Friday, January 29, 2016

What I Read in September 2015 Part III

What I Read in September 2015 Part III ...

Homicide In Hardcover (Bibliophile Mystery #1) by Kate Carlisle-- cozy mystery

Homicide in Hardcover (A Bibliophile Mystery, #1)
Brooklyn Wainwright, bookbinder, is excited and a bit nervous to attend a private showing of rare books at the Covington Library honoring her long-time mentor and friend Abraham Karatovsky. She's nervous because Abraham hasn't spoken to her in six months, since she started her own business. Abraham seems willing to mend broken bridges and is eager to show her a gorgeous copy of Goethe's Faust he's working on. After Brooklyn mingles, munches and stares down the sexy brooding man staring at her, she heads to the basement to visit Abraham's workshop. She arrives in the basement to discover the book's owners, the wealthy Winslow family arguing and then comes across Abraham lying dying in a pool of his own blood. He has just enough time to whisper a secret to Brooklyn and hand over the book for safe keeping. What the heck just happened? Who would murder Abraham and why? Who were the Winslows arguing about? What was her mother doing mysteriously near the murder scene and does all this have anything to do with the book's reputed curse? Nonsense. Brooklyn doesn't believe in curses and neither does security agent Derek Stone who suspects Brooklyn is the murderer! Brooklyn is determined to find out who killed her mentor and why.

This mystery didn't really grab my attention all that much. I was more interested in the book than the murder. I figured out who probably did it early on though I suspected someone else could have done it. I wasn't surprised at the who but the why was kind of interesting. The mystery got a little too complicated towards the end and the final reveal makes the whole thing sad in a way. The absolute best part of this book is the amazing descriptions. The author either did an insane amount of hands-on research or she has lived it. I especially loved the fictional Covington Library, which I assume from the location, is based on the Huntington Library.

Murder is Binding (A Booktown Mystery #1) by Lorna Barrett-- cozy mystery

Murder is Binding (A Booktown Mystery, #1) Tricia Miles is new to Stoneham, New Hampshire. Like the other store owners on Main Street, she owns a bookshop. Tricia's shop is a mystery themed shop. Her next door neighbor, owner of The Cookery, Doris Gleason is angry with Tricia for declining to participate in collective bargaining with their landlord, Bob Kelly, for lower rents. Tricia tries not to let Doris's mood put her down but then her sister, the oft-married, fun-loving Angelica arrives in town and Tricia's mood plummets. Her day gets worse for when she arrives home after meeting her sister for dinner, she finds The Cookery on fire. Then she stumbles over the dead body of the store's owner, Doris, lying with a kitchen knife in her back. The sheriff suspects Tricia is the murderer and she doesn't seem to be making an effort to find out who really did it. Tricia decides to solve the mystery herself and clear her name. She's read so many mysteries, how hard could it be? Mysteries in real life are more complicated than in novels and she also has to deal with her sister moving to town and trying to carve out time for a social life (other than spending time with her cat Miss Marple).

I just loved the idea of a town with a street full of book stores. If this was a real place I would be on the next bus from Boston. I found the murder mystery very compelling. I did figure out the twist before Trish did but not much before. The reveal was complicated but it seemed realistic. The end was a bit scary and tense.

While I liked the plot, I didn't really love the characters. I wanted to like Trish but I just never warmed up to her. I hated her for using the "r" word to describe Susan. People with sense no longer use that word nor do they use the term "mentally disabled." If I had known Trish had a cat, I probably wouldn't have even read the book. She's good to her employees but not so much her sister. I can sympathize and relate to her feelings about her sister. I like my sister better at a distance. I actually liked Angelica. She seems like she would be annoying at first but I found her sweet. She's trying to be a good sister and making an effort. Tricia isn't all that willing to try. I kind of felt sorry for Angelica.

The villains were totally nasty and crazy. They actually seemed realistic though at least until the confrontation. I felt sad for those who were victims of their crimes. The sheriff is totally stupid and I don't even know why Trish didn't report her to someone higher up! I don't get why Trish put up with the sheriff's letting her personal feelings get in the way of her professionalism. That part was so stupid.

There are 2 potential love interests here. One is a little shady but seems nice. Though I don't think he and Trish are compatible. They have different morals. The other is a bit slick but he seems caring.

I didn't like this book enough to want to read the rest of the series and I would recommend it to people but I won't because of the use of the r word. I know it's only once and a small part of the story but it's offensive and I don't care to read a book by someone who uses that word.  

Allergic to Death (A Gourmet De-Lite Mystery, #1)Allergic to Death 
(A Gourmet De-Lite Mystery #1) by Peg Cochran --cozy mystery

Gigi Fitzgerald, owner and chef of Gigi's Gourmet De-Lite diet meals is starting out in a new town with a new business. She hopes to attract enough business to buy the charming cottage she lives and works in. If all her client cheat on their diets though, she won't get anywhere. After delivering meals to the Woodstone Theater, Gigi accompanies restaurant critic and part-owner of the theater Martha Bernhardt to pick up her meal in Gigi's car. When Martha returns to her own car she discovers her purse stolen. Gigi offers to go with Martha to the police to file a report. Gigi is shocked to see Martha's car swerve, drive off the road and crash head first into a tree. Martha didn't survive. The whole town is shocked. Sure Martha was a nasty person who made a lot of enemies, but her death is still sudden and shocking. The police report blames Marths' peanut allergy for her death. That would mean whatever she last ate caused her to go into shock and that means Gigi is to blame. Gigi knows without a doubt she doesn't ever allow peanuts near her food for that very reason. She knows she didn't kill Martha but rumors are ready to kill her business before she can close a huge deal. There's nothing else for Gigi to do except investigate on her own to clear her name. It won't be easy with Detective Mertz on her trail. Sure he's good looking but he's disconcerting.

I picked this book up because of the cute Westie on the cover. Reg comes into the story about halfway through and only plays a big part in one scene. It was very disappointing. The plot is unmemorable and I could care less who murdered Martha and why. I was certain I knew but then a major clue was dropped and then I knew I was wrong. I figured it out before Gigi, who really should have known from that one clue. The motive was stupid. Why did the person feel the need to murder now? I also could care less about Gigi's love triangle. I'm rooting for Carlo from the Italian restaurant, despite the stereotype. (note to waitstaff : if someone orders coffee the correct question to ask is "Espresso or Americano?" Don't just wander off and get coffee).

The characters are unmemorable and unlikable. I did want Gigi to earn enough money to buy the cottage from the despicable Winston but other than that I thought she was stupid and annoying. I hate diet food and her recipes sounded really gross to me. She's ditzy and does a lot of stupid stuff to find out the truth. Her love triangle is immature and really lame. She adopts a Westie out of the blue and that's it. You can't just go "I'll take him" and bring home a terrier if you're an inexperienced terrier home. Reg exhibits exactly 0 traits that make Westies fun anyway. He might as well be a Poodle or some other kind of boring dog. (Terriers are not dogs. They're some superior species put on earth to rule over dumb two leggers and even more dumb dogs!) I just couldn't muster up any sort of liking for Gigi. All of the other characters were stereotypes and I won't bother to review them. They're not worth mentioning except Sienna is even more dumb than Gigi.

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