Monthly Archives: April 2020

Book Review: Murder on the Silver Screen – Perfect Marriage of a Cozy Mystery and Classic Movies

Murder on the Silver Screen

The Movie Palace Mystery Series Book #3

By Margaret Dumas

San Francisco Vintage theater owner Nora Paige has her dream job, but unfortunately murder keeps creeping in ruining her mojo. She loves her coworkers, accepting and embracing their quirks. Then there is the resident ghost, Trixie who was an usher back in the 1930’s. She can only be seen by Nora but others feel her presence.

Troubles are piling up for Nora. Her actor ex-husband wiped out her savings before leaving her for another woman. She knows he has it hidden, but finding it seems impossible so she is living pay check to small paycheck trying to get her life back in order. She is cooking up a plan to recover her losses with an acquaintance from her former life in Hollywood, but is doubtful it will work.

When a multimillionaire gamer creates a new game and has decided to debut it at the theater, Nora is thrilled with the publicity. That is until he is poisoned in front of the standing room only crowd on the stage of her theater. She has to find the killer because this could be the final blow for the theater and Nora because the killer is not done yet.

Murder on the Silver Screen is an interesting and fun cozy mystery with a solid plot. The ghost element is a great twist, mixing new technology with the old-world use of a séance to try and reach the ghost that everyone thinks might be there. Nora knows Trixie is there because she sees and talks to her all of the time.

The other element of this cozy mystery is Nora’s alter ego, Sally Lee. She is a movie critic for vintage movies, writing and publishing reviews for the films shown at Nora’s theater. She gives the reader inside info to the actors, history of the film, facts about the screenwriters, set and costume descriptions and fabulous quotes. I was so enthralled with her “review” of Notorious starring Ingrid Bergman and Carey Grant, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, I immediately ordered it and loved it.

This is the third book in the Movie Palace Mystery Series. It is the first one I have read, and it reads well as a standalone novel. I highly recommend Murder on the Silver Screen to movie buffs and cozy mystery fans. It is a fast, fun read with a few surprises to keep readers guessing until the satisfying last chapters.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Adorable Fruits and Vegetables to Crochet – Over Twenty Patterns

Adorable Fruits & Vegetables to Crochet

By: Marie Clesse

Beautiful color pictures of luscious looking veggies and fruit fill the pages of this pattern book. Lemons to leeks, peas in a pod, pumpkins and more are included in the colorful pages of Adorable Fruits & Veggies.

Step by step, easy to read instructions for over twenty colorful fruits and veggies are included for beginners and seasoned crafters to create. Cotton yarn is suggested, but other yarns can be used. There is a handy paragraph with substitutions and adjustments to the size crochet hook needed. You will also need stuffing and other basic craft materials such as scissors and pins.

If you have never crocheted or uncertain about some of the techniques, there are simple, step by step instructions with illustrations to get you started. These include single, half-double, double and triple crochet and how to work in the round or crochet in rows.

Proficient crafters will find the instructions simple and straightforward. The author also adds the approximate amount of time it takes to complete each project. The front cover of the book recommends using these fun fruits and veggies as “Delicious Decorations for Your Table”. As soon as I saw them, I thought immediately of making them for some of the young children in my life. Kids love to play make believe with plastic fruits and vegetables, why not make them out of yarn that can easily be popped in the washer and dryer instead? You may have to make several of each because they will love playing with them.

I recommend this book to all crochet lovers from beginners to seasoned veterans. The size of each project is perfect to take along with you to work on and is fast and easy. Most crafters have bits of yarn in their stash that can be used to create fun, soft, washable fruits and veggies with the instructions in Adorable Fruits and Veggies.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Logging Off – Hilarious Digital Detoxing

Logging Off

By Nick Spalding

Andy Bellows is so addicted to his electronic devices he has become physically ill. His physician diagnoses his symptoms and recommends a complete detoxification of any and all electronic devices for two months. Andy doesn’t think he can do it, but is grudgingly willing to give it a go.

Fergus, Andy’s best friend, is a columnist for the local newspaper. He jumps on the story, persuading Andy to let him chronical the detox for his readers. Thinking it may be a good way to stay on track, Andy agrees, but soon regrets his decision as he quickly becomes a local icon and reluctant hero for logging off all electronics except using his computer for work.

