Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Better Late Than Never - Cozy Mystery Review

Better Late Than Never (Library Lovers Mystery #7) by Jenn McKinlay (Amazon Link)

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description: When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day—no fines for late returns—the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. In a bind, Lindsey drafts the crafternoon ladies to help check in and sort the stacks of books.
But one tardy tome catches her attention—a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she’s shocked to discover it was a murdered school teacher named Candice Whitley, whose killer was never found.

Candice checked out the novel on the day she was murdered. Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice’s killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue...

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This was always one of my favorite cozy series though I've sadly neglected it over the past few years.  So when I was offered this one I couldn't say no - plus there's a 20 year old over due library book that leads to an unsolved murder.  How could I pass that up?

My Impression:  Honestly this book just made me want to go hang out at my local library all day.  Granted, there's WAY less murder solving (that I know of anyway) around there but I love all the bookish talk and just the day to day business of running a library.  I love the dynamic between Lindsey and the other librarians and the patrons and I adore the book mentions. 

I was predisposed to like this mystery - I mean a 20 year overdue library book kick starts a cold case?  What's not to like!  And for the most part it didn't disappoint.  I loved how the mystery played out and was really not sure just how it was going to unravel until the very end.  There were a couple of minor points that were rushed just a little but they weren't directly related to the conclusion so it wasn't really a problem.

With most cozy mysteries it's the characters that really make a series shine and this series is no exception.  I love Lindsey.  She's competent and funny and genuinely kind.  As well she is incredibly nosy but owns it.  I enjoyed that this book had both current Police Chief Emma Plewicki as well as former Police Chief Daniels.  The retired and the current law enforcement added an interesting angle and sounding board to Lindsey's investigation.  As usual children's librarian Beth was a complete delight and I just wish she was in charge of story time at my local library.  Ms. Cole is the perfect balance of nemesis - enough for entertainment but not so much where it gets annoying.  There is a decent amount Lindsey's personal life but it never overtakes the mystery and the only way I think it would be an issue is if you were new to the series and weren't already invested in the lives of Lindsey and her friends.

This is a fun cozy mystery series that takes place in a library!  It's hard to be better than that. The cast of characters never fails to delight and the mystery never fails to entertain and I'm already excited for my next visit.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have the next book in the series on my shelf already and am so excited to read it!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries I think you'd enjoy this series.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I'm Thankful For

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Ten Books You're Thankful For.  I tried to pick 10 books that changed my reading experience in some way!

1.  Baby's Birthday by Patricia Mowers and Illustrated by Eloise Wilkins - I think this was my really my first favorite book.  I adored it and requested it to be read to me for YEARS.  My parents haven't spoken to each other in probably a decade but the instant the title of this book is mentioned to either of them they immediately say in a very sing song voice "Wake up baby!  It's your special day!"

2.  The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene - Nancy Drew introduced me both to mysteries and really big series and I'm still a fan of both!

3. The Secret Adversaries by Agatha Christie - When I first discovered Agatha Christie I was a bit meh about her.  Some of her mysteries seemed a bit dry.  But then I discovered this first book in the Tommy and Tuppence series and fell completely in love.  This series is probably my least favorite now but it was what really pulled me to Agatha Christie.

4.  Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens - I was probably in my early 20s when I started reading romances.  I had resisted the genre for years but when I started reading this one I was completely pulled in and became hooked on the genre.  I reread it a few years ago and wasn't really impressed with it but at the time I was enthralled.

5.  Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis - While I had discovered the romance genre through the above book I was almost exclusively a historical romance reader.  I read Nora Roberts contemporaries but that was about it.  Shalvis was the first small town romance authors I tried and I've been hooked ever since!

6.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - I had only read Middle Grade fiction that my children were reading for years but when I first got my Kindle I was browsing the free books and came across this childhood favorite.  I didn't go in with high hopes as not all books are equally enjoyable for adults as they are to children but I ended up loving it.  It was a big push to get me back to reading Middle Grade.

7.  The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher - I adored this book.  I read it so many times that my original copy fell apart and then my replacement copy fell apart too.  I loved Penelope and life on the homefront during WWII and the way the story was told in almost a series of vignettes.  This book doesn't have quite the same effect on me that it used to but I love it still.

8.  The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom - A friend of mine handed me this book and said I had to read it.  I let it sit on the shelf for ages because it didn't really appeal to me but when I started I found it an incredible story and heartbreakingly sad but so full of hope as well.  It's a good book to read when I need a perspective tune up.

