Twelve Angry Librarians – REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars.

Twelve Angry Librarians is the latest installment in the Cat in the Stacks mystery series by Miranda James. I enjoyed it and I enjoyed visiting characters I love again, but this one didn’t hold my attention as well as some of the others in the series.

Book Cover: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery: Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James - auditorium background, Maine coon cat sitting on counter with a pile of books and a sign saying "Librarian Convention"

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Brief Synopsis

Light-hearted librarian Charlie Harris is known around his hometown of Athena, Mississippi, for walking his cat, a rescued Maine Coon named Diesel. But he may soon be taken for a walk himself—in handcuffs…
 
Charlie is stressed out. The Southern Academic Libraries Association is holding this year’s annual meeting at Athena College. Since Charlie is the interim library director, he must deliver the welcome speech to all the visiting librarians. And as if that weren’t bad enough, the keynote address will be delivered by Charlie’s old nemesis from library school.

It’s been thirty years since Charlie has seen Gavin Fong, and he’s still an insufferable know-it-all capable of getting under everyone’s skin. In his keynote, Gavin puts forth a most unpopular opinion: that degreed librarians will be obsolete in the academic libraries of the future. So when Gavin drops dead, no one seems too upset…

But Charlie, who was seen having a heated argument with Gavin the day before, has jumped to the top of the suspect list. Now Charlie and Diesel must check out every clue to refine their search for the real killer among them before the next book Charlie reads comes from a prison library…

Review

As I stated above, while I enjoyed this latest installment to a point, it didn’t hold my attention as well as previous books in the series. I’ve always been eager to read the new book and devoured it quickly. This one, I actually set aside for a few weeks after starting it (because I had other books to read for blog tours) and then went back to it. I don’t know why it wasn’t holding my attention as well, it just didn’t.

It was still a lovely visit with favorite characters – Charlie, Diesel, Helen Louise, Stewart & Haskell, etc. I’ve enjoyed these characters throughout the series and it’s always fun to visit them in a new book. These are complex characters and many are at a crossroads in their lives in this book (I’m not saying anything more because I don’t want to spoil the book for you!).

I suppose it’s possible that this one wasn’t as riveting for me because while we were still in Athena, the plot centered around a library convention being held so there were more “strangers” and less of our favorite characters.

I did thoroughly enjoy the plot twist that occurred. I certainly did not see that coming! Karma really is a bitch. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything so that’s all I’m going to say about that!

I do recommend this book, especially if you’re already a fan of the series. If you haven’t read the series before, I highly suggest you start at the beginning with Murder Past Due. While the mysteries themselves stand alone, Charlie’s life does change quite a bit during the course of the series and you’ll understand it all better if you start at the beginning!

About the Author – Miranda James

I am a native of Mississippi and recently returned to live in Jackson after spending thirty-three years in Houston, Texas. I have loved mysteries since I discovered Nancy Drew at the age of ten. At twelve or thirteen I wrote a mystery and even submitted it to a publisher — and promptly received a form rejection letter. That dashed my hopes for a writing career for a while, but I went back to writing mysteries while I was in graduate school in Rice. My first published adult mystery was actually the second one I wrote: CRUEL AS THE GRAVE was published in 2000.

Since then I have published twenty additional mysteries, the latest of which is TWELVE ANGRY LIBRARIANS, the eighth in the Cat in the Stacks series. In my day-to-day life I am a librarian like Charlie (except my specialty is medical libraries) and I have two cats, neither of whom is a Maine Coon. I love reading and writing mysteries and taking care of two spoiled cats (that’s probably redundant–all cats are spoiled because they generally accept no less). I write mysteries to entertain readers and help them relax and get away from the pressures of daily life. That’s why I read them myself.

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour – Death By Chocolate Lab

Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake - March 6-March 17, 2017 - Banner includes photo of the author and the book cover

4 out of 5 stars.

Today, I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Death by Chocolate Lab which is the first book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series by Bethany Blake. The book was a great read and a good start to a new series.

Book Cover: A Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery: Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake - sidewalk outside a bookstore - books flying out the window and a brown labrador sniffing at them - basset hound looking on

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Brief Synopsis

Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.

Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.

Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?

Review

For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. It’s the first in a new series and a solid, delightful start to the series. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because a) it didn’t have that extra pizzazz that I look for in a 5-star book and b) the heroine annoyed me at times with her tendency to just go full steam ahead into something without thinking about it first (which is something that *REALLY* tends to bother me in cozies).

