wedding

Book Review: Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

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I’ve been waiting for the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke to bounce back from a few lackluster books, and Wedding Cake Murdermade it happen. I’d give this fun caper somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars.

After 18 books debating between Norman and Mike, Hannah finally makes a decision when a third man’s proposal suddenly enters the ring. Ross Barton was a great friend in college, and we saw some hints of romance in one of the earlier books, but nothing came of it. In the last book in the series, Ross came back into her life and proposed… Wedding Cake Murder is all about Hannah’s wedding. But besides that wonderful sub-plot, we also see Hannah as a contestant in the Food Network’s latest dessert show. She’s actually on TV! She’s competing against professional dessert chefs. And she finds another dead body. We must be up to 20 at this point, as a few books had multiple murders, and she didn’t actually discover every single one herself.

When you strip away the recipes, you’re down to about 200 pages, but they are packed full of drama and witty conversations. I love the bonds between Hannah and her sister. I like her romance with Ross, but something seems a little shady. I’m still rooting for Norman even though Hannah’s now married. :O Yes, I said it out loud. Nonetheless, these are Fluke’s best desserts and the description of the Food Network show is spot on. Loved everything about it. The culprit really could have been at least five different killers which helped round out this story more than others. It was like an early book in the series where the balance between fun and mystery was a fair split.

I can’t wait to dive into the next one… already ordered two more from the library so I can hopefully catch up this fall to be current.

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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. 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.

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365 Challenge: Day 330 – Cousin

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Cousin: an important family member, the children of your aunt and/or uncle

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Friends —
This is my cousin and his soon-to-be bride… they need your help to win a wedding photography package. All you have to do is click LIKE on their photo (Ashley & Rich) on Facebook. If you’re feeling extra supportive, feel free to “SHARE” the photo and ask your friends to vote! This contest runs for another week (through February 17th at 5pm). The photo with the most votes / LIKES will win. Be sure to like their photo on Facebook and not the main post. The link below should take you directly there.
A little background on this wonderful couple. My cousin Rich is a Pennsylvania cop who protects all of us with his own life. Ashley is an esthetician who helps advise tons of folks on how to take care of their skin. They’re good people who always look out for others. You may have read something on my blog months ago when I posted about them literally being inside the Mandalay Bay Resort & Hotel at the concert when the Las Vegas shooting happened. Hearing a little bit of their story and how they had to escape that night was intense. I’m so glad they are okay, and I’m very excited for this amazing couple to get married in the next year. They deserve this win! I used to look out for Rich when he and I grew up back on Long Island years ago. I teased and tortured him when our parents went out and I got to play the babysitter. I taught him things to say to get him in trouble with his parents… my personal favorite was “you’re a broccoli butt,” which this little punk would then run around screaming when his mom came back home. Yes, I could be a bad influence, but I’ll always remember bonding as kids with him all of our other cousins. Thank you so so so much for taking the time to read today’s post and voting for them to win this prize. Go Ashley & Rich!!!

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

Book Review: Someone’s Mad at the Hatter by Sandra Bretting

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Why This Book 
I won this book through a cozy mystery group. I’d not read the author’s work before, but I do enjoy cozies and have family in Louisiana. I took a chance on entering the giveaway contest and reading it.

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Plot, Characters & Setting 
Missy is a hat designer who stumbles into crimes in a small Louisiana town. She’s ~30ish, dating a dressmaker and a true southern girl. In this book, Missy finds a dead wedding planner outside her store, killed with one of her hat-making tools. When her business begins to suffer, she investigates the crime, having successfully helped the local police on two prior cases. She also goes on a few dates with her dressmaker and another character, ultimately deciding who is better for her. When she figures out the crime before the police, she finds herself smack in the killer’s hands and forced to protect herself.

Approach & Style 
This is the third book in the cozy series and is told in first-person POV from Missy, the main character. I read the ~170 page Kindle version in about three hours. Chapters are short. Writing is average, a bit stilted and formal for my taste, but still a good read.

