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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

A Bat in the Belfry
Sarah Graves
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 %
Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 Days
John A Carroll
Progress: 60 %

The Book Stops Here

The Book Stops Here - Kate Carlisle

Brooklyn complained that she was running out of work and her friend, Ian, tells her about being a specialist on "This Old Attic" that helps people learn about the things they have and how much they are worth. Her first book is an old friend to her. It Frances Hodgson's "The Secret Garden" and she values it for more than the woman thought it would be worth. Suddenly after a blurb on the local tv news, she is being hunted by some very large men who want the book. Also, the host of the show is under attack by a stalker and some of the attacks on him have put her in danger. Derick is afraid for her safety and starts trying to stay close to her. Her new friend and neighbor, Alexandra, is also afraid and teaches her some things she can do for herself to keep safe while these men are trying to get her. 


Fun story, there were moments that I was laughing out loud and other places where I felt that something was off, but the story did have me guessing until the end. 


Sprinkle with Murder

Sprinkle with Murder - Jenn McKinlay

This is book one in the series and I used the audio to get it started and to finish (I am knitting socks) and I really wanted to read, but I needed to work on the socks and drive my kids to different things. 


It was a fun read/listen. Mel and Angie have opened a cupcake bakery (why cupcakes? Because you feel better about buying a cupcake over a whole cake) and have run into some issues. 


1. Their competition keeps driving by the store and doing things to try and ruin their business. Olivia runs her own bakery selling cakes, cookies, and cupcakes and she spends the day driving back and forth past the shop. When their friend and financier's fiancee is found murdered by Mel, she uses it to help push her own business forward. 


2. Their friend, Tate, is a wealthy man who is engaged to an evil, pushy woman who makes everyone unhappy. Mel and Angie don't like her at all, but Tate wants them to make the "cake" or cupcakes for the wedding. But she wants a contract that won't allow them to use anything that has been made before and cannot be used ever again. It seems she has done this to all the people working on her wedding (the dress and the photographs). She claims other people's work as her own and makes them sign contracts that are unfair and hard to break. 


3. Tate's fiancee is found by Mel the morning after her cupcakes are delivered by two of her assistants (not Mel's assistants). Mel was ordered to arrive early to discuss changes and does not respond to the calls and knocking of Mel. Mel is originally looked at as the suspect because she made the cupcakes and arsenic was found in a cupcake, but none in the bridezilla. Then it is believed that Tate murdered her. Mel feels that she needs to find the truth and get the real murderer arrested. 


The story was fun and there were recipes at the end. I think the only thing I found was that I knew by the middle of the book who had murdered the bridezilla and that at one point I think I heard that she used oil instead of butter to make her cupcakes moist, but then the recipes use butter over oil (keep in mind I listened and read at same time) and I didn't have time to go back and look to see if that was the way it was written. 



Calico Joe

Calico Joe - John Grisham

A phone call, a father who is dying. The family is broken and will never be completely healed. The father had been an abusive father and husband and when the wife finally gets it together to take the children away, the damage is done. The father has little to anything to do with the children and the son, Paul Tracy, wants little to do with his father and celebrates that all his children are girls and won't feel the need to play a sport, like their father. 


Warren Tracy is a former Big League Baseball player who was known for being a "headhunter" for throwing balls at the heads of players that he felt were being too showy when they got a home run hit off of him. One of his last plays, he throws the ball with such force at the head of a very popular rookie player for the Cubs, Joe Castle, aka Calico Joe. His ball almost kills and does so much damage to Joe that he is never able to return to the game. Paul growing up has to reconcile what happened and how to even have a relationship with his father, who feels that he needs to make sure that his son also becomes a headhunter. 


Paul, on the other hand, doesn't want to be like his father. After some seriously angry times with his father, he gives up playing baseball at all. He doesn't even follow the game anymore. But with the call that his father is dying, he decides that it is time for his father to own up to the truth and make peace with Joe Castle. He goes to Joe's hometown and then works on getting his father to come to the hometown. 


The story does follow baseball in a way, but it is more about relationships and healing. I liked this side of the story the most. Healing of the father and son relationship and healing of the baseball players, so that hew as able to write a story in remembrance of the two men and the ends of their careers. 

The Christie Curse

The Christie Curse - Victoria Abbott

The story has a woman named Vera, who lives in a mansion, with a staff and collects first editions and rare editions of books. She hires people who love books (preferably men) to find the books for her. Her last hire, Alex, was killed at a train platform in NYC and she hires Jordan to do the work to find a rare Agatha Christie play, written during the time she disappeared to make it look like she had been kidnapped. Jordan, while loving books and knowing quite a bit about them, does not really have much knowledge about Agatha Christie and uses the help of her friend Lance, a librarian at the library. She also starts going to the same places that Alex had gone to find the play. As she is going, she learns some things and then starts going to Alex's parents and his fiancee. When one of the booksellers is found beaten in her store, by Jordan, she starts to search for the truth. 


