Sunday (Evening) Post

Instead of going through what I’ve finished, what I’m continuing to read, and what I’ve begun, I want to give a summary of the January challenge I gave myself– to read six books before February first in an attempt to get a few books off my TBR list/shelf.

Here are the six books that led to a successful meeting of the challenge:

  1. The Whole Cat and Caboodle, a cozy mystery by Sofie Ryan that was due back at the local library. It is the first in Ryan’s “Second Chance” series featuring Sarah Grayson, who owns a second-hand shop (Named Second Chance) in a small town.  I chose the book because of the cat on the cover. (Of course there is a cat, this is a cozy mystery!) Sarah hangs out with her grandmother’s friends (Think The Golden Girls…) and one is found with her current beaux (of dubious reputation), his head lying on her shoulder, “deadder” then the proverbial doornail. Is her Grandma’s friend guilty of murder?  That’s what these funny, endearing “girls” are determined to find out.  Sarah’s reaction is not to get involved, but she can’t help herself, and she meets two prospective love interests (to be further developed as the series progresses) as she becomes entangled in the mystery.  The book is a fun “escape read” and provided just what I needed as I geared up for a new semester.
  2. Running Out of Space by S.J. Higbee, a sci fi thriller, adventure-story for YA and for those of us older readers who still feel like young adults. This book was reviewed Saturday on
  3. The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore, also a library loan (chose it because the title “sounded familiar” and it was large print.)  It will be reviewed on PWR soon.
  4. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, a book club “assignment” recently reviewed here on PWR.
  5. Morningstar, A book about Growing Up with Books by Ann Head, which will be reviewed soon on PWR. I chose it because of one of Deb Nance’s Readerbuzz posts featuring “Books about Books.”
  6. Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Life in the Stacks, written by librarian, Annie Spence, which contains hilarious and sometimes pensive letters and break-up notes to various books in her reading life as she culls them from the library shelves. Kirkus Review writes, “…begs to be read with a pencil in hand.” So true! It writes, “Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way.” Warning: This clever, slim little book will expand your TBR list!

There it is–my successful completion of the January attempt to return books checked out over the holidays to the library, read the selection for two book clubs (They both chose Hillbilly Elegy.), and start in on TBR’s I already own. PWR readers may see an overlap of books because I took on “The Alphabet Challenge” another blogger was continuing shortly after I began my own January-Six-Book challenge, and read accordingly.  More on that challenge in another post.

Three Cozy Mysteries by Lorna Barrett

Stonehaven New Hampshire is  a small town whose …”streets are lined with bookstores…and paved with murder.” Recently a cousin who is a “book buddy” sent me the third book in this quick-to-read and hard-to-solve murder mystery series.

Tricia Miles, the owner of a mystery bookstore, “Haven’t Got a Clue”, has it all:   her own bookstore with an nice apartment above, a bookstore cat named Mrs. Marple, and a retro cafe just across the street owned by her older sister Angelica.   Angelica has recently sold her bookstore, “The Cookery”,which exclusively sells cookbooks to open “Booked for Lunch,” a fifties cafe  and “…somehow manages to remind everyone she talks to–in nearly every conversation–her own cookbook is about to be published.”  These sisters have seen trouble before.

Although I jumped in on the third in a series, Bookplate Special reads well as a stand alone.  Its predecessors, Murder is Binding  and Bookmarked for Death received good reviews, and although there are a few references to the previous books (two other murders solved), the reader catches on without a lot of tedious backtracking–a skill any series writer needs to cultivate. Two “love interests” appear, Russ, a writer for the local newspaper (of course) who has come to take Tricia for granted; and a “new man,” Captain Baker, who will investigate the murder of Tricia’s “sort-of” friend, Pammy, whom Tricia finds “crocs up” in the dumpster behind Angelica’s cafe. At first, Grant Baker seems a polite relief from Sheriff Adams who was sure in at least one previous book that Tricia was the murderer, but then the love/hate fireworks, a sure fire technique in a love story ,begin as Grant tells Tricia to “stay out of it.”

This mystery is definitely an escape read and is full of twists and turns as well as interesting information: a Senior Citizen wedding, freegans searching local dumpsters, family secrets revealed and complicated family dynamics.  Of course at one point Tricia is in danger and the pace is quick and scary. Set during the autumn tourist season and featuring The Great Pumpkin Festival in a near by competitive (crucial to one plot) small town, the book is the perfect Fall Read.

P.S. A fourth mystery in the series Come Chapter and Hearse is forthcoming. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!)