Sunday, April 23, 2017

Batman, The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, 384 pages

Taking place during Batman's early days of crime fighting, this new edition of the classic mystery tells the story of a mysterious killer who murders his prey only on holidays. Working with District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant James Gordon, Batman races against the calendar as he tries to discover who Holiday is before he claims his next victim each month. A mystery that has the reader continually guessing the identity of the killer, this story also ties into the events that transform Harvey Dent into Batman's deadly enemy, Two-Face.
This edition includes original 13-issue series as well as four additional story pages cut from the original series, which are presented fully colored and restored to their place in the story.  Also featured are sketches and an introduction by the director and writer of The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan and David Goyer.

The Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew, 368 pages

Tannie Maria, recipe writer turned crime fighter, writes the love advice and recipe column for the Klein Karoo Gazette: words of wisdom for the lovelorn, along with a recipe for something helpful and delicious. But Maria has a problem of her own. Her relationship with the rugged detective Henk Kannemeyer is still haunted by the memory of her abusive late husband, so she decides to check out a counseling group run by a man they call the Satanic Mechanic. Then a local land-rights activist is murdered-poisoned before her eyes-and Tannie Maria's quest for healing takes a more investigative turn. Which means her relationship with Henk is about to get professional. And more important, very complicated.
There is no shortage of conundrums personal and investigative for an amateur sleuth to confront in this delightful, warm-hearted sequel to Sally Andrew's . Blending a madcap mystery with lovable characters in the beautiful setting of South Africa's rural Klein Karoo, Sally Andrew really does have the perfect recipe for a crime series.
Recipes for Love and Murder

The African Queen by C. S. Forester, 246 pages

As World War I reaches the heart of the African jungle, Charlie Allnutt and Rose Sayer, a disheveled trader and an English spinster missionary, find themselves thrown together by circumstances. Fighting time, heat, malaria, and bullets, they make their escape on the rickety steamboat The African Queen...and hatch their own outrageous military plan. Originally published in 1935, The African Queen is a tale replete with vintage Forester drama-unrelenting suspense, reckless heroism, impromptu military maneuvers, near-death experiences-and a good old-fashioned love story to boot.
This is another one that I would have never picked up if not for my book club.

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich, 244 pages

Omakayas and her family live on the land her people call the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. Although the "chimookoman," white people, encroach more and more on their land, life continues much as it always has: every summer they build a new birchbark house, every fall they go to ricing camp to harvest and feast; they move to the cedar log house before the first snows arrive, and celebrate the end of the long, cold winters at maple-sugaring camp. In between, Omakayas fights with her annoying little brother, Pinch; plays with the adorable baby, Neewo; and tries to be grown-up like her big sister, Angeline. But the satisfying rhythms of their life are shattered when a visitor comes their lodge one winter night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever-but that will eventually lead Omakayas to discover her calling.
I'm so glad Rebecca told me about this book and let me borrow it after she read it. Very touching and bittersweet at times, I can't wait to read the next one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman, 351 pages

At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered past.
What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions-about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during her next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.
When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman's life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.

H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil by Adam Selzer, 430 pages

H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil is the truly first comprehensive book examining the life and career of a murderer who has become one of America's great supervillains. It reveals not only the true story but how the legend evolved, taking advantage of hundreds of primary sources that have never been examined before, including legal documents, letters, articles, and records that have been buried in archives for more than a century.
Though Holmes has become just as famous now as he was in 1895, a deep analysis of contemporary materials makes very clear how much of the story as we know came from reporters who were nowhere near the action, a dangerously unqualified new police chief, and, not least, lies invented by Holmes himself.
Selzer has unearthed tons of stunning new data about Holmes, weaving together turn-of-the-century America, the killer's background, and the wild cast of characters who circulated in and about the famous "castle" building. This book will be the first truly accurate account of what really happened in Holmes's castle of horror.
Exhaustively researched and painstakingly brought to life, H.H. Holmes will be an invaluable companion to the upcoming Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio movie about Holmes's murder spree based on Erik Larson's .
The Devil in the White City

