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Maggie Bishop

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Member Since: Aug, 2006

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Maggie Bishop

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Appalachian Adventures and Diversions
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Reviews by Maggie Bishop
By Maggie Bishop   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, January 31, 2009
Posted: Friday, August 11, 2006

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Books I've been reading.

The Bodyguard and the Show Dog (Book 2 of the Bodyguard Series) by Christy Tillery French
Natasha strikes again!
Picture the nuttiness of Cameron Diaz and the hard kick of Angelina Jolie and you get Natasha Chamberlain. In “The Bodyguard and the Show Dog,” Christy Tillery French’s main character Natasha is as messy and off-putting as the Pug show dog she’s hired to protect. Somehow both are endearing in the escapades that romp through the pages. Who would think the competition of a dog show would be fierce enough to threaten harm to the award-winning Pug? Natasha reluctantly takes her first case as a protection specialist and finds the bite worse than expected once she starts investigating. When Striker, Natasha’s mentor and lover, tries to protect her, she demands the space to make mistakes. Returning minor characters Pit, Bigun and Roger are a delight when they try to help. French weaves action, romance, and mystery into this comedic novel.


The Lover’s Knot by Claire O’Donohue

Plume Imprint, Penguin Books, 2008, reviewed January 27, 2009

In The Lover’s Knot, Clare O’Donohue takes the reader on a follow-the-clues journey that puts the reader squarely in the thought process of Nell, a career woman with a wavering fiancé. Nell’s stay with her grandmother in a small New York town is interrupted when the town’s bad boy is found stabbed to death with scissors in her grandmother’s quilt shop. Nell discovers parts of herself – cooking skills, quilting, and true feelings for the fiancé – while racing the town police to solve the mystery. Satisfying read. that shows why and how women quilt.

Pelican Watch by Rose Senehi
Save the South Carolina beaches January 26, 2009

Nicky Sullivan of Boston seeks peace and renewal on a South Carolina barrier island but finds mystery and plots within plots when she tries to help the leatherneck turtles keep their nesting places. Taste the shrimp, feel the sand and smell the salt in the air in Rose Senehi’s novel, Pelican Watch. The islands routinely alter shape due to winds, surf and hurricanes but developers want to attack the soul of the island by destroying the dunes and animal habitat in order to add more condominiums to the coastline. Triplett Alston, a low country gentleman, is on her side and sneaks into her heart despite interference from her mentally ill brother and increasing tension from the zoning board. This is a must read for all those interested in romance, mystery and saving the environment.


The Bodyguard and the Rock Star by Christy Tillery French
Rocking and Fighting, January 2, 2009

Pretty Natasha likes a good fight and fits right in with the rough and tumble lifestyle of the rock star she's contracted to protect. In Christy Tillery French's "The Bodyguard and the Rock Star," sometimes Natasha is her own worst enemy in tracking down a cyberstalker and her finance, Striker, constantly drops his business to visit Natasha in different Southern cities on the tour. Half romance and half suspense, Christy French keeps the reader guessing at what comes next in this delightful romantic comedy.



Consigned to Death by Jane K. Cleland

Dirty details on antiques business, December 29, 2008 Amazon.com
Josie Prescott keeps tabs on her antique business while being a suspect in a murder, following her lawyer's advice and trying to solve the cozy mystery. Phew! No wonder she cries so much. The pulse-pounding pressure mounts while Josie negotiates the pitfalls of antique prices, romance and clues. Like any good business person, Josie listens to advice from her lawyer and her deceased father and manages to keep trouble to a manageable size. The background information on running an antique business is woven into the puzzle and does not detract from the story. Jane K. Cleland has written a solid first novel. I look forward to reading Deadly Appraisal.



Pell-Mell by Nora Percival is a story set in the late 1970s when women’s lib was fresh. Mel, a city girl, and Pell, a small town college professor, click at first site despite their completely opposite attitudes towards life, career and family. They follow his job deep in the North Carolina mountains, marry, have a son and seem so close until Mel has conflicting emotions about working after the baby. She misses the excitement of the city; he wants the old fashioned life. Independence is the mantra of young women everywhere. Will they grow apart or will they create a life together that can meet both of their needs?







Bloodroot by William F. Kaiser
available on Amazon.com & http://williamfkaiser.tripod.com
ISBN 978-1-59513-002-0
No battles were fought during the Civil War in the North Carolina mountains but bickering and murders happened between neighbors and within families as people picked sides. The independent-minded deep woods mountaineers wouldn’t think of letting anyone or any government tell them what to do.
William F. Kaiser brings to life the human side of living, loving and surviving on wits and guts during those turbulent times. His lifelong study of and fascination with the Civil War does not get in the way of his telling a good story.
BLOODROOT carried me through snake bite, recovery, family sorrow and redemption in the Applachian mountains in the time of the Civil War. It is an intimate story of the resourcefullness of people during time of stress.

If you liked Cold Mountain, you’ll be enthralled with Bloodroot.


You Mean I Have To Look At the Body?! By Marcia M. Cham
Marcia Cham’s stories of dying and living are a guide book, memoir and toast to life. Some people ended life with dignity, grace and being ready for the next adventure. Some went with no warning in accidents. Some went with pain or fear. Marcia Cham’s stories of how they touched her life and how she decided what to say at their funerals are a reminder that we all have a legacy and hold spaces in the memories others have of us.

