Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ten Books I'm Really Looking Forward to in 2018 Pt 2


This is a topic that I did a few times over at The Broke and the Bookish and honestly I always dreaded it a bit because I'm not great at keeping up with new releases.  However, I realized I was kind of missing it so I decided it was time to revisit this topic!

The Witch Elm by Tana French - I finally read a book by Tana French and fell in love with her writing style.  This one involves a crumbling family home and a skull being discovered in a trunk of a tree.  Secrets from the past abound!  (October 9)

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor - I finally read my first Hazel Gaynor earlier this year and absolutely loved it so I'm super excited to read this latest.(October 9)

The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah - I was just wondering when/if a new Poirot book by Hannah would come out when I saw this and I'm really looking forward to it.  I struggled with the first book but really enjoyed the 2nd. (August 28)

The Collector's Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro - I haven't read anything by this author yet but I've been wanting to and this one looks gorgeous. (October 16)

Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis - I've really been loving this Heartbreaker Bay series and am excited for the next one. (September 25)

Season of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne - I love RaeAnne Thayne and her Christmas books are my favorite so I'm excited for this one!(September 25)

I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel - I'm a big fan of the What Should I Read Next podcast and have had her first book on my TBR for awhile but this one appeals to me even more! (September 4)

The Lacemaker's Secret by Kathleen Ernst - There's family secrets and a body in an old farmhouse so I'm super excited to give this series a try. (October 8)

A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes - I loved the first book in this series about a woman who has inherited a music box store and am looking forward to seeing where the series goes. (November 8)

Echoes of Evil by Heather Graham - Somehow I haven't read any of the Krewe of Hunters books from this year but they look so good!  I'm hoping to read the first two before I get to this one. (September 18)

What books are you looking forward to reading in the second half of the year?




Monday, July 16, 2018

Scandal Above Stairs - Historical Mystery Review


Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher 

Description:  
Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat's employer asks for help in clearing her friend's name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair's wealthiest families.
Soon antiques are disappearing not only from the extravagant households of connoisseurs and collectors, but from the illustrious British Museum. As the thefts increase in frequency, Kat calls upon her friend Daniel McAdam, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop on the Strand as a seedy receiver of stolen goods. When a man is murdered in the shop, Kat must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:
  The first book in this series was one of my top ten favorite reads so far this year.

My Impression:
  This is a bunch of my favorite things wrapped up in one book.  I love historical mysteries, I love likeable characters, I love books where you get a peek behind the scenes, and I love mysteries involving art theft.  Throw in a fast pace and I'm in bookish heaven.

It's always a little scary starting the 2nd book in a series when you loved the first.  What if it doesn't live up to expectations?  This wasn't the case here - if anything I liked this book more!  I was so glad to see more of Lady Cynthia and Mr. Thanos and I thought Tess was an interesting addition to the world of the kitchen.  I found the structure of how a large household fascinating and not something I knew all that much about going in.

The mystery itself captured my interest from the beginning.  While there is a murder about a 1/4 into the book the discussions regarding art theft starts earlier.  There's also the mystery of just what Daniel McAdam is up to and just who is he in the first place which I enjoyed in the first book as well.  The pace is fast without being rushed and the mysteries kept me guessing all through the book.

I love this series.  The characters feel like friends, the setting is fascinating, and the mystery is fast paced and intriguing.   This was just a delight of a book and I'm already excited for the next mystery!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm anxiously waiting the next book already!

Would I Recommend this Book?
  Definitely!  Even if you're not a big mystery fan I think you'd enjoy this read.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

This Week in Reading - July 15


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!  It was kind of a weird week but somehow I ended up with no new books.  I did buy a couple of Boxcar Children books on Audible but those are for the Tornado so they don't count.  

It's not that I need any new books but it's been so long since I've gotten nothing new that I feel the need to go on a book buying binge or something though I will try to stay strong and resist!

Currently:

Reading:  I just started The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl which is kind of dark and creepy and Poisoned Pages by Lorna Barrett.

ListeningBecause of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn which I'm enjoying.  I'd been meaning to read it forever so I finally decided to go the audio route.

