Thursday, August 5, 2021

Book Review: One for the Books by Jenn McKinlay (Library Lover's Mysteries #11)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters we love, enjoyable story
Cons: Could have used one final polish
The Bottom Line:
Wedding approaching
But murder complicates it
Rewarding for fans



Lindsey and Sully Face Complications on the Way Down the Aisle

It’s funny how this worked out, but Jenn McKinlay had weddings for the main characters in two of her cozy mystery series happen in books that came out within a few months of each other.  And, while Lindsey and Sully technically got married first in One for the Books, I’m just now attending their wedding.  Of course, being a cozy mystery, they also have to deal with a dead body in the week leading up to their wedding.

With a week to go before her wedding, Lindsey suddenly realizes her small wedding is going to be larger than she had planned.  That necessitates a trip to Bell Island, the island where Sully’s family lives and where the couple is planning to get married.  Once there, Lindsey and Sully make a horrific discovery – the body of Steve Briggs, the justice of the peace who is supposed to marry them.  Sully has been friends with Steve since they were both kids, so he takes the death hard.  For Sully’s sake, they start seeing what they can uncover.  Can they solve the crime, find a new officiant, and still get married as planned?

I know, I jumped in a bit more with my plot teaser than I normally would.  Honestly, if you aren’t already reading the series, I don’t recommend you jump in here because this is a book for the fans.  There are so many great moments that won’t mean anything to you if you aren’t already familiar with the characters.  I definitely recommend the series, so I recommend you go back to the beginning and read all of them so you can enjoy this book.

For fans, this will be a rewarding read.  There is so much to love about the character interactions here.  The growth we’ve been seeing in the characters and their relationships continues to pay off here, and I love that.

Unfortunately, the book isn’t as strong as it could have been.  It just felt like it needed one final polish to work out some rough spots.  We get some information after the fact and there’s a timeline issue in an already squishy timeline.  The climax to the mystery seems a bit rushed, too.

But, as I say, there is still much to enjoy.  I wasn’t really buying one particular sub-plot, but I forgave it when I saw how it played out.  The story kept me engrossed the entire time, and the climax was wonderfully captivating.

One thing I especially appreciate about this series was driven home for me as I was reading.  Emma is the chief of police in town, and she discourages Lindsey and Sully from getting involved in the murder – as she should.  However, she also listens to them when they come to her with information.  And she makes it clear at various points that she is doing her job and following the evidence when she takes certain actions.  It’s refreshing compared to a typical cozy series.

The book is set in December, so we not only have a wedding but the beginnings of Christmas as the story unfolds.  While not a heavy Christmas book, I enjoyed the bits of Christmas that did creep into the story.

And, of course, there’s the humor.  It takes quite a bit to get me to laugh out loud at a book, but I was doing that at a couple of scenes here.  I might have teared up at the wedding, too.

There really is much to enjoy here, and fans will be thrilled when they set down One for the Books.  If that isn’t you yet, don’t wait any longer to check out this series.

Need to back up?  Here are the rest of the Library Lover’s Mysteries in order.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Movie Review: Mystery 101 - Deadly History

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery; main trio in fine form
Cons: Usual Hallmark cheese; that cliffhanger ending
The Bottom Line:
Search for relative
Interesting mystery
Ruined by the end




The Mystery of the Missing Uncle

I’d kind of forgotten that the last Mystery 101 movie left us with a cliffhanger.  But as I sat down to watch Deadly History, the newest in the series, the ending of the last movie came rushing back to me (okay, so catching the last couple minutes of the last movie also helped), so I was ready to see what they would make of that ending.

Literature professor Amy Winslow (Jill Wagner), her father, best-selling mystery author Graham (Robin Thomas), and their friend, detective Travis Burke (Kristoffer Polaha) have arrived in Ithaca, New York, to try to find Graham’s younger brother, Alister.  No one has heard form Al for several days, and the local police don’t have any leads to where he might be or what might have happened to him.  While the obvious answer is foul play (especially in a mystery movie), Amy and Travis quickly find clues that point to Al having left voluntarily.  If he did, why is there blood in his home?  Will they find him?  Or is it already too late?

With the action taking place out of town, we only have our three leads in this movie.  While I did miss the rest of the regulars, it is hard to complain since I love these characters, their relationships, and the chemistry the actors have.  And the new characters are interesting.  Most of them are suspects in one form or another, but they still help make the movie fun.

Because of how close the mystery hits to the characters, I didn’t feel like this one had quite the same level of banter as the earlier movies in the franchise, but that’s fine.  There were still some moments that made me smile as I watched.

And the mystery?  It was strong.  There were several possibilities that needed to be investigated.  I suspected which would turn out to be the real reason the Al was missing early on, but I missed a lot of the particulars to the story until Amy and Travis wrapped things up for us.

There is still a light dose of Hallmark cheese to the movie in both the acting and writing.  But if I weren’t able to look past that, I wouldn’t be watching these movies, right?

Regular viewers of Hallmark mystery movies will recognize Peter Benson, one of the guest stars, as Detective Arthur Smith from the Aurora Teagarden movies.  I got a kick out of seeing him pop up here playing someone different.

Which brings us to the ending.  Once again, we are left with a cliffhanger.  No, I won’t spoil it.  However, I was very frustrated by it.  It is a horrible soap opera ending.  And the thing is, they don’t need to leave us with cliffhangers.  Hallmark mystery movie viewers are loyal.  We will gladly tune in for another story with our favorite characters; we don’t need to be pulled back for another movie with a cliffhanger.  Especially one as purely manipulative as this one.  I hope this is a trend that stops here and doesn’t infect the rest of the movie franchises on the channel and doesn’t pop up again at the end of the next movie.

It’s a shame we got a cliffhanger to ruin what was an otherwise enjoyable Hallmark mystery movie.  If you are a fan of Mystery 101, you’ll enjoy Deadly History.  Just be prepared to be frustrated by the last couple of minutes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

And the Winner Is....

 I have a giveaway winner to announce.  I'll admit, I almost forgot with all the other blog maintenance I've been trying to take care of tonight.  Anyway, I have selected a winner for the copy of A Time to Swill I was giving away.  And that winner is...

...Sharon!

