On Borrowed Crime

54185415._sy475_

I received this title as a free ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This is the first in a new series, A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery.  In this we have the protagonist, Lyla Moody, who is an aspiring PI.  She currently works for her Uncle’s PI agency as a receptionist, much to the dismay of her very proper mother.  In her free time, she belongs to a true crime and mystery book club that calls itself, the Jane Doe Book Club.  Now one of the Jane Doe’s has turned up dead and  Lyla finds herself embroiled in a true crime and sets out to investigate.

I really enjoyed reading this first in this new series.  Lyla is a great character and there are hints that her life has not been smooth sailing but she has shown grit and determination.  The story was well plotted and the cold case connection gives the book a very up to date vibe.  I would definitely read another in this series.

Dead Wicked by Helen H. Durrant

54219611._sy475_

I received a free uncorrected proof of this from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This is book 10 in the DI Calladine and DS Bayliss series.  This thriller involves ransomware, kidnapping, food tampering,  drug dealers, torture, and murder.  Definitely not for the faint of heart in places.  The story opens with the murder of a young man on the way home from a night out at the pub.  This gets DI Calladine involved and the case begins to move along swiftly.  The plots connect through interactions of the characters and there are also well done subplots involving their personal lives.  DI Calladine’s adult daughter is pregnant and her choice of donor has evoked rather complicated issues.  Meanwhile, Ruth’s family is coming apart at the seams.  A well done, fast paced thriller.

This is a series that vastly improved as it went on.  I had read book 2 as part of the Kindle English Mystery Book Club on Goodreads and I didn’t continue with the series at the time, but now reading this I see a substantial growth in story development and writing and would read more now.

 

 

The Rejuvenation Solution

44180883._sy475_

I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I am interested in reading about health and healthy living so I requested this from NetGalley and was approved.  It is heavily focused on heart health as the author was once a cardiac surgeon.  It is an engaging read and the author uses a lot of anecdotal data to support and provide examples for his ideas.  There is some information that I have read in other sources regarding supplements like CoQ10 and the impact of sugar and gluten, etc. on inflammation in the body.  Dr. Willix does advocate for a vegan, alcohol free, and almost raw food diet, which is a bit more than I am up for.  The book is well written and the stories add a personal touch to keep it from being a dry informational text.  He provides footnotes and sources for his data for those interested in pursuing some of his suggestions.

The Rejuvenation Solution would be a good read for someone who is already vegan  or interested in making that change or someone who is exploring alternative medicines, such as Acupuncture and Ayurveda.

 

 

 

The Well of Ice

34379501

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I had already read the first in this series and was on the lookout for more by Andrea Carter as I did enjoy the world of the Inishowen Mysteries.  This is the third in the series and Ben’s legal practice in the town seems well established and her relationship with the Sergeant, Molloy is at least on somewhat solid ground.  The town and Ben are shaken by a series of acts, the pub burns to the ground, a barmaid and mother disappears, and the man who is responsible for Ben’s sister’s death is released from prison.  The story includes several of the members of the community and connections to the past as it unfolds.

A definite sense of menace and foreboding is developed  in the story along with feelings of isolation due to both  weather and location.  An intriguing mystery with a well developed sense of place.   I would definitely read another in this series.

 

June Reads…

 

Here are the few reads I squeezed in between all the work to  finish out the school year.  Some of these are Christmas reads, but they were borrowed books, so I’m reading them now.  It is almost Christmas in July anyway :).

Breaking the Mould is book 8 in the A Vintage Kitchen Mystery Series by Victoria Hamilton. I have always enjoyed this series and have followed Jaymie,  the protagonist, from when she was single and recently broken up with up until now when she is married and a stepmother.  In book 8, the town is putting on its annual Holiday festival, but not if the local Grinch has his way. He is a thoroughly unlikable character and when he ends up dead, there are plenty fingers pointing.   Jaymie has many clues and connections to investigate.   And all the while the festival still must go on. An enjoyable cozy read with a family life bend to it.

One Taste Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein is the first in a new series featuring sisters.  Sarah is the reluctant sleuth pulled in to the case as her sister, Emily, is accused of murdering Sarah’s miserable ex-husband.  The action centers around a cooking competition and exhibit with high tension and plenty of characters to consider as suspects.  A nice start to a food themed cozy series.

