Monday, December 31, 2012

Reading Challenge Addict Recap

This challenge will begin on January 1, 2011 and end on December 31, 2011.

Track all of your challenge accomplishments.

I completed 77% of my Challenges

I have the attention span of a senile goldfish and every other year I set out with high hopes of joining and completing numerous reading challenges only to fizzle out sometime before I have completed my goal.
This year, even though I did not finish what I had set out to accomplish, I did manage to make it through September. 
For 2013, I will not be joining any challenges, but I will be working on series that I have started and hopefully, I will make a major dent into the list that I have started.

Reading From My Shelves (20/25)
First in a Series (15/15) COMPLETED (September)
Library Challenge (12/12)- COMPLETED (April)
Audio Challenge (12/12) - COMPLETED (May)
Mystery and Suspense (12/12) - COMPLETED (September)
Serial Killer (4/10)
New Author (10/10) - COMPLETED (March)
What’s in a Name (6/6) - COMPLETED (August)
Finishing the Series  (15/17)
Cozy Mystery (15/15) - COMPLETED (July)
eBook (10/10) - COMPLETED (June)
Eclectic Reader (12/12) - COMPLETED (August)
An Illustrated Year: 2012 Picture Book Reading Challenge (24/24) - COMPLETED (June)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review - Three Hens and a Peacock

Title: Three Hens and a Peacock
Author: Lester L. Laminack
Illustrator: Henry Cole
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (March 1, 2011)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: Recommended for 5 and up, but I think your younger children will enjoy the illustrations

Life on Tuckers Farm is just fine. The cows have their place, the dog has his and the hens just cluck, peck and lay eggs. Nothing unusual happened – until that peacock showed up.

The farm is in turmoil since Mr. Peacock has no idea where his place is. To top it off, he is now receiving more attention from those stopping by for their vegetables and eggs. Well, the hens just will not stand for this show boater and start brewing trouble.

Dog comes up with a likely solution. Why don’t they change places? The hens can put on their finery and attract customers and Mr. Peacock can try to lay an egg or two.

After a bit of hilarity, it is obvious that they each have their own special talents and it is best to stick with what you are good at.

Cute story and great illustrations. Your young reader will enjoy reading this over and over.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Review - Me...Jane

Title: Me…Jane
Author and Illustrator: Patrick McDonnell
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 5, 2011)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 40
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 2 and up

A simple introductory book about Dr. Jane Goodall and how her hopes and curiosity lead to a dream come true.

This book has much to offer all that read it. Beginning with young Jane receiving a stuffed chimpanzee name Jubilee, through her curiosity with nature and her love of the Tarzan of the Apes books; and ending with Jane’s wishes of going to Africa, your young reader will meet an inspirational character. Adults will love the final couple of pages in the book where they can learn more about Dr. Goodall’s works and charities.

Dreams are what carry children, and hopefully, they will connect with a young girl that grows into a remarkable woman – and can see that with perseverance, dreams can come true.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review - Not Your Mother's Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook

Title: Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook
Author: Jessica Fisher
Publisher: Harvard Common Press (October 9, 2012)
Format: Softcover; Pgs 416
Genre: Cookbook
Source: Library
Series: NYM (Not Your Mother’s

I was more impressed with this “Not Your Mother’s” cookbook than I was in the previous book that that I tried. Like Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two, this one does not have pictures, but what it does offer are usable dinner solutions, with shopping lists and planning schedules, that will get you through the shopping and cooking process smoother and easier.

Another added bonus is that not all the recipes depend on tomato products as fillers. Other cookbooks that I have checked out in regards to make-ahead freeze recipes seem to be tomato heavy and after awhile that gets a bit redundant.

Jessica Fisher takes the time to introduce the concept and explains the ideas behind freezer cooking. What can and what cannot be frozen. Storage lengths and freezing techniques. Even spelling out specifics as to what containers and freezer bags will be needed.

Overall, this is a very good resource for busy families or even for those that are new empty nesters that are beginning to question the practicality of cooking for yourself every night.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Grounds to Kill

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Grounds to Kill
Author: Wendy Roberts
Publisher: Carina Press / Amazon Digital Services(January 7, 2013)
Format: e-book (364 KB)
Genre: Mystery
Series: Sounds like it could be turned into one, but I do not know for sure


Barista Jen Hanby's coworkers give her a hard time for bringing coffee and pastries to a homeless man who sits outside her café—but she has a secret. The scruffy man is her father.

