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Fridays are the best.  One of the reasons is that I try and give you some ideas for weekend reading. I realize that I have not been doing book reviews the last few weeks. I can tell because I made up a list of the books that I have to review and there are 16 of them! How can that be?

One of the reasons is that I have wanted to a post about the genre “cozy mysteries”. I happen to be a fan of the cozy mystery. I didn’t know that they arecalled cozy mysteries until about a year ago. I just knew they were mysteries.

In case you are with me on not being up on all the genres, I will give you a quick definition of a cozy mystery.

The cozy mystery usually takes place in a small town or village (click here to read more on the village setting). The small size of the setting makes it believable that all the suspects know each other. The amateur sleuth is usually a very likeable person who is able to get the community members to talk freely (i.e. gossip) about each other. There is usually at least one very knowledgeable and nosy (and of course, very reliable!) character in the book who is able to fill in all of the blanks, thus enabling the amateur sleuth to solve the case.

Although the cozy mystery sleuth is usually not a medical examiner, detective, or police officer, a lot of times her best friend, husband, or significant other is. This makes a very convenient way for her to find out things that she would otherwise not have access to… Do you know any caterers or dog trainers who have access to autopsy reports? I don’t! (Unless you count some of my favorite cozy characters…)

At the same time, it is probably safe to say that the local police force doesn’t take the amateur sleuth very seriously. They dismiss her presence, almost as if she doesn’t exist. This of course, makes it convenient for her to “casually overhear” things at the scene of a crime.                       

Definition thanks to the Cozy Mystery web site

I have been reading cozy mysteries for a long time. I am not sure but I probably started with the beloved Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie.  There are many cozy mystery books these days.

I have recently found some authors of cozy mysteries that are new to me.

Honeybee

I found Death by Honey Bee by Abigail Keam as a discount book for the Kindle.  It is part of a series and this is the first book in the series.

Synopsis –

Josiah Reynolds is out checking on her bees when she finds a man face down in one of her bee hives. It becomes worse when it turns out that the man is dead and he is a rival beekeeper. Before a cause of death is even decided, the police are acting like Josiah is a killer. When the cause of death is not ruled homicide, she feels obligated to clear her name.  At the same time, the ruling does not seem to stop the police from trying to pin the non-murder on her.

Opinion –

I enjoyed the story and the introduction to the characters. There was just the right amount of intrigue to get me to want to read the next book in the series. (And you need to read them in order.) I did read the next book, Death by Drowning. It carries the story along nicely.

As a regular mystery reader, I liked the ending of the book. It was not the standard ending for a mystery.

A good beach read.

whole

Another of the “cozy mystery” authors is Diane Mott Davidson.  Her latest book, The Whole Enchilada” came out  last August.

Synopsis –

Goldie Schulz is a caterer in Aspen Meadow, CO. She caters the birthday party for a friend’s son. As the friend is leaving the party, she dies. Goldie takes it upon herself to try to unravel what has happened to her friend. Along the way, Goldie is injured and learns more about her neighbors than she ever wanted to know. There are several recipes in the book that go along what Goldie is catering for parties.

 Opinion –

This is the 17th book in the series. I have enjoyed many of the stories.  This particular one left me a little flat. I felt that the end was abrupt. Not only was the killer found and Goldie endangered in the process but there was a personal surprise for Goldie at the end. If you have not read these books before, I would start at the beginning of the series. I think that the books can stand alone but I think the first ones are more fun.

body

Body in the Backyard is what in my mind I would think of as a contemporary cozy mystery. The author of the book is Elizabeth Spann Craig.

Synopsis –

Octogenariean Myrtle Clover is shocked to find a body in her back yard. She feels that this definitely entitles her to try and find the killer. Her son, the police chief does not agree. That does not stop her for looking into the murder and enlisting the aid of her neighbor, Miles. Together they have some close calls but the murderer is eventually found.

Opinion –

This is the 4th book in a series of what is about to be 7 books. (The 7th book comes out in the fall.)I had no idea that it was part of a series. I would certainly read the others.  It was an easy enjoyable read.  It does not appear that you need to read the series in order.

All in all, the books on today’s list are enjoyable and are very easy reads.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for reading!