I sent you an email, so be on the look out for that and get back to me so I can send you your prize.

Book Review: The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #18)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun, light story
Cons: Two characters with the same first name (although never confusing)
The Bottom Line:
Tracking some weird thieves
Another light mystery
That’s sure to please fans



Thieves on Main Street

Over the years of reading series, I’ve found many characters and series that I enjoy returning to.  One of those is Warner Pier, Michigan, the setting for the Chocoholic Mysteries.  Naturally, that meant that I was thrilled to see The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole, the eighteenth in the series, come out.

It’s the beginning of tourist season, so Lee Woodyard is trying to prepare for the busyness that brings to the shop of TenHuis Chocolade.  However, that’s hard to do with the series of burglaries that have been happening on the town’s main street.  Someone is breaking into the shops in Warner Pier’s downtown.  However, all they are taking is snack food.  Still, when your business is a gourmet chocolate maker, that is worrisome.  The stakes are raised when someone Lee knows is held at gunpoint as a suspect on the night the thieves hit the jewelry store next door, but again, they didn’t steal anything of value.  Will Lee figure out what is going on?

Since this is book eighteen in the series, the series has many fans, and they pretty much know what to expect.  They won’t be disappointed here.  There is a core group of main characters, and they are all present and accounted for.  The circle of supporting characters is rather large, but I feel like more of them popped into the book than usual, which I enjoyed.

I do have to point out the one odd thing I noticed as I was reading.  There are two characters named Mike here.  One is a main player in the events of the book, but the other is a recurring character who is mostly in the background.  Now, before you start to panic, know that I never had an issue keeping the two of them separate as I was reading.

The plot is good.  It seems a little light, even for this series, but it entertained me and engaged me as I read.

And make no mistake, this is definitely a light series.  But, considering the resort town setting, that is just fine.  This is a book and series to pick up when you just want to escape from everything going on around you.  If that’s what you need, this book is perfect.

Instead of having recipes, this series has always featured chocolate trivia with the occasional recipe.   Instead of presenting anything new, this book includes the recipes we’ve gotten in previous books.  Considering how rare they are, those who enjoy trying recipes will enjoy having them all in one place.

I’ve always enjoyed the Chocoholic Mysteries, and The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole is no exception.  If you are looking for a light, relaxing mystery, pick up this book.

 You can't have just one, so here are the rest of the Chocoholic Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Ornament Review: Steamboat Willie - Mickey's Movie Mousterpieces #10 - 2021 Hallmark Release

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Sepia toned iconic pose
Cons: Not super steady if set out
The Bottom Line:
Back to beginning
Celebrating Mickey’s start
With iconic pose



Ending at the Beginning

I’ve really been enjoying the Mickey’s Movie Mousterpieces ornament series from Hallmark, so I was sad to see that it is ending with this year’s entry.  But that are truly ending with a classic – Steamboat Willie.

Steamboat Willie, of course, is the first Mickey Mouse cartoon released.  It was the instant hit (the addition of sound helped), and it helped launch Disney’s career and the Disney company to what we know today.

And, given that, this ornament won’t surprise fans too much.  We’ve got Mickey is his classic pose from the very start of the short.  He’s holding the wheel of the boat and looking out at the river.  Since the short is in black and white, Mickey is in sepia tones.  He’s not truly white but a light gray that works well to capture the look and feel of the short.

This is an iconic look, so when I first saw this ornament, I was sure Hallmark had already done it.  While they had done something similar for the 90th anniversary in 2018, it had other elements to it.  This is the first ornament I have from either Hallmark or The Disney Store to feature this iconic pose.

And I love it!  It needs to be in any Disnerd’s collection.

The ornament does stand up.  Thanks to the post holding the wheel and Mickey’s feet, you can set it out.  However, it isn’t super steady.  I wouldn’t put it out anywhere that is high trafficked because it could be bumped and fall over easily.

Also, Mickey’s tail seems a bit fragile, so you’ll want to take care that it doesn’t break off.

If you are going to hang the ornament, you’ll be delighted to find that it hangs perfectly straight.

While this is the final ornament in the series, the series did last ten entries.  While I can think of other iconic (and some lesser known) shorts I would have loved to see in the series, ten is a respectable number.  And you’ll find the 10 in a Christmas tree series marker on the bottom of one of Mickey’s feet.

Even if you weren’t collecting the rest of the series, Steamboat Willie is so iconic that you’ll still want to get this ornament.  It will look great on any tree for years to come.

Missing a star turn?  Here are the rest of Mickey’s Movie Mousterpieces.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

July 2021's Reading Summary

I don't know about you, but I am watching as much of the Olympics as I can.  Sadly, that is cutting down on my reading time.  We will see if that impacts how much reading I get done in August.  Fortunately, I had all of these books finished before the Olympics started.

And, with all the TV I've been watching, I did get the index updated this month.

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

 


Mercy River by Glen Erik Hamilton (Van Shaw #4) – 5

A middle of the night phone call sends Van Shaw to the small town of Mercy River, Oregon.  The call had come from fellow former Army Ranger Leo Pak, and Leo has been arrested for a murder in the community.  Van thinks Leo is innocent, but Leo won’t answer Van’s questions about what happened.  Meanwhile, the town is the site of an event for current and former Ranger, so the population is swelling this weekend.  Will that help or hurt Van’s efforts to clear his friend?

While this may sound like the set up for many of the books I normally read, it isn’t long before the plot branches off in some thrilling new directions.  Those looking for a thriller will not be disappointed with the action scenes, yet the mystery is tied up perfectly.  Since Van is out of town for much of this book, the series regulars are reduced to cameos, yet we still get some updates on them.  The new characters are fully developed, and Van continues to be a complex main character.  I appreciated how this book works in issues that vets face without slowing down the book by preaching.  Like the earlier books in the series, this one does have flashbacks, but they don’t focus on any particular time in Van’s life while still helping us appreciate the events unfolding in Van’s life currently.  This book has more language and violence than I typically read, but it fits for a thriller and never gets excessive.  This was another compelling entry in the series.  Anyone looking for a great thriller will be pleased this picked up this book.

 

Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mysteries #17) – 4

Frank Malloy has moved into the house that he and Sarah Brandt will share after they get married, but they have to wait until restoration is done on the house to actually get married, and the workers are taking their sweet time about it.  Meanwhile, Sarah accompanies her mother on a condolence call to the home of the Oakes family.  Charles suddenly got sick and died a few days later.  The Oakes have been friends with Sarah’s family for years, and so, on the visit, Charles’s father asks if Frank will investigate the death.  He thinks that something is not right about it.  It isn’t long before Frank confirms that Charles was poisoned.  But who would poison him?

While these are historical mysteries, history doesn’t always come into play in these books.  Here it does in a couple of different ways, and I enjoyed both of them.  Fans of the series will be delighted with how the character’s lives are progressing.  The mystery was a little slower than most, or maybe it just felt like it to me because I guessed some parts of the plot early on.  Even so, I enjoyed some of the twists along the way to the satisfying climax.  We get plenty of the supporting characters here, and I am enjoying how they are developing.  The characters’ lives are transitioning still in this book, and long-time fans will be happy with how that progresses.  This isn’t the strongest in the series, but it will still please fans.

 


Pint of No Return by Dana Mentink (Shake Shop Mysteries #1) – 4

After finding out that her ex-husband was a thrice-married embezzler, Trinidad Jones moved to Upper Sprocket, Oregon.  The reason?  Her ex left her a storefront, and she is going to open a shake shop there.  One afternoon, she finds a neighboring store owner dead in the back of his popcorn shop.  The police start to look at Juliette, one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives, as the killer.  Trinidad doesn’t think that Juliette committed the crime, but can she trust her instincts?

I found myself at once drawn into the book as I struggled to fully get lost in the world.  There were small details that we didn’t get right away that kept me from fully getting emmeshed in the story.  On the other hand, the characters were wonderful, and those relationships kept drawing me in.  The pacing was a little off a couple of times, but it held my interest as I read, and it led to a great climax.  The book does a good job of balancing tone.  At times, it’s light, but other times it gets serious.  The combination makes for a richer book.  I appreciated the slight twist on the cozy mystery set up.  The ice cream scenes made my drool, and I appreciate the recipe at the end of the book.  I can’t wait to revisit these characters when the second in this series comes out.

 

Pony Up by Sandy Dengler (Valley of the Sun #10) – 3

This book opens at Joe Rodriguez’s wedding reception over in Ireland, but it isn’t too long before he and his young wife, Bridgid, are back in Phoenix and settling into wedded bliss.  Well, they would be if it weren’t for Charlie Stegener.  He is still trying to cause trouble for Joe in particular and the entire Phoenix police in general despite the fact that his wife has dropped out of the mayor’s race.  Meanwhile, someone has followed Joe and Bridgid back from Ireland intent on ruining their lives.  Can Joe stay one step ahead of both of these problems?

This book follows the previous book in the series very closely.  In fact, some of the storylines I thought were wrapped up come back into play.  The result feels more like a TV show than a novel, however, with the dueling plots.  The characters are wonderful, and fans of the series will be excited to see what happens next to them.  Well, mostly.  There are a couple of scenes that were excessive, and I have to wonder what one character did to the author to get the treatment they got here.  The ending, while wrapping up the plot, did seem a bit abrupt.  I did enjoy the book because I like the characters and got caught up in the events, but I’ve enjoyed other books from this author more.

 

The Plot is Murder by V. M. Burns (Mystery Bookshop Mysteries #1) – 3

Samantha Washington is pursuing not one but two lifelong dreams.  She’s opening a mystery bookstore in the town of North Harbor, Michigan.  But just days before the store is supposed to open, she finds the dead body of Clayton Parker behind the store.  Clayton sold her the building, but he almost sabotaged the sale.  Meanwhile, she starts writing a mystery of her own set in England in 1938.  Will she solve the murder?  How will the real-life murder influence the fictional murder?

I’ve been intrigued by this series with the story inside the story idea for a while, and I’ve heard good things about it from many others.  Sadly, it didn’t completely work for me.  With two stories and two sets of characters to develop, I felt like both were a bit underdeveloped.  The ending of the historical mystery was weak, and it featured some abrupt character growth.  Meanwhile, the modern mystery featured lots of summaries that were told to us, keeping me outside.  On the other hand, I loved both sets of characters, and I did feel the modern mystery came to a good resolution.  I had no trouble keeping the different sets of characters straight once I realized how close both murder victims’ names were, and there was also an obvious break between the two stories each time we switched.  I can understand why others love this series as much as they do, but I wish it had focused on one story and developed that one story better.

 

The Magic Square by John Gaspard (Eli Marks #7) – 5

Eli Marks and his uncle, Harry, are out of town at a magic convention.  They’ll be spending a lot of time in the dealer’s room so they can sell Harry’s new two-volume book about his time as a magician, but they are hoping to catch a few of the panels, and the evening sessions.  The entire convention is surprised when famed mentalist Gerhardt performs the first night.  However, Harry’s friend Abe is less than happy since he’s had a running feud with Gerhardt for years.  That feud is public knowledge, so when Abe returns to his hotel room that night to find Gerhardt’s body in the bathroom, the police consider him a strong suspect.  Can Eli figure out what is really going on?

I always forget how much I enjoy these books until I am sitting down reading a new one.  It was great to slip back into Eli’s world.  Since we are out of town, I did miss some of the series regulars, but it did give us more time to get to know the new characters, who are quite strong.  The story moves forward at a steady pace, with clues sprinkled into the talk of magic.  I did finger the culprit a little early, but I wasn’t completely certain until we reached the suspenseful climax, and I was having such a good time I didn’t really care.  While there is talk about magic, we don’t get any illusions spoiled here, but it might inspire you to try to learn a little on your own.  If you are a fan of these books, you’ll be glad you picked up this volume.  If you haven’t met Eli yet, you’ll be hooked faster than you can say “Abracadabra.”

 

The Clue of the Broken Locket by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew #11) – 4

Nancy Drew and her friends are traveling to Misty Lake.  It’s supposed to be an overnight stay, but they quickly extend it when they hear that an old tour boat that sank is now haunting the lake.  Meanwhile, they meet a young woman who is searching for a family inheritance that was lost over 100 years ago.  Will they solve these mysteries?

