A is for Alibi – Sue Grafton

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3/5 Private Investigators

On The Back:

Laurence Fife was a slick divorce lawyer and slippery ladies’ man. Until someone killed him. The jury believed that it was his pretty young wife, Nikki, so they sent her to prison for eight years. Now Nikki’s out on parole and Kinsey Millhone’s in for trouble. Nikki hires Kinsey to discover who really killed her husband. But the trail is eight years cold, and at the end is a chilling twist even Kinsey doesn’t suspect–a second eight-year-old murder and a brand-new corpse.

My Thoughts:

This book was a short, enjoyable read that I thought was overhyped.

I had heard about this series from so many people that simply raved over it, and it was a good book, but it wasn’t my favorite by any stretch. Kinsey was hard to relate to, and I really didn’t like the way the author wrote kind of like the book was a journal. I suppose it was meant to add to the PI aspect of the mystery but it fell flat to me.

If you’ve read this book there are 4 murders, and out of those four three of them fell flat to me, but the first murder was wonderfully written. With the last three murders, however, the killer was obvious.

Overall not a bad book. I don’t know if I’ll read the next, but this book won’t go in the give away pile yet. Recommend if you like a slightly less than cozy mystery.

The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse – Leann Sweeney

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4/5 Missing Cats

On The Back:

Jill’s quiet life is shattered when her house is broken into and her Abyssinian, Syrah, goes missing. Jill’s convinced her kitty’s been catnapped. But when her cat-crime-solving leads her to a murdered body, suddenly all paws are pointing to Jill.

Soon, Jill discovers that Syrah isn’t the only purebred who’s been stolen. Now she has to find these furry felines before they all become the prey of a cold-blooded killer-and she ends up nabbed for a crime…

My Thoughts:

The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse was a fast-paced, stunning debut that I really enjoyed.

I really like the MC Jillian. she is different from many of the protagonists in other cozy series because of a few reasons. first she is a widow, and second, she was a relative recluse until she stumbles across a murder victim. It was a nice change, in most cozies the MC is well-liked and well-known, but to many of the townspeople of Mercy, South Carolina, Jillian was a recluse that they only heard of through the grapevine. It was really nice seeing Jillian meet people and make friends during the course of her investigation.

The mystery plot was nice, I don’t think I’ve read a mystery that took this angle before, but the killer really lacked the big reveal at the end and was kind of obvious. I like to be surprised when the killer is revealed, but sadly I wasn’t here.

Overall a really good first in a series novel. I’ll be reading more in this series!

The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss – Krista Davis

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4/5 Chocolate Kisses

On The Back:

Domestic Diva Sophie Winston is in charge of the sweetest event in Old Town this summer. Amore Chocolates is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with a chocolate tasting at the mansion of the company’s CEO, Joe Merano—and Sophie is running the show. With cookies, candy, and five kinds of chocolate cake, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream! But when Joe goes missing, the celebration becomes bittersweet. And when Sophie discovers the body of a competing chocolatier in the guesthouse, the event turns downright deadly.

As if that wasn’t enough, Sophie’s been receiving daily boxes of sweet treats. After ruling out her new beau and her exes, Sophie wonders if someone’s trying to send her a message—and if she’s next on a chocoholic’s hit list…

My Thoughts:

Another stunning book in a really great series, The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss was a crazy twist of suspects, secret family members. and chocolate.

This book introduced quite a few new characters, and many of them were wonderful. Ms. Davis does a wonderful job of blending her fictional characters so you can clearly picture them as people you would meet any day. I really hope we continue to see more of the Merano family in future books.

There was only one major thing I didn’t like about this book and that was Nina. In the former books she was fun, but in this book she seemed to want to investigate a little bit too much for my taste.

Overall a great book. Highly recommend this series!

Vacation Haul!

I took a weeklong vacation with some members of my family this past week and I managed to go to a few bookstores new and used and picked up 12 different books.

Mysteries:

Deadly Nightshade — Cynthia Riggs I love elderly sleuths and this one sounds good

Real Murders — Charlaine Harris I follow a blog that absolutely adores this series, so I figured I’d pick it up

Strangled Prose — Joan Hess I already have a few others in this series and I hear it’s stellar

Flowerbed of State — Dorothy St. James I loved the White House Chef series by Julie Hyzy and I’m hoping having the same setting will leave me loving this book

Spinsters in Jeopardy — Ngaio Marsh Sounds really good; a classic

Light Thickens — Ngaio Marsh Another classic mystery, sounds great

Glazed Murder — Jessica Beck I’ve heard wonderful things about this book

Royal Flush — Rhys Bowen another book in what has started to be a wonderful series

A is for Alibi — Sue Grafton I have several friends and acquaintances that adore these books, hope it’s good

Black Coffee — Agatha Christie I’ve wanted this one for awhile

Non-Mysteries:

And the Band Played On — Christopher Ward I love stories on the Titanic and this one sounds amazing

Henry IV Parts I & II — William Shakespeare Found this on a cheap bargain rack, so I picked it up

Overall I’ve had an amazing week, I finished Shoots to Kill by Kate Collins and I won’t be posting a review because I read it a few days ago. Overall it was a very good book, tons better than A Rose from the Dead. Have a great week!

