Monday, February 19, 2018

Ramblings From the Stacks - The Trouble with Rereads

It all started with a Christmas Hallmark movie - Christmas with Holly to be exact.  It was cute and I remembered that it was based on the book Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas.  I remembered loving it but not much more.  So off to the library I went.  I love a reread!

And it was good.  I loved little Holly, Mark Nolan and his brothers, and Maggie.  I loved the setting of Friday Harbor and the dilapidated Victorian house that Mark is helping his brother Sam fix up.  However, this was one of my favorite reads of 2013.  Did it live up to that?  Big fat nope. I mean it was good and I was pulled into the story right away - it's Lisa Kleypas after all.  But while the fact that the hero had a girlfriend for at least half the book that wasn't the heroine didn't bother me in 2013 it drove me crazy this time around.  What I had rated a 5 Star book in 2013 became a 3 Star book a few years later.  The book didn't change but my connection to it definitely did.

While a good book is a good book so much of the reading experience is personal.  Sometimes a book can come along at the right time and be exactly what we want or what we're looking for in terms of tone or characters or just the plot itself. And sometimes it isn't.  I don't think a 5 star read will ever turn into a 1 star read but a perfect read can drop down to just good or even mediocre.

This is the kind of experience that always makes me a little nervous rereading a favorite book.  What if it doesn't live up to the magic of the first read?  Have you had this happen with a reread?  What do you think changed?  Does it make you nervous to reread an old favorite?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

This Week in Reading - February 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:

It was quite a week!  

From Berkley Crime:

Plum Tea Crazy by Laura Childs

Last Chance Olive Ranch by Susan Wittig Albert

Marinating in Murder by Linda Wiken

Dead Cold Brew by Cleo Coyle

Dipped to Death by Kelly Lane

A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber

And then to mix in a few non-cozies I also ended up with

Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Dead Pretty by David Mark 

all from the publishers


ReadingThe Fast and the Furriest by Sofie Ryan and The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

Listening: I just finished Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris and am waiting for my next audio book.  Until then I've been listening to podcasts.  Right now I'm listening to Pack Your Mics which is a Top Chef recap podcast.

Watching:  We've been watching Top Chef and I'll be sorry to see this season end.  I've watched a little bit of the Olympics but not as much as I'd like - especially figure skating and curling.  

Off the Blog:

This week was kind of a loss.  I ended up not feeling good Sunday night and went to bed early thinking that would fix it.  It didn't.  Luckily it ended up not being the flu but I've had a ridiculously sore throat and almost no energy for a week.  It's getting better but I'm still managing only a couple of hours before having to go rest. 

Luckily the Tornado has stayed health but we've been spending a lot of time on the couch watching Odd Squad.  It's actually pretty good for a kids show and has some pretty funny moments.  I like how they solve problems with math and reason everything out.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Ramblings From the Stacks - The Danger of Rereads
Tuesday:  Family Tree - Contemporary Fiction Review
Wednesday:  The Tuscan Child - Historical Fiction Review
Thursday:  The French Girl - Mystery Review
Friday: Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  The Fast and the Furriest - Cozy Mystery Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

Do You Want to Start A Scandal? - Historical Romance Review

Rating: I Liked It!
Source: Purchased

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.

• Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?
• Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?
• Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit... and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Genre: Romance - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:
  It was described as Regency Clue.  How could I resist that?  

My Impression: 
I've finally read a Tessa Dare book!  I think I did read one years and years ago but I don't remember anything about it and am not entirely sure if it happened so it doesn't really count.  But this one I most certainly remember and it was a delight!  I was pulled in right from the beginning and was immediately in love with Charlotte and Piers.  Their initial meeting is hilarious and mortifying and leads to quite a sticky spot for both of them.

Charlotte is an interesting main character.  Her match-making mama has made Charlotte a laughing stock in society and she's desperately trying to prove that she isn't a fortune hunter out to catch a titled husband but really only so that she can go on a grand tour with her friend Delia.  A house party seems like a perfect opportunity until things go spiraling out of control.  Piers is at the house party on official business for the Crown trying to determine if the master of the house has a secret that would prevent him from taking an important government post.  They're both intelligent characters who respect each other's intelligence and their conversations are funny and maddening.  I really enjoyed their interactions with their families.   Charlotte with her sisters was very sweet and I loved that her mother hasn't deeper and more bittersweet motives for making sure her daughters secure advantageous matches.