She's also hiding the little matter of why her palm itches. But how can she explain that her hand has a mind of its own and writes messages from the beyond? Right. That'll get her Employee of the Month.

When she finds herself scrawling your boyfriend is cheating on you! to herself on the bathroom mirror, she immediately dumps the guy. But then his little fling—who just happens to be her half-sister—turns up dead, and suddenly Jen's homeless father is the prime suspect.

Jen knows he is being framed and must take matters into her own hands to protect him. But will anyone believe that the crazy old man is innocent? Or that his spirit-writing daughter holds the truth?

Chapter 1:

There’s a superstition that says if the palm of your hand is itchy you’ll soon be receiving money. If that were true, I’d be a gazillionaire instead of an underpaid barista. Instinctively, I felt my itchy hand might one day bring me luck. So far, nada.

I rubbed my burning palm on the countertop while I concentrated on whipping up a large café mocha, no sugar, no whip, extra-dry, half skim, half whole milk with chocolate syrup.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review - Kissing Christmas Goodbye

Title: Kissing Christmas Goodbye
Author: M.C. Beaton
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (November 4, 2008)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 256
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Agatha Raisin #18

Once again, Agatha is bored with the typical missing cat type of investigations that are coming through the doors of her detective agency. Things seem to be picking up a bit with the morning mail when she receives a letter from Phyllis Tamworthy, a wealthy woman who is convinced that her family is trying to kill her.

Sure that the old woman is off her rocker, and with the help of Sir Charles Fraith, Agatha travels to the family home and represents herself as a friend while trying to gage the dysfunctional family. Having had enough of the whiney insufferable clan, Agatha and Charles plan their getaway when Phyllis Tamworthy is found dead. Declared a heart attack by the family physician, Agatha has different ideas and with her suspicious mind, sets out to answer a few questions of her own.

In addition to investigating this suspicious death, Agatha has once again decided that she will put on the perfect Christmas meal. If you have read her previous books, you will remember the time that she almost burned down the village community center when she tried to cook a turkey, so her friends and loved ones are a bit suspicious when it comes to this attempt. Agatha is determined. Even though her feelings for James Lacey are lukewarm, she is determined to make this special for him – she just does not know if he will arrive.

Taking place over a three-month period, you see Agatha interweaving the mysterious death of a penny-pinching bully with her own remembrances of a non-idyllic childhood as the daughter of two alcoholic parents. You see her desperate need to transform the life of a new employee, a seventeen year old that is bringing out Agatha maternal side, all the while putting the perfect Christmas dinner on the table. What is most important, you are once again seeing Agatha growing as a person. She may be kicking and screaming with a squeaky hip, but she is definitely mellowing and putting others before herself.

I would not call it a “Christmas Book”, but more of a “ draw those that you love close and appreciate them more” type of book; and in doing so, you just might get a special gift from friends that want to make it special for you too.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review - The Gingerbread Pirates

Title: The Gingerbread Pirates
Author: Kristin Kladstrup
Illustrator: Matt Tavares
Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (September 11, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 4 and up

I have to admit, I had never thought of Santa Claus as a cannibal, but now that I see the world through the eyes of a gingerbread man, I can see his point quite clearly.

This year as little Jim is making Christmas cookies with his mother he has a brilliant idea, since pirates are his favorite thing, why not make gingerbread men that look like pirates.

That evening, as Jim is going to sleep, he wishes that Captain Cookie had a pirate ship.

They must have been magical words since suddenly Captain Cookie burst to life wondering where his crew is and who is this “Santa Claus” that wants to eat them.

What ensues is a very funny magical story involving cliffs, hungry mice, rescuing his crew and a terrifying encounter with a cannibal.

A very funny Christmas yarn that will become a family favorite.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review - Holiday Buzz

Title: Holiday Buzz
Author: Cleo Coyle
Publisher: Berkley (December 4, 2012)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 384
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Coffeehouse Mysteries #12

Usually, when I read a book from the Coffee House Mysteries series, I cannot get enough coffee. As I said before, I swear they are in cahoots with my favorite independent café, but this time, I am lusting over the cookies at my local bakery.

I guess I should be glad that the writing team of Cleo Coyle changed it up, but let’s face it, there are more calories in cookies than in coffee so I cannot win either way.

The busy little baristas from the Village Blend, complete with holiday hats, are knee deep in the Great New York Cookie Swap when Clare notices that one of her crew has wandered off; taking a cold winters night stroll she discover the body of Moirin Faigan dead on the carousel. What ensues brings out both the best and the worst in people.

The NYPD are quick to point their fingers at a serial assaulter referred to as “The Christmas Stalker”, but Claire thinks there is more to it. When a second body appears and there is an attempt on Claire’s life people begin working double time to solve this. Unfortunately, she runs into a major nemesis, Detective Fletcher Endicott A.K.A Mr. DNA, that is too busy trying to write another book than to take Claire seriously. Add in two “Real Housewives”, an ex-rocker turned retirement home entertainer, a detective boyfriend only available on alternate weekends, a narcissistic hockey player and soon you will have a fun filled winter cozy full of wild antics that Lucy and Ethyl should be starring in.

If you love mixing your foodie tendencies with cozy mysteries, this is a perfect series. Just be forewarned that you will spend an inordinate amount of time drinking coffee and lusting over baked goods and mile high roast beef sandwiches.

Review - Christmastime

Title: Christmastime
Author and Illustrator: Alison Jay
Publisher: Dial (November 8, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages:2 and Up

Oh, there is a surprise at the end. Just when you think that you have reached the end, there is a surprise that brings you right back to the first page and a treasure hunt, of sorts, has you looking at the illustrations in a completely different way.

Alison Jay brings the vocabulary of Christmas to your young child. Each word – mistletoe, stocking, toys, angel, etc. are accompanied by folk art drawings that bring the season to life. There is no storyline, just words and drawing and as I said, when you reach the end, there is a listing of Christmas songs that enhancements each drawing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review - Proof of Heaven

Title: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife
Author: Eben Alexander, M.D.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster (October 23, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 208
Genre: Spiritual
Source: Library

By the time I finished this book, I was convinced that two people had written it. For all his knowledge and expertise, Eben Alexander could not dummy down the neuroscience side of this book, but then at the same time, he could not come up with plausible names for the experiences that he encountered.

Using terms like Core and Gateway are acceptable, but when we get to Realm of the Earthworm’s - Eye View, Om (his name for God) and Spinning Melody, I was a bit convinced that I was reading something that was just being made up as he went.

Being in conflict between his educational background and the perceived reality of his near death experience (NDE), Dr. Eben Alexander takes the reader on an adventure from the first day that he did not feeling well, to waking from a coma seven days later.

There is no question that Dr. Alexander was admitted to the hospital with an e. Coli meningitis type of infection, but what happens during the seven day coma is what has me scratching my head. A man that has an extreme command of medical terms, conditions and science, who goes into medical school depth when trying to convince the reader that he does truly know what he is talking about, but when describing the ether world he comes across sounding more like a twelve year old watching Star Trek or Disney’s Fantasia.

Calling himself a C & E’er (Christmas and Easter Church attendance) when it comes to his religious experience, Eben Alexander had no preconceived concepts of near death experiences. Being in the neurological field, he has heard stories but had always discounted them. Now, he is apparently living one and as he tries to come to terms with his education and his personal experience - the reader is taken on a fantastical journey (that was an exaggeration) where he tries to explain cumbersome limitations of a body and earth.

What I think was most disappointment for me with this book was the very end, where this whole book was leading up to a giant advertisement for a non-profit publicly supported charity lead by Dr. Alexander. Really? This was solely a moneymaker for your “charity”. Dang – I have been duped! “No kidding”, some of you will say, but I guess I was holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, there was something here to be learned.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - What a Ghoul Wants

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: What a Ghoul Wants – A Ghost Hunter Mystery
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publisher: Signet (December 24, 2012)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 352
Genre: Paranormal Cozy
Series: Ghost Hunter Mystery #7


M. J. Holliday has the unusual ability to talk to the dead. But when it comes to a vengeful ghost and a mysterious drowning, this time she may be in over her head….

Kidwella Castle in northern Wales is rumored to be haunted by a deadly ghost—the Grim Widow, who allegedly drowns unsuspecting guests in the castle’s moat. Not long after M. J. and her crew arrive at the castle to film their ghost-hunting cable TV show, Ghoul Getters, two new victims are added to the Widow’s grisly roster. <

Fear ripples through the castle, especially when it’s discovered that the victims may have had help into their watery graves from the land of the living. The local inspector suspects father-son serial killers, but M. J. thinks that theory is all wet. To catch the true culprit she will need to dive deep into the castle’s past and bring some long buried secrets to the surface.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mailbox Monday - A Reason to Kill

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: A Reason to Kill
Author: Jane A. Adams
Publisher: Severn House
Format: Paperback; Pgs 250
Genre: Mystery
Series: Rina Martin #1


For Rina Martin, the sleepy seaside town of Frantham is the perfect place to retire from a successful acting career and open a cozy boardinghouse. For transplanted detective Sebastian "Mac" McGregor, it's a place to forget a recent tragedy. But when murder strikes, Rina and Mac discover that behind Frantham's quiet facade lie some dangerous secrets.

