Cookbooks, Non Fiction

National Dish by Anya von Bremzen


In this engrossing and timely journey to the crossroads of food and identity award-winning writer Anya von Bremzen explores six of the world’s most fascinating and iconic culinary cultures—France, Italy, Japan, Spain, Mexico, and Turkey—brilliantly weaving cuisine, history, and politics into a work of scintillating connoisseurship and charm

We all have an idea in our heads about what French food is—or Italian, or Japanese, or Mexican, or . . .  But where did those ideas come from? Who decides what makes a national food canon? Recipient of three James Beard awards, Anya von Bremzen has written definitive cookbooks on Russian, Spanish, and Latin American cuisines, as well as her internationally acclaimed memoir Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. Now in National Dish, she sets out to investigate the truth behind the eternal cliché—“we are what we eat”—traveling to six storied food capitals, going high and low, from world-famous chefs to scholars to strangers in bars, in search of how cuisine became connected to place and identity.

Paris is where the whole idea of food as national heritage was first invented, and so it is where Anya must begin. With an inquisitive eye and unmistakable wit, she ponders the codification of French food and the current tension between locavorism and globalization. From France, she’s off to Naples, to probe the myth and reality of pizza, pasta, and Italian-ness. Next up, Tokyo, where Anya and her partner Barry explore ramen, rice, and the distance between Japan’s future and its past. From there they move to Seville, to search for the community-based essence of Spain’s tapas traditions, and then Oaxaca, where debates over postcolonial cultural integration find expression in maize and mole. In Istanbul, a traditional Ottoman potluck becomes a lens on how a former multicultural empire defines its food heritage. Finally, they land back in their beloved home in Queens, for a dinner centered on Ukrainian borsch, a meal that has never felt more loaded, or more precious and poignant.

A unique and magical cook’s tour of the world, National Dish brings us to a deep appreciation of how the country makes the food, and the food the country.

My Thoughts

It’s not often you run across a book about cooking and food that is truly a non-fiction exploration of food history, mores, and national identity. National Dish is all that and more.

Anya von Bremzen brings to the table her own form of sarcastic, witty, and irreverent assessment of the foods considered part of the identity of certain countries. She begins in Paris, a city she really, really dislikes (and she let’s you know it), where she chases down the meaning and national importance of pot-au-feu by talking to giants in the French food industry and then by making her own.

This format continues through five other cities where she explores dishes intrinsic to the city, nation, and culture of those particular locations. I learned quite a bit about those cities/countries and their foods.

Serious foodies and those in the industry will enjoy this, but the average reader like me, who has an interest in food but not a deep knowledge of world cuisine, will end up skimming a lot of the text or will alternate between the text and the internet looking up names, dates, and dishes.

This is less of a cookbook and more of a non-fiction dive into the food that makes a culture a culture, and that makes for fascinating reading.

Publication Date: June 20, 2023
Published By: Penguin Group; The Penguin Press
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Historical, Mystery, Women

The White Lady By Jacqueline Winspear


The White Lady introduces yet another extraordinary heroine from Jacqueline Winspear, creator of the best-selling Maisie Dobbs series. This heart-stopping novel, set in Post WWII Britain in 1947, follows the coming of age and maturity of former wartime operative Elinor White—veteran of two wars, trained killer, protective of her anonymity—when she is drawn back into the world of menace she has been desperate to leave behind.

A reluctant ex-spy with demons of her own, Elinor finds herself facing down one of the most dangerous organized crime gangs in London, ultimately exposing corruption from Scotland Yard to the highest levels of government.

The private, quiet “Miss White” as Elinor is known, lives in a village in rural Kent, England, and to her fellow villagers seems something of an enigma. Well she might, as Elinor occupies a “grace and favor” property, a rare privilege offered to faithful servants of the Crown for services to the nation. But the residents of Shacklehurst have no way of knowing how dangerous Elinor’s war work had been, or that their mysterious neighbor is haunted by her past.

