Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: Framed to Death (Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery #4) by Christina Freeburn









  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 743 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Henery Press (April 26 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01B5BVGUA

Book Description

 Eden has turned into a hotspot of crime, and Faith finds herself smack dab in the middle of the flare-up. When a favor for a friend links Faith to the synthetic marijuana problem invading her town, no good deed goes unpunished becomes the title of her life. The town accuses the police of favoritism toward her, putting a strain between Faith and Ted, and a new officer is determined to prove Faith’s guilt.

When the criminal is outed, Faith’s relief is short-lived. A fire takes out the store—along with the suspected dealer—and she’s now number one on an officer’s suspect list. Faith sets out to prove her own innocence, and her digging sparks the truth to life. Instead of the truth setting the town free, Faith finds out it might destroy Eden, the friends she holds dear, and smother out her own life.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, craft and hobby mysteries, small town mysteries, book club recommendations.

Books in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Cozy Mystery Series:

• CROPPED TO DEATH (#1)
• DESIGNED TO DEATH (#2)
• EMBELLISHED TO DEATH (#3)
• FRAMED TO DEATH (#4)

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...

“FRAMED TO DEATH was a snappy, clever mystery that hooked me on page one and didn't let go until the perfectly crafted and very satisfying end. Faith Hunter is a delightful amateur sleuth and the quirky characters that inhabit the town of Eden are the perfect compliment to her overly inquisitive ways. A terrific read! -- Jenn McKinlay, New York Times Bestselling Author


About the Author

Christina Freeburn started jotting down stories on her thirty-minute bus commute to middle school and still hasn't stopped (though the bus commuting has).

The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series is a mix of crafty and crime, bringing together Christina's love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia.

The New Beginnings series is an inspirational romantic suspense featuring heroines and heroes willing to risk their lives in order to find hope, promise and a future for those struggling in a world that seems set against them.

Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.


My Review

Framed to Death is the 4th book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series by author Christina Fairburn.

I was originally interested in reading Framed to Death because I love scrapbooking. Framed to Death revolves around Scrap This a scrapbooking store owned by the grandmother of Faith Hunter. The story could easily be ripped from today's headlines. Synthetic marijuana use is running rampant amongst the youth of the small town in West Virginia where Faith lives.  There is also a firebug on the loose. And nothing is looking good for the town's high school football team which has everyone is a fowl mood.

There is a lot going on in Framed to Death and plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. The contemporary themes and issues are a bonus.

Great cozy mystery!

Review: The Assistants by Camille Perri








  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 610 KB
  • Print Length: 283 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0552173088
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (May 3 2016)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA 


Book Description

 A wry and astute debut about a young Manhattanite whose embezzlement scam turns her into an unlikely advocate for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid assistants across the city.

Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all.

When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer . . .

The Assistants speaks directly to a new generation of women who feel stuck and unable to get ahead playing by the rules. It will appeal to all of those who have ever asked themselves, “How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants?”



About the Author

 Camille Perri has worked as a books editor for Cosmopolitan and Esquire magazine. She has also been a ghostwriter of young adult novels and a reference librarian. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from New York University and a master of library science degree from Queens College. Perri wrote the first draft of The Assistants while working as the assistant to the editor in chief of Esquire.

My Review

 The Assistants is the first book by author Camille Perri. Thus it is also the first book of Perri's that I have read.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I would find this book fascinating. I was an executive assistant to CEOs and Presidents of companies for 20 years. Not the head of an entire company as is Robert Barlow the CEO of the Titan Corporation, but CEOs and Presidents of companies within huge companies. But they all act the same. The demands and behaviours of Robert Barlow are all too familiar to me. Why don't the people who make so much money never want to pay for anything themselves!!! So true.

Anyways, Tina Fontana our executive assistant in The Assistants is tempted by a sudden windfall of cash...just enough to pay off her student loans and get her out of debt. Technically she is embezzling the funds as she was reimbursed for booking flights on her personal credit cards that end up being comped by the airline. Easy to understand how it could happen and how tempting it would be for Tina.

