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Last Wool and Testament: A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery
Last Wool and Testament: A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars If you like knitting, needlework, any fiber arts, you'll love this!, April 13, 2015
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Kath Rutlegde has returned to the small town of Blue Plum, Tennessee to settle her grandmother's affairs in Molly MacRae's "Last Wool and Testament", the first book in this series. Her grandmother, Ivy McClellan, died, but she owned her house and a shop called The Weaver's Cat that dealt in fibers and fabric. Ivy was also the founder of the TGIF (f is for fiber!) group of fiber and needlework artists who regularly meet at the shop. Unbeknownst to Kath, she has inherited the shop and wants her grandmother's house, but a surprise awaits her there.

A murder has occured in Blue Plum and people are accusing Ivy McClellan of committing the crime. Kath knows that her gentle grandmother wouldn't kill anyone, but Ivy is looking like the chief suspect in the murder. Kath finds a place to stay thanks to one of her grandmother's friends, but Kath soon finds out that there is someone else occupying the little house, too. A sad, whining ghost appears to Kath but isn't a threat or menace. More than anything else, her constant complaints get on Kath's nerves. The ghost isn't out to do harm, but winds up helping Kath in her unofficial investigation into the murder in order to clear her grandmother's name.

This is a highly enjoyable cozy mystery and anyone who does any kind of needlework or knitting or anything in the fiber arts should enjoy the story. Good character development that makes the reader care about what happens to them, ghost included.

A very nice cozy to curl up with.

Before the Frost
Before the Frost
by Henning Mankell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.33
192 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars First of Mankell's books I've read, April 13, 2015
This review is from: Before the Frost (Paperback)
"Before the Frost: A Kurt and Linda Wallander Novel ( #1)" is the first of Henning Mankell's books that I have read. I really liked it, especially the atmosphere that the author creates around some of the diabolical scenes.

Wallander's daughter, Linda, has graduated from police training and has a short time to wait until her first day of work. She gets herself involved in her father's investigation of some bizarre crimes when her best friend, Anna, disappears, and Anna's name is linked to the victim of a brutal murder. Swans are being burned alive, a calf, and then a human is killed in a ritualistic way. It seems to point to a cult-like group of people.

Linda Wallander obviously loves her father, Kurt, and lives at home with him in Ystad, Sweden. She cooks for him but sometimes gets in the way of the investigation and goes out on her own when it should be obvious that it isn't safe. Some scenes are unrealistic as when she throws an ashtray at her father, cuts his head and not much is made of the incident. That wouldn't have worked with my father.

I do feel that I got to know the characters pretty well even in the midst of them having to figure out a fanatical bunch of religious zealots and their goal. It wasn't an easy task in a multilayered thriller that I very much enjoyed. I appreciated the inclusion of a map of the area, liking maps in general, but following characters' movements on a map within the book makes it a bit more realistic and helps to place their travels in a country I'm not familiar with.

I have ordered the first book in the Kurt Wallander series and am looking forward to reading it.

Cat Trick: A Magical Cats Mystery
Cat Trick: A Magical Cats Mystery
by Sofie Kelly
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
96 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The paws are at work again, April 13, 2015
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I love cats and mysteries and the two are found in a wonderful combination in Sofie Kelly's Magical Cats Mystery Series. In "Cat Trick" (Book 4) the two cats owned by Kathleen Paulson, local librarian, play a central role in first, finding the body of Mike Glazer, and then helping to find his killer.

Mike was a Mayville Heights boy, but grew up to become a partner in Chicago-based Legacy Tours. Legacy Tours is trying to sell a vacation package to Mayville Heights. Most residents think it's a good place for tourists to vacation and will bring in much-needed revenue. When Hercules, the cat who can go through doors, walls, anything, finds Mike Glazer dead, a lot of people think it was accidental or a heart attack except for Kathleen and Hercules. She makes a promise to find out who killed Mike, if he was murdered, but her tall, good-looking Detective Marcus Gordon wants her to stay as far away from the investigation as possible.

