Thursday, November 21, 2019

Books from the Backlog - Strong Poison

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! 

Blurb:  Mystery novelist Harriet Vane knew all about poisons, and when her former lover died in the manner prescribed in one of her books, a jury of her peers had a hangman's noose in mind. But Lord Peter Wimsey was determined to find her innocent.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf - I'm a huge classic mystery lover but Dorothy L Sayers is sadly under represented in my reading life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ten Books Set in New Orleans

I have run away from home and am writing this list after a weekend in New Orleans.  It's been awhile since I've been there but it turns out New Orleans is just the same in its unpredictability.  So today I'm thinking of books set in New Orleans (while, appropriately enough, snacking on a praline bought on Decatur Street).  I'm sure there are a bunch of more serious fiction and nonfiction that are set in the city of craziness but I'm looking at lighter fiction, romance, and mysteries.

1.  Phantom Evil by Heather Graham - I love romantic suspense and this is romantic suspense that takes place in a haunted house right smack in the heart of New Orleans! 

2.  Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs - This cozy mystery series that takes place right in the heart of New Orleans always makes me happy and makes me want to try my hand at paper crafting!

3.  Mercy by Julie Garwood - I haven't actually read this author but she's been on my list for ages and I love romantic suspense so how can I resist romantic suspense in New Orleans?

4.  Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts - This is one of Roberts' creepier romantic suspense but I loved it when I read it the first time and it held up well in a reread so I'm thinking I need another reread.

5.  A Streetcake Named Desire by Jacklyn Brady - This is a cozy series set in a bakery in New Orleans.  And I own at least the first two so I feel like I really should actually read them!

6.  Murder, She Wrote, Murder in a Minor Key by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain - It's Jessica Fletcher in New Orleans.  I must read it!

7.  Dinner at Antoine's by Frances Parkinson Keyes - I adore Antoine's but somehow I had never heard of this book which was apparently a huge hit back in 1949.

8.  Iron Lace by Emilie Richards - I love Emilie Richards and somehow I read the second book about this family so I feel like this one set in New Orleans is demanding to be read.

9.  New Orleans Mourning by Julie Smith - I'm about 90% sure I read this years and years ago but I'm not sure and I have no memory of it other then I'm familiar with the title so I say it counts as a new read.

10.  Thigh High by Christina Dodd - Bank robbers in Mardi Gras masks and some romantic suspense!  Yes please!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Changes in My Reading Life

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is all about changes in my reading life.  Honestly, not all that much has changed in my reading life so this is going to be a top 5 instead of a top 10.

1.  My reading numbers have definitely slowed way down - I used to read over 200 books a year but now I'm lucky if I hit 150 and I think I'm going to fall way short of the mark this year.

2.  I read a wider variety of genres - Until I was about 20 I read almost exclusively mysteries with a sprinkling of nonfiction.  Then around 20 I switched to romance and that was about all I read.  Now I read a pretty good mix of genres and feel a little stagnate if I stay on the same genre for too long.

3.  I read series out of order - I used to never do this.  Like NEVER ever ever.  But now I do it all the time and have no issues with it.

4.   I have multiple books going at the same time - I never had a hard and fast rule about multiple books but I was usually a one book at a time kind of person.  Now I always have at least 1 print book, 1 ebook, and 1 audio book going at a time and usually multiples of all three mediums.

5.  I listen to audiobooks - I was never a big audio book listener.  Every once in awhile I would and I'd enjoy it but it definitely wasn't a regular thing.

What has changed in your reading life?

