Saturday, March 31, 2018

STIFFS AND SWINE by Ellery Adams_Review

Stiffs and Swine (Supper Club Mysteries Book 4)Stiffs and Swine by Ellery Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I've been "in hog heaven" since discovering the champion Supper Club Mystery Cozy series by prolific author Ellery Adams, and that's a really apropos expression, considering this particular installment focuses on the "Flab Five Supper Club" members judging a Blue Ridge community's popular annual Hog Fest. Invited as celebrity judges due to their growing reputations as small-town amateur sleuths and intuitive crime-solvers, the five friends quickly discover that where pride, corporate sponsorship, and large monetary prizes come into play, so do greed, envy, and resentment.

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CHILI CON CORPSES by Ellery Adams_Review

Chili con Corpses (Supper Club Mysteries Book 3)Chili con Corpses by Ellery Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I just can't praise this series, or author Ellery Adams, highly enough. Truly delightful, even literary, this series entertains with taut, tightly-knitted, plots, mysteries to be solved, justice to bring, but also good deep characterization, heartwarming friendships, family tensions, new hope and second chances, missed opportunities recovered or replaced. This time, a newcomer to little Quincy' s Gap, Virginia brings cuisine classes, and offers hope and inspiration to James Henry's widowed father Jackson. Of course, no Supper Club Mystery novel is complete without a mystery, and this one seems nearly inexplicable to the Flab Five.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018


Murder in the Locked Library (A Book Retreat Mystery, #4)Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: MURDER IN THE LOCKED LIBRARY by Ellery Adams (Book Retreat Mysteries)

Discovering Ellery Adams' cozy mysteries has given me true delight. MURDER IN THE LOCKED LIBRARY is my first read in the Book Retreat Mysteries series, a love letter to books, reading, book clubs, and bibliophiles--so much that makes life worthwhile. Additionally, this novel is a riveting mystery, with history, deep emotions, friendships, family loyalty--and secret societies. And you can't beat that. Guardian Jane Steward is one admirable heroine, and the world is a better place for her {and for her author, Ellery Adams!}

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The Advice Column Murders (The Oakwood Mystery Series, #3)The Advice Column Murders by Leslie Nagel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I raced through this cozy mystery at practicality the speed of light. I love to read a cunning puzzle requiring me to think and think hard, one in which the number of clearly possible suspects is multiple, and one that wrings my emotions as well. This second in the Oakwood Mystery Series is set in real-life Oakwood, Ohio, a peaceful community near Dayton. Hard-charging heroine and amateur sleuths Charley is a delight, and far from the only empowered woman here. The male characters are pretty exciting, too, and the author knows how to paint with broad brushstrokes as well as how to pencil in the fine lines. Quite an enjoyable and fascinating mystery.

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

SWIM, BARK, RUN by Brian Boyle_Review

ShoggothShoggoth by Byron Craft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: SHOGGOTH by Byron Craft

For a Lovecraft devotee such as myself, to discover a new Mythos author is sheer delight. SHOGGOTH is my first reading of Byron Craft. I perhaps chose SHOGGOTH to read first, because I spent January invested in rereads (and listening) of Lovecraft' s "At the Mountains of Madness," in which those bizarre creations, the Shoggoth, figure so prominently.

In this novel, the setting is not the frozen wilds of early 20th century Antarctica, but the U.S. Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, California. Deep in the Mojave Desert are petroglyphs tens of thousands of years old, inexplicable hieroglyphs, and impossible monsters. For the history and science we learn in school missed out on a lot, including Elder Gods.

SHOGGOTH strongly resonates with HPL' s "At the Mountains of Madness" and "The Shadow Out of Time," with the latter's explication of a long-term "Walk-In" experience caused by a race of Elder Gods (regardless of the effect on the human recipient). Mr. Croft also strums one of Lovecraft' s most cherished themes: when science and philosophy's driving quest for knowledge meets that which humanity is not meant to discover, something's gonna break (usually sanity).

I had a totally enjoyable time reading SHOGGOTH. In fact, I found myself envying the characters their exploration of hidden prehistory and their Lovecraftian encounters.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

FIT TO DIE by Ellery Adams_Review

Fit to Die (A Supper Club Mystery, #2)Fit to Die by J.B. Stanley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: FIT TO DIE by Ellery Adams (Supper Club Mystery #2)

Everything about this series is delightful: plots, characters, setting, suspense, writing. This time around we also get our emotions wrenched, more than once, as we're offered a glimpse into several sad lives. The villain here is really "villainous," self-centered, more white-collar crime than "down and dirty," but even negligence can result in fatality. We also watch the budding connection between two of our characters, growing friendships, and a beginning resolution to an ongoing situation for our protagonist, with a family member. I really am eager to continue on with this series.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

CARBS AND CADAVERS by Ellery Adams_Review

Carbs and Cadavers (A Supper Club Mystery, #1)Carbs and Cadavers by J.B. Stanley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: CARBS AND CADAVERS by Ellery Adams
(Supper Club Mystery #1)

Back in July 2015, I came upon GIVE 'EM PUMPKIN TO TALK ABOUT by the late lamented author-duo Joyce and Jim Lavene. I was enraptured with the cozy mystery subgenre {sub-sub?} Anyway, along with reading Horror and Extreme Horror I find I also love Cozies. Last week I read the first two in the Blue Ridge Library Series by Victoria Gilbert, set in a quaint community in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The other day I received from NetGalley the second in Ellery Adams' Supper Club Mystery series, FIT TO DIE, so I felt impelled to buy the first of the series! I loved it! I experienced so much empathy for the "Flab Five," as they call the Supper Club. I don't think one has to be overweight, as these folks are, to understand. Anyone who has undergone bullying, denigration, insults (or a controlling abuser) will feel right at home. Anyone who feels "different" can identify. The characters are very realistic and so is the small-town setting of Quincy's Gap, Virginia, also in the Shenandoah Valley. Protagonist James Henry is a former English and History professor, who has returned to his home town to live with his reclusive father following his mother's death, and is now Library Director. He joins the newly established Supper Club to impel weight loss and to form friendships. Unexpectedly, this involves solving mysteries, and danger. It's all wonderfully compelling and for me, fast paced. On to the next mystery!

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