michigan

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.

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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. 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.

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Book Review: No Mallets Intended by Victoria Hamilton

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No Mallets IntendedNo Mallets Intended by Victoria Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No Mallets Intended is the fourth book in the ‘Vintage Kitchen’ cozy mystery series written by Victoria Hamilton. I began reading it a few years ago and later got sidetracked, but after being approved for the latest 2019 book on NetGalley, I’m catching up this month. The series follows Jaymie Leighton in a small town in Michigan on the border with Canada where she has various odd jobs involving cooking, hospitality, writing, and vintage kitchen items. She ended a relationship with a cheater the year before and began dating someone not quite right for her way too soon. In No Mallets Intended, Jaymie’s cataloging items at the historic Dumpe Manor where she’s knocked over the head with a kitchen mallet and later finds a dead body killed by a different one. Who’s after something hidden in the estate?

Along the path, we meet different members of the historical society and learn of a feud between past owners who claim a missing will caused an inheritance to be improperly carried out. Since the Dumpe Manor was then sold a few times to different people, there is lots of confusion and frustration over who really owns it, but the historical society is the one taking care of it. Eventually, the will is found, but it might be fake. As Jaymie uncovers all the clues, she finds herself directly in the line of fire with the killer who chases her in a very long scene into the arms of single father who ends up becoming important to the story. Jaymie also spends time with her sister and parents finding a bond that had been missing for years. She makes a decision about her current relationship and helps her ex-bf fix his new relationship, too. What a kind woman to do all that knowing it will backfire and hurt her in the short-term!

I enjoy the series. Often is the side characters which carry a plot or books series, but after 4 in this one, I’m more comfortable with the main character and think she has the potential to make the series stronger. The side stories aren’t huge and haven’t offered any truly strong sidekicks for Jaymie. Good thing I like her! Writing quality is good. The vintage kitchen items are fun to hear about. It’s a typical cozy with a clever US and Canada style depending on where the action takes place. I look forward to seeing more about the writing column in the newspaper that Jaymie’s taking on as well as the new potential romance that begins to stir up at the end of this book.

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: Freezer I’ll Shoot by Victoria Hamilton

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Freezer I'll Shoot (Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #3)Freezer I’ll Shoot by Victoria Hamilton

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I read the first two books in the ‘Vintage Kitchen Mystery’ series by Victoria Hamilton a few years ago when I began focusing on the cozy sub-genre. I thought it was a good series, but I was more interested in sampling from multiple authors to figure out which ones appealed to me the most. I never got back to reading this one yet when the opportunity to get the latest on NetGalley became available, I decided to go back and read the rest so I could be current on the series. Today I’m reviewing the third in the series, Freezer I’ll Shoot.

The books take place on an island between Michigan and Canada focusing on Jaymie Leighton, a ~30ish single woman who enjoys cooking, writing, and collecting vintage kitchen items. After a few disastrous relationships, she finds herself dating a nice guy, Daniel, but she is reluctant to commit. When book three opens, Jaymie and Daniel are planning a dinner with their parents so they can meet each another. It’s not going well as both mothers are interfering and stubborn. Adding to the chaos are yard repairs that need to be completed ASAP on the nearby island cottage due to plumbing issues. Unfortunately, Jaymie finds her third dead body in the series one night when she’s awoken by a cry for help. It’s a local who’s been fighting with her neighbor over a few business transactions. Who killed him? Who are these mysterious neighbors? What will happen at the big family dinner? And will Jaymie get that new job writing about cooking and kitchen tools at the local newspaper?

The books are written well and have a wonderful setting. Hamilton is strong at describing the setting and characters. The mystery in this book has some depth, but it isn’t very complicated. Overall, I like the book, but I feel like it needs a bit more ‘oomph’ packed in… Jaymie is a great lead with lots of fun aspects to her personality, but her relationship with Daniel is a bit boring and I’m not seeing her connection with the rest of the town quite yet. It’s developing, and I hope with a few more books, it becomes more solid and intriguing. For now, I enjoy the series and look forward to the next book as there are lots of appealing elements. Reading about all the kitchen gadgets and gizmos is cool. Learning about a place based on reality in the waterways between the US and Canada is fun. And seeing the different seasons in this culture / atmosphere is definitely of interest.

I’ll pick up the next book in between the holidays but want to be ready to read the current and 8th book by February, so it’ll be one every other week to get there. I’d give the series a chance but you need to love the side stories (vintage kitchens, Michigan, small-town squabbles) just as much as the mystery points. Hope you enjoy it!

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.

365 Challenge: Day 346 – Roda

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Roda: who came to NYC to visit me — you can check out her blog profile at GrowingSelf

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As many of you figured out from a few posts, Roda from GrowingSelf visited me in NYC this weekend. We’d been having a lovely week of 65 degree weather, a very comfortable temperature filled with sunny days and light breezes. The darkness and the rain descended upon us Friday morning and just finished as Roda left for the airport a few minutes ago. (Correction…this is Roda, by the way, and I am still here.  The rain ended yesterday afternoon.  Jay is sharing his “Untruth” now.) I’m not at all suggesting it’s a coincidence. Just setting the tone… as it’s been quite an interesting (Interesting…let’s consider a new word choice, my author friend!) trip! I’ve learned a few new words, such as woozy. I believe it’s a combination of what and boozy, but I am still trying to get a clear answer. (Definition: woozy is when your head feels floopy because your so called “friend” keeps adding boozy to your glass, while you are making him a birthday cake, without your knowledge!) It hasn’t been easy as she just opened a bottle of champagne before we left for the airport as her “see ya later” toast. (Oh my goodness…more untruth!)

