Thursday, January 23, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Final Sentence

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:  Final Sentence by Darryl Wood Gerber

Blurb:  In need of a change, Jenna Hart leaves the high-pressure world of advertising to help her aunt, Vera, open a culinary bookshop and cafĂ©. Back with her family in Crystal Cove, California, Jenna seems to have all the right ingredients for a fresh start—until someone adds a dash of murder.
As a marketing expert, Jenna wants to make sure the grand opening of the Cookbook Nook draws a crowd, and no one is better at getting attention than her old college roommate, celebrity chef Desiree Divine. But when Desiree arrives in quiet Crystal Cove to do a cookbook signing, the diva stirs up more trouble than business…especially when she turns up dead.

Known for stealing husbands and burning bridges, Desiree left behind plenty of suspects—including Jenna. Though the celebrity’s life always appeared to be an open book, Jenna will have to read between the lines in order to clear her name, and catch a killer before another body is served cold.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf: I've had this book on my shelf since it first came out and lately cooking related mysteries sounds good so I think it's the time to pick this one up!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Careless Whiskers - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Careless Whiskers (Cat in the Stacks #12) by Miranda James

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description: Charlie Harris has sworn off investigating murder and mayhem after a recent close call. Instead, he's delighted to cheer on his daughter, Laura, who's starring in a production of Careless Whispers. The theater department at Athena College is debuting the play written by a fledgling playwright with local connections and Charlie's son-in-law, Frank Salisbury, will be calling the directorial shots.
Laura is upset to learn that Luke Lombardi, an overbearing actor she knew from her time in Hollywood will also be taking part in the production as a guest artist. Lombardi arrives with an entourage in tow and promptly proceeds to annoy everyone involved with the production. When he collapses and dies on stage, after drinking from a glass Laura handed him, she becomes the chief suspect in his murder.

Charlie knows his daughter is innocent, and he's not going to let anyone railroad his little girl. So, despite his intentions to put his amateur sleuthing days behind him, Charlie has to take center stage, and with Diesel's help, shine a spotlight on the real killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed this series so I couldn't pass up this newest one!  And who can resist the title?

My Impression:  Whenever I pick up a book by this author I know I'm in for a delightful cozy mystery and this mystery was no exception.  Charlie and Diesel (and Ramses) are back in full force but I really enjoyed that Charlie's daughter Laura and her husband Frank are much more central characters then they've been in the past.  I really enjoyed seeing more of them and getting some more time to observe their relationship with each other and with Charlie.  And it's always good to see more of the some of my favorite characters - Haskell, Azalea, Stewart, and Kenesha and of course Helen Louise.  In addition to my regular favorite characters we also got a few visits from the Ducote sisters and watching them keep that rather dreadful Luke Lombardi under control was incredibly entertaining. 

I would have liked a little bit more time unraveling the identities and the motives.  Not only did it seem to all come together really fast but I really enjoyed it so I wanted more detail.  That minor issue aside, this was a fun cozy mystery with likable characters and an entertaining story.   This has become one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I always look forward to seeing what's next for Charlie and Diesel - okay especially Diesel!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would.  I've missed some of the earlier books in the series and I'm looking forward to going back and catching up as well as keeping my eyes open for the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a great series!

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Most Recent TBR Additions

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 about my Ten Most Recent Additions to MY TBR.  I'm looking at my Goodreads account because that's where I keep my TBR as best as I can.  I feel like I need a new system but I haven't figured out what that is yet.

1.  Come Homicide or High Water by Denise Swanson - I'm not sure I've ever actually read anything by Denise Swanson but she's a name I've seen for ages.

2.  Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis - I like this series and this author so of course I can't pass this one up!

3.  Home Lessons: Renovating a Life by Erica Bauermeister - I've adored previous books by her and this one really has me intrigued.

4.  Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah - I've really liked Hannah's Poirot books so I'd love to see what she does with her own characters.

5.  Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico - This is a new to me cozy mystery author and this book caught my eye.

