Sunday, June 1, 2014

Books Read May 2014

Archer, Connie
  • A Spoonful of Murder
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series set in a small Vermont ski town.  Lucky Jamieson owns a soup restaurant that features the cooking of her star chef, Sage.  A woman enters Spoonful to pick up a to-go order, and when Sage sees her, he has a strange reaction and ducks back into the kitchen.  Lucky doesn’t understand why, but she starts to wonder when the woman is found dead in the alley behind the restaurant.

Ash, Maureen
  • Death of A Squire
Fiction.  Mystery set in Lincolnshire, England during the Middle Ages.  Templar Knight, Bascot de Marins, and his servant, a mute boy named Gianni, are living in Lincoln Castle working for the sheriff and his wife, Nicolaa de la Haye.  One day a young squire is found hanged in the forest next to a slaughtered deer, and Lady Nicolaa charges the Templar to find the boy’s murderer.

Befeler, Mike 
  • Senior Moments Are Murder
Fiction.  Third in the Geezer-Lit Paul Jacobson cozy mystery series.  Paul suffers from a short-term memory issue that causes him to begin each day not knowing anything that happened in the previous six years, including the fact that he’s about to be married.  While out for an early morning walk along the canals in Venice, California, he looks down and sees a dead body.  Murder and mayhem run rampant in the artist colony, and Paul is right in the middle of it.

Castle, Richard
  • Heat Wave
Fiction.  First in the Nikki Heat police procedural.  Nikki and reporter Jameson Rook are hot on the heels of a murderer who shoved a wealthy entrepreneur off his sixth floor balcony.  

Charles, Ann
  • Dead Case in Deadwood
Fiction.  Third in the humorous paranormal cozy mystery series set in South Dakota.  Violet Parker is trying to drum up business so she can keep her job at Calamity Jane Realty.  One day, a strange Abraham Lincoln-look alike shows up in the realty office looking for her.  His request: to buy a haunted hotel, and Violet knows just the one to show him.

Connolly, Sheila
  • Scandal in Skibbereen 
Fiction.  Second in the cozy mystery series set in County Cork, Ireland.  Maura is getting used to owning a pub she inherited from a family friend she never knew.  Another American woman bursts into the pub and announces she is looking for an old portrait painted by a famous artist and asks Maura for her help in locating the manor house she believes the painting is in.  The next morning, a gardener is found dead at the manor house, and Maura can’t help but think that the American woman has something to do with it.  

Fluke, Joanne
  • Winter Chill 
Fiction.  Mystery set in snowy Minnesota.  Marian waits at home for her husband and daughter, Laura, to return from an afternoon of snowmobiling.  They’re late, and she’s getting worried.  Her worry turns to fear when the police cruiser pulls into her driveway.

Galbraith, Robert
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling
Fiction.  First in the Cormoran Strike mystery series set in London.  Cormoran is a wounded veteran who now works as a private investigator.  He is hired by the brother of a young woman who was found dead after jumping from her balcony.  The young woman happens to be a famous model worth millions of pounds.  Who will benefit from her death? 

Gerritsen, Tess
  • The Surgeon
Fiction.  First in the Rizzoli & Isles police procedural/medical mystery series, on which the TV show is based.  Rizzoli is struggling to make a name for herself on the homicide squad, but being the only woman surrounded by chauvinistic males, she’s chosen a difficult profession.  Dr. Catherine Cordell is trying to piece her life back together after a horrific attack.  Her attacker, who she believed that she’d killed that night, suddenly makes a comeback and more women are targeted.  How can that be?

Jaffarian, Sue Anne
  • Dummy of a Ghost
Fiction.  Fifth in the Granny Apples paranormal cozy mystery series.  Kelly is home in California for spring break and goes to a party with her old high school friends, one of whom is a professional ventriloquist.  While he is showing off for their friends, Kelly notices a shimmer on the face of the grandmotherly dummy.  A shimmer that forms into the face of a ghost.

  • Ghost of a Gamble
Fiction.  Sixth installment in the Ghost of Granny Apples paranormal cozy mystery series.  Asked by her fellow medium, Milo, to drive to Las Vegas to assist him with a ghost, Emma Whitecastle visits with his mother, Dolly, a former showgirl, whose house seems to be haunted.  Multiple ghosts link the present to an old casino theft and murder, as Emma tries to save the lives of some of her new friends.

  • The Silent Ghost
Fiction.  Fourth in the Ghost of Granny Apples paranormal cozy mystery series.  Granny has gone to visit Kelly at college and assists her in helping a young woman who is bothered by a ghost.

Kingsbury, Kate
  • A Bicycle Built for Murder
Fiction.  First in a cozy mystery series set in WWII England.  Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton is the lady of the manor trying to keep her estate from falling to pieces.  As she travels the narrow road from the village to Manor House, she is flagged down by a tenant.  The woman says her daughter has gone missing, and Lady Elizabeth is determined to solve the mystery.

Kress, Nancy
  • Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint
Non-fiction.  Information on writing characters that ring true, the use of emotions in writing, and how to use the different POVs.

Landis, Jill Marie
  • Mai Tai One On 
Fiction.  First book in a cozy mystery series set on Kauai.  Emily and her Uncle Louie own a bar on the North Shore.  As part of their entertainment, they host a weekly luau complete with kalua pig baked in an imu.  The festivities crash to a halt when Louie’s next door neighbor and nemesis is found face down in the oven, and Em and the oddly eccentric resident hula troupe must find the killer before another murder takes place.

Parra, Nancy J.
  • Murder Gone A-Rye
Fiction.  Second in the Gluten-Free Bakery cozy series.  Toni keeps busy baking fresh goods at her bakery and also spending time with her family.  Her grandmother Ruth is quite a handful, and Toni gets dragged into her many schemes, though Toni refuses to get involved with investigating any more murders...until her grandmother ends up as the prime suspect.

Patterson, James
  • Roses Are Red
Fiction.  6th book in the Alex Cross mysteries.  Alex is trying to hold onto his relationship with Christine, who is having trouble dealing with her recent kidnapping and Alex’s pre-occupation with his job.  In this new case, a series of bank robberies seem to be linked together, and Alex is hot on the trail of The Mastermind.

Roberts, Anthony
  • Sons of The Great Satan
Fiction.  Historical fiction account of a young boy’s experiences during the Iranian Revolution, as told from the points of view of all concerned parties.

Silva, Daniel
  • The Kill Artist 
Fiction.  First in the thriller series starring Israeli Gabriel Allon.  Part time art restorer, part time assassin, he is called out of retirement to help the Office take down the Palestinian spy who planted the bomb in the car Gabriel’s wife and son were in.  He enlists the help of a famous fashion model to infiltrate the enemy.

Speart, Jessica
  • Gator Aide (1997) 
Fiction.  Wildlife agent, Rachel Porter, has recently been assigned to work in New Orleans.  As the newest rookie, she has the least exciting assignments, and as a woman working in a typically male environment, she has to work harder to prove to her boss that she can do the job.  After a night in the swamps trying to catch a duck poacher, she just wants to rest, but her phone rings with another assignment.  A stripper has been found murdered in her apartment with a very unusual pet chained in her bathroom.

Sprinkle, Patricia
  • Death on the Family Tree
Fiction.  First in a mystery series revolving around a woman trying to solve several mysteries through genealogy.  While trying to trace the origin of an ancient bronze circlet, Katharine Murray, who is dealing with an empty nest, an absent husband, and recent deaths in the family, gets involved with mysteries old and new and finds a new passion.

Styers, John J.
  • Cold Steel
Non-fiction.  Instruction manual used by the Armed Forces for close combat techniques including bare hands, knives and sticks.  

Tan, Amy
  • The Hundred Secret Senses
Fiction.  Olivia is half-Chinese, half-Caucasian and grow up with her two brothers in San Francisco.  When she is twelve, Olivia finds out that she has an older half-sister in China  Her father had another family before hers.  Her sister, Kwan, travels to the US and moves in with Olivia’s family, and Olivia tries hard to accept the cultural differences, as well as Kwan’s insistence that she sees ghosts.  Their sisterhood has strange twists and turns, and Olivia only really gets to know her sister when they travel back to China.

