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review 2018-10-22 03:29
On Borrowed Time by Jenn McKinlay
On Borrowed Time - Jenn McKinlay

In this entry in the series, Lindsey is setting up for one of the Crafternoon meetings that these books always begin with, only to discover her brother, Jack, hiding in their meeting room. At Jack's request, she doesn't tell anyone about him, lets him stay in the room, and makes up an excuse to have the Crafternoon meeting somewhere else. She's both shocked and worried when she goes to check on Jack and discovers that 1) he's gone and 2) there is now a dead man in the meeting room.

Lindsey is sure Jack didn't kill the man but knows it looks bad, so she reports the body to the police but doesn't mention Jack. She soon learns that Jack is involved in something very dangerous. If she wants to rescue her brother, she has to somehow figure out what's going on and who she can trust.

Jack apparently lives an overly exciting, globetrotting, and sometimes action-filled life. There were things in this book that made me think of James Bond - a coffee cartel, a dangerous and beautiful woman, and a boat chase. With all that action and Lindsey's worry over Jack, the murder at the beginning of the book was almost forgotten. Yes, I know it was part of the whole storyline involving Jack, but it didn't feel as much like the book's focus as the series' previous murders did. I was a bit disappointed by that.

In general, I found this book to be extremely frustrating. While I get that Lindsey was worried about her brother, her behavior made no sense. In the book just before this one, Emma Plewicki, the new police chief, demonstrated that she could keep secrets and wait for just the right moment to pounce. She's always been level-headed, careful, and trustworthy. I could sort of understand Lindsey stupidly leaving out her brother's sudden appearance in her initial report to the police, but her continued refusal to talk to Emma when things with Jack took a turn for the worse was just bone-headed. In a small town like that, there were ways she could have communicated with Emma that wouldn't have alerted Jack's kidnappers. But that would have required Lindsey to step aside and allow Emma and others to assume control of the efforts to save Jack, which McKinlay couldn't allow.

A lot of the things that were wrong with this book were due to McKinlay bending over backwards to make things more difficult for her characters. In addition to Lindsey's repeated refusal to involve the police, there was also the issue of the love triangle. I suspect even McKinlay didn't have much interest in Robbie as a potential love interest for Lindsey, because this was his second book and he still didn't have much going for him beyond being a good-looking charmer. And I couldn't help but wonder if Lindsey's primary appeal, for him, was that she kept resisting him.

Robbie and Sully's constant arguments about who should get to spend time with Lindsey and what rules they should be operating by grated on my nerves. There were a few nice scenes with Sully, including one where he finally talked about the event in his past that made him freak out when he thought Lindsey might still have feelings for her ex-fiance (I still think this was sloppily done), but they were always ruined by his arguments with Robbie. They were like two dogs fighting over a bone.

This is my least favorite book in the series so far, and if it weren't for how popular this series is with a few of my coworkers, I'd probably be quitting at this point. But I do like having books I can actually discuss with the people around me, so I'll be giving the next book a go. Here's hoping that at least the mystery portion of the next book is better.


  • The Briar Creek Library guide to Crafternoons
  • Readers guide for The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Craft: Recycling candles (creating new candles from the remnants of old ones)
  • Recipes for Beth's Spinach Dip, Violet and Charlene's Meatballs, and Nancy's Fruit Cake Cookies. I don't plan on trying any of these, but the dip sounded easy and the meatballs were tempting.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-10-22 00:30
The Man on the Washing Machine (Theo Bogart Mystery, #1)
The Man on the Washing Machine - Susan Cox

Another Bouchercon find, although I think I might have had this title on my "Maybe" list for awhile a few years back.  If it was, it was because the title intrigued me, but I didn't get a strong enough vibe from the blurb to commit.  Susan Cox was one of the participants in Bouchercon's Author Speed Dating event, and my interest was renewed.


I liked it, and I'm interested in reading the next one, but my enjoyment wasn't without reservations.  Either Cox's writing style and I were not in sync, or it was poorly edited before going to print.  This is one of those situations where it could go either way: Cox's style is a bit loose and free form, so I often felt like the MC, Theo's, thoughts jumped around, or she made connections without a clear line of reasoning, or - and I'm blaming the editing for this one in particular - there would be an abrupt change of narrative topic or scene.


Otherwise, it had great bones.  Theo is hard to warm to, but she's in hiding, so maybe her need to stay detached extends to the reader too (the POV is first first past, or after-the-fact).  But the San Francisco neighborhood, and most of the characters involved in the mystery, come alive.  


The story starts with a man pushed out of a window and before it's all solved, there are smugglers, compost-obsessed-gardeners, machetes, a suspiciously-acting possible love interest, and yes, a man on a washing machine.  It all ties together in the end, sort of.  Mostly.


This is a first novel as well as a first in a series, and frankly, it shows.  The narrative could have flowed better, the plot could have been tighter, more cohesive.  But as I said, it has good bones, and there's a lot of potential in this odd but glorious neighbourhood Susan Cox has created.  I definitely want to see where she takes it.

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review 2018-10-21 15:16
Review: “Ice Cream and Incidents” (Peridale Cafe Mystery, #13) by Agatha Frost
Ice Cream and Incidents - Agatha Frost


~ 3 stars ~


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review 2018-10-21 14:22
Death of an Airman
Death of an Airman - Christopher St. John Sprigg

This was a confusing little mystery.


As the title of the book says, an airman dies in a plane crash. At first everyone thinks it has been an accident, then everyone thinks it has been murder and then everyone thinks it has been a suicide. Essentially, no one knows what has happened.

And until the death of said airman gets untangled, another mystery surrounding the airfield at which the death has occured has to be solved.


Yep, I was confused a lot of the time. And yet I really liked this mystery and it kept me glued to the pages. And the ending was adorable.



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review 2018-10-21 13:49
Murder in Mesopotamia
Murder in Mesopotamia - Agatha Christie

Murder in Mesopotamia isn´t one of my favorite Christie´s. And it isn´t because the crime plot was a bad one, quite the contrary. I found the crime and the solution to be as equally as good as some of her other books.


It´s because the characters are incredibly bland and boring and the narrator of the story, Amy Leatheran, is the worst of them all. I got so annoyed by her mentioning that Richard Carey is beautiful, even though he apparently looks like the grim reaper based on her description of him. And Poirot hasn´t been as charming as he usually is.


Hastings can be a bit dense sometimes, but I really missed him this time around.



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