Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Read: April 28 - April 30
Format: Audio 7 CDs equivalent of 279 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: search for the Golden Fleece, Greek gods
Category: I Heard them!
Genre: Fantasy
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI, Audiobook, SYLL
Stars: 3½

In the second installment of the tales of Percy Jackson, Percy sets out to find the Golden Fleece to cure the protective tree at Camp HalfBlood. After finding out that the young Cyclops (Tyson) at the camp is his half-brother, Percy sets out with Tyson and Annabeth to rescue Grover and retrieve the fleece.

In the story we see Percy begin to utilize his powers that originate from his father, Poseidon. We are introduced to Hermes (Messenger of the Gods) who is Luke's father, we see Luke again turning more evil, and Ares - Clarisse's father. There are unusual creatures and monsters that reside in the Sea of Monsters which is located in the Bermuda Triangle.

The adventures of Percy Jackson and his friends continue to entertain while educating the reader with the old Greek Mythology. Definitely a keeper!

Library Loot

I managed to pickup four books that I had on my wishlist. Three I will be reading this month, and one I'll be saving for a rainy day.

The Oyster Wars of Chesapeake Bay
by John R Wennersten
Eastern Branch Press is pleased to announce the new paperback edition of John R. Wennersten's The Oyster Wars of Chesapeake Bay. In the decades following the Civil War, Chesapeake Bay became the scene of a life and death struggle to harvest the oyster, one of the most valuable commodi­ties on the Atlantic coast. In this book, noted historian and author John Wennersten tells the stories of wa­termen, law enforcement officers, government officials, Bay scientists, immi­grants, and oyster shuckers involved in the oyster trade. Amazon description

Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul
by Jack Canfield
There are many ways to define a woman: daughter, mother, wife, professional, friend, student. We are each special and unique, yet we share a common connection. What bonds all women are our mutual experiences of loving and learning, feeling the tenderness of love, forging lifelong friendships, pursuing a chosen career, giving birth to new life and juggling the responsibilities of job and family. This shining collection of stories from the bestselling "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series is full of just such moments. You will find inspiration, joy and comfort in the special messages found in chapters on love, living your dreams, overcoming obstacles, marriage, motherhood, ageing, bridging the generations, and self esteem. Whether you are a career woman or stay-at-home mother, a teenager or a senior citizen, a young woman just starting out or a woman of the world, this delightful book will be a treasured companion for years to come. Amazon description

Life Sentences
by Laura Lippman
Synopsis - Barnes & Noble
Author Cassandra Fallows has achieved remarkable success by baring her life on the page. Her two widely popular memoirs continue to sell briskly, acclaimed for their brutal, unexpurgated candor about friends, family, lovers—and herself. But now, after a singularly unsuccessful stab at fiction, Cassandra believes she may have found the story that will enable her triumphant return to nonfiction. When Cassandra was a girl, growing up in a racially diverse middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, her best friends were all black: elegant, privileged Donna; sharp, shrewd Tisha; wild and worldly Fatima. A fifth girl orbited their world—a shy, quiet, unobtrusive child named Calliope Jenkins—who, years later, would be accused of killing her infant son. Yet the boy's body was never found and Calliope's unrelenting silence on the subject forced a judge to jail her for contempt. For seven years, Calliope refused to speak and the court was finally forced to let her go. Cassandra believes...

The Impending Crisis 1848-1861
by David M Potter
Synopsis from Amazon:
Analyzes the problems of slavery, expansion, sectionalism, and party politics that influenced mid-nineteenth-century America.


Chocolate Cat Caper by JoAnna Carl

Read: Apr 27 - Apr 28
Format: Paperback 240 pages
Source: Personal Library
Subject: murder, poisoning
Setting: Warner Pier, MI, USA
Category: Cuddle up with a good Cozy Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI,
Stars: 3

Lee McKinney had spent summers with her Aunt Nettie growing up and learning the chocolate making/business-side so when she needed a place to get back on an even keel after a messy divorce, her sweet aunt took her in. After making a chocolate delivery to a prestigious lawyer, Lee returns to the lawyer's residence later to help out a friend by assisting in the catering for a charity event. Before the guests start to arrive, however, the lawyer suddenly keels over poisoned by a Chocolate truffle delivered earlier.

