This was like many cozy mystery novels... interesting mystery that you figure out almost immediately, but the journey sure is interesting. I really like to read cozy mysteries, especially in winter... it is just so gosh darn cozy. hehehe. Okay, that was way lame.
In this series, we are introduced to Melanie Cooper, a marketing guru turned cupcake maker. After five years in the fast lane of competitive marketing, Mel realized that she wasn't happy and decided to help make the world a happier place through cupcakes. I wish that she had her shop in my town because I could really use some yummy cupcakes!
Fast foward to her mid-thirties and Mel is finally about to realize her dream. With the financial help of her best friend, Tate Harper, and the shop help of Angie DeLaura, Mel opens up Faery Tale Cupcakes. So when Tate Harper plans to marry local celebrity, Christie, and asks that Mel do their wedding cupcakes, she eagerly accepts so that she can get some much needed publicity.
But when Christie dies, clutching one of Mel's cupcakes, and Tate and Mel become the main suspects, Mel knows that she has to find out who really murdered Christie before she lost everything important to her. And thus ensues an entertaining story with an amusing cast of characters.
Angie DeLaura is the only girl with seven older brothers. They are constantly interferring in her life, chasing away any potential suitors. Then there is Angie's brother, Joe, who is an assistant DA and Mel has been crushing on him for about 20 years. And Alma, one of Christie's assistants who dresses all in black and is rather depressing for a fashion designer. And finally, in the list of amusing cast members, there is Olivia, the local competition that just might be mental. She stalks the shop and constantly tries to steal Mel's business.
Melanie Cooper is perhaps the only annoying character in the book. She is extremely self-conceited and doesn't like to let other people into her schemes. She is the quintessential "strong female lead" and many times I find these leading ladies to be a turn off. Luckily for this series, there are enough other interesting characters that makes reading this book a pleasure instead of a punishment.
The mystery itself was rather easily solved and I was fairly certain who the murderer was right away, although that might be because I have read a few too many mysteries and I usually know who to rule out and who to keep on the suspect list. Perhaps one of the best things about this series is the cupcake recipes in them. Last night I made Tinkerbells (lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting). They were delicious. This book was worth it if for nothing else than the recipe to these delicious cupcakes!
All that said, the next book in this series is waiting for me at the library and I am eagerly looking forward to reading it. Hopefully there will be more delicious recipes in this book!
This is the third book in an amazing series. Can I just say that I have always had a fascination in boarding schools and books that involve Boarding SThis is the third book in an amazing series. Can I just say that I have always had a fascination in boarding schools and books that involve Boarding Schools are my favorite. I guess it is because you remove the element of parents and a whole world of possibilities opens up. But then you combine that with spies and esponiage and it becomes so much better.
What I love about the girls in this novel is that they are there for each other through thick and through thin. I wish that I had friends that I was so close with that they are literally sisters to me. Plus there is the whole spying and secrets thing. I am like any girl and I love secrets. That is what I love about this novel. It is like a big puzzle that you are piecing together one piece at a time, but at the same time, it isn't as heavy as adult suspense novels can be.
Additionally, the novel is written as if it was a report that is being written after the fact. That means that you are at least assured of the fact that nothing terribly bad is going to happen to the main characters. That is one of the things that I like best about the Young Adult genre... they don't tend to keep you in too much suspense.
I love the little bit of Romance in this series, but what I love the most about this series is that it is even more about sisterhood and protecting your besties. I am not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, but too many times in the media we see examples of when best friends stab each other in the back. They sleep with each others boyfriends and they are all out for themselves, so it is nice to come across a series that is entirely about staying loyal to your sisterhood above all else.
The other thing that is great about this series is that unlike in books such as Harry Potter, they treat many things a lot more realistically. Not all fights with the bad guys happen just before the end of the semester (this one happened with at least three weeks left to go in the semester). In addition, their hair doesn't always look perfect after a fight, when they are battling for their lives, they get concussions and have to spend weeks to fully recover. That is something that I appreciate about this series and this author.
I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. I have it requested at the library and I am only waiting to get the email telling me that they have it on hold for me. Let me just say that if you have not read this series, I highly recommend that you read it. It is definitely one that when I can afford it, I will be buying these books. I have the first one and I cannot wait to get the next three!
Oh, how much I wanted to like this book... I really did. I like to read a good mystery on a nice winters day when I don't have anything better to do than lay in bed. And perhaps I would enjoy have enjoyed it if there was any other female lead than Hannah Swensen.
Hannah Swensen was one of the most annoying female leads I have ever read. She was like a crazy mix of that friend you have that always thinks that she sucks and is too fat and nobody likes her, etc, and an extremely self-assured (but in the annoying way). Hannah acts like she is the only one that can possibly solve a mystery and that she is God's gift to earth in practically all things except looks. In addition, her love for her cat is... sickening. One review I read described it as she thought they would start making out at any moment and that is truly disturbingly accurate. The other thing that was annoying about Hannah is the way she treated her mother. I have a really good relationship with my mother and I cannot imagine being that rude to her or about her.
In addition, Hannah is extremely mean about other people in her head, and since we are in her head all the time, we are privy to it. She was making fun of one "fat woman" who was around 300 pounds. She treated and "thought" about her brother-in-law (the police officer) as though he was stupid and incapable of solving the mystery. And in many moments in the book, Hannah is just a plain bully. One character told Hannah that she couldn't talk to her at that moment, and Hannah proceeded to wedge her foot in the door and then force her way into the house. She then strong armed other characters into telling her their secrets in badly hidden threats. I found it really hard to route for her.
Other than Hannah, though, the book was okay. I didn't not see the "murderer" coming and so when we found out who it was, it was unexpected. The other characters were pleasant, though not fully developed. I will try the next book in this series, but if I do not come to care about Hannah a little bit more, than I will be abandoning this series.
Being as this is the forth book in a series, I have to give a warning that it will be hard/impossible to review this book without spoilers. So if youBeing as this is the forth book in a series, I have to give a warning that it will be hard/impossible to review this book without spoilers. So if you haven't read this book or this series, I urge you to read them and to stop reading this review. This is a wonderful series and I highly recommend it to pretty much everyone.
Now to start off with this review, I have to say that this book is like a third Alias, a third Chuck, and a third something all of its own, and I love it. In this book, the world isn't black and white, as it is in many other books that have the fight against good and evil. Once again, I am going to compare it to the Harry Potter series. I have to admit that I love the Harry Potter series, but there are things lacking, and I love it enough to admit it. In Harry Potter, if you're from Slytherin, you are evil, if you are from Gryffindor, you are good. It is as easy as that. Black and White. (Don't mention Snape because we spend nearly 7 whole books listening to Harry bitch like a little girl about how evil Snape is and how he wishes Snape would die, etc). In this book, it isn't that black and white. Gallagher Girls don't all end up good and Hawthorne boys don't all end up bad. Just because you start bad, doesn't mean that you end up bad (Mr. Soloman). Just because you have evil parents don't mean you are evil (Zach). And I love that fact.
And the bond of friendship in this book thrills my soul. It is nice to see a good friendship. No friends sleeping with other friends boyfriends. No blowing up on your friends for no real reason other than you are a moody teenager (yes, I am pointing my finger at you, Harry Potter). There is unwavering friendship and loyalty that stands the test of time, not to mention risks life and death quite literally multiple times.
Another amazing thing about this series is that everything doesn't always go perfectly when the girls are on missions. When spying on parents, you don't always end up not getting caught. As a matter of fact, more times than not, you end up getting caught. When going on a secret mission to retrieve information, you don't walk out unscathed, you end up getting bruises all over your body and a dislocated shoulder. And your shoulder doesn't heal immediately, but it takes time. This series, for all of it unreality, is more real than many others.
Going into this book, there were many questions from previous books. As I was going through this book, I kept encountering more and more questions without getting any questions. Finally, in the last 50 pages, many questions were answered. We found out what exactly the Blackthorne Institute was (a school for assassins). We found out who the women on the roof was that was after Cammie (Zach's mom and an ex-Gallagher Girl). We learned who Mr. Soloman was (recruited into the Circle and working to bring it down ever sense). And yet, many other questions arose. What from Cammie's mind do the circle want to retrieve? Why is it so important and why can't they just kill her? Is Cammie's dad really dead? Will Mr. Soloman wake up? And I am sure many others that I can't even think of.
Anyway, the main point of this whole review is to say that this is an amazing book in an amazing series. Unlike a lot of series, it hasn't gotten worse with sequels and such, but is still as good in Book 4 as it was in Book 1. My love for Cammie and all of her friends has only grown and I cannot wait for the next book in the series. Unfortunately, we have to wait until February 2012. That kinda ticks me off, but there is nothing to do about it and I am sure that it will be well worth the wait!
This was my very first Agatha Christie novel and I have to say that I loved it. It certainly won't be my last novel. The mystery was very brilliantlyThis was my very first Agatha Christie novel and I have to say that I loved it. It certainly won't be my last novel. The mystery was very brilliantly thought out and I spent most of the book trying to figure out exactly "who dunnit". I debated quiet a few theories and I was half right on one of my theories, but as it was not my final theory, I guess I can't really count myself as correct.
The main problem I had with this book is that I had trouble keeping track of who was who. So many characters to make a sudden appearance that it was difficult to keep track of who was accused of commiting which crime and for what reason they did it. And then which committed crime the murdered person had committed. By the time it was down to only 3-4 left, I had it down, but it took me a while to put it all together.
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and will definitely look forward to reading more from Agatha Chrisite. I might even take a look at this one again....more
I enjoyed this book the same that I have enjoyed all of Dan Brown's novels. They are works of fiction... I don't take them that seriously. This was neI enjoyed this book the same that I have enjoyed all of Dan Brown's novels. They are works of fiction... I don't take them that seriously. This was never intended to be a great work of art, or meant to be taught in classrooms throughout America. It was meant to be enjoyed! I enjoyed it! It left me with some questions and I though Robert was too stubborn this time and unwilling to open his mind, but I enjoyed the novel....more
I love John Grisham's earlier works (not so much his more recent ones). The Testament was one of the first John Grisham books, I had ever read... I thI love John Grisham's earlier works (not so much his more recent ones). The Testament was one of the first John Grisham books, I had ever read... I think I was in middle school. I remember somewhat the gist of the books, but I didn't remember the ending.
What I like about The Testament is that beyond being a mystery type of book, or Legal Thriller, or whatever, it is actually a story about redemption and turning your life around. Killing your demons, so to speak. I can't really relate to people who struggle with drug or alcohol addictions. I have never really seen the appeal of either of those particular vices. But watching Nate progress through the novel and finally managing to kick the habit, that was a real story of recovery. I liked that.
Overall, this remains one of my favorite John Grisham books and I am glad that I took the time to reread it. Now I need to reread The Pelican Brief and I will have revisited the two John Grisham books that I read first....more