Thursday, April 10, 2014

Among Thieves by David Hosp

Jackson County Public Library's Fantastic Fiction group is reading Among Thieves by David Hosp this month.

The first chapter is rife with language I would ordinarily prefer not to read. Once I got past that obstacle, the story was full of interesting twists and turns.

Everything turns on a twenty-year old robbery at a private art museum. No one to date has figured out who did the robbery or where the Old Masters' paintings are. Also a two men with checkered pasts are found murdered with evidence of unbelievable torture preceding their deaths. How are these tied together? It seems that someone who wants those missing paintings is tracking down anyone he believes might have knowledge of their whereabouts and will stop at nothing to get the information.

Scott Finn, an attorney whose life started on the wrong side of town, finds himself with a client who does know about the paintings and whose life is now in danger because of it. As the story progresses, the client's daughter and Finn himself find themselves in the murderer's sights.

If you can stomach the earthy language, this story will keep your attention. It's even more compelling because it is based on a real theft at that museum.

Kathi Linz

Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Joanne Fluke is still cooking when it comes to her mysteries with recipes. The cookie and muffin recipes tucked between chapters sound excellent.

Hannah is driving her cookie truck through a rural area during a crashing thunderstorm when she spots a tree limb down in the road. As she hits the brakes to stop, the truck skids and she feels a thump. Hannah gets out of the truck to check it out and finds that she has hit a man and he's dead.

Although it was completely an accident, Hannah ends up in jail for the weekend on a charge of vehicular homicide. She sends her family, friends and coworkers in search of the man's identity, since no one in town has ever seen him before.

On top of that, Delores, Hannah's mother, has told her four daughters that they can plan her wedding. But every time they try to suggest, colors, flowers, music, or anything else about the wedding, Delores changes her mind. The end result is that there is still no plan and time is running out.

A few of the riddles posed in this book come to a satisfactory conclusion, but this book is obviously part one of two since Hannah still has to go on trial for the man's death and the wedding has not yet taken place. I have to wait (as patiently as possible) for part two.

Joanne Fluke, soon please.

Kathi Linz

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Crochet Love: 27 Sweet and Simple Zakka-Inspired Projects by Jenny Doh

In Crochet Love: 27 Sweet and Simple Zakka-Inspired Projects, Jenny Doh has found small and simple decorative pieces that will make your home more cheerful or would be great gifts for any occasion.

If you (like me) were not aware of the meaning of Zakka, it is a Japanese-inspired way of improving anything and everything that has to do with your home, life, and appearance.

Some of these cheerful patterns include crocheted covers for a rock paperweight or a brick that serves as a door-stopper. There are crocheted belts and cocktail rings. Old sheets are turned into pretty seat covers and old plastic bags into strong and useful totes. She makes jar cozies, coasters and decorations for lemonade glasses. There a pattern for a cover for a three-ring binder, a toddler's crown, and a skinny scarf which looks like it wouldn't take more than half an hour to work up.

That is only the tip of the iceberg. So if you have an itch to decorate yourself or your space, come and check out this book. It's in the new section for the time being.

Kathi Linz

Friday, March 21, 2014

Organic Gardening by Lavelle

Lavelle's Organic Gardening is absolutely full of how-to-garden expertise boiled down into easy-to-understand pages. The photos clearly show you how to follow all steps of gardening to create your flower and vegetable gardens, ponds and more. I recommend this, but must warn that the print is small!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Safely Buried by John Pesta

Safely Buried by John Pesta is not a cozy mystery.

Phil Larrison, a reporter/editor for The Gleaner, starts off innocently enough by picking up a lady, Paula Henry, clumping along the road with a cast on her broken leg. After she directs him to an out-of-the-way house where her friends live, he helps her get into the house after no one answers the door. The two of them find the residents upstairs in the bathroom in a badly decomposed state. Phil calls the police and Paula disappears.

While trying to get a story for the newspaper, Phil uncovers an intricately woven web of criminal cover-ups and corruption. Blackmail, illegal drugs and chemicals (not what you may be thinking), child abuse, and more deaths come to light - all of them supposed to be "Safely Buried".

John Pesta writes from a local perspective. Meridian County is our Jackson County. I will leave you to figure out which town he calls Campbellsville and which is Brickton. Maybe you will even recognize the area called Blind Horse Hollow where most of the action takes place.

Once I got into the story, I had trouble turning out the light before I finished the book.

Kathi Linz

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Paleo Bread: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo-Friendly Bread Recipes

Paleo Bread: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo-Friendly Bread Recipes by Rockridge Press gives ten tips for baking gluten-free bread as well as dozens of recipes for different types and different flavors of breads.

The tips that sticks with me most is that paleo-friendly bread is more like a quick bread than a raised bread. It can still be toasted and dipped in your soup. It can be sliced for sandwiches. It will be different, but just as useful as gluten bread.

If you want to go gluten-free, but miss the bread or haven't found a good substitute yet, this may be the book for you.

Kathi Linz

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love

It's been a while since I read a graphic novel. Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love by Patricia McKissack and Fredrick McKissack, Jr. is based on Nat Love's autobiography.

Nat Love was born a slave. He describes his master as a good man, but his master failed to tell his slaves after the end of the Civil War that they were free. Once they found out, life became more difficult as they had to find the means to provide for themselves.

One by one, the older members of Nat's family die leaving Nat more and more in charge of being the breadwinner. He earns money by breaking horses. Eventually he travels west to become a cowboy.

Many well-known Western figures show up in this story: Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Bill Cody to name a few.

