It’s ART FAIR Week!

This week is one of the biggest, busiest weeks of the year in Ann Arbor. It’s ART FAIR week! The Ann Arbor Art Fair is actually 4 separate art fairs that all happen during the same 4 days all across the city. There are over 1200 artists within those 4 fairs, working in pretty much any medium you can think of, with booths to sell their wares. Then there’s all the food trucks, local restaurants have booths, some of the areas have entertainment with musicians and the like, nonprofits in the area have booths set up for fundraising and just informational purposes, national brands often have giveaways in their booths. It’s 4 days with 4 fairs and it usually brings in upwards of 300,000 people to the area. It’s definitely a boost to the local economy.

One thing about Art Fair that rarely fails – it’s hot and humid during those 4 days and there’s USUALLY a storm at some point. Often times it’s a severe storm with hail and even possible tornadoes. It used to run Wednesday thru Saturday but this is the 2nd year where they’ve changed it to Thursday thru Sunday, which those of us who work downtown say “THANK YOU!” to those who made the decision to switch which days it runs.

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Dealing with the crowds of Art Fair!

Now, the Downtown branch of the library is only one block away from one of the Art Fair thoroughfares and two blocks away from another. Therefore, we get a lot of out-of-town visitors who come in to cool off, use our restrooms, and in the case of storms, we become a storm shelter as well. But that’s about all who come in. Most of the “regulars” stay away because they just don’t want to have to deal with all the traffic and the crowds and the craziness that is Art Fair. Many of my colleagues even just take the days off from work because it’s difficult to get around downtown, finding parking is difficult, and there’s not usually much to do around here at work. Next year, I may join them in taking the two days off, but tonight, tonight I’m okay with working and dealing with the Art Fair chaos.

I get to be on our “Tools” desk tonight, which if you’re going to work during Art Fair, this really is the desk to be working. Our “tools” are what we call our collection of unusual items that we have available to borrow (you can check out the list of things HERE – it’s really pretty cool). It’s so fun to see their awe and excitement over all of the really awesome things we have for people to borrow. 🙂 I enjoy introducing people to our “tools” collections. I enjoy watching their faces light up at all the possibilities. You see, when libraries first started, books weren’t easy to obtain access to. Books are a lot easier to access these days, so our library is working on creating other collections of items that people may want to borrow, but might not want to own. We have all sorts of great things. Lights, amps, and guitar pedals for music (as well as more unusual instruments like thereminis, boomwhackers, etc.). We have models of the human body’s various organs and things. We have telescopes, microscopes, sewing machines, spinning wheels, all kinds of fun things! And tonight, tonight it’s my job to man the desk where I get to tell all the out-of-town people who are here all about them. I love my job. I love being a librarian.

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This doesn’t take any excitement away from the new job that I’m taking over within the library. I’m excited about being behind-the-scenes. My little introverted heart is just beating wildly with joy thinking about not having to be social all day long. Now I get to look at it from the other end. Instead of getting to tell the people all about it, I get to be the one ordering the things and preparing them for all the checkouts and glory they will have as part of our “tools” collections. 🙂

Being a librarian is awesome. 🙂 Art Fair is an acquired taste. 😉

Blog Tour – Debbie De Louise Books – REVIEWS

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Today, I’m excited to bring you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove Mystery series. Currently there are three (3) books in the series and I will be reviewing all three today!

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Book  #1, “A Stone’s Throw”: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book Cover: A Stone's Throw - background of a brick-paved walkway/street with shadows of two people walking.
Cobble Cove #1

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Purchase Links Book #1: AmazonB&N 

Synopsis – Book #1

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers… After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library. Secrets stretch decades into the past… Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John. Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered… When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears… Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

Review – Book #1

This was a great start to the series. We got adequately introduced to the characters and some of their back stories; we visited main locales of the upcoming series; and we were introduced to the author’s style of writing.

The characters in this series are definitely interesting. They’re fairly well-rounded. We learn some of their back story, but not enough to make them completely flat in the future. They’re complex and definitely each have their own issues, but they’re interesting.

