The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The keeper of lost things

The Keeper of Lost Things: A Novel

 

Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realizing he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfill his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’ have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…


 

This is a delightful, beautiful read. The gentle undertone running through the book absolutely enthralled me and kept me turning pages.

The story opens up with Anthony Peardew, once a celebrated author of short stories, coming into possession of a biscuit tin containing what seems like cremation remains, and then the story reveals why Anthony has kept collecting lost things and been trying to reunite the items with their rightful owners.

The Anthony part grabbed my heart instantly – the gentle, quiet undertone of the writing beautifully and amazingly reflects his declining health and lets us know that his time is running out. His angst and regret for having failed to fulfill the promise he made with his loved one and his resignation just broke my heart. I was only 60 pages in the book, but I swore that I felt my heart constricted with grief. It was simply amazing how the author got me so invested in a character at such an early stage of the story.

The writing is stunningly beautiful. ‘Gentle,’ and ‘atmospheric,’ are the words that I would employ to describe the writing. It’s full of soft nuance, simply breathtaking.

The story features two parallel stories – one in the present with Laura inheriting the legacy as ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ that Anthony entrusted with her, and another featuring Eunice who builds a strong, abiding friendship (love on her part) with her boss Bomber. Interspersed by stories of the individual items that fell into Anthony’s lap, this Eunice part narrates their story starting in 1974 and then slowly inches toward the present. These two, what seem like irrelevant stories eventually come together in the end so perfectly, fitting the final piece of a puzzle and answering we readers’ questions.

At first, I wasn’t quite convinced with the necessity of Eunice and Bomber side of the story; it does clear my question why there is at the relatively early part of the book, and I could tell this Eunice part would play a significant role later in this book. But I felt it was a bit too lengthy to follow largely because the story in general moves so slowly. This applies to not only Eunice part, but Laura’s side of the story does develop rather slowly, both in terms of her progress as ‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ and her personal relationship with a gardener, Freddy.
That said, this pacing didn’t come across boring nor drag, I could tell the author wove those two stories with utmost care – they are really detailed and meticulous. It sank in on me so naturally when the two stories finally intertwined. The way some of the items finding its way to their owners was really well-done, too. It felt like untangling some knotted threads, it cleared the misty fog that’d been sitting in my mind and filled me with a warm feeling.

One thing that I didn’t expect about this book was a fantastical aspect; I don’t want to be spoilery so I’ll refrain from going much into this, but the ghost thing and Sunshine’s uncanny ability of ‘feeling’ the voices of the items threw me off a little bit. This is the twist I wasn’t expecting from this book and I momentarily thought it was a bit unrealistic.

But then again, this magical, bit fantastical aspect gave the book a whimsical vibe and made it really an enjoyable read.

The underlining themes of this book, I assume, are redemption, ‘abiding love,’ and keeping promise.
Each character drags heavy luggage of the past for either breaking promises or failing to live up to expectations and they are struggling and striving to atone for what they had failed to fulfill.
Anthony’s struggles for atonement is particularly heartfelt. His angst for having failed to keep the promise and wish to get reunited with his loved one is simply heart-wrenching and this unfulfilled promise, which Anthony entrusts to Laura, is the core of the entire story and this is what makes the ending breathtakingly beautiful.

To be perfectly honest, the very ending was a bit anticlimactic for me and I wish the author spent a few more pages to wrap up the story, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

This is such a delightful, beautiful, charming book. It’s perfect to curl up with along with a lovely, hot cup of tea.
I simply cannot believe this is Ruth Hogan’s debut novel. I cannot wait to read her next book.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Paige’s Turn by Jennifer Peel

Paige's Turn

Paige’s Turn

 

With the encouragement of her beloved Aunt Mitzi, plain and overlooked Paige James left her hometown of Bella Port ten years ago and never looked back. But free-spirited Aunt Mitzi had plans for Paige to stop being pushed into the background. Those plans included leaving Paige as sole heir to her fortune and owner of her bookstore, Paige’s Turn. Begrudgingly, Paige returns home to fulfill her aunt’s last wishes, no longer the girl who’d left in baggy jeans and an ill-fitting t-shirt.

