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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Writing All Wrongs (Books by the Bay Mystery, #7)

Writing All Wrongs - Ellery Adams

I need the meh emoticon!  There are so many likeable aspects to this book, but the characters just fail to really hook me.  They're all so very placid, even when they're supposed to be angry or thrilled with happiness.  If the energy of a book could be graphed, this one's would be a flat line.


Saying that, the writing isn't bad; Adams is really good at writing a story if you're not a character driven reader.  The editing was crap, but I expect no better from Berkley; they totally screwed up a Native American myth early in this book by using the wrong names at the wrong points of the story.


The North Carolina history she incorporates into the story is by far the most interesting part of the book as a whole.  The murder plotting was a cool idea, but the ending was just tragic, making it difficult to find the wrap up satisfying in any way.  Generally this would get Adams bonus points (for going off the beaten path of the cozy formula) but I really did not like the ending.


I think this is going to be one of those series I'm going to wish the best to and part company; it's not bad for a cozy series at all, but it's just not a good fit for me.




Total pages:  274

$$:  $3.00

BookLikes-opoly: Turn 20 (June 5th)


I was starting to get grumpy about the way it felt like I kept landing on the same spots every time I went around the board, so in a perfect be-careful-what-you-wish-for move, I've landed on:


Well, it's definitely a space I haven't landed on before.   Thank goodness for cozies; say what you want about them, you can pretty much count on them to fit almost any category.


I found 3 possibilities and after submitting them to Easter-cat, who ignored me, I asked Carlito (everyone talks to their cats, right?) to choose the book and he chose Writing All Wrongs by Ellery Adams. (I put the books on the table and he circled them, then sat in front of the Adams book and started meowing at me in a tone that I could only assume was a judgment on my poor reading tastes - there's a dog on the cover.)  


The story takes place after the MC's wedding, during her honeymoon, but it was a contender because the MC is a millionaire.  Pages:  275


Writing All Wrongs - Ellery Adams After Olivia and Chief Rawlings enjoy an all too brief honeymoon on Palmetto Island, they’re joined by the rest of the Bayside Book Writers for the Coastal Carolina Crime Festival. The festival’s highlight is Silas Black, celebrity screenwriter and television producer, who is currently working on a popular television show in North Carolina.

As the festival gets under way, a prankster seems to be bringing famous local ghost stories to life. But when the body of a woman close to Black is found on the beach, Olivia and her friends must deduce who on the island could resort to murder—before the sands of time run out for someone else…

Paws and Effect (Magical Cats, #8)

Paws and Effect - Sofie Kelly

It does't sound good that my favourite character in this series is Fred the Funky Chicken, but it's true.  The other characters are all likeable in the best cozy-mystery way, but my heart goes out to Fred the Funky Chicken every time.**


I'm not going to pretend that this book isn't everything a modern cozy is; the magical cats pretty much give the game away.  But Kelly does't over-play that magical hand and doesn't try to hide the deux ex machina-like effect this has on her ability to plot her mysteries.  She also creates likeable, believable, characters that enjoy a reasonable amount of realistic conflict; some of which is resolved and some of it isn't.  


The murder plot was decent-ish.  I was side-eyeing the murderer for awhile but there weren't any puzzle pieces to play with, just one big whopper of a clue that solved the whole thing for everybody at once.  Or at least, for the reader and the MC; everyone else would need more proof, of course, thus allowing our MC to stumble into mortal peril.  A reader comes to understand this is the nature of cozies though, and at least this peril was believable.  Sort of.  (How did the murder find them??)


So Paws and Effect is everything you'd expect a contemporary cozy to be anymore, but better than most of the rest; a bit more solid and well written.  A fun, fluffy bit of fiction for lazy afternoons.







Page count:  315

$$:  $3.00

How to: Which edition have I shelved? (A Quickie)

The question has come up of how to tell which edition of a book is on your BookLikes shelves.  


This tutorial focuses specifically on the "other editions" page, which can be accessed from any book's page.  It's in the upper right corner and says "other editions (#)" where #=the number of other editions in the database.


Now this is not immediately obvious, and perhaps BL could make it another color or something in the future, but the book edition that is shelved is marked by the status you've applied to your book:



A quick guide:

+ SHELF - this edition is not on your shelves.

READ - you've marked this edition as Read

PLANNING - you've marked this edition as "Planning to Read"

CURRENTLY - you've marked this edition as "Currently Reading"

ON SHELF - this is a catch all status:  it means you've either shelved the book under a custom made exclusive status (i.e. Reference, or Cookbooks), OR you've removed a book from all your shelves without deleting the book from all your shelves.  It's possible to do this, yes, but it won't be covered here, because I don't have time this morning to put it all together.  


Hope this helps!

BookLikes-opoly: Turn 19 (June 3rd)

Paws and Effect - Sofie Kelly


What IS it with me and 11's?!?!  At least I didn't land on space 8 again.


There's no shortage of small town settings in my piles, and as it's past my bedtime and I can't actually start the read until tomorrow, I'll choose one in the morning and update this post then.


Update:  After scanning the shelves I've decided on Paws and Effect by Sofie Kelly  which is set in the fictional small Minnesota town of Mayville Heights.  Page count: 315


Paws and Effect - Sofie KellyKathleen is excited to meet three old pals of her beau, Detective Marcus Gordon, while they visit charming Mayville Heights on business. But the reunion is cut short when one of the friends is killed—and the evidence points towards Marcus as the murderer.

Though it seems she doesn’t know all of Marcus’s secrets, Kathleen is sure he’s no killer. With his suspect status sidelining him from investigating the case, it’s up to Kathleen and her feline partners-in-crime to find whoever is framing Marcus—and make sure the good detective hasn’t found his last clue.

Reluctantly Charmed

Reluctantly Charmed - Ellie O'Neill

I didn't think I'd make it through this book at first.  Well, that's not completely accurate; I thought the first 10% or so was really intriguing.  I liked the idea of an inheritance hinged upon the publication of 1 letter each week.  But then it stated to get a bit weird with the whole fairy thing and how obsessed people got about it.  


What kept me hooked had nothing to do with the fairies, or her magic (which was never really fleshed out in detail).  I kept reading because I found the story of instant fame and celebrity thrust upon someone who is not the least bit interested in it compelling.  In this respect the story is moving and powerful as Kate completely loses control of her own life and identity.  There's romance here too, but so slow burning it's almost back-burnered most of the time.


An odd story, written well enough, with an exploration of the destructive powers the public can wield.  






Total pages:  433

$$:  $5.00

May Reading: Epilogue

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight - Darynda Jones Mycroft Holmes - Anna Waterhouse, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

21 books this month.  One DNF.  Lots of 4 star reads but nothing in the 4.5 or 5 star range this month.  Very little non-fiction either, as I'm mostly focusing on BookLikes-opoly.


Of my 4 star reads the one that stand out in my mind were Eleventh Grave in Moonlight  and Mycroft Holmes.


This month I've read 6,262 pages for a total of 31,705 year to date.


A pretty good month overall, just not as terrific as they've been so far this year.  Still I'll take this as a 'bad' month any day!

Small, temporary librarian request regarding ASIN/Kindle ebooks.

Sometime back we asked you to report book records that had combined ebook and kindle editions together, so we could get them separated.


With the current bug affecting some of the ASIN numbers, I'd like to ask that we temporarily suspend making these reports, as librarians have no way of knowing which ASINs are going to get rejected or accepted until they've gone through the effort of creating a new record for them, which, as you can imagine, becomes rather frustrating after the 7th or 8th rejection.


I hate these combined records, a lot.  But I also hate rejection.  So for the time being, please accept my apologies if you request a split but don't see it happen.  Thanks.

Signs you might be spending too much time on BookLikes...



Just kidding about the spending too much time on BookLikes part!  I don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't have this book haven to spend time in.  Probably become a hooligan or, you know, read more books.  Except I'd never find so many great books if it weren't for y'all, so hooliganism it is!


Seriously though, the point of this post was to thank everyone out there for submitting improvements and new books to the database, and taking all my and other librarians' nagging and hints on-board.  You've all made it so much easier to whip through the queue each day by providing as much information as you can, including source links.  You can't believe how much we appreciate it.


A perfect book database will be a never-ending task of a Sisyphean magnitude, but I hope everyone has started to see some small improvements here and there as all the librarians chip away at the records.  And if you see something that's not right - report, report, report!  ;-)


BookLikes-opoly: Turn 18 (June 1st)



Any book of my choosing... hmm...  I'm torn between two again:  Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill  and Of Books and Bagpipes by Paige Shelton.  I'm leaning towards Reluctantly Charmed at the moment but I'm going to read the first few pages and if it isn't hitting the sweet spot, I'll switch over to Books and Bagpipes.


Reluctantly Charmed - Ellie O'NeillIt’s Kate McDaid’s birthday and she’s hoping to kickstart her rather stagnant love-life and career when she gets some very strange news. To her surprise, she is the sole benefactor of a great-great-great-great aunt and self-proclaimed witch also called Kate McDaid, who died over 130 years ago. As if that isn’t strange enough, the will instructs that, in order to receive the inheritance, Kate must publish seven letters, one by one, week by week.

Burning with curiosity, Kate agrees and opens the first letter – and finds that it’s a passionate plea to reconnect with the long-forgotten fairies of Irish folklore. Instantly, Kate’s life is turned upside down. Her romantic life takes a surprising turn and she is catapulted into the public eye. As events become stranger and stranger – and she discovers things about herself she’s never known before – Kate must decide whether she can fulfil the final, devastating step of the request . . . or whether she can face the consequences if she doesn’t.
   Page count: 436





Of Books and Bagpipes - Paige SheltonDelaney Nichols has eased into her new life in Edinburgh and doesn’t miss her old life in Kansas at all. Her job at the Cracked Spine, a bookshop that specializes in rare manuscripts as well as other sundry valuable historical objects, is going swimmingly. One day, Edwin MacAlister, Delaney’s boss, sends her to Castle Doune, an hour outside the city limits. There she is to meet a contact and pick up a hard-to-find edition of an old Scottish comic, an “Oor Wullie.”

While taking in the sights from the castle’s ramparts, Delaney sees a sandal-clad foot. That foot is attached to a man in an old-fashioned costume, and he matches the description of man who was supposed to bring the Oor Wullie. He’s dead, but there are no visible reasons as to why or how. As Delaney goes to call the police, she spots some papers fluttering around a side wall. When she discovers that it’s the Oor Wullie, she can’t fight the urge to take it and hide it under her jacket. It’s not until she returns to the Cracked Spine that she realizes just how complicated this story is; she endeavors to untangle the tricky plot of why someone wanted this man dead, but not before putting herself in danger.  
Page count:  304

A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael, #1)

A Morbid Taste for Bones  - Ellis Peters

Well, of course I liked it - mom is never wrong about mysteries.  The writing is great, which allows the story to go at a slower pace without being deadly dull.


Brother Cadfael is a Benedictine monk in medieval England and has come late to the cloistered, monastic life after a youth spent adventuring.  Content, he still allows himself to be recruited for a trip to Wales as official translator, on a quest to bring back the bones of a saint.  Receiving the consent of both the bishop and the prince it does't occur to monks that perhaps the village housing St. Winifred's bones might not be inclined to let her go.


The resulting murder was plotted well and the resolution kind of fiendish, really. Where is plotting like this nowadays?  I thoroughly like Brother Cadfael for his pragmatic outlook and intelligence.


My only quibble with the book is the errors in the catechism, but I'm left unsure whether Peters did this on purpose or out of ignorance. Saints aren't worshipped, they aren't to be revered; they're meant to serve as roll models and to offer intercession on behalf of one who asks for it.  As someone who has been called an idolator, I'm a little sensitive on this point.  I'm inclined to believe Peters did this knowingly, as there are at least two points in the story where the Welsh priest gently clarifies the difference, but the overriding narrative does nothing to definitively correct this misconception.


Putting this aside though, the book was good, more than good enough to make me want to read the next one.





Total Pages:  192

$$:  2.00

Couldn't resist...

Saw this on my Facebook feed - it's timely and bookish.  ;-)



source: Love Your Bookshop

BookLikes-opoly: Turn 17 (May 30th)

A Morbid Taste for Bones  - Ellis Peters


This puts me on space #31:

I've got this weird aversion to reading books that have carnivals or circus' in them so I went the PIXAR route.  This turned out less easy than I imagined.  MT wanted me to make it as hard on myself as possible and insisted I pick a book that started with either P or X for the challenge, but when I hit the stacks, I was hard pressed to find any letters in PIXAR; my first TBR range (or as Tannat and I decided, the first TBR black hole) only yielded one title that started with "A" and I wasn't in the mood for it.  So I (time) travelled over to my other TBR pile/blackhole that has historical mysteries and found two: one that started with A again, and one that started with I:  A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters  and I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira.  


I went with A Morbid Taste for Bones, both because it's been on my TBR the longest of the two and because my mom loves Brother Cadfael and I, the daughter that abandoned her for the other side of the planet, can score bonus points with her once I tell her I've read it.


A Morbid Taste for Bones - Ellis Peters Brother Cadfael travels to the remote Welsh mountain village of Gwytherin in order to acquire the relics of St. Winifred and finds himself in the middle of a bizarre mystery when the leading opponent to moving the bones is murdered.