A Rose from the Dead – Kate Collins

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3/5 Funeral Home Conventions

On The Back:

In New Chapel, Indiana, flower shop owner Abby Knight worries about her business failing. She needs new customers and knows that flowers and funerals go together like bacon and eggs. Thus she decides to open up a “tasteful” floral booth at the Funeral Director Society’s annual convention.On the down side, Abby will deal with some creepy souls who appreciate the DEARLY DEPOTTED as no one else can dig them. For instance, the Colonel who is president of the FDS is the self-anointed Master Mortician who insists he knows everything there is in converting a corpse into a living tribute and is willing to tell anyone who is not afraid to ask him for a consultation. Then there is the environmental ground-hugger Eli “Green Guy” Cotton who believes Kermit is right that grieving relatives should send their loved ones off in green.The lively gala turns morbid when cosmetician to the dead Sybil “the Diva of Death Masks” Blount is killed. Unable to resist, Abby investigates who was drumming up business.

My Thoughts:

With a more obnoxious main character and a shaky mystery A Rose from the Dead was probably the worst book in this series yet.

As I said above the MC, Abby was very obnoxious in this book. She was a know-it-all who didn’t want one of her friends to help investigate the cast because she was afraid they’d solve it before her. That’s a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. Also she made a few reckless moves in this book that made her look stupid. Marco, also, in this book made a few unwise of blatantly obvious wrong choices in this book. However, most of the minor characters were their normal selves, Grace, Lottie, Reilly, and Nikki were all the normal fun characters they’ve always been.

The mystery was flimsy at best, the killer was portrayed early on and the last “suspenseful” scene was faintly reminiscent of the final scene in the last book in this series, Acts of Violets.

Overall probably the worst book so far in the series, but I’ll read the next one because the ones before this were very entertaining.

Murder with Puffins – Donna Andrews

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4/5 Stranded Birdwatchers

On The Back:

In an attempt to get away from her family, Meg Langslow and her boyfriend go to a tiny island off the coast of Maine. What could have been a romantic getaway slowly turns into disaster.

Once there, they are marooned by a hurricane and that is only the beginning of their problems. Meg and her boyfriend arrive at the house only to discover that Meg’s parents and siblings, along with their spouses are all there. When a murder takes place, Meg realizes that she and her boyfriend can no longer sit by a cozy fireplace, but must instead tramp around the muddy island to keep try and clear her father who is the chief suspect.

My Thoughts:

In the second book in the Meg Langslow mystery series Meg sees herself stranded with her boyfriend, parents, aunt, brother, and neighbor on a secluded island in Maine during a hurricane with a murderer running around loose. Murder with Puffins was an enjoyable book.

I really like the MC, Meg, she’s a smart character who doesn’t do many things stupidly. She thinks problems and her actions through before doing them and she pieces together things that I’d never be able to do. I also absolutely love Meg’s mom and dad, they are two of the most hilarious characters that I’ve read in a cozy series.

The mystery was alright, it sort of lost some steam in the middle of the book and it took me awhile to get through about 50 of the pages in the middle of the book because it did lose steam. The killer was kind of obvious, but there was a nice pool of suspects.

Overall an average mystery with amazing characters. I’ll read the next one.

Heart in the Right Place – Carolyn Jourdan

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4/5 X-rayed Goats

On The Back:

Carolyn Jourdan, an attorney on Capitol Hill, thought she had it made. But when her mother has a heart attack, she returns home—to the Tennessee mountains, where her father is a country doctor and her mother works as his receptionist. Jourdan offers to fill in for her mother until she gets better. But days turn into weeks as she trades her suits for scrubs and finds herself following hazmat regulations for cleaning up bodily fluids; maintaining composure when confronted with a splinter the size of a steak knife; and tending to the loquacious Miss Hiawatha, whose daily doctor visits are never billed. Most important, though, she comes to understand what her caring and patient father means to her close-knit community.

My Thoughts:

I haven’t read a memoir or any nonfiction other than a cookbook that I picked up for review since March. That’s a long time. So when I was browsing Overdrive last night I picked out this book and I can safely say that I’m glad I did. This book was laugh-out-loud funny in some parts and heartbreaking in other parts.