Paige discovers, though, that Mitzi’s last wishes include a lot of meddling in her love life. From the grave, and with the help of some friends, Mitzi has set out to make sure Paige and Bella Port’s most eligible bachelor, Sam Kennedy, find true love together. What Mitzi didn’t foresee is the firestorm and gossip she created that paints Paige as a swindler and liar, leaving Sam to wonder about the grown woman Paige has become. It doesn’t help when Paige fires him after their first meeting. But as friendship blossoms between Paige and Sam, they find each other hard to resist.

Was Mitzi right about the two of them? Will Paige finally have her turn?

 


 

This is a cute, quick read.  For being such a slim book with only 225 page count, it’s got pretty solid story line and subplots in there. It touches on life, relationships, the struggles in a dysfunctional family and romance. The author did a pretty decent job of squeezing all those elements into this little book.

That being said though, there isn’t nothing particular in this book that makes this book stand out. I did enjoy reading this, it’s pretty unputdownable once you start reading, but I had some issues with the plot.

Firstly, the story. The whole ‘once insignificant ugly duck later turns into a stunningly beautiful swan and astonishes everyone who once scowled at her’ type of trope is pretty predictable and I could spot how the story would unfold from miles away.
Being predictable is in fact OK with me. It in a way gives you some reassurance that things will eventually look up in the end and I tend to see it as comfort food, but Mitzi’s persistent, meddlesome intervention put me off a little bit.
Once or twice could be tolerated, it was touching indeed, but it came across a bit forceful to me and I didn’t appreciate it that much.

The whole plot seemed a bit too expedient and plain-sailing too. The ’10 years-later’ part kicks off pretty nicely introducing the rift between Paige and her family after Paige’s inheritance of Mitzi’s money. Sam’s drastic, rather disturbing change of attitudes towards Paige worked really well and pulled me in the story, making my heart ache a bit.  But the reconciliation with Darren arrives too early in the story and the family issues didn’t come across deep-rooted either. Her mother’s antagonism against Paige which is a prominent element in this story wasn’t convincing nor did the reasoning that Mitzi and her father gave to Paige feel strong enough to drive a deep wedge in the family. It felt kind of forced and a bit of a stretch.

That said though, there are a lot of emotional, rewarding moments throughout the book.
My favorite moment is definitely the shift in the dynamics between Paige and her sister, Maggie. They were both kind of aloof and they never felt they knew each other well, but once the confession made by Maggie’s husband sheds a light to what Paige is really like – making Maggie come to her senses that Paige is not as black as they painted her – they get bonded and start forging a strong sisterhood. This is undeniably one of the highlights in this story; it is such a delight to read how all the misconceptions and misunderstandings about Paige gradually get straightened out.

As a protagonist, Paige seemed a bit weak. She is liberal, independent and mentally strong and darn attractive (her beauty and grace is well showcased), but her character doesn’t seem to possess the ‘draw’ that pulls me in. There are scenes that she displays her strength and compassion for others and I loved reading her finally letting out all the feelings that she has bottled up inside whenever she channels her aunt Mitzi, but other than that, I didn’t get to connect with her emotionally.  That said, it doesn’t affect the way I looked at the story at all. I enjoyed reading it just the same.

As for the romance between Paige and Sam… I can’t find words to describe this other than to say, ‘swoony.’ The opening scene in the tree house is simply stunning. A teenage crush on her big brother’s best friend, a kiss on the cheek – it seems typical, but for me, it’s enough to make my heart do cartwheels.
Their attraction towards each other is pretty palpable right from the beginning; we can easily spot the sparks running between them and anticipate the distance between them getting closer and closer by the minute, but it actually develops really slowly and the situation sometimes gets in the way and makes them push each other away, which frustrated me in a pleasant way. It was almost tantalizing.

Reading this book made me realize what a sucker I am for romance books.
Despite some issues and flaws that I mentioned earlier, I still enjoyed reading this. My gut-feeling wouldn’t go so far as to declare my abiding love toward this book due to a bit too beautiful ending, but I liked it enough.
If you are into this genre, or as big a sucker for being addressed as ‘princess’ as I am, then this book is for you – you’ll be sure to enjoy this 🙂
I gave this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek

The nightwalker

The Nightwalker: A Novel

 

Leon Nader suffered from severe insomnia as a child.

His night-walking even caused him to be violent.

After extensive therapy he was cured.
Or was he?

Now as an adult, Leon wakes one morning to find his wife Natalie hastily packing a suitcase. Severely bruised and evidently scared of him, Natalie runs out of the door and disappears.

Confused about what’s happened, Leon begins to wonder if his night-walking has started again. Fitting a motion-activated camera to his forehead to record what he does when he sleeps, Leon makes a shocking discovery. There’s a hidden door in his apartment which he never knew about. As he descends into a nightmare somewhere between sleeping and waking, Leon discovers that there’s a fine line between reality and dreaming – but sometimes waking up isn’t an option…


This is the most mind-bending book I have read all year; I still can’t completely wrap my head around what I’ve just read. This is such a disorienting, trippy read – far more trippier than I had expected.

When I started this book, I was expecting a story describing a young man once suffered from insomnia resumes his nocturnal excursion and commits a litany of brutal, abusive conducts.
How far off I was – the plot is by no means as simple as that – it is more of Leon’s unsettling exploration of his sleepwalking self. It is much more complex, strange and absolutely mind-bending. I felt like I was groping for something to latch on in pitch darkness.  The deeper I went into the book, the more discombobulated I was.

The writing is solid, strong and extremely descriptive. The goriness and brutality displayed in torture scenes are so graphic and raw, it was painful at times thus I wouldn’t recommend this book to someone who can’t tolerate such writing styles – this book is definitely not for the faint of heart.
The unreliable narration has a stunning effect on building up the tension and anticipation. It beautifully amplifies the uncertain, hazy feel of the book and blurs what is already a fuzzy boundary between reality and imagination even more, making you keep questioning yourself whether to believe what you’re seeing or doubt there may be more to that.

And the huge, HUGE twist that arrives in the end… my gosh, I didn’t see it coming at all!
Trust me, it is really a surprising twist that will take you by surprise. I almost felt it sickening though. How could they possibly go to such length????
That was the first thing that sprang to mind.

It is extremely hard to talk about this book without giving anything away; all I can say is just ‘pick it up and read to see how you feel about it.’ That’s pretty much says it all.
The eerie feels running throughout the book and the cliff hangers at the end of some chapters… this is such a page-turner, such a delight to read. Simply gorgeous. I loved it.

This is one of those books that’s best to go into completely blindly without knowing almost anything. The joy of reading will be tenfold that way, I’m convinced.

Although I ducked a half star due to a bit anticlimactic and extended epilogue which comes across an afterthought, this is undeniably an exhilarating, thrilling read that gives you creeps.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

My Sweet Revenge

 My Sweet Revenge

 

■Synopsis <Excerpt from Goodreads>

I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students. She gave up her dreams so he could make it. Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors. And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.

She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing. And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers. It will be her greatest acting role ever.

Revenge is sweet. Isn’t it?

 

■ My Thoughts

I was a bit ambivalent about this book in the beginning; it’s got a strong introduction, but the middle part felt a bit slowed and drag. It was the very last part of the book that made me had a change of heart. The remaining 100 pages to be more precise.

This book opens up with what I found a very strong first chapter where Paula finds her husband having an affair for God knows how long with Saskia, a co-starr for the show who ironically plays the role of Robert’s wife in the show.
This revelation (confession) part was really well done. Paula’s shock and devastation definitely registered and left a strong impression on me. I had a good feeling about this book.
However, the whole ‘revenge’ plot felt a bit hackneyed, immature and even over-the-top. Teaming up with Saskia’s husband who happens to be the producer of the drama and tweaking/rewriting the character settings/plot for the drama just in order to get even with them didn’t sit well with me. It even felt a bit unrealistic and implausible. I must admit I was a bit put off by it.

The middle part felt a bit plain and redandunt, too. In Part two, we start to follow the story from two POVs, one of Paula as in Part 1 and another of Saskia’s. The story is told by the very two people in the middle of the mess, you’d think things would only get interesting and entertaining. But for me, it didn’t work that way. Partially, it did. But I was just kind of along for the ride, I wasn’t emotionally stirred that much.

That being said though, there are some very strong scenes that totally entertained me. For instance, I enjoyed reading how Paula’s attempts to hold ‘bonding’ sessions with Robert to rekindle the flame of love fall through, how her attempts to carry a conversation like the old times fall flat by Robert’s curt one-word responses. I personally found it really well-done. Felt very realistic.
I also adore the unexpected waft of romance between Josh and Paula that springs from their concoction of revenge schemes; as time goes by their dynamics change and start to form a strong bond after the initial shock of their spouses’ affair. It was pretty heart-tingling and made me want to read MORE of this side of the story.

