Mystereity

And of course I have to say a big thank you to all my BL friends for all your love, help and support.  Without you, this horrible process wouldn't been a lot more difficult to bear.   Thank you!

 

The post in which I gloat

Days since last cigarette: 14

 

Days since Chantix: 5

 

Number of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies consumed: 8 9 9.5

 

Pounds gained: 6

 

 

# of Household objects called "pig faced motherfucker":  2957

 

 

 

Review
4 Stars
Review: When the Grits Hit the Fan (Country Store #3)
When the Grits Hit the Fan - Maddie Day

 Buried in the depths of winter in southern Indiana,  it's been months since diner owner Robbie Jordan has found herself in the middle of a murder.  All of that changes when she finds a local professor dead, frozen beneath the ice in the middle of Crooked Lake.  When Robbie's friend Lou falls under suspicion, Robbie can't help but investigate.  With a town full of people who hated the victim, several suspects who have seemingly airtight alibis, puzzling objects found in the walls during remodeling and a hidden tunnel under Robbie's diner than someone keeps breaking in to, Robbie's sleuthing skills are put to the test. Can she find a killer with a perfect recipe for murder?

 

Out of the three books in this series, this one is my favorite. The series has finally hit its stride, showcasing the flavor of southern Indiana with a picturesque setting, colorful characters and an absorbing plot that pulls you right into the wonderful world of South Lick. Picture it: the snow gently falling on the rolling hills, the small town diner serving delicious food with a heaping side of gossip, and the warmth of friends and family - it's all so inviting that it's easy to get comfortable. And that's what I like most about cozy mysteries, how comfortable you are sinking into them, and the Country Store series is an excellent example; it's a great place to spend a few hours, even if there is a murderer on the loose. Throw in a victim that you love to hate (let's face it, it's always satisfying when a thoroughly disagreeable character is the victim, isn't it?) and no shortage of suspects, each with their own good motive for murder, plus hidden tunnels, puzzling objects found in the walls during remodeling and an action packed ending and you have the perfect recipe for a great cozy mystery.

Day 5

My last cigarette was Monday afternoon.  Here's how I've spent my week

 

"Book Bloggers are Real Readers" WTF?

So I've had a flood of this "Book Bloggers are Real Readers" crap all over the place.  Can someone explain why this is suddenly an issue?  Has the internet run out of irrelevant things to be offended by?

 

From what it sounds like, one person on one group said something about how she was quitting because the people in the group weren't real readers.  From there, everyone on the internet blew it up into some kind of terrorist attack on anyone who reviews books on a blog. Who is doing the attacking? More importantly, why should I care?  

 

 

Is there something I missed? 

Happy Release Day to The Swap

The Swap by Nancy Boyarsky has finally been released, I read the advance copy last year and loved it.  I've been impatiently awaiting the release date ever since, and now everyone can enjoy it!

 

The author, Nancy Boyarsky, has done a wonderful little Q&A, don't miss it!  And to celebrate the release , I've got an autographed copy to give away to one lucky winner (US residents only) and details can be found at the bottom of the page. Contest is open from February 7, 2017 until February 21, 2017. Enter to win today!

 

 

My review:

When Brad Graves is transferred to London temporarily, wife Nicole comes along in an attempt to save her failing marriage. After arranging a house swap with the Lowrys, Nicole and Brad settle in at their temporary home. Soon after, strange things happen and Nicole begins to feel like her life is in danger. After reporting several terrifying incidents to the police, who are sympathetic but disbelieving, and when the Lowrys don’t show up at her LA condo, Nicole begins to investigate on her own and finds herself being drawn deeper and deeper into trouble.

 

The Swap is the debut novel by the author and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I sat down to read it. Once I started it, it was hard to put it down! I read about half of this one evening and then couldn’t sleep all night because I was so busy thinking about what was going to happen. I loved the premise of a house swap gone wrong, and there was a mystery on almost every page. Who can Nicole trust? Who is behind the attacks and what do they want? What happened to the Lowrys? And the one question that wasn’t answered, who broke in to her condo in L.A.?

 

See the rest of my review, an author Q&A and a GIVEAWAY! all at my blog Mystereity Reviews

 

Giveaway is open to US residents only

Winner will be chosen at random

Contest is open from February 7, 2017 to February 21, 2017

No purchase necessary give-away

*scratches head*

Found a book in a series I read last year that I don't show as read and I can't find that I've ever written a review. I know I read it, but apparently never reviewed it.   Not sure how that happened.  It must've been during October, when I posted something like 28 reviews.  Hmm.

