☕ Book Break ☕ | The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

I finally read this little book, and I’m glad I did!

It has all the hallmarks of the familiar cozy mysteries, but a unique voice. Precious Ramotswe is the owner of the only private detective agency in Botswana. 

What follows is a variety of cases, some easier to solve than others. I liked the narrative. I felt it had an easy-going style. Besides the various cases she takes on, we learn bits about Mma Ramotswe’s history throughout the story. I found it to be a quick read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this charming mystery. More, please.

 

Cute.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Easy to read.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Charming characters.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Entertaining.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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☕ Book Break ☕ | The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld is a psychological thriller/mystery that deals with child abduction and abuse.

Naomi has a gift for finding lost children.

Three years have passed since a little girl disappeared and her desperate parents hire Naomi to find their child. The story is told from alternating points of view, Naomi as she investigates the disappearance, and the little girl, Madison.

This book was recommended to me as a novel that was deeply affecting. It is that. It’s dark and gripping without going into details. We know that horrible things are happening, but the descriptions were not over the top in my opinion. It was hard to read at times due to the subject matter. 

The story examines the cycle of abuse, and that was my least favorite part of the book, although the exploration of the physiological aspects of how Madison survived had me quite enthralled. Very evocative and emotional. All the ends of Madison’s, story/mystery tied up, but we are left with our main character’s issues, including the thing that drives her to investigate missing children. It’s labeled as a book one, so I assume a series is in the works. Beautiful, seamless writing and a haunting story.

Thanks to Sharon Peterson for recommending this book.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter~

 

~I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter~ “All These years I’d thought being a spy was challenging. Turns out, being a girl is the tricky part.”
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This young adult novel by Ally Carter is absolutely wonderful. .
Cammi Morgan attends an exclusive private school. In fact, it’s so exclusive only certain people are allowed to attend. The students of the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a training facility for spies. The future of America depends on them. To complicate matters, Cammi’s mom, a former spy herself, runs the school.
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Cammi is a genius, fluent in multiple languages, and knows how to blend in. She can crack codes and kill a man with her bare hands. She has no idea what do do when she meets an ordinary boy. .
I’d Tell You I love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You made me smile and laugh. This is the first in the Galligher Girls series by Ally Carter. Fun book. A light easy read.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |Finding Hero by Diana L. Sharples

~Finding Hero by Diana L. Sharples~

Finding Hero is a young adult mystery, but rather than a straightforward whodunit, the characters each have their own story. I first read Diana Sharples’ work with her book, Running Lean, a story about a girl with an eating disorder. All of Diana Sharples’ characters in Finding Hero encounter problems other than simply solving a mystery. She writes a complex story.

Finding Hero is a multi layered tale involving teenage life, complicated family history, and a mystery from the past that could have severe consequences for Daniela and Devon. A storm wreaks havoc in their lives, not the least of which is uncovering a long buried body.

I like this new book. When I first downloaded it and saw all those little dots I thought it was on the long side, but as I was listening it did not seem long at all. It’s hard for a book to keep my interest when I listen to it on kindle, but Finding Hero did. I was hooked from the beginning.

I’ve been a sucker for Shakespeare since I first encountered The Bard, so when the book opens it with the character Daniella Cooper auditioning for a part in Much Ado About Nothing my antenna went up. If you’re not a Shakespeare fan the title is referring to a character in the play. You don’t have to be into Shakespeare to enjoy this book, by the way.

The only thing I did not like in this book was the behavior of some of the adult characters. I found myself getting angry at the failure of the grownups, but I understand that that was intentional. They just made me mad! However, simply having a child does not make one a mature adult. These characters reflect true people and the behaviors and obstacles encountered in real life. .
Finding Hero is a clean read. All of Diana Sharples books that I’ve read are, but this one is actually published by clean reads.