Monday, November 18, 2019

City of Scoundrels - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  City of Scoundrels (Counterfeit Lady #3) by Victoria Thompson

Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Elizabeth Miles finds herself in a position no con can help her escape. Her beloved fiancĂ©, Gideon Bates, is awaiting his turn in the draft to fight in the Great War. Elizabeth is finding it hard to think of anything else, but Gideon has thrown himself into his work, preparing wills for soldiers before they ship out. Corporal Tom Preston is part owner of Preston Shoes, a company that is making footwear for the army, so he has a rather large estate. He needs a new will, however, because he has just been secretly married to a woman whom his family would never approve. He wants to make sure she and their unborn child are provided for if he does not return.
When Tom is later reported killed, Elizabeth and Gideon learn that the new will has gone missing after Tom's bride revealed her identity to his family. Unless the new will is found and validated, the original will, which leaves everything to Tom's brother, will prevail and the wife and child will get nothing. If Tom's new bride survives, that is. Some terrible threats have been leveled against her, and Elizabeth and Gideon must figure out a way, legal or not quite, to secure Tom's fortune for his wife and child while saving her life in the process.

Genre:  Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed the two previous books in this series so I had to pick this one up!

My Impression:  Victoria Thompson has this magical ability to bring the world of her books to vivid life and this series really shows that off.  This isn't really a world I would want to live in but visiting it is fascinating.  This isn't a standard murder mystery style book but instead dives into the world of corrupt relatives, missing wills and a con or two (or more). 

I really loved catching up with Gideon and Elizabeth and especially her quirky and entertaining family.  The story and pacing kept me reading and wondering just how this was going to wrap up.  I did feel that the con got a little convoluted and the ending did feel a bit rushed.  And while I did enjoy this read I didn't feel like I connected to it as well or as immediately as I did to the previous books.  There's a 90% chance that issue was because of my mood.  This is a great historical mystery series for those that are interested in this time period and aren't expecting the standard murder mystery.  Elizabeth is one of my absolute favorite main characters and I'm looking forward to seeing what she gets up to next!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Victoria Thompson is one of my go to authors for a solid enjoyable historical mystery.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  I love how alive Thompson makes history seem and her mysteries are always solid and entertaining.

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

Saturday, November 16, 2019

This Week in Reading - November 17

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:

Miss Austen by Gill Hornby - This one really appeals to me.  The sister of Jane Austen discovers a stash of letters written by her sister.  I'm intrigued and really looking forward to this one!  (Publisher)


ReadingA Dollhouse to Die for by Cate Price and The Angel's Share by Ellen Crosby

Listening:  Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.  

Watching:   I've been enjoying The Voice this season.  I like all the coaches and pretty much all the people competing.  

Off the Blog:

I'm thinking of running away from home for a bit.  J is going to be in New Orleans off and on for a few months and I'm thinking about heading down there and making use of the paid for hotel room and taking a break for a bit.  This year has been a grind filled with stress and loss and frankly I'm flat exhausted.  Getting a change of scenery for a bit sounds beyond appealing and I think it's needed.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Changes in My Reading Life
Wednesday:  TBD
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Rainy Day Sisters - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Rainy Day Sisters (Hartley-by-the Sea #1) by Kate Hewitt

Rating:  Very Good
Source: Purchased (Audible Escape)

Description:  When Lucy Bagshaw’s life in Boston falls apart, thanks to a scathing editorial written by her famous artist mother, she accepts her half sister Juliet’s invitation to stay with her in a charming seaside village in northern

England. Lucy is expecting quaint cottages and cream teas, but instead finds that her sister is an aloof host, the weather is wet, windy, and cold, and her new boss, Alex Kincaid, is a disapproving widower who only hired her as a favor to Juliet.
Despite the invitation she offered, Juliet is startled by the way Lucy catapults into her orderly life. As Juliet faces her own struggles with both her distant mother and her desire for a child, her sister’s irrepressible optimism begins to take hold. With the help of quirky villagers, these hesitant rainy day sisters begin to forge a new understanding…and find in each other the love of family that makes all the difference.

Genre:  Fiction 

Why I Picked This Book:  Maybe it's my only childness speaking but I can never resist a book about sisters!

