Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Black House

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Black House
Author: Stephen King and Peter Straub
Publisher: Scribner (November 6, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 672
Genre: Horror


Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer traveled to a parallel universe called the Territories to save his mother and her “Twinner” from an agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world. Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, Wisconsin. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories, and he was compelled to leave the police force when a happenstance event threatened to awaken those long-suppressed and dangerous memories.

When a series of gruesome murders occurs in western Wisconsin, reminiscent of heinous killings committed several decades earlier, Jack’s buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help find the killer. But are these new killings merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town? What causes Jack’s inexplicable waking dreams—if that is what they are—of robins’ eggs and red feathers? As these cryptic messages become impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil

Title: Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil
Author: Nancy Atherton
Publisher: Viking Adult (October 2, 2000)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 224
Genre: Cozy Mystery / British
Source: Library
Series: Aunt Dimity #6

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

It was a dark and stormy afternoon on the high moors of Northumberland. A cold October rain battered the Range Rover's roof and the fog was as thick as porridge. I hoped my hosts at Wyrdhurst Hall would hold high tea for me, because it looked as though I might be a bit late.

Thanks to the murky weather, I'd almost certainly missed the turnoff for Wyrdhurst's gated drive. To judge by the Rover's lurching progress, I'd somehow left the paved road altogether and veered onto a narrow, muddy track that seemed to be climbing straight into the clouds.

I could do nothing but climb with it. The moorland rose steeply to my right and fell sharply to my left. There was no place to turn around and I had no intention of backing down a road I could barely see.


With rain crashing down on her Range Rover, as it climbs up a steep embankment on the Northumberland moors, Lori Shepherd is beginning to doubt the wisdom of her decision to evaluate a rare book collection at Wyrdhurst Hall.

The grim, neo-gothic hall that greets her upon arrival is full of surprises-including a charming, secretive stranger, and a cache of World War I letters that tell a tale of doomed love and hint at a hidden treasure. It will take all of Dimity's supernatural skills to help Lori solve the puzzle and restore peace to a family haunted by its tragic past.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mailbox Monday - It Takes a Witch

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: It Takes a Witch
Author: Heather Blake
Publisher: Signet (January 3, 2012)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 320
Genre: Paranormal Cozy
Series: A Wishcraft Mystery #1


Darcy Merriweather has just discovered she hails from a long line of Wishcrafters-witches with the power to grant wishes by casting a spell. She's come to Enchanted Village to learn her trade but finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation...

Chapter 1

Usually I’m not in the habit of tiptoeing through strange houses under the cover of darkness.

It was unsettling to say the least, and I felt completely out of sorts. My outfit only added to my discomfort. The flouncy, frilly pink satin bodysuit, tulle tutu, and pink ballet slippers were a far cry from my usual jeans and tee.

It didn’t help that my every move was being watched closely.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Title: Mousetronaut – Based on a (Partially) True Story
Author: Mark Kelly (yes, the astronaut)
Illustrator: C. F. Payne
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (October 9, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 40
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 4 and up

Based partially on a real NASA mission, Mark Kelly tells the story of a small mouse sent up in the space shuttle.

Just because you are the smallest of all the mice does not mean that your hard work will not be noticed, so when Meteor is chosen he relishes his mission. While the other larger mice are scared, Meteor loves the weightlessness and his fellow astronauts.

As the astronauts are busy with their tasks during the flight, Meteor wonders what he can do to help.

Then the time comes, the crew encounters a problem that only the smallest of them can handle. Squeezing his way into a dark and cramped space, Meteor retrieves a very important key that will save the mission.

Back on Earth and with a job well done – Meteor becomes an official Mousetronaut.

It is a cute story, not overly fascinating for the adult reader, but your young one might be interested in the space aspect of the book.

There is an afterward for the older reader, explaining where Mark Kelly came up with the idea for the book and background information on the history of space flight. Personally, I found this more interesting and think that your 4th+ graders would be fascinated in this part of the story.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Title: Faceless Killer
Author: Henning Mankell
Publisher: New Press, The (March 1, 1997)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 279
Genre: Suspense
Series: Kurt Wallander #1

This book chilled me from the very beginning. I cannot say for sure if it was the storyline or the location, but the brutal killing of a couple in a remote farmhouse in Sweden, still makes me shutter.

