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springtimelily

Springtime Lily

I love reading books ever since I was a little girl! Nowadays I like to give my opinion on books I read, so I've started writing and blogging reviews. Favorites genres; Cozy Mysteries, Mysteries and Biographies.

Currently reading

Getting Old is Criminal (Gladdy Gold Mysteries)
Rita Lakin
The Body in the Library
Agatha Christie

Barbara Ross – Clammed Up

Clammed Up - Barbara  Ross

After reading so many good reviews on this book I decided I had to read it. It started out slow, something most reviews will tell you and it’s true. The murder happens quickly, which for me is a good thing. I don’t really like it when it happens around chapter 4 or 5 so to speak. But at one point the story quickly takes up and you are sucked into it. Many characters, but they are all well introduced and ties to each other also are explained throughout the book. Some in the beginning and others at the very end.

 

‘Clammed Up’ has a great coastal town, salty sea air feeling to it which you can relate to when reading the book. I personally love it when a writer spends as much time to paint the setting/scenery as they do to the plot. The plot itself is great, writing style is perfect, nothing too quick or too confusing! The murder is simple, but figuring out who did it is a whole different story. I had so many people in mind who could have done it. You know that moment when you think you have it all figured out? Well then bam it hits you, a plot twist and the whole idea you had is gone. This happens throughout the book. I never ever expected the murderer to be that person. I think it’s a well written mystery story that has it all. Family, memories, tension and lessons.

 

I love it and I can’t wait to get to Busman’s Harbor again as I will certainly read the next book!!

Elvis and The Dearly Departed (Southern Cousins Mysteries)

Elvis and the Dearly Departed - Peggy Webb I had no idea what to expect really, a Basset Hound who thinks he is Elvis Presley? I thought the book would be from his point of view, but I have to say that that is happily not the case. However, after each chapter you read a small chapterkind that has Elvis’ thoughts on the situation and that I do like.

I found the book a bit difficult to follow. Many loose ends or things that happened and I was thinking what just happened? Like the moment Callie and Lovie are in Vegas. The whole event was unrealistic especially when Callie and Lovie flee from the crime scene. I expected the cops to be at her place about two chapters later, but none of the sort. Callie went on to her business as beautician and her fight for Elvis. The first that it got mentioned again was way, way later… It was hard to keep up the storylines and it was going from here to there and over there and back again.

The only thing that really bothered me seemingly was the relationship between Callie and Jack. They have been married, now in divorce and Elvis is the subject they can’t get an agreement over. However, Callie mentions a lot about how she just wants the divorce to be done, but ends up in bed with Jack a lot…. Really, a lot! And every time she sees him, she gets weak in the knees. I really didn’t like that a lot, I mean you usually get a divorce for a reason… So, yeah.
Oh, what also kinda annoyed me was the “I’m wearing Prada shoes”, “Wearing my Jimmy Choo Sandals” and “I parked my Dodge Ram”. Just call it shoes and car… Once I know one rides a Dodge Ram, the next time I read about the car, the word ‘car’ is good enough.

I will read the second installment since I did like the concept about Elvis the basset hound, but if it continues to be this way, I don’t think I will finish the series.

Bonkers: My Life in Laughs

Bonkers: My Life in Laughs - Jennifer Saunders I’ve known Jennifer Saunders’ work for years and I love her work to pieces! When I heard she had a biography coming out, I just had to have it.
The book starts at the Central School of Speech and Drama where Jennifer followed a course to become a drama Teacher. Every now and then you skip forward because Jennifer remember something, but she always takes you back to where the chapter started out. If you are a lover of chronological happenings in a biography, this may not be the book for you.
She takes us through her life, her career and of course her battle against breast cancer. She doesn’t write a lot of personal things and that is a good thing, she mostly writes about her journey to become who she is in the comedy world. Which is in a way also featuring her personal life, but it’s not like a day to day journal type of personal anecdotes.

