A Legacy of MURDER by Connie Berry

A Legacy of Murder (Kate Hamilton Mysteries, #2)

A Kate Hamilton Mystery #2

Kate Hamilton is back in the UK. This time our intrepid antique dealer from America is here to visit her daughter, the headstrong Christine, where she is serving an internship at Finchley Hall located in Long Barston.

With an empty room in the converted stables, Kate is happy to be here spending time with her daughter and with her boyfriend, DI Tom Mallory, whom we met in the first mystery.

Touring the rather neglected home and grounds, they find a young woman’s body at the edge of the lake. Dead. And this isn’t the first time a body has been found there. This particular body, however, is heading up the enormous task of inventorying the large collections that have been part of the family for generations. Including the rare ruby ring.

An odd household, to be sure, Mugg, the butler/everything else and one cook/maid/housekeeper, along with Lady Barbara. Elderly and with very poor vision, she depends on Mugg for everything.

There were several other plotlines and the bodies are still falling, when Kate’s own daughter is hauled into the station and questioned about the latest one.

I really don’t want to spoil any of the fun in this book. The characters are great fun and I can’t wait for Kate to be back in the UK!

Netgalley/ October 8th, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books

 

THE FURIES by KATIE LOWE

The Furies

Elm Hollow Academy is an all-girls school in a boring town by the coast with a rather dark past. Witch trials in the 17th century and one supposedly hung from a tree on campus. Theories abound about the school and the odd things that happen there.

Violet is sixteen and has already had her fair share of tragedy and loss. She is that character on the fringe. Even she isn’t sure she belongs here. Or anywhere.

The talk of the school when Violet arrives is the mysterious disappearance of Emily Frost. Said disappearance means there is an opening in a study group with their instructor, Annabelle. Mysterious Annabelle. She teaches the girls about the Furies and how they took revenge on the men who wronged them.

Only these girls aren’t taking notes, they are taking action and Violet is drawn into something deadly and it could get her killed. Not knowing who to trust, she trusts herself.

There are plenty of books dealing with angst-ridden teenaged girls at schools. This had less to do with popularity and boys and more to do with witchcraft.

It was really wordy and the middle got a bit old quickly. The end was unexpected and rather disappointing I thought.

NetGalley/ October 8th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

TRAP LANE by STELLA CAMERON

Trap Lane (Alex Duggins Mystery, #6)

An Alex Duggins Mystery #6

Alex and her friends are back! Alex owns the popular pub, The Black Dog, with her mysterious but reliable manager, Hugh Rhys. Alex trusts Hugh completely.

But when Neve Rhys, as well as Sonia Quillam, arrives, Alex is seeing a side of Hugh she hasn’t seen before. Secretive, angry and even more closed-lip than usual.

Hugh has asked Sam, the locksmith, to change all the locks at Green Friday, after the last debacle and when Sam returns to tell Hugh and Alex that the door was open and there are blood and glass everywhere, they head over to investigate.

Are they looking for a missing injured person or is this a murder with no body?

After the police find Mr. Quillam dead in a pond on Hugh’s property, all eyes are on him.

Alex is torn between keeping Hugh safe and out of jail and being properly honest with the local police.

So many mysteries in this one! Bodies keep popping up and people keep disappearing and then popping up again. Everyone is keeping secrets and that is not helping Alex.

She is determined to find out what is going on and who is a killer!

This is a favorite series of mine. I was with them up until the end. Which was abrupt and confusing. I even asked a friend to read the last chapter and he kept trying to turn the Kindle page too. What was that all about?

NetGalley/Severn House October 1st, 2019 by Creme de La Crime

 

 

ONE NIGHT GONE by TARA LASKOWSKI

One Night Gone

Told in two times, decades apart, by two women.

Maureen hasn’t had the best life up to now. With a drug addict mother, she has been fending for herself for a long time. Now she’s working as a carnival girl. Traveling from town to town. This isn’t the life she wants for herself. But it’s the life she has.

In 1985, they land at Opal Beach for the entire summer. In a town divided, Maureen is even outside the Townies group. But she makes a friend, falls for a wealthy family’s youngest son and believes she has found someplace she can put down roots.

But Maureen has misjudged the situation and one day she just isn’t there anymore. No one talks about it, but everyone knows about it.

Decades after Maureen, Allison Simpson is offered a house-sitting position for one of the wealthy couples in Opal Beach, after offering her husband and his girlfriend an umbrella while on the air doing the weather! Oh yes, our Allison has caught her husband cheating and isn’t afraid to air her dirty laundry in public. Even if it means losing her job. Which is a given.

Now she’s divorced, with no job and living with her sister. She has nothing to lose by digging into the local intrigue. And then odd gifts begin to show up at her door. Is Maureen alive? Does someone want Allison to investigate this?