I received an advanced copy of this book and was asked for an honest review.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~After Anna by Lisa Scottoline~

~After Anna by Lisa Scottoline~
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Anther winner by Lisa Scottoline. This one had me on the edge of my seat. I so wanted to cheat and read what happened in the end, but I resisted. It was hard!

Maggie has a happy life. She is married to Dr. Noah Alderman, and is stepmother to his son. Her life is almost perfect, except she longs for Anna, her teenage daughter. She hasn’t seen Anna since she was an infant.

When her ex-husband dies, she gets a phone call. She will have a second chance to be a mother to Anna. Finally, her heart’s desire, to have Anna back in her life, is becoming a reality.

Thrilled to be reunited with her daughter she ignores all the warning signs.

Then Anna is murdered and Noah is charged.

This novel is a page turner. If it weren’t fiction, I think I’d feel guilty for being so enthralled with the unraveling of this family’s lives! The writing is superb. Enthralling plot. .
An unexpected twist at the end totally surprised me, even though it fit perfectly. This may be my favorite Lisa Scottoline novel thus far, although I do like all of her books that I have read.

Fans will not be disappointed. If you’re looking for well written suspense, you should check this book out.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King~

~Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King~

Maisey is a single mother who has spent her life in a series of dead end jobs, forever remaining a disappointment to her overbearing mother. The only thing Maisey has ever done right is her daughter, Elle.

Maisey receives a call from the police who are st her parent’s home. Her mother is unconscious and her father is under suspicion and behaving erratically. .
She travels to her parents’ home, bringing her daughter with her. They arrive to find her father burning papers. Maisey has to deal with her father’s dementia, her mother’s illness and along the way discovers her childhood imaginary friend was actually her sister. She is determined to find her.

This book is a multilayered story about abuse and domestic violence. High interest, good writing, and a satisfying ending. It is a story about breaking free from the cycle of abuse. Some losses can never be recovered and some wrongs never made right. The women in the story do not come out without scars, the novel ends on a note of empowerment. Recommended.

I choose this book as my selection from July’s Amazon First Reads.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |Damaged by Lisa Scottine

Shy and dyslexic, ten year old Patrick O’Brien is a target for bullies. He is sexually assaulted by an aide at his school, an incident that comes to light when the aide  sues Patrick and the school district, claiming the child attacked him.  Patrick’s grandfather, his only family, hires lawyer Mary DiNunzio.

Damaged is a legal thriller, one of a series. This author was new to me, and even though I read this book out of order, I had no difficulty following the storyline. The novel has just the right amount of backstory, weaving in the main character’s personal story arc along with the main plot of Patrick’s story.

The young boy’s situation tugs at the heart, and there are plenty of smaller mysteries  to unravel as the novel progresses. Twists and turns kept me reading, and I was surprised by the final “whodunnit” revelation. All the questions brought up in the story are tied up to conclude with a satisfactory ending.

I listened to the audiobook read by Rebecca Lowman and appreciated her performance.

I plan to check out more of this series. All in all, a good, solid legal thriller/mystery. Recommended.

Minor language, subject matter of abuse of special needs child, death of grandparent, violence (not graphic)

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Book Review|Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

Set in 2030, Free to Fall by Lauren Miller is a young adult dystopian novel in which “The Doubt”, a small inner voice, is labeled as mental illness and medicated away in those who cannot ignore it. In this world, nearly everyone has an app on their phone called Lux. Lux keeps track of all data and helps the user with every decision, major to minor. This setting is ripe for the unfolding tale of high tech social engineering.

Sixteen year old Aurora “Rory” Vaughn is accepted to Theden Academy, an exclusive college prep boarding school. Rory and her friends are addicted to social media, selfies, and coffee. 

The characters struggle with the typical teen issues ranging from dieting to dating, as well as the school work load you would expect at a private prep school. Secret societies, teen angst, conspiracies, mysteries, betrayal, and romance keep the action flowing while the characters grapple with moral questions brought up in Free to Fall. I liked the allusions and themes from The Bible and Paradise Lost woven throughout.

