February reading challenge updates

my-reading-challenges

February updates

When I look at these stats I come to several conclusions…lol.

  • You can see the specific books read and reviewed (or not read) in each category if you check out my “Reading Challenges” Pages.
  • I’m reading more mysteries than fantasies or science fiction so far this year.
  • I’ve read and reviewed quite a few NetGalley books–and thus new releases–so far this year (so I haven’t read any TBR books yet).
  • I’ve read books in several categories, but just haven’t reviewed the books yet. That should change in March.

Audiobook Challenge

  • Audiobooks read and reviewed: 0
  • Challenge Goal: 20 -30 audiobooks
  • I’m listening (or rather not listening) to an audiobook. I only listen during certain times and haven’t found those so much.

Cloak and Dagger Challenge

  • Books read and reviewed: 6 mysteries
  • Challenge Goal: 31+ books

Goodreads Challenge

  • Books read: 20 books
  • Challenge Goal: 100 books
  • I’ve only reviewed 7 of the 20 books I’ve read in 2016. I’m doing better reading than getting some of my books reviewed.

I Love Libraries Reading Challenge

  • Books read and reviewed: 0
  • Challenge Goal: 18 books

Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge

  • Books read and reviewed: 6 books
  • Challenge Goal: 25 books

New Author Challenge

  • Books read and reviewed: 7 books
  • Challenge Goal: 30 books
  • All 7 books I’ve reviewed so far this year are from new authors

New Release Challenge

  • Books read and reviewed:  6 books
  • Challenge Goal: 31 – 45 books

Science Fiction/Fantasy Bingo Reading Challenge

  • Books read and reviewed: 0

TBR Pile Challenge

  • Books read and reviewed: 0
  • Challenge Goal: 31 – 40 books

What about you? How are your reading, reviewing and challenges going so far this year?

Sunday Post: Feb 28

Sunday-Post

This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Last Week–home and blog

Not much going on here other than working on our move…sorry. And some reading…lol.

The move countdown–March is the month

This week I donated a number of my cookbooks. I’ve collected those in the past, too! And I still have plenty I’ve packed to move with me though….

The house is looking emptier as we move boxes, bookcases and other furniture out to the garage.

Lots on my to-do lists still!

The blog

I’m managing to write posts, keep up with my netgalley books and read books. Trying to get more posts ahead.

Blog posts

My books

What I’m reading

  • A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde

What I read last week

  • Admiral by Sean Danker
  • Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima
  • Reading Up a Storm by Eva Gates

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

NetGalley

Library

  • None

E-books

Audiobooks

Interesting on the internet

Next Week–home & blog

Sorting and packing and regular life continues.

I’m reading lots of good books so far this year so every extra moment I read!

Blog posts

  • End of month reading challenge updates
  • March books on my list
  • Waiting on Wednesday: Mar 2
  • Beyond the Books: A fear I have
  • Review: Killing Trail by Margaret Mizushima
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy

second-street-stationSecond Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy
Series: Mary Handley Mystery #1
Genre: Historical Mystery, Police Procedural
Setting: Brooklyn, 1888
Published by Broadway Books, 2015
E-book, purchased
336 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Mary Handley is a not your typical late-nineteenth century lady. She’s fiery, clever, daring—and she’s not about to conform to the gender norms of the day. Not long after being fired from her job at the hat factory for insubordinate behavior, Mary finds herself at the murder scene of Charles Goodrich, the brother of a prominent alderman and former bookkeeper of Thomas Edison. When Mary proves her acumen as a sleuth, she is hired by the Brooklyn police department—as the city’s first female policewoman—to solve the crime. The top brass of the department expect her to fail, but Mary has other plans. As she delves into the mystery, she finds herself questioning the likes of J. P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. Mary soon discovers the key to solving the case goes well beyond finding a murderer and depends on her ability to unearth the machinations of the city’s most prominent and respected public figures, men who will go to great lengths to protect their secrets.

Much like Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and Maisie Dobbs, Second Street Station presents a portrait of a world plunging into modernity through the eyes of a clever female sleuth. Mary Handley is an unforgettable protagonist whose wit, humor, and charm will delight readers from the very first page.

“I no longer wish to be a scientist or philosopher, Mother.”

“Really?” said a relieved Elizabeth, thinking this awful incident may have somehow netted a positive result.

“I’ve decided I want to be a detective.”

