The View from Prince Street

25361856

The View from Prince Street (Alexandria #2) by Mary Ellen Taylor

Thoughts Before Reading:

So three years ago I read At the Corner of King Street and loved it. I thought it was amazing. I loved the characters, the plot, the two threads: Sarah Shire-Goodwin, Scottish immigrant settling in the new colony of Virginia; and Addie Morgan, a women trying to distance herself from her family and the disease that destroyed it.

There were family curses, witch’s bottles, recollection, and a spunky sassy historian Margaret who becomes Addie’s partner in salvaging and unraveling the mystery of the witch’s bottles. I really hoped to see more of her in the future; maybe even her own book or series?

Synopsis:

Dr. Rae McDonald is known as having a heart of stone, an ice queen-but others believe she is trying to be a matchmaker for her clients.

Rae has a sad background. Her sister and her were in a car crash, her sister dying. After that Rae made some very bad decisions and ended up pregnant, choosing to give the baby up for adoption.

Since then she has become detached and suppresses all feelings.

Like a robot

Meanwhile, Addie Morgan and Margaret McCrae, from the last book, have taken over the salvaging company. Addie is also raising her niece Carrie. One day they are salvaging an area and discover another witch bottle on Rae’s property.

The book follows a second thread from the 18th century and involved the women from the previous novel and a new one.

Hmm…

Rae’s sister’s best friend, Lisa Smyth, also survived the car crash, but never told the whole truth about it. It turns out there is a link between her and Rae’s family.

Hmm…

The past and the present intertwine and all must come out for them to move forward.

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like it. Rae was so boring and an ice queen. No emotion.

This book was very disappointing to me as it was a real snooze.

I enjoyed all the characters in the first book more.

For more Alexandria mysteries, go to At the Corner of King Street

For more witches, go to Rosemary’s Baby

For more reviews, go to Wolverine Noir

Cream Puff Murder

cream puff murder

Cream Puff Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries #11)

So Hannah’s mother, Delores, is planing a huge party to celebrate the release of her newest Regency themed book. She has ordered special gowns for her daughters to wear to the event. The only problem? Hannah’s dress is much, much too small.

well that's just great anchorman

Only one thing left for her to do: Diet.

Diet

While she hates working out, she decides to join her sister, Andrea, in her new exercise regime at the newest gym, Heavenly Bodies. Now why is Andrea working out? Well even though she looks great, with Ronni Ward, three time bikini queen and always after men married or single, Andrea has been feeling insecure.

badfeeling

And she isn’t the only one Ronni is upsetting. Almost every female in Lake Eden is upset with Ronni’s return and her putting the moves on their men.

Hate her that's so raven

But Hannah has other things to focus on: such as creating the perfect dessert for her mother’s party, and getting in shape to fit the dress.

gotthis

As everyone involved has agreed that Hannah’s cream puffs are the perfect choice for the party; Hannah does a few trial runs on flavors. Mike sees them and buys them for Ronni’s party as he thinks they will be just perfect.

Really Mike?

Really Mike? Really? Buy something from one girlfriend for another?

The next day Andrea and Hannah head to the gym, using their member key to get in really early. After they have worked hard, they decide to head to the jacuzzi for a reward.

fantastic

Andrea continues her workout a bit longer as Hannah goes first. There she finds a huge mess from Ronni’s party. Food and drink stuff, both of which are not supposed to be in the pool/jacuzzi area.

Come on, guys. You didn't even clean up?

Come on, guys. You didn’t even clean up?

But then as Hannah looks further, she finds a dead body. Ronni.

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

She’s been Murdered.

Murder

Almost the entire sheriff’s department is suspended as they either had a relationship with her, like Mike, or was a friend, like Bill. With only two newbies left and having to bring in outside assistance; Hannah decides it is up to her group to solve the crime. She, Norman, Andrea, Michelle, Delores, and even Carrie set out on the case.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

This is one of the few Hannah Swensen Mysteries I actually enjoy.

thenannygasp

I know, a real shocker. I liked this because the end wasn’t predictable. Fluke leads down a path that causes you to think is the end is totally obvious. It has to be this person, it just has to. They are the only one who makes sense.

its-so-obvious-captain-obvious

Fake information is  even given by another character to steer you away from who you think it is, but it makes you think even more that the person you are thinking of is the killer.

