Michigan Winters…

…The gift that won’t stop giving.

But I really, really wish it would 😦 Schools and businesses were closed all last week; beginning the Friday before. 6 days off from school for my daughter. A half day Monday and Tuesday, and school closed again today because of the ice storm we got overnight. And the second ice storm is coming tonight. So no school again tomorrow. I am just hoping I can make it to work Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I need to keep these vacation days for warmer weather!

Are you stuck somewhere getting hit with the Polar Vortex and now the second storm? How are you keeping the family from getting cabin fever?

The Begonia Bribe – Alyse Carlson

Book 2 in the Garden Society Mystery series.

the begonia bribe cover image

This was a great follow-up to The Azalea Assault. Cam (Camellia) Harris is now tasked with managing the Little Miss Begonia Pageant being held in one of Roanoke’s nicest parks. Cam runs into one of her least favorite people from high school, Mindy, and Cam’s best friend Annie likes her even less. Cam never expected she would get so wrapped up into Mindy’s personal life, but there she is, right in the middle.

Cam once again gets her reporter boyfriend Rob, as well as Annie, caught up in a murder investigation. Annie’s boyfriend, and Rob’s best friend Jake, Police officer in Roanoke, keeps trying his best to get Cam to mind her own business. Cam just seems to always be one step ahead of him.

There are many characters intertwined in this story, from past and present, and again you do not see it coming. The storyline is great, and the characters are well rounded and you really feel for them. Can Cam figure out who the murderer is before more lives are ruined?

I am looking for some new cozy series to read while Michigan is officially closed, so let me know your favorites!

The Azalea Assault – Alyse Carlson

This is the first of three cozy mysteries in the Garden Society Mystery series. As the 3rd one was written in 2014, I do not expect there to be others. Truly a shame ☹

the azalea assault cover image

Cam Harris is the PR person for the Roanoke Garden Society, and gardening has never been more dangerous. When the nationally celebrated Garden Delights magazine agrees to come to Roanoke to feature Roanoke’s best gardens, Cam is tasked with making sure everything goes off without a hitch.

With the help of her best friend Annie, and her boyfriend Rob, she soon finds herself in the middle of a bunch of suspects who had motive to kill the star photographer. Now she not only needs to find another photographer, she also needs to keep her sister Petunia and brother-in-law Nick on the right side of the law, as they soon become the main suspects.

There are a lot of characters wrapped up in this book, but they all have their place in the story, and it flows smoothly from one chapter to the next. If you have read many cozies (such as I have), you sometimes can see what is coming next. This story keeps you guessing to the end.

There are descriptions of many different plants, but not much on the side of actual gardening tips (which I wasn’t expecting).

Here in Michigan right now we are wrapped in the middle of a polar vortex, and literally the whole state is shut down. Which means I took tomorrow off from work, so I have plenty of time to finish book three, write review number two, and do some writing for my own cozy mystery book number 1!

You can learn more about Alyse here: Alyse Carlson – Penguin Random House

Are you trapped inside too? What are you reading to get you by?

What I’m Reading…

… I had to order 3 books from a library two hours away, since my library got rid of all of these books😔 How did I miss that sale?

These books are what got me started on my book obsession. And Encyclopedia Brown, of course.

This book is stamped 1974; I was two years old.

There are not too many books I will read over and again; but it has been so long since I read this story that everything is brand new and like I am reading it for the first time.

Please tell me you have read these stories!

Denial of Justice – Mark Shaw

Oh how I waited to get this from my library. I have been obsessed with watching “What’s My Line” for weeks; and absolutely adore Dorothy Kilgallen.

Disappointed. This book was drier than the toast I burned and tried to give to my daughter with no butter last weekend.

I thought maybe I was not in the mood to read this type of story, so I watched Mr. Shaw’s YouTube video on this. Still dry.

I have been following so much about her. The first gossip columnist; yet she never gossiped about her many year affair, and no one else talked about it.

I just want to say so many good things about this because I admire her so much; and believe she was killed, and did not overdose. But I could not finish this book 😔 I feel like it is time for my own investigative story; one of the truth.

Do you know this story? Do you love the game show as much as I do?

Lethal White – Robert Galbraith

Well, I finished this book over a week ago, and have been avoiding writing a review on it ever since. I liked it well enough, but I certainly did not love it like the previous 3 books in the series. I had no sense of enjoyment every time I picked it up to read it. The first thing I always checked was where my bookmark was, and how much farther I had to go. It is hard to read a book that you just aren’t loving.

Lethal White Cover Image

The things I didn’t like were …. The length of the book. I felt like there was way too much detail to every single thing in the book that was not necessary and did not add to the story. Then there were so many characters, I had a hard time keeping up with all of the different story lines and subplots and interactions with everyone. The last few chapters felt like everything was just tossed out there to tie everything together.

I love the characters of Strike and Robin, and they were both going through personal issues that lent a new dynamic to their working and personal relationship. The blackmailing and possible decades old murder of a child are what was driving the story plot, and it was just too much.

I’m not the only one who took issue with this story. I have seen more reviews with the same complaints I have than reviews that were all positive.

Will I read the next story in the series? Absolutely! I also had huge issues with her novel “The Casual Vacancy”, but it did not stop me from picking up the first book in this series, “The Cuckoo’s Calling”. My review on “The Casual Vacancy” had comments from most that felt the same way I did. And one comment from someone who had a real issue with the fact that I did not like the book, and dared to say so on my own blog that I pay money for to keep up every year 😊 Such is life; you can’t please everyone. You can see my rant over that story, nearly 4 years ago, here: The Casual Vacancy book and TV Show

I got 12 books from my local library yesterday, so I am back to enjoyable reading time! How did you feel about this book?