I knew Jennifer and Dawn French weren't friends straight away, but they do fit together perfectly comedy wise and in the book you can read how their friendship started to grow. It was fun to read about the things that later turned into the sketches she did. Same with Joanna Lumley, I thought these two knew each other long before Absolutely Fabulous, but they gotten to know each other due to AbFab and also had great chemistry and an amazing friendship followed. In the book Jennifer has a few faxes she and Joanna send to each other and they are so much fun to read!

I loved the book, because in my mind, Jennifer is a strong woman who always knows what to say and when to say it, if it would be on stage or at a job interview. Due to this book I found out that she is very shy and quiet in matters like a job interview, it made me smile as I am much the same. During reading the book, you may notice that Jennifer mostly does things and succeeds in things by sheer luck. And what kind of luck! I think her natural, funny way of things made her the successful person she is today and she certainly did not start out like that or had it happen quickly, she had many struggling moments, but she went through all of it with a “sure, whatever” touch to it. She herself says in the book “I have spent my entire career waiting for the tap on the shoulder. How has she gotten away with it for so many years?“. As I said, luck and her natural funny way!

I find Jennifer a very inspiring person. Being so normal even though she’s known world wide and seeing everything with a positive and sometimes funny feeling. This certainly becomes clear during the chapters on breast cancer. The best moment for the that defined what I felt about her was true was this bit;
“The clinic offered me thing called a cold cap, which is a helmet you wear that is extremely cold – freezing, in fact – and can prevent a good deal of hair loss. I gave it a go, but losing my hear was not a real worry for me. I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life in wigs of one kind or another. Most people don’t really know what my real hair looks like, and are shocked to find out it’s not red and curly”.
I feel this is a Miss Saunders’ way to react to something that, for instance for me, would be devastating as I love my hair. About the moment she actually shaves of the hair she says “Finally Ade and I had matching hairdos“. Now, I know we all deal with things in different ways and sometimes it’s just an ‘act’ to cover a true feeling up, but still. Doing this, thinking this even though you’d cover up a true feeling is for me still inspiring and put a smile on my face!

One of my favorite quotes in the book was by Jennifer’s father: “You can be serious, but you must never, ever take yourself seriously”. Take that quote to heart as there is much truth in it!

Pall in the Family (A Family Fortune Mystery)

Pall in the Family - Dawn Eastman The first thing I noticed when I started this book was that it wasn't an easy read Cozy Mystery like I've read before. Not that it's a bad thing, but for my feeling I wasn't reading it as fast as I did with others (which I already noticed when I was around page 40 or so), I can't pinpoint why exactly, but it was just a feeling. It's also not much filled with humor. The humor that is in the book, mostly comes from the dogs that Clyde walks, especially Baxter, he's a big brown dog that drools a lot! Just the kind I like! The scenes where Clyde tries to get him in the car made me laugh out loud. Other then that, it's a more serious book, but still cozy, just not as humorous as others.

The characters are great! There are many characters, but all introduced very well and you really get to know each one of them and what the relationship is between them. I was a bit annoyed by Clyde's mom and aunt who continuously tell Clyde she should 'embrace her gift'. I can understand in a way, but it was made clear a tad too much... basically every time the family came together. I just hope there will be less "Clyde needs to accept her gift" pushing from mom and aunt and less Clyde fighting against it if there comes another book. I would like it if she chooses and everyone accepts the choice. Whatever it is.
Mac and Clyde are old flames and I loved how their story was told and we also get to know the background of their relationship and why certain things happened.

During reading I had a few suspects in mind, but the true murderer revealed to me by reading the book 'till the end. With the guesses I made, I was right, but the motives behind the crimes were really cleared in the end and that was one thing I could not have guessed. Almost at the end of the book I got misdirected with my suspicions in suspects. I loved that last minute spin up of things!
All in all a great book!

It's a great first book in a series I certainly hope will continue, so I definitely recommend it!

