Friday, July 3, 2015

Books Read - June 2015

Archer, Connie
  • Ladle to the Grave ****
Fiction.  Fourth in the cozy mystery series set in Snowflake, Vermont.  Lucky’s best friend, Sophie, is about to marry Sage, the wonderful chef at the Spoonful, and she wants them to move into her mother’s cabin after the marriage.  While Sophie and Lucky are checking on the cabin, they find a mangled body in the creek on the property.  Sophie is shocked when she’s told that the body might be that of her long lost brother, and the property might be the reason he was killed.

  • A Roux of Revenge ****
Fiction.  Third in a cozy mystery series set in Snowflake, Vermont.  Lucky Jamieson and her grandfather own By the Spoonful, a soup restaurant in the small town.  It’s time for the Harvest Festival, and Lucky is planning a big holiday event.  Nate, the local chief of police, has been called out to investigate a car crash, and to his surprise, he finds the cause of death wasn’t the accident but a bullet hole.

Arlington, Lucy
  • Played by the Book ****
Fiction.  Fourth in a cozy mystery series set in Inspiration Valley, a lovely little town where many of the shops and restaurants have literary-based names, including the Novel Idea literary agency where Lila Wilkins works.  She lives in a lovely cottage with her son, Trey, a college student who works at Lila’s favorite coffee house during the summers.  He also helps out at home, and when Lila asks several of his friends and him to do a little work on the garden, he willingly picks up a spade...only to dig up a skull under her hedgerows.

Chambers, Anne
  • Pirate Queen of Ireland ****
Fiction.  Story of Granuaile, Grace O’Malley, pirate queen of Ireland.

Charles, Ann
  • Boot Points ****
Fiction.  A short story from her Deadwood cozy mystery series and several other un-related tales.

  • The Great Jackalope Stampede *****
Fiction.  Third in the humorous cozy mystery series set in Jackalope Junction, Arizona.  Claire’s two sisters and her mother have joined the crew at the RV park, and tempers are flying high all around.  Ronnie finds out that a gold pocketwatch from the 17th century is hidden in Ruby’s safe, thanks to Ruby’s former husband, black market thief extraordinaire.  When she investigates it at the library, she finds that it was stolen from a German castle, and knowing that the thief’s partners are sniffing around for anything he left behind, Ronnie has to find a place to keep it even safer.

  • Seeing Trouble ****
Fiction.  A short story from her Deadwood cozy mystery series and another un-related tale.

Dams, Jeanne M.
  • The Gentle Art of Murder *****
Fiction.  16th in the Dorothy Martin cozy series set in England.  Dorothy, an ex-pat American who has lived in England since her first husband died, is now married to a former chief constable.  They join a young friend to tour a nearby art school, and while they are in the studio building, they stumble over a body who suffered several attempts at murder.

Dugan, Ellen
  • Natural Psychic *****
Non-fiction.  Discussion on the different psychic skills, how they can be enhanced, and how to protect against psychic attack.

Fluke, Joanne
  • Double Fudge Brownie Murder ***
Fiction.  22nd in the cozy mystery series set in Lake Eden, Minnesota.  Hannah leaves the running of her cookie shop in the hands of her partner, as she and her sisters fly to Vegas for their mother’s wedding.  When the groom’s man appears, Hannah is surprised to see an old college friend, and they kindle a romance.  When she returns home, she has to face a trial for homicidal manslaughter after she accidentally killed a man with her Cookie Truck.  When they arrive at the courthouse, she finds the judge dead on the floor.

Golden, Karen
  • The Cats That Chased the Storm ****
Fiction.  Second in the cozy mystery starring Katz and her four felines.  Since moving into her great-aunt’s pink mansion, strange things are happening in the house.  Footsteps can be heard, loud crashing sounds in different rooms, and some rooms the cats absolutely won’t enter.  During a tornado warning, Katz runs down to the basement to take shelter as the storm batters the house.  Something hits her on the back of the head, and when she recovers, she realizes that a brick wall has tumbled down.  When she looks into the wall, she finds a skull.

  • The Cats That Told a Fortune ****
Fiction.  Third in a cozy mystery series starring Katz, inheritor of her great-aunt’s vast fortune including a pink Queen Anne mansion.  And a cat.  Katz begins teaching her first class of computer students at the mansion, but one of them is very disruptive and is removed from the course.  Unfortunately for Katz, the woman is a member of the local crime family, one who doesn’t take well to being snubbed.

Landis, Jill Marie
  • Three to Get Lei’d ***
Fiction.  Third in the cozy mystery series set on Kaua’i.  Em and her uncle run the Tiki Goddess, a bar on the North Shore, frequented by locals and tourists alike.  Em is having a hard time dealing with the television crew filming a reality show based at the bar, but she knows that it’s great for business and that her uncle is really enjoying the celebrity.  When one of the camera men is found dead in the kitchen with the chef’s special sashimi knife sticking out of his chest, suspicious falls on the chef, and Em is worried, because she’d seen the chef hurrying away from the bar right before the body was found.

  • Too Hot Four Hula ****
Fiction.  Fourth in the cozy mystery series set in Hawai’i.  Louie, Em and the Hula Maidens are headed to Waikiki for the Western Regional Shake Off contest, where Louie’s cocktails are sure to be a hit.  Upon arrival though, Louie’s famous Booze Bible is missing.  Em has her hands full meeting up with her ex-husband who wants to introduce her to his new fiancee.  The next day, Em is told that her ex-husband has been murdered.  Luckily, Roland has arrived from Kaua’i to  help her solve the mystery.

