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Crime and Punctuation–super senior

Crime and Punctuation

by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Crime and PunctuationCrime and Punctuation features a retired Language Arts (English) teacher who decides to take up editing to fund the remodeling of the 110 year old home she lived in until she was seventeen. At age sixty-eight, newly widowed, Mikki returns from Maine to Lenape Hollow in New York’s Catskills and purchases the three story home of her childhood which has not been maintained properly.

Although Mikki intends for her business to mainly come through online sources, she is approached shortly after opening her enterprise by Tiffany, a young, enthusiastic, and well-funded new author. Mikki accepts her as a client and three days later there is a murder.

Lenape Hollow is a small town where news travels fast. Mikki finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation that involves old friends and enemies and brings up long forgotten memories. Tiffany’s book is fiction, but it is based on Mafia activity in the 1930’s. Her husband and his associates have been involved in some shady deals in the past and may be the models for some of the book’s unsavory characters. Crime and Punctuation is a good mystery with lots of suspects. It is not difficult to figure out who the murderer is, but it is fascinating to watch it play out. The book is well-paced and the main character Mikki is an interesting and likable character. Her honesty in her introspection is refreshing and not belabored. Mikki’s age is certainly older than the typical cozy mystery heroine, but that fact provides a different perspective that is interesting.

I have always enjoyed language, word study, and even grammar. Fresh out of college, I taught middle and high school English for a year while waiting for an elementary teaching position to open up. I was excited to teach, enjoyed the subject matter, and particularly related to the twelfth graders ready to embark on their next adventure in life. So in Mikki I find a kindred spirit with her references to the Oxford comma. Its use in Tiffany’s manuscript actually helped solve the case. On the other hand, I don’t think a reader needs to be obsessive about grammar to appreciate this latest mystery by Kaitlyn Dunnett.

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

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #1 in the Deadly Edits Mystery Series

Publication:   May 29, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

I can dress in my best, freshly pressed and pristine, and within five minutes, I look as if I’ve slept in my clothes. Don’t even talk to me about scarves! No matter how I tie them, they just hang there, limp and unflattering, feedbag instead of fashionable.

Thunderclouds scudded into Van Heusen’s face so fast that I expected it to start raining at any moment. My uneasiness about being alone with him returned just as quickly.

“Excuse me. Is Mr. Onslow available?” The redhead looked up, mouth opening in a startled, lipstick-circled O and heavily mascaraed eyes widening. I wondered if my question had been too complicated for her.

Murder in the Locked Library–wonderful quotes…weak plot

Murder in the Locked Library

by Ellery Adams

Murder in the Locked LibraryI was prepared to love Murder in the Locked Library. I am a bibliophile! How could I not love a cozy mystery about books with a cover that beckons “Sit down and read a while.”? I am sorry to say the book plodded along until about three-fourths of the way through when something happened that totally engaged me. I won’t spoil the book by saying what that event was.

I loved all the literary references and quotes, and I gradually began to understand what the purpose of Storyton Lodge is. And therein lies the second problem: Murder in the Locked Library really, really, really should not be read as a standalone. I did searches within the book to find the first references to “Guardian” and “Fin” thinking I had overlooked their introduction. I even did an Internet search on the terms to see if I had missed references in popular culture. My searches were fruitless. With background knowledge from previous books, this one would have been more enjoyable, but that still doesn’t solve the problem of the first part of the book lacking interest. 

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

Rating: 3/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #4 in the Book Retreat Mystery Series. It does not work well as a standalone.

Publication:  April 24, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

Even the pleasant cacophony in the kitchens—the thud of a cleaver striking wood, the hiss of steam, the rush of water, the scrape of metal against metal, and the endless dip and swell of voices as the staff chatted and bantered with each other—couldn’t distract Jane.

“We’re among our kind. We’re with book people. People who love everything about books. The history of books. The illustrations. The typography. The paper, covers, edges. The significance of an original manuscript or a signed copy. These people also understand the power of books. They understand how books can impact the world, one reader at a time. They respect the book, as we do.”

She believed they were dancing to his tune, and it was a tune without melody or rhyme. It was the steady tick of a metronome—a metaphor for all the time he’d invested in this scheme. And he wanted a return on his investment.

