Read: Feb 18 - Feb 27
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Source: Author for review
Subject: murder, funeral home
Category: Cuddle up with a good cozy mystery
Genre: Cozy mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC
Stars: 2½

The second Cackleberry Club mystery begins with the discovery of Ozzie on the embalming table dead by an unknown hand that has killed him by removing his blood. Sounds kind of creepy but the story moves away from the method to the interaction of Suzanne with Sheriff Doogie who is being pressured by the Mayor of Kindred to solve t he murder quickly. Suzanne's finding of another murder victim several days later, doesn't help Doogie's situation.

As the story evolves, the activities at the Cackleberry Club help to move the story along until the Cake Decorating Contest and Winners Gourmet Dinner bring all the pieces together.

I truly enjoy the cozy mysteries by Laura Childs, but I don't think that this was one of her best. I felt a bit shortchanged because the culprit didn't seemed to really appear in the story until the end. I felt that the reader wasn't really given enough information to solve the mystery with the clues given throughout the story. That said, I still enjoyed the tale and will look for the next one.


Millard Fillmore, America's 13th President by Dan Santow

Read: Feb 26
Format: hardback, 110 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Presidential history
Category: Who/What/When/Where/How/Why? - Bios/history
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, USPC
Stars: 2

This was a very, and I stress very, brief biography of Millard Fillmore. It supplied a few major notes of interest but definitely for a history not enough.

I had requested a more in depth biography from ILL but it didn't seem to be coming and then I was notified that my Franklin Pierce ILL was in and so I ordered this book to have something for Millard Fillmore. Wouldn't you know when I went to the library to get this and Franklin Pierce, the other ILL had showed up. I thought I'd whip through this one just in case it was enough, but no such luck.


MASTERED BY LOVE by Stephanie Laurens

Read: Feb 19 - Feb 23
Format: Paperback, 434 pages
Source: Barnes & Noble - Owned
Subject: marriage, love
Setting: England, Northumbria
Category: Love is a Many Splendored Thing
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC, TIOLI- FEBRUARY
Stars: 4

Dalziel was the head of the area of the War Office that managed the espionage operatives during the Napoleonic wars. Now the wars are over and Dalziel has watched each of his friends, one by one, find a bride and settle down to a normal life. But can he? He joined the service of his country in his youth and for that his father ceased all communication with him. Now when he no longer needs to work in the War Office, he resigns his commission and plans to head home to try to restore his relationship with his father, but he is too late. Just as he is packing to leave he receives notice that his father has died and his is now the new Duke of Wolverstone.

Royce Varisey arrives at his ancestral home and is met by Minerva Chesterton, the woman who served as his father's chatelaine and his mother's companion until her death. He remembers her only as a child but as the time passes and he begins t take up the reigns of control for his estates, he realizes that she is the woman that he needs to share his life, but she has other ideas.

This story is probably one of Stephanie Laurens' best because she takes a character that has been a mystery throughout the series (Bastion Club) and finally identifies who he is and why he is the way he is. Watching the interaction between the characters and reviving those from stories past, makes a rich and vibrant tale of love and romance mixed with intrigue. I'm not sure that it would be as enjoyable as a standalone novel, but having read all the others that preceded it, he was terrific!



Another Mailbox Monday!!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

I'm really looking forward to reading these books and feel fortunate that I was gien each one!


by Beverly Jenkins

Received from Librarything Early Reviewers

With the millions she received after divorcing her faithless tycoon husband, Bernadine Brown saved the historic town of Henry Adams, Kansas, from financial ruin and found loving homes for five needy children. Now there are other "projects" crying out for rescue.

If ever a town institution needed rescuing, it's the beloved Dog and Cow diner. Once it was Henry Adams's social center-or gossip central!-now it's in danger of becoming duct-tape central. But there are other distractions pulling Bernadine from the task at hand: a plethora of romantic entanglements, including her own with a disturbingly attractive Malachi July; a bitter young boy newly arrived in town with his widowed father; and a fugitive on the run with a six-hundred-pound pet pig that's wanted for murder (the pig, that is). And when Bernadine's philandering, troublemaking ex-husband rolls into town looking for a second chance, life in Henry Adams gets very interesting indeed.

Summary by Barnes & Noble


by Kevin Salwen

Recieved from publisher for review

It all started when 14-year old Hannah Salwen, idealistic but troubled by a growing sense of injustice in the world, had a eureka moment when a homeless man in her neighborhood was juxtaposed against a glistening Mercedes coupe. "You know, Dad,” she said, pointing, “If that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal.”

