Lyssa's novel ideas

Lyssa's novel ideas

I'm passionate about reading.  I primarily read fiction and my favorites are mysteries (especially cozies), Christian and Amish fiction, and the occasional chick-lit.

3 Stars
Looming Murder (Weaving Mystery #1)
Looming Murder - Carol Ann  Martin

This is the first in the Weaving mystery series.  The main character, Della, has left the corporate world after she caught her boss embezzling and was almost falsely implicated herself.  In the aftermath she decided to follow her dream of opening a weaving shop.


The mystery itself is solid.  There are a number of suspects with good motives and I never suspected the person who was the ultimate culprit.  Della's new friends are fleshed out and likable. I am looking forward to visiting them again and again.  The small town setting was very friendly and cozy. 

There was just the whole Matthew issue that detracted from the story. I have already read the second book and I can attest that it gets better as it goes along, but it did take away from the story in this installment. 


In an overly complicated plot point, Della and her friend Matthew have decided to trade homes and Della steps up shop in Matthew's house.  When the store has only been open a week or two, Matthew suddenly decides he wants his house back and Della has to find another place to live and open her business.  


This part of the story really bothered me.  I would imagine that Della had to print business materials, do advertising, etc all with the old address and now after just a couple of weeks she has to move?  Why would she set up a business without a longer term lease?  Also, she acts like it's hunky-dory for Matthew to just move back and isn't mad at him.  If someone did that to me, I'd be furious and would tell them so.


Once Matthew comes back he continues to act like a putz and is extremely unlikable.  He is being set up as a possible future love interest for Della, but I can't help but hope that she gets over him and find someone better.  He is very moody, snaps at her a lot, and just generally talks down to her. I hope Della can find someone that treats her with more respect. 

2.5 Stars
Scandal in Skibbereen (A County Cork Mystery, #2)
Scandal in Skibbereen (A County Cork Mystery, #2) - Sheila Connolly

This is the second book in the County Cork cozy series.  These books focus on an Irish-American girl from Boston named Maura Donovan who moves to Ireland and inherits an Irish pub.  


Something that I've noticed with Sheila Connolly that is true in this series, is that the mystery is almost a subplot.  The first in the series, Buried in a Bog, barely had a mystery at all, it was more a drama about Maura going to Ireland. 


Scandal in Skibbereen has a stronger mystery plot than the first one, but it's still not the main focus.  There are actually two mysteries that tie together, one is a murder and the second is the search for a long-lost painting.  The search for the painting gets much more time than the murder mystery.  Actually in both County Cork books the murder mystery is solved almost by default at the end, Maura doesn't really put any clues together to solve the murder. 


Also, the dialog is tedious and unrealistic in places.  When the three women featured in the story (Maura, Gillian, and Althea) are having conversations it just gets ridiculous in some places.


On a positive note we are seeing some character growth here.  In the first book Maura came across as very whinny and negative. We don't see much of that in the second installment.


I still really like the setting in Ireland, it really makes me want to go there.  The series seems to be improving with Maura becoming much more likable and a stronger mystery plot. I will likely read the third one to see how it progresses and decide from there if I will continue with the series. 


3.5 Stars
A Tale of Two Biddies (League of Literary Ladies #2)
A Tale of Two Biddies - Kylie Logan

This is the second book in the League of Literary Ladies cozy mystery series.  The premise from the first book is that three women have been sentenced to join a book club.  Along with a fourth woman who joins voluntarily, they become friends and solve mysteries.


The books in this series are all themed around classic books that the book club is reading. In this book it's A Tale of Two Cities. This is actually the downside of this series for me as I haven't read much classic literature (whatever that may say about me.)  So throughout this book we have references to A Tale of Two Cities and some plot devices used from the book, all which were lost on me.  This aspect of the series is making me seriously consider whether I will continue reading or not, because I just don't feel like I'm getting everything and it's annoying.


