 
Mrs. White (a white piece) 
Mr. Green (a green piece) 
Mrs. Peacock (a blue piece) 
Professor Plum (a purple piece) 

Read a book where either one of the following weapons is pictured on the cover, specifically named in the title, or was used to murder someone in the book. Read one book for each weapon.

Revolver (any revolver or pistol) 
Lead Pipe 

Read a book with one the following rooms pictured on the cover, specifically named in the title, or featured prominately in the plot. The room doesn't have to be the main place the story takes place but if the characters just walk through the room once it isn't enough to count. If an entire scene takes place in the room, then it's enough to qualify. Choose 5 of the 10. (Some will be harder, so you don't have to find them all unless you want to.)

Dining Room
Billard Room
Cellar/Stairs (where the envelope with the solution was kept)

BONUS #1: Read a book based on the actual game Clue. Example: Clue series by A.E. Parker

BONUS #2: Play the board game with family and/or friends. 

BONUS #3: Watch the movie CLUE starring Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Lesley Ann Warren, Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, and Martin Mull.

NOTE: The books read for this challenge do not have to all be mysteries. It's your choice. 


Sherlock Holmes

Based on the life and events of the fictional character Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

You have 6 months to finish this challenge from when you start. Please put your start date on your post. This allows anyone to join us later. Note: Some books for this challenge will need to be mysteries, but you don't have to use all mysteries unless you want to.

1. Sherlock Holmes – Read a book with a detective or private eye as a main character.

2. Dr. John H. Watson – Read a book where the person solving the mystery has an assistant or helper.

3. 221 B Baker Street – Read a book with an address in the title, or mentioned somewhere in the book. Or there is a character named Baker, or Baker is in the title, or is part of the author’s name.

4. London – Read a book that takes place in England.

5. Books - There are 4 novels and 56 short stories that make up the Sherlock Holmes original works. Read any one of those, or you may read a book that is based on Sherlock Holmes in any way.

6. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Read a book by an author with a 3 word name, the author is knighted (Sir or Dame), Or “Arthur”, “Conan” or “Doyle” is found in the authors name (including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, if you wish to read another book by the author himself).

7. Smoking – Holmes smoked a Meerschaum pipe, and occasionally cigarettes and cigars. Read a book where there is a pipe, cigarettes, or cigar either on the cover, in the title, or used by a main character in a book.

8. Drugs – Holmes had a habit of using cocaine and occasionally morphine as a stimulant. Read a book where drugs are part of the story or someone uses a stimulant (including caffeine).

9. Deductive Reasoning – Holmes was famous for this. Read a book where a mystery is solved by following and interpreting clues.

10. Disguise – Holmes frequently disguised himself. Read a book where, for whatever reason, someone wears a disguise or costume.

11. Forensic Science – This was used frequently by Holmes. Read a book where some type of forensic science is mentioned. It could be anything from fingerprints to CSI type lab work.

12. Deerstalker hat & cape – This was what Holmes is usually pictured wearing. Read a book where someone wears either a hat or a cape, of any kind, at some point in the book. (Police officers, cowboy, etc.)

13. Dr. Moriarty – He was Holmes’ archvillian. Read a book where there is one major villain. 


Cozy Themes

#1 British - English - Books that take place in the United Kingdom countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

#2 Historical/Period - Any book that takes place prior to 1940.

#3 Animals - Any book with an animal as a main character, subject of the book, book takes place in a pet shop, stable, etc.

#4 Culinary/Cooking - Food themed mysteries.

#5 Paranormal - Anything centered around the occult, witches, vampires, werewolves, Psychics, ghosts, etc.

#6 Vacation Mysteries/Exotic Locations - Any book that takes place outside the United States and/or outside the country in which you live.

#7 Holidays - Any holiday themed mystery.

#8 Hobbies - Any mystery that centers around a hobby, craft, sport, etc.

#9 Professions/Careers/Jobs/Occupations - Any mystery that centers on or highlights a particular job. Doesn't matter if the job is that of the person murdered, or that of the amateur slueth.

#10 Senior Slueths - Read a mystery where the sleuth is 50 or older.


Around the World in 80 Books

1. This will last multiple years.  Start date:

2. Read books that take place in 80 different countries starting with your home country.

3. During your journey, visit countries within the following 9 regions: North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania/Australia, and Antarctica.

4. Books must actually take place within the country. If it takes place in multiple countries, you must pick one of the main countries.

5. There are close to 200 recognized countries in the world. However, for the sake of the challenge, you will not be held to using only independent nations. It is perfectly acceptable to using territories, constituent countries, islands, and independent states (not US). If you need some help, here is a handy website:

6. Re-reads are perfectly acceptable, as are audio books.

7. All books must be at least 100 pages in length, or the equivalent.

8. Please state the region (see #2), the country, the book title, and the author during each new post.

9. There will be two different challenge tracts:

1) Trekker (more difficult)

• Assuming that you are using the modes of transportation available during Jules Verne’s’ time, you will travel in consecutive order to countries adjacent to each other or directly accessible over bodies of water. This would follow a logical trip itinerary of circumnavigation, with limited “zigzagging” between destinations.