6.  A Treacherous Curse by Deana Raybourn - I'm trying to catch up on this series before the most recent one gets released in a couple of months.

7.  Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict - I love historical fiction and this one sounds really good.

8.  Murder in an Irish Cottage by Carlene O'Connor - I have pretty much every book in this series on my TBR but I'm not sure I've actually read any.

9.  No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews - I love this series and am really wanting to go back and read earlier books in it.

10. Sell Low, Sweet Harriet by Sherry Harris - I couldn't resist this title pun and this is a cozy series I've been wanting to read.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Dead Man's Folly - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Purchased

Description:  Whilst organising a mock murder hunt for the village fete hosted by Sir George and Lady Stubbs, a feeling of dread settles on the famous crime novelist Adriane Oliver. Call it instinct, but it's a feeling she just can't explain...or get away from.

In desperation she summons her old friend, Hercule Poirot -- and her instincts are soon proved correct when the 'pretend' murder victim is discovered playing the scene for real, a rope wrapped tightly around her neck.

But it's the great detective who first discovers that in murder hunts, whether mock or real, everyone is playing a part.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  It was next up in my perpetual Agatha Christie reread.

My Impression:  Any Poirot featuring Ariadne Oliver is going to be a good one.  Not only does she feel very based on Christie but the interaction between her and Poirot is always a treat.  Here she plays a vital role in getting Poirot involved in the mystery of the murder hunt.  This felt a little different then the usual Poirot mystery in that it didn't feel like Poirot had an active role in the investigation.  He was there, he asked questions but he was definitely moving in the background and letting the actions of the other characters take center stage.  It also doesn't feel like the investigation is progressing for much of the mystery.  Poirot talks about having all the pieces of the puzzle but not seeing how they go together and that was very much what it felt like to me while reading it.  It gave me time to come up with my own theories which I enjoyed. 

This is not necessarily one of Christie's best but it is a fun quick read that might have you puzzling a bit and of course any book with Ariadne Oliver is not to be missed!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I will always be reading an Agatha Christie

Would I Recommend this Book?  Yes I would!  This isn't necessarily in my top 5 but it is a solid entertaining read with an intriguing mystery.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

This Week in Reading - January 19

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

A Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon - I wasn't going to get this one but then I saw it and I'm just not that strong.  (NetGalley)

Claw Enforcement - I really enjoy this series and I'm excited to read this next one. (Publisher)

Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay - I love Jenn McKinlay but somehow I've never read any of this series set around a hat store in England. (Publisher)


Reading:  Fatal Roots by Sheila Connolly and Duchess in Love by Eloisa James

Listening:  I'm finishing up Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and about to start A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Watching:  We are really loving Disney +.  We watched The Princess and the Frog and it was fun to see a Disney movie that takes place in a city we're so familiar with.  We've also been really loving The Imagineering Story too.

Off the Blog:

We had a quiet week this week.  School is rolling along and he had 2 classes at the school he's signed up for this week and a birthday party this weekend.  Something about a kid's birthday party just absolutely wears me out!  I've done some drawer cleaning out and was shocked at the amount of junk I've been hoarding.  I have 3 empty drawers now.

We are heading back to New Orleans soon and I'm glad because I'm getting stir crazy being in one place for so long.  Now I have to find some winter/spring stuff to do there.  I feel like I did a good job with finding Christmas stuff so I want to keep that rolling.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Dead Man's Folly - Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Most Recent TBR Additions
Wednesday: Careless Whiskers - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday: Friday Fives - Fives Books 
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Heart of Evil - Paranormal Suspense Review

Goodreads:  Heart of Evil (Krewe of Hunters #2) by Heather Graham

Rating: Good
Source: Purchased (Audible)

Description: Emerging from the bayou like an apparition, Donegal Plantation is known for its unsurpassed dining, captivating atmosphere, haunting legends and now a corpse swinging from the marble angel that marks its cemetery's most majestic vault. A corpse discovered in nearly the same situation as that of Marshall Donegal, the patriarch killed in a skirmish just before the Civil War.
Desperate for help traditional criminologists could never provide, plantation heiress Ashley Donegal turns to an elite team of paranormal investigators who blend hard forensics with rare & often inexplicable intuition. Among the Krewe of Hunters is an old flame, Jake Mallory, a gifted musician with talent stretching far beyond the realm of the physical, and a few dark ghosts of his own.