The mystery was totally interesting and had lots of great twists and turns that I didn’t see coming! I didn’t know who the villains were until they were revealed. For the most part the book moved along at a steady pace, though there was one point where it dragged slightly.

All in all, a great start to the series and I look forward to the 2nd and 3rd books.

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Book Cover: Between a Rock & a Hard Place by Debbie De Louise - white woman with long blond hair and a red pea coat standing against a cement block wall with a cement staircase behind her.
Cobble Cove #2

Book #2, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”: 3 out of 5 stars.

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Synopsis

Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her… Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.

Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged… Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.

John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse… When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.

Alicia faces her worst nightmare… The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?

Review – Book #2

I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I did the first one. For one thing, one of the issues they mention in the description of the book doesn’t even happen until the book is 3/4 of the way done! I was super disappointed in that. Plus, I felt like the ending was a little too convenient and not at all realistic.

The characters are mostly the same and that’s nice. It’s nice to see one of the characters from the first book make a reappearance in this book in a different capacity and as a seemingly different person.

The story moved along at a decent pace, I just was very disappointed that the one piece of the story line happened so late in the book. Usually something that’s in the description of the book happens more towards the beginning of the book.

This book just wasn’t as good as the first, but the interpersonal relationship growth in the book is important so if you’re going to read the series, I do suggest you read it and not skip it.

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Book Cover: Written in Stone - Cobble Cove Mystery #3 by Debbie DeLouise. Photo of a Siamese cat laying on a stone wall with the lettering over top in yellow.
Cobble Cove #3

Book #3 – Written in Stone: 4 out of 5 stars

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Synopsis

Alicia McKinney is confused . . . Was the strange email her husband received from the fictional detective in their mystery series a threat? Did the killer mistake the woman shot in the library for Alicia or the victim’s twin sister?

Cat vs. Dog . . .  After Sneaky goes missing from the library, will he turn up before a young girl becomes ill with worry over his disappearance? And will he return in time to outsmart Fido by being first to find the perpetrator’s smoking gun?

Alicia is worried . . . While waiting for the killer’s next move, Alicia has other concerns. An old flame of John’s is in town and her friend, Gilly, has adopted the role of Miss Marple to aid her sheriff boyfriend in his investigation.

When all clues point to one of her co-workers, Alicia joins Gilly in searching for the answers to the mystery.

Will they survive . . . or is their ending written in stone?

Review – Book #3

This book I felt was in between the first and second as far as quality. It wasn’t as good as the first, but it wasn’t as bad as the second.

The mystery was far more interesting than the second one, but didn’t have as many twists and turns as the first. I still wasn’t sure who the villain was until it was revealed, but I was pretty sure who it was NOT.

The portion of the book dedicated to the sub-plot of the library cat, Sneaky, going missing was well-done. It didn’t detract from the original mystery, but it wasn’t an annoying little thing either.

The one thing that really got to me by the time I got to this last book was the main character’s emphasis on her weight. Now, I will say that I’m predispositioned for this to be something that gets on my nerves, but I felt like it was just mentioned too often. They live in a town where she walks almost everywhere, so she’s getting a lot of exercise, and yet she’s constantly talking about her weight and watching the sugary desserts and this and that. I’m all for eating sensibly. I may be fat, but I do try to eat more healthy than I ever have before, but I also do not see the point in completely depriving oneself of desserts (unless you have a food allergy or diabetes or something like that). And if she lives in a town where she’s getting that much exercise, then she shouldn’t have to worry about eating dessert or a donut a couple of times a week.

That’s a topic I can easily get on a soapbox about, so I’m going to stop now. This book was definitely better than the second. If there’s a fourth, I’ll read it. 🙂

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About the Author

Author, Debbie De Louise - middle-aged white woman with glasses, shoulder-length brown hair and a big smile. She's holding a cat on her lap and wearing a pink t-shirt.Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her published novels include Cloudy RainbowA Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Cobble Cove Mystery #2) has been on the Amazon bestseller list for cozy mysteries. Debbie has also written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres and a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace. She is currently seeking agent representation for her psychological thriller, Sea Scope. Debbie lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

Author Links

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page:http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW/

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up:https://debbiedelouise.com