Top O' the Mournin': A Passport to Peril Mystery (Passport to Peril Mysteries)

Top O' the Mournin' - Maddy Hunter Join Emily in her trip to greener then green Ireland in this second book by Maddy Hunter! I loved the first book which was set in Switzerland and I couldn't wait to start with this one either.
After Emily has lived through the Switzerland vacation it's now time for her, Nana and the troupe of Iowan Seniors to set out to Ireland. At the hotel where they will spent their first night, Emily meets her ex-husband Jack, who we learned in the first book loved to wear Emily's lingerie. Now, he is better known as Jackie. Also Emily's new Beau, Swiss Police Inspector Etienne Micelli decided to join the tour to spent more time with Emily.

I really enjoyed this book as Maddy Hunter is a great writer and has a real knack for writing funny. The book is loaded with fun elements (like when Emily and Jackie go searching for the dungeon when the power cuts out or the fantastic dining room scene where the group finds out who Jackie really is), conversations and situations, you can't help but smile or laugh at the things Emily needs to go through. Never mind her many attempts of trying to be alone with Etienne which are hilarious.

Let's also not forget Nana, Emily's grandmother. In this book she is even funnier then in the first. Nana photographs everything, really everything, no matter what happens or what the situations is. I also love the way Nana lets Emily know that there's a body in the room. I wish I had a Nana like that! Not with the murder of course, but just the way she is, a lovely and funny woman.
As a reader you quickly get soaked into the story! It's a quick read because you just want to continue and you really read a lot of pages in a short time.

The book has an extra cozy feeling because you join the same group of Iowan seniors as in book one. I like that a lot because you know the people and their tricks (which they apply vividly throughout the book). There are also a few new characters which we get to know. Hopefully some will be on the next book as well. The ending was very surprising, I had no idea of the real murderer and was wrong the whole time! Love it when that happens! Also, at the end of the book, we learn a whole new side of Nana!

Murder Uncorked ( A Wine Lover's Mystery)

Murder Uncorked - Michele Scott Nikki Sands, like almost every aspiring actress, waits tables between acting jobs. She meets Derek Malveaux, a golden boy in wine making, who is at the restaurant where she works. Nikki impresses him with her knowledge of wines. So far up that she gets a job offer to come working at his vineyard. Quickly after her arrival the winemaker is found dead and Nikki finds out there is much rivalry in Napa Valley. Her sleuthing quickly begins....

I started this book, but stopped because I had a few others to read first, so I paused around page 25 or so. When I was ready I picked it back up and read it in two days flat! What a great book! I had my suspicions at the beginning of the book, but during reading my thoughts went back and forth and I started to doubt my gut first feeling.

The murder of the winemaker triggers a Nancy Drew feeling in Nikki and she feels like she needs to figure this out. Next to being there for the Job offer Derek made, she also starts falling for him. He wants to make sure Nikki is alright and looks out for her or ask his dog Oliver (A Rhodesian Ridgeback, loved that detail as it isn't the typical picked dog) to watch her.

Nikki meets Derek's wacky family, Stepmom Patrice, half-brother Simon and his lover Marco and not to forget Derek's ex-wife Meredith (as a Grey's Anatomy fan I found this a bit funny!). At the fundraiser Derek organized, another murder occurs. Now in full Nancy Drew modus, her aunt being in the law enforcement and her own crappy youth, Nikki goes full speed ahead to find out who is the murderer around the Malveaux Vineyard.

I really loved this book, it was written in a way that makes you read it quickly, you get tossed around about the 'Whodunnit' and it's just a fun read. It also features recipes for those who like that!
I will certainly read the next installment, I can't wait to see what happens next for Derek and Nikki!

A Deadly Cliche

A Deadly Cliché (A Books by the Bay Mystery, #2) - Ellery Adams "While walking her poodle, Olivia Limoges discovers a dead body buried in the sand. Could it be connected to the bizarre burglaries plaguing Oyster Bay, North Carolina? At every crime scene, the thieves set up odd tableaus: a stick of butter with a knife through it, dolls with silver spoons in their mouths, a deck of cards with a missing queen. Olivia realizes each setup represents a cliché. And who better to decode the cliché clues than her Bayside Book Writers group?"

