Thursday, April 22, 2010
Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson is the 15th book in the Goldy Schulz mystery series.
It's wedding season and Goldy has two weddings to cater. The first is over in a matter of pages so the real story is the second. However, the first is needed to set up what a complete Bridezilla Billie (the bride in the second wedding) is and to have a venue for the first murder.
The first murderee is old Doc Finn - best friend of Goldy's never before mentioned but apparently very beloved godfather who recently moved from NJ to Colorado - directly across the street from Goldy. I know that when you get to book 15 in a series you have to come up with characters that will provoke emotional ties but to somehow have a character that is supposed to be a major part of one's life and is never mentioned before and just brought on to be killed off - it just seems like reaching.
That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I've read lots of reviews about this book and find that yes in every book Goldy withholds evidence, lies to her homicide cop husband Tom and gets hit on the head and knocked unconscious but that's part of the "signature" of Ms. Davidson's storytelling. I don't find that a drawback. It's more of "yes, that's the Goldy I've come to know and love over the years". If she didn't have those things from book to book it would be almost like having a different lead character each time.
So put your feet up, cover up with a quilt and join Goldy, her homicide cop husband Tom, her best friend Marla, assistant Julian, son Arch and the rest of the gang as they cook their way to finding a killer.
Oh and don't forget to look at the back of the book for the recipes. There are some good ones there.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini is the latest in the Elm Creek Quilt series.
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about this book. I have loved all the ECQ books but my absolute favorites are the ones set in the distant past. The Runaway Quilt continues to be my all-time favorite. But the issue I had with this book was it was to focus on a single character. Ms. Chiaverini did a book called Round Robin that gave each character a section of their own. But this time it would be the entire book. I wasn't sure how I would feel about leaving the other characters behind.
But I climbed on the plane with Bonnie and headed over to Hawaii with an open mind.
And I had a blast! The descriptions had me feeling like I was there. I could almost see Diamond Head, the hula dancers and the beautiful Hawaiian quilts. I could feel the breeze as I sat on the lanai. I could taste the fresh pineapple (helps that I've had fresh pineapple lol).
Bonnie goes to Hawaii to help her college roommate start Aloha Quilt Camp. Using her experience as an Elm Creek Quilter, she helps Claire plan classes, hire teachers and plan evening activities. Along the way she has to deal with her no good soon to be ex-husband Craig. Feeling he has no other way to get to Bonnie he hits her where he knows it will hurt - he wants half of her share in Elm Creek Quilts. (No spoilers here - these things are in the book jacket and online bookseller reviews).
Oh and of course the Elm Creek Quilts ladies do show up here and there so we aren't completely without them.
So hop on board and head over to Hawaii where Bonnie spends her time with Claire, Claire's husband Eric, Claire's cook Midori, Midori's nephew Hinano (oh, a handsome single man Bonnie's age) and the beautiful scenery.
Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze is a thriller you don't want to miss.
Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family. Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away. His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith. Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too. Why had he survived? He’d failed to protect his family.
Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan. A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace.
The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill. Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly. Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?
I have to admit that I found the first part of this book rather frustrating. The first chapter seemed to be completely from a different book and it took quite some time for it to come out how it was all connected. Since it is a mystery there are a lot of unnamed people, especially in the beginning (the subject, his unnamed contact, the inside man, etc.) and I personally was rather confused by it all.
However I read on. And I am so glad I did. The mysterious woman, who is called Susan (because of her resemblance to the deceased Susan and not knowing her real name) for a good part of the book, was carjacked, beaten and left for dead. When she was rescued she remembered only bits and pieces of her life - but the one thing she remembered without a doubt was God. We follow her journey as she lets her faith in God bring her through some horrendous happenings. We follow as Ben fights his doubts about who she is and what brought her to the crises center - and what her connection to his deceased wife is. And we watch as he struggles to find the faith he lost when he lost his family.
An absolute page turner - it was so good I even took it along to work to read on those short 15 minute breaks.
If you would like more information or would like to purchase a copy, please use this link
If you would like to win a copy of this book, simply leave me a comment with your email by April 23.
This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.
Monday, April 12, 2010
There Goes The Bride by MC Beaton is the latest in the Agatha Raisin series. If you are familiar with my blog you will recognize MC Beaton as the author of one of my absolute favorite series featuring Hamish MacBeth.
Agatha Raisin is a detective who lives in the picturesque Cotswolds. In There Goes The Bride Agatha is hired to solve the murder of her ex-husband James Lacey's fiance. Another fabulous mystery with travel to other countries and multiple murders. And of course peril and possibly love for Agatha.
The regular cast of characters put in an appearance - ex-husband James, former employee Roy Silver, Sir Charles, Mrs. Bloxby, Bill Wong and Toni and the rest of the gang from the detective agency.
