cozy novel

Review: Eleven on Top

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Eleven on Top4 out of 5 stars to Eleven on Top, the 11th book in the “Stephanie Plum” cozy mystery series by Janet Evanovich. This book was one of the more funny in the series, particularly for two reasons:

Stephanie is being chased by someone who came back from the grave. She thought the person was dead, but it’s not true… and someone has a grudge. The humor that comes along with this one makes it worth the read.

Stephanie, of course, needs more money. And she takes on multiple additional jobs besides being a crack detective. And she has the most hilarious jobs… gets fired in the funniest ways… and her two careers intersect to such a point that you will almost lose control from laughter.

It’s worth it just to see what the average human will take in a dead-end job to try and keep above water. It’s not a funny topic in real life, of course, but the author’s style of writing and the way the character just leaps off the page, is hilarious.

Forget substance. Forget imagery. Forget great language. This is just an opportunity to laugh for 3 to 4 hours. It helps to have read a few books in the series so you know who each of the characters are… but even if you’re new to the series, it’ll still be a fun one.

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: Short & Tall Tales: Moose County Legends Collected By James Mackintosh Qwilleran

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Short & Tall Tales: Moose County Legends Collected By James Mackintosh Qwilleran
Short & Tall Tales: Moose County Legends Collected By James Mackintosh Qwilleran by Lilian Jackson Braun

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When the “Cat Who” Series by Lilian Jackson Braun was at its height, the author was in her 70s, trying to write as many books as she could. In between them, she’d publish a few short stories to keep her fans engaged. One of those collections was “Short & Tall Tales: Moose County Legends Collected By James Mackintosh Qwilleran published in 2002. This book follows the lives of Qwill, KoKo and YumYum while they are living in Moose Country, 400 miles north of everywhere.

In the approximately ten short tales, you will find fun and cute stories about various inhabitants of the town, or stories conveyed by a few folks passing thru. Most are under 15 pages and a quick way to get to know the author’s style, the characters and the antics of the two cats.

A few are just silly. Some are good ways to pass the time. Overall, it was helpful if you didn’t like waiting a year for a book, but I’d rather have a stronger story than a collection of little ones in between. If you want to read the whole series, but not sure if you need to check this one out, don’t worry… you can skip it. It’s not part of the overall plot line from beginning to end.

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. <i>Note</i>: 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: Double Shot

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Double ShotReview
Diane Mott Davidson‘s “Gold Bear Culinary Mystery” series were one of the original cozy series I started reading, and once I started, I ran through the first ten as quickly as I could. By then, I was caught up and had to wait for the successive ones to be released. Double Shot, her 12th book in the series, was the first one I had to wait for… and I was restless. My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goldy and her antics, and friends, were a nice release from the reality going on around me at the time. And when her ex-husband, Dr. John Richard Korman, showed up, we all knew there’d be trouble. From the beginning of the series, Marla and Goldy talked up so many bad things about him, I was certain he’d be killed in the future only to cast suspicion on one of them… and the payoff happens in this book.

The doctor is first being stalked, then found dead. The police, even though Goldy’s new husband, is one of them, can’t help but find her behavior a little shady. Even Marla wondered what Goldy had been up to. And the whole time, Goldy’s trying to protect her son Arch from the bad side of his father. As expected, she handles it well and even Arch is grateful for her support during his father’s murder.

After a dozen books hearing about the louse, it was good to see it taken care of. Yes, I know… I shouldn’t condone murder. But it was in a book… where fantasies are healthy, my friends. Even Jessica Fletcher agrees with me in the books she writes — and that I’ve read!

Series fans must read this one purely to see the comeuppance. But it would not be a good one to start the series with, as history is important.

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 Smelled a Rat

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The Cat Who Smelled a RatMy rating: 3 of 5 stars to Lilian Jackson Braun‘s novel, The Cat Who Smelled a Rat, the 23rd entry in the “Cat Who” mystery series. Koko and Yum Yum are at it again in this cute cozy about arson, explosions and murder.

When this was published in 2001, the writer was almost 90 years old. She’d written a marvelous set of books all about a cozy little town up in the mountains of Moose County, 400 miles north of everywhere… basically on the Canadian border near the Great Likes, but on the US side. And she continued to write another 7 books in the last decade of her life before she passed away just before her 97th birthday. She was a bit of a recluse in the last 15 years, probably a bit sick from time to time. Many suspect a team of writers finished the books for her in the later years, but that’s only what I’ve read on the interwebs. I get all my news from there.

This book is your normal cozy… some good parts, some bad parts… the charm is in the characters and the town, less about the mystery with her books. You really get to know everyone, the history and all the core families, so it’s more like reading about a good friend. You can forgive a less than stellar story when you’re happy to be around people you like.

That said, the mystery has some fun with the “rats” and the “cats” this time. Always good antics…. but the best is the main character, Qwill. I wish I could meet him in real life. But if you must know, it really is the cats that solve the crime. Every time.

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: U Is for Undertow

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U Is for Undertow
U Is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

3.499999 of 5 stars (rounded to 3 since that’s my only option due entirely to the laws of fractions and decimals) for the twenty-first book, U Is for Undertow, a mystery published in 2009 by author Sue Grafton.

