Thursday, May 20, 2010

Eleventh Cozy

Title of the book: Indigo as an Iris by Fran Stewart
Cozy Series: #5 in the Biscuit McKee Mysteries
Bought the book on Amazon and will donate it to my local library as no one seems to have a copy of it in the local area.
Why I choose this book: Again this is a series that I have sort of been following. Books are far between. This is the first one I actually bought.
Little Tidbit I learned from the book: A new concept - green cemeteries. The bodies are placed about three and a half feet deep in hand-dug graves. right among the trees. That way you don't have heavy equipment in there compacting the ground around the roots. It's all part of the natural cycle of life. The bodies feed the trees. There aren't any of those nasty chemicals that poison the soils in regular cemeteries. No caskets. The bodies are kept cold until burial and then wrapped in something of meaning, like a quilt, before burial.
Interesting paragraph from the book: Amazing Grace, as my father, a high-school music teacher, once explained to me, uses the pentatonic scale. It's a far older scale than the do-re-mi folderol. That's why the melody is so haunting. Maybe that's one of the reasons it's so overused at funerals. Just those five black keys, and all the pain, all the sorrow, all the anguish comes rolling out. Also all the hope and the wonder. Maybe not so overused at that.
My take on the book: Biscuit McKee is a librarian in a small town of Martinsville, Georgia. This book deals mostly with a case of mistaken identity involving a kidnapping with fatal results. With that as the main part of the story, a interesting family history and a side story of one lady, of the group of friends ,who decides to organize a cruise and gets a good deal on a group rate and invites close friends and relatives to go. We get letters going back and forth deciding if they can or not. On top of that, at the end of each paragraph, we have Biscuit and her cat Marmalade giving 5 things they are thankful for. Yes, the cat is reminiscent of Garfield, we can hear what he is thinking but no one else can. It's cute. I will be interested to see if more come about.
My rating on this book: Good read.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tenth Cozy

Title of the book: To Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater
Cozy Type: A Claire Hanover, Gift Basket Designer Mystery #2
I bought this book from Amazon and will donate it to my library since no one else seems to have it in the area.
Why I choose this book: Really, the idea that a basket designer solves murders is novel.
Tidbit of info from the book: This book is centered on skiing. What I didn't know is making a X with your skis is the universal call for help at ski areas. I also learned quite a few terms for different slopes and skiing methods. Which I can tell you won't do me any good, as you will never get me on a pair of skis.
Great paragraph: (Claire is walking on a trail in snowshoes.) A squirrel chittered at her from a tree. Claire looked up. She promptly stepped on the back of her forward snowshoe and did a face plant in a deep snowbank.
Pride goeth before a fall. (Heh, I thought it was funny enough to laugh)
My take on this book: Claire is on vacation with her husband and daughter, really with hopes to reconnect with her husband after the result of the murder in the first book. They decided to go to Breckenridge, CO and have her daughter's boyfriend meet them there. He brings his family, too. Only it becomes too apparent after the murder of the boyfriend's sister, that this family is connected to the Russian Mafia indirectly. Quickly Claire finds a witness to the murder and sadly he gets run over by a SVU right in front of her. I may have gotten a little confused at the end with who rats on whom and their plea deals.
Beth gives a couple of ideas for 3 different baskets in the course of the book but I somewhat would of expected maybe a little more hints at the end of the book. Just a thought.
My rating: A good read and hope she writes more. But it looks like she is starting a new series so I will check that one out. Rocky Mountain Adventure series starting with Deadly Currents, March 2011

Ninth Cozy

Title of the book: A Darker God by Barbara Cleverly
Cozy series: A Laetitia Talbot Mystery #3
Checked out of the public library
Why I picked this: it has to do with archaeology and I read her first 2
I am not going to give a favorite paragraph or tidbit from this book. My mind was overwhelmed by the full-bodied, rich-writing of this archaeology, historical mystery. These are very intense, well written and fact based novels, seemingly a cross between Elizabeth Peters and Agatha Christy. Laetitia Talbot is a young women, in the 1920's, striving to be recognized in a male dominated profession in which she is well suited and with a good head on her shoulders for. Being an archaeologist. In this third book, she has returned to her mentor, after going into the field, to rest and recover. He has translated a play of Agamennon while writing a biography of Alexander the Great. Laetitia is roped into helping with the play, only to be present when her mentor shows up dead in place of the prop she designed for the death scene. One of the actors of the play is a police detective on loan from Scotland Yard in Greece during a cultural exchange, so to speak. Anyway, he takes charge of the murder scene and accepts Laetitia's Help. The mentor's wife is on the scene and seemingly does not seem over upset of the death. But interestly, she shows up dead the next day. Lots of sexual intrigue in this book, too.
My rating: these are must read books