Watching:  We've just started watching Longmire on Netflix and are loving it!

Off the Blog:

It's been a fairly quiet week.  The Tornado was at robotics camp at the Space and Rocket Center all week and loved it.  He did it last year but this year he's in a higher age group so they did some slightly more complicated things with programming and designing.  He's pretty much convinced he wants to be software engineer.

This coming week the Tornado has two tennis lessons (one is a makeup).  He's been taking lessons for almost 2 months now and is really enjoying it.  After that he and I are heading down to Mississippi to visit my grandparents.  We haven't managed to make it down this summer and with school starting back at the beginning of next month I really want to make sure we get the trip in.  J isn't able to go with us but I think we'll have a good time.  I'm considering getting the audio book for the 1st Harry Potter for the drive.  I think he's probably old enough to handle the suspense and there's so much humor that I think it'll be a good listen.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Scandal Above Stairs - Historical Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Books I'm Really Looking Forward To in 2018 Pt 2
Wednesday:  Shelved Under Murder - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog 
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  Poisoned Pages - Cozy Mystery Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Staged 4 Murder + Till Death Do Us Tart - Cozy Mystery Reviews


Blurb:  Sophie “Phee” Kimball wants to get some work done at her private investigation company in Arizona—and she’s distracted already by her old crush, who’s arriving from Minnesota to join the staff. The last thing she needs is constant updates from her mom on the local production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.” Practically everyone from Mom’s book club and retirement community, with the possible exception of her chiweenie, Streetman, wants to join the cast and crew. But someone’s playing the role of the killer for real.

After a much-despised cast member is found dead on a catwalk in the theater, Phee has no choice but to be drawn into all the backstabbing and backstage gossip. Especially if her drama-queen mother is right about the vaguely threatening note left on her windshield, which could mean curtains for another victim . . 

My Thoughts:  This has been one of my favorite series from the very beginning and this one didn't let me down.  There's an Agatha Christie play being put on, a murder with more people with motives than not, and a ghost in the theater - oh and just a smidge of romantic possibility!  I loved seeing Phee again and the Booked 4 Murder book club are up to their usual hijinks and hysteria - this time with a theatrical twist.  I enjoyed having the PI firm that Phee works for being up and running and really liked the addition of Marshall to the cast.  The mystery was well done and really had me guessing.  There were all kinds of red herrings and any mystery that involves a background check is a winner for me.  You can jump into the series here without any trouble though I think it would probably be slightly more enjoyable if you started from the beginning just so you can get to know the book club a bit better.  My Rating:  Very Good


Goodreads:  Till Death Do Us Tart (A Bake Shop Mystery #8) by Ellie Alexander

Blurb:  Jules Capshaw has too much on her plate―and she’s feeling the pinch: the whole town of Ashland, Oregon, is in on the surprise Elizabethan-themed wedding she’s planning for her mom and soon-to-be stepdad. But is her secret scheme half-baked? She’s hiding racks overflowing with sweet treats while Torte is topsy-turvy with a major remodel and the return of Jules’s estranged husband, Carlos. And until now, Jules had no clue about the bitter family feud that has her friend Lance frazzled and suspicious. But when a party crasher takes someone out with a serving of poisoned wine and Jules discovers the deadly cup was intended for her, it’s time to turn the tables on a killer.

My Thoughts:  This is one of those series where you feel like you're visiting old friends.  I loved checking in with Jules, Sterling, Andy, and the rest of the Torte crew and regulars around the town of Ashland.  In the past the mysteries have revolved around the theater scene but this is a little bit different as there's a surprise wedding in the offing and all the town is involved.  That added a bit of fun and hijinks involved as plans are made and secrets are kept.  I enjoyed spending time with Jules and her mother as the addition to Torte is advancing and there all kinds of decisions to be made.  As well, I liked getting a bit more background on Lance.  He's always been a colorful character and a very big presence in the story but I feel like I know him so much better now.  Jules' husband Carlos has never been my favorite character in this series as it feels like there's mostly hand twisting and no progress in that situation but he was a welcome presence and I feel like there's finally some movement there.  The murder doesn't occur for quite some time which honestly I didn't even realize until it happened as I was enjoying my time in Ashland so much.  The mystery was solid and well done and I was really caught up in the whos and whys until the final reveal.  If you're a regular to the series than I think you'll be delighted with the new development.  While I feel like you wouldn't have any trouble jumping in here in terms of following along it is very character heavy and I think you would enjoy it a bit more if you started with an earlier book.  Rating:  Very Good

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday Linkups - Scandal Above Stairs















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:
Does a cluttered blog have you not returning?  By cluttered I mean too many columns, small type, too many photos, difficult to follow, etc?

My Answer:
It kind of depends on the blogger.  If it's a regular commenter or someone whose voice I really enjoy I'll put up with some visual annoyances.  However, if it is someone I don't really connect with I'll probably give it a miss.

This week's book is one I've been looking forward to for months.  I adored the Jennifer Ashley's first book in the Kat Holloway series and I've been counting days until the release of the 2nd book - Scandal Above Stairs.  So far it is not disappointing!

The Beginning
The clatter of crockery on the flagstone floor broke my heart.  I knew without turning that it was my platter of whole roast pig, the crowning glory of the vast meal I'd spent days creating for the supper party above stairs in this grand Mayfair house.

My Thoughts:
I think my heart would break if this had happened to me and that's having all the conveniences of a modern kitchen!  I can't imagine the heartache in 1881.

The 56:
No gentleman should have implicated a lady in the disappearance of the paintings, and Sir Evan had done so too readily.

My Thoughts:
I think that Sir Evan is up to no good!  And I do love a mystery that involves stolen paintings.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Somebody's Daughter - Mystery Review


Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:
When Michael Frazier's ex-wife, Erica, shows up on his doorstep pleading for help, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Erica's nine-year-old daughter is missing--and Michael is the father. Unable to quickly determine if Erica is telling the truth, and unwilling to leave the little girl's fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted and never knew he had.

But finding Felicity comes at a price--the closer Michael gets to the truth, the further into jeopardy his marriage falls and the faster his family begins to unravel. As lies that span a decade bubble to the surface and the window for Felicity's safe return closes, Michael will have just a few short days to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth.

Genre: Mystery - Thriller

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've been wanting to try Bell's mysteries for awhile so I jumped at the chance to review this one.

My Impression:
  To be honest I was a little nervous going into this because it violates one of my major rules for fiction enjoyment - no children in places of danger.  However, while the whole book is about finding Felicity it really isn't ABOUT Felicity.  We don't see her scared or vulnerable or any of the things that make my rule so necessary for my being able to sleep without having to actually visibly see my son.  The focus is more on what is going on with the adults and figuring out just what is a lie and what is the truth and I'm all about that.

With the exception of a tiny epilogue the book itself takes place over the course of one evening through three POVs.  We see what's happening through the perspective of Michael and his ex-wife Erica, Angela, and the police.  Each perspective is different and compelling and I was equally fascinated by all of them and felt that each really fleshed out the investigation.

The pacing is brilliant.  The chapters are fairly short and frequently end on small cliffhangers so I need to keep reading "just a little bit more" to see what happens next.  With each chapter I felt like I learned a little bit more or had the start of new theory and the progress I was making really kept me engaged and reading.  I was surprised to see that the book is listed as having 432 pages because I flew through it in just a couple of days.  Each change of POV is accompanied by a time stamp and I thought it added a bit to the feel of urgency but never got out of control where too much action is crammed in a short space (like in the TV show 24 where the main character has solved an international crisis, rescued a child from a dangerous car jacking, and beat up 4 terrorists all in two hours).

My only issue is that I wanted just a little bit more.  While the ending is resolved satisfactorily I did feel like there are some questions raised that aren't fully answered.  Enough is answered that I wasn't frustrated and I feel like I have enough that I can guess how it all ends but I like it nice and spelled out.

