September 29, 2012

Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #3)

Title: Death by the Dozen (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #3)
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Given to me by a friend
Published: Berkley, October 4, 2011
Type:  Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780425244050
Synopsis of Book: Melanie and Angie are determined to win the Challenge to the Chef to promote their Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery. Mel's mentor from culinary school, Vic Mazzotta, may be one of the judges, but Mel and Angie will have to win fair and square. But, when Vic's dead body is found inside a freezer truck, Mel and Angie will need to use their best judgment to find the cold-blooded killer or they may lose more than the contest- they may lose their lives.  
Why I Read This Book: I have been reading this whole series with a friend and could not wait to continue with it.
What I liked: I liked how Melanie always seems to get herself tied up in solving the murder. I also liked the addition of Oz - I think I am going to like him. Jenn's writing style seems to flow to me and makes me not want to put the book down.
What I didn't Liked: I miss the old man from the second book, I hope he returns in the next book.
Overall Impression: Well Melanie and Angie seem to have found themselves mixed up in a murder again with finding Vic on ice. I enjoy the Melanie and Angie work together but at the same time Melanie works by herself to solve the murder. To explain: when things get real hairy Angie is there to make sure Melanie is going to be safe but it seems Melanie does a little more of the digging to figure out what happened. Melanie and Joe seem to be getting a little more settled in their relationship and the little kitten seems to help that along. We have another new edition to this book and it is Oz the high school intern. When he was first introduced I was not sure I was going to like him but he is growing on me and I hope to see more of him in the next book. Olivia - what can I say about her other than she is even nuttier in this book than the last one - but it is fun to see what she is going to come up with next to try to stop Fairy Tale Cupcakes from succeeding. I did not see the murderer until the very end in this book and that is good as it kept me guessing. The bad thing I found myself staying up late just to get a few more pages in as I could not put the book down. I loved the whole baking competition in this book, I love watching those types of shows so I thought it was great to include it in the book and it was fun to hear a little about the people Melanie went to school with. Another good addition to this series and I look forward to reading #4 next month. 5 Stars.

September 22, 2012

Pleating for Mercy by Melissa Bourbon (Magical Dressmaking #1)

Title: Pleating for Mercy (Magical Dressmaking #1)
Author: Melissa Bourbon
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Bought
Published: Signet, August 2, 2011
Type:  Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780451234360
Synopsis of Book:When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's boss turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond.
Why I Read This Book: I saw this book online and thought it looked like a fun book to read. I also read it along with my friend.
What I liked: I liked the "gifts" that Harlow and the females each had and the fact that they were each a different gift. I liked that they "gifts" were not witchcraft to me. I also like Gracie who Harlow is going to teach how to sew and is the daughter of Will - who I think in future books will become the love interest.
What I didn't Liked: I can't think of anything that I did not like about this book
Overall Impression: I enjoyed that this was a fun fast book to read. Harlow was not real sure about coming home to Bliss but then the longer she is home she more she is glad she did. Her Meemaw has passed away and left her the family home which Harlow turns into her dressmaking shop. From the beginning Meemaw communicates to Harlow from beyond and it is fun the way Harlow is learning about that. Harlow gets a big job making four dresses for a wedding for a well known family. The night after the whole wedding party plus a few extras show up at the shop one of the bridesmaids ends up dead in Harlow's yard. Before you know it Harlow finds herself involved in trying to solve who killed Nell in her yard. Follow Harlow along her journey to solve the crime and to get to know the townspeople all over again. Oh and don't forget the handsome Will who Meemaw made arrangements with to do handywork around the shop before she passed. I am anxious to see how Will and Harlow's relationship continues to grow which is just what Meemaw would have wanted.  I look forward to continuing on with this series. 5 stars. 

