Review: Beaglemania (Pet Rescue Mystery #1)

Beaglemania by Linda O. JohnstonLauren Vancouver is the head of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter north of Los Angeles, but it’s often human nature that puts her in the path of danger. Just like when she helps rescue four adorable beagle puppies that were dumped down a drainpipe at a nasty puppy mill. One of the mill’s employees has a history of dog abuse-and a bone to pick with Lauren. And when he’s found dead at HotRescues after threatening her, Lauren will have to sniff out the real killer to keep herself out of a cage…

How do I explain my relationship with cozy mysteries? I discovered the cozy mystery genre when I began reading Susan Conant’s Dog Lover’s Mystery series. It is possible that I had read a cozy mystery before that, but the Conant series was when I first put a name to the genre. I love the Dog Lover’s series. I even love the Gourmet Girl Mystery series that she co-writes with her daughter, Jessica Park.

Unfortunately, I often feel that cozies are poorly written and/or edited. I felt this way about Beaglemania by Linda O. Johnston. I wanted to love it. I mean, just look at those cute beagles on the cover! Animals and mysteries are two of my passions. Usually magic happens for me when they are combined in a book, but Beaglemania fell short of my expectations.

1. In the book, it refers to neutering a female cat. This was a big negative for me. Female animals are spayed. Male animals are neutered.
2. HotRescues and HotPets are unlikeable names for an animal shelter and pet supply chain. HotRescues is repeated ad nauseum throughout the book.
3. The victim’s story line really did not make sense to me.
4. Lauren, director of the animal shelter, has zero animals at home. There is an explanation as to why this is the case, but it seems unlikely for a shelter director to not have any animals at home – not even a foster.

This was the first book by Johnston that I have read. I had been intending to read her Pet-Sitter Mystery series, but I got to this one first. Despite the negatives, I plan to read the next book in the series. I think the series has potential, but I wish it had started out stronger.

Book: Beaglemania | Author: Linda O. Johnston | Published: Penguin Books; March 1, 2011 | Format: Paperbook | Source: Library
Rating: 3 out of 5

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

This is my first week participating in It’s Monday! What are you Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

I am currently reading the following books:

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn

  1. Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran. This is an e-galley from the publisher, received via NetGalley. Claire DeWitt is a bit different than your average private investigator found in mystery novels. The concept is fresh, and I look forward to finding out how everything ties together.
  2. Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley. I picked this up at the library a week or so ago. My nook needed to charge, so I took a break from Claire DeWitt and started this no-brainer, second book in the DIY mystery series. It is a nice, quick read and was handy for reading at the lake. Yes, I got brave and went swimming in a power plant cooling lake!
  3. Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn. This is the second book in the Chet and Bernie series, which is a favorite of mine. Dog as narrator! Chet reminds me of my goofy dog, Sherman, right down to the mismatched ears. I am listening to the audiobook, as I did with the first in the series.

Speaking of dogs, I would like to introduce you to the pack! I made a quickie page for them today. I hope to add the details surrounding their adoptions at a later date. Of course, the pack includes myself and the mister. We are going to start a new dog training class later this week. We might have some stories.

Last week I finished reading and reviewed:

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

  1. The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths – My Review
  2. Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters – My Review

I also joined the Goodreads Book Club Challenge and plan to read A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I am excited about this since I don’t belong to any in-person book clubs, and this book has received a lot of hype!

Mini Audiobook Review: Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1)

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Have you ever read a book that is absolutely adored by many, only to find yourself bored out of your mind? This happened to me while listening to Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. This series is wildly popular and the blurb was so promising. Unfortunately, this series just isn’t for me. Maybe I’m too lowbrow.

Positives: The strong, feminist aspects of Amelia Peabody. The Egyptian setting. Light humor. Amelia Peabody is a fantastic name.

Negatives: So little mystery. Fluffy romance.


Amelia Peabody, that indomitable product of the Victorian age, embarks on her debut Egyptian adventure armed with unshakable self-confidence, a journal to record her thoughts, and, of course, a sturdy umbrella. On her way to Cairo, Amelia rescues young Evelyn Barton-Forbes, who has been abandoned by her scoundrel lover. Together the two women sail up the Nile to an archeological site run by the Emerson brothers – the irascible but dashing Radcliffe and the amiable Walter. Soon their little party is increased by one – one mummy, that is, and a singularly lively example of the species. Strange visitations, suspicious accidents, and a botched kidnapping convince Amelia that there is a plot afoot to harm Evelyn. Now Amelia finds herself up against an unknown enemy – and perilous forces that threaten to make her first Egyptian trip also her last.

