Friday, November 17, 2017

The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky, 397 pages

Award-winning New York Times-bestselling author Mark Kurlansky takes us back to the food and eating habits of a younger America: Before the national highway system brought the country closer together; before chain restaurants imposed uniformity and low quality; and before the Frigidaire meant frozen food in mass quantities, the nation's food was seasonal, regional, and traditional. It helped form the distinct character, attitudes, and customs of those who ate it.

In the 1930s, with the country gripped by the Great Depression and millions of Americans struggling to get by, FDR created the Federal Writers' Project under the New Deal as a make-work program for artists and authors. A number of writers, including Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, and Nelson Algren, were dispatched all across America to chronicle the eating habits, traditions, and struggles of local people. The project, called "America Eats," was abandoned in the early 1940s because of the World War and never completed.

The Food of a Younger Land unearths this forgotten literary and historical treasure and brings it to exuberant life. Mark Kurlansky's brilliant book captures these remarkable stories, and combined with authentic recipes, anecdotes, photos, and his own musings and analysis, evokes a bygone era when Americans had never heard of fast food and the grocery superstore was a thing of the future. Kurlansky serves as a guide to this hearty and poignant look at the country's roots.

From New York automats to Georgia Coca-Cola parties, from Arkansas possum-eating clubs to Puget Sound salmon feasts, from Choctaw funerals to South Carolina barbecues, the WPA writers found Americans in their regional niches and eating an enormous diversity of meals. From Mississippi chittlins to Indiana persimmon puddings, Maine lobsters, and Montana beavertails, they recorded the curiosities, commonalities, and communities of American food.

Big Nate What's a Little Noogie Between Friends? by Lincoln Peirce, 176 pages

Nate Wright’s a winner--in his own mind, anyway. So when things go wrong, he’s at a loss to explain why. How does his soccer team manage to lose to a school with a sixty-game winless streak?  What’s he doing at the movies on a Friday night . . . with GINA? And why, oh why is one of his classmates (hint:  she’s Nate’s dream girl) suddenly moving 3,000 miles away?  It’s all enough to make a sixth-grade superstar feel . . . well, not so super.

But you can’t keep a good man down, and Nate’s still got pals like Teddy, Francis, and Chad to cheer him up. Sure, their methods aren’t always warm and fuzzy, but Nate doesn’t mind. After all, what’s a little noogie between friends?

Turkey Trot Murder by Leslie Meier, 353 pages

It’s late autumn in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and the last surviving flowers on Lucy Stone’s porch have fallen victim to the first frost of the season. But as the part-time reporter learns, this cold November morning will claim more than potted plants . . .
 
Besides the annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day, Lucy expects the approaching holiday to be a relatively uneventful one—until she finds beautiful Alison Franklin dead and frozen in Blueberry Pond. No one knows much about Alison, except that she was the daughter of wealthy investor Ed Franklin and struggled quietly with drug addiction. Police blame her death on an accidental overdose, but Lucy can’t understand what terrible forces could lead a privileged woman to watery ruin . . .

Alison’s funeral service is just as puzzling. Many believe Ed’s young—and very pregnant—new wife, Mireille, divided the family, leaving Alison to wither on the vine. Did Mireille truly adore her stepchild as Ed claims, or did she pit father against daughter for personal gain?
 
As a state of unrest descends on Tinker’s Cove, Lucy is thrown into a full-scale investigation. Now, in a race against time, Lucy must beat the killer to the finish line—or she can forget about stuffing and cranberry sauce . . .

The Many Lives of Catwoman, The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale by Tim Hanley, 293 pages