You_know_thats_right

But then at the end when you have the reveal, you are completely amazed as you discover you were looking in the wrong direction the whole time.

yougotme

And it isn’t one of those weird, completely out of left field endings either. This one made total sense.

loveitSupernatural

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

So that was the good. Now let’s look at the bad.

IDon'tlikeit

Hannah and Mike’s Relationship

Really Mike?

Really Mike?

So there is this love triangle between Mike, Hannah, and Norman. And I really don’t know why it is there. Norman loves Hannah and Mike loves having a good time. Mike is a horrible boyfriend as he doesn’t want to commit himself, but have fun with other ladies as well. Norman on the other hand is perfect. Why can’t Hannah see that already. I mean, argh, it just makes me so upset to have to read about how she can’t decide when the answer is clearly in front of her face.

SlapCharactersWithBook

So let’s begin out Mike is a loser countdown:

A) Hannah: “[Mike’s] not mine. I’m not even sure he is partially mine, not when Ronni’s living in the apartment across the hall from him.” (pg. 6-7)

If he “isn’t” yours, and so eager to bounce to the new babe in town; why are you even with him? Just dump the chump already. He’ll move on quickly.

polls_dump_him_card_p1373883252529100202v3xi_328_5633_248654_answer_1_xlarge

B) Mike: “Sometimes I wish you’d taken me up on my marriage proposal. Then I could eat like this every night.” pg. 66

  1. First of all, Mike only proposed after he heard Norman was going to. Norman built Hannah her dream house. Mike ran out and bought a ring just because he didn’t want Norman to “win”.
  2. Second, Mike hardly ever takes Hannah out; instead making her always cook for him, and usually late even though he knows she gets up early in the morning to bake.
  3. Third, he states the only reason he is sad that Hannah turned him down is because she can’t cook for him every night. Really? Why is there a contest again?

yuck_pirates_of_the_caribbean

C) Norman: “I love you too. And I know telling you what to do is a lost cause. You never listen anyway. I’ll see you in about forty-five minutes with steak and salad and two types of cookies.” pg. 76

When Mike hears that Hannah is going on a diet, he tells her that will be good she needs to lose weight. Norman asks why she needs to change when she is already beautiful. Mike tells Hannah read this book, investigate like that, blah, blah, blah; Norman shares his advice and then lets Hannah choose whatever she wants. When Mike calls to take Hannah “out” she always ends up cooking for him, with Norman he takes her to the restaurant or brings the restaurant to her.

He's perfect.

He’s perfect.

D) At Midnight Mike Calls and Wakes Hannah Up Having Her Meet Him in The Freezing Parking Garage and Having Her Bring Him Coffee.

Mike doesn’t want a girlfriend he wants a maid and assistant. And he knows she wakes up at like four in the morning and works all day. He’s suspended, he can wake up at four talk to her then and then go back to bed. He’s a jerk. Let her get her beauty sleep!

ohnoyoudidn't

E) Mike: “I just wanted you to know that there was nothing between Ronni and me. I know it looks bad, but there wasn’t…She needed a friend, a shoulder to cry on. I guess she was using me, but I didn’t mind being helpful…She was always calling me to come over for something and I went because…well…we had a lot in common since we both worked for the Sheriff’s department…I know it is going to come out that I slept at her place a few nights. We’d be watching a movie or something, I’d fall asleep on her couch. She never woke me. She’d go to bed and let me wake up on my own the next morning.” pg. 169-170

Really Mike? Really. So Ronni was your “friend”, the same way Shawna was your “friend”. In fact if Shawna hadn’t also been murdered; he would be messing around with her too.

And all these “she invited me over” crap? In every book 90% of the time Mike invites himself over or shows up on Hannah’s doorstep, like he’d be any different with Ronni.

He’s a jerk so cut him loose!

duh

F) Norman Makes Her a Low-Calorie Breakfast After Spoiling Her with the Incredible House, A Roaring Fire, Soft Bed, Plush Towels, and Two Cats.