Lee feels that she needs to do everything possible to protect her aunt who not only handmade the truffle and specifically sent the package to the lawyer but also blamed the lawyer for her husband's death. Motive, opportunity were there so Lee sets out to prove her aunt innocent before she is arrested.

The main characters were very likable and the story was cleverly crafted around the marvelous miniature Chocolate store and I will be looking forward to seeing how these characters change and grow in the future books of this series.


Teaberry Strangler by Laura Childs

Read: Apr 24 - Apr 26
Format: Hardback, 288 pages
Source: Personal Library
Subject: murder, archeology,
Setting: Charleston, SC
Category: Cuddle up with a good Cozy Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI,
Stars: 3

This book is the latest of the Tea Shoppe mysteries continuing the exploits of Theodosia Browning and her cohorts at the Indigo Tea Shop. During an event, Theodosia witnesses the murder of her friend Daria in an alley but due to darkness she is unable to identify the murderer. Tidwell of the Charleston Police, thinks that possibly Theo was the target but cannot find any clues to substantiate that theory. When Theo recognizes Beth Ann, (Jory Davis' ex-fiancée) she begins to feel that she may be in danger. The events that follow keep Theo on her toes until the mystery is solved.

As much as I adore this series and enjoyed this book, I still felt that it lacked a little in the viable clues to aid the reader in solving the mystery. Will this make me stop reading this series, NO WAY! The interaction of the characters along with their development as well as the side stories of their day to day lives is enough to keep the readers coming back for more. And the scrumptious sounding recipes don't hurt either!

I especially want to thank the author, Laura Childs, for sending me a signed copy simply because I told her how much I was looking forward to this new book. I feel very honored.

Death and Judgment by Donna Leon

Read: April 22 - April 26
Format: Audio 8 CDs equivalent of 336 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Murder, prostitution,
Category: I Heard them!
Genre: Thriller
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI, Audiobook, SYLL, Thriller
Stars: 3½

Death and Judgment is the fourth book in the Commissario Brunetti series. Commissario Guido Brunetti is assigned to the case when a well-known Venetian lawyer is found murdered on a train. Chiara, Brunetti's daughter, attended school with the murdered man's daughter and informs her father that the parents had warned Francesca to be careful so that she wasn't kidnapped making Brunetti think that the Mafia may have made a hit. When the murdered man's business partner is found dead, the connection is made to a sleazy bar outside of Venice. When the lawyer's brother-in-law, his accountant, is found murdered as well, Brunetti realizes that the connections must go far deeper. and may impact greater on Venetian culture.

In this book, Leon reveals the corruption surrounding the members of high Venetian Society and how money paid to the right people will produce just about anything. The storyline was, at times, very depressing and, in areas, frightening but the solution, though somewhat expected, was not unsatisfying. The actual ending leads the reader with the idea that Brunetti feels that though he solved the murder, he was not successful.

There were several bright spots in the book, where Guido is interacting with his wife and daughter which bring a smile to your face and these moments give the reader a feeling of normalcy in a frightening world.


Weekend Wonderings

This week I got to thinking about my ancestry and popped over to http://www.ellisisland.org/ to see if I could find my grandparents record of arrival. After some searching I was delighted to find both of them. It got me thinking, since them arrived in the early part of the 20th century, if there were any books about the immigrations of that period. I think I'll have to do some more research and see.
Have you ever looked for an old relative or researched your family tree?


DEATH BY CASHMERE by Sally Goldenbaum

Read: Apr 21 - Apr 24
Format: Paperback, 294 pages
Source: Personal Library
Subject: murder, knitting, blackmail
Setting: Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, USA
Category: Crafts, Cooking, and Hobbies
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI, TBR, BOSC
Stars: 3½

Izzy Chambers has a knitting shop in Sea Harbor MA and rented the room above to an old friend, Angie Archer, while Angie was working on a special project for the Historical Society. One morning Angie is retrieved from the water along with the lobster traps and the residents of this quiet little village are traumatized because they can't believe that one of them would kill. Izzy, her Aunt Nell and other residents can't believe when the police conclude it was a stranger.

