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"Murder of a Snake in the Grass" Denise Swanson

Another great Skye Denison cozy. My favorite 'definition' of a cozy is one I found on Elizabeth Ludwig's blog:

"To sum up, a cozy mystery is a story with a small town feel. It involves quirky characters and an amatuer sleuth. The crime usually occurs "off stage" and it is void of the violence and gore that might be found in other genres. While an element of danger does exist, it is not the driving force behind the story. Best of all, there are plenty of clues and red herrings the reader has to sort through in order to solve the crime!"

Skye is a school psychologist in a small town in Illinois, her home town. "Snake in the Grass" is #4 in a series of (so far) 10 books. In this one Skye is still struggling to sort out her feelings for Simon and Wally. To make matters worse her ex-fiance, Luc, shows up in town hoping to win her back after he left her 2 1/2 years ago. Then when Luc becomes a murder suspect... well, I'm not going to give it away. =) I have read books 1-3 and that helps to understand some of the relationships, but I don't think it is necessary to read them all in order. Denise Swanson does a wonderful job of adding just enough background so that someone who just jumped in wouldn't feel lost. This is one of my favorite cozy series'.

"Skye Denison and the rest of Scumble River is celebrating it's bicentennial in style-with reenactments, a bingo tent, and a coal-tossing contest. Best of all, the guest of honor is the town founder's great-great-grandnephew, Gabriel Scumble. But his visit turns out to be short-lived when he is found dead. The murder weapon: a pickax."

I've now moved on to "Heart-Shaped Box" by Joe Hill.

and the winner is...

Joe Hill's "Heart-Shaped Box" is what I will dive into after "Murder of a Snake in the Grass" by Denise Swanson.

What are you reading? Send me an e-mail (you can find it at the left under the I Love E-Mail picture). Don't forget to add that address to your contacts!

Also you may have noticed a change in my layout. What do you think?

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being" Milan Kundera

Ok, here I am with a finished book and no idea what to say about it. "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" was interesting. I'm sure I should have gotten more out of it than I did. What I did get out of it was this: things happen. Maybe not the way we want them to or the way that we think we want them to, but they do happen. Tomas and Tereza's relationship is a strained one. He sees her as fragile, she sees him as a brute, but they love and care for each other very much. Sabina and Franz's relationship is filled with misunderstandings. They each think they know the other so well. Their lack of open, honest communication leads to one sad event after another.

The book delves deeply into these 2 relationships as well as 2 others (Tomas/Sabina & Franz/Marie-Claude). Though really there is also Tomas and Tereza's (separate) relationships with their dog, Karenin. If anyone reading this can help me understand this book better, please e-mail me (kylee (dot) books (at) gmail (dot) com). I think I'll hang on to this one for awhile, maybe re-read it. SparkNotes


A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing; one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover -- these are the two couples whose story is told in this masterful novel. In a world in which lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and by fortuitous events, a world in which everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence, we feel "the unbearable lightness of being" not only as the consequence of our pristine actions but also in the public sphere, and the two inevitably intertwine.

Next up: "Murder Of A Snake In The Grass (Scumble River, Bk 4)" by Denise Swanson

Then: The Poll Winner!

This book was also reviewed:

  • at My Own Little Reading Room

What Should I Read Next

I put in a list of some of my favorite books (4 or 5 stars) from this year into this website. Here is my top 10 list from them.

  1. A Married Man - Catherine Alliott
  2. The Other Side of The Story - Marian Keyes
  3. The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls
  4. The Fourth Hand - John Irving
  5. The Whistling Season - Ivan Doig
  6. In the Company of the Courtesan - Sarah Dunant
  7. Summer Light - Luanne Rice
  8. The Passion of Artemisia - Susan Vreeland
  9. While I Was Gone - Sue Miller
  10. What the Dead Know: A Novel - Laura Lippman

"Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund" Blaize Clement

This is #2 in the Dixie Hemingway series by Blaize Clement. I really enjoy the plot of both books, but they are not the cozy mysteries that you might think from the cute covers and catchy titles. Way too much blood/gore and swearing to be considered a cozy. I'm not squeamish (I've been reading Stephen King since I was 13), I just don't want anyone to think these are 'cutsie' when they aren't.

In this one Dixie's life is in danger more so than in the first book. She begins to consider opening her heart to someone, technically two someones. I read this one in just 2 days it had me sucked in from Chapter One. We learn more about Dixie and her brother Michaels' life as children. I have book #3 on my Wishlist and I hope it gets posted soon.


Everybody who loves dachshunds knows about their adventurous streak. So when Mame, the elderly dachshund in Dixie Hemingway’s care, gets away from her to investigate a mound of mulch, Dixie isn’t surprised. What the dachshund digs up, however, is not only a surprise but a trigger for a whole new pile of jolting events that puts Dixie at the center of a hunt for a psychopathic killer—someone who fears Dixie saw him leaving the scene of a brutal murder. In the lovely seaside community of Sarasota, Florida, another desperate chase to collar a criminal is about to begin…

Next up: "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" Milan Kundera

"A Widow for One Year" John Irving

The main theme of "A Widow for One Year" by John Irving is (in my opinion) is family and how it can influence your decisions later on in life. Depending on how your raised, who does the raising we tend to make different choices. Whether it's trying to prove to your father that you are better than him or purposefully not living up to your parents' expectations.

For me this book was a little slow to get started, but after Ruth grows up is when I really got hooked in. Though to be fair I was reading this only at night for the first 100 or so pages, that may very well have contributed to the delay in getting into the book. I was impressed by all of the twists that one characters' life can take and still be believable. I read the last 150 pages in only a few days. I had to know what happened next for Ruth, Eddie and Harry. The ending is perfect.

