Monday, May 30, 2016

The Mother by Yvvette Edwards - #review


From the critically acclaimed author of A Cupboard Full of Coats comes a provocative novel of a mother enduring the loss of her child, illuminating some of the most important and troubling issues of our time.

Marcia’s husband, Lloydie, expresses his tender love for his wife each morning by preparing a cup of tea and setting it by her bedside. This routine was part of the wonderful, secure life they had built, complete with a brilliant and handsome sixteen-year-old son, Ryan.

Then the unimaginable happens, and in a single moment Marcia is stripped clean of everything she had presumed was hers for keeps. Ryan, not the kind of boy to find himself on the wrong end of a knife, is brutally murdered. Consumed by grief and rage, she is forced to carry the weight of the family’s pain. She has to assume the role of supporter for her inconsolable husband, who has distanced himself and created a secret life. She must also bridle her dark feelings and endure something no mother should ever have to experience: she must go to court alone for the trial of her son’s killer, Tyson, another teenage boy. As the trial takes apart her son’s life and reassembles it in front of strangers, Marcia, always certain of Ryan’s virtues, finds her beliefs and assumptions challenged as she learns more about her son’s death and of Tyson’s life.

The Mother is a moving portrait of love, tragedy, and survival—and of the aftershocks from a momentary act of cruel violence that transforms the lives of everyone it touches.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Spring Theme Book Tag Link-up!


The categories are borrowed from Marissa, the fabulous hostess of the Spring Theme Book Tag link-up!  Click on the button to go to the sign-up page!  Spring has sprung!!!

~~~oOo~~~

1.  Spring Showers: What would spring be without the life-giving showers that are a sure sign that spring is here?  Share a book that is a quick read and sure to lift your spirits.


Artisans can reclaim exquisite beauty from the broken, frayed, and hopefully shattered--perhaps once thought beyond repair. But what about us? What of the wounds that keep us from living the life we want to live? 

In Tattered and Mended, readers walk through a gallery of reclaimed and restored art as well as broken and restored lives of those who have gone before us. With a gentle touch and personable wisdom, Cynthia Ruchti shows how even the most threadbare soul can once again find healing and hope.

My thoughts:  I received this book in July 2015from a contest co-sponsored by Litfuse Publicity and the author Cynthia Ruchti.  Included in the prize package were:  a vintage flatware key ring, a handcrafted 'broken china' charm bracelet and a recycled guitar spring bracelet.  Here's a picture:


I actually cried throughout most of the first half of the book.  I've always felt pretty tattered, even from my 'salad days' (and I guess that expression dates me!).  It was nice to know that I was not alone.  Kudos to the author for not making a 'get happy quick in ten short steps how-to' kind of book.  Those have never worked for me and I've been dealing with depression for decades now.  There's something so reassuring in hearing that God loves us, even in our broken places.  


~~~oOo~~~

2. After the showers come beautiful flowers of all colors.  Pick a book that has a pretty flower or floral pattern somewhere on the cover.


Pru Parke always dreamed of living in England. And after the Dallas native follows an impulse and moves to London, she can't imagine ever leaving--though she has yet to find a plum position as a head gardener. Now, as the sublet on her flat nears its end, the threat of forced departure looms. Determined to stay in her beloved adopted country, Pru takes small, private gardening jobs throughout the city. 

On one such gig in Chelsea, she makes an extraordinary find. Digging in the soil of a potting shed, Pru uncovers an ancient Roman mosaic. But enthusiasm over her discovery is soon dampened when, two days later, she finds in the same spot a man's bludgeoned corpse. As the London police swarm her worksite, ever inquisitive Pru can't quite manage to distance herself from the investigation--much to the dismay of stern Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse. It seems that, much as he tries, even handsome DCI Pearse can't keep Pru safe from a brutal killer who thinks she's already dug up too much.

My thoughts:  I've been a fan of Marty Wingate since I read this book back in October of 2014.  It was a little strange but I knew when I touched the book for the first time, that the story was going to be special.  And it was!  I gave The Garden Plot 5 stars.  I know for 2014 I gave out fewer 5 star reviews than can be counted on the fingers of one hand.  And I continue to follow both Wingate's "Potting Shed Mysteries" and "Birds of a Feather Mysteries" to this day.  I received this book through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

~~~oOo~~~

3.  Shades of Green: Between the grass, the leaves on the trees, and all of the new flowers, there are so many shades of green everywhere in spring.  Can you think of a book that is driven by conflict over money?


The union of England and Scotland under one crown is not even a half century old, and the Parliamentarians already threaten the very fabric of the nation. These are the adventures of highwayman Capt. James Hind who, in Robin Hood fashion, steals from the Roundheads to help fund the royalist cause. When Cromwell comes to power, James, the Prince of Prigs, must be careful whom among his treacherous “friends” he trusts.

My thoughts:  The Prince of Prigs by Anthony Anglorus is as swashbuckling as a story that's not about pirates can get!  Captain Hind is a thief and a bandit, but he does not grind the less fortunate under his heel as do some governments.  But heaven help you if you lie to him...he'll leave you stripped to your skivvies at the side of the road.  I've never been a fan of people with more of life's blessings looking down their noses at those who are not so blessed.  So books where those particular playing fields are leveled somewhat are "a ok" by me.  I received this book through Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours.

