Friday, April 09, 2021

An Every Breath You Take Weekly Link Round-Up

 
You know how there are some things you love that drive other people crazy? One of those things for me has been happening the past few weeks. We've got our windows open, and when I retire in the wee hours of the morning, I love to lie in bed and listen to the mockingbirds singing their hearts out. I think it's beautiful, but it's a maddening racket for others. 

The legs continue to improve. I'm hoping that my appointment at the wound care clinic this afternoon will be my last. This is the time of year to get out and enjoy all that spring has to offer here, and this cellulitis flare-up has really thrown a spanner, er... monkey wrench (sometimes it's obvious that I live with a Brit, isn't it?) into our Out & About plans. 

Since my legs were doing so well, we decided to go to our favorite zoo Wednesday. You're going to be shocked when I post photos of our visit because this is the first time that the meerkats were all underground and not to be seen. 

We still enjoyed our visit, as we always do, even though too many of the feckless took our governor's removal of all COVID-19 restrictions to heart. The zoo was much more crowded than it has been, and only about a third of the visitors were wearing masks. (Yes, include Denis and I in the masked category and feeling good about being fully vaccinated.) Several of the residents of the zoo were snoozing in the shade or the sun, but several others-- like the peacock in the photo-- seemed to be keeping an eye on me and every move I made. I don't know why, but I'm looking forward to sharing my photos with you in the near future. 

Enjoy the links!


►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
 
►Fascinating Folk◄
 
►Crafty Gems◄
 
►The Happy Wanderer◄
  • Utah is getting two new state parks.
  • Bangalore: crime and mystery in India's wild south.
  • Here's how National Historic Landmarks can lose their status.
  • Across Sussex, people were burned at the stake. The landscape is still haunted.
  • Why are writers drawn to Texas as a setting?
 
►I ♥ Lists & Quizzes◄


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.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. And don't forget to curl up with a good book!

Thursday, April 08, 2021

A Deadly Twist by Jeffrey Siger

First Lines: "The key to getting away with what I do is lacking any possible motive. Motive's the first thing cops look for."
 
When an investigative journalist doesn't check in with her editor as she'd promised, the editor panics. After all, Nikoletta Elia's explosive article on an international hacker/assassin had just been published. The editor calls the head of Greece's Special Crime Unit, Andreas Kaldis, for help.
 
At first, Kaldis doesn't rate the woman's disappearance as a priority, but he does send his right-hand man, Yianni Kouros, to Naxos to see what Yianni can dig up. When a body is found at the bottom of a cliff and a witness says he saw Elia arguing with the dead man, the investigation becomes much more serious.
 
What neither Kaldis nor any of his men realize is that they are working to uncover a deadly mystery with a very long memory indeed.
 
~
 
I've been a fan of Jeffrey Siger's Andreas Kaldis mysteries from the very first book (Murder in Mykonos), and this eleventh book certainly does not disappoint. The author lives on Mykonos for part of the year, and I've learned more about that country through reading his books than I'd care to admit. Siger gives readers insight into the workings of not only the police but also of the Greek government and the country's nefarious underworld while always weaving a bit of Greek myth and history into each book.
 
Siger has also created a top-notch cast of characters headed by Kaldis, his wife, and the members of his team. After reading all eleven books, I feel as though these characters are good friends-- especially Maggie who's in charge of Kaldis's office. Maggie's more than capable of keeping everyone and everything in line, which makes me wonder if anyone's written anything about the women who rule some of our heroes' roosts (Maggie for Andreas Kaldis, Sheriff Virgil Dalton's Rosie, and Sheriff Walt Longmire's Ruby, for example).

The settings and characters are always what the doctor ordered in Siger's mysteries, but he knows how to write action scenes that a reader can get so wrapped up in that the pages won't turn fast enough. Then add to all that a mystery in A Deadly Twist that gets deeper the further Kaldis and his men investigate, and you've got a winner.