The evil the team unveils has the power to shake the plantation to its very core. Jake and Ashley are forced to risk everything to unravel secrets that will not stay buried even in death.

Genre: Romance - Paranormal Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed more recent books in this series and I liked the first book so I thought I would continue this series.

My Impression:  This is such a fun series and the 2nd book is no different.  I do love a murder with ghosts at a Louisiana plantation and this one did not let me down.  I loved the Civil War reenactment involvement intermingling with the actual history.  I absolutely adored the investigations done by the Krewe into the history of all the suspects.  The setting was beautiful and I could easily believe that Donegal Plantation really does exist.  I also really liked the mystery and how it all came together with each bit of information.  This isn't really a mystery that you can unravel on your own but it is one that is fun to go along for the ride.

My main issue is that Ashley was a bit flat.  I loved all the characters from the Krewe and Cliff and Beth were also interesting but Ashley seemed a bit wishy washy.  This didn't stop me from enjoying the book but it will keep this from landing on my favorites list.  If you're looking for a fun read with suspense, history and lots of ghosts this is a good choice and with Luke Daniels doing a fabulous job with the narration the audio is always a fabulous choice.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  While not my favorite, this is a fun series that I'm looking forward to continuing.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you are looking for a fun romantic suspense with ghosts then this book is a perfect read.  While it is the 2nd in a series you can read this one easily on its own.

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

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday Five - Five Random Library Picks

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'm still struggling with getting back in tune with figuring out what I want to read.  I'm getting there but it's weirdly difficult sometimes!  The other day I went to the library and wandered the shelves trying to pick up whatever interested me.  Here are the five I picked out.

1.  What We Keep by Bill Shapiro with Naomi Wax - I know nothing about this book but flipping through it it appears to be a collection of essays by various people about items they keep and why.  Could be bad, could be heartbreaking, could be amazing - or a little bit of all 3.

2.  Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George - I have thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade series but have been putting this one off for no real reason other then arbitrary schedule.

3.  Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts - This is a reread but I remember enjoying it but not a huge amount else about it. 

4.  Duchess in Love by Eloisa James - I read an Eloisa James years and years ago and have been meaning to read more ever since.  The premise of this one was most intriguing.

5.  I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney - The cover jumped out at me and it sounds good.  There's some unreliable narrator issues but I haven't read any in awhile so I have high hopes.

Have you read any of these?  How do you decide what you want to read next?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Books from the Backlog - The Comfort Food Diaries

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 Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart by Emily Nunn

Blurb:  In the tradition of Elizabeth Gilbert and Ruth Reichl, former New Yorker editor Emily Nunn chronicles her journey to heal old wounds and find comfort in the face of loss through travel, home-cooked food, and the company of friends and family.
One life-changing night, still reeling from her beloved brother's sudden death a few weeks earlier, Emily Nunn was dumped by her handsome architect fiance and evicted from the apartment they shared, losing in the same moment all sense of family, home, and financial security. After a few glasses of wine, heartbroken and lost, Emily, an avid cook and professional food writer, poured her heart out on Facebook. The next morning she woke up with a terrible hangover and a feeling she'd made a terrible mistake, only to discover she had more friends than she knew, many of whom invited her to come visit and cook with them while she put her life back together. Thus began the Comfort Food Tour.
Searching for a way forward, Emily travels the country, cooking and staying with relatives and friends, among them renowned chefs Mark Bittman and Ina Garten. She also travels back to revisit scenes from her dysfunctional Southern upbringing, dominated by her dramatic, unpredictable mother and her silent, disengaged father. Her wonderfully idiosyncratic aunts and uncles and cousins come to life in these pages, all part of the rich Southern story in which past and present are indistinguishable, food is a source of connection and identity, and a good story is often preferred to a not-so-pleasant truth. But truth, pleasant or not, is what Emily Nunn craves, and with it comes an acceptance of the losses she has endured, and a sense of hope for the future.
In the salty snap of a single Virginia ham biscuit, in the sour tang of Grandmother's Lemon Cake, Nunn experiences the healing power of comfort food, and offers up dozens of recipes for the wonderful meals that saved her life. With the biting humor of David Sedaris and the emotional honesty of Cheryl Strayed, Nunn delivers a moving account of her descent into darkness and her gradual, hard-won return to the living.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I've actually already read this but I remember nothing about it other then I wanted to try some of the recipes which is why I ended up with a physical copy (I had an eARC) of the book.  So I should probably did that.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

