Friday, May 25, 2018

Real Quanta: Simplifying Quantum Physics for Einstein and Bohr

Real Quanta: Simplifying Quantum Physics for Einstein and Bohr is a translation and re-release of the original 2015 Dutch edition: Echt quantum by Martijn van Calmthout. Translated and released in English by Tessera translations and published by Dundurn press, it clocks in at 192 pages and is available in ebook and paperback formats.

There were a lot of things to like about this book.  It's a physics book aimed firmly at laymen, not physicists. There's a lot of history and background here and the author has a deft hand at making potentially dry history both interesting and relevant. There are many many quotes and anecdotes from Richard Feynman (and other physicists and learned folks) and that's wonderful.  I liked the author's take on the fantasy conversation which could happen if you could listen in on Bohr and Einstein chatting at lunch with updated information which hadn't been discovered when they were alive.
There are quaintly appealing line drawings and chapter headers by Wietse Bakker

That being said, this book is clearly translated and the English version is somewhat awkward in places.  It's not overpoweringly annoying or unreadable by any stretch of the imagination, but it is noticeable. Additionally, science books aimed at laymen often have a tough job being 'enough but not too much'.  I found myself wanting somewhat more concrete information out of this book.  Deciding what to include is a necessarily difficult and limiting job for any technical author and I think he did a good job, I just personally found myself wanting more.  I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in science and especially science history.

Enjoyable and easy to read in translation.

Four stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bats in the Belfry

Bats in the Belfry is a re-release of a classic golden age mystery by E.C.R. Lorac published in the British Library Crime Classics series by Poisoned Pen Press.

I must admit I was unfamiliar with this gem of an author going into this book.  I had taken a chance on poisoned pen titles before and I hadn't got a 'stinker' yet in the crime classics series, so I requested it and I'm so glad I did.

For fans of classic British golden age mysteries this one has it all.  The characters are charming and well written with a touch of wry humour.  I absolutely love interwar mysteries.  There's a sort of lack of cynicism and guile which is missing from later periods.  This isn't gritty.  It isn't even particularly realistic... there's a LOT of is he/isn't he... with red herrings and potentially fake beards galore.  I found myself giving up trying to figure out 'whodunnit' and just really enjoying the read.

I enjoyed the diverting plot, somewhat silly characters and mixed up clues.  The pacing was a trifle slow compared to 'modern' procedurals and gritty crime novels, but perfectly within acceptable parameters considering the time period.  It's a book to be enjoyed and, yes, savored a bit.

The place setting (London and environs) was a tangible part of the book and very well written.

Just a wonderful undiscovered (for me) gem.  Enjoyed it very very much!

Available in ebook and paperback in this edition (also hardbound originals, apparently).

Four and a half stars.  Enjoyed it enough that I'm making an effort to locate and read her other works- high praise indeed from me since my TBR pile is neverending.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Red Range

I've been a huge fan of basically everyone involved in this project for years, so when I got the chance to receive a review copy, I jumped unhesitatingly at the chance.

Red Range is a reprint/reformatting/re-release of an original graphic novel from 1999.  Combining completely over the top violence, horror, camp and humour, it explores (explodes) racism and societal violence.  If the new cover weren't enough warning, this is not for the faint of heart.  In the introduction, Richard Klaw talks about his shock and disgust reading the work for the first time.  He describes his reaction as visceral, and I think that's a very apt word choice.  I literally recoiled reading the first page.  I have absolutely no doubt that that was the author's and artist's intention.

The intro and afterword are well written and historically interesting.  The main body of the work is also well done, but very difficult to read in places. It is shocking and graphic and ugly.

The narrative pace is unrelenting and fast.  There were places when I read something and thought 'Wait, what?!'.  The last quarter of the book is weirdly violent or possibly violently weird.  I could definitely see this as a pilot issue for a series.  I would pay good money to read it. :)  I've dinged a half a star for the fact that it just sputters to a halt at the 'end'. 

Emphatically not for the squeamish or easily offended.  The book is every kind of violent there is (including implied bestiality, sexual and racial violence, etc etc).

Available in hardcover, electronic, and paperback formats, published by IDW Publishing and released 20 June, 2017.

