Thank You for Your Monthly Mystery Book Recommendations!

As the title of this entry says: Thank you for your monthly mystery book recommendations!

I (finally!) started the monthly recommendation entries fourteen entries ago. I had received several letters from Cozy Mystery readers who told me that while they could see who I liked to read, they were interested in what you all read. They wanted to get different Cozy Mystery readers’ opinions on who the really good authors are. At first I didn’t think these entries would fly.  I wondered if people other than the letter-writers would really be interested enough about “getting the word out” regarding their favorite authors. Boy, am I glad I listened to the letter-writers’ ideas!

I have found several authors through your recommendations, two of whom were actually on my  “*****YUCK” list! Yes, that’s right – two of the authors who you all have repeatedly told us about were on that list! (I have to admit that it is a rather long list, in fact it is so long that each letter has its own folder on my desktop.)

One of these authors has been recommended five times out of the fourteen entries. That’s a really high percentage – I think that’s something like 5/14, which is more than a third. (Algebra was not a strength of mine!)

Every month, when I compile the list of Cozy Mystery Book Recommendations, I take notice of why you are recommending the authors. Those comments of yours are the reason I have given some of my not so favorite authors a second chance.

I remember reading one of my new favorite authors (Joanne Fluke) many years ago, when I was still in my Cozy Mystery online reading groups. Cora (one of the two very dear friends I made in those groups) and I shared a very similar taste in our favorite authors. Cora loved Joanne Fluke, so I knew I would too. But for some reason, don’t ask me why, I didn’t like the book. After seeing her name over and over on the monthly recommendation lists, I tried her again. Man alive! What was I thinking all of those years ago? Joanne Fluke is on my favorite authors list now, thanks to those of you who recommended her. (I am always excited when I find a new-to-me author who has several books already written, so I don’t have to “wait” for their next Cozy Mystery.)

I can’t imagine why I made the decision to not continue with Joanne Fluke all those years ago. Perhaps I was in an over-all bad mood when I decided I wouldn’t continue with her. This brings me to the following question:

Have you ever decided you didn’t like an author – only to later find you actually do?

Comments

  1. My very favorite book that I read this month is the second Phryne Fisher, Murder on the Ballarat Train, by Kerry Greenwood. As always, it is more than slightly risque, but thoroughly enjoyable. The mystery involve the poisoning of an entire train; Phryne saves everyone and goes on to solve the intriguing mystery of how an elderly woman was taken from the train and who committed murder. Picture Theda Bara instead of Miss Marple, with the freedom of Lord Peter Wimsey or James Bond. Nicely priced on Kindle at $2.99.

  2. Mood DEFINITELY plays a part in whether I like a book, love a book or am Meh. The previous book I read can play a part too. If I just read a WONDERFUL book, I can be much harder on the next book.

    My age matters too. My tastes and patience have changed over the years.

    I’m so glad you have a bunch of new treasures to read!!!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Maria, I’m sure my patience has changed over the years. I am much less forgiving to mystery authors. I might have had the old “Fool me twice” adage, but not so anymore. I have found that I stay with some authors way longer than I should have. There literally is too little time that I now devote to reading (with this new fan-dangle computer contraption!)

  3. Who is your other current-favorite, formerly “*****YUCK list” author?

  4. I have experienced this once or twice, but not very often. Usually it is the other way around. I used to love a certain series or a book and when I read it again after some years, it can be a bit of a disappointment. I think during our lives our taste may variate a bit. You get more mature and experienced and some periods you are more into a certain style of writing than other times.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Jetty, there are very few authors who I would be willing to read years after reading their same books for the first time. I have tried watching some television shows years after I saw them for the first time – where I am left wondering why I ever thought I enjoyed the shows. (Even as I type this, I am saying “thought” instead of making that a definite “I enjoyed the shows.”)

  5. I have had this happen to me. Years ago I tried to read the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross and just didn’t like the first book and never finished. I picked up the books again about 4 years ago and now look forward to when she writes a new one. I guess my age now might have something to do with it.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      My case, exactly, Diana! Weird, isn’t it?