 

The post in which I whine

 

 

Day 15 of Chantix.  Haven't totally quit smoking, but I'm  down to a few puffs here and there each day, so around 1 cigarette a day.   Which is good, I'm proud of myself.

 

Every morning when I wake up, I try to come up with a list of things to do to keep my mind off smoking. I've played hours of Sims3.  Spent 4 hours killing off Sims by making them tour the mausoleum, thus scaring them to death.  But it kept me from smoking one afternoon!  Another day, I spent 5 hours making an alphabetized table of contents for my reviews on my blog.  No one will ever look at it, and I'll never use it, but that's 5 hours I didn't smoke.  Yay!

 

 

Unfortunately, I am  irrationally irritated at everything.  The list of things I've been calling asshole motherfucker grows with each passing minute.  So far, my hairdryer, my couch, m6y pillow, my vacuum cleaner, a shopping cart at Walmart, my computer keybpard (god dammit you asshole mother fucking keyboard) my shower, my sliding glass door, and my TV have born the brunt of my restless rage.  I hope they'll forgive me. 

 

So, that's the state of the union in my little universe.  Hope all of your days are going better than mine!

Review
5 Stars
Juggling Kittens - Matt Coleman

Spencer wasn’t the type of kid who would have teachers lined up asking about im. He was a weird, effeminate kid who made bad grades and rarely paid attention. He had blonde highlights and wore vests with fur. But he also wore a typically blank expression and once got a pen cap stuck between his front two teeth. This particular cocktail of traits made him a target for bullies but invisible to anyone who might defend him. And that anyone was me. He was invisible until he disappeared and then suddenly he was all I could see. Plastered across my mind like a million missing flyers no one would ever hang.

 

Set in small town Ruddy Creek, Arkansas just after 9/11 Ellis Mazer is newly hired to teach English to bored 7th graders at a small public school in Arkansas. After one of his students, a poor and friendless boy named Spencer, stops coming to school, Ellis tries to contact him at his home and discovers that no one knows where he is. Coming on the heels of the disappearance of a young girl, a disappearance Spencer’s father is implicated in, Ellis becomes concerned and worried and begins to search for Spencer, determined not to let him slip through the cracks.

 

When I saw the title Juggling Kittens, I was intrigued. When I read the first chapter, I was hooked! I loved the easy writing style, the suspenseful plot and the quick pace, all blended together to create an starkly realistic tale from a great new voice in the crime fiction genre.

 

This was one of those plots that will stick with me for awhile,  revolving around the disappearance of two children in rural Arkansas and one teacher’s quest for the truth.  It touches on that primal fear that everyone has, the horror of children in danger.  Fueled by that primal fear and that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when faced with all the possibilities, you can’t help but race through the book to find out what happens next.   The colorful characters really brought the story alive, creating a true to life world that could be anywhere in America. Along with the excellent plot, the story blends social commentary about America right after 9/11, from the atmosphere of worry and fear to the educational system to the often bleak existence of life in rural Arkansas. As the story unwinds, you see Ellis change from idealistic to disillusioned as he confronts several new realities.

 

I have to say, at first, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the point. Just like in the real world, life ain’t fair in Ruddy Creek. You have to take it as it comes.

 

Intense, darkly funny and unforgettable, Juggling Kittens is an exceptional debut mystery and Matt Coleman is an author to watch. Recommended!

 

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book, in  exchange for my honest review.

Review
4 Stars
Third Time's a Crime (A Love or Money Mystery) - Diana Orgain

See this and all of my reviews at Mystereity Reviews

Third Time's a crime is reality TV in book form! Except in Cold Case at the Castle, the drama wasn't scripted! Set at an old mansion that had operated as a boys home many years in the past, ex-cop Georgia and the nine other contestants are tasked with solving the murder of a girl who disappeared decades ago, to solve the mystery first. But when an employee at the castle is found dead, and another contestant is murdered after he was voted off the show, Georgia knows all the murders are tied together and the killer is still very close to the scene. Can she find a cold blooded killer at the Castle before she's the next victim?

