Category Archives: Mystery

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The first time I read The Westing Game I was in fourth grade. I absolutely loved, seeing myself as a bit like Turtle. I’ve reread the book a few times over the years and it’s always just as good, even knowing what the solution to the game is. The ending is just so incredibly satisfying. I very highly recommend this book to people of all ages. It makes a fun family read aloud.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2023: 32
Pages Read in 2023: 10,292

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Filed under Children, Mystery, Reason: B&N Book Challenge, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Flourish & Blotts Reading Challenge

Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

Like a Sister is a fabulous book. There are so many twists and turns. I felt like part of the book, solving Desiree’s death right along with Lena, knowing only as much as she knew and making guesses and inferences as she did. I definitely didn’t see the end coming. There’s a lot of tension in this book, but the author has an incredible sense of humor that diffuses that tension absolutely perfectly. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers and mysteries.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 116
Pages Read in 2022: 40,152
Graphic Novels: 4

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Filed under Mystery, Reason: Book of the Month, Reason: Grim Readers, Thriller

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

As is typical with books by Karen McManus, The Cousins was filled with twists and turns and so many things I did not expect. My daughter read the book just before I did and she happened to be sitting next to me when I got to one of the big shockers and my mouth dropped open and my eyes got huge and she knew exactly what I had just read. All three points of view it alternates between have their own voice and are easily identifiable as Milly, Aubrey, or Jonah. Every question (except maybe one) was somehow answered satisfactorily by the end. This is a truly excellent book. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult mysteries, especially if you like to be surprised.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 81
Pages Read in 2022: 29,204
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Reason: Buddy Read, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: Recommended by a Friend, Young Adult

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I preordered The Final Gambit ten months before it was published. It was worth every month of that wait! The book is full of surprise twists and puzzles to solve. The light romance is nice, too. By the end of this book all the questions have been answered and the ends are tied up, for now at least. I was very sad that my time with Avery and the Hawthorne brothers had come to an end, but it was a very satisfying end so that made it okay. I very highly recommend this book to everyone, but you have to read the first two Inheritance Games books first.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 80
Pages Read in 2022: 28,874
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: I Like the Series, Young Adult

The Blackmail Club by David Bishop

The Blackmail Club by David Bishop

The Blackmail Club is one of the worst books I have ever read. The author has a weird obsession with butts denting in when someone leans on a table, seeing bra straps (always black, white, or flesh colored), and women’s breasts being pushed up every time they cross their arms exciting male characters because they saw some extra cleavage. The writing is so bad. Here are some examples:

  • Her lips twitched, as if she were receiving a coded message through her dark amalgam dental fillings. The message must have told her to keep talking because she did.
  • To the extent a woman’s appearance was currency, Nora’s scoop-necked dress flashed a healthy portion of her bankroll.
  • Jack watched the automated door close over the space where he had last seen Nora.
  • “Go on now. I’ll get started as soon as I watch your fanny get inside your front door. It may be the last thing I ever see, so swing it girl.”
  • She was an attractive woman with a body whose forward thrust had not yet been pulled off course by gravity.
  • The skimpy food-service outfit she wore put more in front of Jack than just the burger he had ordered.

There are way too many characters and side storylines that weren’t truly totally pulled into or explained in the wrap up. The wrap up itself was so boring. When the PIs were interviewing the minion blackmailer they caught, it was just this happened and then this and that. Nothing exciting. At the big reveal of who the real blackmailer was it was even less exciting. The PI pretty much pulled out of left field who that mastermind was probably because the author thought it would be fun to make it almost impossible to guess which character it was. It’s completely unsatisfying where there are no clues at all leading to the bad guy. There are also quite a few typos and other mistakes, but the author doesn’t care. In fact, he thinks readers imagine those things and he doesn’t want to hear about them. In the author’s note he wrote:

“As for any errors you might imagine in spelling or punctuation or capitalization, please let me rest in peace. There are many conventions and styles with regard to these matters, and I often have characters speak incorrectly intentionally, for that is how I envision that character would speak.”