My Impression:  I went in with high expectations.  I love books set in England, I love books where the main character's life has fallen apart and she's putting herself back together, and I love books about sibling relationships.  This having all three was definitely a winner.  And this was thoroughly enjoyable.  These characters have real problems and Lucy and Juliet's relationship has a lot of issues.  This isn't just siblings that weren't close - there is some deeply buried resentments just waiting to be discovered here.  It wasn't quite as warm and fuzzy as I expected as quickly as I expected but when the ending came it was well earned and doubly satisfying.  I grew to love both Lucy and Juliet.  Lucy had seemed silly and flighty at the beginning and Juliet was the prickliest of prickly characters but by the end I really felt like I understood them both and liked them all the more. 

I'm so glad that there are more books that take place in the town of Hartley-by-the Sea.  I'm looking forward to spending more time there and getting to know more of the people.  And I'm hoping that Lucy and Juliet will have some background cameos as I'd love to see just what is going on with them.  The audio on this book was read by Rosalyn Landor who is one of my absolute favorite narrators and she did not disappoint.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more from this author. 

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy stories about sibling relationships this is a fantastic read or listen!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Fives - Five Nonfiction Books I'd Like to Read

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.  November is Nonfiction month and at the beginning of the year I had grand schemes of reading lots of nonfiction this month.  However, nothing about this year has turned out as planned but here are 5 nonfiction books I'd like to read!

1.   It Must Have Been Something I Ate:  The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten - I haven't read a foodie memoir in awhile and I don't know anything about this one other then I saw this guy as a judge on Iron Chef a time or two.

2.  Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France by Caroline Moorehead - I'm fascinated by this part of history and this is one I haven't read.

3.   Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence Goldstone - Years ago I read a book on rare books and it was utterly fascinating.  This one sounds like it might be just as interesting.

4.  The Rescue Artist:  A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for the Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick - I adore TV shows about art theft and the recovery of the masterpieces so I'm thinking I might enjoy it in book form as well!

5.  The Woman Before Wallis: Prince Edward, the Parisian Courtesan, and the Perfect Murder by Andrew Rose - I know nothing about this one but the title really interests me.  I'm not shocked that there was someone before Wallis but the mention of the murder really interests me.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Books from the Backlog - The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder That Shook the Nation

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! 

Goodreads:  The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, The Model, and the Murder That Shook the Nation by Harold Schechter

Description:  Beekman Place, once one of the most exclusive addresses in Manhattan, had a curious way of making it into the tabloids in the 1930s: “SKYSCRAPER SLAYER,” “BEAUTY SLAIN IN BATHTUB” read the headlines. On Easter Sunday in 1937, the discovery of a grisly triple homicide at Beekman Place would rock the neighborhood yet again—and enthrall the nation. The young man who committed the murders would come to be known in the annals of American crime as the Mad Sculptor.
Caught up in the Easter Sunday slayings was a bizarre and sensationalistic cast of characters, seemingly cooked up in a tabloid editor’s overheated imagination. The charismatic perpetrator, Robert Irwin, was a brilliant young sculptor who had studied with some of the masters of the era. But with his genius also came a deeply disturbed psyche; Irwin was obsessed with sexual self-mutilation and was frequently overcome by outbursts of violent rage.

Irwin’s primary victim, Veronica Gedeon, was a figure from the world of pulp fantasy—a stunning photographer's model whose scandalous seminude pinups would titillate the public for weeks after her death. Irwin’s defense attorney, Samuel Leibowitz, was a courtroom celebrity with an unmatched record of acquittals and clients ranging from Al Capone to the Scottsboro Boys. And Dr. Fredric Wertham, psychiatrist and forensic scientist, befriended Irwin years before the murders and had predicted them in a public lecture months before the crime.

Based on extensive research and archival records, The Mad Sculptor recounts the chilling story of the Easter Sunday murders—a case that sparked a nationwide manhunt and endures as one of the most engrossing American crime dramas of the twentieth century. Harold Schechter’s masterful prose evokes the faded glory of post-depression New York and the singular madness of a brilliant mind turned against itself. It will keep you riveted until the very last page.