This is one I know I read years ago, and parts of it came back to me as a reread it.  I quickly got caught up in the action and danger again.  There is a lot going on here, and I knew it would all tie together.  The biggest mystery to me was how.  I’ll admit, I rolled my eyes a bit at all the coincidences involved, but I was having fun.  Nancy and her friends get a bit of time to have some character development early on, but they are still pretty thin characters.  Some of the elements in the book are dated since the version I read came out in the 1960’s.  Still, I think kids of all ages will enjoy the action and mystery of this book.

 

Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table by Janet Finsilver (Kelly Jackson #3) – 4

When Summer approaches Kelly and the Senior Sentinels asking them for a favor, they are only too willing to agree.  Her request seems rather daunting, find two people she hasn’t seen in fifty years.  Yet the group of crime solving enthusiasts are able to do so rather quickly.  However, before Summer can follow up with the people who wanted found with her real request, she turns up dead.  The police view it as a tragic accident, but Kelly thinks something else is going on.   Can she figure out what is really happening?

Since it has been a while since I read the previous book in the series, it took me a bit to remember who all the characters are, but it wasn’t too long before I was back up to speed.  The series regulars are a charming bunch, and this is especially true for the group of senior citizens that help Kelly figure out what is going on around town.  The mystery is great with some creative scenes and strong characters that kept me guessing.  Being from Northern California originally, I love the setting, and the talk of food made me drool as I read.  I do think the internal timeline of the book is off, mainly because the characters seem younger than they’d have to be, but I didn’t even think about that until I’d finished the book.  Overall, I enjoyed this book and am anxious to return to the series soon.

 

The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen (Ice Cream Shop Mysteries #1) – 4

Riley Rhodes has returned home to Penniman, Connecticut, for the funeral of her best friend’s mother.  After the service, she sees that Caroline and her brother, Mike, are fighting over what to do with the property that the two of them were left, including Udderly Delicious, the ice cream shop where Riley worked as a teen.  The next morning, Riley finds Mike dead.  Knowing that Caroline will be a prime suspect, Riley tries to figure out what happened.  Can she do it?

Riley has a fun background for an amateur sleuth – CIA librarian.  And yet this is definitely still a cozy, and the warmth pulled me in right away.  This book has a bit of a bittersweet vibe.  We get the wonderful characters and setting we love in a cozy, but the beginning is appropriately somber.  It really works well.  The pacing was a little uneven in the middle, but the book had a strong beginning and ending that make up for it.  I had a hard time putting the book down the closer I got to the climax.  There is more than enough talk to ice cream to make you drool, and two recipes inspired by the more creative contributions are in the back of the book.  Now’s the time to enjoy this debut.  Me?  I’ll be having a second helping of ice cream while I wait for the sequel.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

 

A Time to Swill by Sherry Harris (Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mysteries #2) – 5

Chloe Jackson has just returned from packing up her life in Chicago and saying her goodbyes to move full time to her new home in Florida.  Her first morning back, she is running on the beach near her new home when she sees a ship that has beached itself.  Hearing a cry on board, she climbs on board only to get swept out to sea.  Before she is rescued, she’s found a skeleton that reopens a disappearance from twelve years ago.  With some of her new friends under investigation, she is determined to find out what happened all those years ago and why it is coming to light now.  What will she uncover?

The plot teaser just covers a few of the questions the book quickly gives us, and I had a very hard time putting the book down.  In fact, I used a lazy Saturday to finish it faster than I originally planned.  Meanwhile, there’s a strong sub-plot, not that we need any more reason to be addicted.  Everything is resolved satisfactorily by the time we reach the end.  Since Chloe doesn’t know her new friends super well yet, this book gives her, and us, a chance to learn more about them, and I love the character development.  I might not normally pick up a book set in a bar, but I definitely enjoyed this one, especially the location – right on the beach.  That setting may make this the ultimate beach read.  Whether you pick up this book while on the beach or not, allow plenty of time to get lost in a great mystery when you pick up this book.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

 

Much Ado About Nauticaling by Gabby Allan (Whit and Whiskers Mysteries #1) – 3

Whitney “Whit” Dagner and her brother Nick have relocated to Catalina Island.  They visited their grandparents out there every summer, and now they are taking over their grandparents’ glass bottom boat business.  Additionally, Whit is opening a souvenir shop in the harbor.  She is enjoying her new life until she finds the body of Jules Tisdale, the recently named Person of the Year on Catalina.  When the police decide that Nick is the killer, Whit jumps in to prove her brother’s innocence.  Can she do it?

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it.  I always love Southern California settings, although it’s been years since I visited Catalina.  I certainly did enjoy the setting.  Overall, the book was too frenetic, however.  It was trying to be funny, but much of the humor didn’t work for me.  I did laugh a few times, but overall, it was too much.  This effected some of the characters, too, although I did enjoy others.  Despite finding the body early on, the pace was uneven, getting better the further we got into the book.  While I followed the killer and motive, the ending was rushed and left some questions about earlier twists in the book.  I was hoping to love this debut, but it turned out to be average.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

July 31st's Weekly TV Thoughts

It doesn't look like I'm watching much since there are only two shows below.  However, I am watching as much of the Olympics as I can.  Honestly, it's nice not having much else on TV since I'm not sure when I would get it watched.

Monsters at Work – The best episode to date for me.  I hope they’ve ironed out that relationship/one note character now.  Pretty funny.  The ending was a bit abrupt, but still fun.  And I loved the “Knock Knock Joke” class at the end.

Match Game – That was a pretty uncomfortable episode.  I mean, they always have some jokes that are on the bounds of good taste, but they surpassed it a couple of times.  And, it’s rather funny to have an episode that premiers in July talking about Christmas.  Obviously, they aired it later than planned, but right around the official date for Christmas in July.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

July 30th's Book Beginnings and Friday 56

 It's Friday again, and I'm once again participating in Book Beginnings and Friday 56.

This week, I'm featuring The Chocolate Racoon Rigmarole by JoAnna Carl.




This is book eighteen in the Chocoholic Mysteries.  Now, I'll admit that many of the books I read are light, but this series is ultra light.  Still, they are fun.