Who would savagely beat to death a harmless old lady? Somehow, the victim was connected to two locals: a troubled teenage boy and his protective older sister. The return of their abusive father brings chaos and danger back into their lives. When another murder occurs, Mac and Rina -- who picked up a few tricks playing a detective on television -- connect the dots. But as a disturbing picture of violence, terror and desperate acts emerges, it's hard to sort the criminals from the victims....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review - The Reader

Title: The Reader
Author: Amy Hest
Illustrator: Lauren Castillo
Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing (October 2, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Amazon Vine Program
Ages: 4 and up

A Boy, A Dog, A Sled, an Imagination and a very wonderful secret in a brown suitcase that the reader, or more commonly know as a little boy, trudge up a snow-covered mountain to spend time together and to share a very special moment.

The dog is very good at waiting and when the time is right, two very good friends share a story, then soar across the world together, and land at home. Together.

A sweet book, not all glossy and overdone, just simple illustrations to tell a simple story of the love of reading and time between a boy and his dog.

If you are using this as an early reader, there will be a word or two (loopy and impeccably) that your child might stumble over, but the flow will remain and the illustrations will come in handy to show what the words mean.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Paragraph First Chapter - Kissing Christmas Goodbye

Title: Kissing Christmas Goodbye
Author: M.C. Beaton
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (November 4, 2008)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 256
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Agatha Raisin #18

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

Her detective agency in the English Cotswolds was thriving, but the cases were all small, niggling and unexciting, and yet took a great deal of time to solve. She sometimes felt if she had to deal with another missing cat or dog, she would scream.

Dreams and fantasies, that cushion she usually had against the realities of life, had, to her astonished mind, disappeared entirely. She had dreamed so long about her neighbour and ex-husband, James Lacey, that she would not accept the fact that she did not love him any more. She thought of him angrily as some sort of drug that had ceased to work.

So although it was only early October, she tried to fill her mind with thoughts of Christmas. Unlike quite a number of people, Agatha had not given up on Christmas. To have the perfect Christmas had been a childhood dream whilst surviving a rough upbringing in a Birmingham slum. Holly berries glistened, snow fell gently outside, and inside, all was Dickensian jollity. And in her dreams, James Lacey kissed her under the mistletoe, and, like a middle-aged sleeping beauty, she would awake to passion once more.

Her friend, the vicar’s wife, Mrs. Bloxby, had once pointed out that Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Christ, but Agatha’s mind shiedaway from that. To her, Christmas was more Hollywood than church.


Agatha Raisin is bored. Her detective agency in the Cotswolds is thriving, but she’ll scream if she has to deal with another missing cat or dog. Only two things seem to offer potential excitement: Christmas, and her ex, James Lacey. This year Agatha’s sure that if she invites James to a splendid Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log…but that fantasy will have to wait for now. A wealthy widow—who sent Agatha a letter before her death saying one of her family intended to kill her—has been found dead. Now Agatha must set out to find the murderer, even though, in her heart, she’s still dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones she and James used to know….

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review - Sick of Shadows

Title: Sick of Shadows
Author: Marion Chesney
Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 24, 2005)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 224
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Edwardian Murder Mystery #3

It never ceases to amaze me how I can love one series from a writer but not connect with other books that are written by the same person. For instance, Marion Chesney is also MC Beaton. I love the Agatha Raisin books, but there is something about the Edwardian Mystery series that does not work for me.

Maybe it is something as simple as the fact that I do not like Lady Rose Summers. In the first book, Snobbery with Violence, there was a spark there that I liked, but as the series continued on, I lost interest in this woman and her silly goings on. Rose is still playing her games with Captain Harry Cathcart and the two have entered into an engagement of convenience. Meaning that she has told her parents that they are engaged only so they will not send her off to India.

Being a failed debutant due to her intellect and unconventional ideas, Rose has to figure out this marriage thing – something that will give her a home of her own, but at the same time, not force her to be tied down with a husband and children. There is something about Captain Harry Cathcart, who has been around since book one, but since her family does not want their only child marrying a man in trade, other pickings are slim for Lady Rose.