I loved the central part that the cats, especially Hercules, take in this delightful book. Kathleen and her friends are all there, too, but Hercules and Owen, who can make himself disappear, are there to help at a moment's notice. Kathleen is between a rock and a hard place because she can't tell anyone that her cats are magical. The author has done an excellent job with this book and the entire series and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

The Whole Cat and Caboodle: Second Chance Cat Mystery
The Whole Cat and Caboodle: Second Chance Cat Mystery
by Sofie Ryan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
77 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars I love Elvis and Sarah and North Harbor, Maine, April 1, 2015
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I really loved this book in which the cat named Elvis is a major character along with his caregiver, Sarah Grayson. She took him in when he jumped in her truck after hanging around town for a while even though she really didn't want a cat.

This book is the first in A Second Chance Cat Mystery series by Sofie Ryan. Sarah Grayson is the owner of the Second Chance shop in North Harbor, Maine, a quaint and pretty small town. She sells used things of all kinds that she has fixed up and repurposed. Sarah has Avery, a young girl and Mac, who is the handyman and who can fix anything, working at the store, and some of her other friends help out, too.

Sarah absolutely loves her cat, Elvis, who picked up his name when he happened to show up at a bar when the band was playing Elvis Presley's music. He took an instant liking to Sarah and she takes him everywhere she goes, whether allowed or not. Some people were put off by the large scar across the cat's nose, but not Sarah and her friends.

Several months after opening Second Chance, Sarah did a workshop on colorwashing furniture for senior citizens and several had signed up, including Maddie. Maddie was currently seeing a man named Arthur Fenety. Sarah and her workshop friends were very disappointed when Maddie didn't show up and that wasn't like Maddie at all. After all was finished, Sarah and her friend Charlotte went to Maddie's house to see what had happened. Maddie was sitting at a little table in the back yard and Arthur was sitting next to her, very dead. Maddie didn't know what happened to him because she had gone inside to make fresh coffee and when she came out Arthur wasn't breathing.

The police try their best to keep Sarah, Elvis and her friends out of the investigation, but it just doesn't work. There are several who could be the killer, but only one will come forward in the end.

This is an excellent cozy mystery that I really enjoyed. I liked the characters and their sense of humor and especially Sarah and the cat. The next book is something to look forward to reading, especially since this author also writes The Magical Cats series under the name Sofie Kelly and she really knows cats and their shenanigans. The characters are very easy to like, at least the ones we're supposed to like!

Miami Fire (The Manny William's Thrillers Book 8)
Miami Fire (The Manny William's Thrillers Book 8)
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult trip to Miami for Manny and crew, March 31, 2015
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With each new Manny Williams thriller, I often wonder what new diabolical character and plot the author, Rick Murcer, will create for his readers. Argyle was bad enough, but in "Miami Fire" there is another killer for the BAU team to profile at the request of the Miami-Dade Police Department, and this one makes it a little bit more difficult to do. This killer is a little more artistic and sadistic if arranging each body or pair of bodies in a certain way can be described that way, and he leaves his name behind in a very brazen manner.

Manny and his Behavioral Analysis Unit, including Sophie and the newest member, begin working with the local police to come up with a profile for this killer who strikes again soon after the BAU arrives in Florida. Again, it might be paradise for some, but for others it becomes a place to die and for Manny and his team, it's a place of danger, a place to work, think and get little rest.

As they work out who this killer might be, the author works in some twists and finally takes the ending to a roaring close that left me in tears. This is a writer who knows how to pull the emotions out of readers and there are plenty to be drawn out in "Miami Fire."

Now it's another wait until the next installment comes out.

