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Death at Breakfast by Beth Gutcheon

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Death at Breakfast by Beth Gutcheon Death at Breakfast by Beth Gutcheon
Series: Maggie Detweiler and Hope Babbin #1
Published by William Morrow on February 21, 2017
Source: Publisher
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
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Retired New York City private school head Maggie Detweiler and her old friend, society matron Hope Babbin, are off on a weeklong vacation to Maine, to visit Hope’s son and attend a master cooking class at the picturesque Oquossoc Mountain Inn. The worst tragedy they anticipate is a boring fellow guest or a fallen soufflé.

But their quiet idyll is disrupted by the arrival at the inn of a boorish couple, Alexander and Lisa Antippas, and Lisa’s sister, Glory. Imperious Hollywood one-percenters, Alex and Lisa are also the parents of the latest pop sensation, teen icon Artemis. Discord enters with the family, closely followed by disaster. When a suspicious late-night fire at the inn is brought under control, Alex’s charred body is found in the ashes.

Enter the local deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, who is Hope’s long-estranged son and a former student of Maggie’s. Buster needs a success, and Hope and Maggie, informed by a lifetime of observing human nature, coupled with a certain cynicism about small town justice and a healthy dose of curiosity, decide there is role for them to play here.

I expected to enjoy Death at Breakfast. It seemed right up my alley. Recently retired Maggie Detweiler and her old friend, Hope Babbin, are staying at an inn in Maine and attending a week-long (I think) cooking class held by the chef. A great setting, two intelligent but quirky amateur detectives and food – a promising set-up.

Quick review: Fine, but not outstanding. It’s not exactly a waste of time, but if you have something you’re dying to read, skip this and pick that one up instead. On the other hand, the choice of murder weapons is semi-unique.

I guess my main problem with the book is that the character I found most interesting is the one who ends up dead. And he was interesting because of his thoughts, his way of seeing the world, things that we no longer see once he’s dead.

Maggie and Hope are nice and smart, but I didn’t connect with either of them. There are a lot of characters in the book, hotel employees and permanent residents, cooking class guests, townspeople, the deputy sheriff and other cops, Maggie and Hope’s friends who help with the investigation. To be honest, they all just kind of blurred together and I had trouble keeping track of who was who and why they were there.

The mystery portion worked well. The clues were woven into the story; the cops were sufficiently focussed on the wrong person to make the interference of Maggie and Hope necessary. Several of the characters were potential suspects, although some motives were stronger than others. I did find the murder weapon noteable and slightly terrifying.

I’m not even sure why it’s titled Death at Breakfast. The murder happened in the middle of the night and everyone who mattered knew almost immediately, they didn’t just find out about it the next day over breakfast.

About Beth Gutcheon

Beth Gutcheon was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. She graduated from Harvard with an honors degree in English literature. After a stint in the editorial department of a Boston publishing house, she moved to New York’s SoHo district before it was legal and before it was SoHo, and worked free-lance in the arts throughout the seventies.

Since 1978 when her first novel, The New Girls, was published, Gutcheon has made her living full-time as a storyteller. She is the author of nine previous novels, all in print, and of many commissioned screenplays, including for the 20th Century Fox feature film Without a Trace, based on her novel, Still Missing. She has also contributed to New York Magazine, Savvy Magazine, The New York Times, the NYT Book Review, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other periodicals.

Beth Gutcheon currently lives in New York City with her husband and her elderly poodle, Daisy Buchanan.

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The Invisible Woman by Rachel Stuhler

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The Invisible Woman by Rachel Stuhler The Invisible Woman by Rachel Stuhler
Series: Geek Actually #1.2
Published by Serial Box on June 14, 2017
Source: Publisher
Genres: Chic Lit, Episodic, Geek
Pages: 40
Format: eARC
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Meet your new best girlfriends. Michelle is a hard-nosed Science Fiction editor who is used to things going her way; Taneesha is a talented video game programmer who is used to being the odd (wo)man out. Aditi is a fantasy writer on the verge of her big break; Christina is a rebel on the sidelines of Hollywood. And Elli is a fan – of anything and everything that keeps are from “proper adulting.” Together they are Rebel Scum (at least in their shared group chat), and best friends through thick and thin. They might live far apart but through the power of the internet and a shared love of all things geek, they are ready to face the world side by side.