What she quickly learns is these people have dark secrets and have no intention of letting her live to tell the tale!

Really good characters. Very human and scarily real.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ October 1st, 2019 by Graydon House/ Harlequin Mystery

 

 

Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan

Christmas Cow Bells (A Buttermilk Creek Mystery #1)

Christmas Cow Bells is the first in a new series called Buttermilk Creek Mystery Series.

Bryan is the author of several Cozy Mystery Series that I grab as soon as I see them!

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the lovely town of Shenandoah Springs. Brynn MacAlister has heart troubles. Heartbreak troubles that is. A change of scene is just what she needs. Along with her three cows, she settles in and begins the next chapter of her life as an organic small dairy farmer and cheesemaker.

With the town upset over Petunia’s loud mooing and mourning over her stillborn calf, Brynn is trying to find out how her neighbor died in a fire that is very suspicious.

Is this town not ready for any type of change? Because it’s beginning to look a lot like NO. And when things begin to happen on her own farm, the small town is quickly losing its charm.

Will Brynn even be alive at Christmas?

I would say that this is a solid first book in the series. I’m hoping some questions will be answered in the next book. The setting is just what you would expect in a Virginia farm town. And while some of the characters are a bit harsh, that really is life in a small town. Not everyone is nice and polite. But they were interesting and that’s what counted with me. Also the cheese. Probably a lot of the cheese.

Well Done!

NetGalley/September 24th, 2019 by Kensington

 

MOSAIC by CARO RAMSEY

Mosaic

Oh my! What a puzzle this was. A true mystery of Why?, When?, Who? What??

Set in Scotland on a huge estate bordering the Brenbrae and the Tentor Woods, dark, dangerous fairy pools that will suck you in and never let go. The rumors in town are that the family is all mad. Maybe too much inbreeding in the past. There are so many suicides there is always a rope on the hanging tree.

For the Melvick’s life has been good. They have a mansion and all the money in the world. But they are all just a bit off.  Megan is deaf from some mysterious thing that happened to her as a child. So we think. Melissa is out of control crazy. Her mother left when Megan was 17 and hasn’t been heard from since.

Megan left for the city and a job her father set her up in and a shrink he also set her up with.  Now she must return home. After three years because her sister, Melissa, is dying. Her sister manages only one word before she passes. Sorry. But for what? Being a horrible sister and an all-around jerk? Or for something more sinister.

This tale has more secrets than a priest! You could feel the tension from page one and it didn’t let up. I was late for an appointment because I couldn’t stop reading.

Told in Megan’s voice as well as Carla’s voice. Carla was Megan’s only friend as well as a protector. And on Melissa’s wedding night she was killed.

There was a lot of gaslighting going on here and I wasn’t sure if any of them were stable! Is Megan truly losing her mind in the family tradition? Or is someone making her believe she is?

Full of chilling secrets, backstabbing, murder, child abuse and some magic this was one I will read again!

Very Well Done!

NetGalley/ Severn House Publishers October 1,2019

 

 

 

 

OKLAHOMA BOOK FEST 2019

Since I am not a native Oklahoman, but a Georgia/Mississippi girl, I couldn’t imagine any authors of note coming all the way to Oklahoma. At the same time as the State Fair, which always means days of rain. But boy was I in for a surprise! So in the pouring down rain and winds, off we went to the Boathouse District, hoping people would come out. Well you know book people, we don’t care if it’s a tornado, we’re going to get our books signed!

I’ve been looking forward to this for months now. As soon as I heard Scott Pelley and Anne Hillerman were going to headline, brought to us by the lovely Jane Anne Jayroe, an Oklahoma native who has had a huge impact in many areas. She met Scott Pelley working as a young on-air reporter in Dallas. He also married a Jane from a small Oklahoma town. She has been Miss Oklahoma, Miss America and worked for former Governor Frank Keating. She’s involved in everything and is a beautiful person.

    Here is Jane introducing Scott and his book. He was such a good sport about the weather! And he made me cry like a baby, but so did his book. We were sitting between the former governor and Jane. At the end of his reading and chat he said, “I’ve never been to a tent revival, but I guess now I have!” And then proceeded to be gracious and had people standing in a long line for books. I did not stand in line as I had the book.

Then look who I bumped into! Our own author from Norman,OK, Eileen Hobbs who writes great children’s books.

   She is used to our crazy weather and wasn’t in the least fazed! The grands love this series!

Since I had just finished Sheila Robert’s “A Christmas From The Heart”, I had to go see Sheila!

What a sweetheart. All the way from Seattle, she’s used to rain but I was thrilled that she came to again, Oklahoma! What a gracious and lovely lady!