This glaring disparity led the Salwen family of four, caught up like so many other Americans in this age of consumption and waste, to follow Hannah's urge to do something, to finally just do something. And so they embarked on an incredible journey together from which there would be no turning back. They decided to sell their Atlanta mansion, downsize to a house half its size, and give half of their profits to a worthy charity. At first it was an outlandish scheme. “What, are you crazy? No way!" Then it was a challenge. “We are TOTALLY doing this.” Each week they met over dinner to discuss their plan. It would transport them across the globe and well out of their comfort zone. Along the way they would inspire so many others wrestling with the same questions: Do I give enough? How much is enough? How can I make an impact in the world? In the end the Salwens' journey would bring them closer as a family, as they discovered, together, that half could be so much more.

Warm, funny, deeply moving and wholly uplifting, THE POWER OF HALF is the story of how one family slammed the door on the status quo and threw away the key.

Summary by Amazon

The Lumby Lines

by Gail Fraser

Recieved from publisher for review

Nestled in the Northwest is a quaint little town that its quirky residents are proud to call home. With charming shops lining its one main thoroughfare, Lumby is home to the oldest apple tree in the county and the smallest bank in the state. And though it's hours from the nearest big city, readers will always find Lumby close to their hearts.

When Mark and Pam Walker, a vacationing couple from the East Coast, decide to restore Lumby's ramshackle Montis Abbey and turn it into an inn, it takes a while for the locals to warm up to them. Especially the irascible William Beezer, owner of The Lumby Lines-the newspaper "worth the paper it's printed on." At every turn, he tries to hinder the Walkers' efforts. But the couple soon learns that for every citizen like William, there are many more willing to lend a hand-and that Lumby isn't just a place, it's a way of life.

Summary by Amazon


The Complete World of Greek Mythology by Richard Buxton

Read: Feb 16 - Feb 19
Format: hardback, 245 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: mythology
Category: Surprise - Books I find and want to read /group reads
Genre: Culture
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL
Stars: 2½

I have started reading the Percy Jackson series so I thought I should brush up on my mythology before I got too far along in the Riodan series, so I picked up this book at the library.

I was surprised with very detailed lists of major and minor Greek gods as well as indications of their spheres of influence. The book included charts of the genealogy of the Gods (who begat who), details of ancient myths, and pictures of beautiful sculptures and art work from centuries ago I was, however, disappointed that there was not a detailed listing of the constellations and their connections to Greek Mythology.

Two things surprised me the most - 1) Apollo was the only God who didn't get his name changed when the Roman Gods were identified and 2) many of the myths both Greek and Roman have been used through the ages for a cultural basis - i.e. in Literature there is the Divine Comedy, Iliad and the Odyssey, art has Rembrandt's Rape of Ganymede, Botticelli's Birth of Venus and of course, there are sculptures galore.
A few other items that interested me were 1) I never realized that Poseidon was Zeus' brother 2) Zeus was so promiscuous ( had had over 25 different partners both mortal and immortal and a great number of children) and 3) many of the gods were patterned on the Egyptians' deities.
Overall, it was a very enlightening book and I'm glad that I happened upon it at the library.


HAIL TO THE CHEF by Julie Hyzy

Read: Feb 10 - Feb 15
Format: paperback, 328 pages
Source: Public Library
Setting: Washington, DC
Category: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL,
Stars: 3½

In this second installment of the White House Chef series, Ollie Parras, the newly promoted Executive Chef of the White House, is startled when she, along with the First Lady and others, is quickly evacuated to the bunker during a bomb scare. While she tries to keep everyone calm by devising tasty meals with MREs, she overhears discussions related to the First Lady's inheritance of interests in a company which revolves around scientific research. Other partners want to sell but the First Lady wants to wait for the future. As they are released from the bunker and return to their duties preparing for the Christmas holidays and decorations, Ollie is the first to come upon the Chief Electrician after he is electrocuted.

Because of the bomb scare, all workers are required to take training to identify warning signs of possible danger. Ollie, her curiosity activated, asks a friend who is a retired electrician how someone as experienced as the CE at the White House, could have been put in the danger that resulted in his death.

As Ollie tries to investigative and continue her preparations for the holidays, she draws herself into dangerous situations before the climax of the story.