Total pages: 192

Walking on My Grave (Death on Demand, #26)

Walking on My Grave - Carolyn Hart

One of the weakest in the series, I think.  I liked the concept: preventing a murder taking place, but, well, for the first time, it feels to me that Hart has phone one in.


I don't think it's an exaggeration to say a full 30% of this book consists of the repetition of plot summary in the form of multiple POV introspections.  The reader with the weakest of comprehension skills would have found this overkill and I was quick to lose patience with it.  The ultimate solution wasn't all that stunning a revelation either; and the justification for one of the murders (they're trying to prevent one, but there are others) was weak and felt tacked on in order to up the body count.


Also, as a general, series-wide aside - I don't ever want to read about Max Darling being Joe Hardy all grown up, ever again.  Hart's editors should ban her from continuing to abuse this nugget; it's always shown up in every book, but in this book no less than 3 times.  Please let it stop.


I'm sounding a bit snippy, but after 26 books any author is more than entitled to have one book that fails to live up to expectations; it's probably statistically probable.  But I do have to wonder how much longer she plans to keep our daring duo going.






Total pages:  246

$$:  $3.00

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charlie Davidson, #11)

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight - Darynda Jones

Darynda Jones is quickly becoming the second author alive for whom I'd go out of my way to have a conversation with.  Folded into a zany, quirky, funny urban fantasy series is some deeply well thought out theology; hidden amid the rapid-fire one-liners, Jones tackles head on the issues of God, free-will, and why He "allows' pain and suffering.  And she doesn't take it lightly, and she doesn't go for easy answers or glib reasoning.  She's successfully mixed silliness and the very opposite of silliness and I'm a little bit in love with her for pulling it off.


Eleventh Grave... clears a lot of the ongoing questions up, and I'd go so far as to say it brings the major story-arc to a close.  The climatic scene was so shattering, the resolution was almost an afterthought.  This is by no means the end of the series, as far as I know - there's still a lot of questions unanswered so it had better not be.  


It was mostly excellent; my complaints are twofold:  The first - we don't find out what happened to Strawberry Shortcake's brother.  I hate unresolved stuff like that.  Second:  I have to preface this with the disclaimer that I'm not a prude.  Sex scenes don't bother me in the slightest, but Jones went a little too far for my comfort in one of the scenes here.  It wasn't that it was deviant in any way, but after 11 books I feel like I've come to know Charlie and Reyes; like an invisible, unacknowledged member of the gang.  And yeah, I'd rather not know as much about Charlie and Reyes as I got from that scene.  At one point it stopped being sexy and started being really awkward.   On the flip side, she wrote a hell of a homage to When Harry Met Sally in another scene.


Awkward sex aside, I'm with Jones and Charlie until the wheels fall off.  I'd say until hell froze over but apparently, that's a thing.





Page count:  310

$$:  3.00

Dead End Street (Museum Mystery, #7)

Dead End Street - Sheila Connolly

To start bluntly: this author's writing irritates me.  I've started and discarded two of her other series, because her MCs always come across belligerent and acerbic.  This series is sadly no different, but I keep sticking with them because she so perfectly captures all the ins and outs of running a museum (at least, it seems so to a reader who has never actually run a museum).  The stories are always interesting; enough to overcome my desire to throttle the MC.


Dead End Street, however, was not as good as the others.  It's aim is to tackle a concept, rather than a specific object or setting in history.  That concept is urban blight, neighbourhoods in decline, and neighbourhoods that have become urban war zones.  Lofty subject matter, and she handles it pretty well, I think.  Her approach from the standpoint of what role an historical society can play in rebuilding these neighbourhoods has a lot of merit.  Unfortunately, Nell is abrasive and almost unlikeable, and she kept saying her desire to help was white man's guilt.  Maybe her motivation is white man's guilt, but if so, it just makes her even less likeable - why can't she just want to participate in building up her city without the guilt?  Anyway, ignore me, it was just one more thing I found irritating.


These aren't typical mysteries; they seldom revolve around dead bodies, and when they do - as this one does - Nell doesn't investigate or figure much out.  Mostly it's about her being in the wrong place at the right time or vice versa, and putting facts together that make events clearer, although resolution usually comes of its own accord.


I say every time I read one of these books that I won't read any more of them, but then the next one comes out and I get sucked into wanting to spend time i the museum.  So - who knows?





Total pages:  297

$$:  $3.00