Thursday, March 31, 2011

In my Library Bookbag....

My ship has come in... actually a semi cute guy in a brown truck.  Three new books have come in that I have been waiting for.

 Sticky Fingers by Nancy Martin is the sequel to Our Lady of Immaculate Deception. This series is about Roxy Abruzzo, a salvage yard owner in PA whose uncle is "connected".  Roxy is a single mom who is just trying to make a semi honest living. The series has lots of humor and an interesting mystery as well.  If you have read any of the Blackbird Sisters mysteries, Roxie is related to Michael Abruzzo from that series.

Anthem for Doomed Youth by Carola Dunne is the 19th book in the Daisy Dalrymple mystery series. Set in England during the 1920's, Daisy is an "Honorable" married to Alec Fletcher, a Detective Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard. This series is a great look at the roaring 20's in England with all of the class distinctions, new social mores, and industrial growth of the times. Alec is constantly frustrated by Daisy's inadvertent involvement in his cases-his superiors go ballistic -but his aides enjoy every minute. One of my favorite series, because I love all things British and mysteries as well. The books are really well researched, as I discovered when I went to England after reading her book set in the Tower of London, and I knew all kinds of facts that the Beefeaters were telling us on the tour!  We have most of the earlier books so you can start from the beginning and read them in order.

Mobbed by Carol Higgins Clark is book # 14 in the Regan Reilly series. Regan is a Private Investigator married to Jack Reilly, a member of the NYPD Major Case Squad. Regan's mom is a mystery writer ( like Carol's mom). Regan has solved murders on her own , with her parents, and with her husband.  Carol has written five holiday themed books with her mother, Mary Higgins Clark,some  that feature Regan and  Alvirah Meehan from her mom's books. This is another series in which we have the earlier books both in book form and some in audio. 

Well, I guess I know what I am doing this weekend! Reviews to follow....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crunch Time (Goldy Schulz # 16) by Diane Mott Davidson

Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz cooks up big trouble as she tries to help her longtime friend and fellow chef Yolanda Garcia. When the rental house shared by Yolanda and her irrepressible aunt Ferdinanda is destroyed by arson, the pair moves in with cop-turned-PI Ernest McLeod. But then Ernest is shot dead and his house is set on fire, nearly killing Goldy, Yolanda, Ferdinanda, and nine beagle puppies that Ernest recently rescued from a puppy mill.
Concerned for her friends, Goldy invites them to stay with her while the sheriff's department investigates. Yet even Goldy's house isn't safe and, after a failed break-in by an unknown intruder, a policeman is assigned to keep an eye on things. The action really starts to rev after a second body turns up. Swapping her chef's hat for a sleuthing cap, the intrepid Goldy turns detective. But she's got to move fast. It's crunch time to close in on a killer, before he can close in on her. (Synopsis from Barnes &

Goldy Schulz, owner of Goldilocks Catering in Aspen Meadow CO, has her work cut out for her in the latest culinary mystery by Diane Mott Davidson. Goldy's assistant Yolanda has broken off her relationship with wealthy Kris Nielsen, followed by her apartment being burned to the ground.  She moved in with local PI Ernest McLeod, but he has been murdered. Goldy, Yolanda, and her Cuban refugee aunt Ferdinanda, are at  McLeod's house when a mysterious bald man lobs molotov cocktails into the house and boom! another house gone.  Tom, Goldy's husband, is an investigator for the Sheriff's department and has suspicions about Yolanda's involvement.  Goldy convinces him to let the two women stay with them for a short period of time. Of course, Goldy can't keep her nose out of the murder and the mayhem commences.

Add in nine adorable Beagle puppies, mysterious house breaking adulterers, and missing gold and diamonds from a Cuban refugee family, and the plot becomes quite complicated. Tom continues to be a big lovable guy who worries about his inquisitive wife. Son Arch is now in high school and has become a fencing aficionado.  Goldy's best friend,Marla ( the second wife of Goldy's deceased first husband, commonly known as "the jerk") has a significant role in this book. Ferdinanda is an interesting character with lots of spunk even though she is wheelchair bound after a hit and run accident. I loved her snarky comments throughout the book.  There are several secondary characters who add the red herrings but it all comes together in the end. As always, Ms. Davidson has done a great job of combining all the elements much like the yummy recipes at the end of the book. Fans of the series will enjoy this book.  My only negative- we didn't see enough of Julian, Goldy's former apprentice.

