The Good: Carolyn Hart's writing still packs a punch 23 books into this series. While her fans love Max, Annie, Laurel and the rest of the Broward's R...moreThe Good: Carolyn Hart's writing still packs a punch 23 books into this series. While her fans love Max, Annie, Laurel and the rest of the Broward's Rock gang, Hart continues to pepper the island with interesting characters hiding deep, dark, often scandalous secrets. You just can't help being sucked into a Death on Demand book and Dead, White and Blue is no exception.
The Bad: The problem with Dead, White and Blue is that I hated, HATED, Shell. She was vicious and stupid and pretty much got what she deserved. And therefore, I couldn't care even a tiny bit who killed her. (less)
The Good: This was a sweet little mystery. Some good inter-family issues, a heroine stronger than she thinks she is, some magical abilities, lots of b...moreThe Good: This was a sweet little mystery. Some good inter-family issues, a heroine stronger than she thinks she is, some magical abilities, lots of baking and a hint of romance all mix well with the murder mystery at the core of the novel. I loved Ella Mae's baking and her obvious love and excitement over her new business. I hated Loralyn and crushed on Hugh right with along with her.
The Bad: How could Ella Mae not know? Maybe not knowing about her own abilities, but the rest of her entire families abilities? It was just so far-fetched and any time she began to question anything (many, many years after she should have) it would disappear from her mind almost immediately. (less)
The Good: Annie feels responsible for Gretchen's death, and when Annie takes on that kind of guilt or accountability, you get to see a slightly differ...moreThe Good: Annie feels responsible for Gretchen's death, and when Annie takes on that kind of guilt or accountability, you get to see a slightly different side of her. She's not quite as self-assured and together in Death Comes Silently and that's sort of endearing.
The Bad: Henny acted so far out of character that it verged on impossible to believe. Her motives were solid and on point, but her actions just didn't mesh with anything we have learned about her in the last 21 books. (less)
Why read: Looking for new-to-me culinary mystery series
What impressed me: I really enjoyed that Carolyn was a culinary writer. It was a great twist on...moreWhy read: Looking for new-to-me culinary mystery series
What impressed me: I really enjoyed that Carolyn was a culinary writer. It was a great twist on the usual culinary mystery. I loved that the focus shifted away from cooking and was more on the taste and appearance of the food she wrote about.I liked traveling along with Carolyn and getting the touristy feel of New Orleans.
What disappointed me: I'm totally over the victim's jerk spouse. This comes up way too often in mysteries in every form of entertainment . Anyone who's every read a mystery or even seen an episode of Law & Order knows the spouse is always a suspect, so having this one be over the top nasty was unnecessary and slightly annoying.
Recommended: Yes. This book is definitely great for culinary mystery fans, especially foodies that aren't real interested in the actual cooking.
Continue series: If the series continues with Carolyn traveling and tasting her way around the world, I'll definitely enjoy this series for a l(less)
The Good: I liked the premise of this book - a "murder club" full of true-crime buffs starts getting killed off, probably by one of their own. I enjoy...moreThe Good: I liked the premise of this book - a "murder club" full of true-crime buffs starts getting killed off, probably by one of their own. I enjoyed Roe, for the first time in her life even, trying to juggle two men and decide between them. I loved that she's a librarian as well as all of the true-crime case facts that were explored over the course of the book.
The Bad: Aurora Teagarden - it's such a pretty name. I didn't get her dislike of it, or why she would possibly chose to go by Roe instead. I also didn't really like the way she sort of thought badly about herself whenever she compared herself to either of her close girlfriends.(less)
The Good: Have I ever mentioned how much I love Juliet Blackwell's writing? Probably. But I really, really do. Lily takes on another mystery in Hexes...moreThe Good: Have I ever mentioned how much I love Juliet Blackwell's writing? Probably. But I really, really do. Lily takes on another mystery in Hexes and Hemlines, one revolving around magic and superstitions and possible satanic worship. While uncovering a killer, she still manages to run a successful business, become further confused by Aidan, deal with Max, befriend (sort of) Sailor, and learn more about both Voodoo and Romani magic. The mystery was amazing, Lily continues to be a great character and the magic is, well, magical.
The Bad: Lily is pretty self-aware when it comes to her lack of experience when it comes to friendship and dealing with other people, so why, oh why, does she ALWAYS think she knows what's best? Granted, she's usually right, but what would possess her to believe she would be? (less)
What impressed me: I am still loving the store and its employees. Lily's friends make this book readable and push me to co...moreWhy read: Reading the series
What impressed me: I am still loving the store and its employees. Lily's friends make this book readable and push me to continue the series.
What disappointed me: There was no real tension in this mystery. I found it difficult to care about any of the students and teachers. Lily's romantic life is getting annoying with Max feeling totally unworthy of her and Aidan not seeming all that interested, or at least not willing to put any effort forth.
Recommended: Maybe. A Cast-Off Coven isn't a bad book, it just didn't quite live up to the first book in the series.
