Review: The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbot

The Christie Curse The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott

Goodreads Summary:  In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared—making headlines across the world—only to show up eleven days later at a spa under an assumed name. During those eleven days, did she have time to write a play? 

Jordan Kelly needs a new job and a new place to live. She’s back in Harrison Falls, New York, living with her not so law-abiding uncles, in debt thanks to a credit card–stealing ex and pending grad school loans.

Enter the perfect job, a research position that includes room and board, which will allow her to spend her days hunting down rare mysteries for an avid book collector. There’s just one problem: her employer, Vera Van Alst—the most hated citizen of Harrison Falls. 

Jordan’s first assignment is to track down a rumored Agatha Christie play. It seems easy enough, but Jordan soon finds out that her predecessor was killed while looking for it, and there is still someone out there willing to murder to keep the play out of Vera’s hands. Jordan’s new job is good…but is it worth her life?


My thoughts:  This has been on my TBR pile for over a year. I’m really sorry I waited so long to read it.

I added this book to my TBR pile for two reasons: it’s a book related mystery AND it has a tie to Agatha Christie. I was reading Dama Agatha’s mysteries when other girls my age were still reading Nancy Drew. (Nothing wrong with Nancy, but she’s no Ms. Marple, Hercule or  Tuppence.)

I love Jordan. She’s a strong female character with her head on straight. Even though she has chosen a different life from that of her uncles, the love and respect she has for them is obvious. I like that even though she was dealt a bad hand from her lowlife ex boyfriend, rather than spend a lot of time moaning and moping about it, she moves on with her life. I especially love how she deals with her cantankerous reclusive employer.

The mystery is very engaging. I was so caught up in the story that I had almost finished the book in one sitting. It would have been one sitting if pesky things like housework and errands hadn’t gotten in the way. Abbott spins a good tale and keeps the reader guessing until almost the end. To be honest, though I like to pride myself on solving the mystery before the end, I also really enjoy it when the author keeps you guessing. Abbott does a great job in that area.

I like mystery series that have a theme, my favorite being those tied to books. If you are a fan of mysteries and classic books, then I highly recommend this series.  Book two is The Sayer’s Swindle and book three The Wolfe Widow will be published on September 2,2014.

To learn more about the writing team behind this series check out their website here.


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Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


Teaser Tuesday – a day late

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

The Christie Curse  The Christie Curse by Victoria Abbott

“I need your assistance to ensure that Karen Smith is not murdered. We want to avoid the ‘third time’s a charm’ principle.”


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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


Review: The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright

the rent collector The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright

Goodreads Summary:  Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the bad-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money–a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one woman’s journey to save her son and another woman’s chance at redemption.

My thoughts: This is one of the books chosen for my book club’s July read. The other is Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline.

At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. That’s similar to the reaction I had when I first read The Book Thief. And yes, The Rent Collector did remind me very much of The Book Thief. Both are excellent reads and I’m quite glad I didn’t give up on either book.

Some critics have stated that Sang Ly’s voice is all wrong. That she sounds way to educated for someone who is literally living in a dump. One suggested it sounds more like an outsider (an American) trying to pass themselves off as a destitute Cambodian. I didn’t get that all. Wright doesn’t tell us how they came to be in the dump. Being illiterate or living in poverty, even extreme poverty doesn’t mean a person can’t be intelligent nor have goals.

I really liked Sang Ly. She wants more for herself and her son. But don’t get me wrong. It’s not a Pollyanna story. You won’t get an after school special or 30 minute sitcom resolution. In fact some people are disappointed in the ending, but I felt that it was true to the story. That makes sense considering the book is based on a documentary and on real people.  In the beginning I didn’t care for Sopeap Sin. But everyone (even literary characters) has a story and it quickly became clear that there was more to Sopeap than just being a drunken bully.

It’s a heart warming story filled with hope. And of course I love the idea that it’s a book that turns the tide for Sang Ly. I’ve always thought that books and reading were essential magical tools that everyone should have. No they don’t solve everyone’s problems, but they can make a big difference.

Overall, I found this to be an excellent read. It’s great selection for books clubs or independent reading.

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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


Books “n” Bloggers Reveal Post

booksandbloggersJUNE14 As you know, I participated in the Book ‘n’ Blogger Book Swap hosted by Chaotic Goddess Swaps.  I was paired up with Katie at Spirit of Children’s Literature. This was a great pairing as we have similar tastes in books.

Here’s what she sent me:

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

The Magic Half by Annie Burrows

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


The idea was to send at least three books:  One that you loved, one that you are interested in and haven’t read and one from your partner’s wish list. I was very lucky. All of the books Katie sent me are actually on my wish list or to be read list. I can’t wait to read them, especially A Snicker of Magic as I’m considering that one for my 4th & 5th Grade Book Club this next school year.

I was happy to be able to send Katie a book from her wish list – The Secret Hum of a Daisy (which I just finished reading this morning. I think she will really like it), one I’ve wanted to read, but haven’t yet – The Lost- and one of my favorite books – Finn Finnegan- written by a local Colorado author and fellow educator.

I also included another of my favorites – not a book, but the result of one of my favorite activities. I like to paint glasses/mugs. I paint way more than my family (and friends) can ever drink out of, so I thought I’d send a mug to Katie. Hopefully, the colors are ones that she likes, since I forgot to check beforehand.


These swaps are always so much fun. It’s so nice to meet new people and discover new blogs.


Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


Review: Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

DSC_6173  FTC Disclosure:  I received an Advanced Copy of this from the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for an honest review.


Goodreads Summary:  

In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

She wants to put an end to the Testing
In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

But she can’t do it alone.
This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

The Final Test is the Deadliest!