This was recommended to me by a friend, who sent me a copy of the book. (Thanks, Joann!) This was the first book I've read in the Love or Money series, and I really enjoyed it. I don't care for reality shows, so I skipped over a lot of the backstabbing/partnering/cheating sort of reality tv shtick. But at the heart of it, this was an excellent plot, lots of action and suspense with plenty of misdirections and a hint of is-it-or-isn't-it-paranormal to keep you guessing. The satisfying ending tied everything up nicely, and although the book can be read as a standalone, it will definitely suck you right into the series.

I loved the crumbling old mansion setting, very well described and so vivid I felt like it was real. I eagerly followed along as the contestants combed the mansion and gardens, and I love the dumbwaiter scene (I've always wanted to do that!) Combined with the animated characters (especially Bert!) the entire story was dimensional, exciting and totally engrossing.

Overall, Third Time's a Crime is an excellent mystery, and can be read as a standalone or even an entry into the series. I definitely recommend it for cozy mystery and reality tv fans.

How come the whole issue of all the contestants who tried to cheat by looking at the results in Cheryl's office was dropped without another word? Georgia even mentioned it when she was voted off, but literally nothing ever came of it, despite them being caught on film. And don't get me started about the DNA kit.

(show spoiler)
RANT

I'm trying to quit smoking.  I'm on Day 7 of Chantix and it's just started kicking in and now I'm afraid to write reviews because I'm getting irrationally aggravated by the slightest TSTL/Annoying Trope. 

 

This really sucks.  It better be worth it to quit.  I mean, besides the not able to breathe part, I was perfectly happy to puff away.   Now I'm all like:

 

 

If anyone needs me, I'll be hiding under the bed and bitching at the dust bunnies.

Review
4 Stars
Dead Wrong
DEAD WRONG a gripping detective thriller full of suspense - HELEN H. DURRANT

At Hobfield, a troubled housing estate in northern England, a bag of severed fingers are found in a bag on the playground. Soon after, the butchered remains of two bodies are found in a field next to Hobfield. DI Calladine and partner DS Ruth Bayless are put in charge of the investigation. With few clues, reticent residents and a brutal killer on the loose, Calladine and Bayless rush to track down the killer before more bodies are found.

 

I’ve read the later books in this series, and grabbed this one to see how it all began and right from the grisly first chapter you’re thrust into the action. A killer appears to be “taking out the trash” one thug at a time at the run-down housing estate notorious for drugs and desperate people. Calladine’s gut instinct tells him there’s more to this than just someone trying to get rid of the bad apples, and slowly reveals the back story to the killer’s motives. It made for a riveting plot and I loved the plot twist at the end and the action-packed conclusion was definitely one of those can’t-read-fast-enough endings.

 

In addition to the fast paced plot, the characters are realistic and interesting. Calladine, a fine detective grapples with his inability to commit to his relationships and the care of his mother, in a nursing home due to advanced dementia. He is, of course, overwhelmed by everything on his plate, and DS Bayliss does a great job as a sidekick to keep him on an even keel.

 

Overall, Dead Wrong is a grisly, gripping and unflinching crime thriller and a great start to the Calladine & Bayliss series. I definitely recommend it to Brit Crime fans, or anyone who enjoys a good police procedural.

Review
4 Stars
Catnip
Catnip (Dunbarton Mysteries Book 1) - Valerie Tate

What can go wrong when an elderly matriarch leaves the family fortune to her cat? Just about everything, including ‘catnapping’ and murder!

 

CATNIP is a mystery set in the picturesque town of Dunbarton, Ontario, and tells the story of what befalls the dysfunctional Dunbar family, and the chaos that ensues, when the matriarch of the clan leaves the family fortune to her cat.

 

That formidable feline proves to be more than a match for the humans in his life, until one fateful night when, caught unawares, he is stuffed in a sack and carried away.

 

A nosy neighbor with a nasty, suspicious mind points the finger of suspicion at the Dunbars and Christopher Mallory, the young attorney who is the trustee of the estate, and under the terms of the will, they face losing everything.

 

When a murder occurs, Christopher finds himself confronting a ruthless killer who would do anything to conceal his or her identity, including to kill again.-Via Goodreads

 

I’ve read the third book in this series, so I picked up Catnip to see how the series started, and I wasn’t disappointed. I liked that there was two separate mysteries combined in one plot, the catnapping of Marmalade and a murder. The first part of the book was concerned with setting the scene, introducing the characters, and laying the foundation of the plot, and then the lead-up to the catnapping had me on pins and needles, sure the dastardly event would happen on the next page. I thought it was a pretty effective way to really grab hold of a reader! Although the ending was a tiny bit implausible, it was exciting and satisfying and tied everything up nicely.