Stop on over at http://www.juliatomiak.com/  if you would like to find out my take on popcorn books.  I am guest posting on Diary of a Word Nerd this week.

 

 

 

 

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Blog Hop – What is your writing process?

Screenshot 2014-07-07 11.21.44 (2)

Writers are fascinated with the way that other writers write. I think that we all hope that we will pick up some clue or tip from a writer that will make the process easier.

I have been invited to join a blog hop about the writing process.  To join this hop, I need to thank the person who invited me, answer four questions, and introduce you to the next person on the hop.

Two years ago, I had the good fortune to join a writer’s group, the Wordsmith Studio. I am thankful to the group for all the help and support they have given me.  The group is an online group so face to face meetings are not that frequent. We are spread not only across the U.S. but also in Canada and even Bulgaria!

Sometimes even in a situation like this, you will find friends. Somehow even when just talking or working on line, you can find a kindred spirit. I am lucky to have found several in the group.

Linda Hatton is one of those people. She has been incredibly helpful and has shown so much patience with my often sometimes idiotic simple questions.   I feel very lucky to have gotten to know her over the last two years.  Linda invited me to this hop. Let me introduce you to her.

Linda G. Hatton

Linda G. Hatton

Linda G Hatton spends her days writing—poetry, novels, screenplays, web codes, or notes to her children. She is also the managing editor of Mouse Tales Press and works as a freelance copyeditor.  Please check her out at  http://www.lindaghatton.com/

(Linda is very knowledgeable and is a wonderful copyeditor.  Please contact her if you need copyediting. You won’t be sorry!)

And now on to my four questions –

What am I currently working on?

I currently write three blogs – one professionally as the foot blogger chick, one about adapting to my husband’s diabetes, and one about books. I also participated in last November’s NaNoWriMo and wrote a story about a Lola. Poor Lola needs a lot of work and I have been avoiding her. She is that needy friend.  You know the kind I mean. The one whose problems are just overpowering.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

Wow… That is the big question, isn’t it? I think that, while it is still developing, my writing “voice” sounds a lot like me.  I am fairly casual and that comes out in my writing. I will admit that I have a harder time with book reviews. I have a tendency to be a bit stiff with the reviews. I take the reviews very seriously but I need to loosen up a bit. I am fortunate that my employer for the foot blog likes my casual style.

Why do I write/create what I do? 

I started with the blog about my husband’s diabetes. I felt that it was a confusing new world and that we could share what we were finding along the way. I thought that because we were such idiots about it that we could probably help others.  We were so overcome with serious information that we worried about screwing up and what that would mean.  But, of course, we all screw up.

That blog started the ball rolling. Also there were some changes in my work situation that gave me more time to be able to work at writing.  I found that I loved (most of the time) writing and there was so much for me to learn. Also, I could be creative and that was really fun.

How does your writing/creating process work?

Sometimes better than others? I sit down at my desk each morning sometime between 8-9 a.m. and finish for the day about 5:30 p.m. Now, I have a schedule for when the blogs are supposed to be posted so I have to write them to meet the schedule. I do also have a small property management business that I have to take care of while in the office also.

I saw the following quote and I think it is perfect for the way I work –

I write when I’m inspired. And I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.

Peter de Vries

I am a “pantser”. That is the term for writer who “flies by the seat of their pants” and does not outline what they are going to write before they write it. I sit down and expect it to happen. When I was writing about Lola last year, I had no idea what was going on or why I was writing about Lola. I suspect that I could use a little more discipline. The problem is that I love being a “pantser”. I sit down and just start typing. I even just look up into the air and type. Sometimes what comes out is just crap but sometimes a story happens. The trick is to know the difference. I am not sure I know how to tell.

And now I get to introduce you to the next stop on the hop!

 Sarah LaFleur

Sarah LaFleur

Sarah LaFleur is another of my Wordsmith Studio buddies.  She is so very talented and full of interesting ideas.  Please take a few minutes to check out her site and her book!

Until December 2012, Sarah LaFleur was a working pianist and teacher. In the midst of a career change, she started writing a story. Less than 17 weeks later she completed her first full-length novel.  Who Is Evelyn Dae? was born when Sarah decided to launch her writing persona (lafleurdeplume) on social media. By early September 2013, she connected with a wonderful community of writers and readers who convinced her to publish the Amazon bestselling story.

