Monday, June 18, 2018

Ten Years, Ten Books, Ten Winners-- #5




June is moving right along, isn't it? I'm celebrating the tenth anniversary of Kittling: Books by giving away ten autographed books, one at a time. We're now at the halfway mark, and the fifth book that I'm giving away is Paige Shelton's Lost Books and Old Bones, the third entry in her delightful Scottish Bookshop cozy series.


Here's a synopsis of the book:

"Delaney Nichols, originally of Kansas but settling happily into her new life as a bookseller in Edinburgh, works at the Cracked Spine in the heart of town. The shop is a place filled with curiosities and surprises tucked into every shelf, and it’s Delaney’s job to research the rare tomes and obscure artifacts that people come to buy and sell. When her new friends, also students at the medical school, come to the shop to sell a collection of antique medical books, Delaney knows she’s stumbled across a rare and important find indeed. Her boss, Edwin MacAlister, agrees to buy the multivolume set, perhaps even to keep for his own collection.

But not long after the sale, one of Delaney’s new friends is found murdered in the alley behind the Cracked Spine, and she wonders if there is some nefarious connection between the origin of these books and the people whose hands they fell into. Delaney takes it upon herself to help bring the murderer to justice. During her investigation, Delaney she finds some old scalpels in the bookshop’s warehouse―she and discovers that they belonged to a long-dead doctor whose story and ties to the past crimes of Burke and Hare might be connected to the present-day murder. It’s all Delaney can do to race to solve this crime before time runs out and she ends up in a victim on the slab herself."


How can you win this autographed copy of Paige's book? Here's all the information you need. Pay close attention to the deadline because these giveaways don't last very long. I don't want you to miss the opportunity to win the book you want!


 GIVEAWAY RULES
  1. Send an email to me-- kittlingbooks(at)gmail(dot)com
  2. The subject header of the email must read "10 Years, 10 Books, 10 Winners #5" 
  3. The body of the email must include your name and mailing address.
       

DEADLINE

Your entry must be posted by midnight (Arizona time), Wednesday, June 20. The winner will be notified and the book mailed later that same day.

Beware! If you don't follow all of the rules, your entry will not be included in the drawing, but there's one thing you don't have to worry about-- as soon as the winner's name has been drawn, all your names and addresses will be destroyed. (Spambots may love me, but I refuse to join their ranks!)


TO CLARIFY...


You can enter the drawing for each and every book, but you will be able to win only one. Ten years, ten books, ten winners. I want to distribute the wealth as evenly as I can among you all.

Ready...set...go! Time to fill up my inbox!



Friday, June 15, 2018

Ten Years, Ten Books, Ten Winners -- #4




My month-long celebration of Kittling: Books' tenth anniversary continues with the fourth book from my carefully hoarded stash, Jacqueline Winspear's In This Grave Hour. This is the thirteenth entry in her award-winning Maisie Dobbs historical mystery series.


Here's a brief synopsis:

"Sunday, September 3rd, 1939.  At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs' flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered.  And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the “last war," a new kind of refugee — an evacuee from London — appears in Maisie's life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the “Operation Pied Piper” evacuee train.  They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come.  Britain is approaching its gravest hour — and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own."


How can you win this autographed copy of In This Grave Hour? Here's all the information you need:


GIVEAWAY RULES

  1. Send an email to me-- kittlingbooks(at)gmail(dot)com
  2. The subject header of the email must read "10 Years, 10 Books, 10 Winners #4"  
  3. The body of the email must include your name and mailing address.   

DEADLINE

Your entry must be posted by midnight (Arizona time), Monday, June 18. The winner will be notified and the book mailed later that same day.

Beware! If you don't follow all of the rules, your entry will not be included in the drawing, but there's one thing you don't have to worry about-- as soon as the winner's name has been drawn, all your names and addresses will be destroyed.


TO CLARIFY...


You can enter the drawing for each and every book, but you will be able to win only one. Ten years, ten books, ten winners. I want to distribute the wealth evenly among you all.

Ready...set...go! Time to fill up my inbox!



Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Appearances Are Deceiving Weekly Link Round-Up




One of these days, I'll get through all the photos I've taken in the last two months. Naturally, Daisy's visit meant that I was wearing out camera batteries right and left, but once she returned to England, Denis and I have started visiting gardens, conservatories, and aquariums, and you know what that means-- more major draining of the aformentioned batteries. I think one of the reasons why I'm behind in going through my photos is that I don't want to miss out on pool time. I enjoy that too much to choose sitting in front of a computer over it.

For some reason, the geriatric giraffe we met at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park has stuck in my mind. You can see him over on the right. Look at all the wrinkly skin on his forehead, around his eyes, those baggy jowls, and the crepey skin on his neck. It looks as though he's been collecting his old age pension for quite some time.

On the contrary! He's quite the spring chicken and won't be eligible for his OAP for a long time. He was born with that baggy skin that makes him look as though he's related to a Shar Pei. Yes, appearances can be deceiving, and no one knows that better than I. Having had gray hair since I was sixteen, I've received a lot of "elder respect" that I didn't deserve over the years. You should have seen the look on my face when I read that it was the latest fad to dye your hair gray! Why?

But instead of getting caught up in the Eternal Why, I'm going to mosey on out to the corral. Those links are getting mighty restless. Head 'em up! Moooooooove 'em out!



►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄


►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
  • Divers have confirmed that they've found the wreck of the Pulaski, a steamship that was the Titanic of its day, sunk off the coast of North Carolina in 1838.
  • A sprawling 3,300-year-old Egyptian tomb hides the secrets of ancient war.
  • The first-ever horse has been found in a lost Pompeii villa.
  • Archaeologists have discovered that they've been excavating the legendary lost Assyrian city of Mardaman
  • A treasure trove has revealed the origins of an 800-year-old shipwreck.
  • Greenland's ice provides a year-by-year account of the Roman Empire's economy.
  • A Dutch art dealer says he discovered a new Rembrandt. (Daisy was just in Amsterdam and toured a few museums. I wonder if she saw it?) 


►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
  • Can the northern white rhino be brought back from the brink of extinction?
  • Fred, a ten-year-old Labrador who's the resident dog at Mountfitchet Castle in England, has adopted nine orphaned ducklings. (Just in case you need some Cute today.)
  • The first Yellowstone grizzly hunt in forty years will take place this fall.
  • Dolphins have a myusterious network of veins that could be key to preventing the bends.

►I ♥ Lists◄



That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing  a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.

Have a great weekend, and read something fabulous!



A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell


First Line: The tower reached high into a gray sky.

Mel Turner and her construction crew have been hired to renovate a historic lighthouse on an island in San Francisco Bay. Mel's friend Alicia intends to turn the property into an inn, and although Mel has never attempted such an ambitious project, she can't wait to get started.

But what begins as a dream come true turns into a nightmare when Alicia's abusive ex-husband shows up, threatening both her and Mel. Later, when his body is found at the base of the lighthouse, things begin to look ominous for Alicia, and Mel knows what that means-- another renovation/investigation (renogation?)

This is another solid entry in one of my favorite cozy series, made even more special because I love lighthouses and the accompanying keeper's houses. Blackwell always handles the supernatural elements in this series well. She doesn't overdo it. The ghosts Mel sees aren't just there to provide chills and thrills; they honestly have something to do with the mystery, and that's something that I appreciate.

Mel is a character whom I enjoy coming back to again and again. Smart, funny, capable, she's just as good at solving mysteries as she is at renovating old buildings. (That "renovating old buildings" is another reason why I enjoy this series.) Mel not only heals old buildings, she heals people as well, this time a domestic abuse victim, Alicia.

If you enjoy light mysteries with characters who make you smile, if the occasional appearance of a ghost doesn't bother you, and if you consider learning some of the history of the San Francisco area, I highly recommend Juliet Blackwell's Haunted Home Renovation series. It's good.


A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell
ISBN: 9781101989357
Berkley Prime Crime © 2017
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages

Cozy Mystery, #7 Haunted Home Renovation mystery 
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Eaves of Destruction by Kate Carlisle


First Lines: I really love my job. But I've got to admit, some days are better than others.

