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Month in review

Reviews
Amulet Keepers by Michael Northrop
Beneath by Roland Smith
Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
The Cat at the Wall by Deborah Ellis
Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale
Crewel Yule by Monica Ferris
Death Cloud by Andy Lane
Delphine by Richard Sala
Doctor Who: A Big Hand For The Doctor by Eoin Colfer
Embroidered Truths by Monica Ferris
FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics, Vol. 4: The End Times by Simon Oliver
The Ghoul Next Door by Victoria Laurie
Icons of Popular Culture by Marshall Fishwick
Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass
Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Mischievous Meg by Astrid Lindgren
Missy Violet and Me by Barbara Hathaway
Mister Orange by Truus Matti
Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India by Gerald McDermott
The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage
Off Road by Sean Gordon Murphy
Old Magic by Marianne Curley
Open Road: A Celebration of the American Highway by Phil Patton
Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier
Orbiter by Warren Ellis
Out West: A Journey through Lewis and Clark's America by Dayton Duncan
Sins and Needles by Monica Ferris
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost
Under New York by Linda Oatman High

Miscellaneous
Crazy for Cozies

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Crazy for Cozies: 03/21/16

Just like Twighlight Sparkle, I'm crazy for cozies.

For most of my life as a reader I've had a thing for mysteries, especially the cozies. As a child mystery series were my summer vacation go-to books, especially on those long road trips we took as a family. School, college, grad school, small children, and ironically, book blogging, all signaled breaks in my cozy reading.

After years of taking a hiatus from cozies because I didn't have the time to purchase back issues of lengthy series runs and my local libraries only had the first and most recent volumes with the books in between weeded, I discovered a marvelous thing: ebooks. Of course I've known about ebooks for years but beyond poorly formatted egalleys, they weren't really on my radar. That changed when I decided a year ago January to revisit the Needlecraft mystery series by Monica Ferris.

When I searched for Framed in Lace, lo and behold, it was offered as an ebook downloadable straight to my phone. Feeling reluctant about revisiting a series I had sampled eight years earlier I decided to give the ebook version a try. If I didn't like it I could just return it early to the library and delete it off my phone.

Exactly the opposite happened. I loved the book and found that the cozy genre was perfect for ebooks. They tend to be short and easy to read. The library doesn't have to keep dozens of old books on hand taking up precious shelf space but can still offer access to them. As the older books are frankly, old, there's very rarely a hold list for them meaning I can download them to my phone the instant I get the urge to read one.

The downside of reading so much on my phone is that in the case of the Monica Ferris books, I've run out of ebooks and now have to check out the hardbacks from the library. In fact I'm nearly caught up with the series. When that does happen, I suspect I'll start buying ebook copies of my own to read through iBooks.

So what is it about the cozy that keeps me coming back for more? Well for one thing it's the formula. The protagonist is usually a professional in some other field (though there is one series I've dabbled in where the main character is a housewife and volunteer) who happens to have a unique skill-set through that career that gives insight into solving the local crimes (usually murders, though not always). Most often (at least among the ones I've read) the main character is female, though not always. Of the 29 series I've read all or part of that I believe qualify as cozies (with some squinting), 24 of them feature female protagonists. Of the five featuring men, the one that is most definitely a cozy series is the Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun.

Usually along with the whodunnit fun of a Murder She Wrote type mystery, one can learn something about the main characters expertise. So if you like needlecraft, you get a pattern to try at the back of each of Monica Ferris's books. If you like cooking, you get recipes in Diane Mott Davidson's books. I like that even if I'm not going to try out the patter or the recipe. I just like these little asides that round out the books.

Mostly though I like being able to read the book in a few pages here and there. These books tend to be short, coming in around 250 pages. If I can't finish a chapter, I don't forget much before I can start it up again. If it's the weekend or I'm traveling, I can read one of these books in a day or two.

Here are the cozy sleuths I've been following with their authors and their occupations.

Female leads
Amelia Peabody Emerson (Elizabeth Peters) - Egyptologist
Amy-Faye Johnson (Laura DiSilverio) - event planner
Anna Pigeon (Nevada Barr) - Park Ranger
Betty Devonshire (Monica Ferris) - Storeowner
Brett Kavanaugh (Karen E. Olson) - tattoo artist / storeowner
Brooklyn Wainright (Kate Carlisle) - book binder
Bubbles Yablonsky (Sarah Strohmeyer) - Reporter rbr> Charlotte Bessette (Avery Aames) - cheese shop owner
China Bayles (Susan Witig Albert) - herbalist
Connor Westphal (Penny Warner) - Reporter
Dae O'Donnell (Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene) - Mayor / psychic
Flavia de Luce (Alan Bradley) - child
Goldy Bear Schulz (Diane Mott Davidson) - Caterer
Inez Stannert (Ann Parker) - saloon owner
Kelly Flynn (Maggie Sefton) - consultant / knitter
Lucy Richardson (Eva Gates) - librarian
M.J. Holliday (Victoria Laurie) - psychic / ghost hunter
Minnie Hamilton (Laurie Cass) - librarian / bookmobile driver
Oscar's niece (Rebecca M. Hale) - antique dealer
Presley Parker (Penny Warner) - events planner
Rei Shimura (Sujata Massey) - Antiques Dealer
Ruby Rothman (Sharon Kahn) - Rabbi's wife
Vicky Bliss (Elizabeth Peters) - Medieval Art Scholar
Male leads
Dirk Pitt (Clive Cussler) - NUMA scientist / marine treasure hunter
Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher) - Wizard
James Qwilleran (Lillian Jackson Braun) - reporter / writer
Robert Langdon (Dan Brown) - Professor of Symbology
Tres Navarre (Rick Riordan) - Tai Chi master

Comments (2)


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Comment #1: Monday, May 09, 2016 at 13:30:21

Nancy Lynn Jarvis

I see you don't have a Realtor/amateur sleuth listed. We must remedy that. I'd love you to review "A Neighborly Killing," book six in my Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series.

We also have to get you connected to "Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes," a cookbook with bios and cozy connections that would knock your socks off!



Comment #2: Monday, May 09, 2016 at 13:40:00

Pussreboots

Thank you for interest in my blog. I am not currently accepting review copies. Nor do I review cookbooks.