Elizabeth flinched. This daughter of hers would never give her peace.

and

The irony of Sean’s becoming a policeman didn’t escape Mary, though she didn’t believe he had chosen that profession as a protruding middle finger to their lifelong sparring.

Initial impressions

  • Fascinating historical mystery set in Brooklyn in the late 1800’s with historical characters.

The story

  • When twelve-year-old Mary finds a murdered man on a train she tells her mother she wants to be a detective (much to her mother’s irritation).
  • The grown up Mary is a factory worker in a hat factory instead of a detective.
  • Mary decides to find out who murdered a friend’s fiance. He is also Thomas Edison’s bookkeeper so this is a high-profile murder.
  • She comes to the attention of the police and the press and the police make her the first woman police officer. She doesn’t realize that some of the “higher-ups” expect and want her to fail. But she has support from other people in the police department.

Pluses

  • Mary Handley is a great character. She’s an intelligent, likable and tenacious young woman.
  • It’s ironic that her brother does become a police officer and that Mary works in a hat factory when she grows up.
  • I like all the historic characters in this book–JP Morgan, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla. It’s really interesting to read about them. Even Mary Handley is a real person. The murder is based on a real murder.
  • The historic aspects of the story are very enjoyable.
  • There are red herrings in the mystery!

Minuses

  • There are a few coincidences in the book. Parts of the book don’t seem very plausible. However, Mary is a fun character plus the historic aspects make the book enjoyable.

And concluding thoughts . . .SecondStreetStation_Map

  • A map of Mary Handley’s Brooklyn, 1888-1890 is on Mr. Levy’s website. It’s great!
  • I’m looking forward to reading the next book soon!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer who is a Writers Guild Award winner and two-time Emmy nominee. He has written for various hit TV shows such as Family Ties, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, and SeinfeldSecond Street Station is his debut novel and Brooklyn on Fire is his second book.

Reading Challenges

Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon

shards-of-murderShards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon
Series: A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery #2
Genre: Mystery (cozy)
Setting: St. Petersburg, Florida
Published by Kensington, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Feb 23)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
304 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: When a glass-making competition turns deadly, glass shop owner Savannah Webb must search for a window into a criminal’s mind…

As the new proprietor of Webb’s Glass Shop, Savannah has been appointed to fill her late father’s shoes as a judge for the Spinnaker Arts Festival, held in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. With her innovative glass works, the clear winner is Megan Loyola, a student of Savannah’s former mentor.

But when Megan doesn’t show up to accept her $25,000 award, rumors start flying. And when Savannah discovers the woman’s dead body on festival grounds, the police immediately suspect her of murder. To keep from appearing before a judge herself, Savannah sorts through the broken pieces of glass scattered around the victim for clues as to who took this killer competition too far…

Initial impressions

  • I especially enjoyed the setting, the glass shop and the mystery.

The story

  • Savannah is the glass artist judge in a local arts festival.
  • The person she chose as number one in the glass art part of the arts festival doesn’t show up to get her award. When Savannah checks the artist’s booth it’s empty.
  • The next day when she’s jogging with Rooney, her young smoky blue Weimaraner, she discovers a body. And Savannah ends up as the chief suspect for the murder.
  • The police detective tells her she better have an alibi or figure out who did it.

Pluses

  • I like the setting in the glass shop and the background of a businessperson trying to pick up the pieces after the death of her father.
  • I used to work with stained glass so the glass aspect of the book kept me interested. I’m impressed with the detail Ms. Hollon uses in the book without adding too much.
  • Rooney is so fun to read about. I really like reading about his agility training.
  • Ms. Hollon does a good job weaving the murder and other details into the story.
  • I did figure out who the murderer was before the end of the book, but I still enjoyed the mystery.

Minuses

  • Savannah’s relationship with Edward Morris is puzzling to me. Since I haven’t read the first book in the series I don’t know what happened in that book. However, Savannah says she likes him and thinks about him as a possible boyfriend, but they mostly seem indifferent to each other.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I haven’t read the first book in this series yet, but plan to soon!
  • The third book should get published in June 2016.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Cheryl Hollon is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in Washington, DC, and New England Crime Bake in Dedham, MA.
  • Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL in a 1920’s Craftsman Bungalow.

Reading Challenges

Waiting on Wednesday: Feb 24

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to coming out in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

the-invisible-libraryThe Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Series: The Invisible Library #1

Publication Date: June 14

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author.
 