The author did a good job of developing totally different voices of Paula and Saskia. As I mentioned earlier, we start to follow those two voices from Part 2 and get to the bottom of things what is really going on.
Paula’s voice is compliant and down-to-earth while Saskia’s reflects her conceited, bitchy personal traits. I’m not usually good at following multiple perspectives (as you can guess), but their voices are so disctinct that I didn’t get confused for once.  I particularly enjoyed following Saskia’s POV; she thinks she’s got the upper hand over Paula and that she wraps Paula around her finger, but in actuality… I won’t reveal the plot, but it’s glorious.

There’s not much to say about the characters, but Paula’s self-development was a joy to read. She used to be one of those who loathes any form of physical exertions, but with a strong resolve to get a revenge on Robert and Saskia, she engages herself in walking/running and even signs up for a gym. In the process, she becomes comfortable with her physique and gains confidence in herself. Character developments is definitely my thing; I loved that.

This book is basically unpredictable. Despite a bit lackluster middle-part, there are some surprising twists and turns of events scattered throughout the book. It’s like having a huge twist coming when you start to feel bored. Twist after twist after twist. I would probably have been on the verge of giving up on this book had there not been this sense of suspense; that was what kept me going and I am glad that I persevered. The last twist coming in the last 30 pages was totally engrossing, immersive. That sucked me in the story and made me flip-flop my mind about this book.

With a brilliant, rewarding ending, I decided to push up my rating from 3 to 3.75 out of 5 stars. What kind of rating is this, you think? But I’m still debating whether to give this book 4 stars…

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the bright places

All the Bright Places

 

■Synopsis (Excerpt from Goodreads)

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

■ My Thoughts (it might include some spoilers)

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This is such an intense, compelling novel. I went into this book without knowing anything about the synopsis and I was so astonished to find how intense and compelling this book was. It literally blew my mind.

This book has an incredibly strong second half.
That is not to say the first half is weak -nothing could be further from the truth in fact – it’s got a nice, engaging first half, it’s just the latter half – in particular, from around 225 pages mark – left much big of an impact on me. I literally ate this book up. I couldn’t, didn’t want to put it down. I wanted to keep reading, I just didn’t want this book to end.

The writing is so explicit. I don’t think it’s all beautiful or flowery,  but it’s got a strong ‘draw’ to it; something that makes the readers keep reading once it captures their hearts. At least it got mine. overall.
I felt some parts a bit slippery and off though. It was like it was all getting pretty close, building up the tension toward the highest point and I was kind of expecting it to explode, yet failing to hit my notes at the most crucial moments, leaving me feel a bit underwhelmed.
I also had a slight issue with the style in which the story is narrated. This book is in dual perspectives, so each chapter is narrated either by Finch or Violet. It might have been only me, but I sometimes lost track of who the narrator was and got confused. It often happened that I read over a page feeling something amiss and then I found that I had been following the story through the wrong point of view.
Yet overall, it was really well-written, incredibly evocative and more than anything, visceral. In particular, I didn’t even realize that I was doing so myself, but I was holding my breath while I was reading the last 100 pages or so. That was where the story really picks up, getting more complex, and where we’d start to see SOMETHING SNAP inside Finch and things get spin out of control.

The descriptions depicting this portion of the story was just brilliant. I could easily visualize, or imagine how Finch’s circuits in his brain are firing up in all directions and how he gets swallowed in the darkness slowly and steadily. I even felt my head spinning; I felt as though I was smothered by emotions.
By that point, I got so invested in Finch’s character, it was so painful and hard to keep reading. I literally didn’t want to see anything bad happen to him any more because he had already gone through enough.

Finch was a really fleshed-out character. He’s quirky at a glance, adopting a different persona by dressing differently and talking differently depending on his mood.
I couldn’t really find any decisive factor that makes him ‘different’ as he is painted, but I definitely see how his thoughts wander off and how complex his character is. On top of all that, he’s incredibly sensitive, fragile and vulnerable. He is like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off; I got to feel his inner struggles and emotional process through his voice and it was just brilliant.
And his voice – HIS VOICE. I fell in love with his voice. Whatever words that come from him rang through me and captivated me; I was in the clutches of his words. I simply can’t get enough of it.
On the other hand, I found Violet was a bit weak compared to Finch. It doesn’t feel right to say this, but her struggles and depression since the accident didn’t appeal to me as much, they didn’t feel strong enough. But I really enjoyed how she develops herself and gets back on her feet through the wander and the interactions with Finch. The dynamics between those two main characters and its development was such a delight to read through.

