Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Monthly Reading Summary - March 2015

Another month come and gone already?  I guess that means it is time for my monthly reading summary.  Here's what I read and reviewed in March with links to the full review.  And the Index has been updated as well.

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

The Edge of Dreams by Rhys Bowen (Molly Murphy #14) – 5
Molly is involved in a train accident, but a note that her husband, police detective Daniel Sullivan, receives leads them to believe it might not have been an accident and Molly might have been the target.  Meanwhile, Molly’s friend and neighbor Gus asks for help with a young girl who is experiencing horrible nightmares.

This series is always a great way to travel back to early 1900’s New York City, and this book is no exception.  The plot starts out strongly, and the pace never lags.  The characters are charming as always, and their continued growth is enjoyable to watch.  I’ve been a fan since the first book, and this is another winner.

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

Double Fudge Brownie Murder by Joanne Fluke (Hannah Swensen #18) – 3
Hannah’s trial is coming up, and she’s hoping to finally have the entire things behind her.  Instead, she finds another dead body, this time the judge who was supposed to preside over her trial.  With her name once again on the suspect list, Hannah must find the real killer.

While it is always fun to check in with these characters, I do enjoy a good mystery.  Sadly, the mystery took a back seat to other things happening.  Too many scenes were devoted to cooking.  On the other hand, there is significant progress on the love triangle.  And really, I do love these characters.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein – 5
Kyle Keeley isn’t excited about the new library in town until he finds out that Mr. Lemoncello helped design it.  It’s got to have plenty of cool stuff if the creator of so many amazing games is behind it.  He is thrilled to win an overnight preview, but it turns into a contest the next day when he and the others inside the library learn they are in a contest to figure out puzzles to get out of the library.  Can he do it?

I put this book off for too long.  The story is fun and I got caught up in the action the further I went into the book.  I’m not a puzzle person, but fortunately the characters figure things out for us.  (I would be sunk in their position).  Plus, I would absolutely love to visit this library.  It sounds absolutely amazing.

Death is Like a Box of Chocolates by Kathy Aarons (Chocolate Covered Mysteries #1) – 4
Michelle Serrano runs the chocolate part of Chocolate and Chapters, the combined chocolate and bookstore she owns with her best friend Erica.  But one morning, she walks into their store to find their business neighbor Denise dead from a poisoned truffle.  Now Michelle has to find the killer to clear her reputation.

These characters grew on me quickly, and I really came to care for them.  I can’t wait to find out what happens to them in future books.  The plot got a little sidetracked at the end, but it still had an exciting climax.  Plus there were some twists along the way that confused me, but in a good way.

Puzzled Indemnity by Parnell Hall (Puzzle Lady #16) – 5
Becky’s latest client is worried that her husband is having an affair and plotting to kill her, so Becky hires Cora to learn if the client has reason to be worried.  When Cora confirms the affair, the client hesitates long enough for things to really explode.

Series fans will love this latest case for Cora and company.  The banter and word play is present, but it advances a story that has some nice twists and surprises.  The characters could be better developed, but that’s long been an issue with the series.  It’s a fun fast read, and that’s exactly what it sets out to be.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond – 5
When you spot a moose outside your window, you might be tempted to offer it a muffin.  But what is a muffin without jam?  And what might the moose want to do next?

As with all the charming books from this pair, the story is wild and yet plenty of fun.  As the connections are made, they actually do make sense even if the end results is wild.  There is plenty of humor along the way both from those connections and the wonderful illustrations.

Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly (County Cork Mysteries #1) – 2
Maura Donovan is fulfilling a promise to her Gran and visiting the part of Ireland where the family originated.  However, her time of discovering family history is interrupted by two bodies – one dredged up from a bog and one more modern victim.

Sadly, the mystery takes a back, back seat to the story of Maura learning family history and discovering the part of Ireland.  The author obviously loves the area and brings it to vivid life, but it over shadows the mystery, which takes a back seat.  The characters were enjoyable, but not enough to make me long for a repeat visit to County Cork.

