Time for an introduction!
I am a die-hard fan of serial books! No, I mean I really love series, because I’m the type that tends to fall in love with characters and then gets really sad when a book is finished. Knowing that the next volume is on its way, is a comforting feeling.
This is one of the reasons I’m a die hard cozy fan.
Cozy – [thanks Wiki] – Cozy mysteries, also referred to as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.
Cozies are definitely mysteries – my favourite genre since I was a girl. But unlike most of the mysteries today, cozies are not overtly violent, sexual, of any of those other slightly disturbing things. In a nutshell, they’re a good “cozy” read. PLUS their characters are recurring. And unlike most traditional mystery series’, you don’t just meet the four or five main characters. In a cozy you meet everyone in the village AND you see them keep cropping up in ALL the subsequent volumes. I love that! There’s a feeling of community that happens in a cozy, and each new book is like a small reunion with a mystery to solve.
That said, I am a fan of most crime fiction; detective stories, court room drama, police procedurals, hard nosed PIs, ALL of it. If there’s a crime to be solved, I’ll read it!
I have a few series that I love and never miss “the next one”, but today I’m going to tell you how I discovered Estelle Ryan.
A series I often recommend to people, is one I happened upon quite by chance thanks to a BookBub email. Written by Estelle Ryan, The Connection series – all titles have the name of an artist in them – are mysteries set in France, whose lead protagonist is a high functioning autistic insurance fraud investigator, with several PhDs. They chronicle not only the mysteries, but also her interactions with the people around her and how those relationships develop. Quite apart from the mysteries, they are a fascinating look into a whole other world. I love them, and I particularly love how Ryan has Genevieve growing and learning about relationships and people. She’s brilliant, but when we first meet her, Genevieve is rather lacking in interpersonal skills. She starts out working alone, by the time the series gets well underway, her inner circle is growing many personal relationships with characters that quickly become her family. I read The Connection as much for a catch up with these amazingly loveable characters, as I do for the unimaginable crimes and the process of resolution.
A fascinating series, I do highly recommend! Book 14 is set to debut at the end of February 2020.
Why we should review
So once I figure out the ins and outs of blog designing, this is going to be where you can find reviews of books I’ve read and reviewed through the past year or so. Because it wasn’t till we were in Panamá last winter that I realized how important it is to rate and review the books you read.
See, I never used to bother. I was too intent on starting the “next book”. To an avid [ok, addicted] reader, it’s more about that next book than it is about anything else.
But I happened upon a few groups on Facebook dedicated to readers – and writers – of a mystery genre that I love – the cozy mystery. And in those groups is where I found out that for the majority of writers – who aren’t yet in the Stephen King or Danielle Steele category – reviews can make the difference between success or not.
So if you read, please consider leaving a review on whatever platform you use to purchase those books. Yes, even real hard copy books can be reviewed on the online sites the booksellers use.
Important tidbit – reviews aren’t like the book reports we all hated to do in school. Come on, you know we ALL hated them, even those of us who loved to read! Reviews can be as simple as “I really loved this book, try it!” You can, of course, be more wordy, but you should never rehash the story – you don’t want any spoilers after all. Basically tell why you like it and leave it there.
What if you didn’t like it, you asked? Well yeah, that happens. What I usually do is try to find something redeemable in it and emphasize that. It happened recently actually. I loved the story line and the premise for the book itself; but I just could not like the characters, no matter how hard I tried. Now, maybe that’s how they were meant to be written, but I really need to like at least the main characters in order to get invested in the book. So in my review, I said that. “Great story premise, characters were hard to care about.”
That’s a book that got three stars of the available five.