Tag Archives: mystery

Book Review and Blog Tour: “Rosemary & Crime” by Gail Oust

great_escape_tour_banner_large_ROSEMARY_AND_CRIME331

rosemarycrime  Title:  Rosemary and Crime

Author:  Gail Oust

ISBN:  9781250011046

Publisher:  Minotaur Books

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Murder comes well-seasoned in this charming mystery featuring a smart and spunky new amateur sleuth, small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott.

Piper Prescott, a transplanted Yankee living in the South, has got her sass back.  She might be down, but don’t count her out.  “Change of life?” she asks.  Bring it on.  Recently divorced, Piper decides to pursue a dream she’s secretly harbored: owning her own business, Spice it Up!, a spice shop in her adopted hometown, Brandywine Creek, Georgia.  But Piper’s grand opening goes awry when the local chef who’s agreed to do a cooking demo is found stabbed.  Not only did Piper find the body, she handled the murder weapon and doesn’t have a witness to her alibi, making the case look like a slam dunk to brand new police Chief Wyatt McBride.  Desperate to uncover the truth—and prove her innocence—Piper enlists the help of her outspoken BFF Reba Mae Johnson to help track down the real culprit.  The pair compile a lengthy list of suspects and work to eliminate them using their own creative brand of sleuthing techniques including stakeouts, breaking and entering, and one very unorthodox chocolate pie. When Piper narrowly avoids being a victim of a hit-and-run, she knows she’s getting closer to the truth, but can she catch the killer and clear her name before she becomes the next victim?

A captivating start to a new series featuring an unstoppably fabulous new crime-solving heroine, a colorful cast of small town characters, and more than a pinch of Georgia charm, Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust is sure to delight fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Donna Andrews.

 My thoughts:  What a delightful addition to the cozy genre!  I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are wonderful – a nice combination of funny, witty, quirky, strong, and quick-witted!
Among the host of foodie cozies out there this is a wonderful addition – I thought the concept of a spice shop was a great twist, loved it!
The only addition that I would have loved to have is if the author would have a added some recipes or perhaps even some tips about spices in the back of the book.  There were some great dishes in the book that I would have loved to have the recipe too: lasagna – yum!  I think it would have been very unique to have perhaps some tips on keeping spices or education about different spices in the back of the book.  After hearing about some of the unique spices in the book, I know I for one wanted some more knowledge.
A wonderful new cozy mystery with a foodie theme.  You know you are loving a book when about half way through you are thinking to yourself, “Oh, I certainly hope this author is working on the next book in the series.  I have to know what these characters get into next.  When does the next one come out!”  Very much looking forward to more adventures from Piper and Spice it Up!!
And remember,
Books Are Life,
Heather

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Book Review – “Red Tape” by Michele Lynn Seigfried

redtapeTitle:  Red Tape

Author:  Michele Lynn Seigfried

Synopsis (from Amazon.com):

In this captivating tale of crime, government corruption and mystery, Municipal Clerk Chelsey Alton gets more than she bargained for when she encounters an irate resident and loose cannon, Robert Triggers. Triggers has been harassing the employees in the small, Jersey shore town where she works and he becomes the prime suspect when multiple attempts to sabotage the municipal building are made. Chelsey begins to piece it all together and finds herself framed for a crime she did not commit. She narrowly escapes several attempts at her demise, only to find herself in a much more precarious situation. Will she make it out alive or end up a tragic victim at the hands of a madman?
My thoughts:  I am happy to be providing a review for this book for the book tour sponsored by Cozy Mystery Book Tours.
I must say that I really enjoyed this book.  First of all as a frequent reader of cozy mysteries, I found the premise of having the main character be a Municipal Town Clerk rather interesting.  Believe me, I know very little if anything about city government and definitely learned a lot of it in this mystery.
I found the main characters and the secondary characters likeable, charming, and always a good sign is that I want to know more about them!!!  (Hint, hint, when is book 2 coming out? 🙂
The plot keeps moving right along as you learn more about the lives of the characters and the life within this small Jersey town.
The only thing that I found a bit jarring as a reader, and perhaps this is because it is a first time author, is some awkwardness in transitions between chapters and transitions in time.  What I mean by this is I found myself happily reading along and all of a sudden we were in a different time or a couple days ahead of where we just were.  The way in which these transitions were handled simply lacked a bit of fluidity to make it less jarring on the reader.
I look forward to learning more about these characters.  I am hopeful there will be future books in this series.
And remember,
Books Are Life,
Heather

