Anne Z.'s blog

This Week's Review at Inklings

What DID happen to Agatha Christie in 1926?

Review by Irene Pearcey

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

"On a cold December night in 1926, Agatha Christie went out in her beloved Morris Cowley roadster and didn’t return home for 11 days."

Police investigators found her car at the edge of a nearby lake, a fur coat lying inside.  Missing was the attache case she had taken with her on that cold Friday night and Agatha Christie herself.  After an eleven-day nationwide search, that involved hundreds of police, a call for public assistance, and the use of dogs, including Mrs. Christie's own beloved pet, Mrs. Christie turns up at a spa in Harrogate, England under an assumed name, Mrs. Neele.

Marie Benedict weaves an intriguing scenario of events beginning with the letter she left for  her husband Colonel Archibald Christie:  "Read on and follow my instructions closely if you wish the safety of the first path and the security of its conclusion." Ms. Benedict then takes us back to a fateful event in October of 1912, the night Agatha Miller meets her future husband, Archibald Christie.

Detective Chief Constable Kenward is dogged in his pursuit of the truth and despite Mr. Christie's claims of innocence, he remains a suspect in the disappearance of his wife...he is, after all, having an affair with Nancy Neele.  The one thing that can redirect attention from himself as the perpetrator of a supposed crime, he cannot share for it now lies in ashes in the fireplace.  He was directed to destroy the one thing that could save him.

This is not so much a story of "whodunit" as it is an intriguing tale of why.  This is a novel that weaves its way from 1912 to the events of December 1926.  The twists and turns befitting of an Agatha Christie mystery. 

A great read with characters that are as fascinating as they are believable.  Meticulously researched it is sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction.  Ms. Benedict takes us on a fascinating journey into the private life of Agatha Christie and her explanation for the mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Christie will leave readers with perhaps more questions than answers.  A mystery novel worthy of Agatha Christie herself.

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

A romantic comedy to warm your heart for Valentine's Day!

Happy Singles Day by Ann Marie Walker

Review by Anne Zastrow

How do you feel about holiday reads? or small town/seaside novels? Happy Singles Day reminds me of the easy to read novels that come out every Christmas, and of small town & seaside novels that come out every summer.

Paige, a Certified Professional Organizer in Chicago has everything in her life in order. After one very bad experience with her ex and her old boss she started her own company and is very successful. But, she is in desperate need of a holiday. The perfect opportunity appears after she clicks on an ad for "Singles Day", the day after Valentine's day. What better time to go away? Because who needs  a man? Certainly not Paige. 
Once Paige arrives at the small seaside town in the middle of nowhere she soon realizes things are not as they appeared on the website. For starters, there are no cars in town. She needs to get on a bike to get to the B&B. Once she does get to the B&B it looks like someone's house, with crap all over and definitely not set for the peaceful holiday week she was looking for. On top of that, the guy at the door is rude and unwelcoming. She turns back on her heel, and because she is lucky like that, a storm comes in. She has no choice but to return to the B&B and beg for her room back.

What Paige doesn't know is that the ad was set by Lucas (the moody guy at the door) sister. Ever since his wife died and left him a single dad he has been struggling to keep the house afloat and has not taken any guests. When Paige arrived he had just found out about his sister's doing and although he is not happy about it, his sister is right. He has bills and taxes to pay, he needs to start using the B&B again. Though a little more warning from his sister so he could get the place cleaned up (since it is his house with his little daughter as well as a B&B) that would have been great. A rude 'city slicker' lady as a first guest back in operation did not help.

As their worlds collide and they are forced to spend time together Lucas finds Paige is not as obnoxious as he first thought. She is bossy and a little OCD, but she is also kind and sweet. And Paige finds Lucas is not that rude. Maybe at first, but mostly he is a man in pain with a little too much on his plate.

A storm, an animal rescue, and a sea shell expedition with Lucas' little girl later, and the chemistry between them becomes undeniable. But can two people from very different worlds be anything more than just friends?


2021 Book Awards

Wednesday, February 10, 6:00 pm, PNBA and its 130 member stores will present the first ever virtual celebration of the annual Pacific Northwest Book Awards. In the program's 55+ years, the honors have been celebrated in many ways by the winning authors and the PNBA member stores, but we've never brought the winners, booksellers, librarians, and book loving customers from across the indie Northwest to the same venue to revel together!

Attendance is free. The only registration stipulation is for the attendee to share the name of their local independent bookstore—that's it!

Come Join us!