My 2019 Reading Adventures

Book Stats:

Books Read in 2019: 126

Most Read Genre: Mystery (Shocking I know) at 68

I had 25 rereads this year and 28 romances (there is quite a bit of overlap there) and both of those numbers surprised me as I didn't feel like I had read much of either.

I listened to 36 books on audio.

I  neglected books with K, Q, X, Y, and Z in the title.

Travel through Reading: 

My only rules for travel books is that they had to be fiction and had to be a real place.  Other then that there are no rules.  Rereads and any other genre were all counted.

I visited England 43 times, Ireland 5.  Greece, France, and Australia were all visited once and I went to the Bermuda Triangle once.

My most visited state was California at 8 visits with Colorado coming in 2nd with 5 visits.

I visited 26 out of 50 states.

I have books lined up for most of the states but am struggling to find books that take place in Delaware, Utah, either of the Dakotas, and Wyoming.  Suggestions?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Bookish Discoveries of 2019

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 Bookish Discoveries.

1.  Alex Lake - This was bit darker and unsettling then my usual read but I thoroughly enjoyed it and have other books from this author high up on my TBR.

2.  Erik Larson - I've heard raves about this author for years and when I finally took the plunge and listened to Dead Wake I completely got it.  Can't wait to listen to (or read) more!

3.  Katherine Reay - Reay wrote one of my absolute favorite books (The Printed Letter Bookshop) in 2019 so I will definitely be looking for more books by her in the future.

4.  Julie James - One of my favorite bloggers who disappeared awhile ago (Quinn?  Where are you?) loved Julie James and I always meant to read her and finally did this year.  And it was just as fun of a book as I expected it to be.

5.  Jen Campbell - I love bookish books and I finally picked up a book by her this year and so enjoyed it!  I've already ordered another book by her and can't wait!

6.  Karin Slaughter - I've seen this author around for years and finally read a book by her and I can see why she's so popular.  I couldn't put Pieces of Her down!

7.  Molly Harper - To be fair I have read a few books by Molly Harper in the past but I finally read one of her more paranormal books.  It was a bit outside of my comfort zone but such fun.

8.  Clare Mackintosh - Another author that has been on my TBR for ages and one I was so glad to finally get to.  I listened to I See You and really enjoyed it.  It reminded me a bit of Lisa Jewell's suspense titles.

9.  101 Dalmations is based on a book! - I had no idea this was the case but I read the book in 2019 and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I was also really surprised how closely the movie and book were connected.  There were a couple of differences but they made sense for a change in medium and time.

10. I really don't like Debbie Macomber's young adult/adult children  - I've read a few Macomber books and I like them but I don't love them as much as I expect and I finally figured out why.  The adult children of characters in the book drive me crazy.  They come off as so bratty and immature that I don't enjoy their page time at all.

What bookish discoveries did you make in 2019?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Monday, January 13, 2020

Ramblings from the Stacks - How Do You Become a Mood Reader?