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Book Review – “Last to Die” by Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli & Isles #10)

lasttodie  Title:  Last to Die

Author:  Tess Gerritsen

Series:  Rizzoli & Isles #10

Publisher:  Random House

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):  For the second time in his short life, Teddy Clock has survived a massacre. Two years ago, he barely escaped when his entire family was slaughtered. Now, at fourteen, in a hideous echo of the past, Teddy is the lone survivor of his foster family’s mass murder. Orphaned once more, the traumatized teenager has nowhere to turn—until the Boston PD puts detective Jane Rizzoli on the case. Determined to protect this young man, Jane discovers that what seemed like a coincidence is instead just one horrifying part of a relentless killer’s merciless mission.

Jane spirits Teddy to the exclusive Evensong boarding school, a sanctuary where young victims of violent crime learn the secrets and skills of survival in a dangerous world. But even behind locked gates, and surrounded by acres of sheltering Maine wilderness, Jane fears that Evensong’s mysterious benefactors aren’t the only ones watching. When strange blood-splattered dolls are found dangling from a tree, Jane knows that her instincts are dead on. And when she meets Will Yablonski and Claire Ward, students whose tragic pasts bear a shocking resemblance to Teddy’s, it becomes chillingly clear that a circling predator has more than one victim in mind.

Joining forces with her trusted partner, medical examiner Maura Isles, Jane is determined to keep these orphans safe from harm. But an unspeakable secret dooms the children’s fate—unless Jane and Maura can finally put an end to an obsessed killer’s twisted quest.

 

My thoughts:  In a word this book was AMAZING!  This is now no doubt my favorite Rizzoli & Isles book ever!  I have never read a book in this particular series in one day – but that changed with this latest book in this great series!  I literally couldn’t read fast enough to keep up with the excitement and my curiosity about where this book was going to go!

Wow!  This book was fast-paced, suspenseful, jarring, disturbing, creepy, and scary all in one!  I found the setting of the Eversong boarding school just plain creepy and a wonderful setting for the secrets of the storyline.  I loved that the book brought the series back to Rizzoli & Isles working more together again rather than having each of them sort of featured in their own stories.

Just when I thought I had all of the information and the book was heading to a great conclusion . . . bam . . . another plot twist . . . then another body . . . then another twist!  Great read!

Overall, I can’t say enough about this latest Rizzoli & Isles book!  A fast-paced, intriguing mystery that is not to be missed!

Thank goodness I have some episodes of Rizzoli & Isles saved on my DVR to catch up on, because now I just can’t get enought.  Can’t wait for the next book to come out.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

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Book Review – “The Silent Girl” by Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli & Isles #9)

thesilentgirl  Title:  The silent Girl

Author:  Tess Gerritsen

Series:  Rizzoli & Isles #9

Publisher:  Random House

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):  In the murky shadows of Boston’s Chinatown lies a severed hand. On the tenement rooftop above is the corpse belonging to that hand, a red-haired woman dressed in black, her head nearly decapitated. Two strands of silver hair—not human—cling to her body. They are homicide cop Jane Rizzoli’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and medical examiner Maura Isles to make the startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel. Nineteen years earlier, a horrifying murder-suicide in a Chinatown restaurant left five people dead. One woman connected to that massacre is still alive—a mysterious martial arts master who is now the target of someone, or something, deeply and relentlessly evil. Cracking a crime with bone-chilling echoes of an ancient Chinese legend, Rizzoli and Isles must outwit an unseen enemy with centuries of cunning—and a swift, avenging blade.

