Get Spook-Tacular With Cozy Mysteries for Halloween!

Cozy Mysteries for Halloween 1

Ya’ll… You know how I adore my cozy mysteries. They are some of my favorite reading. As I’ve been putting together this Spook-Tacular Month of posts, I began thinking about my cozy mysteries- and trying to remember some good Halloween ones. I found a few- just in case you like your mystery to be on the light side (and perhaps want to cook up some sweet treats for Halloween!) Continue reading

17 Books Is Too Long For A Love Triangle That Is Going Nowhere.

Blackberry Pie Murder

Photo Credit: Goodreads

 

This is it. The 17th book in this series has broken my will to read another book in this series. The love triangle that will never end has killed my book loving soul.

Cozy mysteries are some of my favs to read- they are light, fluffy, dashes of romance and small-towns with interesting characters. They are series, so you, the reader, gets plenty of time to know the characters. That’s the good thing about cozy mysteries.

Cozy mysteries deal with s-e-x & romance in variously different ways. Some (Lucy Burdette’s KEY WEST FOOD CRITIC, for example,) the main character is looking for love. Others (Kate Collins’s FLOWER SHOP mysteries- the main character has found love and is married). Different ones have different ways to acknowledge the relationship between a man and woman- some do it with a “wink and nudge”, others are a teensy bit more in your face about it (but never to the point of a 50 Shades situation). Joanne, though, chooses not to acknowledge. At all. Her earlier books had a couple of mentions of some romance- but the past few, she has stalled. The love triangle between Hannah, the main character, and her 2 suitors have cooled considerably. Now it’s like they are all good friends and Hannah occasionally wonders which one is right for her.

Lots of readers like the “clean” aspect of Joanne Fluke’s stories and I have to say that is fine with me. But, after 17 books, 17 books in which she is “dating” both the single male characters in this series- it is time. Time to make a choice. Time to pick someone. This carrot of who she will pick has been dangled 1 too many times- and it’s time for an end.

Why did I read this last book? I want to see a resolution. I want to feel that my time spent with Hannah was worth something and not fruitless.

I’ve been a Hannah fan for some time (but I’ve always given out tough love when it comes to Hannah- see: Joanne Fluke, Hannah Swensen and the “love triangle that needs to end“.

After this last book, BLACKBERRY PIE MURDER, I’m just at the end of the rope. I’m convinced that Joanne Fluke has no intentions of ending the triangle and will continue to write about Hannah, Mike and Norman “dating” for the rest of their lives.

 

Joanne, wherever you are, I hope sincerely that you are reading the reviews of the book, that you are reading the Amazon reviews- not to have your feelings hurt- but to see that there are people out there who really have enjoyed this series in the past and wish that there would be some changes, some fresh air breathed back in the series. Most of us like Hannah and wish to see her grow as a character.

 

How many books do you think is too long for a love triangle? Share your thoughts by commenting!

 

Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,

T @ Traveling With T

T Traveling With T pic sign off

 

Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Blackberry Pie Murder

Photo Credit: Goodreads

 

Traveling With T requested this book through Netgalley.

Blackberry Pie Murder

Hannah’s mother, Delores, is outraged. The Swensen women are the butt of a joke by a news reporter about how long it has been since one of the Swensen ladies have found a body. While the daughters are taking the joke in stride, Delores is not. Hannah is not worried- it feels like ages since she found her last body- and with all the things going on (planning Delores’s wedding to Doc, running The Cookie Jar, cuddling up with Moishe and trying to decide between Mike and Norman), Hannah is ok with not finding any bodies.

One day, a dark and stormy day, Lisa, Hannah’s partner at The Cookie Jar, needs to be picked up from the car repair shop. Hannah goes and gets Lisa- worrying about the weather and decides to take the back roads back to town. The weather is terrible and Hannah is worried that if she pulls over, no one would see her and hit her. When Hannah swerves to avoid a large limb, she doesn’t see the man near the side of the road. Overcome with guilt (Hannah’s used to finding dead bodies, not causing them), but knowing that it was an accident- Hannah does not know what will happen next. Will she be arrested?

After some time, Hannah knows that she must know who this man is- why was he on the side of the road? When the Swensen women start to look into this mystery, they find out some surprising information about the victim.

