Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, July 01, 2019

Wrapping up a readathon and other summer book plans

With the expansion of the Sci-Fi Summer readathon(thanks to Michelle at Seasons of Reading), I was able to add a couple of non theme related titles to my immediate TBR and since one of them was a library book, that really came in handy.

The other book was the third in a series and oddly enough, the second one that I read from this author. Laura Disilverio's The Readaholics mysteries all take place in a town called Heaven in Colorado(a recent name change, in order to attract the tourist trade) where a book club that focuses on mystery novels  winds up solving a few murders in their own backyard.

In The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala, leading lady Amy-Faye Johnson is using her event planning skills to arrange a local literary event,The Celebration of Gothic Novels, being hosted by a book shop called Book Bliss(love that name!). It's a theme that Amy-Faye and friends are in the mood for, having chosen Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca as their latest book club selection.

The Gothic Novels celebration has three modern day authors in attendance; grand dame Constance Aldringham, spunky Francesca Bugle and debut darling Mary Stewart. While most of the scheduled events go well, with only a few odd mishaps that are cleared up rather quickly, it's the costume party held at the golf club that produces the most excitement.

Two unexpected guests cause quite the uproar, with the first being Eloise Hufnagle, who insists that Mary Stewart stole her manuscript, making her surprise bestseller a fraud. As Eloise makes her getaway via dousing various party goers with (fortunately) fake blood, Amy-Faye is asked to go to the manager's office where a deceased stranger breaks up the party for good. Is Eloise to blame for this shocking surprise as well?:

Turns out that the stranger is an out of towner named Trent Van Allen, who Amy-Faye noticed showing up at the celebration events all day. He certainly didn't appear to be a gothic reader and in fact, had a rather shifty past.

Since the murder weapon was a stake swiped from Lola, one of the Readaholics at the party, Amy-Faye and company feel honor bound to discover who the killer is.

Secrets and lies abound with the newcomers to town as Constance's daughter Allyson has had prior trouble with the law, Mary Stewart and her accompanying brother/bodyguard Lucas are not who they seem to be, plus Francesca and Hollywood producer Cosmo Zeller are all too anxious about the upcoming adaptation of her bestselling novel, Barbary Close.

With Amy-Fay getting a tip from Van Allen's girlfriend Sharla, who has good reason not to go to the cops, it appears that the motive for murder is blackmail. But, which of the authors is being targeted and is it a secret worth killing for?:

I really like this series and hope there are more books to come. Amy-Faye and her Readaholic friends are great fun, especially Maud, a lady who's clearly lived a pretty interesting life and has some wild tales to tell! Another bonus is that the club does take the time to discuss their recent read(as well as watch the film version) and that each book plays a part in solving the main mystery.

I do have the first book to read,The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco, and while it's weird to read the first one last, this appears to be working for me. With Gothic Gala being published back in 2016, it might be the final one in this series, which would be a shame. Perhaps there's another Readaholics meeting being planned as we speak but if not, at least this was a grand gothic time worth having:

With Gothic Gala and Sujita Massey's The Satapur Moonstone(a wonderful read) being completed and Sci-Fi Summer finished until next time, I'm going to try and just have a few relaxing reads this July.

There are plans for a Christmas in July readathon but I am going to sit that one out and join up for the High Summer event this August. That month is going to be busy for me, with Bad Movie Month and setting up a fall book preview ,too,but no rest for the wicked as they say!

In the meanwhile, I have a few new books to explore such as Pride,Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev. In this present day take on the iconic Jane Austen novel,  Trisha Raje and DJ Caine seem to come from very different worlds as she is a talented neurosurgeon devoted strictly to her work and he's a chef /actual DJ that's hired to cater a major event for her family.

The two of them take an instant dislike to each other yet what they do have in common is DJ's younger sister, who is dealing with medical problems that require Trisha's skills and DJ's support. As they find themselves growing closer, a certain lady with the last name of Wickam does her best to split this potential for new love apart.

I do like a fresh blend of Jane Austen storytelling with modern day flair and this novel promises to be an engaging read, filled with fine writing and accomplished women galore:

Also, I'm going to be sampling some of M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin mystery series. thanks in part to enjoying the BBC TV series that it inspired on DVD.

We are introduced to Agatha in The Quiche of Death, where our leading lady has moved from London to a small village in the Cotswalds, having taken an early retirement from her successful PR firm. It's been a childhood dream of hers to enjoy a quiet country life but she's not fitting in as well as she thought she would.

Agatha decides to enter the local quiche contest, using a store bought pastry from out of town, as a means to making a good impression. That backfires as not only does her entry not win, it poisons one of the judges! Not wanting to reveal her cheating at the competition, Agatha decides to get to the bottom of the mystery before another deadly bite is taken.

The show is charming, with a nice bit of whimsy and potential romance, and with the first two books in the series, I will most likely have another cozy mystery author queuing up on my shelves to enjoy:

My blog posts might be light this month but I will pop in from time to time there. My thanks to Michelle Miller at Seasons of Reading for another great readathon(will sign up in August and yes, I have a TBR all set for High Summer!) and a Happy July Fourth to all.

I do know that I read a lot of  mysteries(cozy and otherwise) but I have no plans to start any amateur sleuthing on my own, I promise! Some things are best left to the experts or to those delightful fictional folk who make all of that page turning a suspenseful sweet treat indeed:

1 comment:

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

You're welcome, Tara! I'm so glad you enjoy my readathons, and I love your lively posts.

I LOVE Gothic fiction and Rebecca remains one of my favorites. And Wuthering Heights. I know I'm in the minority, but I have always been in love with Heathcliff (I wrote about him here: https://www.truebookaddict.com/2010/02/favorite-fictional-character-heathcliff.html). I love the version of the film in which Ralph Fiennes plays him (Juliette Binoche is Cathy). That song by Kate Bush. LOVE! When I first heard it, it was on one of Pat Benatar's albums. A great rendition. I only heard Kate's many years later. Such a beautiful song.

Will miss you for the Christmas readathon, but looking forward to having you with us for High Summer.