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review 2014-03-30 00:27
Looming Murder (Weaving Mystery #1)
Looming Murder - Carol Ann Martin

This is the first in the Weaving mystery series.  The main character, Della, has left the corporate world after she caught her boss embezzling and was almost falsely implicated herself.  In the aftermath she decided to follow her dream of opening a weaving shop.


The mystery itself is solid.  There are a number of suspects with good motives and I never suspected the person who was the ultimate culprit.  Della's new friends are fleshed out and likable. I am looking forward to visiting them again and again.  The small town setting was very friendly and cozy. 

There was just the whole Matthew issue that detracted from the story. I have already read the second book and I can attest that it gets better as it goes along, but it did take away from the story in this installment. 


In an overly complicated plot point, Della and her friend Matthew have decided to trade homes and Della steps up shop in Matthew's house.  When the store has only been open a week or two, Matthew suddenly decides he wants his house back and Della has to find another place to live and open her business.  


This part of the story really bothered me.  I would imagine that Della had to print business materials, do advertising, etc all with the old address and now after just a couple of weeks she has to move?  Why would she set up a business without a longer term lease?  Also, she acts like it's hunky-dory for Matthew to just move back and isn't mad at him.  If someone did that to me, I'd be furious and would tell them so.


Once Matthew comes back he continues to act like a putz and is extremely unlikable.  He is being set up as a possible future love interest for Della, but I can't help but hope that she gets over him and find someone better.  He is very moody, snaps at her a lot, and just generally talks down to her. I hope Della can find someone that treats her with more respect. 

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review 2014-03-26 01:54
Scandal in Skibbereen (A County Cork Mystery, #2)
Scandal in Skibbereen (A County Cork Mystery, #2) - Sheila Connolly

This is the second book in the County Cork cozy series.  These books focus on an Irish-American girl from Boston named Maura Donovan who moves to Ireland and inherits an Irish pub.  


Something that I've noticed with Sheila Connolly that is true in this series, is that the mystery is almost a subplot.  The first in the series, Buried in a Bog, barely had a mystery at all, it was more a drama about Maura going to Ireland. 


Scandal in Skibbereen has a stronger mystery plot than the first one, but it's still not the main focus.  There are actually two mysteries that tie together, one is a murder and the second is the search for a long-lost painting.  The search for the painting gets much more time than the murder mystery.  Actually in both County Cork books the murder mystery is solved almost by default at the end, Maura doesn't really put any clues together to solve the murder. 


Also, the dialog is tedious and unrealistic in places.  When the three women featured in the story (Maura, Gillian, and Althea) are having conversations it just gets ridiculous in some places.


On a positive note we are seeing some character growth here.  In the first book Maura came across as very whinny and negative. We don't see much of that in the second installment.


I still really like the setting in Ireland, it really makes me want to go there.  The series seems to be improving with Maura becoming much more likable and a stronger mystery plot. I will likely read the third one to see how it progresses and decide from there if I will continue with the series. 


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review 2014-03-25 20:01
A Tale of Two Biddies (League of Literary Ladies #2)
A Tale of Two Biddies - Kylie Logan

This is the second book in the League of Literary Ladies cozy mystery series.  The premise from the first book is that three women have been sentenced to join a book club.  Along with a fourth woman who joins voluntarily, they become friends and solve mysteries.


The books in this series are all themed around classic books that the book club is reading. In this book it's A Tale of Two Cities. This is actually the downside of this series for me as I haven't read much classic literature (whatever that may say about me.)  So throughout this book we have references to A Tale of Two Cities and some plot devices used from the book, all which were lost on me.  This aspect of the series is making me seriously consider whether I will continue reading or not, because I just don't feel like I'm getting everything and it's annoying.


That aside, the book is good. I like the setting on an island off the coast of Ohio.  We were presented with several possible murders, all with very good motives and I did not correctly figure out whodunit.  A pet peeve with some cozies is that only two or three suspects are introduced and maybe one of them has such a ridiculous motive, that you can easily narrow it down. So it was refreshing to have a deep suspect list who were fleshed out enough so that they were recognizable as individual characters.


We still have a side mystery that is unresolved regarding Bea's background. We still do not know any details from her former life, save for the fact that she had a stalker, which was revealed in the first book. Her relationship with Levi is also progressing very slowly.  I will likely read the next in the series to see if there are any new developments in these areas and then decide if I want to continue with the series. 


On a side note, it looks like the next installment will be themed around The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and will be a Halloween book.

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review 2014-03-24 21:23
Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery, #1)
Liver Let Die - Liz Lipperman

Liver Let Die is the first in the Clueless Cook mystery series.  The main character, Jordan, has moved to a small town north of Dallas and writes the personals for the local newspaper after being dumped by her boyfriend.  Eager to move up at the newspaper, she agrees to take over the kitchen column although she is not a foodie herself. 


This cozy was just so-so for me.  It wasn't really good or bad, per say.  There were a couple of things that kind of jarred me out of the story because I thought they were so unrealistic.  For example, at one point Jordan is trying to track down a high school student.  She goes to the school and the receptionist just points her toward the student without asking if she is family or getting any ID, which just seemed crazy.  Another example was when her editor told her to introduce herself as being a reporter doing a review when going to review a restaurant because then she would get better service.  Wouldn't that slant the review? 


Besides those details those it was fine, just kind of ho-hum.  I didn't really connect with the character or feel very engaged. It just all came across as rather flat to me. However, the mystery had a bit of a surprise ending and I didn't figure it out.


We see the beginnings of a budding romance between Jordan and Alex.  However, Alex is leaving town.  Plus, at the end of this book they set up the second one and it sounds like Jordan will be going on a date with someone else.  So I don't know if Alex is out of the picture or if we are headed for a love triangle.


As a side note, it looks like the first three books are published by Penguin and the fourth one is independently published.  This is a trend I am seeing more and more as established series are able to continue even after not continuing with the mainstream publisher.

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review 2014-03-22 00:14
Absolutely, Positively (Lucy Valentine #3)
Absolutely, Positively - Heather Webber

I have been really lucky to read some great books this week and this was one of them.  It isn't always like that, but this week I'm just on fire!  I can't get enough of this series.  I actually started reading this book after work last night and finished it before I went to bed.


This book follows the continuing saga of psychic Lucy Valentine. While the rest of her family has the gift of matchmaking, she has the ability to find lost objects.  She is continuing to use that gift to help find lost loves as part of her family's matchmaking business and also to assist in finding missing persons.  


Again we start out with multiple mysteries.  First, Lucy is hired to track down a client's missing high school love, but is he worth finding?  Second, a neighbor/family friend is missing and she starts to unofficially investigate.  The action just keeps coming and some interesting moral questions are raised along the way.


Lucy is a well-developed, likable character.  Her relationship with Sean continues to grow but she has to overcome her fears of commitment. Luckily, we did not see his ex-fiance in this installment, yea! Her family is quirky and their relationships continue to evolve and develop as well. 


Also, we met a new character very briefly who seems to know about Lucy's abilities.  I anticipate we will see her again in future installments.


Overall, this is a quality cozy/paranormal mystery, with a strong romance aspect as well. I can't recommend it highly enough!

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