 

My thoughts:  One of the reading challenges that I signed up for this year was the Finish the Series Challenge and this Rizzoli & Isles series is one that I identified that I wanted to finish!  It has been quite a while since I finished book #8 in this series – Ice Cold (which incidentally is very, very good as well) – so I embarked on The Silent Girl!  I am so very glad that I came back to this series to finish it up!

I thought this book was fantastic!  I have read the entire Rizzoli & Isles series and I must say, although the others were very good, this one ranks up there as one of my favorites.  I must admit that I was a bit reticent at first as I saw that the book was set in Chinatown, only because a while back I read a book by a completely different author set in a similar location that was very confusing and dragged on.  Not the case with this book!

In true Rizzoli & Isles style, this book featured excitement, suspense, twisting storylines, and great characters!  This book had our favorite characters Rizzoli, Isles, Frost, Gabriel, and the like, but also introduced us to some new characters including Officer Tam that I am hopeful will be featured in future books as well.

The only small question I had about this book was why Isles wasn’t very prominently featured as she normally is.  It seemed her character really took a back seat to Rizzoli in this book and by the end I was wondering where in the world Isles even was.  Perhaps it is simply because the last book – Ice Cold – really featured Isles and now it was Rizzoli’s turn 🙂  I do like when they are both working together and you get to see their great friendship and sense of camaraderie.

Completely not related to the quality of the book per se, but reading this book reminded me why I always like reading the books before I go to see a movie or watch the television show!   As a true fan of this series, I of course have watched the Rizzoli & Isles TV series on TNT and now when I read the books I simply can’t stop from imagining Angie Harmon or Sasha Alexander delivering the lines!  I must say that their characterizations on the TV show are spot on, which is not often the case.

Overall, a great, fast read filled with suspense, mystery, fast-paced action, and interesting character twists!  A must read!

And remember

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review – “Merry Christmas Alex Cross” by James Patterson

merry christmas alex cross  Title: Merry Christmas Alex Cross

Author:  James Patterson

Series:  Alex Cross # 19

Publisher:  Little, Brown & Company

 

Synopsis (from bn.com): It’s Christmas Eve and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who’s robbing his church’s poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and his children. The tree decorating is barely underway before his phone rings again—a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. Alex risks everything—and he may not make it back alive on this most sacred of family days. Alex Cross is a hero for our time, and never more so than in this story of family, action, and the deepest moral choices. MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS will be a holiday classic for years to come.

 

My thoughts:  There is no way around it, I simply LOVE this Alex Cross series.  I know some would say that they are rather simplistic and that they are getting cookie cutter over time, but that doesn’t stop me from loving them.  With all the reading I do, James Patterson’s Alex Cross series is guaranteed that I can sit down and read the entire book in about 5 hours!  The same held true for this one!

I love that sense of coming home to these characters that I know so well, Alex, Nana Mama, Alex’s children, Bree, and Sampson!  The action in this latest installment was fast-paced, exciting, and a great thrill ride!

This being said, there did seem to be a great disconnect between the first part of the book and the last part of the book.  There were two distinct story lines in this book and unfortunately there was absolutely no connection between them at all.  They were both exciting and thrilling by themselves, but it did end up feeling like two short stories rather than a unified story.

I was also really looking forward to some type of typical James Patterson twist on the last page – you know the one liner where Alex Cross takes a phone call and you end up going “What, did that just happen?” or the last page that leaves you salivating for the next book!  Not this time, but I am certain that the next book will be just as thrilling!

