Friday, April 16, 2010

bookfinds @ Kittling: Books

Welcome to another edition of bookfinds, where I share some of the books I've added to my wish list in the past week.

This week one of my Daily Wish List emails from Paperback Swap led me astray again. It led me even further astray than you'll see by this post because there are several art books that didn't make the cut. Not everyone is as big a fan of John Singer Sargent as I, so I decided to leave those out. One of these days, I just might do a post about my favorite artists. Would any of you be interested?

Anyway, the books in this post have a decided mysterious flair to them, but I think I managed to throw in at least one surprise. If you'd like more detailed information about any of the books in this post, just click on the cover.

Let's get started!

Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West by Stephen Fried. Fred Harvey and his empire helped settle parts of Arizona, and I love reading about the Harvey Girls, the hotels, and the history. "After Harvey's mid-19th-century immigration, he tried various jobs in the Midwest before business instincts and ambitions merged with the Santa Fe Railroad's founding. As the railroad's growth aided rapid westward expansion, Harvey established the first chain restaurants, called Harvey House. Through Gilded Age economic bust and recovery and into the new century, his company's fortunes attached to such novel American developments as the automobile and national parks, especially the Grand Canyon. Meanwhile, through innovations such as progressive employment practices, merchandising, and marketing, the company stayed strong beyond its founder's death. His family ensured that it remained private and profitable through the railroad's decline and into the Depression."

Stagestruck: A Jubilee Showboat Mystery by Cynthia Thomason. I love mysteries, and I love steamboats. I gotta give this one a try! "Librarian Gwen Barlow is happy in her little town of Apple Creek, Ohio, where she helps support her mother, Lillian, and her younger brother, Preston. Life is calm and peaceful--until Lillian inherits her uncle's brand-new wedding cake-shaped showboat. Amazingly, Lillian decides that the three of them need to leave Ohio immediately and go to Hickory Bend, Missouri, where her inheritance is docked on the banks of the Mississippi. Gwen soon discovers that her uncle's death was no accident, and that almost everyone in the town, and on the boat, had reason to hate him. Forbidden by a rather inept sheriff to leave until the murder is solved, Gwen, too, begins looking for clues. Although a second murder is committed, the need for food and supplies forces Gwen, now the theatrical manager, too, to go on with the show. Thomason has written an interesting turn-of-the-century mystery with a nice balance of humor and suspense, leaving the reader eager for the librarian-turned-sleuth's next adventure."

Birds of a Feather: Tales of a Wild Bird Haven by Linda Johns. "Linda Johns and her husband Mack share their woodland home with a changing gaggle of injured or disabled wild birds and a lively crew of animals. Their living room resembles an indoor forest, with two dead trees providing perches for feathered guests, and their long screened porch is a practice flyway for convalescents. Edna the rabbit lopes through the house with Blossom, the media-savvy hen. Two goats linger expectantly outdoors while Linda and Mack tend their orphaned or wounded feathered guests. Birds of a Feather is a warm and funny account of four seasons in the life of this passionate yet respectful lover of wild creatures, a woman who offers a helping hand to nature’s miracles. With exuberant joy, Johns tells about the many birds she has released back into the wild and the few whose disabilities make them permanent family members."

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo. "When a serial killer strikes bucolic Painters Mill, Ohio, the killer's signature—Roman numerals ritualistically carved into each victim's abdomen—matches the MO of four unsolved murders from 16 years earlier. Police chief Kate Burkholder, who's reluctant to dredge up the past, must keep secret that she knows why the old murders stopped. Not satisfied with the case's progress, local politicos set up a multi-jurisdictional task force to assist, including a law-enforcement agent battling his own demons. The added scrutiny and the rising body count threaten to push the chief over the edge. Adept at creating characters with depth and nuance, Castillo smoothly integrates their back stories into a well-paced plot that illuminates the divide between the Amish and English worlds."

A Timely Vision by Joyce and Jim Lavene. "Meet Dae O'Donnell, a woman with a gift for finding lost things-and the stories behind lost lives...
Dae O'Donnell is the mayor of Duck, North Carolina-and the person everyone turns to when they've lost something. One touch and Dae can find it, and missing pieces seem to find their way to her, whether she wants them to or not. When Miss Mildred asks Dae to find her missing watch, Dae finds herself looking for more than mislaid jewelry-she must prove the town matriarch isn't a cold-blooded killer."

Wake by Lisa McMann. "For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant...."

Wild Goose Chase by Terri Thayer. "A computer techie by trade, Dewey Pellicano would rather swallow needles than be pinned down to a life of quilting. But when her mother passes away, Dewey must exchange code for calico as the new proprietress of Quilter Paradiso.Between learning the business and dealing with a conniving employee who is also her sister-in-law, Dewey is ready to snap. During a national quilt show, quilting celebrity Claire Armstrong offers to buy the shop. But before Dewey can accept, she finds the famous quilter lying dead on the floor—a bloody rotary cutter at her side.When hunky homicide detective Buster Healy enters the scene, romance flourishes... until another murder takes place. Can Dewey thread together the pieces to this murderous pattern before the killer strikes again?"

With the exception of some pricey art books, these are what were added to my wish list this week. Do any of them intrigue you enough to put them on your own wish list? Which ones? Do tell!


  1. Birds of a Feather appeals to me.

  2. My mystery book club did SWORN TO SILENCE earlier this spring. I liked it a lot and will be glad to read the sequel which comes out in June I think.

    Looks like you've got severa mysteries that are appealing.

  3. I hope you review Appetite for America -- looks fascinating.

  4. Most of these interest me. You probably know that the restaurant in Grand Canyon National Park was a Harvey restaurant originally. I find the Harvey girls fascinating. I also love steamboat history so I'll be interested in whether that one is good. And Bird of a Feather sounds delightful.

  5. Kathy-- I've had enough encounters with birds in my yard that it really interests me, too!

    Kay-- Thanks for the thumbs up on Sworn to Silence!

    Beth-- Many of the books on Fred Harvey are fascinating.

    Barbara-- More and more interests we have in common! I really like the Harvey House in Winslow-- La Posada. It's a beautiful place!


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