Thomas, Rob
  • The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line

Fiction.  First in the Veronica Mars mystery series.  Veronica is holding down the shop as her father recuperates from his injuries, and she’s worried about the bottom dollar at Mars Investigations.  The city of Neptune is host to Spring Break, and students from numerous colleges converge on the town for a week of drinking and debauchery.  While attending a lavish party at a mansion, a college coed is seen partying it up with one of the party hosts but goes missing.

Books Read April 2014

Abbott, Rachel
  • Sleep Tight 
Fiction.  3rd in a mystery series starring DI Tom Douglas.  A woman is waylaid outside a pub on her way home, while someone watches from the dark.  Soon after begins a long and winding series of crimes surrounding the woman and the man in the shadows.

Castle, Angela
  • Tiger Mine 
Fiction.  An Australian woman is getting over her recent divorce by moving back to her grandfather’s old cabin in the mountains, when she suddenly finds herself sharing the space with a very large Siberian tiger.  The next day, the tiger is gone, but a knock at her door brings her face to face with a mesmerizingly handsome man with a Russian accent who is in need of work.   The cabin needs quite a bit of work done on it, so she hires the man, not knowing that he will bring danger to her doorstep.

Fifield, Christy
  • Murder Buys a T-Shirt
Fiction.  1st in a paranormal cozy mystery set in the Florida panhandle.  Glory Martine owns an antique/souvenir shop left to her by her great-uncle Louis.  Bluebeard, the irascible blue parrot, in also part of the inheritance.  While out bargain-hunting with her best friend, Karen, they come across the scene of a terrible accident, one that has claimed the life of the star football player.  Bluebeard has other ideas about the cause of the crash.

Harkness, Deborah
  • A Discovery of Witches
Fiction.  First in a trilogy.  Diana Bishop is a hereditary witch who refuses to use magic or witchcraft, instead relying upon science as defining the basis of life.  Her beliefs are sorely tested when she encounters a strange and alluring man, a fellow scholar, who happens to be a vampire.  In a world populated by humans, witches, vampires and daemons, the two come together in an explosion that rocks the entire scope of life on the planet.

Hillerman, Tony
  • Dance Hall of the Dead
Fiction.  Joe Leaphorn, Navajo policeman, is searching for a young boy who has disappeared, seemingly either a murderer or an innocent bystander.  Leaphorn is caught up in the Zuni mystical beliefs, as he traces the footsteps of this boy in the sand.

Hinton, S.E.
  • Hawkes Harbor 
Fiction.  A young man is delivered to a mental asylum in a straitjacket and in the back of a police cruiser.  Dr. McDermitt sees Jamie Sommers as a patient rather than a criminal, but wonders if he can repair all the damage Jamie has suffered over the years.  From pirating in the South China sea to a haunting wreck of an old mansion, Jamie’s past and present collide the day he meets The Monster.

Hugener, Rosy & Carl
  • Xtabentum
Fiction.  Saga of a wealthy Mexican family and the servants they thought of as family.

James, Miranda
  • Out of Circulation 
Fiction.  4th book in the cozy mystery series set in Athena, Mississippi.  Charlie and Diesel, his 36-pound Maine Coon cat, find themselves embroiled in yet another murder and must go back in time to find the killer.

Johnson, Craig
  • Death Without Company
Fiction.  3rd in the Longmire series set in Wyoming.  Sheriff Walt Longmire is called in by his longtime friend and predecessor to investigate a seemingly natural death.  He wasn’t planning on investigating it until his friend tells him who the woman is.  Still not convinced that a murder has been committed, Walt decides to do some basic sleuthing that uncovers a horrendous story that began fifty years in the past that affects lives from the present.

Kempton, Gloria
  • Dialogue 
Non-fiction.  Instruction on how to create good dialogue in our stories.  Do’s and don’t’s, examples, and exercises.

King, Stephen
  • The Green Mile 
Fiction.  Two young girls are raped and murdered, and the man found clutching their torn bodies soon ends up on death row.  Head guard, Paul Edgecombe, has seen many prisoners walk that last mile to the electric chair, but he’s never met another one quite like John Coffey.

