Month: March 2019

Book Review: Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay

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Hitting the Books (Library Lover's Mystery, #9)Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ‘Library Lover’s Mystery’ series by Jenn McKinlay is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. By reading the 9th book, Hitting the Books, I’m now current and eagerly awaiting the 10th one due to be released later this year. Although I thought this one was too simple from a mystery plot perspective, I enjoyed all the normal library shenanigans and small town community relationships.

When Lindsey notices a friendly library patron–famed tennis player, Theresa Huston–run down by a car, she tries to save the woman. Luckily, she’s only injured and survives the accident. Then Lindsey’s friend, Charlie, is hit by the same driver later that day. A gunman is shooting throughout the town. Is someone attempting to knock off Briar Creek residents? Or is it a misunderstanding? Emma, the Chief of Police, asks Lindsey to look into some library books that were in the car (once it’s found), and it leads them to a young kid we’ve met before in a prior book. Liza, Theresa’s soon-to-be step-daughter, is worried sick, but she’s acting strangely, too. Ultimately, Larry, the soon-to-be husband and Liza’s father, knows more than he’s saying about his ex-wife, Liza’s mother, who supposedly died. It comes together in a crashing finale where we know who and why, but I was left a little disappointed at the minimal amount of suspects and detail surrounding how it all came to pass.

That said, it wasn’t enough to detract or worry me from moving on. I just think it could’ve been stronger to really intrigue me as to what was going on behind the scenes. Instead, I found the normal comings-and-goings around the library as my focal point. From ‘The Lemon’ to Mary’s new baby, we had great moments of sentimentality and thought-provoking questions about Lindsey’s relationship with Sully. Will he wants kids? How are they doing now that they’re living together? What’s Beth’s new marriage like? I enjoy the side stories, so I am still happy with the book and will keep reading the future ones.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are three books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, and Flower Power Trip. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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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Laurie Woodward, Authoress Extraordinaire, interviews me this week…

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Laurie,

Thank you for this great opportunity. You took our discussion and turned it into a fantastic story. I appreciate you and the time you put into making this so special and fun. Much gratitude. xoxo

Jay

***

Check out the interview at the link below!

https://artania7.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/james-cudney/

Book Review: White Colander Crime by Victoria Hamilton

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White Colander Crime (Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #5)White Colander Crime by Victoria Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

White Colander Crime is the 5th book in the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series written by Victoria Hamilton. This is the second series I’m reading by the author, but it’s taking longer to grow attached to the characters. Jaymie is a solid investigator and lead, but she doesn’t have a lot of anchors in her life which makes her a little distant for me. Each book is helping improve that connection, but I wish she were closer with her family or had a lengthier relationship (or none at all). Over the five books, she’s dated four different guys, but at least the current one is the best one. I only bring it up because it’s hard to build a relationship with her when hers keep changing, and she hardly ever talks about or visits her family to show a strong level of intimacy. That said, it’s really my only concern in the series. The rest is smooth sailing.

The book takes place in a small tourist town on the border of Michigan and Canada. Jaymie writes for the local newspaper, clerks in a market, and works with vintage kitchen tools… sometimes helping a museum authenticate an exhibit, and at others, refurbishing tools and gadgets so they can be resold at an auction. Through her editor, Jaymie meets a group of young twenty-somethings who are involved in complex dating situation. The editor’s son might be abusive, but it’s hard to be certain whether he’s actually hit a girl or she’s faking it for another reason (we do find out the truth). Jaymie’s new boyfriend gives the kid a chance and lets him work on the farm. Soon, the girl is beaten to death. Was it the editor’s son? One of her many other boyfriends (we learn she was dating a few guys all who had a similar experience with her). It’s a confusing plot, as I couldn’t tell what was going on regarding the abuse, i.e. was she unable to stop it, or was she trying to catch bad guys in the act? We find out the whole story, and it’s full of layers that keep us guessing. Physical abuse all happens off-screen, but it does occur a few times in case any reader has triggers.

