Minka’s Thanksgiving Special: Murder She Wrote: Fatal Feast!

Isn’t Minka cute?! She’s up for adoption at Austin Pets Alive! http://bit.ly/2hRuiEH

I’m a day late and a dollar short, but since we’re all still digesting our double and triple helpings of pie, Thanksgiving is the gift that keeps on giving…at least until the Pepto kicks in. So put down those Black Friday ads (seriously, Cyber Monday is the way to go) and indulge yourself in a good book. Since Minka’s a big snorting fan of turkey, she says you should read this one!

The gist: It’s another tranquil Thanksgiving weekend in Cabot Cove. Love is in the air as Jessica Fletcher prepares for the big feast with her international houseguest George Southerfield. Of course, he’s staying at Seth Hazlet’s house because Jessica is a lady and we don’t want her reputation to be sullied!  Turns out, there’s a bit of a jealous rivalry going on, thus proving that this ol’ gal’s still got it. You go, Miss Thang! While taking a romantic post-turkey stroll, what do they find? Come on, take a stab at it. Yep, that’s right—a dead body! Even worse—the killer used Seth’s prized antique carving knife. Now that’s just plain rude. It’s up to Jessica and her boy toys to figure out who killed the socially awkward homeless man—and why he (or she?) wanted his goose to be cooked. Aren’t food puns such fun?

What worked: You can’t beat the comfy, cozy town of Cabot Cove, Jessica’s lovely little Northeastern nook in the world! If this book doesn’t get you into the turkey-eating spirit, nothing will. It felt like I was right there with Jessica and all the movers and shakers of Cabot Cove at the Thanksgiving feast. As luck would have it, one of her dinner guests gets skewered at the end of the night. You’d think they’d catch on to her track record and stay home, but how could they refuse the hostess with the mostest?

What didn’t work: I love all these Murder She Wrote books but some are slower than others. This one is, by far, the slowest! Halfway into the book, I kept asking myself when the dead body would pop up. I re-read the dust cover just to make sure I did, in fact, pick up a murder mystery. I mean, it’s called “Fatal Feast,” so let’s get to it already!!! If I wasn’t so charmed by my favorite bike-riding sleuth, I’d be much more annoyed. But how can I stay mad at JB Fletcher? It’s impossible, I tell you!

Overall: Not the best book in the series, but still mildly amusing for us hard core MSW fans!

Short and Sweet Sundays

sundaysI’ve been reading like a fiend this past month—and not one review to show for it! In a perfect world, I would spend my days reading on the chaise lounge with my chubby cat and my nights toiling away on my book, which has been left stagnating in Scrivner for months. Needless to say, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with my poor little book blog!

So in the interest of saving time, I bring you some short and sweet reviews for a few standout books that were definitely worth my precious little free time:

Murder, She Wrote: A Question of Murder by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain

334352When I saw this title pop up in Audible’s “daily deal,” I immediately hit the purchase button.  The TV show may be history, but Jessica Fletcher continues to be the harbinger of death in this extensive book series. Without fail, the charming and delightful J.B. Fletcher stumbles upon a dead body everywhere she goes—cocktail parties, beach resorts, book tours, weddings—you name it! I just want to cry out, “No, no, no! Don’t invite her to your party, you fool! Don’t you know that’s the kiss of death?!”

That’s exactly what happens in this mystery when our intrepid amateur sleuth attends a murder mystery weekend at a haunted East Coast mansion. She meets an eclectic cast of characters, all with hidden agendas. As expected, a member of the acting troop keels over dead in the middle of a scene. Now it’s up to Jessica to question the many suspects and piece together the clues. Was it a jilted lover? A jealous husband? Or perhaps a fellow mystery writer who loves writing about murder a little too much?

With so many questionable characters and possible motives, it wasn’t easy guessing whodunit. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, a plot twist in the very last chapter threw my theory right out the window. If you love an atmospheric whodunit set in a historic mansion filled with hidden trapdoors and ghosts, this one’s for you.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

9640626Believe it or not, this is my very first zombie book. I love all things creepy and crawly, but yet I haven’t really ventured into the chick lit zombie genre, maybe because there’s nothing more grotesque than a zombie getting it on. Wouldn’t body parts fall off? And then there’s the stench—gross! True, this book ranks high on the ick-factor, but yet it cuts deeper than some of the titles you’d see in Oprah’s book club.

What makes this book special is the walking dead girl’s journey of self-discovery. She may look fierce on the cover, but she’s really a big-hearted, insecure girl who got dealt a shitty hand of parents. Nobody believes she’ll amount to anything more than trailer-park trash, including herself. It took being turned into a zombie for her life to change for the better. After a car crash, she heals not only from her wounds, but also from her drug addiction. A mysterious benefactor hooks her up with a job at the local morgue, where she falls into a new circle of friends who are surprisingly non-toxic. For the first time ever, people actually give a shit, and they believe she can amount to so much more than a lowly driver for the county morgue.