Thoroughly enjoyable - I only put it down to sleep and go to my son's school concert.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I will admit that I often pick up a book based on the cover - I think that is what drew me to Leila Meacham's Roses. It's a rather simple but beautiful cover. And what lives within - well, I haven't enjoyed a book this much since Kate Morton's last book.
Roses revolves around the lives of three families - the Tolivers, the Warwicks and the DuMonts - and spans over 100 years in their lives. The central character of the story is Mary Toliver. Raised in Texas on a cotton plantation, Mary sacrifices her entire life to keep the plantation no matter what the cost. And there are costs.
I absolutely loved this book. The descriptions make you feel like you are there. There are spots in the book where my breath caught in my throat and tears immediately sprung in my eyes. I cried, I laughed, I loved it.
I will say that I think the ending lacked a bit compared to the rest of the book. I remember being about 10 pages from the end of the book thinking how is she going to wrap this up in 10 pages? It seemed a bit rushed and not up to par with the rest of the book.
I've been borrowing more books from the library (as my husband's unemployment stretches to a year and a half now), which is how I got this one. But you can bet I'll be saving my pennies to purchase myself a copy of this lovely book.
Pick up a copy - you won't be disappointed.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I'm sort of new to this blogging business. I've had a quilting blog for a year or more now and my book blog is a bit newer but I'm still learning all the ropes and how to do different things. So imagine my surprise when Molly at Book Reviews by Buuklvr81 bestowed this wonderful award on me. Be sure to pop on over and check out her blog.
But I have to say Molly left me with a bit of a quandry. I'm supposed to pass this award on to 15 more bloggers and I have to say that I don't follow that many blogs.
But I will pass it on to the few blogs that I follow and enjoy.
So here are the rules of the award.
1. Thank and link to the person who gave you the award.
2. Pass this award on to 15 bloggers that you've recently discovered and think are fantastic.
3. Contact those blogs and let them know they've won.
4. State 7 things about yourself.
So here are 7 things about myself.
1. Reading and quilting are passions.
2. My family is more important than anything.
3. My favorite color is pink.
4. I have a golden retriever named Thunder.
5. I love tulips.
6. I actually enjoy my job (for the most part lol)
7. I've made better friends over the computer than I have "in the flesh".
And here are my reward recipients:
1. Barb at Confessions of a Bookaholic
2. Annie at Annie's Quilting Adventures
This Little Prayer Of Mine by Anthony DeStefano with illustrations by Mark Elliott is a charming book endorsed by the National Day of Prayer.
Rhyming text and precious illustrations make this book a joy for children to read. Written in a child's view it shows how we can depend on God to meet all our needs. It shows that children are not always perfect and that's okay - God still loves us all.
It's not overly wordy and the text is easily read by an early reader - great for kids to read on their own.
If you would like more information about this book or to purchase a copy of your own:
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Montana Rose by Mary Connealy is the first in her Montana Marriages series.
Ms. Connealy is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. She writes a humorous but touching tale about the frontier life that keeps you turning the pages.
In Montana Rose we follow Cassie Griffin. Life on the Montana frontier hardly seems the place for this fragile little china doll. Spoiled and stand-offish is what the other residents of Divide, Montana call her. The Griffins live in a big, fancy house and Cassie dresses in silks - not at all the normal.
But all that changes when Cassie rides in to town with the news that Lester Griffin has died. Women alone in the Montana Territory don't stay alone and during the funeral men from all around the area show up - not to pay respects but to vie for the hand of the newly widowed lady. Widowed one day - married the next.
What follows is the story of two people who don't really know each other coming together and forming a family. It's a heart-warming tale that was hard to put down. And, as with many of Ms. Connealy's stories, it lays the foundation for the next book in the series (which I am terribly anxious to read).
I highly recommend this book - and any other by Ms. Connealy. If you read a series from her though, be sure to read them in order as they do build on each other.
Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is a different take on the slave story than I have seen before.
Set in Ohio in a resort called Tawawa House it follows four female slaves who are their masters' mistresses. Every summer the slaves and their masters come to Tawawa House on vacation. The women openly live with the masters in small cottages outside of the main hotel.
Three of the ladies, Lizzie, Reenie and Sweet have been coming for years. New this year is Mawu - and she brings with her a frightening proposition. You see, Tawawa House is situated in free territory.
I found this story fascinating. That period in history is probably my favorite to read about. But I have never read a story showing this view of a female slave's life. Of course I knew how many of these slaves bore children for their masters. But most of what I read showed them being used and discarded. Not kept around as a "mistress".
Lizzie is the main character and for a period we go back in her earlier life and see what led her to where she is. When the discussions of running come up for most of the women the biggest issue with running is the children they would leave behind. Lizzie also doesn't want to leave her children but she also believes that she and her master love each other.
Be sure to grab a copy of this book and read the triumphs and tragedies of these four women. It was a fascinating read.