Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Drop Dead Delicious~By Jill Brock

Drop Dead Delicious opens with Odessa tagging along with Maggie to meet her part-time boss, Frank. Maggie is a part-time investigator. Odessa had been working at an advertising agency in New York City, but Burke Peterson ruined her. (Since this is the second book in the series, we don’t know the back story on that, but it is still possible to read this book without reading book one. Which is titled Pennywise.) But now she is the owner of O So Sweet Cakes. Frank is teaching the girls to do a stakeout. They are investigating a suspected cheating husband (Mr. Portman). When they barge into his hotel room, he claims no wrong doing. So rather than give the pictures to Frank, Maggie steals the memory card. Maggie drops Odessa off at Blue Moon, Candace (Odessa’s sister's) restaurant. Her boyfriend Lee picks her up and tries to get her mind off of Burke Peterson’s sudden return. Burke calls her that evening wanting to meet at his hotel. Odessa refuses. When the FBI shows up at her front door, she knows that something is wrong. Odessa almost has to force them out of her home when they accuse her of helping Burke embezzle money. Maggie promises that if Odessa will help her on the Portman job, she will help Odessa get rid of the FBI. The FBI will be harder to get away from than either of them thought, because one of the partners from Odessa and Burke’s former firm turns up dead and Burke is accused of murdering him…

This was a good mystery. It was really cool to see part of the mystery taking place somewhere where the character isn’t in familiar territory. Maggie and Odessa take a trip to Las Vegas to get clues to help clear Burke's name. If you enjoy cooking (especially cakes) then this series is for you. I would recommend that a person read Pennywise first, but you don’t need to read it to make sense of this book. Another reason why I liked this book! And I especially like how Odessa finds her aunt’s famous recipes in the quilts she was given.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

One Amazing Thing~By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

One Amazing Thing opens with Uma Sinha considering whether her boyfriend really loves her. She is in the basement of the Indian Consulate attempting to get a visa to visit her parents. A woman in a blue sari makes Uma very uncomfortable but she can’t figure out why. Uma feels a need for sun and tries to call her boyfriend, Ramon, but she is suddenly thrown to the ground when the floor buckles. She tries to think of something to say to Ramon’s voicemail because she feels that she is going to die. We then meet Cameron, an asthmatic ex-soldier who helped after a disastrous earthquake. When a young child tries to open a door, Cameron hits him. His justification is that the door may be holding up debris. The survivors didn’t need the building collapsing any more. Malathi, the woman in the blue sari, reflects on things she could have done in her life. She also thinks back on the kiss with Mr. Mangalam, a married coworker. Malathi believes that the earthquake is karma getting her back for the kiss. The story then touches on Mr. Mangalam and then flows back to Uma. When they realize there is no way out, Uma suggests that each person tells of seeing “One Amazing Thing” This is to keep their mind off of their possible death.

I received this book right after Haiti’s massive earthquake. Then just as I got around to picking it up, Chile had its earthquake. Honestly, I was a little tired of all the earthquake talk. But once a person picks up their book, they will find it enjoyable. And for those of you worried, it does seem to have a happy ending. But that is really up to the readers own interpretation of the final pages.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Espresso Shot ~ By Cleo Coyle

Espresso Shot is Cleo Coyle’s seventh book in the Coffeehouse mysteries featuring Clare Cosi. Clare is roped into supplying the coffee for her ex-husband and his new wife Breanne Summour’s wedding. Matt begs Clare to join him at a tavern to hang out with some friends. When Clare finds out that the guys are throwing Matt a bachelor’s party, she tries to escape. But she realizes that these are the men that keep her business running. A dancer is paid to impersonate Breanne at the party. When she has no car after the party, Matt and Clare invite her to the Village Blend but as they are walking down the street, the dancer is shot. Matt realizes that the dancer looked exactly like Breanne. Matt realizes this fact and confesses to Clare and her cop boyfriend, Mike. Matt, knowing Clare’s investigatory skills asks her to hang around with Breanne. Mike agrees and thinks this is a good idea and so Clare is forced to spend time with one of her least favorite people.