Why It Needs to Come Off My Shelf - I bought this one right after I got my Kindle on a daily deal and have never even come close to reading it.  It looks pretty interesting and I know nothing about this case.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Owl Be Home for Christmas - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Owl Be Home For Christmas (Meg Langslow #26) by Donna Andrew

Rating:  Very Good
Source:  Publisher

Description: It's a few days before Christmas, and Meg's grandfather is hosting a scientific conference on owls at the Caerphilly Inn. Most of the family are there, helping out in one capacity or another, including Meg's grandmother, Cordelia--invited by Grandfather in rare gesture of peace-making, to share her expertise on rehabilitating large birds, including owls. An unexpectedly severe snow storm traps the conference-goers in the hotel, and one of the visiting ornithologists is murdered. Even if Caerphilly is able to clear the roads in time, Chief Burke doesn't want the various suspects to scatter to half a dozen continents before he identifies the killer, so there's a very real possibility that none of them will make it home for Christmas . . . at least not unless Meg comes to the rescue.
Full of intrigue and snow, this Christmas mystery will take readers home to Caerphilly for Christmas.

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really fallen in love with this series and I love seeing what bird related pun title will come next.

My Impression:  Oh I love this series!  Not only does each new title make me giggle but I love spending time with Meg and her crazy family.  This book had the added benefit of having a whole host of even crazier people stuck in a hotel during a snowstorm.  It had some serious Agatha Christie vibes but like Agatha Christie had a much quirkier bird fanatic little sister.  I had no idea a book involving ornithologists could be so fun and produce such a great mystery. 

This was fun and as cozy as the genre can be but the mystery was still solid and it never quite drifted into slapstick.  I think what keeps it from being too quirky is that Meg is so amazingly sane and it's easy to sympathize with her as she deals with her family (in a lovingly frustrated way) and the conference goers (much less lovingly). 

If you enjoy fun reads with a solid mystery and likable and funny characters this is a must read. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries then this series is a must read.

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Ten Foodie Books on My TBR

As we get closer and closer to Thanksgiving and the temperature starts dropping my mind starts turning more and more to food.  This year is no different.  Between the cold making me want to hibernate and Thanksgiving essentially being a festival of food my mind is full of foodie images.  Here are a few foodie books on my TBR that I'm hoping can distract me a little from the real treats!

1.  The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman - This has been on my TBR for ages and it sounds absolutely wonderful.  I love the idea about a woman rediscovering herself and developing bonds with the women in her family through recipes.

2.  Scone Cold Killer by Lena Gregory - I've really enjoyed the mysteries in another of Gregory's series and this one about an all day breakfast cafe looks wonderfully cozy!

3.  America The Great Cookbook edited by Joe Yonan - I love a good cookbook and this one looks nice and varied.

4.  The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano - I really know nothing about this one but the title and the cover caught my attention.

5.  La Vie Rustic: Recipes, Tips & Tales for a Sustainable Life in the French Style by Georgeanne Brennan - This one has a gorgeous cover and I like the idea of a relaxed easy life that gets the most out of food - and France doesn't hurt.

6.  The Marmalade Murders by Elizabeth J. Duncan - I don't know much about this series but this looks fun and I love the title.

7.  Death and  a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd - Chowder just seems like cozy fireplace food.

8.  Copycat Cooking with Six Sisters' Stuff:  100+ Popular Restaurant Meals You Can Make at Home by Six Sisters - I've loved just about every recipe I've tried from the Six Sister's blog so I'm looking forward to trying this cookbook.

9.  One Feta in the Grave by Tina Kashian - I do love feta but mostly the title made me giggle.  I love a good cozy pun.

10. Sconed to Death by Lyn Cahoon - This series is a fun read and always has lots of descriptions of yummy stick to your ribs, warm you up kind of food.  The mystery is always good too!

What foodie books are you thinking of picking up?