It will take Susie, the child of a young farmworker, Jim Mackie and his wife, Rose, to break through Miss White’s icy demeanor—but Jim has something in common with Elinor. He, too, is desperate to escape his past. When the powerful Mackie crime family demands a return of their prodigal son for an important job, Elinor assumes the task of protecting her neighbors, especially the bright-eyed Susie. Yet in her quest to uncover the truth behind the family’s pursuit of Jim, Elinor unwittingly sets out on a treacherous pathyet it is one that leads to her freedom.

My Thoughts

Jacqueline Winspear is one of the best writers of historical fiction practicing today. Her Maisie Dobbs series is pretty perfect, and this stand-alone effort is just as good as any of the Dobbs books.

The setting is somewhat familiar – Winspear’s strength is her capacious knowledge of the two World Wars and all aspects of the service that went into both, especially service by women. Here, we have a retired spy/assassin who is trying to build a life away from the service. Try as she might, she cannot avoid getting involved with other humans, another thing that is common on Winspear’s work. She has an uncanny way of writing characters who think they want to be alone but who end up forging important and long-lasting friendships.

The writing here is excellent, with good descriptive passages and well-delivered dialog. I’d expect nothing less from this author. Winspear’s fans won’t be disappointed.


Publication Date: March 21, 2023
Published By: Harper
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Children's, Fairytales, Fantasy, Folktales, Magical, Women, Young Adult

Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman


The start of a swoony, high-energy duology that Emily Lloyd-Jones, author of The Bone Houses, calls “reminiscent of classic fairytales yet brimming with a charm all its own.”

“A world of glimmering fae that sparkles with mystery, adventure, and enchantment.” —Andrew Joseph White, New York Times bestselling author of Hell Followed with Us

Iselia “Seelie” Graygrove looks just like her twin, Isolde…but as an autistic changeling left in the human world by the fae as an infant, she has always known she is different. Seelie’s unpredictable magic makes it hard for her to fit in—and draws her and Isolde into the hunt for a fabled treasure. In a heist gone wrong, the sisters make some unexpected allies and find themselves unraveling a mystery that has its roots in the history of humans and fae alike.

Both sisters soon discover that the secrets of the faeries may be more valuable than any pile of gold and jewels. But can Seelie harness her magic in time to protect her sister and herself?

“Housman’s stunning debut is the sort of love letter only an autistic author could write. Fae canon has been waiting for this one.” —H.E. Edgmon, author of The Witch King

My Thoughts

The author provides an informative and thought-provoking introduction to Unseelie where she discusses what it’s like to be a changeling. Ivelisse Housman, you see, is autistic. She presents an interesting case for the changelings – those unusual beings well-known in folklore as fairy children who have replaced human children – having been children with autism whose differences made them part of folklore.

In Unseelie, Housman has created a character who is different. Whose differences are acknowledged by her family, if not fully accepted, and who is loved unconditionally. Iselia or Seelie as she is called throughout the book, doubts herself and feels responsible for bad things that happened to her family. In Housman’s hands, though, Seelie becomes powerful as she accepts who she is and what she can do.

The story follows many of the familiar themes in folklore – there’s a quest, a treasure, and a band of misfits who battle powerful forces. There is also a strong theme of family and friendship which provides the backbone upon which the story is built. And this is a cracking good story – imaginative, clever, and full of vivid description.

This is a beautiful and powerful story that will surely appeal to fans of fantasy and folklore of all ages. Appropriate for upper middle grade and older.

Publication Date: January 3, 2023
Published By: Inkyard Press
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy


Anna Olson’s Baking Wisdom by Anna Olson


Inside Baking Wisdom lies the answer to every baking question you’ve ever had (and many you haven’t yet), plus over 150 perfected recipes—both savoury and sweet—for bakers of all skill  levels. Get inside Anna’s baking brain, as she shares a career’s worth of experience to build a true masterclass in baking. In this incredible baking compendium, you will learn the hows and whys of baking through her flawless techniques, patient advice and literally hundreds of photos. This is an all-encompassing guide, guaranteed to make you a better baker.

Whether you want to perfect your pie dough or dedicate your weekend to assembling a masterpiece Torta Setteveli, there is a recipe in Baking Wisdom for you. Within each chapter, Anna’s triple-tested recipes are grouped together by commonly shared technique or principle, so you can see how one foundation recipe can be built upon to create many more complex creations. In every one of her perfected recipes, Anna leads the way with notes of baking wisdom directly included in each recipe’s method. And she does this all with one goal in mind: to help you achieve the very best baking results every time.

Also included is extensive advice on topics such as baking ingredients, tools and actions, as well as numerous step-by-step how-to guides for all types of baking techniques. If you’ve ever wondered how to separate an egg, or frost a cake, or temper chocolate, the answers are here. And if you’re interested in a deeper understanding of how and why ingredients behave the way they do in baking, or the impacts of altitude, or even how to calculate butterfat content, there’s a whole section dedicated to the science of baking, too.

 Baking Wisdom is a must-have collection of baking recipes, techniques and advice, and is Anna’s most comprehensive cookbook yet.

My Thoughts

This is the book to buy for the serious baker in your life, as well as for anyone thinking about a career in baking. Olson has produced one of the most complete and detailed baking books I’ve read in a long time. The accompanying illustrations are incredibly useful – e.g. what the three stages of beaten egg whites actually look like – and the “how to save” advice for things like seized chocolate and overwhipped cream are gold for new bakers.

It seems this was written for a Canadian audience, but American bakers will have no trouble using the book. Highly recommended.

The #1 bestselling cookbook! And the baking bible every baking enthusiast needs to own—from Anna Olson, Canada’s most celebrated baker.

“Canada’s dessert doyenne’s much-anticipated opus on flour, sugar, butter and eggs is out now – 450 pages covering everything you could possibly want to know about baking”—The Globe and Mail

Publication Date: March 14, 2023
Published By: Penguin Random House Canada
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Book Tour, iRead Book Tour, Mystery, Suspense

Underneath the Fireflies by Marianne Scott

On Tour April 17- May 12, 2023

Book Description

No matter where Grace Walker goes, her extra sensory power goes with her. She’s an empath and she sees things — terrible things. After a tragic accident at the place where she works, she decides to take a mental-health break on a remote West Coast island. But she no sooner gets to Galliano Island when a vision of the murder of an Indigenous woman draws her into a disturbing and threatening dilemma.

My Thoughts

Marianne Scott has produced an intricate and thoughtful mystery/suspense novel that features characters who weave in and out of two distinct plotlines. Protagonist Grace Walker is a complex character who wrestles with an unwanted empathic ability which has affected her since she was a child. Scott introduces the two plotlines almost immediately – the horrific “accident” that happened to Grace in Toronto and the even more horrific murder of an Indigenous woman that took place on the remote island where Grace is retreating to find peace from the former.

As a new reader of Scott’s, I immediately thought that the Toronto plotline was the subject of an earlier book, but that does not seem to be the case. The basics of that plot are a bit far-fetched (control of workers via microchip) and seemed out of place in this solid murder mystery, but I remain convinced that Scott should definitely write that book. I want to know the details of that story!

As the story progressed, the Toronto connection to the Galliano Island plot becomes much clearer, with all the loose ends tied up neatly, leading to a very satisfying conclusion.

Scott blends great characters with a lovely location and a story that keeps you reading late into the night. The vivid descriptions of Galliano Island and it’s inhabitants add depth to the dialog and characterizations. The bad guy here is really bad, and descriptions of his behavior made my skin crawl. Short chapters provide a easy reading experience, although the print version of this is pretty hefty.

I’ll be recommending this as a good summer read this year, on par with Nora Roberts and Elizabeth Lowell. One trigger warning, though – there is a rape scene, but it’s handled with sensitivity.

