Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Monthly Reading Summary - June 2014

Can you believe we are already half way through 2014?  Me neither.  But July is upon us ready or not, so here's the summary of what I read in June.

My indexes are up to date through yesterday as well.

As always, the links will take you to my full review of the book if you'd like to learn more.

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

A Sense of Entitlement by Anna Loan-Wilsey (Hattie Davish #3) - 4
Hattie's summer in Newport doesn't go quite as planned when she finds herself as a social secretary to an upward climbing socialite.  Add to that labor relations issues and a murder.  Can Hattie figure out what is happening?

This was my introduction to the series, but I had no problems jumping in here.  The trip back to the 1890's was interesting, and all the characters were very well developed.  I just felt the pacing got off a couple of times.  Other than that, I enjoyed it.

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

Clobbered by Camembert by Avery Aames (Cheese Shop Mysteries #3) - 4
The annual Winter Wonderland is about to open when Kaitlyn Clydesdale comes back to town.  While she hints at knowing information about Charlotte's parents, Charlotte also wonders if she can trust this woman.  Before Charlotte can learn more, Kaitlyn winds up murdered, and the police focus on Rebecca's boyfriend.  Can Charlotte clear him of the crime?

The mystery is strong, and I have a hard time figuring out the killer.  The story moved quickly, and the characters were mostly great.  My only real issue was Rebecca, who is usually a fun character, was so over the top I found her annoying.

Melissa Explains It All by Melissa Joan Hart - 4
The actress talks about her life in and out of show business.  As a fan, I enjoyed it, although a couple of chapters went further than I needed them to go.  Still, she comes across as fairly grounded and nice by the time you've reached the end.

Mr. Monk is Open for Business by Hy Conrad (Monk #18) - 5
Before Natalie and Monk can have an official grand opening for their new PI business, they wind up with two cases.  First, there's the murder suspect who won't explain why he was moving a body in a vacant field.  Then there's the mass shooter who vanished despite being surrounded by police.

Both of these mysteries are great and kept me engaged the entire way through.  The characters and their growth are wonder as well, and the humor had me grinning when I wasn't outright laughing.  Fans of the series will love it.

Kingdom Keepers VII:The Insider by Ridley Pearson - 4
Picking up three years after the last book, the Kingdom Keepers must once again spring into action when the Overtakers come out of hiding to make one final play to control the Disney magic, this time by destroying Disneyland.

A bit long and repetitive at times (like previous books in the series), I did enjoy this one overall thanks to the action and a plot that actually advances to a climax.  Fans of the series will be delighted by what they find here.

The Reversal by Michael Connelly (Mickey Haller #3; Harry Bosch #16) - 5
Michael Haller is surprised when he is asked by the LA District Attorney to retry an old case.  A man convicted of kidnapping and murdering a 12-year-old 24 years ago needs to be retried because of new DNA evidence.  He gets Harry Bosch as his investigator, and the two try to track down old witnesses and make their case stronger than before.  Will it be enough?

This book is engaging from the first chapter with some surprise twists along the way.  Seeing these two characters interact even more is very entertaining.  I never wanted to stop reading and couldn't wait to get back to the story.

Dead Man's Switch by Tammy Kaehler (Kate Reilly Racing Mysteries #1) - 3
Kate has finally landed a job as a race car driver.  Unfortunately, it's at the expense of the man she found murdered.  With the police and gossip thinking she did it, Kate jumps in to find the real killer.

I felt the author was trying too hard to share her racing knowledge with us, and the result slowed the story down.  Some of the characters were a tad under developed as well.  Still, the climax was great and the solution was logical.

Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton (Merry Muffin Mysteries #1) - 5
Merry heads to upstate New York to claim her inheritance, a castle.  However, someone has been digging holes in the yard.  After a public fight with Tom Turner, the hole digger, Tom winds up dead at the bottom of a new hole.  Can Merry figure out why?

The book got off to a slow start with a bit too much of a back story dump.  However, once the book got going, it was great with eccentric but believable characters and twists to the plot.  I'm looking forward to reading more.

Basil Instinct by Shelley Costa (Miracolo Mysteries #2) - 5
Eve's Nonna has been invited to join a top secret society of top chef's.  Nonna is thrilled, but Eve has her doubts about the mysterious group.  However, when disaster strikes on Nonna's big day, can Eve deal with the fall out?

There are a few too many characters to keep them all straight, although the ones important to the story stand out.  The plot keeps moving forward well.  But what surprised me was the comedy.  I laughed the entire way through as the characters did and said some pretty funny things.

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

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal (Maggie Hope #4) - 5
Maggie is trying to deal with what she saw and learned in Berlin while training future spies to help England during World War II.  But when a friend gets in trouble, Maggie snaps out of her depression to help.  Meanwhile, Japan and the US are not finding any common ground in November of 1941.

Fans of the series will appreciate the character development we get here with Maggie and some other series regulars.  It feels like a slower book than normal, but it was needed and I never felt my interest waning.  Maggie and the others take a back seat to the lead up to Pearl Harbor at times, but I found that part just as interesting, and I don't know how the author could have played it any differently for this series.

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

The Mystery at Saratoga by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #24) - 3
Regan has disappeared.  Not only is he the Wheelers' groom, but he's a friend to Trixie and the gang.  So Trixie and Honey set out to find him, getting involved with a mystery from his past in the bargain.

The first half is slow, but it does pick up in the second half before a very dues ex machina moment late in the book.  The characters are good here, although it does seem like Dan, Regan's nephew, should have had a larger role in the story.  There are definitely worse books in the series, but there are better ones as well.


  1. Great month for you! Happy July reading!

  2. I like how you give your thoughts on each of your reads. Nice wrap up!

    My Wrap Up

  3. Thank you both, and happy July reading!

    I link up to this post in a few groups I'm part of, so these mini-reviews are helpful for them. I find it good to distill my thoughts on the books sometimes, so it's a fun exercise.

  4. Great reading month! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love how there's a Trixie Belden on your month of reading! Nice summaries of an assortment of books. Thanks!

    1. Thank you. And I've got more Trixie planned for the year.

  6. Wow - you did well!! I weirdly want to read that Melissa Joan Hart bio... :)

    1. Not working helps with the TBR pile for sure. Thanks for stopping by and plugging this post, fellow MJH fan.

  7. Wow, you got a whole lot of reading done. Way to go! I love the mini reviews, I really need to do better getting my reviews done, short and sweet might be the answer.

    1. Of course, I also have full reviews for each of these books on the blog. These are just the summaries. But if you have several you need to do, this format would certainly work for you.