Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“The Case of the Missing Library Book”, Authored by Me!

Normally technology works well. And our county’s public library system is great with a wonderful on-line catalog system you can use to easily request items.

But this week there was a snafu that nobody was able to explain.

I usually drive to a library branch a few miles from our home. I like going to the library as they always have a ‘cheap cart’ containing books, CD’s and/or DVD’s for sale with the proceeds going back to the library. (Often I’ll buy something, read it and donate it back to the library again).

Our county library also has something called a Bookmobile that is like a converted city bus containing library items. Each week on a given day, the Bookmobile is at a designated spot around town. For us it’s each Tuesday from 4:30 to 5:30PM, and it’s an easy walk from our house, just a couple of blocks.

So as the weather has been great this March, I thought I’d request several items from the Bookmobile. To do that you just change a drop-down box on the computer form to indicate pickup at the Bookmobile.

But when I got to the Bookmobile, my items weren’t there. The librarian apologized and said she wasn’t sure what happened. She thought that since I registered at the brick & mortar library branch, my items were probably there. (But I registered over a year ago)....

I called the brick & mortar library branch today, all ready to drive over there and pick up my items. However nothing is there for me. Again, the librarian apologized and said the items should be on the Bookmobile.

Confused - going in circles...where’s my stuff?

I’m pretty disappointed since I requested a book about a fantastic female-sleuth that I’m anxious to start reading and blogging about. I guess I’ll have to wait awhile yet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Done with “Through the Grinder” by Cleo Coyle

When Clare Cosi puts coffee beans through the coffee grinder, the bean is chopped into many tiny bits. Sometimes Clare feels like this is happening to her.

This book is well written and the ending was a complete surprise. I love it when that happens. There is nothing worse than figuring out ‘who done it’ long before you reach the end of a book, in my opinion. It makes for a very dull read.

Since this book is set in New York City, you get a lot of information about the city’s history and architecture. For example you find out about SoHo, the shortened name of a neighborhood in lower Manhattan SOuth of HOuston Street.

One part of the book I did not enjoy was when Clare’s sleuthing takes her to an art gallery called Death Row. Take a guess as to what kind of art is sold in this gallery. Before you go there, you need to have a shot of expresso. And author Coyle gives you some great recipes just for the occasion.

One thing I didn’t know is that you can use coffee to tenderize a steak by marinating it overnight, and there is a recipe in the book for how to do this. There are also tips for storing coffee to preserve it’s flavor.

I think I need to make myself a cup of coffee right now!

You can buy the book here:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another Detective Is On the Case

Re: “Through the Grinder” by Cleo Coyle

Clare’s ‘Mr. Right’ has a name. It’s Bruce Bowman. They have been seeing each other and sparks are starting to fly.

But police Detective Mike Quinn thinks that Bruce is involved in the suspicious deaths of young women who have been to Clare’s Cappuccino Connection gatherings at the Village Blend coffeehouse. Quinn goes so far as to tell Clare to stay away from Bruce.

Clare likes and respects Quinn but wonders if his feelings for her are getting in the way of his being able to think objectively. After all, Clare and Quinn have been flirting with each other and he’s told her his marriage is on the rocks. Now she wonders if Quinn is jealous of her involvement with Bruce? As such she is determined to find some clues for herself as to Bruce’s guilt or innocence. So she puts herself on the case.

When she goes to Bruce’s house, she finds a way to access his computer, log in and read his emails while he is asleep. After doing so she’s convinced herself that he is not the killer.

But the question remains: who is?

(Stay tuned for more posts about this book)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Something Doesn’t Sit Right

Re: “Through the Grinder” by Cleo Coyle

Clare and Detective Mike Quinn of the Sixth Precinct are friends. There is chemistry between them, although he is married and has two children.

So when two twenty-something year old women commit suicide, one by leaping in front of an oncoming train, and the other by jumping from the top of her building, Quinn comes to the Blend to investigate. Both young women were customers and died within weeks of each other. Clare doesn’t know much about either one since they have hundreds of customers visiting the Blend. Of course she is saddened to hear what happened.

Later Quinn tells Clare in private that he thinks something doesn’t sit right with these suicides. After searching their apartments and reviewing the cases, he thinks there might be more to it.

Like maybe these girls were murdered.

(Stay tuned for more posts about this book)

Friday, March 12, 2010

“Through the Grinder” by Cleo Coyle

This is the 2nd book in the Coffeehouse mystery series featuring female-sleuth Clare Cosi. Clare, who some say has coffee in her veins, is the manager of the historic Village Blend coffeehouse in Manhattan. Over the years the Blend has served coffee to famous artists, actors, playwrights, poets and musicians, as well as ‘ordinary folk’ - local workers, shoppers, students and visiting tourists.

These days the Blend is even getting involved in the local matchmaking scene. They are hosting something they call the “Cappuccino Connection”. As part of an outreach program for a local church, it’s a way for singles to meet other singles and make a connection over a cappuccino. Clare likes it because it brings in business for the coffeehouse.

The rules are everyone must make three connections. The ladies are seated at tables and the guys have five minutes to chat with them before they get up and move on to the next lady at the next table. (Sounds kinda like musical chairs, in a way). If they feel they’ve made a connection, they agree to meet again for a date.

Clare is not thrilled when her 20-year old daughter, Joy announces her intention of attending the next “Cappuccino Connection” night. So Clare decides she’s going to check it out to see what happens and secretly screen the men for Joy.

When you have 20 men you are meeting for five minutes apiece, it’s got to be tough to keep track of who is who. So Clare decides to take out her note-pad and write labels for each guy. Just like she used to when she helped her grandmother can fruits and vegetables each summer! She meets Mr. Slick, Mr. Jock, Mr. Freeloader, Mr. Wall Street, Mr. Superficial Artsy and Mr. Weirdly Intense Painter. Among others.

In the process, Clare is very surprised to find she makes a connection for herself. So what does she write in her note-pad for this guy? Mr. Right.

(Stay tuned for more posts about this book)

Friday, March 5, 2010

“High Five” by Janet Evanovich

It always takes me awhile to get back in the swing of things after a vacation. So finally, here is my blog post.

“High Five” is a re-read for me. I figure a Janet Evanovich book is pretty light-weight reading and would be good for vacation. I think this is one of the better books in the series.

This book finds bounty-hunter Stephanie Plum searching for her lost uncle, not as part of her bounty-hunter duties but because her family asks her to look into his disappearance. She says she’s not a detective and they should go to the police, but they specifically want her help. So she does and starts unraveling the clues as to what happened to him. She also attracts some unwanted attention in the meantime.

To earn a living, she goes after a few FTA’s (Failure to Appear) and continues her reputation as the ‘bounty hunter from hell’. She is a constant source of amusement to the police due to her unorthodox take-down methods.

This book finds her after a little person. She eventually hauls him in, but only after she breaks down his door (well, shoots it actually) and they fight while tumbling down the stairs. After he goes back to his apartment, he finds it’s been ransacked so he moves in with Stephanie temporarily. It’s either that, or sue her.

She is also being harassed by the former boxer, now turned wack-job Benito Ramirez. He first appeared in “One for the Money”. He’s out on parole and wants her to see what it will be like to be with a ‘real man’. Then he wants to bring her to God. Scary stuff.

Plus her relationship with her mentor, super bounty hunter Ranger turns into something more than just work as they become more attracted to each other. He puts her on the payroll of his company, gives her some work and provides her with company cars. Somehow she always manages to lose or demolish the cars.

It’s all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum.

You can buy the book here: