7/26/15

The Recipe Box by Sandra Lee


Grace Holm-D'Angelo's world is unravelling - she is having trouble at work, her teenage daughter is in a rebellious mood, and her best friend has died of cancer.  Flying home for the funeral,  Grace is confronted by her mother.  They have been estranged ever since Grace found a startling fact about her mother inside the Recipe box.

Trying to improve her daughter's behavior, Grace leaves her daughter with her mother and heads back to her job in LA  but when she hears that Emma has disappeared she heads back to found her.

The story goes on with a new romance for Grace  and a decision to return to her hometown and try a change in her future.

The story seemed very predictable and the characters very two-dimensional.

★★½

GENRE: Fiction
CHARACTERS: Grace, Emma, Ken, Brian, Leeza, Lorraine
Series/ Progress:
DATE READ: July 24 - July 25
NO. OF PAGES: 197
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, LILIES
SOURCE: Nook

7/25/15

The Walled Flower by Lorraine Bartlett




Katie Bonner has a full plate - not only does she manage the Artisan Alley, but she's been tapped by an acquaintance to step in as the Maid of Honor (the wedding is a week away) with all the accompanying duties (favors, shower, etc.) but she also has to move and she hasn't found a new apartment yet.

When making a courtesy call on new neighbors who bought an old mansion that Katie had wanted to buy and turn into a B&B, she is allowed to help with the renovations and a smack with a mallet on the  wall reveals a skeleton within.

The ensuing escapades  related to the apartment search, wedding preparations and interviews with suspects carry the reader on a bumpy ride that entertains thoroughly.

★★★

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
CHARACTERS: Katie Bonner, Janice Ryan, Rose Nash, Det. Davenport, Heather Winston, Jeremy Richards, Sylvia Donahue
Series/ Progress: Victoria Square mysteries 2/3
DATE READ: July 21 - July 24
NO. OF PAGES: 307
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Nook stockpile

7/21/15

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter



In the mid to late 19th century, it was thought that if a royal marriage was made between countries, that alliances would be forged and the European continent would be at peace.  So Queen Victoria with the numerous children that she had began marrying them off into other countries, however, things didn't work out as she planned.  Her daughter Victoria was married to the Prince of Prussia (one of the German states) but because of her strong English tendencies, she was never really accepted and her son, Wilhelm, the future Kaiser of  Germany was adamantly opposed to whatever his mother wanted.

Queen Victoria tried unsuccessful to influence German politics but because of long life of Wilhelm's grandfather and short life of his father, Wilhelm came to power early in life.  Some speculate that due to an accident at the time of his birth (he was trapped in the birth canal with one arm completely damaged and possible brain damage) Wilhelm had personality disorders which caused tantrums that last throughout his life  or it could be that he was simply spoiled as the heir and never learned  control.  English influence due to young Victoria's marriage never evolved.

Bertie, while Prince of Wales, was never allowed involvement in the government by Queen Victoria while she was alive.  He was a playboy and traveled extensively and used his charm in efforts to keep the peace in Europe.  When he finally came to throne, his relationship with his cousin Wilhelm was troubled.

Nicolas, the Tsarevich of Russia, wanted nothing to do with governing.  He never understood the plight of the serfs and felt it his due to rule even though he had very little education.

When these 3 lives collided in history with all pomp and protocol required of society of the time, they were unable to handle the changes happening in the world around them - mechanization, communication, war advancements, suffrage.  Though hey professed a desire for peace, they ultimately  part of the cause for escalation.

★★★

GENRE: History
CHARACTERS: George V of England, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Tsar Nicholas II
DATE READ: July 3 - July 20
NO. OF PAGES: 560
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Library Overdrive

7/20/15

Written in Stone by Ellery Adams


Olivia Limoges continues to expand as a character in this 4th installment of the Books by the Bay.  Olivia who formerly was totally reserved, never expressing any emotion (part of her upbringing) is learning to empathize with her friends and with newly discovered family.   

Olivia is summoned to the cabin of a witch who claims to have known her mother and there Olivia is tasked in stopping a wrong - with no details of what exactly that is.

Meanwhile, Michèl (Olivia's head chef) and Olivia were asked to be the judges at the Food Festival.  Afterward, Willis (Michel's assistant) dies suddenly from an apparent poisoning.  When Willis' sister seems to be suffering the same fate the next day, Olivia steps in quickly to prevent another murder.

The research and details that are woven throughout this mystery are astonishing and I can't wait for the next one!

★★★★

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
CHARACTERS: Olivia Limoges, Sawyer Rawlings, Talley Locklear, Judson Pace, Millay
Series/ Progress: Books by the Bay  4/7
DATE READ: July 17 - July 19
NO. OF PAGES: 304
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Nook Stockpile 

7/17/15

Read It and Weep by Jenn McKinlay



Library  Lover's Mysteries just seem to be getting better.  In this installment, Lindsay, the librarian, is helping her friend Violet with a Shakespearean production at the community theater.  A friend of Violet's, a well-known actor agrees to a part but before the show goes on, he is carried away dying from poisoning and it wasn't the first attempt on his life.

Lindsay works to uncover who and why the actor was a target and the surprise ending was as dramatic as Shakespeare would have wanted.

Great fun!

★★★★

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
CHARACTERS: Lindsay Norris, Violet LaRue, Charlotte LaRue, Robbie Vine, Sully, Dylan Peet, Joanie Peet
Series/ Progress: Library Lover's 4/6
DATE READ: July 12 - July 16
NO. OF PAGES: 304
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Nook Stockpile