September 13, 2012

One Little Christmas Tree by The Curto Family & Rusty Fischer

  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Good Times At Home LLC (August 6, 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984033812
Synopsis of book: Alfred is a young tree at Carl's Christmas Tree Farm in beautiful Spruce Creek, North Carolina. As all trees do, Alfred starts out with big hopes about being picked each Christmas to be a wonderfully decorated tree for the family he 'inherits.' Time passes and Alfred becomes disappointed that he has not been picked yet. To comfort him, his friend, Mr. Phipps, urges him to be patient and that one day he will be welcomed into a warm, inviting home for the perfect family. Does Alfred get his wish? Will he become a welcome addition to a loving family? Find out - read One Little Christmas Tree today!
My review: This book is a cute little story book to read with your little ones this holiday season. It is the story of a little tree named Alfred. Alfred is sad because he thinks he is too small for a loving family to take him home. As Alfred grows he learns this is not true. The next thing you know a little boy who looks sad comes by Alfred and Alfred picks him to go home with. The little boy then lights up and is very happy to have found a tree that will fit his home. Alfred is also happy that he has found a family that fits him. This is a story about patience and how there is happiness for everyone. I look forward to sharing this with my nieces and nephews this holiday season. I give it four stars. I received this book from the author for nothing more than my honest opinion of it.

September 9, 2012

Down by the River by Robyn Carr (Grace Valley #3)

Title: Down by the River
Author: Robyn Carr
Genre: Romance
Source: Paperback Swap
Published: Mira - January 1st 2010 (reprint)
Type:  Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780778326977
Synopsis of Book: June Hudson is the town's doctor, a caring, capable woman who now has a bit of explaining to do. People are beginning to notice the bloom in her cheeks—and the swell of her belly. Happily, DEA agent Jim Post is back in June's arms for good, newly retired from undercover work and ready for new beginnings here in Grace Valley.
Expecting the unexpected is a way of life in Grace Valley, and the community is overflowing with gossip right now. Who is the secret paramour June's aunt Myrna is hiding? Does the town's poker-playing pastor have too many aces up his sleeve? But when dangers, from man and nature, rise up with a vengeance to threaten June and the town, this community pulls together and shows what it's made of. And Jim discovers the true meaning of happiness here in Grace Valley: there really is no place like home.
Why I Read This Book: I read this book for two reasons, first I am a Robyn Carr fan and have read this entire series and second I read this with some of the Novel Ladies.
What I liked: I liked reading about the small town and all the residents. I also enjoyed how the people in the book felt real, this could be a town you live in or have traveled thru. 
What I didn't Liked: The ending of the book because I felt like I was moving away from my friends and would never see them again. I wanted this book/series to go on just a little longer. I would have liked to have at least one more book in this series. 
Overall Impression: I was so happy that Jim was there to stay. I liked how he gave June her time she needed to get used to him being around even though they were going to be a family soon. It was kind of funny seeing June go thru all the pregnancy issues and realizing even though she is a doctor she still needs someone to tell her about things she should know but since it is happening to her she does not see it. The town had quit a few things happen in this book that made them even closer if that is possible. I liked Myrna's little surprise she got from her pen pal. Jurea played a big part in helping out a member of the town. I really felt like I was a part of this community while reading this book and felt as if some new friends were made and old hatchets buried. I wish that Robyn Carr would have kept this series going like she did the Virgin River series, I was sad to see it end. This was actually my favorite out of the three in the trilogy. 5 stars. 

September 5, 2012

A Witch Before Dying by Heather Blake (A Wishcraft Mystery #2)

Title: A Witch Before Dying
Author: Heather Blake
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Bought
Published: Signet - August 7, 2012
Type:  Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780451237637
Synopsis of Book: When Darcy is hired by Elodie Keaton to clean up her missing mother’s disorderly home, the Wishcrafter is certainly up for the task. After all, the motto of her Aunt Ve’s personal concierge service As You Wish is “No Job Impossible.” But beneath the piles of old newspapers and knickknacks Darcy discovers something much more disturbing—Patrice Keaton’s body.
Darcy’s determined to give Elodie peace of mind by investigating her mother’s disappearance and death. Patrice was last seen over a year ago after a fight with her Charmcrafter boyfriend. Was her murder a crime of passion? Or were Patrice’s troubles caused by the Anicula, a wish-granting amulet? Now Darcy has to not only find a killer, she has to find the Anicula— before the power of ultimate wish fulfillment falls into the wrong hands…
Why I Read This Book: I wanted to continue on with this series and I read it with a friend
What I liked: I liked the cutiesness of this book and the way it made you think about how to solve the mystery.
What I didn't Liked: I know I say this a lot but since I enjoyed this book there was not much I did not like about the book. I guess if anything you can say I don't like how you know parts of the story would never happen in real life but that is why it is a fun cozy fiction book. One thing I do remember not caring for was how Mimi seemed to act a lot older than what I think she is, for some reason that stuck out in my mind as just a little off.
Overall Impression: I enjoyed reading this second installment in the wishcraft series. I liked how Darcy is learning more about her craft as we go along. I also liked how we seemed to have more than one mystery going on at the same time. Finally for once I was able to figure out part of the mystery before the very end which I enjoyed doing, even if I did not have it all figured out. There were a few new characters/townspeople that we met in this book but I enjoyed having the original characters in there and learning even a little more about them. Can you imagine have a stone that you could use to make what ever wish you wanted to come true happen? I think many people would get into trouble if they had this option as we tend to be a greedy race but oh wouldn't it be fun. Pick up this book and see what has happened to people who had this stone. This book also had a few love stories going on it and that was nice to read about. I was very surprised by one of our "criminals" in this book, I would have never guessed that person would do something wrong. Mimi is also learning a little more about her craft and life in general. All in all a good book and can't wait to see what happens in the next book. 4 Stars. 