Four and a half stars for what it is.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Improper Cross-Stitch

Improper Cross-Stitch is an irreverent slightly snarky take on cross stitch patterns and books.  Haley Pierson-Cox has a humorous, nerdy, tongue in cheek style that is definitely not 'grandma's cross stitch'.

I received an ARC preview which included 60 pages of content with a really good introductory tutorial.  This would be a good starting book or gift for someone who was interested in learning the basics of cross stitch and finishing some fun gifts for themselves or friends.  The first chapter provides a thorough introduction to materials and supplies.  She discusses needles, fabrics, thread counts, embroidery floss, hoops, etc. The photos are full colour and clear and the instructions are easy to follow.

The full published edition contains 128 pages and is available in hardcover and ebook formats. Published by St. Martin's Press and due out 7th August 2018.

Four stars, some fun projects here.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

English Arts & Crafts Furniture Projects & Techniques for the Modern Maker

English Arts & Crafts Furniture is a powerhouse of a new project book from author Nancy R. Hiller and publisher F+W Media.  I'm a collector of woodworking project books.  Most project books tend to be straight to the point with pictures, materials lists and some tutorial info.  This book is quite different.

The included projects are presented with comprehensive historical background on the creators and designers along with templates and rough isometric sketches. There are good clear tutorial photos showing construction details to fill out the accompanying instructions.  Materials lists are complete and detailed.  The historical and biographical information is what really sets this book apart.  I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed reading it cover to cover and devouring the history and lore behind the pieces.  I loved the old photos and seeing the furniture in its natural environment.

This is emphatically not a beginner's book.  There is no hand-holding here. The instructions and tutorials presuppose a good working knowledge of woodworking along with access to a variety of tools.  The projects are complex and quite demanding (but oh so gorgeous).  The aesthetic of these pieces appeals to me on a visceral level. 

The projects are interwoven with background information for each one and they get their own complete chapters in the book. By my rough count, a little less than 50% of the content is actually devoted to the projects; the rest is history, philosophy and biographical information.   There are three projects included: Voysey Two Heart Chair, Harris Lebus Sideboard, and the Gimson Hayrake Table. They are all three beautifully made inspiring pieces and worthy of the effort.

One thing which is absolutely vital in design is understanding context and the philosophy behind the things we create.  If the only criterion for making something on which to sit were functionality, we could chop a slice out of a tree trunk and call it a day.  The furniture we use and love most on a daily basis didn't just spring fully blown into existence.  It evolved and were designed (hopefully) with functionality and some philosophy and design.  This book does a stellar job of speaking to that 'soul' of creativity and philosophy.

The author's writing style is somewhat academic but gently humorous and easy to read.  The research and the historical notes are uniformly good.  I'm very impressed.

The book is 144 pages, hardcover format. 

Five stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.   

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Six Feet Under

Six Feet Under is the 4th Kenni Lowry mystery by Tonya Kappes. There are returning characters galore (including Kenni's grandfather, Poppa, who hasn't let being in the afterlife stop him from showing up and helping her solve crime in her constabulary).

For fans of light cozies, this one is cute and full of quirky characters.  They're full of southern charm and witticisms. The author is astoundingly prolific and if cozies are your cup of tea, you could spend a long while reading her 83 books in 14+ series.

Definitely a cute, light, and undemanding read.  I read it as a standalone and had no trouble following the narrative or keeping track of the characters.

Three and a half stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.   

The Woman in the Water

Part of the reason I really like series is that I get to see the development of the recurring characters.  Especially with mysteries (which are my favorite genre), the continuity and the characters' development over time are very satisfying to me.

The Woman in the Water is a prequel to the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch.  The entire series are classic mysteries.  This one is no exception.  I enjoyed reading about his family, his complex and bittersweet relationship with Lady Jane, as well as his early collaboration with Graham.  There was precisely the right amount of humor (Mrs. Huggins, his housekeeper for example) to balance the murders and investigation.

