Monday, December 25, 2023

Happy Holidays....and a very Merry Christmas!!

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas....truly!  Wishing each and every one of you much 'Peace', 'Love', and 'Joy'.  I am very, very blessed to have each of you in my life and I'm hoping your holiday season is filled with good smells, good food, good fellowship, good feelings.  And if you're not in that sort of place right now...well...and sometimes we are not, I'm wishing you an extra measure of 'Peace'.  Happy Holidays - however you celebrate them!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Bones Under The Ice by Mary Ann Miller

Bones Under The Ice by Mary Ann Miller

First Paragraph:

Sheriff Jhonni Laurent half-strode, half-slid down the huge pile of snow, her breath streaming out in a white plume.  A February blizzard had blown through northern Indiana the night before.  The gusting winds had now died, but the late morning temperature was plummeting.  She glared at the pesky reporter perched at the bottom of the hill, pelting questions.

My Thoughts:

I'm laughing because I've had a 'read cold books in summer' way of doing things for a long, long time.  And yet - this is the second book I've read recently that is definitely 'cold'.  Ah well.  Bones Under The Ice is a debut mystery by Mary Ann Miller.  It's the first in a planned series and features a female sheriff in small town Indiana.  Set in the winter, it begins with the discovery of a victim in the snow.  The question arises whether the young woman got lost in the blizzard or if more nefarious things are going on.  I did like this one and really more so as the story continued.  As I mentioned, it's a debut book and we are getting to know the characters and place, etc.  The story is a little slow at first, but it ramps up by the end.  I've found that the next book in the series will be coming out in October.  It's called Cracks Beneath The Surface.  I'll be watching for that one.  If you try this one, let me know what you think.


Jhonni Laurent is the first female sheriff of Field' s Crossing, Indiana— and now she has her first murder case.

Two days after a blizzard hits Field's Crossing, Indiana, Sheriff Jhonni Laurent discovers the frozen body of a high school senior under a fifteen-foot pile of snow and ice. Murder is rare in farm country, and this death marks the beginning of Jhonni' s first homicide case.

Just as the investigation gets underway, Jhonni' s opponent for sheriff from four years ago wages a bitter reelection battle to oust her. Then, Jhonni finds another body, and further complications arise when a century-old feud between two families reaches its breaking point.

Soon, a slew of newspaper articles causes the Indiana State Election Board to doubt her credibility. Jhonni must fight to maintain her reputation, keep the small farming community together, and find the murderer at large— all while demons from her own past threaten to crush her. Can she find the killer and mend her battered spirit before it' s too late?

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Four more upcoming books that I'm eager to try...one for each month - December through March...

I love sharing upcoming books that have caught my eye.  It's a reminder to me that I want to watch for them in the 'on order' section of the library or in the bookstore.  Here's four that will publish in December, January, February and March.  Let me know if they sound good to you.  I'm definitely 'waiting' on all four of them.  

Death In The Dark Woods by Annelise Ryan - published yesterday, December 12th - this is #2 in the author's 'Monster Hunter' mystery series.

Business has been booming since Morgan Carter solved the case of the monster living in Lake Michigan. The Odds and Ends bookstore is thriving, of course, but Morgan is most excited by the doors that were opened for her as a cryptid hunter. 

Recently, there have been numerous sightings of a Bigfoot-type creature in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest area of Bayfield County, Wisconsin. After a man is found dead from a vicious throat injury in the forest, the conservation warden asks Morgan to investigate. 

When Morgan and her dog, Newt, go there to investigate, they uncover a trail of lies, deception, and murder. It seems a mysterious creature is indeed living in the forest, and Morgan might be its next target.


Midnight by Amy McCulloch - publishes January 2, 2024


Olivia Campbell has always dreamed of spending a sunlit night on the frigid Antarctic continent. But as an actuary who assesses risk for a living, she never imagined she would have the chance. So when her career takes an unexpected detour, and her boyfriend—a high-powered art dealer with a taste for the finer things in life—decides to stage an ostentatious, career-making auction on a luxury liner to Antarctica, Olivia is thrilled. That is, until things start to feel a bit strange. In addition to the scores of wealthy patrons and potential buyers, they'll also be traveling alongside a small group of beleaguered employees of Pioneer Adventures—the company responsible for managing the ship—and their charismatic, divisive CEO.

When the first bodies are discovered, it's easy enough for Olivia to write it off as a terrible accident. But as the situation heats up and the temperatures continue to plummet, she begins to wonder whether she might have booked a one-way ticket to her own demise.


The Women by Kristin Hannah - publishes February 6, 2024

Women can be heroes. When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these words, it is a revelation. Raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing. But in 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly dares to imagine a different future for herself. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is over-whelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal; friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets—and becomes one of—the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.

But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam.

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era.


The Mystery Writer by Sulari Gentill - publishes March 19, 2024

When Theodosia Benton abandons her career path as an attorney and shows up on her brother's doorstep with two suitcases and an unfinished novel, she expects to face a few challenges. Will her brother support her ambition or send her back to finish her degree? What will her parents say when they learn of her decision? Does she even have what it takes to be a successful writer?

