TWoP Fan's CBR-III Review #12 – Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack

It's no secret that I love a 'cozy' mystery book. When I read, sometimes I want something that lets me relax and enjoy a scenario that would never play out in my real life. I'm an escape reader. With this book, I felt no relaxation, just stress, because the main character of this book is an awful person.

Sadie Hoffmiller is supposed to be the sweet older widow next door, the kind of woman who brings food when the baby is born, who gathers your mail if you go out of town, who gossips a bit but has good intentions. Sadie Hoffmiller is actually the woman who brings you a cake and judges how clean your house is, who gathers your mail and tries to steam it open and who gossips about you and comes up with a good intention after.

Sadie's in her kitchen when she notices suspicious activity at the neighbor's house. She goes to investigate, as one does, and finds her neighbors body. Rather than cooperating fully with the police, she decides to investigate on her own, even though there is no reason to suspect that the police can't do their jobs. Sadie's reason is that the victim was her friend, which gives her enough cause to snoop through a crime scene, go to the victims' lawyer and try to get dirt, spy on her neighbors and boyfriend and get herself arrested.

When Sadie was arrested, I laughed. Not because the author had struck a particularly clever turn of phrase, but because she deserved it. She hid evidence from the police multiple times, lied to everyone she knew and if anyone didn't automatically agree with whatever outlandish idea she had, she thought smug, judgmental things about them and wrote them off immediately. Even when she found out the evidence she had willfully withheld would have helped the police capture her friend's murderer earlier, she didn't feel remorse.

It's clear that the author is trying to create a witty, sarcastic character that you love because of their faults. It would work, if only the character had qualities other than faults.

Rating: Underbaked and overly sour. Don't bother. To read an example of a lovable but grating character done well, try Parnell Hall's Puzzle Lady books.

TWoP Fan's CBR-III Review #11 – Death on the D List by Nancy Grace

I went in with honest expectations. What I know of the author, Nancy Grace is that she's on TV, she's loud and cranky and talks about sensational cases. She may have a political slant, but I don't know what it is. I've never really seen a whole episode of her show, just bits and pieces. For all I know of her, she could he a hell of a writer.

She's not. This book was terrible. The plot centers around an attorney who was almost killed working her last case. It turns out that this woman is the greatest attorney to ever attorney. How do we know? Because the story tells, us, constantly. It doesn't bother to show her making valid arguments or using creative logic; rather it just constantly says that Hailey Dean never lost a case. Ever. Which doesn't appear to be something that happens outside of books. That's not event he least plausible part. The fact that she keeps getting roped into doing things she doesn't really want to, like appearing on TV, doesn't make a great case for her take-no-prisoners legal reputation. She's supposed to be quick on her feet during the TV interviews, but her 'sarcastic' comments aren't and her grandstanding speeches aren't based in any sense of fact, just emotional posturing and manipulation, which isn't even done well.

The mystery portion is even more ridiculous, if that were possible. Some mysterious figure is taking out starlets and every other chapter or so is devoted to the shady character who we are led to believe is committing the crimes. (NON-SPOILER WARNING because this book is too bad to need spoiler warnings.) This guy, who has the weapon and who has blackouts and who owns a car that records the exact millage it would have take to travel to kill these women and who gets his own plotline in the book? Yeah, he didn't do it. Someone we meet once, who has the worst motive ever, did it. And how does our ace lawyer put all this together? She mistakes hair coloring smudges on fingers for gardening dirt. Yeah. Those look nothing alike. Also, hair dye comes off pretty easily with some Vaseline, which the character who committed the crime would have known, since she was described as a woman who was very into make-up and style. That's just the most obvious plot hole that bugged me. There's also the guilty cop, who feels bad that he fingered Hailey for a crime where she was almost killed by the real killer, so he takes her into EVERY CRIME SCENE. Jesus, aren't crime writers required to watch CSI anymore?

I can't write anymore about this crappy book. I'm the kind of person who can't out a book down, even a bad one, and I still skipped the last third and just skimmed the last three pages. This book both sucks and blows.

Rating: zero stars.

It's that time again...

Update time! I've been quiet for awhile, in many ways because my depression has hit me pretty hard lately. With chronic depression, it's so hard to tell if it's just a rut you are going through or if it's time to change medicines or up the current medication. Once I finally got into a place where I could see how badly I was feeling, I decided on a two-fold approach.

First, I upped my meds. Since I started taking SAM-e, a supplement, I can be more flexable with my dose without having to make a doctor appointment. My doctor originally prescribed 800mg of SAM-e, but I started on 600mg, which was fine. Now that it's not, I'm up to 800. The max is 1800mg total, but if I think I need to go past 1000mg, I'm going to the doctor to make a switch.

The other thing that I did was make a few small changes to stop feeling like I am in a rut all the time. They are little, and probably silly, but they seem to be making me feel a little nicer. What I did was paint my nails and start wearing mascara and earring in the mornings. It's not a huge change. My reasoning is that taking a little extra time to look nicer might lead to feeling nicer. I admit, I kind of like looking in the mirror and being surprised by my darker eyes.

I'm giving it two weeks and if I'm not noticeably better by then (better enough that the husband notices as well) then I'm calling the doctor. A new doctor, in fact, but that's for another post...