That aside, the book is good. I like the setting on an island off the coast of Ohio.  We were presented with several possible murders, all with very good motives and I did not correctly figure out whodunit.  A pet peeve with some cozies is that only two or three suspects are introduced and maybe one of them has such a ridiculous motive, that you can easily narrow it down. So it was refreshing to have a deep suspect list who were fleshed out enough so that they were recognizable as individual characters.


We still have a side mystery that is unresolved regarding Bea's background. We still do not know any details from her former life, save for the fact that she had a stalker, which was revealed in the first book. Her relationship with Levi is also progressing very slowly.  I will likely read the next in the series to see if there are any new developments in these areas and then decide if I want to continue with the series. 


On a side note, it looks like the next installment will be themed around The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and will be a Halloween book.

2.5 Stars
Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery, #1)
Liver Let Die - Liz Lipperman

Liver Let Die is the first in the Clueless Cook mystery series.  The main character, Jordan, has moved to a small town north of Dallas and writes the personals for the local newspaper after being dumped by her boyfriend.  Eager to move up at the newspaper, she agrees to take over the kitchen column although she is not a foodie herself. 


This cozy was just so-so for me.  It wasn't really good or bad, per say.  There were a couple of things that kind of jarred me out of the story because I thought they were so unrealistic.  For example, at one point Jordan is trying to track down a high school student.  She goes to the school and the receptionist just points her toward the student without asking if she is family or getting any ID, which just seemed crazy.  Another example was when her editor told her to introduce herself as being a reporter doing a review when going to review a restaurant because then she would get better service.  Wouldn't that slant the review? 


Besides those details those it was fine, just kind of ho-hum.  I didn't really connect with the character or feel very engaged. It just all came across as rather flat to me. However, the mystery had a bit of a surprise ending and I didn't figure it out.


We see the beginnings of a budding romance between Jordan and Alex.  However, Alex is leaving town.  Plus, at the end of this book they set up the second one and it sounds like Jordan will be going on a date with someone else.  So I don't know if Alex is out of the picture or if we are headed for a love triangle.


As a side note, it looks like the first three books are published by Penguin and the fourth one is independently published.  This is a trend I am seeing more and more as established series are able to continue even after not continuing with the mainstream publisher.

The Either/Or Tag

My first tag!  I got tagged by Peace, Love, Books


BOOKLET OR TOME? Booklet, I guess? I read a lot of books in the 250-350 page range, so I couldn't really call that a tome . . .


PRE-OWNED OR NEW?  Pre-owned.  I actually get my books new, pre-owned, and from the library. However, lately I've become addicted to Half-Price Books and have been getting more and more books there, so I've got to say pre-owned.


HISTORICAL FICTION OR FANTASY?  Historical fiction.  Here I would say I read both, but I probably read more historical fiction, especially Christian fiction.  Especially historical books dealing with Quakers, Shakers, etc.


HARDCOVER OR PAPERBACK?  Paperback for many reasons.  They are cheaper, easier to stick in my purse, more of them fit on a shelf, etc.


FUNNY OR SAD? Funny. Again, I would read both, but I read a ton of cozy mysteries which tend to be funny.


DO YOU PREFER READING IN SUMMER OR IN WINTER? Winter. I really read all year round, but I will say winter since there is less temptation to go outside and do something besides read.


CLASSICS OR MAINSTREAM?  Mainstream. This one was pretty easy, I rarely read classics.  Whatever that says about me . . .


GUIDEBOOK OR FICTION?   Fiction, no question.  I rarely read non-fiction, just the occasional travel guide or biography.


CRIME NOVEL OR THRILLER? Crime Novel - I assume by this they mean mystery, which is my favorite genre.  I do read thrillers as well though. :)


E-BOOK OR PRINT EDITION?  Print edition, but I do have quite a few ebooks waiting to be read.


COLLECTING OR CLEARING OUT?   Collecting, I am without a doubt a book hoarder and have over 1,000 physical books at my house.  Yikes!


INTERNET OR BOOKSTORE? Bookstore.  Browsing Barnes & Noble or HPB is one of my favorite activities. I do buy some books online, but the majority at a bookstore.