This is a good continuation to the series, but if you have any hope of Clare and Matt getting back together, it won’t happen. But I will be interested to see where Clare and Mike’s relationship will go now that Matt is married to Breanne. I enjoyed this book but not as much as some of the past books in the series. The series is listed in order at the end of this post. If you are a coffee fan then you must read this series.

1. On What Grounds

2. Through The Grinder

3. Latte Trouble

4. Murder Most Frothy

5. Decaffeinated Corpse

6. French Pressed

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Slept Away ~ By Julie Kraut

Summer is quickly approaching and Laney Parker doesn’t know what to do. Because her best friend Kennedy is having a nose job, they won’t be able to hang out much. After Laney and Kennedy’s day at the pool, Laney rushes home because every moment alone is sacred to her. Laney wants to spend the summer as a fashion intern, living on her own. Kennedy loves Laney’s idea, but her mother has other plans: summer camp in Pennsylvania. At the party that Laney attends at Kennedy’s boyfriend's party, Kennedy suggests googling other activities rather than going to camp. Laney’s mom won’t consider any other options. So Laney does the most drastic thing possible: Emailing her absent father. Nothing will stop Laney’s mom from dropping her off at the bus station in Long Island. Laney’s bus partner is a seven year old boy who annoys her. When they arrive at camp, Laney thinks some of her trouble is over. But of course, she is wrong. We will leave Laney getting off the bus. I don’t want to give away too much more of the story.

This is such a light read. If you are looking for a good summer read, then you must pick up Slept Away. There are many great lines in this book. One of my favorites lines are “Billboard Butts.” Many times I found myself giggling out loud because it was so funny. I will be watching Julie Kraut’s website to find out her next book.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Truly, Madly ~ By Heather Webber

When Oscar Valentine gets caught in an affair, he fears his family's famous matchmaking business will suffer. So he entrusts the business to his 28 year old daughter, Lucy, while he and his wife, Judith, go to St. Lucia. There is one problem: Lucy doesn't have the family gift of matchmaking. Her ability is finding inanimate objects that have been lost. Lucy stresses about her first day running the family business because of Cupid's Curse. Cupid's Curse is the Valentine's inability to match themselves. Lucy fears that the Curse will spread into her customers and she will inaccurately match them. When one customer tries to get over his ex-fiancée, Jennifer, Lucy tries instead to reunite the two. Lucy shakes Michael's hand after the meeting and sees the engagement ring he gave to Jennifer on the finger of a skeleton. Lucy goes upstairs to ask the private investigator (Sean) for help locating Jennifer. Lucy drives up to Michael's town to try to find the skeleton. She chickens out, but decides to drive by his home anyway. She is forced to lie about her intentions when Michael catches her outside his home. Sean calls Lucy and tells her about his research, including his call to Jennifer's mother. But Jennifer's mother will not give any information about her whereabouts. Lucy cannot leave the skeleton and the ring alone so she and Sean continue to investigate. Getting them both way over their heads.

Truly, Madly is such a cute, fun mystery. I love the concept of a match-making psychic. Deeply, Desperately is set to release August 2010. There is supposed to be at least one more book following Deeply, Desperately. I really hope there are many more to come in this series because I really enjoyed Truly, Madly. If you love mysteries this is a must read new series. It would make a great Valentine's Day gift too.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Diary Of A Witness ~ By Catherine Ryan Hyde

Diary Of A Witness opens with the main character (Ernie) telling about how his friend Will stood up for him after gym class against the school jocks. Both boys are outcasts, but have formed a friendship based on that fact. Will tells Ernie he has two choices: live with gym or tell the counselor he is gay. He chooses to lie to the counselor. But his plan backfires when he must use the gym during lunch or after school. His gym teacher, who sees right through his lie, makes Ernie a deal: he is allowed to shower in Mr. Bayliss’s office but he must weigh himself. Ernie is about 100 pounds over weight. Ernie’s bullying never stops. At lunch one of the jocks hit him in the head with their tray. Will’s father lets Will, Ernie and Sam (Will’s little brother) take his boat out fishing. Will hooks a 30 inch fish and won’t let it go. Will’s stubbornness ends up sinking his father’s boat and killing his younger brother. After Sam’s death, Will becomes incredibly angry and threatens to end Ernie’s suffering forever.

