Saturday, August 24, 2019

5 Cookbooks I Want to Try

I'm getting back into cooking and cookbooks again and having such a good time!  While I have my tried and true recipes there are always cookbooks I want to try and here are 5 I'm hoping to get from the library soon.

1.  Art of Pie by Kate McDermott - This cookbook has been on my TBR for awhile and then I saw Deb over at Readerbuzz rave about it.  Plus, pie is always a good thing.

2.  What's for Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life by Curtis Stone - Tina at Novel Meals has mentioned a number of his recipes and they always look delicious and mostly healthy.

3. Casa Marcela: Recipes and Food Stories of My Life in the Californias by Marcella Valladolid - I love Marcella every time I've seen her on Food Network and I'd love to try some of her recipes.  She seems so genuinely enthusiastic and connected to food.

4.  Dinner Illustrated: 175 Meals Ready in an Hour or Less by America's Test Kitchen - It's been awhile since I've used America's Test Kitchen but their recipes are always pretty solid and I could use some new simple-ish dinners.

5.  Fast Cakes: Easy Bakes in Minutes by Mary Berry - While I was surprisingly pleased with the new hosts/judges on The Great British Bake-Off (I'm sure they're relieved) I miss Mary Berry and am feeling the need for some "scrummy" cakes!

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Friday, August 23, 2019

Friday Fives - Five Pet Peeves

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  Since lately I've been heavy on the bookish lists I thought I'd do a not so bookish list.  This week I'm thinking about pet peeves - I'm apparently feeling a little cranky!

1.  Carts left out in the parking lot - This drives me CRAZY especially since I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at Publix which always has people there to take your cart out for you.  These are people who tell the bagger to not take the cart out and then leave them in a space instead of walking the 5 feet to put the cart in the space.  One time I saw someone actually push a cart into a handicapped space (the cart pusher was not in a handicapped space) and then drove off.

2.  2 cars going about the same speed in both the left and right lane - I'd go into detail about this but the rant would be far too long and I have a feeling I'm not the only person that this drives crazy.  Your rant is my rant here.

3.  When the WiFi goes out when I'm in a hurry - I typically have either a YouTube video or Netflix or Hulu streaming on my iPad while I'm getting ready and when I lose connection it drives me crazy and this only happens when I'm in a hurry.  I get seriously angry and have to stop myself from rebooting routers and whatnot.  It's not particularly rational.

4.  SpongeBob SquarePants -  I'm not sure if an entire cartoon character can be a pet peeve but everything about this character is nails on a chalkboard.  No idea why but I can't stand anything about him.

5.  When People say "Must be nice" - I discovered this pet peeve after I joined a mom's group when the Tornado was a baby.  Most of the women were great but there were a few who I finally started calling the "Must be nices".  They were they type that if you were complaining about something they'd always kind of smirk and say "Must be nice to only have one toddler pitching a fit on the floor in the grocery store.  I have 17 under the age of 4 and they ALL did that at the same time." or "Must be nice to have your husband away for work for a month.  My husband is gone for 2 months and I have to walk across nails every day to care for my family." Or "Must be nice to just be able to pick up fast food when you've been super sick and are exhausted.  I can only feed my family made from scratch everything and they won't even eat fast food." Obviously, these are exaggerations (except that last one) but you get that drift.  Hard is hard.  It's not a competition.  And if it's something that someone is struggling with or just wants to vent about it it's still hard for them at that moment.

What are your pet peeves?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Books from the Backlog - Bitter Greens

Today I'm linking up with Carole from Carole's Random Life of Books for Books from the Backlog.  I really enjoy the chance to feature a book that's been hiding in the piles of books for far too long! 

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Blurb:  French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens...

After Margherita's father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

Why It Needs to Get This One Off the Shelf: I was so excited when I won this in a giveaway years ago and it's a bit different from anything I've read lately.  Plus, this is a pretty hefty book so it's taking up some serious room!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

And Then They Were Doomed - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  And Then They Were Doomed (A Little Library Mystery #4) by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Rating: Very Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Little Person author Zoe Zola believes that one of the unluckiest things in life is to receive an invitation—in the form of a letter edged in black—to an Agatha Christie symposium at an old Upper Peninsula hunting lodge. Her reluctance dissipates when she learns that the organizer is named Emily Brent—the name of a character poisoned by cyanide in Christie’s And Then There Were None.
As a dreary rain soaks the U.P., Zoe and nine other Christie scholars—each of whom bears a vague resemblance to one of the classic mystery novel’s characters—arrive at the lodge. At the opening night dinner, arguments flare over the experts’ discordant theories about Christie. Next morning, the guests find one particularly odious man has gone—whereabouts and reasons unknown. Such a coincidental resemblance to a work of fiction is surely impossible; therefore, it appears to be possible.

As the guests disappear, one by one, Zoe resolves to beat a hasty retreat—but her car won't start. She calls her friend, amateur sleuth/little librarian Jenny Weston, but Jenny will have to wait out a storm off Lake Superior before she can come to the rescue. If Zoe’s to stay alive to greet Jenny when she eventually arrives, she’ll have to draw on everything she knows about Agatha Christie’s devilish plots in Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli’s fourth tantalizing Little Library mystery.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  How could I resist a cozy about an author writing a biography of Agatha Christe AND a retelling of one of my favorite Christie books?

My Impression:  This is the third book I've read in this series and I really think that it's going stronger.  The characters are a bit different from the norm - Zoe is an author that focuses on biographies of different authors.  She loves her fairy gardens and there always seemed something a little dark hiding in her past.  Jenny is a bit of a hand wringer and while she's very smart she tends to make rather terrible personal decisions.  Jenny's mother Dora is frequently the voice of reason though she doesn't feature quite as much in this book as she has in the past. 