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans (A Chocoholic Mystery #17) by JoAnna Carl

Rating: Good
Source: Publisher 

Description:  When a house near Lee and Joe's home goes up for sale, the couple teams up with Lee's aunt and uncle, Nettie and Hogan, to buy it, remodel it, and resell it for a sweet profit. But after the owners of the house, the Baileys, accept their offer, a local developer, Richard "Spud" Dirk, suddenly swoops in with a higher one, and it seems their dreams might be snatched away.
Lee, never as passionate about the plan as her husband and uncle, is anxious to get back to focusing on managing TenHuis Chocolade. But when a long-hidden gun is found behind a pipe in the Baileys' basement, she begins to suspect a mystery is afoot. And when Spud turns up dead in the Baileys' carport a few days later, it becomes clear there's something rotten at the foundation....

To solve the murder, Lee will have to strip away layers of secrets--that is, if someone doesn't level her first....

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  The title caught my attention - Shenanigans is an underused word - and the plot sounded fun.

My Impression:  This was as fun a read as the name suggested!   The pacing was quick, the characters were likable, and the chocolate mentions were divine.  It was so easy to dive into this book without having read the others that I could've believed this was the first book in the series.  I liked that Lee was a little bit of an outsider here and everyone around her knew a lot more about events from the past then she does.  It puts the reader on equal footing with her which was nice. 

The mystery was fun and I always enjoying diving back into long kept secrets.  It did feel a little rushed at the end and I didn't feel like all the threads and threats were fully explained.  I also didn't quite understand the thing with Lee mixing up words.  However, these were pretty minor issues and it didn't mess with the flow.  I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this read.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to exploring series more.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun book and an easy place to start the series. 

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

Saturday, November 9, 2019

This Week in Reading - November 10

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:

Lady Takes the Case by Eliza Casey - This is the first in a new series and I'm really looking forward to it.  I love historical mysteries and the cover is gorgeous. (Publisher)

Murder, She Wrote: A Time For Murder by JB Fletcher and Jon Land - I've really enjoyed the Murder, She Wrote books that I've tried.  It sounds like there are flashbacks to Jessica's early married life in this one so I'm really curious about how it goes.  (Publisher)

The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Krista Davis - I haven't read too much by this author but I like the title and I'm looking forward to it.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Owl Be Home for Christmas by Donna Andrews and Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels

  Just starting Hunting Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco but am not far enough in to have an opinion.

Watching:  I've been catching up on this season of NCIS and so far I'm enjoying it.  Not sure about the whole Ziva thing but other then that I'm enjoying it.

Off the Blog:

It decided to be cold this week and I'm not a fan.  I was definitely not prepared for it!  I've seen people with pictures of snow and all that which seems even worse but I'm struggling enough with temps in the 50s.  I think snow at this point would send me into hibernation!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Chocolate Shark Shenanigans - Cozy Mystery Review
Tuesday: Ten Foodie Books On My TBR
Wednesday: Owl Be Home for Christmas - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday: Books from the Backlog 
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

The Bookshop Book - Nonfiction Book

Goodreads:  The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

Rating:  Good
Source: Purchased

Description: Every bookshop has a story.
We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.

And that’s just the beginning.

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.

Genre: Nonfiction

Why I Picked This Book:  It's described as a love letter to bookshops.  How could I pass that up?

My Impression:  This was a nice read.  A few paragraphs to a page or two about bookstores all around the world with an occasional deeper insight into the people behind it or an interview with an author that loves that particular bookstore.  The book is divided up into regions and the variety of what makes a bookstore was absolutely fascinating.  This is almost like a checklist for bookstore traveling. 

I really loved dipping into this book.  It wasn't one I'd sit down and read from cover to cover but I loved picking it up and reading a few pages.  It was like a having a gorgeous box of chocolates that you eat a piece from a day.  A nice treat at the end of the day.  I'd like to read more from Campbell.  This was a great book to read a little bit from when you're in a slump or too tired for much of a plot.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to reading some of her other books.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  But don't expect a cover to cover read kind of book.  This works best as one to pick up to read a few pages at the end of a long day.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Friday Fives - Things That Seem to Disappear Around Here

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. Today I'm thinking about all the random little things that seem to disappear around my house.