Great book as it explores the unbalanced world of bosses and their assistants who do everything for them but are not paid very well. I really enjoyed The Assistants. Well written...great read.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Review: Boar Island (Anna Pigeon #19) by Nevada Barr







  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (May 17 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0176QQRJS

Book Description


Anna Pigeon, in her career as a National Park Service Ranger, has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyber-bullying and stalking is a new one. The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend Heath Jarrod. Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts. Until, one day, Heath finds her daughter Elizabeth in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. And then she calls in the cavalry---her aunt Gwen and her friend Anna Pigeon.

While they try to deal with the fragile state of affairs---and find the person behind the harassment---the three adults decide the best thing to do is to remove Elizabeth from the situation. Since Anna is about to start her new post as Acting Chief Ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine, the three will join her and stay at a house on the cliff of a small island near the park, Boar Island.

But the move east doesn't solve the problem. The stalker has followed them east. And Heath (a paraplegic) and Elizabeth aren't alone on the otherwise deserted island. At the same time, Anna has barely arrived at Acadia before a brutal murder is committed by a killer uncomfortably close to her.
BOAR ISLAND is a brilliant intertwining of past and present, of victims and killers, in a compelling novel that only Nevada Barr could write.

About the Author

 Nevada Barr is a mystery fiction author, known for her "Anna Pigeon" series of mysteries, set in National Parks in the United States. Barr has won an Agatha Award for best first novel for Track of the Cat.

Barr was named after the state of her birth. She grew up in Johnstonville, California. She finished college at the University of California, Irvine. Originally, Barr started to pursue a career in theatre, but decided to be a park ranger. In 1984 she published her first novel, Bittersweet, a bleak lesbian historical novel set in the days of the Western frontier.

While working in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Barr created the Anna Pigeon series. Pigeon is a law enforcement officer with the United States National Park Service. Each book in the series takes place in a different National Park, where Pigeon solves a murder mystery, often related to natural resource issues. She is a satirical, witty woman whose icy exterior is broken down in each book by a hunky male to whom she is attracted (such as Rogelio).

Currently, Ms. Barr lives in New Orleans, LA.


www.nevadabarr.com

http://us.macmillan.com/author/nevadabarr

 https://twitter.com/nevadabarr

My Review

Boar Island is the nineteenth book in the Anna Pigeon series by author Nevada Barr. I have read quite a few of the books in this series. One of my favorite books ever is Ill Wind from this series. It introduced me to the wonders of Mesa Verde for which I will always be grateful. Boar Island is set in and around Acadia National Park which is a gorgeous park in Maine that I have had the privilege to visit. I wish the book had been set in the park more.

There are two stories going on in Boar Island. One involves Anna's goddaughter Elizabeth and her mother Heath. It is about cyber-bullying which is a very timely topic. The other involves identical twin sisters who were separated as children and have now found each other.

I found Boar Island to be a dark book between the stalker story and the sister's escapades. The characters all have a darkness that comes through to the reader. The Anna Pigeon books form a very interesting series of books that really explore the characters involved.

A good addition to the Anna Pigeon series.



Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: Unstuffed Decluttering Your Home, Mind, & Soul By Ruth Soukup





  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2353 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0310337690
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (April 5 2016)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B010R5PUNE




Book Description


STUFF.  It's everywhere.  Lurking in corners and closets,spilling onto counters and coffee tables, creating havoc everywhere we look.  And it's not just the physical clutter that weighs us down.  Oh no, it is the stress of overbooked schedule, and the weight of a life that sometimes feels oppressive and totally out of whack.

New York Times bestselling author Ruth Soukup feels your pain--she has been there too. Through personal stories, Biblical truth, and practical action plans,she will inspire and empower each of us to finally declutter not just our home, but our mind and soul as well. Unstuffed is real,honest, and gets right down to the question we are all facing--how can we take back our lives from the stuff that is weighing us down?

