Book Review: A Death at the Yoga Cafe by Michelle Kelly

A Death at the Yoga Café
Keeley Carpenter #2
Michelle Kelly
Minotaur Books, January 2017
ISBN 978-1-250-06738-8

Michelle Kelly’s book has all the elements a reader expects in a cozy mystery. Keeley Carpenter, the main character, has returned to her hometown after years away in the big city, and opens a vegetarian café and yoga studio in the building that used to house her father’s butcher shop. Her mother, who shows up for a visit a week before she is expected, is a perfectionist and constantly criticizes Keeley.  Keeley’s boyfriend Ben, is a good-looking detective on the local police force.

Keeley witnesses an argument between the town’s mayor and his newest girlfriend, who is a business rival of Keeley’s and who was the “mean girl” in high school. Unfortunately, this mystery also includes some of the cozy mystery clichés. The girlfriend begs Keeley to investigate the death, instead of hiring a lawyer. Why would someone facing arrest for a murder beg for help from a yoga teacher that she bullied in school? And why would the yoga teacher confront the killer alone, without telling the police her suspicions.

The book contains recipes and instructions on how to do select yoga poses. While the premise of the book shows promise, it fails to deliver on a satisfying conclusion to the mystery.

Reviewed by Susan Belsky, March 2020.

Sunday Sharing (13)

I often find posts by other bloggers
that strike a chord in me for one reason
or another and I’ll be occasionally sharing
them here on Buried Under Books.

Today’s share is from Ben’s Bitter Blog:

Isolating Long Before It Was
Cool Bitter Friday Giftures

By bensbitterblog on March 27, 2020

As you may not be aware of, there is this outbreak of disease going on, which means that we have to stay home as much as we can for a while. I’m not sure how all these extroverts are going to handle this, but us introverts are doing just fine. If it wasn’t for the other tinier humans in our house driving us crazy and making us do their homework, this would be an ideal situation. I’ve done isolation really well for most of my life and have been called shy, introvert, weirdo, or go-outside-and-mingle-with-someone my whole life. Now all of you naysayers telling me that I was supposed to get out and meet people were wrong. So I don’t want to tell you, “I told you so”, but I absolutely told you so. And I will continue to rub that in your face. Oh wait, I’m not supposed to touch my face or anyone else’s. So I will facetime or Skype it in your faces then. Regardless, the Bitter Friday Giftures will continue in earnest…

Looks like Tom Hanks had it right in the movie…

Fish Years GIF

…not so much in real life.

I am writing songs like this…

away GIF

…all day with my free time. What are you doing?

Turns out Dwight Shrute was right…

Toilet Paper Office GIF by Leroy Patterson

…to turn 2 ply into one ply after all.

We may not have enough toilet paper for a fort…

Donald Glover Troy Barnes GIF

…but we sure have enough pillows.

I saw a couple people outside…

the walking dead zombie GIF


I went outside…

Lonely The Simpsons GIF

…and did some fun activities with all my friends.

I made sure to…

jennifer lawrence running behind the lady GIF

…100 feet from everyone like I always do.

Made sure to remain…

unproductive GIF by Product Hunt

…as productive as usual.

Made sure to be a good listener…

kim ye-rim whatever GIF

…as usual.

I made sure to stay…

not my job GIF

…nice and motivated.

Made sure to let everyone know…

not my job GIF

…how hard I would be working.

Made sure I got permission…

Ron Swanson GIF

…before I did anything.

Made sure to help everyone…

parks and rec GIF

…with whatever they needed.

I know it seems like I’m a bit of an overachiever, but this is where I thrive. I think Dwight was right when he said that we needed more plagues, so we could get more productive like I clearly am. Make sure you wash your hands because you have to get all that productivity off your hands and make sure you stay at least 100 feet away from everyone, including your family because they might ask you do something for them. Why didn’t we all just listen to me in the beginning?