Her world has turned upside down for the better, except for one nagging problem: her insatiable craving for brains. Everything falls apart—literally—if she can’t sink her teeth into that delectable gray matter. Good thing she has a most advantageous new job where brains are plentiful…that is until a serial killer starts decapitating the townies. Why is the killer taunting her with headless bodies? Who turned her into a walking dead girl the night of the car crash? Was it her mysterious benefactor? You’ll have to read the book to find out! I enjoyed the murder mystery aspect of this story, but mostly I was more transfixed by Angel’s journey of self-discovery. Throughout the book I cheered her on as she discovered her strengths and stood up to her bullies. I’m excited to see how she evolves in the next two books in the series!

Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown

23505722If you haven’t been to Mackinac Island up on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, put it on your bucket list! I married a Michigander, so we sometimes take a little daytrip up to the island while visiting his folks. Just imagine Disneyland’s Main Street on a remote island where there’s nothing but cutesy shops, restaurants and oodles of fudge! Aside from the chocolaty goodness, the best part about the island is that no cars are allowed. If you want to get around, you’ll have to hoof it, ride a bike or jump on a horse buggy. Coming from Austin—one of the worst traffic cities in the universe—that sounds like bliss!

So it’s only fitting that this mystery begins when the meanest lady in town dies in a horrific bike accident. Considering that everyone despised her, the suspect list is bigger than Lake Superior. Yet thanks to a supposed eye witness, it becomes an open-and-shut case. The temporary town Sherriff is more than happy to pin the murder on Rudy Randolph, owner of a rundown bike rental shop. This doesn’t bode well for our protagonist, Evie Bloomfield, who’s determined to fix up the bike shop to boost her chances of promotion. You see, Rudy’s daughter is Evie’s boss, and if he goes to prison, she can kiss her big-city job goodbye.  The townies also have reasons to sweep the murder under the rug. Tourists (aka “fudgies”) are their bread and butter, so it’s important to not botch up the island’s idyllic Norman Rockwellesque façade. Who knew that a happy place like Mackinac Island could be a seedy hotbed of murder, blackmail and organized crime?! If you, like me, love an atmospheric whodunit filled with quirky characters and snarky dialogue, give this one a try. I’m excited to see what’s in store for Evie and her eclectic sidekicks in the next installment of this new series. Boy, I sure could go for some gooey fudge right about now!

A Cornucopia of Cozies!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner – and there’s no better way to get in the turkey-eating spirit than by curling up with a good fall-themed cozy! Lucky for me, my husband is the Turkey master, so I get to spend my blissful day off from work devouring a good mystery. While searching for the perfect Thanksgiving-themed book, I narrowed it down to these fun little cozies. Which one should I choose?

A Catered Thanksgiving by Isis Crawford

Synopsis:Sisters Bernie and Libby Simmons have handled plenty of catering challenges with grace and aplomb. But this Thanksgiving, they’re cooking a feast for felons. Whipping up Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings can be stressful for anyone, but that goes double for the Field family. They know that every family get-together has to be picture perfect, or they risk getting cut out of dominating patriarch Monty’s extremely lucrative will.

That’s where A Little Taste of Heaven, Bernie and Libby’s catering company, comes in. Surely with their lumpless mashed potatoes and to-die-for gravy on the table, even the super-dysfunctional Fields can pretend to get along for one meal. But no one can dress up the disaster when the cover-worthy turkey goes boom right in Monty Field’s scowling face, sending him to that great dining room in the sky.

A Killer Crop by Sheila Connolly

Synopsis: After an English professor-and old friend of her mother-is found dead in a cider house, orchard owner Meg Corey starts to wonder: Could her own mother have committed murder?

 

 

Fatal Feast by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain

Synopsis: The newest novel in the USA Today bestselling series finds Jessica Fletcher cooking up a heartwarming holiday dinner-and a fresh serving of trouble…Jessica Fletcher would like nothing more than to sit back and relax as Thanksgiving comes to Cabot Cove. But this year, she’s already got more on her plate than she can handle. Jessica is suffering from a rare case of writer’s block, and the deadline for her new novel is fast approaching.

 

Death of a Turkey by Kate Grilley Borden

Synopsis: It’s Thanksgiving–and it’s not just the turkey who’s in danger. As tourists arrive at Cobb’s Landing to enjoy an authentic Colonial-style Thanksgiving, mayor Peggy Turner would be thankful for nothing more than a clue as to who killed her neighbor–a clue that didn’t point to her. 

 
 

Thanksgiving by Janet Evonovich

Synopsis: When Megan Murphy discovers a floppy-eared rabbit gnawing on the hem of her skirt, she means to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter is too attractive to stay mad at for long. As for Patrick, he wants nothing more than to play house with Maggie—and make Thanksgiving dinner for their families. But Megan has wept over one failed love, and she’s afraid to risk her heart again. Can the good doctor help heal her heart?