Library note: This book will be available in the NEW Adult book section after April 5. The earlier books in the series are in the Mystery section.  Some are available on CD Audiobook as well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Breaking the Rules (Troubleshooters#16) by Suzanne Brockmann

Izzy Zanella wasn’t looking for another reason to butt heads with his Navy SEAL teammate, and nemesis, Danny Gillman. But then he met Danny’s beautiful younger sister, Eden. When she needed it most, he offered her a place to stay, a shoulder to cry on—and more. And when she got pregnant with another man’s child, he offered her marriage. But Eden’s devastating miscarriage shattered their life together—and made the intense bad blood between Izzy and Danny even worse.
Now Eden’s back, and she’s on a mission to rescue her teen brother, Ben, from their abusive stepfather. Even if she and Izzy can prove that their broken marriage is still in one piece, winning legal custody of Ben is a long shot. But they’re not alone: Danny and his girlfriend, Jenn, offer to help, and he and Izzy agree to bury the past and fight for Ben’s future.
As they plan their strategy, Izzy and Eden grapple with the raw passion that still crackles between them—while Danny and Jenn confront new depths in their own rocky relationship. But events take a terrifying turn after Ben befriends a girl fleeing a child prostitution ring. When the young runaway seeks refuge with Eden and Izzy, her pursuers kidnap Ben—and a deadly standoff begins. Now they must all pull together like never before and strike back, swift and hard, to protect their unconventional little family and everything they hold most precious. ( Synopsis from Barnes &

I couldn't wait for this  book to come out as I have read all 16 books in the Troubleshooters series and all 11 of the Tall Dark and Dangerous Series which is being reissued by HQN. Both are series which feature Navy SEALs, and FBI agents. This latest book continues the story of Izzy Zanella and Eden Gillman, who married when she became pregnant by another man and separated when Eden miscarried. Add to the mix Eden's brother Danny, who is in Izzy's SEAL unit and isn't exactly his best bud. Danny has issues of his own with his quasi-girlfriend JenniLynn, a full figured aide to a NY politico. Danny & Izzy get injured during a mission and all four are brought together.

Izzy and Eden have to start communicating with each other before they can decide whether to move on together or separately. Eden is working as a dancer, trying to raise money so she can provide a place for her 15 year old brother to live.  Ben is haunted by bad experiences in New Orleans during Katrina, has diabetes, and is targeted by his stepfather because he is gay. Eden is frantic about keeping him safe and realizes she needs help from both Izzy and Danny. All four of the adults need to work together to help Ben and it isn't easy.

There is a sublot involving child prostitution that adds a little more tension to the story. It is fast paced and you have to pay attention to keep up with the plot. Just like her earlier books in the series, the action is realistic and the characters are true to life. Although the hits keep on coming  and it seems overwhelming at points, the plot never becomes overblown.  It's a nailbiter right to the end. And I love that my favorite character,Jules the FBI man, gets a brief part of the action. As usual, Ms. Brockmann has little bits of humor throughout the book which helps keep the reader focused on the people.

Library note: This book is available in the NEW book section after 3-29-11. Ms. Brockmann's earlier books are also available at RPL in both book and audio format.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Already Home by Susan Mallery- Couldn't put it down!