Book Details:

​Book Title:  Underneath the Fireflies by Marianne Scott
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  496 pages
Genre: Murder Mystery / Thriller
Publisher: Crowe Creations
Release date:  January 2023
Tour dates: April 17 to May 12, 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 – Colloquial expressions in dialogue.

add to goodreads

Meet the Author

Marianne Scott is the Canadian author of four mystery thrillers and is currently working on her fifth novel, a sci-fi/thriller. She has a BA and a Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. She studied creative writing through Conestoga College and Humber College. She enjoys writing workshops such as those offered by Brian Henry, publisher of blog, Quick Brown Fox and One Lit Place, a writers’ hub by creator/editor Jenna Kalinsky. She has an author’s website and blog. She is a full-time writer who lives in the historic small Canadian village of Hespeler Ontario (now amalgamated with the city of Cambridge).  

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ twitter ~ facebook instagram goodreads

Cozy, Detective, Historical, Mystery

Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge


Set in the City of Light and starring Julia Child’s (fictional) best friend, confidant, and fellow American, this magnifique new historical mystery series from the acclaimed author of Murder at Mallowan Hall combines a fresh perspective on the iconic chef’s years in post-WWII Paris with a delicious mystery and a unique culinary twist. Perfect for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Marie Benedict, and of course, Julia Child alike!

As Paris rediscovers its joie de vivre, Tabitha Knight, recently arrived from Detroit for an extended stay with her French grandfather, is on her own journey of discovery. Paris isn’t just the City of Light; it’s the city of history, romance, stunning architecture . . . and food. Thanks to her neighbor and friend Julia Child, another ex-pat who’s fallen head over heels for Paris, Tabitha is learning how to cook for her Grandpère and Oncle Rafe.

Between tutoring Americans in French, visiting the market, and eagerly sampling the results of Julia’s studies at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, Tabitha’s sojourn is proving thoroughly delightful. That is, until the cold December day they return to Julia’s building and learn that a body has been found in the cellar. Tabitha recognizes the victim as a woman she’d met only the night before, at a party given by Julia’s sister, Dort. The murder weapon found nearby is recognizable too—a knife from Julia’s kitchen.

Tabitha is eager to help the investigation, but is shocked when Inspector Merveille reveals that a note, in Tabitha’s handwriting, was found in the dead woman’s pocket. Is this murder a case of international intrigue, or something far more personal? From the shadows of the Tour Eiffel at midnight, to the tiny third-floor Child kitchen, to the grungy streets of Montmartre, Tabitha navigates through the city hoping to find the real killer before she or one of her friends ends up in prison . . . or worse.

My Thoughts

This is, hands down, one of the most delightful mysteries I’ve read in some time. While I’ve enjoyed Colleen Cambridge’s Phyllida Bright/Agatha Christie stories, I’ve found those characters a bit brittle. The characters here, Tabitha and her messieurs (uncle & grandfather) and neighbor Julia Child, are more down-to-earth and playful, which appeals to me.

The mystery is solidly crafted and blends a traditional whodunit murder with Cold War spies. The characters introduced in this series debut have great promise. Tabitha’s grandfather and uncle are fascinating and I hope to learn more about their exploits in books to come. They remind me of the uncles in Secondhand Lions.

Julia Child is portrayed in a very similar way to her public persona – exuberant and irreverent – but it is Tabitha who shows the greatest promise. She’s a smart, capable young woman who got a taste of independence and freedom as an airplane mechanic during WWII, and now chafes under the outdated restrictions placed in women in the 1950s. I’m expecting to see her really grow into her own independence, although I also expect to see a flirtation develop between Tabitha and the inspecteur, potentially crossing this over into the Romance genre.

Overall, a delicious, refreshing mystery from an author who has crossed the line from “new” to “noteworthy.”

Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Published By: Kensington Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Author Spotlight, Makes You Think

Author Spotlight – Willie Lightfoot

Willie Lightfoot is a Rochester City Councilmember and a former Monroe County Legislator who represented the 27th Legislative District in Monroe County, NY. Lightfoot was appointed to the Monroe County Legislature in 2006 and termed out after three consecutive terms, doing a total of 10 years of service. It is Lightfoot’s belief that the purpose of government is to serve the needs and address the concerns of the community, and not to put up barriers between the bureaucracy and the governed. That is why in his first 100 days in office, Lightfoot held community town hall meetings. These meetings served to cultivate an environment in which our community members were encouraged to share their vision for change in their neighborhoods, build a greater understanding of issues directly affecting their families and homes, and start a dialogue in which all voices are heard. Being a representative of for his community is more than sitting in an office and attending closed door meetings. It is about transparency, shared goals, and building a better Rochester for our families now, and for generations to come.

Lightfoot recently published his first book, The Intersection Between Pain and Purpose. He agreed to answer questions about the book and how he came to write it.

What led you to write The Intersection Between Pain and Purpose?

I was led to write this book out of a sermon that I preached at my church Tent revival that I have every year outside. The response from the people was so receptive to this topic that I turned it into a 5 part series that I taught for 5 weeks during Sunday services.  As a result of the series, I was inspired to write the book.

One of the first things you write about is the importance of being a good listener. What advice do you have to help people become better listeners?

I believe God gave us two ears and one mouth so we would listen more and talk less.  The Bible says to be swift to hear and slow to speak. (James 1:19)  My advice is to be intentional about listening.  So you have to work at it and make it a habit. 

You make a distinction between physical and emotional pain. Now, this is a big question – what can the people of Rochester do to help one another through emotional pain?

I believe we all have to be willing to first be present with ourselves.  We have to deal with our own physical and emotional pain first.  Like an airplane in an emergency, we have to put our masks on first before we are able to assist others.  We have to be more present with each other as well and recognize that we are a hurting community that is deeply wounded and be willing to take ownership of that truth.  Then have conversations on what role can we play in healing ourselves and our community.

Throughout the book, you pose questions for readers to reflect on. I’ll ask you one, given your position as a Councilperson and a Pastor: You and your colleagues are often the targets of misinformation and anger. How do you show up every day?

I show up every day with new mercies as a Pastor because if you allow the negative narrative to take over it can consume you and turn you into a very callous person.  We as elected officials and leaders are human as well and we are all deeply impacted by the decisions we and others make in these positions.  We also are deeply impacted by how we are perceived by the community at large as well. The key is to stay focused on the goals of bettering the quality of life for all and making sure we fight bad (misinformation) with good (accurate information).

You also write about words having power. My work has focused on literacy, especially early literacy and I know you have done some interesting things in your shop. Can you talk a little about the impact of having books in your barber shop and any other work you’re doing to support early and family literacy?

Books in the shop was a program started under the former administration (Mayor Warren). It was an amazing program that got national attention.  Allowing families to have access to free culturally appropriate books while waiting on a cut was transformative. I have seen many parents or guardians reading to their children while awaiting a haircut and it makes a difference in a child’s development.  The whole experience can be life-changing. 

Your book shows the progression people take from pain to purpose, and you write on page 66 “our scars are our testimony and help solidify our purpose.” Can you talk about that?

The Bible says people overcome by the words of their testimony (Revelations 12:11).  We all have a story and we all have a testimony of what we have been through and made it out of.  Many don’t write a book or have a chance to tell their story on a large scale as others.  However, is extremely important that we find safe places to express ourselves and the journeys we have taken.  These experiences become a blueprint for whom we become or not become as a result of how we have healed or not healed by the scars of challenges we have faced. 

You write about overcoming addiction. What is your typical advice to someone who is struggling with addiction?

My advice for someone who had been there myself is to acknowledge and seek help.  You can’t do it alone.  You are not alone and others have been there and can help.

The strength of your faith in God shines through the pages of your book. Can you share how your faith drives you to do the work you do?

I would be nothing without my faith.  It means everything to me.  It keeps me grounded, focused as well as strengthened. 

Is there another book in your future?