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eighth Cozy

Title of the book: Dark Alley by Evan Marshall
Cozy series: #3 in the Hidden Manhattan mysteries
What caught my attention: I started out with this author with his Jane Stuart series but when it appeared he was done with that, I picked up on this one.
I got this book through ILL with my library
Tidbit of Information: Mews is a street, usually private, lined with buildings that were originally stables but have been renovated as dwellings - apartments, condos, co-ops and townhouse - similar to courtyards.
Great paragraph from the book: A trash artist is heard to say: "I take what the world doesn't want and turn them into things of beauty...Most of the things we throw away should be used for something else. This would be a far more beautiful world if we did."
My take on the book: Our heroine of the story, Anna Winthrop, is a rich deb who decides that she is more interested in garbage than money. So she works her way up the ladder to become a NY Sanitation Supervisor. With her cop boyfriend, Santos, she solves this mystery of the death of one of her sanitation workers - in a mews. But he is only the beginning. Every time they turn around another body turns up in a mews or a courtyard. And they all feel something is significant with that. Lots of side stories kept the action going. I will continue to catch these books. Learn a lot about inner NY workings from these books.
My rating on this book: A should read. Next book City in Shadow Oct 2010

Seventh Cozy

Title of the book: Wicked Craving by G A McKevett
Cozy series: okay technically not a cozy but... #15 in the Savannah Reid, Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency
What caught my attention: Another series I read faithfully. Savannah is saucy.
Checked out the public library
Great paragraph: (I actually have 2 quotes from the book that made me laugh) Dr Lui, the medical examiner, says at one point at a crime scene: "I can find one stray blond hair on a brunette victim or a single carpet fiber and match it to a killer's car trunk. I think I can find a dead woman on a beach."
And Savannah is heard to say: " The only way to lose a bunch of unwanted excess weight without starving to death is to get a divorce. And even then that takes six months here in California."
Tidbit of Information from the book: This series is based in San Carmelita, CA, home to one of 21 missions that had been built along the Pacific Coast by Franciscan friars, two hundred years ago, of adobe walls that have withstood earthquakes, fires and even a tidal wave.
My take on the book: I love the curvaceous detective and her eclectic crew. And in this one, her Granny comes to visit and helps. Which is a hoot. The wife of a diet therapist, who claims you could diet just listening to his tapes, turns up dead at the bottom of a cliff. All does not seem what it seems here and there are no shortage of suspects. Including allot of the doctor's patients who have been seduced. And we have the usual sexual tension between Savannah and Dirk, which we all wish gets satisfied soon. At least Granny hopes so. I will continue to gobble these up as they come along.
My rating: A should read

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sixth Cozy

Title of the book: Unzipped by Lois Greiman
Cozy Type: Ex-Bartender/Shrink/Crimes Solver Mystery (My words)
What caught my eye about this book: Found out Lois Greiman was from North Dakota and the book synopsis sounded like a hoot.
I checked it out from my public library
Tidbit learned from the book: (Okay it is a little dumb but I had never thought about it before). Sweating like a pig is a misnomer because apparently pigs don't sweat.
Great paragraph from the book: (at the beginning of every chapter are clever little one-liners quoted by different characters in the book.) Here are a few:
Some people are street-smart, some people are book-smart but most people are just dumber than dirt.
There are none so troubled as one who thinks himself perfectly sane.
Chocolate may be cheaper than a psychologist but the latter doesn't generally adhere to you ass for the rest of your natural life.
Today's problems are yesterday's mistakes come back to bite you in the ass.
What I thought about the book: Chrissy McMullen, was we assume putting herself through college as a cocktail waitress/bartender and has now worked her way from Chicago to LA to start her psychotherapy business. One of her patients was a bad boy football star who has come to her for counseling supposedly for impotency. Apparently not the case when he dies in her office with a hard on sticking out of his pants. The police suspect her of the crime, of course, and she decides she needs to clear herself as a suspect. So off she goes to interview people who knew him, with the police detective, Rivera, not far behind. The relationship between two runs hot and cold as she constantly slaughters his name. Humorous, and of course they are interested in each other in the end. I am kind of iffy on whether to read more.
My rating: It was a good read.