One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…

………………………………………

Why I want this book

  • This book has been out in Britain for over a year and several bloggers whom I follow have loved it so I’m very excited to get a chance to read it.
  • A book about a mysterious library, spies, magic, an alternate London–sounds great!
  • This sounds like fantasy–but some people have also classified it as steampunk and science fiction. That sounds very interesting.

Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce

out-of-the-blues-trudy-nan-boyceOut of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce
Series: Unknown
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Setting: Atlanta, Georgia
Published by G.P. Putnam’s, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Feb 23)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
352 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: From an author with more than thirty years’ experience in the Atlanta Police Department comes a riveting procedural debut introducing an unforgettable heroine.

On her first day as a newly minted homicide detective, Sarah “Salt” Alt is given the cold-case murder of a blues musician whose death was originally ruled an accidental drug overdose. Now new evidence has come to light that he may have been given a hot dose intentionally. And this evidence comes from a convicted felon hoping to trade his knowledge for shortened prison time . . . a man who Salt herself put behind bars.

In a search that will take her into the depths of Atlanta’s buried wounds—among the city’s homeless, its politically powerful churches, commerce and industry, and the police department itself—Salt probes her way toward the truth in a case that has more at stake than she ever could have imagined. At once a vivid procedural and a penetrating examination of what it means to be cop, Out of the Blues is a remarkable crime debut.

Initial impressions

  • I really liked this police procedural. It feels authentic. This is a strong debut and I’m so happy to find a new author.

The story

  • When Sarah Alt–better known as “Salt”–begins her first day in homicide she finds a murderer. She does a lot of things wrong that first day, but she still manages to catch the murderer.
  • She’s given a cold case (a suicide from 10 years ago that might have been murder). The information about this possible homicide is given by a prisoner who is in prison because of Salt–after he tried to kill her. If his tip is correct it will reduce his sentence.
  • Even though she’s not too happy investigating this case she pursues all the leads she can find.

Pluses

  • I really enjoy Salt. She jumps from insight to insight to get to the bottom of her cases. Other officers don’t always see what she sees, but often it works for her to follow her instincts.
  • Her father was also a police officer, but he committed suicide when Sarah was 10 years old and she found him as he lay dying. The images continue to haunt her and go a long way to making her who she is. As she grew into an adult she realizes he must have suffered from depression.
  • She’s afraid she may have the same affliction. Ever since she was shot the year before the book opens she has vivid dreams which haunt her, but also help her solve some of her cases. Any of her friends she tells about the dreams think they sound “crazy.”
  • The cold case is about the death of a blues singer so there’s lots of music references which I really enjoyed. I like blues and though I don’t know a lot about it I really like that aspect of the book. Salt knows a lot about the blues since her father enjoyed and listened to them.
  • The book has a lot about friendship, professional allegiances and the connections we have with people. I like that aspect a lot. I like mysteries where we find out about the people in the book as well as just the mystery.
  • The mystery was also engrossing. And I like the way the author shows the day-to-day workings of a police department–good and bad.
  • Salt puts up with a lot of hazing and even discrimination on the job, but she’s pretty stoic about it. She’s very tough and really cares about people. I like that the book shows many aspects of police officers as well as racial tensions in the community.
  • The title is very clever!

Minuses

  • The e-Arc was hard to read since the formatting made it difficult at times to figure out who was talking.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  When I was younger I worked in law enforcement (mostly clerical work) and though police departments have modernized a lot since then (mostly in the communications) I still recognized a lot of what the author writes about.
  • I really hope she writes some more books about Salt and her world.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Trudy Nan Boyce received her Ph.D. in community counseling before becoming a police officer for the City of Atlanta. During her more-than-thirty-year career she served as a beat cop, homicide detective, senior hostage negotiator, and lieutenant. Boyce retired from the police department in 2008 and still lives in Atlanta.

Reading Challenges

Sunday Post: Feb 21

Sunday-PostThis is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Last Week–home and blog

Snow again

We had snow when we woke up Monday morning, but then it rained on Tuesday and by afternoon it was all gone like it had never been there! Some warm weather on Saturday (in the 60’s) had me looking at the yard and I found our Lenten Rose blooming. Everything else is still dormant.

The move countdown continues

We took about 10 sacks of books to the library to donate. My husband then bought a half-dozen books from the library including two titles I just packed to take with us! Oh well, it supports the library.

