Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Edison Effect: An Electrifying New Novel by Bernadette Pajer

The Edison EffectThe Edison Effect

By Bernadette Pajer

242 pages

Professor Benjamin Bradshaw is back in Pajer’s fourth book in her popular mystery series. The Edison Effect is set in Seattle Washington, during the 1903 Christmas Season. Not many of us remember Christmas trees without lights on them. I am of a certain age that used to have big lights on the tree that got so hot you could only leave them on for a short time. Now we can choose LED lights, strings of one color, twinkling, dripping and flashing lights.

In the early 1900’s Edison was just introducing them for the holiday season. Unfortunately, an electrician at one of the most popular department stores in Seattle is found dead with a strand of them in his hands. It is soon apparent that his demise was brought about by touching bare wires while the current was still on. Foul play was suspected so Professor Bradshaw, a respected investigator that helped the local police whenever electricity was involved in a case, was called in to help.

It appears that the corpse has more in common with Edison than dying by his new invention. It appears that both of them are hunting for the invention that was tossed overboard in Pajer’s first novel in the series, A Spark of Death.  The search for this box has consumed many in the area, some of whom are willing to lie, cheat, steal and possibly kill to see what it holds. Certainly Edison would not stoop so low, but he really comes across as a ruthless business man, with an aggressive lawyer who is willing to sue anyone at the drop of a hat.

Bradshaw quickly finds out the dead man has more enemies than friends. It seems almost everyone close to the case could be the killer. The complexity of the case has Bradshaw going to great lengths, pushing himself past his comfort level in order to track down the truth.

While all of this is going on, Professor Bradshaw’s in the middle of a moral dilemma. Missouri, the woman he loves, is studying homeopathic medicine, is younger than him and does not agree with the doctrine of the Catholic Church. He loves her with all his heart and his young son adores her. But how can he marry a woman with beliefs so vastly different from his?

The Edison Effect is deceptively complex. It has many layers and plot lines that intersect, wrap around each other and end up perfectly tied to each other in the end. Much like the other books in this series, history, science and everyday life in the early 1900’s is beautifully added to the novel. I love books that teach me something while I am enjoying a fictional novel. Once again, Pajer’s novel has been “reviewed and approved for science” by the Washington Academy of Sciences. This is a really fun way to learn more about the science of things we take for granted in our lives today.

Capacity-for-Murder-by-Bernadette-PajerI would really recommend reading the first three books in this series. I have only read the third and fourth books starting with Capacity for Murder (read my review here: ) before reading this book. The Edison Effect  as well as Capacity for Murder work perfectly well as a stand-alone novels, but book four relies heavily on the story line from the first book of the series, A Spark of Death. My suggestion would be reading them in order. You don’t want to know who the killer is in book one, and you will if you read The Edison Effect first.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.


Filed under Book Review, Edison, Mystery, Science

WIP Wednesday

I’ve been busy working on baby hats for the NICU unit this past month.  My girlfriend is going to see her sister next week, so I wanted to have some hats completed for her.



Here are most of the completed hats. I try and make different sizes and some for boys, girls or unisex hats.

DSC_0070The baby bear hats are one of my favorites. The color in the picture above is the actual yarn color, but this picture shows more of what they would look like on the little one’s heads. The yarn is super soft Bernat Pipsqueak. It is machine wash and dry because new mom’s don’t have time to handwash clothes 🙂


I made a few with hearts because Valentine’s Day is coming up soon.
DSC_0066 DSC_0065 DSC_0064


And a made a few plain hats and girlie hats. Each one takes less than an hour to make.

DSC_0076_01 DSC_0065_01DSC_0083_01

It is a great way to put good use to your stash (you know you have bits of yarn left from other projects just crying out to you. There are ones of free patterns on Ravelry and other places on the internet. After you make a few, it is easy to follow the basic shape and create your own patterns.

Next month I will have a bunch of bunny hats ready to sent to the NICU unit for Easter Morning. I have a bag of ears done and a few of the actual hats already.

Project updates:

My sweater is still as it was – sleeveless.

I’ve finished the baby blanket for the gal at work. She chose the colors, I used my go to crochet pattern from Bev’s Country Cottage, Baby Shells. It is quick, easy and always turns out well. Again I went with an acrylic yarn, Knit Picks Brava worsted for easy cleaning.