Written in the Ashes by K. Hollan Van Zandt

Come join the Virtual Book Blog Tour for K. Hollan Van Zandt's new book Written in the Ashes

Title: Written in the Ashes
Author: K. Hollan Van Zandt
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: asked to review
Published: Balboa Press - July 13, 2011
Type:  e-book
Synopsis of Book: Who burned the Great Library of Alexandria?
When the Roman Empire collapses in the 5th century, the city of Alexandria, Egypt is plagued with unrest. Paganism is declared punishable by death and the populace splinters in religious upheaval.
Hannah, a beautiful Jewish shepherd girl is abducted from her home in the mountains of Sinai and sold as a slave in Alexandria to Alizar, an alchemist and successful vintner. Her rapturous singing voice destines her to become the most celebrated bard in the Great Library.
Meanwhile, the city’s bishop, Cyril, rises in power as his priests roam the streets persecuting the pagans. But while most citizens submit, a small resistance fights for justice.
Hypatia, the library’s charismatic headmistress, summons her allies to protect the world’s knowledge from the escalating violence. Risking his life, his family, and his hard-earned fortune, Alizar leads the conspiracy by secretly copying the library’s treasured manuscripts and smuggling them to safety.
When Hannah becomes the bishop’s target, she is sequestered across the harbor in the Temple of Isis. But an ancient ceremonial rite between a monk and priestess inside the Pharos lighthouse ignites a forbidden passion.
Torn between the men she loves, Hannah must undertake a quest to the lost oracles of Delfi and Amun-Ra to find the one thing powerful enough to protect the pagans: The Emerald Tablet.
Meanwhile, the Christians siege the city, exile the Jews, and fight the dwindling pagan resistance as the Great Library crumbles.
But not everything is lost. . .
Why I Read This Book: I was asked to review this book for the book tour and I enjoy historical fiction. So I decided to give it a try as it looked like a book that would be right up my alley and I am glad I did.
What I liked: I liked all the historical references in the book and that it made me feel like I was there at times. I also liked how the author wrote the book to really get your interest going.  I also liked how descriptive she was so I could really see things that were happening and what it would have been like to be in that time period.
What I didn't Liked: I did not like that the library was burned as it would have been and was a great place. Other than that I can’t really think of anything that I did not like except too that now we have to wait for the next book.
Overall Impression: Since I am a fan of historical fiction I was immediately drawn to this book. This ws the first I have heard about the Library of Alexandria until I read this book so it was nice to learn something about a part of history I knew nothing of. Now I want to know more. I would suggest if you are a fan of historical fiction to give this book a try. There was a lot of history to be learned here the auther did a very good job of it and kept you wanting more. I also enjoyed the little tidbits at the end where we were told what was true. 

I have to say I felt for Hannah being ripped from her family and sold as a slave, can you imagine how horrible that must have been. She was a strong girl and I thought it showed in her character. I also enjoyed reading about the quest for the Emerald Tablet and the legend behind it. I also liked learning a little about Hypatia of Alexandria. I have not heard of her before, she is now another person I must find out more about. I am glad I took the time to read this book.  5 stars