      • I have loved this “Miss Julia” series from the beginning. I laughed throughout that first book. I felt so sorry for Miss Julia because of the deceit that she discovered that she was living through. A lot of her so called friends knew about the deceit but kept it from her. A classic example of with friends like that who needs enemies?
        If this series wasn’t meant to be any kind of mystery at all, I don’t believe, but has evolved into one. It is a Cozy, though. I love this kind of series. I really enjoy any series that takes place in the South. A lot of the customs that seem to still go on in the South from the descriptions in this kind of series reminds me of the customs that I grew up with here in Ohio. Many of the customs were customs that my grandmother had.
        Isn’t it nice that there are so many different types of mysteries and series for all of us to enjoy?

  6. Yes, I’ve done it. I think we all have.
    The mood I’m in can play a part, as can the specific book. Some of an authors offerings are just better than others, for some reason.
    One author I’m fond of used to have two major series on the go, and you could always tell when a book in the second series was being written, as the quality of the first series’ books would really drop.
    Others just get better as they go along and become more comfortable with their characters. If you started with an early one, it’s quite conceivable that you would put them aside, as ‘don’t likes’ and then come back later and ‘I love this!’
    I DO like Joanne Fluke, myself, although it took me two or three books to really get into them.
    Cheers!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Susan*, I almost think I know which author you are describing! Unfortunately I’m talking about the author you told us about whose quality of books drops sporadically. If it is the author I think you’re talking about, I dropped her. I just wasn’t willing to put up with substandard books so commonly sprinkled in with her good ones.

  7. If I haven’t liked an author from the start, I’ve never given her/him another chance. I wonder how many I might end up liking if I did try again, though. I guess I see my time as such that it’s not important enough for me to read something else by them. With so many fabulous authors out there, I’m happy to keep reading those.

    What irks me is when I finally get a book in from the library that’s been on hold for what seems forever and I don’t get past the first chapter because of foul language. Talk about disappointing! But that’s another entry altogether. :)

    • Foul language is a real turn off for me, too. That’s why I never put any in my own books and people enjoy them anyway. Go figure.

      • Susan, The abundance of foul language turns me off too. It’s the ” Story” in any book that makes me want to continue to read certain authors.

    • I totally agree about the disappointment of starting a new book, and immediately have a first chapter of foul language. It is a real turn off for me, and I think the author should have enlarged his vocabulary when he wrote the book.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Laurel, once an author is on my “*****YUCK* list, I rarely go back and give him/her another try. However, these monthly recommendations kept naming her, so I gave her a second try. I am so glad I did!

  8. i just finished William Kienzle’s series about Father Koesller. I read 23 out of 24 books.Thr first books were regular mysteries, but as they developed they became more preachy with the mystery secondary in the story. I had the same problem with Judith Ivie’s latest story. it was an interesting mystery with an intriguing twist. but set upon a soapbox. Is this a new trend? Mystery combined with a cause?

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Regina, I have also noticed a lot of mystery books that now seem to have “a cause” finely woven into the plot. (And sometimes not so “finely woven” at all!) I’m not big on getting authors’ different causes with my mysteries. If I want to find out about an issue, I would never think to rely on a mystery book to present the facts to me.

  9. I’ve had it happen both ways. Sometimes I like an author and read several books, and then I just get tired of them. Usually it’s related to the character development; if the characters don’t grow during the course of the books, I find it hard to perservere even if the rest of the aspects of the book are appealing. Conversely, sometimes I try a book, really don’t care for it and won’t touch the author’s works for years until suddenly I find one that’s more my style.

    The first Dick Francis I tried to read (because all my siblings adored his books) began with the main character (Sid Halley) pulling a Luger out from under his pillow when he woke up in the morning – I never made it past the first paragraph. Fast-forward several years, I was taking photography in school and so I tried “Reflex.” I LOVED it. I read another one about a stolen painting – loved that one too. And the one about computers, and the one about arbitrage and…well, you get the gist. I was every bit as hooked as my siblings – it just took me a few years longer.

    But you know, I’ve never tried to read that first one again. Why spoil a good thing?

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Julia, I totally agree with your point about a character not growing throughout the books.

  10. I bought a mint signed copy of Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” as a used book for $6 a month before “The Firm” came out. I didn’t get far with the first book because of too much explicit sexual violence in the first 30 pages. Then I read “The Firm” and loved it. I eventually got back to “A Time to Kill” and after the first 30 pages or so it was wonderful, but by that time it was very valuable so I bought and read a paperback copy. I still have the mint signed first edition.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Wow, Michael! No wonder you held on to that signed copy and read a paperback. (I, too, remember The Firm as being rather explicit.)