Period mysteries (especially those set in Victorian England) seem to have become something of a flavor-of-the-moment, so it's unusual for one to stand out amongst the flood of offerings.  This series is genuinely well written and entertaining.  Relatively clean mysteries, without a lot of overt blood or violence.    There is occasional light cursing (never gratuitous) with a few scattered 'hell, damn, blast and/or bloody'.  There's nothing which could conceivably shock or offend most readers.

Incidentally, though age is certainly not indicative of writing skill, I admit I was shocked to learn that the author, Charles Finch, is quite young (b. 1980).  He's a masterful writer, and I'm inordinately pleased at the likelihood of having new mysteries from him for decades to come.

The Woman in the Water was published by St. Martin's Press - Minotaur and was released 20th February, 2018.  Available in hardcover, softcover and ebook formats.

Five stars, top shelf mystery.  This one made me want to go and revisit the series.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.   

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Sewing Knits from Fit to Finish

Sewing Knits from Fit to Finish is a comprehensive guide to handling and sewing knit and interlock fabrics. Author Linda Lee has teamed up with how-to publishers Quarto - Creative Publishing International to produce this well photographed and comprehensive tutorial guide.

The book is 144 pages and comes in softbound and ebook versions. It includes chapters on identifying and exploiting the characteristics of different types of knitted fabrics, choosing and purchasing knits for the correct project and progresses through finishing techniques etc.

The second chapter is the best single tutorial I've seen (in 45+ years of sewing) on taking accurate measurements, tissue fitting and adjusting patterns for custom fit.  Really exemplary and accessibly written.  The author is clearly a gifted teacher.

She has an informal and reassuring writing style.  Though the tutorials aren't really aimed at the complete beginner, this book will serve as a valuable resource and reference to use and come back to as one progresses. The step-by-step photos are a plus and are accompanied by descriptive text to make the process as clear as possible.

I couldn't find any errors with the progression or the content.

Five stars.  Really well written. Don't be afraid of knits!

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

The Judith Hayle Samplers

The Judith Hayle Samplers is an exhaustively researched but eminently readable treatise on the needlework school run by Judith Hayle in Ipswich in the late 17th century. There are 11 extant samplers from Judith Hayle's school.  7 which were made directly under Judith's tutelage and 4 more directed by her daughter, Rebecca Thomson. This book describes and illustrates each of them along with as much historical info about the makers as is possible along with a wonderful provenance for each of them.   I found the biographical background info almost as fascinating as the illustrations themselves.

I'm a huge needlework/embroidery nerd and spend a lot of my time recreating samplers from the past with materials as close to the original period ones as possible. I enjoy samplers especially since they played a vital central role to the education and position of young women in times past.

Edwina Ehrman is a textile historian and curator at the London Museum and was previously associated with the Victoria and Albert museum.  This makes her pretty much a rock star in the historical embroidery nerd universe.

The book itself, published by Needleprint (now sadly out of business), is 108 pages, high quality softbound with color photos.  It was published in 2007 and can still be found occasionally on ebay, betterworldbooks, or the amazon secondary market.  The price can vary hugely, but bargains can still occasionally be found.

It's worth noting that this book does NOT include the patterns for the samplers, they're available elsewhere.

Definitely an important book for an admittedly niche audience.  It's worth tracking down a copy.
Five stars.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Blunt Force Magic

I'm a huge urban fantasy fan.  Despite having become something of the 'flavor of the month', there are a lot of really high quality books and series from which to choose. 

This series reminds me in a lot of ways of a lot of other scruffy, slightly disreputable, out of their depths, mages and wizards like Dresden, Atticus (iron druid), and the Sandman Slim books in all their sarcastic glory.

I love the original take on the main character.  He's an artificer which I find cool as hell.  He's well and truly out of his depth and more or less just has a bag of tricks to keep ancient evil creatures from snacking on him.

There's a nice mystery subplot which keeps the narrative moving along.  The book is capably written and eminently readable

It provided everything I look for in an urban fantasy: escapism, engaging characters, a great 'hook', a compelling story, humor, and a plot that kept me interested.  Well played! I enjoyed it very very much and look forward to the rest of the series.

Four stars
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

The Knowledge

There are a handful of authors whose mysteries are almost guaranteed to be wonderfully crafted, entertaining and beautifully written.  Martha Grimes is one author on my list of 'auto-buys'.  The Knowledge is the 24th Richard Jury novel and he returns with a cast of familiar characters and an ensemble group of new ones.

