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A Deadly Cliche (A Books by the Bay Mystery Book 2)
A Deadly Cliche (A Books by the Bay Mystery Book 2)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A charming series and this book is great!, January 20, 2015
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"A Deadly Cliche" by Ellery Adams is the second book in the Books by the Bay series of mysteries. This one I found to be particularly good with the members of the Bayside Book Writers Group involved in trying to figure out who is doing home burglaries and also some murders and leaving behind clues that suggest well-known cliches. Police Chief Sawyer Rawlings has his hands full trying to solve these crimes and since he is a member of the Bayside Book Writers Group, he asks for help from the members.

Olivia and her poodle, Captain Haviland,are out walking on the beach early one morning when they come upon a man's body buried in the sand up to his neck and with a bucket on his hand and a little plastic shovel in his hand. Olivia gets the police to the site, and after being questioned she goes back to prepare for a hurricane that is headed for Oyster Bay. If the recent crimes aren't enough, a bad storm is stirring up more anxiety.

While Olivia's Boot Top restaurant is doing well, she is preparing to purchase an old building to convert into a crab house for the following year. She is successful in her business pursuits and enjoys her Book Writers Group, but when she receives a mysterious letter, Olivia has another more personal mystery to solve. Alot is going on in this book, but it is all woven together very well, including the next chapters of the Bayside Book Writers.

This is a very atmospheric novel with the hurricane looming and a killer on the loose. This is a very good series with characters that I like very much and care for, and the series is well worth reading. I'm a bit behind on the installments but I'll catch up.

Highly recommended.


Black Water: A Merci Rayborn Novel (Merci Rayborn Novels Book 3)
Black Water: A Merci Rayborn Novel (Merci Rayborn Novels Book 3)
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $5.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Love the Merci Rayborn novels, January 20, 2015
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As far as I know, there are only three novels in T. Jefferson Parker's Merci Rayborn series, and I really wish there were more. I've read two of them, and I really like the character of Detective Merci Rayborn. "Black Water" is a suspenseful whodunit police procedural that starts out with the shooting death of Gwen Wildcraft, wife of Deputy Archie Wildcraft who is also shot at their home. Archie went outside to check out a noise and was shot in the head, leaving him with a bullet lodged in his brain. His beautiful wife, Gwen, was shot to death inside their home. Detective Merci Rayborn is the only one who doesn't believe that Archie killed his wife and then tried to kill himself. She will have a difficult time proving her point, if she is right. All the evidence points to Archie as the shooter. Merci knew Archie and also knew that he and Gwen loved each other very much.

Merci is a no nonsense detective, focused and when she believes in something, such as Archie's innocence, she usually won't budge from her reasons for what she believes. She listens to other detectives, but runs her own investigation checking out all leads, but won't rush her investigation just because her boss wants an arrest made.

Archie is in the hospital with bullet fragments in his brain which have caused some memory loss and erratic behavior, but the fragments cannot be removed. He is questioned but his answers don't always make sense, but he knows he didn't kill Gwen, or at least he says he didn't. One day Archie turns up missing from the hospital which just adds to the problems police are having. Now they have to find Archie.

I thought around the middle of the book that it got a bit bogged down with the investigation and pursuit of some other suspects, but it soon enough cleared up from what I saw as some confusion.

Merci is a great character who lives with her father who babysits her little boy. The very touching story of her romance with her son's father is in the first book, "The Blue Hour." I'm hoping that the author adds to this series, but he hasn't written any other Merci Rayborn novels recently that I'm aware of. In these novels, you get to know the characters and care about what happens to them.

A real page-turner.


Falling Together: A Novel
Falling Together: A Novel
by Marisa De los Santos
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.77
95 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Weathering growing up and change, January 20, 2015
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I really loved this book. It is the first one I've read by this author and I've downloaded another already. "Falling Together" by Marisa de los Santos reminds me of Meg Wolitzer's "The Interestings" since the two books deal in part with the deep friendships and bonds made in college and what happens after the college years when each person has to pursue a life of his or her own and changes over time.

In "Falling Together" friends Pen, Will and Cat are inseparable in college and beyond and are always there for one another. After some time goes by Will and Cat decide that they no longer want to be friends with Pen and leave, Cat giving the order that they are never to call each other again. Pen is farely devastated over this because she doesn't understand why Will and Cat would do such a thing.

Several years go by and Pen receives an e-mail from Cat asking Pen to meet her at their tenth reunion because she needs her. Will receives the same mysterious e-mail. When they show up at the reunion it isn't anything like they think it is, and Will and Pen and Pen's little daughter, Augusta, are in for a mystery that will tell them things about Cat they never knew and things about themselves and each other that will surprise them.

This is a book that is very hard to put down. I liked the characters very much and watched them grow from the beginning to the end of the book, especially Pen. Interesting, too, are the struggles that these young people have with accepting their parents for who they are.

I very much enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.


Freeman
Freeman
by Leonard Pitts
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.82
86 used & new from $0.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching but wonderful book, January 20, 2015
This review is from: Freeman (Paperback)
Journalist Leonard Pitts' historical fiction novel, "Freeman", is one of the best I've read on the subject of the few years after the American Civil War ended when slaves were free but had nowhere to go and didn't know how to make a living with no education and most couldn't read or write. In the north, Prudence Cafferty Kent, a young war widow, had promised her father that she would go south and start a school for former slave children and any others who wanted to learn. She set off with her sister, Bonnie, to set up the school.

In Philadelphia, Sam, a runaway slave who worked in a library left his job and started out on foot to find his wife, Tilda, who had been kept in slavery in the south for the past fifteen years with a cruel master. Sam doesn't know exactly where Tilda is, but he sets out on a very long journey to hopefully find her.

There are many characters in this wonderfully written book and each is developed so well that I felt I was looking through their eyes and feeling what they felt. This book has some very emotionally provoking parts to it that mostly made me angry for the way slaves were treated and the idea that one human being could be owned by another. The picture of slavery was brought across very well and highlighted a dark period in America's history. Some owners refused to accept that their way of life was over and tried to continue it as if nothing had happened and hard times fell not only on the freed slaves but on the owners themselves. They were left with no one to do their work for them.

The story of Sam's journey to find Tilda and of Prudence's efforts to start her school are rivoting and suspenseful. I loved the book and highly recommend it for readers of historical fiction.


A Book To Die For: Mystery Novel
A Book To Die For: Mystery Novel
Price: $8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Die for is a mystery you'll enjoy!, January 6, 2015
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"A Book to Die For" is author Janice Daugharty's first venture into the mystery genre from her usual literary fiction novels, short stories and essays. This whodunit will keep readers guessing until the end and turning pages until the book is finished. Right now it is available as a Kindle e-book.

Main character, Angie, always cleaned on Fridays for writer, Ms.Valley Ford, at her home where the author was hard at work on her new and supposedly explosive book titled "The Truth is a Lie." Angie didn't know much about the book, but she did know she didn't like Ms. Valley's lab mix who barked as soon as Angie got to the house. Cocoa was Ms. Valley Ford's constant companion since the neighborhood considered her an outsider, even though her property had been in the family for years.

As Angie went in the house with her cleaning supplies, something seemed amiss. Things were scattered everywhere, bed linens off Ms. Valley's bed and in the den the TV was toppled over and broken. Cocoa was in the living room by the sofa barking intensely. Angie made her way to the living room and called out to Ms. Valley, but there was no answer. Something was terribly wrong.

"A Book to Die For" has a group of interesting characters, some met at the beginning of the book and some later on in the story. Some are endearing and some are the opposite, but most of all is the question of who committed a murderous crime and why. Cocoa the dog gives some comic relief at times and also shows his intelligence and his finicky eating habits. Cocoa also barks a lot. Angie is a character that I like very much because of her morals and her non-stop support of Ms. Valley Ford as her friend. Her home seems cozy and well-kept and also described in such a way that I could imagine being there with Angie and a cup of coffee on a warm summer afternoon.

This is a good mystery that I enjoyed reading very much. I enjoyed the characters and trying to figure out which one among several was the guilty party in a ring of crimes. As always in Janice Daugharty's writing, her sentence structure is a key element in her writing and her use of descriptive words and phrases of the environment, and this was no exception. One of her trademarks, as far as this reviewer is concerned, is beautifully constructed sentences, and there are many in this book to read and reread.

Janice is the author of the Pulitzer nominated "Earl in the Yellow Shirt" and the novel "The Dark Side of the Moon."

Highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2015 8:42 AM PST


Wockenfuss Candies Sea Salt Caramels - Dark - 1lb
Wockenfuss Candies Sea Salt Caramels - Dark - 1lb
Offered by Wockenfuss Candies
Price: $18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious caramels!, January 5, 2015
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This is another Wockenfuss candy that I ordered for Christmas mainly because I love caramel. These square candies are covered in dark chocolate that is so good and the caramel inside is a very good quality and is delicious. Each candy has a sprinkling of sea salt on it which gives it a little something extra. I have to watch my salt intake so I tried to take the salt off but it sticks to the chocolate, and I couldn't get it off without ruining the top of the piece of candy. Either way, these candies are rich, and for me, it was hard to just eat one. I grew up not too far from Baltimore, MD and worked in the city so I like to support business there, and Wockenfuss is located in Baltimore. Excellent candies sold of all kinds.


