Sunday, May 28, 2017

This Week in Reading - May 28

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:

Lowcountry Bonfire by Susan M. Boyer - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and one I always look forward to revisiting.  This one involves a missing person but one who seems to have gone missing on his own accord.  What looks like a pretty simple case to Nate and Liz quickly turns into more dangerous than they were expecting.  I'm excited to check back in with Liz and Nate and who doesn't love spending some time in Charleston? (NetGalley)

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan - After I read and loved The Bookshop on the Corner last year there was no way I was turning down this newest book involving a Cafe by the Sea and a woman who has come home and trying to find her footing again which is one of my favorite things!  (Blog Tour)




Currently:

Reading:  A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner and Until You by Denise Grover Swank

Listening:  First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Watching:  J and I started watching Life in Pieces on Netflix and are enjoying it.  We also watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie the other night.  I didn't like the other movies but I forgot how much I really enjoyed the first one.

Off the Blog:

School is over!  The Tornado had such a great year that I'm sad to see it end.   I am looking forward to some lazy days though.  Next week we will start on semi-summer routine but for now it's lots of playing games and sleeping later.  I'm going to start setting aside some reading time every day and he has his school accounts for these online math games that he really likes.  He's also gotten obsessed with a show called The Odd Squad on PBS where they solve puzzles through math so I'm going to see if there are any games connected to them.  We have a workbook that has different puzzles featuring the Mo Willems characters that I want to encourage him to do and I want him to have some time to play on his own.  He needs to get better at entertaining himself without electronics.

Monday  J and I went to estate sale in a lovely home where the woman had very similar taste to me and actually owned several things that I already own which was a little strange.  I did find several things I love that I don't already own so it was a good morning.  Estate sales are always a little strange.  I know they take a tremendous weight off the family's shoulders but walking through someone else's home always feels a little weird.

We are taking it easy this weekend at home and accomplishing some DIY tasks we've been wanting to do.  I finally got vegetables in the ground.  I'm hoping it's not too late and I got the biggest plants they had so fingers crossed!  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Dying Breath - Paranormal Romantic Suspense Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017
Wednesday:  Antique House Murders - Cozy Mystery Reviews
Thursday:  TBD
Friday: Linkup with Current Book
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

52 Pins in 52 Weeks - May Edition

I absolutely love Pinterest! My current pin count is just under 10,500 and I have dozens of boards. I alternate between pinning from the tons of food and craft blogs (I have a different system for book blogs!) and pinning after mindlessly scrolling through the "Everything" option where I can see all the pins that have been pinned and repinned recently.

At the first of the year I make a board called 52 Pins in 52 Weeks and fill it with 52 pins that I want to do over the course of the year. I've tried to include a good mix of food, holiday, and craft pins and push myself to step a little out of my comfort zone. I pin my results on my 52 Pins in 52 Weeks Results board. Some pins are wins and some are most definitely fails but it's always interesting to attempt them!

 This year I hope you'll share your Pin Wins and Fails with me and link up below! The format is totally up to you. Just post about the pins you've tried over the month (it can be multiple posts) and link up here! The link up will the the last Saturday of every month and I can't wait to see what everyone is doing!

This month is a little light because I have 2 gardening pins going but aren't far enough along to declare success or failure yet.

Week 19

The PinKentucky Butter Cake from Cookies and Cups

The Basic Idea: A pound cake that you poke holes in the bottom of and pour a buttery delicious sauce onto and let soak into the cake leaving it moist and buttery and delicious.

My Result: I had pretty high hopes for this one because it's from one of my favorite food blogs and I was not disappointed.  It was pretty easy to make though there is the extra step of making the sauce and the flavor is amazing!  I was a little worried that it'd be too sweet because there's sugar in the cake and then sugar in the sauce but it really wasn't.  The butter and vanilla provided a nice counterbalance.  It's really good on it's own but I think would be fantastic with fresh fruit and a little whipped cream. When she says to really grease the pan she's not kidding!  I buttered mine quite a bit and while it didn't stick I did have to run a knife around all the edges to get it to release.  Mine browned a little more than I'd like but wasn't in the slightest bit dry.  I think I'd take a few minutes off the cooking time next time.

