Tish and Jules are catering the Coleton Creek Garden Club’s annual award dinner when they become embroiled in a Garden Club Murder.
Sloane had won the Best Garden award for the past five years. He is also a playa in the senior housing development. When he is killed on the eve of the award’s dinner, was it because of his amorous wanderings or his gardening title? Tish and Jules decide to find out.
There are suspects aplenty in the Garden Club Murder. It is always fun to try to uncover the killer before the amateur detectives. Unfortunately, I was completely surprised by the murderer’s reveal and motive. However, looking back, there were several clues in plain sight that I missed. I enjoyed the easy camaraderie between friends Tish, Jules, and MJ. MJ has a personal subplot in this series entry that makes me like her even more. Overall, this is an enjoyable cozy mystery with relatable characters. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. 4 stars!
Thanks to Severn House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
An outer space fungus wakes up due to global warming and attempts world takeover. It reads like a cheesy b-movie script and that’s a compliment. Even the characters in Cold Storage seem to be in on the joke.
“What are you, all science-y and shit?”
It takes some time to realize that the author’s tongue is very firmly in his cheek. Once you do, Cold Storage makes for a fun comic read. 4 stars!
Thanks to Ecco Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
A Girl Named Anna begins to question her whole world after visiting the Astroland amusement park.
“Today is my eighteenth birthday and, for the first time, I am lying to my mother.”
So says Anna before sneaking off from her religious mamma to visit the park with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Rosie misses her sister who was three when she disappeared from the same park fifteen years ago.
It is hard not to see Piper Laurie, from the original Carrie movie, playing the bible-thumping mamma of Anna. Just a few more blocks down the crazy street, if you get my meaning. The missing child plot is identical to several other, better, books I’ve read recently. Overall, I didn’t see much originality in A Girl Named Anna, though the writing was good. I would read the next tale by this debut thriller writer. 3 stars.
Thanks to MIRA, Harlequin Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Talk about multi-tasking! Read a 500-page book in the time it takes to “use the facilities”, wait to be called in by your doctor, or get through the checkout line. John’s bathroom books are always a joy to read and Uncle John’s Truth, Trivia, and the Pursuit of Factiness Bathroom Reader is no exception.
What is the one food hated by Guy Fieri? Eggs! Why would anyone want to steal a 10-foot long inflatable colon, an ambulance, or a human toe? Because it was there. Why does your cat keep “gifting” you with dead birds and rodents? It’s trying to teach you to hunt. How about some restaurant secrets? Outback Steakhouse is as Australian as you are (assuming you aren’t Australian, of course). It’s a US company based on the Crocodile Dundee movies. The McRib sandwich’s meat is mainly pork tripe so why isn’t it an American hangover cure like menudo?
Uncle John’s Truth, Trivia, and the Pursuit of Factiness Bathroom Reader is really in a class by itself. Full of entertaining stories sized by how long you have to read, this book is a perfect way to fit more reading into your life. Plus you’ll have some interesting tidbits to share with your friends, family, and co-workers. 5 stars!
Thanks to Portable Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
If you ever wondered How To send a letter home from the space station or land a space shuttle in downtown LA, I have the perfect instruction book for you.
What if I use real science to solve hypothetical problems? For example, how can I get rid of this book after I finish reading it? I can leave it outside, but it won’t degrade and return to the Earth for centuries. I can burn it and use the resulting energy to power my car. I could do what the US does with nuclear waste. Throw it in a deep hole, post pictorial signs warning aliens not to dig it up, and wait thousands of years for it to decay. On a side note (and this book is full of them), the deepest I can drill into the Earth is the crystalline basement. Like the author, I agree that could be the nerdiest EDM band ever or even a sale on meth.
How To is an acquired taste. Read a bit of it in the store or in a free eBook sample before you buy it. You will know immediately if this type of science absurdity is for you. I like it so I’m giving it 4 (extremely nerdy) stars! But your starage may be completely different.
Thanks to Riverhead Books and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Extinction Agenda opens with a bang when an explosion kills the majority of FBI Agent James Mason’s multi-jurisdictional team. They were hunting a more lethal mutation of the bird flu virus at the Arizona-Mexico border. The flames deactivated the virus. However, Mason begins a one-man vendetta to avenge his friend and partner, Kane’s death. The cartel leaders’ who brought the deadly virus to America were out there somewhere.
Mason and a new team are tasked with following the money to bring down the cartels. When another person near Mason is killed, no one will believe it is related to the first explosion. Except for Mason, who decides to investigate on his own and on the sly.
I confess that I was worried about the negative reviews for Extinction Agenda. People seemed polarized on whether it has too much action or too many details. I think the issue is that this book is a merging of an action thriller with a police procedural. I like the unusual approach. I’ve lowered rating for thrillers that had too much action because even that gets boring after a while. Let’s face it, we’ve all read police procedurals that work faster than Ambien for inducing sleep. Combining the two makes the book’s pacing perfect: ACTION, police work, ACTION, police work, etc. I also liked the characters especially the ones lurking in the gray areas of the law. If you like both action and procedurals, I think you will enjoy this intriguing action-packed blending f both. 4 stars!
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
What could have happened? Six college students go into England’s longest tunnel canal. Only one comes out in the new puzzler, Now You See Me.
The five bodies are never found. Despite the lack of evidence, Matthew is accused of murder and sent to jail to await his trial. Matthew reaches out to Robin, a former journalist and author, whose wife has been missing for three years. Matthew had spoken to the missing wife years earlier. She told him to call Robin if he ever needed help. And he certainly needs it now.
So begin the surprises throughout Now You See Me, where absolutely nothing is as it seems at first glance. I really enjoyed this “locked room” mystery. And I believe most thriller readers will too. The answers to some of the questions are very clever. I won’t say more so you can delight in the secrets as they are revealed. 4 stars!
Thanks to Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Twenty-six short tales make up the Best Horror of the Year Volume Eleven.
Ghosts and vampires are if course present in a compendium of horror tales. Surprisingly, there are also stories about thumb-suckers and a town where it really is raining men.
Of course, with any short story anthology, there will always be some stories you like, others you love, and a few which are just not for you. However, it is hard to imagine any horror fan that dislikes stories by Laird Barron and Joe Hill. Plus, all the stories are well-written and comprise the breadth of modern horror. Best Horror of the Year Volume Eleven would make a great gift for any horror fan. 4 stars!
Thanks to Night Shade and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
YouTuber Eddie Woo tries, and succeeds, to make math interesting in It’s a Numberful World.
“If you go down deep enough into anything, you will find mathematics.”
Eddie proves his point by explaining why rainbows are round, blood vessels and lightning bolts look alike, and the zeros are in the middle of the Plinko board.
I’m pretty sure that It’s a Numberful World is for young folks. But I found the simple explanations of natural phenomena fascinating. Although I’ve taken college calculus, I learned a lot from the book. There are many things that most wouldn’t think of as math. The shape of a sunflower, Netflix’ movie suggestions, and the sound of a guitar come to mind.
If you want to revisit your childlike feelings of awe, just read about the golden triangle, pi, phi, and e. Even better, if you have a child having difficulties understanding why they should study math, this would be a perfect gift. 4.5 stars! Or should I say spheres (read the book to find out why)?
Thanks to The Experiment and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Small town life in Fettering will never be boring as long as there may be a Killer in the Choir.
Leonard, a retired and rich industrialist, is dead. Did he fall down the stairs or was he pushed? His daughter, Alice, thinks her stepmother, Heather, did it for money. After all, Heather had just convinced Leonard to change his will to leave everything to her. And nothing to Alice. Two local busybodies, Carole and Jude, decide to investigate.
Killer in the Choir is a perfectly serviceable cozy mystery set in a quaint English village. Unfortunately, it is hard not to compare it to earlier, better, entries in the series. However, this one is a good way to spend a few hours. 3 stars.
Thanks to Severn House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
A current Danish murder is entwined with an earlier closed case by a child’s Chestnut Man.
Almost a year ago, a girl named Kristine disappeared. Her mother, Rosa, is high up in Danish politics. Police find a mentally ill man who confesses to the crime and is quickly convicted. However, Kristine’s body is never found.
In the present day, Laura is killed in a graphically violent way on a local playground. Suspicion immediately falls on her live-in boyfriend. Out of town for the day, his alibi is thin. If their relationship was perfect, why had Laura changed all the house’s locks while he was gone without telling him? Her autistic son can’t help explain and he was the only witness inside the family. However, when a Chestnut Man is found at the scene of Laura’s murder with the partial fingerprint of Kristine, the investigating detectives, Thulin and Hess, decide to dig into the earlier case too.
This enthralling police procedural contains a complex and challenging mystery. Despite the rather graphic murder scenes, it is not the typical dark Nordic Noir. I adored this twisty book. It is perfect for armchair detectives who want to challenge themselves.
Even though it is over 500 pages, I was disappointed when it ended. Now I guess I will have to watch The Killing on Netflix by the same author and pray for a sequel. 5 stars!
Thanks to Harper Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Mittens is a typical cat. He has a healthy obsession with boxes and shampoo caps. His girlfriend, Fiona, thinks he is romantic when he suggests her coming up to his cat condo to rub their faces on an old sock together. He suspects his (human) mother is hanging out with her “sketchy raccoon gang friends”. Mittens helpfully suggests boyfriends for her on an online dating website, “How about Jeff? He owns a seafood shop! Great catch! LOL.” His best friend, tomcat and playa Stumpy, may be involved with a catnip trafficking ring. Overall, Mittens is just your typical house kitty…who texts.
While only occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, Texts from Mittens is cute. Many of Mittens’ obsessions will be familiar to cat owners. Garfield fans will recognize Mittens disbelief at the absurdity of roommate, and “filthy hound” Earl, who carries sticks for no reason. This book would make a good gift for the “crazy cat lady” in your life. 4 stars!
Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.