Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is Top Ten Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype.  There's nothing more disappointing than a book that you just know you're going to love falling absolutely flat.  On the flip side it's so amazing when a book absolutely lives up to expectations.  Here are 10 that really worked for me!

1.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - It took me forever to get around to reading this book (or any book by Moriarty) but when my library got this in audio I decided it was time and I'm so glad I did!  

2.  Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - I had no plans to read this one because it seemed like a guaranteed ugly cry and I'm not a fan of that.  But (and I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this) I loved the movie previews so much I had to read the book.

3.  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - I really wasn't very interested in reading this but I picked up another book by this author on a whim and absolutely loved it so I knew I had to read this one and it was gorgeous!

4.  Still Life by Louise Penny - I didn't discover Louise Penny until I started blogging but everyone who loves mysteries seemed to adore this series so I knew I had to try this one!

5.  As You Wish by Cary Elwes - Before picking this one up I had seem nothing but glowing reviews and after listening to it I became one of them.  If you love the movie Princess Bride than you must read/listen to this book and I highly recommend going the audio riyte.

6.  A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn - I really enjoyed other books by Deanna Raybourn but this first in a new series really seemed to be everywhere for awhile.  When (several years later) I read it I could see why.  It was so good!

7.  The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn - Everyone I knew who had read this book told me to read it and it came up frequently as a favorite or recommendation on the What Should I Read Next podcast from Anne Bogel.  It made me want to make chicken stock and really learn the basics!

8.  Matilda by Roald Dahl - Somehow I missed Roald Dahl completely as a child but Matilda always seemed to be on the list of most loved childhood books.  I ended up reading it as an adult and adored it.

9.  Before the Fall by Noah Hawley - I really had no intention of reading this.   I don't like disaster books and I don't like any book where children are in peril and this had a little bit of both but for some reason I picked it up and I loved it!  It definitely kept me reading and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen.

10. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout - This was another one I had no interest in reading but I saw some really good reviews and then my library got in audio so I figured that was a sign.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed this quiet little novel.  It was definitely worth the read!

What hyped books lived up to your expectations? 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Rancher's Dream - Contemporary Romance Review


Rating:
Source: Blog Tour

Description:  
Tragedy sent Deidre “Drey” Hunter running from rancher Hawk Cahill and into the arms of a sleek businessman who promised her a new life. But dreams of Manhattan days and cosmopolitan nights shatter when he brings her back to an ultramodern paradise in her hometown of Gilt Edge—and vanishes on their wedding night.

Taunted by seclusion and silence, Drey starts to doubt everything…including her sanity. Only Hawk, the stubborn cowboy from her school days, believes the threats are real and that someone is ready to kill. But is he willing to forgive the past if it means ending her nightmare?

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've really been enjoying this series about the Cahill family so I couldn't pass this one up.

My Impression:
  I've really been enjoying this series about the Cahill family and was super excited to see Hawk's story.  In the previous books Hawk has always seen a bit unknown and really focused on the ranch.  But wow!  Turns out he had quite a lot going on behind that quiet fa├žade.  This was a read that pulled me in from the beginning.  I liked Drey though I did question her judgement a bit for marrying a man that was so obviously sinister despite the pretty window dressing but even that didn't go quite as I expected.  The suspense is well done and kept me turning pages and I loved the characters.  B.J. Daniels is an author that has become in the last year or two and she always delivers!  If you're looking for a romantic suspense with a touch of cowboy-ness you really must try this book and then give the rest of the series a try!  While this is the 6th book in the series you can easily jump in here!  Rating:  Very Good

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


Connect with B. J. Daniels

Website | Facebook | Twitter



Sunday, July 29, 2018

This Week in Reading - July 29

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:

A Christmas Revelation by Anne Perry - I have a bit of a mixed history with Anne Perry.  I loved the look of her books when they were first coming out years and years ago and bought them all.  Then when I went to read them it turned out I didn't really enjoy them.  This cover looks so nice and Christmas-y that I thought I'd give her another try.  (NetGalley)

Sail Away with Me by Susan Fox - I really liked the blurb on this contemporary romance and I thought the cover was pretty as well so I thought I'd give this author a try.  (NetGalley)