While he is correct that characters speaking incorrectly (such as his absolutely terrible approximation of an Irish guy) is fine, he probably should care that he misspelled his own characters’ names a time or two. I most definitely do not recommend The Blackmail Club at all. It’s just so incredibly awful. Don’t waste your time.

1 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 40
Pages Read in 2022: 14,616
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Mystery, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Play Dead by Leslie O’Kane

Allida Babcock is a dog therapist in Boulder. After an appearance on a radio show, she ends up with a series of clients that all seem interested in one particular dog… with two dead owners. Allida is convinced both owners were murdered and investigates the case.

While I enjoyed Play Dead while I was reading it, I just wasn’t excited about picking it up to start reading. The main character was a know-it-all and didn’t seem to have a sense of humor at all. She kind of grated on my nerves. I was a bit surprised by the ending so that was good. It’s a decent enough brain candy read, but not one I’d go out of my way to choose. It’s the first in a series. I won’t be reading any more.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 155
Pages Read in 2017: 42,046
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (P in TOPAZ)

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Filed under Mystery

Bundle of Trouble by Diana Orgain

Baby Laurie is born the very same day her parents get the news that her father’s brother’s body might have been found. Her mother, Kate, then spends her maternity leave trying to solve several murders and to maybe, somehow, start a private investigating business so as not to have to return to the corporate world.

Bundle of Trouble is the first book in the Maternal Instincts series. I’ve read others in the series before and they are all quite amusing. That Kate is a brand new mother (complete with leaking breasts – buy some breastpads for goodness sake!) adds to the hilarity. I recommend reading this book to all fans of cozy mysteries, especially if they are mothers.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 94
Pages Read in 2017: 26,604
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (B in RUBY)

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Tutti Frutti by Mike Faricy

Private Investigator Dev Haskell is back and dealing with some odd clients wrapped up in a bondage night club. Dev spends most of his time drinking and sleeping with women, a combination that always gets him in trouble, rather than doing any real investigating.

Tutti Frutti is a decent mind vacation. Dev is pretty much worthless, but the cases always manage to get solved in spite of him. The end of this one is pretty great. I had to go back and re-read the last few paragraphs because the little twist they provided was completely unexpected (but in an expected sort of way). This is a book worth reading if you need a bit of a break.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 24
Pages Read in 2017: 7077
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (T in AMETHYST)

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The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

Sixty years after the collapse of the then-new Israel, the Jews in Alaska are facing another expulsion. A man turns up dead in his apartment and leads Detective Landsman on a journey to find who killed him, why, and who else was in on it.

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union was long and drawn out and often not very interesting. When it was interesting, it was excellent. It’s just that that was only about half the time. The writing was generally very good, though the repetitive “he said in American” after every curse word (particularly through the first half of the book) got old. The big reveal/twist of who did it was foreshadowed a little too strongly making the actual moment kind of a flop. It’s a fine enough book, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 7
Pages Read in 2017: 2612
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Mind Voyages Challenge (Moon #1); with my husband

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Filed under Mystery, Science Fiction

A Trifle Dead by Livia Day

Tabitha’s just minding her own business running her little Australian cafe when she ends up in the middle of a police investigation. A busker is found dead in a net in a band’s spare room, but she learns that before that, a cat was caught in a net and her step-brother-in-law was caught in a cage inside his house. The police rule the busker’s death an overdose, but when Tabitha finds an electrified ping pong ball in her purse, she thinks something else is going on and it just might involve her missing landlord.

A Trifle Dead is sometimes excellent, though at other times it drags. The beginning drew me in right away and then end was exciting and quite surprising. Sometimes in the middle, though, it seemed to kind of lose its way with the author just trying to fill up pages. Overall it was an okay book and good for anyone who really enjoys cozy mysteries.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 122
Pages Read in 2016: 33,211
Hours Listened: 27 hours 2 minutes
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Mystery