Monday, February 2, 2015

Monthly Reading Summary for January 2015

At one point, I thought I'd slow down my reading this year.  You will note there are 10 books on this list for the month of January.  Maybe I'll be slowing down next month?

Seriously, the year is off to a great start with lots of good books read.  As always, the links take you to my full review.  And yes, the Index has been updated as well.

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

Feta Attraction by Susannah Hardy (Greek to Me Mysteries #1) – 5
When Georgie’s husband goes missing, she doesn’t think much of it.  Spiro has done that several times since he came out of the closet.  However, when he doesn’t show up for an appointment, she begins to worry, and the strange notes she is receiving aren’t helping.  However, finding the body floating in the St. Lawrence River really makes her start to investigate.  What is going on?

There are lots of threads at the start of this book, but they soon begin to weave into one coherent story.  Georgie helps hold things together, too; she is such a likable main character, you can’t help but root for her to get a happy ending.  I really enjoyed this debut and think it looks like the start of a fun series.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

For Whom the Bluebell Tolls by Beverly Allen (Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries #2) – 5
Audrey Bloom is excited when the reality TV show Fix My Wedding is coming to town, especially when she gets to design the bridal bouquet.  Okay, so the bride is a bit bell obsessed, but she can make it work.  Unfortunately, that becomes the least of her problems when one of the hosts of the show is killed and the police begin to suspect Audrey’s former boyfriend, a production assistant on the show.

This series is already on my favorites list after just two books.  The characters are wonderful and the so real.  This applies to the series regulars and the suspects in this book.  The plot is intriguing and kept the surprises coming until the end.  Add in a dash of humor, and you’ve got another winner.

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

Zero-Degree Murder by M. L. Rowland (Search and Rescue Mysteries #1) – 3
When four hikers go missing on a mountain on Thanksgiving Day, Gracie Kinkaid is one of the only people to respond.  She and her search partner quickly find one of the hikers, famous actor Rob Christian, but he’s injured.  While they wait for help, a snow storm is coming in.  What they don’t know is that someone is hunting for them on the mountain – to kill them.

Despite being published by Berkley Prime Crime, this is more a thriller than a cozy, with language and violence to go along with that.  The pacing of the plot was uneven, with parts there were page turning and passages that were slow and even predictable.  The characters were also not as complex as I would have liked.  It wasn’t a bad book, but it also could have been better.

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch #1) – 4
The body in the drain pipe looks like a drug overdose, and everyone is willing to record it that way.  Everyone except LAPD Homicide cop Harry Bosch, who thinks the scene is telling a different story – murder.  Then he makes the shocking discover, he knows the victim, although he hasn’t seen the dead man since their days as tunnel rats in Vietnam.  What’s going on?

Overall, this is a strong debut from an authors who is now wildly popular.  I did feel that Bosch could be a bit too cold at times, and there were certainly clichés in the story.  On the other hand, the plot moved forward quickly and always kept me engaged.  And I did enjoy the characters most of the time.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus #5) – 5
While the demigods on the Argo II race across ancient Greece, Reyna and Nico are racing back to Camp Half-Blood.  But will their efforts be enough to reunite the Greek and Roman sides of the gods in time to defeat Gaea?

With so much happening, there is little time to backtrack and bring new readers into the story.  However, longtime fans will be richly rewarded with the wonderful storytelling here.  The plot moves quickly between the two sets of characters and builds to an impossible to put down climax.  The characters we love continue to grow as well.  It’s hard to say goodbye to these great characters, but this is a great end to an epic series.

Scene of the Climb by Kate Dyer-Seeley (Pacific Northwest Mysteries #1) – 4
Meg Reed has finally landed her first post college job.  Unfortunately, it’s at an outdoor magazine, and Meg is not an outdoor kind of person.  Still, she bravely faces her fear of heights to cover the final leg in a cross country reality TV show competition.  But when she witnesses one of the contestants plunge to his death, Meg realizes she might be in over her head.

Meg is a great main character, and I loved spending time with her.  The rest of the cast is equally as strong.  The pacing was off in the plot a bit, but everything does come together for a nice climax.  I will definitely be back for more.

Ghost in the Guacamole by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Ghost of Granny Apples #5) – 5
Emma and Granny find themselves in the middle of a family fight when Rikki Ricardo asks them to contact her deceased father to help her stop her older sister Lucy from selling the family restaurant and food business.  However, her father’s ghost wants Rikki to sell before something happens to her.  Is Rikki in danger?

This book was outstanding.  The plot is strong with conflict you could feel between the characters and so much suspicious behavior it was hard to figure out who to trust.  The new characters were strong, making us truly care about the outcome.  A dash of humor added depth to the at times serious plot.  I couldn’t put it down.

NOTE: I was given a copy of this book.  My opinion is still my own.

Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown (Cycle Path Mysteries #1) – 3
Evie Bloomfield is desperate for a promotion, so she agrees to travel to Mackinac Island to help her boss’s father with his bicycle shop while he recovers from a broken leg.  But less than 24 hours after she arrives, he is accused of murder.  Fearing her job is on the line, Evie plunges in to try to find the real killer.  Can she do it?

I’d heard great things about the author, so I was looking forward to reading the first in her second series.  Sadly, the book wasn’t as good as I had hoped.  The plot took off too quickly before I got to know the characters.  And the characters were way too much caricatures when they first appeared on the page.  Both things got better as the book went along, and I’m glad I stuck with it, but that beginning was too rough to make the book good.

Early Retirement” by Sue Ann Jaffarian – 5
Edna Brewer is planning to retire from her brother’s law firm in a couple of months.  Then the police show up asking about a dead body.  What is happening and how will it change her retirement plans?

This is a fun short story.  The pace was brisk with no wasted time at all.  The characters were strong, even though who only appear in one scene.  It was over all too quickly.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this story.  My opinion is my own.

Mr. Monk and the New Lieutenant by Hy Conrad (Monk #19) – 4
Monk discovers that a recently deceased judge was actually poisoned.  And then Captain Stottlemeyer starts shows the same symptoms.  Who is out to kill the captain?

The plot in this one was a little simpler than it might have been, but the characters make it plenty of fun.  Yes, there are even some more great laughs along the way.

Sadly, this is looking like it will be the final book in the Monk novels.  It’s been a wonderful franchise, and I am going to really miss these characters.


  1. You did very good in January! Happy February reading!

    1. Sir,
      Am learning from your reading habit.
      Thanks very much.