Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: The Corpse Wore Tartan by Kaitlyn Dunnett

✰✰✰½ Liss MacCrimmon is back with more Scottish fun in this mystery featuring a house party murder theme. In this installment it just so happens that the Scottish Heritage Appreciation Society (SHAS) has booked The Spruces hotel for it's annual event, The Burns Night Supper. Liss' new responsibility to act as a liaison between SHAS and the hotel seems simple enough at first. However, when a pricey brooch goes missing and a major snowstorm hits the town of Mootookalook, Maine, things start to heat up. Just when it seems that things couldn't get any worse, the owner of the missing brooch meets with an unexplained death.

With everyone trapped inside the hotel, Liss and her friends must track down the killer before someone else gets hurt, or worse...killed. Author Kaitlyn Dunnett does a fine job of teasing the reader with plenty of twists and turns in this charming whodunit; there's even a little bit of romance in the air.

The Bottom Line:
The Corpse Wore Tartan is the fourth installment of the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mysteries series. While some mystery fans like to read the books in order, one can easily pick up this book and not feel lost; Dunnett includes plenty of background information to bring the reader up-to-date. While the pacing of this story could have been improved (the beginning was a bit slow and the ending a bit fast), this installment is nonetheless a delightful, weekend read. Fans of cozy mysteries will adore Liss and all her comrades. Enthusiastically recommended for mystery lovers and those who love all things Scottish.

The Corpse Wore Tartan by Kaitlyn Dunnett. Hardcover published by Kensington Books in 2010. 304 p. ISBN: 978-0-7582-3879-5 Note: I received a complimentary copy from Kensington Books in exchange for a review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

✰✰✰½ If you have you ever wondered just what it was that made Hansel and Gretel run away from home, then this is the book for you. There's more to their story than a trail of bread crumbs and an edible house.

Follow Hansel and Gretel as they face beheadings and evil substitute parents. There's also the moon who likes to eat children and a handsome young murderer. The children face challenge after challenge even leading the villagers to fight against a dragon that has invaded their kingdom. But perhaps their greatest challenge of all is their quest to find forgiveness for the parents who betrayed them.

Throughout the book, the stories are peppered with warnings from the narrator about the more gruesome parts which serves as a temptation to read on. These stories are loosely based on the classic tales by the Brothers Grimm. While the stories may indeed be grim, these are fairy tales after all. Perhaps the twins will live happily ever after...or perhaps not. Read them if you dare.

The Bottom Line:
A Tale Dark & Grimm is a morbid and fun book for readers who enjoy the gruesome. Gidwitz weaves a tale that holds interest throughout. Recommended for tweens, teens, and adults who enjoy fairytale retellings. However, kids who are a wee bit squeamish might want to pass this one up.

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. Published by Dutton Children's Books in 2010. 192 p. ISBN: 978-0-525-42334-8

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year! Try a Book Challenge for 2011.

Happy New Year everyone! It's that time of the year when we resolve to try something new. We all start out with good intentions whether we resolve to lose weight or volunteer somewhere. But how many of us actually keep our New Year's resolutions? Well, here's an idea that's easy to keep. Why not try a book challenge?

A book challenge...what's that? Well, a book challenge is a goal you set for yourself. You decide how many books you are going to read this year. Also, you decide what types of books you are going to read: fiction, nonfiction, children's books, mysteries, comics, and more. It's all up to you. You can get all gung-ho about it and go with a number like 75 or 100. Or you can be more conservative and choose a number like 50 or even low-ball it at 25. No matter what your number, the goal is all yours. Once you've chosen, then you have the entire year to reach your goal. And here's a little secret: you don't have to begin exactly on January 1st; you can start your challenge at any time of the year.

By the way, a handy way to keep track of your progress, is to sign up for a counter at
Ticker Factory. You can create your very own ticker to keep track of how many books you've read. It's easy. Just choose the objects/actions counter under crafts/hobbies and fill in the required information. Choose your ticker ruler and slider styles, then let Ticker Factory do the rest. At the end you will be given the html code to add to your blog, web page, or signature. Just remember to update your count from time to time.

I've set my goal conservatively at 50. I hope you'll join me! Good Luck & Happy Reading for 2011 ! Oh, and remember to stop by often and check out my ticker below to see my progress.