Thursday, February 26, 2015

Catching up on Challenges

As February comes to a close, I realize I have not made much progress on any of my 2015 Challenges.  I have read 22 books so far this year, but have only marked two items off the
challenges (One off the 26 Books to read in 2015 and one off the Bethany Challenge.  Looking over the categories again, I am listing CRIMSON CORD by  Jill Eileen Smith as my book published this year for the 26 BOOKS TO READ IN 2015 CHALLENGE. I am also listing THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion as my book by an author unknown to me for the BETHANY HOUSE CHALLENGE.  THE ROSIE PROJECT is our book club choice for February and I will blog about it after our discussion tonight.

Even though I have done a little sewing, including making some homemade valentines, I really don't have anything to check off the 2015 SEWING BUCKET LIST.  Guess I will need to get busy.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story by Jill Eileen Smith

JRahab Cover Jill Eileen Smith is known for her Biblical fiction featuring the women of the Bible.  Liz Curtis Higgs, one of my most favorite authors, has also made a career of retelling those Bible stories which feature women, but Higgs changes the settings to another historical time period.  When I read Higgs's personal review praising Smith's version of Rahab, I knew I wanted to read the book.  I was NOT disappointed.

Smith  paints Rahab with sympathetic strokes, making it clear how few rights a woman had in Old Testament times -- an arranged marriage at a young age, a foolish and greedy husband, a deceptive "friend"  who twists his own lustful desire into slavery, plus the shame of barrenness.  All these details lend plausibility to Rahab position as a prostitute willing to help the enemy, the Israelites, who promise safe asylum for her family. The early part of the book makes Old Jericho comes alive with-- the excesses, the false gods, the emptiness. Soon even the powerful are crippled with fear of Israel's God.  Later readers are given a glimpse of what challenges Rahab would have faced once she joined the victorious Israelites.

Mercy and forgiveness are key themes of this book, and I loved the way Smith works the parable of the man who was forgiven much who then turns around and demands payment of a lesser debt from another into the story of Rahab's husband. This is the first book I have read by Jill
Eileen Smith but I will reading more of her Old Testament retellings.  I received a review copy of this title from Revell Reads.  All opinions are mine.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

 Jacqueline Winspear has been writing Maisie Dobbs's mysteries for over ten years, but I have just now stumbled upon these quiet thoughtful mysteries set in Post-WWI England.  Maisie, who had served as a very young nurse during the Great War, has now hung out her shingle as a psychologist and investigator.  Quite the combination, isn't it?  Well, Maisie, herself, is a unique combination, as the first novel, which bears her name, reveals.  With a father who works as a vegetable seller, Maisie's modest upbringing and entry into servitude reminds me of the downstairs of Downton Abbey.  When her keen observation skills and compelling intelligence are noticed, and she is given a chance to study, it appears that the lines of class distinction may indeed be erased for Maisie.  More opportunities arise, but then the war arrives. Life after the war in England is a time of great adjustment and change.  

Winspear has wonderfully revealed in this first novel the back story which led to Maisie's education and her relationship with hercherished mentor Maurice at the same time immersing the reader in Maisie's first solo investigative case.  What seems to be a possible infidelity case instead leads Maisie into an investigation of a  remote country refuge for wounded war veterans.

That decade of great social change that followed Great Britain's painful sacrifices of WWI must continue to interest readers as shown by Winspear's successful series which now numbers ten titles.
If you think that the setting may be a little too old fashioned and slow for you, I encourage you to give at least one book a chance.  Good writers always seem to be able to make us think about our own world, no matter what the setting.  Winspear did that for me, with this observation, meant to describe England in 1929, but certainly fitting for today:  ...we only like our heroes out in the street when they are looking their best and their uniforms are 'spit and polished,' and not when they're showing us the wounds they suffered on our behalf. 