Almost immediately, Andy realizes he cannot navigate with a paper map, cannot order dinner and must learn to cook and shop at an actual store to survive. Not to mention he has to become part of society again by interacting with people via phone and in person. All of this causes anxiety and worry for him, but he is sleeping better, has actually started to talk to real, live people again and his work has improved because he has logged off. But in the end, he discovers that electronics aren’t all bad, perhaps moderation is the key– but is that possible?

This fast-paced funny romp with Bellows and his detox troubles hit close to home for many readers. His reliance on his cell phone is the norm these days. Who doesn’t use GPS, look up restaurants, shop and play a bit of solitaire or not to mention social media like Facebook and Twitter? The detox recommended is extreme, but most of us could easily stop glancing at our phones every two minutes and panicking when we’ve left it at home while out on a walk.

I loved this book and the laugh out loud humor Spalding delivers. It is the first book I’ve read by him, but certainly not the first he has written. This bestselling author has fifteen novels, two novellas and not one, but two memoirs. You can be sure I’m going to add Nick Spalding’s other work to the top of my reading list.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Bad Love Strikes – Time Travel and History Perfectly Paired

Bad Love Strikes

By: Kevin L. Schewe MD.FACRO

The summer of 1974 opens with an eclectic group of teens calling themselves Bad Love doing what kids do. Driving motorbikes, hanging out and fooling around. But when they happen upon a secret in the desert their lives will change in an instant. Two of the members, Kevin “Bubble Butt” Schafer and Nathan “Bowmar” stumble upon the remnants of a top-secret project from the 1930’s that involved the unlikely pairing of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. Named the White Hole Project, Einstein and FDR created and possibly used time travel, but kept it a secret from the world.

While doing research about time travel, Bubble Butt and Bowmar read about a mysterious event in World War II. The Phantom Fortress, a plane that landed with no one on board, intrigued them. Had the occupants of the plane time traveled just as the plane landed? The Bad Love gang soon find themselves planning to time travel to 1944 in order to find out what happened to soldiers in the plane and hopefully save a group of Jewish people and gypsies from the clutches of the remnants of the Nazi regime. They can only hope to make it back to 1974 alive, but are determined to complete the mission they have taken on no matter the outcome.

Criss crossing through time, Bad Love Strikes is full of page turning action with interesting bits of history in every chapter. The growth of the characters from carefree teens evolving to time traveling lifesaving warriors is fascinating.

Much like Guardians of The Galaxy, Bad Love Strikes has a playlist. The beginning of the book gives the readers a song to play while reading each chapter.  Songs from the 60’s and 70’s run through the reader’s head as the characters sing the words to the familiar tunes. This added a fun element that really connects readers to the characters and settings. By peppering the pages with quotes from Einstein and FDR, Schewe skillfully brings bits of history to his novel in an interesting way.

Schewe, is a board-certified cancer specialist as well as an author. Bad Love Strikes is the first book in The Bad Love Series and the first work of fiction for this author. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes their history with a bit of adventure and humor. It is appropriate for teens, young adults and adults.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Scott Lorenz in conjunction with Westwind Book Marketing in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

 

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Book Review: Stealth Aircraft Origami – Create Paper Airplanes Like Never Before

Stealth Aircraft Origami

By: Jayson Merrill

Quick! Tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear origami. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking of cute little animals out of flowery paper. Jayson Merrill, author of Stealth Aircraft Origami is about to change everyone’s thoughts on the ancient craft of origami.

Paper airplanes have always been fun to create, and Merrill takes them to a whole new level. One of the aircraft featured is the Black Knight. In the introduction, he tells us how he created this plane without tape and it flew 237 feet! He states this book is not for beginners.  Only experienced origami experts should attempt to make the SR-71 Blackbird, F-117 Nighthawk and the rest of the super cool fighter jets found within the pages.

There are detailed instructions and pictures outlining the procedures to create these super cool planes, as well as a fascinating paragraph about each one. Each type of fold is shown for every step. The Black Knight has 37 different steps. If that isn’t enough of a challenge, the B-2 Spirit (stealth bomber) uses 56 steps to create this amazing plane that was first developed in 1979. This bomber is still in use today. One of the other aircrafts, the SR 71 Blackbird was developed in the 1960s and could fly at speeds over Mach 3 Today visitors can see one close up at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA.

I recommend this book to anyone that wants a real challenge. I am only a beginner when it comes to origami, but the challenge of creating a paper airplane that could fly over 200 feet is calling to me. How about you?

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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