Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Pawful Truth - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Thew Pawful Truth (Cat in the Stacks #11) by Miranda James

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description: In addition to his library duties and his role as doting grandad, Charlie has enrolled in an early medieval history course offered by young, charismatic professor Carey Warriner. Charlie feels a bit out of place- his fellow classmates are half his age- except for Dixie Bell Compton, another ‘mature’ student. When Charlie hears an angry exchange between her and their professor, his interest in piqued. He’s even more intrigued when she shows up at his office asking for a study partner. Charlie turns her down and is saddened to learn just a few days later that Dixie has been killed.
Charlie wonders if Professor Warriner had anything to do with Dixie’s death. Warriner is married to a fellow professor who happens to be a successful author. There are rumors on campus that their marriage was on the rocks. Was Dixie's death the result of a lovers’ triangle gone bad? Charlie soon discovers that the professor’s wife may have some secrets of her own and his suspect list is only getting longer.

As he and Diesel step further into the tangled web of relationships, someone else is viciously killed. Whose jealousy finally erupted into murderous rage? Was it a crime of passion or is there another more sinister motive? Charlie races to unravel this mystery: and to draw out the culprit, he may just have to put his own life on the line…

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed the last few books in the series so of course I couldn't resist this one!

My Impression:  This is one of those series that feel like visiting old friends as soon as you open the book.  This can be both good and bad.  Sometimes series with such developed characters and communities will have a book where the primary plot gets a little lost in all the character interaction and that was definitely the case here.  The mystery itself was very good but there were a number of times when it was a little lost.  It also developed a little late in the book which led to a fairly rushed feeling ending and a few threads that never felt fully wrapped up.

However, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I especially enjoyed the relationship between Azalea and Ramses the kitten.  We also got to catch up with Charlie's children and grandchildren which has factored into previous books.  This was everything a cozy mystery should read - enjoyable, fast paced with characters you just want to spend time with.  My only complaint was the mystery was a little weak and sometimes overshadowed by the fun characters.  If you're new to the series then this is probably not the book to start with but if you're a long time fan then I think you'll love it.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I can't wait until the next book and really want to read the earlier books in the series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you love cozies I highly recommend this series but you may want to start with an earlier book.  If you're a long time fan of the series then I think you'll enjoy this one as much as I did.

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Auto-Buy Authors

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  This week's Top Ten list is about Auto-Buy Authors.  I'm bad about having Auto-Buy Authors and then not reading them and letting quite a collection stack up.  There's been a time or two (or more) that I've decided an author is the one for me then proceeded to buy all of their books without actually trying them.  And then of course I discover I can't stand their books.  These are not those authors!

1.  Kate Morton - I just finished my 4th Kate Morton and I can safely say that I will buy anything she comes out with.  I love the world she creates and the family secrets that are always hidden in the stories.

2.  Nora Roberts - I've been reading Nora Roberts for years and I will pick up anything by her as soon as I see them.  Plus, I loved her response to the whole plagiarism scandal that blew up a few months ago which made me appreciate her even more.

3.  Sabrina Jeffries - Jeffries is a romance author I trust.  No matter what the plot is (including secret child) I trust her to make it work and so far she has never let me down.

4.  Jill Shalvis - When I start a new Shalvis book I know it's going to be fun and entertaining with the occasional darker topic addressed.  There's usually going to be a dog who will also be fantastic.

5.  Emilie Richards - Richards is another author I've been reading for years and I love how she handles complicated relationships.  Her latest book had a touch of suspense to it that I absolutely loved and I will always pick up a book of hers.

6.  Katherine Reay - I've actually only read one book by this author but I loved it so much she made the list on the strenght of that alone!

7.  Laura Lee Guhrke - Another author I've been reading for years and I really feel like she's a bit neglected in the historical romance genre.  Her books always have great characters and are thoroughly enjoyable with an occasional unique twist.

8.  Jenn McKinlay - I adore McKinlay's cozy mysteries and I discovered I loved her contemporary romance as well so if I see a book by her I read it!

9.  Jenny Colgan - I've known about Colgan for years but she only recently made this list with her trilogy (fingers crossed there are more to come) set on the Isle of Muir off the coast of Scotland.

10. Hazel Gaynor - I'm still pretty new to Gaynor but what I've read I've loved.  Her covers are always stunning and her blurbs always catch my interest.

Who are some of your auto buy authors?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Layover - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Layover by David Bell

Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work. His life is a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, Joshua meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it's time for their flights, Morgan gets up to leave, leans over and passionately kisses Joshua, lamenting that they'll never see each other again.
As Morgan slips away, Joshua is left feeling confused by what just happened between them. That's when he looks up and is shocked to see Morgan's face flashing on a nearby TV screen. He's even more shocked when he learns the reason why--Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets to discover the truth about why Morgan is on the run. But when he finally thinks every mystery is solved, another rears its head, and Joshua's worst enemy may be his own assumptions about those around him...

Genre: Mystery 

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed his previous book and this sounded intriguing.

My Impression:  I love David Bell's writing style.  Right from the start I'm pulled in and completely connected to the story.  I found the police investigation absolutely fascinating and loved when the POV shifted to the police detective Kimberly.  The investigation really kept me reading - what happened to the missing entrepreneur, was his brother involved, and just how was the woman in the airport involved?  I thought her struggles with balancing time for her daughter and her job seemed very realistic and not overdone. 