Here is the link to register for the Awards Celebration: Webinar Registration 

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

The Heiress Gets a Duke (The Gilded Age Heiresses Book 1) - Kindle edition  by St. George, Harper. Romance Kindle eBooks @ Scene: Liked 'Bridgerton'? Try these titles

Review by Anne Zastrow

The Bridgertons have been everywhere since the Netflix show started. It has been watched by 82 MILLION accounts in its first month. Because of that the books for the series are backordered everywhere.

But we at Inklings have some alternatives to keep you busy until more copies come out (please contact us if you want to put your name down for the Bridgerton books when they arrive).


- Someday My Duke Will Come by Christina Britton ($8.99, Forever- Jan 12, 2021)

Quincy did not have an easy childhood. He runs from home at a young age and when he returns it is to find out his brothers have passed and he has inherited the dukedom. Lady Clara has no intention of ever getting married, but now that her sister is engaged her well-meaning aunt has set her sights on her. So when the new Duke of Reigate shows up at her doorstep in desperate need of help, she does the sensible thing, she helps him. The problem? the words that come out of her when his evil mother shows up: "we are engaged". Quincy is surprised, but he needs her help, in any way he can get it! 

"This book will pull at your heartstrings. It is unexpectedly touching, has funny and entertaining side characters, and a romance that will leave you smiling" -Anne Z.

- The Prince of Broadway by Joanna Shupe ($7.99, Avon- Dec 30, 2019)

Clayton is the merciless owner of a New York Casino. A place for the upper class male society to gather and enjoy the evening. Florence Duncan Greene, the daughter of the man he wants to destroy, is a headache and a temptation he doesn't want but can't say no to. He is tired of kicking her out, because yes, she keeps finding ways to enter his male-only Casino. He finally gives in and asks her why she keeps coming back. As it turns out, Florence wants to open her own Casino for ladies and wants him to teach her his ways. Why not? her father will be mad and he will enjoy every second of it. 

"I just recently started reading this series and I am in love with the Greene sisters. One is more wild than the other in a time when that was often frowned upon" -Anne Z.

- The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George ($7.99, Berkley- Jan 26, 2021)

American heiress August wants only one thing: the family business. But when her father offers her youngest sister in marriage to the highest bidder she has no choice but to change gears. She is not letting her sister marry and be unhappy. The Duke of Rothschild will not walk away from the marriage agreement regardSome Like It Scandalous by Maya Rodaleless of which bride he got. He has only recently inherited the title just to discover the coffers empty, he needs this. August decides she will not peacefully accept her fate, she is not your usual London wallflower. But Evan, the Duke of Rothschild only finds her more endearing the more she provokes him.

- My Last Duchess by Eloisa James ($7.99, Avon- Oct 27, 2020)

Hugo Wilde, the Duke of Lindow, has a drafty castle, eight naughty children, and no wife.

Ophelia, Lady Astley, has a fine house, one well-behaved daughter, and no husband. 

It's love at first sight for Hugo. It most certainly isn't for Ophelia. 

- Some Like it Scandalous by Maya Rodale ($7.99, Avon- June 18, 2019)

Theodore Prescott the Third is rich, handsome, and always in trouble. Daisy Swan has a formidable reputation and plans to use it to her advantage. In a time when cosmetics were only used by women of a 'certain lifestyle', she plans to create and sell cosmetics to the upper class. When Theodore gets in trouble yet again the only way to survive the scandal is to marry someone respectable. Daisy doesn't want a loveless marriage, but she does need a smooth-talking charmer good with words and making things look appealing to sell her products. It is a business transaction, nothing more. Or at least that is how it starts...

"One of my favorite Historical Romances from last year!" -Anne Z.

Thursday Reviews at Inklings CIRCE eBook: Miller, Madeline: Kindle Store'Circe' - an epic retelling of a goddess' story

Reiview by Emma Pietsch

Age-old Greek characters come to life in Madeline Miller’s bestselling “Circe.” The story’s heroine, Circe, faces numerous struggles while discovering who she is and the power she holds.

Surrounded by a family of powerful immortals, Circe shrinks away in the shadows of her father’s great halls until it comes to light that she is a skilled witch. Afraid of her powers, Circe gets cast out of her father’s world and is exiled to live alone on an island. She soon faces many evils and eventually brings the wrath of a vengeful god upon her.

“Circe” brings to light the many faults of man, but also shows that in discovering yourself there are many joys and beautiful moments to experience. Circe is a courageous character who falls in love and experiences emotions we all know only too well, including fear, loss and hope. Miller does an excellent job making the reader feel Circe’s heartbreaks and joys as she faces the world.