Bells, Spells and Murders by Carol J. Perry - I've really enjoyed this cozy mystery series so I had to grab the latest book!  (NetGalley)

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White - I've been wanting to read the first book in the series for ages and when I was offered this reprint of a later book I jumped at the chance.  I'm really looking forward to it!  (Publisher)

Currently:

Reading:  Dune Drive by Mariah Stewart (for a review Wednesday - running a bit late!) and Fade to Black by Heather Graham

Listening:  I'm finishing up Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan and am about to get back to Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Watching:  We're still watching Longmire and are really enjoying them though I don't love the plot about Walt's wife's murder.

Off the Blog:

We met the Tornado's teachers this week and I really like them.  I hope he's going to have a great year!

I'm writing this in a bit of a rush because we decided very last minute that we were going to go on a vacation for a long weekend.  We're not really spontaneous people and normally when we go somewhere I've been planning for a few weeks and know the hours and cost of pretty much everything we want to do (we're not even going to talk about the Disney notebook) so I'm scrambling a bit but I'm really excited.  We figured we'd get one last little vacation in before school starts next week!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Rancher's Dream - Contemporary Romance Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype
Wednesday:  Dune Drive - Contemporary Romance Review
Thursday:  Reviews from the Children's Section - Sea of Monsters
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  She Was the Quiet One - Mystery Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Who Moved My Goat Cheese + Killer Green Tomatoes - Mini Cozy Reviews

Goodreads:  Who Moved My Goat Cheese (Farm-to-Fork Mystery #1) by Lynn Cahoon

Blurb:  With three weeks until opening night for their restaurant, the County Seat, Angie and her best friend and business partner Felicia are scrambling to line up local vendors—from the farmer's market to the goat dairy farm of Old Man Moss. Fortunately, the cantankerous Moss takes a shine to Angie, as does his kid goat Precious. So when Angie hears the bloodcurdling news of foul play at the dairy farm, she jumps in to mind the man's livestock and help solve the murder. One thing's for sure, there's no whey Angie's going to let some killer get her goat . . .

My Thoughts:  I love Lynn Cahoon and I love foodie books so I was really excited to start this series.  I liked reading about Angie setting up her new restaurant and all the complications that happen - especially when dealing with small vendors. The murder occurs pretty near the beginning and the plot really got moving.  I enjoyed the community Cahoon created and Angie especially is a character I'm looking forward to seeing again.  While I did enjoy this read it wasn't my favorite book from Cahoon.  I'm not sure if this series just doesn't click with me as much as her South Cove series or if this book just suffered a bit from first book setup issues.  This aside, I'm definitely looking forward to continuing the series.  Rating:  Good


Goodreads:  Killer Green Tomatoes (Farm to Fork Mysteries #2) by Lynn Cahoon

Blurb:  To Angie, nothing tastes more like summer than her Nona's fried green tomatoes. Eager to add the recipe to the menu at the County Seat, she's found the perfect produce supplier—her sous chef Estebe’s cousin, Javier. Just one problem: ladies’ man Javier’s current hot tomato Heather has turned up dead, and he’s the prime suspect. Somehow, between managing her restaurant and navigating a romantic triangle between Estebe and Ian, the owner/manager of the farmer's market, Angie needs to produce evidence to clear Javier—before this green tomato farmer gets fried . . .

My Thoughts: Normally I have some time in between books in a series but that was not the case here.   As soon as I finished the first book I dove into this one and I really enjoyed staying in Angie's world.  I forgot to mention when talking about the first book how much I enjoyed the giant puppy, Dom.  I love a big goofy dog in a book and Dom is the biggest and goofiest which is a lot of fun.  There are some scenes that aren't related to the mystery but more to Angie's life in general.  I really enjoy this in a cozy because what pulls me to a series is the characters and the setting so I like getting to know both.  The mystery was good and the pacing kept me entertained which is expected in a Lynn Cahoon mystery.  This doesn't replace the South Cove series as my absolute favorite but I am excited to see where it goes and the first two mysteries have been very solid and enjoyable.  Rating:  Good

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday Linkups - Beach Town




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:
Do you agree or disagree with this statement:  A blogger's first name should be in a prominent place on his/her blog?

