cozy mystery

Review: The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell

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The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell, the 28th (and next to last) release in the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series, written in 2006 by Lilian Jackson Braun. For fans of the series, this one was a bit of a disappointment. The last few books took longer than usual to come out and may have had a ghost writer for parts of them, due to the author being in her 90s and starting to get ill. It’s also hard to come up with new ideas after this many books in a single series, but the characters are always fun and memorable. In this one, Pickax is turning 150 years old and the inhabitants want to celebrate their town. When an architect sees the converted apple barn Qwill now lives in, he begs to spend time there. Koko and YumYum aren’t having it, leading Qwill to suspect the architect is up to no good. Of course, there’s some murder and mystery… and Qwill provides his usual sleuthing skills to the story. Mystery was weak. Characters were good. It’s one o the less fulfilling in the series, but still worth a read for fans.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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Review: The Cat Who Went Underground

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The Cat Who Went UndergroundBook Review
3 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Went Underground, the 9th book in the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series, written in 1989 by Lilian Jackson Braun. I adore this series. It’s just plain comfy home. Sure, the mystery isn’t too complex. Yes, sometimes it’s a little silly. But it’s just good, easy, fun reading. In this little escapade, Qwill and the cat are staying at a remote cabin, even more remote than Pickax itself. And another murder starts driving the cats a little batty. The cast of characters in this series just keeps growing, and they sorta feel like an extended family. Perfect for a rainy day when you just want to lull yourself into comfort.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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Review: The Cat Who Sniffed Glue

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The Cat Who Sniffed Glue Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Sniffed Glue, the 8th entry in the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series written in 1988 by Lilian Jackson Braun. Moose County is certainly a memorable town. It’s full of insanely eccentric characters who bring a bunch of laughs, whether it’s over their appearance, action or words. And while Pickax, the town where Qwill, Koko and YumYum live has been the focus for the last couple of books, we’re introduced to Chipmunk, the next town over, in this installment. And Chipmunk must be the bad side of town, as they have all the hoodlums who cause crime. How could a town called Chipmunk be so bad? I must put this place on my bucket list; sounds fun… but on a lighter note, this one made me think of The Cat Who Played Post Office, simply due to the postage stamp adhesive and now the glue Koko and YumYum become obsessed with… focuses on the crazy hijinks at a bank, a robbery possibly turned murder, and Qwill’s decoration of his new pad… and a few added laughs when the woman gives Polly a run for her money in trying to capture Qwill’s heart. I love when there’s Polly competition because she and Qwill can be super boring — sometimes. Not always… and it’s nice how it’s only a little tease, believable, but never a real threat.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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Review: E is for Evidence

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E is for Evidence Book Review
E is for Evidence, written in 1988, is the fifth book in the “Kinsey Millhone” mystery series by the hilarious Sue Grafton. It’s just before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, except for one of Kinsey’s two ex-husbands: Daniel Wade. And if that’s not enough, she takes on a small investigation involving arson, only to find a mysterious $5K deposit into her bank account that she didn’t put there. Something smells a little too much like gas… and yup, it’s her because she’s practically on fire in this installment. Between arson, bombs, odd family relationships, creepy ex-husbands and some sort of money pay off scheme, Kinsey’s stuck in the middle of a bad puzzle. My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kinsey is a fantastic character. She has a few flaws and annoying habits, but for the most part, she’s a strong female lead who can demonstrate intelligence, charm and consideration. The series is dependable, providing laughs, a little drama and suspense, a cozy warm feeling and usually something new and exciting. This is a fine example of a typical novel in the series, and you really either like these types of books or you don’t. I enjoy them because it transports you into a world you likely never get to participate in… solving crimes, pushing people, getting a bit nosy… and we all like those things from time to time. What’s good about this one is you learn more about the Kinsey from the past thru her relationship with her ex, Daniel.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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Review: The Cereal Murders

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The Cereal Murders Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Cereal Murders, the third book in the “Goldy Bear Culinary” mystery series, published in 1993 and written by Diane Mott Davidson. I’m a fan of this series, enjoying the charming antics of the cozy little town, the delicious-sounding recipes and the mystery fun each book includes. Another good installment in the series, it falls somewhere in the middle range of best and worst, nothing to extraordinary but nothing much of fault.

Focused on the intensity of college preparation, the students at Elk Prep, where Goldy’s son, Arch, goes to school, are preparing for college. Goldy’s sort of adopted son, Julian, is a senior there and is suddenly suspected when the school valedictorian is found murdered at a dinner. He wasn’t well liked, but Goldy discovers a web of secrets he was hiding. Then a teacher is murdered and Goldy’s starting to fear for her own life, especially when she’s uncovering more and more unexpected dirt. Her relationship with Tom Schultz moves forward as they investigate the case. The highlight: Julian. He’s always been my favorite character, and I admit, I might have a small crush on him. Ha!

Usual cozy fun. A few red herrings. A town connected underneath the surface. Marla looks out for Julian at some point. Even Arch is glad to be part of the process. Plus, who doesn’t love some cereal for a meal?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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Review: The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare

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The Cat Who Knew ShakespeareBook Review
4 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare, the 7th book in the “Cat Who” series, published in 1988 by Lilian Jackson Braun. At this point, the series is well under way. Qwill has been in Pickax, Moose County, 400 miles north of everywhere, for almost a year. He’s gotten to know several of the town’s residents, taken on a part-time column at the local paper and begun dating Polly Duncan, which will turn out to be a very low-key relationship for at least the next ten books in the series. In this installment, we learn more about the Goodwinter family, early founders of the town, and a family full of kooky characters. When one of the elders, who publishes the paper, dies, it looks like it may be more than an accident. And so what does Qwill do when his mustache starts to twitch a little? He investigates like any good journalist. It’s all about the Hixie Rice, the food critic, XYZ Enterprises, a big business and Down Below (anything south of Pickax), and the history of the Goodwinter family. Plus Shakespeare of course… and a very valuable copy of his play.

