Sam the Cat: Detective

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Sam the Cat: Detective (Sam the Cat Mysteries #1) by Linda Stewart

Sam is a cat, but not just any cat, he’s a private investigator. He takes on cases in the animal kingdom, trying to emulate the great fictional bests.

On the case!

Everything changes when a cute blonde, cute blonde cat that is, walks in one day asking for his help in discovering who is robbing the building her master lives in.

The case seems problematic and full of trouble, but Sam can’t resist a pretty face. Sam is on the case and will have to use all his contacts to figure out who this thief is. Is it human or animal?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book! I thought it was fantastic how the author took the noir drama and made it a kids book.

Sam was a great character, a Sam Spade Phillip Marlowe type of detective.

I love that the main character is a cat as well. Mysteries and Cats just seem to go together.

For more mysteries centering on cats, go to How to Wash a Cat

For more children’s books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more books with a private investigator, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more mysteries featuring burglaries, go to The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

How to Wash a Cat

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How to Wash a Cat (The Cats and Curios Mystery #1) by Rebecca M. Hale

Thoughts Before Reading:

I picked this book up at a book sale, you all know how much I love those:

I mostly chose it because it centered in cats, and I love cats:

Plot Synopsis:

So our main character…now that I think about it, I don’t think she is ever given a name.

Hmm…

I remember people introducing themselves to her, but she just says hello never stating her own name.

I do know that she is an accountant.

Anyways, she has become very close to her Uncle Oscar since she moved to San Francisco, CA. She often goes to visit him and for dinner, bringing along her two cats-Rupert and Isabella.

Her Uncle Oscar owns an antique shop that specializes in the Gold Rush items. One day she goes over to talk to him and finds his dead body!

Even thought she is an accountant and knows nothing about running her own business, let alone antiques; she decides to take over her uncle’s shop, the the Green Vase, as it was left to her in his will.

She meets her uncle’s former buisness associates, all who have a deep interest in the shop; but why?

Soon she has a real mystery on her hands as she discovers strange clues, a jet, a trap door, and a map.

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Thoughts After Reading:

This seemed like a real winner: cats, mystery, history, taking place in Northern CA, etc. But i just could not stand it.

I couldn’t get into the novel. The style of the writer was weird, such as writing “drug” instead of “dragged” and switching from present to past tense.

I also didn’t like how her writing inferred that gold was found around San Francisco, the gold rush occurred farther north. Get your history right.

And the characters did not feel real at all, but caricatures.

It wasn’t good at all. Sad really,  as it had a good premise. It was just too boring.

For more cat centered mysteries, go to The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

For more mysteries about treasure hunts, go to The Madwoman Upstairs

For more Charles Dickens, go to Harlem Tea Room Cheddar-Thyme Scones

The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

So I thought it was time for another Cat Who… mystery. I thought, I could write this myself, or once again borrow from an older family member. As you can see I am borrowing my sister blog’s review of the second book in the Cat Who… series.

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“We want you to publish a weekly magazine on interior design.’ ‘On what?‘ Qwilleran said in an unintended falsetto…Qwilleran’s throat felt as if he swallowed his moustache. ‘Gracious Abodes? Is that the name of the thing?” (pg. 10)

In this book I always feel bad for Qwill, as nothing seems to go right for him.

In book two, we pick up a little time after The Cat Who Could Read Backwards,  where we find Qwill eager for a new assignment. While he had some enjoyment on the art beat, art is not where he really wants to be. He wants to do something more exciting like crime, government issues, etc. However, his boss Percy (called that because of his excessive use of the phrase per se) doesn’t really go for that type of “disunity” and “abandonment” of your post.

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In other news, Koko is now a proud member…

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The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

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I was trying to find a book to post on Valentine’s Day but didn’t have anything. At least not until I read this book when Qwill goes to a Valentine’s Masquerade ball. It was just in time and fit the holiday.

I thought it only fair to borrow this from my sister blog as she is all about the Cat Who Book series.

 

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“Qwilleran pondered the complexities of the art beat.” (pg 103)

So in the first book of the amazing series we are introduced to James (Jim) Qwilleran–known as Qwill to his friends. An ex-newspaperman who has achieved many honors–Sports writer, police reporter, war correspondent during WWII, winner of the Publishers’ Trophy, and author of a book on urban crime. However, he has recently recovered from bad times, a horrible divorce and bout of alcoholism, and is trying to get back on the straight and narrow and on a newspaper.

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He applies to the newspaper The Daily Fluxion and gets assigned to the art beat.

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Qwill is in shock as he has no idea why he of all people would be assigned that area. He knows nothing about art and the more he tries to learn about it the more he ends up becoming confused. I myself study Art History, and understand…

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Cookie Dough or Die

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Cookie Dough or Die (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery #1) by Virginia Lowell

After Olivia Greyson’s divorce to a renowned surgeon, she moved home to Chatterley Heights, Maryland. While she was trying to figure out what to do next with her life Olivia was befriended by Clarisse Chamberlain, entrepreneur and businesswoman, who encourages her to buy the historic Gingerbread House and follow her dream to open a cookie shop.