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly, 341 pages

Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast's castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.
The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast's castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Masterminds by Gordon Korman, 323 pages

Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. In this idyllic place, every lawn is perfectly manicured and everyone has a pool and a tree house. honesty and integrity are valued above all else. The thirty kids who live there never lie-they know it's a short leap from that to the awful problems of other, less fortunate places.
Eli has never left Serenity...why would he ever want to? Then one day he bikes to the edge of the city limits and sometimes so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one-least of all their own parents....

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Undead and Done by MaryJanice Davidson, 285 pages

It had been a well-kept secret for centuries, but now the existence of vampires is all over the news, thanks to Betsy Taylor's half sister (and the frustrated former Antichrist), Laura. Life for the undead will never be the same, and it's up to Betsy to do some damage control. But her interview on the local news doesn't exactly put out the fire. It more or less pours kerosene on it.
With all the added attention on supernatural beings, the werewolves are more than a little agitated (never a good thing) and demand that Betsy gets her interview skills, and her family, in order. And while thing go from bad to worse in the world, Hell continues to be hell-especially when Betsy's new parole program becomes about as complicated as you'd expect.
With a PR team launching a vampire-friendly campaign, the devil at large and out to make trouble, and mermaids on hand to see who falls-and how hard-the end isn't just near. It's here. And if anyone knows how to go out with a bang, it's the queen of Hell.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright, 320 pages

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon thirty-four more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than four hundred people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-seventeenth-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose club in his gracious townhouse-a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis, for which there was no cure. And in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her in the notorious Typhoid Mary.
Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the diseases history and circumstances have dropped on them. Some of their responses to those outbreaks are, in hindsight, almost too strange to believe. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues we've suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease the suffering of their fellow man. With her signature mix of in-depth research and storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history's most gripping and deadly outbreaks and ultimately looks at the surprising ways they've shaped history and humanity for almost as long as anyone can remember.

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca, 436 pages

In 1917, on the day before Valentine's Day, eighteen-year-old Ruth Cruger disappeared. When the police gave up, a mysterious woman in black vowed to find her...
Mrs. Sherlock Holmes tells the true story of Grace Humiston, the detective and lawyer who turned her back on New York society life to become one of the nation's greatest crime fighters during an era when women were rarely involved with investigations. After agreeing to take the sensational Cruger case, Grace and her partner, the hard-boiled detective Julius J. Kron, navigated a dangerous web of secret boyfriends, two-faced cops, underground tunnels, rumors of white slavery, and a mysterious pale man, in a desperate race against time.
Grace's motto "Justice for those of limited means" led her to strange cases all over the world. From defending an innocent giant on death row to investigating an island in Arkansas with a terrible secret, from the warring halls of Congress to a crumbling medieval tower in Italy, Grace solved crimes in between shopping at Bergdorf Goodman and being marked for death by the sinister Black Hand. Grace was appointed the first female U.S. district attorney in history and the first female consulting detective to the New York Police Department. Despite her many successes in social justice, at the height of her powers Grace began to see chilling connections in the cases she solved, leading to a final showdown with her most fearsome adversary of all.
Mrs. Sherlock Holmes is the first-ever narrative biography of this singular woman the press named after fiction's greatest detective. Her poignant story reveals important clues about the relationship between missing girls, the media, and the reals truth of crime stories. The great mystery of Grace's life-and the haunting twist ending of the book-is how one woman could become so famous only to disappear from history completely.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell, 440 pages

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?
It should be simple-a dragon defeated, a slumbering princess in a castle, a prince poised to wake her. But when the prince falls asleep as his lips touch the fair maiden's, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.
With a desperate fairy's last curse controlling her mind, Princess Aurora must escape from a different castle of thorns and navigate a dangerously magical landscape-created from her very own dreams.
Aurora isn't alone-a charming prince is eager to join her quest, and old friends offer their help. But as Maleficent's agents follow her every move, Aurora must discover who her true allies are and, moreover, who she truly is.
Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell, 376 pages

