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Book Review: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau is a coming of age novel taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. During the 1970's, fourteen year old Mary Jane is caught in the middle of her family's conservative ideals and the progressive ideals of the Cone family where she is a summer nanny. Mary Jane is a sheltered teen who enjoys cooking with her mother, listening to Broadway Show Tunes, and singing in the church choir. On the first day of work, she is shocked at the mess in the Cone's home and introduces them to home cooked meals and keeping the house clean. In return, Mary Jane gets a front row seat to sex, drugs, and rock & roll. This novel was the selected for the book club I belong to. Again, this is a novel that I likely wouldn't have chosen to read on my own, but I was glad I did. Mary Jane is the first novel I've read by Jessica Anya Blau, and I was impressed with her storytelling.  Touching on race, class, and stereotypes, along with drugs and infidelity, it reminded

Book Review: Tippy Toe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #2) by Leslie Meier

book review tippy toe murder leslie meier
Tippy Toe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #2) by Leslie Meier is a little darker than the first book in this series. With the repressive heat of the summer, Lucy's ankles are swelling with her fourth pregnancy, and she's craving doughnuts. On top of her pregnancy, she's preparing her two daughters costumes for their upcoming dance recital. When a retired dance teacher goes missing from Tinker's Cove and a grumpy shopkeeper is murdered, Lucy can't help herself from getting involved in the mystery.

Where I enjoyed the second installment of the Lucy Stone Mystery book series, I wasn't expecting a cozy mystery to deal with child molestation and was startled by one of the details that was provided. This is an important topic for sure, but it could be a trigger for others reading Tippy Toe Murder.

I loved the fact that it dealt with dance and preparing for the annual dance recital. It brought back great memories of my dance classes and recitals, especially the things that always seemed to go wrong during the dress rehearsals. That always meant that we would have a good show . . . at least that's what the saying was, bad dress rehearsal means a good show. The dance teacher being stressed was right on the money too! 

At the beginning of the book, I wasn't quite sure where the author was going with the disappearance of the dance instructor, but it finally began to come together. If you're reading the book and find it dull, stick with it because it does get better and becomes a bit action packed. Other than it being a bit slow paced at the beginning and being startled by some of the details relating to the abuse of the child, the only other thing I didn't like about Tippy Toe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #2) was how Lucy Stone's husband treated her. It seemed a bit out of character for him compared to Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #1).

Four out of five stars is what I gave Tippy Toe Murder for all the reasons mentioned above. I enjoyed the book for the most part, and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment, Trick or Treat Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #3). If you enjoyed this book, you may enjoy Deeper Than The Dead (Oak Knoll, #1) by Tami Hoag.


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