 

Note: No animals are harmed in this story

 

I have to say; at the beginning of the book the Dunbars were a petulant and shallow bunch, but the author did a great job redeeming them. I liked that they gained a lot of dimension by the end of the story, evolving into realistic and likable group that you want to visit again and again. Marmalade is the true star of the show, of course. He’s definitely star material!

 

Overall, this is a delightful and well written cozy mystery debut, and I definitely recommend it for fans looking to get wrapped up in a new world.

Review
4 Stars
Death at the Dog
Death at the Dog - Joanna Cannan

How can a man be murdered in a room full of people, with no one witnessing the act?

 

It’s evening at the lounge of the local pub and squire Matthew Scaife is ensconced in his usual seat, nodding off after a few pints. One by one, the regulars show up, a few local couples, including Scaife’s sons, Edward and Mark and author Crescy Hardwick, who is bitter over being thrown out of her cottage by Scaife. At the end of the evening, Edward goes to wake Scaife and realizes he’s dead and a local doctor called in to attend insists on an autopsy. When evidence of murder is found, Scotland Yard is called in and Inspector Guy Northeast arrives to investigate. All the circumstantial evidence points to Crescy, who was heard to threaten Scaife’s life but despite motive and means, no opportunity can be found. Did Crescy kill Scaife? If not, who did?

 

Death at the Dog is the second British Library Classic I’ve read in the last few weeks, and a classic mystery, a man killed in a room full of people and no one witnessed the murder. This was one of those plots where you know how it’s done, even before the detective realizes it, but you’re completely in the dark about whodunit and why and the surprise ending was very entertaining.

 

I enjoyed the portrayal of life in wartime Britain as it happened; not just the war effort and its toll on the citizens but also the mundanity of life in wartime, from blackout shutters to petrol shortages to the village’s upheaval from refugees fleeing the London bombings. It’s an authentic snapshot of life in rural war-torn England. The colorful cast of characters really helped bring the story to life.

 

Death at the Dog is a superb vintage mystery from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Fans of Agatha Christie or Josephine Tey will appreciate and enjoy this well written mystery, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys a well crafted mystery.

 

Thank you to Endeavour Press and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in return for my honest review

 

 

Review
3.5 Stars
Dead to Begin With
Dead to Begin With (A Country Gift Shop Cozy Mystery series, Book 1) - Vivian Conroy

See this and all of my reviews at Mystereity Reviews

3.5 stars

A good start to a new series, and while it started off slow, I'm glad I stuck with it. Once the story got going, it was hard to put down and by the time I wound my way up to the exciting ending, I was hooked. The plot blended an old disappearance with a new murder, and the many plot twists kept me on my toes, there were so many suspects that were more suspicious than the actual culprit. I admit, I didn't know who the killer was until a few pages before Vicky figured it all out, but the clues were all there. Well done!

The cute setting of Glen Cove sounds like the sort of quaint New England small town familiar to anyone who has ever watched Murder, She Wrote. In fact, I kept waiting for Jessica Fletcher to ride down the street on her bike! The colorful cast of characters added a lot of charm to the story, especially Cash. I thought his character evolved the most during the story, and that gave him more dimension than the other characters.

I have say, the one thing that brought down my enjoyment of the book was Vicky's mom, Claire. The plot and the characters added enough drama to keep the book interesting without the unnecessary distraction of a harping mother. She just didn't add any value to the story for me.

Overall, Dead to Begin With is a charming, entertaining and absorbing cozy mystery and a great start to a new series. I'll definitely keep this on my list of series to watch, and I recommend it for cozy mystery fans, who will find a lot to like.

Dreams

I woke up this morning out of a dream and realized something; all of my dreams are mysteries.  No, I don't mean the mystical symbolism of my dreams is hard to interpret (it's not)  but my dreams are like the mysteries I read.  There's always some element of intrigue or suspense, even though my dreams are pretty mundane.  Whether I'm frantically searching for my shoes (dreamed that last week, I was even sleuthing) or just having a conversation with someone and expecting a confession of some sort, it appears my reading habits are affect my dreams.


Anyone else dream in the genre of books they read?