For more than seventy-five years, Catwoman has forged her own path in a clear-cut world of stalwart heroes, diabolical villains, and damsels in distress. Sometimes a thief, sometimes a vigilante, sometimes neither, and sometimes both, the mercurial Catwoman gleefully defies classification. Her relentless independence across comic books, television, and film set her apart from the rest of the superhero world. When female characters were limited to little more than romantic roles, Catwoman used her feminine wiles to manipulate Batman and escape justice at every turn. When male villains dominated Gotham on the small screen, Catwoman entered the mix and outshone them all. When female-led comics were few and far between, Catwoman headlined her own series for over twenty years. True to her nature, Catwoman stole the show everywhere she appeared, regardless of the medium. But her unique path had its downsides as well. Her existence on the periphery of the superhero world made her expendable, and she was prone to lengthy absences. Her villainous origins also made her susceptible to sexualized and degrading depictions from her primarily male creators in ways that most conventional heroines didn't face. For good and ill, Catwoman serves as a stark counterpart to the typical evolution of the history of women in comics, and in popular culture generally. The standard tropes rarely applied to Catwoman; instead, her adventures have charted an inimitably varied journey of empowerment and exploitation. Exploring the many incarnations of this cultural icon offers a new perspective on the superhero genre and showcases the fierce resiliency that has made Catwoman a fan favorite for decades.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance by Gyles Brandreth, 347 pages

Lovers of historical mystery will relish this chilling Victorian tale based on real events and cloaked in authenticity. Best of all, it casts British literature's most fascinating and controversial figure as the lead sleuth. (UK title: Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders). Published in the USA simultaneously in hardcover and paperback.

Lovers of historical mystery will relish this chilling Victorian tale based on real events and cloaked in authenticity. Best of all, it casts British literature's most fascinating and controversial figure as the lead sleuth.

A young artist's model has been murdered, and legendary wit Oscar Wilde enlists his friends Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Sherard to help him investigate. But when they arrive at the scene of the crime they find no sign of the gruesome killing -- save one small spatter of blood, high on the wall. Set in London, Paris, Oxford, and Edinburgh at the height of Queen Victoria's reign, here is a gripping eyewitness account of Wilde's secret involvement in the curious case of Billy Wood, a young man whose brutal murder served as the inspiration for The Picture of Dorian Gray. Told by Wilde's contemporary -- poet Robert Sherard -- this novel provides a fascinating and evocative portrait of the great playwright and his own "consulting detective," Sherlock Holmes creator, Arthur Conan Doyle.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, 256 pages


Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.
Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.


Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris, 381 pages

In Sleep Like a Baby, Robin and Aurora have finally begun their adventure in parenting. With newborn Sophie proving to be quite a handful, Roe's mother pays for a partially trained nurse, Virginia Mitchell, to come help the new parents for a few weeks. Virginia proves to be especially helpful when Robin has to leave town for work and Roe is struck with a bad case of the flu.

One particularly stormy night, Roe wakes to hear her daughter crying and Virginia nowhere to be found. Roe's brother Philip helps her search the house and they happen upon a body outside... but it isn't Virginia's. Now, not only does she have a newborn to care for and a vulnerable new marriage to nurture, Roe also has to contend with a new puzzle -- who is this mystery woman dead in their backyard, and what happened to Virginia?

Fugitive Truth by Dana Cameron, 336 pages

The past's blood stains the present

The opportunity of a lifetime awaits archaeologist Emma Fielding in the Berkshire foothills of Western Massachusetts: the chance to study the eighteenth-century diary of Margaret Chandler, the accused witch and murderess whose home Emma excavated only months before. However, the three other Shrewsbury Foundation fellows she must share the premises with are a disturbingly odd bunch, and before too long one of them is dead.

But Emma can find no solace in the bleak beauty of the surrounding wilderness, for there are dark secrets encoded in Madam Chandler's writings, and shocking parallels between an ancient slaying and the strange brutal demise of her colleague.

When the killer strikes again, Emma realizes her own life is at stake. And suddenly there is no choice left: she is driven to investigate bloody crimes past and present -- before her own death becomes a footnote in a chilling, three-centuries-old story.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard, 384 pages

It's the Christmas season, and Mr. Timothy Cratchit, not the pious child the world thought he was, has just buried his father. He's also struggling to bury his past as a cripple and shed his financial ties to his benevolent "Uncle" Ebenezer by losing himself in the thick of London's underbelly. He boards at a brothel in exchange for teaching the mistress how to read and spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasures in their pockets.

Timothy's life takes a sharp turn when he discovers the bodies of two dead girls, each seared with the same cruel brand on the upper arm. The sight of their horror-struck faces compels Timothy to become the protector of another young girl, Philomela, from the fate the others suffered at the hands of a dangerous and powerful man.