In this book we will:
  • Create a comprehensive vision for our homes, and make instant changes to improve its overall function.
  • Discover that more closet space is not the solution, and instead learn how to set strict limits for the stuff we bring in
  • Overcome the frustration of dealing with our kids' influx of stuff and implement practical solutions for keeping the chaos at bay.
  • Recognize the pitfalls of an overstuffed schedule BEFORE it gets out of hand, and instead learn to combat the culture of busy that keeps us running from one thing to the next.
  • Finally conquer that mountain of paperwork that threatens to tumble down around us at any moment.
  • Let go of the guilt that gets attached to gifts and instead learn to separate our loved ones from their stuff.
  • Begin to cultivate our real friendships while eliminating the toxic relationships that weigh us down.
Who Needs This Book?

Unstuffed was written for anyone who feels stressed out or weighed down by a life that feel chaotic, out-of-control, and completely overstuffed. It speaks to the mom who is overwhelmed by the clutter that comes pouring into every facet of her home and schedule, from trinkets and paperwork to endless obligations and activities.

It is for the woman who craves not just a step-by-step guide to ridding our lives of STUFF, but a true understanding of why our lives become so stuffed in the first place--and what we can do to stop the madness, once and for all.

Most of all, it is for the person who is tired of feeling guilty for not being able to do it all, the woman who can't ever quite seem to keep up with other people's obligations of what her home is supposed to be, the mom who is exhausted by always trying to get it right.

Want to know if this book is for you?
  • Have you ever found yourself buying more storage containers to organize stuff you probably should have just gotten rid of?
  • Do you ever find yourself frustrated that even when you do manage to get your house cleaned up, it never seems to stay that way?
  • Do you sometimes feel like you can't keep up with all the activities and obligations you have committed to?
  • Do you ever struggle to find an important piece of paper because there are just too many pieces of paper to keep track of?
  • Have you ever felt guilty for getting rid of something that was a gift, orheld on to something you didn't really like because someone gave it toyou?
  • Do you feel like there are people in your life who simply suck the life out of you?
  • Have you ever felt like you need more balance?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES, this book provides real and practical solutions from someone who has been there. Ruth doesn't just offer advice, she walks it with you, and shares with brutal honesty her own mistakes, failures, and shortcomings.  It is encouraging,motivating, and life-changing.


About the Author

 Ruth Soukup is a blogger, wife, mom, and New York Times bestselling author of Living Well, Spending Less. Her site, LivingWellSpendingLess.com, is one of the top personal finance and lifestyle blogs on the web, averaging more than a million visitors per month. She is also the founder of the Living Well Planner™ (www.LivingWellPlanner.com), an all-in-one tool to help you organize your goals, budget, and schedule. Ruth lives in Florida with her husband, Chuck, and two daughters, Maggie and Annie.

My Review

Stuff. How did we all acquire so much stuff! Author Ruth Soukup is helping us to unstuff our lives in her book: Unstuffed Decluttering Your Home, Mind, & Soul. The book is divided into 3 sections: Home, Mind and Soul.

Part One: HOME 1. Living: Creating a Vision for Your Home 2. Storage: More Closet Space Is Not the Solution 3. Kids: The Stuff Just Keeps Coming
Part Two: MIND 4. Schedule: How Much Is Too Much? 5. Paperwork: Drowning in a Sea of Information 6. Other People’s Stuff: Letting Go of the Guilt
Part Three: SOUL 7. Friends: Cultivating Real Relationships 8. Wellness: Finding Balance in a Chaotic World 9. Spirit: Letting Go of the Need to Do It Yourself

Becoming unstuffed, truly unstuffed, is much more than that. It’s changing the way we look at our homes and the stuff we live with. It’s changing the way we look at our schedules and the stuff that fills our time. It’s changing the way we look at our relationships and the stuff they are made of. It’s becoming purposeful about the stuff we let in... ( Ruth Soukup. Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, & Soul (Kindle Locations 223-228). Zondervan).

Soukup gives us the tools to declutter all aspects of lives. This is not just a book, it is also a workbook. For example, in the section on our home, she asks us: What is the vision for my home? Then follows up with questions such as: What is my decorating style? How do I want my home to feel? How do I use my home? And Soukup provides room for us to answer these questions ourselves before we move on to the next section. This is extremely useful to helping us to visualize what we need to do to clean the clutter out of our lives.

