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Mary's Books

I have loved to read since I was little. I would borrow many books from the library and still borrow to this day, but I also purchase books (mostly for my kids) and freebies on Kindle. I read as much as I can daily. Sometimes I read several books at one time. I don't have a preference of paper book over an ebook, I just love to read. Keeping lists of what I have read is a good way for me to remember. 

Currently reading

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
Hidden Figures
Margot Lee Shetterly
Poems by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged
Robert Frost
Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery
Ellen Byron
Churchill's Secret Agent: A Novel Based on a True Story
Linda Ciampoli, Max Ciampoli
Twelve Drummers Drumming: A Father Christmas Mystery Paperback October 30, 2012
C.C. Benison
Girl Missing
Tess Gerritsen
All Fudged Up
Nancy CoCo

Madness in Christmas River

Madness in Christmas River: A Christmas Cozy Mystery (Christmas River Cozy) - Meg Muldoon

# 3 Christmas River


Cinnamon and Daniel are preparing for their wedding and it is Thanksgiving and they are having a houseful of guests. As they prepare, Daniel has to leave to go back to CA, where he used to be a detective. As that is going on, Cinnamon starts getting some weird things on her doorstep, and then her car is destroyed and her dog attacked and she is threatened. When Marie turns up missing, they don't really worry until the attacks start happening. While Daniel is gone, his second-in-command spends more time with Cinnamon and she helps him to learn that love is not a bad thing. 


It was a good continuation of the story, but I felt that things were missing as this jumped from July to November. 


Seizure. Kathy Reichs - Kathy Reichs

#2 Virals


Tori and her friends are told the bad news that the Island Research is ending and their parents need to find new jobs. When they get the news, they begin to despair of being separated from each other. When Tori is at the Club for her program for the debutantes, she is tormented so badly by the trio of evil, that she runs to hide in the building, meeting an older man who tells her the story of the female pirate, Anne Bonny. This interests Tori so much that she begins to learn as much as she can so that she can find the treasure in hopes that it will stop the closings and allow the "Virals" to stay near each other. As they go along, they are chased, shot at and followed by those who want to steal the treasure from them. 


The story was another good one, but there were so many things that made us stop and comment. My girls were discussing another letter to the author. I love that my girls went so far as to find some information on the topic. 

Murder in the Paperback Parlor

Murder in the Paperback Parlor - Ellery Adams

Jane is getting ready for her Romance Event in book #2, while learning how to better protect herself, her boys and the library. As the event is going there is so much drama from the participants when an author is threatened because she has changed the main character in her book. When she is found dead in a garden on the property, Jane and her friends, the Finns, work together to find the truth and get the person who murdered the author. 


The story was a fun respite during driving. I usually only did this story when I was by myself as my girls are into the "Virals" series. 



Code - Virals book 3

Code (Virals #3) - Kathy Reichs

I messed up listening to this series in order. We listened to Book 1 and then moved onto 3. These stories seem to do best being read in order. They are fun and my girls actually demand that they not miss a moment of the story. So no listening when they are not with me. 


Tori and her friends have been tricked into a bomb hunt and they use their skills and secret powers to help them avoid death. Tori is also getting ready for her debut at the Debutante Ball. She also encourages her friends to exercise their powers so that they are better able to control them. 



Dear Authors

Code - Kathy Reichs, Brendan Reichs

I have been borrowing audio books that my girls would enjoy with me, while I drive them wherever we are having to go. So as we were driving home tonight from the library, the story reached the point of a copper head snake being part of the story and suddenly the narrator reads about the kid pulling his hand back because there was a poisonous reptile somewhere. My child, who is so interested in snakes, calls out, "It's wrong! It is not poisonous, it is venomous!" This prompted my girls to say, "Dear Mrs. Reichs and Son: It is not poisonous, it is venomous!"