Wreath Between the Lines is book 7 in the A Cookbook Nook Series. This is a series I really enjoy and it has a dual theme of a bookstore specializing in cookbooks and cooking.  In this book it is the holiday season, Jenna is busy with the shop and with her sister, who has arrived in town with her family.   A man is murdered at Jake’s house and it seems like it may be a case of mistaken identity.  Jenna investigates to clear Jake’s name and to find the culprit before the succeed in killing Jake.  Fast paced cozy with lots of action.

St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Anna England Noblin seems from the cover and from the beginning to be a light rom-com type read.  It follows two timelines, the current one with Maeve and her recent string of bad luck, and the past timeline that led to her adoption at birth, so her mother’s story.  There are some silly moments, some romance, and some darker than expected story lines involving domestic violence. Themes of family, community, and motherhood are explored here.   This was an enjoyable read.

 

 

 

More reading…

 

 

A somewhat eclectic mix of reads😁

The Joy of Forest Bathing is a simplified approach to shinrin-yoku.  It includes ideas to engage in the practice and seasonal approaches.  A helpful beginning guide with light, less science heavy prose than some other books on the topic.  The illustrations are delightful and I can’t for the life of me put my finger on what they remind me of.  There is also some beautiful forest photography included.

Murder of a Lady is part of the British Library Crime Classics series.  It was actually number 12 in the sleuth Dr Hailey’s series of what would end up  being  27 books.  This is a locked room mystery with echoes connecting to a past crime.  All the elements you expect, an impoverished laird trying to keep up appearances, several people who have stories to tell and reasons to want the victim dead, and a waiting inheritance.   Certainly an unusual murder resolution here, I didn’t figure it out.  This was a  good read from the Golden Age of Mystery.

Dark Hollows by Steve Frech is psychological thriller.  The protagonist, Jacob Reese, is currently the owner of a vacation rental and coffee shop, but in his former life he was a low level criminal.  His past comes back to haunt him and he finds himself racing to uncover what is really going on as what he sees in front of him cannot be real, a woman he know died as a result of his inaction.  This was an engaging read even with a not entirely sympathetic protagonist.

And Then She was Gone was a free kindle read.   It involved the murder of a young pregnant  woman and a young man about to enlist who gets pulled into the investigation.  It  felt somewhat YA or NA, so perhaps I was not really the target demographic for this.

 

 

Latest reads…

I saw a tweet about Snare and picked it up on kindle.  The snare of the title refers to a divorced woman left destitute, who is ensnared into some illegal activities.  The story and the plot were really good.  The situation is believable in that desperation can lead a person into questionable choices and actions.  Sonia is a strong and resourceful character with a blind spot as far as personal relationships go, much like many people.  I will be reading the next in this trilogy.

Black Dog is the first in the series of the team of too-nice-for-his-own-good Ben Cooper and thoroughly unlikable Diane Fry.  I found the case interesting and resolution was quite good.  I loved the character of the retired miner, their rather recalcitrant witness, then suspect. Great local community color as well.  I just found every scene with Fry in it cringe inducing.  I don’t know if that is purposeful and that we are supposed to see these characters rub off on each other, inducing change over the course of a series or not.

A Killer’s Wife was a  good serial killer mystery with a good twist at the end.   Yardley becomes a prosecutor after she discovers her husband is a notorious serial killer.  Her ex-husband is now on death row appealing his conviction and a copy cat is starting to reenact his crimes.   As she investigates the copy cat hits closer and closer to home putting her and her daughter’s lives in danger and increasing the chance that her ex’s appeal will be successful.   A suspenseful read.

Murder Underground is part of the British Library Crime Classics Series.  In this case, an unlikable boarding house tenant, Miss Pongleton, is found strangled with a dog leash on the steps to the underground.  This starts an investigation and a young man is arrested rather quickly based on his involvement in a theft.  Light comedy and misdirection abound with several theories of the crime put forth by just about everyone.  Fun mystery read from The Golden Age of Detective Fiction.  I will say that Mavis Doreil Hay wrote three mysteries.  This is the second I read and I much preferred this one to Death on the Cherwell.  