Killer in Crinolines (A Consignment Shop Mystery)
Killer in Crinolines (A Consignment Shop Mystery)
by Duffy Brown
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
80 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and funny!, March 31, 2015
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Duffy Brown's "Killer in Crinolines (A Consignment Shop Mystery # 2)" is a fun and funny cozy mystery. It's all about a wedding and a UPS truck that crashes the wedding of Simon Ambrose and wealthy bride Waynetta Waverly. Simon dumped Chantilly Parker who was the UPS delivery person. Chantilly is a good friend of Reagan Summerside, owner of the Prissy Fox consignment shop and Chantiily didn't mind taking a bite of the wedding cake since it would have been hers if not for Waynetta. Only one thing goes wrong with the wedding. The groom, Simon, is found face down in the wedding cake with a knife in his back. It doesn't look good for Chantilly since she has cake icing on her face and a stolen bridesmaid dress in the UPS truck.

Reagan, along with her aunt Kiki, the dance instructor, wants to help her friend and find the real killer, so Reagan takes over her friend's UPS route, which in real life would ruin the good name of UPS. Reagan also engages Walker Boone, the handsome attorney, in the hunt for the person who killed Simon, the bridegroom. Reagan's instincts give her a hint of who it might be, but she has to prove it.

This book went very fast since it's a good and engaging mystery, and the humour in August in Savannah, Georgia makes it fun. Reagan has a problem with August heat, but her consignment shop continues to do some business despite it.

Reagan's dog, Bruce Willis, is also in this book and he's a great character, too. Very enjoyable.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 1, 2015 6:33 PM PDT

The Dressmaker
The Dressmaker
by Kate Alcott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.07
215 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars The story of a famous fashion designer and her maid aboard the Titanic, March 24, 2015
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This review is from: The Dressmaker (Hardcover)
I loved learning that the English fashion designer featured in this book was actually a real person who was one of the most popular and well-known designers in the world during the early part of the 20th century. Lady Lucile Duff Gordon designed a fresher and newer concept in women's fashions with her flowing, draped dresses and lingerie that freed women from the obligation of girdles and tighter-fitting gowns and dresses. As it grew closer to the 1920's hemlines started to rise inch by inch.

In the book, "The Dressmaker" by Kate Alcott, Tess is a young women who yearns for her own success as a designer and at the opening of the book she is already an accomplished seamstress in England. She meets Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon and is taken on by her as a personal maid on the Duff Gordon's trip to New York aboard the Titanic in 1912. When the ship hits the iceburg and sinks, Lucile, her husband, Tess and a sailor that Tess is interested in all wind up in Lifeboat One. The lifeboat can hold 40 people but only 12 are on it as they row it away from other survivors in the water. When they finally reach New York, Lucile and her husband will face a courtroom concerning Lifeboat One. This also really happened, and it is fascinating to read the story.

I very much liked the character of Tess, but Lady Lucile was a bit hard to like. She was upper class and let no one forget it, highly competitive and not very interested in helping those around her. She was becoming somewhat upset about a new designer she had heard of named Chanel and this is mentioned a few times in the book. Tess was a kind girl who was helpful and wasn't out just for her own betterment, although she missed her family across the sea. After living with the Duff Gordons for a while, Tess wanted some freedom away from them and from always being asked to do this and that, so as she matures, she also wants her independence. She sees her sailor boy sometimes, but she had also met an older, wealthy and very handsome man aboard the Titanic, but he wasn't so lucky and didn't survive the sinking. Tess, however, missed his company.

The story is very enjoyable with very well-developed characters of differing personalities and social classes of the time. The facts about fashions of the day are quite interesting also how Tess's talent develops over the course of the book.

I looked up some of Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon's fashions online and some are truly beautiful. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses some of her finest creations.