At 5am on a January morning, Ystad police inspector Kurt Wallander is called out to investigate a murder. After a neighbor senses that something is wrong, he notices a window open on a neighboring farm. Going over to investigate he finds one man brutally beaten to death and a noose around a woman’s neck. As the farmer approaches the dying woman, she utters one word “foreign”.

Battling his own demons, a father with dementia, a family life in ruins and a town where anti-refugee feelings are running high, Wallander needs to solve this case before the whole situation blows up in his face. With little to go on and sheer determination, he sets out to solve this mystery.

Faceless Killers will have a very specific audience. The characters are not overly likeable, the harshness of the country is not enchanting, the storyline is very slow – and by the end, you do not really care about the “who” of the “whodunit. You will plod through and investigation with a depressed investigator who is determined to find a solution only because there is nothing else in his life.

Maybe there was something lost in the translation, but this book had very little to offer me. I picked it up, I put it down, took almost 3 weeks to read it. No spark, no humor and a conclusion that seemed to come at the right time to put us both out of our misery.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review - Love Lies and Liquor

Title: Love, Lies and Liquor: An Agatha Raisin Mystery
Author: M. C. Beaton
Publisher: Books on Tape (2006)
Format: Audio
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series:Agatha Raisin #17

It appears that Agatha has put on her big girl panties and she is no longer going to be ex-husband James Lacey’s doormat. He cannot suddenly appear in her life and on a moment’s notice assume that she is going to drop everything and follow him on a whim.

OK, well maybe after this one trip.

After seventeen books, we all know Agatha pretty well, she puts on a strong face, but deep down she is desperate for a man’s attention, even if the said man of the moment does not treat her very well. This time it is going to be different, James has unexpectedly arrived on her doorstep and wanting a traveling companion for his next assignment, as a travel book writer, he has invited Agatha on holiday.

Unfortunately, the idyllic resort that James remembered from his youth has seen better days. As James is remembering a perfect vacation from his childhood, Agatha is seeing an old hotel crumbling into the sea. She wants to go home; she wants to be back in her garden with her cats.

Agatha is devastated at the turn of events and showing her disappointment, takes her anger out on a fellow guest. The next day when said guest turns up strangled with Agatha’s scarf the police quickly jump to their inept conclusions and arrest Agatha. This cannot be happening. Unless she can get to the bottom of this fiasco, she will be spending the rest of her days in a cell in a pathetic little town.

Luckily, for Agatha, there is no shortage of suspects and the reader has to pay attention as to who is related to whom. What motivation each of them has and will a most fortuitous glimpse into a draw blow the case wide open.

For me, once again, Mrs. Bloxby is the perfect character in this book. You can see her growing and having more fun than the typical lot of a vicar’s wife. In a way, I think she lives vicariously through Agatha and at the same time, has the astute insight that keeps all of the townspeople of Carsely in line.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Racketeer

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Racketeer
Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday (October 23, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 352
Genre: Suspense


Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mailbox Monday - One Second After

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: One Second After
Author: William R. Forstchen
Publisher: Forge Books (March 17, 2009 )
Format: Paperback; Pgs 352
Genre: Post-Apocalypse
Source: Friends of the Library Sale


Overnight, the world's trains, planes, cars, trucks, phones, computers, power plants and electrical equipment come to a sudden screeching stop. Nor will they ever start up again. The world is in chaos, and everyone wants to know why. Some evangelicals believe the Rapture is at hand. Other fundamentalists see the Cloven Hoof of Satan in the catastrophe. UFO cultists preach the coming of intergalactic aliens. Secularists envisage a host of earthly enemies - Chinese communists, Islamic fanatics, eco-terrorists, and energy industry magnates. New Agers prophesize the dreaded Mayan apocalypse. Is it aliens from space or is it the apocalypse? Human violence or the wrath of an angry god?

Whatever the cause, the modern age has come to an end. Looting, food riots, and global insurrection are the order of the day, and the New Dark Ages are suddenly upon us.

Can this global anarchy be stopped? Can the End Time be reversed?

A small mountain village in the American South is humankind's last best hope.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review - The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Title: The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
Author: Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein
Illustrator: Mark Pett
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (October 4, 2011)
Format: eBook; Pgs 32
Genre: Children's
Source: Overdrive
Ages: 4 and up

Beatrice Bottomwell has NEVER (not once!) made a mistake.

Being well known in her town for never making a mistake – she always remembers to take care of other and to make sure that everything is just right, is just a way of life for her. Tonight’s talent show is no different, she is not concerned, she has won three years in a row.