This was one of the cuter books in the series, partially because we really spend a lot of time with the various townspeople, see a few of them murdered off, and get to experience Qwill building solid relationships. Hixie Rice is a fun character… she will always make you laugh and a little annoyed at the same time. But it’s Junior Goodwinter who becomes a strong addition to the books in the future. He’s young, eventually has his own family and looks at Qwill with a lot of respect. I enjoy their friendship over the years.

You’ve go the usual antics with the cats, the plans for Qwill’s future residence (he moves to a converted apple barn!) and his foray into becoming a core and leading member of the town. Writing this review kinda makes me want to go back to read one again. I probably won’t, as there is so much else out there to read… but it’s that kind of series. You will love the simplicity of the characters and the backdrop.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

View all my reviews

Review: Cream Puff Murder

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Cream Puff Murder 3 of 5 stars to the eleventh book, Cream Puff Murder, in the “Hannah Swensen” cozy mystery series by Joanne Fluke. And yes, it was hard to read without wanting a cream puff the entire time!

Why This Book
I’ve been reading the Joanne Fluke series for several years and had asked for a few of her books for my birthday last month. One was Cream Puff Murder, and once I finished a rather difficult book just before this one, I needed something light and fluffy to shock me back to normalcy. Lake Eden’s Hannah Swensen fit the bill, and I started it two days ago, reading through a third each night up ’til now – review time.

Overview of Story
Hannah’s mother is throwing a book launch party for her new regency novel, and Hannah needs to fit into a dress despite having put on a few pounds. Her sister Andrea steps in to help, and even though Hannah despises exercising, she agrees to spend an hour every morning before work at the gym, focusing on her body. Shortly afterwards, Ronni Ward, fitness instructor extraordinaire, is found murdered in the jacuzzi. Since she’d been dating several men, and annoyed several women, Hannah suspects it’s someone at the gym or in one Ronni’s fitness classes. But Mike and Bill are put on temporary leave, as they may be too close to the crime, since Ronni was working part-time at the police station to make some extra money, and possibly dating Mike on the side. Hannah steps up her work-out time to a few hours a day to attend all Ronni’s classes with with the new instructor to see if she can find out more details, especially when her family and some-time boyfriend aren’t able to work the case. As she begins to narrow down the clues, and her own waistline, Hannah finds herself smack in the middle of disaster again when she steps right into trouble with the culprit. But along the path, she’s determined that she can no longer keep bouncing back and forth between Mike and Norman, appearing ready to finally make a choice for her suitor and potential future husband.

Approach & Style
The book is told in third-person from an omniscient narrator, but the point of view is consistently with Hannah as the main protagonist. Every few chapters, the author throws in some sweet recipes based on whatever Hannah’s cooking up in The Cookie Jar that day. Cream Puffs are this books’ flavor of the month.

It’s a very lighthearted cozy, casual and simple in both setting, dialogue and tone. An easy breezy read in under 4 hours, given the paperback book’s about 350 pages, inclusive of at least 100 focused on recipes.

Strengths
1. Hannah is consistent. Her sisters, mother, friends and boyfriends are all good people and I really enjoy reading about them. It’s comfortable and makes you feel warm and cozy.

2. The town is quite lovely, as is the history you learn with each successive book. It feels like a place you’d love to call home — when you’re done livin’ on the edge in your younger days.

3. Fluke’s got a solid formula that works time and time again, assuming the story is interesting and the cast of characters rotates just enough.

Open Questions & Concerns
1. I probably didn’t need 20% of the book dedicated to figuring what Moishe (the cat) was doing with his new automatic food dispensing unit. Seriously… we kept reading about “where is Moishe putting all that food? He’s not gaining any weight, so he can’t be eating it.” It actually got a little bit annoying. I love the antics and banter with the cat and Hannah, but this was a little too much!

2. Normally, a cozy reveals the murder about 15% into the book; however, it didn’t happen until almost 30% this time. It was a little too much, and I felt at times like I was reading someone’s journal about daily goings-on. I already do that for myself… don’t need this one, too!

3. Mike takes a darker turn and we get a much-needed push in the “Choose Mike or Norman” story line. He does something unexpected, tho, in my opinion… and while I welcomed the direction change, it didn’t feel natural.

4. The mystery was not very strong. It was pretty clear from about 50% in, it was 1 of 2 people; and I knew very little about them, so it didn’t matter which one it was to me. I think it needed a few extra plot points to make this a stronger book.

Author & Other Similar Books
Diane Mott Davidson’s “Goldy Bear Shultz Culinary” mystery series is a good comparison.

Final Thoughts
This was Book 11 out of a series with about 20 so far. I’ve a little over half-way done, still enjoying Hannah and her family, but if she doesn’t make a choice for sure in the next book… I will probably take a break for a while. I won’t give it up, as I love the townspeople and the background setting; but I’d like a little less of the romance and a tad more of the mystery. Still an enjoyable read tho!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

View all my reviews