It seemed unthinkable to Painter's Mill Chief of Police Kate Burkholder that anyone would accidentally race through an intersection, smash into an Amish buggy, and leave Paul Borntrager and his three young children for dead - but it makes even less sense to her that anyone would do it intentionally, which is where her investigation is beginning to lead. Paul's beautiful wife Mattie is devastated, and her one surviving son won't talk about the accident, but Mattie and Kate were as close as sisters growing up and Kate can't help thinking that Mattie is hiding something. This series is one of my favorites - it contains an interesting blend of grittiness and Amish culture, and every story is fast-paced and full of twists.
The deadly Hurricane Flora of 1963 is bearing down on Cuba and eight women are evacuated to the former governor's mansion as their best chance at surviving it. This gorgeous novel is really a story in a story, as 'modern day Scheherazade' Maria begins the tale that will help them keep hope and themselves alive. This book is our June Book of the Month Club selection - I loved it, and so have several members who have finished it.
Oh my goodness - such drama over one book! Agatha Christie websites argued for months before the hardcover release of this latest Hercule Poirot mystery. I too, have been in love with M. Poirot since junior high, and I too, tend to have disdain for new stories about old characters, but I decided to give it a chance anyway. This early case starts at a London coffee shop where a terrified young woman confides to Poirot that she is about to be murdered, and that when she is, justice will be done. Her connection to a triple murder in a fashionable hotel - each victim having a monogrammed cuff link in his mouth - sets the famous detective into one of his most twisty cases. Controversy aside, Sophie Hannah is a very good writer, and our beloved Poirot is in capable hands in this charming story. It just released in paperback, so it's a great opportunity for you to give it a chance, too...
Greer Hennessy's last job was a disaster. And if she is going to salvage her career as a movie location scout she needs to find the perfect Florida town. Not a pretty, planned community, not Disney-ish nor touristy, but the perfect tucked-away-and-undiscovered small Florida town. She finds it in Cypress Key, but she also finds a crazy heiress, a spoiled brat of a leading man, a decaying town, an estranged father, and most importantly, a very stubborn and very desirable town mayor named Eben Thibadeaux. There is a lot going on in this novel, but it is also pure fun as only Mary Kay Andrews delivers it; this is the perfect relaxing antidote for a very busy spring.
I adored Nickolas Butler's beautifully written first novel Shotgun Lovesongs, and his brand new book of short stories is every bit as great. I would love to tell you more about it now, but I will be talking about it on Tuesday, June 9, during Penguin Random House Night. The ticket link is below, and I hope you'll come hear all about it then!
Not all children's cookbooks are created equally. Some have great recipes but no pictures. Some use too many convenience foods. Some contain recipes that are supposedly 'kid foods,' but frankly, that's always seemed to me to treat children's palates condescendingly. I'm in love with this new Complete Children's Cookbook because it has none of those flaws. It's a sturdy and large hardcover that opens flat for ease of use. The illustrations are colorful photos that show not only the finished dish but also step-by-step instructions. The recipes are varied enough to suit all tastes. Ingredients and equipment lists are well organized, as are preparation times and helpful hints. And best of all, it gives not only recipes and fun trivia but very clear instructions on different cooking tips and techniques. This is the best children's cookbook I've seen in a long time; in fact, I'm tempted to give it to myself!
J.K. Rowling, author of that little-known children's series beginning with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, gave the commencement speech to Harvard University's graduating class of 2008. Quite cleverly, she begins by saying that no one even really listens to their own commencement speech and she certainly couldn't remember a word of hers. I'm convinced that I would have paid close attention to Rowling's, though - she details the benefits of failure, which we all will experience in a life well-lived. And she speaks of one of her first jobs working at the London office of Amnesty International, and how it not only paid the rent but clarified the way in which she wished to live her own life. Funny and poignant, this little book would make the perfect graduation gift for those few Harry Potter fans - or really anyone else.
Miss Julia has enough on her plate without town newcomer Connie Clayborn insinuating that the downtown is shabby and out of date and that the influential ladies of Abbotsville should do something about it. Her beloved Sam is out of town, an ice storm is brewing, Coleman Bates is staging a sit-in on a highway sign and librarian Roberta is paying too much attention to the married sheriff's deputy, a mysterious runner is going past her house every night, and the Christmas ornaments for the annual sale won't just make themselves. But her trouble is just beginning when she finds Connie on her kitchen floor - very dead. Minister Larry Ledbetter is avoiding her and holding her to the secret of why his wife Emma Sue is out of circulation, and her nemesis Lieutenant Peavey is determined to find Miss Julia somehow responsible for everything. I was delighted to discover that I was actually a book behind in this favorite-of-mine series and have spent several happy days in Abbottsville, NC.
Mary Byrd Thornton was living an idyllic life in Oxford, Mississippi, with her lovely home, solid husband, and two children, when she received a phone call a cold case detective in her hometown in Virginia. He is reopening the case of the abduction and murder of her nine-year-old stepbrother, and while they always thought the killer was the weird kid down the street there was not enough evidence to convict. This is Lisa Howorth's first book, newly released in paperback. She is the owner of the award-winning independent bookstore Square Books in Oxford, and she lived through a similar situation in her own life. Flying Shoes has a little suspense, a lot of kooky characters, a wonderful depiction of the New South, and a sharp wit. Indeed, I fell in love with Howorth's spot-on writing from her description of some fraternity brothers on page two...
It's late June in Abbottsville, North Carolina, and Miss Julia is looking forward to a well-ordered rest of the summer. Until her darling Sam decides to run for the state senate. And Etta Mae Wiggins reports that young, up-and-coming mortician Rodney Pace will stop at nothing to acquire the land on which her single-wide sits - and which Miss Julia owns. And her long-lost cousin Elsie decides to send her unwilling, unkempt, and ill-mannered granddaughter Trixie to Miss Julia for the summer in the hopes that Trixie will return home with some gentile manners- and a rich husband. And now Miss Julia's summer is peaceful no longer. This charming series is fast-paced, with delightful characters and dry humor, and is a long-standing favorite of mine.