A different kind of Christmas story, this breathless flight through the teeming markets, shadowy passageways, and rolling brown fog of 1860s London would do Dickens proud for its surprising twists and turns, and its extraordinary heart.

The Witches' Tree by M.C. Beaton, 305 pages


Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead―and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered―and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds―a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation―and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn't make her feel any better...

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill James & Rachel McCarthy James, 464 pages

Using unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.
Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.
When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.
Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.

One thing this review neglects to mention is the humor the author managed to inject into this dark subject, including his deft handling of how a talking donkey was used to help locate suspects at one point. YES, A TALKING DONKEY!!! 

Mistress of All Evil by Serena Valentino, 309 pages

The tale is told as if it's happening once upon a dream: the lovely maiden meets her handsome prince in the woods. The story has been told many times and in many ways. But always the maiden finds out that she is a princess-a princess who has been cursed by a dark fairy to prick her finger on a spindle and fall into an eternal sleep. Though her three good fairies try to protect her, the princess succumbs to the curse. But the power of good endures, as her true love defeats the fire-breathing dragon and awakens the princess with true love's first kiss. The two live happily ever after.



And yet this is only half the story. So what of the dark fairy, Maleficent? Why does she curse the innocent princess? What led to her becoming so filled with malice, anger, and hatred? Many tales have tried to explain her motives. Here is one account, pulled down from the many passed down through the ages. It is a tale of love and betrayal, of magic and reveries. It is a tale of the Mistress of All Evil.

March of Crime by Jess Lourey, 249 pages

I
da Gilbertson of the Battle Lake Senior Sunset nursing home has a new hobby: crafting life-sized dolls and displaying them around town. Budding PI Mira James finds the dolls creepy enough on their own, but when she’s forced to sit next to one and discovers a human corpse under the hat and wig, it becomes personal. Police Chief Gary Wohnt is all too eager to pin the blame on Mira. So when her sleuthing gives him the perfect excuse to lock her up, it’s up to Mayor Kennie Rogers and Mrs. Berns to help her out. Racing against the clock, Mira must unmask the murderer before she either becomes a jailbird or the next dolled up victim.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

If It Moves, Kiss It! by Joni Moura and Jackie Sutherland, 254 pages

Those of you who liked the unihibited memoirs of those two Air Force nurses who starred in "Tender Loving Care" are in for a treat with their new book of revelations. Once again Joni Moura and Jackie Sutherland lay bare in these adventures some of the hottest secrets of the military, not the least of them being that one of the Air Force nurses is a (gasp) virgin. Yes, a real-honest-to-goodness, aching virgin who spends most of her tour trying to give away this precious G.T. (Golden Treasure) to the nearest airman...or civilian if need be. And need was.
This kind of thing is only a small sample of the earthshaking drama that rocks the Air Force as Joni and Jackie take on all comers in "If It Moves, Kiss It!"
I'm a sucker for these campy books, so I was excited to come across this at a garage sale.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, 264 pages

First, there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal - and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky, 307 pages

Award-winning author Mark Kurlansky tells the remarkable story of New York by following the trajectory of one of its most fascinating inhabitants–the oyster.

For centuries New York was famous for this particular shellfish, which until the early 1900s played such a dominant a role in the city’s life that the abundant bivalves were Gotham’s most celebrated export, a staple food for all classes, and a natural filtration system for the city’s congested waterways.

Filled with cultural, historical, and culinary insight–along with historic recipes, maps, drawings, and photos–this dynamic narrative sweeps readers from the seventeenth-century founding of New York to the death of its oyster beds and the rise of America’s environmentalist movement, from the oyster cellars of the rough-and-tumble Five Points slums to Manhattan’s Gilded Age dining chambers. With The Big Oyster, Mark Kurlansky serves up history at its most engrossing, entertaining, and delicious.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Riders on the Storm by Ed Gorman, 305 pages

When we last saw Sam McCain he had been drafted to fight the war in Vietnam. But Sam s military career ended in boot camp when he was accidentally shot in the head and forced to spend three months in a military hospital to recover. Sam returns to his hometown of Black River Falls, where he works as a lawyer (and part-time investigator) for the court of the snobbish but amusing Judge Esme Ann Whitney. Two of Sam s oldest friends are caught up in this same battle. Veteran Steve Donovan brutally belittles and finally savagely beats his old friend veteran Will Cullen when Cullen announces he s joined the anti-war group. When Cullen is found murdered, the obvious suspect is Steve Donovan, but Sam has serious doubts about the man s guilt. At least three people had reasons to murder Cullen, and Sam begins to suspect he ll discover even more as his investigation heats up, in this dynamic new politically charged mystery novel by a veteran of the form."