I had two ulterior motives for throwing in with this festival. The red double-decker coffee bus and the 100% Vegan food truck. And I was not disappointed!

   Plato’s Provisions is a truck I’ve been trying to pin down for a bit now. Now I have a schedule. The food is fresh, plentiful and delicious! And the people are so nice! Now you know OU Boy isn’t eating this. Oh no, he went to the hotdog truck, which doesn’t deserve a picture.

   Our version of a London double-decker bus! And yes you can sit up top! Junction Coffee. Seriously the best coffee I have ever had! Better than Starbucks. And again, I got their schedule!

We ran by the Farmer’s Market on the way home to change out of rain clothes and into “it’s hot as hell and humid” clothes.

Wildflowers from Urban Co-op 

The Urban Agrerion sells produce and products from local sources only. OU Boy found a perfectly ripe cantaloupe and I grabbed a gorgeous little bouquet of wildflowers, sunflowers, and herbs. Smells delish!

And finally, I tried doing a video. Just scanning the entire area and apparently, I forgot it was on. So that part at the end was some college kid staring me down over my FSU hoodie. If you didn’t already know my first language is sarcasm, you will shortly.

“Cilka’s Journey” by Heather Morris, author of The “Tattooist of Auschwitz”

Cilka's Journey

The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.

Cilka is mentioned in the first book and now we have facts of her life blended with some fiction to fill in the question of Who was Cilka Klein?

She was only sixteen when she and her mother and sisters were taken. In 1942, she arrives at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Already a beautiful young woman, her looks do not go unnoticed by the Commandant, Schwarzhuber, who separates her from the other women. Her job is to look after the sick and dying women who will be taken to the gas chamber. She knows these women hate her. She hates herself. In this place, in order to survive, you had to use whatever power you had. And hers was her beauty and ability to compartmentalize everything she had to do.

When the camp is liberated Cilka is sentenced to prison for sleeping with the enemy. Literally. This did not sit well with me. How unfair was that? At 16 you do what you need to do to stay alive. After all of the suffering and now she is being sent to Siberia for 15 years.

Once there, a young, female doctor takes her under her as an apprentice nurse. Cilka is good at this work and forms bonds with the doctor and the nurses. Using her privileged position to help the other women in her hut. She is especially taken with one man in the ward. But will she ever be free? Will she ever know the love she deserves?

This story is part true, part fictional. But the facts are there. It was difficult to read and the images in my head will always be there. The brutality of the enemy along with the equal brutality of fellow prisoners. It was heartbreaking and beautifully written and I will never forget Cilka’s Journey!

NetGalley/ October 1st, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

 

Craftedleaf Tea Review!

Recently I was introduced to Craftedleaf-Tea on IG. They sent me so many great samples and the packaging is wonderful. I have been searching for a good Puerh that doesn’t taste like dirt. The tea in our area is almost always in a bag looking like dust and tasting like dust.

Not this company! The type of tea is handwritten on each resealable pouch. The leaves are big and plentiful. My first try was the 2017 Ba Da Shan Wild Tree Raw Puerh. On the back is a label telling me this came from Yunnan. Picked in the Spring of 2017 at an altitude of 1800m. The bud to leaf ratio is 1 bud: 1/2 leaf. Caffeine is less than 20 percent of coffee.

There are directions for the Gong Fu Style and the Western Style. I followed the directions and let it steep 3 minutes. Took a sip and let it steep for another minute.

It was so mellow. The grassiness with the floral notes was perfect. It was the best I have ever tried. I was able to get 6 steepings out of it without any of the quality of flavor being lost. So yes, this is a winner!

And so is this book Ascenders by C.L.Gaber!  A high school for the undead? Yep!

Have a great Thursday and try something new today!

xx P

The BAKESHOP at PUMPKIN and SPICE by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, Allyson Charles

The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice

Every autumn, Moonbright, Maine, is the picture of charm with its piles of crisp leaves, flickering jack-o’-lanterns … and a touch of the sweetest kind of enchantment.

This was such a magical read. All happening in one town, Moonbright, Maine, affectionately known as Halloweentown! They pull out all the stops for the parade and festivals. Everyone is involved and at the center is Bellaluna’s Bakeshop. A magical bakeshop passed down from mother to daughter for generations, now being run by Bree and her Grandmother.

Three stories set in the same town at the same time. One starring Bree herself, who is beginning to think the magic gene has skipped her, along with two other ladies who thought they knew what they wanted until a bit of magic snuck into their lives.

This was a charming collaboration from three very talented women and it works so well. It is one of those curl up with a Pumpkin Spice Latte’ and a sugar cookie and feel all the warm feels!

Well Done!

NetGalley/  August 27th, 2019 by Kensington