This little cozy mystery set by the sea feels like a breath of spring air. The characters are warm and friendly and I wanted to join the Thursday night knitters from the very beginning. I could almost smell the aromas from the Friday cookouts and was ready to start searching for this little village on a map.

I was somewhat surprised that the detection efforts were spread out among the characters, but I actually thought that it was an interesting concept. As for the mystery the clues were subtle but available for the reader and the writing was delightfully refreshing to the spirit. Another series I'm definitely going to be following.


The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Read: Feb 17 - Apr 17
Format: Hardback, 628 pages
Source: Owned
Setting: France, England
Category: Surprise - Books I find and want to read /group reads
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Endless Europe, BOSC, Chunkster
Stars: 3½

This is a well-known story so I won't bore you with rehashing the tale. I have been trying in the last few years to read Classics that I have on my shelf and never cracked open. This was one that I chose for this year and several other readers joined me in a group read.

I have to admit that I thought I knew the story because I had seen the movies (both versions) and I thought they probably didn't range too far from the book but I was wrong. I found as I was reading this over two months that it took me to places that I hadn't seen in either movie and character depths that were unexplored came to life. I'm not someone that normally enjoys the Classics, but this was an exception.

Weekend Wonderings

I was over at Random Musings where David is running a poll and it got me thinking.... Why do we buy a book? His options were Cover, Author, Price, Description/Synopsis, Genre/Subject, Recommendation from others, Reading Sample, Peer Reviews, Professional Reviews, and Publisher. You could only chose 3 and I had a hard time. Can you narrow down your reasons to only 3 of these or are there other reasons for you?
For me, I am first drawn by the genre /subject - it gets me to the area of the books that I would most likely enjoy and then I start browsing. The biggest draw at this point is the cover art - I know that sounds stupid but that's what draws me to a book. I won't necessarily buy it for that reason but that's what gets me to look at it in the first place. Then I read the description/synopsis and see if it is a book that would grab my interest. I will then try the first few pages to see if my interest is whetted and then the decision is made. Granted I don't normally buy a book that is over $15 - those I hunt down in the library. So it really takes about 5 options for me to choose a book.
What about you?


DIED IN THE WOOL by Mary Kruger

Read: April 11 - April 14
Format: Paperback 311 pages
Source: Owned
Subject: Murder, knitting, website, mail fraud
Category: Crafts, Cooking, and Hobbies
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC, TIOLI
Stars: 3½

Ariadne's Web is the setting of this cozy mystery which is cleverly woven around the owner of a knitting shop where a dead body is found one bright fall morning. At first, Ariadne Evans, the owner, is the chief suspect, but after getting an alibi for her, Detective Josh Pierce instead enlists her help in solving the crime since it appears that knitting has something to do with the crime and he doesn't know the difference between a cable stitch and purling.

Ari and Josh are drawn to each other but profess that they are just working on the investigation. This light-hearted "romance" is used to gather information while throwing the murderer off track. The clues that are presented are ingeniously threaded throughout and unless you are carefully tracking all the hints, you will be surprised at the ending.

This is one of the better cozy mysteries that I have read recently because it all seem to be more realistic since Ari doesn't go out to question everyone about what they did and what they saw. It was more using her own intelligence to figure out what actually happened and why. I definitely will be looking for the next one, hopefully soon!


The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Read: Apr 7 - Apr 11
Format: AUDIO, 11 CDs and 372 pages
Source: Loan from Tutu, Public Library
Setting: Three Pines, Quebec and Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia
Category: Surprise - Books I find and want to read /group reads
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, Audio, TIOLI,
Stars: 3½

A body is found in the bistro in Three Pines and Inspector Armand Gamache is recruited to investigate. Difficulties arise when no one seems to know who he is or where he came from. But the reader knows and watches as the story unravels telling of a reclusive man who prized treasures of unknown value and who was victimized in more than one way.

The characters that Louise Penny has brought to life in all the previous installments of this series are front and center in this book. However, the characterizations are deepened and broadened until at some point we're not sure if they're the same person or have been transfigured by events past and present.

This is a magnificent story of love and friendship, greed and treachery, and final deliverance.

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!!