Here's how this particular book begins:

I love coffee, but I don't usually drink it at the gas station with the guys.

Yeah, I'll admit that the opening sentence caught my attention.  I'm leaving it there so you can discover the full context on your own.

Meanwhile, over at the 56% point, we find this:

Finally Mike said, "There's a bunch of guys named Bob.  It's a pretty common name."
"I mean the one you threatened a couple of weeks ago," I said.

Why was Mike threatening Bob?  Who is Bob?  Wait, you didn't think I was going to spoil anything, did you?

This book will be out on Tuesday, and I will have my full review up then.  I hope you'll stop by then and see what I thought.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend.

This Week's Winner Is....

 I just picked the winner for The Rocky Road to Ruin.  And that winner is...

...Alicia!

I've just sent you an email, so please get back to me so I can connect you with your prize.

The giveaway for A Time to Swill is still going on, so scroll down and enter that one.

Book Review: Much Ado About Nauticaling by Gabby Allan (Whit and Whiskers Mysteries #1)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some of the characters, setting
Cons: Uneven plot, trying too hard to be funny
The Bottom Line:
Big wig is murdered
Liked setting; some characters
Too frenetic for me



I Really Was Hoping to Like This Debut

The instant I heard about Much Ado About Nauticaling, it went on my to be read list.  It was the setting of Catalina Island here in Southern California that appealed to me most.  Ironic since I haven’t actually been out there for years and it’s my own fault.  Anyway, I sat down to read this looking forward to a fantastic book, but sadly it was average.

Whitney “Whit” Dagner has moved out to Catalina to help her brother, Nick, help run the glass bottom boat business they’ve taken over from their grandparents and open a souvenir shop near the harbor.  While they didn’t grow up on the island, they visited every summer growing up, so it feels like coming home for Whit.  She’s left behind a demanding career on the mainland, and she is enjoying being her own boss and the slower pace of island life.

That is until Jules Tisdale turns up dead.  He was a wealthy business man on the island and had just been named Person of the Year.  Whit didn’t care for him since he came across as arrogant and demanding much of the time, but it is Nick who the police center in on as their prime suspect.  Can Whit prove his innocence?

This book is intended to be a humorous mystery.  And there were a few scenes that made me smile and laugh.  Unfortunately, the rest of the time, the book felt frenetic.  It was trying to be funny more than it was funny.  Or maybe it just didn’t hit my funny bone right.

This also explains some of the characters.  They were too broad, intending to be funny.  I can definitely see the potential for the humor in them, but they annoyed me more than amused me.  Again, it might have just been my mood, but it didn’t work.

Which is a shame because there were other characters I really did like.  The love interest especially sticks out to me.  I appreciated that the author did something different there, and I really liked the character.  Whit herself is fun to be around, and I related to her more than I’d like to admit at times.  And Whiskers, Whit’s cat, is totally adorable.

The mystery was okay.  It was a bit slow in the beginning despite Jules dying fairly early.  But the further I went into the book, the stronger it got.  The ending was a surprise yet perfectly logical.  But it was also abrupt.  While we learned the killer and motive, it left a few twists dangling.  Or maybe that will be fodder for the next book.

Again, I haven’t gone to Catalina in years (despite living fairly close by), but I loved the setting.  I’m definitely going to have to go back and visit again soon now that I’ve read this book.

I have a feeling that there will be people who get the humor here and love Much Ado About Nauticaling.  But for me, it didn’t work as well as I hoped it would.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Movie Review: Avatar

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Effects are outstanding (if already showing their age)
Cons: Shallow characters, one-sided lectures
The Bottom Line:
The effects look great
Shallow characters, lectures
Means I won’t rewatch



Effects Shine, but Can’t Hide the Lecture

I wasn’t interested in seeing Avatar when it first came out, but I’ve been curious about it over the years.  When I found it playing on TV, I decided now was the time to watch it.  Sadly, I found it disappointing.

The story is set in the future on a distant planet.  Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is a paraplegic former Marine who has been sent to the planet at the last minute to fill in for his twin brother who recently died.  Jake needs to take his place as an avatar, a specially designed creature that can be used to explore the planet.  The team is being overseen by Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver).  However, the real reason they are there is to mine the planet for resources needed on Earth.  Standing in their way are the native species.

When Jake’s avatar accidentally gets separated from the rest of the team one day, he winds up making first contact with the natives in the form of Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).  Everyone thinks this is wonderful, and Jake finds himself learning all he can.  But as he does, he begins to fall in love with Neytiri and her culture.  Where do his loyalties lie?

Any discussion of this movie has to start with the effects because they are the real star.  Yes, they are a little dated now since the movie did come out in 2009 and computers and computer effects are constantly evolving.  However, they still hold out pretty well.  Many of the characters are computer generated as is the world they inhabit.  If you are looking to get lost in a visually stunning movie, this is the movie for you.

However, the story is slow.  Yes, we need some time to understand the world the movie is taking place in, both for the humans and the aliens, but I felt like there were sequences just meant to show off special effects that could have been cut to trim the movie’s length.

Worse yet, I didn’t feel like I connected with any of the characters.  It didn’t help that the aliens weren’t distinctive enough for me to easily tell them apart until late in the film.  This also meant I had a hard time keeping the humans in alien avatar’s straight at times.  There were moments where I knew I was supposed to feel something, but I just couldn’t do it.

Then there’s the villain.  Ironically, in a world where most of the characters are computer animated, he was just too cartoony.  There was no attempt to give him any depth or even any real motive.  He was just evil.

Which brings me to my biggest issue with the movie – it is a high tech, beautiful lecture.  I’m sure you can figure out the clich├ęs present – white man bad being the biggest.  But environmental issues and native’s rights issues are also present.  Now, I’m not saying that these aren’t issues worth exploring.  They do need to be discussed.  However, what we get here is a one-sided lecture without any attempts to show nuance or complexity.  I don’t watch movies to be lectured, so I didn’t enjoy the film.

