A Killer Collection by J. B Stanley

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Subject: Pottery, journalism
Setting: North Carolina
Main Characters: Molly Appleby, Clara Appleby, George-Bradley Staunton,
Series: Yes, #1 Collectible Mystery
Dates Read: February 25 - February 28
Number of pages: 205
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, my Nook
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Home Ec, Class Schedule
Molly Appleby is a reporter for the local Collectible weekly
paper and attends a kiln opening where she sees the highest
rated collector of pottery in the area die. She's suspicious
the more information and interviews she does.
The book is definitely fun, the characters are chatty and
I'm looking forward to another in the future.

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

Genre: Historical Fictio
Subject: espionage in WWII, IRA
Setting: London, England
Main Characters: Maggie Hope, Winston Churchill, Claire Paige Kelly, David Greene,
Series: no
Dates Read: February 15 - February 25
Number of pages: 349
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: LT ER giveaway January
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: English Lit, Extra Curricular

Maggie Hope is a strong minded, highly intelligent, and
well-educated woman at a time when such women were
frown upon. Living in London at the start of WWII,
Maggie is hired as a secretary at 10 Downing Street assisting
Winston Churchill. Having greater abilities other than
typing and dictation, Maggie identifies threats in various
areas of the government and her adventures and friends
make this an interesting read.

I really enjoyed this book but there was just one small
historical error that threw me off when I saw it.


Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Genre: Mystery
Subject: WWI ,
Setting: England
Main Characters: Maisie Dobbs, Lady Rowan, Billy Beale,
Simon Lynch, Maurice Blanche
Series: Yes, #1 Maisie Dobbs
Dates Read: February 20 - February 24
Number of pages: 294
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, Audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: English Lit,Homework
Maisie Dobbs is a remarkable woman - starting at a
young age being a maid on a large estate, then school
in Cambridge, another change to a nurse during the
war and finally an investigator after the war. Maisie
uses her unusual talents to find the people who are
responsible for the exploitation of the veterans of the
war who have been damaged physically as well as
Following the story of Maisie and seeing how she
becomes the person she does was great. I have read
several of her later stories, now seeing her background,
will help as I follow her adventures.


Title:Book of Lost Fragrances ★★½
Author: M.J.Rose
Genre: Mystery
Subject: reincarnation, perfumery, Dalai Llama
Setting: Tibet, Paris, New York
Main Characters: Robert and Jacinthe L'Etoile
Series: Yes, #4 Reincarnationist
Dates Read: February 19 - February 23
Number of pages: 416
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, NetGalley
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Class Schedule, Foreign Languages

Robert and Jacinthe L'Etoile inherit the family's
distinguished perfume house but because of
financial difficulties they are at odds of how to
proceed. Jac wants to sell the two most valuable
scents to pay off their debts, but Robbie wants to
try to find the scent that was originally made in the
time of Cleopatra. He believes that this scent would
allow people to connect with their past lives and find
lost love ones.
While trying to find the missing formula, Jac and
Robbie connect with stories of ancestors that worked
for Napoleon in the 19th century and Tibetan monks
in the current day trying to locate the 12 memory tools
that are related to reincarnation.
The premise of the story was very intriguing, however,
since this is the 4th in the series and I have not read any
of the previous books, I felt a bit lost during the reading.
There were points where the story dragged, and others
where the change in one locale/character to another was
slightly confusing. The flow of the book didn't grab me
and take on the journey. Maybe if I'd read the first three,
but not this one alone.

I do want to thank Simon & Schuster for the opportunity
to read this book through Net Galley.


Silent Mercy by Linda Fairstein

Genre: Mystery
Subject: female ordination, orthodox religions, selincing by the church
Setting: New York, New York, USA
Main Characters: Alexandra Cooper, Mercer Wallace, Mike Chapman
Series: Yes, #13
Dates Read: February 17 - February 19
Number of pages: 320
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Study Hall,Homework

Alex Cooper, Asst. DA for Special Crimes, finds herself,
in this 13th installment of the series, taking on the
religious fanatic who is against the ordination of women
whether as priests, ministers, or rabbis and is
methodically killing the pariahs of the religious sects -
women priest who have been silenced, teaching
ministers on the path to higher positions. The
background history of the NY City buildings, a staple
of the Alex Cooper mysteries, takes the reader from a
former synagogue converted to a Baptist Church in
Harlem all the way to a island leper colony. We also
see the characters especially Mike Chapman
(Irish\Catholic) and Alex Cooper (Christian/Jewish
background) as our symbols of pro and con for the
inclusion of women in the religious sects.

