January 29, 2012

The Reading Files - Pointy feet and fingers

And round two of reading cozy mysteries. Let me tell you, they are perfect in the cold season!

Murder Most Frothy (Cleo Coyle)
#4 Coffeehouse Mystery
Source: bought used
Genre: Mystery

Clare Cosi’s new friend, millionaire David Mintzer, has an offer no New York barista could turn down: an all-expenses-paid summer away from the sticky city. At his Hamptons mansion, she’ll relax, soak up the sun, and, oh yes, train the staff of his new restaurant. So Clare packs up her daughter, her former mother-in-law, and her special recipe for iced coffee for what she hopes will be one de-latte-ful summer …
Soon, Clare tends the coffee bar at her first Hamptons gala. But the festivities come to a bitter end when an employee turns up dead in David’s bathroom - a botched attempt on the millionaire’s life. Thanks to the Fourth of July fireworks no one heard any gunshots, and the police are stuck in holiday traffic. Concerned for everyone’s safety, Clare begins to investigate. What she finds will keep her up at night - and it’s not the java jitters …

Title & Cover: Once again lots of legs and pointy shoes, though this time I actually like the quirkiness of the bullet shooting through the froth on the coffee!
Story: This time Clare stays in the Hamptons and it doesn't take long before she stumbles over the first dead body!
Narrative: A light read with a summery vibe!
Characters: Not all too happy how the main characters are all being crammed into the plot - they deserve better!
Thoughts: Decent murder mystery and I found myself drooling over those coffee recipes (again)! Still can't stop grinning because of that funny cover!

Decaffeinated Corpse (Cleo Coyle)
#5 Coffeehouse Mystery
Source: bought used
Genre: Mystery

At the Village Blend, Clare Cosi's best baristas may refer to a decaffeinated espresso as a "why bother?", but Clare knows a good percentage of her customers prefer the neutered brew. so when an old friend of her ex-husband develops the world's first botanically decaffeinated coffee bean and smuggles it into the country, Clare believes it's a business opportunity she needs to investigate ... at least until the first dead body shows up.
With casualties piling up and a complicated blend of old and new loves muddying the waters, it's up to Clare to find the murderer before one of her near and dears takes the fall. Otherwise, her latest addition to the menu will prove to be a real buzz killer ...

Title & Cover: Finally no legs with pointy shoes, instead lots of arms and pointy fingers. If it weren't for the fact that those hands creep me out, this cover would actually be ok.
Story: With the first murder victims only ever showing up in the second half, this book has a heavy emphasis on the coffee shop and its owners!
Narrative: Fast paced and with an extra portion of humor!
Characters: The Village Blend cast has room to shine in this one. Needless to say, they are growing on me with every book!
Thoughts: I must admit, this one is my fav of the series so far, probably because I love to see the development of the main characters who are confronted with murders directly related to the coffee shop. By the end of the series I'm probably switching from tea to coffee ... just imagine!

French Pressed (Cleo Coyle)
#6 Coffeehouse Mystery
Source: bought used
Genre: Mystery

Clare's daughter, Joy, is immersing herself in the foodie culture with an internship at Solange, one of New York's hottest French restaurants - and she's getting pretty intimate the older, married Chef Tommy Keitel as well. Clare's not buzzed about the relationship, but what twentysomething takes romantic advice from her mother?
Resolved to keep a closer eye on Joy, Clare makes a deal to micro-roast and French press exclusive coffee blends for Tommy, a man she wouldn't mind seeing roasted and pressed. The the competitive kitchen turns cutthroat, and joy's a suspect. To clear her daughter of the crime, Clare knows she must catch the real killer ... even if it lands her in the hottest water of her life.

Title & Cover: My thought is that the person responsible for those covers must be from Outer Space. I mean, seriously, those fingers!? And that nuked coffee makes me wonder too.
Story: With how many different coffee shop related murder scenarios can you come up? A lot it seems and Clare's daughter Joy is a suspect this time around.
Narrative: Like the last one, the pacing was perfect and that touch of humor luckily remained as well!
Characters: Let's make it official, even with a lousy mystery I adore that family!
Thoughts: Despite what I just said, the mystery wasn't bad at all, though for me the series certainly lives of its characters! And ohhh ... those recipes!

The Psychopath Test (Jon Ronson)
Source: Pan MacMillan
Genre: Non Fiction / Journalism / Psychology

In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.
The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath.
Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.

Title & Cover: Cover designer on LSD!
Story: Everybody's mad ... or maybe not?
Narrative: Fun and self deprecating, and at the same time smart and serious!
Characters: A whole lot of madmen and Jon trying to find out just how crazy everyone (including himself) really is.
Thoughts: Before I started reading, and even throughout the first chapter, I thought it was riding solely on the humorous wave instead of taking a serious look at what psychopaths are made of. Luckily I got both - what a wild, mad ride!

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