Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Book Review Club (September 2014)

Summer is over. And September is here. Trivia you may not have known about September: Neptune was discovered on Sept. 23, 1846. The first comic strip was published in a US paper on Sept. 11, 1875. The First Continental Congress began Sept. 5, 1874.*  AND our first-Wednesday-of-the-month online book review club has returned from its summer hiatus.  Welcome! Weirdly, this month is heavy on reviews of adult fiction. Who knew?

 by Kathy Aarons

Kathy Aarons is the pen name for my very talented critique partner, Kathy Krevat. Our critique group, Denny's Chicks, has been together several years (8??), during which time we've managed to remain youthful and beautiful. (cough, cough). Here's a link to Kathy's first post on this blog

Something incredibly special happens when a critique partner publishes, especially when she publishes her very entertaining debut cozy mystery. The critique group puffs up with pride. We remember when this book was just a teeny, tiny germ of an idea. We reminisce over all the changes in the various revisions. We laugh about who disagreed with whom over what. We even tear up.

DEATH IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES in a nutshell: Two best friends, Michelle and Erica, own a chocolate shop + bookstore (Chocolates and Chapters) in fictional West Riverdale, Maryland. The town photographer is murdered in their store, poisoned by one of Michelle's truffles. The women must work together to clear Michelle's name.  

What I loved: 1. the humor: In real life, Kathy is laugh-your-head-off funny. It totally translates to the page. 2. the twists and turns: I can't tell you what they are; that would ruin it! Let's just say, Kathy thinks outside the box. Waaay outside. Sometimes it's scary. 3. the details: Kathy did a bunch of research to make sure she got the facts straight. For example, she actually went to Maryland. She interviewed the police there. And she spent an inordinate amount of time at Dallmann Fine Chocolates. 4. It's the first book in a series: And I already know EVERYTHING about book #2. Ha!

I'm not the only one who recommends this book. Mysterious Galaxy, a wonderful local indie bookstore, chose DEATH IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES for their Fabulous Firsts book club, saying, "This fast-paced, entertaining read demonstrates all sides of small town life, and introduces a cast of characters with complicated, messy, interwoven lives. I found every page compulsively readable and couldn't put it down until the final stunning conclusion."

You want to meet Kathy in real life? You're in luck if you live anywhere near San Diego! She's got a signing at Mysterious Galaxy at 4pm on Saturday, September 6. Yes, there will be chocolates.

 And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Stacy Nyikos: ANNA WAS HERE by Jane Kurtz (middle grade)

Linda McLaughlin: LAUNCH WINDOWS by Debra Caldwyl (YA, romance)


Alyssa Goodnight: THE OUTSMARTING OF CRIMINALS by Steven Rigolosi (cozy mystery)

Ellen Booraem: EUPHORIA by Lily King

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THE SENSE OF DARKNESS by Cinzia De Santis

Patti Abbott:  BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty (women's fiction)

Stacy of the Cat's Meow: FROG MUSIC by Emma Donoghue (historical)


Sarah Laurence: HOW TO SPEAK BRIT by Christopher J. Moore

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. Sounds like it has all the right elements to be a fun book and I love the title. Great review. :)

  2. Congrat so Kathy! Thanks for hosting, Barrie!

  3. Lucy: It is a very fun book. And I love the title, too!

  4. Stacy: spine-tingling is a good description! I was just over at your blog and really enjoyed your review.

  5. Sarah, you're very welcome! I'm making my way around the various reviews. We've got some great ones this month!

  6. Sounds yummy! And perfect for the Impending Season. (I will not name it. Here's a hint: I'd be next to a woodstove with a mug of hot chocolate.)

  7. Ellen, you crack me up! One of these days, I'm making my way to Maine just to meet you and Sarah in real life!

  8. Congratulations to Kathy. Her book sounds delicious!

    I'm hoping to make the rounds of everyone's reviews this month. I was remiss in June, so am making up for it in September.

  9. I'd like to try some of the chocolate recipes that are in the book. Actually, I think Kathy should bake them for her critique group! I'm with you--still making the rounds on the reviews. Sometimes it takes me a couple of days. :) Thanks for being so diligent!

  10. I agree, Barrie. Kathy should definitely test those recipes on us! Great review.

  11. Thanks for commenting, Kelly. And for backing me up the chocolate baking thing!

  12. A lovely review! Sounds excellent! Congratulations to Kathy and kudos for all that grueling chocolate research!

  13. Fun posts, Barrie. Thanks for hosting in your busy writer's life.

  14. I want to visit a bookstore/chocolate shop (preferably without poisoned truffles, thank you). I don't read many mysteries, but I love when they turn out to have a ton of twists and turns, which it sounds like this does.

    Thanks for organizing this month's (and all the other months, for that matter) book review club.


Comments are always welcome!