My Answer:
I probably slightly agree but it isn't a deal breaker.  I do prefer to have a name to associate with a blog/blogger but if there isn't one I can make do with a nickname!  My first name isn't really featured prominently but it's scattered about so hopefully that'll do!


I've been feeling a bit meh with what I'm reading so I thought I'd change it up a bit and do some true beach reading with Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews.  I've been wanting to read Andrews for ages and this book has been sitting on my shelf for years!  I've just started this one but so far I'm enjoying it.

The Beginning:  
Greer Hennessy needed palm trees.

My Thoughts: 
I'm not really a big beach person.  We went a lot when I was a kid so maybe I got it out of my system or that it's simply just not my style of vacation but I know plenty of people that get a bit jumpy if they go to long without seeing palm trees.

The 56:
"You can't file for the request for the variance.  It has to be the landowner."

My Thoughts:  
Filing requests for variances does not sound like it's going to be fun and hassle free - especially if multiple people need to be involved.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  What genre are you in the mood for right now?


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Books from the Backlog - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

Blurb:  The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

Why It Needs to Get Off the Backlog:  This is such a classic and I know so many people who absolutely adore it.  Not only have I never read it but I really don't even know that much about it.  A few years ago I decided it was time to read it and bought a really pretty copy.  Have I read it?  Of course not!  But I really feel like I should.

Have you read this one?  What classic do you have on your shelf that you know you should read but just haven't managed it yet?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service - Cozy Mystery Review


Rating:  Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  
When royal sleuth Georgie Rannoch receives a letter from her dearest friend Belinda, who’s in an Italian villa awaiting the birth of her illegitimate baby, she yearns to run to her side. If only she could find a way to get there! But then opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—her cousin the queen asks her to attend a house party in the Italian Lake Country. The Prince of Wales AND the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.

What luck! A chance to see Belinda, even if it is under the guise of stopping unwanted nuptials. Only that’s as far as Georgie’s fortune takes her. She soon discovers that she attended finishing school with the hostess of the party—and the hatred they had for each other then has barely dimmed. Plus, she needs to hide Belinda’s delicate condition from the other guests. And her dashing beau, Darcy is (naturally) working undercover on a dangerous mission. Then her actress mother shows up, with a not-so-little task to perform. With all this subterfuge, it seems something is bound to go horribly wrong—and Georgie will no doubt be left to pick up the pieces when it does.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I really enjoyed the first few books in this series and while I've missed several I wanted to catch up with Georgie and Darcy.  

My Impression:
  This series has always been a bit of a fun romp of a cozy and this entry was no exception.  It starts off with Georgie in Ireland feeling somewhat at loose ends as Darcy has been called away and there's not much she can do but sit around and wait.  But Georgie doesn't have as much time to sit around as she expected and is soon called back to England by none other than the Queen of England herself.  Georgie has tea with the Queen in just about every book and it always adds a bit of fun to the book.  Poor Georgie is often starving and I can imagine seeing all those delicious sounding pastries go to waste has to be maddening!

The mystery was intriguing.  Not only are there the regular motives and emotions for murder floating around but there's a hefty dose of pollical intrigue and royal scandals which makes this extra fun.  While there is a lot going on with everyone having a different angle it was a lot of fun unraveling all the different threads.  I had a pretty good clue as to the who which isn't unusual for most mysteries but the reading experience was enjoyable enough that I was still able to enjoy the read.

I love the 1930s setting and the juggling that Georgie has to do to keep up appearances when she's basically flat broke is simultaneously entertaining and exhausting.  I was pleased to discover that Georgie has grown up a bit in the last few books.  She still has her sense of humor and her sparkle but she isn't quite as silly as she sometimes was in previous books.  This was a fun book that really felt like catching up with old friends!

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

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you're looking for a light historical mystery this series is a good choice.  While I don't think the series necessarily has to be read in order I think it might be best to read a few books from earlier in the series first to get an idea of who everyone is and how they're connected.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is Books with Sensory Reading Memories.  I'm focusing on books that I vividly remember reading.  I usually remember the plot of a book that I've read but not so much the experience or where I was and these books were the exception.  I'm trying to stick with books I've read at least 2 years ago to be sure the memory is especially vivid.