When Christina meets her new charge on set, Vivi, she’s pleasantly surprised at the definite spark between them. Taneesha’s attempt to speak up at her new job backfires in a big way. Michelle ventures out to a party, but is she really ready to move past Ted?

The women of Geek Actually are all going through tough times in Episode #2. The episode started with a bit of their group chat and to be honest I wasn’t a fan of that style. I was happy the author went back to a regular narration quickly.

Taneesha is still not being appreciated at her new company. I’m hoping she moves on soon. She is worth way more than they’re giving her credit for. We’re finally really meeting Christina and I’m not sure what to think of her yet. I think the new actress on set, Vivi, is definitely bad news for her, even if she’s fun for the time being. Michelle’s husband is officially out of the house, but she really is does spend too much of her energy on work and not enough on relationships.

This is the second episode with a bit of a steamy section. Even though they’re geeks, these women are pretty, smart and sexy. They may not always make the best decisions, but who does?

About Rachel Stuhler

Rachel Stuhler hails from Rochester, NY, the home of the hot dog and Kodak. Too poor to do anything but watch movies, she decided to stay poor and try to write them.
Rachel is best known for novel Absolutely True Lies and TV movies “Kristen’s Christmas Past” (Lifetime) and “Love Takes Wing” (Hallmark), but she’s also probably the writer of that TV movie you watched at 3am the last time you had insomnia.
She continues to work in TV and is busy plotting her next move in world domination, or writing about world domination, which is more fun and a lot less work.

WTF by Cathy Yardley

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WTF by Cathy Yardley WTF by Cathy Yardley
Series: Geek Actually #1.1
Published by Serial Box on June 7, 2017
Source: Publisher
Genres: Episodic, Chic Lit, Geek
Pages: 69
Format: eBook
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Meet your new best girlfriends. Michelle is a hard-nosed Science Fiction editor who is used to things going her way; Taneesha is a talented video game programmer who is used to being the odd (wo)man out. Aditi is a fantasy writer on the verge of her big break; Christina is a rebel on the sidelines of Hollywood. And Elli is a fan – of anything and everything that keeps are from “proper adulting.” Together they are Rebel Scum (at least in their shared group chat), and best friends through thick and thin. They might live far apart but through the power of the internet and a shared love of all things geek, they are ready to face the world side by side.

This is the 1st episode in the first season of Geek Actually, a 13-episode serial from Serial Box Publishing. This episode was written by Cathy Yardley.

Michelle and Aditi have been friends for ages, but with Michelle as Aditi’s editor for her debut fantasy novel, their relationship is under a bit of strain. Aditi needs to blow off some steam—a hot Tinder date does the trick (and then some). Meanwhile, Taneesha and Elli are both having some job trouble.

Amber and I were talking yesterday about what makes me a geek – because I’m obviously a geek. Just the fact that I write book reviews for fun probably qualifies me, but add in our weekly board game night and the fact that we literally had a 45 minute discussion on monster types the other day and there’s little doubt. But I don’t have any geeky female friends like the women of Geek Actually. I do wish I had a group of friends like them.

In this episode, we meet all the women and learn a bit about where they’re at in their lives. We see their jobs, husbands and lovers. It’s fun and sexy but it also touches on some heavier topics  like body image and sexism. I love the diverse cast of characters and people who I have something in common with (not that I ever go out of my way to swing by a PokeStop).

I have read serial fiction before and it’s a format I enjoy. I like the short episodes that flow together. I’m looking forward to spending more time with these characters. After this introduction I like them but don’t care about them yet; I am interested to see where their stories go.

About Cathy Yardley

Cathy Yardley writes fantasy, chick lit and romance. She loves J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts, Jim Butcher, J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Stephen King, Jennifer Crusie, Marian Keyes, J.K. Rowling, and a slew of other authors.

She calls herself a geekgirl. She loves the San Diego Comic-con. She’s a bit Sherlockian, but hasn’t gone full Whovian yet.

She loves being an author. Loves writing. Loves promoting. Loves everything about it.

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