Last year was a tough year and one of the things that took a hit was my reading.  I wasn't reading nearly as much and when I was reading I was usually reading in a panic to hit some review commitment.  I realized I was feeling overwhelmed and burned out and just kind of meh about reading in general. 

So, my resolution for 2020 was to take a deep breath and read what I want.  Easy enough right?  Well...  See I've never been a mood reader.  Every once in awhile I'll have a light bulb moment and find myself craving some book or genre.  And I know I suffer from genre fatigue from time to time so it's in my best interest to mix it up a bit.  However, 99% of the books on my TBR are books that appeal to me.  They all look good and like things I want to read.  But I made my first book decisions and got reading.  And then I finished my book.  And now what? 

How do you decide what you want to read?  Does it just pop into your head?  Do you have a system?  I'm trying to get away from lists and regular commitments but without them I feel a bit lost when looking at my shelves - virtual and otherwise.  I kind of feel like I'm in the book version of the dinner question.  "What do you want for dinner?"  "I don't know.  What do you want?"  "I'm pretty much okay with anything so you pick."  and on and on and on. 

How does a confirmed scheduled reader become a mood reader?  I need help!  And what should I have for dinner?

Saturday, January 11, 2020

This Week in Reading - January 12

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:

All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie - I listened to the first book in this series last year and enjoyed it so I thought I would continue my re-listen.  This is one of my favorite mystery series and I'm really enjoying how much the mysteries hold up.  (Audible Purchase)

Sacred Evil by Heather Graham - I just finished listening to the 2nd book in the Krewe of Hunters series so of course I had to get the 3rd book! (Audible Purchase)


Reading:  Finishing up Careless Whiskers by Miranda James and Fatal Roots by Sheila Connolly

Listening:  I finished Heart of Evil by Heather Graham and just started Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis but I"m not sure I'm going to keep with it.  

Watching:  We started The Story of Imagineering on Disny Plus which is so interesting.

Off the Blog:

This week was a bit of a slow one.  We're getting back into a school routine and it feels like things are going relatively smoothly.  This is the longest time we've been home which is nice but I'm also getting stir crazy.  Luckily, we'll be heading back to New Orleans soon though I don't know for how long. 

And our Disney trip is coming up and I absolutely cannot wait.  The downside to going at an unpopular time is that is when a lot of rides close for refurbishment.  We found out a little while ago that the Tornado's favorite ride would be closed BUT this week I found out that they're having a Star Wars dessert party at Hollywood Studios so of course I snapped up tickets and that's made up a little for the ride closure.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Ramblings from the Stacks - How Do I Become a Mood Reader
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Bookish Discoveries
Wednesday: My 2019 Reading Stats
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Cookbooks I Want to Try This Year

Other than Christmas Eve I can't remember the last time I cooked.  I think it was sometime in October.  We haven't been home very much (and even though I'm frequently in a hotel with a kitchenette I'm not determined enough to cook dinner in a hotel room) and when we are home it's frequently just me and the Tornado and we normally eat sandwiches or cereal.  But this year at some point I will have regular access to a kitchen and I'm determined to get back into cooking.  Here are a few books I saw at the library that I'm hoping will get me back into the spirit.

1.  Mary Berry's Quick Cooking  - I love Mary Berry and I need meals that come together quickly so this sounds perfect.

2.  Dinner Illustrated: 175 Meals Ready in 1 Hour or Less by America's Test Kitchen - Another quick meals cookbook and America's Test Kitchen is pretty reliable.

3.  Cook Like a Pro: Recipes & Tips for Home Cooks by Ina Garton - Ina Garton's recipes aren't the simplest but they are always so good and this is one cookbook I haven't tried.

4.  Patricia Heaton's Food for Family and Friends: 100 Favorite Recipes for a Busy Happy Life by Patricia Heaton - I've really enjoyed the shows Patricia Heaton's been on so I thought this might be fun to look at and try some of her recipes.

5.  Hero Dinners: Complete One Pan Meals that Save the Day by Marge Perry and David Bonom - I haven't had the best luck with one pot meals or sheet pan meals but I really want to find some that work for us. 

