Murder With Puffins

Murder With Puffins

By Donna Andrews

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Winner of the St. Martin’s Malice Domestic Award in 1997 for her first work Murder With Peacocks, Donna Andrews brings back her zany characters and disastrous events.

In an attempt to get away from her family, Meg Langslow and her boyfriend go to a tiny island off the coast of Maine. What could have been a romantic getaway slowly turns into disaster.

Once there, they are marooned by a hurricane and that is only the beginning of their problems. Meg and her boyfriend arrive at the house only to discover that Meg’s parents and siblings, along with their spouses are all there. When a murder takes place, Meg realizes that she and her boyfriend can no longer sit by a cozy fireplace, but must instead tramp around the muddy island to keep try and clear her father who is the chief suspect.

Murder with Puffins is the perfect quickly cozy mystery for reading on cold overcast days. I am a fan of Donna Andrews, so feel free to check out my Review Page for reviews of her other novels.

Murder with Puffins is the second book in the Meg Langslow Mystery series. Meg is back and is in need of some quality alone-time with her hunky sweetheart, Michael. She decides that a winter weekend spent at her Aunt Phoebe’s summer home is the perfect romantic getaway, but it quickly turns in to a typical Meg adventure. They arrive on the island to a house full of family, a looming hurricane, and the murder of a man no one is mourning. Meg and her crazy family keep me coming back to these books. I am always guaranteed a laugh and a happy ending when I read a Donna Andrews cozy mystery, which are definitely good reasons to keep reading! I love Meg’s stubborn and blunt personality and the awkward interactions with her family members. They are all so quirky that their antics leave me giggling. The Murder with Puffins mystery is fun, the setting is dreary and wet, and the murder is an interesting one.

Andrews’ pacing is always a little scattered but the pacing of Murder with Puffins is downright frantic. This is because of how Meg handles the entire situation. She is upset at her family’s intrusion, angry at being shot at, irked at the miserable weather, and ashamed of her mother’s scandalous past. All of these points left me feeling mentally tired by the end of the story, but I was impressed by this feeling instead of discouraged. Feeling just as tired as the main character means I was immersed in the story. Plus, I was really happy a certain person is murdered in the story!

My only real complaint is how law enforcement is treated by the characters. (Y’all may have noticed that this is a pet peeve of mine) I am ok with the local volunteer force being completely clueless but I prefer the official force be treated with respect because that is one tough unappreciative job. I was not too keen on Meg covering up part of the evidence. Yes, I know she did it to protect her family but it was still a little irksome. I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s a cozy mystery!

I do recommend Murder with Puffins. It isn’t my favorite Meg Langslow mystery but it is the perfect read for a cold rainy day! Are you a fan of Donna Andrews’ Meg Langslow mysteries? Tell me all about your favorite!

Lindsay

Wicked Appetite

Wicked Appetite

by Janet Evanovich

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For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long — Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues’ gallery of power seekers. He’s an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She’s freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston’s North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle’s bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it’s suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She’s not sure about Diesel. He’s offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that’s fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

Wicked Appetite is the first book in a relatively new series by Janet Evanovich. Some of the main characters were initially introduced during her in-between-the-numbers Plum novels, but Stephanie is absent this time around. The Lizzy and Diesel series is different in that it doesn’t stick with the normal romance or quirky mystery storyline that is typical of Evanovich’s novels. Instead, Wicked Appetite takes a stab at a supernatural semi-romance story and I enjoyed it. 

I love the characters and they are one of the reasons I find myself coming back to Evanovich’s novels time after time. Lizzy is just an ordinary girl who can make extraordinary cupcakes and has the ability to find certain unmentionable items. Diesel, a ruggedly handsome stranger, needs her help to find seven stones that embody the Seven Deadly Sins. A rude monkey, ninja guard cat, bakery full of witchy women, knight, and mysterious bad guy make up the quirky supporting cast. Yep, it’s an Evanovich novel!

I love how naive and openly honest Lizzy is about her life. She has no problem telling Diesel how she feels and I found it endearing. I also love everything about Diesel and how he interacts with Lizzy. He is sweet, assertive, and yet perfectly protective of our sweet damsel. Diesel is my kind of guy and I plan to finish the series just to hear more about him! Plus, I LOVE how Evanovich portrays the glutton   attributes of the Moore family. Her humorous twists left me giggling constantly during my tedious drive.

I still do not get where Evanovich is going with this whole Unmentionable thing. It doesn’t seem to have any basis in any predetermined paranormal storyline and it just lacks the information I need to really enjoy the story. It just seems like everyone is ok with the lack of information (except Lizzy, she isn’t ok with any of it) and that lack left me a tad confused at times. I need more history and background to wholeheartedly jump onboard. If anyone gets the Unmentionable thing please feel free to enlighten me.

Also, I do not find Wolf attractive. At. All. The dark, dangerous vampire vibe is fine but it isn’t something to leave me swooning like the women in the novel. To be honest, their reactions made me rolling my eyes. I’m not about to jump in to bead with a cruel guy like Wolf so I don’t get the appeal. I am also wary of the whole ‘one of us will loose our unmentionable powers if we sleep together’ plot line. WHAT?!? I know there needs to be something keeping Lizzy and Diesel from jumping in the sack by chapter three but this has bad idea written all over it. What’s going to happen by the end of the series? Which character is willing to give up a part of themselves for sex? Eh….

Overall, it was a fun book to listen to during my commute. I love the characters and Diesel is my type of guy, but it will not be making my list of favorites. Have you read Wicked Appetite? Let me know what you think!

Lindsay

What to Expect – November

NOVEMBER

Hi everybody! Sorry I was missing in action the last few weeks. Halloween, family stuff, and a much needed vacation had me off-the-grid. 

But I’m back and I hope you had a wonderful Halloween full of creepy costumes and plenty of candy! I sure did, and I had a blast sharing a few witchy book reviews with you last month. I managed to get most of my reading list up, but we are going to have to wait a bit for a review of Jackie Smith’s After Death. Hopefully, you’ll be reading it this month!

Here’s what to expect for November: plenty of reviews on the many audio books I listen to during my work commute! They have been stacking up and need to be shared! 

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You can also expect to hear about my favorite holiday! Thanksgiving is on the way and I look forward to sharing my family traditions!

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November is also National Novel Writing Month! I plan to provide a weekly update on my attempt to write my own novel! So expect to hear ALL about NaNoWriMo. Let me know if you’re writing too!

It’s going to be a fun, busy month but I wouldn’t have my November any other way! Happy Reading!

Lindsay