With a main mystery and a smaller mystery that is related to the larger mystery, Delores and Doc’s wedding planning, and typical Moishe hijinks- Blackberry Pie Murder has something for cozy fans.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts

It’s time for tough love, Joanne Fluke. This is the 17th book in the series and the love triangle (if you can even call it that) is still going on. Let Hannah pick Norman- and let Moishe, Cuddles, Norman and Hannah live somewhat happily ever after. Why do I say “if you can even call it a love triangle”- well, at one point, both Norman and Mike seemed to really be interested in Hannah. Although, the last couple of books- Mike has been less interested in Hannah as a woman- and more for her cookies and other food.

But, to the book- Blackberry Pie Murder is not bad. It’s really not. It’s a bit predictable, though.  My problem is: it’s just not going anywhere. Hannah does the same thing basically every book and while it was cute for awhile- it’s growing old.

Joanne Fluke has always been hesitant about s-e-x in this series. And while in the earlier books, it was understandable (Hannah had her heart broken by a TA at her college), it’s time for a bit more romance for Hannah (note: ROMANCE, not 50 Shades of Grey territory).

Why do I keep reading this series? Because, for the most part, it’s like a comfy old sweatshirt. Sure, it’s not pretty anymore and you don’t wear it in public- but it makes you feel cozy and warm. I do think, though, that my patience is running thin- I don’t want to quit this series, I want to know my time invested with Hannah has been well-spent. But I’m preparing myself to walk.

Do I recommend this book? Yes- but to a very select group of people- the die hard Joanne Fluke fans. If you enjoy all the previous books, are not growing weary of the triangle, and the recipes make you happy- then this book is perfect for you. If you are like me and really enjoyed earlier Joanne books, but the later ones are not as good to you, then I suggest you pass. If you are a cozy mystery lover, I strongly, strongly, STRONGLY suggest that you begin with Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder- when you get to Cream Puff Murder- take a break.

* I requested this book through Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

 

T Traveling With T pic sign off

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah bakes. Hannah talks with her family. Moishe. Hannah finds another body.

If you’ve read any of Joanne Fluke’s books before- you know how the book goes. This installment consists of Dr.Bev coming back with a new look, a new man, and some expensive toys. While still needling Hannah about many things, Dr. Bev let’s it be known that she wants Norman back- and that she’ll use her feminine powers to get him back.

Hannah is upset- as well as her mother and sisters. But then, Dr. Bev becomes the dead body that Hannah finds in this book. So, did Hannah kill Dr.Bev? And would anyone blame her if she did?

Hannah sets out to find out who killed Dr.Bev- and relatively easy finds out the information. And all is well with Lake Eden- and there’s even some good news at the end of the book.

If you like Hannah Swensen books- then you’ll probably like this. However, if you’ve been reading for awhile- and you are tired of the lack of character development and the “triangle”- then, it’s the same happenings.

Joanne Fluke, Hannah Swensen and the “triangle that needs to end”

Joanne Fluke was my first introduction to the world of cozy books. I read her 2nd book, Strawberry Shortcake Murder, and thought that it was quite enjoyable- a good town, nice characters, and a heroine who was funny, and charming in her own ways. She was a tad off-beat, not a size 6 and gorgeous character, and smart- something that, at the time, was a bit lacking in characters.

As I began to read the first book, and more in the series- I enjoyed Hannah and her family. The escapades, the small-town charms, and her dating life. She begun dating Norman Rhodes, the town dentist, and Mike Kingston, detective on Lake Eden’s police force, early in the series- and has continued to date both of the men throughout the series. Both men proposed to Hannah in Peach Cobbler Murder (the 7th book in the series) and she told them both she wasn’t ready and would let them know who she chooses when she’s ready. We’re now on book 18 and Hannah is still dating both men. This “triangle” was cute for awhile- but 11 books later0 it’s grown beyond old. Beyond.

And the romance- well neither romance is hot and heavy. At first, I appreciated that aspect- I don’t want to read a cozy where the “romance” scenes are hot and heavy all the time- I even thought it was refreshing to see a character that wasn’t bed-hopping, or had lewd references all the time. It even made sense for several books- Hannah had been involved in a brief affair with a college TA (with a fiancee) , and was still smarting from being duped by him. But, other cozy mystery writers (see Jenn McKinlay, Denise Swanson, Cleo Coyle) address the issue of romance, without it being lewd and bed-hopping- thus making the romance aspect more believable.