Down the the River and Up to the Trees is a back to nature/folk lore/crafts/ self help book.  I’m not actually sure what genre it would fall into it.  It was charming to read with sections of it definitely reminding me of wisdom of my grandparents and activities from my childhood.  Just an example, something as simple as bark rubbing and making charcoal.    A light read that was in many ways nostalgic for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Stay at Home Reads…

 

Continuing on my theme of self help/lifestyle type books, I read the above three.

Cosy:  The British Art of Comfort by Laura Weir was just a charming read.  It was everything comforting wrapped up in the pages of a book.  I’d highly recommend to anyone who is stressing in their stay at home environment.

The Nordic Guide to Living 10 Years Longer was not particularly Nordic.  It was really just basic health guidelines, eat better, sleep better, brush and floss your teeth, move your body, etc.  It was a fine read but just not anything very new or even very particular to Nordic countries.

Sisu was a really good read.  I read this after reading Katja Pantzer’s book about Sisu, which was a more personal story, almost memoir-ish with some interviews and science.  I really enjoyed that book about finding Sisu and so read this one.  Joanna Nylund’s Sisu is more focused on applications to the reader rather than telling a story and I really found it quite interesting.  There are definitely passages I will go back and read again, especially the ones related to work life and communication.

Books for Staying at Home

During the Stay At Home order for my state I have been reading some different books than my normal mystery/thriller genre.  These would all fall under the life style/self help/motivational genre.  I thought under the circumstances for now and the foreseeable future perhaps a change of mindset would be a good thing.

 

 

The Little Book of Hygge is the one that I had heard the most about although all of these were readily available from my library.  I found this a good source of ideas for making your home Hygge-like as well as what Hygge actually is.  There is also some interesting (for me, I love data) information about happiness and activities that create it.  A good introduction to the idea of Hygge.

The Secret Therapy of Trees was a fascinating discussion of nature, specifically trees and their impact on human beings stress levels, immune systems, aggression levels, memory and cognition.  While I am not sure of 100% of the research, it was still an engaging read.

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I read A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind.  The focus here was on being intentional, cleaning as form of mindfulness, and how cleaning your surroundings and self is a reflection or result of your mental state.  The book also discusses being mindful of your possessions, how many you have and how you care for them.  Not a cleaning manual by any means, more about mindset.

Ikigai:  The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.  This was an introduction to the idea of Ikigai.  The focus here was on finding your reason for living.  Engaging in a flow in your life that allows you to reach a state of optimal experience.  The idea being that optimal experience occurs when we are prepared, focused, in control, free of worry, etc.  This is contrasted with being in a distracted state when we are bored, exhausted, time drags, our mind wanders.  One interesting concept here was actions driving emotions, rather than the other way around.

American Cozy was one of my favorite of these books, mainly because it was more grounded in practical examples and geared towards life in America.  There is a little bit of everything here, home care room by room, cooking, digital detox, sleep, and maintaining personal boundaries.  Great practical applications to the art of coziness.

Forest Bathing was an informative read about forest bathing with specific exercises to practice.  I particularly found the connection to the senses section really helpful.   There is also an overall description of forest bathing around the world  and descriptions of the health benefits.  If I was only going to read one book on Forest Bathing, this would probably be it, as it gives you a basic “how to” to start.

The Finnish Way is the latest one I read and I have to say that the author’s personal approach and writing style resonated with me.  I felt that I related to her journey and the effect that developing Sisu had on her life.  This would be a book that I would read again.  Not as practical for American living as American Cozy, but more memoir like with some science thrown in with interviews of social scientists such as Dweck.  Very good read!

I loved the idea in the Good Mornings book of creating rituals rather than routines.  I have read many organizational books and articles over the years, but this had a different feel to it with the idea of creation of rituals.  The other really nice element is that there are modifications for the “time rich” and “time poor” acknowledging the people have different life circumstances.  I would recommend this to anyone looking for some new ideas of how to start their day.

 

The Smiling Man

34847044-1

 

This is the second in the Aiden Waits series.  Aiden is a police officer permanently working the night shift after a career shadowed in disgrace and turmoil.  In this book, we see flashes of Aiden’s childhood to understand more of why he is such a train wreck of a human being.  A man is found in a closed hotel under suspicious circumstances, as Aiden investigates he finds more questions than answers.  There is also a subplot of Aiden’s past that runs parallel to the main story line.  This was quite a fast paced and engaging read.   Fans of Jack Taylor would probably enjoy this.