Continue series: Yes. This didn't quite live up to the last book, but I think future books could be better.(less)
Death on Demand is my absolute favorite cozy mystery series, but instead of being gushy about every new book released, I have a tendency to expect exc...moreDeath on Demand is my absolute favorite cozy mystery series, but instead of being gushy about every new book released, I have a tendency to expect excellence and find myself reading the books more critically than I do with other series. Dead by Midnight is not quite as great as the previous novel, Laughed 'Til He Died, but it is very, very good. The mystery is great, but becomes a bit transparent towards the end. Life at the bookstore is interesting as always, but Laurel's new cat portrait hobby becomes overly grating at times. All complaints are minor though, as spending more time with Annie and Max Darling is a pleasure unto itself.
Annie's new employee dies and the police believe it to be suicide. Except, she just told Annie that suicide is the coward's way out. Positive the death is the result of foul play, Annie starts her own investigation and uncovers much more than she anticipates. At this point, the police has become accustomed to Annie's meddling and while they don't encourage it (usually), they expect it and mostly look the other way. Having already solved over twenty cases on her own, Annie has proven her instincts and I like that the police take her thoughts and concerns seriously now and don't make her prove every little detail before actually listening. At this point, she's totally earned at least a grudging respect.
I love when long running series change with the times. Dead by Midnight, the twenty-first book in the Death on Demand series, does just that. As Annie and Max investigate a murder, they find clues through digital photos stored on the victim's Blackberry and compile profiles using information found on suspect's Facebook pages. Things like these keep the books current, as most readers would wonder why they don't just check Facebook. As certain technologies becomes common in our lives, it becomes glaringly obvious if characters don't utilize them. I really appreciate this type of progress in this series.
Dead by Midnight is another wonderful book in the Death on Demand series. With its fantastic characters (Annie and Max are like the loving couple you wish you were friends with) and its exciting, yet mostly realistic portrayal of small island living, reading a new Death on Demand book is like coming home to warm friends and good times - with a murder or two thrown in for good measure. Cozy lovers that haven't read this series yet have no idea the greatness they're missing out on.(less)
Why read: I've never read a mystery with Egyptian archeology and found the idea intriguing.
What impressed me: I love that this book is historical in t...moreWhy read: I've never read a mystery with Egyptian archeology and found the idea intriguing.
What impressed me: I love that this book is historical in two ways - its setting being more than a century ago and its primary subject matter dealing with ancient Egypt. I loved the dual look at Egypt in both times. I really enjoyed the relationship between Evelyn and Amelia - as they are polar opposites, yet manage to bond and bring something much needed into each others lives. And I loved all the potential romance, especially how it brought a new angle into the story without compromising the mystery itself.
What disappointed me: The writing was sort of dry, feeling more like intellectual study rather than pleasure reading. Amelia is a difficult character to really get invested in as she is unconventional and abrasive given the time period. She's written that way on purpose, but how do you begin to care for someone so unemotional?
Recommended: Maybe? I really can't say one way or another until I find out if the books get better down the line.
Continue series: Yes. The first book in a series is always a little rough, but the potential cases are worth checking out another book or two.(less)
Each book in a cozy mystery series usually has a theme and the theme of Fear of Frying was summer camp. Having been a camp counselor in my youth, this...moreEach book in a cozy mystery series usually has a theme and the theme of Fear of Frying was summer camp. Having been a camp counselor in my youth, this was of particular interest to me and I wasn't disappointed with the treatment it was given. Fear of Frying veered away from the series usual format, instead focusing on Jane and Shelley and leaving the usual supporting characters behind. While necessary for the theme of the novel to be realistic, the lack of familiar interaction made Fear of Frying a little less engaging then the other books in the series. As with all the Jane Jeffry mysteries, Fear of Frying was a fluffy, fast bit of fun.(less)
A Knife to Remember was a really fun addition to the Jane Jeffry mystery series. The focus of this novel was Hollywood and the invasion of the movie p...moreA Knife to Remember was a really fun addition to the Jane Jeffry mystery series. The focus of this novel was Hollywood and the invasion of the movie people into Jane's backyard. I loved the insider look I got at the not-as-glamorous as believed inner-workings of movie production. The mystery had lots of twists and turns and the killer was a complete surprise to me. Definitely one of the top Jane Jeffry mysteries.(less)
As all the Jane Jeffry mysteries are, From Here to Paternity is a light and fluffy mystery with lots of character interaction. Jane's neighbor invited...moreAs all the Jane Jeffry mysteries are, From Here to Paternity is a light and fluffy mystery with lots of character interaction. Jane's neighbor invited her to visit a ski resort and share her opinion of whether it would be a good investment for the neighbor's husband. While there, Jane, as per usual, discovers a couple of bodies and sets off to discover the murderer with or without the help of detective boyfriend Mel. I liked the resort setting and appreciated the chance to see most of the characters outside of their normal, everyday situations. I was a little confused as to why Jane's opinion about investment property was important, but I guess you had to get her near the bodies somehow.(less)
Jane and Shelley go back to high school and it couldn't be more entertaining. Am I the only one surprised when people aren't killed at high school reu...moreJane and Shelley go back to high school and it couldn't be more entertaining. Am I the only one surprised when people aren't killed at high school reunions? A mystery from back in the day is costing former students their lives and while the clues are there, I just could not figure this one out. Hilarious and very fast-paced, The Class Menagerie is one of the very best Jane Jeffry mysteries. (less)