The God of Guilty by Michael Connelly (Mickey Haller #5) – 5
Mickey Haller’s latest murder case involves the death of a prostitute with her pimp as the prime suspect.  Only Mickey knew Gloria when she was alive, working out what he thought was a deal to get her out of the life.  Where has she been for the last eight years?  And can Mickey get his client off when the odds keep piling up against him?

This was another gripping legal thriller that was almost impossible to stop reading.  There were great twists and surprises along the way, yet there was still time for the characters to continue growing.  I hope it isn’t too long before we are treated with another case for this great team.

The Mystery of the Velvet Gown by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #29) – 3
Everyone is buzzing about the freshman production of Romeo and Juliette, especially since Trixie’s friend Diana has landed the part of Juliette.  However, Trixie’s attention is focused on the new drama teacher, Miss Darcy, who is acting oddly.  What is causing her to be so distracted?

This book is a classic example of a plot that seems logical until you set the book down and really think through it.  The characters are mostly good, although a couple of the cast are sidelined, which I never like.  This isn’t one of the worst in the series, but it’s not especially memorable either.

Wouldn’t It Be Deadly by D. E. Ireland (Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins #1) – 5
In the two months since the end of My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle has gone to work for Emil Nepommuck, Henry Higgins’s chief rival.  This is just one of the many reasons that Higgins decides the take Nepommuck down.  However, when the man turns up murdered, Higgins becomes Scotland Yard’s chief suspect and Eliza and Higgins must team up to figure out what really happened to the man.

This is a delightful continuation of the characters from the famous musical (or more accurately George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion which inspired the musical).  The returning characters are perfect, and the new characters are just as engaging.  The plot twists and turns on the way to a thoroughly entertaining climax, and the humor mixed in is a delight.  I can’t wait to see what happens to this duo next.

At the Drop of a Hat by Jenn McKinley (Hat Shop Mysteries #3) – 5
When Ariana brings one of Mim’s hats in and asks if it can be repaired for her upcoming wedding, Scarlett and Viv are thrilled to take on the challenge.  When Scarlett goes to talk to her about it, she finds Ariana kneeling beside a dead body.  With the evidence saying Ariana killed the person, Scarlett and Viv step in to prove their new friend is innocent.

While the motive to get involved with the mystery might be a little weak, I’m glad that Scarlett and Viv poked around because this book is lots of fun.  A dash of humor enlivens scenes as we weave through clues and suspects before we reach a logical ending.  The characters are continuing to grow.  A cliffhanger left me wanting the next to know what happens next.

The Icing on the Corpse by Liz Mugavero (Pawsitively Organic Mysteries #3) – 4
Frog Ledge’s Groundhog Day celebration is cut short when the town historical, elderly Helga Oliver, is found dead at the bottom of the Historical Museum stairs.  But when whispers that it was murder reach Stan’s ears, she begins to dig in and see if she can find the truth.

There are many plot threads introduced early that slow down the pacing of the story a little, but as the book progresses, we see how everything ties together.  There are some good twists and a creative climax.  The characters are great, and we even get to see a different side to a couple of them, which I really appreciated.


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

8 comments:

  1. You had a fab month in books! Happy April reading!

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    1. Thanks. Happy April reading to you, too.

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  2. I really enjoyed The Gods of Guilt, too. Michael Connelly never lets me down. Mr. Limoncello sounds interesting, I've added it to my enormous list. Book Date has started a monthly wrap up link if you want to join in
    http://bookdate.blogspot.com/2015/03/month-in-review-march-2015.html

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    1. I'm not so sure about Connelly's Bosche books but I intend to work through a few more of them before I decide for sure.

      Thanks for the link. I'm going to start participating in that.

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  3. Looks like some good reading although the title The Icing on the Corpse just almost put me off my breakfast! Have a great April reading.

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    1. Ironically enough, there was no icing on the corpse in the book. Sorry the title didn't agree with you, however.

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  4. Love the sound of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library! Hope your April books are great reads

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    1. Thanks. So far, April's books have been great.

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