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory, 771 pages

The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen.
Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days, dying on the scaffold for her faith. But few people know about her two sisters, cousins to Elizabeth I who also faced imprisonment and death sentences for treason.
Katherine Grey was the beauty of the family who earned the lifelong hatred of her cousin Elizabeth I when she married for love. Mary Grey was an extraordinary little person known as a dwarf in Tudor times, who defied convention to marry the tallest man at court in her own secret love match.
The fascinating story of three idiosyncratic Tudor girls and their challenges to the most powerful Tudor woman of all is the subject of the next novel from the author who defines what it means to be a writer of historical fiction (RT Book Reviews)."


This was a fantastic read. I knew this time period very well because I love reading about Queen Elizabeth, yet I still found myself rooting for the Grey sisters, hoping against hope that they would get a happy ending, even though I knew how it would all turn out. Philippa Gregory is one of those authors who does such an outstanding job bringing history alive that you forget the ending while engrossed in her novels.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Old Scores by Will Thomas, 294 pages

When a Japanese diplomat is murdered, and Cyrus Barker is the prime suspect, Barker and sidekick Llewelyn must work against the clock to find the real killer.

In London of 1890, the first Japanese diplomatic delegation arrives in London to open an embassy in London. Cyrus Barker, private enquiry agent and occasional agent for the Foreign Service Office, is enlisted to display his personal Japanese garden to the visiting dignitaries.

Later that night, Ambassador Toda is shot and killed in his office and Cyrus Barker is discovered across the street, watching the very same office, in possession of a revolver with one spent cartridge.

Arrested by the Special Branch for the crime, Barker is vigorously interrogated and finally released due to the intervention of his assistant, Thomas Llewelyn, and his solicitor. With the London constabulary still convinced of his guilt, Barker is hired by the new Japanese ambassador to find the real murderer.

In a case that takes leads Barker and Llewelyn deep into parts of London's underworld, on paths that lead deep into Barker's own mysterious personal history, Old Scores is the finest yet in Will Thomas's critically acclaimed series.

Bad Moon Rising by Ed Gorman, 321 pages

A hippie commune has invaded Black River Falls. While the majority of the townspeople believe that the bohemians have the right to stay, there is a minority that constantly accuses them of everything from criminal activities to Satanism. As usual, lawyer and private investigator Sam McCain finds himself in the middle of the controversy, especially when the teenage daughter of Paul Manwaring, one of the town's wealthiest men, is found murdered in the commune's barn. A deeply troubled young man named Neil Cameron is immediately charged with the crime, but Sam has serious doubts.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bean Stalker and Other Hilarious Scary Tales by Kiersten White, 217 pages

Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest and became a zombie.

Wait, no, that's not how this story is supposed to go. Let's try again.

Once upon a time, a boy did a horrible job as a sheep-sitter and burned his tongue on stolen pie.

No, children in these stories are always good and virtuous. From the top.

Once upon a time, a king and queen tried to find a princess for their son to marry, and he wound up fleeing from a group of very hairy vampires.

Hmmm...

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales... in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don't accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you've never heard them before.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero, 322 pages

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven't seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she's got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter's been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.


This is similar to Scooby Doo in a lot of ways, but with the characters grown-up, messed up and a much darker storyline. It was an enjoyable and different read.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Caroline Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller, 367 pages

In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.
In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.
The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.
For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past. 


I LOVED this book. I've read the LHOTP series multiple times and was very excited to get a chance to almost read one again for the first time with this book from Ma's perspective. It was fantastic. Caroline was never my favorite character because she kind of came across as a buzzkill but this gave a whole new take by seeing the story from her eyes. I loved this book and can't say that enough.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

White Trash Zombie Unchained by Diana Rowland, 354 pages

Angel Crawford has finally pulled herself together (literally!) after her disastrous dismemberment on Mardi Gras. She’s putting the pieces of her life back in order and is ready to tackle whatever the future holds.