I found MAISIE DOBBS through our library system and plan to read more of the series.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolsma

Remember the Lilies Liz Tolsma's two earlier books, SNOW ON THE TULIPS and DAISIES ARE FOREVER, blended war stories told by her family members with just enough fictional details to create stories that captured what life was like for those who lived in the path of Europe's WWII devastation.  When her son encouraged her to write a third novel set in the Pacific arena, Tolsma accepted the challenge.
REMEMBER THE LILIES tells the story of Rand Sterling and Irene Reynolds and their time in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in the Philippines.  Before the war, Rand, the successful owner of two nightclubs, spent his days womanizing and plotting how to increase his business.  Once confined at the camp, his plots change.  One, how to smuggle stores of food to augment the supplies  which were provided by the Red Cross, but often held back by the Japanese.  Two, how to escape the camp so he can visit his servant Armando who has been more than a father than anyone he's known.

It is that planned (and failed) escape that brings Irene and Rand together.  Two people could hardly seem less alike.  Irene, abandoned by her father and mother, was raised by her aunt, a missionary in the jungles of the Philippines. Irene assumes the responsibility of caring for her aunt, now blind and emaciated from malnutrition, spends hours with the orphaned children within the camp, but still must work assigned hours for the Japanese as a censor of messages sent to the American speaking detainees.  When she reads a message meant for Rand, she censors the last few words, thinking she has not deleted anything of importance.  Later, when she rethinks the message, she is sure he must hear it in its entirety, so she risks her own safety to tell him the blackened words.  


REMEMBER THE LILIES, like Tolsma's first novels, shows that it was not only the soldiers on the battlefields who suffered in World War II.  She also shows that perseverance and courage were not the sole domain of generals or officers. I really enjoyed her realistic portrayal of Rand and Irene. Irene, who professed a strong faith, found she really struggled when asked to forgive others. Rand, who had always put himself and his luxurious lifestyle first, finds within the restrictions and cruelty of the camp, a better way to be.

I received a copy of REMEMBER THE LILIES by Liz Tolsma for review purposes from LITFUSE PUBLICITY.  Thank you.  It is always great to promote the work of a talented writer from Wisconsin.

You can go here for information about winning a Kindle Fire.  
http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/remember-lilies-liz-tolsma

Remember the Lilies

{MORE ABOUT REMEMBER THE LILIES}

Remember the Lilies (Thomas Nelson, February 2015)
Can Irene and Rand stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom?
Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor’s office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s drawn into a web of secrets and danger.
Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends. But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till—and has news that could threaten Rand’s reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.
When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness—if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.
Liz Tolsma

{MORE ABOUT LIZ TOLSMA}

“New York Times” best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of “Daisies are Forever,” “Snow on the Tulips,” and the contributing author of “A Log Cabin Christmas.” When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.
Find out more about Liz at http://www.liztolsma.com.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

WHERE RIVERS PART by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Juliet Ryan knows that she has let her strained relationship with her father color most of her adult life. Refusing to forgive mistakes he has made, Juliet stays as distant as she can, fully knowing that her decisions hurt her mother.  To add to the friction, both Juliet and her father have risen to places of national recognition in their careers as scientists in the food safety arena.  When Juliet chooses to take a position within the corporate world, her father is quick to criticize her decision, citing industry's pattern to take shortcuts and place profit over safety.  Juliet takes another view, knowing that policies and procedures put in place by scientists like herself can keep the public safe.

When an e-coli outbreak hits the community of San Antonio, Juliet never believes she or the bottled water company she works for will be involved, especially since she has recently instituted even more rigorous protocols.  Soon, in the midst of a complicated subterfuge, Juliet will realize that the only person she can trust is her father.

I think that Kellie Coates Gilbert is ready to take a spot among the best Christian legal suspense writers. Her characters are well drawn, she manages to keep readers on edge throughout, yet there is a realism that can be lacking in suspense books.  This book reads like a Grisham novel with a message.   I love this description from late in the book; it is Juliet's wake up moment.