Murder on the Half Shelf

Murder on the Half Shelf - Lorna Barrett

#6 Booktown Mysteries


Tricia and Angelica, her sister, are still trying to find their way as sisters and still running their businesses. When Angelica wins a night stay at the newest Inn, she takes her sister along for the night and her little dog, Sarge. When they get to the room, Angelica gets Tricia to the dog out for his walk, when they stumble across a body, Pippa, the woman hotelier. She calls the police and her boyfriend, the sheriff, Grant Baker, comes out and then they meet the woman's husband, a man who used to date Tricia and then pretended to die over 30 years before. She becomes a suspect, too and Grant says he cannot be with her until the investigation is over. While all this is happening, her friends, Grace and Mr. Everett, are having marital issues and he asks her to talk with his wife to see if they can work out the issue. When she tries to get into the office to see her, the receptionist refuses to let Tricia in and calls her names and tells her to move on. When Grace learns of the problems, she calls Pixie on the carpet and then after Tricia sees Grace the next day, more problems with Pixie present. 


This book is the introduction of Pixie and Linda and Michelle. They all come into the village and start becoming a part of the story full time. 

Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos

Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos (A Meg Langslow Mystery) - Donna Andrews

#3 of the Meg Langslow Mysteries


I love these stories. The language lessons (I actually work to get my girls to read these books and they actually choose these when I have them as audiobooks) are great. This one is set in Yorktown, VA during a Revolutionary War Reenactment and Craft Fair. Michael's mother took over the planning and running of the event and has made enemies of the reenactors and craftspeople. She brought in anachronism police to make sure that no one is wearing anything from the current century. The anachronism police are poorly trained and fining everyone huge amounts and arguing that they know better. Meg promises all the craftspeople she will take care of all the fines. She also continually runs interference so that everyone has a successful time, no matter what.


Tony, a metal worker who steals others work ideas, has been causing trouble. Then there is Wesley, a distant cousin who writes lies in newspapers is running around causing problems. When a web developer shows up and starts causing trouble and then is found murdered in Meg's tent with what looks like her dagger in his back. When her friend, Faulk, ends up as the main suspect, she goes all out to find the truth and get her friend free.

Muffin But Murder

Muffin But Murder - Victoria Hamilton

#2 Merry Muffin Mysteries


Merry is hosting a Halloween Party to show off the Winter Castle in order to sell to an investor who will turn it into a hotel or spa or something. While she is dealing with this she is also dealing with someone claiming to be a long lost cousin who is owed a part of the inheritance. When her party is crashed and someone is found dead in the coffin she was using as a decoration. Now she feels the need to find out who murdered the man and why. 


The story was a good one and I enjoyed the story as it works on continuing her life in Autumn Vale and helps her try to figure out what she might want to do with the castle and how she can make money with it. 



Death Al Dente

Death al Dente - Leslie Budewitz

Book #1 Food Lovers' Village Mystery


Erin has returned home to help run her mother's store and has taken on the task of starting an annual program to bring in tourists to help the locals and local produce. Just before the first night, Claudette returns from Las Vegas and rumors are flying that she was fired to make room for Erin, that Fresca (Erin's mother) stole the recipes from Claudette. When Claudette is asked about the rumors, she gets angry, but that night near the entry to back garden of the shop, she is found murdered. Fresca is immediately under suspicion for it and Erin and her sister feel that they need to help. 


The story was interesting and I am interested to read some of the others in this series. 

Who Moved my Goat Cheese?

Who Moved My Goat Cheese? (A Farm-to-Fork Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

Book 1 of the Farm to Fork Mystery Series


I did this primarily as an audiobook because I was driving a lot this week and so I was listening to the ends of audiobooks. Since I hadn't gotten far on this, I made the kids listen as I was driving and they were laughing along with me. In fact, there were times that I heard my daughter saying some of the lines. You will have to listen and think like a teen. 


Angie and her friend, Felicia, have moved back to her hometown to open a new restaurant - Farm to Fork styled. They are meeting people and trying to get farmers to agree to sell to them. Angie meets with Gus and he invites her to his farm where he has goats and makes goat cheese. After she leaves, he is murdered and she is put on the spot as people lie about their being at the farm, too. She decides she needs to find out what really happened. As she does, she learns about herself and her grandmother and gets her restaurant ready to open. 


The story was fun and moved quickly and was a good "read." I am looking forward to the rest of the series. 

Copy Cap Murder

Copy Cap Murder - Jenn McKinlay

Harrison has invited Scarlet, Viv, Tony, and Andre to his company's annual Bon Fire Night (Nov 5th). Scarlet is also becoming very homesick and missing her mom and dad and Thanksgiving celebration with them. Her friends realize this and try to keep her busy. While this is happening, they go to the Bonfire Celebration (Guy Fawkes) and while they are there, she is manhandled by another partygoer who works at the same company with Harrison. When Harrison takes him down and protects Scarlet, he becomes suspect number one in who might have murdered the man. Scarlet feels the need to find out who really murdered him to protect Harrison from the police investigation. 