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?
Aladdin is a street rat. There's really no getting around that. Like most, he's just trying to survive another day in impoverished Agrabah.
Jasmine is a princess, one who is about to enter into an arranged marriage. All she wants is to escape her fate, to see what lies beyond the palace walls.
But everything changes when the sultan's trusted adviser, Jafar, suddenly rises to power. With the help of the ancient lamp, Jafar becomes determined to break the laws of magic and gain control over love and death. Soon Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion to stop the power-mad ruler. But their fight for freedom grows costly when it threatens to tear the kingdom apart.
This isn't the story you already know. This is a story about power. About revolutionaries. About love. And about one moment changing everything.

The Secret of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien, 249 pages

Ever since last summer, Mrs. Frisby has been worried about Timothy, her younger son. Timothy has had pneumonia-he almost died-and now he is too frail and weak to be moved. But if the Frisbys don't move immediately, they'll all be killed!
Mrs. Frisby is frantic. Then she hears about the wonderful Rats of NIMH-rats who are strong, smart, able to do almost anything. They've escaped from the lab at NIMH. They can save the Frisbys. But will they?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Not a Girl Detective by Susan Kandel, 294 pages

Biographer and amateur sleuth Cece Caruso freely admits that she spent her youth idolizing girl detective Nancy Drew, a fantasy that undoubtedly influenced her grown-up job writing biographies of dead mystery writers. But as Cece will discover driving down the highway in her Jackie O. sunglasses and a borrowed baby-blue Cadillac, some fantasies die harder than others.
Researching the life of Carolyn Keene, the pseudonymous author of the Nancy Drew mysteries, Cece meets a flamboyant collector of "Blue Nancys," the original books with blue covers. When he finds out she is taking a road trip to Palm Springs to deliver the keynote speech at the annual Nancy Drew fan convention, he offers her the use of his swanky vacation house. But the last thing Cece expects to find lying around the swimming pool is one very body.
In a race against time that takes her from a secret enclave of restored Victorians near downtown L.A. to the driest stretches of California desert, Cece will have to channel her former idol and then some to unmask a sly killer-before he comes after her. Of course, it helps to have a knockout collection of vintage clothing, though Cece prefers Azzedine Alaia semigloss knits and Halston silver sequined berets to Nancy's prim suits and gloves.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Librarian and the Spy by Susan Mann, 337 pages

A librarian’s journey from the checkout desk to fast cars, stolen treasures, and international intrigue / with an introduction by suave, handsome “insurance” agent James Lockwood.

Adventure-hungry Quinn Ellington’s job solving mundane mysteries for library patrons entangles her in a mission to decode the whereabouts of a weapons cache from a priceless work of art before arms dealers beat her to it. Her adventure is filled with twists, turns, and a budding romance. Transcontinental pursuit, daring rescues, and intense covert flirting follow.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Shinju by Laura Rowland, 367 pages

It is January 1689 in Edo, the city that would one day become Tokyo. The bodies of a young man and a beautiful noblewoman, bound together, are dragged from the murky Sumida River: a typical shinju, a ritual double suicide committed by a pair of star-crossed lovers.
But when Sano, a tutor, a samurai, and now a reluctant police officer, begins a routine investigation, he comes to suspect murder. And as he unravels the twisted story behind these deaths, he stumbles upon a trail of deceit and assassination that threatens the very underpinnings of the shogun's Japan.
Shinju is a suspenseful, page-turning journey through the seductive world of medieval Japanese culture, politics, and sex. Filled with exceptional detail and color reminiscent of James Clavell, informed by the sort of investigatory suspense that inspired Gorky Park, Shinju merges breathtaking historical fiction with a first-rate detective tale.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Harvey Girls by Lesley Poling-Kempes, 252 pages