After nearly a decade as a sous-chef in a trendy eatery, Jenna is desperate for a change. She's supported her ex-husband's dreams for so long that she can't even remember her own. Until she sees a for-lease sign near her parents' home and envisions her very own cooking store.
Her crash course in business is aided by a streetwise store manager and Jenna's adoptive mother. But just as she's gaining a foothold in her new life, in walk her birth parents—aging hippies on a quest to reconnect with their firstborn.
Now Jenna must figure out how to reconcile the free-spirited  Serenity and Tom with her traditional parents, deal with her feelings for a new love interest and decide what to do about her ex's latest outrageous request. In the end, Jenna will find that there is no perfect family, only the people we love…. (Synopsis from Barnes &

Susan Mallery has written a wonderful story about families, love and loss. Jenna is a chef who has lost her confidence in herself,  in a large part to her soon to be ex-husband.  He has thrown away their marriage, cheated on her, and bullied her into believing she is a lousy chef. She moves back to her Texas hometown and impulsively decides to open an exclusive cookery store- Grate Expectations.  Fortunately for her, she hires Violet to be her first employee. Violet has had to make some tough choices to survive and she too has a low sense of self esteem. She has the retail skills that Jenna lacks and comes to the rescue when uber structured Jenna's first day goes awry. The two women work together, begin again, and make a success of the business. Jenna, who is adopted, is thrown for a loop when her birth parents make an appearance in her store with no advance warning.

From that point on a large part of the story becomes one about the  issues of adoption from all of the sides- the birth parents, the adoptive parents and the person in the center of it all. Ms. Mallery skillfully lets us into the feelings of all three parts of the triangle, good and bad. Just when you think things are going a little too sweetly, reality bites!  Jenna and Violet have to deal with their  issues about families, relationships and their own self worth.  They move forward and then old patterns of behavior/fears hold them back.

Jenna has too much family to deal with- two sets of  parents and  new siblings, while Violet has her issues with the lack of family in her life. There is joy and sadness in both of their lives but they work through it. I liked the strong friendship that developed between them and how they were able to open themselves up for  new love in their life on many levels.

I can always count on Susan Mallery for a good read and this book does not disappoint.  Have your tissues ready- you will need them. There are some pretty yummy sounding recipes at the end of the book as an added bonus.

Library note: this book will be available at RPL after March 29 and will be shelved in the new paperback section.  We have several other books by Susan Mallery in regular print ,large print, and as audiobooks on CD.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Thoughts on Being a Book Addict

I am listening to a book on CD called  The Perfect Proposal by an English author named Katie Fforde.  I started reading her books in 2000, beginning with a book titled Thyme Out ( Second Thyme Around in the UK) and I was hooked.  I now own all 17 of her books in hardcover and have most of them in audio as well.

When my daughter was student teaching in London, and I had a chance to visit her, I don't know if I was more excited to see her or get to a book store for my first audiobook of Ms. Fforde's. Just kidding ..... As it turned out, I did get one book there but I was able to get most of her older audiobooks from area libraries.  Who knew!  I even found some of the really old ones on Ebay on tape which I converted to CD with my computer.  I just ordered her new book from Amazon UK because it will take a year to get here to the US and I can't wait that long.

Katie Fforde is one of my book addictions- I still check Ebay daily for the audio version of two of her books that I haven't been able to get. I stayed up one night until 3AM to beat out another bidder on an auction from the UK that closed at that awful hour.  The really bad thing is that when I went over there to see my daughter, I emailed Ms. Fforde to see if she was doing a book talk anywhere in the London area during the dates I was there.  She was very nice and responded back that, alas, she was not going to be in the area during that time.  She was probably thinking- "dodged that crazy American stalker". Oh well, there is always next time.
Just a note,on the back of the CD it says: "the author asserts their moral rights", which is the UK version of a copyright statement.  Gotta love those Brits!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Emily and Einstein-Linda Francis Lee

He was a man who didn’t deserve a second chance. But he needed one…

Emily and her husband Sandy Portman seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building.  But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident.  The funeral isn't even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment.  But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies. 
Suddenly Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was . . . all the while feeling that somehow he isn't really gone.  Angry, hurt, and sometimes betrayed by loving memories of the man she lost, Emily finds comfort in a scruffy dog named Einstein.  But is Einstein's seemingly odd determination that she save herself enough to make Emily confront her own past?  Can he help her find a future—even after she meets a new man? ( Synopsis from Barnes &

I am a big Linda Francis Lee fan. Her previous novels combine romance and humor and are the kind you say-oh that was cute- when you are done reading them.  Not so this novel, which makes you  think about your preception of people. The premise- wife cheated on, nasty in laws, husband trying for redemption, has been done before. This book, however, took it to another level. Emily has been cheated on, but she was so oblivious to problems in the marriage that you want to give her a good talking to. Sandy, the deceased husband, is so self absorbed you don't feel sorry for his death in the beginning of the book. Sandy's mother is a bit of a stereotype, but in this book it works.

All of the characters have to grow up and see the reality of the world around them. Emily has a chance to become a person who confronts her problems rather than creating a happy little fantasy world. She gets a second chance for happiness and it's based on a real understanding of her feelings and what the other person is all about.  Sandy has to learn that he was so selfish that he caused his own unhappiness and didn't care about causing other's as well. Being reincarnated as a dog is perfect because he was a dog as a human! Appropriately, he becomes more human as a dog than he was as a man. It's a hard lesson for him to learn and he doesn't get it right the first couple of times. And, we learn why the nasty  MIL became that way.

I have to say that this book made me cry. Even though the characters were not totally sympathetic, I found myself rooting for them- even the nasty  MIL. The ending was satisfying on many levels.

Library note: This book is available in the Adult New Book Section at RPL. I recommend reading  The Ex-Debutante by the same author-it's hilarious!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It Happened One Season- Anthology

We asked our readers what story they would most like to see from four bestselling authors. They responded . . .
A handsome hero returns from war, battle-scarred and world-weary. But family duty calls and he must find a bride.
A young lady facing yet another season without a suitor never expects to find herself the object of his affections.
It Happened One Season
Four amazing talents

Stephanie Laurens Mary Balogh Jacquie D'Alessandro and Candice Hern
have come together to create one of the most unforgettable events of the year. The results are spectacular—each story is as unique as a lover's first kiss. (Synopsis from Barnes & Noble. com)

It happened one Season is an anthology of stories from four historical romance writers. The basic premise for all of the stories is the same. All of the hero’s are second sons and heirs, their older brothers have only daughters, and there can be no more children.  The younger son’s must all go on the marriage mart and marry quickly to ensure the succession away from an unworthy relative.  It could have been a boring book but all four authors came through with a unique spin on the story that made it enjoyable to read.
The first story is The Seduction of Sebastian Trantor by Stephanie Laurens.  Sebastian, who was a code reader in the army, is taking a respite from a crowded ballroom. Into the study where he sits, sneaks in Miss Tabitha Makepeace. She is looking for information about a blackmailer who is threatening two of her friends and wonders aloud about a sequence of letters she finds. When Sebastian speaks up and states that it is a code, the relationship begins. In order to work together, they must become engaged in order to spend time together.
The second story is Only Love by Mary Balogh. Widow Cleo Pritchard believes her future is set with no happy marriage in sight and a life of being alone and unloved. Major Jack Gilchrist has been charged by his older brother to find a wife. Both had met before during the wars and never forgot each other.  It seems the perfect solution to get married, but she has doubts about her ability to conceive after five years in a childless marriage.  She proposes that they get engaged but call it off if she cannot prove her ability to have a child.
In  Hope Springs Eternal by Jacquie D’Alessandro, Alex Trentwell has taken a secret caretaker role with Miss Penelope Markham after the death of her brother under his command.  After she loses her governess position due to the discovery of a scandalous art work she made, he makes a point of finding her and trying to help.  Her reputation precludes any other offers of a position. His guilt over the circumstances of her brother’s death prods him to offer marriage. 
The final story is Fate Strikes a Bargain by Candice Hern. Nathanial Beckwith has been told by his older brother that he must take a bride and have children to secure the inheritance. At a ton event he meets Phillippa Reynolds a young lady with a noticeable limp. Despite her physical difficulties she is a charming young lady and Nathanial decides to propose to her. She is anxious to live a full life in spite of her family smothering her with concern.  He is having a hard time getting used to civilian life and has residual issues due to his wartime experiences.
All of the novellas work together. The book was a good read with each story offering something different. The plot device works in all of the stories without being stale. There wasn’t a weak offering in any of the four parts. I have long been a fan of Stephanie Laurens and Mary Balogh. I own all of their books. I am new to Jacquie D’Alessandro and Candice Hern.  The great thing about an anthology is that it gives you a chance to read a new author.  I am adding two new ones to my must read list.  Thanks to Netgalley for the advance eBook.
Library note: This  book will be available at RPL after 4-1-11. Books by Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, and Jacquie D'Alessandro may be checked out now.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Murder at Longborn by Tracy Kiely