A great, exciting, action-packed read you won’t want to put down!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

 

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Book Review – “Shades of Earl Grey” by Laura Childs (Tea Shop Mystery #3)

shades of earl grey  Title:  Shades of Earl Grey

Author:  Laura Childs

Series:  Tea Shop Mystery #3

Publisher:  Penguin Group

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is finally invited to a social event that she doesn’t have to cater—but there’s more than champagne bubbling…

Theo is mingling with the cream of Charleston society at the engagement soiree of the season. But as they eagerly await the dazzling young couple’s arrival—the groom meets with a freak accident. The exquisite wedding ring—a family heirloom from the crown of Marie Antoinette—is mysteriously missing. Theodosia suspects that trouble is brewing. But when she goes to the authorities, they treat her like she’s been reading tea leaves—and that’s the surest way to put Theodosia’s kettle on the boil…

 

My thoughts:  Theodosia, owner of the charming Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina, returns with her wonderful cast of characters to solve another murder.   I enjoy the characters in this series as they are genuine, fun, and each in their own way a bit quirky.  I am hoping that as I continue to series I find that the author gives us even a bit more inight and knowledge into who these characters are.  I’m sure she does as this is only book #3 out of 13.  (Like any good reader who is behind with a series, I pull out my Little Engine That Could – I know I can reach the end of this series, I know I can reach the end of this series 🙂

All in all, I really am enjoying this series.  I still am trying to find a good tea tasting in my area as the ever loving Drayton in this series is just spurring me on to go to one!

A lovely cozy series with fun characters and great education about tea!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review – “Gunpowder Green” by Laura Childs (Tea Shop Mystery #2)

gunpowdergreen  Title:  Gunpowder Green

Author:  Laura Childs

Series:  Tea Shop Mystery #2

Publisher:  Penguin

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning knows that something’s brewing in the high society of Charleston—something other than her newest tea…

The Indigo Tea Shop, Charleston’s favorite spot of tea, has just come out with its latest flavor: Gunpowder Green. Theodosia Browning cannot wait to hear its praises as it is unveiled at the annual yacht race. But when she hears the crack of an antique gun meant to end the race, a member of Charleston’s elite falls dead. Theodosia has a hunch that his demise was no accident—and will go out of her way to prove it. But if she doesn’t act fast, Theo will find herself in hot water with some boiling-mad Charlestonians—and more than a little gun-chai…

 

My thoughts:  I picked up this Tea Shop Mystery Series completely by fluke over the Christmas season.  I planned on just reading one here and there in between some of my other reads (off of my huge To Be Read pile – oh you readers, know what I am talking about, don’t deny it, you have one too :)), but I know find that I am really enjoying the series.

Gunpowder Green marks the 2nd book in the series.  Theodosia, owner of the quaint Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina, returns with her wonderful cast of characters including Haley, Drayton, and many others.  I really enjoy the characters in this series.  They are warm, welcoming, and hilarious at times.

I recommend this series if you are looking for a quick mystery read and along the way, you may learn quite a bit about tea as well!

On to #3, “Shades of Earl Grey”!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book Review – “Sleep No More” by Iris Johansen (Eve Duncan Series #12)

sleepnomore  Title:  Sleep No More (Eve Duncan Series #12)

Author:  Iris Johansen

Synopsis:

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan knows what it’s like to be haunted by the past.  For years after her daughter Bonnie was stolen from her, she fought for closure.  But now as she’s striving to begin anew, she can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen—or maybe already has.  When her mother, Sandra, asks for help in finding a missing friend named Beth Avery, Eve is sure that she’s hiding something.  It’s odd that Sandra would get involved at all, and the fact that she adamantly refuses to go to the police for help reinforces Eve’s suspicions that something is very wrong.

Eve learns that Beth has been locked away in a mental hospital for years, which makes it even harder to understand how she could have disappeared. As Sandra reluctantly reveals small pieces of the truth about Beth’s identity, Eve is shocked to discover that their lives are strangely entwined, and Beth’s disappearance now puts them all in grave danger.