Interview with the author.

From the Publisher:

"Ruth Cole is a complex, often self-contradictory character--a "difficult" woman. By no means is she conventionally "nice," but she will never be forgotten.

Ruth's story is told in three parts, each focusing on a crucial time in her life. When we first meet her--on Long Island, in the summer of 1958--Ruth is only four.

The second window into Ruth's life opens in the fall of 1990, when Ruth is an unmarried woman whose personal life is not nearly as successful as her literary career. She distrusts her judgment in men, for good reason.

A Widow for One Year closes in the autumn of 1995, when Ruth Cole is a forty-one-year-old widow and mother. She's about to fall in love for the first time.

Richly comic, as well as deeply disturbing A Widow for One Year is a multi-layered love story of astonishing emotional force. Both ribald and erotic, it is also a brilliant novel about the passage of time and the relentlessness of grief."

"Hearts Never Lie" Patricia Pickett

Reviewed by Kylee Pierce for Amateur de Livre March/2008

Caesar & Mariposa

At its center "Hearts Never Lie" by Patricia Pickett is a love story. The love story is layered with street slang and talk about drugs and murder, but the love is definitely there. Mariposa Soto has crushed on Caesar Simpson for most of her life. Caesar is 4 years older than Mariposa. He is also the best friend of her older cousin, Coffee, which makes both of them off-limits to the other. Mariposa was raised primarily by her maternal grandparents since the age of 7. "Butterfly's" mother was always off looking for the man that would complete her; she had no time for raising her daughter like a mother should. Caesar pretty much raised himself and his younger brother. Caesar's mom was absent in a different way, drugs.

I really enjoyed this book. I related to Mariposa’s struggle as a single mom, trying to make her way in the world while still being a 20-something woman. I would recommend this to any reader of women’s fiction, 16+. To the author I would like to mention two things. 1) There are some pretty distracting editing issues (quote marks are off, some new paragraphs and dialogue were not tabbed). 2) I would love to read a part two to their story.

My favorite part was Butterfly finding the will to stand up to Manny (I actually cringed away from the page when… you’ll have to read “Hearts Never Lie” to find out.

Interview with the author.

from the back:
Mariposa Sota knows all too well the pain of dreams deferred. Whether dealing with the disappointment of being abandoned by her daughter's father, working tirelessly at a dead-end job only to lose it, or watching helplessly as those she loves the most fall victim to the same streets they are all trying to escape, one thing is clear to Mariposa: Whenever she puts her all into something heartbreak is sure to follow. For Caesar Simpson life had always been lived behind the eightball. The firstborn child to an absentee father and drug-addicted mother, Caesar is the only real parent his younger siblings knew. With the love of his homies and an unbridled love for 'the life' Caesar maintained despite hardship. After a five year prison term he's back in Denver and is intent on living right. When Caesar runs into Mariposa, the beautiful woman that had somehow blossomed from the silly little girl that use to follow him around neighborhood, he knew he had found the only good thing that life would ever show him. Problem is, she is his best homies little cousin which makes her off-limits. Despite his efforts, Caesar can't help loving her. For Mariposa the return of her first crush, a man she has loved all her life, makes her more vulnerable than ever. They say hearts never lie, but people do. Will heartbreak, pain and death keep them apart or will their feelings for one another rise above all else?

"Vampire Apocalypse: A World Torn Asunder" Derek Gunn

Reviewed by Kylee Pierce for Amateur de Livre March/2008

An Enthralling Vampire Novel

As you might gather from the title, “Vampire Apocalypse: A World Torn Asunder” by Derek Gunn is about humans trying to defeated a society of vampires and their thralls. Thralls are “humans who have been bitten, but not yet crossed over, and whose inhuman lusts make daylight as terrifying as night.” This book will capture the interest of any reader who enjoys occult/fantasy/vampire genres. I was hooked from the Prologue.

One of my favorite parts was the humans attempt to get supplies and survivors from the Vampire city. Their timing needs to be perfect, while the vampires are at the end of their shift and (hopefully) tired. “Group Nero, spread out across the green, used the trees for cover. The darkness was still dense enough to cover their approach, but the first tendrils of dawn were already beginning to make their presence felt on the horizon.”

My only issue with this book is the author should decide if his protagonist is named John Harris (like on the back of the book) or Peter Harris (as he’s called in the book itself). This book was a very thrilling read. I could only read it during the day though; it gave me a nightmare the first night. I will be looking for more by Derek Gunn in the future.

from the back:
The war is over and the Vampires have won. The drying up of the world's oil resources leads to the fabled End of Days. Technology stagnates and communities grow ever more insular. With communication between cities lost and attention turned inward, the vampires rise from the shadows where they have survived for centuries and sweep across the globe. By the time word spreads it is far too late and Vampires enslave humanity and keep them in walled cities to breed. The Vampires are masters of the darkness but maintain control by day through the use of Thralls--humans who have been bitten but have not yet crossed over, and whose inhuman lusts make daylight as terrifying as night. In the midst of chaos, a small band of rebels lead a terrified existence, but their survival is threatened by the Vampire's new scanning procedures. John Harris is an ordinary man. Young and reckless, he is frustrated with the group's stagnation and pushes for one more daring mission. His recklessness has exposed the group--but it has also increased the size of their community. Now, as circumstances force them to take the offensive, and accompanied by a small group of professional Vampire assassins, John will make one last stand for humanity's survival in the Vampire Apocalypse."