BACKLIST OR NEW PUBLICATION?  New publication.  I really like to keep up with the new releases, but then I get a pile of them going, so I guess they become a backlist . . .


BEST OR BAD SELLER?  Best seller.  I do have a bunch of indie books that I got for free for Kindle, but really haven't gotten around to reading them yet.


COOKBOOK OR BAKING BOOK? Cookbook, although I really don't cook.  I like the 3 or 4 ingredient cookbooks!




I'll just tag a couple of people who hopefully haven't gotten this yet.  Tag, you're it!


Feed the Reader

A Temple of Words

Murder by Death

Degrees of Affection

Hunger for Knowledge

The Butler Did It




Reblogged Image

Reblog from Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Reblogged from Jessica (HDB)
5 Stars
Absolutely, Positively (Lucy Valentine #3)
Absolutely, Positively - Heather Webber

I have been really lucky to read some great books this week and this was one of them.  It isn't always like that, but this week I'm just on fire!  I can't get enough of this series.  I actually started reading this book after work last night and finished it before I went to bed.


This book follows the continuing saga of psychic Lucy Valentine. While the rest of her family has the gift of matchmaking, she has the ability to find lost objects.  She is continuing to use that gift to help find lost loves as part of her family's matchmaking business and also to assist in finding missing persons.  


Again we start out with multiple mysteries.  First, Lucy is hired to track down a client's missing high school love, but is he worth finding?  Second, a neighbor/family friend is missing and she starts to unofficially investigate.  The action just keeps coming and some interesting moral questions are raised along the way.


Lucy is a well-developed, likable character.  Her relationship with Sean continues to grow but she has to overcome her fears of commitment. Luckily, we did not see his ex-fiance in this installment, yea! Her family is quirky and their relationships continue to evolve and develop as well. 


Also, we met a new character very briefly who seems to know about Lucy's abilities.  I anticipate we will see her again in future installments.


Overall, this is a quality cozy/paranormal mystery, with a strong romance aspect as well. I can't recommend it highly enough!

4 Stars
Blue Heaven
Blue Heaven - C.J. Box

This was my first CJ Box novel and it won't be my last! This is a complex and gripping thriller that gets more tense with each page.  I could hardly put it down.


CJ Box writes a series about Joe Pickett, but this book is a stand alone.  In this story,12-year-old Annie and 10-year-old William witness an execution in the woods and then have to go on the run from the executioners, who happen to be retired, crooked cops. It is hard to know where to turn or who they can trust, as the crooked cops infect local law enforcement.


This story shifts POV quite often.  As a parent it's harrowing to read stories about missing children, so I liked when the POV shifted back to the kids and I could see that they were still "okay"  (I use that loosely, because how "okay" can one be when pursued by a group of killers).


There are several subplots that converge in this story and in the beginning this can make it a bit slow and choppy.  As you get very involved in the story the POV suddenly shifts and jolts you out.  But the ties between the storylines become apparent and it quickly becomes addictive.


The book lost one star for the ending, which I will not spoil. I will just say it felt a bit rushed and could have given better closure.  I have seen other reviews comment on this as well, but clearly not everyone is bothered by it. This can happen all too often  in these types of books, I've read more than one Sue Grafton novel that I couldn't put down just to get to the end and think, that's it? However, I still enjoyed the book a great deal and highly recommend it.

5 Stars
Love Finds You in Liberty, IN (Love Finds You series)
Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana - Melanie Dobson

This book was really good, one of the best in the Love Finds You series. The author obviously did her research and paid attention to detail to make the time period come to life.  It is hard to imagine living in the time of slavery, but this book shows how dedicated people, including the Quakers, worked to help people to safety on the Underground Railroad. 

Besides the Underground Railroad aspect, this book also gave me more insight into the lifestyle of the Quakers.

It was very engaging and tense, it was almost impossible to put down!  I even lent the book out to some friends who don't normally read this genre and it was enjoyed by all.