She'd entered the lobby doors of Larimar Springs for the first time believing she'd landed a job fit for a queen, never realizing the kingdom was filled with fire-breathing dragons.  Or that she'd walk out months later nearly burned.  She glanced in her rearview mirror, making sure the dragons had turned around to follow her.  p. 265

If you like legal suspense stories, then give Gilbert's latest a chance.  I found it a fast, entertaining read.  Gilbert's personal background as a legal investigator and a trial paralegal brings a realism to her writing.  I received a copy from Revell Reads for review purposes.  All opinions are mine.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Cover ArtA historical fiction book with a librarian as the heroine -- how could any librarian like myself pass up the opportunity to read such a book?  From the first page when I realized that Anna O'Brien worked at not just a library, but THE LIBRARY, The Library of Congress, I knew I would be fascinated by the setting of the book. I was not disappointed.  Miss O'Brien is one of several female librarians given a temporary status  at the library in the late 1890s; her particular specialty is maps.  Within days, the library will leave its quarters in the Congress and move across the street to the grand new building dedicated solely to the library.  Details like the political disagreements over the cost of the new facility, Congress's dependence on the library for pertinent factual information on a daily basis, and the precarious life of a single working woman gave life to this turn of the century Washington D. C. tale.

The young Congressman Luke Callahan from Maine adds intrigue and a hint of scandal.  Clearly his hot head and rash actions cause many of his problems, but his immediate attraction to the quiet,but feisty Anna is not an action he regrets.  Knowing that any hint of impropriety could cost her beloved job, Anna vows to stay away from his charms.  But she suspects a cover up of how her father and the entire crew of his navy ship died fourteen years earlier, and when her attempts to learn the truth are roadblocked, she turns to Luke for help.

Mystery and a smacking of political intrigue with a cover up, a fresh historical setting (one not overdone by others) and a romance between a likable, but flawed pair  --- these elements blend smoothly into a captivating novel which I am sure will remain one of my favorites for 2015.  I believe Elizabeth Camden intended this to be a stand-alone story, but I would love to see Anna back at the Library of Congress helping Congressman Callahan figure what is best for America as the country faces the dawn of the twentieth century.  If you agree, let's tell Camden; perhaps she will craft a sequel.


I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Books for review purposes.  I am scheduled to blog on February 15th, but am posting a few days early.




Travel back in time to the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress inElizabeth Camden’s newest release, Beyond All Dreams. From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for their futures?
Elizabeth is celebrating the release of Beyond All Dreams with a Kindle giveaway and Facebook party on February 17.
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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • One copy of Beyond All Dreams
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 2/17. Winner will be announced at Elizabeth’s 2/17 Beyond All Dreams Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Elizabeth and historical fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!
beyondalldreams-enterbanner
{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

RSVP TODAY AND SPREAD THE WORD—TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY VIA FACEBOOK, TWITTER, OR PINTEREST AND INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 17TH!

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{MORE ABOUT BEYOND ALL DREAMS}

Beyond All Dreams (Bethany House, January 2015)
Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for their futures?
Anna O’Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.
Luke Callahan was one of the nation’s most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress.
From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for their futures?
Elizabeth Camden

