City of Bones–Cassandra Clare

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This is the first of the mortal instruments series, which I understand has been made into a movie that I haven’t seen yet.

In this book, we meet Clary, who follows some strangers into a back room at a bar and gets involved in a massive fight and murder.

This is how she discovers that all the stories you hear are true. There are vampires, werewolves, elves and warlocks. And her new friends are shadowhunters, which means they protect the mortals of this world.

She goes home to find her apartment destroyed, her mom missing, and her apartment infested with demons. She goes with the shadowhunters and discovers that her mom was a shadowhunter and she should have been one too.

Her mom’s been hiding her from her dad, who had started an ultimately unsuccessful rebellion. He was supposed to have died in the course of it, along with her older brother.

But as it turns out, he didn’t die and now he’s trying again.

There’s not really a lot that I can say beyond that without spoiling the plot completely. It’s fun and fast paced and worth a read.

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The Final Empire–Brandon Sanderson

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This is the first of the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson. You might be familiar with Brandon Sanderson because he is the person who saved the Wheel of Time series from the destruction that is was falling into near the end of Robert Jordan’s life.

The Final Empire introduces us to a new fantasy world. The Lord Ruler, who is “a sliver of God” runs everything. There are two classes: nobles and skaa. The skaa are basically slaves. Some of the nobles have magical abilities. Specifically, they can consume metal and use those metals to trigger supernatural abilities. There are many of these abilities, from the ability to pull metal objects to you to the ability to heighten your senses and beyond. Some people only get one ability and others get them all.

This is only a gift for the nobility, no skaa has this ability. As a result, there’s a law in place that if a nobleman sleeps with a skaa, that skaa has to be killed to prevent any possibility of skaa having those powers. Of course, there are always people who flout the law, so there are indeed skaa with one of the abilities (mistlings) and much more rarely a skaa with the full set (mistborns).

The skaa are perpetually planning rebellion and it never goes anywhere. This time, though, they’re working with a group of mistlings and mistborn (all skaa) in order to make it actually work this time.

They make a plan. Basically, they want to create an army, lure the capital city’s garrison out of the city, then take the city walls. Meanwhile, they want to cause a war between the noble houses to keep the nobles occupied and the leader mistborn is going to try to destroy the immortal Lord Ruler.

This does not go as planned.

I’m not going to give away the ending but it is awesome. I think I love Sanderson.

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death–M.C. Beaton

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I love these books. I’ve been devouring them, I’m up to the most recent now.

These are technically cozy mysteries, just like the Joanne Fluke I reviewed last week, but these have a slightly harder edge and are, I think, much funnier.

The titular Agatha Raisin has worked her way up from a childhood spent in poverty to become a successful PR person in London and was so successful, she can retire early. She chooses to retire to the Cotswolds where they have little cottages and it’s very “ye olde Englande.”

She wants to fit in with the village women and so she enters the upcoming cooking competition. Of course, she can’t cook. She decides to outsource it. She buys an expensive quiche from a prominent London bakery and enters that.

Then someone dies who ate her quiche and she’s under suspicion of murder. She has to reveal that she didn’t really cook it and then work to clear her name.

Agatha is a beautiful character. She’s got flaws and shortcomings but she has a good heart and you still love her. I appreciate that the main character is more complex than you usually see in these types of books.

I highly recommend these books. They do get a bit formulaic after a few of them, but are still fun.

Cream Puff Murder–Joanne Fluke

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This is another series I’m starting to review part of the way through it instead of at the beginning. I’m sorry.

These mysteries are cooking mysteries. The heroine owns a cookie shop in a small Minnesota town and the books are peppered with recipes, mostly but not exclusively cookie recipes. These recipes are awesome and should not be ignored. I’ve made many of her recipes and they are so good.

The heroine has been engaged in relationships with two men for most of these books. One is the local dentist and the other is a police detective. Not physical relationships, this girl is squeaky-clean. Your grandmother can read these books without fear.

In this book, the shine is starting to come off the police detective, as she discovers in the course of the mystery that he’d been having an affair with the victim, a sexy fitness instructor.

This woman was evil. She was vicious to everyone, flirted (and then some) with people’s husbands/boyfriends/whatever and generally was asking for death.

Many of the cops aren’t able to investigate because of the sheer number of them that had a romantic relationship with her, leaving the intrepid cookie baking Hannah more or less free reign.

She almost gets the answer before she’s busted by the murderer. But don’t worry, she survives to bake another day.

These books are very fluffy, very cozy, very clean. These are fast reads and fun but not intense. Good for a quiet afternoon or your grandmother.