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Since then she and her best friend Maddie have been running the shop together. Olivia runs the numbers and planning; while Maddie is the creative one who is in charge of the baking and making fantastical creations.

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Olivia is catching up on her beauty rest when she hears something downstairs. It’s not a robber, but Maddie coming over to create something fun and wonderful for Spring. After her, the hunky Sheriff Del comes with a a sad message for Olivia; Clarisse was found dead, and it looks like suicide.

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Olivia knows that Clarisse would never kill herself and sets off to discover who murdered her.

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The suspect list is long and complicated. There are her two dueling sons; Hugh and Edward; that have always wanted to inherit the full power of the business. Could they have killed her for the inheritance? Before one was written out of the will?

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Tammy, Olivia’s old best friend from elementary school, also has a strong motive. She has been in love with Hugh for as long as she can remember. They dated at one time, but Hugh was distracted by another, Jasmine, and Clarisse was set against Tammy from that day on. Even when Jasmine left the picture, Clarisse hated any girl that wanted Hugh. Could Tammy have killed Clarisse in order to marry Hugh?

Very fishy

Hmmmmmm?

And what of Jasmine who just mysteriously disappeared? Is she somehow involved with this?

I wonder...

I wonder…

When a local postman hints that he knew Clarisse received some information from a private detective; he ends up on the hit list.

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It turns out he was poisoned by one of Olivia and Maddie’s cookies.

You know what that means...something is about to happen

Now it is clear that they are the next target. Can Olivia solve the murder before she is killed too?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t really care for this book. I was a bit disappointed too, as I waited three months for the book to come in from a sister library to read but it wasn’t as good.

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The mystery itself was good, but the way it was carried out was seriously lacking.

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The story was okay except there is a lot of information about the characters that we aren’t given which make it a bit confusing. For a first book, it is best to not confuse the reader.

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I didn’t like the mom character as  felt she was far too cliché and boring.

A character like this again?!

A character like this again?!

The end wasn’t all that good either. The mystery was intriguing, but the resolution was too quickly wrapped up. It was very murky mysterious, and then all of a sudden crystal clear. I felt they need more leeway time, steps leading it up to the resolution.

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It was also weird to have a mystery book that features dogs instead of cats. I’m not against dogs or anything, I like them too. But cats and mysteries just seem to go hand in hand. Having a mystery book without one and a dog instead is just so unusual. After all, cats are just so amazing.

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For more mysteries involving a cookie shop, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more Southern mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more suicides as a cover for murder, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

For more death by poison food, go to A Pinch of Poison 

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Gorgonzola Cream Cheese Log

For more mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Yes I don’t usually post on Sundays, but as I just had the perfect book for this holiday I decided that I would post early.

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The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre (A Hatter’s Cove Gazette #1) by Elisabeth Crabtree

So I got this book off BookBub for free, and as anyone knows who uses the site, it’s kinda hit ot miss. Sometimes the free books you get are fantastic, and others rotters. I really loved this character and the story. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

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The Review:

Kat Archer is an investigative reporter.

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She was working in Miami at a newspaper, but after ten years began to get nostalgic. She decided to move back to her hometown of Hatter’s Cove, FL.

When she was 16 she interned at the Hatter’s Cove Gazette and had a major crush on one of the reporters, Hayden. Of course, as he was five years older, nothing happened between them.

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When Kat returned, she discovered that Hayden now owns the Gazette, but sadly it is in dire straits. It appears that someone else has opened up a newspaper in the town, and took almost all the reporters that worked ay the Gazette.

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While Kat was luckily able to get a job on the paper right away, she was unluckily given the Lifestyles section instead of the hard-hitting, investigative work she really wants. In the last three months she has covered every dog show, cat stories, bird expos, and reviewing the town’s restaurants.

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Sounds kind if sweet, huh? The cushy restaurant reviewer’s job? Well, Kat hates it. Apparently no one in her town that owns a restaurant can cook, causing her to get food poisoning, stale food, etc.

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The rest of the team is Rosie, sports extraordinaire and sports writer; Beatrice, cantankerous and a grumpity grump that does the crossword puzzle and other stories; and Simon, the new intern.

Today is Valentines Day, and Kat’s old family friend, Miss Dolly, has just switched from catering to opening up her own store: Dolly’s Cookie Jar and Sweets Emporium. She especially asked for Kat, and how can she refuse.

Aw, how cute.

Aw, how cute.

She heads out, taking Simon along with her.

At the opening, Kat and Simon run into Evan, a reporter that jumped from the Gazette to the new newspaper, The Herald. He thinks he is God’s gift to women, and wants to date Kat. She is definitely a no on that.

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Then Benny comes, Simon’s nemesis, and starts taunting him again. This opening is raring to go.

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Dolly kicks Benny out as she can’t stand him after he messed up her catering business.

See ya!

See ya!

Dolly opens and the whole town seems to come, including Tiffany Wallace. Tiffany is a convicted killer.

What?

Six years ago on her 18th birthday, she killed her father, and she’s out now because her charge was knocked down from murder to manslaughter. Apparently she killed her father because he didn’t approve of her wanting to marry Benny Yates. He threatened to cut her off. It sucks for her, as she killed her father, she didn’t inherit any of his money.

