Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. All book descriptions from Amazon.

Kindred Spirits by Sarah Strohmeyer

“When life gives you lemons, call your best girlfriends and whip up some lemon martinis. Such is the mantra for the Ladies’ Society for the Conservation of Martinis, which was established after one fateful PTA meeting, when four young mothers-Lynne, Mary Kay, Beth, and Carol- discovered they had more in common than they ever thought possible. Meeting once a month, the women would share laughs and secrets and toast to their blossoming friendship with a clink of their sacred martini glasses. The Society was their salvation, their refuge, but when life-shattering circumstances force the group to dissolve, their friendship is never quite the same…until two years later, when a tragic event puts the Society back in session.

When Lynne passes away suddenly, she leaves behind one simple request: that her old friends sort through her belongings. Reluctantly, the women reunite to rummage through her closets. There’s nothing remarkable; no kinky sex toys, no embarrassing diary. But buried deep within Lynne’s lingerie drawer is an envelope addressed to the Society. And inside they find a letter that reveals a shocking secret and a final wish that will send the women on a life-changing journey…proving that nothing is more powerful than the will of a true girlfriend and a good, strong martini.”

This was ok. I read it in the airport and then forgot that I read it until I found it when unpacking.

The Double-Jack Murders by Patrick McManus

“Tully pursues a seventy-five-year-old missing persons case in which a pair of gold miners (a two-man drilling team known as a double-jack) mysteriously disappeared just as they hit the mother lode in a remote part of Blight County. Meanwhile, a second, more threatening case looms large. After serving only two months of a life sentence, a mentally unstable murderer named Kincaid—a nasty piece of work if there ever was one—manages to escape prison, setting his sights on killing the man who put him behind bars: one Sheriff Bo Tully.”

This is not my favorite of the series. Nothing reached out and grabbed me in this one.

The Huckleberry Murders by Patrick McManus

“Three young men have been shot, each in the back of the head, execution style, in a huckleberry patch on Scotchman Mountain, leaving behind no identification. With the help of confident and beautiful FBI agent Angela Phelps, Tully tries to connect the dots between Poulson’s disappearance, the sudden spate of murders occurring in Blight County, and a big white pickup truck with dual tires causing havoc and crime. As the few potential leads are either killed off or prove nearly impossible to track down, Tully must follow his instincts to piece together the puzzle of who is doing the killing, and why. His suspicions lead him straight into a haunted swamp, along with Agent Phelps, his womanizing ex-sheriff father, Pap, expert tracker and good friend Dave, and mountain man Poke.”

Now this was more like it. I was getting worried by my run of so-so books but I really enjoyed this one.

Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Connor Grennan

“While volunteering at an orphanage, Connor discovers that the children are not orphans: they are trafficked. Despite the danger, Connor treks up dirt paths with photographs of the children, miraculously reuniting dozens of families. It’s 2006 and Nepal is a country torn apart by war, greed and corruption. Caught in the middle are the Nepalese children, snatched and sold into slavery, the kidnappers promising their families that they will be taken to a safe haven from where they will eventually return. Some of the luckier ones are finally dumped in an orphanage, only to be found by Connor, an unlikely philanthropist.”

I listened to the audiobook and loved it. I’d heard good things about this book previously and it is all true. Connor goes to Nepal to justify a trip around the world. How can anyone complain that he is being self-indulgent when he is helping orphans? This is a warts and all portrayal of falling in love with the children and determining that he will find their families. It is a wonderful book that I’m passing on to the SO next.

Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives by Evelyn Hadden

This gardening book wants to inspire you to replace your boring (and resource and labor intensive) lawn with other plants. Many options are given depending on the area of the country you live in and the goals that you have for your yard. The photography is beautiful. I wish that there were more garden overviews given. Many lovely gardens are discussed and I would have loved to see a diagram or wide angle photo of how they were laid out. But, the goal of this book is inspiration, not a strict how-to. It succeeded in that. I can’t wait to go see my new wooded backyard and decide where I can get rid of excess grass.

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live by Niki Jabbour

My first thought when I saw this title was, “Yeah, right. She’s in Oregon so some place mild like that.” But I was wrong. The author gardens year round in Nova Scotia without a greenhouse. The book even has pictures of shoveling snow off the beds in order to reach the winter harvest.

The book does a great job of explaining how this can be done in different climates and with different degrees of commitment. I particularly liked the way she showed what happened in each season in her cold frames and mini tunnels. That made it much easier to imagine. There are also nice diagrams of garden layouts ranging from small up to large enough to feed a family. This would be a great resource to have on hand. I can see myself referring to it often.