Even though the situations are a bit over the top in this mystery, I still enjoyed the adventures that Ollie managed to get caught up in. I definitely will be continuing this series in the future.



Read: Feb 13 - Feb 14
Format: paperback, 240 pages
Source: FSB Associates for review
Subject: Lost loves, ghosts, suicide
Category: Romance
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book
Stars: 3

This is not a typical book in that there is no plot, no characters, yet it was very interesting because of all the information that was dispersed to the reader. The author has researched all the little nuances of the references in the new Dan Brown book [The Lost Symbol] so that when I do sit down to read that book later this year, I will definitely keep this one close at hand to explain to me all the covert hints that I would have missed the first time around.

I like the way that the book is laid out - alphabetically identifying the clues that will be seen in The Lost Symbol. Each clue is explained as to how it is used related to the book. I would definitely say that it will be useful when I read the Lost Symbol making that reading more enjoyable by enhancing the experience.


SOMEONE TO LOVE by Jude Deveraux

Read: Feb 4 - Feb 11
Format: audio, CD 8 Discs, 9.75 hours, 423 page equivalent
Source: public library
Setting: England
Narrator: Stafford Clark-Price
Subject: Lost loves, ghosts, suicide
Category: Romance
Challenges: 101020, SYLL, 75 Book, Audio
Stars: 3

Jace Montgomery's fiancée, Stacy, commits suicide while she's vacationing in England. When Jace accidentally discovers a letter and photograph of Priory House in Margate, England--the village where Stacy had committed suicide -- Stacy had received just before her death, Jace decides that he must investigate.

Finding Priory House is for sale, Jace buys it to use as his base of operations ad once he arrives, it doesn't take him long to learn that the house is haunted by the headstrong ghost of Ann Stuart, who died under similar circumstances, and he has a hunch that there is a connection between the two.

Jace encounters Nightingale Smythe (Ni), a beautiful foreign correspondent and together they investigate the circumstances and people who affected Stacy and led to her end.


TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah

Read: Jan 27 - Feb 10
Format: Hardback, 393 pages
Source: St Martin's Press for review
Subject: sisterhood
Setting: Washington state
Category: Books found on the Internet/thru LT/at the library/in a bookstore
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL
Stars: 2½

This is the story of three sisters - #1- Winona is the responsible one who has tried to take care of the entire family since their mother died, #2 Aurora is the go-between the one who always tries to settle things, and #3 - Vivi Ann is the spoiled one, she's beautiful (like a Barbie doll) and charming and Daddy's favorite.

Luke came back to Oyster Shores and renewed his friendship with Winona who unbeknownst to him and loved him since high school. Luke starts to date Vivi Ann and Winona won't tell Vivi her feelings so she becomes bitter and resentful of the relationship. When Vivi Ann two-times Luke with the ranch hand (Dallas), Winona's jealous reactions force her to blurt the news to Luke and set into motion physical and emotional fights that reverberate through the relationships of family and friends.

As the story evolves and the relationships between the sisters deteriorate, Vivi and her new husband (she married the ranch hand) have to deal without her family support when he is accused and convicted of murder.

The second part of the story surrounds Noah, the son of Vivi and Dallas and the difficulties of growing up with a convicted murderer for a father. Noah's issues and beliefs bring about the changes and help reconstruct the family relationships of the three sisters and bring about the satisfying ending.

I felt the story was a bit predictable and that the characters were very ordinary. The storyline didn't seem to be very surprising and the ending seemed very expected.


Mailbox Monday

Another Mailbox Monday!!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

A Spy in the House
by Y.S. Lee
Introducing an exciting new series! Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.
Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.
Candlewick Press sent me this to me for review.

A Plateful of Murder
by Claudia Bishop
The first two Hemlock Falls mysteries-a winning recipe for mystery lovers. A Taste for Murder takes readers to the festival at Hemlock Falls, featuring a reenactment of the 17th-century witch trials. But this year the mock execution becomes all too real when a guest at the Inn is crushed under a pile of stones. The killer has not been identified-yet. In A Dash of Death, Helena Houndswood is the epitome of class when the cameras are rolling. Behind the scenes, this expert on style is a snob with a heart of stone. She's furious to hear that the decidedly déclassé women of Hemlock Falls have won her TV show's design contest. When one winner goes missing and the other is found dead, Helena falls under suspicion. Murder can be so tacky.

