Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany, 294 pages

In Rudolph, New York, it's Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone's holiday cheer....
As the owner of Mrs. Claus's Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays. That's why she thinks her float in the semi-annual Santa Claus parade is a shoo-in for best in show. But when the tractor pulling Merry's float is sabotaged, she has to face facts: there's a Scrooge in Christmas Town.
Merry is ready to point fingers, especially with a journalist in town writing a puff piece about Rudolph's Christmas Spirit. But when she stumbles upon the reporter's body on a late-night dog walk and police suspect he was poisoned-by a gingerbread cookie crafted by her best friend, Vicky- Merry will have to put down the jingle bells and figure out who's really been grinching about town, before Vicky ends up on Santa's naughty list.
This was a really good read. Light-hearted and funny, with intriguing characters, an interesting mystery and enough romance to give it some sizzle.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Feral by James Demonaco and B. K. Evenson, 309 pages

Allie Hilts was in high school the day the world ended. It started when a fire at a top secret research facility released an airborne pathogen that infected every male, killing most of them. The few men who survived were changed, becoming stronger. They were unbelievably aggressive and violent. No male was spared, and no woman was safe. Allie and her sister, Kim, witnessed every man they loved be consumed and do the unthinkable. They were the lucky ones.
Three years later, Allie and Kim have joined a group of survivors in an isolated, walled-in encampment, trying to find a way forward in the new world. Outside the guarded walls the ferals roam-new monsters the women used to know as fathers, brothers, sons, and lovers. Now, Allie has been noticing troubling new patterns in the ferals' movements and a disturbing number of new faces in the wild. Something catastrophic is brewing on the horizon, and time is running out. The ferals are coming and there is no stopping them.
A fantastic new read. Very dark and creepy.

Dennis the Menace Dog's Best Friend by Hank Ketcham, 128 pages

A collection of Dennis the Menace comics. Hard to believe they're as old as I am.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan, 371 pages

As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to close the choir and instead "carry on singing," resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. This story tells the home-front struggle of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past.
An enchanting ensemble novel that shuttle from small-town intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan's debut thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.
This very much reminded me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook Edited by Kate White, 175 pages

Recipes by different mystery writers. I didn't take any recipes away from this but I did discover 5 new writers that I'm going to try. So all in all, a success.

A Puzzle To Be Name Later by Parnell Hall, 292 pages

The Puzzle Lady couldn't be happier. Matt Greystone, the rookie sensation who just signed a huge contract with the Yankees after coming to the team as the player to be named later in a trade with the Diamondbacks, and who won seventeen games as a starter pitcher, was coming to town to rehab from an arm injury. A diehard Yankee fan, Cora was delighted when Matt invited her to a weekend pool party.
On the plus side, she got to meet Derek Jeter. On the minus side, she had to solve a puzzle (that was also named later), and a couple of guests got killed.
Solving murders is right up the Puzzle Lady's alley. Unfortunately, someone has broken into the house of a local psychiatrist and rifled her patient files, and Chief Harper wants Cora to solve that, too.
Cora already know who broke into the house. She did!
These are fun mysteries with the addition of crossword puzzles.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Some Kind of Magic by Mary Ann Marlowe, 295 pages

Biochemist Eden Sinclair has no idea that the scent she spritzed on herself before leaving the lab is designed to enhance pheromones. Or that the cute, grungy-looking guy she meets at a gig that evening is Adam Copeland. As in the Adam Copeland-international rock god and object of lust for a million women. Make that a million and one. By the time she learns the truth, she's already spent the (amazing, incredible) night in his bed...
Suddenly Eden, who's more accustomed to being set up on disastrous dates by her mom, is going out with a gorgeous celebrity who loves how down-to-earth and honest she is. But for once, Eden isn't being honest. She can't bear to reveal that this overpowering attraction could be nothing more than seduction by science. And the only way to know how Adam truly feels is to ditch the perfume-and risk being ditched in turn...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, 144 pages

One of the early James Bond books. Was much grittier and sparser than I pictured from the movies and had a very disturbing torture scene involving a naked Bond and a chair with no bottom. Was an interesting read, just not sure I would pick up another one. But again, I'm glad for my book club because I read books I wouldn't pick up otherwise.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Family Circus, The Complete Comics From the Beginning 1960-61 by Bil Keane, 234 pages

The beginning days of Family Circus. I never knew Thelma was Australian.