That is all the more reason why I was so stunned when I found what happens to them in the latter part. I couldn’t read the remaining 40 pages without crying.
That was the last thing I wanted to happen. For me, it was like a nightmare coming true. I cried over Violet’s words and compunction from then onwards. Every time she reflects back and wonders what could have been done to make him last – I cried. Her words cut through my heart.
Although I’m kind of content with how she gets over what’s happened and how the closure arrives, it’s still poignant and heart-breaking. It just hurts.

This is not a feel-good fluffy YA; it deals with some serious issues like depression, suicide, and bullying – how small a thing that we consider inconsequential and nothing can push others over the edge. We can get a glimpse of what could be going on inside the brains of someone with mental illness through the voice of Finch, and I really appreciate that.

That said, it wasn’t that I didn’t have any issue with this book; as far as mental illness goes, the thing that didn’t sit well with me was that Finch didn’t confide in anyone with his true emotions and issues that plagued him. Rather than asking for help from experts and professionals, he chose to bottle up his feelings and took the matters into his own hands, which kind of bothered me; to be honest, I was a bit frustrated, thinking thing could have ended up differently if he had let someone in on what was actually going on.

Other than that, I really enjoyed reading this book. This book really affected me emotionally and I loved that.

This is really a poignant story, you may feel sick in the stomach, or end up crying your eyes out (like I did) but this is also an amazingly beautiful book. This is my type of book, this is my jam.

In my personal opinion, this is way better than The Fault in Our Stars. Hands down.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's tale

The Handmaid’s Tale

 

It was so hard to rate this book. I have never been torn this much over a book before.
Because 1) the popularity of the book and 2) my scarce experience in reading, those two factors made me balk at making this post. I was even hesitant to post my Goodreads review – it almost felt presumptuous of me to say ANYTHING negative about this book.

I won’t bore you with my runaround – here are my thoughts:

I really, REALLY wanted to like this book. I went into this book with high expectations given the popularity and the hype surrounding this book, but alas, it didn’t happen.
Firstly, the writing. I probably should have started this book with the understanding that it would be more like Offred’s narrative/soliloquy rather than a story woven through the eyes of her. This might have been a huge mistake that I made; this style just didn’t crick with me. I felt most of the part drag and rather monotonous.

I did find the writing style very unique and distinct though; it somewhat felt lyrical at times. With the very explicit descriptions, some scenes left a huge impact on me and literally made the hair on the back of my neck stand up; I really loved the dark and sinister undertones and enjoyed how the creepiness slowly crawling into my mind. It was brilliant, no doubt.

That being said though, what really bothered me was the constant back and forth between the time frames. Since this story is entirely told in first person narrated by Offred herself, there’s a lot of reminiscence of her former life, and the boundaries between the present and the past was so seamless that I often missed the difference and got confused; one minute you’re following Offred’s life in the present and the next minute you slip back into the past. I think I can make sense out of this by regarding this as a truthful reflection of Offred’s emotional process, depicting how her mind wanders off from one point to another, but this goes on and on and on throughout the book so I ended up rereading the same sentence/paragraph over and over.
The vague, hazy feel in Offred’s narration was also what bothered me a little. It gave me an impression that Offred is emotionally numbed or stolid; that made it hard for me to engage in the story.

Secondly, the lack of information/explanation.
In the beginning of the book, there’s hardly ANY descriptions or explanations are made about what kind of society Offred she used to live in and exactly what role she is tasked as a handmaid. While Offred keeps on reminiscing her daily routines as a handmaid and her former life, there’s only a trickle of information coming in at a time which barely cleared my questions. I had to keep speculating who she is and what kind of world she’s living in, I felt frustrated by not knowing enough until I reached the halfway through the book. Although most of my questions were cleared at that point, I wouldn’t say it was satisfactory enough. I still felt like enveloped in a thick fog.

As far as the dystopian aspect is concerned, this book didn’t leave as big an impact on me as 1984 did. That said, I did find this world quite disturbing and unsettling; I was totally shocked when I found out how women’s rights are stripped away in the Republic of Gilead and what consequences await them when they commit a breach of regulations and break the law. But I wish there were more dark underlining ‘being constantly watched’ type of feels running through the book; I would have loved it much better that way.

