Life in a Country Album: Poems by Nathalie Handal

Life in a Country Album: Poems by Nathalie Handal

I don't read much poetry. It takes a savoring, a slow reading, that I'm not good at, that I should practice more. I am glad that I picked up Life in a Country Album, the poems are beautiful and touching and challenging. I read Handal's mini-biography before I bought it, but was unprepared for how much French was in the first section. I have a little French left from my high school years, enough to get the gist of some of it, but not all. On the other hand, maybe that's not important, maybe it's the sounds and the flow and the contrast. For Handal, it seems the world is home. She's connected to places and shares those, but she's not tethered to any, and that's a piece of what she's exploring. ...
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Deadly Editions by Paige Shelton

Deadly Editions by Paige Shelton

I enjoy every visit to the Scottish Bookshop. Delaney and her friends, and her new husband, Tom, are just a lot of fun to spend time with. Delaney works at The Cracked Spine in Edinburgh, a book store/warehouse full of neat stuff. Delaney can't pass up Shelagh O'Conner's tresure hunt. First, a treasure hunt is right up her alley or close, since we're in Scotland. Second, Shelagh's library is fabulous. But when a man is killed and Shelagh is kidnapped, Delaney feels like finding the treasure may help them find Shelagh. So Delaney and her friends are working on deciphering the treasure hunt clues while trying to catch a killer and save Shelagh. All the characters are well-developed and engaging. Their interactions feel real and I like a.) that Delaney shares everything with the police and b.) that people are given the benefit of a doubt. Just because someone doesn't tell you something you think is important, doesn't mean they...
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Lie of the Needle by Cate Price

Lie of the Needle by Cate Price

Daisy Buchanan is the owner of Sometimes a Great Notion, a vintage sewing notion and antique shop. She is also intrigued with history and an active participant in her town's Historical Society. The ladies of the society have planned a fundraiser to raise money to help save an old farmhouse from a developer who wants to purchase it and the surrounding land. They are working on a Men of Millbury calendar that features men about town scantily clothed. All is going well until the photographer and a friend disappear. Daisy gets caught up in the mystery surrounding the disappearances, a mystery that soon becomes a murder investigation. This book is the 3rd in a series and I have not read the previous two, but I felt Price did a good job introducing Daisy and her family and friends. It worked fine as a stand-alone. The characters are just the right amount of quirky and I could picture the town...
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The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie is historical fiction, imagining what may have happened when Agatha Christie "disappeared" in early December 1926. The facts are there, the car, the letters, the search, but around this Benedict wraps a fictional story of the Christies' first meeting through their married life. The majority of the book alternates between a manuscript Agatha wrote chronicling their lives together and the events around the disappearance, starting with the discovery of her empty car. The problem is no one is likable. Archie is a jerk. Agatha is too desperate to please him and right until the end too gutless to stand up for herself. I couldn't even really care about the daughter, Rosalind, who when she showed up in the tale, was too calm and pulled together. The grand reveal at the end wasn't really grand or much of a reveal. It did redeem the rest of the book a bit, making you look a little differently at...
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Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

I have a soft sport for historical mysteries, which is what drew me to Murder in Old Bombay. Overall it was an enjoyable novel, but at the same time I felt like it just kept dragging on. Strengths: Captain Jim Agnihotri is a good character. He's part-English/part-Indian, has left the army for medical reasons, and loves Sherlock Holmes stories. He is intent on discovering the truth, regardless of the danger involved.India in the 1890s is brought to life. The descriptions are vivid. The cultural, religious, and political tensions can be felt.The characters are believable and you care about them. Weaknesses: The mystery is a bit convoluted and Jim always seems to guess right. It may not be easy to find or talk to who he wants to, but he never seems to just be wrong. Way too much emphasis on the romance. And too much melodrama.It seemed longer than it was. The middle section especially was slow. If I had run into it as...
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The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird

The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird

The Three Locks is the fourth in MacBird's Sherlock series, but can be read as a stand-alone. She puts her own spin on the classic characters and she brings the era to life well. The story begins with Dr. Watson receiving a mysterious box, supposedly from his mother, who has been dead for many years. It's locked with the first of the three locks, a lock no one can open and for which Watson doesn't have the key. Soon, Sherlock and Watson are approached by the first client, the wife of an Italian escape artist. She wants him to discover the truth behind the feud between her husband, The Great Borelli, and a rival magician. That night, one of Borelli's acts goes wrong. He escapes, but barely. So, the second lock is involved in the magic tricks. Another client presents the third lock. Peregrine Buttons, a young Catholic deacon, asks Holmes to find a missing young woman, the strong-willed Odilie Wyndham,...
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