1.  Medicine cups - You know those medicine cups that come with cough syrup and children's medicine?  For some reason the gnomes seem to run off with them all the time.  And I never need them at 2 in the afternoon.  It's always right before we're heading out somewhere or at 2 in the morning and I'm trying to remember just how many ml are in a teaspoon and all that.  This drives me crazy. 

2.  Gloves - I don't know if it's because I don't really need gloves that often so I don't have a specific place for them but gloves pretty much only last one season for me before they disappear never to be heard from again.

3.  Nail Files - These aren't even one use items.  I buy them and they pretty much instantly disappear.  I'm not even sure they make it into the house.

4.  Hair Clips - I actually do okay keeping track of hair bands but hair clips get up and walk away on a pretty regular basis. 

5.  Appointment Cards - I have all these fabulous intentions about coming home and putting them on the calendar or immediately putting the appointment on the calendar in my phone.  But unfortunately they tend to disappear.  The thing that's weird with these is that they do reappear in odd places right after they've stopped being relevant. 

What disappears from your house?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Books from the Backlog - The Beekeeper's Daughter

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! 

Goodreads:  The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore

Blurb:  A family rocked by tragedy, a love that lives through time, a story that will stay in your heart… The stunning new novel of love and secrets from the number one bestselling author Santa Montefiore.

Dorset, 1933: Grace Hamblin is growing up on a beautiful rural estate. The only child of the beekeeper, she knows her place and her future - until her father dies unexpectedly and leaves her bereft and alone. Alone, that is, except for the man she loves, whom she knows she can never have.

Massachusetts, 1973: Grace's beautiful, impetuous daughter Trixie Valentine is in love. Jasper is wild and romantic, a singer in a band on the brink of stardom. Then tragedy strikes and he must return to his home in England, promising to come back to Trixie one day, if only she will wait for him…

Weighed down by memories, unaware of the secrets that bind them, both mother and daughter are searching for lost love. To find what they are longing for they must confront the past, and unravel the lies told long ago…

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I really loved another book by this author and I've had a review copy sitting on my shelf since 2015.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Christmas Keeper - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads:  The Christmas Keeper (Happily Ever After #2) by Jen McKinlay

Rating:  Just Okay
Source:  NetGalley

Description:  The second Joaquin Solis saw Savannah Wilson, he knew she was destined to be his wife. Unfortunately, Savannah's sights are set on a happily-ever-after of another kind: skewering the boss who got her fired. Until then, she won't act on the scorching sexual chemistry that is brewing between them, leaving Joaquin scrambling to find a way to capture her heart.
When the opportunity arises to use his ranch to boost Savannah's publicity career, Joaquin doesn't hesitate to invite her into his world at Shadow Pines and woo her with all of his Christmas loving mojo. It's a gamble since the holidays aren't really Savannah's thing and helping her might also mean losing her as she plans to shake the dust off of their quaint town in North Carolina and head back to New York City the first chance she gets.

But Joaquin believes in the magic of Christmas and he knows with a little help from his friends at the Happily Ever After Bookstore, he can convince the woman of his dreams that he's a keeper...

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I love McKinlay's books so  of course I had to pick this one up! 

My Impression:  Going into this book I had really high expectations.  I love McKinlay's cozy mysteries and I absolutely adored the one romance by her that I had read.  But honestly, this one fell a little flat for me.  Right off the bat I had problems getting into this one.   Maybe this was a case of expectations leading me astry.  Usually McKinlay's books just pull me in right from the start but this one just never grabbed me. 

It took me too long to connect with Savannah and honestly I'm not 100% sure I ever did and Joaquin wasn't much better though I did like him a bit better.   Savannah was to prickly and too negative and while Joaquin was much nice he never felt truly fleshed out.  But my biggest problem was the pacing in this book.  It felt like there was far too much showing and not telling and that kept me from really becoming invested in the story.  I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed this more if I had read the first book but it could be more that this just wasn't for me. 

This was still a McKinlay book so it wasn't a complete flop.  The side characters were a lot of fun and I really loved the setting.   This just wasn't for me overall.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  While this wasn't a favorite this is definitely an exception.  I have thoroughly enjoyed her other books.

Would I Recommend this Book?   I wouldn't recommend this book but I'd definitely recommend her other books - both her cozy mysteries and her romances.

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books That Give Me Autumn Vibes

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is all about books that give me autumn vibes.  I can't say why some of these give me autumn vibes but these are the ones that jumped out at me when I was scrolling down my "Read" list on Goodreads.

1.  The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright - This is the first book that jumped out at me.  It takes place over the span of a year or so so it's not exactly the most fallish book I've ever read but maybe it's the talk of starting school but this book just screams fall.

2.  The Last Seance: Tales of the Supernatural by Agatha Christie - The cover has a lot of orange it but there's also some very Halloween-y stories in this particular collection.

3.  Slay in Character by Lynn Cahoon - I can't remember if this book takes place in fall or not but I do remember they make a lot of soup and soup = fall in my head.

4.  Watching You by Lisa Jewell - I'm not sure why this one came to mind when I was looking for autumn-y books.  Maybe it's just the general atmosphere but it just seems like that time right before winter at the end of autumn when the colors are fading and everything is just kind of dark and rainy.

5.  Honey Baked Homicide by Gayle Leeson - There is so much food in this one and the characters spend a lot of time outdoors.  It's got a very brisk fall afternoon vibe to it.

6.  Death Overdue by Allison Brook - Well clearly it takes place during Halloween season and it's a haunted library which is just the most fall-ish thing I've ever heard of.

7.  Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie - The cover has a lot of yellows and oranges so maybe that's it?

8.  A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas - Another one that made me think of fall for unknown reasons.  Regardless of why it definitely should be read.

9.  Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander - Soup is simmering, bread is baking and coffee is brewing.  And this one has a bit of orange on the cover so it is just fall all over.

10.  Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson - There's talk of school starting and buying coats and that sort of thing.

What books give you fall vibes? 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Reviews from the Children's Section - The 101 Dalmations

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 one that I only just recently discovered was actually a book!  

The 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith

Blurb:  Pongo and Missis had a lovely life. With their human owners, the Dearlys, to look after them, they lived in a comfortable home in London with their 15 adorable Dalmatian puppies, loved and admired by all. Especially the Dearlys' neighbor Cruella de Vil, a fur-fancying fashion plate with designs on the Dalmatians' spotted coats! So, when the puppies are stolen from the Dearly home, and even Scotland Yard is unable to find them, Pongo and Missis know they must take matters into their own paws! The delightful children's classic adapted twice for popular Disney productions.

My Thoughts:  I honestly had no idea that the movie was based on a book until a year or so ago when I discovered this at the library!  Usually I expect a book and a movie to be incredibly different but this was one of those rare exceptions.  It's been awhile since I've seen the movie but other then Perdita's character the book follows the movie pretty closely.  However, because in the book we are actually inside the dogs' heads (mostly Pongo) we are seeing their thoughts which made me enjoy it all the more.  This is a sweet simple story with some funny doggy moments and a few scenes are stolen by cats (Cruella DeVil's cat just may be my favorite character).  For very young very sensitive readers this may have a few parts that are upsetting as it is made very clear just what Cruella plans to do with the puppies but the danger never comes too near. 

This is a fun book for an animal lover and a great read aloud book.  It's a simple story and a fast read with pretty great pacing.  The different animals really have their own personalities and I really enjoyed it.  I think my 9 year old would as well.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

This Week in Reading - November 3

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!  My Incoming Book Shelf is empty!  


Reading:  The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans by JoAnna Carl and The Angels' Share by Ellen Crosby

Listening:  I See You by Clare Mackintosh.  This one is taking awhile but that's not a reflection of the book itself.  

Watching:  I've started watching some of the Hallmark Christmas movies from the last few years and have been really enjoying them.  They're very soothing.

Off the Blog:

How is it November?  This year has been flying by and I don't feel like I've had a moment to breathe in the last few months.  I'm hoping November will be calmer and quieter.    Halloween was a lot of fun.  We ended up trick or treating and the Tornado has more candy then any one child should have.  I've been pilfering pieces of my favorites here and there so it's working out!  He's been taking an online class about renewable and nonrenewable resources that's taught using Minecraft and he's loving it.  I was worried it'd be kind of a joke but it's intense!  He's really liking it and learning a pretty good bit.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Reviews from the Children's Section - The 101 Dalmations
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books That Give Off Autumn Vibes
Wednesday:  The Christmas Keeper - Contemporary Romance Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Dance Upon the Air - Keeper Shelf Review

Goodreads: Dance Upon the Air (Three Sisters Island #1) by Nora Roberts

Rating:  Loved It!
Source:  Keeper Shelf (Purchased Years Ago)

Description: When Nell Channing arrives on charming Three Sisters Island, she believes that she's finally found refuge from her abusive husband--and from the terrifying life she fled so desperately eight months ago...
But even in this quiet, peaceful place, Nell never feels entirely at ease. Careful to conceal her true identity, she takes a job as a cook at the local bookstore cafe--and begins to explore her feelings for the island sheriff, Zack Todd. But there is a part of herself she can never reveal to him--for she must continue to guard her secrets if she wants to keep the past at bay. One careless word, one misplaced confidence, and the new life she's created so carefully could shatter completely.

Just as Nell starts to wonder if she'll ever be able to break free of her fear, she realizes that the island suffers under a terrible curse--one that can only be broken by the descendants of the Three Sisters, the witches who settled the island back in 1692. And now, with the help of two other strong, gifted women--and with the nightmares of the past haunting her every step--she must find the power to save her home, her love...and herself...

Genre:  Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  This is an old favorite and it seemed like the time to read an old favorite

My Impression:  This was probably one of the first Nora Roberts books I read right as it came out.  I had just discovered that I enjoyed the romance genre and just discovered Nora Roberts herself when this trilogy came out and I remember scouting them out and devouring the trilogy.  This one was by far my favorite and even after all these years I find it still holds up.  It's a bit dated but most of the datedness shows up in either mentions of technology or fashion.  There's a serious "Sleeping with the Enemy" vibe that's kind of fun and the romance is sweet.

What I really love about the book isn't the suspense or the the romance but the relationships that form between the women and the relationship the main character, Nell develops with herself.  At the beginning Nell is scared of her own shadow, used to keeping people at a distance, and has lost touch with her ability to find happiness in everyday life.  Watching her find herself and develop friendships with the people around her was really just thoroughly nice and made this book a pleasure to read.  My only complaint is this book doesn't include some of the recipes Nell mentions.  They all sound delicious! 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  Roberts is one of my favorite authors so I'll always pick up her books.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  This is a really sweet romance with a bit of suspense and is a lot of fun.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Friday Fives - November 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 today is the first Friday of November I'm looking at 5 books I'd like to read this month.  Since November is when it first starts getting a bit chilly and darker much earlier I'm looking at cozy books - the kind that just to be read while wrapped up in a soft blanket while sipping a cup of tea.

1.  The Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher - Pilcher might just be the coziest author to have ever existed and this is one that I remember enjoying though I haven't read it in years. 

2.  Q's Legacy: A Delightful Account of a Lifelong Love Affair with Books by Helene Hanff - 84, Charing Crossroads is one of my favorite books and I just discovered I had a copy of this book by Hanff on my shelves that I need to get to.

3.  The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax by Dorothy Gilman - I used to love Mrs. Polifax but it's been years and years since I've read any of them.  They're lots of fun and the coziest of mysteries. 

4.  Heartsong Cottage by Emily March - Emily March is one of the coziest of authors with lots of feel good stories mixed with a little bit of grit to keep it from being too sweet.

5.  To Scotland with Love by Patience Griffin - Is quilting in Scotland - does anything cozier exist? 

What cozy reads are you hoping to read this November?