As with the first book in this series, this book also totally grabbed me and I read it in a jiffy! Ellery has a fantastic writing style and when you start, you only want to continue! It's good to read about Olivia's changing character in this second installment. She warmed up to me in the first book, but now I really love her. She has a warm heart and in this second book, she helps her friends of the Bayside Book Writers Group in different ways. Also on the romantic level, things are looking good for Olivia.

When she finds a dead body buried in the sand, it takes a while before the story comes up and I had no idea who committed the murder. That's also because it only becomes more clear towards the end what the Cliché Clues mean.

Olivia is big time multitasking throughout this book. She helps Laurel to become the journalist she always wanted to be, solve burglaries, find out details about the dead body in the sand, critique chapters from the other Bayside Book Writers members, write her own chapter, oh and learning on the side that her father she believed to be death for over thirty years to be alive, but dying.

I had trouble putting down this book and I just had to read! I can't wait to start on the next installment and I hope that after I finish the books that are already published, there will be much more to follow!

Dire Threads (A Threadville Mystery)

Dire Threads - Janet Bolin "Willow Vanderling's quaint new embroidery shop is not a hit with the local zoning commissioner. When he's murdered, the evidence is stacked against Willow"

The synopsis is small, but the book is really good. The only thing I really disliked was the many, many, many times Willow said 'It wasn't her' who did it..... I know she wants to prove her innocence, but that could have been a little bit less.

The book itself further is a quick read, I really liked it and will continue to read the other books in this series as well!

Dolled Up For Murder (Gretchen Birch, #1)

Dolled Up For Murder  - Deb Baker With no idea what to expect on a Doll Murder Mystery, I started with this book.
Gretchen rushes to Arizona because Martha, a friend of her mother, is murdered and her mother is the main suspect. Nina, Gretchen's aunt and Purse Dog trainer, helps Gretchen in the search for what happened to Martha and prove her mothers innocence.

The book was funny, well written and had a good plot. I sort of had the real murderer in mind, but wasn't 100% sure. I also liked the skipping from Gretchen to her mother's dialogue and adventure at the end of most chapters.

All in all a good book and I will certainly continue reading the other books in this series.

Alpine for You (Passport to Peril, #1)

Alpine for You - Maddy Hunter The first page was a bit 'blurry' for me, because you fall right into the story, but this first book in this series is a fantastic and funny read! Emily Andrews goes to Switzerland together with her grandmother (nana) and a group of senior citizens from their hometown.
The trip Emily had in minds turns out to be something totally else. While envisioning to see the beauty of Switzerland, there is fog all day, the food is terrible, her suitcase gets misplaced and her hotel room(s) are not what she expected.

Then, a member on their tour dies. Emily doesn't think to much of it and meets Inspector Etienne Miceli, a gorgeous man with a various accent. She learns from him that the death of their tourmember is not just a death, it's murder! Soon another victim falls and Emily realizes that there might be a killer in her tourgroup. She tries to solve the murder together, have a little romance on the side and enjoy her holiday.

Emily is a great character, funny and never out of comments. I also loved her interactions with Nana, her grandmother. They are a great pair and I loved reading their ways to 'defend themselves' in case of an emergency. Plus, Nana is a 'great' help when Emily's suitcase is misplaced. Nana loves wearing pastels.

I can't wait to read the rest of the books in this series and see what Emily and Nana live through in their visiting trips! It's definitely a fun read, not heavy, lightweight and all is balanced well.

Flowerbed of State (A White House Gardener Mystery)

Flowerbed of State - Dorothy St. James I don't really know what to write about this book. I knew it had mixed reviews, but decided to give it a chance. My own opinion..... I did not like it. The story took too long, it was a lot of "Stay out of it" while the lead character of course did not and it just wasn't a pleasant read. I couldn't put myself to read it, first cozy mystery I had that with. I will not read the other books in this series.