At the end, I really enjoyed the diversity of the characters in this one. It wasn’t just the normal townspeople, but most of the new folks had solid connections to the place or other characters. The plot was strong, but the culprit was fairly easy to pick out. The setting and descriptions are always enjoyable. I recommend the series for someone who wants neither a funny cozy nor a serious one… something in between more focused on the setting, a quaint town, and some interesting relationships among the citizens. It’s not a typical family-based series, nor is it is a ‘which guy will she choose’ arc.

Next up… the sixth book in the series, probably toward the end of this month.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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: The Viognier Vendetta by Ellen Crosby

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The Viognier Vendetta (Wine Country Mysteries #5)The Viognier Vendetta by Ellen Crosby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wine Country Mysteries is one of my new favorite series. While it falls under the cozy sub-genre, it’s not at all light and whimsical. The Viognier Vendetta, the 5th book in Ellen Crosby’s wonderful series, is another fine edition worthy of just over 4 stars.

In this book, Lucie’s former college pal, known affectionately as Big because of their sisterly relationship back on a running team, asks her to meet up in DC after a ten-year absence. Right off the bat, I knew she’d either die or be accused of murder, but it still made me ever the more curious to find out which. The bodies continue to pile up as Lucie learns of a financial firm’s connections to several of her friends and acquaintances back in Atoka, Virginia. Ultimately, it’s another war between the British and America, not too dissimilar from the one in 1812 decades after independence. Someone’s playing games regarding investment fraud and an urn that needs to be returned to its rightful owner. Whodunit?

Crosby weaves history and mystery like no one else in this elaborate and complex story. Her characters are complex and multi-dimensional, despite sometimes being a little boring when it comes to what they’re after. It’s always money! LOL That said, I truly enjoy reading one of these novels and will be sad when I catch up to the latest one that just came out. I’m about halfway thru the series and already wondering what will take its place? Who wouldn’t love a storm about American history, wine, and drama?

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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 Mersey Maiden by Brian L. Porter

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A Mersey Maiden (Mersey Murder Mysteries, #3)A Mersey Maiden by Brian L. Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Mersey Maiden is the third book in Brian L. Porter’s clever and complex ‘Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series set in England in modern times. I’ve read all six novels that have been written to date and am looking forward to the seventh when it’s published in the near future. While the books focus on Detective Inspector Ross and his special investigation team in and around Liverpool and the River Mersey in England, this story takes us from the end of WWII to modern Germany and the USA, covering at least 4 murders that happen during the crux of the story. (There might be others in history, but those are not the direct focus, and I’m not giving everything away!)

What stands out most in this book is the sheer volume of research and planning that went into the story’s production. Of course, there are the normal red herrings, clues, and interesting twists, but the details are intensely thorough and well-plotted above his norm (which is quite high). To develop a story of this caliber, Porter had to carefully lay small and discrete elements that collide together like a fireworks explosion near the end. But it’s not just once or twice…. the levels and layers keep popping in the last 10% showing what we think we understand isn’t fully fleshed out until the finale and then some. It’s like a wonderful roller coaster ride where you think you’ve hit that last and final mega-drop, but then you get the jaw-dropping surprise of yet another one!

From the precise use and design of submarines to life-threatening diving techniques, Porter challenges readers to navigate the murky English Channel and how it’s changed in the last ~70 years. What if a small watercraft was sunk but never found? What if it contained secrets Hitler wanted to keep hidden? What if information had been passed through generations until love was questioned between people who knew nothing of the past? Porter handles it all adeptly and provides a bevy of side stories about each of the detectives or investigators working on this case. Many of our favorites have big steps in their personal lives or moments that clarify how good they truly are.

This was a very well-rounded and easy-to-read installment in the series. It might be my favorite, but I’m neck-and-neck with another that also gave me all the amazing reader feels. Looking forward to the next one with great excitement.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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.