Ultimately, Avatar was what I was expecting it to be.  I’m glad I watched it because I was curious about it, but I have no desire to see it again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Book Review: A Time to Swill by Sherry Harris (Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Plot, characters, setting – everything works
Cons: No cons to swill around
The Bottom Line:
A ship on the beach
Fast paced, mysterious book
Ultimate beach read



Chloe Gets Swept into a New Mystery

Last year, we got to meet Chloe Jackson, the second protagonist from Sherry Harris.  There was so much to love about the first in the series that I was looking forward to A Time to Swill, Chloe’s second outing.  I’m glad to say that it is up to Sherry’s usual high standards.

If you haven’t yet met Chloe, she is a former children’s librarian who has moved from her native Chicago to the panhandle of Florida thanks to a request from her best friend.  After Boone is killed in Afghanistan, she goes to help Boone’s grandmother, Vivi, run the Sea Glass Saloon, a beach side bar in Emerald Cove.

As this book opens, Chloe has just returned from packing up her life in Chicago and saying her goodbyes.  Her first morning back, she is running on the beach near her new home when she sees a ship that has beached itself.  Hearing a cry on board, she climbs on board only to get swept out to sea.  Before she is rescued, she’s found a skeleton that reopens a disappearance from twelve years ago.  With some of her new friends under investigation, she is determined to find out what happened all those years ago and why it is coming to light now.  What will she uncover?

Believe me, this teaser is just the start of another wonderful mystery.  There are several other questions that quickly come to light, not to mention a strong sub-plot.  Just how into this book did I get?  I started it on a Friday, and when my Saturday turned out to be fairly quiet, I kept reading until I finished the book, even making myself a little late to go hang out with some friends.  I was rewarded with a climax that left me satisfied.

One reason this plot works is that Chloe is just getting to know these characters.  While she considers them friends, she admits she doesn’t know them well, so as questions arise, she can’t help but question if what she thinks about them is true or not.  And it means that it is a wonderful way for us to get to know the characters better.  I loved the character development we got here.

Not being a drinker, I might not have picked up this series is I weren’t already a fan of Sherry Harris’s Sarah Winston mysteries.  If you are like me, don’t let the hook scare you away.  Yes, we get some trivia on drinks, which I enjoyed, but the mystery is one that will appeal to mystery readers whether they drink or not.

And the setting is wonderful.  Even though it isn’t set during peak tourist season, it is still wonderful to think about spending all day just steps away from the beach.  If you love the beach like I do, you’ll definitely love this cozy setting.

A Time to Swill may just be the ultimate beach read whether you are on the beach or not.  Grab a cool drink of your choice and be prepared to enjoy a virtual trip to the beach.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Giveaway!

I'm giving away a copy of this book.  The winner will have a choice of a physical copy (US addresses only) or a digital copy (open to everyone).

If you were on the beach, what drink would you order?  Me?  I'd be boring and order water.  But tell me your drink of choice to be entered in the giveaway.  And please be sure to give me your email address so I can contact you if you win.

I'll pull the winner next Tuesday, August 3rd, so please enter before then.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Ornament Review: Happy Halloween #9 - Sasquatch - 2021 Hallmark Release

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Cute Sasquatch
Cons: Could use a few more fun details, slight tip
The Bottom Line:
Sasquatch goes for walk
Cute Halloween ornament
That will delight all



I Spotted Sasquatch!  Yeti’s Only in This Ornament

I keep being pleasantly surprised by the monsters Anita Marra Rogers comes up with for her Happy Halloween! ornament series.  This year, we get a close encounter with a Sasquatch.

As always, a pumpkin forms the base of this ornament.  It’s got two eyes and a wide-open mouth so we can see what is in side.  And what is inside is a Sasquatch walking through the forest.  In keeping with the series, he is looking at us and smiling.  We may have monsters, but they are always cute and friendly.  The forest is painted on to the back of the pumpkin, and we can see a full moon silhouetting some of the trees.

The best ornaments in this series have some great fun little details, including some creativity to the pumpkin that fits in with the featured monsters.  This ornament doesn’t have that.  The pumpkin is a pumpkin with a wide opened mouth.  The inside is pretty plain.  Now, hear my out.  I’m not saying this is a bad ornament.  Sasquatch is cute, and it fits in well with the rest of the series.  It is just missing those details that make the best ornaments of the series stand out.

As always, the ornament has a nice flat base, so you can set this ornament out to be displayed.  I may have to do that with part of my series since I don’t know that I have any room left in my Halloween display.  Anyway, you’ll find the series marker on the bottom of the ornament as well.

I was a little surprised to find that the ornament tips a little to the left and back when you hang it.  Usually, these ornaments hang straight, and I can’t quite figure out what is making this one hang crooked.  Fortunately, it isn’t too bad.

Sasquatch may not be my favorite entry in the Happy Halloween! series, but it is still a fun addition.  If you are looking for a cute Halloween ornament, be sure to pick this one up.

Enjoy more monster cuteness with the rest of the Happy Halloween! ornaments.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Disney Pin Review: Stitch Crashes Pinocchio - Stitch Crashes Disney #5 - 2021 Release

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Simple pin as Stitch transforms into Pinocchio
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Becoming puppet
Makes alien a classic
A pin that works well




Someday, He Hopes to Become a Real Alien

Of the first four pins in the Stitch Crashes Disney series, I’ve most liked the ones where Stitch was closest to his original color.  That trend chances with the fifth in the series as Stitch offers his take on Pinocchio.

As with the Ariel pin, Stitch is taking on the role of the main character.  That means Stitch has turned brown.  He is a dark wood brown with tan inside his ears and on his stomach.  The dark brown portions actually have some wood grain in them, which I love.  He’s wearing Pinocchio’s hat.  And on his arms and ears, he’s got little flourishes that look like detail in the background of the movie.

Speaking of backgrounds, the card that Stich comes on features a background from the movie.  We are in Geppetto’s workroom.  We can see part of a candle and a cup.  It’s the watercolorish background that they used in the movie.  Since Stitch is sitting down, it feels like that moment that Pinocchio first woke up at a puppet at the beginning of the movie.

And that’s one reason I like it.  Stitch looks very different, but he doesn’t look strange.  It’s easy to tell that he is supposed to be Pinocchio even without the pin backing, but if you have that backing, it is very obvious.

I think the reason this pin works for me is that they didn’t go crazy trying to capture elements of the movie.  In this case, simple is best.  Plus, some of the others have looked a little creepy, which this one most definitely doesn’t.

