Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Summer TBR

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from  That Artsy Reader Girl   is 10 Books in my Summer TBR.  I love these TBR posts because I get to make a list of what I want to read.  Of course I very rarely stick to the list but it's fun to pretend.  Plus, it's always fun to see what everyone else wants to read as well.

1. No River to Wide by Emilie Richards - Richards is one of my favorite authors and I've had this review book sitting on my shelves gathering dust since 2014.  I'm been in the mood for women's fiction with a touch of heart lately and this sounds perfect.

2.  Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews - Mary Kay Andrews books have such summery covers and every summer I say I'm going to read one but this summer I actually am!

3.  Meet Me in Atlantis by Mark Adams - I love travel/project type books and this one all about the different Atlantis myths and theories looks really fun.

4.  Staged 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series so I'm excited to read this latest addition.

5.  Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert - The first book in this cozy series centered around a former academic turned public librarian was full of history and mystery so I'm excited to continue with the series.

6.  Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton - This is an author I've been wanting to read for awhile and I'm fascinated by the life of Ernest Hemingway and this historical fiction set around his relationship with Martha Gellhorn seemed like the perfect read.

7.  The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis - This is another author I've been wanting to read and I love a dual timeline historical fiction.  This book that centers around New York's Grand Central Station sounds fascinating.

8.  Read and Gone by Allison Brook - This is the 2nd book in the Haunted Library cozy mystery series and even if I hadn't really enjoyed the 1st book I don't think I could resist this book because - Haunted Library!  The potential is just crazy amazing.

9.  The Likeness by Tana French - I read the first Dublin Squad Murders book last year and really enjoyed it though the ending frustrated me.  I'm really looking forward to reading this one though!

10. Reading People by Anne Bogel - I'm a big fan of Anne Bogel's podcast and blog and have been meaning to read this book since it came out.  I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy soon.

What books are you hoping to read this summer?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Ramblings from the Stacks - Reading Slumps and How to Fix Them

My reading has been on the meh side lately which was confusing as the books I was reading were actually really good.  I realized that I was actually in a slump which got me thinking about the different kind of slumps, their causes, and the solutions that I have found kind of work for me.

The Slump:  I hate this book, this author, the cover, the people the book is dedicated to, everyone mentioned in the acknowledgements and everyone even vaguely connected with the publishing of the book.

The Cause:  This is very much a case of "It's not you, it's me".  The book is normally absolutely fine but the problem is I'm usually forcing myself to read something that I'm just not feeling like reading for whatever reason.

The Solution:  A bit of yoga breathing to get all the annoyance out followed by a reread.  Barbara Michaels'  paranormal romantic suspense with all their ghostly Gothic-ness are usually the perfect fix but if I'm not in the mood for a bit of spookiness a short story collection from Rosamunde Pilcher, L.M. Montgomery or Agatha Christie will do the trick.

The Slump:  Are their words on this page?  I can't make my eyes actually focus on them.

The Cause:  This slump happens usually when summer starts.  Between crazy humidity and the shakeup in my schedule I'm distracted and a bit tired.

The Solution:  This slump is kind of annoying because it's hard to fix.  I've had the best luck with going through overdue review books and just picking what looks good but not forcing myself to keep reading if it isn't working because otherwise I'll get into the first slump.  Memoirs or other light nonfiction have worked well in the past.

The Slump:  The "meh" slump.  Everything is fine but nothing is really clicking.  I'm not really enjoying the actual act of reading.

The Cause:  Genre fatigue.  I'm reading a lot of one genre and not mixing it up much if it at all.

The Solution:  A random wander through the library or my collection of books and pick up and read any book that appeals to me even if it's not on my schedule.

The Slump:  Every time I sit down to read I doze off.

The Cause: Normally I'm burning the candle at both ends.

The Solution:  Take a bit of time off and just watch tv and try and go to bed early for a few nights.

What different slumps do you have?  What solutions have you found?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

This Week in Reading - June 17

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Season of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne - I love RaeAnne Thayne's Christmas romances and there was no way I could resist that cover! (Publicist)

Rancher's Dream by B.J. Daniels - I've been enjoying this series by Daniels about the Cahill family in Montana so of course I had to grab this newest one. (Blog Tour)

The Guilty Dead by P.J. Tracy - This is more of a procedural than my usual cozy mystery and involves a suicide that may not be and all kinds of shadowy secrets (Publisher)

Dying up Loose Ends by Maggie Sefton - I had mixed feelings about the last book in this series but I'm hoping this newest book will convince me that this is a series for me (Publisher)

Poisoned Pages by Lorna Barret - I just read and enjoyed the previous book in the series so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.  (Publisher)


Reading:  The Cottages on Silver Beach by RaeAnne Thayne and Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Listening:  Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout.  I'm liking it pretty well and am about halfway done with it.