This was a compelling fast paced read that kept me turning pages late into the night. It had that perfect thriller balance where the tension holding my breath but wasn't so disturbing that it had me double checking the locks!  I'm already looking for Bell's previous books and I'll be looking for his next one.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  Definitely!  I think even non-thriller lovers would enjoy this one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Italian Iced - Cozy Mystery Review


Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description: 
When Laurel Inwood features Italian cuisine on the Terminal at the Tracks menu, she knows she'll need to stock the shelves, the fridge, and the freezer with plenty of wonderful delicacies. She just never expected one of them to be her old boss, Hollywood superstar Meghan Cohan.

But one day when Laurel is at the restaurant early to get ready for the regular rush of customers, that's exactly what she finds--Meghan dead in the Terminal freezer.

What's a Hollywood A-lister doing in Hubbard, Ohio?

For Laurel, that's the real question, because the first question she'd ask in any other murder investigation--who would want the victim dead?--seems pretty much a no-brainer in this case.

Who would want Meghan dead?

Just about anybody who had ever met her.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I actually own the first two books in this series but haven't read them so I was excited to get the opportunity to review this one.  Plus, the concept is so fantastic!

My Impression:
  Did I mention I love the concept of this book?  I wish a restaurant that changed the cuisine around once a month actually existed.  Thanks to all the foodie cozies I've read in the last few years my wishlist of restaurants/cafés/coffee shops/bakeries has exploded!

I love mysteries that involve digging into pasts and in this time we're looking into Laurel's past and the victim's past which was an extra bit of fun.  Just who was Meghan before she was famous and what was she looking for in Hubbard, Ohio?  It was quite a ride finding out with a crazy cast of characters some sympathetic and some thoroughly dislikable.  I was kept guessing until the end about just what had happened and who was the killer.

Laurel does have quite the complicated back story but I really had no problem feeling invested in the story and with the characters.  I think part of why it worked is that the roster of recurring characters is kept pretty small so while Laurel and Declan had some issues they were working through there weren't 15 other people with similar levels of dysfunction.  I am looking forward to going back to the beginning and learning more about Laurel but it's more because I liked her character than because I was confused about anything.  My only real issue was that occasionally the time line felt a little jumbled but more in a "wait - how many days has it been since she actually went home" vs a "wait - what's happening now" way so I didn't find this to be an issue.

This was a fun super fast paced cozy with a likable main character and food descriptions that will have you craving pasta.  I can't wait to find out what cuisine Laurel will be cooking next book!


Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm glad I have the first two books and I'll be looking for the 4th in the series.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy cozies this is a fun series and I loved the different cuisines spins!  I had no trouble jumping in right here so I think you could pick up with whichever book appeals to you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - All Time Favorites

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is a throwback.  So I searched the backlog lists and decided to do a topic I missed the first time around and that is All Time Favorites.  These aren't necessarily the best books ever but they're books that I can reread and get just as much enjoyment the tenth time I read them as I did the first time.

1.  Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery - While this is one of her lesser known books but one I think really needs more attention.  The main character is Anne's youngest daughter Rilla (named after Marilla Cuthbert) who is kind of coming of age just as World War I is breaking out.  There are hilarious moments and ugly cry moments and it's really just an interesting look at the Canadian home front during Word War I

2.  The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright - This was one of my absolute favorite books as a child and I read it countless times.  When my mother moved a number of years ago this book was discovered in one of the boxes and I promptly scooped it up and took it home and immediately fell back in love with it.

3.  The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher - I'm not sure I'd really count this as a favorite now but since this is an all time favorites list I couldn't leave it out.  I read my original copy so many times that it fell apart and then I got a second copy and read that so many times that IT fell apart.  I'm on my third copy now and it's pretty battered but since it's been years since I've reread it it's holding together.

4.  The Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie - This is probably not the best mystery Christie ever wrote but I love everything about it and could reread it endlessly.


5.  Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels - I love Michaels' Gothic-y romantic suspense books and this is one of my favorites.  I love all the mentions of gorgeous vintage clothes and the heroine is trying to get her life together which I love.  Throw in some spooky goings on and I can't get enough of this one.