 

Part of our trip included taking in a Broadway show. I wanted to go to a memorable show that would inspire us. Roda selected Book of Mormon… and let me tell you, I learned quite a few new four-letter words. It was a show full of sarcasm, just like her! (More untruth) She cried during the scenes from laughing so hard!!!

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(Truth…it’s Roda again…I knew NOTHING about this production.  When Jay said it would be inspiring and moving and to make sure I brought my tissues, I had no idea what he truly meant!  Naughty, I tell you!  My Little Bro is naughty!) I cannot repeat the words we learned as I’d have to wash my mouth out with soap.

I did introduce her to the taste of Jack Daniels and ginger ale. (Not by choice!) She baked a chocolate marble cake with my assistance (51% me, 49% her). (So not true…once again!  Jay was happy to sit, at the table, with a bottle of bubbly in each hand, trying to play cruise director.) There was flour everywhere! And I didn’t get any candles to blow out either. (Let’s just say, after three grocery store trips, I could not find enough candles for Jay’s age, so I decided to count by 5s instead.)

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(There was also flour everywhere, due to the fact that Jay was throwing it everywhere…maybe because of his “woozy” head!) We tried taking pictures, but she kept making funny duck faces (don’t even ask, but I did try to recreate it below!) and they might be too embarrassing. I’m sure we’ll post more pictures when we have time to format and fix them.

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A few other facts:

  • We spent 2+ hours in multiple grocery stores because someone couldn’t find the ingredients she needed to make part of dinner. We had fish, bruschetta and broccoli.
  • We played Uno. She LOST bigtime. W also beat her. (We decided from the beginning that the person with the highest score would lose.  Jay could not locate the directions and now that he has, he wants everyone to think that he actually won!  Jay has truly set a new record for the highest losing score, of all times!  I have already notified the Guinness Book of World Records!)

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  • We walked around NYC for several hours each day. She was super afraid of grates, yellow banana cars (cabs as you and I know them) and anything that moved on the sidewalk, but oddly enough, she was fascinated by pigeons. What??? She also brought farm animals and I had to keep pointing out which was her drink (see below) because she wasn’t always aware enough of her surroundings… and she slipped on the floor multiple times. (Jay sabotaged my glass numerous times!  Also, the slipping was due to the fact that Jay spent a week cleaning his floor before I arrived.)

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  • We saw Grand Central Station and she purchased us cupcakes… then I went to the bathroom and she ate them both!!!  (Again…so untrue) We did whisper in the corners across the vestibule and she was totally shocked at how you could hear each other over 100 feet apart.

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  • She brought me a gift… ‘NomNom’ wine glass holders – see above. She preferred the male drink holders below… and named them Cody and Chad. Then she and W decided to put them in ice cube trays for their drinks. I was not drinking, so I really don’t know what this is all about! (I have no words…)

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  • She had issues with shin splints from walking so much… then blamed it on the shoes! WAMbulance. (I admit…I chose fashion over practicality, on this day.  This is the first true statement Jay has made.) 
  • I have never eaten or drank this much in my life. Every day…. oh my she can be a pusher! She also gets very bright red cheeks when she drinks. Someone had 4 days of red cheeks!  (I must say, the food in NY is spectacular!)

The moral of our story here… to keep this short… is how fun it is to meet someone you’ve chatted with for nearly a year on the Internet… and I’ll happily say, she’s exactly the same in person as I’ve seen, heard or read about on her blog. And that’s a good thing! (It is Roda again… I so want to disagree, but I have to say that Jay is the same talented, kind and completely adorable man we all know and love.  I was honored to spend four days in NY, laughing and having fun with my Little Bro.)

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About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. 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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365 Challenge: Day 323 – Paint

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Paint: to cover the surface of something with a colored substance that dries to leave a thin decorative or protective coating

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I have absolutely no talent when it comes to painting, but I know someone who does. I’m always in awe of a person with this talent, but when it is a friend–who feels more like family–it’s special. When that person goes beyond your expectations and surprises you with a custom painting to match your book cover, it’s undeniably amazing. If you haven’t figured out whom I am referring to, then let me uncover this beautiful artist: Roda from the Growing Self blog that many of you already follow. If you don’t know her or the blog, click the name to get familiar with an inspirational and passionate woman who has shared so much with many of us about her life running a farm, a family, and a dream in Michigan.

If you want to check out her art website, you must visit Artistically Roda where you will see not only this painting, but several others she’s created over the last year(s). Roda has an amazing approach to how she builds layers and designs her art, even sharing this process on her site. I was utterly shocked when her painting arrived in the mail, as I knew she was doing something special for me, but I never guessed how wonderful it would turn out. I moved the painting around a few different rooms in my apartment before hanging it, as I wanted to see where it would look best. The colors worked in most rooms, but it seemed to pop best in two places. I decided to wait on hanging it until after the holidays when all the Christmas decorations had been taken down. In early January, it found it’s home in the central spot of the apartment — the hallway where I cross through all day long. It’s between the bedroom and kitchen, which means I see it each time I wake up and walk into the main part of the apartment and before bed when I go to sleep.

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I adore this painting, but I adore my friendship and connection with this wonderful person even more. I’m grateful to all she’s given to me this year, especially the camaraderie we feel when referring to one another as Big Sis and Lil Bro. Thank you, Roda, for this perfect gift and for being one of my greatest treasures in 2017. And when I think of the word paint, it means so much more… to paint the beauty of life, to paint with inspiration, to paint the fabric of a shared connection… to paint the words that bond.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. 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