In counter balance we see Alex standing firm against
prosecuting a teenage boy for rape when it was obvious
that the sex for the two teenagers was consensual as
well as instigated by the young woman. Alex will not
bend under pressure to expel the young boy simply
because the girl doesn't want to be confronted by her
previous partner at school and her parents have some
political influence.

Some readers seem to think that Ms Fairstein is
running out of originality, but I am not of that opinion. I
look forward to the next installment just as much as I
did the previous ones.


Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Subject: libraries, plagarism, impersonation
Sertting: Briar Creek, CT
Main Characters: Lindsey Norris, Beth Stanley, MsCole, Mike Sullivan, Rick Eckman
Series: yes, #1 Library Lover's Mysteries
Dates Read: February 16 - February 18
Number of pages: 269
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, my bookshelves
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Study hall, Home Ec

Being someone who visits her local library so frequently
that they know my name, this book hit home for me
almost immediately. The characters are very true-to-life.
They're not all likeable and they're not all funny or smart,
but mostly they're heartwarming and friendly.

The story also seemed on the most part realistic. We all
would fear something bad happening in our personal
environment and then being erroneously blamed for it
simply because we would be the most likely culprit. I
would hope if that happened to me, I would have a
friend like Lindsey Norris who, when her friend Beth
appears to be the murderer, sets out to find the real killer
to clear her friend's name.

The backdrop of the library also makes this story warm
and cozy. How many of us head home to a quiet evening
and a good book when we're stressed. That's exactly how
the characters in the Briar Creek behave. The crafternoon
club brings the comfort of a good book, a ladies group,
and fun crafts together at the library so that the setting is
not just a place for books but also friendships.

I really liked this book and will have to keep an eye out for
the next one.


Phantom Tollbooth by Juster Norton

Genre: Children's fiction
Subject: imagination
Setting: Dictionapolis, Kingdom of Wisdom
Main Characters: Milo, Tock, Humbug, Mathemagician, Senses Taker, Rhye, Reason, Alec Bings
Series: no
Dates Read: February 16 - February 16
Number of pages: 256
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Lunch, Speech Class

Milo arrives home to find a box with a tollbooth that once put together transports him to the fantasy land of the Kingdom of Wisdom. Here his adventures begin where Milo learns of the actuality of words and numbers.

His companions include a WATCHdog named TOCK - get it? and Humbug. His adventures, while searching for Rhyme and Reason (the missing princesses), take him to places where he attends a banquet where he eats words, a land where no sound is permitted except within the castle of the Guardian of Sound, and the Island of Conclusions that is reached by jumping (get that one too?).

How many of us have met Procrastination, Insincerity, and Fear as well as the Mountains of Ignorance? What a delightful way to teach children of these issues.

Many thanks to TUTU and others here at LT that told me about this book many months ago. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.


A Fountain Filled with Blood by Julia Spenser-Fleming

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Subject: land development, homophobia
Setting: Miller's Kill, New York, USA
Main Characters: Clare Ferguson, Russ Van Alstyne, Peggy Landry, Margie Van Alstyne
Series: Yes, #2
Dates Read: February 8 - February 15
Number of pages: 320
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Study Hall, Math
Reverend Clare Ferguson is the central character in this murder mystery. Since she is always trying to help her flock as well as learn a bit more about what's going on the town of Miller's Kill, Clare is in the middle of just about all the action.
The town is divided by the possible impact of the new spa that is being constructed - some are anxious to have the jobs and business expansion, others are worried about the environmental impact of the facility. How does a minister get into the middle of these situations? You'd be surprised and as well as entertained as to how she does it.
Every year I choose a series that I started that I wanted to be completely caught up on by the end of the year and this is the series that I chose for 2012 so I am really looking forward to reading more of Clare's adventures with her flock. A great series so far - hope that it just gets better and better.


A Crafty Killing by Lorraine Bartlett

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Subject: craft displays
Setting: McKinlay Mill, New York, USA
Main Characters: Kellie Bonner, Ezra Hilton, Gerald Hilton
Series: Yes, #1
Dates Read: February 9 - February 12
Number of pages: 367
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, on my Nook
Category for 12 in 12 challenge:English Lit, Extra Curricular Activities
Having lost her husband Chad, several months earlier, Kellie Bonner is horrified when her new partner, Ezra Hilton, (Chad had been in business with him) is found dead and she is thrown into the position of keeping the Artisans Alley open not just for sentimental reasons but for financial ones as well. Not happy that the detective in charge of the investigation seems slow, Kellie sets out to supply him with information so that the killer can be found and the crafters as well as customers will feel safe.
The characters are interesting and make you want to get to know that better, the descriptions of the crafts make me want to drive up and look around. Definitely a series to continue.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Genre: Classic
Setting: England
Series: no
Dates Read: February 7 - February 13
Number of pages: 592
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, NOOK
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Foreign Languages, Extra Curricular Activities
There have been so many reviews I won't both with a recap of the plot and story but will just say that the story really seemed to drag for me. Maybe because at the time of the writing, Dickens was paid per page or word or chapter (can't remember) but more he wrote the more money he got. In today's world I'm sure that this book would have been edited down greatly. After loving Dumas' Count, I'm disappointed with Pip.