There are some great questions about our spiritual lives: 

Spiritual Symptoms:
• Do you ever neglect prayer and Bible reading because you just don’t have time?
• Do you regularly skip church because other activities take precedence? 
• Have you developed any destructive behaviors, such as drinking, doing drugs, or overspending to cope with the stress of trying to keep up? 
• Do you feel like God is very far away? 
• Do you struggle with a nagging sense of guilt?
(Ruth Soukup. Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, & Soul (Kindle Locations 1354-1361). Zondervan.)

I found Unstuffed to be a great resource. It has given me lots of greats ideas for working toward a less complicated life. I am ready to Unstuff!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: Death at Breakfast by Beth Gutcheon




  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (May 10 2016)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B014PT1RN0

Book Description

 From the acclaimed author of Still Missing, More Than You Know, and Gossip comes the first entry in a stylish and witty mystery series featuring a pair of unlikely investigators—a shrewd novel of manners with a dark heart of murder at its center, set in small-town New England.

Retired New York City private school head Maggie Detweiler and her old friend, society matron Hope Babbin, are off on a weeklong vacation to Maine, to visit Hope’s son and attend a master cooking class at the picturesque Oquossoc Mountain Inn. The worst tragedy they anticipate is a boring fellow guest or a fallen soufflé.

But their quiet idyll is disrupted by the arrival at the inn of a boorish couple, Alexander and Lisa Antippas, and Lisa’s sister, Glory. Imperious Hollywood one-percenters, Alex and Lisa are also the parents of the latest pop sensation, teen icon Artemis. Discord enters with the family, closely followed by disaster. When a suspicious late-night fire at the inn is brought under control, Alex’s charred body is found in the ashes.

Enter the local deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, who is Hope’s long-estranged son and a former student of Maggie’s. Buster needs a success, and Hope and Maggie, informed by a lifetime of observing human nature, coupled with a certain cynicism about small town justice and a healthy dose of curiosity, decide there is role for them to play here.

A psychological puzzle set in scenic small-town New England, Dead at Breakfast is a wickedly engaging entertainment from bestselling Beth Gutcheon.


About the Author

 Beth Gutcheon grew up in western Pennsylvania. She was educated at Harvard where she took an honors BA in English literature. She has spent most of her adult life in New York City, except for sojourns in San Francisco and on the coast of Maine. In 1978, she wrote the narration for a feature-length documentary on the Kirov ballet school, The Children of Theatre Street, which was nominated for an Academy Award, and she has made her living fulltime as a storyteller (novelist and sometime screenwriter) since then. Her novels have been translated into fourteen languages, if you count the pirate Chinese edition of Still Missing, plus large print and audio format. Still Missing was made into a feature film called Without a Trace, and also published in a Reader’s Digest Condensed version which particularly pleased her mother. Several of her novels have been national bestsellers, including the most recent, Leeway Cottage. All of the novels are available in new uniform paperback editions from HarperPerennial.

http://www.bethgutcheon.com/

My Review

Death at Breakfast is the first book in a new series by author Beth Gutcheon featuring retired New York City private school head Maggie Detweiler and her friend, society matron Hope Babbin. This is the first book that I have read by author Gutcheon.

In Death at Breakfast, we find Maggie and Hope settling into the Oquossoc Mountain Inn in Maine. They are going to be taking a week-long cooking class taught by a master chef. It is conveniently located near the home of Hope's son Buster, who is a deputy sheriff in the small town. Hope has not spent a lot of time with Buster as of late and is hoping to reconnect with him.

There are plenty of characters in Death at Breakfast. It was hard to narrow down who wanted guest Alexander Antippas dead the most. He was not a likeable person! 

Death at Breakfast is well written and an enjoyable mystery to read. I liked the Maine setting as well.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: Clouds in my Coffee (The Country Club Murders #3) by Julie Mulhern





  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 711 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Henery Press (May 10 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01BLO5NIC

Book Description

 USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

“A sparkling comedy of errors tucked inside a clever mystery. I loved it!” – Susan M. Boyer, USA Today Bestselling Author of Lowcountry Bordello

“Readers who enjoy the novels of Susan Isaacs will love this series that blends a strong mystery with the demands of living in an exclusive society.” – Kings River Life Magazine
“From the first page to the last, Julie’s mysteries grab the reader and don’t let up.” – Sally Berneathy, USA Today Bestselling Author of The Ex Who Saw a Ghost

When Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors’ party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she’s shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again?

Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee.


Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series:


• THE DEEP END (#1)
• GUARANTEED TO BLEED (#2)
• CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE (#3)

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...

About the Author

 Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders.

She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean--and she's got an active imagination. Truth is--she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

In addition to mysteries, Julie writes historical, romantic suspense. Her first romance, A Haunting Desire, was a finalist in the 2014 Golden Heart® contest and is available now.

Look for A Haunting Need in the early spring of 2016. Or, if your tastes run to 70s-style mysteries, mark your calendars for May when Clouds in My Coffee, book three of the Country Club Murders, will release.



My Review

This book is fun! F-U-N Fun!

Clouds in my Coffee is the third book in The Country Club Murders series by author Julie Mulhern. This is the first book of Mulhern's that I have read.

Clouds in my Coffee is set in the 1970s in Kansas City. The characters are all part of the country club set (thus The Country Club Murders). Ellison Russell, who is a delightful character,  is surrounded by a fascinating eccentric cast of friends and relatives. She is a widow who lives with her daughter (I think her husband died in an earlier book). She has her aunt and her sister visiting. Her parents live close by. Then there is the handsome detective.  And it would seem that someone is trying to kill Ellison.

Clouds in my Coffee was a great read. It is well written. I loved being back in the 1970s (the era I grew up in). Clouds in my Coffee was a delightful pleasure to read. I didn't want to put it down because I was enjoying reading it so much. I enjoyed the mystery part of the book. It wasn't obvious and I kept changing my mind about who was out to kill who!

Highly recommend. I'm looking forward to reading the earlier books in the series. And the next one!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: NKJV, Apply the Word Study Bible, eBook: Live in His Steps by Thomas Nelson




  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 59935 KB
  • Print Length: 1632 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Lea edition (March 8 2016)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Canada Limited
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B010R5R910


Book Description

 The Apply the Word Study Bible brings you to an intimate understanding of the Bible's message, helps you think about it and apply it to your lives. People of all ages and walks of life will enjoy the fresh style of the feature articles, which are directed at helping you approach life with the mind of Christ. You will discover that the Bible is a very practical book, just what is needed to guide you through every day. Featuring the New King James Version, the best translation for Bible study, abundant sidebar articles and vibrant full-color design, the Apply the Word Study Bible is the perfect companion for everyday living.

http://www.thomasnelson.com/apply-the-word-study-bible-1 

My Review


 The NKJV, Apply the Word Study Bible: Live in His Steps by Thomas Nelson is available in both hard cover and as an ebook. I have the Kindle version so that is the version I am reviewing. I found that the hyperlinks that I tried all worked perfectly.

We study the Bible to become more like Jesus. The Apply the Word Study Bible sets out to help us accomplish this goal. The Bible's purpose is to restore our relationship with God.  The Bible is a conglomeration and record of God's Work. How do we apply what we read in the bible...

The NKJV, Apply the Word Study Bible assists us with this goal:

  • New King James Version, the best translation for study

  • Hundreds of sidebar articles for seeing the relevance of Scripture for everyday living

  • Insightful introductions to the books of the Bible

  • Informative notes about people and places of Bible times

  • Full-color page design provides a helpful and interesting visual encounter with Scripture

  • Charts, tables and maps provide abundant Bible information

  • Concordance for helpful reference

  • Full-color maps to illustrate the Bible lands
The NKJV, Apply the Word Study Bible: Live in His Steps is a very comprehensive bible. There are hundreds of fascinating articles to enlighten the student who is undertaking the study of the Bible. I found the book introductions to be very interesting and informative. Key Events are also listed with the book introduction. Whenever Jesus is speaking, the text is red. There is an excellent Concordance included as well as several full colour maps. I always enjoy maps in bibles. They help me put things in perspective more easily.

The NKJV, Apply the Word Study Bible: Live in His Steps is a great addition to my bible study collection. This is a great bible for students of all levels.