Week 20:


The Basic Idea:  A quick recipe for the Carolina mustard based barbecue sauce

My Results:  Years ago there was this barbecue place nearby that had the best Carolina sauce but the quality kind of went down hill and their hours got weird so I haven't been there in forever.  I do still miss the sauce though so I couldn't resist it.  This was really good - kind of like honey mustard with a bit more of a vinegar-y kick.  It's not quite as mustard-y and a little sweeter than what I wanted so the search is still on but I'm keeping this around for next time I need a quick sauce!  I used it on chicken but I think it'd be great on pork as well.

Week 21:


The Basic Idea: An easy and inexpensive way to get clean up an enameled pan with baking soda.

My Reality: One of my New Year's Resolutions was to take better care of my stuff and that includes some pans I've been horribly mistreating.  As you can see this pan was pretty bad (there was another one even worse but I'm not posting the picture because the house police would show up) and the burn marks have been there for awhile.  All I did was boil some water with some baking soda in it for a few minutes, gave it a quick scrub with a scrub brush and about 90% of the stains are gone.  For the pan that's way worse I've done this 2 times and given it a scrub with some baking soda with a little elbow grease and it's on its way back to life as well.  Is there anything baking soda can't do?

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Linkups: A Bridge Across the Ocean















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:
What is the most fun part/aspect of being a book blogger?

My Answer:
For me the most fun has been just interacting with the community of book bloggers.  It's so fun to be able to talk to a group of people who love reading just as much as I do.  I also got an email from one of my favorite authors asking me to review her newest book and that made my WEEK!  

This week's book has just about all of my favorite things rolled into one.  There's dual timelines - one present day and one in 1946.  There's mystery, history and ghosts!  Plus, I've seen some awesome reviews for it from some of my favorite bloggers.  So when I saw A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner at the library I knew there was no way I was leaving it there.  So far it's been one of those books that I just want to sneak off and read just a little bit more.

The Beginning:
San Diego, California
Present Day

A friend's baby shower was the last place Brette Caslake expected to encounter a ghost.

My Thoughts:
I'm not sure I'd expect to see a ghost anywhere but a baby shower does seem like an especially unlikely place.

The 56:
You may think you can help them.  But it is dangerous, exhausting work, Brette.  And it is not your responsibility.  Remember that.  You owe them nothing.

My Thoughts:
This is a letter to Brette (MC) from an aunt.  The aunt is talking about her ability to see ghosts   Her tone surprises me.  It always seems like in books with ghosts people feel it's their duty to help ghosts but Brette's Aunt clearly does not share that sentiment!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Love and Death in Burgundy - A Cozy Mystery Review

Love and Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea
Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that's no easy task.
When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town's secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine's quiet life upside down. As more and more of the villagers' secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love the idea of the American and France and getting a look at what life is really like as an expat.

My Impression:  It's always starting a new series because you're entering a new world for the first time.  There's a new place, new characters, and in mysteries a shockingly high death rate.  This book starts in the garden of Katherine Goff's home in the Burgundy countryside.  Katherine is an American artist who is trying desperately to fit into her new home.  While she is fluent in French it hasn't been as much of a help as she expected and she is finding herself much more of an outsider than she wants to be.  I really liked that this was not a happy little welcoming small town full on unicorns and rainbows.  There's a distinct social order that isn't easily broken through.  There are lots of politics and outsiders aren't particularly welcomed with opened arms.  I thought it was very realistic that Katherine isn't just okay with the rejection.  She really wants to fix it and tries to become more involved in village life in ways that made sense.

The mystery is one of too many suspects but no real motives and I enjoyed watching everything unravel.  While this is a mystery but the book focuses equally on village life so while Katherine is looking for the killer the reader is also seeing the repercussions of the murder resonate with the other characters.