This book is a new look at school shootings. It’s a reminder that anyone can snap at anytime for any reason. Ernie learns some hard lessons about choosing everyone’s safety over a friend’s freedom. Even though this isn’t something I normally read, I enjoyed it. Actually I think it should be read in schools as a reminder of Columbine and other school shootings.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Powers~ By John B. Olson

Powers opens with Mariutza walking in the forest near her home. Her teacher, Miss Caralee, yells at her for being out so late without her grandfather’s consent. As Mari is leaving Caralee’s shack, the whole forest begins to “ring with silence.” Caralee freaks out because the Badness is out in the woods. Mari escapes Caralee’s grasp and sees her grandfather’s diddlecar (gypsy wagon) and realizes the Badness has reached there too. When she can’t find Purodad anywhere, she realizes that he is out fighting the Badness. Unfortunately he does not survive and has some strange requests of his granddaughter. This is where we leave Mari’s story and read about Jazz, who we meet while he is playing piano at a bar. Jazz hears Mariutza’s name in his head, but he doesn’t know what it means. Jazz blacks out during one of his songs. When Jazz refuses medical tests, the owner of the bar gives him a choice: go to the hospital to find the cause of the “seizure” or play elsewhere. Jazz, knowing a trip to the ER would be pointless, chooses the latter. The story then flows back to Mari, who is deep in sorrow over her grandfather’s death. While burying him, the Badness comes back and so Mari is forced to hide in her grandfather’s grave. This is where Mari is left so we can reunite with Jazz. On the street, Jazz runs into the young woman who made her way toward him before he blacked out at the bar. The young woman (Hollis) and her friend Madison invite him to their hotel. Jazz blacks out again and we leave him as he discovers he is bloody and he blacks out again. Daniel Groves is an FBI member whose assignment is to rid the area of gypsies. And his first target is Mari. As the pace of the story picks up, so do the changes of the characters. Mari is looking through her ransacked home and finds her grandfather’s bible is missing. We leave her burning the gypsy wagon, (the only home she has ever known). Jazz has just woken up and realized that he is halfway across New Orleans. He goes home to find that his apartment has been ransacked. But the thieves never left and he was surrounded by hooded men. When the helicopters come back, Mari knows that she is in trouble, so she runs to the street and hitches a ride on top of a car heading into New Orleans. Jazz’s story picks up from here again. He escapes from the “shadow men” and heads up to the Ritz Carlton where Hollis and Madison have his guitar in their hotel room. Jazz is sorting through his mail with Hollis and takes an envelope out of his pocket and discovered it was his grandfather’s will. One problem: he was told his grandfather died when he was a child. Mari’s driver asked if she needs a ride somewhere. When they arrive at his apartment he kisses her. When Mari doesn’t kiss back, Jack feels used. Jazz wakes up screaming and Hollis makes him a deal. She will pay for his clothes and bus tickets to get out of town if she can be in on the action. Daniel Groves continues his search for Mariutza. Hollis convinces Jazz to go to the police department. When they arrive he has another vision and runs away hoping the cops won’t come after him. We leave him cutting up his clothes to hide the blood. Sheltered Mari is running through the city and discovers children. She gives one little boy her necklace but quickly runs away when the Badness gets near. She is digging through trash when the cops come asking for picture ID. Jazz and Mari finally meet around page 100. This is as far as I will take the summary.

When I received this book for review, the paper that came with it said this book was a sequel to Shade. I was hesitant to pick it up for this reason only. Without reading the first book a person can still enjoy Powers. I’m glad I picked it up so quickly after receiving it because I enjoyed really it. I hope that John B. Olson will continue this series because Powers has a very open ending. I will definitely be looking forward to reading other books by him.