1.  My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout - I listened to the end of this book while sitting in the car at my son's school waiting to pick him up.  It was pouring down rain and the simple yet emotionally complex story really fit the weather perfectly.

2.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - This was the first book I read for a book club and I remember curling up in a chair in the living room and blocking everything out while I tried to figure out just what was going on with the characters.

3.  In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware - This was not only my first book by Ruth Ware but it was my first book narrated by Imogen Church and it seriously hooked me.  I ended up deep cleaning my kitchen just so I could listen longer and when the climax was approaching I was standing absolutely still just waiting to find out what was going to happen!

4. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - I resisted reading this book because I heard it was ugly cry inducing and I'm not a fan of the ugly cry.  But I gave in and I ended up finishing this in the car while we were heading to vacation.  I warned my husband that I was going to cry and I absolutely did.

5.  Marley and Me by John Grogan - I read this book in one sitting and finished it at like 2 or 3 am and was sobbing so hard that I woke up my husband and he refused to believe that I was crying that hard over a book.

6.  Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - I read most of this sitting outside on the deck.  I live in Alabama and there are approximately 4 days out of the year where the temperature is right, the humidity is low, and the mosquitos haven't come out yet that are absolutely perfect for outdoor reading and I was reading this when one of those days arrived.  The fact that I really enjoyed it but didn't expect to made this extra memorable.

7.  The Collector by Nora Roberts - I read this one at the beach.  I honestly don't remember all that much about the book itself but I do vividly remember sitting on the balcony of the condo after getting crazy sunburned and enjoying this read.

8.  Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel - I remember sitting up late struggling through this biography of L.M. Montgomery because I really really disliked it.  By the end I disliked both the author and the subject and it took awhile before I could read anything else by Montgomery!

9.  Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn - I read this one when I was about ten and I vividly remember sitting out on a swing in the backyard wide eyed and flying through this one.  The swing was somewhat hidden from the backdoor so there's the very real possibility that I was hiding from my mother so that I could finish it!

10. Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann M. Martin - I loved the Babysitter's Club series so much and I loved the mysteries especially I remember being absolutely delighted and spooked by this one.  I read this one sitting on the floor of a bookstore while mother talked to a friend!

What books do you remember reading?

Monday, July 23, 2018

What I've DNF'd So Far This Year

I'm not really much of a DNFer.  Normally I will stick with a book even if I'm hating every second of reading it.  Lately I've realized that's not really the most logical position.  I have thousands and thousands of books that are waiting for me to read them and I will most likely love most of them.  So why am I wasting my too scarce reading time on a book that I just don't like?  This is probably more DNFs than I've ever had but I am glad that I'm getting better about recognizing that a book just isn't for me.

Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehman - I really wanted to love this.  I love dual timelines, I love vintage clothes, and I actually own a piece of china that my great-grandparents bought at the Wannamakers in Manhattan in the early 1900s which overlaps with on of the timelines in this book so there was even an extra bit of personal connection.  However, I just couldn't get into it.  Both present and past voices were exactly the same and both unlikable.  I could never connect with the characters or get into the plot which felt a bit like reading a deposition.

An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler - This is another one I really wanted to love.  I love foodie books and I love the idea of cooking with what's on hand and to suit your mood neither of which I'm particularly great at doing.  She does a lot of contemplating of vegetables or other simple ingredients which for a chapter or two is interesting and even at times inspiring but after two chapters turns into three and then more it kind of became redundant.  I am intrigued by the parsley oil and there are a number of very simple dishes that she makes that sound tasty.   However, after investing 120 pages of time into it I just simply couldn't make myself pick the book up again.  Honestly I was just bored with it.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - This was one of my favorite books as a child so I was really excited to listen to it.  I'm not disputing that this is well written and well executed but I just couldn't get into it.  I felt so sorry for Kit who was clearly out of her element and completely blindsided by the difference in the new community she lands in after a fairly carefree life in Barbados that it became unpleasant to listen to.  I think my issue is that this isn't what I want out of a Middle Grade fiction right now.  I don't mind more serious tone but I am looking for an adventure theme and this just felt grueling and cheerless.  I do believe this is a case of "It's not you, it's me" but I'm trying to get better at ditching books that I'm really not enjoying and this was definitely the case here.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs - I really enjoyed Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.  It had such a delightful weirdness and was such a fun short little story with some creepiness and a selection of truly bizarre vintage photos thrown in for good measure.  I expect to love this one just as much but right from the start it fell flat for me.  It was missing the quirkiness that I had so enjoyed in the first book and just felt too long and cumbersome.  It wasn't awful but when I was able to put it down for a week and had zero interest in picking it back up I figured it was time to let it go.

