Sunday, December 10, 2006

January/February Book Nomination Reviews

Here are some reviews of the books nominated for January/February. The poll is here and will close on December 16. The book with the most votes will be our January read, and the one that comes in second will be our February read. They are all good!!!!

Murder Uncorked by Michele Scott

When Nikki Sands accidentally spills a drink on a nasty bimbo she was serving at her waitress job, she has no idea how it is going to change her life. The bimbo starts making a scene so Nikki quits. While getting a drink across the street, in walks the bimbo's date, the hunk. He buys her dinner. He was so impressed with her wine knowledge at the restaurant, so he has her order the wine for their dinner.

After dinner he offers her a job at Maleveaux Estates, a Napa Valley winery. He is Derek Maleveaux. Having nothing to lose, she flies with him to his winery to look into this job.

As Nikki is settling in at the guest cottage, she notices something strange outside. When she goes outside to check it out, she finds the murdered corpse of Gabriel Asant, Derek's winemaker and friend.

Nikki, a wannabe actress, once played a detective on TV, so she decides to do some investigating. The police are interested in Derek. She doesn't believe he did it.

Between the rival winery, Derek's strange family, and Gabriel's women, Nikki has plenty of people to investigate. But can she do that without becoming a victim herself?

Motor Mouth Janet Evanovich

At the start of this cool comedy thriller from bestseller Evanovich, her second novel to star Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby (after 2004's Metro Girl), Barney and her unfaithful NASCAR racing honey, Sam Hooker, find themselves in trouble after discovering the shrink-wrapped body of ruthless businessman Oscar Huevo in a rival racer's car hauler. The pair must pull together to protect a high-tech gizmo that can revolutionize racing-and save their lives. Evanovich burns some rubber and only hits the brakes a few times, thanks to her bright dialogue, race-track savvy and expert depiction of romantic mayhem. Though sometimes it seems as if she's still taking a test drive with this new cast of eccentrics, the pages fly by as the racy tension between Hooker and Barney adds heat to the fun. Action on the menu includes destruction of valuable race cars, a dognapping and a kidnapping. While Barney isn't likely to beat Stephanie Plum in a popularity contest, she's still a hoot.

"Crocodile on the Sandbank," by Elizabeth Peters.
This is the first title in the Amelia Peabocy series, and was first
published in 1975. Peters started out writing gothics in the late 60s
and early 70s, and many of her early books still stand out as great
reads--her Vicki Bliss books are not quite as amusing as the Amelia
Peabody tales set in Egypt, but are lots of fun also. Peters also
writes as Barbara Michaels and is an Egyptologist in real life.

Crewel World" by Monica Ferris. It is a combination knitting and stitchery story set in Minnesota. It is a murder mystery. It has some interesting twists and turns. To be honest, I just finished it and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the first in a series and I am very much looking forward to reading the next one!
Margot Berglund owns a needlework and wool store called Crewel World. She's fifty-three, a widow and an expert in her field. Her store does very well for a small town, and she is able to support two part time staff as well as other casual workers. Her husband Aaron had been a wealthy man but despite this she lives a simple life, causing speculation among the town's people. Margot's older sister, Betsy, comes to live with her. When Betsy was young she ran off to join the navy and married a sailor and now her second husband is divorcing her. Betsy seems to be planning to sponge off Margot, she sees living off Margot an easy solution to her problems, at least for the short term. In the idyllic world of Margot there are some problems. Her landlord wants her building so he can build something new and charge more, but Margot has a cheap lease that is good for another four years. So Joe sues Margot regularly and threatens her too, but she has a good lawyer to protect her. She also has a "Wanta be" successor who wants to run her own needlework store in a town that cannot support two. Irene is a little nuts and readily admits that she wants something to happen to Margot so that she can take over. Unfortunately for Irene she has no people skills and is not very successful with the customers. A few nights after her arrival, Betsy comes home and finds Crewel World trashed and Margot murdered. The mystery begins and Betsy takes it into her own hands when she thinks the police aren't doing enough.

Embroidered Truths by Monica Ferris...
After her friend Godwin is arrested for the murder of his boyfriend, Betsy sets out to prove him innocent. She finds that the victim had some dishonest dealings that made him a lot of money-and a lot of enemies. Now, Betsy has to untangle a cat's-cradle of lies if she's going to save Godwin before the murderer decides to cut off the loose ends for good.

Northern Lights by Nora Roberts.
It is set in an Alaskian town with a murder, some love and a laughter thrown in too.
Roberts shines again with a nuanced tale of the Alaskan wilderness and the appealing eccentrics who cluster there. Former Baltimore cop Nate Burke accepts the unlikely post of police chief of Lunacy, Alaska (pop. 506), to stave off the depression caused by divorce and the traumatic death of his partner, for which he holds himself partly responsible. His early days in the close-knit town are quiet except for minor disturbances and a dalliance with a feisty bush pilot, Meg Galloway. Then Meg's father, who disappeared 16 years before, is found frozen in a remote mountain cave, an ice ax in his chest. The discovery that Pat Galloway was murdered—most likely by a local—shakes up the town and drives his murderer to commit a second, cover-up killing. Though state authorities dismiss that death as suicide, Nate pursues it as a crime—a decision that puts him at odds with many outspoken Lunatics, as the townspeople call themselves. With quiet inexorability he fields the flak, uncovers long-forgotten events and finds a tough but loving balance with the fiercely independent Meg. Though billed as romantic suspense, the novel forsakes artificial genre conventions in favor of a wry, affectionate look at community bonds, generational wounds and soul-testing landscapes. The result is a richly textured novel that captures the intimacy of smalltown police work, the prickliness of the pioneer spirit and the paradox of a setting at once intimate and expansive, welcoming and hostile, indisputably American and yet profoundly exotic to those in the Lower 48.

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