Fifth Cozy

Title of the book: Holly Blues by Susan Wittig Albert
Cozy type: by my calculations Book #18 in the China Bayles Herb Mysteries
Why I am reading this book: I have loved, loved, loved all the others and have to read this one
Had to send away to another library in the area to read it - I love Interlibrary Loan people!!!
Tidbit of info: Every one of Susan's books has great info about the herb the book represents. In this case holly. I had no idea holly was considered so magical. It has been said if holly is planted near a house that it is suppose to defend it from lightning and witchcraft. But in the same sense, holly sprigs have also been exchanged as tokens of friendship, offering a sincere wish that the recipient might enjoy a season free of bothersome bolts from the blue. Lots more can be learned at the beginning of every chapter in the book.
Great Paragraph: (Too many to choose from but I picked one that is also a wealth of info) ...I cam back and waited on two customers of my own (after being in Ruby's shop next door), which took a little time, because they wanted to find out about natural dyes, a fairly complex subject. I discouraged them from buying dried herbs, since from my experience, it's much better to work with fresh material you can grow or gather. I also suggested that if they wanted to try some easy vegetable dyes, they might experiment with onion skins and tea leaves for beige, coffee grounds for brown, red cabbage leaves for blue and purple, carrot tops and spinach leaves for green. Oh, and turmeric, a spice that makes a vibrant orange.
My take on the book: China Bayles runs a herb store, partners in a tea room, catering and a gourmet personal chef business in Pecan Springs, TX, plus she has a quaint little cottage in the back, amongst her herb gardens, that she rents out. One partner and best friend is Ruby who has a New Age store right next door to China. In this book, China's husbands' ex, and mother of his son, comes calling around Christmas time because she is supposedly in trouble. But what kind of trouble is not fully recognized until close friends and relatives start getting bumped off. Even though you are pretty sure through the book who the bad guy is, it is another great read.
My rating: All her books are must reads. Next one is Mourning Gloria (April 2011),,,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fourth Cozy

Title: Dead Air by Mary Kennedy
Cozy Type: A Talk Radio Mystery #1
Checked out of the public library
Why I picked this book: I actually thought the catch phrase on the front cover is what hooked me. "How's she going to talk her way out of this one?"
Tidbit of Info from this book: There were a few interesting ones that I would have liked to include but the one that I thought was amusing even if it may not be true. She writes: It is a standing joke in Hollywood that whenever actors want to beef up their resume, they use Matlock as a credit because they figure no one will ever check.
Great paragraph: (Okay a long one but cute). Pugsley( her pug dog) guided us through the last stretch of the evening's walk, and we headed for home after he enjoyed a long, leisurely sniff at a neighbor's bougainvillea bush. A dog behaviorist appeared on my radio show last month, and he explained that a dog sniffs a bush or tree the way you and I read the newspaper. It's endlessly fascinating to him. Who would think so much drama could be found on the base of a tree trunk or a lamppost? Love, hate, revenge, betrayal, all the makings of a Shakespearean play sitting withing sniffing distance of Pugsley's shiny black nose.
It's his way of scoping out the local news. Who's been on his home turf? Are they fearful? Friendly? Aggressive? Apparently dogs can tell all this from one sniff. .."Remember, it's only a walk around the block to you, but it's the highlight of your dog's day."
What I thought of the book: Maggie Walsh is a recent transplant from New York to sunny Cypress Grove, Fla. And she is the host of a radio talk show called On the Couch with Maggie Walsh, after being a psychologist in NY. She decides to have a New Age prophet on the show, Guru Sanjay Gingli, and soon realizes that he is a con artist. And apparently in more ways than one. That night after the show, he turns up dead. And her roommate was in the area when it happened. Maggie, with the help of her actress mom Lola, decides they need to prove that there are many people who had gotten cheated by the Guru in the span of his life and they all had motive to murder, as far as Maggie is concerned. The anecdotes about her mother's acting career are amusing and the story quite entertaining. Unfortunately, Maggie ends up with the hots for the police detective in the end.
My rating: Should read and will read future ones. Reel Murder in June 2010

Third Cozy

Title: Chill Before Serving by Cynthia Lawrence
Cozy Type: States a Mystery for Food Lovers
Checked out from public library
What grabbed my attention in this book is of course the cozy type and the wine bottle on the label
Great paragraph: I actually hate to say it but there weren't any that jumped out at me.
Little Tidbit of info: Vitamins and herbal remedies aren't considered drugs so they are not regulated by the FDA but yet if taken in large doses, they can have severe effects on you and can react to medicines you are taking.
What I thought of the book: Catherine Deean works as a caterer in the restaurant business, with her partner Nick in LA. Cat and Nick recently hired a new chef that comes with baggage. Mainly he has been accused of murder. But it soon becomes evident that the past murder and the ones that happen later are not directed at the chef but something else. And that is what Cat tries to prove. In this cozy, she becomes involved with the newspaper journalist, who she has known for a long time. Someone different for a change.
My rating: It was a good read.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Second Cozy