Easy Peasy – that is until that fateful day when things just started to be a little off. One slip in the kitchen almost did her in, but she is not like her brother Carl who enjoys making mistakes, she twisted, turned, and saved the day, because that is what “The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes” does.

Beatrice does not have close calls and because of that, a little inkling has started in her psyche. The “what if’s”, the self-doubts Beatrice has in having an “Almost Mistake”. Frozen with fear she stops allowing herself to have fun, what if someone saw her make a mistake. That is something that she could not, would not allow.

As the music starts and the talent show begins, Beatrice notices something odd and before she can control the situation…

This is an excellent book for your little perfectionists. By seeing the actions and outcomes in others, you can begin to discuss the importance of trying your best, but realizing that the world does not come to an end when things do not go as planned. That sometimes having a sense of humor and a good laugh at yourself is more important than worrying about what could be.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review - Stranger in the Room

Title: Stranger in the Room
Author: Amanda Kyle Williams
Publisher: Bantam (August 21, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 320
Genre: Suspense
Series: Keye Street #2

When I read a book, I enjoy the moment when I come to the line that defines the whole plot for me.
"I didn’t want to think about Miki, or Miki’s safety or the baffling murders of a child and an elderly man. I wanted to sleep it all away – the murders, the stalker who had gotten too close to my parents, the crematory. All of it."
That one moment where everything boils down to the true essence of who and what the book is about. I believe that this line was two-thirds of the way through the book and I could feel Keye’s anger and frustration. This was turning into a week from hell and all she wanted to do was get back to the safety of her home, nuzzle her cat – White Trash, and spend a normal night doing what others take for granted.

From the first book The Stranger You Seek, we have come to know Keye Street’s life and how as a Chinese orphan adopted by white parents in Atlanta, Keye has always felt a bit out of place. Family is everything to her and when her mentally unstable addiction prone cousin Miki calls in a panic, Keye knows where she should be even if it is the last thing that she wants to do.

Photojournalist Miki Ashton is being threatened by a stalker, a person that reveals himself in a window at Miki’s home. The problem is that he is on the inside looking out as Miki is putting her key into the front door. Fleeing to Keye’s home for help and reassurance, they return the next day only to find a grisly message left by the unknown assailant. OK so this time, high maintenance Miki is not exaggerating.

To make matters worse, this “gift” that is found at Miki’s can be tied to two murders in Atlanta. Private investigator Dr. Keye Street and the Atlanta Police Department have a serial killer on their hands. What is the connection? Where does Miki know him from and could what seem to be irrelevant scraps from the crime scenes actually tie everything together. Amanda Kyle Williams does not just tell one story here; there is a secondary storyline that the reader is following. One that I felt was completely irrelevant and seemed to be placed there for shock value only. The primary plot involving the serial killer is intense enough without needing a secondary distraction. Maybe Ms Williams felt that the reader needed a break from the intensity, but throwing in a story about a crematorium was just a little out of place.

Overall, I enjoy this series; Keye is not a perfect person. She is a bit broken and damaged which is what makes her all the more appealing to me. Like this series, Keye is a work in progress and each book reveals a little bit more about her and her demons and how step by step she is battling back.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Art Forger

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Art Forger
Author: B. A. Shapiro
Publisher: Algonquin Books (October 23, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 368
Genre: Fiction


On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.

Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting—one of the Degas masterpieces stolen from the Gardner Museum—in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when the long-missing Degas painting—the one that had been hanging for one hundred years at the Gardner—is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.

Claire’s search for the truth about the painting’s origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life. B. A. Shapiro’s razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats us to three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors. it’s a dazzling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mailbox Monday - The Giver

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday 1993
Format: Paperback; Pgs 180
Genre: YA / Dystopian
Source: Friends of the Library
Series: The Giver #1


Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

Chapter 1

It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. Frightened was the way he had felt a year ago when an unidentified aircraft had overflown the community twice. He had seen it both times. Squinting toward the sky, he had seen the sleek jet, almost a blur at its high speed, go past, and a second later heard the blast of sound that followed. Then one more time, a moment later, from the opposite direction, the same plane.

At first, he had been only fascinated. He had never seen aircraft so close, for it was against the rules for Pilots to fly over the community. Occasionally, when supplies were delivered by cargo planes to the landing field across the river, the children rode their bicycles to the river bank and watched, intrigued, the unloading and then the takeoff directed to the west, always away from the community.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Review - Pirates at the Plate

Title: Pirates at the Plate
Story and Illustrations: Mark Summers
Written by: Aaron Frisch
Publisher: Creative Editions (August 29, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children's
Source: Amazon Vine Program
Ages: 4 and up

An imaginary game has never felt so real. Mark Summers and Aaron Frisch have dreamed up a young boy’s masterpiece.

