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Month in review

Reviews
Cat About Town by Cate Conte and Amy Melissa Bentley (Narrator)
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Common Bonds edited by Claudie Arseneault
A Deadly Edition by Victoria Gilbert
Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz
The Ghost and the Dead Deb by Alice Kimberly
Gideon Falls, Volume 5: Wicked Worlds by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Illustrator)
How to Lie with Maps by Mark Monmonier
I Am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki and Yoshi Yoshitani (Illustrator)
Lips Unsealed by Belinda Carlisle
Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Murder 101 by Lynn Cahoon
A Pairing to Die for by Kate Lansing
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi
Robogenesis by Daniel H. Wilson
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Signspotting III: Lost and Loster in Translation by Doug Lansky
Sleight of Paw by Sofie Kelly
Smash It! by Francina Simone
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy
Swordheart by T. Kingfisher
Tea & Treachery by Vicki Delany
The Tea Dragon Society by Kay O'Neill
This Coven Won't Break by Isabel Sterling
Toured to Death by Hy Conrad
Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel by Jennifer L. Holm and Savanna Ganucheau
Two Wicked Desserts by Lynn Cahoon
The Walled Flower by Lorraine Bartlett
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Well Played by Jen DeLuca
The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad

Miscellaneous
July 2021 Sources

July 2021 Summary

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

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Canadian Book Challenge: 2021-2022

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Death Al Dente: 08/27/21

Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz

Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz is the start of the Food Lovers' Village mystery series. Erin Murphy has returned home to Jewel Bay, Montana to help run the Merc. She's also the spearhead of the Festa di Pasta. On the first night a woman is murdered and Erin's mother is the prime suspect.

I usually don't let a mystery series' location distract me but I just couldn't help myself with this one. Montana is a landlocked state with very few lakes — so few I can count them on one hand. A place with Bay in the name implies a large body of water. Erin describes in one bucolic scene how she's lucky enough to live near the "largest lake west of the Mississippi."

If you're looking at freshwater lakes, yes, Montana does have that honor but this fictional lake. But this fictional lake is apparently even larger than the real one. Fictional lake is given the patriotic name, Eagle Lake, and it's given features of the much smaller neighboring Swan Lake. My point here is, there aren't enough lakes, nor enough landscape in Montana to believable fit in a fictional massive lake. Why not just fit a fictional bay onto Flathead Lake or even Swan Lake and call it a day?

As the murder was near the Merc and during a food festival, one would expect that the store and the festival, or more generally, cooking and eating Italian food, would be the focus of the non-sleuthing pieces of the novel. The best cozies parlay the particular skills of the main character into a unique advantage for solving the mystery. Here, though, the plot comes to numerous screeching halts for Erin to expound on how much she loves living in her particular corner of Montana.

The second book in the series is Crime Rib (2014).

Three stars

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