Valentine's Day!

Christmas Gift Boxes | Custom Gift Boxes | Wholesale Christmas Gift Boxes  Printing

Inklings would love to help you send your loved one -that be your other half, a kiddo, or your bestie- a surprise Valentine's Day box! 

Fill out our form (link bellow) and someone will get back to you!

Order Form Here

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse”

Review by Emma Welch, $22.99

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse” a mouthful of a title for a delightfully simple book. 

When you sit down to read any story you might have a set of expectations, or preconceived ideas about what you are going to experience. This sweet little book however, will break and exceed all those expectations. I know it sure did for me. 

The first surprise was that it is in fact not a story in the traditional sense, it is more of a collection of sayings, scenes, and heart-warming moments. This makes it the epitome of a light, happy read. All these small dialogues ultimately do make a story, it is just up to the reader to figure out precisely what that story is. 

The second surprise is how despite the fact that it's all these small glimpses, you fall head over heels in love with each of the characters. There’s the boy with all his questions and concerns about life, the mole who loves cake and always has something interesting to say, the fox who seems to have been hurt before but finally now feels accepted and really doesn’t talk much, and finally the sweet gentle giant of a horse, who is wise and makes everyone feel at ease. Following these characters as they get to know each other and the forest around them is a real joy. 

The third surprising thing about the book is its format. You might be expecting a regular book, with straight lines of text and maybe a neat little illustration here and there, but that is not the case. Without ruining the enjoyment of discovering for yourself what lies inside, I will say it is stunning and inspiring, and, as an artist myself, I was encouraged by the unusual but breathtaking design of the book. 

This collection is not just for children, but for anyone at any stage of life. There are takeaways in its wisdom about life, friendship, self-worth, and of course, cake. It has the gentle lovability of Winnie the Pooh paired with the introspection and character dynamics of Calvin and Hobbes. This heart warming book is a real treasure for your bookshelf. 

This Week's Review at Inklings

The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone's Legendary Druid Pack

Review by Rachel Fowler

Wolves have always been majestic creatures and The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone's Legendary Druid Pack by Rick Mcintyre beautifully illustrates this. Mcintyre is also the author of The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog which chronicles the lives of the first wolves that were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995. His newest book continues the story and looks at the pack life of Wolf 21, Wolf 8’s adopted son. 

I loved reading this book, I was completely enthralled by the chronicles of these animals. The book tells the tale of Wolf 21, alpha male of the Druid Peak Pack. The book also looks at his mate, Wolf 42, the alpha female of the pack, but it wasn't always that way. These two wolves overcame many obstacles and trials to achieve their positions and Mcintyre does a good job highlighting the impact they had on the successes of their pack. The author focuses on Wolf 21 who built on the patient leadership he learned from Wolf 8. Wolf 21 was a fearless defender of his family while simultaneously showing much unusual kindness by not killing his rivals. Wolf 42 was exceptional in her behavior because she used cooperation instead of violence in her interactions with other wolves when achieving goals. The book also looks at many other wolves and nearby packs that interacted with the Druid Peak Pack.

The author has spent over 40 years observing wolves and does a good job of humanizing the lives of these amazing animals. Mcintyre balances the drama of these animals' existence well with the science of their behavior. While wolves can be a controversial topic at times, I feel whatever your stance is, you will be thoroughly immersed in the saga of these incredible creatures. 

I can't recommend this book enough! Reading the love story of how devoted wolf 21 & 42 were to each other and how they cared for their family was very inspiring. I think this book is great for nature lovers or people interested in learning more about wolves and wolf behavior. 

Thursday Reviews at Inklings

The 99% Invisible City — Raphael GeroniThe 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design

by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt [signed copies available]

Reviewed by Rachel Fowler

Cities at first glance can be fun and interesting places in and of themselves, but what about the stories just under the surface? What about things that are essentially hidden but still remain an integral part of the functioning of a city? Unearthing these unsung tales are what The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design aims to do. The authors, Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt, open the lid on many secrets and little known interesting facts about the design of the everyday world we inhabit.  

Roman Mars is the creator and host of the podcast 99% Invisible that the book is based on. The popular podcast focuses on design and architecture and gives insight to unique stories behind the places and things we think we know. The book is unique from the podcast in that it has drawings to help illustrate the things you see everyday, but might not have a full understanding of. As the author explains:

“So much of the conversation about design centers on beauty, but the more fascinating stories of the built world are about problem-solving, historical constraints, and human drama.”  - Roman Mars