From the 1880s to the 1950s, the Harvey Girls went west to work in Fred Harvey's restaurants along the Santa Fe railway. At a time when there were "no ladies west of Dodge City and no women west of Albuquerque," they came as waitresses, but many stayed and settled, founding the struggling cattle and mining towns that dotted the region. Interviews, historical research, and photographs help re-create the Harvey Girl experience. The accounts are personal, but laced with the history the women lived: the dust bowl, the depression, and anecdotes about some of the many famous people who ate at the restaurants--Teddy Roosevelt, Shirley Temple, Bob Hope, to name a few. This is the definitive work on the Harvey Girls and the Santa Fe Railway.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer, 259 pages

Susan Rose is not your average Victorian heroine. She's promiscuous, lovable, plump, and scheming-especially when it comes to escaping life as a kitchen drudge in a country house. Luckily for Susan, her big heart is covered by an equally big bosom, and her bosom is her fortune-for Susan becomes a professional wet nurse, like her mother before her. But while scullery maids and cooks live below stairs, a wet nurse lives upstairs, and if she's like Susan, she makes it her business to know all the intrigues and scandals that the upper crust would prefer to keep to themselves.
When her own child is caught up in a family scandal, Susan must use her plentiful street smarts to rescue her baby from the powerful mistress of the house. The scheme she weaves is bold, daring, and could spell ruin for her if she fails-but Susan Rose has no shortage of gumption. Bright, clever, and with a crackling wit all her own, Susan is an irresistible heroine.

Call the Nurse, True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle by Mary J. MacLeod, 320 pages

Tired of the pace and noise of life near London and longing for a better place to raise their young children, Mary J. MacLeod (known to all as Julia) and her husband encountered their dream while vacationing on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides. Enthralled by its windswept beauty, they soon were the proud owners of a near-derelict croft house—a farmer’s stone cottage—on “a small acre” of land. Mary assumed duties as the island’s district nurse. Call the Nurse is her account of the first enchanted years she and her family spent there, coming to know its folk as both patients and friends.

Heathcliff, The Best of Friends by George Gately, 128 pages

Another Heathcliff comic collection.

Heathcliff, Catch of the Day by George Gately, 128 pages

Collection of Heathcliff comics.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, 247 pages

A rattletrap plane landed on a frozen lake in the Keewatin Barrens, unceremoniously deposited one man and a mountain of supplies, and lurched off again into the sky. Farley Mowat, official biologist for the Canadian government, had arrived at his destination. His mission: "to determine the range/population ration of Canis lupus in order to establish contact with the study species." In other words, "The wolf, Lieutenant Mowat, is your problem!" In these pages Farley Mowat describes an Arctic summer spent watching and tracking the activities of a wolf family which he came to know better than he knew himself.
Like others before him who have made close acquaintance with the wolf, Mowat found the wolf in fact to be very different from the wolf of legend. Though he saw his wolves, at first, as objects for study, they soon became more than that. The regal, silver-white male, austerely identified as Wolf "A" in the official notebook, soon turns into"George"; his graceful, ebullient mate turns into "Angeline"; and the single male, baby-sitter for the four mischievous cubs, turns into "Uncle Albert."
Mowat unraveled the complex tactics of wolves on a hunt; investigated the male rituals of marking off the "family boundaries." He tested, by trying it himself, the nutritional value of the wolf's summer diet-mice. He observed the hospitality meted out to visiting wolves and learned how cubs are reared and educated. He found that the wolf is an adept fisherman, a loyal spouse, an impressive lover. From Ootek, an Eskimo steeped in the ways of the wolves, he learned something of their language, and of the meaning behind the Eskimo saying, "The wolf keeps the caribou strong."