You need to reach back and see baseball through the eyes of a young boy. The Pirates, literally, are playing the Cowboys, literally. Wild Bill is on the pitchers mound, Hopalong Cassidy is with the bulls in the pen warming up. LongJohn Silver is in the batters box and Calico Jack is on second base.

The score is 47 to 47 and Blackbeard is on deck. Imagine Blackbeard in a prayer crouch on a ship. When they say that one was blasted into center field, picture a cannon. A runner caught in a pickle involves horses and lassoes and stealing a base involves the actual stealing of a base.

A great story of imagination. The illustrations are outstanding. The storyline is unique and the humor is dry and witty. Your baseball, cowboy, pirate loving child will not be able to get enough of this story.

This book is bound to be a much loved classic.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review - The Skeleton Box

Title: The Skeleton Box
Author: Bryan Gruley
Publisher: Touchstone (June 5, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 336
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Source: Library
Series: Starvation Lake #3

As I have said before, if you combine hockey and murder, then the book is guaranteed to be an ideal fit for me. There is just something about small town hockey that draws me in. Now granted, the murder part and the history that got us there is not kid stuff. So in your mind, you will have to separate the two. If you are easily offended by the wrong doings of certain members of the Catholic Church, you might want to avoid this book altogether. Just a bit of forewarning.

Weekly bingo night has taken a bad turn, as the residences of Starvation Lake are off at their weekly social event; someone is breaking into their homes. Not stealing, just rifling through as if they are looking for something. What is most curious, the homes all belong to childhood girlfriends.

Bea Carpenter has begun her slow decent into dementia and her best friend, Phyllis Bontrager, has decided to stay with her this evening. The burglar did not expect anyone to be home and when Phyllis surprises him, bad goes to worse quickly.

Being the mother of his ex-girlfriend Darlene, Gus Carpenter has taken the loss personally. If it were not for him asking for her help with his mother, Phyllis would not have been there. Would not have lost her life, so Gus has taken on a personal search for the killer. As he took on this investigation, what he did not expect was that his mother was hiding a very old secret. A secret that had begun when a beloved Nun mysterious disappeared from Starvation Lake.

Starvation Lake, Michigan is changing. A religious group lead by an odd man has moved into trailers on Tatche’s property, Luke Whistler a reporter from Detroit has moved into Gus’s newspaper and a small town boy is finding out things about his mother that he wished could have stayed buried.

Spinning out of control and losing his bid for re-election, Sheriff Aho starts arresting everyone insight – including Bea. As her story unwinds, Gus is thrown into saving his mother and getting to the bottom of this mess. A bottom that has so many layers that the reader must pay close attention.

As compared to the two previous books in this series, I would call The Skeleton Box complex. You need to focus on each individual storyline and each individual character as their dramas unfold. The book has a very creepy-eerie feel. An isolated town in winter, a killer on the loose and a family secret. It is time that the truth comes out but there is no telling where this truth will eventually lead them.

Inspired by a true story of the disappearance of Sister Mary Jane Janina in Isadore, Michigan, in 1907.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review - Popped Off

Title: Popped Off
Author: Jeffrey Allen
Publisher: Kensington (September 4, 2012) )
Format: Paperback; Pgs 320
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Deuce Winters #2

It warms my heart, maybe that is the Pumpkin Spice Latte talking, but it truly makes me feel good when the second book in a series is as good as the first. Jeffrey Allen is a new to me author whom I had taken a chance on with his first book, Stay at Home Dead. Wondering if he could hold the momentum, I picked up the second book and I swear I laughed my way through this book as much as I had the first.

I do not know if it is the politically incorrect tone that Deuce takes with his new investigative partner or the frankness of his father, but between the two of them, I was giggling my way through this book.

Julianne, Deuce’s wife, has decided that she wants another baby, their life with their daughter is perfect, but now it is time for a second. She has no patience when there is something that she wants and has set up charts and graphs for her best days and Deuce had better live up to the schedule. He is not complaining, but he is coaching his daughter’s soccer team the Might Fightin’ Tiny Mermaids, trying to find the King of Soccer who has absconded with the leagues funds, trying to figure out a bevy of sorority girls and last but not least, find a truckload of trophies that seem to have quite a hidden treasure.