Outside of that, this is a great book. The characters are solid, developed and complex. We know there are things about the various characters that we don’t know yet, but that makes them interesting and not boring.

The setting descriptions were okay. I could imagine the farm and each individual location but I couldn’t really see in my head where they were in relation to each other. Part of that could be my own spatial relations deficiency, but I think the descriptions of the places could have been a little more detailed.

The story moved along at a good pace. It wasn’t slow but it wasn’t so fast that you couldn’t keep up with what was happening. The villain was a complete surprise to me, which I like. I totally did not see that plot twist coming!

All in all, this is a great start to the series and I do recommend it. I’ve already pre-ordered the second one myself!

About the Author

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

Author Links

Bethany Blake’s Website

Bethany Blake on Facebook

Bethany Blake on Twitter

Tour Participants

March 6 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 6 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

March 7 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

March 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 8 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

March 9 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 9 – Texas Book-aholic – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

March 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

March 10 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Bookworm Mom – REVIEW

March 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 11 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

March 13 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – INTERVIEW

March 13 – The Power of Words – SPOTLIGHT – Review coming soon. 

March 14 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 14 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

March 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT 

March 16 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

March 16 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

March 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake - March 6-March 17, 2017 - includes book cover

Blog Tour – Elementary, She Read

Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents "Elementary, She Read" by Vicki Delaney; March 13-March 26, 2017 - Includes Author photo and Book cover

Today I’m very excited to be the host of a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany. This is a wonderful book in a brand-new series!

Elementary, She Read: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery by Vicki Delany book cover - bookstore setting, red easy chair with a black cat on the back of it and a copy of Adventure of Sherlock Holmes on the seat.

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                  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

Brief Synopsis

Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

Review

5 out of 5 stars.

I loved this book and am thrilled that I had the opportunity to read it and host a spot for this blog tour!

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Vicki Delany (including the Lighthouse Library series she wrote under the pen name, Eva Gates), so I was excited when I heard there was a new series coming out. This book did not disappoint in the least!

I’ve already fallen in love with the town of West London and its inhabitants. Gemma, Jayne, Ryan, Louise, and the rest are all well-developed, complex characters and while we don’t know everything about them, they come across as realistic and still leave a little mystery to be discovered in other books in this series. I love the way Gemma’s mind works. I’m not quite as good at my powers of observation as Gemma is, but a lot of her logic I totally understood. It’s always great when I can identify with a heroine in the story.

The plot line moved along at a decent pace. It wasn’t slow, but yet not so fast that you didn’t understand what was going on. I had absolutely NO idea who the villain was until it was revealed. I can see now in hindsight how someone with astute powers of observation of details could put the clues together, but I didn’t do that, so it was a complete surprise to me.

Some of the interpersonal relationships in the story were strained and it’ll be interesting to see how those relationships develop and play out throughout the series. I don’t want to give away any details of the story though, so if you want to know more, read the book!

The setting sounds absolutely beautiful and I could easily imagine myself there in West London. I love when I can imagine the scene and yet the author hasn’t provided too many details. If there’s too many details, I feel over saturated and it becomes harder to imagine the setting. Ms. Delany is a master at balancing that mixture of detail and imagination.

A wonderful start to a new series and if you like cozy mysteries or even mysteries in general, I highly recommend it!

** Many thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

                 Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

About the Author

vicki-delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Vicki Delany’s Links

Website: www.vickidelany.com  

Facebook:  Vicki Delany & Eva Gates 

Twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor

                  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass   Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

Tour Participants

March 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW

March 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – SPOTLIGHT

March 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 14 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW

March 15 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

March 15 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 16 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

March 16 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 18 – Girl with Book Lungs – GUEST POST  

March 19 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 20 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

March 20 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 21 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 21 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

March 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 22 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

March 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 23 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

March 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

March 25 – Island Confidential – spotlight

March 26 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

March 26 – Girl Lost In a Book – REVIEW

Monika Schröder – INTERVIEW

Along with inviting me to read her middle grade book, Be Light Like a Bird, Monika Schröder graciously agreed to answer some questions as an interview for me! Thank you for being willing to do that!

Question #1: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a certain number of words or pages? How does music/other noise affect your concentration?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I set aside about three to four hours a day to spend with my work in my studio. I am not always putting words on paper, but I stay “in the zone.” I need absolute silence.