A Spoonful of Murder by Connie Archer, 291 pages

Winter is big business in small town Snowflake, Vermont. Tourists arrive to hit the ski slopes-and what could be more satisfying after a chilly day of carving powder than a steaming bowl of soup?
When Lucky Jamieson inherits her parents' soup shop, By the Spoonful, she realizes it's time to take stock of her life. Should she sell her parents' house or move in herself? Does she really want to run a restaurant business? And what about her grandfather Jack, who seems to be showing signs of Alzheimer's?
But her life decisions are moved to the back burner after an icy blonde tourist is found frozen to death behind the soup shop. And Lucky is bowled over when her soup chef, Sage DuBois, is led out of the kitchen by the police. As suspicion and speculations snowball, Lucky decides that the only way to save her employee and her business is to find out herself who iced the tourist-and landed her chef in the soup...

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, 585 pages

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Katie's life is a daily struggle. No wonder she takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts. Just as she's finding her feet the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family's farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away-until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie's future gets higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke, 521 pages

After an extravagant honeymoon, Hannah is eager to settle down in Lake Eden. But when her mother's neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs, reality becomes a nightmarish investigation. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town...and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies by David Lubar, 205 pages

Welcome to the Weenie Zone! The appearance of a mysterious new girl in school stops her classmates cold. A boy gets the surprise of his life when he tries to sabotage a magic show. And stands full of screaming and shouting bleacher weenies are about to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Here are thirty hilarious and harrowing stories that will scare you, make you laugh, or make you see the world in a whole new way. Find out where the author got the idea for each story at the end of the book. Don't be a weenie. Read these stories. If you dare!

Dying for Dinner Rolls by Lois Lavrisa, 159 pages

She's been held at gunpoint, stuck in a burning dumpster, chased out of a grocery store, caught impersonating a police officer and almost run over by a wayward vehicle. How is that for a first day on the job as an amateur sleuth? Along with her friend Annie Mae, Cat investigates the brick-paved, oak-lined streets of Savannah to find their friend's murderer. To say the very least, it is not smooth sailing for these self appointed detectives. Will they catch the killer before the killer gets them? Or will their first case be their last?
I'd seen this series mentioned in a mystery cookbook and thought I would give it a try. Was not my favorite, I don't think I'll pick up the others in the series.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Death of a Ghost by M.C. Beaton, 246 pages

When Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth hears reports of a haunted castle near Drim, he assumes the eerie noises and lights reported by the villagers are just local teenagers going there to smoke pot or, worse, inject themselves with drugs. Still, Hamish decides that he and his policeman, Charlie "Clumsy" Carson, will spend the night at the ruined castle to get to the bottom of the rumors once and for all.
There's no sign of any ghost...but then Charlie disappears through the floor. It turns out he's fallen into the cellar. And what Hamish and Charlie find there is worse than a ghost: a dead body propped up against the wall. Waiting for help to arrive, Hamish and Charlie leave the castle just for a moment-to eat bacon baps-but when they return, the body is nowhere to be seen. It's clear something strange-and deadly-is going on at the castle, and Hamish must get to the bottom of it before the "ghost" can strike again....

Do They Ever Grow Up? by Lynn Johnston, 108 pages

A collection of some of her very earliest comics.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, 319 pages

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind-she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of the house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed-this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack, 160 pages

On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, young sorceress Sabrina Spellman finds herself at a crossroads, forced to choose between an unearthly destiny and her own mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But Madam Satan, a deadly foe from her family's past, has arrived in Greendale, and she has her sights set squarely on the young witch. Can Sabrina face the challenge, or will her witching career-and high school life-end all too abruptly?