If you enjoy mysteries with an excellent sense of place, characters that can make you laugh and cry, mysteries that keep you guessing, and high octane action, pick up one of Jeffrey Siger's Andreas Kaldis mysteries. You can read A Deadly Twist as a standalone, but don't be surprised if you find yourself looking for the other books in the series.

A Deadly Twist by Jeffrey Siger
eISBN: 9781464214271
Poisoned Pen Press © 2021
eBook, 320 pages
 
Police Procedural, #11 Andreas Kaldis mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

On My Radar: William Shaw's The Trawlerman!

 
 
 
If you've been reading my blog for a while (bless you!), you know that I am a huge fan of William Shaw's D.S. Alexandra Cupidi mysteries. If you haven't, all you have to do is read my reviews of the books in this series (The Birdwatcher, Salt Lane, Deadland, and Grave's End), all set on the atmospheric southeast coast of England.

Once you've done that, you know for a fact that I did my patented (although rather disjointed) Happy Dance when I learned that the next book in the series will be released soon. Let me tell you more about it!


Available May 13, 2021!
Synopsis: 

"The naked corpses of Aylmer and Mary Younis are discovered in their home. The only clues are a note written in blood and an eerie report of two spectral figures departing the crime scene. Officer Jill Ferriter is charged with investigating the murders while her colleague Alex Cupidi is on leave, recovering from post-traumatic stress.

The dead couple had made investments in a green reforestry scheme in Guatemala, resulting in the loss of all their savings. What is more disturbing is that Cupidi and Ferriter's disgraced former colleague and friend Bill South is also on the list of investors and the Younis's were not the only losers.

Despite being in counselling and receiving official warnings to stay away from police work Cupidi finds herself dragged into the case and begins to trawl among the secrets and lies that are held in the fishing community of Folkestone. Desperate to exonerate South she finds herself murderously compromised when personal relationships cloud her judgement.

Pacey, intense and riddled with surprising twists, The Trawlerman shows that deceit can be found in the most unlikely places. The brooding waters of the Kent coastline offer an ominous backdrop for this lively page-turner of corruption, mental health and the complexities of human connection."
 
 
Sounds like a good'un, doesn't it? If you're new to this series, I would suggest that you begin with The Birdwatcher because of the character development. Although it's not listed as the first book in the series, it does introduce you to Alex Cupidi and other important characters that feature prominently in subsequent books. 

How much do I want to read this book, you ask? Enough that I've ordered it from the UK, that's how much!

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

The French Paradox by Ellen Crosby

First Line: I found out about my grandfather's affair with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis when I read my grandmother's diaries-- ironically over Valentine's Day weekend.

The death of world-renowned landscape architect Parker Lord ripped vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery's attention from her rapidly approaching wedding. Not only did she find the body of her friend in her own vineyard, but she also had to wonder why he died. Was it because of his controversial book on climate change? Or did it have something to do with the fact that he violently opposed Harriet Delacroix's plans to use Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's private journal entries to drum up interest for her own book?

Lucie had only recently learned of the affair Jackie had had with her beloved grandfather when Jackie went to Paris for a year in 1949, and she can't wait to talk with him about it. However, as much as she wants to speak with her grandfather, Lucie won't be able to rest until she finds out why Parker Lord died-- and who's responsible.

~

I have a guilty confession to make. This is the eleventh book in Ellen Crosby's delectable Wine Country mystery series, and although I've greatly enjoyed every one that I've read, I haven't even read half of the series. Now that The French Paradox is one of my Best Reads of 2021, I should have more incentive to read the rest. 

What makes The French Paradox-- and the entire series-- so good? Having also read the two books in Crosby's Sophie Medina series (please, ma'am, I want some more!), I have to say it's because Crosby's writing is a feast for the intelligent, curious reader. If you love strong characters, intriguing mysteries, history, art, literature, vivid settings, learning about winemaking, and more, this is an author you should not miss. I read this book with a smile on my face because I felt as though I were spending time with a kindred spirit.

Whenever Crosby uses historical figures in her books, as she does in The French Paradox, she does so with great sensitivity and after doing much research. I am of the age where one of the defining moments of my life is knowing exactly where I was when I learned that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. (Sitting in my third grade classroom.) I have a great deal of respect for the Kennedys, and I doubt very much that any of the clan would be upset with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's portrayal in this book.

Another reason to like this book is Crosby's drawing attention to the artist Élisabeth Vigée le Brun, friend to Marie Antoinette of France and the highest paid portrait painter of her day. Vigée le Brun is a fascinating figure in her own right and certainly deserves more recognition. The mere mention of the artist's name reminds me of the first time I ever saw one of her works. Marvelous!

I called The French Paradox a feast for the intelligent, curious reader, and as you can see by my review, I savored every page. I haven't even mentioned the vivid Virginia setting or the deep roots main character Lucie Montgomery's family has in the area. If you haven't read any of Ellen Crosby's Wine Country mysteries, I urge you to do so. The French Paradox can be read as a standalone, but don't be surprised if you discover you're hungry for more.

The French Paradox by Ellen Crosby
eISBN: 9781448304967
Severn House Publishers © 2021
eBook, 256 pages
 
Amateur Sleuth, #11 Wine Country mystery
Rating: A+
Source: Net Galley

Monday, April 05, 2021

Deadly Editions by Paige Shelton

 

First Line: The bell above the bookshop's front door jingled.
 
Shelagh O'Conner is a wealthy woman known for her eccentric behavior as a young woman in the 1970s-- and for her vast library focusing on her passion for Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When Delaney Nichols receives an invitation from Shelagh to participate in a treasure hunt, she's thrilled. The object of the hunt is an extremely rare edition of Stevenson's novel, and the person who finds the book not only wins the book but the entire contents of her personal library.

However, as Delaney and the other participants begin to search for clues, panic grips the city. Someone is breaking into houses and robbing the owners, someone close to Shelagh O'Conner is murdered, and then Shelagh herself vanishes. As much as she'd like to win, newlywed Delaney begins to wonder if the books are worth the risk.

~

This sixth book in Paige Shelton's Scottish Bookshop cozy series continues to charm readers. What's not to like about a treasure hunt in Edinburgh, Scotland with a rare library as the prize? Shelton likes to weave in a bit of Scottish legend and lore into each book. Previous topics have been as varied as Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Loch Ness monster. In Deadly Editions, it's Robert Louis Stevenson's groundbreaking The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The mystery is a good one, aided by treasure hunt clues and the erratic behavior of Shelagh O'Conner. In fact, O'Conner is so eccentric that she keeps readers off-balance, which is certainly a good thing for leading armchair sleuths astray.

As is true in any good cozy series, the focus of the story is on the main character. Kansas transplant Delaney Nichols continues to lead the charmed life that any reader could envy, with her perfect job at the Cracked Spine Bookshop, her perfect circle of friends and co-workers, and her perfect soulmate. While I'm living a little fantasy of my own as I read about her, one of the things I do love about Delaney is the fact that she never fails to contact Detective Inspector Winter whenever she has any new information. She's not the type of amateur sleuth who automatically assumes she knows more than all the trained professionals. I would imagine that this is the main reason why Winter seems content to let her do her thing.

If you're in the mood for something light and fun, filled with nuggets of information, a mysterious treasure hunt, and the stuff some fantasies are made of, be sure to pick up Paige Shelton's Deadly Editions. Then all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.

Deadly Editions by Paige Shelton
eISBN: 9781250203915
Minotaur Books © 2021
eBook, 304 pages
 
Cozy Mystery, #6 Scottish Bookshop mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley

March 2021 Additions to My eBook Stockpile

 


I actually exercised some restraint with my Kindle purchases last month, although I'm not letting myself feel very proud of the accomplishment. Why? There are two reasons. One, there's something about being hospitalized and the consequent medical appointments once one has been released that takes one's mind off acquiring eBooks. Two, there wasn't much on offer that tickled my fancy.