The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

<b>Challenge Book #8

Genre: Classic
Subject: Justice, revenge, politics
Setting: France
Main Characters: Edmund Dantes, Mercedes, Haydee, Abbee Faria, de Villefort
Series: no
Dates Read: December 15 - February 4
Number of pages: 1462
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, NOOK
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Foreign Languages, Extra Curricular Activities</b>

If unknown to you, you had enemies who managed somehow to have you arrested on false charges and thrown into a prison without a trial and without a chance to communicate with your loved ones, how would you behave? If you escaped and came face to face with those who destroyed your life what would you do? This is the story of Edmond Dantes, a young sailor, who is on the brink of having all his dreams come true. He is going to marry the woman he adores, he's been given command of his own ship and the future looks wonderful. Then his enemies send a note to the authorities saying that he is a conspirator supporting Bonaparte. He is arrested, and thrown into a dungeon and has no chance of freedom.

This story was action packed but also filled with emotion and philosophical issues. While you read, it's hard to not put yourself in the place of Edmond and Mercedes, and Haydee trying to answer all the questions of WHAT WOULD I DO?

I'm not a Classics fan, but this was a great book.


Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

Challenge Book #7
Genre: Mystery
Subject: Art, old relationships, AA, jealousy
Setting: Three Pines, Quebec, Canada
Main Characters: Clara Morrow, Peter Morrow, Armand Gamache, Jean Guy Beauvoir, Isabelle Lacoste, Lillian Dyson
Series: yes #7 in the Three Pines series
Dates Read: January 26 - February 2
Number of pages: 615
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Foreign Languages, Study Hall
Three Pines…close your eyes and picture a peaceful little village
filled with picturesque buildings, unique characters, and an unknown
killer. The inhabitants of this little Quebec town have been through a
murder investigation before but now it's different. Having Chief Inspector
Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec return to their quiet village as a friend
is one thing, but have him there for another murder investigation, only
brings back bad memories for many of the residents.
This book is very much centered around redemption - redemption for
Gamache in the eyes of the villagers because of the mistake he made,
redemption for the victim who was trying to gain forgiveness for cruel
behavior in her past, redemption for Clara and Peter Marrow who had
based their lives on their own hidden agendas. Each of the main characters
in this book are searching for the answer to the question "Can People
change"? Are they looking for the answer for someone else or for themselves?
The story has magnificently interwoven the physical investigation of the
murder with the search within each character for the truth for themselves.
It's fascinating that the author can take her characters that have been
major/minor characters and expand on their personalities without losing
that specialness that had us liking them in the first place. In the previous
books we've seen the major character plucked from the village residents
and learn their history and uniqueness. Here again we are exposed to
other "minor" characters that have been brought to the forefront and
taken our hearts.

Especially dramatic when yu get to listen on a finely performed audio
version like I had.

Another major triumph for Louise Penney - hard to believe that she can
keep these characters and setting fresh, but if anyone can, she can. BRAVO!


Andrew Johnson, A Biography by Hans L Trefousse

Genre: History
Series: no
Dates Read: January 25 - January 31
Number of pages: 464
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: History Class

Andrew Johnson was a self-made man who was placed into a difficult position by his place in time. This enigmatic man was the only Southern Senator who remained loyal to the Union at the time the Civil War began. He believed whole-heartedly in the Union and the Constitution and throughout his life fought to preserve them. But he was a contradiction. He was a Democrat that served as Lincoln's (a Republican) Vice President, he was a white supremacist that was concerned about freed men of color, he was a politician who lost only two elections - one early one late in career - but was always looking for vindication by the people.

Johnson was a stubborn man who appeared to believe that he was always right when it came to political matters and here lies his difficulties. Since he was a Democrat in a Republican administration per se, he had little support for his plans for the Reconstruction of the nation at the end of the war and after Lincoln's assassination. He used the Presidential veto 29 times and was overridden 15. His personal feelings for other politicians frequently got in the way of vital legislation. However, he held ground in his belief of the powers of the Constitution and was vindicated at his impeachment proceedings by acquittal.

I still think I need more details concerning the impeachment process, so another book is in order for that historical event. As a President I don't think that he was great, but he wasn't as bad IMHO, as history makes him out.