For anyone who has read my blog for any length of time, you know that I rarely do book reviews. Maybe one or two reviews since I started back in 2008. There’s a pretty good reason for that. I read for enjoyment and not to critique something half to death. When I review, it’s usually on Amazon or Goodreads. And it’s been observed that I never post anything but positive 5-star reviews. Some people have questioned my credibility because of this, but once again, there’s an excellent reason. I read for enjoyment and not critique something half to death. 🙂
Here’s the thing: the world is so negative. Since the invention of the internet and social media, everyone with an opinion feels the need to share with the world just how critically they can think. They dissect every little thing. I read through Amazon reviews by regular Joes out there, who use words like ‘derivative’ and ‘flat characters’ and all sorts of phrases spouted about by professional critics. In my world, I either like something or I don’t. That doesn’t mean that if I don’t review something, I didn’t like it. It’s just that a few books out there give me so much enjoyment I want to share it with the world.
I’m not a fast reader. I’m painfully slow. And I’m also not one of those people who feel compelled to finish every book they start. On the contrary! Life’s way too short for that. If I can’t get into a book, I move onto the next. And once every so often, I find a gem that I want to tell people about. The two reviews I’m posting tonight are precisely the kind of gem I think everyone should know about. So, here’s my review of them:
Murder in an Irish Village (An Irish Village Mystery) by Carlene O’Conner
This is book one in The Irish Village Mystery series by Carlene O’Conner (Published by Kensington). I picked it up on a whim based on the idyllic location–a quaint little town in Ireland–and the interesting plot the description provided, as well as cast of interesting sounding characters.
Here’s the description:
A little slice of Heaven on the Emerald Isle…
In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Naomi’s Bistro has always been a warm and welcoming spot to visit with neighbors, enjoy some brown bread and tea, and get the local gossip. Nowadays twenty-two-year-old Siobhán O’Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago.
It’s been a rough year for the O’Sullivans, but it’s about to get rougher. One morning, as they’re opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table, dressed in a suit as if for his own funeral, a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest.
With the local garda suspecting the O’Sullivans, and their business in danger of being shunned—murder tends to spoil the appetite—it’s up to feisty redheaded Siobhán to solve the crime and save her beloved brood.
A Murder in an Irish Village was a super fun cozy with a perfect Irish setting. The tale , which was laced with plenty of suspects who could have equally been the killer, was lighthearted, cute in places, but also suspenseful enough to make you want to keep turning the pages. Even more important, Ms. O’Conner was sure to sprinkle pretty much all the clues necessary to solve the big crime, while offering the perfect number of red herrings to make you second guess yourself. So often, that isn’t the case…but with this book, I can happily say it’s quite possible to solve the mystery with the information provided. I can happily say that I did manage to figure it out, but only just before the big reveal near the end.
When it’s all said and done, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was left with a fully satisfied palate when it was over. Looking for the next book in the series!
If you’re interested, you can get a copy of A Murder in an Irish Village here.
Some Like It Hot Buttered (A Comedy Tonight Mystery) by Jeffrey Cohen
All Elliot Freed wanted to do was open a unique movie theater with that old Hollywood flair and play nothing but comedies 24/7, 365 days a year. Is that too much to ask? But an enjoyable night at the movies, featuring everyone’s favorite Young Frankenstein turns deadly in this fantastic and witty murder mystery.
Here’s the description:
First in the Comedy Tonight Mystery series. Elliot Freed buys an old-time movie house to show only comedies. But when a customer dies of poisoned popcorn during a screening of “Young Frankenstein”, Elliot takes it personally and decides to find out who made his patron die laughing.
This was my first Jeffrey Cohen book. I’m already 25% finished with book two. That’s how much I liked this book. I couldn’t have been more satisfied with it. First of all, as far as mysteries go…it was a good one. As a matter of fact, it had two or three different good ones in it. I figured out some stuff. Was totally surprised at others. And it followed my own steadfast rule that all the necessary clues be present in the book before the solution.
But this book was more than just a great mystery…it was a fantastic comedy as well. Mr. Cohen has a great sense of humor. The narrator (it’s told in first person) is witty at his cores and there were definite laugh-out-loud moments in some of the things he says through the course of the investigation. What’s more, often books like this tend to try a little too hard. They lose sight of what they are. Is it a mystery or is it a comedy? In this book, Mr. Cohen did a fantastic job balancing the two. I never got the impression that this book was a comedy first. It was most definitely a mystery. But it just happened to have the perfect amount of humor poured on top like a dollop of hot butter over an incredibly tasting bag of theater popcorn.
Well done, Mr. Cohen. On to book 2 for me!
Interested in Some Like It Hot Buttered? Get it here!
I hope you enjoyed my little reviews of these two great books. I guess I’ll try to start doing more here and there, but before any author friends ask, I won’t do reviews by request. I either feel the need to share a review about a book or I don’t, and I’d rather not have the pressure of having to say no to some of my author friends.
But if you liked these reviews, be sure to let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to add more in the future. Thanks!