Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Family Trees

Blame my mother. She and my sister went to a genealogy workshop yesterday, and, once again, when I talked to Mom, I got caught up in going through our family tree. We have genealogy going back forever on my mom's side, from all of her family. My paternal grandmother's records go back forever.  It's my paternal grandfather's family that gets lost just a couple generations back. And, that's what hangs us up no matter what source I use.

So, last night, instead of finishing my book so I could write a review, I ended up spending two hours on websites, working on genealogy. Thanks, Mom!

(If you're interested in that sort of thing, Ancestry.com says I'm 65% from Great Britain, 14% Italy, Greece, 7% Eastern Europe, 5% Scandinavia, and less than 1% (with low confidence) West Asia. Although how that ends up on a map to show most of my relatives came over from Great Britain and Germany, I don't know. Actually, that's what we did know. They came from Great Britain and France/Germany.)

Do you get hooked on this stuff when you sit down to work on it?

Monday, August 21, 2017

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool by Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella

Okay, I tried it. I love the collected essays by Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella. They make me laugh, occasionally cry. But, they're always excellent glimpses at contemporary life. I have a friend who listens to the audio books, which are read by the authors. She's right in that it adds to the experience when you hear Lisa read the pieces in her South Philly accent. Each of the authors read their essays in  I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool.

I listened to three quarters of the book, but I just couldn't do it anymore. I'm finishing the book by reading it. My friend's right. The voices are wonderful. But, it just takes too long for me to listen to a book. I have a short commute to work. I might get through six essays going back and forth to the library. And, if I have another fifteen minutes to walk that day, I get through a couple more. I've been listening to this book for a week. And, it's fun.

But, I could have read this book in six hours. I'm not one to sit at home and listen to a book. And, I certainly don't clean the house, so I can't finish the audio book while I'm cleaning. I'm going to finish I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool by reading it, imaging the authors' reading each piece. I have just a couple hours of reading left.

Oh, and the book itself? Lisa has a snake in her garden. It's a recurring theme, along with her garden room. Only Lisa Scottoline can take tiny events in her life, tell it in episodes, and make you laugh. Of course, in the audio book, she adds the "sssss" sound when she talks about 'sssssnakes". Francesca Serritella's pieces usually aren't quite as funny, but they're certainly thoughtful pieces that do capture the exact moment in time. Her piece, "Anniversary", will stay with you, especially with recent events. And, both authors write (or talk) about last year's election.

Whether you choose to listen to the delightful recording by Scottoline and Serritella, or read the book, you'll get humor and a little nostalgia and thoughtful pieces in I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool.

Lisa Scottoline's website is www.scottoline.com

Francesca Serritella's website is www.francescaserritella.com

I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool by Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella. St. Martin's Press, 2017. ISBN 9781250059963 (hardcover), 336p.

Audio book - Macmillan Audio. 2017. ISBN 9781427285904 (unabridged)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Have You Heard? - Keeper of the Castle by Juliet Blackwell

Today, Sandie Herron reviews one of Juliet Blackwell's Haunted Home Renovation mysteries. Check out Keeper of the Castle.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/617KlKhU%2ByL._AA300_.jpgKEEPER OF THE CASTLE
Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series #5
Written by Juliet Blackwell, Narrated by Xe Sands
Unabridged audiobook
Listening Length: 7 hours and 57 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Audio, Release Date: Dec 2, 2014

When I read that construction manager Mel Turner's boyfriend Graham was involved in the reconstruction of a Scottish castle in California, I knew Mel would be involved sooner or later.  Within the rising walls of the castle, construction workers were being scared away by a mysterious woman in red and chased by a knight in armor.  

Mel was called to visit the site because of her sensitivities to ghosts.  Since the site was in Marin county and a long commute from home in San Francisco, Mel was invited to stay over at the owner's plush mansion and retreat where he gave motivational talks and workshops.  

Mel discovered a beautiful but intensely sad female ghost in a round room.  Mel also witnessed a male Scottish ghost attacking or chasing anyone who approached.  When the knight saw Mel approach the woman, he began his chase but stopped when he realized Mel was not a man.  After long talks with many other witnesses and experts alike, Mel discovered what motivated the ghosts.  Avoidance of the round room quieted the ghosts immediately.   

Mel watched construction and made many helpful suggestions.  So many that when the current contractor left the job, Mel and Turner Construction were hired to take over.  This put Mel farther from home when trouble struck.  Could she go ahead with so many hands out-stretched to her?

I am immensely enjoying watching Mel grow and morph into the strong adult woman she already is but only now is she allowing her own opinion join with the others.  Her extended family also supports her.  New facets of her life are emerging, and some are disappearing; they all suit her.  

I read this title on audiobook so had the pleasure to listen to narrator Xe Sands further bring this story to life.  This series continues to delight.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Have You Heard? - Cat Shining Bright by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Actually, this is a book review today, not a review of an audio. But, Sandie Herron reviewed Shirley Rousseau Murphy's latest mystery, Cat Shining Bright, so it falls under "Have You Heard?" Check out Sandie's review.
Cat Shining Bright: A Joe Grey Mystery (Joe Grey Mystery Series Book 20) by [Murphy, Shirley Rousseau]
Cat Shining Bright
Written by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Series:  Joe Grey mystery #20
Publisher:  William Morrow
Published: August 15, 2017
ISBN:  0062460315 (ISBN13: 9780062460318)
*****  5 stars

CAT SHINING BRIGHT is about coming of age and changes in the lives of the magical sentient felines that live in Molena Point, California.  Joe Grey and his love Dulcie are marveling over the birth of their three kittens, two boys and a girl, waiting to see if they, too, will speak and read human language.  The boys Striker and Buffin are buff colored.  The third kitten, Courtney, is the calico female that Misto, the wise old yellow tomcat, had predicted would return from the lands in the Celtic myths.  