Like the previous books in the series, the title comes from the name of a pub.  In this case it's a mythical pub known only to the cab drivers of London. Along with a ragtag bunch of incredibly savvy street kids, there are cab drivers, gem smugglers, and a healthy helping of murder, jealousy and corruption.

I have been with this series since the first book and look forward to each and every one.  The Knowledge might suffer a bit by comparison with the others, though it's still absolutely top notch.  I also wouldn't recommend this book as an entry point into the series.  There are an awful lot of casual in-jokes and assumed background knowledge of the characters.  I continue to adore Jury and Plant and co.  Wonderful, even if it's a bit more whimsical than the usual Richard Jury mystery.

368 pages, available from Grove Atlantic in  hardcover, paperback and ebook formats.

Five stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

Sunday, April 29, 2018

How Not to Kill Your Houseplant

How Not To Kill Your Houseplant is a beautifully photographed and illustrated practical guide for the horticulturally challenged. Author Veronica Peerless has a friendly, upbeat, non-threatening manner which is like a 150 page pep talk (with pictures).

The intro pages include a pictorial index list with 8 full pages of color photos of common houseplants.  The first bit is 'find your plant' with a page listing of culture info for each one explaining in clear language the do's and don'ts of houseplant culture.

I appreciated that each of the listings provides both the common and Latin names for the plants to avoid confusion and regional differences.

There's a chapter on selecting plants and what to look for to find a healthy trouble free specimen.  There's also a handy reference for transporting your new plant safely and where to site it after you get it home.

The next chapters deal with potting (and repotting), general culture tips, and how to deal with pests and diseases, along with troubleshooting advice.

This is a colorful well made book, and definitely up to the usual quality for the publisher, DK press.

Four stars, lovely useful book.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.


Aimed at a middle-grade audience, Switched is the 4th book in the Fairy Tale Reform School series by Jen Calonita.  The series provides a wry twist to classic fairy tale characters with some modern attitude and updated freshness.

I occasionally like to grab a middle grade fantasy to sort of reset my palate after a bunch of serious literary reviews, and this one satisfies. It's light and fun and undemanding. The recurring characters from the earlier books are back along with some new faces. 

Although the book is somewhat 'genre'/flavor of the month, and the plot is fairly predictable, it's rollicking and fun and will undoubtedly be a favorite for middle graders.  I did enjoy it and found myself smiling and chuckling fairly often.  I do have to admit that calling Rumplestiltskin 'Rump' every other sentence began to wear on me after the first few pages.  The main character Gilly, is stubborn and somewhat hotheaded but is (mostly) true to her friends and will be relatable for most middle graders.

The book is well written and plotted and I didn't find it lagging for me or failing to keep my interest.  It's fairly long for a middle reader book at 304 pages and is available in hardback, paperback, ebook and audio formats. Published 6th March, 2018 from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky imprint.

At the end of the book is a 2 chapter teaser for the author's newest book, Misfits book 1 in the Royal Acadamy Rebels series (due out in October 2018).

Three and a half stars, enjoyable.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

First Lessons in Beekeeping

First Lessons in Beekeeping by Camille Dadant (link is to the Dadant family wiki) is a classic book which keeps resurfacing in new editions every decade or so.  The information and illustrations in this edition are cleaned up somewhat, but largely unedited as far as I can tell.  The introduction and preface for example are reprinted from the 1916/17 version of the book.

The book is meticulously written and while not up-to-the-minute (some things have changed), contains a world of good info for the beekeeper for historical and depth purposes.

There isn't anything which can really replace the help of a mentor or bee club for the aspiring apiarist, but this book provides a window into a valuable portion of the last couple hundred years of apiary history.  It isn't intended to serve as a primary instruction manual for the uninitiated potential beekeeper. 

I have a very early copy of this book in my beekeeping library and it's so well used and marked up that I fully intend to buy another copy in this release in order to have one which isn't in danger of falling apart in my hands.

194 pages, hardback, paperback, trade and ebook formats. Published by Dover, champions and archivists of the obscure, the esoteric and the delightful.

