Friday, November 1, 2013

Celebrate Author Day with some Book Reviews

November 1st is National Author's Day. 

I have many favorite authors, but today I want to celebrate author Joanne Fluke.

Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke grew up in a small town in rural Minnesota where her neighbors were friendly, the winters were fierce, and the biggest scandal was the spotting of unidentified male undergarments on a young widow's clothesline. She insists that there really are 10,000 lakes and the mosquito is NOT the state bird.   

While pursuing her writing career, Joanne has worked as: a public school teacher, a psychologist, a musician, a private detective's assistant, a corporate, legal, and pharmaceutical secretary, a short order cook, a florist's assistant, a caterer and party planner, a computer consultant on a now-defunct operating system, a production assistant on a TV quiz show, half of a screenwriting team with her husband, and a mother, wife, and homemaker.

She now lives in Southern California with her husband, her kids, his kids, their three dogs, one elderly tabby, and several noisy rats in the attic.

She has written 15 books in the Hannah Swensen series. Here are a few of my reviews reposted.

Title: Cinnamon Roll Murder (Hannah Swensen #15) Author: Joanne Fluke Genre: Cozy Mystery Publish Date: March 1, 2012 Personal Rating: 4 Stars
About the Book: Spring has sprung in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and the mud season is turning Hannah Swenson's life upside down. But Hannah finds herself knee-deep in an even bigger mess when murder makes an unexpected visit to town...
April is a busy time for Hannah Swenson and her bakery; there's just something about the warm weather that makes folks in Lake Eden crave something sweet When Hannah hears that the Cinnamon Roll Six jazz band will be playing at the town's Weekend Jazz Festival, she's more than happy to bake up a generous supply of their namesake confections to welcome the band to town.
Before the festival even begins, tragedy strikes when the Cinnamon Roll Six's tour bus overturns on its way into town. Among those injured is Buddy Neiman, the band's beloved keyboard player. At first Buddy's injuries appear minor, until his condition suddenly takes a turn for the worse--as in dead. Hannah's no doctor, but she suspects that the surgical scissors someone plunged into Buddy's chest may have something to do with it.
Once the investigation into Buddy's death begins, a slew of suspicious facts come to light. It turns out that Buddy Neiman isn't the victim's real name. In fact, no one is really sure who he is, or what secrets may be lurking in his past. Hannah also has her eye on a few local suspects. There's Doctor Bev, who seems to know more about the victim than she's willing to admit. And Devon Murphy, the aspiring young keyboard player who wanted a spot in the band so much, he just might have killed for it. Truth be told, Hannah isn't sure just how she'll unravel the mystery, but one thing's for sure: there's nothing sweeter than bringing a killer to justice.
My Review:
I forgot I had this book on my Kindle. I purchased it shortly after its release last year and put it aside to read it soon, but wow can’t believe I forgot it was there that long.

This is a definitely must read, must buy cozy series of mine. These are always quick reads for me. I really like amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen and her cookie recipes. This story puts her right at the crime scene after it happens which is not normally a situation for her. I liked this fresh new approach to the crime. Her crime solving tactics are always fun and putting herself in Claire’s dress shop was new.

There is also new development in Hannah’s relationships with Mike and Norman. I can’t wait for the next book to be released to see where this will go now. I enjoy a cozy mystery series when it has a great side story that keeps you wanting to read the next book.

Definitely a must read series for all cozy mystery readers. They do not have to be read in order, unless you want to follow the personal story of Hannah and her friends and family.


Devil’s Food Cake Murder
by Joanne Fluke
Format: Kindle Book
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Part of a series: Hannah Swensen #14
Rating: 4 stars
Summary from GoodReads:
These days, everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is buzzing with activity, and Hannah Swensen is no exception. But no matter how busy she may be, Hannah can always find time to help a friend in need--especially when he's been murdered. . .
Hannah Swensen has to admit that her life is pretty sweet. Things are going well in the romance department, and her bakery's delectable confections are selling almost as fast as she can bake them. Even her good friend Claire is on Cloud Nine, head over heels with her new husband, Reverend Bob Knudson. If only they could find time to take their honeymoon! 
When Bob's childhood friend, Matthew Walters, comes to town, it seems like divine intervention. Matthew, like Bob, is a Lutheran minister with a stubborn sweet tooth. Since he's on sabbatical, Matthew is happy to fill in for Bob while he and Claire take that long-awaited honeymoon. It sounds like the perfect plan--until Hannah finds Matthew in the rectory, face-down in a plate full of Devil's Food Cake, a single bullet in his head.
Determined to find out who killed Matthew, Hannah starts asking questions--and discovers that the good Reverend wasn't quite the saintly fellow he appeared to be. But could the gold Sacagawea coins in Sunday's collection plate hold the key to solving the crime? Or is the murder connected to that big jewel heist out in Minneapolis? Is it possible that Matthew's love of chocolate somehow led to his downfall? It will take some more digging to find out, but Hannah is sure of one thing: even the most half-baked murder plot can be oh so deadly. . .

My Review:

I loved this book. The mystery was great. Very surprising and a nice new twist to the series. Some of the books do seem to repeat themselves following the same plot line through solving the murder, it’s almost assembly line. This book was very refreshing with its different flow, but definitely was a great read.

I love Hannah’s relationship with her sister and mother. Yet again they get to go out on the town. Great for laughs. They continue to hold meetings in Hannah’s kitchen munching on goodies, new or old favorites, and it’s just cozy.

With this book and the previous one, Lisa becomes a storyteller. She has really started to make quite the performance out of it. Kind of makes me wish I could hear them in person.

I love her two romances she has going on with Norman and Mike. However, even though the summary says things are going well in the romance department, the book left me hanging really wondering what’s going to happen with both loves.

This book was a lot of fun! I was glad that it wasn’t status quo and the author has given it some new flair.

Verdict: 4 stars!! Don’t stop the series before this installment. Keep going. It is definitely worth the read.

Recommendation: For those who have already read the series.

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