Sunday, June 1, 2014

May 2014 Monthly Reading Summary

Getting lots of reading done these days.  Doesn't mean my to be read pile is getting any less, but it does feel good to be getting so many books read so the pile isn't getting any worse.

And, if you only stop by once a month or so, I want to point out my brand new index.  It's about a week behind at this point, but I will be trying to update it once a month.  Look for the next update near the end of June/beginning of July.

As always, the links take you to my full review.

All ratings are on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

Nick and Tesla'sSecret Agent Gadget Battle by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Nick and Tesla #3) - 5
After getting a phone message from their mother warning that a spy is after them, Nick and Tesla find their uncle's house full of suspects.  Who is the spy?

Another fun book filled with a great mystery, good characters, and a few laughs.  The target middle grade audience will love it and enjoy building their own spy camera, code wheel, and more after they've found out who the spy is.

NOTE: I received this book via Amazon Vine in exchange for my honest review.

The Pickled Piper by Mary Ellen Hughes (Pickled and Preserved Mysteries #1) - 4
Piper thinks a booth at the local fair will be just the thing to get her new pickling business off the ground.  However, the second morning, she finds a man dead in her pickle barrel.  Can she figure out who the killer is?

The characters in this new series are wonderful, and I was drawn to them almost immediately.  The plot was a bit uneven, but the climax was strong and logical.  I will definitely be back for the second one.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Death Runs Adrift by Karen MacInerney (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries #6) - 5
Natalie is out picking wild blueberries when she finds a body floating in a boat.  Since the boat belongs to her niece's boyfriend, he is naturally a suspect.  Can Natalie clear him?

I love the characters in this series, and it's always wonderful to spend more time with them.  The plot started out a bit slowly, but it soon gained speed and kept me intrigued until the end.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Women's Murder Club #13) - 4
With Lindsay tracking a stomach bomber, Cindy follows up on a lead to a killer that got away.  Meanwhile, Yuki is getting married.

This series is wildly uneven, but this is one of the better ones.  Three plots make things a bit rushed at the end, and Claire becomes sidelined for much of the book, but it had me turning pages.

Death of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinley (Hat Shop Mysteries #2) - 4
With Mim's Whims hired to design hats for an Alice in Wonderland themed tea, Scarlett has to interact with the Grisby family, who are hosting.  They can hardly hide all the animosity they feel for each other, so it is hardly shocking when one of them is killed at the big event.  But who could have done it?

Once again the characters are charming and the plot is strong with many real suspects and motives.  I did find that the romantic sub-plot was annoying and slowed the book down overall, however.

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly (Mickey Haller #2) - 5
After a year off from law, Mickey is ready to come back, but he gets more than he bargained for when a friend is killed and Mickey takes over his cases.  One of those cases is a huge murder trial starting in just a week.  Can Mickey handle this high profile case?  Why was his predecessor murdered?

I really should have come back to this series sooner.  The characters are outstanding and the plot was complex and twisty.  I was glued to the story and will definitely be searching out the sequel.

Boiled Over by Barbara Ross (Maine Clambake Mysteries #2) - 5
Founder's Day Weekend gets off to a rough start when a body is found in the fire the Snowden Family Clambake was using to prepare a meal.  With the police looking at one of their employees, Julia must dig in and find the real killer.

The story started out strongly and never faltered as it led me through several twists and turns.  The characters were just as strong as in the debut, and I enjoyed spending time with all of them again.

Note: I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

'Til Dirt Do Us Part by Edith Maxwell (Local Foods Mysteries #2) - 4
Cam Flaherty's local foods dinner is a success despite the fact that Irene Burr had words with several people during the event.  The next morning, however, Irene turns up dead.  Did something from the dinner lead to her death?

I enjoyed the mystery, which had several viable suspects and some good twists before the climax.  The characters were very fleshed out as well.  My only complaint was one sub-plot that took over a bit at the beginning, but once it fell back to sub-plot status, I was absorbed in the book again.

Note: I was sent an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman - 5
Nora awakes one cold January morning to discover the unthinkable - her husband has committed suicide.  As she tries to figure out why, she begins to uncover things about his past she never knew.  Will she figure out why?  What else will she uncover?

Definitely a darker book than I normally read, but I am glad I did.  The characters were real, the plot was tight, and the writing was so good I felt the cold of an upper New York State winter.  Hard to believe this is a debut novel.


  1. A great month for books! A couple I would like to read myself.
    Happy June reading!

    1. Thanks. Hope you get to enjoy a couple soon yourself.

  2. Once again very thoughtful, helpful reviews. I appreciate that you point out slow starts or flaws and don't just cut and paste "I loved it" for all of them. Also appreciate that you don't post anything overly picky and negative.

    1. It try to post reviews just like you described, so it is wonderful to know I am hitting the mark. Thanks so much!

  3. I love that there's a mystery series featuring pickling!

    1. There's a mystery series for so many hobbies these days it always surprises me when they find something new to feature.