The Bone Collection by Kathy Reichs, 388 pages

In First Bones, a prequel to Reichs's first novel, Deja Dead, she at last reveals the tale of how Tempe became a forensic anthropologist. In this never-before-published story, Tempe recalls the case that lured from a promising career in academia into the grim but addictive world of criminal investigation. The collection is rounded out with three more stories that take Tempe from the low country of the Florida Everglades, where she makes a grisly discovery in the stomach of an eighteen-foot Burmese python, to the heights of Mount Everest, where a frozen corpse is unearthed. No matter where she goes, Tempe's cases make for the most gripping reading.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Uninvited by Steven LaChance w/Laura Long-Helbig, 238 pages

Its screams still wake me from sleep. I see the man standing in the basement butcher shower washing away the blood from his naked body. He turns, and his eyes sweep across me. The room begins to spin...
What kind of evil lives at the Union Screaming House?
In this true and terrifying firsthand account, Steven LaChance reveals how he and his three children were driven from their Union, Missouri, home by demonic attacks.
LaChance chronicles how the house's relentless supernatural predators infest those around them. He consults paranormal investigators, psychics, and priests, but the demonic attacks-screams, growls, putrid odors, invisible shoves, bites, and other physical violations-only grow worse. The entities clearly demonstrate their wrath and power: killing family pets, sexually assaulting individuals, even causing two people to be institutionalized.
The demons' next target is the current homeowner, Helen. When the entities take possession and urge Helen toward murder and madness, LaChance must engage in a hair-raising battle for her soul.

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany, 294 pages

It's Christmastime 365 days a year in Rudolph, New York-but when merriment makes way for murder, shop owner Merry Wilkinson must uncover a cold-blooded killer...
As Christmas Day approaches, Merry is enjoying a rare evening off at the Yuletide Inn when she runs into owners Grace and Jack Olsen. With Jack's health failing, Merry is relieved to hear that his son, Gord, will be taking over the day-to-day running of the inn.
But then Gord reveals that his new plans have no room for Christmas at the inn, and Merry and the other shop owners start to fret about the effect a bland franchise hotel could have on their livelihoods.
When Gord is found stabbed to death, there's an entire town of potential suspects-and it's up to Merry to find whoever brought homicide home for the holidays....

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Recipes For Love and Murder by Sally Andrew, 419 pages

Annie Maria ("tannie" meaning auntie, the respectful Afrikaans address for a woman older than you) is a middle-aged widow who likes to cook-and eat. She shares her culinary love through her work as a recipe columnist for the local paper, until the Gazette decides its readers are hungrier for advice on matters of the heart than for lunch and dinner ideas.
Tannie Maria doesn't like the change but soon discovers she has a knack-and a passion-for helping people. Of course, a recipe is always part of the remedy she offers. Assisting other people with their problems, Tannie Maria is eventually forced to face her own issues, especially when the troubles of those she helps touch on the pain of her past-like a woman who contacts her, desperate to escape her abusive husband.
When the woman is murdered, Tannie Maria becomes dangerously entwined in the investigation, despite the best efforts of the handsome detective named Kannemyer, who is determined to keep her safe. Suddenly, this practical, down-to-earth woman is involved in something mush more sinister than perfecting her chocolate cake recipe....

This was a fantastic read! I can't believe it's the author's first fiction novel. A line from the first chapter just blew me away. "God, faith, love went out the window in my years with Fanie. I've left the windows open since then, but they haven't come back in."

Famous Curses by Daniel Cohen, 116 pages

What Evil Power lies in a Curse? Can it harm? Can it...kill? Can a curse really make something evil happen? That's for you to decide-once you've read these chilling...FAMOUS CURSES!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Being a Green Mother by Piers Anthony, 313 pages

Orb had a rare gift-the magic which manifested whenever she sang or played her harp. No one could resist her music. But greater magic than Orb's lay in the Llano, the mystic music that controlled all things. The quest for the Llano occupied Orb's life.
Then she met Natasha. He was handsome, charming-and an even finer musician than she. Natasha began teaching Orb the music of the Llano, and she found herself falling in love with him.
Then Orb's mother Niobe came as an Aspect of Fate, bearing the news that Orb was chosen for the role of the Incarnation of Nature-the Green Mother. And Niobe warned Orb of the prophecy made years before-that Orb was to marry Evil. Could she be sure that Natasha was not really Satan, the Master of Illusion, laying a trap for her?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Beast Within by Serena Valentino, 215 pages