• You may need to “travel” to a given country more than one time during your itinerary. You can go to any one country as many times as you like, but it will only count once.

2) Frequent Flyer (Easier)

• Even though you still have to start at your country of origin, you are free to travel at random around the globe with no specific route or itinerary.

• You must still visit countries in all 9 specified regions.

BONUS (optional): Countries A to Z. There are countries for every letter except X. Try to include at least one country for each letter of the alphabet during your reading journey! I will accept the names of provinces in Canada and China as well as Mexican states for use in the A to Z Challenge. These, however will not count as individual countries in the country challenge. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Books Read August 2013

Cates, Bailey
  • Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti 
Fiction.  Katie Lightfoot is still adjusting to the knowledge of being a hereditary witch, while she goes about her daily job at the family bakery.  She has a new romance with a gorgeous fireman, but that hits some bumps when the hunky newspaper reporter pops in and out of her life.  While on a picnic with her fireman, Katie receives a shock when they find a dead man hiding in the bushes.  The magickal mystery is off and running, as Katie tries to solve the murder in order to save her own skin.

Davidson, Diane Mott
  • The Whole Enchilada 
Fiction.  Goldy is up to her knees in food as she gets ready to cater her son’s  and her son’s good friend’s birthday party to be held at her best friend’s mansion.  When the other boy’s mother arrives, she is acting strangely, and Goldy becomes quite concerned when a strange man crashes the party.  The evening doesn’t go quite as planned, and by the end of the night a murder has been committed.

Dereske, Jo
  • Miss Zukas and the Library Murders 
Fiction.  First in the Miss Zukas series about a thirty-something uptight and rather prissy librarian who finds herself involved in a murder or two.  With the help of her zany artist sidekick, she’s not sure if she’s staying out of trouble or landing in the middle of it.

Dugan, Ellen 
  • Practical Protection Magick
Non-fiction.  Wonderfully informative and easy-to-follow guide to psychic attacks and how to defend yourself against them.

Galenorn, Yasmine
  • Night Vision 
Fiction.  Cicely must accept the crown of the Queen of Snow and Ice as part of her destiny, as her cousin, Rhiannon, wears the crown of the Queen of Rivers and Rushes.  Myst is still out to destroy them, Geoffrey and Leo are out to conquer them, and a new threat, the Blood Oracle, has been released and seeks one decimate Cicely.

Grafton, Sue
  • Kinsey and Me 
Non-fiction and Fiction.  Part memoir and part short stories about Kinsey Milhone, Grafton shares a lot of herself in this book.

Graham, Heather
  • Ghost Shadow 
Fiction.  A centuries-old curse comes alive and is played out among descendants of the founding families of Key West.  A murder committed ten years ago is replayed, and the key suspect in this murder is the same as in the one a decade ago.  Love lost and love found, ghosts and pirates all come together to solve this mystery and stop the curse.

Gregory, Philippa
  • The Red Queen 
Fiction.  Fictionalized account of the matriarch of the Tudor family, Margaret Beaufort, whose faith in God and in herself (perhaps before God), changed the history of England and placed her son, Henry Tudor, on the throne.

Hamilton, Lyn
  • The Xibalba Murders 
Fiction.  Lara McLintoch answers her old friend’s call to fly to Mexico and help him with a project, however when she arrives, she lands in the midst of a centuries-old myth and a modern-day murder.

James, Miranda 
  • File M for Murder 
Fiction.  Charlie and Diesel find themselves involved in another murder, as a visiting playwright is found dead, and Charlie’s own daughter, Laura, is a prime suspect.  A decade-sold mystery rears its head, and Charlie and his family needs to find out who the killer is before there is another death.

Koontz, Dean
  • Shadow Fires 
Fiction.  Fast-paced story about life, death and genetic alteration.  Where do we stop playing with nature?  A woman about to divorce her husband sees him suddenly killed by a garbage truck while trying to cross a busy street.  A cold terror begins to fill her.  That night she gets a call that she’s been dreading.  His body has been stolen from the morgue.

Smith, Melissa A.
  • Jealousy’s Rage
Fiction.  A hunter from Atlantis has one year to find his mate, so he travels to the Midwest to find her.  Ellie has had her heart broken one too many times to jump into another relationship, but she finds her resolve wavering as she describes her ideal man...and he walks into the real estate office where she works.

Toronto, Suzy 
  • The Sacred Sisterhood of Wonderful Wacky Women
Non-fiction.  Charming tales of real women who made an impact on the author’s life, who taught her what being a friend is about and how to fully live in the life she was given.  Accompanied by recipes.