The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I laughed so hard I shook in several places.

 

I’m not quite sure what I expected this book to be – funny, I knew – but I think I was expecting more of a piss-take; Jen would try some specific Martha project, mayhem would ensue and she’d write about it. While some of that took place (Easter Eggs – which make me laugh so hard I almost fell off the bed), I was delightfully surprised that this was a year-long project that she took seriously and with the sincere hope that seeing the project through would improve her life in some tangible way.

 

I loved her conversational style of writing and as I am within a year or so of her age-wise and our lifestyles are similar, I could relate to a lot of what she was writing about. I was really angry when I realized what was happening to Maisie, as I don’t read books that make me cry. I’ve been where they were with our cats and have gone to extraordinary lengths to see them well. I’ll just leave off by saying that was truly the only low point of the book and I give her props for being able to write about the whole thing with grace and sincerity without being overly maudlin.

 

This was the first book I’ve read by Jen Lancaster, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Nearly Departed in Deadwood (Deadwood Mystery, #1)

Nearly Departed in DeadwoodNearly Departed in Deadwood
by Ann Charles
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780983256809
Series: Deadwood #4
Publication Date: January 8, 2011
Pages: 376
Publisher: Corvallis Press

This is going on my cozy-mystery shelf, even though it really doesn’t belong there, but I’m not sure where else this genre jumping book (and series) should go.

What I do know is that this book is a really fun read! Humour, a good mystery, lots of creepy, and oh wow the sexual chemistry going on! This little voice in the back of my head nailed the bad guy early on, but I was certain I was wrong. The author makes some very bold moves for a book that comes close to cozy. I have a mental picture of the ending that I’d dearly pay a bit extra to get rid of – I suspect it will stick with me awhile.

Great characters and a great setting. For those who dislike language – it’s here in all it’s glorious colours. So is the sexual chemistry – no graphic scenes, but nothing prim and proper either.

I read the Kindle edition because it was a freebie, but I’ve since ordered the paperback of all the books available in the series.

Wicked Business (Lizzy and Diesel Series #2)

This book is the equivalent of a funnel cake – it has no redeeming nutritional value, but it tastes so good and is so fun to eat!  

 

Diesel and Lizzy are on the hunt for 7 stones – each embodying a deadly sin. In this book, it’s the stone for Lust. So it’s a treasure hunt, complete with puzzles, clues and required objects. I love this kind of stuff – pure Goonies.  I like Lizzy; she’s no Lara Croft, but she’s got moxie.

 

I found the comedy to be laugh-out-loud as only Janet Evanovich can write – she can make me laugh at the rudest boy humour! A bit of danger, a bit of frustrated romance. Great supporting characters who are all interesting and likeable – Glo and her spells are always good for a chuckle.  

 

Many will find this series to be silly beyond the pale, but I knew going into this series exactly what I was in for – I’d read the Plum between-the-numbers books starring Diesel and I enjoyed them for the light, fun reads they were designed to be. If you enjoyed those, you’ll have the right expectations for this series. I just loved reading this book and I had an absolute blast until the end, and unlike the funnel cake, it’s calorie free. I sincerely look forward to the next Diesel and Lizzy adventure.

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf

How to Flirt with a Naked WerewolfHow to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
by Amanda Ronconi (narrator), Molly Harper
Rating: ★★★★
Publication Date: January 1, 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Audible Originals

Very entertaining book. The narrator in this audio version did a great job with the main character – she really brought her to life. Not so great with the male characters – they all tended to sound similar and all suffering from chronic laryngitis. Still, I thought the story was very well written, entertaining and at times funny. A light murder mystery keeps the plot going although I definitely wouldn’t call it the driving force behind the story. The author does a great job creating the world of Grundy and it’s inhabitants. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of supernatural chick-lit.

Trail of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #5)

I can’t say anything except this is an excellent book. Funny, endearing, interesting. As with all the previous ‘documents’ there are quite a few plot lines and Izzy Spellman does her usual excellent job at getting to the bottom of all of them. The evolution of character development throughout all the books has been interesting, humorous and at times painful to witness and bittersweet.

 

I’d have given this book 5 stars, but was personally disappointed with the resolution of one of the story lines.

 

A definite recommendation for anyone who enjoys some hilarity with their sincerity.

Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte (Tara Holloway Series #2)

I took a break from reading this book after about 6 chapters because it wasn’t holding my attention. I picked it back up after a few days and found myself much more interested in the rest of the book.

 

Slow start or short attention span, the book picked up quickly afterwards and while you pretty much always know who the bad guy is, I found myself looking forward to finding out how they catch him in the end. Lots of action, a few slapstick moments and great characters. I’ll be on the lookout for the third book.

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Jane Jameson Series #1)

I had so much fun reading this book! The author’s wit and humour clicked with me and I absolutely loved the dialogue.

 

The mystery was, while not the main focus of the story, well thought out and not obvious. The only part of this story I didn’t like was just how nasty the women in her family are to her but at least the author allowed the main character, Jane, to have a spine and she didn’t take being treated like crap as though she deserved it. Jane gives as good as she gets and I love reading about her. I’m really looking forward to reading the next book.

The Spellmans Strike Again (Izzy Spellman Mysteries)

This is my review after reading this book for the second time.

 

This is a great series and this one might be my favourite of the four so far. As funny as the family is, it’s nice to see a few of them get put in their place, and it’s great to see Izzy evolve. I love the footnotes, and there are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments.

 

This is not a typical mystery, with one major plot, but rather has many smaller plots running in parallel and I thought they were all handled really well. I’m really looking forward to the 5th Spellman case.

Second Grave on the Left (Grim Reaper #2)

Second Grave on the LeftSecond Grave on the Left
by Darynda Jones
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780312360818
Series: Charlie Davidson #2
Publication Date: August 4, 2011
Pages: 307
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

When Charley and Cookie, her best friend slash receptionist, have to track down a missing woman, the case is not quite as open and shut as they anticipate. Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally.) has left his corporeal body because he's being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can't let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they'll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let's just say it wouldn't be pretty.


2021 Update:  I didn’t say much first go-around, but the second book, along with the standard mystery plots – because she always has a couple going on at once – introduced more of what will be the overall series arc.   Charlie starts to learn about her background and role as grim reaper and that she plays a larger part in Jones’ version of the end time prophesies.

Knowing where the series was going made it easier to understand some of the nuances of this second book, and it made the relationship between Charlie and Reyes a lot more understandable.

Original Thoughts: Great book! I love the writing and Charley is a great character. The plots are all interesting and nicely intertwined. The secondary characters are all really well written and you like the ones your supposed to like.

I really hope this is the beginning of a continuing series.

First Grave on the Right (Grim Reaper #1)

First Grave on the RightFirst Grave on the Right
by Darynda Jones
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9780312662752
Series: Charlie Davidson #1
Publication Date: February 4, 2011
Pages: 309
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Charley sees dead people. That's right, she sees dead people. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e., murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.


Well, based on the blurb I read, this is not the book I expected it to be. But it’s MUCH better.

While Charlie is a smart mouth with a bad attitude, the book is far more mature than it’s ‘chick-lit’ blurb description would lead you to believe. Or at least the one I read. Great humour, a few sincere moments and very good plot lines kept me reading this book until I was finished.

Luckily I was smart enough to buy the second one at the same time, so I can get right to reading it.  Instant gratification.  Oh yeah…