Sarah continues to write, and has several projects in the works including a sequel to her first novel, an adult science fiction book that stands alone, and multiple guest blog spots. She lives in the greater Chicago metropolitan area with her children, cats, and piano. You can find out more about her at http://lafleurdeplume.com

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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So Your Friend has a Book Published – The 5 Things You Should Do

 

Hours of work went into the book!

Hours of work went into the book!

Are you  wondering what you should do when your friend has a book published?  If you are a close friend, you know that this has been a long slow process and that giving birth to a child is faster.  Okay, giving birth to an elephant could be faster.

So you have congratulated your friend and you are there for the cake when the book comes out.  But is there something else you should do?

Here are my suggestions for –

The top 5 things you should do once a friend’s book is published.

1.  Write to your friend and congratulation them on the momentous accomplishment.  I really don’t care if you see the person every day.  Write a note to say “Wow, I  am so excited to know an author!” and “I am so thrilled for you.”  Your note will be appreciated more than you could ever know. Your friend has just put a part of their soul on the line, tell them how proud you are of them.

In person or online it doesn't matter where, just buy the book.

In person or online it doesn’t matter where, just buy the book.

2.  Buy the book.  Do not under and circumstances tell your friend that you are going to take it out of the library to read it.  No, that is not the correct thing to say.  Buy the book.  Your friend has just given birth to an elephant, the least you can do is support the author and BUY THE BOOK.

3.  Write your friend and tell him/her that you just put the book down and you are sorry it is over.  That they have done a great job and you can’t wait to tell everyone you know what a great book it is.

4.  Go on the web and write reviews for the book.  Go to Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and LibraryThing.  Anywhere you can think of that will tell people they should read the book.

5.  Go to your local bookstore and library to make sure they are carrying the book.  If they aren’t, ask them to please carry the book.  Offer to give the library a copy.

I will readily admit that these are things that I would not have thought about before I started writing.  But please, support your friend the author!

This is my friend and neighbor Tish Suk's book.  I think you will like it.  It is available on Amazon

This is my friend and neighbor Tish Suk’s book. I think you will like it. It is available on Amazon

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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Where do you get your books?

How cute is that?  Free books in your yard!

How cute is that? Free books in your yard!

I have talked on this blog before about places to get books that are free or low cost. Yes, I love getting a bargain. Plus I think sometimes I end up reading authors that are engaging and have written good books that I would have missed.

But do you know about the Little Free Library concept?

Perhaps you have been somewhere where you have seen a pile of books with the sign “lending library” or “take one/ leave one”. I know that I have seen them at bed and breakfasts or smaller vacation hotels. There was even one in my husband’s office.  I think it is a great way to share books.

Have you seen a Little Free Library in your neighbor’s yard? Yes, I meant that – in your neighbor’s yard. Well if you haven’t seen one then you need to check out this idea.

What a great use for a recycled newspaper box.

What a great use for a recycled newspaper box.

There is an organization that promotes the concept of putting a Little Free Library in your yard. The idea is that you put a box in your yard with a sign inviting people to come and borrow and leave a book for others.  Here is a video explanation

 

According to their web site, the Little Free Library organization started when in 2009, one man decided to make a small box to honor his mother’s memory.  Placing the box in his yard with a sign that read “Free Books”, he placed some books in the box. That box caught the eye of another man and the two men had a conversation about how the memorial could become a widespread social enterprise. And thus Little Free Library was started.

To read more about the Little Free Library movement, please go to their web site.  There you can find out about movement and its goals and where the little free libraries can be found. One of their original goals was to have 2,510 Little Free Libraries. (the number comes from the number of libraries started by Andrew Carnegie) This goal was surpassed in August of 2012.  As of January, 2014, there were nearly 15,000 Little Free Libraries in the world.

On Pinterest, you can also find pictures of some of the Little Free Libraries.  People have used many creative means to have a library out in the public.  To see them, sign into Pinterest and search Little Free Libraries.  www.pinterest.com 

So, what do you think of this idea? Have you seen one in your neighborhood? Have you ever used one?

Would that be a great summer project to work on with your kids?

Thanks for reading!