This story was interesting and it started me collecting books on Guy Fawkes and 16th century English History. 


Mayhem in Christmas River

Mayhem in Christmas River - Meg Muldoon

As the town is gearing up for Christmas in July, they are putting on a play, written and directed by the local lady who tutors children in English, Writing, and Grammar. When her friend, Kara's business is set on fire. When the video becomes available it shows someone dressed as Santa Claus doing the deed. Cinnamon feels the need to get involved to find out who would do such a thing to her friend. She also has to deal with her emotions regarding her father and her ex-husband as her boyfriend, Daniel, asked her to marry him. 


The story was interesting, but I felt like I missed a book, even though this is only book 2 and I read book 1 first. 

Biblical Bits for Knitwits

Biblical Bits for Knit-Wits: Knitting the Story of God's Love for You - Summer Mungle, Vicki Bedford

This is a Bible Study with a craft attached. For every chapter, there is a pattern for a square to be used to make a cross afghan for someone. I started this many years ago and when I got sidetracked I pushed it all into a bag together and forgot about it. I finally finished the study, but not the squares. I will be going back to make the squares and put them all together as a gift for someone that might need it. 


The study was interesting and I look forward to finishing the blanket squares. 

Murder With Puffins

Murder With Puffins - Donna Andrews

Michael and Meg are trying to find some time alone to get to know each other and get closer. When they go to Aunt Phoebe's summer place on Monhegan Island in Maine, they have a rough crossing and then get to the cabin and find the whole family, including Spike. During a hurricane, searching for her father, they find the hated artist who has built a monstrosity and shoots at anyone who travels on the public path. While trying to figure out who did the deed they get closer and learn much about the people on the island. 


This book had the family chuckling as we sat in traffic in the Washington, DC area, trying to get to Kings Dominion. It was a good book to listen to. 




Virals - Kathy Reichs

Book 1 of Young Adult Series


Tori Brennan is the great-niece of Tempe Brennen and is a very smart young woman taking advanced courses at the local private school with three young men doing the same. The parents are scientists working on an island near Charleston, SC and they go out the island where their parents work to check on the wolf-dogs and they are harassed by the lead scientist. When a monkey throws an old dog tag at them they begin working to find out who it belongs to and then find a murder victim on the island. Then they are attacked and followed and they become very ill. When they get better they discover that there is something different about them and they look into this issue, too. 


The story was interesting, but there were times that it got repetitive and irritating and I was getting a little tired of it and so did my kids (who were listening with me). Also, since this was an audiobook, just before the kids would have a "flare" there were sound chimes, I was not prepared for that sound and it caught me off guard...thank God, I was driving locally and not an interstate, it startled me so much. 

Introducing Agatha Raisin

Introducing Agatha Raisin: The Quiche of Death/The Vicious Vet - M.C. Beaton

Books 1 and 2. 


I had watched the Agatha Raisin movie on Hoopla and thought it was funny. I then read 0.5 (which I know is a later book written to be earlier than book 1) and laughed at the woman and her method of finding out the truth. So I borrowed this since it would allow me to read two books at once. I laughed at some of the parts and I wondered that a person interested in a house for sale could just walk in and check out the place and there would not be a realtor with them. I remembered from our time of trying to sell our 1st house, people would come in with a realtor and they would let their children play with our children's toys and put them in our children's beds and playpens and then went through our file cabinets and paperwork. I enjoyed the change in Agatha as she learned about herself and made friends, real friends. There were moments that I just laughed out loud about her antics and fell in love with her. 


Book 1 - Quiche of Death - She has just sold her business and moved to the Cotswolds and learns to cook (after she is accused of poisoning the judge in the quiche contest), she gets rid of things decorating her home that are not to her taste and likes and she learns how to make friends. 


Book 2 - The Vicious Vet - This one has a vet that is a horrible person. He treats peoples pets horribly and then woes the older ladies in hopes of them giving him huge quantities of money. When he is found murdered, Agatha and her new neighbor, James, work together to get to the truth.