Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Better Late Than Never

Title: Better Late Than Never
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Published: November 1st 2016 by Berkley
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystr
Series: Library Lover's Mystery #7

Like the previous book in the Mystery Lover's series, “A Likely Story”, Jenn McKinlay needs to stop using the word “said” (forty six times in the first chapter) every time one of her characters is speaking. Not only is it annoying, is it distracting and downright maddening.

Who knew that holding an amnesty day for overdue books at Briar Creek Library would open a twenty-year-old unsolved murder mystery, but that is exactly what happened. Lindsay Norris, director of the library, once again involves herself when she cannot let sleeping dogs lie and is determined to find who could have possibly returned the book that was last checked out by the murder victim.

Convinced that the murderer must have dropped off the book, Lindsay delves into the decades old mystery to find justice for the much loved high school English teacher Candice Whitely. What she did not realize was how many lives this woman touched and the unsubstantiated rumors that were flying around about her. As the story is revealed, with the meddlesome help of returning character Robbie Vine, Lindsay not only solves the mystery, but also clears a young woman’s name.

There were a couple of good parts to this book, some unexpected humor and a twist or two, unfortunately they were overshadowed by word repetition and the need to hide a budding romance between two unencumbered grown adults.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

May the Best Man Die

Title: May the Best Man Die
Author: Deborah Donnelly
Published: September 30th 2003 by Dell
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Carnegie Kincaid #3

Carnegie Kincaid, a Seattle based wedding planner, is not in the mood for a last minute call to a stag party, but when funds are running low she will do what she needs to do to keep a bridezilla, and her wealthy mother happy, and her business afloat. Ok, that is a play on words since her business in run out of a houseboat when it is not being quarantined over repairs.

You would think that keeping two holiday weddings on track would be the most difficult parts of Carnegie’s life, but you would be wrong. The whole idea of juggling brides, grooms, family members, florists, caterers and a whole flux of details straight pales in comparison to juggling two men and a couple of dead bodies.

It does not help that she is a pseudo witness when she peers through binoculars and sees a fight breakout between two guests, but when one is found in the canal the next morning and the other is the brother of her best friend, things heat up quickly.

Add in a corporate merger that has way too many twisty parts and an ending that seems pulled out of nowhere and you have the third book in the Carnegie Kincaid series. This is an older series that I had started years ago and had forgotten about. There are parts that stand the test of time, but other parts that did not age well. Since this book is the midway point in the series, I will trudge on when I can, but I will not be rushing for the next book.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Killer Party

Title: Killer Party
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Expected Publication: July 18th 2017 by Lyrical Underground
Format: eBook
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: A Tourist Trap Mystery #9

This series is definitely growing on me. I know that most people would not wait until the ninth book in a series to reach this conclusion, but I do believe that this just might be the best book in the series.

South Cove, on the California coast, is a tourist stopping off spot that houses a unique combination of shops and eateries. When she is not serving up coffee or enticing readers with new book releases, Jill Gardener, the owner of Coffee, Books and More, tends to get involved in local murders, which is a touchy point between Jill and her boyfriend, local detective Greg King, since Jill seems to have a better track record when it comes to solving crime.

Levi Walker, tech millionaire and best childhood friend of Greg, is hosting a friend’s weekend at The Castle, a local historical spot in South Cove. After a night of drinking and old wounds opened by the group, a body is found floating in the pool and since Greg is a little too close to this crowd, he asks Jill to do a little sleuthing on the side and get to the bottom of this latest murder.

The book follows one main storyline with a few added bits and parts tossed in along the way. The high school friends are an interesting sort with their own drama, Aunt Jackie is hauling around a five pound binder of wedding plans, Amy and Justin decide on an engagement party, there is a new shop in town, and Jill is trying to offload her responsibilities when it comes to who will represent CBM at the next planning meeting for the upcoming winter festival in South Cove.

There had better be another book in this series since this one ended with a shocking announcement by Aunt Jackie and though Jill wants answers, she is going to pull a Scarlet O’Hara and just deal with it tomorrow. Not sure what Jackie’s announcement is going to be, but I do know, Jill will be in for another adventure and this time, she might be wearing an elf costume.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Driving Miss Norma

Title: Driving Miss Norma: One Family's Journey Saying "Yes" to Living
Author: Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle
Published: May 2nd 2017 by HarperOne
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Genre: Memoir

This is a hard one for me. I love what Norma’s son and daughter-in-law did for her, but throughout the book, I kept wondering if Ramie knew what a weak man that she was married to. That if anything happened to her, her husband Tim would not be able to take care of her. I have never read a memoir where a grown man would willingly tell his readers that he was too afraid of the world knowing his name, or having to leave a room when a bandage was needed. A man that left it up to his wife to be the caregiver to his own mother that he himself should have been. He came across as a very selfish child and I feel that he distracted from the story that was being told.

After the death of her husband, nonagenarian Norma received her own cancer diagnosis. When given the treatment options, of which none sounded appealing, she weighed her options and decides to hit the road with Tim and Ramie -- which is a good thing since I wonder if her son would have left her in a care facility so he could return to his own self-indulgent nomadic lifestyle. Together, this band of three plus a dog, hit the road to embark on a yearlong adventure.

From the accounts relayed, it sounded as if Norma was kept cloistered by an overbearing husband and when the opportunity to see and experience parts of the US, that she had only dreamed of, she took hold and in doing so, would slowly come out of her shell and live the life that was denied her.

There is laughter and optimism in this book, there are times when I wanted to shake a selfish man and hug a daughter-in-law. Ramie was tested in ways that she was not prepared for, yet took on so she could give a woman that she had grown to love, the final days that she deserved. This was also a healing trip for Norma, she never spoke about the death of her only daughter until she met a woman on her journey that had also lost a child and realized that sometimes people are put in your life to help you to heal and that is what both this woman and this journey did for Norma.

That is the part that I am going to focus on. I am not going to count the number of times that Tim spoke about himself or lamented that his privacy was invaded (yet he did not have a problem when he was the center of attention or free accommodations were given to them). I am going to remember Norma as a person that was finally able to live her moments and to meet and share her story with the people that would carry her to final days with a smile on her face.