There were a few things I wanted more of.  The mystery felt forgotten for the last third of the book and then was solved very quickly.  There was some explanation for why things happened the way they did but I would have liked a little more.  As well, I would have liked more resolution between Charlotte and Delia and Delia's horrible sister Frances.  I've been left to my own devices to find a fitting end for Frances and they haven't been nice!

Overall, this was an entertaining delight of a read that I flew through.  I'm looking forward to reading more Tessa Dare in the future!  I think I'll start with Charlotte's sisters' stories.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  I would!  While it wasn't an instant favorite I did enjoy it and am looking forward to reading more from Dare.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you like historical romances that you definitely need to try Dare!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Linkups - The Fast and the Furriest

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:
Have you ever found yourself acting like a favorite character in a novel?  If so which one?

My Answer:
As far as I recall I've never found myself acting like a favorite character though when I was a kid I desperately wanted to be Nancy Drew.  I do find myself picking up slang or phrasing - especially if I'm reading a lot of British mysteries.

This series is one I've been wanting to read for quite some time.  Even though The Fast and the Furriest by Sofie Ryan isn't the first in the series I'm still looking forward to trying it out!  So far I'm enjoying it.  There's a snarky tone to the writing that I really enjoy.

The Beginning:
I set the sandwich on top of the dresser.  I could tell right away that Elvis was not sold on my idea of supper.

My Thoughts:
Not the most exciting beginning but I did find it funny that after a full paragraph talking about Elvis' disapproval of her supper she reveals he is a cat.

The 56:
Glenn offered his cube truck and I think I'll take him up on that.

My Thoughts:
Page 56 wasn't all that exciting as it's mostly two characters talking about decorating store windows but this 56 could mean a few different things.  In this case I think it's mostly about picking up an inventory from an estate sale.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Beyond the Books - Blogs I Visit Daily

Today I'm linking up with Karen over at KissinBlueKaren for her fantastic Beyond the Books Linkup.  Each week features a new non-bookish prompt and it's so fun to see everyone's answers.  Today's prompt is Blogs I Visit Every Day.  Now I'm not one to do anything in moderation so my blog list is ridiculously long.  There are so many blogs that I really love that it was so hard to narrow down the list and I know I'm leaving out some of my favorites but here are 12 I know I'll be checking daily!

Carstairs Considers - Mark is one of my favorite cozy mystery pushers.  He's introduced me to a ridiculous number of new to me series and is really dangerous to my TBR!

Books, Movies, Reviews, Oh My! - Stormi is another dangerous book pusher.  Not only does she tempt me on cozies but she's talked me into to at least considering books that with more of a horror slant.

Socrates' Book Review - Another favorite cozy pusher.  She reads some really great series!

Musings of a Bookish Kitty - Our tastes don't always line up but she has introduced me to tons of new books and I love hearing about what she and Mouse are up to.

Herding Cats and Burning Soup - Not only does this blog title mirror how my day is usually going but Anna is always reading something entertaining.  And when she's not reading she's trying to get the Herd to behave or cooking yummy food or coming up with interesting projects.

Caffeinated Book Reviewer - I discovered Kimberly's blog when I first started blogging and my TBR completely exploded.  She reads a wide variety of genres and manages to talk me into books I would never have thought of reading.

Quinn's Book Nook - If I'm looking for a romance Quinn is my go-to person.  She is always finding a new series that I must add to my TBR.  A large percentage of that list is her fault!

The Bookwyrm's Hoard - While Lark reads a lot more fantasy than I do (though she's convinced me that there are several I need to try) she also introduces me to all kinds of mysteries and romances that I simply must read.

BookHaven - Greg has convinced me I need to read more science fiction.  Plus he's always showing really fantastic old covers of old mysteries or science fiction that I absolutely love seeing.

Book Date - Kathryn is always reading the most gorgeous books and introducing me to must read books and authors that I hadn't come across before.

Modern Mrs. Darcy - I actually didn't become a regular reader of this blog until I discovered Anne Bogel's What Should I Read Next podcast that I love.

The Bloggess - Jenny Lawson never fails to crack me up and I always enjoy seeing what project she's up to next!

What blogs do you visit daily?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Death and the Viking's Daughter - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating:  I Really Liked It!
Source: NetGalley

Auctioneer Wren Morgan and her private eye fiance Death Bogart are ready to meet the parents and settle down together. But their sleuthing days are far from over. While Death and Wren are helping prepare auction items at an old supper club, a Viking reenactor nearly dies at the historical settlement next door. The cause? Seeing the ghost of his daughter, who went missing twenty years ago.

As Wren looks into what happened to the Viking's daughter, Death is hired to investigate the theft of historical items that have high sentimental value. When their respective investigations turn out to be connected, the couple gets caught in a deadly conflict.

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I love this series!  Death and Wren are fantastic main characters and there's always a bit of history mixed in with the mystery.

My Impression:  This series has been a favorite since the very beginning and this was my favorite book yet!  In the past 3 books there’s always been a transition.  First Death and Wren  meet and then they have a lot of Death’s past to deal with and even in book 3 things didn’t feel quite settled.  In this book, really for the first time, Death and Wren are able to focus on their future - and of course art theft, an old missing persons case, and a body in the rose bushes.

I really enjoyed following Death around on his investigation.  He’s good at what he does and is also just thoroughly likable.   I especially liked that he discussed his investigation with his brother, Randy and Wren and they brainstormed a bit together.  I'm a big fan of the team effort.  As well as Randy, Wren's employers the Keystone family get in on the action as do Wren's parents Edgar and Emily.

Now this isn't a typical dead body shows up in the first 50 pages/killer is arrested in the last 50 type book.  If you're wanting a standard mystery this isn't the book for you.  However, if you like a bit of history and a stone cold missing persons case (which is so me!) than this is a serious page turner.  I wasn't sure how it would all work out but I couldn't put it down until it was all revealed.  I was sick in bed reading this one and it pulled me completely into the book and I forgot all about just how miserable I was feeling.  

If you're looking for a great cozy with characters that you want to be friends with, a good dash of history, and an unusual plot than this is a must read!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm already looking forward to the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  I would!  If you enjoy a cozy with great characters and a little history than this is a must read.  I think you could jump in with this book without any problem understanding what was going on and how they're connected.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Rules of Hallmark Movies

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is a Love Freebie.  Now I read a decent amount of romance but lately I've been all about the mysteries so I was struggling to think of something.  Until I remembered my other current love - Hallmark movies.  It started with Christmas movies and the cozy mystery movies but lately I've been watching a lot of them.  They're great to have on while you're doing other things because if you miss a few minutes it's usually not to hard to figure out what you missed.  Based off of all my "research" here are my 10 Rules of Hallmark Movie World.

1.  If the woman is wearing very obvious makeup including contouring she is either the villain or the soon to be ex.  This is the same if the man has very styled hair or looks comfortable in a suit (especially if it features a pocket square and flashy tie).

2.  The heroine will be wearing natural looking makeup and have a tendency to pull her hair up in a ponytail or messy bun.  She will also have a fantastic collection of sweaters, cardigans, and boyfriend jeans.  The hero will look good in a suit but hate wearing it.  He will have a number of baseball style tees and maybe a flannel shirt if it's cold.

3.  Appropriate career choices for hero/heroine:
Heroine - 2nd Grade teacher (don't know why it's always 2nd grade), Bakery owner/caterer, boutique owner, travel agent, veterinarian, innkeeper.

Hero - Lawyer (but only estate or some other way that enables him to help out his community), Boat builder (seriously Hallmark world requires a lot of boats), former professional athlete who is now doing something charitable, contractor/landscape architect, regular architect, guy from money who does either is involved in academic research of charitable work.

Exception - The hero/heroine can be in finance or marketing but only at the beginning of the movie when they're workaholics and miserable.  There will be either a disaster or an inheritance which will show them what they really need to do to be happy.

4.  Hero/heroine will have either no family and be all alone in the world OR have lots and lots of family who all have no boundaries.  Frequently there is one of each.

5.  If the heroine is walking a dog the dog will become out of control and land her in an embarrassing situation.

6.  They will live in a small town or end up in a small town.  If there is not snow there will be time on an incredibly clean looking lake.

7.  Lacey Chabert will show up at some point.  And if she doesn't Danica McKellar, Candace Cameron-Burre or Erin Krakow will be there.

8.  Someone is going to have a quirky pet.  Either a rambunctious (and enormous) dog, a cat who is always into something, or if they're in a rural setting a goat.  Bunnies and tortoises and also possibilities.

9.  There will be a best friend.   The best friend is most likely happily married and will have no boundaries.

10.  If the heroine is baking she may have just a bit of flour/powdered sugar artfully placed on her face but her apron/shirt will be perfectly clean.  Hallmark world is a magical land or I am an incredibly sloppy baker.

Do you watch Hallmark movies?  Do you agree with these rules?