Title: Raining Cats and Dogs by Blaize Clement
Cozy type: Dixie Hemingway Pet Sitter Series #5
Checked out from the public library
One of many great paragraphs from the book: (I kind of related to this paragraph and that is why I picked it) I was the only woman in the entire world who didn't have a list of friends she could call for an impromptu dinner. The only woman in the entire world who couldn't drop in a good friend and eat with chop sticks from cute little take out boxes like people on TV do. The only woman in the entire world who couldn't pick up spur-of-the-moment deli stuff to share with a close friend. Clever finger foods. Stuffed grape leaves. Delish spring rolls. At least cheese fries. It was flat depressing.
Interesting little tidbit from the book but I had many to choose from: A bloom of microscopic algae, red tide's technical name is Karenia Brevis,but by any name, it's nasty stuff that causes respiratory irritation and watery eyes for people and pets.My thoughts on the book: Dixie is a former cop, a result of her husband and daughter being killed, is now is a petsitter. While she solves mysteries. In this one, her supposed best friend's husband gets kidnapped and Maureen, her best friend, just wants to pay the ransom and get her husband back. She convinces Dixie to make the drop. But things don't end up so well. On top of that, she is tending her pets through fascinating problems and meets a young girl at the vet who catches her eye and a neighbor lady's. The young girl volunteers to help the neighbor with training a guide dog and ends up disappearing. And of course we have the ongoing relationship Dixie has with a homicide cop. It was a very enjoyable read and I am still a big fan of these books.
My Rating: Should read

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

First Cozy

Title: Cook the Books by Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant
Cozy series: #5 in the Gourmet Girl
Checked out from public library.
Great paragraph: I checked another blog that I was nuts about, Chef's Widow, where the CW (as she refers to herself and to other women involved with rarely seen chefs) chronicles life with her chef and their two children. She's posted great videos of her kids and pictures of her few-and-far-between dates with her husband and she wrote honest, raw, sometimes painful accounts of her life.
Tidbit of info: The previous paragraph is from the book and real. The website is
About the book: Chloe's boyfriend, Josh, has left his chef position, when his restaurant closes, and decides to move to Hawaii to be a personal chef. Chloe is beside herself as she feels she cannot follow him and he won't stay for her. So she finally moves on with her life and answers a ad on Craigslist for a asst writer for a cookbook. She gets an immediate call after submitting her resume and gets hired. Her job is to take all the misc scraps of info and manage to put a book together for the son of a famous chef. A whole lot of pressure going on there. Death comes when she is asks to find certain recipes, from her ex-boyfriend of all people. But when she finds out how to get them from his friend, he turns up dead in a mysterious fire. And then the same thing almost happens to her best friend, she realizes she has to solve the case. Good unexpected ending and with good vibes for the future books.
My rating: Should read
Side note: Recipe for Baked Tomato Nests in the back of the book sounded really yummy.

Better than Twilight

So here is the last book from April before I launch the cozy month of May. Catchy, heh. Talking about the title, this had the ring of Twilight in it but it is not about vampires. Even better.
Title of the book: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
Checked it out of my library.
What caught my attention about the book: YA Twilight-like book featuring a new kid in town, who appears different, and the referring to past and present, down south.
Great paragraph from the book: (The two main characters go to the library to research)
The library itself was beautiful. I had spent so many hours in it as a kid. I'd inherited my mother's belief that a library was sort of a temple....this particular library was one the few buildings that had survived Sherman's March and the Great Burning...It smelled like again wood, creosote, plastic book covers and old paper. Old paper, which my mom used to say was the smell of time itself.
Tidbit if info: (There were actually a lot of tidbits to choose from) Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR, is where you have to prove you were related to an actual patriot from the American revolution to be eligible for membership. Sisters of the Confederacy, lesser cousin of the DAR, you have to prove your southern Civil War roots.
About the book: Lena has moved to Gaitlin, SC, to stay with her eccentric uncle at Ravenwood, after her parents die. Ravenwood has sort of a scary past and has been around as one of the founding families of town. Ethan senses her discomfort and befriends her as if fate. What is interesting is the unraveling of the power of Lena and her coming into her being "claimed" on her 16Th birthday as a Dark or Light Caster, like a witch. Ethan comes along for this eye opening experience and falls for Lena hard. Good story of good versus evil with some school bullying thrown in. This story was much move believable in relation to Twilight in that sense.
Rating: It is most definitely a must read. Loved it!



Next book out Oct 2010: Beautiful Darkness