I had some problems with the main plot involving Morgan and Joshua that started at the airport.  I was interested and really wanted to find out just what was going on but Joshua's decisions made me want to shake him.  I get that he was floundering in both this professional and personal life but some of his choices were flat out insane and stalker-y.  But while I was rolling my eyes at Joshua's impulsiveness I was flying through the pages to see just what happened next and dying to see how it resolved.   I wasn't disappointed!

This is the 2nd book from David Bell but it won't be my last.  Even when his characters drive me crazy his writing style pulls me and his intriguing plots keep me up way too late!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'd like to pick up some of his previous books and I'll be looking for the next book too!

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would.  If you enjoy psychological thriller type mysteries then I think you'd enjoy this one.

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

Sunday, July 14, 2019

This Week in Reading - July 14

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:

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman - I've been wanting to read this author since her last few books but I couldn't pass up this one.  (Audible)

Under Currents by Nora Roberts - I've actually taken a pass on Roberts' most recent books but this one sounds good and I've been enjoying romantic suspense in audio.  (Audible)

Molded 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton - I love this series and honestly I didn't even read the blurb.  (NetGalley)


Reading: No More Time by Suzanne M. Trauth and Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie

Listening: I finally finished Suddenly One Summer by Julie James and am just starting What We Find by Robyn Carr

Watching:  Still not much other than an occasional crime show.

Off the Blog:

Nothing new.  More rental house madness but the end (fingers crossed) is in sight.  We are heading down to Birmingham for a post wedding party this weekend.  More physical therapy but the end is in sight there as well. 

On another note I'm unofficially doing the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading challenge this year and one of the categories is to read a book recommended by someone with great taste so could you recommend a book?  Any genre, old, new, whatever - what is a book that you always recommend?

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Layover - Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Auto-Buy Authors
Wednesday: The Pawful Truth - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday: Books from the Backlog
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Forgotten Room - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Lauren Willig, and Beatriz Williams

Rating: Good
Source:  Library

Description: 1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.
Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel's portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate? And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother? In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known. But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room?

The Forgotten Room, set in alternating time periods, is a sumptuous feast of a novel brought to vivid life by three brilliant storytellers.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I loved the premise of this and have enjoyed books by all three authors so this seemed like a must read.

My Impression:  Three women - all searching for something, all connected to a society mansion, a ruby necklace and a miniature portrait.  I was fascinated by all the links and connections and the stories of each of the women.  Olive, Lucy, and Kate each have their own story to tell and each have their own mysteries that they want to solve.  Of the three I found Lucy's the least compelling though I liked her very much and found one of the answers she found very sweet.  I was most interested in Kate's story and would have liked more about her.  She's tough and very smart and more than a bit lonely.  I liked Olive the least though I found her story fascinating.  She's a little immature and while I can understand her desperation she definitely hasn't much thought much about how she's going to implement her plan.

I was impressed with how well the stories fit together.  With each chapter the POV changed but while each character had a distinct voice at no point did the book feel incoherent or jumbled.  If the front cover didn't state that this was a collaboration of 3 authors I don't think I would have realized it from the seamless execution.

While I enjoyed the stories I wanted a bit more.  A little more character development and a bit more expansion on just how events played out.  I think I wanted the end spelled out for me a little more too.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I'd read books by any of these authors again - especially Beatriz Williams.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical fiction then I think you'd enjoy this book.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Friday Fives - Top Five Favorite Books of 2019 So Far

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 it's just over halfway through the year I thought I'd take a look back at my reading and pull the 5 books I enjoying reading the most this year.  Since this is kind of casual and unofficial I'm counting rereads which I normally don't do but I'm feeling a bit rebellious. 

1.  Dead Wake by Erik Larson - I've been wanting to read Erik Larson's books for years and have always been fascinated by the sinking of the Lusitania.  I found this fascinating and am looking forward to reading more from him.

2.  The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay - This was one of those perfect books at the perfect time.  I loved the characters and the bookshop and just everything about it. 

3.  Dark Witch by Nora Roberts - I read this one right when it came out but was a little meh about it.  I picked it up on Audible during a sale and decided to relisten to it and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I went on to listen to rest of the trilogy and really enjoyed it.

4.  The Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie - I love Agatha Christie and I love her short stories.  This is a Hercules Poirot collection and the setup is so fun and it's got a great variety of stories.  It's light and refreshing and I really enjoyed reading it again.

5.  Flowers in the Rain and Other Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher - This is a short story collection that I forget about for months on end and then occasionally just have to reread it.  Pilcher passed away earlier this year and I knew I had to reread this collection.  It's sweet and endearing and so incredibly Pilcher.

What are some of your favorite books so far this year?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Books from the Backlog - Little Beach Street Bakery

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!  This week's book is Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan.

Goodreads:  Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Blurb:  Amid the ruins of her latest relationship, Polly Waterford moves far away to the sleepy seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives in a small, lonely flat above an abandoned shop.

To distract her from her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, and the local honey-courtesy of a handsome local beekeeper. Drawing on reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes . . . and discovers a bright new life where she least expected it.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I do want to read it but I also discovered that the Romance Package (or whatever they're calling it now) on Audible has the 2nd one so I need to read this one so I can listen to that one.