Book Review: The Uninvited Corpse

More cozy mysteries. Seems like ten new ones get published every day. The Uninvited Corpse by Debra Sennefelder is the first in a new series.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Leaving behind a failed career as a magazine editor and an embarrassing stint on a reality baking show, newly divorced lifestyle entrepreneur Hope Early thought things were finally on the upswing—until she comes face-to-face with a murderer . . .

Hope’s schedule is already jam packed with recipe testing and shameless plugs for her food blog as she rushes off to attend a spring garden tour in the charming town of Jefferson, Connecticut. Unfortunately, it isn’t the perfectly arranged potted plants that grab her attention—it’s the bloody body of reviled real estate agent Peaches McCoy . . .

One of the tour guests committed murder, and all eyes are on Hope’s older sister, Claire Dixon—who, at best, saw Peaches as a professional rival. And suspicions really heat up when another murder occurs the following night. Now, with two messy murders shaking Jefferson and all evidence pointing to Claire, Hope must set aside her burgeoning brand to prove her sister’s innocence. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer intent on making sure her life goes permanently out of style . . .

My thoughts:

Sigh. I suspect this is simply a style mismatch for me. The author is repetitive in her writing, which some people probably like as a reminder of what has already happened. It just rubbed me raw. I felt like putting the book down every time I reread the same phrases. Then, the amateur sleuth didn’t actually solve the crime. She survived several attacks by the killer and one large confrontation where she had to be rescued by a dog and eventually the police. I don’t like that kind of mystery. If you don’t have the brains to figure out the solution, at least have the balls to rescue yourself. But I can imagine this will be a very popular series. The protag is a reality show failure, divorced because her hubs cheated, and now making it as a blogger. People will love it.

Book Review: The Book Stops Here

I read Kate Carlisle’s book binding cozy mystery series from time to time. She’s always a safe choice.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of KCLS):

Brooklyn Wainwright is thrilled to be appearing on the San Francisco edition of the hit TV show This Old Attic as a rare-book expert and appraiser. Her first subject is a very valuable first-edition copy of the classic children’s story The Secret Garden,which is owned by a flower vendor named Vera. Once she hears what her book is worth, Vera is eager to have Brooklyn recondition it for resale. But after the episode airs, a furious man storms onto the set, claiming that Vera found the first edition at his garage sale, and he wants it back–or else. Brooklyn is relieved that she’s put The Secret Garden in a safe place, but Randolph Rayburn, the handsome host of This Old Attic, is terrified by the man’s threats. He confides in Brooklyn that he fears he is being stalked by the show’s former creator and star, who was fired when ratings declined. In the days that follow, several violent incidents occur on the set, and Brooklyn is almost killed, leaving both her and her security expert boyfriend, Derek, shaken. Is someone after Brooklyn and the book? Or has Randolph’s stalker become more desperate? And then Brooklyn visits Vera’s flower shop…and discovers her dead. Is the murderer one of the two obvious suspects, or is something more sinister–even bizarre–going on? Brooklyn had better find the clever killer soon or more than her chance at prime time may be canceled…permanently.

My Thoughts:

This is a good solid read. Although I admit to consuming a lot of alcohol while reading it on vacation. In fact, an entire “fishbowl” of a Cruiser was imbibed during the reading of this book.

And yet I can say; there was no trickery, no confusion. The occasional red herring did pop up and occasionally the book really stretched my suspension of disbelief.

No one questions a woman who asserts she found a 20-25K book at a yard sale for 3 dollars? Really?

And Brooklyn gets a new neighbor who can’t wait to be best friends with her. Surprise, the new neighbor just happens to be ex-CIA. Really?

I would still consider Carlisle a safe read, after all you need something mellow when consuming a beverage meant for four.


Book Review: The Monogram Murders

An Agatha Christie book written by someone else. All my spidey sense are tingling. The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of KCLS):

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London hotel have been murdered, and a cuff link has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim.
My thoughts:

I am beyond torn on this one. I want to complain. There are so many issues. The Poirot in this book speaks French, he talks about his little grey cells, but he is not Poirot.

“I would know the difference with my eyes closed.” A line oft repeated in the novel. And the difference is there. This is not Poirot, it’s a detective in a Poirot suit. A third rate bit player in a detective suit in a Poirot suit.

And the real rub?