The last 20 pages (I intentionally excluded the historical notes epilogue that comes after the main story) was such a page-turner. The writing is so strong and the story takes a sudden twist and then rushes toward the stunning end. I personally think this strong portion made up for the monotonous latter half.

With regard to the ending, I honestly don’t know what to think of it; I still don’t know whether I should have taken what I read as is or speculated there’s something more.

Like I said, as I’m still wondering if I got to comprehend this story right. I’ll probably need to come back to this book again sometime later. Then, my rating and perception toward this book might change.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs

Killer Cupcakes

Killer Cupcakes: A Lexy Baker Bakery Cozy Mystery (Lexy Baker Cozy Mysteries)

 

This is a quick read. It’s got only 146 pages and you can fly through this book really quickly – maybe, a bit TOO quickly.

Lexy Baker, a young gorgeous pastry chef who runs her own bakery, meets a hunky detective Jack Perillo in a very ungraceful way in his backyard adjacent to her house – dressed in cozy pajamas with a huge rip in the side, with no make-up on hanging out with her dog, Sprinkles. They both feel a spark of attraction toward each other, but the very next day, a totally unexpected incident brings Jack to her bakery – Lexy’s ex-boyfriend, Kevin was found dead face-down in a box of her cupcake tops – a signature piece of her bakery. To make the matter worse, there were some distinct imprint of stiletto heels left outside Kevin’s front door. Pieces of evidence that are NOT in her favor.

Forced to close down her bakery for the investigation, Lexy decides to take the matter into her own hands and find the killer on her own – with the help of her grandmother and the ladies from ‘The Ladies Detective Club’…

 

This was a reread for me; I got this book as a Kindle freebie maybe four years ago.
I remember enjoying this to some extent; I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads the last time.
However, with this reread, I don’t think I could be as lenient and liberal as the last time. I think I would go for 2 – maybe 2.5 out of 5 stars at best.

First and foremost, this is WAY TOO SHORT; I didn’t find 146 pages gave this book enough space for the story to fully develop and bloom.
I think the writing is very brisk and clean; it’s got a nice rhythm and the pacing is decent in the beginning, but the latter part – from around 80% the pacing felt a bit too hasty and off as though the author rushed to wrap up the story within a limited time frame/page count. This is where I felt the writing become a bit sloppy and dull; Everything felt a bit lackluster and I found myself losing interest pretty rapidly.

I also found the writing, the whole story a bit too cheesy and expedient for me this time. Although this cheesiness didn’t bother me so much the last time, it rubbed me the wrong way with this reread.
The sloppiness and unprofessionalism of Jack Perillo didn’t work in my favor, either. Every time I came across the scenes where Jack Perillo lets Lexy off the hook BECAUSE of his attraction toward her, I was like, “Now, this is what I call ‘unprofessional.’”  I felt a bit frustrated and I couldn’t bring myself to appreciate it.

On top of all that, the insta-love – THE INSTA-LOVE between Lexy and Jack!!
It literally gave me a cringe – it was WAY TOO FAST to develop. I just couldn’t get it. It almost made me laugh my head off.

As I haven’t read as many cozy mysteries as you probably have, I honestly don’t have any frame of reference; I don’t know how lenient I should be nor to what degree sloppiness in cozy mysteries can be tolerated or condoned. I might be a bit too harsh on this, but that’s how I felt about this book. It just bothered me this time.

Nevertheless, I must admit that I enjoyed reading this to some extent. In particular, I found Nans and the ladies from The Ladies Detective Club pretty endearing. They are all so funny and cute.
Just imagine – four old ladies fishing in their giant old-lady purses, each whipping out her own iPad. They even boast that they’re pretty good at finding clues online and solving murder cases. This portion of the story cracked me up. I couldn’t relate to Lexy AT ALL, but I liked these old ladies a lot.

 

All in all,  this might be not a decent cozy-mystery in the true sense of the word, you may have some issues with this book as I did. But it might be entertaining if you saw this book as pure entertainment, like comedy or something with a bit of mystery twists.
This is definitely not my favorite cozy-mystery, but I don’t dislike this either.
It’s a bit Meh, but an OK read for me – thus 2 stars.