Thursday, August 27, 2020

Review: Fatal Roots

 Fatal Roots (County Cork #8)

Fatal Roots

Sheila Connolly

Maura Donovan is busy trying to manage her pub in the Irish village of Leap. Her estranged mother has just returned from Chicago with Maura's half-sister, Susan, in tow. It's the first time Maura and Susan have met, and Maura's hoping Susan will be able to spend some time in the pub while her mother tends to her business dealings in Cork. At the same time, three graduate students arrive at Maura's cottage, looking for fairy forts. Maura doesn't know anything about these prehistoric sites, but it appears she owns the land where at least one fort exists. When one of the students disappears without a trace, Maura and her friend Mick decide to take a look around the fort. That's when they find a decade's old body, which might hold some clues to Maura's past.

Although I felt this one started a bit slowly, it did get better the further I got into the story. The best thing about Connolly's writing is that she can make the reader feel like they are just as much a part of the community in her book as the characters she creates. This is a cozy and charming mystery. Fans of this series will feel like they've returned home to reconnect with old friends.

This review was written by me for City Book Review.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Review: His Only Wife

 His Only Wife

His Only Wife

Peace Adzo Medie

Afi Tekpie is a young woman living in a small village in Ghana. She works as a seamstress with dreams of a better life. When she gets a proposal from the wealthy Ganyo family to marry the youngest son Elikem, she knows this will change her life, and she's looking forward to the wedding and the chance to live in the capital city of Accra. The traditional marriage is arranged but, to her disappointment Elikem doesn't appear. His older brother Richard stands in.

Nevertheless, Afi moves to Accra to a modern luxury apartment, hoping to get to know her new husband. When he doesn't come to her immediately, she begins to wonder what's going on. Then she learns of the other woman. The Ganyo family has been hoping that the marriage of Afi to Elikem will be the end of Elikem's fascination with a Liberian woman the family can not abide. They encourage Afi to stick with her man and win him over.

If only life were so simple. In fact, for Afi, it's becoming more and more complicated. And Elikem wants to have his cake and eat it too but, where does that leave Afi? She has to learn to stand on her own and make tough decisions if she wants to have the life she's always dreamed of having.

His Only Wife is a marvelous tale of a woman striving to find her place in the modern world. She is torn between her personal desires, family connections, community obligations and expectations, all of which ultimately make her more determined to forge her own path. The author writes with humor and passion, making this a book I didn't want to end. I'm hoping this isn't the end for Afi because I would love to find out what happens next to this fascinating and endearing character.

Thanks to Library Thing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Review: Better Homes and Corpses

Better Homes and Corpses (Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery, #1)

Better Homes and Corpses

Kathleen Bridge

Meg Bartlett recently moved to the Hamptons to get away from fiance Micheal, who cheated on her with his ex-wife. Meg has started a new interior design company and has been asked to help a former college roommate's mother clear out an attic. And it's not just any attic. The Spenser family are well known for their antiques and wealthy lifestyle. But when Meg arrives, she finds the matriarch Catherine dead in the arms of her daughter Jillian.

Meg agrees to help her friend Elle inventory the contents of the house for an insurance company. She soon discovers family secrets and missing furniture. And to top it all, Jillian seems to be in danger from a murderer no one seems able to catch. If only Meg could find out who killed Caroline before she gets in over her head.

Better Homes and Corpses is a fun, cozy mystery, full of twists and turns. It also has a main character who has a lot of spunk and determination. This is a good mystery for a lazy afternoon.


Monday, August 17, 2020

Review: The Year 1000

 The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World—and Globalization Began

The Year 1000

Valerie Hansen

In The Year 1000, Yale University historian Valerie Hansen argues that trade increased in numerous regions throughout the world around the year 1000 due to surplus agricultural production. This increased production allowed some people to stop farming and produce goods for markets. They were then able to become merchants who traveled old and new trade routes near and far to exchange not only physical products but also information and ideas, making the world more connected at that time than we might at first assume. Each chapter in the book focuses on a different region of the world, ranging from the Viking invasion of Greenland, and their travels to North America to China, which by 1000 had flourishing trade routes and a considerable population.

This book is perfect for historians and history buffs alike. It clearly shows us that globalization is nothing new. Humans have been exchanging ideas and goods that have shaped the world in numerous exciting and interesting ways throughout the past. The information the author presents in this work might make readers look at the world in a whole new light once they see what was happening around the globe in the year 1000.

This review was written by me for City Book Review.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Review: The Second-Worst Restaurant in France

 The Second-Worst Restaurant in France (Paul Stuart #2)

The Second-Worst Restaurant in France

Alexander McCall Smith

Cookbook writer Paul Stuart has plans to write a book entitled The Philosophy of Food at home in Edinburgh, but after a breakup with his girlfriend and editor Gloria, he gets a chance to accompany his cousin Chloe to France. Surely the change of scenery will spur him to finish his manuscript - at least that is what he's hoping. But that's before Paul discovers the second-worst restaurant in France, right in the village where he is staying. As he and Chloe become more entangled in the lives of the villagers, Paul is encouraged to give Claude, the owner of the restaurant, some cooking advice. But will he heed the advice and improve the cuisine on offer?

Alexander McCall Smith has a brilliant knack for creating the most amazing characters who have so much to say, from the mundane to the extraordinary. Witty, wise, and perhaps a little mysterious, Paul and Chloe are fantastic characters.

There is nothing better, in my opinion, than getting lost in one of McCall Smith's fascinating stories. I think fans will be thrilled with this Paul Stuart novel, the second installment in this series.

This review was originally written by me for City Book Review.