One of the things I found are some old Kindle e-readers I’m no longer using. Amazon is buying back used Kindles right now so I’m getting those together to send to Amazon. That feels great–sell some things I’m no longer using, get some money and I don’t have to move them.

The boxes are beginning to pile up and shelves and bookcases are emptying.

I’m adding things to the to do lists and checking off a few things!

The blog

I’m not spending as much time as I’d like writing reviews or other posts or visiting blogs.

Blog posts

My books

What I’m reading

  • Admiral by Sean Danker
  • The Musubi Murder by Frankie Bow

What I read last week

  • Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon
  • In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany
  • Valley of the Lost by Vicki Delany

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

NetGalley

Library

E-books

Audiobooks

  • None

Interesting on the internet

Next Week–home & blog

Sorting and packing continues. It already feels like forever…lol

When I take a break I read and I’ve read quite a few books so far this year.

Blog posts

  • Review: Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce
  • Review: Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon
  • Waiting on Wednesday: Feb 24
  • Review: Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor

murder-in-an-irish-villageMurder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor
Series: Unknown (but I hope so!)
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Setting: Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland
Published by Kensington, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Feb 23)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
304 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Natalie’s Bistro has always been a warm and welcoming spot to visit with neighbors, enjoy some brown bread and tea, and get the local gossip. Nowadays twenty-two-year-old Siobhán O’Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago.

It’s been a rough year for the O’Sullivans, but it’s about to get rougher. One morning, as they’re opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table, dressed in a suit as if for his own funeral, a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest.

With the local garda suspecting the O’Sullivans, and their business in danger of being shunned–murder tends to spoil the appetite–it’s up to feisty redheaded Siobhán to solve the crime and save her beloved brood.

Initial impressions

  • A very good mystery as well as a great setting in County Cork, Ireland.

The story

  • The O’Sullivan children–James (24), Siobhán (22), Gráinne (16), Ann (13), Eoin (15), Ciarán (10)–are continuing to run Natalie’s Bistro a year after their parents were killed in a traffic accident. The driver of the other car was drunk and is now in prison.
  • The siblings have all given up a lot to keep their family together–especially James and Siobhán. She gave up her dream to attend Trinity College in Dublin with her best friends. James has given up drink (a good thing) and has been sober for six months as the book opens. However, Siobhán still worries about him and realizes she has the responsibility for Natalie’s Bistro as well as for her siblings. The others all help out in the restaurant–cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, serving.
  • The driver’s brother, Niall Murphy, is back in town and claims he has evidence his brother is innocent. The O’Sullivans respond with resentment and anger.
  • When Niall is murdered James is the main suspect. Siobhán decides she better figure out who really murdered Niall.

Pluses

  • The mystery is very good in this story.
  • I love the Irish setting.
  • I also enjoyed the descriptions of the Irish village and the various people living in the village.
  • Ms. O’Connor included a Pronunciation and Glossary Guide at the front of the e-Arc I read. I hope that’s in the finished copy because it is great to know how to pronounce words and know what they mean. I had heard about craic (pronounced crack) when we were in Ireland last year! (It means having a good time!) But others I had no idea about.
  • The book was craic reading for me!
  • The O’Sullivans really came alive for me as well as many of the other characters.
  • This had some laugh-out-loud moments. My favorite is at a wake when the body is nearly set on fire and the priest tells one of the O’Sullivans (after she nervously recites Psalm 23) that the psalm isn’t part of the Roman Catholic Mass!
  • The book is told from Siobhán‘s viewpoint and she is a well-rounded character–not perfect, but someone I would like to know. She also is not a very subtle investigator!
  • There is a bit of romance that could become more in future books.
  • I’m really impressed that this is Ms. O’Connor’s first book.

Minuses

  • I don’t really have problems with this book.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’d love for Carlene O’Connor to write more about the O’Sullivans and Kilbane.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Carlene O’Connor comes from a long line of Irish storytellers. Her great-grandmother emigrated from Ireland to America during the Troubles, and the stories have been flowing ever since. Of all the places across the pond she’s wandered, she fell most in love with a walled town in County Limerick and was inspired to create the town of Kilbane, County Cork. Carlene currently divides her time between New York and the Emerald Isle.