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl - I really wanted to love this.  I've been enjoying thrillers lately and the fact that this is one set in Norway really intrigued me.   I feel like I could have dealt with the fact that the main character was so incredibly unlikable but I just couldn't get past that the premise was so unlikely.  I live in a community similar to what she described (though in the States) and there is no way that the people at the swimming pool would have released the child they didn't know into the custody of an adult who was a stranger to the child and Cecilia's actions following this were equally unbelievable.  Coupled with the fact I felt the writing was a bit clunky and the fact that Cecilia is just the worst I decided this one just wasn't for me.  I do think my experience did hamper my enjoyment of the book somewhat as I just couldn't get past what to me felt too absurd.

What have you DNF'd this year?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

This Week in Readng - July 22

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:

Another quiet week but I did pick up one book. 

Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien - Lana Lee ends up running her parents' Chinese restaurant, dealing with the murder of the couple who owns the shop next door, and figuring out just what her relationship with the police detective is.  This isn't the first in the series but it sounds like such fun that I couldn't resist picking this one up!  (Publisher)




Currently:

ReadingWho Moved My Goat Cheese by Lynn Cahoon and finishing up No River to Wide by Emilie Richards.

Listening:  I'm still listening to Because of Miss Bridgerton but I haven't actually listened to much this week.

Watching:  We're still watching Longmire and are really enjoying.  I'm not great at binging shows though and can only make it through 2 or 3 before I need a break so it's going to take awhile.

Off the Blog:

We spent most of this week in south Mississippi.  It was a fun visit but it was crazy hot so we didn't spend too much time outside.  This is the Tornado's last full week of summer and we're planning on being extra lazy.  I don't love how early school starts back but it's really too hot to do much outside and we do get out mid-May and have a few decent length breaks in between so it does work out.  

I didn't get much blog visiting done in the last week or two but I'm hoping to make up for that in the next week.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: What I've DNF'd So Far This Year
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books with Sensory Reading Memories
Wednesday:  On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  Who Moved My Goat Cheese + Killer Green Tomatoes - Cozy Mystery Reviews

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Poisoned Pages - Cozy Mystery Review


Rating:  Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, throws a housewarming cocktail party in her new apartment and has cooked all the food by herself--quite a feat for someone who previously couldn't boil water. Then one of her guests is poisoned and dies. Tricia's left to wonder if her cooking is to blame or if there's something much more sinister at play. Either way, Tricia's once again in hot water with her ex-lover, Chief Baker.

Meanwhile the charming town of Stoneham is being disrupted by a vandalism crime wave. It's the hot topic in the race for Chamber of Commerce president which sees Tricia pitted against two bitter rivals. With all that's going on can she find the killer before she's the next item on the menu? 

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  This was one of the first cozy mystery series I ever read and I love the idea of a town full of bookstores!

My Impression:  This series always makes me yearn for a bookstore that specializes in mysteries to exist me.  Or really any good locally owned bookstore featuring a cat to exist near me.  I love the town and the community feel of the bookstore.  Mr. Everett and Pixie are such opposites and it is fun to see the really genuine bond between them.  As well Angelica has become a character I really like.  She can be a bit high handed but her heart is always in the right place and she normally knows just the right thing to do.  Seeing her in a bit of trouble was a little different and I felt like it added a touch of vulnerability.