What Theo never expects is to be drawn into a hidden literary world in which identity is something that can be lost and remade for the sake of an audience. When her mentor, a highly successful author, is brutally murdered, Theo wants the killer to be found and justice to be served. Then the police begin looking at her brother, Gus, as their prime suspect, and Theo does the unthinkable in order to protect him. But the writer has left a trail, a thread out of the labyrinth in the form of a story. Gus finds that thread and follows it, and in his attempt to save his sister he inadvertently threatens the foundations of the labyrinth itself. To protect the carefully constructed narrative, Theo Benton, and everyone looking for her, will have to die. 

USA Today bestselling author Sulari Gentill takes readers on a rollercoaster ride in The Mystery Writer, a literary thriller that turns the world of books and authors upside down and where a writer's voice is a thing to be controlled and weaponized, to the peril of everyone who loves a good story.


Please share any good books that you are waiting on.  I'd love to hear.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Twelve Days Of Murder by Andreina Cordani

The Twelve Days Of Murder by Andreina Cordani

First Paragraph:

You Are Invited to a Murder

Charley has been holding the heavy, cream-coloured invitation card for four hours now, running her fingers over the glossy, embossed calligraphy.  The details:  time and place of killing, dress code, RSVP.  The black edges of the invitation are becoming worn away by the constant stroking of her fingertips.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book!  OK, in the last few days many are sharing their 'Christmas' and 'Holiday' reads and I've been loving hearing about them.  What does Kay end up enjoying?  A 'nice' Christmas murder story.  Ha!  I've shared that my reading has been distracted and up and down.  Well, I did a read/listen of this book, having checked the print copy out from my 'new' library.  And I just couldn't put it down.  It reminded me a bit of some other holiday mysteries and also of the 'group stranded' theme that is very popular these days.  Shades of Agatha Christie, but a bit more gruesome.  Twists and turns galore.  The audio was narrated by Ella Lynch and I'm not sure I've heard her before, but she was great.  Had the various Scottish/British accents down pat.  It was cold and snowy and creepy.  Lots of fun.  This is Andreina Cordani's first adult book - think she has written some YA books in the past.  In any case, I'll be watching for what she writes next.  Did I guess the outcome?  Not exactly.  Now, off to find another good read.


Twelve years ago, eight friends ran an exclusive group at university: the Masquerade Murder Society. The mysteries they solved may have been grisly, and brilliantly staged, but they were always fictional—until their final Christmas Masquerade, when one of the group disappeared, never to be seen again.

Now our privileged young cast of old university friends are summoned to the depths of Scotland for a Christmas-themed masquerade party. But all are hiding something deep below the surface that could make or break their careers.

When they arrive, each is assigned a new identity themed around the Twelve Days of Christmas—they become Lady Partridge or Mr. Gold, Lord Leapworth or Doctor Swan. The game begins, and it feels just like old times—until the next morning, when Lady Partridge is found hanging, dead, from a pear tree.

It quickly becomes clear that in this game the murder will be all too real, and the story is bringing long-hidden secrets to the surface. If the group hopes to win the game and survive until Christmas morning, they will need to face the truth about their history together and who they have become—and what really happened on that fateful night twelve years before.

Friday, December 8, 2023

A new library to explore, some Christmas shopping and planning, and connecting again with a much-missed Mystery Book Group...


Here's a small update on what I've been up to in the last week or two.  First of all, I've been exploring and enjoying visiting the 'new-to-me' library in my area.  I took a quick picture yesterday after I ran in and picked up a couple of holds that were available.  This is a nice library that includes a small cafe (the baked goods look yummy - haven't tried them yet!), a spacious teen area and a separate children's area - all these on the first floor as well as the new book section and a bunch of computers for the public.  The second floor has the adult books and several areas to sit.  It also includes a 'Friends of the Library' bookstore that is open all the hours that the library is open.  I haven't joined the 'Friends' group as yet, nor have I made a decision about volunteering at this library.  I'm leaving that until next year.  However, I give a nice thumbs-up to the Georgetown Public Library.  

We've been doing some shopping and planning for Christmas as well.  We will be hosting our local family members on Christmas Day and we'll enjoy a nice meal together and then do some gift exchanging.  What's a bit different is how we will do the gifts.  Everyone is now 'grown' and so we've decided not to draw names and instead try a 'White Elephant' kind of thing - with whoever decides to participate getting the chance to 'steal' gifts.  We'll see how it goes.  My husband and I are providing a few extra selections and we've said that gift cards qualify, there will be a limit on how much to spend, and you don't have to join in if you don't wish to.  I had fun shopping for some 'random' gifts.  Again, we'll see how it plays out.  Ha!

Lastly, I was very pleased to be able to attend the December meeting of the Mystery Book Group that I was part of here in the Austin area for so many years.  This meeting did not have a specific book to read, but everyone brought their 'best of' lists, a snack to share if they wished, and there was also a table of books that people we ready to let go of.  I was so happy to see several that had been long-time members and I also got to meet new people.  The group is going well and Gayle, who is now the leader/moderator, is doing a wonderful job of keeping things rolling along.  The group will be reading Simone St. James' book, The Book of Cold Cases, for January.  I read it a while back, but I am going to read it again to refresh my memory.  Have you read that one?  

I'll be back next week with a few more 'I'm anticipating' books to be published in the December-March period.  Have a good weekend!