Random House Publishing Group – Alibi

Book Review – For Whom the Bread Rolls (A Pancake House Mystery) by Sarah Fox.

For Whom the Bread Rolls.jpg

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Alibi for allowing me a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

And I really am quite thankful they did approve me to read it as I wasn’t too sure they would after what I said about book one ‘The Crepes of Wrath’. 😀

In my defence I did say a lot of nice things about book one as it really did tick all the right boxes to be a great little cosy crime… I just could not connect to or truly enjoy it and I don’t know why. I do blame myself. Maybe I was in the wrong mood?

Still, I am so very pleased to be able to tell you that my belief that my failure to connect was a one off and due to it suffering ‘first book jitters’ is true as…. I loved ‘For Whom the bread rolls’. I don’t know why, but this time there was just that right bit of everything and so it clicked, was enjoyable and read within three days or so. Obviously a good read when my brain inhales it that quickly.

I don’t know whether it was just because the characters were more established, whether it was because the whole storyline was more grounded and seemed to know where it was going… I really can’t say. But I will say that all the positives I said about the first book in the ‘A Pancake House Mystery’ still stand. And all the constructive criticisms (not negatives) I said are now gone. All the boxes for a good American cosy crime/ mystery are still ticked, this reader was satisfied and we can all go on living happily ever after…. Until the next one. 😉

What may have happened is this book wasn’t so cluttered and wasn’t trying to fit so many things in all at once… which is often the case of the first book in a series and so one should never judge a series on the first book alone. Wait for the next one, read it and realise the author has it all together now and it is going to be fine. Then just sit down, grab a cuppa and enjoy the ride… I mean read.

So – story plot good. Cosy/ Mystery – well paced. Characters – approachable and believable. Padding and red herrings – just enough to keep it ticking over and interesting without smothering the actual story. All in all as perfect as an American small town cosy/ mystery could be and something I feel is going to be perfect on the summer reading lists of cosy crime lovers all over the Americas this coming summer. It works just as good for we who are descending into winter down here in Australia. 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

I would… but with any series I would always say start at the first book and move forward. But I would also warn people to not panic if they didn’t quite gel with ‘The Crepes of Wrath’ as ‘For Whom the Bread Rolls’ totally makes up for is and will ensure you really get hooked on the ‘A Pancake House Mystery’ series.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I can honestly see myself collecting them as eBooks. Yes I wasn’t that enamoured with the first book, but I could still see its potential. Second book well and truly makes up for it and really makes me look forward to the next one and filling my Amazon cart in a bit of a cosy spending spree. 😉

In summary: Great second book in an American cosy/ mystery series that has a LOT of potential to be awesome. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review -The Book Club Murders (The Oakwood Mystery Series) by Leslie Nagel

book-club-murders

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Alibi for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

So, I have finally gotten a chance to read this book and it was so worth the wait! Well written, well mapped out, good strong characters and the right smattering of red herrings to get we mystery lovers all aquiver! 🙂

Okay, I will admit I found the array of secondary characters a bit too similar and confusing the start with  – the Agathas – but I put that down to the fact I started reading ‘The Book Club Murders’ while I was still finishing off another book and so was confusing myself. Not the writer’s fault at all. As, honestly, once I devoted myself full time to this book all the characters became easy to identify and remember as individuals.

I think the thing I really loved about the story is it handed you the clues as it went in such a casual way that not all of them even appeared to be red herrings… while also giving you info that you recall at the end as being important with a “duh, the book did tell us that!” I loved it! I do love a good mystery that tells a story, gets to the point, doesn’t pad things out too much and doesn’t try and drown you in so many red herrings you smell fishy for weeks later. ‘The Book Club Murders’ didn’t do any of that and so was a great read.

The protagonist was easy to relate to, as were her friends and family and there was just that nice bit of spice and sexy romance to really cover all the bases of mystery lovers – crime, colourful characters, a strong protagonist, great sidekicks and sexy men. What more could my cosy crime driven heart desire?

However, I do have to say the name of her shop kept giving me the giggles. As, you see, I read a lot of Regency stuff and have learnt a lot of the dialects and cants used in that era. And, well, “old hat” isn’t exactly a polite word to use. Google it if you need to know more. “Often felt” – giggles every time.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, especially as it is the first book in a new crime series and I do love starting a new series at the first book and not coming in it at book three or so… which sometimes happens – you don’t often see those reviews as I don’t like finishing books that I come into mid-series and I rarely post reviews for DNF (Did Not Finish) books.

But yes, lovers of cosy crimes and American Mysteries would love this book and I would indeed recommend it to anyone wanting to try something new.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I think I would. With some series I need to read the first few books before I can decide as to whether I would want copies in my physical or electronic library, but with ‘The Book Club Murders’ I would happily own a copy in my eBooks selection. And I look forward to finding the next one in ‘The Oakwood Mystery Series’!

In summary: A well written little murder mystery that had just the right amount of everything. A great read.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review -The Crêpes of Wrath by Sarah Fox.

Crepes of wrath

3 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Alibi for providing me with a free ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

This book was…. Okay. It had all the right elements to the point of really being a cookie cutter cosy crime from a small town in America. A café to run, a cat, a love interest and a mystery – tick, tick, tick and tick! But I don’t know, there was just something lacking in it all and I simply failed to connect. It felt like the story was just going through the motions of a cosy crime/ mystery and therefore so was I. There was no ‘One more chapter’ mantra, no late night readings. It was just… so so.

To be honest, if I gave half stars, this would probably me more a two and a half than a three… sorry. I feel like such a terrible person saying it and I really do feel it comes down to me having a FTC (Failure to Connect) with this book than it being a poorly written book. Because, as said, it had everything there that makes a great cosy/ mystery… there was just no zap or sizzle for me. Also, the title didn’t really gel with the story. Yes it mentions crepes and it was a pancake house… but after that, no real connection. There was no crepe used in anger, no wrath at the crepe maker, etc. It was a humorous play on words… but maybe fuelled my FTC.

I take on full responsibility for not enjoying the book – let’s get that out there. It was well written, filled with likable characters, a good setting and believable situations. Maybe it was first book jitters? Maybe it was because I’ve recently read some cosy/ mysteries that have blown me away and therefore set the bar too high, I don’t know. But I want to emphasise this was a well written book! The fault was in the reader, not the book nor the author!

Would I recommend this book to others?

Maybe. I mean, it fits all the cosy/ mystery criteria and other lovers of this genre may click with it and want to know what my problem with as they loved it… So I really don’t know. It’s always hard to recommend a book you don’t connect with. I would probably mention it in passing, if the topic arose, but I’d also voice my opinion and… yeah, not exactly a glowing recommendation. I’d much rather stay silent than talk down a good book I just didn’t ‘click’ with.

Would I buy this book for myself?

No, I can’t say I would. Though if I did see other books in the series on Netgalley or at my library I would possibly have a read just to see if I can connect with them better. But I wouldn’t be going out of my way to seek out these books or add them to my wish list.

In summary: I guess you could call this a perfect little cosy crime/ mystery. It ticked all the boxes and seemed to pop out of the cosy crime cookie mould perfectly. But I just didn’t connect and blame myself entirely. The book is well written, but just wasn’t for me.

Until next time,

Janis.