Monday, November 30, 2015

November 2015's Monthly Reading Summary

It's that time of the month again, time to post another monthly reading summary.  I missed updating the Index last month, but it is all up to date as well.

All ratings are on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (great).  As always, the links take you to my full review of the title.

Olive and Let Die by Susannah Hardy (Greek to Me Mysteries #2) – 4
Georgie’s mother abandoned her 20 years ago, and Georgie has not heard from her since.  Naturally, she is surprised when the woman walks back into her life, having reinvented herself as soap star Melanie Ashley.  Before the two women can talk, however, they find a dead body.  Melanie quickly identifies the victim as her cousin Doreen.  Did Melanie’s return to town have something to do with Doreen’s death?  What secret is Melanie hiding?

This is another fun, fast paced mystery.  It did seem to wander a bit at the beginning, but everything comes into play before the climax.  The climax is a little different for a cozy, and I thought it worked very well.  The characters, old and new, are both really strong.  Unfortunately, a few minor editing issues annoyed me, but they didn’t affect the plot or solution to the mystery in any way.

NOTE: I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

The Chocolate Falcon Fraud by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #15) – 5
Lee’s former step-son, Jeff, comes back to Warner Pier for the noir film festival.  He’s anxious to spend some time with Lee, but just a few hours later, he’s vanished.  What has happened to him?

The book starts off with a bang and never really lets up until we reach the end.  When we do get answers, they just leave us with more questions.  The characters are in top notch form, and I think we get to know Lee a bit better over the course of this book.  This series is always light and fun, and this book is no exception.

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

Neverseen by Shannon Messenger (Keeper of the Lost Cities #4) – 5
Sophie Foster and her closest friends have run away to join the Black Swan.  However, instead of getting many assignments in the active fight, the group are asked to train to improve their abilities.  A growing plague affecting the gnomes leads to questions about what the Council is really doing.  When a dangerous assignment does come their way, will Sophie and her friends be ready?

This book is another fantastic entry in the middle grade fantasy series.  The world is so richly detailed, and we get to explore more of it.  Likewise, the characters are wonderful, and the development we get here makes them even more real.  The story never lost my interest, which is something for a 700 page book, and we get some revelations and twists that left me anxious for the next book in the series.

A Body to Spare by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Odelia Grey #10) – 5
Odelia’s day of running errands come to an abrupt end when the attendants at the car wash pop her trunk and find a dead body there.  Who was he in life?  And why would someone leave him for Odelia to find?

From that simple premise comes another fun adventure for Odelia and the rest of the crew.  The plots twists to some unexpected places.  The characters are charming and wonderful as always.  Add in a dash of wit and you’ve got another winner.  I rest most of it in 24 hours, and I’m already anxious for Odelia’s next adventure.

Free Fall by Robert Crais (Cole/Pike #4) – 4
Jennifer is sure that her boyfriend Mark is in trouble, so she hires PI Elvis Cole to find out what is going on.  Elvis thinks he’s found an easy solution, but then he digs a little deeper and begins to uncover something much more serious.  Can Elvis help Mark and Jennifer, or is he in over his head?

The story quickly built into another thrilling read, and I was glued to the page waiting to see how it would all turn out.  The characters are good, although I still find Cole’s partner Pike to be unbelievable.  Despite that flaw, I enjoyed this departure from my normal cozy mystery diet.

I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems – 5
It’s lunch time, and Piggie has whipped up a batch of her favorite treat – slop.  And she wants to share it with her best friend – Gerald.  Will he try it?  Will he like it if he does?

Yes, this is a variation on Green Eggs and Ham, but the execution is flawless.  There are plenty of laughs, both from Gerald’s reaction and some of what Piggie says.  Plus, the moral about it being okay if you don’t like something as long as you tried it is perfectly done and a natural part of the book.

The Abominable Snowman by R. A. Montgomery (Choose Your Own Adventure #1) – 5
In this book, you are the star and the choices you make determine the outcome.  You are a mountain climber out to capture proof that the Yeti exists.  When you arrive, your friend Carlos is already in the field, but you can’t reach him by radio.  What do you do?  Think carefully because your choices could make your career or lead to certain doom.

I read some of these as a kid and enjoyed them, and it was fun to revisit the series with this book.  The story is fun, although some of the choices get pretty wild.  When I allowed myself to enjoy that, I really got in to seeing what would happen to me next.  Kids today will be just as delighted with this book as I was when I was a kid.

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

Going, Going, Ganache by Jenn McKinlay (Cupcake Bakery Mysteries #5) – 5
When a photo shoot for Southwest Style turns into a disaster, Mel and Angie find themselves hosting a cupcake boot camp as a team building exercise for the fractured magazine staff.  The second morning, Mel finds out of the staff members murdered behind her shop.  With the prime suspects in her bakery, can Mel figure out who the killer is?

This is a wonderful addition to the series, and it is easy to see why the series has so many fans.  The characters, main and new, are all strong.  The mystery provides plenty of tension, suspects, and red herrings, and a couple of sub-plots involving the main characters will keep series fans engrossed as well.  Add to that delicious cupcake recipes in the back, and you’ve got a winner.

Fillet of Murder by Linda Reilly (Deep Fried Mysteries #1) – 3
After going through a transition, Talia finds herself working at her friend Bea’s fish and chips restaurant again.  When a neighboring shop owner is murder and the police start to focus on Bea, Talia decides to start looking for the real killer.

This is the first in a series, and a lot of people seemed to love it, but it felt like it needed another draft to polish things up.  The characters weren’t quite as well developed as they could have been, and the plot has some serious pacing issues.  It wasn’t a bad debut, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in hopes that I would review it.

Suspendered Sentence by Laura Bradford (Amish Mysteries #4) – 5
When the Stolrzfus barn catches fire, the Amish community comes together for a barn raising.  But in the midst of the building, bones are discovered, and they are quickly identified as those of Sadie Lehman, who disappeared 20 years before.  With the mystery of her disappearance now on everyone’s mind, Claire begins to search for answers to help those she has come to love.  But what really happened all those years ago?

The mystery was a tad slower than I thought it could be, but the book more than makes up for it with the characters.  I’ve come to care for them, and the growth we see here is not only organic, but growth that made me very happy.  These characters pulled me into the book once again, and I can hardly wait to visit them when the next in the series comes out.

Fry Another Day by J. J. Cook (Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mysteries #2) – 3
Zoe Chase has entered her food truck in a contest across the south east, hoping to win the $50,000 prize to be able to open her diner.  Before the first day of the contest, however, a competitor is found dead in his food truck.  It looks like a tragic accident until more strange things start happening.  What is going on?

It had been about a year and a half since I read the first in this series, but I remembered liking the characters.  I was quickly reminded why, and I enjoyed journeying with them to the various stops on the race.  The race creates a nice plot, and I found the various tasks and how Zoe and her crew overcame them to be plenty of fun.  Sadly, the mystery was a sub-plot at best, and the rush to wrap things up at the end left me less than satisfied with that aspect of the book.


  1. You had a fantastic month! Happy December!

  2. Hi,
    Your November was great for reading. Mine not so much.
    Have a great day!

    1. I'm sorry to hear that November wasn't so great for you. Hopefully December will be better for you.

  3. When i see a lot of 5's beside books it means a happy reading month. All the best for December.

  4. Wow you had a great reading month. Hope December is just as great.