I’m glad I started collecting this series.  While the misses have been rather massive, when the pins work right, they are a lot of fun.  That’s the case as Stitch becomes Pinocchio.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

July 24th's Weekly TV Thoughts

There was a lot of TV this week, including a season finale.  It's like everyone was trying to get in episodes before the Olympics.  They are definitely going to slow me down the next couple of weeks.  Fortunately, there won't be much TV competing with them.

Legends of Tomorrow – So now we are going to get an addiction storyline via Constantine.  Please tell me it will provide something new to that genre.  Still not a fan of the Mick is pregnant nonsense, and I’ve got no idea what is going on with that one alien.  Yes, this show is pretty much a mess this season.  That’s so disappointing.

American Ninja Warrior – Only three finishers all night.  Having said that, I like the split decision not being a real choice – balance or upper body.  Not surprised that Daniel Gill was one of the finishers and the fastest, but a bit surprised that he got hung up on the power tower.  That’s not like him.  But, as they said, that’s why you run the race.

Lego Masters – Not too surprised with the team that went home.  They’ve been a step below the rest of the teams.  Not saying that they were bad, just not as good.  Certainly, better than I’d do.  Loved so many of the demolition vehicles, and I had to laugh at the one team driving right off the cliff.  I also appreciate how close the teams are.  That everyone is tearing up at the elimination is so special in a competition show.  Nice to know I’m not the only one.

The Flash – That was quite the finale.  They threw just about everyone at Godspeed, which I knew they would.  Didn’t see that particular ending coming.  However, the biggest surprise to me was that Kristen saved Joe like she did.  I hope she is back next season.  I’d love to see how her powers can be used.  Loved the vow renewal.  It still wasn’t the big wedding fans deserve, but it does feel a little better than the original wedding that Oliver and Felicity crashed.  And I guess I was wrong about Bart.  The actor is going back to Broadway, so I guess he was just around for these episodes and not going to be full time next season.

Superman and Lois – Another week, another rave.  This show gets better and better.  The characters and their conflicts are flowing perfectly out of the story, and I am loving both.  I’m confused as to why Jordan and Sarah were arrested.  Trespassing?  Truancy?  Very curious what is going on with Edge now.  It will be a long wait until after the Olympics, but it will be a better wait than our last three week break was.

Monsters at Work – That was the best episode yet.  Yes, it was completely predictable.  But it was fun getting there.  I’m hoping the series will get better as it goes along.  And yes, I also think I’m older than the target audience, which is little kids, not the adult fans.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does mean I need to adjust my expectations a little.

Press Your Luck – That was quite the battle in the opening round.  Back and forth and all those extra spins.  And only three Whammys, only one of which was had by the two people battling it out at the end.  I really expected a Whammy to decide it.  Whammy made up for it in the bonus round.  Always sorry to see people leave with no bonus money.

Match Game – Sometimes, the prompts are so easy.  They had two lopsided games this time as if to prove my point.  Heck, even I came up with the winner responses when they matched.  And the others?  So hard.  I always enjoy it more when there isn’t an obvious answer all will get.

Holey Moley – Wow!  There were some pretty amazing shots.  From the put off that went in at the last second to the hole in one and neither competitor falling off their horse in the finals.  That was one very skilled group of players.

Friday, July 23, 2021

July 23rd's Book Beginnings and Friday 56

It's Friday!  That means it is time for Book Beginnings and Friday 56.

This week, I'm featuring A Time to Swill by Sherry Harris.

 


This is the second book in her Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery series.  It's official publication date is this coming Tuesday, but I've already finished my ARC.  In fact, I finished it a week ago, and I can't wait to share how much I loved it.

But that's next week.  For today, let's look at how the book begins:

My shoes slapped the wet sand as I tried to make out what was up ahead of me through the swirling fog.

Is that a great opening or what?  Sets the scene and introduces a hint of mystery.  I love it!

Let's take a look at page 56:

I jerked awake and looked around, unable to figure out where I was.  Boone's.  The memories of my day washed over my like a rogue wave.

Another good quote, right?  We've all been there, waking up and trying to remember what is going on.

I'll have my full review up when the book comes out on Tuesday.  I'll be offering a giveaway of this book as well, so I hope you'll come back.

Speaking of giveaways, I'm hosting a giveaway of the book I featured last week.  It just started on Thursday, so there's plenty of time to enter still.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Book Review: The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen (Ice Cream Shop Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, interesting mystery, ice cream
Cons: Pacing in the middle, doesn’t come with free ice cream
The Bottom Line:
Ice cream and murder
Make a delicious combo
In this fun debut



Murder Served Ice Cold

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this is National Ice Cream Month.  What better time for the debut in the Ice Cream Shop Mysteries to come out?  The Rocky Road to Ruin introduces us to a brand new set of characters and ice cream so delicious it will make you drool.

Riley Rhodes has returned home to Penniman, Connecticut, for the funeral of her best friend’s mother.  After the service, she sees that Caroline and her brother, Mike, are fighting over what to do with the property that the two of them were left, including Udderly Delicious, the ice cream shop where Riley worked as a teen.  The next morning, Riley finds Mike dead.  Knowing that Caroline will be a prime suspect, Riley tries to figure out what happened.  Can she do it?

What I’ve left off so far is Riley’s background.  She’s a CIA librarian who has gone on a few covert missions.  How cool and unusual is that?  I enjoyed that, and seeing how her mind worked as a result.

Don’t worry, this is still definitely a cozy.  Despite the sad beginning, I felt right at home as soon as I started the book.  The setting, tone, and characters keep things from being too somber, and the bittersweet feeling makes for a richer book.

The murder takes place pretty quickly, and the book sets up some interesting suspects and complications for Riley to unravel.  Unfortunately, I did feel the pacing was uneven in the middle, but things picked up again as we got near the climax, and I had a hard time putting the book down at that point until Riley solved it all.  The climax definitely impacted me.

And that’s because these characters are wonderful.  This may be the first book in the series, but they come to life.  I can’t wait to learn more about them as the series progresses.