This book gives a back stage look into a pastor’s life, complete with personal struggles as well as doubts and fears. Plus, she found humor in dark times. Especially appreciated is the list of what to say and do and not do for the grieving. A “must have” book to help in troubling times.


The 3-Hour Diet by Jorge Cruise

This diet book appealed to me because I'm hungry often, even with drinking lots of water. The hard part, which is explained in the text, is to keep the calories below 1500 a day. That means the 2 snacks are only 100 calories each. The routine of eating every 3 hours was fine when I didn't have to meet anyone else's schedule. This diet is worth trying because the more you try to improve eating habits, the better the chance that this one will lead to a breakthrough in your view of food.

Eat, Pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The reader travels with Elizabeth Gilbert through divorce fallout in Italy, letting go in India and embracing life's pleasures in Indonesia. With guidance, she embraced her inner journey through personal hell and found peace with her demons. A remarkable journey that led to Elizabeth finding herself and her life's work while still in her 30s. Wonder what she'll do next.

The Collard Patch (Paperback)
by Mary Lou Cheatham, & Paul Elliott (Reviewed Oct 5, 2008)

Paperback: 288 pages Publisher: Blue Moon Books Louisiana (May 15, 2006) Language: English ISBN-10: 097419123X ISBN-13: 978-0974191232

The low-down, nitty-gritty bits of dirt and information about collards in this book is the appetizer before the main course of recipes that makes even the most over-boiled critic salivate. The dessert of stories is a fine finish to this unique cookbook that even cooking-phobic readers will enjoy. Read it in one sitting or read sample chapters as time permits -- either way, you'll learn something and be inspired to cook and eat these greens that are so good for you.



The Bodyguard by Christy Tillery French.

This first book in The Bodyguard series has Natasha making dumb mistakes in her ambition to prove to her boss that she can do more than office work and that she deserves a promotion to investigator. Her immaturity allows her to grow as a character in the later books in the series. This story is intense, thrilling, romantic and funny which keeps the reader turning pages. You can't help but care about her characters.

Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel.

Normally, I read contemporaries but this series drew me in. Ayla struggles to live when ice sheets were retreating from Europe. She's raised by Clan, people who communicate with body language more than vocals, and makes many mistakes on her way to adulthood. Jean Auel's research at times intrudes but mostly this is a story that completely transports the reader to a long ago time where you root for the heroine and feel the fear and trauma along with her. My bookshelves are few but this series has designated space because I revisit favorite scenes often.

Hell Swamp, a police procedural by Susan Whitfield, starts with the gory death of an animal rights activist that has Agent Hunter running full speed into a swamp full of snakes of both kinds, those that slither and those that walk upright. Although tough and well-trained, she's thwarted and attacked in this Carolina Low Country tale of greed and mis-guided deeds. Fasten your seat belts for this fast-paced read.

Just North of Luck by Susan Whitfield

The persistent voice of the deranged makes the reader urge on Agent Logan Hunter in her pursuit of the serial killer. Whitfield has created a unique supporting cast of Appalachian characters in the true Southern writing tradition. Poor Agent Hunter gets lost and skunked in the North Carolina mountains in this mystery which combines hate and humor.



The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Mary is a sour nine-year old girl whose neglectful parents die in India and she is taken to an even more neglectful uncle in a gothic castle in a remote part of England. Interest in something outside herself is sparked when Martha, the servant assigned to look after her, is shocked that Mary never learned how to dress herself. There had been no need. Martha has other duties so Mary is left alone. Her explorations lead her out in the late winter air and to an obsession with finding “the secret garden.” She discovers an even bigger secret of another child in the house.

Through magic and exercise, both children are transformed. This highly entertaining book is a wonderful read for all ages.

Getorix: The Eagle and The Bull by Judith Geary

Fifteen year old Getorix, the son of a Celtic leader, is captured and is eager to be sacrificed with honor. To his horror, he is selected as a slave to a boy his age. Talk about a major attitude adjustment! The setting is Rome, a hundred years before Christ. The time is before Julius Caesar. Geary’s storytelling weaves history and details of the city of Rome into an easily read adventure story of two boys forced to be together who navigate a relationship through culture clashes, status expectations between owner and slave and the bull-headedness of youth. Getorix even takes you through the sewer system of ancient Rome.

This is the type of book you recommend to friends.

The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell by Lillian Jackson Braun

Amateur feline sleuths KoKo and YumYum again help reporter Qwilleran solve the mystery. This time, the Town of Pickax is on the verge of its 150th anniversary. Polly, Qwill’s amore, has moved from Head Librarian to Manager of The Pirates’ Chest, a bookstore financed largely through the K-Fund which came from Qwill’s unexpected inheritance.

A large part of Braun’s success is a reader’s enchantment with Qwill, his two cats and his community. After an architect student sketches the interior of Qwill’s apple barn home, a murder takes place at a family reunion. Qwill and his Siamese cats put together their senses to find out the who and why. The mystery plays a small part of this novel but it is fun to revisit the world created by Braun.

Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter by Blaize Clement
The First Dixie Hemingway Mystery

Comparative behavior of cats and dogs is an added bonus to this Florida-based mystery. Although I figured out the killer early, I was tempted to change my mind with many of the red herrings. The pet sitter has odd hours, use of a dog’s sense of smell, and access to empty homes which are plausible reasons to discover a crime scene and clues. Her characters are flawed and sympathetic for the most part. I look forward to the next Dixie Hemingway mystery. 

Web Site: Maggie Bishop, Author



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