In the space of Nat Love's lifetime, the West changed from vast open prairies filled with buffalo and tribes of Native Americans to a land crossed by railways and a few small herds of wild buffalo.

This is not a manga book, but rather an illustrated version of real history. It reminds me of the Classics Illustrated comic books I used to read when I was young.

Kathi Linz

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

What would you do if you came across a letter that your husband wrote that was only meant to be opened upon the event of his death?  After reading the letter, you see that your husband confesses to murdering a girlfriend when he was a teenager.  Cecelia Fitzpatrick is the character that has to deal with this dilemma.
Another character, Tess Curtis, who is an advertising executive, is told by her best friend and cousin, Felicity, that she is in love with her husband, Will.   Learn how Tess deals with this betrayal and how she tries to protect her preschool-aged son, Liam.

Rachel Crowley, a third main character of the book, is a widow.  Her daughter is the one who was strangled to death as a teenager.  Rachel suspects one of her daughter's old boyfriends is the murderer.  This old boyfriend happens to be the P.E. teacher at the school where Rachel works as the school secretary.

Ethics and morals are explored in this book that is currently ranked eighth on the New York Times Best Sellers list.  Are secrets meant to be uncovered or should they remain secrets? -Reviewed by Kim D.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution Cookbook by Arthur Agatston, MD

Like the South Beach Diet, but need a gluten-free solution? This is that book for you. !75 recipes and not a scrap of wheat in the lot.

I scanned through the recipes and my mouth was watering before I finished. The ingredients don't appear to be too exotic. A few gluten alternative flours are all that's required outside of the ordinary kitchen supplies.

Kathi Linz

The New Tunisian Crochet: Comtemporary Designs from Time-Honored Traditions by Dora Ohrenstein

Tunisian crochet done in modern patterns. Pull out your afghan hook and make something spectacular.

Kathi Linz

Runaway Man by David Handler

Benji Golden is a private investigator who specializes in finding people, especially teen-agers.  He is twenty-five, but at just under 5’6” and less than 140 pounds, he could pass for one.  When he and his boss/mother, a former exotic-dancer, get a visit from an uptown lawyer wearing mink-lined shoes and looking for a missing college student, Benji is on the trail.  Not what it first appears, this mystery has links to college basketball and the favorite gubernatorial candidate of New York.  Reminiscent of a hard-boiled P.I. novel, except for the baby-faced P.I., Runaway Man is a fun read, with an ending that surprised this mystery reader!

This is the first book in a new series by the author of the Berger and Mitry Mysteries and the Stewart Hoag mysteries, which also feature his faithful basset hound, Lulu.  After really enjoying both series, this was not a disappointment!

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett is a children's mystery about the theft of a painting by Vermeer called "A Lady Writing". Two children, Calder and Petra,attending a magnet school in the Chicago suburb of Hyde Park follow clues and "coincidental" hunches to try recovering not only the painting, but the strange disappearance of Tommy and his friend named Frog. Puzzles and patterns help them figure out the clues.
A teacher, Ms. Hussey, the children's neighbor, Mrs. Sharpe, Petra's father, and a bookstore owner, Mr. Watch, somehow figure in the mystery, but the children can't decide which side they are on until all the pieces start to fit together.

I picked all the wrong suspects before I finished reading this book. I'm betting you will, too.

Kathi Linz

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Saved My Life by John Kralik

Author John Kralik was heading downhill emotionally, physically, socially, and professionally. Relationships with family and friends were estranged. At one of his lowest moments he got an inspiration - a voice from nowhere, “Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, you will not receive the things you want.” After a lot of thinking about his grandfather, who gave the same advice, John decided to change his ways and become more thankful.

John looked at the Christmas gift his son had sent to him. Their relationship was failing, mostly because John had been too busy for him. He realized his son had spent time thinking about what gift to get, and then spent time shopping, wrapping, mailing the gift. John had opened it thoughtlessly and gone on with his life. What would happen if he wrote a thank you note to his son?

He did. As you can imagine, the results were surprising to John. Not only did their relationship take an immediate turn for the better, but John felt really happy about what he had done. Happiness had been a stranger.

This event was just the beginning of a major up-swing in John's life. I won't spoil the story, but I will tell you he devised a plan of action that eventually led to many positive results in his life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Two New Yarnies Books

Knitters, we have a new book for you entitled Warm Mittens and Socks: Dozens of Playful Patterns and Skillful Stitches to Knit, Crochet, and Embroider by Eva Trotzig.

I glanced through the book and found something that will make almost anybody happy. Warm hands and feet sound pretty good this winter.

Crocheters, this one's just for you. Crochet Red: Crocheting for Women's Heart Health by Laura Zander has 30 patterns for sweaters, hats, cowls, jackets, and other assorted goodies. Each pattern is shown in red, but can be worked in the color of your choice.

You can currently find both of these books in the New Book section.

Kathi Linz

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch by Haywood Smith

St. Martin's Press
C 2003

Ride along with Lin Breedlove Scott as she returns to her family home after she divorces her husband of thirty years.  Lin finds out that a lot of things have changed since her childhood.  Her uncle who has Alzheimer's is living with her aging parents as well as her brother who is a recovering alcoholic.  Lin ends up working at the local pharmacy/diner while also going to school to get her Realtor's license.  She becomes involved with her neighbor, a divorced pharmacist.  Lin also volunteers to help a friend with his campaign for mayor in order to "clean up" the town's corrupt politicians and cronies.  
A very interesting read about adapting to change and family dynamics, this book was recently discussed by the Fantastic Fiction group at the Seymour Library.-Kim D.