The Evil Beneath by AJ Waines & Charmed to Death by Shirley Damsgaard

I read both of these last night from my Kindle.

The Evil Beneath is a book club choice this month for the Kindle English Mystery Club at Goodreads.  Well done mystery plot with an interesting protagonist,  Juliet Grey, a therapist who becomes embroiled in a series of murders.  A small hint of romance is included in the plot, but nothing distracting.

The mystery plot had many twists and turns and false leads.  Juliet’s past is threaded throughout and an old mystery is solved along with the new.  I figured out one part of the reveal, but not the whole thing and I was way off base with another part so the red herrings certainly did their job, at least for me.

I enjoy mysteries with interesting settings or places I have been, so London and the Thames and the various bridges made this a good read for me.  The setting is an integral part of the mystery and I did like that about this book. Relatively quick, enjoyable mystery but hard to classify it exactly, perhaps soft boiled, although there is quite a bit of police involvement and procedure.

I would read another from this author given the opportunity.

Charmed to Death is the second book in a cozy mystery series.  I found the 1st, 3rd & 4th books at my local indie book shop, but couldn’t get a hold of the second, so I ordered it on my Kindle….must read in order syndrome.  I am not a big reader of paranormal cozies..but I seem to keep saying that lately so maybe I am reading more of them than I think.  Anyway, I enjoy this one and will continue reading it.  I like the combination of realistic and paranormal elements.  The characters Ophelia and Abby are charming and the cast of characters adds plenty of local color.

The mystery was interesting and well paced.  Ophelia is growing as a character, in her relationships and in her craft. I am interested to see where this series will go in the subsequent books.

 

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Breathless by Louise Marley & A Canterbury Crime by Brian Kavanagh

Couldn’t sleep last night and decided to pull a few more books off of my Kindle.  The first was Breathless by Louise Marley.  There was a lot to like about this, a strong, interesting lead character, well built back story and setting. The plot involving Greg, Will, Zac and Drew ticks along at a nice pace.  I found a couple of the characters actions and reactions off putting or odd.  On the whole, a fun, quick romance with a dash of mystery thrown in to the mix.

 This book is 4th in a series and I did not read 1 through 3, so I hesitate to review because perhaps my thoughts are influenced by that fact.

I found the murder mystery plot interesting, especially the connections to the past and the archaeology aspects that were involved.  Other than that, I really didn’t connect to the characters and found some of parts a little heavy handed.  Perhaps I would have gotten more out of it, if I read the series in order.

Reading This Week

I have looked at this series several times and finally decided to try it on my Kindle.  I read lots of mysteries and love cats and wine, so  expected to love this.  The main character is a young widow who is a relative stranger in the small town she lives in, people know of her but don’t know her. Her life revolves around her three cats and her quilting business and the mystery begins with one of her cats, an Abyssinian, named Syrah, being catnapped.  The other two, Merlot and Chablis, were apparently the “brains” of the crew and hid from the cat napper.  There is a murder later with a human victim, but make no mistake the cats are the stars of this show.

I found the book to be okay, maybe 2.5 out of 5 stars, but there was not enough there to keep me going back for more in the series. Not when I am interested in so many other series and have so many started.  I didn’t connect with the character, Jill, that well and found a couple of the other characters a little odd, not odd in the cozy mystery, quirky character kind of way, just odd.  I will say I was surprised at the reveal and the mystery was solved satisfactorily.

Also on my Kindle, I had this book:

This is not the cover of my edition, but it was all I  could find. Truth be told I probably wouldn’t have bought the book with this cover :).  Light, fun read with some heartbreak, some romance, and some basic growing up.  The main character, Mary was married young and then her husband has an affair and she has to start over, in the Cotswolds.  I liked it well enough that I would probably try the second in the series given the opportunity.  I found some parts of the plot forced you to suspend your disbelief  quite a bit, but overall an enjoyable chick lit type read.

