Let’s talk about READING:
As the third child in a family of six, my mother didn’t have time to read us all bedtime stories. Fortunately, I was blessed with a vivid imagination. I’d tell myself stories of fairy princesses and mythical creatures until I nodded off to sleep, and eventually moved on to making up new ones for my nieces and nephews as they grew up. You’d think that would mean I took to reading like a fish to water. Nuh-uh! School nearly squashed any desire I might have had to read a book when they put Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Woodlanders’ on our required reading list. It wasn’t until my early teens that I met Agatha Christie (fictionally speaking, of course) and discovered the real joy of reading. I still read mostly cozy mystery and quite enjoy the new-ish subgenre of light paranormal mystery.
Here’s what I #amReading right now:
When a cover doesn’t show, hover your mouse over the brown placeholder to see a popup with the book title, or click on the browned-out cover to link through to Goodreads. It’s something to do with copyright that limits viewing of the cover design.
Suggested Reading (with my comments):
Writing a review helps other readers to find a good book so I make an effort to write up my thoughts about a story I’ve enjoyed and then post it on GOODREADS – and no, I don’t take author requests or compensation of any kind; I’m strictly being a reader here! If you are also a reader, feel free to add your favourite mysteries in the comments for others to try along with why you enjoyed them.
Following are the latest books that I’ve read and want to recommend to others:
View all my reviews
The first story in this Dashiell Hammett collection, Red Harvest, has lost nothing in the years since it was first published in the late 1920s! This is a hard-boiled, noir detective novel with a gritty plot, tight prose and classic gangster characters like ‘Whisper’, Mickey, Lew Yard and the femme fatale who falls somewhere between dangerous bombshell and lost soul. The plot is also classic: a town Bigshot brings in gangsters to squash The People and ends up control of his town to those gangsters. The Anti-hero/narrator, an unnamed hardboiled detective is brought in the clean up the town and mayhem ensues.
Hammett is a master and weaves in more double and triple crosses than you can shoot down with a machine gun. The darkness of the theme and tough talk is not created with easy swear words or graphic blood, guts, and gore; and there are no sex scenes. Yet the pace and tension are knuckle gnawing. Bodies drop like Fall leaves, but it’s the dialogue that is to die for…pun intended…although at times it is a little hard to understand; Hammett has created almost a dialect in places. As the story progresses the line between the good guys and the bad guys gets really murky which is what makes this story as current today as it was back in the roaring ’20s.
If you love reading traditional cozy mysteries in the style of Dorothy Sayer or Agatha Christie, you will love this story from Ellery Adams. The setting is a historic inn in an isolated village in rural Western Virginia, complete with quirky characters, a deep family secret, and the formal British style language. Murder is afoot when the inn brings together aficionados of the old-time detectives, from the last century and a beautiful woman dies in mysterious circumstances. More dead bodies quickly follow, as our heroine, a widowed mother of young twins, races to find the killer before her family and guests are put in further peril. The plot is tight with appropriate twists, turns, and suspects. Pacing keeps the reader turning pages to the end. If a beautiful inn offered a retreat that focused on the love of books, I’d be making a reservation in an instant.
Ilona Andrews does it again with the debut of this spin-off from their bestselling Kate Daniels urban fantasy series. The main character in the Iron Chronicles is Kate’s nemesis Hugh D’Ambray, the surrogate son of immortal villain Roland-an anti-hero if ever there was one for sure and an impossible redemption story in less skilled hands than these authors’. The heroine is a mysterious witch-like creature who is more than a match for our dark hero. Using a classic marriage-of-convenience story device to lock the two in battle forces a fascinating emotional character arc, and the authors then keep the pages turning with wondrous monsters, epic battles, and mounting suspense peppered with tantalizing tidbits and appearance from series favorites Kate, Curran, and, of course, Roland. The authors suggest you read this story before Magic Triumphs from the Kate Daniels Series but promises 2 more books to round out Hugh and Elara’s story.