Bennie's baby blanket 2

Bennie's baby blanket


Filed under Charity, Crafts, Crocheting, Knitting

Neurotic November – Crazy Characters Create Chaos!

Neurotic NovemberNeurotic-November-Cover

By Barbara Levenson

310 pages

Neurotic November is the fourth book in Barbara Levenson’s Mary Magruder Katz Mystery series. Mary is rebuilding her law practice upon her return to Florida after spending a month in Vermont due to a misunderstanding with her boyfriend, Carlos. They have patched things up and all should be right in her world.

Unfortunately, her troubles are multiplying like rabbits. First, her father’s heart problm has landed him in a Miami hospital. Her mom confesses she hates the retirement community they live in and wants to move back to be closer to friends and family.

Carlo’s father is in legal trouble because he is on the board of a bank that is being investigated by the feds. Mary has agreed to take the case, but he keeps going against her advice because he is used to taking care of his own problems. This time he is most likely in way over his head.

Family problems are nothing compared to her paralegal Caroline’s troubles. Her no good ex-husband is found dead on Caroline’s doorstep within days of an altercation that involved Marco, her fiancé. Mary is fighting to free Marco after he is arrested for the murder.

Then there is Jay Lincoln. He is a University of Miami star quarterback that has been accused of raping a high school girl. He claims he didn’t know she was so young, but evidence is stacking up against him. The original lawyer his family hired wants him to accept a plea bargain, but Mary is convinced things are not what they seem. Regrettably for her, the original lawyer on the case is her ex-boyfriend, creating even more complications in her cluttered life.

Like real life, when it rains it pours and Mary has a flood of troubles. Lucky for readers, this makes for a fast paced fun book with eccentric personalities that are easy to like and identify with as friends, co-workers and family in our lives

Levenson’s style of short chapters and quick action makes me read just one more chapter until I’ve read another 50 pages because I can’t put it down. This is the third book I’ve read in her series. They are the second and third mysteries, Justice in June and Outrageous October.


Check out those reviews here: and

This works as a stand-alone novel, there is enough backstory filled in, but not too much to keep readers from being confused. There is a “cast of characters” list at the beginning of the book that would help new readers figure out who is who at a glance. Fans of Janet Evanovich will love this series – give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under Barbara Levenson, Book Review, books, Mary Magruder Katz Mystery, Mystery, poisoned pen press

Fantastical Tales of Bears, Beer and Hemophlilia: Eyes of a Child/Wisdom of an Adult

Fantastical Tales of Bears, Beer and HemophiliaFantastical

By Marija Bulatovic

100 pages

Fantastical is a peek into Marija Bulatovic’s head seeing memories of her childhood unfold. She writes of her grandparents, parents and neighbors through the eyes of a child with the wisdom of an adult. Her tales of Yugoslavia in the 1980’s are not set up as a traditional novel. The fourteen chapters are in the form of short essays snapshots of times, places and people of Bulatovic’s youth. Many have photos, enriching the experience of stories that are odd, touching and quirky.

My plan was to tell you about one or two of my favorites. Looking at the table of contents, it was impossible to narrow it down. So I’ll give you a sentence on each.

Hanging at the Day Care:  Does saving someone’s life really save them?

Friday Mornings: From Farm to table, her grandparents fed their family with food and love.

Wild Strawberry Jelly: Kids are kids no matter where they live.

Blood-Stained Cigarettes: Stairways of her building hold secrets, Bulatovic searches for the truth.

Puddle Under My Chair: A grandfather’s love is unconditional.

Gypsy Magic: Gypsies and bears – enough said!

Keeping the House in Order: Her grandparents liked order in their household – but sometimes too much!

The Angel of Syphilis: Princesses or hookers – you decide.

The Suicide Cult: Crazy, scary things happen in everyone’s life.

Stranger in the Bed: Visiting relatives can be challenging.

Hotdogs and Hemophilia: Forget the nitrates in hotdogs; Bulatovic has to worry about them causing hemophilia.

The Engagement: Men and sports can really get under the skin of the women that love them.

Whose Sit Is It Anyway? This essay made me laugh out loud.

Postscript: To quote the author, “…life is much more than a sum of mundane survival activities.”

This is a great change of pace, from the novels I normally read. The individual stories lend themselves to small snippets of reading if you don’t have time to read for very long. Keep it in the car to read while waiting for your kids to come out of school, or while waiting for an appointment.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.


Filed under Book Review, memoir