Desperate, Eve enlists a secret weapon to pick up Beth’s trail:  rogue profiler, Kendra Michaels. With an uncanny ability to detect clues and solve puzzles, Kendra begins to uncover the bizarre circumstances of Beth’s escape from what should have been the safety of her hospital room. Beth is on the run, and as her mind clears—detoxing from the drugs that have held her prisoner—she begins to see the threads of a twisted plot within the powerful Avery family, threatening to destroy Beth and anyone else who might jeopardize the high-stakes game that is already in play.

My thoughts:  Welcome to the 12th installment of Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan series which chronicles the life and work of Eve, a forensic sculptor.  Overall, I really enjoy this series and really enjoyed this book.  My only huge complaint with this book is the author’s clear lack of research about what a music therapist is which I will go more into below.

This book was definitely a fast read for me.  As someone who has read this entire series including the Bonnie, Eve, Joe trilogy in between, I am very happy that we have finally solved the Bonnie issue and that the author is moving on.  I felt the series was just getting bogged down by the the “who killed Bonnie?” storyline and was losing its excitement.  Bonnie was certainly still mentioned and a part of this book, but certainly not to the level as past books.  I was glad that the author started introducing some new charachters in this book as well including Beth Avery, Eve’s half-sister who was unknown until this book.  I see this storyline developing in future books.  This book also introduces us to Kendra Michaels, a music therapist, who has special sensory abilities since being cured of her 20 year blindness.  I did not know that Kendra was actually introduced in another book, Close to You, I believe.  Had I known this I definitely would have read this first to get to know her better.  I see the author breaking off to another series starring Kendra in the future as well as she did with the character of Catherine Ling.   These new characters are exciting to me and am looking forward to how they are incorporated into future books in the series.

Now that we have taken care of the Bonnie situation, I am wishing that the Eve Duncan books would go a bit more back to focusing on her forensic sculpting cases.  I know this is why I fell in love with this series reading about how she did a reconstruction and the case that developed from this missing person.  The series seems to have drifted away from this which is disappointing.

Now, all that being said, I have to comment on my huge frustration with the author’s clear lack of research on music therapy and music therapists.  Yes, I myself actually am a board certified music therapist (MT-BC) who works with patients in a hospital setting, so I know what I am talking about.  Yes, this makes me a bit more in tune with this issue, but I think authors have a responsiblity to research and characterize people correctly.  Music therapists and music therapy as a field is already highly misunderstood in the world, so mischaracterizations in popular media is not helpful.  So here goes my education and advocacy for all who care.  The author fell right into some common misconceptions about music therapy throughout the book.  It seems that this charachter Kendra, a music therapist, has all sorts of education in psychology, etc. (PhDs), but no formal education in music therapy specifically.  Yes indeed to be a music therapist you must actuallly study and get a degree in Music Therapy, not simply related fields.  A very small point, I  know, but it bugs me.  Also the author committed a carnal sin in the music therapy world by having one of her characters refer to Kendra as a “musical therapist”.  This phrase drives us MUSIC therapists crazy, it is music therapy, not musical therapy.  This book doesn’t really talk much about Kendra’s clinical work, which is fine, but also which brings up the question for me, why did she even make this character a music therapist?  It seems out of place since her work in this area is not at all important to the book.  Was it because music therapy has been more in the media lately with Gabby Giffords, etc?  Does she know a music therapist in real life?  Did she want to jump on the band wagon on other popular authors having characters in their books who were music therapists, i.e., Jodi Picoult in “Sing You Home”, who by the way did a FANTASTIC job of realistically portraying a music therapist?  I don’t know the answer, but if you aren’t going to do the research, don’t put it into your book.  Ok, I’m off of my Music Therapy education and advocacy soap box . . . for now 🙂

Overall, a strong offering in the Eve Duncan series.  Can’t wait for the next ones to come out in 2013!