So what did tickle my fancy? Let's take a look! They're grouped by genre/subgenre, and if you click on a title, you'll be taken to Amazon US where you can learn more about it.
 

~~~Serial Fiction~~~

Dead Woman Driving: Haunting the Dead by Sue Ann Jaffarian. Set in Arizona. Rated three stars on Goodreads.


~~~Non-Fiction~~~

 
 
~~~Thriller~~~
 
Lies We Bury by Elle Marr. Set in Oregon. My review.
The Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay
New Tricks by David Rosenfelt. Set in New Jersey.


~~~Amateur Sleuth~~~

Guilty Pleasures by Judith Cutler. Set in England.
The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen. Set in Finland.
The Chase of the Golden Plate by Jacques Futrelle. Set in Massachusetts.


I'll bet the non-fiction title startled you, but I've had a decades-long love of historical fashion. I could give a toss about what's being worn today, but if it was worn a few centuries ago, I'm all over it.

The other title that I want to mention is The Chase of the Golden Plate. It's a heist story, which is usually right up my alley, but I have to admit that the deciding factor for me was learning that the author died on the Titanic (another decades-long interest of mine).

What about you? Did any of these books tickle your fancy? Which ones? You know inquiring minds would love to know!



Friday, April 02, 2021

A Basking in Spring Weekly Link Round-Up


My legs continue to slowly heal, and spring in all its glory is here in the desert. The bird that built a nest in our cactus remains elusive. (Perhaps it realized that the first strong gust of wind we have will send its nest sailing to Mexico.) Denis and I got our second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Monday and had absolutely no side effects whatsoever. I'm enjoying my Tombstone roses and all the birdsong so much that I don't feel like waxing poetic over a single thing, so it's time for the links. Well... let me share something with you first!

There's nothing like a BoB (box o' books) from The Poisoned Pen to perk me up!



Enjoy the links!

 ►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
 
►Fascinating Folk◄
 
►The Happy Wanderer◄
 
►I ♥ Lists◄

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

Stay safe. Stay healthy. And don't forget to curl up with a good book!

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Lies We Bury by Elle Marr

 
First Line: Secrets never stay buried for long.
 
Now, she's working under a new name as a freelance photographer, but twenty years ago, Marissa Mo escaped a basement prison-- the only home she'd ever known. Still working through the trauma and trying to fly beneath the radar of those who stalk people like her, Marissa accepts a job that focuses on a series of murders in Portland, Oregon. 

Marissa's blood runs cold when she sees eerie similarities between the murders she's covering and what she lived through all those years ago. Soon she's playing a cat and mouse game with a killer who forces her to relive the past she's worked so hard to bury. But how many of her memories are true... and how many are lies?

~

I think the most important thing I carried away from Lies We Bury is the impact a traumatic experience like Marissa's can have on a person's entire life and the monumental effort it takes to overcome it all. As Marissa investigates the crime scenes she's been hired to photograph, readers see a true amateur sleuth. She has no real clue how to investigate, she's easily distracted and prone to run off on tangents. 

The author has created a layered portrait of Marissa's life, including a few interesting tidbits of Portland history as well as the memories of the people who survived that basement prison with her. When readers finally get to meet the man who kept these women and children locked in his basement for years, his beliefs as to what he can achieve if he's released from prison are mind-boggling.

Lies We Bury is well-paced and engrossing, but it's not the type of book readers can easily fall in love with. It's edgy and unsettling with uncomfortable subject matter. For me, it boiled down to my uneven track record with unreliable narrators. Marissa is a sympathetic character whom readers learn cannot be entirely trusted. How well you relate to her will have a great deal to do with how much you like the book.

Lies We Bury by Elle Marr
eISBN: 9781542026192
Thomas & Mercer © 2021
eBook, 291 pages
 
Thriller, Standalone
Rating B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.