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Mary's Books

I have loved to read since I was little. I would borrow many books from the library and still borrow to this day, but I also purchase books (mostly for my kids) and freebies on Kindle. I read as much as I can daily. Sometimes I read several books at one time. I don't have a preference of paper book over an ebook, I just love to read. Keeping lists of what I have read is a good way for me to remember. 

Currently reading

The Partner
John Grisham
The Christie Curse
Victoria Abbott
Truly Devious
Maureen Johnson
17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis and the Biggest Cover-Up in History
Andrew Morton
Thirteen Chocolates (A Chandler's Chocolate Box Mystery Book 1)
agatha chocolats
A Catered Wedding
Isis Crawford
The Know Your Bill of Rights Book: Don't Lose Your Constitutional Rights--Learn Them!
Sean Patrick
Delicious and Suspicious
Riley Adams
All Fudged Up
Nancy CoCo
The Devotional Bible: Experiencing The Heart of Jesus
Max Lucado
Progress: 51 %


Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - Rebecca Paley, Leah Remini

Last year, I discovered the show with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder and was mesmerized by the stories from former members of the "religion" and when it was mentioned that she had written a book, I marked it TBR and then put it on my Amazon List waiting for it to come down on price, which it hadn't when I found it on the library (Overdrive) and borrowed it. 


She starts with her life before, during and after and some of the things that the "religion" did to these children was horrifying. 


I think that she was very brave for putting all the things she did into the book and am grateful that she wrote this book for everyone. 



Stork Raving Mad

Stork Raving Mad - Donna Andrews

Meg is on the last of her pregnancy with twins. She and Michael had decided that while the twins are fraternal, they don't want to find out the last great mystery until they are born. She has a room set up for them and spends a lot of time resting, but her house is full to the brim with her brother, Rob, and cousin, Rose, that Michael calls borders since they have lived with them for so long in the 3rd-floor rooms. They are housing her grandfather, Dr. Blake because there are no rooms at the inn (the hotel that he always stays at). With this, they are also housing about 2 dozen drama students and about half a dozen of Rob's student interns. The reason they have so many in their home is that the school's boiler has broken and the Shiffley's won't fix the boiler until they are paid the half a million they are already owed for work they have already completed at the college. This is contentious and to top all of this off, two people from the college have shown up to state they are not allowing a show to happen and they are refusing to allow a student who has done all his paperwork for his doctoral thesis to continue with the work that he has completed already. 


They are so foul and hated that it is no surprise that one of them has been found dead in the library of the house and there are so many suspects available for the chief to try to wade through. Poor Meg, being so big in her final months (she is 8 1/2 months along) just wants to find places to sit and rest and keeps finding out information for the chief to help him solve the mystery. 


The only thing I didn't like (spoiler alert) is that at the end of the story they say she has gone into labor and is being taken to the hospital, but they don't say what she has (boys, girls or boy/girl) or their names and you have to wait for the next book (or find and read the next book). 

The Lord of the Wings

Lord of the Wings: A Meg Langslow Mystery (Meg Langslow Mysteries) - Donna Andrews

The town of Caerphilly, VA is hosting a Halloween event that is family friendly during daylight hours and for adults during the evening hours. Randall Shiffley hired a young woman, Lydia, to run the event and Meg was volunteered to lead the Goblin Brigade. The Goblin Brigade is the nickname for the liaisons between the police and tourists and the locals. But Meg is being run ragged, still putting out fires all over the place. Dr. Smoot's house/haunted house/museum was broken into, but nothing appeared to have been taken. People are causing trouble at Dr. Blake's zoo and a body is found. It seems that someone started a LARPers version scavenger hunt where you have a certain amount of time to find and send in proof and then you get a new list. As the event continues more things begin to happen and then Lydia disappears as the Smoot House is set on fire, Smoot is found injured and another body is found. Is she a victim, an accomplice or just not involved. 


I love having these books play as I drive as my kids are almost always with me and they start giggling over silly things that are read, i.e. the Ravens saying, "Nevermore," "Doom, doom," or "Room Service." Another was the pun of a coat of arms (a coat with extra arms all doing things). I love to hear them giggling or laughing and as they are teens these times are few and far between. 


This book is also part of series and thankfully this series does not need to be read in order. 