 

Question #2: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or are you firmly in control of where the story is going? Similarly, do you outline your books or let the plot take you where it wants to go?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I usually have an idea of the broad plot line and the ending. But after I got stuck with this method, I am now becoming more of a planner.

 

Question #3: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: The number of revisions varies. I re-wrote my first novel, THE DOG IN THE WOOD, 37 times. Now I don’t need that many revisions any more. But my new book, BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD, also went through several revisions.

Yes, time is the best revision helper. It is always good to set a manuscript aside and then go back to it with fresh eyes. My husband, a former English teacher, is always my first reader. I appreciate his comments and once all his suggestions are incorporated I send my manuscript to my agent, who then gives his input.

Question #4: Your latest book, Be Light Like a Bird, is set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Did you travel to the Upper Peninsula to do research for the book? If not, how did you make sure you got all the details of what life is like there correct?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My husband is from Michigan and we used to spend part of our summers at his family’s cabin near Sault Ste. Marie. In fact, my husband and I got married up there. We inherited the cabin and still own it. So I was familiar with the setting when I wrote the book.

 

Question #5: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My first novel was rejected by the first editor I sent it to and I spent several years rewriting it. Yes, it takes tenacity to get published. My second and third book were published by the legendary Frances Foster, an editor with her own imprint at Farrar Straus Giroux. When she passed away it pulled the rug from under me. She was not only my editor but also my mentor and friend. After her death I had to find an agent and BE LIGHT LIKE A BIRD was rejected several times. So, even though I already had published three novels, I experiences set-backs. Sometimes it is hard to keep up the hope. Again, my husband is a great help. He coaches me through times of self-doubt and he is a great fan of my work.

(Blogger’s Note: I, for one, am super glad that you kept trying with Be Light Like a Bird because it really is phenomenal.)

 

Question #6: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I do read my reviews. It is painful to read bad reviews but in most cases I can find a kernel of truth in them. I might not agree with the weight a reviewer gives a certain aspect of the book, but I try to look at the issues raised with a clear eye.

Question #7: What are some great books/authors you’ve read recently?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I am a big fan of Avi’s work and I also loved Louis Bayard’s first book for kids, LUCKY STRIKES.

 

Question #8: What hobbies do you have/enjoy?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: I tend to a big flower garden and I look forward to gardening season starting again soon. I also love to bake and cook.

 

Question #9: Do you like to travel? If so, what was your favorite location to visit?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My husband and I worked and lived overseas for 16 years. We have travelled a lot during those years. Now that we live in the US we don’t travel as much any more. But we recently visited Jekyll Island in Georgia and found it very beautiful.

 

Question #10: What is your favorite part of the writing/editing/publishing process? What is your least favorite?

Ms. Schröder’s Answer: My least favorite part of the process is writing the first draft. It is agonizingly slow and I have to force myself to keep on writing without looking back too much before I have reached the end of one whole draft. And that draft is usually very bad and then I make it better. I love revising, but my favorite part is probably when someone offers me a contract to publish my book.

Once again, I’d like to say a huge “THANK YOU” to Monika Schröder for agreeing to answer my questions. Be sure to check out her newest book, Be Light Like A Bird!

Be Light Like a Bird – REVIEW

Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder is a stand-alone novel meant for the middle grades and it’s pretty darn awesome!

Book Cover: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder - Dark blue background with lighter blue trees and red birds on it

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Brief Synopsis

After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

Review

What a wonderful book about dealing with loss, grief, and anger! I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Wren, her mother, Theo, and the rest of our cast of characters are well-rounded, complex characters who are believable and just jump off the page with their realism. Wren’s mother is running from her grief and anger and of course, Wren’s just along for the ride because she doesn’t have a choice, but she really does well with all the change considering that she’s grieving too.

Eventually, after a few stops along the way, they land in Pyramid, Michigan, a small town in the upper peninsula near the end of I-75. Wren decides she likes it there and wants to stay. She makes a new friend in Theo and together they fight against the draining of a wetland by a local landfill.

The whole time, there’s still a rift between Wren and her mother which is only increased by some terrible news her mother has to tell her about her father. Can they ever mend the rift between them?

I’m not going to provide the answer to that or to whether or not Wren and Theo win their fight against the landfill. You’ll just have to read this absolutely marvelous book to find out! I highly recommend this book. Even if you’re an adult, I believe you’ll enjoy it as well!

** Special thanks to the author, Monika Schröder for providing me with a copy of the wonderful book. I was not compensated for this review All opinions and conclusions expressed in this review are my own. **

Stay tuned for an interview with the author, Monika Schröder, coming later today (March 14)!!