Too bad the future is a nasty bitch. There’s a new kind of zombie in town: mindless shamblers, infectious and ravenous.

With the threat of a full-blown shambler pandemic looming, and a loved one stricken, Angel and the “real” zombies scramble to find a cure. Yet when Angel uncovers the true reason the plague is spreading so quickly, she adds “no-holds-barred revenge” to her to-do list.

Angel is busting her ass dealing with shambling hordes, zombie gators, government jerks, and way too many mosquitos, but this white trash chick ain’t giving up.

Good thing, since the fate of the world is resting on her undead shoulders.

This book had zombie gators!!! What more do I need to say. This series is fantastic, funny and entertaining. The only problem is fighting with my husband over who gets to read them first.

The Sworn Virgin by Kristopher Dukes, 328 pages

Dukes's gripping historical novel tells the tale of a desperate Albanian woman who will do whatever it takes to keep her independence and seize control of her future...even if it means swearing to remain a virgin for her entire life.
When eighteen-year-old Eleanora’s father is shot dead on the cobblestone streets of 1910 Albania, Eleanora must abandon her dream of studying art in Italy as she struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother Meria.

Nearing starvation, Meria secretly sells Eleanora into marriage with the cruel heir of a powerful clan. Intent on keeping her freedom, Eleanora takes an oath to remain a virgin for the rest of her life—a tradition that gives her the right to live as a man: she is now head of her household and can work for a living as well as carry a gun. Eleanora can also participate in the vengeful blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes, but she may not be killed—unless she forsakes her vow, which she has no intention of ever doing.

But when an injured stranger stumbles into her life, Eleanora nurses him back to health, saving his life—yet risking her own as she falls in love with him...

I'd seen this book reviewed elsewhere and thought it looked so amazing that I did a suggestion for purchase at my library. Then, when it came in, I eagerly started it. The book wasn't a bad read, I just never could come to like Eleanora or really get into the book.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Dire King by William Ritter, 344 pages

The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham, New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.

I'm heartbroken that this is the final book is this series. It had me on the edge of my seat, and the ending had me royally pissed off. All in all, a great read.

Ticket to Ride by Ed Gorman, 357 pages

For small-town Iowa lawyer Sam McCain the year is 1965 is not a sweet one. His father is gravely ill. His elitist boss is just coming out of rehab. The brilliant lawyer he hoped to start a relationship with has gone back to her husband in Chicago. And the first young soldier from Black River Falls returns home from Vietnam in a coffin. Still, McCain tires to enjoy himself during the town's Labor Day weekend party, reuniting with several old friends-until two of them are murdered for what seems to be a motive buried in the past.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Kabuki Circle of Blood by David Mack, 272 pages

Collecting all six issues of the first Kabuki series plus the hard to find prequel one-shot with new pages of art from scenes that for space reasons were left out of the original story. It also includes in-depth notes and story analysis about the subtext of the story. Circle of Blood recounts the origins of the government operative known as Kabuki who works in Japan's near future, It's an exploration of the relationship between Japan's government and organized crime on a truly epic scale! 
Read this for book club and I can honestly say that is the only reason I read it and finished it. This was not my cup of tea and not anything I would every pickup again.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen, 318 pages

The crime scene is unlike any that Detective Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles have ever before encountered. The woman lies in apparently peaceful repose on her bed, and Maura finds no apparent cause of death, but there is no doubt the woman is indeed dead. The victim’s eyes have been removed and placed in the palm of her hand, a gesture that echoes the terrifying films she produces. Is a crazed movie fan reenacting scenes from those disturbing films?

When another victim is found, again with no apparent cause of death, again with a grotesquely staged crime scene, Jane and Maura realize the killer has widened his circle of targets. He’s chosen one particular woman for his next victim, and she knows he’s coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Jane and Maura catch the killer.

But she knows a secret. And it’s a secret she’ll never tell.

A Catered Costume Party by Isis Crawford, 314 pages

When sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons agree to cater an extravagant Halloween party in their little upstate New York town of Longely, they figured a ghost or two and a blood curdling scream might be part of the menu, but they never expected to be haunted by the deadly specter of murder . . .