When I first stumbled upon this series, I was super excited that there would be 26 books by the same author, all about the same character. But as I started reading the series, as much as I loved it, you could tell it gets a bit harder and harder to keep up with the creativity. Grafton does a good job at this, and I suspect since she knew there would be 26, it was planned out fairly well in advanced — at least enough to know it could sustain the plethora of content to come. Sometimes the antics remind me a bit of Scooby Doo.

U is for Undertow is nearing the end of the series, but it is still a good book. It starts off with quite an intro to the mystery. A man begs Kinsey to investigate… and she slowly realizes who he is, a bit famous for some things going on around a few years prior… and she has to investigate a rather interesting family. What’s great about this series is the character of Kinsey doesn’t age much throughout the books. Even though it’s about 30 years from start to finish for the author to draft the books, they all take place in the 1980s… so you often have to remember that you’re reading a book set 20 years prior, as the story doesn’t always tell you that. It’s clear in this one because there are flashbacks and actions to the 1960s…

A good entry in the series. Stick with the series if you start it. Kinsey’s a combination of Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich‘s “One for the Money / Stephanie Plum) series and “VI Warshawski from Sara Paretsky‘s PI series. All 3 are similar, but where Stephanie is new to detective work and VI is an ole’ pro, Kinsey’s in the middle. She’s had training. She’s savvy in many areas. But she gets hurt too much for reasons a real PI would probably know better.

Best part of these books… Kinsey’s relationship with Henry, her friend and landlord. They have a wonderful father / daughter connection and I enjoy those parts of the books just as much as the investigation parts. Whenever Henry’s in a scene, I know it will be a good one.

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: Crunch Time

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Crunch Time
Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Diane Mott Davidson‘s “Goldy Bear Culinary” mystery series is one of my early favorites, and I’m sad that the author isn’t writing anymore. There were about 20 books in total, but this review is for #16, Crunch Time. This was the second or third cozy mystery series I took on, and only the second where I’ve been able to finish reading all books. (LJB’s “Cat Who” series is the other one).

In this book, the crime action comes right to Goldy’s home, which makes for even more fun. Friends are staying with Goldy after their house burns down, and Goldy knows they are keeping secrets. She pushes her way in and tries to figure out how to help them, keep her business running and ensure her own home and family aren’t impacted. But of course, Goldy falls prey to the culprit at one point, too.

I enjoy this series because she is such a real character. And the supporting cast feel like people you’d love to be around. Humor, sarcasm, love… Goldy’s husband and son are very real people.

As far as books in the series, this one falls somewhere in the middle. Not the best, not the worst. The recipes seem fairly easy to follow, if you like that sort of thing.

Some folks thought this was a bit long. I can see why, but it’s still a fast read.

It’s a fun series to read, but you probably only need to read a few throughout to get the gist… unless you can commit to all ~20. Then by all means…

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 Ate Danish Modern

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The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern
The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lilian Jackson Braun

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Background

The summer after I graduated from college, I started missing regular reading… during school, I had less personal choice and recreational reads, as all the college textbooks and novels were the priority. I was an English major and rarely had time for adding in my own particular interests. The last course I had taken was an independent study that one of my professors and I had built the curriculum on together: Murder Mysteries. I learned all about the genres and sub-genres, authors and styles. One in particular I grew fond of was the cozy mystery. I also had a thing about wanting a Siamese cat. And so… my love affair with Lilian Jackson Braun began. Finding myself without required reading, I selected a few books, including this cozy mystery series, and I read through a huge amount in the first few years.

Review
People either love or dislike the cozy mystery book. Sometimes it’s too simple. I get that. But sometimes, it’s exactly what you want to read before bed, when you need to relax, or because it’s just fun and charming humor and easy story.

Braun started writing in 1960s and published a few of these books, then stopped writing for 25 years before re-igniting the series in the 1980s… producing another 25+ in the collection. This is book number two, and it is where Qwill, the main character, adopts his second Siamese cat when its owner… for reasons I cannot disclose… can no longer care for YumYum. And thus begins the life of these 3 primary characters in the entire series.

Qwill is a really likable character. He’s about 60, a bit ornery, highly intelligent, very set in his ways, and the object of every woman over 60 in town. There are less male protagonists in cozy novels than female leads, which make this a bit of a unique series. It was one of the very first series that put the cozy sub-genre on the market. And the world that Braun creates in Moose County is just amazing.

In this book, Qwill hasn’t yet moved to Moose County, so you’re still learning background about him and his prior life before becoming sober and everything changing post divorce. And he’s asked to write a story and column about home design, something he has very little knowledge of.

It’s a very cute story with a cast of strong characters, a few of which move with him to Moose County along the path. This book establishes his relationship with the two cats, including their extra-strong senses when it comes to helping him solve crimes.

Yes, the cats come up a lot. Always funny. But the mystery is the focus, I promise. It’s worth a shot to see if you’re hooked on the series, but if you do… you have to read the first 3 or 4, so you can see his initial move to Moose Country where 90% of the books take place.

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.


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