Hannah stays the night at the master suite while Norman takes the guest room. It is an incredible and ritzy place. Then to top it off, he makes her an absolutely scrumptious breakfast, carefully measuring everything out so that he doesn’t ruin her diet.

likeit

G) Mike: “Hannah…Where have you been? I’ve been calling you every hour since midnight!

Hannah: He’d called her at midnight. Again. Mike wasn’t concerned that she hadn’t had a full night’s sleep since Ronni was murdered. He’d probably wanted her to meet him in the garage again with a thermos of coffee and cookies so that he could give her more instructions on investigative procedure.” pg. 282

Hannah you said it. That is all he wants.

How rude

H) Mike: “I should have known someone would tell you, but I didn’t think you’s run to Norman on the rebound…It didn’t mean anything, Hannah. It was just…convenient, you know? She was right across the hall from me and…these things happen. You’re an adult. You know that.” pg. 283

ohnoyoudidn't

So first you lie, lie  about your relationship with Ronni? And then you try to excuse that behavior by saying it “just happened” and “that’s what adults do”?

stupidestthingever

NO! NO! And NO! Good-bye.

jerk-gif

I) Nancy: “Keep your eyes open Hannah. If you find a man who doesn’t think he is the hero, grab him and give him a hug because he’s the only realist in the room.”

Hannah: “[To Norman] Do you think she modeled the Duke of Oakwood after you?

Norman: “After me?…What are you talking about, Hannah?…The Duke of Oakwood is about as far from my character as you can get.” pg. 333

Norman is fantastic. Pick him. Then the two could be the Tommy and Tuppence of the midwest. Besides that, he really loves her.

Tommy-and-Tuppence-1923

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more Hannah Swensen Mysteries, go to Carrot Cake Murder

For more mystery reviews, go to The Harlot’s Tale

Carrot Cake Murder

carrotcakemurder

Carrot Cake Murder (Hannah Swenson Mystery #10) by Joanne Fluke

I did not like this book.

tumblr_ng4wawgxLN1s2wio8o1_500

I thought the story wasn’t that good and very under developed. And that the author went for an easy ending, instead of creating something that made sense and was actually mysterious.

yuck_pirates_of_the_caribbean

This was extremely lackluster and boring.

im_bored_himym

But review I must.

lets-do-this-ucas-gif

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Plot Synopsis:

So it is summertime and Lisa and Herb are having a big family reunion, inviting every single relation. It is a huge affair and Hannah, her family, and two boyfriends are also joining the crew.

1920sparty

One person that Herb’s mom Marge’s long-lost brother Gus who took off years ago never to be found, ends up showing up to the party.

coincidencegi

He  said he was just in the area and happened among some flyers and thought he would join the group. He has a a lot of money and fancy suits.

wow

However, at the reunion a lot of old hurts come up. Gus was a master manipulator, a borrower and not returner, and a blackmailer. He has a lot of people that he has upset over the years.

Not-Good

He asks Hannah for her special carrot cake as he just loves it, and Hannah gives him a whole one.

eatingcake

The next day no one can find Gus for the group picture, so they of course send Hannah and she finds the dead body.

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

So let’s start with what was wrong in this book.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

A) If It Is Such a Big Party With So Many to Feed, Why Are Hannah & Family & Boyfriends Included?

suspicious Hmm

I know that Hannah and such are great friends of Lisa and Herb, but it seems weird to invite so many non-family members to a family event. I mean it is not just a few people but Hannah, her sister Andrea, her husband Bill, their two children, Bill’s mother, Hannah’s mother Dolores, Hannah’s sister Michelle, Michelle’s boyfriend Lonnie, Hannah’s boyfriend Mike, Hannah’s boyfriend Norman, and Norman’s mom.

What?

Do they really need a dozen more people, at a family only event? No. And Hannah is helping to cook means she should come, yeah her but why are there 11 extra with her? It is just another plot by the author to have Hannah a part of everything that goes on in her town.

seriously

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

B) Gus Just Happened To See the Reunion On A Flyer

Come on, Mack

Why do they have flyers to a family only event that they sent marked mailers to? You are not expecting the whole town to come, why paper the streets?

doesn'tmakesense

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

C) Hannah Goes On A Huge Derail On the Size And Weight Of Hockey Pucks

What?