~~~oOo~~~

4.  Picnics & Strolls in the Park: After months of being stuck inside there is nothing like an escape to the park. Share a book that has an iconic scene in a park - or at least a book that has a scene in a park that was vivid to you.



The small town of Frog Ledge, Connecticut, has wholeheartedly embraced Kristan 'Stan' Connor's new business - preparing quality organic treats for dogs and cats. On a healthy diet, the animals may live longer - but one local farmer won't be so lucky. As Halloween approaches, Stan is asked to cater a doggie costume party hosted by the Happy Cow Dairy Farm. part of a local co-op, Happy Cow specializes in organic dairy products, and farmers Hal and Emmalee Hoffman have started opening up the farm for parties, offering a 'haunted' corn maze as an added attraction. When Hal's lifeless body is found in the maze, the police at first suspect his wife, but Stan soon learns the dairy farmer had plenty of enemies.

From me:  I am a huge fan of the cozy mystery genre and A Biscuit, A Casket by Liz Mugavero is a charming addition to the genre.  I get a kick out of Kristan (the MC) going by 'Stan', which confuses some people when they first meet her.  This is the second book in the "Pawsitively Organic Mystery" series, and I have also read the 4th installment, "Murder Most Finicky".  I received both books as ARC's through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

~~~oOo~~~

5.  All Things Fresh & New: Spring is the season for new, share a book that has caught your eye this season and is brand new - even if you haven't read it yet, or might not ever!


Ivy Baygren has two great loves in her life: her husband, Adam, and the bungalow they buy together in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, Utah. From the moment she and Adam lay eyes on the  home, Ivy is captivated by its quaint details—the old porch swing, ornate tiles, and especially  an heirloom rose bush bursting with snowy white blossoms.  Called the Emmeline Rose for the home’s original owner, it seems yet another sign that this place will be Ivy’s happily-ever-after…Until her dreams are shattered by Adam’s unexpected death.

Striving to be strong for her two children, Ivy decides to tackle the home-improvement projects she and Adam once planned. Day by day, as she attempts to rebuild her house and her resolve, she uncovers clues about previous inhabitants, from a half-embroidered sampler to buried wine bottles. And as Ivy learns about the women who came before her—the young Mormon torn between her heart and anti-polygamist beliefs, the Greek immigrant during World War II, a troubled single mother in the 1960s—she begins to uncover the lessons of her own journey. For every story has its sadness, but there is also the possibility of blooming again, even stronger and more resilient than before…

My thoughts so far:  This author, Ella Joy Olsen, actually contacted me and had seen online that I review books and had lived in SLC for a number of years, where Root, Petal, Thorn is set.  I am loving this story so far!  It's got the right emotional tug to it    Reading this book is like visiting the places where I grew up.  The Pie? I've eaten there.  Westminster College?  I graduated from there.   The history of houses interests me too....probably because the house we bought used to be owned by my husband's paternal grandmother.  The property has been in the family for at least a hundred years, but the house is 'new' from the 1960's, since the previous residence burned down.

***There is a GoodReads contest for this book ending on May 30th, 2016!

~~~oOo~~~

6. Running Shoes, Flip-flops, Sandals, Rain boots: You have to admit the selection for footwear goes up significantly in the Spring.  Pick a book that showcases a foot or shoe on the cover.


Meet Ruby Wisdom. Smart and sensible. Humorous and heroic. Tough and tender. As the only private investigator in tiny Wormwood, New York, Ruby handles a wide range of cases—everything from jewel heists and cheating husbands to stolen wedding gowns, kidnapped artwork and fraudulent heirs.

In HANDCUFFS & HIGH HEELS, Ruby is hired by the wife of a millionaire when the woman suspects her husband is having an affair. And he is—several of them. But when Ruby begins connecting the duplicitous dots, the deceitful spouse ends up in a much more difficult dilemma than being caught with his hands in Cookie’s jar. And that’s when the real investigation begins.

HANDCUFFS & HIGH HEELS is a cozy mystery loaded with humor, romance, memorable characters and a sleuth who knows her way around baked goods and sweet treats as well as crime scenes and tricky investigations.

