Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Cracked Spine

Title: The Cracked Spine
Author: Paige Shelton
Published: March 29th 2016 by Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Scottish Bookshop Mystery #1

I am still on the fence with this book and not sure if the series will fully hold my attention.

Edwin MacAlister is looking for a new archivist for his eccentric bookshop in Edinburgh, Scotland. Kansan, Delaney Nichols is currently without a job so why not take a 4,000-mile leap of faith and accept a job where she is literally a fish out of water.

The big question in this book, for me at least, is why would a man trust his drug-addicted sister with a priceless first folio? Yet, that is what Edwin MacAlister did when he handed his sister Jenny a rare object in hopes of bolstering her self-esteem. The rest of the book has Delany, who is taken in by a ragtag group of fellow employees and the cabdriver that delivered her to the bookshop on her first day in Edinburgh, searching all over the village and surrounding area looking for this missing folio following the death of Jenny. Now add in Delaney’s ability to hear voices from books and a local pub owner that has taken a sudden liking to Delaney and you have an over stretched attempt at a first in a series cozy mystery.

I want to believe that this series will get better over time, but I am weary. The writing is middling, the mystery is not so mysterious, the love interest is typical, yet the accompanying characters add a missing charm. Will I come back? In time, I might try one more before I make my final decision.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Aunt Dimity and the King's Ransom

Title: Aunt Dimity and the King's Ransom
Author: Nancy Atherton
Published: July 24th 2018 by Viking
Format: Hardcover 240 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Aunt Dimity #23

The Aunt Dimity books seem to be all over the place. The reader will adore one book and the next will lay flat only making you wonder if you should continue only to find out the next book is back on track and the rollercoaster begins again.

From past experience we know Lori is a bit challenged when it comes to driving so when a harsh storm forces her off the road, she takes refuge in a small village church. With the rain not letting up and a busload of travelers taking all the rooms at the local inn, Lori’s only option is the unused attic of The King’s Ransom. Hearing stories of death and haunting, it is no surprise Lori hears doors creaking and children laughing. Needing a bit of comfort, she opens up her journal and begins a conversation with Aunt Dimity (if you have not read the series from the beginning, Aunt Dimity, and her story, will be a treat). With the help of a retired bishop, Lori sets out to find the origin of the inn’s name and more importantly, where the sounds are coming from that keeps her up at night.

There is no convoluted who-done-it in this book and thankfully Lori is not in her usual mode of helicopter parent. I did miss the usual goings on in Finch, but like Lori, it was nice to take a vacation and to get a new perspective on people and places.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Sold on a Monday

Title: Sold on a Monday
Author: Kristina McMorris
Published: August 28th 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: eBook, Paperback, 352 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

What started as an interesting historical fiction, quickly plummeted into a romance, and that is where it lost my attention. Granted, it did get back to the main storyline, but my disappointment in the need to add a romance soured my reading experience.

During the Depression Era, struggling writer Ellis Reed same across two children playing outside with a “Children for Sale” sign. Before the photo could be published, there was an accident in the darkroom and knowing he had a winning photo on his hands, he went back only to discover the original children were gone. Needing to recreate what he thought was his only way to make it in a struggling industry, he gathered the left behind sign and talked another careworn woman and her children into posing for a picture. Little did he know this photo would set in motion devastation for the family.

Lily, a woman with her own secret and desperation to make it in a man’s world, helps Ellis to right a wrong, and in doing so develop a relationship that took this book down the wrong road for me. If McMorris had stayed on her original path, this would have been an interesting book of historic fiction that had the reader cheering on Ellis and Lilly, unfortunately she took the easy path and introduced a romance.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Hitting the Books

Title: Hitting the Books
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Published: September 11th 2018 by Berkley Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Library Lover's Mystery #9

Life is full of adjustments, but they tend to get more complicated when you move in with your boyfriend, a whistling morning person, and all you want is some peace before your first cup of coffee. Add in the fact that everyone knows everyone else’s business and you have a typical day in the life of Lindsay Norris, the Briar Creek Library director.

Glancing out her office window, Lindsay is stuck dumb when she sees a car careening towards, and hits, her friend Theresa Huston. Before the loved tennis coach can be transported to the hospital, there is a second reported incident, involving the same car, and her friend Charlie Peyton. What is going on in this quiet town? It turns out that furniture magnate, and fiancé of Theresa, has a secret and his college-aged daughter Liza seems to be in the middle of it.

Relationships get a bit twisty here, but Jenn McKinley does an impressive job in keeping each person and their intertwined stories straight even though there are a couple rabbit trails and incidental characters that tend to lead you astray.