There were some things that I didn't enjoy at the beginning of the story that seemed to make the story drag along, but I guess are part of what was needed to set it up and all the future stories up, at least I am hoping. After I got to the middle it seemed to move along better. I didn't enjoy the constant talk about the outlaw uncles who raised her and taught her to protect herself from all law enforcement. 

Life's Little Instruction Book Volume II

Life's Little Instruction Book Display: Volume II - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I found this book at the library book sale and have been trying to wade my way through the books that I found. I saved some of the quotes to pictures on my FB page so that I would always remember them. If you have time and inclination, take a few moments and read this book (and the first one). What advice would you share with your children? At the start of the book, the author says he wrote these down to give to his son as he headed off to college. I think I might need to start a list as well. 

The Emerald Atlas

The Emerald Atlas - John  Stephens

Book One in the Series and just a mishmash of other stories it felt...felt a little like Harry Potter (orphans Kate, Michael and Emma taken from their parents and raised in orphanages where they are transferred around because they don't want to be adopted because they believe that their parents are still alive and coming for them), with a touch of magic (Wizards and Witches and a giant named Gabriel all working to either destroy the children or save the children). With a touch of "The Chronicles of Narnia" with a wicked witch hunting special children who are prophesied to help save the world. 


The story was read by Jim Dale and we listened to this story in the car while driving to Point Clinton and Cedar Point in Ohio. The girls and I enjoyed some of the scenes of the story and others were comparing to the other stories. I don't think I will be reading or listening to the others (even though Jim Dale did a remarkable job as always), but I just didn't enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed the other stories. 

Truly Devious

Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

Ellingham Academy is set high on a mountain in Vermont. It is an exclusive, free school for those deemed to be the best. Every student is either a Junior or a Senior in their school and they are given all the core subjects for their grade, but others in the field of interest. Stevie is new to the school and had entered on a lark to get away from her parents and to study the mystery from 1936 involving the disappearance of Iris and Alice Ellingham. 


This book was assigned to my girls in their book club and while one thoroughly enjoyed the story and cannot wait for the 2nd book to come out. The other two were not as enthused by this book. I know that I too am interested in book two as there did not seem to be an end to the first book. 



Witness to a Trial

Witness to a Trial: A Short Story Prequel to The Whistler (Kindle Single) - John Grisham

Super Short story on the trial process, the assigning of an attorney for someone who cannot afford an attorney and the case put forth by a DA or ADA. Good for someone just wanting a little information on court trials. 


A Killer Plot

A Killer Plot - Ellery Adams

Book one of the series. I had inadvertently read a book farther into the series and had enjoyed the story. I have been combining reading with audio for awhile so that I can knit/crochet/drive, etc and finishing a book, but I still enjoy the delights of reading a book.

Olivia returned to her hometown, that she had been taken from after the death of both her parents, by her grandmother. She has come back wealthy and has become a landowner with many businesses and some view her as being haughty. They gossip behind her back and make comments. One day, she is eating at her friend's cafe, Grumpy's, and makes comments on a group's author readings and afterward is invited to come join them. She is also asked if she has a place that the group can meet to discuss their writing and help each other. She becomes friends with the leader, a flamboyant gay man who also writes a gossip column. After the last meeting, at Olivia's restaurant, they listen to a couple who are famous (an actress and a bad boy band member). He then follows them to the bar where the young man is going to meet someone for something. Later, Olivia's friend is found murdered. This starts the group on trying to figure out who would murder their leader and friend.

The story was okay and while I did finish it, it was not as interesting as the later story. I know that I will probably read a few more (hopefully in order) to see if it gets better.

The Partner

The Partner - John Grisham

Patrick Lanigan was unhappy, he was unhappy in his life, his marriage and his law partnership. He started thinking about how to get away from this life. His wife was cheating with her old boyfriend and had had a child with him that was not his child. His partners were scamming the government with the help of a Senator, related to the partner who was considered the major owner, they were planning on getting rid of Patrick just so he never got any of the money. He planned and plotted and then made it look like he had been killed in a freak accident. He disappeared and then he waited and listened and planned and took the money that had been the root of the partners' plans to get rid of Patrick. He stole the 90 million dollars and then disappeared. 4 years later, he was captured and tortured and brought back to the US for prosecution. But as the prosecution starts he starts working his way free from the charges and gets things settled to his choices. 


The book was a fast read and I really didn't want to put the book down or stop listening to the story (for those times when I listened while driving). I know that there are some who don't like these books and I know that when I read enough of his books, I choose to leave them alone for awhile. I do suggest not listening to the first chapters around children as the descriptions of the torture were intense. 


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.