Monday, December 1, 2014

November Monthly Reading Summary

At some point, this list will probably start dropping lower again, but November wasn't that month.  Here's what I read and reviewed with links to the full review.

As always, the index has been updated with links to these and the other reviews I posted this month.

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

Suede to Rest by Diane Vallere (Material Witness Mysteries #1) – 5
When Poly inherits the family fabric store from her great-uncle, she fully intends to sell the building.  However, a string of sabotage and a murder behind the shop make her wonder why someone wants her out of town so fast.  Could it have to do with her great-aunt’s murder ten years before?

I was hooked on this book from the beginning.  The plot is great with plenty of enjoyable twists and turns.  The characters were fully formed as well, and I easily fell in love with many of them.  I will definitely be back for the sequel.

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

Acadia by Sandy Dengler (Jack Prester #2) – 5
National Park problem solver at large heads to Acadia in Maine when a modeling shoot turns deadly.  With his partner Ev going under cover to help find the killer, he has to act fact before one of them becomes the next target.

I first read this book when it came out 20 years ago, but I enjoyed revisiting the characters and the action again.  The story is strong with some good distractions along the way to finding the killer.  Jack and the rest of the characters are just as intriguing as I remembered.  Even though I remembered who done it, I was still caught up in the story all over again.

NOTE: The book was originally published as A Model Murder.

Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Nick and Tesla #4) – 5
Nick and Tesla are helping their uncle finish up the animatronics for the grand reopening of the learnasium in town.  However, when the animatronics go haywire, Tesla is certain someone is sabotaging them.  Is she right?  Can they do stop it before the reopening that night?

This is another delightful entry in the series.  The plot is complex enough it kept me interested, and I sailed through in one day.  The familiar characters are here and grow a little bit.  The new characters are developed, too.  And there are lots of funny scenes that kept me grinning and laughing.  Just watch out for that Mark Carstairs guy.

Bluffing is Murder by Tace Baker (Lauren Rousseau #2) – 4
While out for a run, Lauren finds the body of Charles Heard, a man she had publically argued with the previous day.  Is local politics involved in his death?  Or is something else in play?

The mystery in this one could have been stronger, but I did still enjoy the book.  The plot was always moving forward, and the characters are great.  Watching the growth between the books makes it even more interesting.

NOTE: I was sent an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
SECOND NOTE: Tace Baker is actually a pen name for Edith Maxwell and no relation to me.

Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems – 5
Piggie has a surprise for Gerald, but he’s going to have to wait to see what it is.  The problem is, he really has to wait, and he’s not very patient.  Will the surprise be worth the wait?  Can Gerald hold out long enough to find out?

As always, the lesson (that good things come to those who wait) is illustrated with great humor and fun.  The dialogue and illustrations are clever and fun, and kids and their parents will be entertained.  It would have been nice if Gerald and Piggie distracted themselves to try to make the time go faster, but it wouldn’t have been as fun.  Really, that’s my only complaint in this fun picture book.

The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (Fox and O’Hare #3) – 5
When someone starts framing Nick Fox for an international crime spree, FBI agent Kate O’Hare has to jump in to find the true villain.  But answers just lead them to a con that is the most dangerous of their partnership.

As always, this book is fast paced and fun with humor to keep things light and danger to keep the pages turning.  The characters are getting better, but they could still be stronger.  Still, I had so much fun reading this book.

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

Hell on Wheels by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Odelia Grey #9) – 5
Odelia and her husband Greg are attending a quad rugby tournament when a friend of theirs is accused of killing a jerk on the opposing team.  Meanwhile, Odelia’s boss Mike Steel is acting strangely after being beat up while out of town.

Between the two stories, this book is always moving forward.  I found both of them intriguing and never wanted to put the book down.  The sub-plot with Steel provides us with some great laughs.  The characters are as well-developed and charming as ever, which adds to the fun.

Days of Wine and Roquefort by Avery Aames (Cheese Shop Mysteries #5) – 4
With her life slow for a few weeks, Charlotte has agreed to let Matthew’s friend Noelle stay with her until Noelle’s new rental is ready to move into.  Noelle has just moved to town to work for a winery in the area, but the day before she starts her new job, she turns up murdered.  Who could she have angered that much in the little time she’d been in town?

Overall, I found the plot much better than in the previous book of the series.  It stayed on track and kept giving us new clues to the identity of the killer.  I do wish Charlotte would show more respect to the police chief, especially when he gets on her for investigating, but overall I love the characters as well.