Friday, May 26, 2017

Like One of the Family by Alice Childress, 221 pages

This was a collection of short stories that originally dated from the late 1950s by a African-American writer. It's Mildred, who's a domestic in New York, talking to her friend, Marge, about a variety of subjects and topics. This was pretty shocking when it came out, and is still compelling. No matter how far the world has come in race relations, we still have a long way to go it seems.

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige, 277 pages

This is the final book in the Oz series by Danielle Paige. The series has imagined what would happened if Dorothy returned to Oz? But this isn't the happy, cute story you know from the movie. Dorothy is power-hungry, her friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion are terrifying and Oz is paying the price.
This was a great teen read, very compelling and interesting for anyone who enjoyed the Oz story and wondered what happened after.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 274 pages

I'm so glad book club read this for May. I knew I'd read it before, but it had been a long time ago, and I had it in my mind that it was okay, but not my favorite. It was much better than I remember. It was a sweet read, reminding me very much of The Little Princess (also by the same author) and Little Women. So glad to have my opinion of this book changed.

The Private Lives of the Tudors by Tracy Borman, 448 pages

This looked at the Tudors, covering Henry VII through Elizabeth, The Virgin Queen, ending with James. The book examined how they presented themselves publicly and how they lived privately, oftentimes using the separation as a tool. I'm a huge fan of English historical nonfiction, and I still learned a lot of new information from this book.

Dorothy Must Die Stories Volume 2 by Danielle Paige, 307 pages

The second set of stories continuing the look at what would happen to Oz if Dorothy returned.

Dorothy Must Die Stories by Danielle Paige, 377 pages

This series imagines what would happen to Oz if Dorothy returned.
These stories feature looks at the characters of Oz and what happened to them immediately after Dorothy returned to Oz. It's dark, vivid and a great read.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chickadee by Louise Erdrich, 196 pages

This series is great. I'm so sad that it's almost done.

The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich, 193 pages

I'm so glad Rebecca recommended these books. They're basically Little House on the Prairie books but from an Indian viewpoint. The books are sweet, interesting and a great read.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Head Lopper by Andrew Maclean, 280 pages

This is one I only read for Comics and Cocktails. Not my favorite.

When Ladies Go A-Thieving by Elaine S. Abelson, 292 pages

This was a fantastic present from my kids for Mother's Day. It looks at the cultural and historical aspect of the rise of the department store and the female shoplifter. This was a trifle dry but still an interestin
g read.

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, 303 pages

This series is still just as fantastic now as when I first read it decades ago.

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey, 277 pages

I love how great the dragon books are in this series.

Saga, Volume 7 by Fiona Staples & Brian K. Vaughan, 152 pages

I've been a fan of this series since we read the first one for our Comics and Cocktails. It's never a real happy ending but still a gripping read.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bundori by Laura Joh Rowland, 339 pages

Arthur and Sherlock by Michael Sims, 245 pages

I love anything Sherlock and nonfiction is one of my favorite genres as well, so this was a must read. Unfortunately it just didn't live up to my expectations. It went over a lot of the early life of Doyle but didn't cover his complicated feelings for his most famous creation or his life basically once Sherlock Holmes became a success. All in all, it left me feeling disappointed.

Every Body On Deck by G.A. McKevett, 308 pages

This book was horrible in that it makes me want to take a cruise even more than before, lol. I have always liked the Savannah books and this one was a great read as well. My only complaint is that I'm jealous of what great people Savannah has in her life. As always, I recommend starting this series at the beginning so you don't miss anything.

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey, 192 pages

This was this month's book for one of my book clubs. I've always enjoyed the dragon books by McCaffrey, so I was delighted to re-read this one. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it and I'm going to go back and read the other ones in the series. A great fantasy work by a fantastic author.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Gris Grimly's Tales from the Brothers Grimm, 278 pages

The Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales are brought to life for a new generation of readers in their original, uncut form by the modern master of gothic horror, Gris Grimly.
Grimm. The name alone is enough to call to mind any number of the timeless fairy tales collected by brothers Jacob and Wilhelm in the early nineteenth century. These folktales have been told and retold in many forms for over two centuries, and while the particular mix of fantasy, adventure, and wonder that defined their seven-volume collection has endured, the terror, violence, and darkness of the original stories has often been lost in translation.
Enter Gris Grimly, who has faithfully reproduced the original text of a selection of tales and adorned them with his own inimitable artwork. The result is a Grimm collection unlike any other, set in a world that is whimsically sinister, darkly vivid, and completely unforgettable.

Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, 470 pages

It's time to get off the beaten path. Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.

Talk about a bucket list: here are natural wonders—the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that's so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan's 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell, a graveyard for decommissioned ships on the coast of Bangladesh, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.

Created by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, ATLAS OBSCURA revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer.