Rose is helping the beautiful Dolly Tremain in her very first debutant season. These are very treacherous waters for a young woman and when Rose sees Dolly about to make a horrible mistake she rushes to her aid only to discover that someone had murdered her and her body has been laid out to look like the Lady of Shallot.

Soon Lady Rose’s life too is in danger and with the help of Harry and a small group of friends, the duo ferrets out the goings on of the rich and famous and those that will do anything they can to be a part of that world.

I have tried my best with this series, but just do not think that I can force myself to read the final book. I wish Captain Cathcart and Lady Rose Summer my best, but they will have to get along without me.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review - Boot and Shoe

Title: Boot and Shoe
Author and Illustrator: Marla Frazee
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (October 2, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 40
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 4 and Up (but I would recommend younger)

I wish I could put my finger on why this book did not appeal to me. Maybe it was the expression “got all up in Boot’s business” or the peeing bonding moment, but all I know is that I did not like this book as much as others.

Boot and Shoe are littermates adopted into the same home, they do everything together with the one exception being that Boot is a back porch kind of dog and Shoe is a front porch kind of dog. Ok, every dog needs there private space – that is until a squirrel appears on the home front.

For no reason, this squirrel upsets the delicate balance of their home life to the point that the dogs cannot find each other. They have never spent any real time apart, and as each searches for the other with no luck the sun sets and the dogs must spend their first night without the other.

As the sun rises, the fateful moment appears when their bladders are tugged and they find their long lost littermate at their favorite spot.

Let’s face it, this is a so-so story with no real message for the reader. I am sure that the simplicityof the storyline and illustrations will appeal to the very young reader, but anyone over the age of four will quickly tire and not want to sit through a third or fourth reading.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Review - Casual Vacancy

Title: Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (September 27, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 512
Genre: Fiction
Source: Library

I will be the first to admit that when a book does not hit me as either good or bad, I have a hard time writing about it. I am sorry, but this will be a very dull uninspiring review. I cannot help it, that is how the book left me.

When I first picked up this book, I did not understand what all the fuss way about. How could so many people dislike a book just because the author branched out and wrote something different? From time to time, authors need to explore other storylines. I have no problem with that – loved when Grisham writes books other than legal thrillers. However, for some to find the need to compare everything to Potter was just ludicrous.

The first hundred pages were mostly character development; I must confess that I had to do an internet search to keep them all straight. Still not understanding the dislike by many, since I like British mysteries and found this book to start out the same way, I trudged on.

Then I got to page 200’ish. Dang this story is not moving. OK, maybe it is me. Then page 300 and 400. Darn it. I had such high hopes for this book. It was not until page 400’ish of 500’ish that I actually enjoyed what was being told. Sorry, but that is too late for anyone.

Even after finishing the book, I will not say that is was horrible, just wanted more mystery or suspense I guess. Nowhere was this book billed as a mystery, but for some reason that is what I had in my mind. As I said before – it was me developing a preconceived notion as to what this book was about.

Billed as a tragicomedy, the novel is set in a suburban town called Pagford and begins with the unexpected death of Barry Fairbrother. With Barry’s death, there is an open seat on the council up for grabs. What ensues is an all-out war amongst the people of Pagford even before an election can be held for his successor.

For such a small town, this place is full of secrets and when they suddenly come to the surface in blog postings, no one is safe. Class wars and social issues are the running theme in this book. There are sections that are laugh out loud funny and other sections that are downright cringe worthy.

If you are a fan of epics, which I just might think that was designed to be, take a chance. There is definitely a love it or loath it debate surrounding this book.

As a side note, I just read this morning that BBC will be turning this book into a series. It is expected to air in Britain in 2014, but with no immediate plans to bring it to the US.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review - The After Wife

Title: The After Wife
Author: Gigi Levangie Grazer
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 10, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 320
Genre: Fiction
Source: Library

As soon as I finished this book, I started missing the characters. I had not realized that I had invested so much into their lives, laughter and disappointments.

There is very little in their world that I would call real, there is nothing practical or logical within this group of friends, but what they do have is each other. For better or for worse, they are there to bring Hannah Bernal and her daughter Ellie through the worst time of their lives.

No one could be more in love with their husband than Hannah, but on a fateful day, she receives the call than any wife in love would dread. Her writer/ chef husband John has been killed by a hit and run driver.

