The Tenant & The Midnight Witness

 

My daughter went to BEA and picked up a copy of The Tenant, shown here with the original cover, for free in exchange for a fair review.  She knows I am a fan of Nordic Noir so she immediately passed it to me to review.

The Tenant is the first in a series featuring Jeppe, a recently divorced and depressed, not necessarily in that order, police officer and his team including his frequent partner Anette, who more often than not gets on his nerves. The case they work on in this book is the first case he will be leading coming back from a leave of absence due to injury  his divorce.  A particularly brutal murder of a young woman living in what should have been a safe building.  The building also houses a small cafe business, an older man in another apartment, and the owner, an aspiring author, in yet another unit.  The murder investigations weaves its way through the lives of the people in the building, digging into their pasts, uncovering secrets and connections to the present.  Very good Nordic Noir, I look forward to reading more in this series.

The Midnight Witness by Sara Blaedel is the first in the Louise Rick series.  I really liked Sara Blaedel’s The Undertaker’s Daughter and so looked forward to reading this.  Louise Rick seems to be a realistic portrayal of a police officers life as she gets pulled about by the demands of her job and yet is also a human being with friends, like Camilla, and an ability to be affected by the plight of the victims and their families.  In this case, Louise is pulled in to one case, the murder of a young woman in public park and then into another, the murder of a journalist.   Plenty of red herrings to keep the reader engaged in trying to figure it all out along with Louise and Camilla.  Very good mystery read led by strong female characters.

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Clause & Effect and Crime & Punctuation

 

 

I received a free digital copy of Clause & Effect from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Clause & Effect is book 2 in the A Deadly Edits Mystery Series.  Mikki Lincoln is running a book editing service from her recently purchased home to supplement her retirement income and pay for the upkeep and repairs needed on the new house.  The house is somewhat of a homecoming for her as it is the house she spent her first 17 years in and by buying it and moving back she has managed to reconnect with some high school friends and enemies.    This installment opens with her being pulled into first an edit, then basically a rewrite of a play for the town’s historical society, little does Mikki know that opening up the play written by a missing playwright is going to involve her in another murder.   Interesting small town mystery plot with connections to an older crime, a fun read.  I enjoyed meeting Mikki and the friends she collected around her enough that I picked up the first in the series to read as well.

Crime & Punctuation is the first in the series.  I read this out of order so I already met some of the characters and was able to eliminate them as suspects right away, however I  still enjoyed the read and getting the background on Mikki and her introduction to the town.  In the first in this series, Mikki is trying to get her editing business off the ground and is happy to sign a local client, happy that is until the client ends up dead with Mikki’s business card on her person.  This leads to a murder investigation and finds Mikki tangling with some unsavory characters as she tries to find out what happened to her client.  The current murder has connections to old time gangster murders and there seems to be quite a few possible suspects at large.  Quick cozy read with a fun grammar theme.

The Spotted Dog

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I received a free digital copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

The Spotted Dog is book 7 in the Corinna Chapman series, a series that I loved and in which book 6 was published all the way back in 2011, so I had all but lost hope of ever seeing another book in it.  I was really excited to see this on NetGalley and requested it right away.  Some of the same beloved features of the original books are still there,  Corinna is still her same plus sized, up at four in the morning, positive imaged self.  Still with her dashing romantic interest  and co-investigator, Daniel, and still, working with her young ex-addict assistant and living in her soap opera drama worthy building, which also houses her bakery business.

The comparisons to the original books however end there for me.   There is the introduction of an interesting new character, who is the basis of the mystery, “the spotted dog”, but he is not really fleshed out or given a chance to shine.  The rest of the book is some kind of take off on a Dan Brown-esque Da Vinci code book with other story lines involving confusions between stereotyped ethnic gangster groups.  A disappointing read in an otherwise excellent series.

Molten Mud Murder, Murder by the Minster, & Yoga Through the Year

 

 

I received free digital copies of these titles in exchange for fair reviews from NetGalley.

Molten Mud Murder, despite the alliterative title, is not a cozy mystery, more along the lines of a police procedural.  Alexa is an American Forensic Odontologist with a work visa, who finds herself between jobs in New Zealand.  She becomes attached to a police department investigating a murder involving a man being murdered and dumped in boiling mud.  The case needs to handled with cultural sensitivity as it involves trespasses onto protected Maori lands, the handling of remains, and the thefts of artifacts for the black market.  Alexa has issues of her own from her past but doesn’t allow them to stop her from immersing herself in solving the case.

