RSS

Tag Archives: Book Review

Murder in the First Edition

Addison Greyborne’s eyes glistened with the reflection of the glimmering snowflakes hanging from the delicate fairy lights she’d retrieved from her aunt’s attic. – First Line – Murder in the First Edition.

The back cover of this book says – Lauren Elliott devoured Nancy Drew before graduating to Agatha Christie. Eventually she tried her hand at penning a novel herself and is currently working on the next Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery. I do like to see if there is any information about why the author chose to write a book or series. I tried unsuccessfully to find more information about this author.

This is a new series to me and I broke my own rule by not starting with the first in the series. I chose this book by the cover and that it was set around Christmas time and wanted a holiday book to read. From the blurb, I went on to purchase a second in this series set in January. It is part of my January to be read list.

This series involves a character who inherited her aunt’s book store and all of the characters she meets in the small town in seaside New England. We learn that she had been engaged but her fiancé died. In this book, his father shows up and at first she is excited to think that he wanted to spend time with her over the holiday since it appears she has no family. We learn fairly soon that she wants to like him but he has secrets that she fears make him not such a wonderful person. When she realizes he didn’t come mainly to see her, her excitement dims. She had already determined that he liked his ladies and when he attracts the eye of a local friend, she becomes concerned that he will break the woman’s heart.

When Teresa Lang, a local woman who was in charge of a charity auction that Addie had donated a first edition of -A Christmas Carol, falls down a flight of stairs to her death while the book disappears. Addie suspects murder because the book had been valued at $60,00, plenty reason for some people to kill. Because her fiancé’s father, who also has an interest in books may have been the last person to see her alive, Addie fears he could have had something to do with her death. Several other questionable characters come on the scene and she starts to question their true identity. Addie sets up a white board and notes what happened, with suspects and clues. A couple close friends get involved in the investigation with her.

Besides investigating a murder, she juggles two suitors, a past love, a local police officer, and a local doctor. Both are currently involved in the Teresa Lang death. The police officer tells her to leave it alone and let the police handle it but, of course, she ignores him. The doctor became involved by examining the body. There is plenty of sparring between the two prospective lovers and personally I might have liked this sub plot better if Addie had actually made a choice between the two men.

I can’t say I will commit to reading the whole series but since I bought the book set in January, I will read that one. Hopefully the author will resolve the romantic sub-plot and leave me feeling better at the end of that book. This book was well written but it felt fairly predictable. I feel most cozies do tend to do that and most of the time I am okay with that as long as they sprinkle a few surprises along the way. If you haven’t read this series and like the cozy genre, I would suggest you check it out maybe with the first in the series. I may have missed something by not starting at the beginning. If all goes well with the next book, I probably will do that too. If you have read this series, let me know what you think.

I look forward to sharing more reads with you in 2021. Celebrate safely and have a very Happy New Year!

Until next time,

Virginia

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 31, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Stranger Diaries

“If you’ll permit me,’ said the Stranger, ‘I’d like to tell you a story. After all, it’s a long journey and, by the look of those skies, we’re not going to be leaving this carriage for some time. So, why not pass the hours with some story-telling? The perfect thing for a late October evening. – Stranger Diaries

Stranger Diaries is a story within a story.

Claire Cassidy, a high school English teacher who has immersed herself in the life of R. M. Holland, a fictional author in this book. He is the author of a ‘famous’ historical short story – The Stranger. The school where she teaches is R.M. Holland’s former home. It has been converted to include an addition that holds most of the classrooms. Most of his home is intact, including his personal office, kept almost like a shrine.

Claire uses The Stranger in her creative writing class while she also is writing a biography about H. M. Holland. The story is set in England where she lives with her teenaged daughter, Georgia. After a rocky divorce, the two moved from London so she could take this teaching position.

After a couple of murders, reminiscent of those in The Stranger, Claire notices that someone besides herself is making journal entries in her personal diary. She soon guesses that the killer is someone she knows even though the local police detective is starting to suspect her in the killings. During Claire’s investigation, she digs up several possible suspects.

The story is set around Halloween and includes some history about H.M. Holland’s wife committing suicide in the house by throwing herself off the second floor landing and that her spirit roams the halls. The legend is that when her spirit is seen, someone will die. There are also rumors that H.M. Holland had a daughter but no one has been able to confirm it.

I discovered this author through a YouTube channel I follow called ‘Diane in Denmark’. Her channel is actually about how she uses the FlyLady Housekeeping system but she is also an avid reader and shares some of her favorite reads.

Elly Griffiths

I found a little more information about Elly Griffiths while watching another BookTube channel. Elly’s real name is Domenica De Rosa. She has written a few women’s fiction novels under that name. When she became interested in writing a mystery, her publisher suggested a new name; Elly Griffiths name belongs to her grandmother.

Elly wanted to write something scary and creepy. The story has two point of view characters, Claire and the police detective – Harbinder. Elly says that she loves telling ghost stories. Her inspiration was a place where she teaches creative writing. It is an older home owned by an art patron. It too has a spiral staircase similar to the one in this book.

When young, she used to write her own fan fiction about ‘Starsky and Hutch’. In her stories, the characters sometimes died and it made her readers cry. She wrote her first mystery novel at eleven.

She always wanted to be a writer and when on maternity leave 20 years ago for her twins, she wrote her first book.

Stranger Diaries is a stand alone but Elly is thinking about writing another one with Detective Harbinder as the protagonist.

This book reminds me of a modern Agatha Christie. I have read one of Elly’s Ruth Galloway mysteries and do like her writing style, so I will be adding Elly Griffiths to my favorite authors list.

If you decide to check this one out, let me know what you think. As always feel free to share what you are currently reading.

Will see you again soon,

Virginia

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 12, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

Book Review – A Year on Ladybug Farm

Title: A Year on Ladybug Farm

Author: Donna Ball

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: March 2009

1st Edition

Pages: 374

Price: $14.00

ISBN: 978-0-425-22587-5

 

A Year on Ladybug Farm is the story of three women in their fifties who strike out on an adventure together. When Bridget’s husband dies, the women who have lived most of their adult lives on the same street and have travelled the world together decide it might be time to purchase a home together.  They find a run down mansion in the Shenandoah Valley that they each fall in love with.  Cici wants to make use of her skills with tools, while Lindsey pictures the dairy barn becoming her art studio and Bridget is in love with the kitchen.  If nothing else, Cici runs the numbers and decides that with the needed improvements, it could be a great investment. The house gets its name from the multitude of ladybugs found in the vacant house.  They feel the ladybug is a good omen and decide to give it a year to see whether they feel the same way at years end.

 The main characters are Cecille Burke, a divorced, REALTOR with a daughter in college and an ex-husband who is wealthy and hob knobs with Hollywood celebrities.  Lindsey Wright is a single, teacher and an artist who seemed to have postponed her own attempts as an artist, while Bridget Tyndale is a recent widow with two grown children whose cooking skills make her the one the other two turn to for catering the grand parties, the three women have a reputation for putting together.

 The characters feel whole; in fact, I would love to find friends like them.  I was not ready to let the characters go by story’s end.  Luckily, I discovered a sequel coming out in October. 

 The author wove a ghost, other quirky characters, and subplots to make a most enjoyable read.  Her description of setting was realistic and pulled me deeper into the story.

 I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys heart-warming stories about women who have lived long enough to experience life’s ups-and-downs and still have the courage to find new adventures.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Book Review

 

Tags: , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: