I read a lot.
No, seriously, if I have any free time during the day – what’s free time, you say? – I read. Big books, little books, popular children’s books, self-help books, pop culture books, magazines, cookbooks, and I even have several blogs and websites I read on a daily basis. My point is pretty simple – I love to read (most of the time).
Sometimes I read out of necessity because it’s part of a homework assignment or I need to study for a test, but even then, when it’s reading for work, I still enjoy it because I know that I am going to enjoy the fruits of my labor soon. I know that in order to accomplish my goal (finishing my Bachelor’s Degree), I have a lot of reading to do, and I’m okay with that.
I own several books that would be classified as “self-help” books, though I don’t really see them as that, technically. To me, they are a resource to find a pick-me-up quote or a place to go to realize that I am doing the right thing in a certain situation. These are books that I don’t read often, but I treasure them because they have provided me with so much.
I admit, too, that there are times when I’ll grab a juicy romance novel because I can be nearly brain-dead and read them. It’s a book to read that passes time, requires no concentration, and satisfies a need to be reading. They are the books I can blow through in half a day. They are easy.
However, most of the time, when I am reading for pleasure, I read murder-mystery books. I have a few authors I really like – Diane Mott-Davidson and her Goldie Schultz the Caterer Series, Victoria Huston’s Dead Angler Series, and Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Joe Gray Cat Mysteries.
Laura Childs is at the top of my list for several reasons. Mainly, I just really enjoy her writing style. Her books are easy to follow, even with complicated plotlines and unexpected twists and turns. I have never been bored reading one of her books, and usually I have a hard time putting them down once I start them. The best thing about her books is that she is currently writing three different series. I started reading her with the first, original series, the Scrapbook Mysteries, when I received the first book in the series as a gift from my grandmother. Once I blasted my way through that series, I found myself wanting more and not really being willing to wait until the next book in the series came out, so I decided to try her second series, the Tea Shop Mysteries. I found them to be just as easy and fun to read as the scrapbook series, and I really enjoyed getting to know each of the characters as they developed through the series.
Unfortunately, my reading speed is much quicker than Ms. Child’s writing and publishing speed, and I quickly ran out of books to read. She has started a third series, called the Cackleberry Club Mysteries, and with as much as I enjoyed reading the first to series, I decided to give it a go. The series focuses on three middle-aged women who open a business together that centered around a cafe with different egg specials every day.
The first book in the series, Eggs in Purgatory was a great introduction to the series. It gave just enough background about each of it’s main players to provide knowledge, but to keep the reader guessing and wanting more.
“In a rehabbed Spur station outside the small town of Kindred, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here–fluffy omelets, slumbering volcanoes, toad in the hole, and eggs on a cloud. This cozy little café even offers a book nook and knitting nest–and business has been good. But two murders, a runaway girl, a vicious widow, and a messianic cult leader just might lead to their undoing.”
The second book, Eggs Benedict Arnold, finds Susan and her girlfriends knee-deep in the muck again as their nosing around gets them in trouble while they try to help out the local sheriff.
” When Ozzie Driesden, Kindred’s local mortician, ends up on his own slab, the ladies from the Cackleberry Club launch their own investigation. But as friends become suspects, one suspect turns traitor.”
Finally, the third book, Bedeviled Eggs, highlights several characters who previously didn’t get a lot of print space. They are developed a little more and the readers are able to understand their role in the greater picture a little better.
“Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, the wise-cracking (and egg cracking) ladies of the Cackleberry Club café whip up Egg Strata and Slumbering Volcanoes in the morning, then work a double shift as amateur sleuths. Because in this go round, a read dating event ends with a mayoral candidate getting shot with a crossbow. Then, two days later, a sheriff’s deputy is found murdered on the historical society’s Quilt Trail.”
The books themselves are absolutely wonderful, but each one has hidden treasures inside. Each of Ms. Childs’ books contains recipes – each book from all three series. The recipes included in the books are dishes talked about in the course of the stories. I have tried many of the recipes provided so far, and I have yet to find one I dislike. They’re all great.
I have currently blown through my supply of mysteries to read, and I really don’t want to read the Harry Potter or Twilight Series’ for the umpteenth time.
What are your suggestions for a good book and/or series to start reading?