My friend, Linda, from Librarything sent this to me since she mistakenly bought it when she already had read them. Thanks, Linda

by Kate White

In her first stand-alone thriller, White effectively blends mommy-lit issues with murder and suspense. Recently separated and finally finding her emotional footing, Lake Warren has been hired as a marketing consultant for a Park Avenue fertility clinic and has even started a flirtation with a handsome doctor. But then she's hit by a double whammy. Her soon-to-be-ex is seeking full custody of their two children, and the doctor has been murdered (hours after Lake slept with him). Afraid that the police will suspect her and that her husband will use this against her in their custody battle, Lake keeps quiet about her hookup. Now she is faced with scary late-night calls, an attack on the family pet, a husband looking to trip her up, and the police just this close to coming after her for murder.

Book Report Network sent this for review.

Knight of Pleasure

by Margaret Mallory


Lady Isobel Hume is an expert swordswoman who knows how to choose her battles. When the king asks her to wed a French nobleman to form a political alliance, she agrees. But that's before the devilishly charming Sir Stephen Carleton captures her heart-and tempts her to betray her betrothed, her king, and her country.

Sir Stephen Carleton enjoys his many female admirers-until he dedicates himself to winning the lovely Isobel. So when a threat against the king leads Isobel into mortal danger, Stephen has a chance to prove that he is more than a knight of pleasure...and that love can conquer all.

I won this in a giveaway at Bookin with Bingo.

Synopsises by Barnes & Noble


Politically Correct - A NEW SLANT ON OLD STORIES

#13 Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times

#14 Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Once Upon a More Enlightened Time

Author: James Finn Garner
Read: Feb 5 - Feb 6
Format: Hardback, 163 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject:fairy tales
Setting: various locales, times
Category: Books found on the Internet/thru LT/at the library/in a bookstore
Genre: Childrens books
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL
Stars: 3

How many of us as children heard the fairy tales Hansel & Gretel, Puss in Boots, and the Tortoise & the Hare? How many of us wanted to be the Princess & the Pea?(me), The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, or Goldilocks? Did we know at that time we were being exposed to sexist, discriminatory, culturally biased material by our parents and loved ones? Did we have any idea of how these "fairy tales" would affect our futures?

These alternate versions of the beloved "fairy tales" by Aesop, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, to name a few take a decidedly different turn when written from a politically correct angle. Who would believe that Snow White and her wicked stepmother would end up friends, or that the Tortoise would be disqualified after the race? These are but a few of unusual twists and turns that political correctness takes in these stories.

I heard about this books from Whisper1 and ran right out and got them from the library. Some of the tales are so funny I laughed till I cried, others not so much, but definitely worth the read. Thanks Whisper!


Over the Top Award!

Debbie from Debbie's Book Bag passed this award on to me and I am very proud that she thought of me.

The rules are pretty simple. Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it though.

Your Cell Phone? Off
Your Hair? brown
Your Mother? Ornery
Your Father? Gone
Your Favorite Food? Pasta
Your Dream Last Night? mysterious
Your Favorite Drink? Wine
Your Dream/Goal? Author
What Room Are You In? family
Your Hobby? Reading
Your Fear? Heights
Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? Reading
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something That You Aren't? patient
Muffins? Butterscotch
Wish List Item? Books
Where Did You Grow Up? Maryland
Last Thing You Did? Read
What Are You Wearing? Sweatshirt
Your TV? On
Your Pets? No
Friends? Oodles
Your Life? Delicious
Your Mood? Contented
Missing Someone? Yes
Vehicle? Caravan
Something You Aren't Wearing? Bracelet
Your Favorite Store? Barnes
Your Favorite Color? Green
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Today
Last Time You Cried? Sunday
Your Best Friend? Tim
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Hairstylist
Facebook? Always
Favorite Place To Eat? Luccia's

Now for the 5 bloggers I choose to win the award.
Princesses at Royal Reviews
Alane at Queen of Happy Endings
Jasmyn at Jasmyn's Stuff
Bonnie at Redlady's Reading Room
Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here


The Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair by Carrie Bebris

Read: Feb 2 - Feb 4
Format: Paperback, 286 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject:betrothals, elopements
Setting: Buckinghamshire, Gretna Green, Mansfield
Category: Miss Austen and Her Relations (Pride & Prejudice lives on!)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL
Stars: 3

Mr. & Mrs. Darcy are married and have a baby daughter when they visit the ancestral home of Darcy's aunt, Lady Catherine de Burgh. We are reintroduced to the Darcy family relatives - Colonel Fitzwilliam, Anne De Burgh, Lady Catherine. We see new characteristics to their personalities - some predictable, some totally unexpected.