Watching:  I've been watching a lot of TV this week (more about that later) and have been enjoying some of the Hallmark Mystery movies like the Garage Sale Mysteries and the Fixer Upper series.  Also we've had the World Cup on the last few days.

Off the Blog:

I had big plans this week.  With the Tornado at Space Camp all week during the day I was going to get stuff cleared out and organized, create a filing system for my books and even get some reading done.  I did get some reading done but that was about it.  Monday morning just after I had dropped the Tornado off I was walking through the parking lot back to my car and somehow managed to step in a low spot and my ankle rolled and made a popping sound and it was about all I could do not to sit down in the parking lot and cry.  I made it home and then after a few attempts to walk which resulted in some involuntary screaming which scared the cat I ended up at the doctor.  It's not broken for which I'm very grateful.  I've broken this ankle before and no part of me wants to relive that.  However it is badly sprained with some extra ligament damage done just for fun.  I have an air cast and this massive boot and am supposed to rest it as much as possible.  So I did get a lot of reading done and I got a lot of TV watching done but this definitely wasn't the week I had in mind!  

I've been resting it and it is feeling better than it was that first day and it could have been so much worse.  But really if I have to injure myself can I at least get a better story?  The last time I hurt myself I missed the bottom step and broke my ankle.  I need to do more adventurous things.  I'll still get hurt but at least I'll have better stories!  

Thanks so much for all the suggestions for books for J.  I got Empire Falls by Richard Russo and the first Jack Reacher book out of the library and we will see what he thinks of them!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Ramblings from the Stacks - Reading Slumps and How to Fix Them
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Summer TBR
Wednesday:  Caroline - Historical Fiction Review
Thursday:  Heaven Adjacent - Fiction Review
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Just Clause - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Good
Source:  Publisher

Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, is in for a surprise when her ne’er-do-well father, John, comes to town—and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia’s faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time.

But what about bestselling thriller author Steven Richardson? Is it a coincidence that he arrived for a book signing just before the crime or that the victim was found with a signed copy of his latest bestseller?

From merlot to murder, Tricia is determined to clear the family name before another body shows up and ruins Stoneham’s first—and highly anticipated—wine and jazz festival.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've read this series since the beginning though I have missed a few books.

My Impression: 
Stoneham is one of those fictional places I really wish were real.  A whole town filled with bookstores?  How amazing would that be!  I did miss the real bookish atmosphere of previous books.  Between the renovation at Tricia's mystery bookstore and her spending most of her time at either Angelica's inn or running after characters who didn't live in Stoneham there was only one visit to any of the local bookstores and not much real community feel.

The mystery was interesting with some startling revelations and an unexpected ending.  I would have liked both the motivations and the reveal to be a bit more developed.  There is quite a bit going on with Tricia and Angelica's parents, Tricia's assistant's upcoming marriage, and the mammoth renovation being done to Tricia's apartment.  With all that it felt like the ending of the actual murder investigation.

While I did have some issues with the book this was an enjoyable read.  Barrett's writing pulled me in from the beginning and I read the book in just two sittings.  I liked Tricia and Angelica as well as Pixie, Fred, and Mr. Everett and enjoyed spending time in their world.  I'm already looking forward to revisiting them!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  I would.  I already have the next book in the series and am hoping for some more bookish fun and of course a murder or two.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy cozy mysteries than I think this is a series that you'd enjoy however starting with an earlier book so you can get the full bookish feel might be better.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Linkups - A Just Clause

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
You have just won a $100 Visa Gift Card.  Will you spend the entire amount on a rare collector's edition you have always wanted, or buy several newly published books?

My Answer:
I'd probably buy several newly published books.  I don't really collect certain editions of books so unless there was something like a signed Agatha Christie mystery I think I'd be more tempted by something shiny and new.

This week's book is A Just Clause by Lorna Barrett.  This is a series set in Booktown, Vermont which is a fictional city filled with different bookstores.  I like this series but because I hope that by reading it such a place will suddenly exist!  

The Beginning: 
Tricia Miles almost always felt a thrill to host a book signing at her bookstore, Haven't Got a Clue, especially when it involved a favorite author.

My Thoughts:
I think I'd be pretty excited for this too!

The 56:
Why upset Andrea?  She was upset enough for both of them.

My Thoughts:
I hate when I want to talk to someone about something but it's not worth upsetting them!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Shadow in the Woods - Mystery Review

Rating: Good
Source: Author

Six go into the woods. Three come out.

Addie Preston, a new mental health counselor, is flattered when her colleague asks her to co-lead an intensive Ecotherapy weekend for a small group of clients. The band of six head into the remote trails of the Green Mountains.
As a storm engulfs the area, the group takes refuge in a cave off of the trail. No one is prepared for what they will discover.
Or what will discover them.