Yes, I would like to turn this book into a workbook.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

John Bevere and TD Jakes.

What book are you recommending to people right now?

Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy

Where can people buy your book?

Online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and my website (

On a personal note, Mr. Lightfoot’s book came to me at a difficult time in my own life. My family has experienced significant losses in the last two years. We lost four family members in 2021, and most recently lost a beloved brother. Mr. Lightfoot’s words have brought me great comfort.


Reinhardt by Marianne Scott

iRead Book Tour

He’s a Cold War spy hiding from one of his own. His real identity is tied to a treacherous past associated with American intelligence operations closed down after the end of the Cold War, and his enemy is relentless. All he has to do is change his name. Right? Wrong. Very wrong. Felix has eyes and ears everywhere.

Book Details

​Book Title:  Reinhardt by Marianne Scott
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+)
Genre: Murder Mystery / Thriller / Spy
Publisher: Crowe Creations
Release date:  January 2023
Tour dates: April 17 to May 12, 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13 – Colloquial expressions in dialogue.

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since I’ve read a flat-out, non-stop spy thriller, and I found Reinhardt a spicy appetizer to lead me back to the genre. A relatively short book, this can be easily read in an afternoon, and you will find yourself flying through the pages to get to the end.

From page one, the reader is thrown into a situation that rivals the Mission: Impossible movies, where the action is non-stop. Short chapters pack a punch as we follow our protagonist from Moscow back to the U.S. and on to a new life where he thinks he’ll be able to live in peace and happiness, far removed from the blood-and-guts work to which he was accustomed.

He’s very wrong.

Author Scott offers clever dialog and vivid description to build the tension and drive the plot forward. She makes her protagonist as human as possible despite his sketchy and violent past, while at the same time creating a pretty nasty villain. All of this comes together in an exciting and easy-to-read thriller. Well done and recommended.

Meet the Author

Marianne Scott is the Canadian author of four mystery thrillers and is currently working on her fifth novel, a sci-fi/thriller. She has a BA and a Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. She studied creative writing through Conestoga College and Humber College. She enjoys writing workshops such as those offered by Brian Henry, publisher of blog, Quick Brown Fox and One Lit Place, a writers’ hub by creator/editor Jenna Kalinsky. She has an author’s website and blog. She is a full-time writer who lives in the historic small Canadian village of Hespeler Ontario (now amalgamated with the city of Cambridge).  

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ twitter ~ facebook instagram goodreads

Buy the Book ~
add to goodreads

Stay tuned for more from Marianne Scott on It’s All About the Book next week!


Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver

April 24 – May 19, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

1917 Cairo.

Ancient mummies aren’t the only bodies buried in the tombs of Cairo. The notorious Fredrick Fredricks has lured Fiona to Egypt with a cryptic threat on the Suez Canal. But when a cheeky French archeologist is murdered, and an undercover British agent goes missing, the threat moves closer to home. Is the notorious Fredrick Fredricks behind the murders? Or is the plot even more sinister?

Competing excavators, jealous husbands, secret lovers, and belligerent spies are the leading suspects. As they dig deeper, soon Fiona and Kitty are up to their donkeys in dead bodies. If they can’t unwind the clues and catch the killer, they might end up sharing a sarcophagus with Nefertiti. With humor as dry as the Arabian desert, and pacing as fast as a spitting camel, Fiona and Kitty are back in another sparkling adventure, this time in WW1 Egypt.

My Thoughts

Fifth in the Fiona Figg series by Kelly Oliver, Covert in Cairo finds our clever Ms. Figg applying her razor-sharp mind to mysterious activities in Egypt and around the Suez Canal, all the while wearing her collection of clever disguises and trying to maintain her (somewhat) orderly existence as a proper English lady.

Here, Fiona and her protégé Kitty (or is it the other way around?) tackle multiple villains, but most importantly Frederick Fredericks, Fiona’s constant nemesis. There’s the usual madcap run of show with plenty of action, witty dialog, and ridiculous situations which test the limits of Fiona’s expertise as a spy and as a file clerk!