A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
A Conspiracy of Paper: A Novel (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by David Liss
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.98
505 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent historical fiction novel, March 23, 2015
David Liss's first historical and debut novel (for which he won the Edgar) is a wonderful look into the life and beginnings of the stock market and the value of paper, as in money and stocks, in eighteenth century London. We are introduced to the South Sea Company and the Bank of England in eighteenth century London. The book is narrated by Benjamin Weaver, who is a Jew and former boxer. Weaver has left boxing to take up thief-taking, which means that he hunts down thieves and stolen goods for people who come to him requesting his services. The story begins around 1719 when a Mr.Balfour requests Weaver's help in finding his father's killer. Balfour's father was found hanging, and everyone attributed his death to self-murder, but Balfour is convinced that there is a connection between his father's death and that of Weaver's father around the same time, and the two men knew each other. Weaver's father was run down by a carriage and horses. Weaver is estranged from his family, so he hadn't given his father'd demise much thought.

A second man, a Mr.Owens, comes to see Weaver about some papers that were stolen from him by a prostitute he had visited the night before. This job is a bit more tricky than the Balfour case. It turns into a challenge that Weaver didn't think would become so complicated and leads him to people in the highest places and also in the lowest with his very life endangered.

There are ruffians, men who one would assume would never pull a scam over on people, prostitutes, and killers. When it comes to the stock market of the day, not much has changed under the sun since then

All of these characters are so well developed that they seem to step off the pages as real people. The language used is the language of the day with the exception of a few changes that the author made so that reading would be a bit easier. Some of the characters were real people in history while others were not, but the historical parts of the story are true. This in itself makes it even more fascinating.

Mr. Liss writes a powerful history that to me is a page turner, and after I finished reading this one, I started at the beginning all over again. I've read "The Coffee Trader" and I'm already into "A Spectacle of Corruption." I can't get enough of this excellent writer's historical fiction. This one is highly recommended along with "The Coffee Trader."

Royal & Langnickel Manga Satchel Artist Pack
Royal & Langnickel Manga Satchel Artist Pack
Price: $27.19
16 used & new from $26.55

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the satchel, March 11, 2015
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The Royal and Langnickel Manga Satchel Artist Pack is a very nice satchel for artists working in either manga or any media whose supplies will fit into it. It is advertised for the traveling manga artist and contains a hardbound sketch book with elastic to keep it closed and ribbon place marker, balloon templates which I don't think are of the best quality, a tri-fold Velcro-closure pencil/pen holder that includes an eraser, mechanicel pencil with extra lead, a gel ink pen, one 0.1mm line width permanent tip marker, one 0.3mm permanent tip marker and one 0.5 permanent tip marker.

The satchel has an adjustable canvas strap with a reinforced area that goes over the shoulder and keeps the strap from digging too deeply into the shoulder area. (Since I have a shoulder replacement, this is important for me.) The satchel zips open on the front for the main compartment which is very roomy for sketch books, instruction books and even a laptop. A flap on the front beneath the zipper opens up to another area that has two zipper compartments. The top one is larger and the one beneath that is smaller. On the front of this whole compartment is an open pocket about 8" across and 5" deep. On the front of this open pocket is a small zipper compartment that you can see into since the front is mesh, and two small open-top pockets for other supplies that are small, pens, etc. The strap is very long and doesn't adjust to a very short length.

Overall, this is a nice satchel to carry art supplies. Royal and Langnickel also makes another satchel which may have suited my needs a bit better than this one, although this one is sufficient. Royal & Langnickel Sketching Satchel Artist Pack

A great book to tuck into this bag is Mastering Manga with Mark Crilley: 30 drawing lessons from the creator of Akiko

Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencil,  Set of 23 Assorted Manga Colors  (1774800)
Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Colored Pencil, Set of 23 Assorted Manga Colors (1774800)
Price: $23.02
45 used & new from $21.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great pencils to work with!, March 9, 2015
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I love these Prismacolor soft colored pencils. They are so smooth and are great for shading and for detailed pieces like the one I'm working on now with very small areas to color. The pencils come sharpened but with a short point so that they don't break easily, and with smaller areas to fill in the shorter point lasts longer. I love the colors but agree that a nice bright red is needed rather than a red-orange. The packaging is very nice because the top folds back to make the box into a stand so that the pencils are at your fingertips.

Fun to work with!

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