Eight Flavors by Sarah Lohman, 281 pages

This unique culinary history of America offers a fascinating look at our past and uses long-forgotten recipes to explain how eight flavors changed how we eat.
The United States boasts a culturally and ethnically diverse population which makes for a continually changing culinary landscape. But a young historical gastronomist named Sarah Lohman discovered that American food is united by eight flavors: black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha. In Eight Flavors, Lohman sets out to explore how these influential ingredients made their way to the American table.
She begins in the archives, searching through economic, scientific, political, religious, and culinary records. She pores over cookbooks and manuscripts, dating back to the eighteenth century, through modern standards like How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Lohman discovers when each of these eight flavors first appear in American kitchens—then she asks why.
Eight Flavors introduces the explorers, merchants, botanists, farmers, writers, and chefs whose choices came to define the American palate. Lohman takes you on a journey through the past to tell us something about our present, and our future. We meet John Crowninshield a New England merchant who traveled to Sumatra in the 1790s in search of black pepper. And Edmond Albius, a twelve-year-old slave who lived on an island off the coast of Madagascar, who discovered the technique still used to pollinate vanilla orchids today. Weaving together original research, historical recipes, gorgeous illustrations and Lohman’s own adventures both in the kitchen and in the field, Eight Flavors is a delicious treat—ready to be devoured.
I always like books like this, and while this wasn't the best one I've ever read it was still an enjoyable read. I especially enjoyed the vanilla section. I learned that the chemical compound found in vanilla and imitation vanilla, vanillin, is synthesized from lignin, C9H1002, which is found in wood. And old book pages can smell like vanilla from oxidizing lignin. So now I know the science behind why old books smell so good.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill, 389 pages

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with the power of legend. An unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to thwart one’s origins. It might also take true love.
Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914. Before long, their talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing clown routines, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.
Separated as teenagers, sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both descend into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes – after years of searching and desperate poverty – the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to make them come true. Soon, Rose, Pierrot and their troupe of clowns and chorus girls have hit New York, commanding the stage as well as the alleys, and neither the theater nor the underworld will ever look the same.

I have to say that this book was heartbreaking to read at times and the ending just about killed me. I'm still pondering it and feeling upset, so all in all, a sign of a good book.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Rasco and the Rats of NIMH by Jane Leslie Conly, 288 pages

‘Racso, a brash and boastful little rodent, is making his way to Thorn Valley, determined to learn how to read and write and become a hero. His bragging and lies get him off to a bad start, but a crisis gives him the opportunity to prove his mettle. A worthy successor [to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, a Newbery Medal winner by the author's father].

Sunday, April 30, 2017

An Almond For a Parrot by Wray Delany, 348 pages

I would like to make myself the heroine of this story and my character to be noble -- an innocent victim led astray. But alas, sir, I would be lying.

In prison, accused of murder, Tully Truegood begins to write her life story. A story that takes her from a young girl in the backstreets of eighteenth century London to her stepmother Queenie's Fairy House -- a place where decadent excess is a must.

Trained by Queenie to become a courtesan, and by Mr. Crease -- a magician who sees that Tully holds similar special powers to his own -- Tully soon becomes the talk of the town.

But as Tully goes on a journey of sexual awakening, she falls in love with one of her clients and the pleasure soon turns to pain. Especially when the estranged husband she was forced to marry by her father suddenly seeks her out. Now Tully is awaiting her trial for murder, for which she expects to hang … and her only chance of survival is to get her story to the one person who might be able to help her.

The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich, 256 pages

Her name is Omakayas, or Little Frog, because her first step was a hop, and she lives on an island in Lake Superior. One day in 1850, Omakayas′s island is visited by a group of mysterious people. From them, she learns that the chimookomanag, or white people, want Omakayas and her people to leave their island and move farther west.
That day, Omakayas realizes that something so valuable, so important that she never knew she had it in the first place, could be in danger: Her way of life. Her home.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Masterminds, Criminal Destiny by Gordon Korman, 311 pages

The clones of Project Osiris are free-but they're being hunted...
After their narrow escape from their "perfect" hometown, Eli, Tori, Amber, and Malik are finally in the real world and determined to expose the leaders of Serenity. They decide to track down Tamara Dunleavy, the mysterious billionaire and founder of Project Osiris. Evading capture by breaking laws and sneaking into houses, hotels, buses, and cars-are they becoming the criminals they were destined to be?
What they learn will change everything, leading them straight back into the Plastic Works and the heart of the experiment in order to uncover the deadly criminals they're cloned from-and any evidence that will convince the outside world to believe the truth. But the outside world isn't exactly what they expected-strangers just aren't unfriendly, they're dangerous. And the wrong move could send them right back into the arms of Dr. Hammerstrom- and trapped in Serenity for good.
On a breakneck journey from Jackson Hole to a maximum security prison, Eli, Tori, Amber, and Malik willl stop at nothing to take Project Osiris down.

Elizabeth I by Margaret George, 671 pages

One of today's premier historical novelists, Margaret George dazzles here as she tackles her most complex subject yet: Elizabeth Tudor, England's greatest queen, who has baffled and intrigued the world for centuries. But what was she really like? In this novel, Elizabeth's flame-haired, look-alike cousin, Lettice Knollys, thinks she knows all too well. And as Elizabeth and Lettice, two women of fierce intellect and desire, vie for power and the love of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, everyone in the court's orbit is drawn into their rivalry and its escalating drama. This magnificent, stay-up-all-night page-turner is George's finest, a spectacular portrait of the alluring yet elusive woman who ruled over the golden age of British history and culture-and of the one woman she could not control.

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."