Monday, January 23, 2023

Overdue Reviews - Murder at the Book Group + The Art of Arranging Flowers

Goodreads:  Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King

Blurb:  Hazel Rose never dreamed that the murder mystery book group she and her friend Carlene started would stage a "real "murder.Nevertheless, on the night when the normally composed Carlene seems unusually angry and rattled, during group discussion she dies after drinking cyanide-spiked tea. Despite a suicide note, Hazel is skeptical; Carlene never seemed suicidal--why else would she make all those plans for her future? Incidentally, Carlene was married to Hazel's ex-husband, and Hazel has always suspected there might be something more to her past than she let on.
How much does anyone really know about Carlene Arness? And did she die by her own hand or someone else's? Hazel begins a search for the truth that produces no shortage of motives, as she unearths a past that Carlene took great pains to hide. And most of those motives belong to the members of her very own book group...

My Thoughts:  I wanted to love this.  I love mysteries involving readers and the structure of the book club sounded pretty amazing.  As well the murder was done in a fairly clever way.  And that's about when it went out of the rails for me.  I didn't like any of the characters and the obsession with sex got old.  It seemed like all the characters talked about was who was having sex, who wasn't and what everyone thought about who was and who wasn't and everyone had an opinion about everything.  I just didn't care.  As well, it seemed a little odd that there was essentially no police involvement with the actual investigation.  It wrapped up okay but it was not a book I was sorry to see the end of.  My Rating: Not For Me

Goodreads:  The Art of Arranging Flowers by Lynne Branard

Blurb:  Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.
Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.

Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.

My Thoughts:  Unfortunately, this is another book that just didn't quite work for me.  I love flowers and the whole language and healing powers of them.  I also love books involving dogs and small towns.  However, this book kind of read like I was getting just a stream of consciousness of Ruby Jewell and her thoughts were not nearly as profound as she thought they were.  I did like the last 1/3 of book but until that point the book really didn't seem to have any plot or motivation.  I probably would have rated this at 2 stars if it wasn't for a side character who had cancer.  The character ends up going to a natural healer and beating the cancer by "standing up to it" and essentially making it go away.  As someone who has a child who is currently fighting cancer this sent me into rant-mode every time it was mentioned and dropped the book to a 1 star for me.  My Rating: Not For Me (1 Star)


  1. Too bad these didn't meet your expectations.

  2. Oh, no...two bad ones in a row! I'm so sorry.

  3. So snap for both these being not for you. Made me laugh your thoughts on the first, it would have me doing a DNF. And good reason for 1 star on book 2.

  4. I have Murder at the Book Group on my TBR. That's disappointing to hear, though. We usually like the same type of books so I'm thinking it's not for me either. I'll eventually get to it though.

  5. I am surprised that you were able to finish The Art of Arranging Flowers. I can understand why the cancer statements would be upsetting.