6.  Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson - I read this book as soon as it came out and enjoyed it but didn't feel the need to reread it until I got the audio when it was on sale at Audible and I've probably listened to it ten times since I got it.

7. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff - This short little book of letters between an American writer and a bookstore in London.  I love this book and it makes me want to go out buy lots of gorgeous books.

8. Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie - I love Christie's short stories and this collection involving a PI who specializes in problems other than crimes is one of my favorites.

9.  Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts - Heroine looking to figure out what makes her happy, a gorgeous Irish setting, plus touches of magic and there's no way this one doesn't go on this list!

10. Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas - This is probably the only redeemed villain romance I've ever read that I believed and I adore their relationship which is as much a shock to everyone who knows them as it is to them.

What are some of your all time favorites?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Reviews from the Children's Section - Wednesdays in the Tower

One of my favorite genres and one that is the easiest for me to push aside is middle grade fiction. This year to make sure I get a little more children's and young adult fiction I thought I would designate the first Monday of every month Middle Grade Monday.  While a lot of my picks this year are classics I am trying to branch out a little bit and read new or at least recent releases.  This month's book is Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George which is the sequel to one of my very favorite reads from last year - Tuesdays at the Castle.

Wednesdays in the Tower (Castle Glower #2) by Jessica Day George

Blurb: A castle that is constantly rearranging itself, and a young royal family sworn to protect it... Celie, Rolf, and their beloved Castle Glower are back in this exciting sequel.

Strange things are afoot in Castle Glower: new rooms, corridors, and even stables keep arriving, even when they aren't needed. Celie's brother Bran, the new Royal Wizard, has his hands full cataloguing an entire storeroom full of exotic and highly dangerous weapons, while Celie has her hands full . . . raising the creature that hatches from a giant egg she finds! Will they be able to find out what's making the Castle behave this way in time?

My Thoughts:  The first book in this series was one of those books that just felt absolutely magical.  I loved the concept of the constantly changing castle and the kids fighting to save it so much.  I was really excited to continue with the series to find out what happens next.  I don't feel like this one pulled me in quite as much quite as quickly.  Because Celie was forced to keep things secret we lost a bit of the teamwork element which I had really enjoyed.  As well the castle, while still magical, wasn't as much as a character and the focus was more on figuring out what was going on with it instead of it being an ally.  It did take a few (very short chapters) but once I got used to the changes I was fascinated.  Just where had these rooms been?  What is the history of the castle and why is it so determined to keep the new addition a secret?  I also really enjoyed the bond between Celie and Rolf.   I didn't feel like we saw as much of him in the first book and I really liked how his more practical nature balanced out Celie's dreaminess a bit.  Though it did start a bit slower for me once I was in I was fully in and I thoroughly enjoyed this read.  It does end on a slight cliffhanger.  The bulk of the plot in this book is resolved there is a new adventure starting at the very end.  Luckily the 3rd book is out so you can just go on and have it ready!  Rating:  Very Good

As a parent I really had no issue with this one.  While there is some deception it's not particularly terrible and it is necessary.  As well Celie really wants to be truthful.  It doesn't lapse into preachiness which could put off younger readers - it's simply a great adventure story with some magic.  I think it would be wonderful for readers who are 8 and up.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

This Week in Reading - July 8

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 for review but Audible was having a sale and things kind of happened so I ended up with:

The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King - I've had a hard time getting to this one but I really want to read it since the previous book kind of ended on a cliffhanger so I thought I might have a better chance with audio.

The Disaster Artist by Tom Bissell and Greg Sestro - To be honest I don't know much about this book but I've heard a little bit about of the movie that this is about and it was on sale.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - I listened to Coraline earlier this year and really enjoyed it so I thought I'd add this one in.

Journey on a Runaway Train by Gertrude Chandler Warner - This one is really for the Tornado.  This is his favorite series so I thought having an audio book always accessible would be a good thing and it was only a few dollars.

Currently:

Reading:  Finishing up Italian Iced by Kylie Logan and The Next Always by Nora Roberts.  Also reading Staged 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton

Listening:  The audiobook I was listening to ended up being a DNF so I'm back to podcasts for now.

Watching:  We've been watching the World Cup and I've been really enjoying The Great British Baking Show (aka The Great British Bake-Off) now that they've got a new channel on PBS.

Off the Blog:

With the holiday being smack in the middle of the week here in the US it's been a kind of weird week.  I have no idea what day it is!  J took the last half of the week off and we've been tackling chores that have been waiting to get done.  For July 4 we had Eleanor, her husband and the Little One over for an early dinner and had a nice visit.  Then J, the Tornado, and I went and watched fireworks that the Space and Rocket Center were shooting.  We did a few small ones here at the house too.  I'm partial to the fountains which are so pretty but don't make the loud noises or leave a mess.

Earlier this week the Tornado and I visited a new branch of our usual library.  We normally visit the small local branch which I love and it's literally 2 minutes away.  They were unexpectedly closed the other day so we decided to head over to a new branch that had just opened about 15 minutes away and I was so impressed!  The main part is really open floor plan so I could get the Tornado settled at a table and see him from almost anywhere in the library.  The children's section was separate with a full time librarian specifically for the area and the selection was amazing.  He's been really into graphic novels (he's 8) lately and we found a bunch.  He's especially excited about the science related ones we found.  This coming week he's in Space Camp again and my goal is to get all the things I planned to get accomplished last time and try not to injure myself like last time!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Reviews from the Children's Section - Wednesdays at the Tower
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - All Time Favorites
Wednesday:  Italian Iced - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Somebody's Daughter - Mystery Review
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  Staged 4 Murder + Till Death Do Us Tart - Cozy Mystery Reviews

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Rainy Day Friends + The Risk of Rogues - Romance Reviews

Goodreads:  Rainy Day Friends (Wildstone #2) by Jill Shalvis

Blurb: Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife.

Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.

Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Brown changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build

My Thoughts:  I'm struggling a bit to organize my thoughts because I was up to 2am finishing this book.  So just from that alone I think it's safe to say that I enjoyed this book. It was definitely a quick read with a giant quirky on overload family.  While Lanie initially seemed very controlled and prickly Shalvis quickly gives us a peak behind the curtain and I really sympathized with her and just really liked her.  Mark was a little more of a generic amazing hero and could at times be a bit of a jerk though I did love how devoted he was to his girls.  I liked that there was a both an internal conflict between Mark and Lanie and an external conflict as River's past becomes known.  I loved how supportive they were to each other even though they kept vowing they weren't serious.  I didn't love this one quite as much as I loved the previous book but I did enjoy it.  I'm looking forward to my next visit to Wildstone.  This is a series of standalones so you can jump in here with no issues!  Rating:  Very Good

Goodreads:  The Risk of Rogues (The Sinful Suitors #5.5) by Sabrina Jeffries

Blurb:  Lady Anne is shocked when Captain Lord Hartley Corry—her former fiancé who left for India after her father forbade their marriage—returns to England and acts as if everything is all water under the bridge. He never fought for her hand or eloped with her as he promised and he thinks she’d still be willing to marry him? Not a chance.

Hartley is equally shocked to literally run into his past love upon arriving at his brother’s house. Though he yearns to take advantage of this second chance to woo his beloved, he can hardly admit that he is secretly a spy—at least not until he can be sure he trusts her. But convincing Lady Anne to let him prove his sincerity by courting her respectably all over again might be his undoing. Because all he wants is to show her how much of a rogue he can be when the right woman is in his arms…

My Thoughts:  I really enjoy novellas where the couple has a history because it really makes the short time span not be a big deal.  That's very definitely the case with Hart and Anne.  They most definitely have a history but things are not unicorns and rainbows - especially not from Anne's perspective.  I enjoyed their week to get to know each other again and work through the misunderstandings and misconceptions that surrounded the last time they saw each other.  They don't shy away from the real issues and at times I did wish there was a bit more fun but the intensity did make sense.  I loved the end and I loved how it really did feel like they had worked through issues and nothing was swept under the rug.  This is a couple that I feel was perfect for a novella.  I enjoyed getting to know them but don't feel I was short changed by having a smaller page count with them.  This was a sweet and serious novella and one I thoroughly enjoyed.  Rating: Good

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday Linkups - Italian Iced















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 were stranded on a desert island which ONE book could you not live without?