A great way to get books to kids,meet your neighbors, and have something to read at a moment's notice!

A great way to get books to kids,meet your neighbors, and have something to read at a moment’s notice!

 

Posted in Miscellaneous Thoughts, Talking Books | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Hey Look, It is a Three-fer!

clock 1 2 3

Photo by By Sonja Langford

Yes, most times you will get just one book at a time reviewed but this week, there are three books.

The truth is that I am behind reading the  pre-publication books I have been given. In fact they are all rapidly turning into post publication books. So I thought that I would get this out before the books were published.

Well, let’s just go with they are all newly published.

the art of arranging

The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard

 published June 3, 2014

Synopsis – Ruby Jewell knows two things. She knows grief.  When her dear sister Daisy died, she got in bed – for months. When she was ready, she got up and started living again. She bought a flower shop. She had a gift with flowers. She knew what someone would want perhaps before they knew. She knew which plants to blend with the flowers to give healing to the recipient. She thought she was fine. And then a dog and a boy showed her that perhaps there was more to life.

Opinion – Good beach read. I enjoyed the story and the pacing was good. The beginning of the story hooked you on wondering what was going to happen.

The red hot fix

The Red Hot Fix by T.E.Woods

published June 10, 2014

Synopsis – NOTE – This is the second book of a series. Morton Grant, Chief of Detectives in Seattle has a serial killer on the loose. The serial killer is a prostitute killing men who hire her. They are found in “no tell motels” around the Seattle area.  Grant also has some guilt over a secret he is keeping. While most cops might worry about the “one that got away”, Grant has a different worry. He is also having feelings for the charming Charlotte but he is not sure he is ready to move on from the death of his wife.

Opinion – It becomes obvious that this is the second book in a series but it does not detract from the story. The plot explains enough of the previous book so that it is not confusing. I did wonder about the pacing in the book when I was about ¾ of the way through the story but it all comes together. I actually would be interested in reading the next book in the series. (If there is one…)

The Quick

The Quick by Lauren Owen

 published June 17, 2014

Synopsis – The setting for the book is England in the late 1800s. The story begins with a brother and sister (James and Charlotte) growing up on an old family estate outside of London. Their mother is dead and their father is absent. Their father then returns to the estate and dies. The son is then sent away to school and when he finishes, he moves to London to concentrate on writing poetry. He does not have a lot of money so he shares part of a house with a man he went to school with but didn’t really know at school. Through his roommate, James sees more of society than he would have and he falls in love unexpectedly. One night, he and his love disappear. Charlotte comes to the city to find out what happened to James. This story also explains about the presence of  vampires in London and how they live.

Opinion – There are two things that I have to tell you right off the bat. The first is that I had no idea what this book was about when I started reading it. I must have at some point read a synopsis but did not remember anything about it.

The second and perhaps most important thing is that I did not finish the book.  That is rather telling about how much I liked the book, isn’t it?

The book starts out telling the story of James and Charlotte. That was fine. Then the part of the story about James living in London give you the feeling that James was a bit of a self-centered jerk (he was the heir and was ignoring taking care of the estate) and then  moves out of nowhere into James in love. Without giving this twist away, let me just say that there was not any build up for this at all. Then James and his lover are apparently murdered.

Then it feels like a whole new book starts with the story of the Aegolius Club.  The Aegolius Club is a secret society in London. This is where the book starts talking about vampires who live and roam in London.

I made it through part of the Angolius Club section and it quite frankly, just got too weird for me. I have read about vampires but this vampire thing coming out of the blue seemed odd.  Remember, I did know what the book was about when I started reading it.

I read over 1/3 of the book and Charlotte was not back on the scene; there must be more vampire backstory before she comes to London.

This book is on several “recommended read” lists for the summer.  I feel terrible not suggesting this book but while thoroughly researched, I just could not get through it. It might be better for you knowing ahead the plot of the book.

Which one of these books interests you the most?

Which one of these books interests you the most?

 If I was going to pick one –

I would probably start with The Red Hot Fix by T.E. Woods.  It was a good read and is a $2.99 kindle book.

The Art of Arranging Flowers is also a nice read and is a $7.99 Kindle book.  

The Quick is available as a Kindle read for $11.84.

Please let me know what you think of these books!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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