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Nancy's Notes - November 28, 2013

“Cereal Murders” by Diane Mott Davidson, "The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old boy With Autism" by Naoki Higashida, "Made to Last" by Melissa Tagg.

  It’s now dark and cool in the evening so what would be better than a cozy chair, soft blanket and a good book! Mystery readers will enjoy, “Cereal Murders” by Diane Mott Davidson, which is a little lighter during the busy holidays. Goldy Bear, a caterer of Aspen Meadow, Colorado agrees to cater the first College Advisory Dinner for Seniors and Parents at the exclusive Elk Park Preparatory School. The last thing she expects to find at the end of the evening is the battered body of the school valedictorian. Who could have killed Keith Andrews? Goldy's looking for some answers and not just because she found the corpse. Her young son, Arch, a student at Elk Park Prep, has become a target for some not-so-funny pranks, while her eighteen-year-old live-in helper, Julian, has become a prime suspect in the Andrews boy's murder. As her investigation intensifies, Goldy's anxiety level rises as she turns up evidence that suggests that Keith knew more than enough to blow the lid off some unscholarly secrets. And then, as her search rattles one skeleton too many, Goldy learns a crucial fact: a little knowledge about a killer can be a deadly thing.
    If you enjoy biographies, “The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy With Autism” should be of interest. It is written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart and charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism. The memoir demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Using an alphabet grid to construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) Naoki shares his point of view on not only autism but life itself.
    Melissa Tagg’s “Made To Last” should be a fun read. Miranda Woodruff, star of the homebuilding show will do anything to keep the job she loves. Due to a painful broken engagement and a faith she's mostly forgotten, she's let her entire identity become wrapped up in the Miranda everyone sees onscreen. So when she receives news that the network might cancel her program, she must do the very thing she fears most: let the spotlight shine on her closely guarded personal life. The only problem? She's been living a lie, letting viewers believe she's married and now she's called upon to play wife to a sweet, if a bit goofy, pretend husband to boost ratings.
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