There’s quite a lot going on in the little village of Stoneham with the mysterious death, the vandalism and the Chamber of Commerce election as well as what is going on with Angelica but it all fits together very nicely.  The pacing is very good and this whole series is incredibly readable from start to finish.  What keeps the series from really being a winner for me is that I don’t like Tricia very much.  While she thankfully never drifts into TSTL actions she can come off as a bit judgmental and harsh which puts my back up. 

This is an entertaining and well paced series with a solid mystery.  While I do have some issues with Tricia I always enjoy the mysteries in this series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes though since I’ve read a couple pretty close together I’ll probably get a few books in before I come back to this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy a cozy this is a solid series though I recommend starting with some of the earlier books.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Linkups - On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service



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's your proudest blogging milestone or achievement?

My Answer:
Oh this is a hard one!  I remember being so excited when I first got comments or when I actually had subscribers.  I also still get excited when I get review requests from major publishers - especially Berkley.  I guess when it really comes down to it my absolute favorite achievement is getting to be part of this amazing community.

This week's book is On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen.  I love a good pun-ny cozy title but this one gives me extra joy because it's a play on the title of a James Bond book which is another of my favorite things.  This is a book in the Royal Spyness series set in the 1930s and I've really enjoyed the first few books.  I've missed a few between those and this one but so far it hasn't been an issue.

The Beginning:
I should have known it was too good to last.

My Thoughts:
I do love a smidge of pessimism in a cozy heroine!

The 56:
"Do you not know how easy it is to bribe a train concierge, especially if one is a regular customer and generous with tips?  I merely asked him to turn the other way while I borrowed the passkey."

My Thoughts:
Well that's not unsettling at all!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Books from the Backlog - Crime and Poetry

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 Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower

Blurb:  Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you...

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good...

How long has it been on the shelf: Actually not that long relatively speaking - only since the summer of 2016.

Why I want to read it: There's a magical bookstore!  I need a book with a magical bookstore! Plus I love a book with some bookish related crime.

What book from the backlog is calling you?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Shelved Under Murder - Cozy Mystery Review


Rating: Very Good
Source: NetGalley

Description: 
October in Taylorsford, Virginia means it’s leaf peeping season, with bright colorful foliage and a delightful fresh crew of tourists attending the annual Heritage Festival which celebrates local history and arts and crafts. Library director Amy Webber, though, is slightly dreading having to spend two days running a yard sale fundraiser for her library. But during these preparations, when she and her assistant Sunny stumble across a dead body, Amy finds a real reason to be worried.

The body belonged to a renowned artist who was murdered with her own pallet knife. A search of the artist’s studio uncovers a cache of forged paintings, and when the sheriff’s chief deputy Brad Tucker realizes Amy is skilled in art history research, she’s recruited to aid the investigation. It doesn’t seem to be an easy task, but when the state’s art expert uncovers a possible connection between Amy’s deceased uncle and the murder case, Amy must champion her Aunt Lydia to clear her late husband’s name.

That’s when another killing shakes the quiet town, and danger sweeps in like an autumn wind. Now, with her swoon-inducing neighbor Richard Muir, Amy must scour their resources to once again close the books on murder.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  The first in the series was one of my favorite cozy mystery reads so I knew I couldn't miss this one.

My Impression:
  I loved the first book in this series and was so excited for this one!  This series has so many of my very favorite things that it's hard to believe it's not written specifically for me.  There's a librarian who does research, there's some art theft, there some mysteries and scandals from the past floating up, a dead body or two, and even a touch of romance.  I really loved seeing more of Richard's work and just what a professional dancer/choreographer does.  As well, I felt we saw a bit more of Aunt Lydia and got to know her past more.  I also found the added element of the library fundraiser and the relationship between the library director (Amy) and the head of the Friends of the Library group really interesting.

The characters come alive from page one and the mystery had me invested early on.  Amy's involvement did make sense given the art angle and the small town staffing limitations.  I can't say the ending was a shock but I still enjoyed getting there.  The pacing was fast, the characters were likable, and the mystery was thoroughly entertaining - what's not to love?   


Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes!  Is the next one available yet?

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy bookish cozies you must read this series.  I think you could jump in here with no problem but the first one is so fun it shouldn't be missed!