Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
This year I participated in the Bookish resolution Challenge and I challenged myself to read more historical romances and (cozy) mysteries. Both are genres where up till this year I read very little books in. It’s always a bit daunting to start a new genre, so I wanted to talk about my experiences with trying out two new genres. Always when starting a new genre it takes quite some books before you get a good feel for what you like in the genre. I think that I am not there yet with both these genres, but I did learn a bit already and I do know that I will continue reading books in these genres. Last week I talked about my experience with Historical Romances so far. Today I’ll focus on my experience with (cozy) mysteries.
New to me genre: (cozy) mysteries and what I learned so far
At first I thought I pretty much would fail my challenge of reading more (cozy) mysteries as I was halfway through the year and hadn’t read a book yet. But in the last few months I really started getting into this genre. I requested quite some cozy mysteries from netgalley, basically every first book in a cozy mystery series I requested. And I started reading them.
My first mystery book of the year was Visions by Kelley Armstrong, which almost feels like cheating as I will read everything she writes. I love how your favourite authors can introduce you to new genres and they are probably the best way to get introduced to a new genre. The whole reason I wanted to read more mysteries is because I read her Nadia Stafford series last year and loved it. I realized that I liked reading about the mysteries. In Kelley Armstrong her other books the mystery element is present as well. I wouldn’t classify Visions and Deceptions as a complete mystery book, but I felt like it had enough of the genre to categorize it as such for the purpose of this.
Then I read my first cozy mystery with a fun circus setting. While I enjoyed it I also had some issues, but I did knew by then already that I did like the mystery aspect of mystery books, I just had a harder time connecting to the main character and having the story wrap up well is also something I find important. After that I read three cozy mysteries I got from netgalley, Pane and Suffering, Flipped for Murder, Death Crashes the party and Murder at Redwood Cove. I am getting a good feel for this genre and I am enjoying these books. I have read two 4 star cozy mysteries: Flipped for Murder and Murder at Redwood Cove. Then after that I won Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy in a giveaway and it’s one of the best mystery books I read and earned a 5 star rating as well. And I am reading another cozy mystery book at the moment.
What I learned about mysteries so far
I learned so far that I like the mystery aspect. I like wondering and trying to figure out what happened along with the main character. I do want to wonder about who’s the cuplrit, but it’s okay if I have my suspicions early on. I also want to see the mystery get tied up nicely, so far most the cozy mysteries I read feel a bit rushed at the end. I also like feeling the suspense a bit and I like how cozy mysteries aren’t as gory about the murders and focus more on the mystery of who is the murdered. I like to see more likeable characters, as that’s what I struggled with in A Spark of Justice and also a bit in Pane and Suffering and Death Crashes the Party, I couldn’t relate to the characters as much. I also want the story to progress natural and the plot point to all get wrapped up nicely. I feel like many cozy mysteries focus heavily on the story and while I like that, I also like seeing some other plot lines and being able to connect with the main character. That’s where Flipped for Murder and Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy were outstanding, I connected with the main character. In the case of Flipped for Murder I really liked the subplot of the restaurant as well and Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy did a great job of making the school come alive and having subplots beside the main mystery as well. I also like the settings in these books, often in a cozy mystery we see more of the job and hobbies of the main characetrs and both these are things most of the cozy mystries I read did pretty well in. So far I’ve read about a circus, small towns, a glass shop, a restaurant owner, a party organizer, a bed and breakfast owner and a student at a detective boarding school. I love getting glimpses in these settings and professions and I believe this is something I will enjoy and look for in cozy mysteries as well.
(Cozy) mysteries I read this year
- Visions (Cainsville #2) by Kelley Armstrong – 5 stars
- Deceptions (Cainsville #3) by Kelley Armstrong – 5 stars
- A Spark of Justice by J.D. Hawkins – 4 stars
- Pane and Suffering (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery #1) by Cheryl Hollon – 3 stars
- Flipped for Murder (Country Store Mysteries #1) by Maddie Day – 4 stars
- Death Crashes the Party (A Liv And Di In Dixie Mystery #1) by Vicky Fee – 3 stars
- Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1) by Paula Berinstein – 5 stars
- Murder at Redwood Cove (Redwood Cove #1) by Janet Finsilver – 4 stars
The two Cainsville books and the Amanda Lester book were mysteries and the others all cozy mysteries. I will probably finish at leats one more cozy mystery this year.