Cinnamon Girl has all of the right ingredients for a good cozy mystery. I found it reminiscent of Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles’ series, a particCinnamon Girl has all of the right ingredients for a good cozy mystery. I found it reminiscent of Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles’ series, a particular favorite of mine.
Bonnie Emerson and her coworker, Sally, are likable, and what’s more, believable, even though Bonnie is the daughter of the former President of the United States. And her shop, Village Cooks, is every foodie’s dream. I was salivating. But beyond Cinnamon Girl’s appeal to foodies, I’d say its primary draw is those who love books and in particular, cookbooks. I found myself exclaiming over and over, “I have that one! Oh, I have that one!” and wanting to revisit those I haven’t taken down from my shelves for some time.
The plot is not secondary to the cookbook talk though. It’s interesting and draws you in, keeping you guessing. And not to give too much away, but for cat lovers, there’s also a very humane, and I don’t think very often seen, aside between Bonnie, Sally, and the shop’s resident cat, Mrs. Beaton, which was incredibly touching.
All in all, lovers of cozies, cookbooks, and a well-turned plot will find themselves eagerly turning the pages of Cinnamon Girl. ...more
Let’s see. I give the dice one chance in six that I review The Dice Man positively. Seriously, this book is so 70s; I can see why it became a cult claLet’s see. I give the dice one chance in six that I review The Dice Man positively. Seriously, this book is so 70s; I can see why it became a cult classic. Raw, compelling, obscene, insane, hilarious, freakish, and frightening, a number of words come to mind. Throughout the entire time I read this book I felt I was being reeled in, page by page, into deeper and darker territory, continuing whether I wanted to or not. I might have recommended this book when it was first published. I wouldn’t today, perhaps because I don’t know anyone of the mindset to appreciate its randomness and dark humor and partially because I, myself, was thankful to have finished reading it....more
I suppose if I give a book this low a rating, it deserves an explanation. Bess is simply too tiresome and the majority of the characters rather unpleaI suppose if I give a book this low a rating, it deserves an explanation. Bess is simply too tiresome and the majority of the characters rather unpleasant in this second book of what appeared to be a decent start to a WWII mystery series. Bess did a bit too much protesting and meddling for me to even want her to succeed at times and even the people not purportedly villains weren't particularly likable. Not a lot of depth to any of them. Plus....poor Simon. Very disappointed....more
Eleanor Catton has woven a spider web of a novel, absolutely beautiful in its construction. Stories may often seem to ramble, and I admit I had a diffEleanor Catton has woven a spider web of a novel, absolutely beautiful in its construction. Stories may often seem to ramble, and I admit I had a difficult time at first making sense of the book, but with concentration and dedication to reading this book and this book only, I was blown away how any author could develop such characters, keep track of them, and link their stories and their lives together in a believable way. Each person in the novel is well drawn. You learn to love them, like them, or hate them and their actions seldom belie their characters.. The gritty and desolate picture of a 19th century gold camp in New Zealand is very realistic, only adding to my mind's eye view of what's happening in the novel. And if you continue on to the conclusion of the novel, and I certainly hope you do, its conclusion will not disappoint. In my mind it's one of the miracles of the novel....more
Who says nothing ever happens in a small town? There’s a lot going on in Cementville and it doesn’t all begin when seven coffins from Vietnam are retuWho says nothing ever happens in a small town? There’s a lot going on in Cementville and it doesn’t all begin when seven coffins from Vietnam are returned to the small Kentucky town. Aside from being about war and its aftermath, Cementville, the novel, is also about small town life and how lives are shaped before birth. A Ferguson will always be a Ferguson, a Slidell always a Slidell. Expectations differ according to one’s last name. It’s difficult to break free, even when bound by tragedy.
Paulette Livers has written a compassionate book on the effects war has on its veterans and the families waiting on their return. There are no rules for either, no preparation. Those waiting have expectations those returning cannot meet. The returning soldiers have no expectations. The transition to “normal” life will not come easily (if at all) nor will it be quick. Katherine Juell asks, “What’s happened to us, Will? Maybe Maureen’s right. It’s as though this town has been invaded by something…” It has. Demons that have been there all along and are just now surfacing and demons set loose by war.
I knew there would be surprises in this book and especially at its conclusion, but not the ones that awaited me. An excellent book. I’m glad I somehow found it.
An inconsequential aside: I was fascinated by Augrey’s name and couldn’t figure out its origin. Augury? ...more
Barry Lancet’s Japantown doesn’t gradually beckon you into the first chapter of this debut novel; he gives you a big shove. And the pace doesn’t slowBarry Lancet’s Japantown doesn’t gradually beckon you into the first chapter of this debut novel; he gives you a big shove. And the pace doesn’t slow a bit throughout the entire read. It’s the kind of book you don’t put down for long because things happen quickly and you can’t second guess what’s going to happen next.
Japantown offers interesting and apparently accurate tidbits of information about Japan and its history, which drove the story even more for me. Lancet explains some of this in the section, “About Authenticity,” at the end of the book.
It offers political, familial, and historical intrigue with a decent group of characters, although you might wish to know a bit more about them (see Gripe #1).
A couple of minor gripes:
At times this story reads like a second in a series, not a debut novel and by this, I’m not talking about the quality of writing, although I have no complaints about that. There just seems to be some history hinted at that wants an explanation, but perhaps that’s going to be explained in a future book. Since it’s a pet peeve of mine to start a series out of order, I did find myself, grumbling a couple of times and then checking to make sure I hadn’t slipped up.
Brodie’s daughter Jenny’s mental and emotional strength stretches the imagination. And since when does a 6-year-old know what 200 yards is? It makes me wonder what kind of six-year-olds the author has known or how many.
Otherwise, it’s a good ride, a good read and it will keep you up until the wee hours of the morning until you turn the last page. ...more
Chatty, without much substance to it. I purchased and read this book because we plan to spend some time in the south of France this summer and I likeChatty, without much substance to it. I purchased and read this book because we plan to spend some time in the south of France this summer and I like to do some reading on the places before we visit, fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, memoirs, whatever. Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington supply you with vignettes from their childhood visits to France, along with recipes for some of the basic dishes to be found in the region. Reading the book is like sitting down with the two of them at the kitchen table over coffee for an hour and listening to them reminisce. Not all that bad, I guess, if that's what you're looking for....more