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Book Chaos

Book Chaos (Photo credit: Sharon Drummond)


May is a big month for me.  It’s got Mother’s Day and my birthday.  I love the homemade cards my kids still give me on Mother’s Day and the Amazon gift cards I receive for my birthday.  Amazon gift cards = guilt-free books!  I also wandered into the Goodwill bookstore this month and discovered a huge rack of 99 cent paperbacks.  I got a whole (reusable) sack full for about $25.  Yep, a couple dozen more books, in addition to six from Amazon and God knows how many kindle freebies.  Apparently, I’m addicted not only handbags, but also books.  Look, at least I don’t have bugs or rodents (teenagers don’t count) and my house in no way resembles an episode of “Hoarders: Buried Alive.”  Yet.  Here we go with my unsolicited opinion of my reading material:


Good Fun


Knock-Off (A Finley Anderson Tanner Mystery) by Rhonda Pollero (99 cents at Goodwill)  I was a bit put off by the shallow, snarky Finley at first.  I don’t know if she mellowed as the story progressed, or if I grew accustomed to her, but I ended up loving this book.  The mystery was twisty and the cast of characters was fun and well-developed.  Definitely a mix of mystery and romance.  There’s something skeevy about Finley’s pilot/perfect boyfriend.  He made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  I’d keep an eye on him if I were Finley.  But maybe I just like the bad-boy PI better.  An all-around fun romp.  Recommend.


Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay (PaperBackSwap.com)  Urban fantasy.  A dark, twisty and twisted tale of mutant fairies in Louisiana.  The heroine, Annabelle, is a self-loathing, self-medicating slacker, but  she’s got depth and potential.  The plot involves a grisly child murder, a drug operation, and a town with undercurrents of corruption.  I twigged to the murderer halfway through, but the motive took me completely by surprise.  This is a dark tale; I ended up loving it.  The lead characters were believable even in an unbelievable dystopic, blood-sucking fairy world.  I was engaged all the way to the ending (which creeped me out).  Looking forward to the next installment.


Dance of the Winnebagos (Jackrabbit Junction Mystery #1) by Ann Charles  (free from the Kindle Owners Lending Library)  A hoot.  Kinda Carl Hiaasen-lite.  And set in Arizona instead of Florida.  The author lets you know whodunnit early on, so it’s more a matter of whether the good guys figure it out in time.  There’s a wide streak of romance in the middle of the mystery, but it’s cute so I didn’t mind.  The horny senior citizens got old (haha) after awhile, but overall, a fun read.


The Cat, The Wife and The Weapon by Leann Sweeney (Goodwill find)  Cozy mystery with four cats and a dog as side characters.  Part of a series, but stands alone.  For a light mystery, the crimes were surprisingly gruesome and the villain especially awful.  Great reading for cat lovers.


Buzz Off (A Queen Bee Mystery) by Hannah Reed (Goodwill, again)  Another cozy mystery centering around a small-town grocer with a bee-keeping hobby.  The mystery is pretty lightweight, the characters are well-developed.  I learned a lot about bees, which was an unexpected bonus.  Great light reading.


Can’t Never Tell (A Southern Fried Mystery) by Cathy Pickens (another Goodwill find)  Cozy mystery with a slow start, starring a big city corporate lawyer who returns to her small hometown (I don’t know why, that’s apparently explained in a previous book.  Didn’t matter to the plot or my enjoyment, though).  Light read with comfortably fallible characters.  The mystery involves a murder and financial fraud for which I would’ve appreciated a bit more explanation.  Another good weekend read.


Peril in Paperback (A Bibliophile Mystery) by Kate Carlisle (yep, Goodwill)  Looks to be about #6 in a series starring a book restorer with a habit of stumbling upon and solving murders.  I haven’t read the previous books, but the author was careful to describe various character relationships, so it stood alone.  The plot is a wacky, modern-day English house party in Northern California.  The cast of characters runs the gamut from normal to nutty.  The twists are soap opera worthy:  there’s not one, but two secret children; two corpses; and one corporate thief.  The charm of some characters felt forced and the weird house annoyed me.  Fun, but frustrating.


Survive a Catastrophe in Suburbia Without Firearms by William West and B. Lee Rowell (kindle freebie)  I’m in suburbia, I don’t have a firearm, and catastrophe could strike at any moment, so I felt obliged to read this book.  First, a grammar geek alert:  these authors need a lesson on plural versus possessive forms and the difference (yes, there is one) between there, they’re, and their.  Drove me nuts.


The main concern for these guys was a massive power outage due to large solar flares.  I’d never thought of that, so thanks for giving me something new to worry about.  I don’t know if solar flares are really something to freak out over, but this is an excellent guide for sheltering in place.  Practical (for the most part, I’m not sold on the 1,000 gallon water drums in the backyard idea) and humorous, the authors reminded me of my dad.  Recommend.




Afterlight (The Dark Ink Chronicle #1) by Elle Jasper  I waited two years for this book on my PaperBackSwap.com wish list.  It’s a slightly different vampire tale set in Savannah, Georgia.  I enjoyed the atmosphere of the city and the main character, but the plot was well-worn.  I have the second book of the series, but lack the motivation or interest to read it.  Just ok.


Minimalist Wardrobe:  How to Streamline, Simplify, and Organize Your Closet by Kerry Gene (kindle freebie)  More magazine article than book, this provides a very basic foundation for paring down your wardrobe.  I’d have liked more details and photos of making pieces work together as outfits.  I was aghast at the author’s suggestion of a spreadsheet to track and organize one’s clothing.  What happened to minimalist?


Vitamin Water by Arnel Ricafranca (kindle freebie)  A very short book with a couple dozen ways to flavor water with fruits and vegetables (to call them recipes is silly).  It gave me some ideas for new flavor combinations, but wait for it to be free if you’re interested.


Murder of the Cat’s Meow by Denise Swanson (Goodwill, thankfully)  #15 of a series, but I’ve never read the others and I followed along fine.  The dialogue was stilted and the author did more telling than showing.  A good poolside read if you’re supposed to be watching kids:  you won’t mind being interrupted.  I did appreciate that the author made a disclaimer at the very start that no cats are hurt in the book.


I’m all set for summer reading.  Clearly.  The book I’m most looking forward to reading next is Lisa Arends new healthy cookbook, Have Your Cake and Spinach Too:  Dessert Flavored Green Smoothies for Health and Weight Loss.  Normally I’m leery of kindle cookbooks, but she takes care to get the formatting right and I love her blog (Lessons From The End of A Marriage), she talks about her (extremely good) health and fitness in addition to what she’s learned from marriage and divorce, so I can’t wait to try her recipes.  We’ll see if green smoothies can really taste like dessert!  And it’s only 99 cents for the kindle version.


What are you most looking forward to reading this summer?  Do tell in the comments.