My thoughts: I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. It didn’t bother me that some people said this series was just a remake of The Hunger Games. (I’ve been known to describe it as Hunger Games in an academic setting.) It’s a good story no matter the similarities.

I was really looking forward to the last book in the trilogy. However, now that I’ve finished the book I’m sort of on the fence about it. On the one hand I did enjoy the book, but on the other hand it really didn’t live up to the first two books in the series.  It took me longer to read this time around. The story just didn’t have the edge of your seat pacing as the first two books. Most of the action takes place in Cia’s head, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just makes the book more reflective than action paced.

The ending bothered me as well. Parts of the ending really weren’t a surprise (no I’m not going to give a spoiler), but mostly I felt as though the author still had more to say. This confused me because I thought this was a trilogy. I hate when this happens. I read a book and even though I enjoyed the story, I end up feeling disappointed because somehow there should have just been more to it.

I’m not sorry I read the book. And I will continue to recommend the trilogy to readers who like dystopian novels, but I still have that nagging feeling that something is missing.

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Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


Blog Tour Stop – Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman

be-careful-what-you-witch-for-large-banner640  FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary:  Leaving a traumatic police career behind, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, there’s no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg…
The highlight of this year’s fall festival in Crystal Haven is a bonfire with a witch’s cauldron resting over it. Clyde’s best friend, Diana, leads a ritual to divine the future, but it seems no one foresees that one of their own will drop dead—or that Diana will be a prime suspect.
Clyde already has her hands full with her eccentric family, runaway nephew, and burgeoning secret romance with a hunky homicide detective. But after another coven member is attacked, Clyde suspects there’s a witch hunt afoot and focuses her psychic and sleuthing skills to clear her friend’s name and catch a killer.

My Thoughts:  Some of you may know that in addition to participating in several of the Great Escape’s Virtual Book Tours, I’m also participating in Lori’s Just for Fun Reading Challenge. I really wish I could add this book for my June just for fun read. And I would, except that since I made a committment to read this book and provide a review, I don’t think it qualifies for a just for fun read. However, it is one of the most fun reads I’ve read this summer.

It is the second book in the series, but even though I’ve not read the first book, I didn’t have any trouble following along. After meeting the citizens of Crystal Haven I do plan to go back and read book one: A Pall in the Family.

Be Careful What You Witch For is a mild paced mystery with likable characters. While I wasn’t on the edge of my seat for the book (and you know sometimes it’s nice to just be able to savor a story without feeling like you are rushing toward a cliff), I was engaged for the entire book. In fact, while reading the book in bed one night it somehow got buried under the covers after I turned off the light and I spent an entire day panicking because I couldn’t find the book. I was halfway through and I really wanted to know how it ended.

I particularly like Clyde. She seems well grounded and is certainly a character I would like to get to know better. Her nephew, Seth who is running from his own troubles, is another likable character. He’s pretty grounded for a teenager – especially for one who can talk to dogs. Though not perfect, he’s a good kid and I think he and Clyde make a good team. Of course there is a romance and Clyde does have a quirky family with special talents – these all mix together to make an interesting community that will keep the reader coming back.  I know I will. And, I already know a number of people who will enjoy this book.

If you’d like to learn more about Dawn Eastman and her books check out her website here.



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Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


Review: Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts

IMG_1086  Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts

Goodreads Summary: Regardless of how much money you have, your race, where you live, what religion you follow, you are going through something. Or you already have or you will. As momma always said, “Everybody’s got something.” 

So begins beloved Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts’s new memoir in which she recounts the incredible journey that’s been her life so far, and the lessons she’s learned along the way. With grace, heart, and humor, she writes about overcoming breast cancer only to learn five years later that she will need a bone marrow transplant to combat a rare blood disorder, the grief and heartbreak she suffered when her mother passed away, her triumphant return to GMA after her medical leave, and the tremendous support and love of her family and friends that saw her through her difficult times. 

Following her mother’s advice to “make your mess your message,” Robin taught a nation of viewers that while it is true that we’ve all got something — a medical crisis to face, aging parents to care for, heartbreak in all its many forms — we’ve also all got something to give: hope, encouragement, a life-saving transplant or a spirit-saving embrace. As Robin has learned, and what readers of her remarkable story will come to believe as well, it’s all about faith, family and friends. And finding out that you are stronger, much stronger, than you think.

My thoughts:  I recently joined a new book club – one where most of the members read the books and we actually discuss them. It was a very fun evening and I enjoyed meeting new people.  The read for June was Robin Roberts’ Everybody’s Got Something. This is a quick easy read. Despite facing a life threatening disease that was most likely brought on by the treatment for breast cancer, Robin’s story is very positive. She does admit that there were times when the weight of her ordeal did cause her to feel angry or depressed and not exhibit the light bubbly personality that she normally displays. But for the most part the book is an amazing upbeat treatment of a horrible experience. I don’t think I could have had her positive attitude.

Some people might find this positive outlook hard to believe. To be fair, unless you know Robin Roberts personally, you can’t know whether this is truly her or just her public persona. I liked that she had a positive message and that some readers will find hope in her story.

I found it interesting to read about the people she knows and has met – both famous and not. She does include quite a bit of minutia in the story. That can be distracting at times.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I had expected it to be somewhat of a depressing read. But it wasn’t. I loved reading about her mother and I especially loved that she realizes how blessed she truly is.

If you like biographies/autobiographies, then I recommend you add this to your reading list.

What will be reading next? We are actually reading three books, though we won’t discuss one of them until August. Some members had already read one or more of the books. I hadn’t read any of them, so I’ve got some catching up to do. We’ll be reading/discussing The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright, Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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