Halloween is coming, and Darius Witherspoon isn t giving up on his plan for a catered costume party despite the recent disappearance of his wife, Penelope. He may be heartbroken, but perhaps throwing a big shindig in her honor will boost his spirits. He s going to hold it at his stylish new co-op apartment at the Berkshire Arms, where the couple had dreamed of moving in.
Darius hires Bernie and Libby to provide the treats. They d prefer to avoid the festivities altogether. As far as they re concerned, the Berkshire Arms is a haunted house or at least haunted by the memory of the murder that happened on the site, when it used to be The Peabody School. But as always, there are bills to be paid, so they accept the job. And in the midst of the celebration, Darius is discovered hanging from a noose outside one of the ballroom s French doors . . .
Was it suicide, induced by despair over his missing spouse? Bernie and Libby think not, once they read the note he left which includes a sum of money and a request for them to do something if anything should happen to him. Now, once the serving trays have been cleared and the decorations taken down, it s time for the sisters to unmask a killer . . .

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Past Malice by Dana Cameron, 356 pages


Asked to join a dig at the site of the eighteenth-century Chandler House, archaeologist Emma Fielding and her student crew have descended upon Stone Harbor, Massachusetts. But certain residents of the tiny coastal community are none too happy about Emma's arrival -- especially when her excavation uncovers a pair of freshly slain corpses. There are dark forces at play in this dangerously divided town, where a distrust of strangers wars with a desire for tourist dollars. And when a young local's life is snuffed out, Emma is determined to get to the twisted roots of the strange secrets buried in this killing ground. But a mystery that lies among the tumbled ruins of a once grand manor could change Stone Harbor forever. And for some murderous someone, one more death -- Emma's -- would be a small price to pay to keep it hidden.

Jughead, Volume One, 176 pages

In the grand tradition of comic book reboots like ARCHIE VOL. 1, Archie Comics proudly presents... JUGHEAD VOL. 1--from the comics dream team of Chip Zdarsky (HOWARD THE DUCK) and Erica Henderson (THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL)!

Riverdale High provides a quality education and quality hot lunches, but when one of those is tampered with, JUGHEAD JONES swears vengeance! Well, I mean, he doesn't "swear." This is still Archie Comics after all.

Collects JUGHEAD issues #1-6, plus bonus features.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, 274 pages

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
The first half of this book was really interesting but it started lagging and I just couldn't bring myself to finish it.

King Solomon's Mines by Henry Rider Haggard, 262 pages

An amazing adventure set in Africa, against the backdrop of endless deserts and snowy mountains, King Solomon's Mines follows Allan Quartermain, in his quest to find his missing brother and unearth the fabled treasure of the biblical King's mines. Along the way, Allan and his companions are caught up in a tribal war and face fearful hardships, culminating in a final confrontation with the evil witch Gagool.
This is the September book for one of my book club. A fascinating read that I'd somehow never gotten around to reading before.

Archie, Volume One, 176 pages

They've revamped Archie for the today's world.
ARCHIE, one of the longest-running titles in comic book history, is rebooted here in this full-color collection that brings together two of the most talented creators in comics, Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. Together they create a surprising and definitive take on Archie's origin--a story that has never been told. The book will captures the bite and hilarious edge of Archie's original tales in a modern, forward-looking manner, while still retaining the character's all-ages appeal. If classic Archie is a Saturday morning cartoon, this new series is prime time!

Bucky Katt's Big Book of Fun by Darby Conley, 256 pages

A collection of Get Fuzzy strips.

Groovitude by Darby Conley, 256 pages

A collection of Get Fuzzy comics. Always snarky and funny.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen, 290 pages

In the new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Crowned and Dangerous, Lady Georgiana Rannoch juggles secret missions from the Queen, Darcy, and her mother. But it’s all in a day’s work when you’re thirty-fifth in line to the British Crown. 

When Darcy runs off on another secret assignment, I am left to figure out how to travel to Italy sans maid and chaperone to help my dear friend Belinda, as she awaits the birth of her baby alone. An opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—my cousin the queen is in need of a spy to attend a house party in the Italian lake country. The Prince of Wales and the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.