The story revolves around elopements, betrothals, bigamy, and murder. The surprise of the book, IMHO, is the elopement of Anne de Burgh with an unknown man after they are apparently introduced on the dance floor. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam race after the "lovers" who are headed to Scotland here they marry without the delay required for the reading of the banns. Some of the action is totally expected while other parts of the adventure are startlingly.
About 1½ years ago I found this series about Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy's adventures after their marriage where they turn into detectives solving problems for themselves and their family members. The series resurrects Elizabeth and Darcy with their personality quirks and devotions to each other.

There is a new installment of this series due out later this year and I will definitely keep an eye out for it. This is a fun series utilizing familiar characters in a different way.


The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War by Leonard L. Richards

Read: Jan 28- Feb 1
Format: paperback, 277 page
Source: Barnes & Noble
Setting: United States - California, Washington, DC, Panama
Subject: California, Statehood, Compromise of 1850, Gold Rush
Category: Who/What/When/Where/How/Why? - Bios/history
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book
Stars: 4½

Have you ever wondered what was involved in bringing a new state into the union? This book details the history of the statehood of California as well as the politics that surrounded the procedure following the discovery of gold in 1847.

Just as the Mexican-American War is ending, gold is discovered at Sutter's Mill in the Sacramento Valley. Now the word Gold Rush is not exactly accurate. Word was sent to Washington of the discovery, but they didn't believe it at first. By the time the gold hunters were "rushing" off to California, months had passed. The new miners came from parts of California, the eastern United States, Mexico, Australia, China and South America. Some travelled around the Cape Horn, others crossed the isthmus and then back north up the Pacific coasts. Either way it took months to get to the gold fields.

With the influx of all the gold hunters, California, part of the land settlement with Mexico, had sufficient population to apply for statehood immediately. Californians wanted to be admitted to the Union as a free state and drafted a constitution stating that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crimes, shall ever be tolerated in the State." However, the Southern Slave states were adamant that they needed room to expand and that due to Missouri Compromise the southern portion of California, at least, should be slavery friendly.
California's statehood became a major bone of contention between the abolitionists and the pro-slavery lobbies of the day. Unionists fought secessionists, fistfights turned into duels. Henry Clay proposed a Compromise which would aid the South in retrieving runaway slaves while California was admitted as a free state. Just as a deadlock seemed imminent, President Taylor, strongly in favor of California statehood without compromise, dies leaving Millard Fillmore (who was in favor of the legislation) to support and sign the documents. Would matters and history have been different if Taylor had lived? We will never know.

The men that were elected to represent California in the Senate were actually Southern slaveholders and voted in numerous instances in the South's favor prior to the war. To reach California without going by sea, a need for a transcontinental railroad was debated. Southerners wanted a route through Texas, while Northerners wanted the route to go through the Nebraska territory. The need for land required the organization of the Kansas and Nebraska territories.
In the decade before the election of Lincoln, the California Senators, Gwin and Broderick were major players in the controversies between the North and South. Broderick who was violently opposed to Buchanan due to a Buchanan's handling of the patronage positions in California, fought with Stephen Douglas against the statehood submission from Kansas. Gwin, on the other hand, was close to Buchanan and when the issues came to a head, knocked out not only his fellow Californian but Stephen Douglas from their positions of influence in the Senate.

Due to the loss of his influence, Broderick encountered difficulties when he returned to the west for elections, and was killed in a duel the day after elections were held. Gwin and his followers were blamed for the "assassination" of Broderick. Later, Gwin's return to Washington went unnoticed due to the recent activities of John Brown in Harper's Ferry. The nation, due to the politics of North vs. South, was being torn apart. How appropriate that, at the same time that North and South were ripping each other apart, the politicians of California sent a bill to Congress to separate California into two states?

When the war finally began, California remained on the side of the Union and its yearly gold shipment supported the war effort throughout.

Did the discovery of Gold in California, hasten the call to war while assisting the Union during its trial? How interesting it might be if we could re-write history?

This was a well-crafted book telling the tale of California's statehood using the people that created it. The prologue starts with the duel in which Senator Broderick is killed and then the story weaves its way through the state history bringing the reader full circle to that point in time showing all the while the importance of the men and the events involved.