4.5 Stars
Steeped in Evil (A Tea Shop Mystery, #15)
Steeped in Evil - Laura Childs

While Steeped in Evil is the 15th (!) installment of the Tea Shop mysteries, I still found it enjoyable and interesting.  It hasn't lost its flair yet, as some long running series tend to do. 


In this edition, Theo is attending a wine event just outside of Charleston when the adult son of the winery owner is found dead in a barrel of wine. Due to her long history of solving crimes, the owner asks Theo to poke around and try to bring the killer to justice.


As usual, Laura Childs is very descriptive in her setting of Charleston and transports the reader to that city in the South. After binge-reading the first several Tea Shop mysteries back in 2012, I actually had to go to Charleston on a trip, so vivid was my image of the place after reading the books.


As always, there are several scenes in the tea shop and the descriptions of the tea and food certainly made my stomach rumble. I wish the Indigo Tea Shop existed in real life!


The mystery is engaged, well-plotted, and gives the reader a bit of a behind the scenes look into the wine industry. However, I will say that while I wasn't sure, I did guess the identity of the bad guy before he was revealed.  I wasn't sure though and it didn't spoil the book for me.


Throughout the series Theo has been something of a serial monogamist and I'm starting to see hints that we may see her change love interests again soon.  Nothing concrete on that front in this book, but from the hints dropped, I'm anticipating that in a future book.


Although this book is #15 in a series it could be read as a stand alone without any background knowledge really necessary, other than knowing that Theo has a rep for solving crimes.

5 Stars
Deeply, Desperately (Lucy Valentine #2)
Deeply, Desperately  - Heather Webber

I met Mrs. Webber at a book signing a couple of weeks ago and so was inspired to try her Lucy Valentine series.  This was the 2nd installment and it's safe to say that I'm hooked!  I don't give many five star reviews and this is one of them.


FYI, I should say that while I consider this to be a cozy mystery, the romance scenes are slightly steamier than the typical cozy.


So this series centers around Lucy Valentine.  Her family are professional matchmakers, having been given the ability to see auras by Cupid and thus make perfect matches. However, Lucy has lost this ability and now can only find lost objects.  In the first book she figured out she could use this ability in the family business to try and locate lost loves.  This book opens with her working on a lost love case.  She has also started working as a police consultant on the side to try and locate missing persons.


There are multiple mysteries in this book including the mystery of the lost love she is trying to track down for her client, a missing person she is trying to locate for the police, and a mystery about threatening letters she is receiving. This is one of those rare mysteries in which no murder takes place during the book.


Overall, it was highly entertaining and addictive. I finished the book in less than 24 hours. My only pet peeve with the book was the storyline regarding the love interest's ex-fiancé.  That whole storyline bothered me in the first book and I was disappointed to see it continued in this one.   I'm hoping that we are at the end of that storyline.  While it was annoying, it was a minor issue to an otherwise amazing read.

2.5 Stars
The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club (The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club #1)
The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club - Wanda E. Brunstetter

I'm an Amish fiction fan, but this book was different. I don't want to say it was bad, it was just different and didn't hold my interest as well.  It followed several characters, most of them non-Amish, and then one Amish woman.  So the story was constantly jumping around and most of the time it was not in the Amish setting.  This did not give much of the setting or feeling of being in an Amish community that we normally get from Amish fiction.

Also, without really having a main character, I personally just didn't get as engaged or care so much about what was going to happen to the characters.  Again, I think that might have been partly due to the choppiness of jumping around so much.

Another thing is that usually we will have a strong romance in Christian/Amish fiction of this nature, but not in this book.  There was one small, undercurrent of a romance that was really not explored in much depth.

This book was interesting and well written, and it was okay, it just wasn't as interesting to me as like the Shunning series or Sisters of the Quilt series. I also saw the musical that goes along with the book and I did enjoy the musical, but again, not as much as the musical that goes along with the Shunning/Confession book series.