What luck! A chance to see Belinda and please the queen as I seek her permission to relinquish my claim to the throne so I can marry Darcy. Only that’s as far as my good fortune takes me. I soon discover that Mummy is attending the villa party and she has her own secret task for me. Then, Darcy shows up and tells me that the fate of a world on the brink of war could very well depend on what I overhear at dinner! I shouldn’t be all that surprised when one of my fellow guests is murdered and my Italian holiday becomes a nightmare...

Monday, September 18, 2017

Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead, 374 pages

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the absorbing story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II—told in full for the first time.
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village of scattered houses high in the mountains of the Ard├Ęche, one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Eastern France. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of this tiny mountain village and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, freemasons, communists, OSS and SOE agents, and Jews. Many of those they protected were orphaned children and babies whose parents had been deported to concentration camps.
With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, and interviews with some of the villagers from the period who are still alive, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination: of what was accomplished when a small group of people banded together to oppose their Nazi occupiers. A thrilling and atmospheric tale of silence and complicity, Village of Secrets reveals how every one of the inhabitants of Chambon remained silent in a country infamous for collaboration. Yet it is also a story about mythmaking, and the fallibility of memory.
A major contribution to WWII history, illustrated with black-and-white photos, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon, and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals, most of them women, for whom saving others became more important than their own lives.

Fools Rush In by Ed Gorman, 329 pages

It's 1963. All spring, Freedom Riders have been facing police dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham, Alabama. While no one is marching in Black River Falls, Iowa, attorney Sam McCain's sleepy heartland town is showing signs of racial unease nonetheless. A black college student has turned up dead. Close by him in the woods outside of town lies a second victim: a white local photographer. All the evidence points to blackmail, and to a scandal that could ruin the reelection campaign of the very white Senator Lloyd Williams.....

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

American Gods by Neil Gaiman, 541 pages

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday's bodyguard, driver and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined-it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way, Shadow will learn that the past never dies, that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing- an epic war for the very soul of America-and that he is standing squarely in the path.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury, 340 pages

When Richard Tapper Cadbury sent his son to London to study cocoa in the early nineteenth century, he could not have imagined what lay in store; within a generation, his grandson Richard and George had created a chocolate company to rival the world's confectionery powerhouses.
The Cadbury brothers were staunch Quakers, as determined to improve the lives of their employees as they were produce a popular product that would seal their success. Their company soon became the largest of its kind-but in the new millennium, Cadburys too would face a threat to its very survival, culminating in a multi-billion pound showdown.
Featuring a dazzling cast of characters, Chocolate Wars tells the tale of a unique family and a beloved product, in a history unlike any other.

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond, 414 pages

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice's prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense.
Always answer when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter....
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
And then one of them breaks the rules.
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.
In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Breaking Up is Hard to Do by Ed Gorman, 301 pages

Late October of 1962 is certainly not dull; not with Russian premier Khrushchev threatening to launch nuclear missiles from Cuba if the U.S. attempts an invasion there. The Kennedy White House has been facing down the Soviets with an ultimatum, but the Russian warships are steady on their course to Cuba. In Black River Falls, Iowa, frightened townspeople are gathering in churches to pray for peace. And Ross Murdoch, the popular gubernatorial candidate, is laying in supplies for his newly built bomb shelter. It's a place you don't expect to find a corpse. At least young lawyer and sometimes private investigator Sam McCain doesn't-no more than he expects his four prime suspects to be pillars of the community.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw, 385 pages

Dr. Greta Helsing has inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. She treats the undead for a host of ills-vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entrops in mummies.
It's a quite supernatural-adjacent life, until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must user her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice-and her life.