Then there’s the ice cream.  Have I mentioned I love ice cream?  There is so much talk of ice cream that my mouth watered as I was reading.  Fortunately, we have a couple of recipes at the back of the book for some of the unusual flavors featured in the book.

Summer is the perfect time to read this fun debut.  Grab a bowl of ice cream and curl up with The Rocky Road to Ruin.  Personally, I’ll have a second scoop while I wait for the sequel.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Giveaway!

I'm giving away a copy of this book.  The winner will have a choice of a physical copy (US addresses only) or a digital copy (open to everyone).

Since I asked about your favorite ice cream flavor a couple weeks ago, this time tell me about a favorite toping or sundae.  And please be sure to give me your email address so I can contact you if you win.

I'll pull the winner next Thursday, July 29th, so please enter before then.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

TV Show Review: Loki - Season 1

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Acting, look
Cons: Story that ends with no real resolution until we get more movies
The Bottom Line:
Loki on the run
Help tracking a variant?
Leaves too much open




“I’m Going to Burn This Place Down!”  “I’ll Show You Where My Desk Is.  You Can Start There.”

When Loki premiered, Marvel series on Disney+ were 1 out of 2 as far as I was concerned.  I had enjoyed WandaVision and been disappointed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.  I was hoping to enjoy Loki, but sadly, it disappointed me as well.

This show branches off from Avengers: Endgame.  In fact, it truly begins seconds after we last see Loki (Tom Hiddleston).  And seconds is all it takes for Loki to be captured by the Time Variance Authority for the crime of not following the sacred timeline.  You see, he has escape from where and when he is supposed to be.  As a variant, he has to face the wrath of the TVA.

That is until Mobius (Owen Wilson) steps in.  You see, he wants Loki’s help is bringing down an especially nasty variant (Sophia Di Martino) who is ambushing and killing the soldiers the TVA is sending out.  Will Loki help Mobius?  Or will he use Mobius?

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when the show first started, so I was willing to go along for the ride as each episode premiered.  Sadly, I had to wait for that ride.  The first episode was interesting set up, and I expect that from any pilot.  But then the next couple of episodes dragged.  Yes, they had to explain stuff to us, but they just felt like too much exposition, not enough story or action.  Episodes four and five were certainly better, and I was looking forward to seeing what would happen in episode six.

And this is where the show let me down the most.  It resolved nothing.  Instead, we have to wait for movies to find out what happens next.  Now, I’m used to Marvel movies setting us up for the next movie, but they at least have some kind of climax or resolution to part of the story.  Here, we got none.  It was all set up for what is to come next.  Episode six would have been brilliant if it were leading into a season finale.  That’s what it feels like.  Unfortunately, it is leading into nothing – or at least nothing immediate.  Yes, eventually, we will find out what happens next, and we’ve been promised a second season of Loki, again eventually.  But I spent six episodes leading to nothing.

It’s that let down that hurts the most, but I do think that Marvel studios needs to work on the pacing of their TV shows.  Suddenly, they have more time and freedom, but they aren’t using it to advance story or characters efficiently.

Visually, the show is magnificent.  The sets and special effects work well.  Considering some of the places we go over the course of these six episodes, that’s saying something.  Likewise, the acting is great from the entire cast, and some of their performances are very fun.

I’ve enjoyed the Marvel movies for the most part, so I am hoping they can figure out how to make their shows work.  In the meantime, I suggest holding off on Loki until closer to when we will get answers to the questions raised here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Book Review: Murder at the Fortune Teller's Table by Janet Finsilver (Kelly Jackson #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Charming characters, good plot
Cons: Not sure timeline works
The Bottom Line:
A request for help
Turns into a murder case
Enjoyable book




Mystery From the Past; Murder in the Present

I complain frequently about having more books to read than I possibly have time for.  Keep in mind this isn’t a new problem but something I’ve struggled with since I was a kid.  But it does mean that it’s been a year and a half since I last checked in with Kelly Jackson and Redwood Cove, California.  With as much as I enjoyed Murder at the Fortunate Teller’s Table, I wish I could have returned sooner.

When Summer approaches Kelly and the Senior Sentinels asking them for a favor, they are only too willing to agree.  Her request seems rather daunting, find two people she hasn’t seen in fifty years.  Yet the group of crime solving enthusiasts are able to do so rather quickly.  However, before Summer can follow up with the people who wanted found with her real request, she turns up dead.  The police view it as a tragic accident, but Kelly thinks something else is going on.   Can she figure out what is really happening?

Series authors have to walk a fine line, introducing and reintroducing characters without slowing down the story.  Here, I’ll admit, I could have used a bit more of a reminder about who the characters are and how they all fit together.  Still, as I read the book, it started to come back to me.

We have quite a mix of characters here.  The Senior Sentinels are a fun group of retired members of the community who work together to solve problems.  They often meet at the bed and breakfast that Kelly manages, which is how she gets involved in their work.  I appreciate how the members of the group are able to get information Kelly needs to solve the crime, but she is still the main focus.  We are never given a large data dump when these characters meet, but those scenes do provide us with pieces we need to solve the puzzle.  The rest of the regulars are just as charming.

The mystery here is very strong.  I didn’t see where it was going until we reached the end, yet we got some great clues along the way.  Not to mention some very creative scenes that put Kelly in jeopardy.  The suspects really stand out, which helped pull me into the mystery.

As I was sitting down to write this review, I realized that the characters seem younger than they would have to be for the timeline of the story to work.  It didn’t bother me as I was reading, so obviously, this is a minor issue.

Given the title, I wasn’t surprised to find that questions about fortune telling came into play.  It is a very, very minor part of the book.  Since I don’t believe in fortune telling, this did bother me, but, again, it was minor and easy to ignore.

While Redwood Cove is a fictional town, the location isn’t that far from where I grew up in Northern California.  I always enjoy visiting the area fictionally.  And it really makes me want to go visit the redwoods again.

Since Kelly runs a bed and breakfast, there is ton of talk about food.  Sadly, we don’t get any of the recipes at the end, but my mouth was definitely watering as I read.

Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table reminded me why I have the Kelly Jackson books on my to be read pile to begin with.  Since I already own the next in the series, I need to make time to revisit Kelly again soon.

Enjoy the rest of the Kelly Jackson Mysteries.