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review 2017-10-11 00:00
The Cowboy and the Cop (Gold Buckle Cowboys)
The Cowboy and the Cop (Gold Buckle Cowb... The Cowboy and the Cop (Gold Buckle Cowboys) - Christine Wenger 2.75 stars
I just looked at the cover and decided I wanted to read The Cowboy and the Cop. I haven’t read the author previously, and while this didn’t work completely for me, it was entertaining enough that I would read her again. Things kind of fell off the rails during the investigation into the cattle rustling, when there was just too much going on, making the plot hard to swallow.

Luke’s family has owned a large ranch for generations. After his mother is killed in an accident, his father goes off the deep end, giving away livestock and letting the ranch fall to ruin. To get away from the man he no longer recognizes, Luke and his brothers hit the rodeo trail. They are all fairly successful, earning big payouts, which are going to come in handy after Sergeant Amber Chapman tracks down Luke. Instead of a pleasant social call, she warns him that the ranch is about to be sold at auction for back taxes, his father is in rehab after being arrested for drunk and disorderly, and Luke hds best come home now and put things right. In the two years he’s been gone, the small town of Beaumont has fallen on hard times, now that the area’s largest employer and tourist attraction is in shambles.

And wow! What an intro! Rodeo cowboy has to ride to the rescue of his hometown. I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. Luke is dismayed to see the ruin of his family home, and though he originally had his doubts, he is determined to rebuild. His mother would be heartbroken to see the property in its current condition, so Luke rolls up his sleeves and gets to work.

The conflict between Amber and Luke felt a bit forced. Amber’s dad and brothers have always skated on just this side of the law, and rumors abound that they sell moonshine and run a chop shop out of their junk yard. Amber has made her dad promise to keep his nose clean, at least until she gets a job with the state police. She knows that her background will be thoroughly researched, and she’s terrified her family’s shady business will rob her of the job she so desperately craves. When Luke’s stock starts disappearing, the first suspects he thinks of are Amber’s family, so the tension between them is not always pleasant. And since Amber has arrested his father three times, Luke is a little miffed about that. I just didn’t find this conflict to be very believable.

Both Amber and Luke occasionally suffered from tunnel vision, which made for a rocky road for them. This was a very quick read, and despite my quibbles, it did keep my entertained on a Sunday afternoon.
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review 2015-07-07 01:58
Macaroni and Freeze - Christine Wenger

Author Christine Wenger is a gifted author who has written another winner. The entire plot was well thought out and expertly penned. Her characters are muti-layered, but well defined. And her way of mixing an excellent mystery with humor is top notch.  


Diners always seem to have the best food. But I never really gave thought to owning my own or working in one. Then I read the first three pages of this book and author’s description of how her lead character Trixie Matkowski sees her diner and why she loves it so much. It made me want to run to my local diner and spend the day!


Spending several chapters with just the characters, their lives and businesses, and the buildup of the story, is my favorite way for a book to start. So, I was thrilled when the murder happened a little further into this book. It gave me time to like or dislike the character that was going to be killed. For me, that makes the who and the why of the mystery and investigation more intriguing. And that was very true of this story.


The previous installments of the Comfort Food Mystery series were such yummy delights, I wasn’t surprised when I found MACARONI AND FREEZE even more delicious than the first three courses (books). I could feed off books like this all year! It filled my mental tummy with treat after treat of mystery, fun, and the wonderful satisfying feeling that only comes with an amazing book.


Make sure to check out the back of the book for ten amazing comfort food recipes, as well as an excerpt from book five, IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE.

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review 2015-04-17 04:59
Don't Or Diner
Do Or Diner: A Comfort Food Mystery - Christine Wenger

A bland and generic story, deserving a bland and generic review.  Someone died, hunky cop, MC damsel in distress who is suspected of the murder even though she's only been in town for an hour.  Could've been a cute story, but I just didn't connect with the characters or the plot. 

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review 2015-04-07 03:55
Diners, Drive-ins and Death (Comfort Food Mystery, #3)
Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death - Christine Wenger

The writing has improved.  The MC shows slightly more maturity.  2 or 3 continuity issues (a 1 million dollar life insurance policy becomes 2 million a chapter later) that were negligible.


The mystery itself was average - the killer was obvious and I think the author was hoping for a plot twist but it didn't feel twisty to me at all.  So, could have been better.


Still, I find something strangely compelling about the characters; if the series ended with this one I wouldn't blink an eye, but still I feel the need to read the next one.  I don't know why - it won't be for the recipes at the back:  I am fundamentally, philosophically, and theologically opposed to anything with velveeta as an ingredient.

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text 2015-04-05 07:42
2nd Annual TBR Pile Purge (Cozies)
Death of a Crabby Cook - Penny Pike
The Wedding Soup Murder - Rosie Genova
Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death - Christine Wenger
Cover Story - Erika Chase
Suspendered Sentence - Laura Bradford
Engaged in Murder - Nancy J. Parra
A Finder's Fee - Joyce Lavene, Jim Lavene
Ill-Gotten Panes - Jennifer McAndrews
Maple Mayhem - Jessie Crockett
Nightmares Can Be Murder - Mary Kennedy

I did this last year, with mixed results, but I'm trying again:  I've gone through my TBR pile and chosen all the books that I've been seeing-but-not for the past year - those books that when I look at my piles to choose a new read, my eyes just slide right over because they aren't grabbing my attention.  I'm going to plow through these books and unless they totally blow me away, they're going in the "give away" box(es).  Cozy reading spree ahead.


The goal is to leave only those books on my TBR that I can't wait to read, and get rid of those series off my shelves that I'm never going to read again.  


So, you know, I can then go out and buy lots of new books to create new towering TBR piles with.  

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