Death in Provence

If you like an atmospheric, cozy mystery then try “Death in Provence.” 50-something Penelope Kite has relocated to Provence, France from England following a divorce. Impulsively buying a run-down home delivers a dead body in the swimming pool on her first day. Having retired from the British Home Office, Penny has some experience solving crimes and does not make herself welcome when she decides to do some crime solving on her own. Death in Provence: A Novel (Penelope Kite Book 1) by [Kent, Serena]   Once she finally manages to get her electricity and water up and running, Penny begins to get to know the locals.  Her estate agent proves to be both a help and nuisance as she shows up unexpectedly at odd times.  Will Penny ever get to relax and enjoy her glass of rose at sunset without dead bodies turning up on her property? Pick up this mystery and find out.

The 57 Bus

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**This book happens to be one of the books featured in the Battle of the Books competition this year. If you read it or if this book sounds interesting to you, please recommend it to your tweens/teens and sign them up for the event!**

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater, is exactly the type of book that I love – and that we all continuously need to read. You may have heard news headlines in the past few years discussing this tragic event and formed your own opinions, but Slater urges you to look closer:

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

I am passionate about prison reform – especially within the Juvenile system. Reading this book broke my heart but also challenged my mind to think beyond good and bad. Slater’s writing should appeal to Teens and adults alike. The chapters are short and the information is interesting but not overwhelming. She does an amazing job at revealing information slowly and pacing the story so that you see the point that she is trying to make about the justice system and how it fails our youth.

My Bookstore

my-bookstore.w300I should mention the subtitle of this: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read and Shop. Edited by Ronald Rice and booksellers across America, My Bookstore is a compilation of essays that pays tribute to the independent bookstores. Eighty-four authors explain why they love their neighborhood bookstores, not least of which is the ability of the booksellers to befriend their customers and offer them exemplary service. Writer Pete Hamill’s favorite is the Strand in NYC, while Carrie Ryan choses Park Road Books in Charlotte, North Carolina, a store I visited while on vacation. Thumb through this; you  just may discover one of these gems in your travels.

Before the Food Network there was Maida

Before America’s Top Chef and other reality cooking shows, Maida Heatter was the queen of baking, desserts and chocolate recipes. Her first cookbook, “Maida Heater’s Book of Great Desserts” was published in 1974. Other Heatter titles include “Maida Heatter’s  Pies and Tarts,” “Maida Heatter’s Cookies,” “Maida Heatter’s Great Book of Chocolate Desserts,” and “Maida Heatter’s Cakes.”  Her cookbooks serve as reference books to the classic desserts.  She wrote recipes for the New York Times as well.  She died June 6th in Florida at age 102. Her title, “Happiness is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake” was just released in April. Maida recommended baking to relieve stress so go bake something delicious today!

Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of Cake

The Missing Season

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The Missing Season is Gillian French’s third YA novel that she has written (and I’ve read them all!). She is great at writing mystery/thrillers with likable characters. She mixes danger with fun and beautiful language.

This newest one is about Clara, who moves to a on-the-downturn town called Pender. With the closing of the paper mill, Pender is a town in despair. But Pender also has another dark side that existed before the closing of the mill – the legend of the Mumbler. Whenever another kid goes missing in October, the Pender kids know what is really behind it: the horrific monster out in the marshes they have named the Mumbler.

That’s what Clara’s new crew tells her when she moves to town: Bree and Sage, who take her under their wing; spirited Trace, who has taken the lead on this year’s Halloween prank war; and magnetic Kincaid, whose devil-may-care attitude and air of mystery are impossible for Clara to resist. Clara doesn’t actually believe in the Mumbler. But as Halloween gets closer and tensions build in the town, it’s hard to shake the feeling that there really is something dark and dangerous in Pender, lurking in the shadows, waiting to bring the stories to life.

This story kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. My one gripe? When we finally get to the real story of the infamous Mumbler, the story is wrapped up in SIX PAGES. An entire book of build-up with….six pages?

In any case, it is worth a read – its juicy!