Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes

As summer comes to an end, this collection of cocktail recipes will help extend the lightweight, holiday feeling. Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes explains the history and culture of the drink. It’s something of a reclamation, an attempt to recapture the low-alcohol cocktail from the horrors of white wine spritzers. A spritz is a blend of sparkling wine, usually prosecco; a bitter liqueur; and soda water, served pre-dinner or for happy hour. It’s intended to spur the […]

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Bedtime for Batman

Since parents are the ones who buy books for kids, this picture book gives them what they want: a way to get hero-loving little boys to go to bed. Written by Michael Dahl and drawn by Ethen Beavers, Bedtime for Batman compares what the Dark Knight does with what the kid has to do at nighttime. Batman has the Bat-signal, the boy has a bedtime on the clock. Batman cleans up the town, the boy has a bath. Batman puts […]

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Friday Barnes, Under Suspicion

The adorable pint-size private detective returns in Friday Barnes, Under Suspicion. (Her first adventure, Friday Barnes, Girl Detective, came out in January.) The eleven-year-old young woman is still struggling with her boarding school, as she’s not as polished or accepted as the more typical girls. Her disturbingly accurate powers of observation frighten the headmaster, although he benefits when she finds a missing student or solves a historical school mystery. R.A. Spratt’s approach is full of adventure, jumping into events with […]

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Death on the Sapphire

Death on the Sapphire introduces Lady Frances Ffolkes, a proto-feminist and suffragette in 1906. It’s the first in a new series by R.J. Koreto. I liked the heroine more than the mystery. She struggles with the constraints on a “proper” lady in her time, but she still does what she wants — moving out of her brother’s house to live independently (accompanied by her ladies’ maid, Miss Mallow), handling her own finances (mostly an inheritance), and exploiting expectations of what […]

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Arsenic With Austen

Arsenic With Austen features an older woman, Emily, a widow and a college professor who’s feeling burnt out. Then she gets the kind of news most of us can only dream of. The aunt with whom she spent summers as a teenager has passed away, leaving Emily an amazing house in a beach village, a well-stocked library, a grumpy housekeeper who’s an accomplished cook, and millions of dollars. Emily moves back and quickly finds herself set upon by a pushy […]

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A Hundred Thousand Worlds

A Hundred Thousand Worlds is a new literary novel aimed at con-goers, or at least those who know of such things. It’s the story of Valerie Torrey, former star of a cult sci-fi TV show; her son Alex, obsessed with words; and Brett Kazan, artist of Lady Stardust, a small press comic series. Brett and Valerie meet at a comic convention in Cleveland. Valerie is traveling across the country with Alex to return him to his father, a more successful […]

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Written Off: A Mysterious Detective Mystery

I enjoyed E.J. Copperman’s Asperger’s mystery The Question of the Missing Head so much that when I found out he was launching a new series, this time starring a female author, I jumped at the chance to read it. And I was not disappointed. Written Off features Rachel Goldman, a mid-list mystery writer who’s in revisions on her fifth book. Her series character is Duffy Madison, a Holmesian police consultant who is scarily skilled at finding missing people. He’s direct, […]

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Murder at the Spa

Murder at the Spa by Stefanie Matteson is the first of eight mysteries starring Charlotte Graham, an older actress. It was originally published in 1990 and is now out of print but available digitally through Open Road Media, along with the other seven books in the series. Charlotte is enlisted by an old friend, cosmetic mogul Paulina Langenberg (think Helena Rubinstein or Estée Lauder), to find out who is trying to sabotage her luxury spa. This was either the best […]

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