Genre: Horror? Mystery? Mystery with a touch of horror?

Why I Picked This Book:
  The premise sounded interesting and I was in the mood for something creepy.

My Impression:
  I must say I'm very glad I have no plans to go hiking or camping anytime soon because after this book I'll be staying in well lit non-treed (and definitely non-cave) areas.  I'm also not super crazy about rain currently.

This was a crazy fast read with pacing that did not let up.  The entire book takes place over just a couple of days and the action didn't let up.  I've had problems with books feeling artificially fast but I think because the setting is the woods and the characters' sole purpose is survival it didn't have that artificial feeling.

I would have liked to get a little more backstory on each of the 6 characters.  They all have their own motivations and backstories but I really only saw hints of them.  I can understand the author's motivation for not bogging down the book with these details but I think I would have enjoyed just a little more insight into the characters' motivation - especially Dell's.  Most of the story is told through Addie's POV and I really liked her.  She's practical and calm but not an expert at everything.  I liked that she was able to recognize what was going on around her and able to believe what she saw.  I also liked Maria and the glimpses of her emotional journey through the story.

I read this book in two sittings and could very easily have read this in one if people hadn't needed food and whatnot.  I'm reluctant to rank this book on the horror scale as that isn't really a genre I read and so what seems like horror to me wouldn't necessarily seem that way to readers familiar with the genre.  This is a tightly plotted fast paced mystery with an intense feeling of dread and factors that aren't so easily explained.  It was also a read I enjoyed and that will keep me out of the woods for quite some time!   

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Definitely!  This was a really fun/creepy read.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  I would - especially if you're in the mood for a creepy mystery with an edge.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ain't She a Peach - Contemporary Romance Review

Rating:  Very Good
Source:  NetGalley

An Atlanta ex-cop comes to sleepy Lake Sackett, Georgia, seeking peace and quiet—but he hasn’t bargained on falling for Frankie, the cutest coroner he’s ever met.

Frankie McCready talks to dead people. Not like a ghost whisperer or anything—but it seems rude to embalm them and not at least say hello.

Fortunately, at the McCready Family Funeral Home & Bait Shop, Frankie’s eccentricities fit right in. Lake Sackett’s embalmer and county coroner, Frankie’s goth styling and passion for nerd culture mean she’s not your typical Southern girl, but the McCreadys are hardly your typical Southern family. Led by Great-Aunt Tootie, the gambling, boozing, dog-collecting matriarch of the family, everyone looks out for one another—which usually means getting up in everyone else’s business.

Maybe that’s why Frankie is so fascinated by new sheriff Eric Linden...a recent transplant from Atlanta, he sees a homicide in every hunting accident or boat crash, which seems a little paranoid for this sleepy tourist town. What’s he so worried about? And what kind of cop can get a job with the Atlanta PD but can’t stand to look at a dead body?

Frankie has other questions that need answering first—namely, who’s behind the recent break-in attempts at the funeral home, and how can she stop them? This one really does seem like a job for the sheriff—and as Frankie and Eric do their best Scooby-Doo impressions to catch their man, they get closer to spilling some secrets they thought were buried forever.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary 

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed the first book in this series and couldn’t wait for Frankie’s story

My Impression:  This was a fun quirky tangle of a book that tackled some very serious issues without distracting from the fun or the seriousness.  I love the McCready family with all their quirks, issues and long running jokes.  This time the focus is on Frankie who with her purple and blue streaked hair and somewhat morbid job is probably one of the quirkier members of the family.  Except her respect for the dead and her efforts to help and protect both the deceased and their families doesn’t make her job seem all that morbid.  It actually comes off rather sweet.  

New interim sheriff Eric is not quirky or morbid and is actually probably on the straight laced side.  He and Frankie have a little bit of a history which leads to some tension which is pretty entertaining.  Watching Eric try to navigate the McCready family’s rapid fire speech made me laugh more than once and I think I enjoyed watching Him and Frankie pretend nothing was between them almost as much as the McCreadys’ themselves.  Both characters have pretty serious back stories and watching them get to know each other was very sweet and genuine.  

The plot involving local delinquent Jared added a bit of interesting conflict and got quite a bit of the town involved.  I found it entertaining and not too distracting with a satisfying conclusion.  There is some real conflict between Eric and Frankie and I loved that not only did both screw up but they both apologized which doesn’t happen nearly enough.

This is a fun quirky romance that was a delight from start to finish and since it is peach season here had me wanting peach pie!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes!  I’m thinking Duffy’s book is next?  I’m hoping?

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy fun contemporary romance this is one you shouldn’t miss.