Strengths & Suggestions 
The story makes sense. The characters are diverse. The writing is clear. The setting is one of the better parts. In a world full of cozies, it has a place for readers who prefer settings in the southern US and mysteries involving clothing or weddings. For me, it was an average read where I enjoyed it, but something was also missing. It felt a little too formulaic without an ability to really attach to any of the characters. I also recognize that this setting may have been part of the reason I didn’t feel strongly about the overall series, and it may be better to read from the first book to get into the story. I might give the first one a try in the future as the mystery had several good components, especially in the red herrings and side-stories.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. 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.

365 Challenge: Day 202 – Wedding

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Wedding: purpose of this trip, to attend the marriage of two good friends

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It was the big day yesterday — the purpose of our trip — to attend the wedding of two good friends in Orlando. All the wedding photos from the official photographer won’t be available for a few days/weeks, but we took a few before shots so you can see what I look like in a bowtie and suspenders. What a fun day! It was a quiet morning spent poolside by the lake, and then we had lunch in the hotel. Afterwards, we got dressed and met the wedding group for pictures. W took a couple of photos of me, but I don’t photograph well, so I am only picking two or three of them to share.

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Above is a picture in the room before I finished cleaning up. Decided to leave a few day’s stubble instead of go completely clean-shaven. Thought it might make for a more fun look! Then I had to figure out what to do with my hair, as it’s in-between lengths right now. I am trying to grow it out, but it’s getting unmanageable. It covers my eyes, so I wanted to keep it wet and slicked back, but in the humidity down here, it wouldn’t work!

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I left it alone to dry and that’s how it ended up! After the ceremony, I stopped back up in the room to drop off a few things before we left for more pictures with the photographer. We all had name cards for where to sit. And yes, cut out in the shape of dachshunds because the wedding couple have always had them for the last ten years. Too cute. W took this picture before we left, and it’s one of the rare pictures of me that I actually like. I smiled, which is unusual for me. My hair stayed out of my eyes. And the outfit worked. The wedding was so much fun… but we head to the Disney parks with the main group for the weekend, so more pictures to come early next week. Tomorrow is a normal list day!

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I’m thinking this might be my new profile pic since it tells my name!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. 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.

365 Challenge: Day 201 – Celebration

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Celebration: (a) hotel where we are staying in Orlando and (b) a big party

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I still can’t believe I’m on day 12 of a 15 day vacation and finding things to post about! Today the 365 Daily Challenge word is celebration — for two reasons. Our friends are getting married this evening at the Bohemian Hotel Celebration (Autograph Collection) in Celebration (Orlando) Florida. It’s a celebration on so many levels. I was surprised to learn that this town (Celebration) was built by Disney about thirty years ago and is actually an entire town full of life and fun — yes, an entire town. I knew Disney was huge down here, but this is even more intense. I’m excited to check it out this morning and afternoon before the wedding this evening. Later today, I will wear a bowtie and suspenders (wedding attire selected for us — never wore either before — this will be amusing), and we will run around town taking hilarious and memorable photos in a bunch of very cool spots. I probably won’t have those pictures for a few days/weeks, but we’ll take some before we go to the wedding (small, less than 30 of us) so you can see how silly I will probably look! And then tomorrow begins two days in the Disney parks. Can’t wait to get this Celebration started.

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Lake our hotel sits beside

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Pool over the lake

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Hotel Room

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Interesting birds following us around

Thanks for all the comments and feedback. Looking forward to catching up with everyone when I return early next week. Have a great weekend.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. 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.

Review: Dead with the Wind

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Dead with the Wind3 out of 5 stars to Dead with the Wind, the 2nd book in the “Southern Ladies” cozy mystery series, written in 2015 by Miranda James. I enjoyed reading about the two sisters and their rather rude family, feeling almost glad to see the character who died meet her maker this time.

