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review 2018-12-12 20:13
Treasure in Paradise
Treasure in Paradise (A Tj Jensen Mystery) (Volume 7) - Kathi Daley

TJ takes her sisters, her grandfather, her friend, Kyle and 7 animals to Gull Island, SC to take care of an old friend of the family's retreat. When she arrives, she and Kyle and Doc find a body in the attic. They call the police and start to learn about the victim, the deputy and all the players who might have killed the man. The reason she is so persistent is that Doc, a retired coroner, says that the man was murdered. While this goes on, she deals with someone trying to force a sale of the land she is currently taking care of. She also learns that she has feelings for Kyle and he has the same for her. 

 

I have been enjoying Kathi Daley's books and have marked as many as I could for reading. I like that this one went to SC, which is somewhere my husband and I have vacationed together and so we know some of the places mentioned. 

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review 2018-12-12 15:05
24 Festive Tasks: Door 9 - Thanksgiving, Book
Six Geese A-Slaying (Meg Langslow, #10) - Donna Andrews
Six Geese A-Slaying - Donna Andrews,Bernadette Dunne

I decided to backtrack a bit to the series's first (I think) Christmas entry, which is set right after Meg and Michael's marriage and in which Meg is in charge of organizing Caerphilly's annual holiday parade -- emphatically not a "Christmas" parade, since it includes a nod to Diwali (complete with elephants), as well as a Kwanzaa float, which obviously makes this book a fun match with "24 Festive Tasks".

 

Andrews had definitely found her Meg Langslow legs by the time of this book, and the writing and plotting is great fun ... of course a holiday parade themed on The Twelve Days of Christmas offers countless opportunities for things to go hilariously haywire, but you still have to be able to hit just the right balance of humor and storytelling instead of simply stringing together a series of (wannabe) quirky incidents and characters, which not every writer is able to pull off convincingly.  Perhaps the one tiny letdown was that the murderer (and their motive) was fairly obvious well before the conclusion of the book, but still, I very much enjoyed my annual return to Caerphilly for Christmas the holidays.

 

And since a whole rafter of turkeys show up in various parts of the book -- they march in the holiday parade, they're being offered as charity gifts to the local poor, they're roasted at one of the local church community's food stand, and a turkey also features in the Christmas dinner "in the off" at the end of the story, to be prepared by Meg's mother -- I feel justified in using this as my Thanksgiving square read in "24 Festive Tasks" ... even if the turkeys are not accorded quite as prominent a role as the titular six geese (or actually, 37 geese ... or make that 38, counting one deceased of natural causes).

 

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review 2018-12-11 02:00
Ornaments of Death
Ornaments of Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries) - Jane K. Cleland

Josie is having her annual Christmas party and her cousin, Ian, has arrived from England and she is beyond delighted to have him arrive. When he goes missing, she tries to find him and when he is missing for more than a day, a body is found and when she identifies it as her cousin, she finds out that his daughter is now missing. 

 

This story had many twists and turns and looked at ancestry and antiques and provenance. I had found it last year when my girls started getting braces and borrowed it, but ran out of time to read it, so I just would borrow and read a bit more, finally reading it now. 

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text 2018-12-10 02:51
Mystery, Suspense and Thriller with an Identity Crisis Theme

One of my rare promotional posts. Here's an opportunity to discover new authors.

 

Free Books: Mystery, Suspense and Thriller with an Identity Crisis Theme

Facing the truth of who you really are. Discovering a new role and breaking free from an old one. Inner and outer words getting turned upside down. That’s an identity crisis, and what could be a stronger theme for a novel? I’ve read two of the books on offer and recommend them, Virginia King’s Laying Ghosts and Theresa Crater’s Under the Stone Paw. If you don’t already have the first Mae Martin mystery The Calling, you can get a copy as part of this promotion.

 

 

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review 2018-12-10 00:16
24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 - Mawlid, Book
Candy Cane Murder - Leslie Meier,Laura Levine,Joanne Fluke,Suzanne Toren

Well, let's just say that none of these three ladies is anywhere near Donna Andrews's league when it comes to cozy mysteries, plotting, character creation, dialogue, and a writer's craft in general.  And if I thought Joanna Fluke's entry was disappointing (mediocre plotting and dialogue, character responses that felt forced / didn't make sense, and one of my no-go TSTL behavior tropes as the "big reveal" cue (though I have to hand it to Fluke, the setting and overall scene of the final confrontation with the murderer was inspired)), I'm sorry to have to say that Leslie Meier's contribution did even less for me -- you could scratch off the Hallmark sugar coating with a shovel, virtually NONE of the characters' actions and responses bore even the slightest semblance of realism,  and she managed to make 1980s rural Maine come across as more backward than it probably was even in the 1940s and 1950s (while also looking more dripping-with-saccharine-style-homely than any Norman Rockwell picture -- and for the record, I like Norman Rockwell.  Or at least I like his Christmas pictures.)

 

Laura Levine's entry fared a bit better (I'd call it the book's highlight if such a term were appropriate for a muted glow in the midst of two seriously dulled lights); at least she took me right back to L.A. inside my head and the plotting was halfway decent.  But her story seriously suffered from an overabundance of quirky characters, not-very-subtle hints at the MC's padded waistline and her resolutions to do something about it (in which she predictably fails on every single occasion -- and yes, I know this actually is an L.A. thing; been there and would have bought the T-shirt, too, if I'd found it funny then, but the last thing I want is to have this sort of fad jammed up my nose with a sledgehammer in a book) -- and an equal overabundance of wannabe hipster slang and coloquialisms ... everything from repeated exclamations like "ugh!", "oh golly!" and "drat!" to "bet my bottom cupcake" (and yes, even there she goes again with the calorie stuff).  Oh, and the MC's conversations with her cat and said cat's female-Garfield act got old pretty soon as well.

 

Oh well.  If nothing else, this has made me appreciate the consistently high quality of Donna Andrews's writing even more -- I'll happily be returning to her for my cozy contemporary Christmas mysteries (I just hope she'll reliably continue to produce them for the foreseeable future).

 

I may try some of the recipes included in this book eventually, though.

 

Since the audiobook I listened to has a green cover, I'll be using this as my book for the Mawlid square.

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