Covert in Cairo was my first Fiona Figg mystery and I did struggle a bit to understand some of the action and characters that refer to previous entries in the series. I tracked down a couple of the earlier books and read those, then went back to Cairo. I was able to follow *this* plotline just fine and found it enjoyable reading.

Fans of the Phryne Fisher series will enjoy this one.


“Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and Maisie Dobbs.”

“Tantalizing and riveting with a good dose of humor while keeping the heartbreaking reality of war in the mix.”
The Los Angeles Post

“A clever mix of humor and espionage that will keep you turning the pages and laughing all the way!”
Dianne Freeman, author the Countess of Harleigh mysteries.

“A perfect blend of wit, fun, and intrigue.”
Debra Goldstein, Author of the Sarah Blair Cozy Mysteries

“The perfect wartime spy: Fiona Figg. Smart, sneaky, and full of surprises… A fun whodunit that will keep you turning the pages!”
Cathi Stoler, author of The Murder On The Rocks Mysteries

“Fun, easy-to-read, witty mystery that had me happily turning the pages.”
Melissa’s Bookshelf

“Humor, action, and intrigue. I found myself thoroughly entertained.”
Urban Book Reviews

Book Details

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: April 2023
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: Coming Soon
Series: A Fiona Figg & Kitty Lane Mystery, 2 (These are Stand-Alone Mysteries)
Book Links:Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Book Trailer

Author Bio

Kelly Oliver is the award-winning and bestselling author of three mystery series: the seven-book suspense series, The Jessica James Mysteries; the three-book middle grade kids’ series, Pet Detective Mysteries; and the four-book historical cozy series, The Fiona Figg Mysteries, inspired by those trips to the Green Hills Library.

Currently, Kelly is the Vice President of Sisters in Crime.

When she’s not writing novels, Kelly is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

To learn more about Kelly and her books, go to:
BookBub – @KellyOliverBook
Instagram – @kellyoliverbook
Twitter – @kellyoliverbook
Facebook – @kellyoliverauthor

Tour Participants

Click here to view Covert in Cairo by Kelly Oliver Tour Hosts

Graphic Novel, Teens, Young Adult

Codex Black: A Fire Among the Clouds by Camila Mancada Lozano & Angel De Santiago

Guest post by Cathy Kyle

This was a great introduction to Aztec history and mythology which is rarely written about in comic books, especially those that are geared for teens. Teens have lots to read about Greek mythology, but as far as I know, Aztec mythology is underrepresented, which is a shame because this was fascinating. Many different Aztec words are used and the author made sure to include the definitions. I think this adds to its interest factor and the authenticity.

The story follows two teens: a girl named Donaji of Quie Yelaag and a boy named Itzcacalott, a Mexica warrior. They meet in the middle of the woods, while Donaji is attempting to find her father and Itzcacalott is trying to find himself in amongst all his fellow warriors. At first, their relationship was built mainly upon trying to get out of the woods, but then they become strong friends, which becomes important as they begin fighting beasts, thieves and malevolent gods.

What makes these two teens special? Donaji has a god living in her poncho (which used to be her dad’s). This godlike poncho makes Donaji stronger and more resistant to all sorts of illnessess, damages and poisons, but it doesn’t leave her free from harm. Excessive fighting depletes her energy quickly and she can die just like anyone else. Itzcacalott, who is obsessed with crows and creates a warrior costume out of shed wings, suddenly gets wings of his own, which helps in all of their battles.

The art is both light and dark. The illustrations of Donaji and Itzcacalott are both big eyed and smiling, while the evil characters are very dark and sometimes disturbing. Anyone interested in a headless creature with an open chest so you can view their heart? You’ll find it here.

This is a great read that I may not have otherwise picked up, so I was grateful for the opportunity. Recommended for graphic novel collections.

Publication Date: April 4, 2023
Published By: Penguin Random House
Thanks to the Publisher for the review copy