I had a few issues with the book.  This was the first book in the series so it did feel like it got a little slow at time as everything was being setup.  I also didn't love the ending.  While the reveal made since I'm not sure I really felt like justice was done.  This may be a difference in the French and US laws but I did feel a little unsatisfied.

So while I didn't find the book flawless I did find it entertaining and I really enjoyed the world that Shea created.  I'm looking forward to revisiting Reigny-sur-Canne and seeing what's happening next!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would!  I really enjoyed the author's chatty writing style and her ability to make the world inside the book come alive.

Would I Recommend this Book?: I would!  Because of the character development I think readers who don't typically enjoy mysteries would enjoy this book.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Watching the Detectives - Blog Tour Cozy Mystery Review + Giveaway

Watching The Detectives by Julie Mulhern


Watching the Detectives (The Country Club Murders) Cozy Mystery 5th in Series Publisher: Henery Press (May 23, 2017) Paperback: 234 pages ISBN-13: 978-1635112115 E-Book ASIN: B06WWF1PWQ
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
Ellison Russell wanted a decorator, not a corpse. Too bad she finds Mrs. White in the study killed with a revolver. Things go from bad to worse when she finds Mr. White in the dining room killed with a candlestick. With so many bodies, is it any wonder Detective Anarchy Jones’ new partner considers Ellison a suspect?
With the country club gossips talking a mile a minute, an unexpected cocktail party, a visit from Aunt Sis, and a romantic decision, Ellison hardly has time to think about murder. Unfortunately, the killer has plenty of time to think about her.
  Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series: THE DEEP END (#1) GUARANTEED TO BLEED (#2) CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE (#3) SEND IN THE CLOWNS (#4) WATCHING THE DETECTIVES (#5)

My Thoughts: 

Pretty much every new Country Club Murder mystery I read I proclaim my new favorite and Watching the Detectives is no different!  Right from the beginning I was completely sucked in.  And it was hard not to be because within in the first 20 pages or so poor Ellison is already tripping over a body.  Her mother is not amused.  And neither is handsome detective Anarchy Jones or his new partner the decidedly less handsome and nice Detective Peters.  The mystery is excellent and thoroughly entertaining.  What captivated me more in this book is the issues of social justice that arise.  Since it's a crucial part of the mystery I don't want to give too much away but I found it really interesting how Mulhern handled it without undermining the serious nature but reminding the reader of the thoughts of the day.

As usual, one of my biggest treats after finishing this thoroughly enjoyable mystery was visiting Mulhern's Pinterest board for the book to see her inspiration.  If you enjoy mysteries of any kind this is a series not to miss.  While you could jump in here I think you'd enjoy it even more if you started at the beginning and you won't regret it!  Rating:  Very Good

julie

About The Author

- Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean--and she's got an active imagination. Truth is--she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.
Author Links Webpage – www.juliemulhernauthor.com
 FB – https://www.facebook.com/juliekmulhern/?ref=hl
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JulieKMulhern
  Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8573907.Julie_Mulhern
  Purchase Links Amazon Paperback Amazon Kindle kobo B&N
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants
May 22 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
May 23 – Queen of All She Reads - REVIEW
May 23 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
May 24 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW
May 24 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 25 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW
May 25 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW
May 26 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
May 27 – Author Annette Drake's blog – INTERVIEW
May 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy. &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
May 29 – I Read What You Write - REVIEW
May 29 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
May 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
May 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW May 31 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW May 31 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST
June 1 – Community Bookstop - REVIEW
June 1 – Laura's Interests - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 2 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 
June 3- Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW
June 3- Bookworm Café - CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 4 – Brooke Blogs - REVIEW, GUEST POST
  Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - My Summer Reading List

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is a summer reading freebie.  Now I never minded assigned summer reading in school.  There were some books I didn't enjoy reading but for the most part it just wasn't a big deal.  Of course now summer means the kids being out of school and schedules being turned on end.  That coupled with temps in the 90s and humidity so high that it feels like I can reach out and grab handfuls of air typically means I'm headed towards a slump.  Since nobody likes a slump I've been trying to avoid it this year and focus on what books really tempt me when my brain feels fried.  This is what I'm hoping to read this summer to avoid the dreaded slump!

