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Monthly Archives: July 2017

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Ivy Get Your Gun–mystery with an “Annie Get Your Gun” twist

Ivy Get Your Gun

by Cindy Brown

Ivy Get Your GunWith Ivy Get Your Gun, don’t expect a suspenseful thriller with a philosophical bent. Look for a fun cozy mystery with lots of humor. Ivy Meadows is a medium level actress who also works as an apprentice private investigator in her Uncle Bob’s office. Being a part of both worlds opens up opportunities for the author to explore more diverse plot threads as Ivy engages with people she knows from both arenas. A third dimension is added as Ivy deals with the consequences of a youthful mistake, her difficult family relationships, and a blossoming romance.

Mystery is the priority of this book as Ivy combines her theatrical skills with her admittedly too naive and trusting nature. She goes undercover to play Western characters in a melodrama at Gold Bug Gulch, getting involved with some interesting but dangerous personalities. The short chapters and fast pace will have you flying through this book. Even when I knew I had to put it down, I couldn’t resist a peek at the next page!

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery, General Fiction (Adult)

Notes: 

  1. #4 in The Ivy Meadows Mystery Series, but worked great as a standalone 
  2. Includes information contrasting Annie Oakley in the musical Annie Get Your Gun and the historical Annie Oakley

Publication:  May 16, 2017—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

We ate in silence for a minute. Or I did. Frank chewed his Fritos noisily, with his mouth open. I got the feeling he’d lived alone for a long time.

Uncle Bob had taught me that most drives could be put down to power or passion. Power included money, prestige, and the need to one-up someone. Passion covered revenge, sex, and love.

Theater had been my safe place ever since Cody’s accident. A place I could relax and be myself, which seems odd considering that I was always playing a role onstage.

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Uninvited–rejection and relationships

Uninvited

by Lysa Terkeurst

UninvitedAll of us have experienced rejection of some kind in our lives, sometimes deep and profound, other times more fleeting but still painful. Lysa TerKeurst is a Christian writer and speaker who steps in to examine her own feelings of rejection through a Biblical lens and shares in Uninvited what she has discovered.

Lysa falls short of the “holier than thou” Christian speaker with all the answers. As she examines her topic, she exposes herself to scrutiny, sometimes painfully, sometimes with humor, but always being real. That openness invites the reader to trust her and to listen to what God has laid on her heart about rejection.

In many ways the book is about relationships—our relationship with God as well as with others. TerKeurst draws heavily on her own experiences and on Biblical wisdom to help us take a fresh look at how we interact with others, sometimes allowing past rejections to influence current attitudes.

I read this book over a period of a few weeks, usually a chapter at a time, sometimes a few chapters in quick succession. Having finished, I know I will want to revisit this book several times to study in depth the precepts TerKeurst and God (via the Bible) put forth. The passages I marked as important in Uninvited are numerous, exceeding copyright standards for inclusion in this review. Some have personal importance, some theological value, while others stand out for their timelessness.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Thomas Nelson for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Christian Living

Notes: Teachers, rejection walks hand in hand with bullying and we have to be sensitive to evidence of it in our students. TerKeurst shares with readers a special teacher in her life saying “I don’t remember a single classroom lesson she taught, but I very clearly remember the way she made me feel. She gave me hope that the worries weighing me down in the third-grade pecking order of my peers might not always be my reality. Yes, she made me feel exceptional.”

Publication:  August 9, 2016—Thomas Nelson

Memorable Lines:

Today’s rejections, big or subtle, are like stealth bombs that zing straight to my core, locating hurts from my past and making them agonizingly present all over again.

Rejection piggybacks on physical pain pathways in the brain. MRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain.

Rejection never has the final say. Rejection may be a delay or distraction or even a devastation for a season. But it’s never a final destination. I’m destined for a love that can’t ever be diminished, tarnished, shaken, or taken. With You, Jesus, I’m forever safe…Completely loved and always invited in.

The Spring Cleaning Murders–Cannell has a way with words!

The Spring Cleaning Murders

by Dorothy Cannell

The Spring Cleaning MurdersThe Spring Cleaning Murders carves out its own niche in the world of cozy mysteries. Ellie Haskell is the moderately well-off wife of a restaurant owner and the mother of twin three year olds. The book is indeed a mystery with multiple murders and Ellie playing the part of a sleuth. Unlike the typical cozy mystery, there is no relationship with a law enforcement officer. A lot of the story is centered around family ties and the various levels of society found in a small English town. Another strong emphasis of the book s a group of of cleaning ladies and a journal containing cleaning formulas collected by Abigail Grantham, the mistress of Ellie’s home during the first of the twentieth century. Each chapter begins with one of these tips, and making and marketing the products provides a cover story for Ellie and the cleaning ladies as they search for clues.

There are many quirky characters who strengthen the plot. The Epilogue provides closure for the familial tale after the mysteries have been solved satisfactorily.  I enjoyed reading this book and anticipate reading more from the series.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Random House (Alibi) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: part of the 13 book Ellie Haskell Series, but works as a standalone

Publication:  May 9, 2017—Random House (Alibi)

Memorable Lines:

Feeling like a nun forsaking the convent, I went with my little girl and boy into a world painted with rainbow color for a picnic where dock leaves served for luncheon plates.

On the following Sunday, skies hung low, like soggy woolen blankets abandoned on a clothesline. The wind gurgled and moaned and rain drizzled drearily down the windowpanes.

Then I put the kettle on so I wouldn’t be the only thing steaming.

Freddy ambled over to the refrigerator to stand with the door open, peering inside with all the intensity of an anthropologist studying culture as evinced by an igloo.

Vanessa had a master’s degree in self-absorption.

“If I was a fairy godfather, do you know what I’d wish for her, Ellie girl?”  “Tell me.” “That she’ll grow up to be loving and loved. That’s enough for anyone in my book.”

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