Highly recommend this as supplementary reading, but not to replace a mentor or bee-buddy.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

I remember reading the Anne books when I was about 10 years old and immediately connecting with the red-haired protagonist, being a precocious, red-haired kid myself.  The beautifully descriptive luminous prose of the books have resonated with generations of readers.  More than any other books I can think of, the setting of PEI and Avonlea, Green Gables and all the familiar places from the books are so vital to the narrative, they become characters themselves.  L.M Montgomery's life shared many characteristics with her fictional protagonist, including practical orphan status, difficulty and hardship, but managed to maintain a positive attitude despite her challenges.

Even though I was always enchanted by the stories, I was not very familiar with the biography of Maud Montgomery and had never made a pilgrimage to visit the real settings themselves.  Montgomery had such a gift of description that I felt as though I was there, walking in the same places and seeing the same settings as Anne (and Montgomery herself) did.

This book was a wonderful surprise for me.  I was expecting photographs of PEI and the areas described in the Anne books, but there was so much more.  The book is filled with beautiful photography and beautiful descriptions.  In addition, there is a well written biography of Maud Montgomery herself, often in her own words in excerpts from her journals, interwoven into the text and photos.  There are many period photos, many colorized by Montgomery herself, showing the landscapes and family which were part of her everyday life and provide context for her writing.

There is such a richness to this book. The style of writing suits Montgomery's prose and the parts written by the author, Catherine Reid, blend so seamlessly into the quoted and historical parts of the book that they are not at all distracting or jarring.  She writes distinctly, but masterfully, and in a manner which complements but doesn't detract.

The photography is rich and varied.  The scenery is beautiful.  I can certainly see this book becoming a display/coffee table book for the photography, but the narrative is just as beautiful.

Four stars (and it makes me want to go revisit the original books, which I haven't read in many years).

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.  

The Hawkman

The Hawkman by Jane Rosenberg LaForge is an original and powerfully written reworking of the Grimm's fairy tale Bearskin. The novel departs from the fairy tale in a lot of ways, and not having any prior knowledge of the earlier fable doesn't detract in any way from this novel. 

The author is a poet and it shines through in the exquisite use of language.  Most of the prose in the book is transcendent and very 'painterly'.  It's a fantasy, but grounded in reality.  I wouldn't call it magical realism, exactly (with the exception of one passage, which seemed written to indicate that it was metaphorical, not literal).

The book is beautifully written and poignant.  I haven't often been touched as deeply or felt as attached as I did to the characters in The Hawkman.  It's a book about the casualties (both literal and figurative) of the first world war, so much of the book was brutal and sad.  I found the redemptive themes of love and kindness and humanity had even more impact when presented in contrast.  It's been several weeks since I finished reading the book and I still find myself thinking about it often.

It's a really beautiful, lush, gorgeously written novel. 

Due out 5th June, 2018 from Amberjack publishing.  280 pages in paperback and ebook formats.

Five stars

Disclosure: I received an  electronic-ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Howl Like a Wolf

Howl Like a Wolf is aimed at young readers and is packed with information and play-alongs for more than 15 different animals.  Each chapter introduces an animal, explains some of their behaviors and characteristics and then invites the reader along on activities to learn about why the animals do what they do.

I loved the art, it's colorful and vibrant.  The text is intelligent and not condescending.  The chapters include the proper Latin names for the animals they're describing.  Increasing awareness and empathy for the wild animals around us, many of whom are critically threatened is so vital to our future and the future of life on our planet.  The interactive activities included in the book are a fun way to get youngsters moving and understanding a little more about the animals who share our planet.

Very well written, beautifully illustrated.  Super bonus points for including tardigrades as one of the animals in the book.  I'm in love! 

Four stars!

Anticipated release date:

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

The Pesto Cookbook

The Pesto Cookbook from Olwen Woodier and Storey Publishing
due out  17 April, 2018 is a modern look at an ancient and traditional ingredient. 

Pesto (or paste, or pureĆ©) is a traditional method of preserving summer's bounty of herbs with oil, cheese, nuts and other traditional ingredients.  It's super versatile in cooking and can function as a flavor enhancer, meat rub, side dish, topping and so much more.