Hen of the Baskervilles

Hen of the Baskervilles - Donna Andrews

It is the second year of the UnFair and Meg is the Deputy Director and she and her volunteers are sleeping in the tents for the animals and she is woken up to the shock that someone has stolen some Heritage Chickens. As the fair is progressing many people are causing problems, Janette is hassling people to sell her their heritage animals, someone is destroying other people's entries into the different categories (pumpkin, quilt, etc) and Janette is trying to make Meg let her play her music so loud that people run from them. 


The other winemakers band together to get Janette out of the tent, because of her behavior and her bad ways with others. New rules are created to deal with certain problems, others are strictly enforced, but then the next night, her married boyfriend ends up being shot in the parking lot and the Clay County Sheriff and the Caerphilly Chief come to an agreement where one of the Clay County Deputies is to help with the work, but the Caerphilly Department can take the lead, but the deputy assigned has rubbed many the wrong way. As they continue to search to find who murdered the man and who is stealing chickens and destroying property. 


My kids were chuckling over some of the things that happened in the story and it was a fun story. So improbable, but fun. 

Lost Books and Old Bones

Lost Books and Old Bones - Paige Shelton

Why did I pick up this book? I had never heard of the author and this is the first book I have read by her. I liked the title and the cover picture. That was all, pure and simple. I walked into the library and saw another title by an author that I wanted to read and there was this book. I picked it up and read a little here and there until today, today I worked hard to finish the story. 


Delaney is an American from Kansas, who is living and working in Scotland at a bookshop owned by Edwin. She is there to make sense of all the things in his hidden room. Check it's provenance and see what it is worth and where it should be (a museum, a university or sold to Edwin's buyers). One night, she is out on the town with two new friends who are older students at the medical school and a friend of theirs. But the night turns strange and they leave to go their separate ways. She goes to her boyfriend's pub and then to her workspace, they to their flats or so they say. The next morning, the friend of the two medical students is found in the close (alley) behind the bookshop, a window is broken, the front door is open and things take a twist from there. 


Paige Shelton, the author, does a lot of research on her books, she introduces the reader to Burke and Hare who murdered people to sell to the medical school in the early 1900's. She even puts in a story about another man who pretends to be a doctor, but actually was not. 


The story is part of a series, but I would never have known if not for little things like Hamlet, a college student who works in the shop, helping to translate Scottish style words for Delaney (and the American reader) and other little things that do not detract from the book. A thoroughly enjoyable read with a twist at the end. 

Black River Falls

Black River Falls - Jeff Hirsch

The town has become a place where groups roam trying to get dominance, the one kid who is uninfected and a group of other children who were infected are all hiding up at a camp, to be away from the predatory adults. The government came in to try and help but turned over everything to another group. 


This book was assigned to my girls for their book club and at first, it seemed interesting, but as the time went on, I just couldn't get into and stay in the book. 


The Rainmaker - John Grisham

Rudy is a 3rd-year law student and all his plans have gone up in dust. The firm that he signed with has sold and he is no longer going to be employed by them. When he leaves their building he knocks into a bust of the founder and it shatters a window. When he goes to another firm, started by a young, hungry law student years ago, he is promised a job, but when he does all the work on the account he is bringing them, they fire him and then he is accused of starting a fire at their place. After his current employer, a shady bar owner, helps him get with Bruiser, a shady attorney, he now has a job and he gets to keep his account that he brought along with him. The cases that he is so possessive of, are Miss Birdie, an elderly woman who says she has a huge fortune and wants to rewrite her will to write out her family and the Black family, whose son is dying from treatable leukemia. He was refused medical treatment by the insurance company that his mother got for the family and his brother was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant and yet, the insurance company refused the treatments and refused to pay for any testing he had done claiming that he had pre-existing condition and then calling his mother stupid in a letter. 


When it becomes evident that Bruiser is going to be running from the law, he and Declan leave and start their own office, doing all the things they had done before at Bruiser's to pay the bills all the while, working on this one big case. Since this is his only big case, he works it all the time. He fast-tracks the case and as he works the case he finds allies in places he didn't know he had. A law school friend helps him with cases that his company cannot handle and will allow some steady income and allow him to continue to work on this case for the Black family. When Deck and Rudy find that their phones are bugged, they start doing things to see who has bugged them and discover that it was the law firm for the insurance company and they use it to their advantage, pretending that the family wants a settlement or that they tampered with the jury. 