Giants, The Dwarfs of Auschwitz by Yehuda Koren & Eilat Negev, 283 pages

During the 1930s and 40s the Lilliput Troupe, a beloved and successful family of singers and actors, dazzled with their vaudeville program and unique performances as the only all-dwarf show of the time. Their small stature earned them fame-and, ironically, ultimately saved their lives.
As Hitler's war descended, the Ovitz family-seven of whom were dwarfs-was plunged into the horrors of the darkest moments in modern history. Disembarking from the cattle train into the death camp of Auschwitz, they were separated from other Jewish victims on the orders of one Dr. Joseph Mengele, the "Angel of Death." Obsessed with eugenics, Dr. Mengele carried out a series of loathsome experiments on the family and developed a disturbing fondness for his human lab rats, so much that when the Russian army liberated Auschwitz, all members of the family-the youngest, a baby boy just 18 months old; the oldest, a 58-year-old woman-were still alive.
Based on exhaustive research and interviews with Perla Ovitz, the troupe's last surviving member, and scores of Auschwitz survivors, authors Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev deftly describe the moving and inspirational story of this remarkable family and their indomitable will to survive.
I came across this book on the clearance table at Barnes & Noble and had to buy it. The hard part was beating off my oldest so I could read it first.

A Tyranny of Petticoats Edited by Jessica Spotswood, 354 pages

Crisscross America-on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains-from pirate ships off the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today-an impressive sisterhood that includes Elizabeth Wein, Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, and Kekla Magoon-on a thrill ride through history with American girls driving their own stories. They are monsters and mediums, bank robbers and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They're charting their own path in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenal, reckoning with murderers and marriage proposals. Along the way, they might kiss girls or boys-or no one at all, because they're too busy facing spies and spitfires, ghosts and goddesses. But one thing's for sure-they're going to have a hell of a story to tell.

Overdue by Gene Ambaum, Bill Barnes, & Chris Hallbeck, 200 pages

Unshelved entertains tens of thousands of library workers, teachers, and book nerds around the world with tales of what really goes on behind the desk, between the stacks, and in the staff lounge of your local public library. In this, the final collection, you'll find over two years of full-color comic strips including the third Unshelved graphic novella, Lights Out.
I love , they ripped my heart out when they stopped creating new ones.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wielding a Red Sword by Piers Anthony, 313 pages

In this continuation of the Incarnations of Immortality series, Mym was a dutiful son, but his father interfered in his love life too often. Rather than wed without love, Mym takes up the Red Sword, symbol of office of the Incarnation of War. At first he thought his efforts could ameliorate some of the suffering caused by Earth's constant petty wars. But he found that behind all his involvement were the clever traps of Satan. When seeming mischance placed him in Hell, Mym organized a great rebellion among the Damned. And Satan seemed to capitulate. But free again, Mym learned that Satan had been busy stirring up riots and war. Now it seemed things had gone too far and Satan must surely win. There was only one desperate chance....

The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey, 465 pages

When the 9th Duke of Rutland died alone in the cramped family archives on April 21, 1940, his son and heir, Charles, ordered the room sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became one of the first historians allowed inside. What she discovered when she began reading through the duke's letters was a mystery involving one of the most powerful families in British society in the turbulent days leading up to World War I. The 9th Duke, who had devoted his entire adult life to organizing and cataloging several hundred years' worth of family correspondence, had carefully erased three periods of his life from the record. But why? Filled with fascinating real-life characters, a mysterious death, family secrets and affairs aplenty, The Secret Rooms is an enthralling, page-turning true story that reads like an Agatha Christie novel.

Mary Russell's War and Other Stories of Suspense by Laurie R. King, 300 pages

With this collection, nine previously published short stories and one never-before-seen Sherlock Holmes mystery are brought together for the first time. Following an "Appreciation" by noted Sherlockian Leslie S. Klinger, Laurie R. King blends vivid historical settings with narrative sleight-of-hand, from a novella composed of Mary Russell's teenage diaries to the story of how, in her nineties, Miss Russell came to send her Memoirs to Laurie R. King, and from Mrs. Hudson's own investigation to a tale of young Russell's beloved Uncle Jake-and, a Christmas investigation by Sherlock Holmes and his very young assistant.
I'm a big fan of the Mary Russell books, so I enjoyed getting to see her and Sherlock's first meeting through his eyes, the story of their wedding, and her early days.

Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins, 264 pages

Just as Harper Price starts to come to terms with her role as David Stark's battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend, her world goes crazy all over again. Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenage girls into Paladins-and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from. Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town...which means her life is on the line yet again.
This is the finale to this trilogy. It's been a fun, light read.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins, 277 pages

Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and her best friend, Bee, has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can focus on the important things in life: school, canoodling with David (her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie), and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove Pageant.
Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided that they'd rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can't stay David's Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her...or make her more powerful than ever.
This is the second book in this teen trilogy. It's pretty entertaining, all in all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

With a Tangled Skein by Piers Anthony, 404 pages

When the man Niobe loved was shot, she learned that she had been the target, in a devious plot of the Devil's. Hoping for revenge, Niobe accepted a position as one of the three Aspects of Fate, only to find that Satan's plots were tangled into the very Tapestry of Fate. Now the Evil One was laying a trap to ruin Niobe's granddaughter Luna, who threatened his plans-and he had tricked her son into Hell. Niobe's only chance to save her son and Luna was to accept a challenge by the Prince of Deceit-a challenge to be decided in Hell and in a maze of Satan's devising!
The third book in the Incarnations of Immortality series. I enjoyed reading it before, I'm enjoying it this time, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it in the future.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Murder in the Pleasure Gardens by Rosemary Stevens, 241 pages

In the days of Regency England, Beau Brummell stood as the uncrowned king of genteel Society. Whatever he wore was the height of fashion. Wherever he went was the place to be seen. And the last place one would expect to find him was in the middle of a murder mystery....
After one too many distasteful meals at his usual gentleman's club, Beau Brummell opens his own named Watier's. It isn't long before the club's exquisite cuisine and high gambling stakes attract London's aristocracy to Beau's doors. But the fashionable establishment becomes embroiled in scandal when Lieutenant Nevill, inexperienced in games of chance, believes he's been cheated at cards by government official Theobald Jacombe. The confrontation escalates when Jacombe makes off-color remarks about the lieutenant's intended...infuriating the young officer into challenging him to a duel.
Before Beau can talk Nevill out of this course of action, Jacombe is found murdered at Vauxhall's Pleasure Gardens-and the lieutenant is detained as the most likely suspect. Convinced of Nevill's innocence, the master of style must deduce who would want to kill a respected member of the Home Office with a supposedly spotless reputation...
I really enjoyed these books, but now I have to be sad because there aren't any more, at least none written in the last 14 years.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bearing an Hourglass by Piers Anthony, 372 pages

The second book in the Incarnations of Immortality series featuring Chonos, otherwise known as Time. I think this is my third time reading this series.

On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony, 325 pages

The first book in the Incarnations of Immortality series. This one features Death, who is quickly embroiled in a plot instigated by Satan himself.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Square Meal by Jane Ziegelman & Andrew Coe, 314 pages

A look at how America ate after WWI through the Great Depression. This was a rapidly changing time; with the discovery of vitamins, a government looking at it's welfare system and the rise of convenience foods such as canned, mixes, and frozen. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who likes historical nonfiction of this bent.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Mammoth Book of the New Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes by Denis O. Smith, 531 pages

This collection of new Sherlock Holmes stories stayed very true to the feeling of the original stories. I really enjoyed them.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Spinning Wheel Stories by Louisa May Alcott, 183 pages

I came across this collection of short stories by Louis May Alcott on Project Gutenberg which has out of print books as ebooks. I'm definitely going to have to look for this as a real book to add to my Alcott collection.

When Churchill Slaughtered SHeep and Stalin Robbed A Bank by Giles Milton, 264 pages

A look at little known tidbits of history that are really interesting. This book is exactly up my alley and I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Glow of Death by Jane K. Cleland, 292 pages

I like reading about the antiques but Josie's life is so perfect with amazing friends, amazing career and plenty of money, that it gets a little grating at times.

Lumberjanes Volume 5: Band Together, 112 pages

These are odd but really enjoyable. My girl scout camps were never this cool.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Lost At Sea by Jon Ronson, 400 pages

The latest book for the Blackthorn Bookclub. Definitely not one I would pick up on my own.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Once There Was A Farm by Virginia Bell Dabney, 273 pages

A woman looks back at her childhood on a small Virginia farm. This wasn't the best memoir I've read, was a little disjointed at times, but wasn't horrible.