The book begins with an introduction covering the history and traditional uses for pesto along with ingredients to mix and match.  It's worth noting that along with the introductory chapters (about 10% of the content) the author includes a lot of useful tips about growing and harvesting the herbs and greens to be used. The rest of the introductory chapters (about 30% of the total content) expand the definition of pesto and introduce an international flair with pastes from Morocco, Asia, France, Argentina and other world cuisines.

Each of the chapters include recipes along with alternative versions and suggestions for experimentation.

The largest portion of the book (about 70%) is given over to specific recipes for main dishes and appetizers including a large and varied selection of vegetarian dishes.

I'm emphatically NOT a talented cook (more of a keen amateur).  I can and did follow the recipes in this book and the results were oh, so tasty and impressive.  A very enjoyable well made culinary book that is more than 'just' a cookbook.  I tested several of the recipes: Focaccia With Spicy Summer Tomato Pesto, Gnocchi, Spaetzle, and Red Pepper and Spinach Risotto With Genovese Pesto. All were well written with no discernible mistakes. 

The Pesto Cookbook is gorgeously colorful and well photographed.

Four stars
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Amazing Origami Boxes

Amazing Origami Boxes is another new tutorial book of 20 designs from Origami master Tomoko Fuse.  Her specialty is modular origami (sculptures made from multiple pieces of paper, fitted together), and this book is no exception.  There are some very traditional forms which will be familiar to most people (square box with flaps, offering box, crane box, etc).  There are also some really beautiful modern shaped containers which will certainly appeal.  There are tutorials for 8 flower based shapes which would make spectacular nut/candy cups for a special table settting (or wedding).

As is usual for this author (kudos to her translation and editing team!) the tutorials are all accessible and the drawings are very clear and well illustrated and concise.

At the very beginning of the book are the symbol explanations and the short tutorials for the traditional folds.  This will help complete newbies to be able to follow the later tutorials.  There are (in my opinion) none of the pieces in this book which would be beyond a keen beginner's abilities.  This is mostly down to the perfect illustrations and sparely written instructions.  There are some really impressive folds in this book, including an almost tesseract/space defying box she calls Double Cube Box.

Dover publications has long been a standard bearer for beautifully illustrated well made crafts books.  This one is no exception.  Everything is top notch. The translations are perfect (if slightly whimsically poetic).   The photography is lush, crisp, and colorful.  It's an all around joy.  This would make a perfect gift for both enthusiasts and origami-curious beginners.

In fact, though I received a free e-book copy of this book for review purposes; I've already purchased a copy for my origami mad daughter.

Five stars

Pub: 21st March, 2018
Dover Publications
128 pages, color illustrations and photography
RRP: $18.95

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Death By Dumpling

Death By Dumpling is the first book in the Noodle Shop mysteries by Vivien Chien. Due out 27th March, 2018 from St. Martin's Press, it's 352 pages and available in ebook and paperback formats. 
I'm a huge fan of cozies and this one is lovely.   

I was surprised that this is apparently a first book release for this author; she has a confident and comfortable voice.  I enjoyed the plotting and characterizations very much.  It doesn't often happen that an a series finds its way right out of the starting gate.  This one delivers.

The length is a little longer than most cozies at over 350 pages but the plotting is tight and it doesn't drag.  The clues are well interspersed in the narrative and the book follows the 'rules' for amateur detective fiction.  Lately I've gotten my fill of southern catering homestyle bookmobile cat loving bakery shop ladies; this young woman with a great best friend and good relationship with her parents is such a breath of fresh air.  There's a lot of warmth and humor here.  The book is relatively clean, with only a sprinkling of 'hell' and 'damn' and nothing more objectionable in the book.  Definitely safe-for-lunch reading at work.

It was a delight to read and I'll definitely be back for a second helping (the second book, Dim Sum of All Fears is due out in August 2018). Only downside, I've been craving noodles. I've gotten takeaway sesame pho three times from my favorite Vietnamese restaurant after work in the last week!

Five stars, delightfully fun light cozy mystery.

Disclosure: I received an  electronic-ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.