Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Review Friday: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley is a cozy mystery that introduces a most endearing sleuth.  Her name is Flavia de Luce, a plucky eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry.  In the summer of 1950 Flavia is living with her father and two sisters on the family estate, Buckshaw.  Flavia's mother disappeared when she was a baby and is presumed dead, the mansion is slowly falling down around their ears, and Flavia and her two teenage sisters spend their time teasing and tormenting one another.  One day a dead is found on the doorstep with a postage stamp impaled on his beak. Meanwhile, a stranger appears and is soon found dying in the family garden.  When Flavia's father is implicated in the death  of the man Flavia sets out to discover the truth.
Author Alan Bradley won the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award for this engaging story.  And the series just gets better with age.  If you like cozy mysteries, quirky characters, engaging sleuths or precocious young chemists with a talent for making poisons, you're going to love Flavia de Luce.

For more of Flavia read:

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag
A Red Herring Without Mustard
I Am Half Sick of Shadows
Speaking From Among the Bones
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

For another precocious sleuth try:

The Enola Holmes series (Sherlock's younger sister), start with: The Case of the Missing Marquess

Friday, November 15, 2013

Book Review Friday: The Unlikely Spy


"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."   ~ Winston Churchill

Before he became famous for his contemporary spy thrillers, Daniel Silva wrote The Unlikely Spy.  The story of college professor Alfred Vicary, who in the midst of WWII is caught up in the British government's desperate efforts to keep the plans for the D-Day invasion secret.  Vicary is a most unlikely spy-catcher and his adversary, a secret Nazi agent, is indeed a most unlikely spy.   Even though you already know how the D-Day invasion turned out, this spy thriller will keep you on the edge of your chair.

If you want more WWII spy novels try:

The Honor of Spies by W E B Griffin
Black Cross by Greg Iles
The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett
The Polish Officer by Alan Furst

Friday, November 8, 2013

Book Review Friday: The Eyre Affair


 Alternate reality, time travel, literary references, quirky characters, science fiction, romance, and crime thriller ... if any of these appeal to you, you might just love The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. 

Thursday Next is a Special Ops cop in an alternative reality England circa 1985.  She investigates literary crimes and someone has just perpetrated a couple of doozies by stealing an original Dickens manuscript and kidnapping Jane Eyre from the original Bronte work.  Thursday deals with corruption, politics, co-workers, and bad guys as she tries to rescue Jane, deal with demons from her past, and reconnect with the love of her life.  Funny and quirky, with lots of historical and literary references to keep you guessing.

First in a series.  If you like The Eyre Affair follow it up with:

 Lost in a Good Book
The Well of Lost Plots
Something Rotten
First Among Sequels
One of Our Thursdays is Missing
The Woman Who Died A Lot

or try Fforde's Nursey Crime series:

The Big Over Easy
The Fourth Bear

Monday, November 4, 2013


Yeah, My Library Books Are Late 

 Some libraries have stopped charging overdue fines.  Others offer amnesty days where all fines are forgiven provided long lost materials are returned.  Other libraries have gotten creative and offered to removed or reduce library fines in exchange for donations to the library's canned goods drive.   And still other libraries have resorted to the courts to enforce their return and overdue policies.  Check out this story of a man in Texas who was arrested and had to post $200 bond because of an overdue book.

At my library we charge 2 cents per day for books with a maximum of $1 each.  Videos are $1 a day with a maximum of $3.  It doesn't sound like much, but if you take out 10 DVDs at a time and keep 'em out 3 extra days, that's a $30 fine. If the items are more than five weeks late, we send the patron a bill for the replacement costs. And after more than $5 of fines are recorded on the library card, it won't work for computer log ins, checkouts, renewals, or reserves.  But I'm fairly certain we've never called the police.
Something funny to add

So where do you stand on overdue books?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review Friday: Wedding Magic


Suspend disbelief and allow yourself to be entertained.  This is a sweet and spicy contemporary romance with a paranormal twist.  Sophie Bennett is a no-nonsense wedding planner trying to secure a fairy-tale location for a client's wedding.  The home owner, handsome and brooding, Owen Winters considers tossing Sophie out on her ear.  Then he discovers that she saw something in the house that he thought no one else could see, the crazy ghost that keeps picking up his towels and putting coasters under his drinks.  Soon sparks are flying, but will the ghost allow the wedding to take place?

Want another romance with a ghostly assist?  Try:

Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton

For more contemporary romances, you might like these authors:
Jennifer Crusie
Sophie Kinsella
Katie Fforde