Very nicely developed sense of place, and in many parts real  feelings of menace are allowed to develop as Alexa investigates or finds herself isolated or working alone.  The character of Alexa is well drawn and the pacing pulls the reader along through the story.  Well done mystery read.  I would think it would especially appeal to fans of  The Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths.   Due to be published September 3rd, 2019 by Poisoned Pen Press.

Murder by Minster is the first in a new series with a librarian protagonist, Kitt Hartley.  Kitt Hartley is confronted at work by DI Halloran with the news that her best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Owen is dead and her best friend is their suspect.  Kitt, armed with nothing more than years of reading mysteries and her experience doing research as a librarian is determined to clear Evie’s name.  There are plenty of red herrings, eccentric side characters, and extra dead bodies to keep the reader guessing up to the end of the story.  A very twisty tales for fans not to concerned about police procedures in their cozies.  To be published 1st of July 2019 by Quercus.

Yoga through the Year raises interesting seasonal based questions for one to ask about one’s yoga practice.  The goal being to ground your practice in each season giving it a timeliness.  Then, particular positions are given to use for that particular season.  For example, Winter to Spring included:

  • Blossoming Hands
  • Flower Arms
  • Albatross Sequence
  • Warrior 2
  • Wide-Leg Standing Forward Bend Pose
  • Lunge Pose
  • Downward-Facing Dog
  • Child’s Pose
  • Bridge Pose
  • Knees to Chest Pose
  • Wide-Leg stretch
  • Blossoming Hands

There is a great deal of description included and the sequencing and number of repetitions.  The book is encouraging the beginnings of a home yoga practice.

I found the questions it raised interesting, I personally have difficulty meditating and think it would be helpful to have questions to perhaps use as guides.  I did find that the fact that the text had no pictures to be a huge problem.  I am in no way a very experienced practitioner and would like to see pictures, even if only line drawings, of the poses I am attempting, rather than just written descriptions.  I would think that most beginning practitioners would expect illustrations of some kind in a guide.  To be published 8th of July 2019 by Llewellyn Publications.

The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams

33632473  This is the first in the Secret, Book & Scone Society Series.  The setting of Miracle Springs hints as some slight magical realism that I have seen in others of Ellery Adams’ works.  The series centers primarily around bookshop owner and bibliophile Nora, but also includes other members of the society June, Estella, and Hester.  The four women each have painful secrets from their past, that have been holding them back from finding peace and friendship in their lives.

I really wanted to like this but I guessed Nora’s secret pretty early on and paired with some of her more judgmental behavior it was pretty unforgivable. The mystery involves real estate investing and fraud and of course murder.  There is a light romantic side plot.  Overall, this did work well for me.

Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard

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I received a free digital copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Anna Gerard is the another name for Ali Brandon, who writes the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries, which I have read and enjoyed in the past so I was interested to see what this series with a completely different theme would be like.

Nina Fleet is a recent divorcee, who seems to have come out of divorce pretty well, at least well enough to buy a large enough house in a small touristy town and turn it into a B and B.   Her first set of guests is a group of nuns who have been ousted from their convent by a property developer.  As Nina settles into running the B & B, she deals with legal entanglements in the form of a man who is disputing her ownership of her new house, and of course to top things off a murder occurs in town throwing everyone into a tizzy.  The positives here are that the mystery is engaging and the nuns are fun and interesting group of characters to add to the mix.

On the other hand, I did find Nina’s correcting everyone that her name is pronounced “9-ah”  constantly really annoying, because it is not spelled that way, especially in the beginning where it occurred every couple pages.  I also found her interactions with Harry Westcott,  the wanna-be actor and heir unrealistic and going against any kind of common sense.  I found it frustrating that she would so obviously act against her own financial/legal  self interest.  Perhaps other readers would be able to overlook this and just enjoy the mystery on its own.

The Modern Cast Iron Cookbook by Tiffany La Forge

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I received a free digital copy of The Modern Cast Iron Cookbook from NetGalley in exchange for  a fair review.

If you like cast iron cooking, this will definitely be a book to expand your horizons.  Usually when you buy device or product type cookbooks, like Cast Iron or slow cooker or rice cooker, etc, it seems like they offer the same classic recipes rehashed over and over, so if you have one you don’t need another.  That is not the case with this truly “modern” cast iron cookbook, this is not reprinting of the classic “Lodge”- type recipes and family classics.  Instead, recipes range from a Green Shakshuka, to Naan bread, to skillet lasagna and Zucchini Tacos with Goat Cheese, there is a great variety in the types of recipes and in the cuisines  that are on offer.  There are varying effort levels in the recipes, some simple 5 ingredient type dishes and others that require a bit more to put together.  This is definitely a versatile Cast Iron cookbook .  A good cookbook for anyone who uses cast iron from the complete newbie to the seasoned pro.