Books that have surprised me

A fellow blogger that I follow (Birdie Bookworm) posts a Top Ten list most Tuesdays. Earlier in the year her topic was “To Love or To Hate”. The premise behind it was to name 5 books that you didn’t believe you were going to like and ending up loving. Then, you turn around and name 5 books you thought you’d love that were complete disappointments to you. I thought it sounded fun, so I thought I’d do something similar.

There aren’t any many books that I’ve read that I thought I would hate before reading it. There are some that I was pretty skeptical about though. Here are a few of those:

Books I was Skeptical About

Hickory, Dickory, Dock by Agatha Christie Book Cover - Background of the book is red with a silhouette of a pendulum and 2 rats sitting on top of the yellow title letters.Hickory, Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie – This was the first Agatha Christie book I had ever read. I’ve never had anyone in my life who really gushed over how much they loved Dame Christie’s books, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I had forgotten my book at home and this book was on one of the shelving carts at my library so I picked it up. I’m really glad I did! I’ve since read about 15 more books by Dame Christie in the Hercule Poirot series, and I’m participating in a challenge to slowly work my way all the way through her books.

 

 

Amulet Graphic Novel Series - Book One: The Stonekeeper Book cover - Background is amber fading to dark green fading to dark blue/black - Door with tentacles sticking out of it on bottom - Pink Bunny, dark haired boy and red-haired girl on top.The Stonekeeper (Amulet Series #1) by Kazu Kibuishi – I’m not generally a graphic novel reader so when I picked this graphic novel up at work one day, I was very skeptical about it. This was another case of forgetting my book at home, but I do work in a library, so that’s not always a bad thing! In this case, it was a good thing indeed. Someone had left this graphic novel in the break room, so I decided to read it instead of playing Mahjongg on my phone. I really enjoyed it. It was the first time I ever felt like I could still imagine parts of the story even though the book was a graphic novel. Usually I get bored with graphic novels because I like using my imagination while reading books and most of the graphic novels just have too much detail in their pictures for me.  I’ve since read several others in the series, but I still like the first one the best.

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - A novel - book cover with read background and bright yellow text - small graphic of a key inside the center of the "O"

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I picked this book up because my library had a “treasure quest” program from Fall 2011 through Spring 2012. It was a way to keep people interested in looking for clues in the catalog in between summer games. It was a lot of fun and at the end of the game, they revealed that the basic tenets of the game were based on this book. I picked it up thinking it would be interesting, but I’m not huge science fiction fan, so I was a bit skeptical.  That skepticism proved to be totally unfounded! I absolutely loved this book and I personally loved the second book by the author, Armada, just as much if not more!  Now, I am a child of the 1980s so all the references to 80s pop culture thrilled me. But I loved the story line as well. I’ve read it several times and love it each time!

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling book cover - Harry is flying on a broom through an arch and pillars trying to catch the golden snitch with Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest in the background

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Yes, I was skeptical about the Harry Potter series. I was in my 20s when the books came out and I was skeptical about reading them. It wasn’t until after I watched the first movie with the family I was babysitting for at the time, that I was interested in reading the books. Even then, while I thought I would like it based on the movie, I wasn’t prepared to be as blown away with them as I was! It’s now one of my favorite series to re-read when life is stressful.

 

 

Divergent by New York Times Bestselling Author, Veronica Roth book cover. - Dark sky and city skyline background - a fire burning inside a circle in the center

Divergent by Veronica Roth – I was really skeptical when I picked this one up because even though many of my colleagues were recommending it, I had been severely disappointed with The Hunger Games after the same colleagues’ recommendations so I took this one with a grain of salt with it. It turns out I loved it! It was just wonderful! I quickly bought the 2nd and 3rd as well and enjoyed them too.

 

 

 

Books I Thought I’d Love

Eragon by Christopher Paolini book cover - Dark blue background with a dark blue dragon in the center of the cover.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini – I was really excited when Eragon first came out. I love dragons and I thought it was just going to be so great. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it at all. In fact, I never even finished reading it. It wasn’t that the writing was bad really. The author just never made me care about the character. I didn’t care what happened to him. I wasn’t ever compelled to pick the book up and read to find out what happened. I was very disappointed.