The tale is as old as time; a cruel prince is transformed into a beast. A lovely maiden comes into this monster's life. He is transformed by her compassion, and the love he feels for her in return. The two live happily ever after.
But any tale, especially one as storied as Beauty and the Beast's, has been told many different times, and in many different ways. No matter which version one hears, the nagging question remains; what was it that transformed the prince into the beast we are introduced to? This is one version, pulled from the many passed down through the ages. It's a story of vanity and arrogance, of love and hatred, of beastliness, and, of course, of beauty.

Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino, 196 pages

The tale of the sea king's daughter Ariel is a beloved one of losing-and then finding-one's own voice. The story has been told many times and in many ways. But always the mergirl wants more than her world can offer, and her father demands that she lives within the confines of his domain. Her rebelliousness costs the little mermaid her voice and nearly her soul. But the power of good prevails, and Ariel emerges proud and changed. And yet this is only half the story. So what of Ariel's nemesis, Ursula, the sea witch? What led to her becoming so twisted, scorned, and filled with hatred? Many tales have tried to explain her motives. Here is one account of what might have shaped the sea witch into a detestable and poor unfortunate soul.

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs, 160 pages

Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales. Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant and haunting stories in Tales of the Peculiar-known to hide information about the peculiar world-first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series. Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories in this deluxe volume of Tales of the Peculiar, as collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis, 209 pages

This was for a book club I'm in. A sci-fi read written in 1963, set in the late 1980s, and was an interesting take on what our world would look like, especially as seen through the eyes of an alien.

Fairest of Them All by Serena Valentino, 256 pages

For anyone who's seen Walt Disney's Snow White, you'll know that the Wicked Queen is one evil woman! After all, it's not everyone who wants to cut out their teenage step-daughter's heart and have it delivered back in a locked keepsake box. (And even if this sort of thing is a common urge, we don't know many people who have acted upon it.)
Now, for the first time, we'll examine the life of the Wicked Queen and find out just what it is that makes her so nasty. Here's a hint: the creepy-looking man in the magic mirror is not just some random spooky visage-and he just might have something to do with the Queen's wicked ways!

Cannibalism, A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt, 332 pages

For centuries scientists have written off cannibalism as a bizarre phenomenon with little biological significance. Its presence in nature was dismissed as a desperate response to starvation or other life-threatening circumstances, and few spent time studying it. A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crimes of real-life flesh-eaters. But the true nature of cannibalism-the role it plays in evolution as well as human history-is even more intriguing (and more normal) than the misconceptions we've come to accept as fact.
In Cannibalism, zoologist Bill Schutt sets the record straight, debunking common myths and investigating our new understanding of cannibalism's role in biology, anthropology, and history in the most fascinating account yet written on this complex topic. Schutt takes readers from Arizona's Chiricahua Mountains, where he wades through ponds full of tadpoles devouring their siblings, to the Sierra Nevadas, where he joins researchers who are shedding new light on what happened to the Donner Party-the most infamous episode of cannibalism in American history. He even meets with an expert on the preparation and consumption of human placenta (and, yes, it does go well with Chianti).
Bringing together the latest cutting-edge science, Schutt answers questions such as why some amphibians consume their mother's skin; why certain insects bite the heads off their partners after sex; why, up until the end of the twentieth century, Europeans regularly ate human body parts as medical curatives; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of the Neanderthals. He takes us into the future as well, investigating whether, as climate change causes famine, disease, and overcrowding, we may see more outbreaks of cannibalism in many more species-including our own.
Cannibalism places a perfectly natural occurrence into a vital new context and invites us to explore why it both enthralls and repels us.