Happy reading,

And remember,

Books are Life,

Heather

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Book Review – “What Doesn’t Kill You” by Iris Johansen (Catherine Ling series #2)

whatdoesntkillyou  Title:  What Doesn’t Kill You (Catherine Ling series #2)

Author:  Iris Johansen

ISBN:  9780312651299

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis (from bn.com):  

In this breathtaking thriller, number-one bestselling author Iris Johansen showcases one of her most fascinating characters—pitted against one of the most ruthless killers…

 Abandoned on the streets of Hong Kong, Catherine Ling was schooled in the art of survival by the mysterious Hu Chang, a master assassin and poisoner. Now recruited by the CIA, Catherine finds herself caught between worlds when her mentor develops a formula that is extremely fatal, virtually untraceable—and highly coveted. On the hunt for this prize are a rogue operative, a band of criminals, and a man so evil he kills without remorse. Catherine will do anything to protect those she loves: Hu Chang and her son Luke. But she will have to use every deadly weapon, every double cross, every lethal lesson she ever learned—to prove that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…

My thoughts:

I absolutely flew through this book.  This is sort of a series within a series.  What I mean by that is that this is a spin-off series  of the Iris Johansen Eve Duncan series.  We were first introduced to the character of Catherine Ling in the book Chasing the Night (2010), where Eve was working to find Catherine’s missing son, Luke!  And now . . . she has her own series which is very awesome.  Let’s be real, Catherine is a serious bad ass which is why I love her character so much.  She is a strong, empowered, ruthless, no nonsense CIA agent who doesn’t take no for an answer!  Go Catherine!

This book was dramatic, very fast-paced and really held your attention no matter what.  This book really gave the reader the very important background information and development of the character of Catherine, from her life as an orphan on the rough streets of Hong Kong, to the development of her relationship with Hu Chang, to her role in the CIA.  I hope that this character development means that there will be many more books in this series.

I have read the entire Eve Duncan series and really do love the series, but I do have to admit that it is nice to get away from the whole Eve/Bonnie storyline that frankly went on too long.  Catherine is almost entirely opposite from the more mild-mannered Eve Duncan.  There are many crossover characters between the two series which creates a wonderful connection for the reader!

I strongly recommend this Catherine Ling series . . . go get your hands on Chasing the Night (2010), then read this one and you are all set!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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Book review – “Stake & Eggs” by Laura Child (Cackleberry Club Mystery #4)

Title:  Stake & Eggs (Cackleberry Club Mystery #4)stakeandeggs

Author:  Laura Childs

ISBN:  9780425255575

Publisher:  Penguin

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):  Suzanne, Toni, and Petra found a second life after losing their husbands—opening their own successful business, the Cackleberry Club cafè. But the three women never expected sleuthing to be the special of the day…

A KILLER HAS THE TOWN WALKING ON EGG SHELLS

When a snowmobile crashes into the woods behind the Cackleberry Club cafè, Suzanne finds her town’s most-hated banker beheaded by a wire staked in the snow. Now some of her best customers are prime suspects with a bushel of motives, and the murder investigation is snowballing. An elusive young runaway may be the Cackleberry Club’s only way to crack the case…provided Suzanne can keep her head long enough to track down the cold-blooded killer.

 

My thoughts:  What can I say other than every person who reads this blog knows that I love, love my cozies – and the Cackleberry Club is one of my favorite series.  I was waiting for quite a while for this latest book to be released as I guess that the author was probably busy working on her Tea Mystery series.  Alas, it was finally released – yay!  I was able to pick up right where I left off with my friends Suzanne, Toni, and Petra (is it weird to call the characters in your books friends, oh well call me weird then 🙂 ) inside of their cozy restaurant The Cackleberry Club Cafe.

I enjoyed this book and enjoy this series exactly for what it is – a wonderful, nice, simple, cozy read!  This is one of the cozy series that I read that every time I pick up I want to somehow jump in the  book – I want to taste what is on their menu, I want to visit the Book Nook, and I want to look around the Knitting Corner!  Why oh why can’t I be there 🙂

If you like cozies or are looking for a nice, simple, relaxing book, I highly recommend this series!  I hope I don’t have to wait so long for #5.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

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