 

 

 

HungerGamesThe Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – All of my colleagues at the library raved about this trilogy. They seemed to think it was one of the best books ever to be written for young adults/teens. I finally gave in and read the first one. It was definitely well-written and had a good story line, I just did not find it as amazing as my colleagues. I started the second book, but when they were going to send Katniss back to the Hunger Games, I stopped. I just didn’t want to read all that drama again. I know plenty of people who rave about these books, but I just did not like them.

 

The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser book cover - Scene from the Gardner Museum complete with empty frame from one of the stolen artworks.

The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser – I really wanted to like this book. I thought it was going to be great. I enjoy reading about art/jewelry heists and this is the largest unsolved heist in the world. Unfortunately, this book was just boring and dry. The pace was plodding and slow and it just never held my attention. I’ve tried three different times to read it with the same experience, so I have to conclude that this book is just not for me.

 

 

Book Cover: A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery: Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams - Inside a pie shop with numerous pies on pedestals and shelves behind a glass partitionPies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams – I was really excited when this book first came out. I had enjoyed other series by the same author, so I was excited about having a new series to read. Unfortunately, this book was extremely disappointing to me. I found the characters to be very one-dimensional and unbelievable. I never even finished the book. About halfway through I realized that I really didn’t care about the main character nor did I care who the killer was. Very disappointing compared to Ms. Adams’s other series.

 

 

Book Cover: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Yellow & Purple background with a green alien with no eyes, tongue sticking out, wearing a hat and camera and carrying a suitcase.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – Even though, I’m not a huge science fiction fan, I thought I’d try this book anyway. So many of my friends love it and often times we share similar interests in books. Unfortunately, this is not one of them. I was bored very early on and barely made it through the 50-100 pages that I give new books to “hook” me in. I’ve never finished it and really don’t plan to. Part of me feels as though I’m missing out on some portion of “geek culture” but not enough that I’m willing to read a boring book to find out about it!

 

 

These are the books that have surprised me one way or another. Do you have a book that really surprised you one way or the other that you’d like to share? Comment below!

 

 

Blog Tour – Pekoe Most Poison

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs; March 6-March 19, 2017 - banner includes author photo and book cover photo

Today, I’m super excited to bring to you the latest stop for Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs! I love the Tea Shop mysteries and look forward to the newest one every spring. This one didn’t disappoint, either!

Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs book cover - A Tea Shop Mystery - border of daffodils - picture of a table set for tea with tarts, tea pots, flowers, fresh oranges, and quiche.

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Brief Synopsis

When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued.  As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.

The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse…

Review

5 out of 5 stars.

I think this is one of my favorites of the Tea Shop series so far! I really enjoyed this one. The mystery itself was great. I didn’t figure out who the killer was until very close to the end where it was revealed. Plus, this time around we had a new method and a new way of delivering that method. Sometimes having the victim shot or stabbed gets a little old, so this one was a refreshing change.

I absolutely love the characters in this series. Reading about Theodosia, Drayton, and Haley is like visiting with old friends. Their characters are so well-rounded, developed, and complex. It’s a pleasure visiting them in each book and getting to know them just that little bit more. It’s a pleasure to see how their relationships with each other and with others in the community grow and develop.

I love all the descriptions of Charleston. I’ve never been there but with as many of these books I’ve read, I feel like I have. I can easily visualize all the alleys and cemeteries and old mansions that are there. I feel like if I ever make it down there to visit, I’m going to feel right at home! It takes a skilled author to do that without boring the reader with the descriptions. Ms. Childs’ does this excellently.

The pace of these books has always been good and this one is no exception. It was never boring and kept moving along at a good clip, but yet not too fast that you couldn’t keep up.

This is a great installment in the Tea Shop Mystery series and I highly recommend it! Pick it up and enjoy! If you’ve never read the series, you don’t have to know the back story to enjoy this one, but I highly recommend the rest of the series as well!

** I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

About the Author

Photo of Laura Childs - Middle-aged woman with blond hair, no glasses, wearing a black sweater or coat

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund-raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:

Webpage – http://www.laurachilds.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31

If you would like to be a host for a Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour, click on the banner at the bottom of the page!

Tour Participants

March 6 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – REVIEW

March 6 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

March 7 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

March 8 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 8 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

March 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

March 9 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

March 9 – My Journey Back – REVIEW  

March 10 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

March 11 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW  

March 11 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 12 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 13 – Queen of All She Reads –  SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 14 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

March 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 15 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

March 16 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW

March 17 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 18 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW  

March 19 – 3  Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

March 19 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs - March 6-March 19, 2017 Banner with Book cover