ALL BY MYSELF, ALONE is a classic closed room style cozy mystery, except the isolated island is a luxury cruise ship. Other than that, the story has all the usual suspects; the professor, the wealthy widow, the strong heroine and the dashing young lawyer, the undercover agent who is hoping to catch the international jewel thief believed to be onboard. The climax is even accompanied by the requisite storm. Yet The author takes these well-known elements and winds them into an entertaining and exciting tale for modern mystery readers. Fans of Agatha Christie love Mary Higgins Clarke because she continues to be a master storyteller and is the reigning Queen of Suspense with good reason.
The author introduces a fresh new series in the crafter style cozy mystery genre. The heroine is likeable and well developed in a story that weaves the craft of rubber stamping into a strong plot set in her small hometown. A skull rolls up to the feet of April Buchert, as she works on a renovation with her contractor father’s company. Updated characters introduce family tensions as the plot unfolds and the reader is swept along as the heroine faces issues from her past entwine with her present circumstances.
I love the Lily Ivory series and have read them in order so I know the characters as if they are friends, but….it took me a while to get into this one. There was certainly lots of story – wedding plans, a Sailor body double, mother issues (who doesn’t have them around a wedding) along with the usual murder and mayhem – but….
The connection between Lily and Sailor still isn’t really working for me and some of Lily’s inner dialogue reinforced my own lack of commitment to their upcoming union. With him in jail throughout the book for a murder he didn’t commit, I was totally with Lily as she worked to get to the bottom of the mystery and see justice done but I didn’t really miss Sailor. The rest of the plot twists and turns kept me turning pages, and the uncovering of more mysteries from Lily’s past made me want to know what her future may yet hold for her. But…the enigmatic Sailor needs to heat things up on the home front or make room for a better hero IMHO.
Of course, that means I have to read Book #10 to see if that is exactly what Juliet Blackwell has in mind! Hummmm….
I’m not sure why but I enjoyed this book more the second time I read it- maybe it was my mood, or the time of year-who knows. I am a huge fan of the early Stephanie Plum, books 1-8 being my favourites, so maybe I was expecting this series to be the same thing only different. In some ways it is-snappy dialogue, cooky heroine, mysterious supermanish hero-but it isn’t fair to compare the two series. Think of this as Marvel comics on steroids and you’ll be better prepared for the stories that Evanovich has come up with this time. This one has a light paranormal element that requires the reader to plant tongue firmly in cheek and totally suspend disbelief. If you trust this author enough to do that, then you can thoroughly enjoy the Diesel and Lizzy series. I really did enjoy reading Wicked Appetite this time and I’m going to dive right back into her crazy universe for Book 2. I’m sure it’ll be another wild ride. If you find yourself heading to the beach with nothing to read, give this one a(nother) try. You might also be surprised.
This is the second in this series and builds on the strong community of characters introduced in Book 1. The story in Bookman Dead Style revolves around a murder during a celebrity-laden film festival. In this one, the author took the opportunity to turn her quaint mountain setting, Star City, into an integral character in its own right. The reader could feel the bite of frost in the air, near the crunch of snow underfoot, and see the rustic buildings on Bygone Alley. Our heroine, Clare Henry, is again driven by too much curiosity than is good for her, but follows her good intentions to find the important clues and feed them to her best friend, Jody, who is the cop on the case.
Once again, the plot keeps you guessing right until the final resolution, and all the characters, both the main cast, and the ones who will only be in this story, are equally well developed. I can already tell that the mysteries in this series will be well thought out and hope the author will continue to provide her characters with internal and external growth. I can’t wait to dive into Book 3 and would recommend this series to all fans of a good solid cozy mystery.
I really enjoyed this book as a ‘long weekend read’. The heroine was well developed and likable, and the plot had more depth that you usually find in cozies. There were twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end and I’m looking forward to finding the next one in this series.