Cat who could read backwards review


Goodreads: Jim Qwilleran is a prizewinning reporter who’s been on the skids but is now coming back with a job as feature writer (mostly on the art scene) for the Daily Fluxion. George Bonifield Mountclemens, the paper’s credentialed art critic, writes almost invariably scathing, hurtful reviews of local shows; delivers his pieces by messenger; lives with his all-knowing cat Koko in a lushly furnished house in a moldering neighborhood, and has a raft of enemies all over town.

He offers the newcomer a tiny apartment in his building at a nominal rent, and Qwilleran grabs it, surmising the deal will involve lots of cat-sitting. Meanwhile, a gallery whose artists get happier treatment from Mountclemens is owned by Earl Lambreth. The acerbic critic has praised paintings there by a reclusive Italian named Scrano; the junk assemblages of Nino, who calls himself a “Thingist,” as well as works by Lambreth’s attractive wife Zoe.

It’s Zoe who, one night past closing, finds her husband stabbed to death in the vandalized gallery. Days later, Qwilleran, guided by an insistent Koko, finds Mountclemens’s knifed corpse on the patio behind his house.

Well, this was my first Lillian Julian Braun book and I’ve already checked out the next one from the library. It was funny and fun though a bit slow moving.  I liked Qwilleran – though not his name – and the cat was hilarious.

It took a while for the story to take off – for the first murder to happen and all of that but it is an older book so not as into meeting the reader’s need for action straight out of the chute.

The book is decent and I will read more but hope that the next one moves a little faster and that the cat is still prominent.  I understand they get yet another cat in the next or third book so that will be interesting.

I have to admit, I didn’t care for Zoe in the least – I hope she isn’t a constant in the series.  I give the book a B.


The Dead House review


Goodreads: Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

Well, not sure what to say about this book.  It started out intriguing but lost me somewhat along the way until I just wanted it to be over.  I read other reviews – people trying to decide what was real and was was part of Carly/Kaitlyn’s imagination? Who cares?

The story is inventive with a lot of great imagery.  We don’t really get to know Carly at all and there is a reason for that but I won’t give it away.  There is a lot of “mystery” surrounding it all – even after the wrap-up at the end.

I can honestly say I don’t know if I will read more of this author.  It really wasn’t my kind of thing but it was interesting, especially in the beginning before all the black magic was introduced which confused everything.

I give the book an A for development and interest.  It is really long…just saying.

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist review

278555Goodreads: In this sixth delightful outing Agatha travels to the north of Cyprus, only to contend with her estranged fiance, an egregious group of truly terrible tourists, and a string of murders as scorching as the Greek sun.”

OK, I am taking a break from this series.  I didn’t like Agatha in this one at all.  Instead of endearing me to her, I found her unbearable.  All she did was complain, whine, pester and make a fool of herself.  It was difficult to get through.

I’m tired of her only reason for pursuing these murders is the chance to be near Lacey – who seems like a cold fish anyway.  He is always running away and Agatha can’t leave well enough alone.  This relationship has run its course – I hope the author moves on because the same old things book after book is getting old.

James goes abroad and Agatha has to go gallivanting around trying to find him in some inane hope of making him fall back in love with her.  I’ve never understood women who make a fool of themselves over a man who is obviously not interested.  Her jealousy and outbursts make me think she needs therapy and lots of it.

Perhaps it is just that I have read too many in a row but this one has virtually turned me off of the series.  Figure I will give it a month and then try the next one.  Have to read three more books to make my 2015 challenge so hope I can find something else to read in December.

I give this book a D.  I know that I am in the minority here – most people gave it four or five stars.

Walkers of Dembley and Murderous Marriage reviews


Goodreads: Agatha Raisin joins Dembley hiking club to pursue handsome Cotswold neighbor James Lacey. Angry member Jessica targets wealthy landowner Charles Fraith, who retaliates with tea invitation, but her body is found dead on his grounds. Agatha and James investigate the crime, the group ready to kill.

Well, this one was pretty predictable and even a tad bit disappointing.  Not that it wasn’t well written and a decent read, but after the Hamish Macbeth series, I expected more than a middle-aged woman blundering about after some handsome neighbor.  Kind of thought Agatha would grow beyond this by now.

The story is alright – hopefully one will end sometime without Agatha almost being killed.  That is one of the reasons I stopped reading the Maggie O’Dell series – Maggie was always “recovering” from the last book’s assault on her life at the beginning and being shot, kidnapped, stabbed, etc., by the end of the next one.  No one would really have that happen – it was too far-fetched even for my pretty relaxed standards.

I give this one a C and hope the next will be better.

181665Goodreads: In her fifth outing, Agatha Raisin – the sometimes pushy, sometimes endearing heroine of Beaton’s Cotswold village mystery series – has her marriage to next-door neighbour James Lacey disrupted by the startling appearance of her undivorced, long-thought-dead first husband, Jimmy Raisin. Matters go quickly from bad to worse when Jimmy is found murdered – and Agatha and James are the prime suspects.

Well, I’m not to sure what to say about this one.  I didn’t want to read it because I knew the ex would blunder in and ruin the marriage.  Of course, if he hadn’t, the books wouldn’t be “Agatha Raisin” anymore as she was likely to take the last name of her husband.  The story was fun enough and while I thought I knew the murderer right off, there were enough red herrings to make me doubt myself until the end when I could exclaim, somewhat smugly, that I had known it all along.

Better than the last book but still not as good as Hamish.  Poor Agatha has the worst luck when it comes to men.  Well, she has worse luck when it comes to the murderer almost doing away with her, again.  Think she has used up five of her nine lives.

I could see less of myself in this story.  Agatha seemed so emotionally weak which I know she went through a lot in the story but I found myself wanting her to put on her big girl pants and quit wallowing in self-pity.  Maybe she will emerge through all of this a stronger character.

The countryside sounds wonderful – I find myself wishing I could live in a small town with beautiful countryside.  Then I remember that I grew up in a small town out in the middle of nowhere – it really wasn’t that pleasant.

I give the book an A and look forward to the next one.  If you haven’t given the series a try but like cozy mysteries, you should.  :-)



Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener review


Goodreads: Agatha Raisin 50s returns from a lonely holiday to find James Lacey having an affair with newcomer Mary Fortune. She sees green – jealous, Mary’s favorite color, and the Garden Open Day competition. A body planted head first brings Mary’s estranged daughter Beth and her violent boyfriend. Agatha investigates with Roy, Bill, and other pals.

I have to say, I find that Beaton’s characters are starting to run together.  It is a bit like reading a soap opera.  LOL

So here we are on the next book ~ they read so quickly and easily! This one was better than the last by far but I had the murder picked out before there even was a murder so guess it wasn’t that suspenseful. Still, it was fun and poor Agatha reminds me so much of myself that I have to shake my head sometimes in wonder.

Agatha is funny, blunt and overwrought all at the same time.  Poor James, the confirmed bachelor, seems totally inept when it comes to women.  He regrets getting himself on the “outs” with Agatha and then regrets getting himself on the “ins” with her too.  I’m afraid I would find such a man rather droll but Agatha seems to think otherwise.

Agatha, herself, can be wishy washy in that first she hates village life, then she loves it, and then she hates it again.  It gets a bit repetitive – I hope it doesn’t continue throughout the entire series.  She seems so sure of herself and strong-willed at times and then a weak, silly old woman at others.

When Mary sets her eyes on James, she has no idea what she is going to encounter with the jealous Agatha who will fight for him out of pure competitiveness.  Poor James wants neither woman but he brings it all on himself.  Then poor Mary gets “potted” and all the sordid details of her affairs comes to light with James getting caught in the crosshairs.

Well, on to the next one.  I don’t have as much time to read now as I did but I will squeeze in one now and then.  These are quick, light reads that give one a sense of accomplishment when they turn the last page.  I give it an A.

The Vicious Vet reveiw


Goodreads: Feisty Agatha Raisin, former London PR exec, retired to quiet Cotswold village. Handsome vet Paul Bladen accidentally kills himself while attending Lord Pendlebury’s horse. Agatha and attractive neighbor James Lacey investigate the curious lack of sorrow shown by his divorced wife while a killer plans another “accident”.

Well, the second in the series is done after a very long time waiting for access to it.  Had to reserve it in both book and ebook format in hopes of getting it sometime soon.  The book won out.  I have the third book in ebook format so will read that in the next week or so.

I liked Agatha better in this story but she is no Hamish Macbeth, that is for sure.  I guess I can kind of relate to her because she is my age and I do like that part.  Rather tired of all these young detectives in the books nowadays.

The story moved along quickly enough – it took me about 3 1/2 hours to read.  I’m not sure why she doesn’t appeal to me as much as Hamish but assume I haven’t gotten into the series far enough yet to like it unreservedly.

How can Agatha be “thin” and “stout”?

Paul Bladen sounded like a horrible man with no real love for animals which is strange for someone who is a vet.  He was so greasy that I lose a trifle bit of respect for Agatha that she could be schmoozed by the likes of him.  She is just a middle-aged woman who fills her head with sexual fantasies over every good looking man she meets.  Kind of makes me take her less seriously.

Yes, I suppose that is the old fashioned woman coming out of me – but I didn’t like Hamish’s affairs either.  Cheapens the characters to me in some weird way.

Still, I give the book a B+.

The Screwtape letters review


Goodreads: The story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior “tempter” named Wormwood, so as to advise him on methods of securing the damnation of a British man, known only as “the Patient”.

Screwtape holds an administrative post in the bureaucracy (“Lowerarchy”) of Hell, and acts as a mentor to Wormwood, the inexperienced tempter. In the body of the thirty-one letters which make up the book, Screwtape gives Wormwood detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith and promoting sin in the Patient, interspersed with observations on human nature and Christian doctrine. Wormwood and Screwtape live in a peculiarly morally reversed world, where individual benefit and greed are seen as the greatest good, and neither demon is capable of comprehending or acknowledging true human virtue when he sees it.

This book bothered me to no end in my teens.  I could not stand the idea of demons discussing me and my faith in this way.  It brought home to me that demons are as real as angels.  I could stand the idea of angels watching over me but not of demons undermining me and being gleeful when I stumbled.

My sister and I were discussing it the other day so I started re-reading it.  I find it bothers me just as much but not because I think of demons watching me but because the “morally reversed world” that is described in the book is a lot like the world today and I find that sad.

I recommended it to her husband because she said it is over her head.  I am sure he has read it already but she got it from the library just in case he hadn’t.

Read it and see if it bothers you.  :-)