Day: June 28, 2018

Book Review: A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Author Daryl Wood Gerber has been on my TBR list for ages, but I hadn’t gotten to reading from her collection in the past. When the second book, A Soufflé of Suspicion, in the French Bistro cozy mystery series was listed in a giveaway contest, I jumped on the opportunity. I was selected as a reader (yay!) and lined up the book for my late June reading list. I normally read series mystery books in order but I’m all out of time lately, so I just dove in to this cooking and killing edition. I’m now a fan and look forward to reading more from the author, especially given she has a few other series under different pseudonyms.

In this book, Mimi has just recovered from solving a crime in the last few weeks, and then another one happens. Renee, the sister of Mimi’s current chef, Camille, is found clobbered with a mixer in the kitchen. As details about Renee’s life unfold, there’s a possibility she was blackmailing someone, having an affair, or stealing information. Was she a good or bad person? We just don’t know… and at times, it seems like Camille had a few reasons to off her own sister, too. As a backdrop setting, it’s set in the delectable Napa Valley and it’s dessert week… so I was in love with the ambiance and the food/drink in this book.

I like the characters and see some long-term potential as they begin to settle into their roles as friends, enemies and in-between. Mimi as a lead is interesting, but its her connections to the rest of the town that provide all the great opportunities to be a sleuth. People just talk to her, yet she’s also constantly doing new things in the restaurant or meeting people to help re-build the town or her mom’s winery, so she has lots of relationships that can offer clues and secrets.

uffle

For me, this falls into the right spot for a cozy mystery. I like that the recipes are all listed at the end and not interspersed throughout the story, as I don’t enjoy having to flip tons of pages to find the next chapter. I really enjoyed learning about the restaurant business. Many of the names of places and some chefs are authentic, as I’ve been to the places when I visited Napa Valley in the past. I kinda wanna go back now and see exactly where some of these conversations and stores are in comparison to streets I’ve visited before. Kudos to the author for making it real. She’s undoubtedly been there, and I wonder if we’ve been to the same winery at the same time. Ha!

As for the mystery plot, it was in the middle in terms of obvious versus complex. There was more to it than I expected, but I pegged the killer from the beginning. There were a few strong red herrings and misleading side stories, but ultimately, it’s a classic story that works well in this background. I will definitely read more from the author and look forward to catching up on the first book in the series.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton

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It is bittersweet to draft this final review for the 25th book in the Kinsey Millhone / Alphabet series written by Sue Grafton, who passed away in December 2017 shortly after publishing this book, Y is for Yesterday. Unfortunately, there will be no final 26th book, as the author told her family before her death that she didn’t want anyone to ghost write the final one if she passed on… which I respect. After ~30 years of entertaining readers, this dynamic and wonderful woman deserves tons of praise for a beautiful career delivering countless thrilling reading moments for many of us.

In this latest edition, Kinsey closes the loop on a serial killer who had gotten away previously, but now he turned his sites on her as payback for helping one of his almost-victims escape with cherished mementos of previous kills. But that’s just one of the side stories, as the main focus is on a ten-year-old case where 4 teenagers participated in the killing of a friend who was blackmailing them. It all went too far, or did it? Kinsey is asked to help track a new blackmailer once one of the four kids is released from prison on his 25th birthday. But it seems more than 1 murder may have been committed ten years ago, and it’s far from over. Who’s behind it all?

If this were a standalone book, I’d really be thrilled with it. It had lots of great moments where I went back and forth on who the killer could really be. We know who killed the girl years ago, or at least we think we do from the statements all the teens gave, but something was definitely off. Grafton keeps us guessing and delivers a fun and dirty solution in the end. However, the book was told through the eyes of the teens for at least 50% of the pages. Normally Kinsey is the primary focus, and she discovers all the secrets, but in this one, it was essential to see / hear from the different kids’ points of views. While I liked the approach, it was disheartening given I knew this was the last Kinsey Millhone book in the series. I can’t fault the author with a harsh rating, as it was a good book — just not what I wanted or expected.

It’s sad that I won’t read any more, and I’m not up for re-reading a 25 books series when I have so many others on my TBR, but if you’ve never sampled a Grafton, you really must. If you can’t commit to all 25, pick one in the early middle and you’ll have quite a ride. Goodbye, Miss Grafton and Miss Millhone. You will be missed.

yesterday

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: A Smidge of Crazy by Barbara Venkataraman

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I’m a fan of Barbara Venkataraman‘s writing style, stories and characters. She’s written several humorous essays and the Jamie Quinn mystery series. In her latest release, another fun essay, A Smidge of Crazy, a short-n-quick read, Venkataraman gets a little personal covering some hysterical memoirs and happenings thus far in her life. Perhaps some are true, perhaps some are just ways to entertain us. Either case, they make you laugh from start to finish. From the thought of buying Depends undergarments to how many different people could possibly be related in her family, she brings a great wit and head shake to each story in the collection. Some are just a few paragraphs, others are two to three pages, but each has an insight that will make you go “oh, I’ve said/done/thought THAT before.” Maybe we’re not all that different in the end, right? Great mini-release to get me through until her next Jamie Quinn book… thank you!

smidge

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.