This was a totally fascinating read. I drove my family crazy by telling them interesting facts that I kept coming across.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney, 287 pages

She took 1930s New York by storm, working her way up writing copy for R.H. Macy's to become the highest-paid advertising woman in the country. It was a job that, she says, "in some ways saved my life, and in other ways ruined it."
Now it's the last night of 1984 and Lillian, eighty-five years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It's chilly enough for her mink coat, and Manhattan is grittier now-her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl-but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily. On a walk that takes her more than ten miles around the city, she meets bartenders, bodega clerks, security guards, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be, while reviewing a life of excitement and adversity, passion and heartbreak, illuminating all the ways New York has changed-and has not.
A love letter to city life, the book paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic, the Great Depression to the birth of the hip-hop. Lillian figures she might as well take her time. For now, after all, the night is still young.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night by Barbara J. Taylor, 319 pages

In early 20th century Pennsylvania, a few months after her sister's mysterious death, eight-year-old Violet befriends a motherless schoolmate, Stanley, who works as a breaker boy in the mines. Meanwhile, Violet's father and mother find other ways cope with their grief.
This was a really touching read.

Venom Doc by Bryan Grieg Fry, 292 pages

Venomologist Bryan Grieg Fry has one of the most dangerous jobs on earth: he works with its deadliest creatures. He's been bitten by twenty-six venomous snakes, been stung by three stingrays, and survived a near-fatal scorpion sting while deep in the Amazon jungle. He's received more than four hundred stitches and broken twenty-three bones, including breaking his back in three places, and had to learn how to walk again. But when you research only the venom you yourself have collected, the adventures-and danger-never stop.
Imagine a three-week-long first date in Siberia catching venomous water shrews with the daughter of a Russian war hero; a wedding attended by Eastern European prime ministers and their machine-gun-wielding bodyguards and snakes; or leading a team to Antarctica that results in the discovery of four new species of venomous octopi. Bryan's discoveries have radically reshaped views on venom evolution and contributed to the creation of venom-based life-saving medications. In pursuit of venom, he has traveled the world collecting samples from Indonesia to Mexico, Germany, and Brazil. He's encountered venomous creatures of all kinds, including the Malaysian king cobra, the Komodo dragon, and the funnel-web spider. Bryan recounts his lifelong passion for studying the world's most venomous creatures in this outlandish captivating memoir, where he and danger are never far apart.
I love biographies of people with interesting jobs and this definitely falls in that category. It was very educational and entertaining.

Laduree Chocolate by Vincent Lemains & Julien Christophe, 344 pages

The universe of chocolate is a world shaped by a thousand secrets, by perseverance and by know-how founded on passion (Les Marquis de Laduree).
Ladurée continues its quest for the ultimate indulgence with Les Marquis de Ladurée, opening a magical portal to a dreamlike world, where dainty meets delicious, a universe exclusively dedicated to chocolate.
In this book, chocolate lovers will discover its many varieties and virtues, but also its history, its process of fabrication, the art of enjoying chocolate, as well as famous chocolate connoisseurs of the past and present. And since you could hardly be expected to read about chocolate without treating yourself to a taste, Ladurée proposes a selection of recipes for chocolate bonbons and other pastries that you can make at home...
This was a beautiful coffee table type book that covers the history of chocolate and then has fancy chocolate recipes in the last half. I picked this up as a present for my oldest but had to read it myself. I really want to go to Paris and try this chocolate shop.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Prick With a Fork by Larissa Dubecki, 300 pages

Before she was one of Australia's restaurant critics, Larissa Dubecki was one of its worst waitresses. A loving homage to her ten-year reign of dining-room terror, Prick With a Fork takes you where a diner should never go. From the crappiest suburban Italian to the hottest place in town, what goes on behind the scenes is rarely less fraught than the seventh circle of hell. Psychopathic chefs, lecherous owners, impossible demands and insufferable customers are just the start of an average shift.
As a former server myself, this was an entertaining read.