Bitter Isolation Before It was Cool Ben

Book Review: Dead at First Sight by Peter James @peterjamesuk @panmacmillan

Dead at First Sight
Roy Grace #15
Peter James
Pan Macmillan, August 2019
ISBN 978-1-5098-1641-5

Peter James is a well known British mystery/thriller writer. Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is the protagonist in his fifteen and counting series set in Sussex, England. While it’s generally a good idea to start a series from the first book,(Dead Simple), I’ve been reading them in no particular order…

His latest, Dead at First Sight, deals with a crime that has recently been in the news all over the world. You may you have heard of On-line Dating websites where men and women search for a soulmate or a companion. The crime that is being perpetrated is one where a con-man or woman responds to someone on one of these sites and over messages and emails a relationship is started. It doesn’t take long for the con-man or woman to earn the trust of their victim and in a very short time the victim is agreeing to help their new friend by sending money to the con-man/woman. Over a period of weeks or months the amounts steadily increase, with the promise of repayment, but instead the victim is taken to the cleaners.

In this novel D.S. Grace is called to investigate the suicide of a woman in Brighton. As D.S. Grace investigates her death, a man comes forward to inform the police that his identity and photograph has been used to scam a number of local women, on a dating site. The cases begin to merge and it isn’t long before D.S. Grace realizes that his suicide victim might well have been murdered possibly after realizing she had been duped by the man she thought would be the answer to her romantic dreams.

D.S. Grace soon learns that he is dealing with much more than one con-man, and that there is in fact a whole network of criminals who will do anything to avoid the police and who won’t think twice to use deadly force to silence their victims and stop the police from finding them and ending their lucrative scam.

Peter James weaves an exciting and intriguing tale. D.S. Roy Grace is a strong, well drawn character and spending time with him as he unravels this complex plot is well worth the time.

Respectfully submitted,

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, January 2020.

Book Reviews: Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Philip Webb and The Man Who Was Poe by Avi @chickenhsebooks @avi3writer @avonbooks

Where the Rock Splits the Sky
Philip Webb
Chicken House, March 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-55701-6

Mr. Webb’s Where the Rock Splits the Sky is a stellar sci-fi, dystopian story beyond my wildest imagination. Perhaps because I could not fathom a unique paranormal situation which essentially creates chasms, both metaphorical and literal, all over the continental United States. Rather than banding together, people pretend to be in some sort of survival mode. In reality, society splintered and regressed to the ways of the “wild, wild west.”

Everyone can see that an invasion is underway, but only a select few know why. The Navaho people had prayed to the White Shell Woman believing her to be a goddess; Wife of the Moon, Mother of the Navajo people. They are honest and trusting people but the she is an unabashed liar, master manipulator and nothing resembling a goddess.

In the chaos, Megan’s father is missing. She knows, with an inexplicable certainty, that he is trapped in The Zone. She has yet to learn that she is the only person on the planet capable of freeing him and Megan may never be ready to understand why. Shoving doubt aside, she saddles her horse to head into The Zone.

In a rush, but feeling she owes her best bud an explanation, she makes a quick stop. Since Luis is easily as stubborn as she is, Megan isn’t really surprised when he insists on accompanying her. She’s just not sure how she feels about it. Their old, but seemingly uncertain, friendship may not be destined to survive the journey, even if they do find Megan’s father and miraculously make it out alive.

Once inside The Zone, they encounter Kelly. Determinedly cheerful, Kelly announces her intent to join the duo on their quest. Not a problem for Luis, he always believes there’s room for one more. Megan is not so quick to accept a new acquaintance.

Kelly is a large presence with plenty to say and not too much time for politeness. Her overwhelming attitude has Megan and Luis independently soul-searching and even reevaluating their relationship. The dynamic among the three solidified this sweetly-strange little story. I admit, I did not fully understand exactly what was happening or where the story was heading, but I was absolutely invested enough to be shocked, then tickled by a sneaky twist.

Reviewed by jv poore, September 2019.


The Man Who Was Poe
Avon, July 1997
ISBN 978-0-380-73022-3
Trade Paperback

I have just “discovered” the author, Avi. Meaning, of course, that one of “my” students brought him to my attention. I had asked the students to fill in a wish-list of books to be added to their classroom library and someone requested a book by Avi. The name stuck with me, and wouldn’t you know, after digging through my stacks o’ books, I actually had something from this very author!