The Painted Queen by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess, 323 pages

Egypt, 1912—Amelia Peabody and her dashing archeologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are once again in danger as they search for a priceless, stolen bust of legendary Queen Nefertiti and Amelia finds herself the target of assassins in this long-awaited, eagerly anticipated final installment of Elizabeth Peters’ bestselling, beloved mystery series.
Arriving in Cairo for another thrilling excavation season, Amelia is relaxing in a well-earned bubble bath in her elegant hotel suite in Cairo, when a man with knife protruding from his back staggers into the bath chamber and utters a single word—"Murder"—before collapsing on the tiled floor, dead. Among the few possessions he carried was a sheet of paper with Amelia’s name and room number, and a curious piece of pasteboard the size of a calling card bearing one word: "Judas." Most peculiarly, the stranger was wearing a gold-rimmed monocle in his left eye.
It quickly becomes apparent that someone saved Amelia from a would-be assassin—someone who is keeping a careful eye on the intrepid Englishwoman. Discovering a terse note clearly meant for Emerson—Where were you?"—pushed under their door, there can be only one answer: the brilliant master of disguise, Sethos.
But neither assassins nor the Genius of Crime will deter Amelia as she and Emerson head to the excavation site at Amarna, where they will witness the discovery of one of the most precious Egyptian artifacts: the iconic Nefertiti bust. In 1345 B.C. the sculptor Thutmose crafted the piece in tribute to the great beauty of this queen who was also the chief consort of Pharaoh Akhenaten and stepmother to King Tutankhamun.
For Amelia, this excavation season will prove to be unforgettable. Throughout her journey, a parade of men in monocles will die under suspicious circumstances, fascinating new relics will be unearthed, a diabolical mystery will be solved, and a brilliant criminal will offer his final challenge . . . and perhaps be unmasked at last.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Panicked Premonition by Victoria Laurie, 353 pages

Professional psychic and FBI consultant Abby Cooper has used her visions to get her out of many a scrape-and solve many a crime-but she's about to face a murder scene that will put all her powers to the test. Abby's husband, Dutch, has a side business providing security and building panic rooms for wealthy clients. One morning, one of Dutch's partners, Dave, goes missing on his way to meet a client. Abby's instincts tell her something terrible has happened to him.
Then two of Dutch's clients are found brutally murdered inside their brand-new panic room, and most of the evidence points to Dave as the killer. With the authorities racing to find and arrest him, Abby's got to use all her intuitive prowess to get to Dave first, discover the real killer, and save her husband's business. This is one case where Abby is positive there's far more to this mystery than meets her inner eye...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal, 298 pages

Every woman has a secret life.... Nikki, a modern daughter of Indian immigrants, has spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father's death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London's close-knit Punjabi community.
The proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn English, not short-story writing. When one of the widow finds a book of erotica and shares with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories that they've held in for far too long. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected-and exciting-kind.
As the class grows, a group called the Brothers, who have appointed themselves Southall's "moral police," threaten to reveal the class's scandalous stories and the mysterious secrets lurking beneath this seemingly sedate, tight-knit community.

The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes by Leonard Goldberg, 305 pages

The year is 1914. Joanna Blalock's keen mind and incredible insight lead her to become a highly skilled nurse, one of the few professions that allow her to use her finely tuned brain. But when she and her ten-year-old son witness a man fall to his death, apparently by suicide, they are visited by the elderly Dr. John Watson and his charming, handsome son, Dr. John Watson, Jr. Impressed by her forensic skills, they invite her to become the third member of their investigative team.
Caught up in a Holmesian mystery that spans from hidden treasure to the Second Afghan War of 1878-1880, Joanna and her companions must devise an ingenious plan to catch a murderer in the act while dodging familiar culprits, Scotland Yard, and members of the British aristocracy. Unbeknownst to her, Joanna harbors a mystery of her own. The product of a one-time assignation between the now-dead Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, the only woman to ever outwit the famous detective, Joanna has unknowingly inherited her parents' deductive genius.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Everybody's Somebody's Fool by Ed Gorman, 230 pages

When a beautiful corpse is found in a gazebo during a class reunion party, lawyer Sam McCain hopes to avoid involving himself in the ensuing complexities. However, the victim is the troubled daughter of a prominent family, and when local bad boy David Egan is accused of her murder, McCain finds himself saddled with a new client . . .and another tale of small-town murder in Black River Falls, Iowa.
But McCain's heartbreaking, drag-racing client dies a fiery death in a car crash -- an accident that becomes murder when it's discovered the car's brake lines were cut. Working to clear Egan's name, McCain follows a trail of shattered dreams, cheating spouses and dark secrets to a third body lying lifeless in a bath, and to a tale of murder that embraces the vast human emotions that drive lovers to love . . .and killers to kill.