The book doesn’t need Poirot. It is delightfully torturous. A beautiful murder mystery from start to finish. The plot sets trap after trap in a way that had me patting myself on the back so hard that I managed to catch that trap, I didn’t see I had already fallen into another one. Which way am I digging? Out? Or further down the wrong path?

I get the cache a Poirot mystery brings. And in the book market today, you need everything leg up you can get. But calling this a Poirot mystery detracts from the brilliant work it actually would be with any other detective leading the charge. Lucky for me I am good at pretending she wasn’t talking about Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

Side Note: I was so absorbed in this book, I got burned lobster red on vacation.


Book Review: That Last Weekend

I adore Laura DiSilverio. She writes two cozy series I truly enjoy. So when I saw this thriller, That Last Weekend, it was a no brainer.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

A terrible accident. A killer among friends.

A woman risking everything for answers.

Every year for a decade, five college friends spent a weekend together at the atmospheric Chateau du Cygne Noir. Then, tragedy struck.

Ten years later, Laurel Muir returns to the castle for the first time since the accident, hoping to reconnect with her friends and lay the past to rest. When a murderer attacks, it rips open old wounds and forces the women to admit there’s a killer in their midst. The remaining friends make a pact to unearth the truth, but suspicion, doubt, and old secrets threaten to tear them apart. Unsure who to trust, Laurel puts herself in harm’s way, risking it all for friendship and long-delayed justice.

My Thoughts:

Slower than molasses in winter. But so intense, it’s chipotle infused molasses. It’s all about relationships, the psychology of how people behave, of what matters most to them and the lengths they will go to protect that. To manipulate you.

I easily spent 2/3s of the book praying the character I liked the most, wasn’t the killer because I could easily see how she might be. How they all might have done it.

Really well written. Really excellent bead on what makes people tick.

Book Review: Anyone You Want Me To Be

Pure research, although I had to wait for a while to get this one, popular book. John Douglas used to be a Fed, a profiler in fact, and turned his skills to educated the public about how dangerous some people can be.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Legendary FBI profiler and #1 New York Times bestselling author John Douglas explores the shocking case of John Robinson, a harmless, unassuming family man whose criminal history began with embezzlement and fraud — and ended with his arrest for the savage murders of six women and his suspected involvement in at least five disappearances. Most disturbing was the hunting ground in which Robinson seduced his prey: the world of cyberspace. Haunting chat rooms, targeting vulnerable women, and exploiting the anonymity of the Internet, his bloody spree was finally halted by a relentless parole officer who spent ten years trying to nail Robinson as a cold-blooded killer.

A cautionary tale set in a virtual world where relationships are established without the benefit of physical contact, and where mainstream Americans can be drawn down a dark path of temptation and death, Anyone You Want Me To Be is a contemporary real-life drama of high-tech crime and punishment.

My Thoughts:

Some of his statistics were so unbelievable I noted them so I could google as soon as had wifi again. And every time, the stats were actually worse today that what he quoted when the book was written. For example, John claimed 66% of death penalty convictions were overturned on appeal. I thought, no way. It’s now 75% since the death penalty was reinstated. He said in 1960 the clearance rate for homicide was 90%, now it was down to 64-67%. Well, as of today, it’s less than 60.

Makes me think my detectives are just too good. LOL. I need to play with my dialogue a bit.

I really enjoyed his profiler’s description of a sociopath. I plan to let it flavor my serial killer.

Over all, I found this an intriguing read. It was mildly repetitive. Unfortunately, it was very heavy on the foreshadowing, which released the tension, rather than building it.

Book Review: Knit One, Kill Two

I just got back from vaca. Of course I downloaded 15 books before I left to make sure I had enough to read. 15 day vaca equals 15 books. A lot of choices were research. Either more about cold case investigative techniques or cozy mysteries to check out the genre.

Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton is a cozy. The first in a rather long New York Times Best Selling series.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Kelly Flynn never picked up a pair of knitting needles she liked—until she strolled into House of Lambspun. Now, in the first in a brand-new series, she learns how to knit one, purl two, and untangle the mystery behind her aunt’s murder.

My Thoughts:

Yup, that about covers it. I found myself scanning past many cliches. There were type errors, missing letters, extra punctuation. No one ever said anything. In one page alone, the characters declared, challenged, reassured, observed, and spoke up.