      • I have found that some books, quite a lot really, are full of violence and sexual content. But I just don’t think these books were ever meant to be classified as “Cozie.” I just think if we don’t want to read this stuff we just have to try to stay away from this type of book.

  11. I had found a book a year or two ago that interested me. It was a Halloween theme and the setting and characters were interesting to me. When I started reading it, for some reason it just didn’t flow. But, I really wanted to read this book, so I set it down and read another book. When I tried it again I couldn’t put it down and flew through it. Now this series is my favorite.

    I haven’t read many books this winter, but I did enjoy “Stake and Eggs” by Laura Childs. Fun winter theme, with snow, great winter festivities and carnival and of course a crazy murder. The Cackleberry Club gals are as fun as ever and Laura Childs spins such a great mystery. I really enjoy her writing.

    I also enjoyed “Chocolate Covered Murder” and “St. Patrick’s Day Murder” (an older one) by Leslie Meier. I love the Lucy Stone series, Leslie Meier tells a wity and fun story. Her characters are a nice mix of “real” and eccentric. It makes sense Lucy gets wrapped up in the mysteries since she is a reporter (I like that.) The books are just the right length for holiday themed books and are very easy reads. Leslie books are truly cozy.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Margaret M, it sounds like I did exactly what you did with the author you’re thinking about: I flew through Joanne Fluke’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.

  12. Danna - cozy mystery list :

    Looks like I’m in the majority here. I, too, wonder how many other really good authors I have missed out on just because I wasn’t in the right mood when I tried their first book. I know for sure that had you all not recommended her so many times, I would have missed out on her delightful series.

  13. The one author that comes to mind for me is Laura Childs. I love her tea series, but do not like her scrapbooking series at all. I do not know why, I guess I just like the characters in her tea series better. Don’t get me wrong, I love Laura Childs. Maybe I need to give her scrapbooking series another try.

  14. Danna, I tried to read Hazel Holt’s Mrs. Malory series sometime ago but just didn’t like the series at all. But I have just started to read ” Mrs. Malory’s Shortest Journey” and found that I do really like this book. After I finish this book I know that I will go back now and try to read the other books in this series. So yes I do find myself reading according to my moods at the time. But you know what, I love a good Cozy murder mystery. I just need to lay the books aside that I don’t care for and try them again later on. I need to give some of these authors a second chance.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Linda, as I have said many times before, Hazel Holt’s Mrs. Malory is one of my favorite Cozy Mystery series. I’m glad you’re enjoying Mrs. Malory’s Shortest Journey.

  15. I think Maria hit my nail on the head. The book I read before is a big influence on the opinion of the current book. I used to read a Louis Lamour book between my mysteries. My husband has a large collection of the paperbacks. That sort of “cleansed my palate” for the next book. I have stopped doing that with the kindle.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Anne T, that’s quite a jump from Louis Lamour to a Cozy Mystery! Perhaps going from one of my favorite authors to a new-to-me author isn’t such a good idea. Now that we are doing the monthly reader recommendations, I am trying so many new-to-me authors, that I try to space them in between my favorites. That might not be the best way to go…

  16. Danna, I really enjoy your monthly recommendations. I like reading what you and all the others have been reading. I also enjoy this part of your blog more when each person gives a short review of the story and why they liked the book.
    Maybe for some it would be nice if some people would say something like “although this book does have some rather violent scenes, sexual innuendo, and bad language.” would help people decide it they want to read the series or just bypass it.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      You know, Linda C, the problem with that type of comment is that some people’s ideas of what is considered “bad” isn’t what other people might consider as bad. Person A might be offended by “darn” whereas person B might not be. (Of course, “darn” is a pretty extreme word, but I’m sure you get my point.)

      • I understand that all too well Danna. What might offend one person certainly just might not offend others. It’s the degree of tolerance for each of us that should be the deciding factor.
        I guess the main way to solve this problem is for all of us to decide on our own what books are offensive and which ones aren’t. We just need to do our own homework and do this for ourselves. We need to quit relying on others to do this for us. Read a book, see if each of us individually is offended and then go from there. I guess what I was suggesting could be construed as wanting someone else to “do my dirty work.!!”

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