MacAllister, Katie
  • You Slay Me
Fiction.  First in a paranormal mystery series.  Aisling Grey is couriering an extremely valuable gold dragon to its new owner in France, only to find the new owner dead, hanging from a chandelier.  Perhaps Aisling should have heeded those feelings of absolute dread she had when she approached the building.  Things get ever worse as Aisling is suspected of being the murderer.

McClendon, Lise
  • The Bluejay Shaman 
Fiction.  First in the Alix Thorrsen cozy mystery series.  Alex owns an art gallery in Jackson, Wyoming with her partner, Paolo.  She is hired to authenticate and research a truck full of artwork that was seized by the police in her hometown of Missoula, Montana.  Staying with her sister and her brother-in-law while she works there, Alix suddenly finds out that a woman has been murdered, and her brother-in-law has been arrested for the murder.  Native spirituality, New Age spiritualists, and local academics come together in this tale.

McCourtney, Lorena
  • In Plain Sight 
Fiction.  Second in the cozy mystery series staring Ivy Malone.  Ivy is contemplating leaving town to escape the family of thugs who are stalking her after she sends one of them to prison.  Serendipity shines, when her niece and her husband accept a job transfer to Hawai’i, leaving their house in Arkansas empty.  Ivy jumps at the chance to not only watch over the house, but also to keep tabs on her great-niece who wants to finish the school year with her friends.  Ivy’s curiosity about an aloof neighbor gets her into trouble when that neighbor is found murdered, and Ivy is the one who finds her.

Mucha, Susan Polonus
  • Deadly Deception 
Fiction.  1st in the Elia Christie/Luis Echevarria mystery series.  From Georgia to Peru, this fast-paced story begins with a murder on a golf course and is tied up with the illegal drug industry and ancient South American artifacts.

Meier, Leslie
  • Valentine Murder 
Fiction.  6th in the Lucy Stone cozy series set in Maine.  Lucy arrives to her first meeting as part of the library’s board of directors, only to find that this meeting is complicated by the discovery of a body.

Olson, Karen E.
  • The Missing Ink
Fiction.  1st in a cozy mysteries series set in Las Vegas.  Brett owns an upscale tattoo parlor, and a woman enters asking for a devotion tattoo.  She says her name is Kelly Masters and makes an appointment for the next day, but she never shows up.  The next thing Brett hears is that a Kelly Masters has been murdered, only it’s not the woman who came to her shop.

Salinger, J.D.
  • The Catcher in the Rye
Fiction.  Classic.  Manic look into the mind of a male going through puberty with a touch of schizophrenia.

Salzmann, Cyndy
  • Dying to Decorate 
Fiction.  Christian cozy mystery without deaths.  A group of friends gather together once a week for the Friday Afternoon Club (FAC).  They support each other and go on adventures.  One of them inherits a house, and while cleaning it out, they discover a hidden room, one that contains many secrets.

Stabenow, Dana
  • Dead in the Water
Fiction.  3rd in the cozy mystery series set in Alaska.  Kate Shugak has been assigned to investigate the disappearance of two crab men off the ship Avilda.  She signs on to work the crab pots, though it’s not often that women are allowed on the boats due to the hard physical labor, the male chauvinistic view of the men on board, and the trouble having a female working among them can cause.  Kate works hard to combat all of those issues, but finds herself in real danger.

Stowe, Lisa
  • The Memory Keeper
Fiction.  Mystery set in picturesque Wallace, Idaho.  Cody misses the grandfather she’d only known for two months before his death and travels to his hometown of Wallace to find people that might remember him, so that she can get to know him better, and perhaps herself as well.  Old secrets die hard, as Cody comes to find out when a dying man stumbles across her path.

Woodworth, Deborah
  • Death of a Winter Shaker

Fiction.  First in a cozy series set in a Kentucky Shaker village.  Sister Rose, trustee of North Homage, works hard to keep to the Shaker ways while still recognizing that they need to compromise in some ways with the outer world, while the elder of the village wants to return to the old, and very austere, ways.  Gennie, a young orphan who has not yet taken the oath to join the community, enjoys her work in the Herbal House, but is horrified one day to find it has been desecrated by a body.