Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Light & Fluffy Fluke-A-Thon

I feel like I've been reading some "heavy" stuff lately, what with After Etan, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Hunger Games, etc. Then, because After Etan didn't freak me out quite enough, I watched Changeling (which is actually very similar to After Etan). What I'm trying to say is that I felt like I needed something a little lighter to even out my "heavier" reading. I immediately thought of Joanne Fluke's culinary mysteries starring Hannah Swensen.

Now, this series is not completely new to me. A few years ago, a copy of Sugar Cookie Murder was circulating through my family. I read it, thought, "silly, predictable, and why does the 30ish main character talk and act like a 60-year-old?" I set the book aside, vowing not to bother with the rest of the series. Fast forward a few years. A few months ago, my friend called asking if I wanted to go with her to The Poisoned Pen (a cozy little indie bookshop, which specializes in mysteries) in nearby Scottsdale to meet one of her favorite authors. Guess who? Joanne Fluke. I told my friend about my experience with Sugar Cookie Murder; she replied, "Oh, I know they're the cheesiest mysteries ever, but they're fun, clean and the recipes are sooo good." Duly convinced, I accepted the invite. And had a great time. Joanne was interesting, gracious and very personable (Don't believe me? You can check out the video of her interview at The Poisoned Pen's blog. Click on the video player on the right sidebar, then click "On Demand" and scroll down until you see Joanne's name. BTW: My friend is the one who asks Joanne why she decided to write "clean" mysteries.) Because I'm all about supporting indie stores, I bought a copy of the newest book - The Creampuff Murder - and had the author sign it.

You know me and series' - I can't start with the last book, or even one in the middle, I have to begin at the beginning. So, I decided why not make this into a reading challenge? It's going to be a personal reading challenge, although you can join me if you'd like. The best part about it is this - you can win prizes just for following along. This is how it's going to work: I'm going to read each book; write a review; then do a "Cookin' the Books" feature, where I make one recipe from each story. Here's where you come in: If you comment on the posts, you will receive one entry (even if you comment on one book review multiple times, you will only receive one entry/review) into my giveaways, of which there will be two. I will draw one name when I reach the halfway point (Book 7) in my Hannah Swenson adventure, and one when I complete the challenge. The first prize will be a new (unsigned) copy of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder; the second will be my signed, hardcover, brand-spankin'-new copy of Cream Puff Murder. I can't give you a deadline for the challenge's end, because it will depend on the availability of the books at my local library as well as how fast I can read. Here's a rundown of the books in the Hannah Swensen series (which I will post on my sidebar, so you can follow my progress):

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

2. Candy for Christmas (a novella that appears inside special editions of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.)

3. Strawberry Shortcake Murder

4. Blueberry Muffin Murder

5. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

6. Fudge Cupcake Murder

7. Sugar Cookie Murder (this will be a re-read)

8. Peach Cobbler Murder

9. Sugar and Spice (novella/short story - part of a collection)

10. Key Lime Pie Murder

11. Carrot Cake Murder

12. Candy Cane Murder

13. Cream Puff Murder

14. Plum Pudding Murder (to be released October 2009)

Easy Cheesy, as my 7-year-old likes to say. I call it "Light & Fluffy." Any way you describe it, it should be fun. And who couldn't use a little lightheartedness these days, eh?


blogginboutbooks
To put this cute button on your own blog, simply cut and paste this code into an HTML gadget on your Blogger sidebar:






18 comments:

  1. I see you got a great button for your fluke-a-thon. Looks great! I'm going to tweet about your reading challenge now!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have read this series but started to fizzle for me about #6 or 7.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Susan - The titles remind me of Strawberry Shortcake and her friends. Probably because I read those books to my daughter now. If I didn't have such a big pile of books I'd do this. Maybe next year.

    ReplyDelete
  4. what a fun idea for a challenge! I'm excited to see what recipes you decide to use.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dude! No link love for me? Thanks a lot - and I suppose now you're going to say I can't win because I had a chance to get my own signed copy. You better not! ;)

    What I'm wondering is how this fluke-a-thon with recipe tasting fits in with your new vow to stick to your diabetic diet. Give me a call for some recipe recommendations.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Forgot to say how cute the button is - did the same person do it that did your site design?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tara - So you had to go and mention the diet, huh? Trying to ruin my fun??

    So sorry about the missing link love. It's all fixed now :)

    Recipe recommendations would be great. I already know what I'm making from the first book, but the others are still up in the air ...

    Yes, the button is by the same designer. Isn't she fab??

    ReplyDelete
  8. I had no idea that I was so far behind on this series. I think I got up to needing to read Sugar and Spice and haven't gotten any further. I do keep on meaning to keep reading, but I have to say that part of the reason that I haven't yet is because I am a bit over the love triange aspect of the series.

    Very cute button!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fun! I read the first one last and thought it was pretty fun. Definitely light and fluffy but I'm a real sucker for a cozy mystery. I will definitely follow along with you and see if I can read some of them, too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm a little behind on the start of this challenge, but I hope that it's going well! I felt the same way as you did about the books. 2 years after my first Joanne Fluke mystery, I have now read through 5 in a month (something rare for me).

    You have inspired me to track my own progress. I was looking for images to use for my own blog post about it and came across this. I'll add the challenge to my post!

    Good luck and...who do you think she should marry?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am up to The Carrot Cake one and I have all the others waiting in the wings. I really like Hannah and I read this when I too feel I need to visit a nice friendly place. (well I guess not so friendly with all the murders lol.)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Elizabeth-Bennet29 March, 2010 10:09

    Hello Susan !

    I'm a French book-addict and I've been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I saw your Fluke-A-Thon and I found it very fun, so I decided to do it myself. I love reading in English and I've got a sweet tooth - how could I resist to such yummy titles ? So I bought Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder for a start - I plan to read it soon !

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just saw this challenge and decided to join along because I really like Joanne Flukes books. I am on Carott Cake Murder.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Elizabeth-Bennet07 April, 2010 13:32

    I have started Chocolate Chip Cookie and I love it :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Elizabeth-Bennet20 April, 2010 11:46

    I loved Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Hannah is endearing, and it was very funny (and all theses cookie recipes) !!! Strawberry Shortcake Murder is now waiting in my TBR pile !

    ReplyDelete
  16. I saw the button on your sidebar and thought I would join in, not realizing that the post is from 2009.
    I decided to start the series anyway.
    I wish I hadn't started with the first one. I quit after reading over 200 pages because I just could not stand the lack of editing. I mean it was so bad, that I was tempted to get out a red pen and edit it myself! There were words that didn't belong, and sentences that made no sense!
    Did you notice that at all? and if so, does the editing get any better?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous - I'm still working on the challenge, even though I started it so long ago. I have a hard time getting the books from my library, so it's taking me awhile to get through them.

    Anyway, the thing about Fluke is that her writing is terrible. I haven't noticed the editing so much as just the writing in general. It's bad. The only way I can enjoy Fluke is to tell myself that I don't care if the prose sucks, the characters are one-dimensional, the plots contrived, etc. I read her simply because she's fun. And the recipes are good. Make no mistake, the books are NOT well-written. But they're light, fluffy, and fun, so I keep reading them to balance out the darker stuff that always seems to be on my TBR pile.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I never have read any of Joanna Fluke's books but game to start adding them to my TBR list and read read read LOL.

    ReplyDelete

Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin