Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
117 of 132 people found the following review helpful
Predictable, formulaic and lacking in character developmentMarch 8 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I have read all the books in this series. Not because I love them but because I love to read and I'm a bit of a completionist. I've come this far so I want to see how it ends. There are things that I like about the series. I like most of the characters and the folksy atmosphere. I like the concept of running a bakery / coffee shop. But there are a lot of aspects that annoy me. The feasibility of so many murders happening in a small town and one person/family keeps finding them all. I like the small town busy bodyness of every day life but find it ridiculous that the whole town just expects and takes for granted that Hannah and her mother and sisters are going to investigate and solve the mystery. The love triangle has been played out. I thought the introduction of dr. Bev would spice things up but instead in this most recent installment of the series it has added another layer of plot ridiculousness. I found myself in the middle as the events were unfolding to an obvious predictable ending thinking "oh come on! You can't seriously be going in this contrived direction!". I think a less far fetched plot line would have been more satisfying. Let the characters live with a little conflict for a while instead of having every new character introduced gone by the end of the book like the guest star on a cheesy sitcom. The author has made her heroine obnoxious. Hannah has a good head on her shoulders and can be very pragmatic but usually she is irritating and condescending. I suspect that all of the anal grammar correction is really just a soapbox for the author to spew about her own pet peeves. Hannah and her mother usually come off sounding judgmental and critical and just plain unlikeable. I like the changes we see in Hannah's mother in this installment but more character development is needed for everyone else. How about a diet and makeover for Hannah. I'm all for loving yourself just the way you are but Hannah has become an unattractive schlub! And the year is 2012. What 30 year old woman doesn't know how to use email and cell phones. And after all the crimes Hannah has solved how is she still putting herself in the uncharacteristically foolish position that at the end of every book she is trapped by the killer and her life is in danger until someone arrives to save her? I was once torn between who I wanted to see Hannah end up with - passion or reliable. But mike has lost his appeal with all of his dating and sleeping around (although who can blame him as Hannah has been stringing him along for 15 books now). And Norman came off rather wimpy and pathetic in the last two books. The way that Hannah responded in this chapter of the series I think it should have been obvious to her who to pick. How do you go through all this to "fight for your man" and then at the end we're no closer than we were 10 books ago! And now were supposed to be on board with Mike as a possibility still? I found this to be the weakest book in the series with the most contrived plot. More attention was given to the recipes (which sounded like some of the best so far) than the characters. Many of the characters receiving only a cursory mention in passing. As far as cozies go, this series is weak and has a lot of flaws. I hope the next couple of books break out of the tired, overused pattern and bring some real character development and fresh ideas or just wrap the series up and move on to something new.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Good mystery, good recipes!Feb. 28 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Hannah Swenson gets embroiled in another murder when she and her sister are driving her bakery van and the slippery roads cause an accident. She and Michelle go to the accident scene and find the tour bus of the Cinnamon Roll Six, a jazz band. They are coming to play at a local club and it appears their driver had some sort of medical crisis and drove off the road. A band member is slightly injured and ends up in the hospital where he is killed. It later turns out that he was traveling under an assumed name. Hannah and Michelle are in the middle of the whole mess and decide to investigate the murder. The other issue Hannah is dealing with is the upcoming wedding of her former beau, Norman, to the abrasive Doctor Bev. In the last few books, it seemed as though Hannah was leaning towards Norman rather than Mike as her real love, but the appearance of Bev has put a wrench in the works. In this book, Hannah has to decide if she cares for Norman enough to fight for him and how she is going to do it. There is something not quite right about Bev and Hannah and her crew decides they are going to find out what it is. So, Hannah finds herself solving two mysteries and baking some mighty fine confections at the same time. I enjoyed this book. The mystery is never a really complex one in this series but it does hold the reader's attention. The added plot with Norman and Bev also added to the suspense. As always, the recipes were wonderful, I always feel hungry when I finish one of Ms. Fluke's books. I am definitely going to try the Piggy Chicken (pg 207) and the Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars ( pg. 331).
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Cinnamon Roll Murder- Predictable, but yet a comfortable cozy.March 1 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Joanne Fluke follows a fairly predictable model for these books- Hannah bakes, Hannah finds a body, Hannah solves the crime, Hanna solves the crime by being the only one in a semi-dangerous situation with the killer- until Mike or Norman (or Both) ride in to save her. I'm not going to completely fault the writer- she feels she's found a formula that works and she's going with it. After all,we're still buying the books, so we must LOVE them? I was on the fence about buying this book- I've been wanting resolution with the Norman/Mike triangle for several books, and I hoped (but did not truly expect) that Dr.Bev might be a form of a resolution.
The book opened up nice enough with a little intrigue in just a few pages. The mystery part was not bad, even though for most of the book I anticipated a different killer. The characters aren't bad either- they are a nice sounding group of people and definitely a "cozy". What bothers me the most of this series is that some parts Joanne Fluke just keeps rinsing/repeating. Ex. We all know Andrea can't cook. She's the fashionable, perfectly put together one. So when Hannah made a note about 'whole eggs" in her recipe and said "Andrea would have to be told to crack the eggs and then use them" (I'm paraphrasing), that bothered me a little because seriously even if you're not a "baker" this still seemed to be a common-sense thing. Of course, in the next chapter, Andrea lets us know that this did happen to her 1 time, but still. The men. Hannah keeps dating them, but no progress with either really. Mike drops in at all hours for food and Norman can be wimpy. Hannah's own mother is making far more headway in her romantic life with Doc, than Hannah is with either man.
The books are still ok, they are semi-entertaining, and are similar to an old sweatshirt that has seen a better day- you know you should get rid of it, but it makes you feel comfortable, so you keep it.If you're looking for something light and fluffy- you've found the right series.
***Likes**** 1. Hannah's mother finding the body, therefore showing Joanne Fluke can break her mold for these books.
****Dislikes*** 1. The bus driver- never really resolved- murder/accident.
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Why am I reading these...??March 18 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Sigghh. Another Lake Eden mystery. I keep reading these (from the library) in spite of the fact that my eyes are on a permanent roll, and I cringe constantly. I'm only on page 90 of this one, and-yes,I'll finish it-but why do I do this? So far, Hannah and her incredibly nosy, mean-spirited, and annoying family have rescued multiple accident victims, staffed a hospital, fed the masses, and stolen autopsy records and photos. Norman is marrying a woman he barely remembers out of a warped sense of duty (NO ONE does this...and what male names his cat Cuddles?!) Delores reigns over her grown daughters, who are terrified her (yet live her dearly,..gag), Andrea is a stupid, boring, twit of a bad mother (a live in Nanny??), and the "whole town" apparently gathers at the cookie shop as soon as there is trouble to hear the dramatic and detailed finding of murder victims. Doesn't matter that these are human beings that died fairly horrifically.. By golly, we will "do a double feature" (wha...??) and describe detail by grisly detail how Hannah and Michelle found the poor bus driver's "creepy" body. You have got to be kidding me! On second thought, maybe I'll just quit this series now and spare myself any more of the Swensens "shocked" or "puzzled" looks (over totally mundane happenings..not anything truly shocking, of course) I'm pretty sure I can deduce the rest of the book anyway: Hannah etc. eat a couple thousand cookies and drink a few more gallons of coffee, Norman's idiot fiancée dies or gets drummed out of town, the sad, stupid, and unbelievable love triangle plods on, Hannah keeps breaking laws to solve the mystery that the woefully incompetent police dept. just cannot deal with, Hannah is nearly killed at the end but is saved in the nick of time, and so on. At least, as of page 92, I didn't yet have to read how darn many kitty krunchies the cats had consumed. Goodbye Lake Eden!
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This one fell flat!March 31 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I've been a Hannah Swenson fan for many years, but the series has stalled, and in this outing the author gives us pretty much nothing "to chew on" - recipes included. I'm finding the dialogue between characters, especially the Swenson sisters, increasingly forced, stilted, and flat-out boring. How much blah-blah banter between Hannah and the insipid Michelle can a reader endure? I really used to care whether Hannah chose Mike over Norman, or vice-versa, but now I'm convinced that Eden Lake or Lake Eden, or whatever, is made up of sexually repressed one-dimensional characters. Hannah has two suitors: Mike, who seems to be a virile and appealing man, but one who cannot, or chooses not, to close the deal, and should latch onto a real woman,(maybe Dolores???); and Norman, a wimpy, nerdy, shell of a man, who is arguably the least appealing "lothario" in all of modern literature. If Hannah is stupid enough to choose Norman, and vice-versa, well, God bless 'em. I, for one, have had enough! It's time to throw this batch of increasingly bizarre cookie recipes, along with the uninteresting, flat characters into the trash, and cook up a spicier, tastier, more palatable batch.