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?

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?

Some Halloween Reading Ideas!

Yes; I am one of those people that as soon as it is October, it is basically Halloween! This is my absolute favorite time of year, from the cool weather, to the beautiful trees here in West Michigan, to the baking of breads, and casseroles, and of course, boot and sweater weather 😊

I have a few favorite books that I like to read during the Halloween-Thanksgiving seasons, as well as some cozy mysteries that I have read that are perfect for this time of year.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow-Washington Irving

Sleepy Hollow

This is certainly one of my all-time favorites books; a quick read, a classic story, and how can you not cheer for Ichabod Crane? Determined to win the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, Ichabod needs to deal with both the Headless Horseman, and the determined suitor of Katrina, named Brom Van Brunt. This story has been retold in movies and television series alike, and I have been a fan of all of them.

Ghastly Glass: A Renaissance Faire Mystery-Joyce Lavene, Jim Lavene

Ghastly Glass cover image

I read this cozy mystery earlier this year, along with the other books in the Renaissance Faire Cozy series. This is book two, and takes place during Halloween. Jessie is the main character, and in each book, she is apprenticing at a different vendor for her thesis for her PhD. In this story, she is apprenticing with the glass blower. There is the necessary murder victim, and the personal life issues that are standard with cozy stories. I really enjoyed this whole series.

Anything by Stephen King…I have a few favorites, but you definitely need to plan ahead, as most of his books are very, very long.

From a Buick 8 Cover Image 2

My favorite King book is From a Buick 8. I have not heard from too many readers who have actually read this story, and if put on the spot, I could not exactly explain what draws me to this book, but it is fantastic! I am not sure how I ended up owning 3 copies of it; but I do 😊 Other great King stories are the classics, such as Cujo, Carrie, and Misery.

What are your favorite books to read during this time of year?

Friday Fun Facts!

It has been a long time since I have done a Friday Fun Facts post, and it is long overdue. Today’s topic: Bizarre book facts.

  • Best selling book of all time: The Holy Bible
  • Book that is stolen the most: I have seen two different answers on this, with the Bible being one; but the book I saw referenced the most is The Guinness Book of World Records.
  • Guinness world record by tattered cover
    Photo from Guinness World Records
  • Longest book to date: A la recherche du temps perduby Marcel Proust contains an estimated 9,609,000 characters (each letter counts as one character. Spaces are also counted, as one character each). The title translates to “Remembrance of Things Past“.
  • Marcel Proust cover image
    Photo from Pinterest
  • Author with most published books: L. Ron Hubbard, with 1,084 published works.
  • L Ron Hubbard cover image from Goodreads
    photo from Goodreads
  • Most expensive book: Bay Psalm Book; auctioned for 14,165,000.00 at Sotheby’s.
  • Bay Psalm Book image from Reuters
    Image from Reuters; Carlo Allegri
  • Oldest story known: The Epic of Gilgamesh; written on clay tablets between 2700-2500 BC.
  • Epic of Gilgamesh image
    Photo from Ancient History Encyclopedia

 

Do you know of any strange or fun facts about books? I would love to hear them!

References:
1: https://www.statista.com/statistics/248141/most-read-books-in-the-world/
2: http://mb.ntdin.tv/en/article/english/stolen-book-guinness-book-world-records-10-fun-facts-never-imagine
3: Guinness World Records
4: https://malwarwickonbooks.com/who-has-written-the-most-books/5:
5: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10475282/The-worlds-most-expensive-books.html
6: https://andyrossagency.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/the-first-book-ever-written/