Sometimes I feel as if Fluke is paid by the word or something. She is constantly derail on the weirdest subjects, weird as in THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PLOT! I’m tired of it, please STOP!!!!

Stop this stupid love triangle!

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

D) Don’t Eat Hannah’s Food, You Will Die

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

I’m pretty sure in every, single book the person dies eating Hannah’s food. All I can think is why hasn’t anyone made the correlation and Hannah have gone out of business already. Eat her signature dish and you might be signing your death warrant.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

E) Hannah Finds Another Dead Body

phonecall

In almost every book Hannah finds the dead body. It is boring! Come on Fluke, change it up.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

F) Mike & Hannah Drama Continues

blahblah

In every book Hannah complains about Mike not being a great boyfriend because he won’t let her investigate with him. What do you think Hannah, that any cop would love to have an amateur bungling things and getting evidence illegally. Listen up Hannah, why don’t you become a real cop or private investigator, and then Mike will leave you alone.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

G) Rocky Road S’Mores?

whatsthatsupposedtomean

Lisa makes a bar cookie she calls Rocky Road Bar Cookies, after the Rocky Road Ice-Cream.  She puts nuts, marshmallows, chocolate, etc.; the same ingredients in the ice-cream. Hannah tries it and says that it tastes like S’mores

What?

What kinda S’mores are you making Hannah? They don’t have nuts. And they have graham crackers in it instead.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

H) I Have Never Had A S’More Before

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

Lisa tells Hannah she has never had a S’more before which makes no sense. Every store that sells food sells the fixing for s’mores. Hershey’s advertises it on TV as soon as we hit May, so does Honey Maid, etc. I cannot believe she has never tried a S’more “because she didn’t learn in girl scouts”. Get real.

seriously

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

I) Red Velvet Cookies Cure Alzheimer’s

Come on, Mack

As someone who has multiple family members who suffer from the disease, words cannot describe how deeply hurt and offended I am at you even suggesting that, whether it is in jest or not.

jerk-gif

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

J) Randomness That DOES NOT ADD TO THE STORY!

Ijustwantittostop

We spend too much time on random acronyms to remember Native American tribes, the Great Lakes, colors of the rainbow. Just stop!

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

K) Mexican Hotdish Mexican Not Dish

no-way-gif-gifs

Your Mexican Hotdish isn’t even Mexican. Jack cheese? White rice? Fritos corn chips? Offensive to the Max! If anything it is Tex-Mex. Get it right.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

L) Don’t These People Have Jobs?

idon'tknowwhatI'mdoing

Man Hannah and Norman spend so much time NOT working I wonder how they can provide for themselves.  I mean Norman just decides to fly to Atlantic City, doesn’t he need to work? Doesn’t Hannah? I mean it is one thing to work investigating around work, but these guys just totally disregard it.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

M) Exposition, Exposition, Exposition to Make the End Work

In the last 42 pages we get this big exposition rush about one of Lisa’s relations who is bad at the stock market and wasted away the money, mean to his wife, mad that Gus won’t give the money he borrowed from his wife back, blah, blah, blah. Listen Fluke, you do this a lot and it is horrible. I don’t know if you can’t decide on a killer or feel you need a “twist” for the reader but it is really bad, really bad.

Not-Good

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

N) If He is So Horrible Why Are You Still Married?

What?

So Peggy is the wife of the murderer and the deliverer of the exposition about how Mac is totally the murderer. You go on about how horrible and threatening he is, why are you still married? Why don;t you leave.

And if you love him as much as you say and act, why are you so willing to give him up to the police. It just didn’t make any sense and felt like Fluke was rushed and just did the ending the night before it was due to print.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

O) Ross is Back

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

This bland saltine of a man is back? Seriously? Come on, just stop. Isn’t it enough you have two guys fighting over Hannah, do we have to include another guy who is blander than a heart patient’s diet?

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

Hated it. Two out of Five stars.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more Hannah Swenson Mysteries, go to Candy Cane Murder

For more reviews, go to Grave Peril