1.  I See You by Clare Mackintosh  - The blurb on this book reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of Criminal Minds where people start seeing themselves on missing persons fliers before they go missing.  It was super creepy in the show and I'm betting it'll be super creepy in the book!

2.  I Found You by Lisa Jewell - I love that this book takes place on a beach but is hardly a typical beach book.  Plus, I've been wanting to try Lisa Jewell's books forever and this seems like a good place to start.

3.  Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts - I loved the first book in this trilogy but for some reason have yet to read the second book even though it's been out for almost a year.  It's light, fun, with a little bit of suspense, and there's even some beach time!

4.  The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick - I love the 1930s setting and Krentz/Quick's books are just like popcorn - tasty and fun if not the most filling.  Perfect beach or hammock reading!

5.  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - I read The Peach Keeper last summer and loved it and Allen's writing style just screams summer.

6.  Killer Party by Lynn Cahoon - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and is just perfect for summer!

7.  The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan - It's about a cafe by the sea and written by Jenny Colgan!  How could I resist it!  Also, I think the main character is coming home to get her bearings which is one of my favorite things.

8.  The Dream Keeper's Daughter by Emily Colin - There's a years old disappearance and creepy phone calls!  And the main character is an archaeologist.

9.  The Blue Bedroom and Other Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher - I love a short story collection and this one by Pilcher is one of my favorites..  It'll be a perfect read when my brain is tired but I want some comfort reading.

10. The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee - There's sisters and food and magic.  It sounds like a whole lot of fun but sweet too.  I love books with sisters - probably because I never had any!

What books are on your summer reading list?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Buns - Contemporary Romance Review

Buns (Hudson Valley #3) by Alice Clayton

Rating: Very Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….
Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book: I've heard raves about Clayton's romances forever and keep meaning to try her books so when I saw this on NetGalley I couldn't resist (even though the title and cover make me cringe a little!)

My Impression:
The Couple - 
Clara - Clara's backstory is heartbreaking and fits how she's chosen to live her life as adult with herself firmly in the drivers seat and refusing to let anyone in.  She struggles with traditions and holidays because she doesn't quite understand how to be a part of either.

Archie - Archie firmly believes in family and tradition first.  He's worked his entire life to keep the family hotel up and running and is not so crazy about having an outsider come in and tell him what to do.  However, he's not so hardheaded that he refuses to listen to reason and is intelligent and motivated to make things work.

What I Liked:
Both characters have baggage from very real circumstances but neither dismisses the other's issues.  I also liked that Clara had some trepidation about spending time with Archie in the home he shared with his late wife.  She's not melodramatic about it but she's uncomfortable and that felt very real.

They're both good at their jobs and it was fun to watch them in action.  Sometimes they even worked well together and that was even more fun.

While this is definitely a spicier romance than I usually read I did feel like there was an emotional connection between Archie and Clara.

The setting is amazing.  I loved the hotel and I loved the town.  The employees and friends really added a lot of joy to the reading.

What I Didn't Like:
Way heavy on the sexual innuendos or just comments without the innuendo - especially from Clara's friend Natalie.  I get that she and Oscar are having a lot of sex but seriously talk about something else occasionally.

Overall:
I expected a fun and funny read but I was surprised by the amount of heart that ran through the stories.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and getting to know Hudson Falls and am looking forward to going back and reading Roxie and Natalie's stories.  The title and the cover made me cringe a little but that's what Kindles are for!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  This was a fun read.

Would I Recommend this Book?: If you enjoy contemporary romance and don't mind a lot of spice and even more language than this is a must read!