The annual Victorian Home and Garden Tour is about to kick off in Lighthouse Cove, California, and the town's premier contractor, Shannon Hammer, is in high demand among the rival homeowners. Shannon had anticipated the extra workload and hired more crew, but what she didn't expect was just what sort of cutthroat tactics some of the homeowners are willing to use in order to win the coveted Best in Show award.

But this year, it's especially tough because, not only is Shannon saddled with the client from hell, she's got Lighthouse Cove's corrupt building inspector shadowing her every move. When the inspector is found dead on one of Shannon's job sites, there's certainly no shortage of suspects, but when another body is discovered, this savvy contractor knows she's got a killer to nail down-- and fast.

Between Kate Carlisle's Fixer-Upper mysteries and Juliet Blackwell's Haunted Home Renovation series, I have no problem finding a cozy to fulfill my craving for restoring old houses and catching killers. I had even more fun this time around while reading Eaves of Destruction because of two of the characters.

Petsy is the client from hell. When you see this woman coming down the street, you immediately duck down an alley and pray she doesn't see you. And then there's Scully, the sleazeball building inspector who never met a bribe he wouldn't accept. For the first part of the book, I had an embarrassment of riches when I tried to decide which one of these characters I wanted to have die first. (I'd forgotten to read the synopsis; this series is an auto-buy for me.) And that's all I'm going to say about victims because I don't want to ruin solving the mystery for any of you.

If it sounds like I had fun reading Eaves of Destruction, I did. I really enjoy the setting and the characters, and the mystery was fun to attempt to solve as well. As I said before, this series is an auto-buy for me... and now I'm back in the position of being forced to wait for the next one. Ah well! 


Eaves of Destruction by Kate Carlisle
ISBN: 9780399586460
Berkley Prime Crime © 2017
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages

Cozy Mystery, #5 Fixer-Upper mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen. 


Ten Years, Ten Books, Ten Winners -- #3




I'm celebrating the tenth anniversary of Kittling: Books all through the month of June by giving away ten autographed hardcover books, and this is the third book from my carefully hoarded stash.

What is it? Jenn McKinlay's Death in the Stacks, the eighth (and most recent) in her Library Lovers cozy series-- one of my favorites even though the sourpuss librarian and I share the same surname.


Here's a brief synopsis for those of you who may not be familiar with the series:

"Lindsey Norris and her staff are gearing up for the Briar Creek Library’s annual Dinner in the Stacks fund-raiser. The night of dinner and dancing is not only a booklover’s dream—it’s the library’s biggest moneymaker of the year. But instead of raising funds, the new library board president is busy raising a stink and making the staff miserable.

Although Olive Boyle acts like a storybook villain, Lindsey is determined to work with her and make the event a success. But when Olive publicly threatens the library’s newest hire, Paula, Lindsey cracks like an old book spine and throws Olive out of the library.

The night of the fund-raiser, Lindsey dreads another altercation with Olive—but instead finds Paula crouched over Olive’s dead body. Paula may have secrets, but Lindsey and the rest of the crafternooners know she’s not the one who took Olive out of circulation. As the plot thickens, Lindsey must catch the real killer before the book closes on Paula’s future . . .
"


How can you win Death in the Stacks? Here's all the information you need:


GIVEAWAY RULES
  1. Send an email to me-- kittlingbooks(at)gmail(dot)com
  2. The subject header of the email must read "10 Years, 10 Books, 10 Winners #3"
  3. The body of the email must include your name and mailing address.
     
DEADLINE

Your entry must be posted by midnight (Arizona time), Friday, June 15. The winner will be notified and the book mailed later that same day.

Beware! If you don't follow all of the rules, your entry will not be included in the drawing, but there's one thing you don't have to worry about-- as soon as the winner's name has been drawn, all your names and addresses will be destroyed. (Spambots may love me, but I refuse to join their ranks!)


TO CLARIFY...


You can enter the drawing for each and every book, but you will be able to win only one. Ten years, ten books, ten winners. I want to distribute the wealth evenly among you all.