Reading Challenges

Waiting on Wednesday: Feb 17

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m Waiting-on-Wednesdaylooking forward to coming out in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

too-like-the-lightningToo Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Series: Terra Ignota #1

Publication Date: May 10

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Tor Books is proud to launch the first novel in a new political science fiction series, Too Like The Lightning by debut novelist Ada Palmer. Palmer’s unique vision mixes Enlightenment-era philosophy with traditional science fiction speculation to bring to life the year 2454, not a perfect future, but a utopian one, described by a narrator writing in an antiquated form to catalog the birth of a revolution. The result is The Iliad meets I, Claudius mixed with the enthusiasm of The Stars My Destination and Gene Wolfe style world building.

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer–a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destabilize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…

Perfect for fans of Jo Walton, Robert Charles Wilson and Kim Stanley Robinson, Too Like The Lightning is a refreshing change of pace from the current trend of gritty, dystopian novels. Much like Homer telling of heroic deeds and wine dark seas, Mycroft Canner’s narration will draw you into the world of Terra Ignota—a world simmering with gender politics and religious fervor just beneath the surface, on the brink of revolutionary change.

………………………………………

Why I want this book

  • A very different utopian future in the 25th century. Always interesting to see what science fiction authors speculate the future may be.
  • A debut author. Great to try new authors and new ideas.
  • Beautiful cover!

Twisted Threads by Lea Wait

twisted-threads-by-lea-waitTwisted Threads by Lea Wait
Series: Mainely Needlepoint #1
Genre: Mystery (cozy)
Setting: Harbor Haven, Maine
Published by Kensington, 2015
E-book, purchased
320 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Returning to the quaint coastal town of Harbor Haven, Maine—a place she once called home—Angie Curtis finds her memories aren’t all quite pleasant ones…

After leaving a decade ago, Angie has been called back to Harbor Haven by her grandmother, Charlotte, who raised her following her mother’s disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder.

The bright spot in Angie’s homecoming is reuniting with Charlotte, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Charlotte and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother’s cold case…  

I may have been away for a while, but I hadn’t forgotten how much people in Haven Harbor depended on their second or third jobs–their crafts or jams or Christmas wreaths in December or blueberry sales in July–to get through the year.

and

He was not only married, but he was a father. Why did he have to be so darn good looking? Probably honest and trustworthy, too. What people always say about all the good men being taken . . .

Initial impressions

  • The Maine coastal setting and the characters make this mystery a winner. A good beginning to a new series.

The story

  • Angie Curtis comes home for a funeral because her mother who disappeared when she was 10 years old was finally found.
  • Angie left Harbor Haven after she graduated from high school and hasn’t been back home since.
  • Her mother was murdered and she wants to find out why. When another person is murdered Angie wants to figure it all out. Are the two murders related?
  • Angie also discovers her Grandmother needs help with a home business–Mainely Needlepoint–she started.

Pluses

  • I love the embroidery and needlepoint quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They are often from samplers and so interesting.
  • I always love a Maine setting! Maine described: both the beauty and the difficulty of making a living in a small tourist town.
  • I like the business aspects of Mainely Needlepoint. It’s interesting to discover how Angie’s grandmother was able to grow the business, her mistakes and how Angie helps. And it’s all important to the plot.
  • The book is written in first person so we just know Angie’s point-of-view, but I like Angie and her internal thoughts are candid and often funny.
  • I like that Angie (known as “Angel” to her grandmother) is able to find the agent who worked with her grandmother’s needlepoint business through the things she learned working for a private investigator in Arizona.
  • Angie is a survivor. Her mom was a single mom, she never knew who her father was and people in town gossiped about her mom and other kids called Angie names especially after her mom disappeared. Angie’s Gram was the solid foundation in her life. It’s hard for Angie to come back to Harbor Haven, but she ends up glad that she did.
  • Angie’s Gram is a great character! She has changed some since Angie was growing up and living with her grandmother. Gram now has a cat, a boyfriend and drinks wine sometimes!

Minuses

  • This is a little darker and edgier than some cozys. That didn’t bother me, but it’s possible it will bother other readers.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  I’ve already read the second book in this series. I really like the characters and the stories. The third book in the series was published just last month.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Lea Wait: Maine author, historian and antique dealer Lea Wait writes the seven-book Agatha-finalist Shadows Antique Print Mystery series and the Mainely Needlepoint series, which debuted in January, 2015. She also writes historical novels for ages 8 and up set in nineteenth century Maine.

Reading Challenges