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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: Christmas Cookie Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #6) by Leslie Meier

book review christmas cookie murder leslie meier

It's the Christmas season in Tinker's Cove, Maine, and Lucy Stone is looking forward to hosting the annual cookie exchange that Sue normally hosts. When  Tucker, one of the guests, is found murdered the next day, the entire town is in shock, and the local dentist is arrested for it. Lucy decides to investigate on her own in Christmas Cookie Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #6) by Leslie Meier.

This is the perfect book to put me in the mood for Christmas, and it's in one of my favorite genres . . . a mystery. Who would ever think a murder mystery would put a person in a holiday mood? But, with the cookie exchange, the holiday shopping, and Santa Claus visiting the elementary school during the Christmas play, it's easy to get excited about the holidays.

As far as the suspects go, the obvious one is the dentist because he's the boyfriend of Tucker, but I dismissed him right away. I did consider Lee, the wife of the dentist for most of the book because I thought she had more motive to kill Tucker since Lee and her husband were separated. About halfway through Christmas Cookie Murder, I did start to suspect the fire chief from a neighboring town after he reported a theft committed by four of Tinker Cove's volunteer fire department. You'll have to read the book for yourself to see if either of the people I suspected was the murderer.

There were a quite a few things I enjoyed about this installment of the series. I could totally relate to Lucy and all the things that went wrong during the exchange because I could see the same things happening to me. Various scenarios in Christmas Cookie Murder were extremely believable like when Lucy's son and his friend were procrastinating on filling out college applications and parents bragging about which colleges, or universities, their children were accepted into.

Five out of five stars is the rating I gave Christmas Cookie Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #6) by Leslie Meier. If you enjoyed this book, I recommend reading Christmas in High Heels (High Heels, #3.5) by Gemma Halliday.


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