Now, I know cozy books usually have recipes mixed in with the plot, that the characters are part of the charm of the cozy world and the crimes are not graphic. This is what I like about the cozy series- but lately, it just seems that besides no movement on the romance front- that Joanne Fluke is more interested in writing a cookbook. So when she did write one- I thought “OK, maybe we’ll cut back just a teeny bit on the recipes”- but no, they have been increasing. Don’t get me wrong- they sound good for the most part. But at times it feels like they are “filler” to meet the quota of pages.

In the latest book, Red Velvet Cupcake Murder, the reader saw multiple mentions to the “chase” game that Moishe and Cuddles partake in each time they are together. I understand that for some readers this may have been the first book by her to read- so yes, you’d need to know about the game. But for long time readers, it’s getting old (although not as old as the “triangle”)- However, the ‘chase” game did not need to be mentioned multiple times in the same book. Once was sufficient to let new readers know, and then the continual description of what the cats were doing could have stopped.

One might wonder why I keep reading the books- I read for 2 reasons: 1. Even with all the things I don’t care for about the book series now- they still have some good to them. They are like a big sweatshirt- cozy and comfy. and 2. because I want to know how this ends. I’ve invested time in Hannah and I want to see how the series will end.

Will ending the triangle breathe life back in this series? I don’t know. Sometimes I think it would. Sometimes, I think the series needs to take a break or end. These used to be pre-order on Amazon books- and now I just check them out from library.

Dear readers- what happens when a series you’ve been a faithful reader of starts to falter? Do you continue because you want to know what happens? Stop? Stop buying them and just borrow?

My Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies 2013 Reading List…

Cruisin 2013

January 1. Today is the beginning of Cruisin’ Thru The Cozies Reading Challenge 2013. Listed below is my list of books I plan to read. As I read a book, a review will be posted. I’ll also be posting a round-up of cozies I’ve read thus far in the challenge (it may be monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly- that is to be determined.) Goal: 13 books to reach Super Sleuth status (although I may read more- time and books available will determine that). Good luck to all who is participating in this reading challenge. Happy Reading!

Jan 1- A Deal to Die For (Good Buy Girls #2) by Josie Belle

Feb 5th- Veiled Revenge: A crime of fashion mystery by Ellen Byerrum

Feb 26 – Red Velvet Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen) by Joanne Fluke

March 5th- Nickeled and Dimed to Death- A Deveraux’s Dime Store Mystery by Denise Swanson

April 2nd- Going, Going, Ganache (Cupcake Mystery) by Jenn McKinlay

May 7th- Topped Chef: A Key West Food Mystery by Lucy Burdette

Aug 6th- Seed No Evil (Flower Shop Mysteries) by Kate Collins

Sept 3rd- Murder of a Stacked Librarian (Scumble River) by Denise Swanson

Oct 1- Billionaire Blend (Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle

Other cozies I’ll be reading:

Fiber and Brimstone by Laura Childs

Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson

Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson

Death Comes Silently by Carolyn Hart

There are 2 Jenn McKinlay books that should both be released in 2013 that I plan to read as well.

As the year progresses, I plan to add more to the list- I plan to read a minimum of 13 cozies to meet Super Sleuth for Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2013.

 

Books I’m Looking forward to in 2013

I’m the girl who loves to know when the next book of the series is coming out- pretty much just as soon as I finish the previous book. I may or may not mark my calendar to earmark these special days (I’ll let you be the judge of that!)

While this is in no way a complete list- these are the books I’m currently aware of…..

Jan 8th- Kinsey and Me by Sue Grafton

Feb 5th- Veiled Revenge: A crime of fashion mystery by Ellen Byerrum

Feb 26 – Red Velvet Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen) by Joanne Fluke

March 5th- Nickeled and Dimed to Death- A Deveraux’s Dime Store Mystery by Denise Swanson

April 2nd- Going, Going, Ganache (Cupcake Mystery) by Jenn McKinlay

May 7th- Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck

May 7th- Topped Chef: A Key West Food Mystery by Lucy Burdette

May 9th- Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

June 4th- Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

June 18th- Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

June 25th- Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

July 9th- Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

Aug 6th- Seed No Evil (Flower Shop Mysteries) by Kate Collins

Sept 3rd- Murder of a Stacked Librarian (Scumble River) by Denise Swanson

Oct 1- Billionaire Blend (Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle

What books  are you looking forward to reading?