Book: Crocodile on the Sandbank | Author: Elizabeth Peters | Published: Blackstone Audiobooks; December 28th, 2000 | Format: CDs
Source: Library | Rating: 3 out of 5

Mini Review: Fundraising the Dead (Museum Mystery #1)

Fundraising the Dead by Sheila ConnollyI like to read cozy mysteries from time to time. They are usually quick reads that do not involve a lot of thinking. As such, cozies tend to be good for a quick break between heavier reads. I am also a fan of library, archives and museum settings. Fundraising the Dead by Sheila Connolly fit both my cozy need and my love of collecting institutions.

Connolly is pretty spot on with her description of working in a special collections institution. She nails a lot of the details. The plot is straightforward and the suspect is unveiled fairly quickly in the story. Most of the novel is set around how to capture evidence of the suspect stealing collection materials.

This is the first novel by Sheila Connolly that I have read, but I plan to continue reading this series since the setting is too good to pass up.


At The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques, fundraiser Eleanor “Nell” Pratt solicits donations-and sometimes solves crimes. When a collection of George Washington’s letters is lost on the same day that an archivist is found dead, it seems strange that the Society president isn’t pushing for an investigation. Nell goes digging herself, and soon uncovers a long, rich history of crime.

Book: Fundraising the Dead | Author: Sheila Connolly | Published: Berkley; October 5, 2010 | Format: Paperback | Source: Library
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dogs Don’t Lie

Dogs Don't Lie by Clea Simon

I received a free e-galley of Dogs Don’t Lie by Clea Simon from the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press.

I am a big fan of animal-centric mysteries. My favorite authors include Spencer Quinn and Susan Conant, who both write series revolving around dogs. After reading Dogs Don’t Lie, I can add Clea Simon to my ever-growing list of series to follow.

Dogs Don’t Lie centers around the murder of Charles, owner of a pit bull named Lily (a.k.a. Tetris). The murder is staged to appear that Lily killed Charles. Animal psychic and behaviorist, Pru Marlowe, works as Lily’s trainer and finds Charles’ body during a routine training session. Recognizing Lily’s innocence, Pru must search for the true murderer in order to get Lily off the hook for murder and save her from certain euthanasia.

As a pit bull advocate, I was hooked right away. Simon did not disappoint in her portrayal of Lily as a sweet, loving dog that would never hurt anyone. Hooray to Simon for this portrayal of the breed!

The story took many twists and turns with lots of suspects and animals thrown into the mix. Pru communicates with the animals in the story – cats, dogs, birds and a lovable ferret named Frank. While it may seem hokey for animals to “talk,” Clea Simon handles the subject matter very well. I will definitely check out the next book in the Pru Marlowe series and also plan to check out Simon’s Theda Krakow series.

My rating: 4 stars


Pru Marlowe isn’t your ordinary animal psychic. A tough girl on the run from her own gift, Pru left the big city to return to her picturesque Berkshires hometown looking for a little peace. Too bad that her training as an animal behaviorist got her mixed up with Lily, a rescue dog, and Charles, her person. Now Charles is dead, and Lily looks good for it. After all, Lily is a pitbull, a fighting-ring dropout, and way too traumatized to give Pru a clear picture of what she has witnessed. But Pru knows something about bad girls trying to clean up, and, with a sense of justice strong enough to overcome her dislike of human society, she takes the case. Listening to the animals, Pru picks up clues – and learns there are secrets in the pretty little town that make murder look simple. Unable to tell anybody about her psychic abilities, uncertain at times about her own sanity, Pru comes to realize that if she clears Lily, she’ll likely become the prime suspect – or the next victim. While the only creature she can totally trust is her crotchety tabby Wallis, Pru’s got to uncover the real killer – and find a way to live with her gift – before the real beasts in the town savage her and those she has come to love. The first in the Pru Marlowe “pet noir” series.