A Murder for the Books–mystery permeated with the love of books

A Murder for the Books

by Victoria Gilbert

A Murder for the BooksA Murder for the Books is the first book in the new Blue Ridge Library Mystery Series. Author Victoria Gilbert is obviously passionate about reading, writing, and libraries. Her main character, Amy, a former university librarian rebounding from a bad romance, moves to the town of Taylorsford to live with an aging but still feisty aunt. She puts her research skills to good use in attacking a mystery involving several local families, including her own. The murder of an elderly lady in the library’s archives draws her into this case which has intriguing connections to historical happenings in the town. This mystery has interesting characters, a complex plot, and good pacing. When the main “who done it” has resolution, the story continues with a surprise development and ending. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, set for publication in July.

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

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: short discussion of possible paranormal activity, but certainly not a major factor in the book as the main character does not believe in it

Publication:   December 12, 2017—Crooked Lane Books

Memorable Lines:

The age of shushing librarians had gone out with card catalogs, despite what popular culture might portray.

“He was a canny old devil. He read the whole situation like words in a book in that one afternoon.”

I loved the smell of books. Although I appreciated the value of computers and online research, nothing could replace the magic of rows of books filling shelves.

FREE this Weekend! Better Blogging with Photography by Terri Webster Schrandt | The Beauty of Words

Free download of this book July 8-10. I snatched it to get some good ideas, but I also want to publicize it because, as a former technology teacher, I wanted to remind everyone that just because you can say “it is on the Internet” or “I found it on Google” about a photo doesn’t make it free. Although copyright laws have gotten way out of hand from the original intent, thanks in large part to the movie industry giants, they are still laws. In the case of photography the photographer does own the picture. I’d rather use my own work or find a public domain site than risk stealing someone else’s work. And there is always an option to purchase stock images. Happy Blogging!

An Open Apology To Dolly Parton 

Dolly Parton has helped make readers one book at a time. Read this reblogged post if you do not know the story of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, her importance to the economy of Tennessee, or her generosity in the wake of the terrible fires.

Rawe-struck

Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”

Oh.

You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more magical…

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The Bringer of Books and Smiles

Featured Image -- 931Part teacher, part book lover, part entertainer–a true friend to homeless children!

Kindness Blog

For the last eight years, Colbert Nembhard has been bringing books (and smiles) to homeless children in The Bronx, New York.

Mr Nembhard, a librarian who’s been the manager of the Morrisania branch of the New York Public Library for 25 years, has been on a mission to making literacy a constant in their wandering and ever changing lives.

The New York Times reports:

“It’s a pleasure to come in here,” Mr. Nembhard began on that Wednesday, never removing his jacket during a presentation that was just short of a Mr. Rogers routine.

He began to sing, “Good morning to you,” and followed with “Wheels on the Bus.” The children joined in with a chorus of “round and round, round and round.”

Toddlers, fidgeting in their chairs or in their mothers’ arms, suddenly became fixated. They could not wait to flip open “Dear Zoo,” by Rod Campbell, a lift-a-flap book…

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Another Way to Help Teachers

Here’s a thoughtful way for book lovers to help teachers and their students.

Ritter Ames--USA TODAY Bestselling Author of the Bodies of Art Mysteries & Organized Mysteries

We know teachers are the lifeblood of our education system. However, each year theyHelping Teachers must spend more out of their own pockets for classroom supplies they cannot get from schools’ depleting budgets. In the past, I’ve given teachers gift cards to office supply stores to help, but last week I found another way I’d never thought of before. Our small town has a wonderful and thoughtful used bookstore. I turned in a bunch of books and received an $80 credit for my efforts–but I’m not going to buy any books. Instead, I’ve turned over my credit to any of the county’s teachers who’ve signed up to receive children’s fiction books for their classrooms.

So, rather than refilling my bookshelves, my credit will help fill classroom libraries for students instead. I can’t think of a better way to promote reading for young people. Yes, I could have bought books and donated…

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Farewell, Hastings!

hard back cafe

On my way back to Mexico, I spent the night in Roswell, NM near a Hastings bookstore.  Out of country for most of 3 years, I was unaware of the Hastings bankruptcy and closing.  It was sad to see the store being liquidated.  I bought a hardback Daniel Silva book for $4.00. I would have bought more books, but my truck was already bursting at the seams with things I had missed or needed south of the border. I could do a whole blog post on bookstores versus online sales and ebooks, but we’ll save that for another time.

I snapped a picture of the Hard Back Cafe sign–such a clever play on words. The cafe was closed that evening but not liquidated. What a feeling of nostalgia as yet another bookstore closes.

the heist

The Daniel Silva book will be the subject of another post down the reading road. I have a number of ebooks that should be read and reviewed first. I read a review of one of his books (maybe in an airline rag?) over a year ago and thought I would enjoy his books. It was a good opportunity to pick one up; and in spite of my appreciation of ebooks, I do so love to hold a book in my hands as I read!

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