**spoiler alert** I thought these Alden kids were supposed to be smart. I know they need to keep things simple for the actual reading age group of the**spoiler alert** I thought these Alden kids were supposed to be smart. I know they need to keep things simple for the actual reading age group of these books, but they squandered pretty much any potential for making this book interesting with shallow characters and boring clues....more
I could deal with the Mystery Lite! plot (really, it's barely there; just poking its head up now and again amongst a flood**spoiler alert** 1.5 stars.
I could deal with the Mystery Lite! plot (really, it's barely there; just poking its head up now and again amongst a flood of coffee metaphors and coffee how-to tips), but I hate these characters.
Clare Cosi (because, you know, this is a cozy mystery series. How disgustingly twee.) is pretty comfortable in Sue Territory, seeming a bit too knowledgeable about random tidbits of history and culture, despite showing no interest hobby-wise in such things, perfectly cute as a C-cup petite, has Holmes-level deduction skills (which pretty much shows up once, then never again in the book), and is a coffee-making goddess, putting Greek mothers and snobby Italian culinary students to shame. Her golden child coffeehouse, amazing, untainted, original, brave (seriously, the fact that their coffeehouse served coffee to the rescue workers of September 11th in New York is an actual part of its ridiculous backstory) is pretty much an extension of Clare herself, and the cause of much, *much* eye-rolling on my part while listening to the story.
All of that wouldn't even be so bad if Clare also weren't such a condescending snob, which just adds to the hilarious hypocrisy of her deriding of other condescending snobs. You know, the *other* snobs we're actually meant to dislike. Unlike Clare. Nude dancers, asshole nouveau riche, DECAF DRINKERS *shudder*. And of course, all the potential suspects in the murder, none of whom apparently have any idea of how not to be hostile in public.
Other than that, there are very few characters worth notice. There's belligerent sexual tension with Clare's condescending snob of an ex-husband, cancer-ridden graceful coffee snob mother-in-law, aforementioned asshole potential suspects, and everyone else is one-dimensional and completely ignorable.
Also, a barely-there (kind of like the mystery) love triangle, which is also rather ignorable, though it may annoy some. (Being a love triangle, which frankly, in general, should be passé).
I actually wanted to like this, since a coffee-themed mystery series seemed like a cute and easy listen, especially since my online library has most of the books, and in audiobook format, and it was...easy to listen to. Other than everything that made me eye-roll. But that's about it. There's very little that's actually humorous, despite most of the book maintaining a casual air to it, I honestly don't give a crap about the coffee-making minutia (and doubt its validity, since they come from a book that actually believes coffee is the number one most popular beverage in the world), and again, the characters seriously get under my skin.
It gets its point-five of a star, because I liked it when Clare and Matteo pretend to be secret agents. It then later on pissed me off again with a completely unnecessary line. Clare and Matteo are after a suspect, follow said suspect into a street predominantly made up of gay bars, and Clare gives a little sigh for all the single women upon viewing the young, well-built men having a good time. I'm sure some people will disagree with me, calling me overly sensitive or something, but that just smacks of homophobia. Why do these single women deserve a sigh? Maybe they should get off their asses and go try to meet men themselves. Clare is single herself, but why should she even be THINKIKNG about poor, single women upon viewing all these handsome men? They're gay, vagina doesn't interest them, and they're just out having fun. Single women shouldn't even be mentioned here. This street isn't about them. It's an utterly unneeded sentence that actually carries a pretty loaded sentiment when you think too much about it.
I plan on giving a couple more books in the series a chance to see if there's an improvement....more