Just another day in the life of a stay at home dad with a precocious daughter, a wife that he adores, a father that has a very blunt way of expressing his opinions, a business partner that appears to bring out the worst in him and a community that would be at a loss without his insight.

I really enjoy this series and I hope that Mr. Allen is able to bring many more Deuce Winter’s books to the table. The cozy market is getting a bit redundant, but with this addition, there seems to be a new series that will bring me back for more.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Secret Keeper

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Secret Keeper
Author: Kate Morton
Publisher: Atria Books (October 16, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 496
Genre: Historical Fiction


During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Discretion

Title: Discretion
Author: Allison Leotta
Publisher: Touchstone (July 3, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 336
Genre: Thriller
Source: Library

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

Even now, Caroline got nervous before every big job—and this was bigger than most. She knewhow to smile past smirking hotel concierges and apartment–building doormen who deliberately looked the other way. The key was looking confident. But committing a crime in the U.S. Capitol was a different experience altogether.

She tried to radiate authority as she strode up the marble steps to the Capitol's Senate carriage entrance. It helped that she was dolled up like a successful K Street lobbyist: ivory St. John suit, Manolo heels, hair painstakingly highlighted just the right shade of blond. Two men coming out of the portico murmured hello to her, and she smiled as if she greeted congressional staffers all the time. One staffer turned to watch her pass. His glance was appreciative but not shocked; she was young and beautiful, but she looked like she belonged in this world of high–octane political deal–making. Good.


When a beautiful young woman plummets to her death from the balcony of the U.S. Capitol, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Curtis is summoned to the scene. The evidence points to a sexual assault and murder. The victim is one of the city’s highest-paid escorts. And the balcony belongs to Washington D.C.’s lone Congressman, the most powerful figure in city politics.

The Congressman proclaims his innocence, but he’s in the middle of a tough primary fight, and the scandal could cost him the election. For Anna, the high-profile case is an opportunity. But as the political stakes rise, she realizes that a mistake could end her career.

At the same time, her budding romance with Jack Bailey, the chief homicide prosecutor, is at a crossroads. Determined to gain respect in the office, Anna wants to keep their relationship under wraps. But the mounting pressure and media attention that comes with the office’s most important case will inevitably expose their relationship — if it doesn’t destroy it first.

The investigation leads Anna to Discretion, a high-end escort service that caters to D.C.’s elite. With each break in the case, however, the mystery deepens. And the further Anna ventures into D.C.’s red-light underworld, the larger the target on her own back.

From the secret social clubs where Washington’s most powerful men escape from public view to the asphalt “track” where the city’s most vulnerable women work the streets, Discretion is a gripping exploration of sex, power, and the secrets we keep.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mailbox Monday - Duty of Delight

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day
Author: Dorothy Day and Robert Ellsberg
Publisher: Marquette University Press (April 23, 2008)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 700
Genre: Diary


For almost fifty years, through her tireless service to the poor and her courageous witness for peace, Dorothy Day offered an example of the gospel in action. Now the publication of her diaries, previously sealed for twenty-five years after her death, offers a uniquely intimate portrait of her struggles and concerns.

Beginning in 1934 and ending in 1980, these diaries reflect her response to the vast changes in America, the Church, and the wider world. Day experienced most of the great social movements of her time but, as these diaries reveal, even while she labored for a transformed world, she simultaneously remained grounded in everyday human life: the demands of her extended Catholic worker family; her struggles to be more patient and charitable; the discipline of prayer and worship that structured her days; her efforts to find God in all the tasks and encounters of daily life.

A story of faithful striving for holiness and the radical transformation of the world, Day’s life challenges readers to imagine what it would be like to live as if the gospels were true.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review - Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty

Title: Who Pushed Humpty Deumpty? And Other Notorious Nursery Tale Mysteries
Author: David Levinthal
Illustrator: John Nickle
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (September 25, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 40
Genre: Children's
Source: Library
Ages: 4 and up

Oh my gosh, what a great book. Unless your children know the stories of Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel and Humpty Dumpty, plus a couple more, this book will be lost on them. For the adults, this book is priceless.

No longer is Goldilocks a poor innocent victim, she is being hunted down by Mr. Binky an Officer in Pinecone Forest and he going to track down this wanted criminal.

