A Skeleton In The Family by Leigh Perry

Title: A Skeleton In The Family by Leigh Perry
Scored a: C+
Status: Finished!

Cover of A Skeleton In The Family by Leigh Perry
Cover of A Skeleton In The Family by Leigh Perry. Don’t let the oddly photoshopped cover fool you, the akito doesn’t solve any crimes.

Plot: Georgia Thackery’s family has a skeleton. He’s named Sid and he can walk and talk. And it turns out he might have been murdered.

I’m going to start off with what I didn’t like, so I can end this review on what I did like.

I didn’t like how with the exception of her daughter, every lady character was presented as very adversarial to the main character, or just straight up jerks. One redeemed herself near the end, but the the lack of sympathetic lady characters made this book a very hostile read. It got to the point where I wasn’t even surprised when it was a man and a woman with the same goal in a scene, the woman was almost cartoonishly harsh while the man written as reasonable, despite what the narration said he was like after.

This and the final playout of the mystery knocked this down to a C+, but if these aren’t a problem for you I fully recommend this book. It has a lot going for it.

I hear she has another book coming out soon, and I hope the same issue isn’t present in it because I do plan to get it.

It was especially on my mind, as (look down a post to here) I had read If These Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell where the trend I’d noticed in her book of sympathetic women continued.

Now, for what I liked! I liked the main character (Georgia) loads, I really liked her relationship with her daughter, and Sid was great. I enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery (the ways they came up with for finding out clues were ingenious) and the story moved along at a healthy pace.

Sid and Georgia’s interactions were fun. I could see why the two were so attached to each other, and the things they noticed about their lives were nice touches.

As I said above, I’m planning on buying the next one because I wanna see what happens next to the characters.

Thus continues me reading through all the haunted cozies.

If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell

Title: If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell
Scored a: A-
Status: Finished!

Cover of If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell
Cover of If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell

I recently reviewed another book by Juliet Blackwell, Secondhand Spirits, that I did not realize was by the same author when I picked this up. Couldn’t figure out why I was getting the wrong book results when I searched for this one because I was very very tired after a long plane trip.

Juliet Blackwell’s strength, to my eyes, is how well she writes side characters. They come right to life. And there were a lot in this book, but not to its detriment.

Okay, so the plot is thus: Mel Turner has taken over her father’s historical home renovation business, even though all she wants to do is go to Paris and be wan. Things aren’t going her way towards that goal, especially when someone dies at her friend’s home renovation/demolition party and his ghost starts appearing to her asking for help solving his murder.

It’s a fun story! Mel has neat friends, she’s fun to watch interact with people and solve clues, and her supporting family cast (including her step-son from her ex-marriage and her father and his live-in friend Stan) is fun to watch and not overpowering. The romance wasn’t half bad, either. Romances seem to be de rigeur in cozies I’ve noticed and a dickish one can ruin a book fast for me.

The final confrontation was, best of all, very satisfying after all the things that happened during the course of the story. And the solution was foreshadowed pretty well, I thought. However, some ways the mystery played out knocked this down to an A- from an A+, mostly regarding a subplot that seemed overly garbled.

I’ve already bought the sequel.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Title: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Scored a: A+
Status: Finished!

Cover of The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Cover of The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

I previously posted about this book before I finished it, I loved it so much. And now I’m done it! And I loved it! And it’s also being made into a movie called Home by Dreamworks that has really pretty animation! For some reason they ditched Gratuity’s puff hairdo, but the new one is nice too. It’s just that puffs are possibly the cutest hairdo in the world.

This book is illustrated! And the illustrations are excellent and in the previous post. There’s way more in the book than in the post. Including explanatory comics, to make exposition fun.

This book starts out as Gratuity’s road trip across America to get where the aliens are relocating all the ‘noble savages of Earth’ (Florida) (and she taught herself to drive as good as Nascar. She just has to wear cans tied to her feet to reach the pedals), the alien she reluctantly teams up with, her very catlike cat, and finding her mom again. And then perhaps the world gets saved.

It’s an expository story, told through essays and eventually a diary by Gratuity, and I confess I really enjoy that kind of story. See: Frankenstein.

The book is full of great lines, much of them coming from Gratuity’s brain or mouth, and it managed to make J.Lo, a member of the invading aliens, perfectly sympathetic without making him act like he wasn’t even part of his people.

That said, this book has some good claws in it. If you know anything about First Nations history, you’ll get a good idea of what I mean. Plus the way Gratuity gets perceived by those around her.

Anyway, great book, very funny, smart, and a great heroine. Aces. Good work.