I received this book by Mariah Stewart as part of a series from a friend.  I hate to say but it went in my DNF pile…I finished it, but with major league skimming to the end, so I don’t think I can say much more other than it was not for me.

 

Finally, the best of the bunch!  I always enjoy Trisha Ashley books and this was no exception to that.  Really lovely, touching, romantic comedy type read.  I loved the main character, Holly Brown (perfect name for a Christmas themed book).  The cooking and food scenes were mouthwatering and the setting was perfect.  The characters were well developed and interesting.  You could clearly understand their motivations and behaviors.  This book definitely put me in the mood for the holidays.  Fans of British women’s fiction, Christmas themed books, and cooking (traditional foods) should all find something to enjoy here.

End of Dewey’s Read-a-thon :(

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  Hour 18 – couldn’t stay awake
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?   No, particular titles, just  I would suggest a variety of genres, authors, and format.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  No, everything seemed to work really well.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  Really everything was great, although maybe it was just me but it didn’t seem the twitter presence was as much as previously?  
  5. How many books did you read?  I read 4 books in total.
  6. What were the names of the books you read?  Murder on the Candlelight Tour, Strictly Murder, Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club, Ghost in the Machine
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?  Ghost in the Machine
  8. Which did you enjoy least?  Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  Nope, just a reader 🙂
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  I will participate again as a reader.

My mistake this time was to use the Read-a-thon to try to clean up my Kindle.  First, because many of the books are just impulse buys because they were freebies or very cheap, so not books I was really invested in reading.  Second, reading for that long on my Kindle bothered my eyes.  Third, all my books were mysteries.  Mysteries are my go-to genre, but four in a row (especially when a couple were just ok) was a problem.

Still now I know and I can have a better plan for next time.

Read-a-thon Book 1: Murder on the Candlelight Tour by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter

 

Finished book 1 for Dewey’s Read-a-thon.  This is book 2 in a mystery series that I found when the first book was chosen  by the Cozy Mystery Corner book club on Goodreads.  I was one of the few members who liked the first book in this series.  I found the mystery well done in that book and this one.

Just like in the first book,, I like the main character, her sister and her sidekick.  Her love interest, Nick runs hot and cold, but it made him interesting to me.  Her sister’s boyfriend, Joel was a little too stereotypical Hollywood con man  This book connected several crimes, an old robbery and a couple new murders.  There were lots of clues and red herrings.  The issue with this book, like the first, is that sometimes the dialog is unnatural or stilted and in a couple places, I actually had to go back and reread to understand what I had read.  Still, I think there is enough good about this books, well plotted mystery and interesting characters, to make me want to continue with it.

On to a visit to my local book shop and then back for more reading!

Read-a-thon Prep

Getting excited for Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon this Saturday.  A fun event consisting of blogging, tweeting and reading.  I will probably fit in a visit to my Indie Book Shop as well.

My reading plan is to attempt to clear up my Kindle, but we’ll see… I have some intriguing books piled in my bedroom as well.  On my Kindle I have:

  • A Canterbury Crime by Brian Kavanagh
  • Murder on a Candlelight Tour by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter
  • Why Do Falls Fall In Love by Louise Marley
  • Thursday Morning Breakfast (and murder) Club by Liz Stauffer
  • The Frequency of Murder by John Hogarth
  • My Soul to Keep by Sue McNeill
  • Ghost in the Machine by Ed James
  • In the Blood by Steve Robin
  • A Killing Karma by Geraldine Evans
  • The Dead Lie Down by G.i. Tulloch
  • The Sloan Monroe Series by Cheryl Bradshaw
  • Black is the Colour by Helen Howe
  • The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart

These are all books I have sitting on my Kindle that I keep putting off because the books piled up next to my bed keep jumping the line :).  Although I won’t get to all of them obviously, I hope to at least make a dent.

Snacks are on the agenda for tomorrow…must stock up on finger food and my absolute favorite…Williamson Tea.  My grocery store makes me very sad, they don’t stock it.

Hope everyone else has a fun read-a-thon!