I stumbled hard on a major forensic gaffe. I want to explain it but it would give away the killer if I did. And you might read this, on the beach, with a cocktail. I certainly did. Let’s just say I hope the author did some research before the rest of the series, because she made a doozy of a dilly.

Over all it was a reasonable read. There were a few red herrings as to the killer, but no tension. It was very predictable. I also had a hard time accepting people’s behavior as natural human.

Wednesday Words 2.7

Greetings and Salutations, long lost writing and reading friends.

I went on vacation. Two weeks no internet. Yup it can be done. It really can. Yes, I vaguely missed you all but come on – sun, sea, deck boys with trays of delicious alcoholic beverages…. If the hubs didn’t have that pesky job problem, I wouldn’t have come home.


But I’m back. The PacNW is slowly sucking my tan out of me with cold and rain. I have an appt for a pedicure later today and I’m not sure why I bother. My toes won;t be seeing the light of day let alone sun for the next 4 months minimum. LOL

Been reading a lot lately. Including some betas. I think, maybe, I might like fantasy when it’s done well in a modern (ish) setting. ROFL

So where am I at writing wise?

I decided to pen a couple of short stories in an attempt to get into a couple more anthologies this year. We’ll see how that goes.

I have a really momentous decision that is rolling around in the back of my head. But like those donate a quarter machines at the zoo, it just keeps rolling round and round, it’s own velocity keeping it from sliding down the hole. Maybe next time I’ll be ready to share.

How about you? What are you doing with those 50K words you spit out last November? Is your current work in progress hibernating in the winter cold or playing in the snow? Inquiring minds want to know…


Book Review: A Knit Before Dying

I simply can’t help myself, I see a cozy mystery and I have to pick it up. But give me credit, I often put them right back down before I even leave the library. A Knit Before Dying by Sadie Hartwell made it home with me though.

This is the second book in the series. I haven’t read the first. There were a lot of references to the first that I didn’t understand, so that was flow disruptive. Clearly, the main character, Josie, solved a murder in the last book but I have no idea who it was or who dun it. People are mad at her without any explanation, so I was left to assume their kin had something to do with the murder.

Josie was ok. Kind of bland. Actually that’s a good description for the whole book, bland. Josie solves two murders that are intertwined while running her Great Aunt’s yarn shop. It just didn’t evoke any emotion in me. Even the “big bad” scene was flat. And several times Josie refers to herself as Blair in her thoughts, before someone uses her whole name and you find out her last name is Blair. Which – double weird. Who refers to themselves by their last name in their own mind?

Why did I finish it? Well, I had it in my bag on a super busy week. And I never cared if I had to put the book down.  So it filled a lot of awkward time and it was vaguely entertaining. I did learn one thing though: Never put your name across the very top of your book because that’s where KCLS puts it’s bar code sticker and your name will be covered. LOL

℘℘℘ – 3 Pages. I finished it and it wasn’t offensive. Bland is the word of the day.


Wednesday Words 6/14

With the editing of others:

Not editing. Quiet peace right now, although three of my students tell me I will have reading to do soon. In the mean time, I’m reading a lot of other books, like 5 of them right now. The 3AM Epiphany, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, Tyranny-Lessons from the 20th Century, Barking Up The Wrong Tree, The House of Spirits(gift from my SIL, might as well try to read it).

With my own writing:

Editing is going ok. I keep going back and forth a bit. I sent out my new first chapter for a read through. Two liked it, one thought I needed to add more back from the original version to up the tension. sigh. I’ll get it right at some point. LOL. Maybe.

Emotionally: I got this email this week:

I just wanted to let you know that I got a kindle for my graduation this year, and I hooked it up to my family account.  I was scrolling through the my books section and I found your book, scripting the truth.  As of this morning at 6, I haven’t been able to put my kindle down.  I’m on chapter 36, 73% through the book.  It is truly a work of art, and I’m sad not a lot of people know about it.
 I cried.
Topic for debate on my writing:

Hrm, I’m not sure I have anything to debate. I registered for that conference. I booked a sit down with an agent and an editor. I can book more when arrive if they have slots left open. I’m ridiculously nervous about it. But it’s on the line now, I need to get this book done or I will have nothing to discuss in my appointments. I am an excellent pressure player. My sitter has not found a summer job yet, so I added a couple of mid days each week to my regular sitting schedule, more time to write.