9.  84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - I think this was the first book that got me really thinking of the books themselves and not just the stories.  I would love to see some of the editions she talks about.

10. Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems - I'm thankful to this book because of the Tornado.  He had no trouble learning to read but his interest just wasn't very high.  That is until he discovered Mo Willems.  His favorite is really the Gerald and Piggie books but this was the first Willems book we checked out of the library so I'll always have a bit of a soft spot for it.

What books are you thankful for?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ramblings from the Stacks - Tell Me What to Read

Somehow we are flying towards the end of 2017 which just doesn't quite seem possible.  And somehow it's time to start thinking about what I'm going to reading in 2018.  This part is weird because 2018 still sounds like a fictional year to me.  Something out of a science fiction book or a date when you really just mean impossibly far away.  But regardless of that 2018 is really just a few weeks away and I have to start doing some reading planning!

The past few years I've picked 5 books that are a bit outside of my comfort level - pretty much anything in the fantasy, science fiction or YA genres. Some have been huge hits and others not so much but it's been very much a learning experience and I've really enjoyed broadening my reading just a little.

For 2017 I picked 12 Middle Grade books and 12 books that I'd been wanting to read for ages but just never made the time.  This had me reading books like In the Woods by Tana French, A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchey, and The Lake House by Kate Morton.  I've really enjoyed it and it's been nice to get a few of the "I really want to read that" books off my list.

But now it's time to make my lists for 2018 and I need some help!

For Middle Grade I'm reading some more of the series I've started this year like Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica George and finishing up the Melendy family series by Elizabeth Enright.  But what Middle Grade books do I need to add to my list?  I'm looking for both classic and recent.

For my "Out of the Wheelhouse" books I'm thinking of reading something by Illona Andrews but not sure which one and have had a hard time thinking of other choices.  Maybe The Martian by Andy Weir?  I've seen the movie but that doesn't count.

As for books I've wanted to read for ages I'm thinking a Liane Moriarty book but am not sure what else.

So tell me - what book do I need to read?  I'm open to any genre and any age.  Really any book that just needs to be read in 2018!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

This Week in Reading - November 19

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:

Nothing!  I got nothing!  I'm very proud of myself!


Reading: Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper and Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Listening: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Watching:  Not much though I'm hoping to get in some Hallmark Christmas movies soon!

Off the Blog:

A miracle has happened!  I have actually bought a Christmas present before Thanksgiving!  And it's the Tornado's primary gift so that's a huge relief.  I've also got some ideas for some people on my list that are always hard to buy for so I'm feeling pretty good about gift buying this year.

This past week was a bit crazy.  I got back in town on Wednesday and then the Tornado was home sick Thursday.  I'm feeling like I'm going to be scrambling a bit to get ready for Thanksgiving and it doesn't help that the Tornado will be out of school all week.   I'm not too sad that I won't have to get up early though.

We actually celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday so no one has to have 2 dinners in one day.  It makes for a more relaxed time because no one is having to duck out early or arrive late and we always have a lot of fun.  It also gives me an extra day which I'm clearly in need of this year.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Ramblings from the Stacks - Tell Me What to Read
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I'm Thankful For
Wednesday:  Better Late Than Never - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday: Sweet Tea and Sympathy - Review
Friday: Top Ten Christmas Books On My Shopping List
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Treasure on Lilac Lane + Once Upon a Maiden Lane - Romance Reviews

Treasure on Lilac Lane by Donna Alward

This is a bit of a second chance romance.  Years ago there was an "almost" moment between childhood friends Jess and Rick.  Then Rick left for the Marines and Jess went on with her life.  Now they're both back in Jewell Cove with a lot more baggage than the young hopefuls they were before.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one.  I mean I was excited to visit Jewell Cove again and I liked seeing the couple from the previous book (The House on Blackberry Hill) and Rick just seemed so sad but such a good guy underneath.  The problem was Jess.  She was SO judgmental.  I mean alcoholism and depression are not things to be treated lightly but she seemed just so angry at Rick that it was hard to like her in the beginning.  That is until I heard her back story and until she let herself get to know Rick just a little bit more and started to relax.  Then I fell in love with the couple and the town all over again.  Rick has had so many hard knocks and yet is still stumbling to his feet and watching Jess be there for him and then he be there for her was just really lovely.  This is a sweet and poignant romance with a couple I really found myself liking and rooting for. Rating: Very Good

Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Mary Whitsun grew up in an orphanage and knew nothing about her past.  She's a hard worker, full of common sense, and is very happy as a nursemaid for a patron of the orphanage she was raised.  That is until a chance encounter with Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell throws everything she knows about herself and everything she's ever wanted into question.