This is the first book that has really taken place outside of Bear Falls and between the isolated location and the constant rain there's an oppressing eerie feel that runs through the book.  While this series has never been a lightweight cozy the themes here seem a bit darker.  We do get Zoe's backstory and wow is a backstory!  I loved the Agatha Christie themes but think this would be enjoyable even if you're not a big Christie fan - though it probably is a bit more fun if you're familiar with And Then There Were None.  This was a quick read and a compelling one at that.  I enjoyed that other characters found Jenny's indecisiveness annoying at times and had no problem speaking their mind.  I also really loved seeing Zoe more up front and center.  She's a bit of an odd ball character and isn't always likable but I always find her interesting.

This is a unique series that is a bit quirky and a bit dark and one I always enjoy.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I've missed a book in the series and I'm looking forward to catching up.  I'll also be looking forward to anything new.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies then I definitely think you should give this series a try.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Favorite Tropes

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is about your favorite tropes.  I had a bit of a hard time separating tropes as many of mine end up connected to the discovering of family secrets through various methods but I tried!

1.  The Life Explosion - I do love a book where for whatever reason the main character's life has exploded and the book is all about recovering and figuring out what they're going to do next.

2.  A Fake Relationship - When I see a romance involving a fake relationship I know I can't resist it!  You know it'll only be fake for so long.

3.  The Inheritance - Be it a trunk or a crumbling old house anytime anyone inherits something I know family secrets are about to become front and center and I can't wait.

4.  A Missing Person - Someone is missing?  Be it a cozy or a thriller that book will be on my TBR.

5.  A Cold Case - I find cold cases almost as fascinating as missing persons cases.  And honestly the cold case can be who stole a jar of jam 25 years ago and I'll still be reading it!

6.  Gruff Person's Life Changed by Optimistic Person - I love this in all of it's forms because each character really brings out the best in the other and it's lovely.

7.  Country House Mystery - I love a good mystery at a country house regardless of genre.  There's something about country houses that just take the fun up a notch.

8.  Dysfunctional Family Relationships - Especially if it's sisters and especially if they're going to come together for whatever reason (See #6, 3, or 1).

9.  Small Towns - I don't know what exactly it is about a small town but I always seem to enjoy stories set in small towns and can never resist them.

10. Project Memoir - Not sure if this really counts since it is nonfiction but I love a memoir type book based around a project - 12 months to be happier, cooking through an entire cookbook (that one was a bit of a disappointment), learning how to bake the perfect loaf of bread, or restoring a house from top to bottom.  If you are tackling a massive project and writing a book about it I'm in.

What are some of your favorite tropes?

Monday, August 19, 2019

Ramblings from the Stacks - Book Buying Habits

Lately I've been thinking about my book buying habits.  Unlike a lot of readers I've never really spent THAT much on books.  I relied heavily on libraries and when I was a bit older used bookstores.  From there I graduated to paperbackswap and then started blogging and got caught up in review books and started visiting my library again.  I've very rarely bought new books though.  For the most part it was necessity.  I just couldn't afford it - especially when I was a bit younger and was reading up to 200 books a year. 

But now I'm not reading quite so fast and my budget has a little more breathing room and I'm reevaluating my book acquiring habits. So I've made the very difficult decision - I'm going to buy more books new and I'm going to pre-order new books from my favorite authors whenever possible.  It was a tough decision but somehow I made my peace with it!  I figure that's the best way to tell my favorite authors (especially when they're writing my favorite series) to keep doing what they're doing. 

I'm still going to do my best to keep my local library and my local used bookstore in business and I'm sure I'll keep ending up with way too many review books but I'm going to add in buying new books as well.

Do you buy books?  Where do most of your books come from? As long as we're reading I don't think there's a wrong answer (unless you're pirating - that's not okay).

Sunday, August 18, 2019

This Week in Reading - August 18

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:

Cookies and Clairvoyance by Bailey Cates - I don't know much about this series though I do think I might have read the first book years ago but I've really enjoyed other books by Bailey Cates and any book with the world Cookies in the title has to be good.  (Publisher)

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany - Another later book in the series but I've heard good things and I'm looking forward to getting a little early Christmas.  (Publisher)

A Night's Tail by Sofie Kelly - I read the last book in the series and enjoyed it so I'm looking forward to this one too.  (Publisher)

Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay  - I love this series and I'm so excited about this one!  Any book that takes place in a library is a win.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Funerals are Fatal by Agatha Christie and And Then They Were Doomed by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Listening: Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt

Watching:  Not much but it is time to start watching the season finales of my favorite shows before the series premieres start.  I dislike cliffhangers so much that when I see a season finale story arc start I stop watching until I'm within weeks of the series starting back up.

Off the Blog:

This week was a bit less complicated than last week.  I think we've narrowed down the assisted living places for my grandparents and my mother and I are going done this coming week to go over everything with them and get them medically evaluated.  We've also been moving forward on switching to home schooling for the Tornado.  I still have lots of conflicted feelings about it but the program we've found is a hybrid that I think could work really well.  He'll have a mix of classroom, online and traditional home school type classes.  It's essentially a flexible private school.  A friend has her daughter there and has loved it so I have high hopes though I must admit it's a bit scary.

I went to my first appointment with my spine doctor and got good news and a plan going forward that seems like it'll really help with the pain.  The big relief is that the damage in my neck is minimal which is a huge relief. 

Other than that I'm getting ready for a trip down to my grandparents at the end of the week to start getting going on the move.  I'm not sure how it's going to go but I think the end result will be really positive for everyone.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Rambling from the Stacks - Book Buying
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Tropes
Wednesday:  And Then They Were Doomed - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog 
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!