Death is not a subject to laugh at, but Hannah’s “Grief Team” is made up of a self-enamored group that she has gathered along the way. Animal lover Chloe that is so unaware that she brings a wild animal into her home thinking that it is a dog needing to be rescued; Aimee who has been an “aspiring” actress for decades and Jay, her TV producing partner, who is perpetually searching for his Mr. Right. Not people that you would usually run to in a time of need, but when that is all that you have, you learn to make do.

As Ellie gets kicked out of her pretentious preschool for talking to and about her dead father and Hannah’s life spinning out of control with the threat of losing her beloved home “Casa Sugar”, she finds herself standing in her backyard under an avocado tree – when out of nowhere a voice answers her question of “why me”?

This is where the book takes the woo-woo turn, apparently, the previous owner, now deceased, of Casa Sugar – Trish, has dropped by to help Hannah through her grief and seems to have brought other spirits with her. Somehow, in Hannah’s grief she has developed a bright light of some sort that draws the “present in spirit though absent in body” world to her.

You have to learn how to laugh at the darker sides of life and though inappropriate at times, this book had me laughing at what people with more money than common sense find important.

Part of me wishes that this book could be turned into a several book series because of the disjointed look that the grief team has of viewing the world around them, but then again, a good thing can be overdone and maybe it is best to leave the people of Santa Monica’s NoMo district alone.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Holiday Buzz

Title: Holiday Buzz
Author: Cleo Coyle
Publisher: Berkley (December 4, 2012)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 384
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Coffeehouse Mysteries #12

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea


She’s coming. I see her…

Short and slight with blunt-cut bangs and a cheap black coat, the little assistant baker wended her way through the well-heeled crowd like a crow strutting through peacocks. The night was near freezing, yet the girl’s coat hung open. As she walked along, she took drags from a cigarette.

“Here I am,” the little baker announced waving the burning butt.

“Obviously,” the figure said.

Chapter 1

Earlier that day …

“So how’s the weather outside?” I asked. “Frightful?”

“Far from it,” said Tucker Burton, pulling a woolen stocking cap off his floppy brown mop. “There’s not even a hint of snow…”

There was no hint of murder, either. Not then.


At the Great New York Cookie Swap, pastry chefs bake up their very best for charity. Clare is in charge of the beverage service, and her famous Fa-la-la-la Lattes make the gathering even merrier. But her high spirits come crashing down to earth when she discovers the battered body of a hard-working baker's assistant. Police suspect a serial attacker whose escalating crimes have become known as "The Christmas Stalkings." Clare's boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn, finds reason to believe even more sinister forces are involved. Clare isn't so sure, until she finds a second bludgeoned baker and becomes a target herself. Now Clare must investigate "Saint Nick," crash a pro-hockey party, and dodge a pair of reality TV divas--because she's not going to rest until justice is served.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mailbox Monday - If Fried Chicken Could Fly

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: If Fried Chicken Could Fly
Author: Paige Shelton
Publisher: Berkley (January 3, 2012)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 304
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Country Cooking School Mystery #1


At Gram’s Country Cooking School, Betts and Gram are helping students prepare the perfect dishes for the Southern Missouri Show-Down, the cook-off that draws the first of the summer visitors. Everything is going smoothly until they discover the body of local theater owner Everett Morningside in the school’s supply closet, and Everett’s widow points an accusatory finger at Gram. Now, Betts has to dig deep into Broken Rope’s history to find the modern-day killer—before the last piece of chicken is served...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review - Bear Has a Story to Tell

Title: Bear Has A Story To Tell
Author: Philip C. Stead
Illustrator: Erin E. Stead
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (September 4, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 2 and Up

This simple story has a big message about friendship and patience.

It is almost winter and Bear has a story to share with his friends before his big yawns put him to sleep for a very long time. As he approaches Mouse to ask if he would like to hear a story, Mouse is distracted with his need to find seeds to get him through the winter, so being a good friend, Bear helps him to gather what he will need, but when the time comes for the story, Mouse is already burrowing in until spring.

The story is not much different with his friends Duck who is getting ready to fly south. Bear is a good friend, he help Duck to take flight for warmer parts.

Oh, there is Frog, surely he would like to hear a story, but alas, Frog needs to find a warm place to sleep. Bear cannot let frog down so he sets off to make the perfect bed for his friend.

As the first snowflakes begin to fall, Bear too must find a place to burrow in for the long winter months. As the season passes and the snow melts Bear can tell his story, but first Bear must make sure his friends are ok.

As story time rolls around, all his friends wait for the tale that Bear has longed to tell – if only he could remember it.

A sweet story about sharing and caring and what it means to be a friend.