Why This Book
I’d started reading another series by this author, also known as Dean James, and gave the first book in this series a chance earlier in the year. I enjoy the cozy mystery and try to incorporate one in the reading list every three books, just to have something a bit lighter. I’d ordered a couple through Amazon and this one was sitting on the shelf, calling to me. After a few thrillers, it sounded like a perfect comfy book to relax with for a day or two.

Overview of Story
An’gel and Dickce Ducote, two southern sisters, often referred to as old biddies who stick their noses into crimes around the lovely town of Athena, Mississippi, travel to a small Louisiana town to visit their cousin Mireille for her granddaughter’s upcoming wedding. They bring along their ward, Benjy, a 20ish young guy who lost his own family in a previous mystery, and their new pet cat and dog. When they arrive, they find the house in a bit of an uproar. Mireille seems to be aging too quickly. Her daughter Jackie cannot control her own daughter, Sondra. Sondra, about to marry a man who has the intellect of a 6-year old, but the face a God, apparently has a 4-year old daughter no one knew about. And the help around the house seem to have an attitude about everything going on.

Sondra, a wicked woman who throws temper tantrums and treats her mother and grandmother quite poorly, suddenly falls off the balcony during a major thunderstorm. It looks like an accident, but when the police learn she had a car accident the previous day, due to the brake lines having been cut, murder is the new game in town. An’gel and Dickce try to keep things calm while figuring out all the mysterious goings-on around the house the last few weeks, but unfortunately, their poor cousin Mireille falls ill and is taken the hospital. Another murder happens. And the Ducote sisters find enough clues to realize between all the wills, someone stood to inherit a lot of money. Could that be the secret killer? As they wind down the mystery, eliminating each suspect, they’re left with only one — and a trap is needed to capture a confession.

Approach & Style
The book is told in past tense by a third person narrator. The narrator changes point of view from focusing on An’gel to Dickce across each chapter, sometimes throwing in a few scenes from the perspective of Benjy, their ward. The language reflects that of an upper-class southern family with historical roots and ties to the area. It’s easy to understand and has a few laughs at the differences in sayings and expressions, at least from this northerner. Chapters are around ten pages each, stopping with a scene or perspective change between characters.

Strengths
James does a great job at portraying the two elderly sisters. At 82ish, they seem a little more spry than I’d expect, but you also get a certain southern charm and wit from them. Occasionally, I find them a bit too sensitive or rude, but seeing them slap a few characters around is always a hoot. I’m beginning to see enough differences between the two sisters in this second book, whereas in the first, I felt they were the same character.

The background setting, the description of the house and the extended family, and the dialogue are all good. You feel transported to the southern part of the country and enjoy the removal from every day life.

Benjy is a fun character. He’s on the sidelines, but used very well to help with transitions or provide information the sisters wouldn’t normally have access to obtain. He’s great with kids and animals. I’m sure it’s a setup for him to marry into their family down the line in a future book.

Open Questions & Concerns
The mystery had some complexities to it, but it wasn’t as strong as it should have been. I liked the various family characters, as well as the extended help with the lawyer, neighbor, maid and butler; however, the reveal of the killer was too weak. The killer’s motive wasn’t strong, but making it any of the characters who seemed to have a strong motive would have been way too easy. It felt like the plot needed to be flushed out a tiny bit more to have some additional connections between various characters.

Author & Other Similar Books
It’s a typical cozy mystery, and a bit similar to an American Miss Marple, in terms of characters. It’s not as complex as an Agatha Christie book. The sisters seem like the female version of a James Qwilleran from Lilian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who series.

Final Thoughts
I enjoy the characters and the setting, which means I’ll come back for more. It’s less about the mystery and more about watching how everyone interacts, seeing different parts of the south and exploring the depths of the two sisters’ personalities. Given how you feel dropped into a great setting, the books are a good read, especially when it’s about 4 hours of your time. Your mind works a little to solve the mystery, and you can usually figure them out on your own.

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