Supreme Courtship
by Christopher Buckley
President of the United States Donald Vanderdamp is having a hell of a time getting his nominees appointed to the Supreme Court. After one nominee is rejected for insufficiently appreciating To Kill A Mockingbird, the president chooses someone so beloved by voters that the Senate won't have the guts to reject her -- Judge Pepper Cartwright, the star of the nation's most popular reality show, Courtroom Six. Will Pepper, a straight-talking Texan, survive a confirmation battle in the Senate? Will becoming one of the most powerful women in the world ruin her love life? And even if she can make it to the Supreme Court, how will she get along with her eight highly skeptical colleagues, including a floundering Chief Justice who, after legalizing gay marriage, learns that his wife has left him for another woman?Soon, Pepper finds herself in the middle of a constitutional crisis, a presidential reelection campaign that the president is determined to lose, and oral arguments of a romantic nature. Supreme Courtship is another classic Christopher Buckley comedy about the Washington institutions most deserving of ridicule. Barnes & Noble Synopsis
I have heard a lot of great things about this book, so I have to thank Kim at Metroreader.blogspot.com for the giveaway.

The God of the Hive
by Laurie R. King
Those who enjoyed the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. may appreciate bestseller King's heavy-on-action, light-on-deduction 10th novel featuring Mary Russell and her much older husband, Conan Doyle's iconic detective. The plot picks up in the summer of 1924 right after the previous entry in the series, The Language of Bees. A religious fanatic, Rev. Thomas Brothers, who seeks to unleash psychic energies through human sacrifice, has shot Holmes's artist son, Damian Adler, seriously wounding the young man. Holmes's desperate quest for medical help to save his son's life takes him to Holland, while Mary travels throughout Britain in an effort to keep Damian's half-Chinese daughter, Estelle, safe from Brothers and his allies. Cliffhanging situations abound as both leads benefit from the convenient appearance of extremely helpful strangers. Publishers Weekly


HUSH by Kate White

Read: Apr 10 - Apr 11
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Harper Collins, ARC
Subject: Thriller, murder, fraud, infertility clinic
Setting: New York City
Category: Books found - Internet/thru LT/library/bookstore
Genre: Thriller
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Thriller
Stars: 4

I'm still shaking. I can feel my heart pounding and I have to remind myself that it was just a book. I started and immediately was drawn into the lead character, Lake Warren. The first few chapters telling of her strive for independence as her divorce is finalizing and her struggle with custody issues. But then when she gets herself caught in a web of fear when she finds the man that she slept with casually murdered in his bed while she slept on the terrace, Lake feels that no one will believe her innocence and she will lose her children.

The story revolves around Lake efforts to keep herself out of the limelight so that the police will not ask her for a DNA sample, but since she is working for the same Infertility Clinic as the victim, she has to keep a straight face while trying to solve the murder herself. I don't want to say too much for fear of SPOILERS.

The story was riveting and keep me going until I had to find out the ending. Highly recommended for Thriller lovers.


Weekend Wonderings

Now that the weather is starting to get warmer (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), and you have the urge to spend more time outdoors, what do you do when you have a book that you can't put down? Can you read in the bright sunshine? when it's windy? How do you handle the urge to take a walk down a beautiful path?

Not being an outdoor person, I very rarely get that urge to spend time outdoors, but when I do, I'll sit on my porch with that book I can't put down and enjoy the fresh air and maybe even the sunshine. If I do want to take a walk, I'll take along my MP3 with a book on tape and read and commune with nature. But like I said don't expect to find me outside on a regular basis.

What about you? Do you have Spring fever dragging you away from your books?


The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Read: Apr 4, - Apr 7
Format: Paperback, 335 pages
Source: Candlewick Press, ARC
Subject: Adventure, female undercover spy, piracy, insurance fraud
Setting: London, England, UK
Category: Books found - Internet/thru LT/library/bookstore
Genre: Thriller
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Thriller
Stars: 4

A Spy in the House is the first book in a Victorian series whose main character, Mary Quinn, is rescued from hanging at age 12 and whisked away to a girls school were she is educated and then offered the opportunity to be an undercover spy. Her first assignment places her as a companion for a wealthy young woman whose father is suspected of smuggling. No one believes that the dowdy companion is listening for information that could break the case. When listening doesn't get Mary what she needs, she takes more energetic steps to solve the case.

