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28 November 2012 @ 06:23 pm
Books 38 to 41  
Book 38
Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs – Blaize Clement

Ah, vacation. It’s the time when I finally read all of the mysteries I’ve been saving up, like this one.
I’d not read any of the previous novels in this series, featuring a former cop turned pet sitter (read that again). But that’s the wonder of most mysteries. You can jump in at any time.
And here, you jump in on Dixie as she cares for Big Bubba, a chatty African parrot and other critters when she has a chance meeting with a mystery girl, Jaz. Over time, you learn that Jaz is the sole witness to a gang shooting being hidden until trial on Siesta Key and that Big Bubba has a penchant for cop shows.
Clearly, it’s fluff. But the characters are well drawn and the setting is pure Florida. And c’mon, there’s a talkative parrot that likes to watch TV. Told you, I was on vacation.

Book 39
File M for Murder – Miranda James

From Big Bubba to Diesel, the massive Maine coon, vacation continues.
This is another mystery series that I’ve not read before, featuring research librarian Charlie Harris and his previously mentioned cat that accompanies him everywhere.
Charlie works at the local college in a small Arkansas town and is surprised his daughter, Laura, is back home after heading off to Hollywood to be an actor. She is filling in for a drama professor temporarily, on the recommendation of her ex-boyfriend and jerk of a writer in residence, playwright Connor Lawton.
When Connor turns up dead after angering half the college town and student body, Laura becomes a prime suspect. It’s up to Charlie and Diesel to see if they can figure out what happened – and prevent a similar fate for Laura.

Book 40
Maggody and the Moonbeams - Joan Hess

So this series I’ve read before. And I would highly recommend the Arly Hanks series to anyone who enjoys mysteries and comedy, or both.
Arly is the former New Yorker who moves back to her hometown of Maggody, Arkansas after a particularly nasty divorce. The need to feed herself leads her to become the town’s police chief, a job that mostly involves trying to find the moonshine still of a local clan’s hermit and eating at her mother’s bar and grill.
This time, Arly’s supervisory skills are being used as a forced chaperone to the local church youth group on a trip to fix up a camp in southern Arkansas. Right before she leaves she learns of a missing woman in town, but not until one of the teens stumbles over a dead body at the camp do things start to click.
The dead woman is a Moonbeam, an all-female cult whose members dress in white robes and shave their heads – a look that gets them mistaken for aliens by our unsophisticated witnesses.
The story takes several obvious turns, but along the way there is a chance to laugh at cults but also rethink how the needy are victimized in our society.
But don’t worry, there’s another laugh coming up soon – either by the suspect who keeps getting let out of jail by an “alien” or the pastor with a real love for blood of the Savior.

Book 41
Between the Lines - Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

After grabbing two dreadful movies from a Redbox over our vacation, we decided CG is no longer allowed to pick the flicks.
After she got this book for me to read at the library, I'm a little iffy on her book recommendations, too.
(OK, not really, but remember, CG *did* voluntarily read the Twilight series Ugh.)
But I digress. CG recently read and enjoyed a Picoult novel, so she wanted to see if this YA effort – co-written by Picoult’s teenage daughter – was worth the time.
Me, I say no. The plot comes from the teen: a loner girl, misunderstood but so observant, falls for a fictional prince charming in a children’s book. Alas, he is also misunderstood and frustrated with his life.
Our heroine knows this because he talks to her. And only to her.
If that sounds wacky, that’s why our hero’s mom takes her to a shrink. But the supposed clever part of all this is: what if every book we read is just a play, put on by characters that, once the book is closed, lead other lives but can never escape the book?
That, it turns out, is why Oliver wants to leave the fairy tale. And why Delilah, who pays a little too much attention, can see him beyond the story.
I suppose tweens may find this reason to swoon. But the story of the hunky but sensitive guy that no one gets, being freed by the quirky girl who totally gets him has been done so many times before.
Makes me wish CG would have found “Pretty In Pink” in the Redbox. Now that would have been the win!