Wockenfuss Candies Strawberry Creams, Milk Chocolate - 1lb
Wockenfuss Candies Strawberry Creams, Milk Chocolate - 1lb
Offered by Wockenfuss Candies
Price: $18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best, January 5, 2015
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There is only one word for these chocolate strawberry creams: scrumptious. I bought these as part of my Christmas candy order and they didn't last very long. They were eaten fairly fast! They are milk chocolate coated filled with strawberry cream that is soft and very flavorful when the first bite is taken. One just isn't enough! Some candies like this are a bit too sweet, but this is just right. They are packaged very nicely and would make a nice gift, also.

Even though the holidays are over, I've placed another order for some different candies from Wockenfuss. The company is in Baltimore, MD and since I grew up not far from Baltimore, I like to support business there. You won't go wrong with these.


Going Through the Notions (A Deadly Notions Mystery)
Going Through the Notions (A Deadly Notions Mystery)
by Cate Price
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
39 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A winner of a debut cozy mystery series, January 4, 2015
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Cate Price's debut mystery, "Going Through the Notions" (A Deadly Notions Mystery) surprised and impressed me as a real accomplishment and worthy addition to the cozy mystery sub-genre. The main character, Daisy Buchanan, a retired school teacher, is a multi-layered, well-developed and interesting character who can't keep herself from doing her own investigation when her best friend is arrested for the murder of a young married man,Jimmy,who left behind a wife and two small children. Daisy is confident that her friend, Angus, didn't commit the crime and takes some very risky steps to try to prove it and to find the whereabouts of a collection of very valuable antique fountain pens that have gone missing and are tied to the murder of Jimmy Kratz.

Daisy is now the owner of a shop called "Sometimes a Great Notion" located in a small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, not too far from Philadelphia and sells a variety of items such as vintage buttons, ribbons, sewing notions and vintage fabric along with many other very interesting items. She is married to Joe Daly and has a daughter, Sarah, who lives and works in New York.

I found Daisy's shop to be a place where I'd love to spend time browsing and chatting away with Daisy and her circle of friends even if some of them are a bit odd. It just makes them more interesting and makes the book more of a mystery with its you-never-know-if-this-one-did-it characters. Needlework samplers, small antiques and old books are right up my alley along with the customers and friends who meet there.

The author set the story up so that there are several characters who seem to have a motive for killing Jimmy. New characters enter the landscape of the story and each one seems to have a reason for murder. There is a very humorous and lovable dog in the book, too. Only the very end of the story tells the truth. The book has its suspensful moments as well as a few laugh out loud ones and also some romantic times with Daisy and Joe. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to cozy and general mystery readers. I am very anxious to read the second in the series.


Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $12.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost a Merry Christmas for Alex, December 29, 2014
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For a Christmas mystery, I chose to read "Merry Christmas, Alex Cross." I never tire of the Alex Cross books or really any of James Patterson's novels even with his co-authors contributing their parts. This particular book was shorter than most but I remember reading that about this particular novel when it first came out.

In the beginning, Alex is called upon to help nail a thief who is stealing from the church's poor box. That's a rather short and simple story that allows Alex to go home to Nana, Bree and his kids for Christmas Eve and tree decorating. No sooner is Alex home than he has a call telling him that he is needed in a dangerous domestic hostage situation. His family isn't happy about it, but by now they understand that when he is called on a case, he must go.

This book kept me reading straight through to the end and I especially liked the Christmas scenes with Alex and his family. It gave me a dose of needed Christmas spirit even though it is a mystery/suspense novel. I read the sample first and of course, that had me hooked. All in all I enjoyed this very much, despite the cost and despite the co-author's contributions. I look forward to more James Patterson books in the future. I find them as fast-paced as ever and some of the plots just as diabolical, and when it comes to enjoyment, it depends on how much one is willing to spend for those hours reading or re-reading a good book.


The Magpies
The Magpies
Price: $3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things that go bump in the night, December 17, 2014
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This review is from: The Magpies (Kindle Edition)
The Magpies by Mark Edwards is one of those books that I started and didn't stop reading until I had finished the last page. I loved the book. It's a psychological thriller about a young couple, Jamie and Kirsty, who buy their first flat close to London and are so happy with their new home and hope to get married and start a family. The apartment building houses a few other neighbors, all who seem to be a bit odd, but nevertheless friendly. All goes well until the young couple begins to get unsigned letters of complaint about their music being too loud when they were playing it softly to begin with.

The real horrors come when Jamie and Kirsty are awakened in the middle of the night by strange noises and voices that they cannot explain. A terrible accident occurs and a neighbor's cat goes missing. Two dead rats show up on their doorstep and that's just the beginning.

Mark Edwards has written this book in a style that keeps the reader wondering until the very end of the book, and it's very hard to put the book down and pick it up later. All in all I thought it was a well-written book with very interesting characters, to say the least, and an excellent story line. If you like psychological thrillers with lots of suspense, then you should like this one. I've downloaded two more by this author, and Magpies is the second of Edwards' books that I've read.


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