Not just any book, either. This casts Edgar Allan Poe as a supporting character. Famous in his own rights, Mr. Poe is almost legendary here in Richmond, VA, where he occupies a predominant place in history. Clearly, I had to read The Man Who Was Poe right then. Fortunately, this Juvenile Historical Fiction was a fast read.

There’s something completely quirky about enjoying the interactions between two totally different types of people, neither of which I would expect to covet as a companion in real-life. In Avi’s world, however, it is the perfect plot presentation. This mystery moves quickly, even with the hair-pin twists and turns. I wanted to sympathize with young Edmund, or at least his pathetic predicament; but, he’s simply too tenacious and tough to pity. After all, this kid continues to go toe-to-toe with Edgar Allan Poe.

Reviewed by jv poore, January 2019.

Panicking Over the Pandemic

Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to share a few humorous looks at our COVID-19 pandemic because laughter helps us cope.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.   //

There are many topics I could write about, but it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the nation. Is anyone thinking of anything other than the Corona Virus? Everyday it’s on the news and the Internet. It’s hard to ignore the empty shelves in grocery stores. Society is trying to find a way to greet each other that doesn’t involve hands or hugs.

I remember an earlier pandemic. In 1957 I was 6 years-old. The Asian Flu spread throughout the world. My mother caught it and was close to death. My 8 year-old sister had to take care of both me and my mother. My father was out at sea on an aircraft carrier. They had to fly him back to the states to take care of us. In America, nearly 70,000 people died. In the pandemic of 1918 over a million people died.

I’m hanging back watching unnecessary hysteria go on around me. I’m in the high-risk category because as a transplant recipient I take 14 pills a day that suppress my immune system. I’m not stocking up on water, toilet paper or hand sanitizer. Unless there’s a run on cat food and biscotti, I’m fine.

What I’m not fine with is the worst qualities of people that comes out during an impending crisis. By stripping the shelves of toilet paper, shoppers don’t bother to think of others in the same boat. Several of my friends are carrying guns in case someone tries to take away their Purell. Rags can be used and washed. I’m looking at the old phone book and thinking ahead. Believe it or not, many people in the world don’t have the luxury of Quilted Northern. I’ve been to some of those 3rd world countries.

Water? We’ve been spoiled by bottled water, although plastic is now a problem. I use Brita. In a crisis, tap water is available. People act like the water supply is going to dry up or get tainted. This is not Hurricane Katrina or a Tennessee tornado. We’ll have electricity and homes to sequester in.

It takes common sense and precautions to deal with this crisis, not toilet paper. I love staying at home with plenty of books to read. I hate traveling and I now have an excuse to skip gatherings. The timing could be better, what with the Presidential election in full swing and the Olympics in jeopardy. It was St. Patrick’s Day recently but I skipped corned beef and cabbage at a restaurant.

Out of this quagmire, Americans have managed to maintain a sense of humor. I’m laughing along with everyone at the jokes. This is what we do best: make fun of the things that scare us the most. That’s called survival.


Book Review: A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman @Difreeman001 @KensingtonBooks

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder
A Countess of Harleigh Mystery, #1
Dianne Freeman
Kensington Books, June 2018
ISBN 978-1-4967-1687-3

Frances Wynn may have been born American, but as the widowed Countess of Harleigh, she is highly placed in English society. Her marriage was not for love. Her mother wanted a title for her daughter, and the impoverished Wynns wanted American money to keep the estate afloat. Still, when her husband dies in another woman’s bed–right under Frances’ nose, so to speak–a situation is set in motion. To the heir’s and his wife’s dismay, as soon as her mourning year is over, Frances buys a house in town and vows no more money will be paid into the estate’s upkeep.

But then a letter is sent to the police which accuses Frances of being complicit in her husband’s murder. Murder? And then, in the upper-crust London homes where Frances visits, expensive items begin disappearing. Lily, Frances’ younger sister arrives from America to become an English debutante, and quickly becomes involved with several young men. Could one of them be the thief?

Inspector Delaney of the Metropolitan Police begins questioning Frances’ innocence, and her neighbor, with whom she has a history, becomes her defender. Together, the three attempt to unravel the mysterious goings on. But then a man is murdered in Frances’ back garden and Lily may have been kidnapped.

Still the question looms: Was Countess Harleigh’s husband murdered?

Freeman has penned a Victorian mystery with excellent, well-developed characters, and set them into an amusing plot. This story comes to a satisfactory conclusion, leaving the characters to continue on to yet another intriguing tale.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, January 2020.
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Five Days, Five Dead: A China Bohannon Novel

Sunday Sharing (12)

I often find posts by other bloggers
that strike a chord in me for one reason
or another and I’ll be occasionally sharing
them here on Buried Under Books.

Today’s share is from The Book Blog Life:

COVID-19 & Me | Anxiety Tips

By The Book Blog Life on March 21, 2020

I need to preface this blog post with I am not a doctor and you should always seek medical advice if you are really struggling but I have tried to ignore this whole thing and can’t so thought I would vent on here and give you all some of my tips!

Just a bit of background but I live on a small island where thankfully we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 yet, the government over here after a lot of indecisiveness has started to put lockdown, isolation and social distancing procedures in place which are all fantastic and I support 100%. Despite all of this we are a tiny population and are all working off the assumption that it’s a when not an if when COVID-19 descends and I cannot help but feel nothing but anxiety about it. I am an asthma sufferer and a chesty cold will knock me sideways but this is my worst nightmare.

So I haven’t been the greatest to be around, I have been grouchy and irritable, emotional and just an all-round mess if I’m completely honest. But for now, my life has to keep moving forward, I still have to work and move past it. I could tell you that being really grateful that we haven’t got any confirmed cases is enough but I would be lying. It almost feels like impending doom, and I feel like I’m constantly looking over my shoulder waiting for the horror to step in. I am SO grateful beyond grateful we don’t have any cases but my anxiety just will not settle.

So I’m trying to be good to myself and look after myself by practicing self-care and making sure that I don’t spiral too much which I know is way more difficult than just the tips I have put below.


I thought I would get the obvious one out of the way. I am a huge reader and reading has got me through a lot of bad times and is the way that I end up calming myself down. I have changed my reading a little the last couple of weeks and tried to pick up more fantasy and light-hearted reads. Anything that takes my focus away from everything that’s going on around the world.

I have picked up The Goldfinch and I think that was a little bit of a mistake with it being a little darker and deeper than what I was planning for but I think the act of reading is doing me more good than worrying about what I’m reading.


I have yet again abandoned the novel that I won NaNoWriMo 19 with but I have started writing my own again. Which I thought would be the last thing I would want to do, you know too much pressure but actually, it gives me more of escapism than panic of extra, it feels as though I’m being productive rather than freaking out about everything and sitting nothing.

I have started writing something I’m really enjoying and I’m letting that take over. I don’t know where it will end up but for now, it’s making all the difference where this pandemic is concerned.

Baths or hot showers

This is something I do when I am beginning to get overwhelmed with everything going on around me. I like to either sit in the bath with a good book or a movie and forget the world around me. If I don’t have time to sit and completely relax in a bath the shower is just as good.

I love turning the heat up and having it literally wash away the tension and the stress of the day. I give myself a lovely head massage when washing my hair and take great cares to wash my face and complete a skincare routine and really make an effort to take care of myself.

Walking the dog

This one isn’t one I’m great at but it is one that I really should try to do more of because it really does make a difference to my feelings and I love being on the outside. The island where I live is a beautiful place and there are some really lovely places to walk and experience. Plus my dog really loves going on these runs and she’s always knackered which is a great thing especially when she wants to sleep for the entire time.

Cry/Talk it out

I think this one is really important. This only happens when none of the things above seems to help. I sit with my husband, and I think that’s important to note I never sit and cry alone. We talk it all through and he lets me vent and worry about my concerns and we deconstruct the problems one by one. Sometimes there was a solution and sometimes there isn’t but it always feels better to talk these things through.

Chat with me about books

How are you guys feeling about everything? Do you have any tips for those moments where things seem to get too much? Let me know!

20-odd book blogger, with a huge appetite for books and reading. Follow my ranting, reviews and all my other content written here!

The Book Blog Life