Do or Diner & Fat Cat at Large

  I finished these two cozies in the last couple days.

Do or Diner was this month’s group read at the Cozy Mystery Corner on Goodreads.  I had seen this before but hadn’t picked it up to read or even put it on my TBR list.  I am really glad it was a book club read because I enjoyed reading it, so much so that I already purchased the second book in the series.

The protagonist has purchased a family business that includes a diner as it’s mainstay.  The rest of the business is focused on summer holiday cottages.  The diner specializes in old fashioned type comfort food that sounds delicious.  The protagonist, Trixie becomes embroiled in the murder because it happens in the kitchen of her diner and threatens the reputation of the diner.  Trixie is not convinced that the local police, who include a possible love interest cowboy cop, are investigating quickly enough to save her business or with enough zeal to clear her name.  An interesting selection of supporting characters, including diner kitchen and wait staff and a mayor who comes across as a sleazeball.

Well done cozy mystery with a very comforting feel, it reminded me of Connie Archer’s Soup Shop mystery series which I also love.

Fat Cat at Large was a book I read about online and was waiting to be released.  My local indie bookshop just got it in and let me know so I picked it up on my last trip over there.  There is a lot to like about this book, Quincy, the fat cat, is an obvious plus, the theme, a bar cookie bakery, and even the setting of Minneapolis, with the cozy bakeshop and Chase’s apartment above it.

I also liked the realism shown through the tension between the business partners, Chase and Anna.  Often cozies feature best friends, or relatives as business partners in small businesses and show none of the tension or issues that can and usually do arise in those circumstances.  As a former accountant, I can tell you that as much as you love someone, going into business with them can often sound the death knell on the relationship.

I did enjoy reading this but I feel that it needed to be tightened up a little editing wise and some of the dialogue needs tweaking.  It seemed a little off at times.  This is the first in the series so I will look forward to the next one to see how it develops.

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Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

I read this for my One Drink Minimum Book Club.  I would not have picked this on my own to read but I am so glad that I did.  North Korea is in the news a great deal, but I will admit to being pretty ignorant about it other than in broad generalities.  Barbara Demick painstakingly reveals the horrors of life in North Korea through interviews with people who escaped to the south.  The book is extremely well written and detailed in descriptions.  I will say that it is not a light or uplifting read.  At points, it is unbelievably depressing.  Reading about what the escapees and indeed most citizens of North Korea endure makes it hard to believe that it is real.  You almost get the sense you are reading some dystopian novel.  The casual treatment of family members dying of starvation and illness, a kindergarten class whittling down from 50 to 15 due to starvation and disease, and a mother saying at one point “everyone who was going to die already had” and then you remind yourself this is real, happening now, in your lifetime and that  realization is like a slap in the face.

Highly recommended for readers of non-fiction, people interested in events occurring in Korea, and even people who read dystopian literature.