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Book review fiction mystery reading suspense Uncategorized

Read & Review (R&R) – “Dead Man’s Leap” by Tina de Bellegarde

It’s another intriguing and suspense-filled, character-driven mystery for Agatha Award nominee, Tina de Bellegarde. In her latest mystery, “Dead Man’s Leap,” the flood waters are washing away more than material possessions. In the tiny town of Batavia-on-Hudson, relationships are put to the test, a dead body, bones and long-buried secrets from the past all threaten to alter the quaint village life.

This is the author’s 2nd book of her series “Batavia -on Hudson Mystery,” and while it is not necessary to read her first book “Winter Witness,” it is helpful as you are familiar with the characters.

Her main character, Bianca St. Denis is teaming up again with Sheriff Mike Riley to solve the mystery. De Bellegarde vividly sets the scene, beautifully portrays love and loss and writes characters that jump off the page and into her reader’s hearts. I am looking forward to reading the next Bativa-on-Hudson Mystery.

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Book review fiction reading uncatagorized

Read and Review (R&R) – “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine
by Gail Honeyman

This is Gail Honeyman’s debut novel and the winner of the 2017 Costa Debut Novel Award.

I probably would not have read this story had our office book club not picked it for the November read. I am very glad they did. Wow! What an emotionally-packed read!

The journey into Eleanor Oliphant is thought-provoking, sad, powerful, touching, uplifting, and at times very humorous. You can’t help but chuckle at Eleanor’s views of the world and her forthright comments to people.

Eleanor is definitely a product of her horrific childhood environment. A physical scar on her face and an emotional scar on her heart, are a lifetime reminder of her traumatic past. She was bought up in foster homes and after attending University, gets an office job and is placed in her own apartment. Her only companion, a plant and her only visits are from social workers and meter readers. She drinks a lot of vodka and spends time on the weekends talking to her “Mummy” (author and story setting are based in Scotland) on the telephone.

From a writer’s view, Gail Honeyman does an excellent job with the voice of Eleanor throughout the novel. You can’t help but cheer Eleanor on.

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Book review fiction history reading

Read and Review (R&R) – “Prisoner 88” by Leah Pileggi

“Prisoner 88”
by Leah Pileggi

One of the authors at the Festival of Books in the Alleghenies that I talked to was Leah Pileggi. Leah is the author of “Prisoner 88,” a middle grade historical fiction novel.

It’s 1885. Ten-year-old Jake is sentenced to five years in the Idaho Territorial Penitentiary for shooting a man who had threatened his pa. From the very beginning, you can’t help but feel for and love Jake.

Although this book is primarily for young readers, adults will enjoy it as well. A quick read (142 pages), I found it hard to put down.

Inspired the by the real-life imprisonment of a minor in America’s Old West. This book is well-researched and detailed.

Leah does a wonderful job of conveying the prison system during this time period from the point of view of an uneducated, naïve, and impoverished little boy.

Strong characters, authentic dialogue, and well-developed setting make “Prisoner 88” a great read for you or the middle grade student in your life.

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Book review fiction mystery reading suspense Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) – Potluck and Pandemonium by S.C. Merritt

Potluck and Pandemonium

by S.C. Merritt

I won this book through a drawing held by Kim Heniadis in the Cozy Mystery Launch Party. This story came out in 2019 and there have been five books by S.C. Merritt in the Sweetwater Springs Southern Mysteries since then.

There is a prologue giving the background on Glory Harper, her late husband, and how she and her daughter Macy came back to Alabama. Because of this, I wondered if any of her husband’s past would play into the mystery, but it didn’t. At first, I assumed it was put there to show how she loves solving mysteries. But, now I am thinking that perhaps, in a future book in the series, I will find out the truth behind her mysterious husband’s life and death.

The story really heats up with a “Decoration Day” service at church where Glory discovers the dead body of J.R. Jenkins. When the murder weapon turns out to be Glory’s engraved letter opener, she finds herself on the top of the suspect list. Her brother, Jake, a detective on the local police force knows Glory’s love of mysteries. He makes her promise she won’t involve herself in the investigation. But, Glory simply cannot sit idly by. With the help of Momma, she is determined to solve the mystery and track down the killer before another dead body is found.

The town of Sweetwater Springs if very southern and charming. I loved the cast of characters that Glory meets and learning some of the southern traditions.

With more than a few suspects with motive and opportunity to kill J.R., the story and plot flowed nicely and kept me guessing at the killer.

Throughout the book there are light touches on faith and religion which I thought enhanced the story.

Macy starting a bakery is a nice subplot and leads room in future stories for her character development.

And, did I mention, there are some great recipes at the end of the book!

I would love to hear your comments. Have you read this book? Are you going to read this or any of the other Sweetwater mysteries after my review?

Categories
Book review cozy mysteries mystery reading

Read and Review (R&R) – “Beauty Expos are Murder”- By Libby Klein

A GIGGLE OUT LOUD COZY

I was excited when I was able to take out from my local library a book by Libby Klein. Below is my review of her latest Poppy McAllister Mystery.

This story starts out with the main character, Poppy, finding out that the man she has fallen in love with is married. Then, if that isn’t enough to make her heart crumble like a dry muffin, she must sell her paleo and keto delights at a Beauty Expo alongside her married boyfriend, while several booths away her “high school sweetheart” boyfriend and his girlfriend are selling competing baked goods. When the key-note speaker of the Expo is found dead, Poppy is determined to “unmask” the killer. To make matters worse, Amber, her frenemy enlists her help to prove her innocence in the murder of a young man.

This book is 438 pages and has a lot going on with an extensive cast of characters. I had not read anything before of Libby Klein, so I was glad she writes very vivid character descriptions and weaves in backstory. The car rides with Amber, and the bar scene where Poppy is sent into the police bar, I found hilarious.

I immediately liked the quant Jersey Shore setting and the Bed and Breakfast cast of characters.

Filled with funny quips, and humorous sarcasms, “Beauty Expos are Murder,” is a great read. When Aunt Ginny says, “She didn’t need a time-out, she needed arsenic and an alibi,” I couldn’t put the book down. Libby Klein is a very witty author and Poppy McAllister is one of my new favorite cozy protagonists.

The food served at the B&B sounded delicious. I have several friends who must eat gluten-free, so the included recipes definately gave me some “food for thought,” and ideas of dishes to make the next time we are together.

Categories
Book review cozy mysteries fiction mystery reading

Read and Review (R&R) – Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

COZY MYSTERY LOVERS-Have you read Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country Mysteries? If not, I would recommend you check them out.

I picked up “Murder in the Bayou Boneyard,” which launched in the fall of 2020, won a “Lefty” Award, and was an Agatha nominee this year! It is the sixth book in this series, but can be read as a stand-alone.

With an engaging plot, inviting setting, kooky characters, and recipes, this book is a “delicious” read!

It is Halloween in Pelican, Louisiana and Maggie Crozat and her family own a B&B. To drum up business, the Crozat family and four other B&Bs host “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages. Things get really hairy when guests start sighting a “rougarou.” A cross between a werewolf and a vampire, a rougarou is a local legend rumored to prowl the swamps and woods of Acadia and New Orleans.

A rougarou sighting turns deadly when one of them stumbles onto the stage of the “Resurrection of a Spirit” play. The neighboring town of Ville Blanc police think they have found the murderer in Maggie, and, as bodies pile up, she must prove her innocence and save her family’s B&B.

I loved the southern charm of Pelican and the crazy cast of characters. My favorite is Gran.

With southern cooking mentioned throughout the book, it was a bonus to see the recipes posted in the back.

Ellen Byron has a new book in this series coming out in August of this year called “Cajun Kiss of Death.” I will definitely put this new one on my “to be read” list!

Categories
Book review cozy mysteries mystery reading writing

Read and Review (R&R)

My latest read was a book by Maggie Blackburn called “Little Bookshop of Murder.” Below is my review~

Snobbish Summer Merriweather, a Shakespearean professor, is returning from England to her hometown, St.  Brigid’s Island, to attend her mother’s funeral. Her seemingly healthy, loved by everyone on the island, free-spirited mother, Hildy, has died of an apparent heart attack. Summer doesn’t believe the preliminary cause of death, as her mother had no underlying conditions or symptoms. When more than one note is discovered left to Hildy that says “Sell the bookstore or Die” Summer’s gut tells her someone very close to her mother put a permanent end to Hildy’s romance reading days. Summer believes her mother was murdered. She enlists the help of her Aunt Agatha, cousin, niece, and the members of Hildy’s beloved Mermaid Pie Book Club to sleuth out the killer. I suspected the perpetrator early on, but still enjoyed the array of beach town characters, including Hildy’s African grey parrot, Mr. Darcy, who I thought for sure would squawk out clues. Maggie Blackburn did an excellent job of bringing the town of St. Brigid Island, the quaint bookstore “Beach Reads,” and the boardwalk to life. I picked this book up at my local library and the one thing that caught me was the number of typos, mix-ups of characters, and repetition. There were more than a couple. Overall, I enjoyed this story and plot line. This is my first read of this author and I will pick up the next book in this series.

Categories
Book review history mystery reading suspense Uncategorized writing

Read and Review (R&R)

When I heard that Liz Milliron was writing a second book involving her character Betty Ahern in the Homefront Mystery Series, I couldn’t wait to read it. Below is my review.

History and Mystery

It’s 1942, and Betty Ahern is back and leaving her mark not only on the engines she builds at Bell Aircraft but as a darn-good private detective in the First Ward, a neighborhood in the City of Buffalo, NY.

In “The Stories We Tell,” Liz Milliron’s second book in the Homefront Mystery series, courageous and bold Betty takes on a case of a co‑worker at Bell who is grief-stricken over the sudden death of her grandmother. Before long, Betty is caught up in a secret dating back fifty years. Determined to solve the case, she enlists the help of her loyal friends, Dot, Lee, and Detective MacKinnon of the Buffalo PD. Betty uses her moxie to uncover the truth as one clue leads to another and more and more suspects die. Betty better watch out, or she may be next!

Liz Milliron does an exceptional job of dropping you into the time period and holding you there. Her characters are real, likeable, and her descriptions of the ethnic neighborhoods, the people, and culture during that era are well-researched and impressive.

A great page-turner. I can’t wait to see what Betty is up to next!