It was a really good story and moved quickly, hard to put down, so much so that in order to continue reading while I was driving my girls around, I borrowed the audio version so I could listen while I drove. 

Magic and Macaroons

Magic and Macaroons - Bailey Cates

"“Those are macarons,” I said, then spelled the word. “Though sometimes it’s spelled the same as the coconut-based cookies we have here. Macarons don’t typically have any coconut at all."


As the ladies of the Spell Book Club are having their meeting, a woman comes and starts banging on the door and saying that she was sent by her uncle to find Katie Lightfoot. Then she collapses and goes into a coma. Katie feels that she needs to find out who this woman is, who her uncle is and then what really happened to them both. Along the way, she meets her former flame's new girlfriend and quickly fiancee. She learns about voodoo and meets some practitioners. 


This book took me awhile because it was on a tablet and then I would just get sidelined by other stories and just kept having to work on it a little at a time. 

The Good, the Bad and the Emus

The Good, the Bad, and the Emu - Donna Andrews

It is summer and Meg is trying to cut her bushes and keep her yard nice while watching her four-year-old twin sons and niece, Natalie, who has come to help watch the boys. After she gets cut on her tools when her niece screams, she is in the ER having sutures and Stanley Denton, a friend and PI, comes and asks that she take a trip to a nearby town and help him get in with a woman who is related to the woman that was Meg's grandmother, that has died. When she comes to town she gains admittance to the house and she and Stanley agree that they will try to figure a way to help find out what happened to her grandmother on the cold December night that she was murdered. On the way back to Caerphilly, Denton sees a very large bird that looks either like an emu or an ostrich. When they get back to her parent's place, the information inspires her grandfather, Dr. Blake, to get the group together and go rescue the birds and take them to Carolyn's sanctuary. While they are there, a man is poisoned by scotch he put in his coffee, that had been a gift to her grandfather and someone left candies at her cousin's home. The sheriff is trying to find out who murdered Cordelia, who attempted to poison Dr. Blake and who tried to poison Meg's cousin. At the same time, they go out and try to find the birds. It is a very fun story and there was a moment in the book where she talks about her friend keeping paperwork handy for the "frequent fliers'" to the emergency room. I remember those times and not nearly as fondly as I could. Although we can now laugh about some of the things that landed us there. 


The books were read out of order, but that is the beauty of these stories, they are great in order or out of order. 



Women's Murder Club Book 2

2nd chance - Andrew Gross, James Patterson

When I originally read this book, I loved it. This time, I just wasn't able to get into the book and enjoy the women and the coming together to solve the crime using their expertise. A homicide detective, a coroner, an assistant DA and the crime beat reporter. This time, I just couldn't get into the story. I think it is time to go back to the fluff reading (aka cozy mysteries). 


The Nightingale Before Christmas

The Nightingale Before Christmas - Donna Andrews

Meg has been drafted to organize the designers and spearhead any issues and fix any problems that crop up. The designers have each been assigned a room(s) at the "Show House" to decorate for Christmas. They get a chance to show their stuff and possibly win some money for their charity. One male designer in the show house has made life bad for all the others. He has ruined their rooms, he has sexually harassed some of the women and he has been accused and caught stealing from the other designers, including Meg's own mother. He stole her urn and then claimed it was his, all the way up to Meg asking who he keeps stored in his urn and then opening the urn and pretending to pull out a ring and saying, oh look here is aunt someone's ring! He has to admit he took the urn from Meg's mother because he wanted it for the room he was decorating. He has damaged their rooms and only when Meg points out that he is going to have pay for these damages before he can continue does he get really upset. He has made so many enemies in the house and everywhere else. Stanley Denton is looking for him to serve him with papers for damages he did or rooms he left undone. One night, Meg comes back to the house to make sure all is well only to be shot at and find the designer dead from a gunshot wound. Now the real work begins as they look for the person who murdered Clay and who has been trying to break into the house. Along the way, Meg discovers that there is a women's shelter in the town and that many women are taking advantage of it. They also work hard to get ready for the house showing so that it can benefit the Historical Society. 