{MORE ABOUT ELIZABETH CAMDEN}

Elizabeth Camden is the author of six books and a RITA and Christy Award winner. With a master’s in history and a master’s in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida.
Find out more about Elizabeth athttp://elizabethcamden.com.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Following the family's financial downfall, Abigail Foster has begun to shoulder much of the responsibility that should have been shared by her father and mother. Meanwhile her younger sister, Louisa is set on having her "coming out" and "season," totally denying that the family cannot afford such luxuries.  Really there is little choice, but to allow Louisa to do so, for how else could she catch a husband.  Certainly someone will be attracted by her beauty and will be able to overlook that her dowry has suddenly shrunken.  When a distant and anonymous relative contacts the family about taking up residence at Pembrooke Park, a rural estate that has been mysteriously abandoned for two decades, Abigail encourages her father to investigate.  Within weeks, Abigail finds herself alone at the estate, while her father ties up the sale of their London home, and her sister and mother remain in the city for the social season.  A bare bones staff has been hired, but not all seem friendly, and soon Abigail feels that the property holds more secrets than just the one about its abrupt abandonment.  Then strange letters begin to arrive almost daily.  Each includes a page from a diary obviously written years ago by a child.  Meanwhile Abigail finds herself making friends with the former steward of the property, Gus Chapman; his adult son, currently the local church's curate (pastor); and his sister Leah. Abigail is intrigued by Leah's sheltered, nervous demeanor but it is Curate William's good looks and happy personality that catches most of her thoughts.  Then the budding attraction is stalled by the strange, unannounced arrival of Miles Pembrooke, son to the last Pembrooke to live at the estate.  His secretive past, along with a warming to not allow any Pembrooke on the estate, delivered in a recent letter, puts Abigail on edge.  Soon a former childhood friend (and hopeful suitor) shows up, followed by sister Louisa, who like the beautiful sister in most novels, seems intent on taking away anyone Abigail cares about.

On her website, Klassen says she is writing for all those Regency romance lovers who could not get enough Jane Austen.  In fact, Austen's works are referenced several times in the book, and there is even a female author within the story who writes her own romances under a false name.  Personally, I had a strange reading experience with this 458 page novel.  First, it took me over 175 pages to get into the story.  I senses the typical Gothic plot developing, and while I had not figured out the mysterious secrets of Pembrooke Place, I was not getting pulled into the suspense.  Then suddenly I was and I read quite fast.  The next time I sat down to read, my interest lulled again, but I did want to finish the book.  I felt Klassen had written a good story and I was surprised at my slow pace  Last night I had one of those sleepless nights and finally got up at 1:00, grabbed the book and read the last 150 pages, finally finishing the book at 3:00 a.m.  Surprise after surprise were revealed as the story moved to its conclusion.  Forgiveness, given by grace, not earned, is one of the themes, as well as accepting one's own talents and gifts.  Those readers who love all the little details of Regency life will find plenty to like within these pages.  My favorite part was the genuine relationship between William and Abigail who seemed to be able to set aside all society's little rules of behavior and expectations to see the real people behind the facades.  

I obtained this book from the Winnefox Library System.

  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

The Hardest Peace Book
I first heard about Kara Tippetts's book THE HARDEST PEACE through Facebook.  A former student, a young mother herself, wrote of weeping while alternating between reading the book and hugging her own children.  Still she mentioned gaining such strength from Kara's words and her whole story.
I was fortunate enough to be able to ask David C. Cook Publishing for a review copy of the book for review purposes, and I am so glad they allowed me the chance to learn about Kara's journey and her message for us all.

Kara and her husband believed they were living the dream God had planned for them.  Four healthy children that they loved to the moon and back, the chance to start a new church in Colorado, and a personal love that grew with each new year of marriage.  Then within weeks of moving, Kara found a lump and a new story began -- a story of cancer that spread from her breasts, to her ovaries, to her brain and to the nodes.  Rounds of chemo stole her hair, her energy, and her "pretty."
Radiation and surgery left a myriad of scars.  As the disease progressed, morphed, and became the center of their lives, the question "How will my children live without me?" shouted at her daily, but then her faith allowed her focus to shift.  As Kara says, there was no "pretty" left in her life, but everywhere she looked she sees beauty.  It may be the visit from a congregation member, or a late night embrace from her husband, or the profound love and selflessness she's felt from even her youngest child.  In each tiny moment or grand pronouncement she has chosen to see God.  It is his strength she has chosen to feel and acknowledge, both in the book and at her blog MUNDANE FAITHFULNESS.  When I checked the blog this week, I see guest posts from dear friends she's made along this journey.  Her last posting, just a few days ago, indicate she is weakening.  Her thoughts remind me so much of a brother in law who passed away from leukemia 8 years ago.  She is eloquent in naming and describing the moments of grace and beauty that flicker even in the harshest moments of destructive disease; she's given words to feelings that I am sure my brother in law, his wife, and his daughters felt.  I witnesses moments of that God given strength and grace, but cannot begin to share the impact it had on me and my husband.  I will leave you to read Kara Tippett's THE HARDEST PEACE.  