This is my second book by Elizabeth Hoyt and I am in love!  This was light and sweet with a good dose of heart.  I love a mistaken identity and I love even more a mystery about an identity.  I also loved the characters - especially Mary.  She's so self-aware and so practical but it was sweet how happy she was to have potentially found her family.  Henry is intelligent and a good match for Mary.  I loved watching them banter and get to know each other.

This is a novella so the character development is on the light side and the romance develops very quickly.  This was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I devoured in one sitting.  I'm glad I have so many more Maiden Lane books to read!  Rating: Very Good

If you're looking for a feel good romance that isn't just a fun romp than I think either of these would be great choices!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Linkups - Better Late Than Never

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:
If you had an authors-only Thanksgiving party, who would you invite?

My Answer:
This is a tough one!  Agatha Christie of course.  I'd love to hear all about her life and just about her books in general though I'd have to be very careful not to ask where she got her ideas because she hated that.  Dorothy L. Sayers would be fun as well.  Her style is very different than Christie's but I love her twisty mysteries and I have no doubt that there's a biting sense of humor there.  And speaking of humor I think I'd have to invite Douglas Adams.  I adore his humor and his ability to turn the most mundane scenes into madness.  While not really a party this sounds like it'd make for a highly entertaining evening so I'll just leave it at that.

This week's book is Better Late Than Never by Jenn McKinlay.  It's the seventh book in her Library Lover's series which is probably my favorite.  I'm a little behind on the series but this one involves a 20 year old overdue library book with connections to an unsolved murder so I just couldn't resist!

The Beginning:
"Let the wild rumpus start!" Beth Stanley cried as the cart of books she had stacked to bursting abruptly regurgitated its contents all over the Briar Creek Public Library's main floor with a loud rushing noise followed by slaps and thumps as the books landed on the ground.

My Thoughts:
I'm sure I'd change my mind pretty quickly if I had to do it as part of my job but sorting through all these books sounds really fun!

The 56:
"Ms. Cole, call 9-1-1," Lindsay said.
"No," Ms. Cole said.

My Thoughts:
I've gotten to know Ms. Cole a little as the series has gone but this seems pretty cold even for her!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  Who would you invite to dinner?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Missing - Blog Tour Review

About The Missing

• Paperback: 496 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (November 7, 2017)
  The Missing has a delicious sense of foreboding from the first page, luring us into the heart of a family with terrible secrets and making us wait, with pounding hearts for the final, agonizing twist. Loved it.”—Fiona Barton, author of The Widow
 A harrowing psychological thriller about a missing teenage boy whose mother must expose the secrets within their own family if she wants to find her son—perfect for fans of Reconstructing Amelia. You love your family. They make you feel safe. You trust them. Or do you…? When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface. Claire is sure of two things—that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance. A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it…? Combining an unreliable narrator and fast-paced storytelling, The Missing is a chilling novel of psychological suspense that will thoroughly captivate and obsess readers.

My Thoughts:  I'm a bit torn on this one.  I didn't dislike it - in fact I found page turning and flew through the almost 500 pages incredibly quickly.    When I picked it up I was pulled into the flow of the story very quickly and was supposed to be one chapter could easily be ten if I wasn't careful.  The atmosphere oozed tension and I found the way the family was disintegrating complelling.

So why was I torn?  While it was a fast read it wasn't one I couldn't wait to pick back up.  It wasn't a book I found myself thinking about when I wasn't reading it.    While I could sympathize with Claire I didn't especially like her and was never really able to connect to any of the other characters.  I didn't find this to be a particularly bad read but I didn't feel that it was a particularly bad one either.  If you enjoy unreliable narrators and dysfunctional families than I think you'd enjoy this but for me I think it's more of a Library read than a run out and buy read.  Rating: 3 good not great stars

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About C. L. Taylor

C. L. Taylor is a Sunday Times bestselling author. Her books have sold more than a million copies and have been translated into twenty-one languages. She lives in Bristol, England, with her partner and son. Find out more about C. L. at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.