Planning New Year’s resolutions to rid her life of all things unhealthy, Elizabeth Parker has dumped fatty foods, processed sugar, and her two-timing boyfriend. Indeed, the invitation to join her Aunt Winnie for a How to Host a Murder Party on New Year’s Eve at Winnie’s new Cape Cod B and B comes just in time. But when the local wealthy miser ends up the unscripted victim, Elizabeth must unearth old secrets and new motives in order to clear her beloved aunt of suspicion. The suspects include the town gossip, a haughty rich woman, and an antiques business owner much enamored of his benefactress, a Mrs. Kristell Dubois. If that isn’t bad enough, Elizabeth must also contend with her childhood nemesis, Peter McGowan---a man she suspects has only matured in chronological years---and her suspicions about his family’s interest in Winnie’s inn.

Yesterday, her only worry was of ever finding her Mr. Darcy. Now she has a murder to solve. Is it any wonder her resolution to achieve inner poise is in tatters? (synopsis from

As a die hard Jane Austen fan, I will read anything that relates to her books.  Being a mystery fan as well, this book was made for me!  Loosely following Pride and Prejudice, this mystery is set in Cape Cod with Elizabeth Parker having the Elizabeth Bennet part.  Elizabeth's aunt Winnie is a feisty senior who owns a B&B in an old house coveted by a local man hated by almost everyone who knows him. One of Winnie's guests is an antique dealer who keeps going on and on about his oh so tasteful patron, Mrs. Dubois. Shades of Mr. Collins! There is also a  rich and abrasive widow with the obligatory mousy companion(who is an impoverished friend). We meet the young wife of the hateful man and his downtrodden daughter who are somehow involved with a  dashing Brit. Finally, we have our Mr. Darcy in the form of Peter, the childhood tormenter of the young Elizabeth. He is now the hunky heir to a successful hotel business and a friend of Winnie's.

Although the characters sound formulaic, the story is very cleverly done. The murder takes place during a murder mystery performance and the evidence mounts up against Winnie. There are subplots involving the murdered man's previous but now dead wife. Red herrings abound but it all works. The story moves along nicely and there is only a hint of romance.

This is the first book in a  series by Ms. Kiely. The second book is called Murder on the Bride's Side,and follows Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Library note: RPL has Murder at Longborn ( 2009) in the Adult Large Print section. Murder on the Bride's Side  (2010) is available in Adult Mysteries.  The third book in the series  will come out in August of 2011.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Two must have websites for fiction readers!

If you are like me and you read lots of books that are part of a series, I have two resources for you. I use both of these in the library. I absolutely HATE to read books in a series out of order so I refer to these all the time.
1. The first site  is Fantastic Fiction This is from the UK but they cover all of the major and even lesser known US authors.  You type in the author's name and you will get lists of their books by series in chronological order.  They also have the author's upcoming books. I especially like the list they include of authors who write similar style books.

2. The second site is Stop You're Killing Me . This is a mystery site. They also list authors books in chronological order with the upcoming one at the end. Each page is easy to print and bring to the library or bookstore to keep track of what you have read by a particular author. On the home page, they have a month by month list of upcoming books.  I subscribe to their email newsletter and it always has useful information such as award nominated mysteries or new authors.

Hope you find these sites helpful!