4 Stars
Gone to Glory (Moroni Traveler #3)
Gone to Glory: A Case for Moroni Traveler - Robert Irvine

This was the third installment in the Moroni Traveler series and so far I have enjoyed them all. In this one, Moroni is hired to help clear a former semi-pro baseball player of his sister's murder.  Moroni is not able to be paid his usual fee for this case, but takes it for old-times sake as he remembers watching the baseball games of his youth.

The story flows as a typical PI story set in the 80's and early 90's, where the PI doesn't have access to the internet and cell phones and has to use old fashioned methods to track down people and information. In that regard it is similar to the work of Sue Grafton and I seem to really enjoy this style.

Irvine is a good writer, the book is easy to read and the twists and turns keep coming so it's hard to get to the bottom of the case before Moroni does. I also enjoy the Salt Lake setting.

My biggest turn-offs with this book specifically are the baseball references and flashbacks.  At one point some type of baseball play is described over multiple pages.  I have no interest in baseball, so I basically skimmed that section. The previous books are not like that. This series also sometimes can get convoluted with regard to the Mormon church and things that the average reader might not be familiar with, however, I still highly recommend this series if you can get your hands on it.  So far I've been lucky enough to find the them all through my local library system.

4 Stars
Drip Dead (Georgiana Neverall #3)
Drip Dead - Christy Evans

Drip Dead is the third and final book in the Georgiana Neverall plumbing cozy series. It was an enjoyable read and I'm sad to see the end of the series.


While I did't know how I would enjoy a series focused around a plumber, that aspect of the book is not emphasized too much.  If anything it lends plausibility to her involvement in murders, such as in this story, finding a body under a house while checking the pipes.  Besides plumbers tips at the start of every few chapters, there really isn't any plumbing talk. 


This book can likely be read as a stand alone without reading the rest of the series.  The background you may need to know is that Georgiana is a former internet security specialist who left/was forced out of her company.  She moved back to her hometown in Oregon and is in training to be a plumber.  Since moving back to town she has started seeing her high school flame, Wade.  Georgiana and her mother have a somewhat strained relationship that they are working on.


In this book Georgiana finds the body of her mother's fiancé and has to solve the murder to clear her mother's name. We don't really have other suspects until at least half-way through the book, but a few suspects do crop up and it's fairly easy to keep all of the characters straight.  


Georgiana's life and safety are put on the line a few times as she works to find the killer, but this is a heroine in her 30's and she doesn't come across as taking excessively stupid or over the top risks. 


Overall, this is a fun, light read and I would recommend it.  If you have the time, I would start with the first in the series, Sink Trap, but it's not necessary. 


4 Stars
Bloom and Doom (Bridal Bouqet Shop #1)
Bloom and Doom - Beverly  Allen

Bloom and Doom is the first in the Bridal Bouquet mystery series set in Virginia.  The main character, Audrey, runs a flower shop with her cousin Liv.  They do all kinds of flowers, but are known for the wedding flowers.


Initially Audrey is helping a former friend Jenny pick out wedding flowers.  Jenny and Audrey lost touch when Jenny lost quite a bit of weight and became friends with the health-club set. Jenny doesn't seem too excited about the wedding and later confides to Audrey that she plans to call it off. 


The day after calling off the wedding, Jenny's fiancé is found murdered and Jenny is the main suspect.  Suddenly Audrey is the only one still on Jenny's side and is left to prove her innocence. 


The mystery is well thought out and plotted, although the mystery aspect seemed a bit light at times.  We don't have many other suspects until later on in the book.  While at one point I suspected the correct identity of the murder, I changed my mind and when the killer was revealed I was expecting it to be someone else.  


A secondary mystery was also woven into the story, regarding growing illegal drugs. I was completely wrong regarding the outcome of that mystery. 


A possible love interest is also introduced for Audrey in the form of cupcake baker Nick Maxwell.  We will have to wait and see how that plays out in future books.


Overall, this was a fun and enjoyable read and I look forward to further installments of the series.


Disclosure: I received an ARC of the book which in no way impacted my review.