The first time I read Free to Fall, I was stuck by the eerie parallel of current social behaviors and the technological advances we have made that make this imagined world a little too plausible for comfort.

Highly recommended for teens and up. This is an excellent book for discussion.

Some language, kissing, intimacy and heavy petting (not graphic), secret society, simulated death and violence, mind control, drinking, death of parents

Click here for a discussion guide for Free to Fall with Bible verse references from Embracing the Detour.

Visit Lauren Miller’s author website here. 

Watch the trailer for Free to Fall.

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Book Review|Invisible: An Ivy Malone Mystery by Lorena McCourtney

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Invisible: An Ivy Malone Mystery #1

By Lorena McCourtney

Invisible by Lorena McCourtney follows our possum grey haired heroine through various situations. Ivy Malone attempts to solve what started out as a simple vandalism mystery that turns out to big much bigger crimes. Ivy is a LOL (Little Old Lady) with more than a touch of curiosity and humor. She also had a tendency to get herself into scrapes.

When Ivy realizes that she is often overlooked to the point of feeling invisible, she decides that may not always be a bad thing. Invisibility is a boon when making observations and getting into places unnoticed. I loved this character. Ivy is one smart lady, but she does not take herself too seriously.

This is an inspirational cozy and the main character’s Christianity flows naturally. Ivy has some encouraging and comforting advise about life in various parts of the story that fit with the character and situation.

If you are looking for a light summer mystery with doses of Christian encouragement occurring throughout,  Invisible: An Ivy Malone Mystery #1 may be one for you.

Invisible is one of my favorite inspirational cozy mysteries. I snagged this one as a free kindle copy a while back and liked it enough to buy the next two books in the series.

A new book in the Ivy Malone series, Go Ivy, Go! An Ivy Malone Mystery #5 was released on May 27th, 2015. It is available for kindle and nook.

Author Lorena McCourtney’s Website

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Book Review |Greenglass House

Greenglass House Kate MilfordGreenglass House by Kate Milford

“There is a right way to do things and a wrong way, if you’re going to run a hotel in a smugglers’ town.”

Greenglass House, also known as a smuggler’s inn to certain people, is run by Milo Pine’s parents. The inn is also their home.

Milo is on Christmas vacation from school. Greenglass House is always empty at this time of year, which is not the busy season for their typical clientele. As a variety of unforeseen guests begin to arrive, it becomes evident that this will not be the usual Christmas season. Why are all of these people gathering at Greenglass House?

Smugglers, mystery, and even a ghost add up to make an adventure for Milo.

I felt the characters were very well developed and the story line was intriguing. I could relate to Milo right away when he had difficulty with the change of plans with Christmas vacation being thrown into upheaval! The story is engaging. There are even stories within the story, something I have a particular fondness for.

Milo does engage in a role playing game called Odd Trails, and pretends to be a brave adventurer to solve thefts and search out answers. Along the way he learns about himself.

If your children enjoy a mystery or adventure type story they may like reading Greenglass House.

The theme of adoption and Milo’s feelings about being different are an important element in the story. Adopted as an infant, Milo is of Chinese decent and is bothered by feelings of being different from his parents. There are many questions he turns over in his mind related to being adopted. One of the things that I liked about this book was the strong sense of family and the care shown between Milo and his parents.

This book is geared to ages 10-12

Issues that may be of concern to some are role playing games and mention of ghosts. These are in keeping with the fantasy element.

SPOILER

Milo befriends a girl who, near the end of the book,  is revealed to be a ghost. There are some paranormal elements, notably the little girl ghost becoming large and intimidating the agent who caused her father’s death and is now threatening the current inhabitants of Greenglass House.

Themes and Issues

Adoption, Ghosts, Smugglers, Thievery, Fantasy, Role Playing, Spying

You can read the first chapter here.

Kate Milford’s Author Website

 

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