On to his next case, where we have to keep in mind that just because a woman is a witch does not necessary mean that she is a bad person, that is unless she lives in a house of candy – ok maybe she was but Officer Binky has discovered that Hansel and Gretel acted in self defense.

David Levinthal and John Nickle have splendid fractured old nursery rhymes. Reinventing characters with devilishly funny outcomes made this book one that I have reread a couple of times.

Imagine Harry Wolf was not someone that cried for help unless he really needed it or that Humpty was a good egg and played in a band called All the Kings Horses and All the King’s Men.

Called out to investigate, Officer Binky must now decide if Humpty was pushed or was it an accidental fall, there is little to go on since there was hardly any yolk at the scene. OK, that part made me laugh.

The book continues in this manner with Snow White and Jack in the Beanstalk. You will laugh you way through this book. I suggest that before you begin reading to your child, read though this on your own a couple of times so you can get all the giggling out and are ready to explain to your young ones what is so funny.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review - Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

Title: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
Author: Verna Aardema
Illustrator: Leo and Diane Dillon
Publisher: Puffin/Dial (August 15, 1992)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children's
Source: Library
Ages: 5 and up

With one reservation, I will say that I enjoyed this book. Because the tale is for ages five and up, I am not as concerned as I would have been if the book were designed for younger children.

Mosquito is a talkative little guy; he loves to tell his friends what he has seen that day, well, Mister Iguana has had enough of the babble and decides to put two sticks in his ears so he does not have to listen to such nonsense. Thus setting off an unforeseen chain of events.

Maybe I am overprotective or want there to always be happy moments in a children’s book, but I truly wish that this tale did not contain the part about the owlets. I understand that the meaning would be lost and the opportunity to teach young children about cause and effect would be missed, but as I said, I am a bit sheltering.

As the story continues, it takes on a House That Jack Built feel as each animal rejects the blame and points their finger at the previous animal and therefore avoiding their own responsibility.

Because of the mosquito’s guilty conscious and continuing need to chatter, we now know, from a West African tale, why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Invisible Murder

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Invisible Murder
Author: Lene Kaaberbol, Agnete Friis
Publisher: Soho Crime (October 2, 2012)
Format: Hardcove; Pgs 352
Genre: Suspense
Series: Nina Borg #2


In the ruins of an abandoned Soviet military hospital in northern Hungary, two impoverished Roma boys are scavenging for old supplies or weapons they could sell on the black market when they find more than they ever anticipated. The resulting chain of events threatens to blow the lives of a frightening number of people into bits and pieces.

In this feverishly anticipated follow-up to 2011’s critically acclaimed The Boy in the Suitcase, Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg doesn’t realize she is putting life and family on the line when she tries to treat a group of sick Hungarian gypsies who are living illegally in a Copenhagen garage. Nina has unwittingly thrown herself into a deadly nest of the unscrupulous and the desperate, and what is at stake is much more terrifying than anyone had realized

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Popped Off

Title: Popped Off
Author: Jeffrey Allen
Publisher: Kensington (September 4, 2012) )
Format: Paperback; Pgs 320
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Deuce Winters #2

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

“The King of Soccer is missing,” Julianne said into my ear.

I was standing on the sideline, sweating, concen­trating on the swarm of tiny girls chasing after a soccer ball. As the head coach of my daughter’s soccer team, the Mighty, Fightin’, Tiny Mermaids, it was my sworn duty to scream myself silly on Saturday afternoons, hoping they might play a little soccer rather than chase butterflies and roll around in the grass. As usual, I was failing.

I gave my wife a quick glance. “What?”

“The King of Soccer is missing,” she repeated.


For stay-at-home dad Deuce Winters, the cutthroat world of suburban kiddie sports leagues is unavoidable. In his small town of Rose Petal, Texas, Moises Huber is known as the King of Soccer. But it seems the king may have fallen from his throne when he disappears—along with $73,000 of the Rose Petal Youth Soccer Association’s registration fees. Deuce calls foul and begins a bizarre search that leads him to a high-stakes gambling ring, a band of shrewd smugglers, and one heckuva Texas-sized mega church. As he closes in on the truth, Deuce has only one goal in mind: stay on the ball and out of the penalty zone before his opponent can make a killer pass—and still have dinner ready on time…

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mailbox Monday - Brownies and Broomsticks

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: Brownies and Broomsticks
Author: Bailey Cates
Publisher: Signet (May 1, 2012)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 336
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Magical Bakery Mystery


Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.

While working at the Honeybee Bakery—named after Lucy's cat—Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty—Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!

When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer..