Thursday, June 20, 2019

Summer By the Tides - Contemporary Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe's love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram's maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.
As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven--nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy's heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they've become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  So many reasons!  The cover, the sisters, the grandmother, the beach setting, the having everything apart and trying to reconnect, so many of my favorite things.

My Impression:  This is my first book by Denise Hunter but it won't be my last.  I really enjoyed getting to know Maddy and her sisters and Connor and his sisters.  The setup that got Maddy and her sisters to Belle Island was entertaining and made for a bit of a realistic conflict right at the beginning.  I loved the contrast of the sibling relationships.  While Connor's sisters drive him crazy there's a lot of affection and good intentions while for Maddy there's a lot of resentment and anger and bitterness.  Poor Maddy gets stuck in the middle of her two older sisters and tries to make peace in a situation she had nothing to do with. 

The word that keeps running through my head to describe this book is "nice" which sounds a bit lackluster but it really isn't.  This was a nice read that had me invested in the characters and enjoying the plot without being overly dramatic or angsty.  I enjoyed getting to know Maddy and Connor and seeing the relationship between the two of them was sweet without being saccharine.   I really appreciated their honesty with each other both in their own first impressions of each other (some wrong, some right) and in dealing with old baggage.  After reading so many books where the characters never actually talk to each other this was a delightful change.  This was a book I enjoyed reading after I got snuggled into bed and it was nice in the nicest sense of the word.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really liked how she handled all the relationships between the characters and I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy women's fiction with a sweet romance I think you'd enjoy this one. 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Denise

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Pieces of Her - Thriller Blog Tour Review

About Pieces of Her

• Paperback: 496 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 21, 2019)

COMING TO NETFLIX! Mother. Hero. Liar. Killer. How can you tell when all you have is... PIECES OF HER

  What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ? Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She’s knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Gullaway Island; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we? But all that changes when a Saturday afternoon trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one will ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again. Twenty-four hours later Laura is in the hospital, shot by an intruder who’s spent thirty years trying to track her down and discover what she knows. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumbs of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . .

My Thoughts:  Karin Slaughter has been on my radar for years and years but for some reason I never got around to reading her until this book.  The only reason I'm not kicking myself (besides my general lack of coordination) is because I now have a pretty big back list to read through.  I've been a bit meh about reading lately but this book was a "maybe I can sneak in one more chapter" with a little bit of a "whoops I meant to only read a chapter and ended up reading a 100 pages" thrown in.  There was a bit of dual timeline and and lots of fast moving twists and I absolutely flew through it.  I didn't really care for Andy a lot of the time but I was just invested as she was to put all the pieces together.  This is a bit darker than my usual read and while there is some violence it never felt gratuitous or overly gory.  I thoroughly enjoyed this visit to the darker side of the mystery genre and will be looking for more of Slaughter's books on my next bookstore visit!  Rating:  Very Good

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her standalone novels The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television. Find out more about Karin at her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Releases Part 2

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun linkup hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that's all about Top Ten lists.  Today's topic is Your Most Anticipated Releases for the 2nd Half of 2019.  I always struggle a bit with this topic because I'm not great about keeping up with releases but here are some I'm really looking forward to trying!

1.  The Seekers by Heather Graham - I love Heather Graham's Krewe series and this one is all about ghosts and a haunted hotel.

2.  And Then They Were Doomed by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - I've enjoyed the previous books in this quirky cozy series and when I saw this book's title was a play on an Agatha Christie title I knew I had to read it. 

3.  Buried in the Stacks by Allison Brook - This is the third in a cozy series that I've really been enjoying.  There's lots of librarian stuff, a good mystery and a haunted library!

4.  Heiress Gone Wild by Laura Lee Gurhke - Historical romance is a genre I've been seriously neglecting but I did read an earlier book in this series and loved it so I'm super excited about this one.

5.  A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie - I love this series and am slowly rereading it from the beginning but I love the newer ones as well!

6.  The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan - I've been on a huge Colgan kick lately and this one looks absolutely wonderful. 

7.  The Duke is But a Dream by Anna Bennett - I haven't read Bennett before but I've been wanting to for ages and this sounds wonderful. 

8.  The House on Hallowed Ground by Nancy Cole Silverman - I've really enjoyed the Carol Childs series by Silverman so I'm excited to read this one that features a reoccurring character who just happens to be a psychic. 

9.  Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - I love Hazel Gaynor and this one has Grace Kelly so of course I have to read it!

10. Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne - We were teased about this storyline a few books ago and I'm dying to see how it plays out.  Plus Thayne's Christmas books are my favorites!

What releases are you looking forward to this year?

Monday, June 17, 2019

One Minute Later - Fiction Review

About One Minute Later

• Paperback: 512 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 11, 2019)

International bestselling author Susan Lewis’ riveting, unforgettable novel of a woman whose life changes in an instant and the handsome young man with whom she shares a secret history—perfect for readers of Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult and Susan Wiggs.
 How well do you know the people you love? For one young woman returning to the past, the answer could be heart-shattering... Vivi Shager is living her dream. Raised with drive and ambition by a resolutely single mother, Vivi has a thriving law career, a gorgeous apartment in London, and a full calendar that keeps her busy at work and at play. Then on the day of her twenty-seventh birthday, an undiagnosed heart condition sends Vivi’s prospects for the future into a tailspin. After escaping her roots nearly a decade ago, she’s forced to return to her childhood home to be cared for by her devoted and enigmatic mother. Vivi has always known the woman is hiding something and now she’s determined to find out what it is. Though her condition makes her fragile and vulnerable and she’s afraid of what may happen, her spirit remains strong. Then comes an unexpected ray of light. Josh Raynor, a local veterinarian who his sisters claim is too handsome for his own good, brings a forbidden love to Vivi’s world. Josh and Vivi are soon inseparable, unaware of the past their families share. All Vivi knows is that Josh is wrestling with a demon of his own… Then quite suddenly the awful truth is staring Vivi in the face

My Thoughts:   Somehow I've never read a Susan Lewis book until just now so going in I really had no idea what to expect.  I will say that while this won't be on a favorites lists I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking for more from Susan Lewis in the future.  It took me a few chapters to fully get into this one.  While I was instantly pulled into Vivi's story it took me longer to connect with Shelley's POV.  I actually liked Shelley better but they just seemed so far apart at first that I didn't get how they were connected at the beginning.  Vivi wasn't the easiest character to like.  I sympathized with her from the beginning but she could be prickly and defensive I wanted to shake her.  Overall, I really enjoyed this read.  Lewis pulled me in right from the start in Vivi's story and soon I was fully wrapped up in Shelley's as well.  This was a bit more bittersweet than I usually go for but I feel like Lewis' almost casually chatty writing style made this a fast read despite the sad elements.  I'm looking forward to reading more from Susan Lewis!  Rating: Good

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of more than forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense, and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, James; stepsons, Michael and Luke; and mischievous dogs, Coco and Lulu. Find out more at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

This Week in Reading - June 16

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 week of nothing!  Or at least I think it's nothing.  This week has been both super short and a million years long so my memory is kind of fuzzy.  I do feel a bit of a binge coming on though.


Reading:  Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter and Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter

Listening:  I finished Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan (loved it) and Doom With a View by Kate Kingsbury (an enjoyable mystery but not a favorite) and am now listening to A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Watching:  Pretty much nothing.  I don't think I sat down long enough to watch more than 5 minutes of anything.

Off the Blog:

I don't think I've ever mentioned that we have a rental house.  Back in 2009, right before the Tornado was born, this house we had driven by hundreds of times and absolutely loved went on the market and we jumped at it.  Unfortunately 2009 wasn't the best time to sell a house so we decided to turn the house we were living in into a rental.  We still haven't decided if that was a good idea!  Most of the time it's out of sight out of mind but our long term tenants moved out at the beginning of the month and we've been scrambling to get it ready to be rented out.  Right now we are drowning in to do lists, contractor quotes and paint.  So much paint.  The whole house has to be repainted and the original color I picked which looked like a nice cream with a little bit of coffee ended up going on mauve.  Luckily we were able to pull the plug on that pretty quickly and picked out a not so pink cream with a little coffee before we lost too much work time.  But between all the house stuff, regular stuff, physical therapy, and the meds I'm taking for my neck I'm flat out exhausted!  My reading has definitely taken a hit but I'm making up a bit for it in audio books. 

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: One Minute Later - Fiction Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Part of 2019
Wednesday:  Pieces of Her - Mystery Review
Thursday:  Summer by the Tides - Fiction Review
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  Spring Favorites

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Cloaked in Malice - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Cloaked in Malice (A Vintage Magic Mystery #5) by Annette Blair

Rating:  Good
Source:  Purchased

Description:  There’s nothing Maddie loves more than fabulous vintage clothes, but the visions she gets while touching them are starting to wear her down. Even so, when a beautifully dressed girl comes to Vintage Magic in search of her past, Maddie isn’t about to turn her away, especially since she bears a striking resemblance to her good friend Dolly Sweet.

When Maddie touches Paisley Skye’s exquisitely crafted child’s cloak, the vision she receives is of the ugliest sort: a decades-old case of kidnapping and murder. To give herself more time to investigate, Maddie enlists the help of her FBI Agent boyfriend Nick and takes Paisley into her own home. But when Dolly suddenly skips town, Maddie realizes that uncovering the folds of Paisley’s past will reveal more than one vintage crime…

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed this series and I love books about vintage clothes

My Impression:  Is this the most realistic book I've ever read?  Nope - not even close.  Was it enjoyable?  Thoroughly! My only complaint was that we didn't spend nearly enough time in the shop  with all the gorgeous vintage clothes and Dante the ghost.  I loved figuring out just who Paisley was and what she was hiding and how she was connected to Paisley's friend Dolly.  I love a missing persons case and this was kind of like a missing persons case in reverse.  In this case we had the person but didn't know who she was.  And of course Maddie's ability to read clothes is giving us some very ominous clues.  So what was unrealistic?  There's Maddie's psychic abilities to get visions from old clothes of course but that's not really what I'm talking about here.  The main issue was that Paisley just didn't quite ring true.  For someone who had been isolated on an island with 2 people for her entire memory she's very comfortable around people and quick to pick up mannerisms.  As well the plot unravels in a bit of a crazy over the top way with conspiracies galore.  I'd been reading a lot of psychological suspense before I picked this one up so this lighter over the top cozy full of old clothes and a few ghosts was exactly what I wanted.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes.  I have book 6 and am looking forward to it but I think it's the last of the series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies with a paranormal element - and love one about a vintage clothes - than this is a fun read.  You can jump in here but the relationship stuff (very small part of the book) would probably make more sense if you started at the beginning.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Fives - The Five Most Recent Goodreads Giveaways I've Entered

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.  I go through phases with the giveaways on Goodreads.  Sometimes I'm entering like it's my job and other times I go for months without even thinking about it.  I'm in an entering kind of mood and here are the most recent 5 that grabbed my attention.

1.  Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris - I was surprised to see this because it's been out for a bit.  Maybe it's about to release in paperback?  I wanted to read it when it first came out and nothing I've read about it has changed my mind.

2.  Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors Behind the Legend by Sam Staggs - I know nothing about this one other than who Zsa Zsa and Eva are but it sounded like it could be interesting.

3.  One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski - I feel like I've seen a review or two for this one that was good but I don't remember more than that.  The cover caught my eye and there's a mystery involving a 30 year old disappearance which I can never resist. 

4.  The Christmas Keeper by Jenn McKinlay - I love McKinlay's mysteries and enjoyed the one romance by her that I read.  This is the 2nd in a new romance series and it involves a bookstore so how could I pass that up?

5.  Ice Cold Heart by P.J. Tracy - I can't really explain this one other than I've heard of PJ Tracy and own a couple of books in this series which I've never read any of them. 

Do you enter Goodreads giveaways? 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Death in Kew Gardens - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway Mysteries #3) by Jennifer Ashley

Rating:  Loved It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  In return for a random act of kindness, scholar Li Bai Chang presents young cook Kat Holloway with a rare and precious gift—a box of tea. Kat thinks no more of her unusual visitor until two days later when the kitchen erupts with the news that Lady Cynthia's next-door neighbor has been murdered.

Known about London as an "Old China Hand," the victim claimed to be an expert in the language and customs of China, acting as intermediary for merchants and government officials. But Sir Jacob's dealings were not what they seemed, and when the authorities accuse Mr. Li of the crime, Kat and Daniel find themselves embroiled in a world of deadly secrets that reach from the gilded homes of Mayfair to the beautiful wonder of Kew Gardens

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  The main reason is because I have loved the first two books in the series and couldn't wait to dive into this one but if that hadn't been the case I couldn't have resisted that cover!

My Impression:   This series is the book version of a cozy blanket and a nice cup of tea.  Things have been crazy in real life but the second I opened this book the world faded away and I was swept up into Kat's world both in the kitchen and out of it.  I loved seeing Kat, Tess, Daniel, Cynthia, and Thanos again and thoroughly enjoyed the mystery.

I thought the Chinese angle was a little unusual and really fascinating.  I can't think of the last time I've seen China discussed in a historical mystery so the information and the attitudes of the characters were both really interesting.  It also made a good excuse to pull Mr. Thanos in and some other researchers.  Thanos is one of my favorite characters and Thanos plus research is pretty much all of my favorite things in one.    The mystery was a delight with a regular increase in information and an unraveling that kept me turning pages.

As always, I loved the below stairs part of the mystery and it was interesting seeing Kat with an adversary.  The new housekeeper makes Mr. Davis look like Mr. Rogers.  While this is the third in the series you could jump in right here without any problem though you really should go back and read the first two because they're fantastic!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I'm already counting the days until the next book comes out.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  Even if you aren't a regular mystery reader if you're interested in upstairs/downstairs stories or historical fiction in general I think you'll love this series!

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Summer on Mirror Lake - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads: Summer on Mirror Lake (Honeymoon Harbor #3) by JoAnn Ross

Rating:  A Good Read
Source: Publisher

Description:  Summertime is the best time to lose yourself in the romance of Honeymoon Harbor…
When he lands in the emergency room after collapsing at the funeral of a colleague and friend, Wall Street hotshot Gabriel Mannion initially rejects the diagnosis of an anxiety attack. But when warned that if he doesn’t change his adrenaline-fueled, workaholic lifestyle he could end up like his friend, Gabe reluctantly returns to his hometown of Honeymoon Harbor to regroup.

As he adjusts to the sight of mountains instead of skyscrapers, Gabe discovers advantages to this small Pacific Northwest town he once couldn’t wait to escape. But it’s irresistible librarian Chelsea Prescott who, along with the two foster children she’s taken under her wing, makes slowing down seem like the best prescription ever.

Over the course of their summer romance, Gabe gets a taste of the life he might have had if he’d taken a different path. But with his return to New York City looming on the horizon, he’ll have to choose between the success he’s worked tirelessly for and a ready-made family who offers a very different, richly rewarding future…if he’ll only take the risk.

Genre:  Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I've read the first two books in this series and I'm always willing to read about one of the Mannions finding their HEA whether they want to or not.

My Impression:  I do love a small town romance and this one set in the cutesy named (but there's a reason for it!) Honeymoon Harbor is becoming one of my favorites.  It's not all unicorns and rainbows.  People have their struggles, down times, and relatable worries but it never gets over-angsty or overly dark. 

Chelsea is a great character.  She's a librarian not only because she loves books but also because she loves the community of the library itself and wants it to as much of a haven for those around her as it was to her during her turbulent childhood.  She's optimistic and upbeat and tries to see the best in situations.  She has her demons and sorrows but she doesn't let those define her.

Gabe was a little harder to like.  He's spent most of his adult life not connecting to the people around him.  He's a workaholic and even a pretty big wake up call doesn't really wake him up.  He sees no real issue with the way he's living even though he's taking a doctor ordered break.  He's so focused on work and succeeding that his personality gets a bit lost and replaced with sheer intensity.  Right from the start we know he has a softer side (he's invested in several businesses around town mostly for altruistic purposes) but not only does he not want to talk about it, he really doesn't seem to want to admit to himself that it exists.

The romance is a bit of a slow burn as at the beginning of the book the Chelsea and Gabe don't know each other at all and really only have one conversation.  But that doesn't mean it was a slow read.  I loved seeing Chelsea in the library and developing her relationship with library patrons (2 in particular) as well as seeing Gabe and Chelsea get to know each other.  I think this is my favorite kind of romance as these two have very different personalities and it was so fun watching a bond develop.

While this book is a romance there is a lot of other things going on.  It's more of a segment of time in Honeymoon Harbor that just happens to focus on Chelsea and Gabe for a bit.   I really love visiting Honeymoon Harbor again but don't feel like this is a series that has to be read in order.  I think you could jump in here with no issue though I bet you'll be wanting to go dive into the previous two books as soon as you finish this one!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I noticed there were a few novellas I missed that I'm adding to my wishlist now!

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would!  If you enjoy small town romance with a real community feel and likable and sympathetic characters I think you'd love this one.

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

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun linkup hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that's all about Top Ten lists.  Today's topic is about unpopular bookish opinions!  I'm not sure how unpopular these are but these are just a few things I've seen people object to or like that I'm a bit on the opposite side of.

1.  I like a trite or overly wrapped up ending - Is every plot tied up with a bow?  Does everything magically work out?  I'm so in for that!

2.  I liked Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - I think this book suffered from a bad marketing campaign.  It in no way is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird which is kind of how the book was sold.  What it is is a rejected manuscript that she used as inspiration for To Kill a Mockingbird.  It's not particularly great book but  found it interesting to see what Lee started with and I could definitely see why she focused on Scout's childhood.  The flashbacks were actually brilliant.

3.  I dislike Little Women with the hot intensity of a thousand suns - I enjoy several of Alcott's other books but I despised Little Women.  The only character I liked was Meg because she got married early in the book and left.  Also, Amy is a psychopath.

4.  A book that is going to cause me to ugly cry is a book that I will most likely skip - It seems so many people like books that bring up a lot of emotions or are really sad but I've never been a fan.  I'm an escapist reader and I like what I"m escaping to to be fun!

5.  I don't keep books - Unless it's a book I know I'm going to reread or it has some kind of sentimental value I'm either giving it away or selling it at the local used bookstore.

6.  I don't mind a broken spine - Now I don't want pages falling out but as long as the binding okay I don't mind if the spine is broken to the point I can't even read the title.

7.  It doesn't bother me if all the covers in a series don't match - I don't know why publishers change it up as so many people do collect series they love and do want them to look the same but it doesn't really bother me.

8.  I didn't mind assigned reading in school - I've seen a lot of people say that assigned reading put them off of reading classics or even off of reading at all for awhile but it never bothered me.  Not even when I was in school.  Now I didn't love everything I read - I still get twitchy when James Joyce or Dostoyevsky gets mentioned - but it didn't affect my overall opinion on reading in general or specific genres.

9.  I hate clinch covers of any kind - I love the romance genre but so often I hate their covers.  They've gotten a little better over the last ten years or so but there are so many with a couple busting out of their clothes in an impossible pose.  Now to be fair I don't know anyone who really loves those covers but enough people must because they still exist.

10. I don't take notes, highlight or collect quotes - I know so many people love quotes but for some reason they never really stick with me and I can never remember any of them.  I'm also not a big note taker or highlighter. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Murder in the City of Liberty - Historical Fiction

Goodreads:  Murder in the City of Liberty (Van Buren and DeLuca #2) by Rachel McMillan

Rating: Just Okay
Source:  Blog Tour

Description:  Determined to make a life for herself, Regina "Reggie" Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.
Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he's afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish's hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Rachel

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Genre: Mystery - Historical 

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been loving historical mysteries lately and this sounded fun.

My Impression:  I'm not sure what happened here.  I mean I wanted to love it.  I've been loving historical mysteries lately and this really seemed perfect.  Unfortunately, for me, it just fell a bit flat.   I never connected to Hamish or Reggie or the mystery itself in general.  I also had a lot of difficulty keeping all the characters straight.  Now this is the second book in the series and I haven't read the first book  so a lot of my issues could stem from that so I'm trying not to judge it too harshly.

The setting is a lot of fun and I love the premise. The pairing of the former socialite, Reggie, and the shyer bookish, Hamish, has the makings for a lot of fun.  This also started off with a bit of action and the plot progressed fairly quickly but it just never really gained traction for me.  The main characters were just a bit too flat and the mystery, while interesting, felt a bit disjointed. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I like the premise enough that I'll probably pick up the first book in the series to see if that will help me make sense of everything and hopefully that one will have the connection that I couldn't find with this one.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Probably not this one - especially if you haven't read the first book. 

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

Sunday, June 9, 2019

This Week in Reading: June 9

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!  I've had a few weeks of full to the brim mailboxes so it's nice to have an empty week.


Reading:  Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley 

ListeningMeet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan but I haven't listened to much this week.

Watching:  I haven't been watching too much TV other than Hallmark movies.  There's a checklist app that has me more than a little addicted and wanting to watch more so I can check them off.

Off the Blog:

This week was a bit crazy though not too bad.  I started physical therapy for my neck and had a follow up with my doctor.  The term degenerative disc disease really freaked me out but it doesn't sound like it's going to be too much of an issue.  A lot of the pain I was having was due to the fact that all the muscles around my neck are a complete disaster but the physical therapy really seems like it will help.  Unfortunately it's 3 times a week and between that and school being out and a few other things I'm just kind of dashing from one thing to another without getting much of anything done.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Murder in the City of Liberty - Historical Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Unpopular Opinions
Wednesday:  Summer on Mirror Lake - Contemporary Romance Review
Thursday: Death in Kew Gardens - Historical Mystery Review
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Reading in the Month of May

May was a rough month for reading.  Lots of stresses and distractions though thankfully none of them particularly serious.  However, it definitely feels like my reading has taken a hit.  Here's how I did:

May's Theme: My Favorite Things

Books Finished in May: 12

My Favorite Review Read:  A toss up between The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay and Have You Luiz Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Both of these were wonderful and uplifting in just the perfect way. 

My Favorite TBR Read: The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart

This series has been a bit inconsistent but I really enjoyed this one about the daughter of a massive hedge fund manager who turned out to be defrauding his clients.  The daughter is trying to rebuild her life while restoring an old house WHILE learning things about her mother she never knew which is pretty much lots of my favorite rolled into one.  This probably won't be on my top ten for the year but I really enjoyed it.

Book Read That Has Been On My TBR the Longest:  Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

I didn't really enjoy the first one in this series when I read it originally but I fell in love with the trilogy as a whole when I listened to the audio and got through the whole trilogy.  I thought this was a good conclusion though it was a bit repetitive. 

Biggest Disappointment:  Ghost Moon by Heather Graham

This wasn't terrible but I fully expected to love it and have loved the previous two in the trilogy and it just fell flat.  This book just had so much potential that wasn't full explored which was a bit frustrating. 

How was your May reading?

Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday Fives - June Reads

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 this is the first Friday in June I'm listing 5 books I hope to read this month.  I've been picking a theme for each month and pulling books from my TBR shelves that fit the theme in some way.  The theme for June is family because with school being out I'm getting a lot more family time!

1.  Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther - One of my all time favorite movies is based off this book though apparently the book focuses more on the Miniver family itself while the movie is more about the family during wartime.  It sounds like a nice soothing kind of read. 

2.  Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson - Shirley Jackson is best known for her eerie and atmospheric stories but this more memoir type of nonfiction is a 180 from that and focuses on her own family life when her children were young.

3.  The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle by Laura DiSilverio - It wouldn't be a cozy mystery series without at least one book pulling in a family member of the main character and in this case it's the brother.  Plus, this one involves a Hercule Poirot book and I really want to read it!

4.  The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher - These shorter novels aren't as good as Pilcher's longer sagas but they are a lot of fun and this is all about a woman discovering a family she didn't even know she had.

5.  The Lonesome Road by Patricia Wentworth - I love Patricia Wentworth and this is a mystery about a woman who inherited her father's estate and has to rewrite her will once a year.  This of course causes issues with her family and now it appears that one of them may be out to kill her.

What do you want to read in June?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Right Sort of Man - Cozy Mystery

Goodreads:  The Right Sort of Man (Sparks and Bainbridge) by Allison Montclair

Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  In a London slowly recovering from World War II, two very different women join forces to launch a business venture in the heart of Mayfair--The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Miss Iris Sparks, quick-witted and impulsive, and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, practical and widowed with a young son, are determined to achieve some independence and do some good in a rapidly changing world.
But the promising start to their marriage bureau is threatened when their newest client, Tillie La Salle, is found murdered and the man arrested for the crime is the prospective husband they matched her with. While the police are convinced they have their man, Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge are not. To clear his name--and to rescue their fledging operation's reputation--Sparks and Bainbridge decide to investigate on their own, using the skills and contacts they've each acquired through life and their individual adventures during the recent war.

Little do they know that this will put their very lives at risk.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I have been loving historical mysteries lately and this one looked like a lot of fun.

My Impression:  This is the first in a series that has a truly amazing amount of potential.  The characters are both intelligent and use their very different skill sets well.  They seem to genuinely like and respect each other and I really liked both of them.  I fell in love with Montclair's writing style from the very beginning.  She's funny and sharp with a brightness that really made it shine.  The premise itself is fantastic.  I love the premise for the series itself.   The marriage bureau is both novel and provides a perfectly logical reason for Gwen and Iris to investigate the murder and get to know the victim and suspects.  But not only is it a fun read but there are some poignant moments too.  Both Iris and Gwen  have experienced real tragedy and they both have their own personal struggles.  I found Gwen's especially poignant and my heart really broke for her. 

What kept this from being a 4 or 5 star read for me was really first book syndrome.  There's so much that has to be established with the premise and characters that there were times when the plot kind of bogged down.  It was never a book that was difficult to read but there were times I felt a little impatient. 

Large parts of this book really sparkled and Montclair's voice felt very fresh and different from anything I've come across before.  I'm so excited to see where this series goes and will definitely be looking for the further adventures of Bainbridge and Sparks.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm really looking forward to book 2.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  If you enjoy historical mysteries than I think you'd really like this one.

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Red - A Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Red by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land

Rating: Very Good
Source:  Publisher

Description:  Jessica Fletcher's favorite gin rummy partner, Mimi Van Dorn, checks into the brand-new Clifton Care Partners, a private hospital that's just opened up shop in town, for a simple procedure--one that leads tragically, and inexplicably, to her death. Seeking justice in her inimitable fashion, Jessica decides to pursue her own investigation on the hospital and its shadowy business dealings.
On the trail of what initially appears to be medical malpractice, Jessica digs deeper and learns her friend was actually a victim of something far more sinister. Death is bad for business, but murder is even worse, and Jessica will find plenty of both as she races to bring down Clifton Care Partners before someone else flatlines...

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love the show and have been enjoying the most recent books.

My Impression:  I've been a fan of the show for years and was thrilled when I found the books were just as entertaining.  The last book was the first book written by Jon Land and I must admit I didn't love it.  It was a little to espionage-y and didn't have that true Murder, She Wrote feel.  I was a little nervous but I think Land has found his footing with this one.  It's still the same characters with Jessica, Sid, and Mort and of course my favorite - Harry McGraw (who is always played by Jerry Orbach in my head) and Cabot Cove is just as cozy and murderous as it is on the show but there's a bit more intrigue and danger than I've seen in the past and  it just feels fresher and more modern. 

If you like the show you'll enjoy this.  If you're new to both than don't expect this to feel dated or silly.  This is a solid mystery that had me turning pages with lots of fun twists and I love anytime Jessica is doing research.  I do think it's somewhat predictable but I can also predict my favorite pajamas will be nice and cozy and so I don't always find that to be a bad thing. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Murder, She Wrote books and this one was probably my favorite so far of the few I've read.  I'm looking forward to reading more!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I will be looking for the next one and will be looking forward to hitting the back list of this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a must read.  You can jump in here with or without seeing the show (though you really should watch an episode or two of the show - Angela Lansbury is my hero.)

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

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Favorite Cozy Mysteries

Every week That Artsy Reader Girl hosts Top Ten Tuesday which is a series of prompts for Top Ten lists.  I'm a big fan of lists of all kinds and always enjoy this feature.  This week's topic is Ten Books from my favorite genre.  Right now I'm all about the cozy mysteries so here are 10 of my favorite cozy mystery series.

1.  The Meg Lanslow series by Donna Andrews - This series is huge but you can jump in anywhere and the bird related pun titles are fantastic.  Plus the characters are likable and the plots are always interesting so that doesn't hurt. 

2.  The Bay Island Psychic Mysteries by Lena Gregory - So there are only 4 books in the series about a psychic with an enormous dog, great friends and a tendency to get herself involved in murders.  It's lots of fun and I've enjoyed all the books.

3.  A Bakeshop Mysteries by Ellie Alexander - Don't read this book hungry because the food descriptions are insanely good and the mysteries are just as good and just as entertaining.  The main character has a tendency towards over perfection but the rest of the series more than makes up for it.

4.  The Kat Holloway Mysteries by Jennifer Ashley - This is a historical mystery series where the main character is a cook in a big house and I love the downstairs behind the scenes and the mysteries and just everything about this series.

5.  Sophie Kimball Mysteries by J.C. Eaton - This one started with a cursed book and a more than a little quirky retirement community.  It's fun with great mysteries and a team of PIs and I love this series.

6.  Library Lovers Mysteries by Jen McKinlay - This series has been going on for ages and I love it.  It has a library and a fantastic small town and a crafting book club that I would love to be a part of.  The mysteries some times have a plot hole or two but I enjoy the read so much I don't really care.

7.  The Haunted Library Mysteries by Allison Brook - It's a haunted library.  Is there anything else that needs to be said?  It's all kinds of fun with entertaining mysteries and an interesting community.  And did I mention a ghost?  In the library?

8.  The Country Club Murders by Julie Mulhern - This is set in the 1970s with a fantastic main character and the mysteries are always fantastic. 

9.  The Tourist Trap Mystery by Lynn Cahoon - I love this series set in a small town in Northern California town with a main character who runs a book store/coffee shop.  The characters all feel like friends and the mysteries are always lots of fun.

10. The Liz Talbot Mysteries by Susan M. Boyer - Just because this is last does not mean it's my least favorite.  In fact it's one that is on my autobuy/autoread list and never lets me down.  I love that the main characters are PIs and there's a touch of a ghost element which I like.

There are so many more series that I absolutely love - The Josie Prescott Antique series by Jane K Cleeland, The Cat in the Stacks by Miranda James, The Greenhouse Mysteries by Wendy Tyson, anything by Leslie Budewitz, the Mainely Needlepoint series by Lea Waite and so many more.  But these are 10 that came immediately to mind.

 I hope if you try any of these you enjoy them!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Reviews from the Children's Section - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time

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 (though sometimes it doesn't end up working quite right) .  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 the third in one of my favorite series - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time by Frank Cottrell Boyce

This is the third book in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang series started by Ian Fleming and it is absolutely bonkers in the best possible of ways.  I'm not sure Ian Fleming would recognize his rather straight forward adventure story for kids in this crazy romp that starts with dinosaurs and winds through all kinds of hijinks, craziness and lots and lots of action.  I'm not sure what Fleming would have thought of the dinosaurs but I suspect he would have approved of the madcap race through time.  

There are some questions answered here and the Tooting family starts and ends in quite a predicament though this time they're on the hunt for the Potts family.  The adventures are thoroughly unrealistic and completely fun and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.  David Tennant (who I have made no secret is one of my favorite MG narrators) has narrated the entire series and is absolutely beyond fantastic here.  He seems like he is enjoying the narrating as much as the reader is enjoying listening to it.  

I absolutely loved listening to this and am encouraging my 9 year old to read/listen to it as well.  While there is a lot of action and the Tooting family finds themselves in tight spots I don't think there is anything that even the most sensitive child would have issues with.  I think this would be a great audio for a road trip as I think all ages would thoroughly enjoy it.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

This Week in Reading - June 2

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:

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter - I'm looking forward to this one because I've been wanting to read Karin Slaughter for ages and this one looks really good.  (TLC Blog Tour)


Reading:  The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair and 

Listening:  Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan though I'm making slow work of it.  It's good but I just haven't had much listening time with school out.

Watching:  Catching up on NCIS: New Orleans.  It's not my favorite but I do appreciate that it actually looks like New Orleans/ South Mississippi and the accents are right.  

Off the Blog:

Our first full week of summer vacation is over and done with and we are thoroughly enjoying it.  This week we're starting more on a routine though laziness is still front and center.

I start physical therapy this week and have my follow up with my doctor regarding the degenerative disc disease diagnosis.  I'm looking forward to getting things started and hopefully feeling better.  Other than that not much going on.  I've gotten some reading done and have played lots of Minecraft with a 9 year old.  I HATE Minecraft but I'm trading it for reading time so I guess it's worth it.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Reviews from the Children's Section - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books from My Favorite Genre
Wednesday:  Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Red - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  The Right Sort of Man - Historical Mystery Review
Friday:  Friday Fives - June Reads
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Slay in Character - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Slay in Character (A Cat Latimer Mystery #4) by Lynn Cahoon

Rating: Good
Source:  NetGalley

Description: Cat and the members of her writers' retreat have just arrived in Outlaw, Colorado, an "Old West" tourist town complete with inhabitants dressed up as famous figures from history. But this authentic slice of Americana takes a murderous turn when a college student masquerading as a 19th-century saloon girl becomes history herself.
Was she the intended target? Or did she take a hit meant for someone else? With a cast of suspects to choose from--including some notorious gunslingers and the sleazy town founders--Cat must unhorse the real culprit before a real-life ghost story is given a killer twist . . .

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed this series and this one has a ghost town.  How can I misss a cozy mystery with a ghost town?

My Impression:  I don't like this series quite as much as Cahoon's Tourist Trap series but I have to admit that it's really starting to catch up.  I really love Cat and Shauna and especially Uncle Pete.  I liked that this one was kind of Writer's Retreat adjacent with neither victim nor suspects actually staying with Cat though they were pulled in of course.  The antics of this group really cracked me up and I'm not sure any town is safe with a whole bunch of historical romance authors running around getting into things.  I also loved the writing details - especially when Cat referenced the Too Stupid to Live trait that most of us have complained about a time or two.

The mystery was good though I felt like the ending wrapped up a bit too suddenly and could have used a little more explanation.   However, I did really enjoy the investigation into what was going on around Jessie.  I'm still not so sure how I feel about the town's "connections' but it does work for being able to easily add a possible motive. 

The book itself was a fun read that pulled me in right away and was a reading experience I thoroughly enjoyed.  The ending was really the only thing that took it down a notch but it DOES answer all the questions but just a bit quicker than I wanted. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I already have the next book ready to be read.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies than this is a great series to start though I think you might enjoy it more if you started from the beginning.

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

Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday Fives - Five Movies I Can Watch on Repeat

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.  This is a not so much.  Today I'm thinking about movies I seem to be able to watch an infinite number of time.

1.  Apollo 13 - This was the movie that made me think of this idea.  I can't even count how many times I've seen this one and every time it comes on I end up watching it and holding my breath as they wait to get back into contact with the capsule.  It came on the other night and we watched the last 45 minutes or so and then it started playing again and could barely turn it off. 

2.  The Princess Bride - This is one of my favorite movies of all time and rewatching it is never a bad idea.  The casting is perfection, the script is genius and there are so many absolutely perfect moments that I never get tired of watching it.

3.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail - This isn't one of my favorite movies but somehow if it is on I watch it.  And every time I watch it I discover something I either never noticed or completely forgot about it.

4.  Casablanca - I don't think I'm alone in thinking this is one of the best movies of all time and there are so many perfect moments and quotable lines that it is always compelling.

5.  Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables the Sequel - Megan Follows will always be Anne for me and while the Sequel isn't super connected to the book but it is so Anne-ish and wonderful and I want to go watch it right now!

Do you have any movies you can watch over and over?