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Search tags: Cozy-Mysteries
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review 2017-06-21 15:09
The Trouble With Mirrors
The Trouble with Mirrors - Charlotte Elkins,Aaron Elkins

RATING: 4 STARS

 

This was an enjoyable entry in the Alix London series. It was light and there was some progress made on the personal front when it comes to Alix's love life. 

 

The cast of characters are back, and this time the story revolves around Tiny, a regular character and a reformed art forger who served as a surrogate uncle to Alix. He has gone missing and so has the painting he gave to Alix when she was a child. The mystery as to what happened to him and the painting isn't terribly hard to figure out, but I really enjoy the way the Elkins team flesh out their characters- minor ones get a rich backstory that makes you care, adding to the tension of the novel. 

 

Overall I enjoyed it. 

 

One thing that makes these novels stand out is the inclusion of real art pieces and how they are cleverly woven into the story. In this entry they featured this piece called The Marriage of Giovanni And Giovanna Cenami by Jan Van Eyck :

 

Related image

 

They talked about the reflection in the mirror, something I probably wouldn't have noticed being a novice and all. But I like that each book makes me broaden my horizons and provides some insight into a world I know little of.

 

Recommend if you are into cozy and/or mysteries in general.

 

 

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review 2017-06-21 12:05
Nightshade for Warning (Enchanted Garden Mystery, #2)
Nightshade for Warning - Bailey Cattrell

I had been looking forward to this book, because I was pretty impressed with the first one. Although I'm a fan of Cattrell's other work, I really fell for this series' backdrop of a woman who creates a beautiful garden and uses what she grows to distill her own essential oils, mixing custom perfumes in her small shop.  I'm not overly interested in the perfume angle, but the gardening and the tiny house she lives in all sound, not to put too fine a point on it, enchanting.

 

This sophomore entry doesn't disappoint as far as the garden and the distilling goes, and the slight hint at paranormal gifts that was in the first one is expanded upon here, but there's a love triangle in the making, which is always disappointing.  Luckily, the murder mystery was pretty good; the resolution managed to take me almost completely by surprise.  

 

I'll definitely read a third one, if it's in the offing, and there's a recipe for lavender shortbread in the back of this one I'm itching to try.

 

 

 

 

 

Total pages: 306

$$:  $6.00

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review 2017-06-08 08:52
Writing All Wrongs (Books by the Bay Mystery, #7)
Writing All Wrongs - Ellery Adams

I need the meh emoticon!  There are so many likeable aspects to this book, but the characters just fail to really hook me.  They're all so very placid, even when they're supposed to be angry or thrilled with happiness.  If the energy of a book could be graphed, this one's would be a flat line.

 

Saying that, the writing isn't bad; Adams is really good at writing a story if you're not a character driven reader.  The editing was crap, but I expect no better from Berkley; they totally screwed up a Native American myth early in this book by using the wrong names at the wrong points of the story.

 

The North Carolina history she incorporates into the story is by far the most interesting part of the book as a whole.  The murder plotting was a cool idea, but the ending was just tragic, making it difficult to find the wrap up satisfying in any way.  Generally this would get Adams bonus points (for going off the beaten path of the cozy formula) but I really did not like the ending.

 

I think this is going to be one of those series I'm going to wish the best to and part company; it's not bad for a cozy series at all, but it's just not a good fit for me.

 

 

 

Total pages:  274

$$:  $3.00

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review 2017-06-04 02:04
Paws and Effect (Magical Cats, #8)
Paws and Effect - Sofie Kelly

It does't sound good that my favourite character in this series is Fred the Funky Chicken, but it's true.  The other characters are all likeable in the best cozy-mystery way, but my heart goes out to Fred the Funky Chicken every time.**

 

I'm not going to pretend that this book isn't everything a modern cozy is; the magical cats pretty much give the game away.  But Kelly does't over-play that magical hand and doesn't try to hide the deux ex machina-like effect this has on her ability to plot her mysteries.  She also creates likeable, believable, characters that enjoy a reasonable amount of realistic conflict; some of which is resolved and some of it isn't.  

 

The murder plot was decent-ish.  I was side-eyeing the murderer for awhile but there weren't any puzzle pieces to play with, just one big whopper of a clue that solved the whole thing for everybody at once.  Or at least, for the reader and the MC; everyone else would need more proof, of course, thus allowing our MC to stumble into mortal peril.  A reader comes to understand this is the nature of cozies though, and at least this peril was believable.  Sort of.  (How did the murder find them??)

 

So Paws and Effect is everything you'd expect a contemporary cozy to be anymore, but better than most of the rest; a bit more solid and well written.  A fun, fluffy bit of fiction for lazy afternoons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page count:  315

$$:  $3.00

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review 2017-06-01 11:44
A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael, #1)
A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters

Well, of course I liked it - mom is never wrong about mysteries.  The writing is great, which allows the story to go at a slower pace without being deadly dull.

 

Brother Cadfael is a Benedictine monk in medieval England and has come late to the cloistered, monastic life after a youth spent adventuring.  Content, he still allows himself to be recruited for a trip to Wales as official translator, on a quest to bring back the bones of a saint.  Receiving the consent of both the bishop and the prince it does't occur to monks that perhaps the village housing St. Winifred's bones might not be inclined to let her go.

 

The resulting murder was plotted well and the resolution kind of fiendish, really. Where is plotting like this nowadays?  I thoroughly like Brother Cadfael for his pragmatic outlook and intelligence.

 

My only quibble with the book is the errors in the catechism, but I'm left unsure whether Peters did this on purpose or out of ignorance. Saints aren't worshipped, they aren't to be revered; they're meant to serve as roll models and to offer intercession on behalf of one who asks for it.  As someone who has been called an idolator, I'm a little sensitive on this point.  I'm inclined to believe Peters did this knowingly, as there are at least two points in the story where the Welsh priest gently clarifies the difference, but the overriding narrative does nothing to definitively correct this misconception.

 

Putting this aside though, the book was good, more than good enough to make me want to read the next one.

 

 

 

 

Total Pages:  192

$$:  2.00

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