The book was read out of order but still a good and fun read. My girls who have been listening to the audio in the car with me have been enjoying the stories so much that they too have been looking for the books to read when I don't have the audio. 

Air Fryer Cookbooks

Air Fryer Cookbook: 250 Tasty Recipes for 30 Days Whole Food Challenge -  Marta Getty Air Fryer Cookbook: With Over 100 Best Recipes of Healthy Meals For The Whole Family - Inna Volia

Both books provide different recipes for the Air Fryer, but some of them would not work with the Air Fryer I am using. Both were obtained for free and so I may look back on them if I get another Air Fryer in the future. 

Book One: The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones

The Maze of Bones - Rick Riordan

Amy and Dan and all the Cahill relatives have come together to say goodbye to their grandmother. She has left a very cryptic will, where the people who have been listed in the will are given a choice...take $1 million dollars and go on their way or give it up and using clues find the secret of the Cahill Clan. Amy and Dan, both orphans, have decided to take the challenge. Their aunt, their grandmother's sister, has stated that she will give them to CPS in MA if they do this and she is willing to follow through. They convince their au pair to help them on their quest. 


They follow Benjamin Franklin from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania and then to France. 


In this instance, I started with the first book and my girls loved it! I borrowed the audio version (again, driving in the car) and they were with me and when we got home we had to finish playing the audio so they could hear the ending. I think I will be borrowing the rest of the story. This has many different authors and I am interested to see where the story leads and how different authors will move the story along. 

Swan for the Money

Swan for the Money - Donna Andrews

Meg has been drafted by her mother and the ladies of the garden society to organize a Rose Show. It is the Friday before the show and she has to go and get the barns set up on the property of an eccentric woman, known as Wrinkleston as she is called behind her back. She likes the colors of black, white and gray and only those colors are allowed on her property. Anyone on her property has to be shorter than her or stand below her and they have to wear the approved colors. In fact, she tries to sabotage the Show by calling all the competitors and telling them only Black and White roses are being shown, no other colors are allowed! 


On the Friday that she is setting up, Meg finds a woman stabbed in a field with goats. The weapon is the garden shears she made for her mother. Many things happen during the investigation of the woman's death, including a dognapping, a poisoning and what appears to be a cattle rustling. 


Again this book is part of a series and can be read out of order or in order as the reader is able to do so. I also borrowed this book in two formats, Kindle and Audio, so that I could listen while I drove to Kentucky and back again. The stories are just fun and there are some things that you can learn along the way, including another word for garden shears (I forget how to spell it). 

Some Like It Hawk

Some Like It Hawk - Donna Andrews

Another Meg Langslow cozy. It is important to note that this series can be read out of order (which I am currently doing as I obtain the books from the library) or in order. 


The town of Caerphilly, VA, is holding a tourist event all summer long to raise money to try and pay off the evil lenders who have brought their flying monkeys (the private security) to keep people out of the courthouse. In the basement of the courthouse, Phineas Throckmorton has barricaded himself for the past year and the town has been helping to keep him stocked with food and necessary items while he keeps all the papers safe and away from the evil lenders while the new town attorney, Meg's cousin, works to find a way to save the town from the evil lenders. While all this is happening, a woman from the evil lender has been murdered and it has been made to look like Phineas has done the deed. Meg and the rest of her family work very hard to find out who really murdered her and stop the evil lender from taking over the town and all the surrounding areas. 


I really enjoy these stories and when my kids are in the car listening to the story with me, laughing at some of the things that happen in the story, I know it is a winner. My middle daughter has started hunting on the Kindle to find these books so she can read them, too. 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - The Final Year

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  - J.K. Rowling

Finally, finished with the last book, again. I do enjoy this series and it was fun to remember all the things that were not shown in the movies. My children love listening to the stories with me and that has helped the long drives pass quickly. Just mind candy for all of us. I know that I will re-read this and the other stories again as I have enjoyed them so much. 4 of the books were released on or near hospital visits (birth of children and emergency surgery), so they were bought for me to enjoy while I recuperated and one was purchased soon after the death of a family member. The first two were purchased at the recommendation of friends who loved them, too. I have hard copies and Kindle versions so that I can read them whenever and wherever I want and I borrow the audio versions from the library when I am on a long journey.