Note that this is not the typical "disease" memoir.  Kara does not take us through  a chronological
journey of diagnosis, treatment, and family chaos.  From the beginning of the book and continuing throughout she focuses on how living in her weakness she has been able to see and experience life as it should be lived.  Of everything in the book what affected me most was her conscious effort to continue to parent her children, not in the physical realm of everyday care, but in the greater picture of effecting their hearts and their understanding of love, sharing, and caring for others.  She also has prepared her children for her eventual death and helped them to remain to see a loving God in their life story. Thank you to David C, Cook for allowing me to review this book.   


Press release:
Kara Tippetts knows the ordinary days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow ... and the devastating reality of stage-four cancer. In The Hardest Peace, Kara doesn't offer answers for when living is hard, but she asks us to join her in moving away from fear and control and toward peace and grace. Most of all, she draws us back to the God who is with us, in the mundane and the suffering, and who shapes even our pain into beauty.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt

ESTHER_BethanyCoverAngela Hunt has authored over 100 books which span a myriad of genres, but for her latest novel she returns again to the Old Testament.  Having won RITA awards, Christy Awards, and more, Hunt is a well respected and honored author, who doubtlessly feels the pressure to always deliver a book that will again wow readers.  She has delivered just that in ESTHER: ROYAL BEAUTY.  Over the years, I've read several other novelizations of Hadassah's (Esther) story and even watched a movie version.  Each interpretation presented a different perspective and sent me back to the Book of Esther for original details.  I wasn't sure that there was anything new Hunt could present and still stay close to the Biblical version, but I was wrong.  This version is told from two viewpoints and two viewpoints only.  Hadassah who later takes the name Esther to conceal her Jewish identity is a primary narrator.  You might expect Hunt to portray her as a dutiful, quiet Jewish girl, and she is, but she is also a young teen easily intrigued by the showy life of the king and his court.  She and her nonJewish girlfirend fantasize of marrying a prince and living at court.  One gets the flavor of a young modern teen who has been sheltered by loving parents but who feels the pull of what she believes to be a glamorous outside world.  Hunt has done a superb job of developing Hadassah's viewpoint from a wide-eyed child through each step of her life.  The other narrator was Harbonah, an eunuch who was among King Xerxes's closest personal servants; his vantage point allowed the readers to learn about events that Esther would not have witnessed. He has also known Mordecai, Esther's uncle, for years and so he takes special notice of Hadassah when she is brought to the harem quarters, a captive among many.  I found myself enthralled by his own tragic story.  At one point he shares with 
Esther how he was captured as a boy, and along with more than one hundred others, castrated.  As he explains royalty felt that without their manhood, the boys would react like loyal pets, never entertaining thoughts of jealousy, betrayal, or seduction., palace life will take on yet another dark undertone.  While Harbonah clearly understands the cruelty done to him, he acknowledges to Esther, that had he not been captured, he would have been dead within months from starvation.  Having Harbonah as a narrator we have someone who sees all aspects of King Xerxes-- his military efforts and failures, his dark inner broodings, his extravagant gestures, and the constrictions forced on him by the duties as king. 

I highly recommend Angela Hunt's ESTHER: ROYAL BEAUTY; I foresee accolades and awards for this title. I want to thank FAMILY CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORES and NETGALLEY for providing me with a review copy of this title.  All opinions are mine. 





Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock

THE MOONLIGHTERS SERIES which began with the action packed TRUTH STAINED LIES, then continued its gripping story of the Cramer family in
DISTORTION will conclude in Terri Blackstock's latest novel TWISTED INNOCENCE.  Terri Blackstock was among the first Christian authors I read and most certainly the first author of Christian suspense I read.  More than a decade later, I find each new series better than the previous.  In TWISTED INNOCENCE, Holly, the youngest sister of the Cramer family, is trying to juggle a new and better life -- single parenthood, a night job driving taxi, and her second job dabbling as a private investigator.  All that means she relies heavily on her two sisters who both have complicated lives - one who is still reeling from the aftermath of her husband's secret life, and the other, Kathy, a lawyer is intent on freeing her fiancee from an unjust prison sentence.  While they are glad that Holly seems to be putting her wildchild behind her, even while keeping the pink hair, they wonder why Holly has never shared the paternity of her four week old daughter.  When Holly is visited by a pair of police officers who are looking for the baby's father in connection to a drug killing, Holly is at first glad that no one in the family knows the father's identity, but quickly concludes she must find him and learn the truth about the killing.  Like all of Blackstock's tales, there is a faith thread throughout. In this series, all three sisters struggle with personal faith, partly because their father, a pastor, demanded perfection from his children but hid his own life of infidelity and lies. Now powerless and suffering from dementia their father remains an unresovled stumbling block, especially to Holly. Readers might question why include a four week old baby in a suspense story, but the little one's
presence is all about her innocence and how the choices others make determine how that innocence
changes.

I am so glad that all three novels in THE MOONLIGHTER SERIES are now published.  I highly recommend these books if you like fast action contemporary stories, ones packed with suspense.  Get all three books at once because there are unresolved cliff hangers in the first two books,  and if you are like me, the suspense will demand that you move forward to find out how it all settles out for the Cramer family. Blackstock has done a commendable job of focusing each novel on a different sister while keeping the stories so intertwined that you really need to read all three (and  will want to).

I received a prepublication ecopy of TWISTED INNOCENCE from NETGALLEY for review purposes.  All opinions are mine.

I don't normally promote one book outlet over another, but in posting a copy of this review to Barnes and Noble, I noticed that an e-copy of all three MOONLIGHTER books will be soon available for only $12.99.  That's a good deal.  Would imagine that Amazon will be competitive.  Of course, remember that paperback copies of the book can easily be shared and passed on to others!  I just heard through my daughter that her area library has noticed a drop in books being donated for their fund raising book sales.  Possible reason?  Too many people only buying ebooks which we all know cannot be donated.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

THE CASE OF THE JEWEL COVERED CAT STATUES BY CINDY VINCENT

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"Holy Mackerel! Holy Catnip!"  Two mystery solving cats are on the loose!  Told from the viewpoint
of Buckley Bergdorf, the younger and less experienced of the two cats, THE CASE OF THE JEWEL COVERED CAT STATUES is a light hearted, cozy mystery which will call upon readers to suspend all aspects of reality.  How else will  you be able to accept cats that use computers and hide wrapped packages?

This book is not identified as children's lit, but it certainly could be read by any cat-loving, mystery seeker.  Fourth graders I've known usually like simple mysteries and would go for the far-fetched cat antics.  Dyed in the wool (or is it dyed in the fur) cat lovers of all ages may like this light toned tale, as I believe many cat lovers actually know that their own cats are doing important behind the scenes work in their homes and communities while their owners sleep and carry on the their daily lives.
Each chapter begins and ends with a "Holy Mackerel" or a "Holy Catnip" and the two phrases are sprinkled liberally within each short chapter also, making their use slightly overdone for my tastes.  However I did enjoy the underlying thread of caring for rescued and special needs cats.

I've heard (actually previewed) a Super Bowl commercial featuring an adorable lab puppy and the Budweiser Clydesdales.  If your imagination takes you into that story, then maybe THE CASE OF THE JEWEL COVERED CAT STATUES is for you.  Clearly Cindy Vincent enjoys writing this series and should continue.  Besides writing this series, Vincent also writes a detective games series for girls.    I received a copy from LitFuse for my honest review.