Aunt Dimity's Death (Aunt Dimity Mystery)

Aunt Dimity's Death (Aunt Dimity Mystery) - Nancy Atherton I saw a lot of good reviews on this book and together with the synopsis it made me curious and I can say, I love this book! It was very different from the other cozy mysteries I read with murders occurring, but nonetheless I think it was a fantastic read.
The plot unfolding happened in a steady passing and some things were logical/predictable but I would still recommend this book. It's a quick read, but one that brought a smile to my face!
Very curious to the next installments as I will certainly read the other Aunt Dimity books as well!

Looming Murder: A Weaving Mystery

Looming Murder - Carol Ann  Martin I really liked this book although for me personally it took a bit too long for the murder to occur. Nonetheless, I really liked the story line. It was well written and the characters nicely explained. I certainly hope there will be a second book as I am curious to see what happens next with Della!

Getting Old Is the Best Revenge (Gladdy Gold Series #2)

Getting Old Is the Best Revenge (Gladdy Gold Series #2) - Rita Lakin The second installment of the Gladdy Gold series. Again I loved this one. Gladdy and her gang are at it again. I think the way everything added up was nicely thought out, never expected it.
The gals on cruise was also funny! I love the way Rita Lakin writes. Gladdy Gold is fun to read, the story is great and has a lot of humor! This is a series I intend to finish!

Murder Is Binding

Murder is Binding - Lorna Barrett "Murder is Binding" is a lovely cozy mystery, but it is one I had to come into. It didn't hook me up right from the beginning, but reading on, I started to like it and I found myself questioning all the suspects until I came up with a theory which surprisingly was what happened.

I did like that there were not too many characters, you can see the bond between them. The setting of the story is also good, a little town, filled with bookstores! What more can you have!
Tricia (the main character) has a sister, Angelica, and she comes to town and I have to say, I did not like her at the start, but somehow she got a bit more to me throughout the story.

I will certainly read the next installment!

Getting Old Is Murder (Dell Mystery)

Getting Old Is Murder - Rita Lakin I LOVED IT! Sorry for the caps, but I seriously loved this book! The whole idea of an elderly lady being the lead character! And her friends, they are some portraits! I loved how they all got explained so you can get into the story with an idea of who everyone is. The idea of the murders were also good and I never expected the killer to be the one!

You really get the idea of cozy when reading the day by day of these elderly ladies and how life stirs up when a murder occurs!

Now I have to say I love the series 'The Golden Girls' and somehow they were in my head during reading this book.

I would certainly recommend it to others and I'm giving the book 5 stars!

A Killer Plot

A Killer Plot (A Books by the Bay Mystery, #1) - Ellery Adams, Ellery Adams 'A Killer Plot' by Ellery Adams is the first cozy mystery I read. I had a faint idea what a 'cozy mystery' was and I knew I would like it, but I have to say.... I loved it!

Olivia Limoges is the subject of constant gossip. Ever since she came back to town-a return as mysterious as her departure-Olivia has kept to herself, her dog, and her unfinished novel. With a little cajoling from the eminently charming writer Camden Ford, she agrees to join the Bayside Book Writers, break her writer's block, and even make a few friends...

But when townspeople start turning up dead with haiku poems left by the bodies, anyone with a flair for language is suddenly suspect. And it's up to Olivia to catch the killer before she meets her own surprise ending.


I loved how at the start of the book, you get to see what people think on Olivia Limoges, but I tend to disagree. Olivia really grew on me when she helped out some of her new made friends in the writers club.

The story didn't progress fast, but at a normal pace, you do not get five murdered people or so after each other, but the events are played out nicely in time during the book. It had some unexpected moments and I also loved getting to know more about Olivia's past.

Ellery has a nice writing style, so when you read, you get sucked into the story! Can't wait to read the other books in this series!