The author did a wonderful job of balancing out her humor and spacing it out in between the deaths that would inevitably come with a memoir about a part of the medical field. One such reoccurring hilarious characters was Langston, a narcotics addict, that would call at least once a week trying to get a prescription. His interactions with Carolyn were simply hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud at them. There were many other hilarious characters that appeared throughout the book.

Overall an extremely enjoyable book that only had a few minor drawbacks, none of which are really worth mentioning, they’re mostly my preferences. Highly recommend!

The Fugitive – John Grisham

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3/5 Fugitive Stars

On The Back:

Theo thought the danger had passed, but he’s about to face off against an old adversary: accused mur­derer and fugitive Pete Duffy.
On a field trip to Washington, DC, Theo spots a familiar face on the Metro: Duffy, who jumped bail and was never seen again. Theo’s quick thinking helps bring Duffy back to Strattenburg to stand trial. But now that Duffy knows who he is, Theo is in greater danger than he’s ever been in before. Even when every­thing is on the line, Theodore Boone will stop at nothing to make sure a killer is brought to justice.

My Thoughts:

In the latest installment to John Grisham’s YA mystery series Theodore Boone has his hands full from finding a fugitive to convincing an illegal immigrant to testify after that immigrant’s been threatened. This book was a fast-paced good read!

I really liked Theo in the first four books in this series, but in this book he came off as a know-it-all. He simply wasn’t my favorite character in this book. Also, he missed so much school in this book it was pitiful. His parents, however, and his uncle, Ike, were extremely likeable and entertaining characters.

The mystery in this book really started in the first book in this series and was an underlying theme in the other books in this series. It was sort of resolved in this book, but at the same time the book ended with a cliffhanger that promised another addition to this series later.

Overall not a bad book, but by far not the best in the series.

Acts of Violets – Kate Collins

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5/5 Flower-topped Cakes

On The Back:

During the annual Pickle Fest, Abby’s boyfriend Marco inexplicably disappears for a day. When he returns, he’s the main suspect in the death of a clown. It seems the cops have found Snuggles pushing up water-spurting daisies-and Marco was the last person seen leaving Snuggles’s house. Although Marco is still a mystery to her, Abby knows he’s innocent. Now she has to find a way to prove it.

My Thoughts:

Another great book from a great series! Acts of Violets was a smashing and entertaining mystery filled with intrigue and secrets.

I really like Abby, in the beginning of the series she was simply annoying, but now she’s really grown on me. Grace and Lottie are also two of my favorites. In this book we finally get to learn more about Marco (it was about time) and we get to meet his mother and sister, both of which are hilarious.

The mystery was very good, I didn’t see the killer coming and, even though there was a limited pool of suspects, I can honestly say that the killer was a surprise to me.,

Overall a good book that I really can’t say anything bad about. Recommend!

The Diva Wraps it Up – Krista Davis

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4.5/5 Cookie Swaps

On The Back:

The holidays are domestic diva Sophie Winston’s favorite time of year. But this season, there seem to be more mishaps than mistletoe. First, Horace Scroggins tumbles from a balcony during his office Christmas party. Then, Sophie’s neighbor takes a fall from his ladder while decorating his roof with lights. But it’s the cookie swap that really starts her wondering who’s naughty or nice….

Sophie arrives at the annual event with high spirits and thirteen dozen chocolate-drizzled gingersnaps. But when an argument erupts and a murder ensues, it becomes clear that the recent string of events is anything but accidental. Now Sophie has to make a list of suspects…and check it twice!

My Thoughts:

Eight books in and this series is still great! In The Diva Wraps it Up family secrets mix with misplaced loyalties and pranks to form an amazing mystery.

I really love the Christmas theme in books, and especially in this series. This is the second book that has a Christmas theme in this series and it really casts a cheery feeling to the book and makes me wish Christmas was here with all of the excitement that goes with it!

Sophie was once again a really fun character. She logically thinks through problems and solves them without being obnoxious. This book also (finally) has Wolf back in it, however, there are still a lot of questions I have about Wolf and what happened after The Diva Digs Up the Dirt that were unresolved in this book. I’m starting to really like Alex and, to be completely honest, Natasha is growing on me. I wish we learned a little more about her. I also loved Edith in this book, she’s a new character, but hopefully a reappearing one.

The mystery was great. There were so many secrets and twists and turns that I had no idea who it would be, but when Ms. Davis revealed the killer it made perfect sense.

Overall a really nice book, I really hope my questions about Wolf are resolved. One more to go!