My Answer:
I literally just wrote a post about books I'd take to a desert island and I had it down to 10 books and 3 rather large series and felt like I had achieved the impossible.  Now you want me to take that down to one???  I'm going to say a short story collection by Agatha Christie - I'm thinking Three Blind Mice and Other Stories.  Her short stories are so great and have such a range of subjects that I think that would keep me entertained for awhile.

This week's book is Italian Iced by Kylie Logan.  Logan is a cozy author I've been wanting to read for awhile and this series focusing on different world cuisines really intrigues me.  I have the first two but haven't read them yet but so far it's working pretty well to be jumping in with the 3rd!

The Beginning:
The sound didn't make any sense.

My Thoughts: 
The narrator is waking up when she's thinking this and I can really identify with that thought!

The 56:
I wrapped my arms around myself.  "I don't think I like the thought of people talking about me.  And I'm sure I don't like the thought of some creepy guy asking where I live and one of our neighbors telling him."

My Thoughts:
I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like either of those things either!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  What one book would you take to a desert island?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Buried in Books - Cozy Mystery Review


Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Brooklyn has done everything she can to prepare for her nuptials with Derek and simply can't wait to start her new life with him. But things don't go as planned when Brooklyn's college frenemies, Heather and Sara, surprise her with a last-minute bridal shower. However, Brooklyn is touched when the women gift her rare copies of The Three Musketeers and The Red Fairy Book.

When one frenemy is found murdered and one of the rare books is deemed a forgery, Brooklyn can't help but wonder if the victim played a part in this fraud or if a murderer is still out there scamming and killing. Wedding jitters, counterfeit books, and a killer on the loose could ruin Brooklyn and Derek's big day. Can they make it down the aisle before more bodies start stacking up?

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I just read the previous book and have been a fan of this series since the beginning.

My Impression:
  Who knew books could be so dangerous.  This is the twelfth book in this series and in each one there has been at least one murder directly connected to a book!   Brooklyn and Derek's relationship has been a thread that has run throughout the entire series so it was really fun to see them actually get married though it would be them if book related murder and mayhem didn't pop up.

The characters really make this book for me.  I love Brooklyn and Derek and all the characters that make up their world - especially both sets of parents.  I also enjoyed seeing the reunion between Brooklyn and her grad school roommates though frenemies is definitely the word to describe them.  I also enjoyed seeing Brooklyn teach a seminar (though it made me desperately want to learn how to make an accordion book) as well as seeing her reaction to being called a murder magnet.

The actual murder shows up a little later in the book -around page 100 or so - but it never felt like the book dragged or that I was in setup overload.  I did kind of figure out the whys and the whos but the reveal was still exciting and I still had a few questions right up until the full reveal.  This was a fast read and well paced.  Since there is a major life event that occurs for Brooklyn here and a lot of the page time is given to that I'm not sure how well this book would work for first time readers of the series but if you're a long time fan it will be a treat!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I missed a few in the middle and am going to reading them while I wait for the next book.  

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you're a fan of the series than absolutely.  If you're new to the series I recommend you start with an earlier book.  I feel like the first few books are more mystery focused while more recent books have had more character focus.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Books from the Backlog - Too Bad to Die

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!  Today's book is Too Bad to Die by Francine Matthews.



Blurb:  November, 1943. Weary of his deskbound status in the Royal Navy, intelligence officer Ian Fleming spends his spare time spinning stories in his head that are much more exciting than his own life until the critical Tehran Conference, when Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin meet to finalize the D-Day invasion. With the Big Three in one place, Fleming is tipped off that Hitler's top assassin has infiltrated the conference. Seizing his chance to play a part in a real-life action story, Fleming goes undercover to stop the Nazi killer.

Why I Want to Read it:  I've really enjoyed Ian Fleming's novels and know that he had a rather adventurous life so am curious to read a book with him as the main character.