All the characters in this book have secrets from someone and it is entertaining to see how they all work to prevent their confidences from being discovered. Ms. Lee also cleverly weaves a light-hearted romance within the story while allowing Mary show that she is intelligent, witty, and independent.

What a delightful story, I will be looking for the continuations in the future.



Read: April 2 - April 3
Format: Hardback 290 pages
Source: LT ER
Subject: Murder, fundraising, cookies, recipes
Category: Crafts, Cooking, and Hobbies
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC, TIOLI
Stars: 3

Hannah Swensen, the owner of the Cookie Jar in Lake Eden Minnesota is, as usual, in a romantic dilemma in this latest adventure. She is torn between Norman, the dentist and Mike, the cop, with an old flame thrown in to stir the mix. However, in this escapade, Norman travels off to the big city to visit with old friends, Mike is pushing Hannah toward Norman, and the old flame turns up dead after an argument with our heroine.

The characters of this well-flavored series are evolving, however, in this book the murder didn't even occur until well past the halfway mark leaving the reader wondering when something material was going to happen. Once it did, there were very few clues for the reader even though the ones that were there were quite obvious.

Of all the Hannah Swensen mysteries, I probably have to vote this one my least favorite because of the lack of mystery but I still enjoyed the book because of the development of some of my favorite characters.
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!!

Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War
by Robert B. Ekelund Jr.

What role did economics play in leading the United States into the Civil War in the 1860s, and how did the war affect the economies of the North and the South? Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation uses contemporary economic analyses such as supply and demand, modern market theory, and the economics of politics to interpret events of the Civil War.

I've been searching for this book at the library for months and finally broke down and bought it. I think that in looking at the Civil War you need to not just look at the battles that were fought, but the the impacts of everything on the situation. I'm hoping that this book will be very informative about how the war affected the people and nation as a whole.

Getting all my Civil War reading together I ordered the following book used from Barnes & Noble (which looked like no one else ever touched it).

1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War They Failed to See
by Bruce Chadwick

Highly recommended–a gripping narrative of the critical year of 1858 and the nation's slide toward disunion and war. Chadwick is especially adept at retelling the intense emotions of this critical time, particularly especially in recounting abolitionist opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jefferson Davis's passionate defense of this institution. For readers seeking to understand how individuals are agents of historical change will find Chadwick's account of the failed leadership of President James Buchanan, especially compelling.
Amazon.com Product Description


Fax Me A Bagel by Sharon Kahn

Read: April 1 - April 2
Format: paperback, 242 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Murder, inheritance, bagels
Category: A Full Course meal
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL
Stars: 3

This little mystery is set in the fictitious town of Eternal, TX where we find the main character Ruby Rothman, a Rabbi's widow, trying to buy some bagels and instead finds herself a witness to murder. The victim was in line at the Hot Bagel and pushed ahead and she ended up dead. Since the owner is blamed and he was also the last person that her husband was with before he was killed in a hit and run accident, Ruby begins to wonder if the two deaths could be related.

It was entertaining to watch how the main character interacted with other members of the congregation now that they were replacing her husband. Her contacts with her husband family is also a main point and lead to interesting insights.

All in all a pleasant little cozy.


The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry

Read: Mar 4 - Apr 1
Format: AUDIO, 13 CDs, 736 pages
Source: Public Library
Setting: Anarctica, Germany, NC, GA, DC
Category: I Heard Them!
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, Audio, Read your Name - Letter C, TIOLI, Chunkster, Thriller
Stars: 3½

Cotton Malone has finally found a way to get the information which could lead to the answers of what happened to his father nearly 40 years ago. Calling in favors he is handed the file of the final mission that his father went on. Just as he receives the file he is accosted by agents of an unknown adversary.

As the story evolves, Malone is caught between antagonistic twin daughters of a German who was also on the mission with his father and want the same information. As in the past, Berry weaves a parallel story involving Stephanie Nell pitted against, this time, an Admiral that wants an appointment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and who knows exactly what Malone is searching for.
I love the Cotton Malone series because of the way that Steve Berry manages to take some ancient historical fact/artifact and weave it masterfully into thriller that will hold my interest even while generating questions of whether something like this could actually happen.

Looking forward to the next adventure!