My thoughts:  Having a little upholstery on myself, I can appreciate the fact that Ruby does as well.  The one (and only) time I wore heels that huge, though, I wound up being in them for about 12 hours and wound up walking a considerable distance, between the soft opening of a department store and the reception for the employees and their families that night.  So, while I don't get all the fuss with 'Manolo's' and 'Louboutin's', (I mean at those prices, I could by a car!) I am solidly in Ruby's corner.


~~~oOo~~~

Wow.  I wasn't planning on making this such a huge post!  Thanks for hanging in there with me!  Do any of these books appeal to you?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bait and Snitch by Welling and Lynn - #review


Ponderosa Pines used to be the safest place on earth.

Lately, though, EV Torrence and Chloe LaRue are wondering if their once-sleepy town has caught a ride in a handbasket–with a one-way ticket to someplace hot! When visiting attorney Stacey Hawthorne is brutally attacked, EV and Chloe launch into a new investigation–one that will expose several of their neighbors' deepest secrets.

One of those neighbors has a past, and it’s about to come back to haunt the whole town.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore - #review


In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing—and you know that can’t be good—in this delightfully weird and funny sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Dirty Job.

It seems like only yesterday that Charlie Asher took on a very dirty job—collecting souls and keeping the Forces of Darkness at bay. The new gig came with the Big Book of the Dead and a host of other oddities: creatures under the streets, an evil trinity of ravenlike Celtic death goddesses, and one very bad Underworld dude attempting to conquer humanity. Along with a cohort of other oddballs, Charlie faced off against these denizens of darkness—and met his own end. But thanks to Audrey, his Buddhist-nun boo, his soul is still alive . . . inside a fourteen-inch-high body made from lunchmeat and spare animal parts. Waiting for Audrey to find him a suitable new body to play host, Charlie has squirreled himself away from everyone, including his adorable seven-year-old daughter, Sophie, who enjoys dressing up like a princess, playing with her glitter ponies, and—being the Luminatus—spouting off about her power over the Underworld and her dominion over Death.

Just when Charlie and company thought the world was safe, some really freaky stuff hits San Francisco. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Then there’s the Taser-wielding banshee keening about doom who’s suddenly appeared while Sophie’s guardian hellhounds, Alvin and Mohammed, have mysteriously vanished.

Charlie is just as flummoxed as everyone else. To get to the bottom of this abomination, he and a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall, two-hundred-and-seventy-five-pounds-of-lean-heartache Death Merchant Minty Fresh; the retired policeman-turned-bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the lunatic Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; Mike Sullivan, a bridge painter in love with a ghost; a gentle French-speaking janitor named Jean-Pierre Baptiste; and former Goth girl Lily Darquewillow Elventhing Severo, now a part-time suicide hotline counselor.

With little Sophie babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind, time is definitely not on their side. . . .

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco - #review #giveaway


San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti’s life is turned upside down when she becomes the target of the city’s newest cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle. Driven out of her apartment in the midst of a disastrous Mercury retrograde period, she takes shelter with a client who’s caring for two elderly aunts. One aunt appears stricken with dementia and the other has fallen under the spell of the Reverend Roy. To add to the confusion, a young man claiming to be a long lost nephew arrives. The longer he stays, the more dangerous things become. Is the young man truly a member of the family? Can astrology confirm that? Julia’s not sure, but one thing she does know is that Mercury wasn’t merely the messenger of the gods—he was a trickster and a liar as well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship - #review


From the stoning of Stephen in the first-century Jerusalem to Nigerian Christians persecuted by Boko Haram in 2015, these stirring accounts will inspire greater faithfulness to the way of Jesus, reminding believers what costly discipleship looks like in any age.  Bearing Witness brings together dozens of accounts from around the world of Christians who gave witness to their faith in the face of intense persecution, even if it costs them their lives.

Monday, May 23, 2016

All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank - #review


• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 10, 2016)

In this fast-paced and evocative novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank again takes us deep into the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where three unsuspecting women are brought together by tragedy and mystery.

Lisa St. Clair knows a thing or two about weathering storms. A dedicated nurse with a healthy sense of humor, she single-handedly raised her truculent daughter, Marianne, after her ex walked out on them twenty-four years ago, sending them a lottery ticket once a year as support. One day he reappeared and lured their daughter into a dubious but lucrative venture in Colorado. Now mother and daughter aren’t speaking.

So when Kathy Harper, Lisa’s favorite patient, loses her battle with cancer, Lisa finds herself drawing closer to Carrie and Suzanne, the devoted friends who were always by Kathy’s side. As these three women’s lives inevitably connect, they share their concerns about men, getting older, and the horrors of maintaining financial stability. Suzanne’s ninety-nine-year-old grandmother, a former chanteuse, offers unexpected perspectives on the mores of the day. Carrie’s greedy ex-stepchildren are a chorus of cackling crows. And Lisa’s mother just can’t help herself as she henpecks her to distraction.

Somehow their conversations always return to the enigma of Kathy. Who was she? What did her short life mean?

As Lisa, Carrie, and Suzanne power walk the beaches of the Isle of Palms, they gradually uncover the truth of Kathy’s life and unfurl plans to secure their own futures, as fate steps in to help them discover that being single doesn’t have to mean being alone.