Fixing to Die, by Miranda James

In a Nutshell

Title:  Fixing to Die: A Southern Ladies Mystery

Author:  Miranda James

Publisher:  Berkeley Publishing Group

Date of Release:  October 3, 2017

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller/Cozy Mystery

Source:  The publisher provided a time-sensitive e-galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Rating:  3 Acorns out of 5

I’m still a huge fan of Nancy Drew mysteries. In fact, I still have the first 20 of that series on the shelf, not three feet away from me as I write. This mystery sure reminded me of those stories and Nancy Drew is mentioned more than once in it, along with the Hardy Boys. There’s a ghost and hidden rooms as the Ducote Sisters, plus their ward Benjy and pets visit an old home in Nachez to help the granddaughter of an old friend with a ghostly problem that turns into a murder.

I’m also a huge fan of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries by the same author. The Southern Ladies Mysteries still feel like a spin-off and I look forward to this series finding its own place as also I look forward to seeing more of this series. This was a wonderful beach read and I think it unfortunate it won’t be released until October 3, 2017. Nevertheless, do check it out, it is probably as fun a read with a hot cup of cocoa while you’re curled up in an afghan!

Have a good week!

Susan

 

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Chiefs, by Stuart Woods

Chiefs: A Novel (25th Anniversary Edition) (Will Lee Novels Book 1) by [Woods, Stuart]

In a Nutshell

Title:  Chiefs

Author:  Stuart Woods

Publisher:  W.W. Norton & Company

Date of Release:  January 23, 2012 (25th Anniversary Edition)

Genre:  Thriller

Source:  Purchased

Rating: 4 Acorns out of 5

It’s December 1919 and the little town of Delano, Georgia has some problems. They’re looking to hire their first chief of police, the boll weevil is destroying their cotton crops, racism has run rampant and they’re about to become the killing fields for a serial murderer.  They solve their first problem by hiring Will Henry Lee, a failed cotton farmer, to be chief of police and he turns out to be a lot smarter than anyone thought.

That’s just the first part of Chiefs. I really thought I’d read this one when it first came out,  but  I guess not because I certainly would have remembered the vivid use of language and great characters. Even though it’s been out awhile, it’s lost nothing. In fact, this book strikes me as a classic, capturing life in the South up to the civil rights movement. Great story, great writing. I highly recommend.

 

Have a good week!

Susan

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About Sketching, by Jasper Salwey

About Sketching: The Art and Practice of Capturing the Moment by [Salwey, Jasper, Squirrell, Leonard]

In a Nutshell

Title:  About Sketching: The Art and Practice of Capturing the Moment

Author:  Jasper Salwey

Publisher:  Dover (reprint)

Date of Release:  April 12, 2017

Genre:  Non-fiction/Art

Source:  The publisher provided a digital galley proof for a limited time in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Rating:  3 Acorns out of 5

 

It seems I missed the memo that said something to the effect that sketching is only for preliminary work for a piece of art.  To be honest I was an adult and worked in artistic endeavors for years before I knew that. Or maybe I did and since I enjoy looking at sketches so much I simply erased it from my memory.

This Dover reprint urges artists to sketch for the sake of sketching. I couldn’t agree more. The author includes plenty of beautiful examples or artists who have done just that – sketched. He also discusses than many methods and tools for sketching. As one might imagine the book is in black and white and I find myself wishing that Dover would update the fonts when they issue a reprint – simply for ease of reading.

Have a good week!

 

Susan

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The Shadowy Horses, by Susanna Kearsley

The Shadowy Horses by [Kearsley, Susanna]

In a Nutshell

Title:  The Shadowy Horses

Author:  Susanna Kearsley

Publisher:  Sourcebooks Landmark

Date of Release:  October 2, 2012

Genre:  Gothic

Source:  Purchased

Rating:  4 Acorns out of 5

 

I don’t think I’ve read a gothic novel since high school and I’m not sure what got me to purchase this one, but I’m sure glad I did.  The romance in it is light (thank goodness) and the basic story line involves an archeological dig in Scotland that is led in part by the ghost of one of the Roman soldiers. I just made that sound rather corny; but the author skillfully intertwines the romance, the mystery, the ghost story and words from the Scots dialect into a wonderful page-turner.  I’ll be looking for more of her books.

Have a good week!

Susan

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An Obvious Fact, by Craig Johnson

An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery by [Johnson, Craig]
In A Nutshell
Title: An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery
Author:  Craig Johnson
Publisher: Viking
Date of Release:  September 13, 2016
Genre:  Mystery/Thriller
Source: Chicago Public Library
Rating: 4 Nuts out of 5
I couldn’t go back to South Dakota for the Memorial Day weekend, so I did the next best thing – I read the latest Craig Johnson book. Lucky for me South Dakota, more specifically the Sturgis Rally, formed the backdrop for the 12th entry into the Longmire books.
Johnson caught the energy of the rally in a tale involving the original Lola, Henry’s love of long ago, her son and a gun manufacturer who uses a washed-up reality star in his illegal gun trade. There’s a couple ATF agents, plenty of action (including Vic’s wild driving, Henry’s stealth and Walt Longmire’s view of the world).
There’s a long chapter involving Vic shooting competitive skeet with the gun guy.  Usually I’d say it was superfluous – but it was Craig Johnson’s writing at it’s finest.  It turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the book.
There’s even great chase scene at the end!  I highly recommend!
Have a great week!
Susan

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Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by [Berger, Jonah]

In a Nutshell

Title:  Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Author:  Jonah Berger

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster

Date of Release:  March 5, 2013

Genre:  Non-fiction/Marketing

Source:  Purchased

Rating:  5 out of 5

Why do some things catch on and others don’t? According to Jonah Berger, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, it depends on whether the particular thing or thought or whatever gets word of mouth. What’s more he’s broken down that even further to determine why people communicate about something and not others. That’s when this book gets really interesting. He has a theory with the acronym STEPPS that parses out what needs to happen for something to go viral.

Berger uses some great examples and has an engaging style that made this a quick read for me. I usually move a book off my Kindle once I’ve read it. This one is staying on for a while as I re-read portions. I highly recommend.

Have a good week!

Susan

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And Be a Villain, by Rex Stout

And Be a Villain (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 13) by [Stout, Rex]

In A Nutshell

Title:  And Be a Villain (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 13)

Author:  Rex Stout

Publisher:  Crimeline/Random House

Date of Release: 1948

Genre:  Mystery

Source:  Purchased

Rating:  2 Nuts out of 5

Rex Stout is one of my “go-to” authors when I can’t decide what to read next. I love the characters of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin and rather enjoy the other characters in Wolfe’s household and entourage as well.  But And Be a Villain just did not hold my interest.

It’s a great tale of blackmail and revenge and twisted minds (it is part of the Zeck trilogy if you’re into Nero Wolfe that deeply), but the characters are not as developed as usual and it’s all about Nero and Archie. While other characters have roles, they are much smaller than usual or even some are non-existent. It’s like there was a supporting character strike and Rex Stout wrote around them.

I’m just not feeling this one. I still love the series and Rex Stout will always be a “go-to” author for me, but And Be a Villain isn’t one of his best.

Have a great week anyway!

Susan

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