On the night of severe rain storms and howling winds, a car theft ring skulks through the village breaking into cars, driving those they can away and stealing any valuables left inside the cars they can’t start.  Felines Kit and Pan brave the storms and follow detectives from MPPD compiling a description of two thieves and observing their actions.   Joe Grey still enjoys his investigative work as snitch for the Molena Point Police Department but has cut his hours drastically to save more time for his family.  When he reads the newspaper account of the car thefts, Dulcie urges him to go be part of what he loves at MPPD.  Up until now the kittens had been sheltered from learning any bad news, but they latch onto these stories wanting to be part of detecting work too.

Unknown to Joe, the kittens sneak out of the house and follow him to MPPD.  They watch as Joe appears to sleep on the police captain’s desk, when he is actually stealing glances at reports and listening to detectives discuss the day’s events.  When the police chief’s wife calls 911 to report the shooting deaths of her beautician and a customer in the salon, Joe follows detectives toward the MPPD exit to head for the scene.  Just then, moving shadows alert him to the presence of his kittens!  He is mortified to see them there, but he is compelled to visit the crime scene.  Promising to stick close to Joe, the kittens follow him to the scene.  Dulcie has discovered the kittens missing from home and hears the sirens; she knows then where the kittens have gone.

Dulcie and the kittens are no longer safe at Wilma Getz’s home after a stranger lurking outside breaks in.  Wilma scares him away before knowing what he was after, but she suspects it is an ancient hand printed book on the wild sentient cats. Discovering who broke into Wilma’s home and why gets tangled together with investigations into the murders and car thefts.  Kit and Pan and the feral cat clowder are led to connections between the new cat shelter and its closest neighbor.  Shelter owner Kate Osborne and construction worker Scotty Flannery observe strange happenings near the shelter.   Joe Grey has a plan to tie everything together and entice the thieves out of hiding right into the arms of MPPD detectives.

This 20th entry in the charming Joe Grey series takes us deeper into the lives of human and feline residents of Molena Point.  Joe and Dulcie watch their kittens grow up and discover new passions and new alliances.  They know their trusted friends will help guide their kittens into their adult lives.

Highly recommended.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Winners & A Law Enforcement Giveaway

Congratulations to the winners of the last giveaway. Sue F. from Crosslake, MN won Death on Nantucket. Andi D. from Phoenix, AZ will receive Shiver Hitch. The books are going out today.

This week, I'm giving away two ARCs featuring law enforcement. Claire Booth takes us to Branson, Missouri in Another Man's Ground. Sheriff Hank Worth is called out to look at trees that have been stripped of their bark, which the owner was harvesting for the herbal supplement market. It's a distraction from Hank's political campaigning, a job he hates. But, then a group of illegal immigrants discovers a body deep in the woods. And, that case thrusts the sheriff into the middle of a generations-old feud.

Or, you could win Linda Castillo's Down a Dark Road. The best description for the book, without spoilers, comes from the back of the book. "Eight years ago Joseph King, a "fallen" Amish man, was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. Now King has escaped. Armed and desperate, he turns to Chief of Police Kate Burkholder to prove his innocence."

Which crime novel would you like to win? You can enter to win both, but I need separate entries. Email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject line should read either "Win Another Man's Ground" or "Win Down a Dark Road." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. The giveaway will end Thursday, Aug. 24 at 5 PM CT.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

What Are You Reading?

I'm deep into this month's reading for Library Journal, reading mysteries that come out October through December. Even so, I'm reading chapters of Martin Edwards' The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books. It's fascinating history, and I'm making a list of books I want to read. I also read Louise Penny's forthcoming Gamache novel, Glass Houses. Her books continue to be unbelievable. She's such a wonderful writer. I'm not even going to say anything about the story until I review the book here.

So, what are you reading this week? I'll check back to see throughout the day, and I know others will be checking back, too. Please share!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes by David Handler

Twenty years after the last book in David Handler's series featuring Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag and his basset hound, Lulu, the author brings them back. The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes is set in 1992 when Hoagy is still pining for his ex-wife, actress Merilee Nash. He's still ghostwriting celebrity memoirs. He's still as cynical as ever.

Author Richard Aintree disappeared after his wife committed suicide, leaving behind his two teenage daughters. One went on to become a Hollywood celebrity after writing two tell-all memoirs. The other, Reggie, was the love of Hoagy's life before he met Merilee. But, the two were destructive together, and it was only when he left Reggie that Hoagy was able to write his literary masterpiece.  Merilee knows Hoagy never forgot Reggie. When Hoagy's literary agent wants him to work with Richard's daughter, Monette, to ghostwrite Aintree's memoir, Merilee encourages him to take the job.

From beginning to end, this job is a mess. Hoagy can't stand Monette's agent. He finds Reggie just as strange as ever. And, once he flies to Hollywood, he's in the midst of Monette's lifestyle, with paparazzi at the gates, Monette's cheating, drug-addicted husband calling, and attempts on his life. When there's a shooting at a birthday party at Monette's house, neither Hoagy nor his police lieutenant friend believe the confession of the supposed killer. Everyone is a suspect.

Publishing fans encouraged Handler to bring back Hoagy and Lulu. The story reminds me of detective novels of the '40s and '50s, when the detective was cynical and the women were bad. It felt dated, but that's only my opinion. I'm sure fans of the series will welcome the return of several of their favorite characters in The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes.

David Handler's website is www.davidhandlerbooks.com

The Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes by David Handler. William Morrow. 2017. ISBN 9780062412843 (paperback), 288p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.