Ready...set...go! Time to fill up my inbox!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Daisy at Butterfly Wonderland


One day while our niece Daisy was visiting from England, we all got in the Jeep and headed for Butterfly Wonderland, which bills itself as the largest butterfly conservatory in the country. It's part of a huge complex in Scottsdale which also has a large aquarium, a place where you can swim with dolphins, lots of other places for the young and young-at-heart, and plenty of gift shops and restaurants. Trust me, you could drop some serious cash here almost without blinking an eye!

The three of us also visited the OdySea Aquarium, but I'm going to put those photos in a separate post next week. For now, let's wander through the butterflies.... Remember, you can click on any of the photos to view them in their original sizes.


Daisy'd barely taken a step inside when a butterfly landed on her shoulder. It was the first of many, but I won't bore you with all those photos!
 

It's hard to learn the identification of all the different butterflies you see in there, but in a way, I don't care!


Reminds me of a zebra.


Hibiscus




Butterflies that are predominantly blue are the visitor favorites.


This big fellow desperately wanted out of the conservatory, and it thought hiding in my white hair was its best escape plan. It kept lurking, landing, and flying off only to come back and repeat the process.


Can you see the butterfly on Daisy's leg?




Looks as though it could glow in the dark, doesn't it?


This one tried to stow away on Denis's hat.


Inside away from the butterfly conservatory, there are exhibits featuring creatures of the rainforest. This is a panther chameleon.


I've been watching too much "Jurassic Park." This one reminds me of a velociraptor contemplating which of my appendages to chomp off first!


I swear I saw a sci-fi movie where the aliens' heads were shaped like this!


Yearning for freedom.


I hope you enjoyed your visit! I bought Denis annual passes to both Butterfly Wonderland and OdySea Aquarium for his birthday, so you'll be seeing more photos from these places.


The Outsider by Stephen King


First Line: It was an unmarked car, just some nondescript American sedan a few years old, but the blackwall tires and the three men inside gave it away for what it was.

A young boy is found horrifically murdered in a town park in Flint City. Several eyewitness reports and fingerprints say without a doubt that the murderer is one of the town's most popular citizens-- Terry Maitland, Little League coach, teacher, husband, and father. Detective Ralph Anderson orders a quick and very public arrest, fueled in part by anger and the fact that Maitland once coached his son.

Maitland has an alibi that on any other day would take him off the suspect list immediately, but when Anderson and the district attorney add DNA evidence to their list, their case seems ironclad. But events begin to go off the rails, and Detective Ralph Anderson finds himself confronting questions and answers that he can't believe are possible in a world that he thought made some sort of sense.

Through movies and television, we have been trained to put complete faith in forensic science... DNA, fingerprints, and everything else that goes with it. In The Outsider, Stephen King has enjoyed himself immensely by turning all that science on its head, and he does it by using a Sherlock Holmes quote as a sort of mantra: "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

Ralph Anderson is the immovable rock-- everything must make sense. Everything must have a logical explanation. He is the person who must see the truth in that Sherlock Holmes quote. But Terry Maitland's proven alibi and the evidence he and his team have found do not make sense. At. All. Maitland's defense team knows they need help, and I was delighted when that help turned out to be Holly Gibney from King's Bill Hodges mystery trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, et al). Quite frankly, I think Holly rocks, and she certainly does in this book.

King has created a core cast of characters whose emotional responses to events can break your heart, and it's easy to become wrapped up in their lives. The solution to the young boy's murder is vintage King, and even if you don't quite go for "that sort of thing," it's fun to put all the clues together along with the characters. As I read, I had the feeling that the book was leading up to an explosive ending, and it wasn't, which was a tad disappointing. But on the other hand, most mysteries are not solved by an eardrum-splitting clap of thunder and a huge bolt of lightning. The Outsider grabbed me from page one and kept me enthralled to the end. You can't ask for anything more.


The Outsider by Stephen King
eISBN: 9781501181016
Scribner © 2018
eBook, 576 pages

Thriller, Standalone
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.