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Vivian Wallace, Tiffany’s stepmother, is also there. She and Dolly had been in the catering business together, but Vivian made a mess of the fiance and the business closed, along with their friendship. Dolly went on and continued to thrive as she had talent, she also married Rich Fairchild, ex golf pro. Vivian’s business was utterly destroyed, but she managed to bag the wealthiest man in town.

Later that night Kat is planning on spending Valentine’s Day alone; but gets a call about some great information. Kat decides to follow the instructions and meet. When she arrives on the scene she finds Benny’s dead body…

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Right next to a bag of Dolly’s Cookie Jar and Sweets Emporium bag. Later to be revealed as full of poisoned cookies.

Why was Benny calling Kat? What information did he have? And who killed him? Kat is on the case!

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Thoughts after reading:

I loved it.

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The mystery was great! I I thought I knew what was coming, but then that twist got right in there and showed me that there was still a bit I did not catch.

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I also really, really want Officer Luke and Kat to get together.

Please!

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For more mysteries featuring investigative reporters, go to the Thorns of Rosewood

For more reviews, go to A Dark and Stormy Knit

Strawberry Shortcake Murder

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Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swenson Mystery #2) by Joanne Fluke

So as I have mentioned before, I didn’t read this series from book one, but came in the middle and am backtracking my way to the beginning. I’m glad I didn’t start at the beginning as these early books are bad.

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Like really bad. If I started at the very beginning I would have passed this series on by.

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So the first clue that this book would stink was the dedication.

For my kids.

You asked for your favorite recipes.

Here they are in novel form.

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NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

You never, ever, ever, write a book based around recipes. That’s extremely stupid.

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So Lake Eden has been chosen for the first ever Hartland Flour Bake-Off. Hannah isn’t competing, but in between deliberations creating concoctions for the judges and how to do it for the viewers.

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One of the judges is Coach Boyd Watson, the wife beater from Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, is especially cruel and harsh in his criticisms, upsetting many promising cooks.

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One night Hannah comes upon Coach Boyd Watson’s dead body, and facedown in her Strawberry Shortcake!

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The police think his wife is the killer, but Hannah believes in her innocence. She then sets out to discover the real murderer.

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Thoughts After reading:

I did not like this. I know I said before, but it bears repeating.

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So let’s start off with the first problem of the novel. It begins with Hannah hearing a crash  in her condo and “going after that person.”

really?

She decides that she isn’t a “Miss Priss” and would rather go after them with a bat instead of being a “sissy girl” calling the sheriff.

really?

Of course it turns out to her cat, (saw that one a mile away), but what if it wasn’t her cat? What if that was really a burgler or murderer. They could have a gun! It’s nice to think you can handle things, but much better to actually call the cops to have them do their job.

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And then we have the same old same old complaining about mom.

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I guess as the second book it is for the “new readers”, but it still bothers me. It’s like when The Baby-sitters Club would always review the same thing in the second chapter. It gets old, fast.

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And then there is Hannah’s niece Tracey. Once again Joanne Fluke has never been around small children, or at least doesn’t remember what it’s like. I know precocious children, but none of them speak as well as Tracey. Fluke just made her waaaay too advanced for a four-year old.

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So Boyd’s a jerk, but honest in his review of the bake off. So what? We are already hate him for being a wife beater, isn’t that a little overkill?

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Then we get the Hannah’s commentary. Ugh I hate this as it is always BORING!

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She wishes that they still made Big Chief notebooks. But they can’t because they aren’t P.C. to have Indian notebooks. Well Hannah now you will get my commentary.

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They aren’t Indians Hannah. I know you want to be ignorant and call them that, but they aren’t from India. And while you are right, most don’t wish to be called Native American, it’s not because their “family walked over the land bridge from somewhere else,” which by the way:

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But because they prefer to be called by their tribe name.

Okay, so this book was published in 2001 and is supposed to be set in modern times, but a lot of times she acts like she is from the past. A girl kicked out of college for being too “wild” [sexually]. They don’t kick you out for being “wild”, they kick you out for not doing your work, paying rent, or causes issues because of alcohol, drugs, etc.

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Plus Hannah is really rude and judgmental. She realizes that having a good relationship with her sister Andrea is fun and that she shouldn’t have said all those horrible things when she was younger, “even though she deserved it.” She called Andrea an idiot for flunking her math test, when she should have helped her study. Uh, no! No one deserves that. Just because she isn’t that good in math you shouldn’t call her stupid. Rude Hannah, rude.

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Then there is when Hannah is all high and mighty about her crime solving skills. She’s all ” yeah Mike and Bill are good cops and would have eventually figured everything out, but what I did actually helped.” Well, let’s see why your way helped? Hmm? YOU BROKE INTO AN APARTMENT. The police can’t just do that stuff. They have to follow certain rules because of the rights our forefathers wanted to protect. What you are doing is EXTREMELY WRONG!

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The book was horrible, and Hannah was horrible.

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For more Hannah Swenson mysteries, go to Candy for Christmas

For more Midwestern mysteries, go to Fatally Frosted

For more book reviews, go to The Black Echo