Laxalt, Robert
  • The Land of My Fathers *****
Non-fiction.  Memoir of the author who was raised in a Basque sheepherding family in Nevada, who returns to Pays Basque in France to live for two years in the land of his parents.  His remembrances and story of the Basque people and how they live.

Morrison, Toni
  • Beloved *****
Fiction.  The story of three women and a man who come out of the period of the end of slavery and on to life afterwards.  Babies killed to save them from the harsh life of slavery, a mother’s madness, and a young girl who lives with a ghost.

Myers, Tim
  • Death Waxed Over ***
Fiction.  Third in the cozy mystery series set in a candle shop in North Carolina.  Harrison is determined to set up a stall at the local fair, even though Eve is against the idea.  He figures it will bring new customers to his shop.  When he arrives, he comes face to face with his rival, Gretal Barnett, who has opened a new candle shop in Micah’s Ridge.  They have heated words in front of a group of fair-goers, then each goes on their way.  Later, as Harrison is walking back to his stall after grabbing a quick breakfast, he passes Gretel’s booth.  As he glances at her, a bullet shatters through her chest, and she falls to the ground dead.  Immediately, a woman in the crowd starts yelling that she saw Harrison shoot her, and Harrison begins the quest to prove his innocence.

  • A Flicker of Doubt ***
Fiction.  Fourth book in the cozy mystery series surrounding a candle shop, At Wick’s End.  Harrison is enjoying a kayak trip down the Gunpowder River, when he suddenly bumps up against what he thinks is a submerged log.  Curiosity changes to horror when he realizes it is the body of his ex-girlfriend.  The sheriff thinks she committed suicide, but Harrison is convinced her death is something more sinister.

  • Snuffed Out ***
Fiction.  Second in the cozy mystery series set in Micah’s Ridge, North Carolina.  Harrison Black own At Wick’s End, a candle shop in the River’s Edge shopping complex, which he also inherited from his great-aunt.  As landlord, he has to deal with the various tenants, some of whom are quite eccentric.  While trying to discover why the electricity has gone out after hours in the building, he finds that the door to one of the shops is unlocked.  Entering the shop, he sees the lifeless body of the pottery shop owner on the floor.  He assumes it was an accident, but is surprised when the chief of police reports that it is a case of homicide.

  • Waxing Moon *
Fiction.  Short story in the Candle Shop mystery world.  Harrison is helping Millie by serving food at a rehearsal dinner for a young couple getting married.  Millie pulls Harrison aside to tell him that her lockbox has been emptied, and she has lost all her money.  Harrison puts on his thinking cap and tracks down the culprit.

Neal, Toby
  • Black Jasmine *****
Fiction.  Third in the Lei Crime series set on Maui.  Lei and Stevens have transferred to Maui with Stevens receiving a promotion to detective sergeant.  He and Lei are working out of different offices, though some of their cases are connected.  Lei and her old partner, Pono, who has been promoted to detective and also transferred to Maui, are called out to investigate a possible suicide.  The body of a young woman is found in a car at the bottom of a cliff.  Lei is not convinced this is a suicide, and indeed, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Blood Orchid *****
Fiction.  First in the Lei Crime mystery series set on the Big Island.  Lei Texeira is a police officer with the Hilo Police Department and is hoping to move up to detective.  When she finds two girls naked and dead in the water, she petitions with the lead detective, Michael Stevens, to be on his team.  As they investigate the case, they begin believing that the culprit is a serial rapist and killer.  Lei becomes nervous when she begins receiving threatening notes in the mail and is being followed by someone driving a dark Toyota pickup, which is the type of car the police believe belongs to the killer.

  • Broken Ferns *****
Fiction.  Fourth in the Lei Crime mystery series.  Lei has graduated from the FBI academy and is a probationary agent on O’ahu.  As she begins to work her first real case, she finds out that her ex-boyfriend/fiance, Stevens, has married a woman that he and Lei had saved from a sex-trade ring.  Lei is devastated, though she hasn’t tried to contact Stevens since she left for the academy a year earlier.  This case brings her back into Stevens orbit when the FBI flies to Mau’i  to trace a young culprit who acts like Robin Hood, stealing from the poor and giving to the needy.

  • Torch Ginger *****
Fiction.  Second in the Lei Crime mystery series.  After panicking at the thought of marrying Michael Stevens, Lei breaks up with him and transfers to Kaua’i, gaining a promotion to detective along the way.  She’s heartbroken, but the thought of commitment terrifies her, so she tries to move on with her life.  She discovers that quite a few transient people around the North Shore have gone missing, and after a flood, she finds a sawed-off hand bobbing in the water.  During her investigation, she meets up with a kahu kupule, a Hawaiian spiritual leader, and is introduced to her son, a very handsome developer named Alika.  Her growing feelings for Alika are clashing with the feelings she still has for Stevens, and the situation is even more complicated when Stevens arrives to help out on the case.

Roberts, Nora
  • Heart of the Sea ****
Fiction.  Final book in the Gallagher’s of Ardmore trilogy.  Trevor Stiles, a wealthy Irish-American developer has arrived  in Ardmore to oversee the building of his theatre, which will connect to the Gallagher’s pub.  Failed once in love, he has no intention of setting himself up for failure again.  Darcy Gallagher, local beauty with an angel’s voice, believes only fame and riches will give her what she wants.  When the two of them meet, it’s as if a raging storm clashes the two together, and only if they go against their intentions will an ancient curse finally be broken.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin *****

Fiction.  A story about slavery and some very memorable people, both slaves and slaveowners, and the movement toward abolition.

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