What are some of your favorite cookbooks? 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday Five - Five Non-Bookish Favorites from 2019

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 week I'm looking at my non-bookish favorites for 2019.

1.  Disney+  - I fully expected to enjoy Disney+ but it has really exceeded my expectations.  The variety of content is great and the unlimited downloads has made it a lifesaver for car trips (and we've been taking a lot of them). 

2.  Kerastase Conditioners - I have crazy thick hair that's also super coarse and kind of wavy and leans towards the dry side.   Throw in the fact that I live in a humid climate (Alabama) and have been spending most of my time in an even more humid climate (New Orleans) and there's some serious frizz tendencies.  I decided to bite the bullet and spend a ridiculous amount of money on conditioner and it's made a huge difference.  I'm not sure it's worth the money but it definitely takes the sting out of it.

3.  Tea - I have been all about tea the last few months.  Herbal, black, green - they all have their place and I've been drinking them all pretty much all the time.

4.  Dr. Teal's Epsom Bath Salts - These are a long time favorite but I've really been missing them lately with all the hotel staying we've been doing.  I've yet to find a type I don't like.

5. Disney Customer Service - I'm a total Disney nerd and would cheerfully go to Disney World 3 or 4 times a year if I could figure out just how to make that happen.  I make do with just once a year and we normally go with every October.  Except September and October weren't really the time for a big trip this year.  So a week before the vacation was supposed to begin I had to call and cancel.  Reschedule a trip that had been planned for 6 months, cancel pre-paid party tickets and dining reservations and all kinds of complicated stuff.  And they couldn't have been more wonderful.  They were kind and efficient and even refunded tickets that really weren't supposed to be refundable with zero fuss.  It was one bright spot in a very difficult time and I'm even more excited to go on that rescheduled trip next month.

What non-bookish things did you love in 2019?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Books from the Backlog - The Daughter of Time

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 Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Blurb:  Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to a heinous villain — a king who killed his brother's children to secure his crown? Grant seeks what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf: I've read this one before but it's been years.  I found a pretty copy awhile ago at a used bookstore and I've been craving classic mysteries lately so it feels like the time.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Country Guesthouse - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads:  The Country Guesthouse (Sullivan's Crossing #5) by Robyn Carr

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  A summer rental, a new beginning…
Hannah Russell’s carefully crafted plans for her life have been upended without warning. When her best friend died suddenly, Hannah became guardian to a five-year-old named Noah. With no experience at motherhood, she’s terrified she’s not up to the challenge. She and Noah need time to get to know each other, so she decides to rent a country house with stunning views on a lake in rural Colorado.

When they arrive at the house, they are greeted by the owner, a handsome man who promises to stay out of their way. But his clumsy Great Dane, Romeo, has other ideas and Noah immediately bonds with the lovable dog. As Hannah learns to become a mother, Owen Abrams, who is recovering from his own grief, can’t help but be drawn out of his solitude by his guests.

But life throws more challenges at this unlikely trio and they are tested in ways they never thought possible. All three will discover their strengths and, despite their differences, they will fight to become a family. And the people of Sullivan’s Crossing will rally around them to offer all of the support they need.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I have absolutely loved this series and any book involving a clumsy Great Dane is one I can't resist.

My Impression:   I must admit I'm predisposed to like a book that involves a Great Dane - especially when that Great Dane is described as clumsy.  Romeo did not disappoint and it did not damper my desire to get a Great Dane puppy.  I adored the relationship between Romeo and little Noah and I could believe that the big goofy dog could provide a little boy with more comfort then just about anything else.  Hannah is a nice person.  She's had a bit of a tough time of it - especially with relationships - but isn't too bitter or prickly.  She's a bit guarded but not overly so and no more then Owen.  I liked that all the secrets between them were cleared up pretty early with no overreacting or misunderstandings.  I loved seeing Sully and Helen as well as all the rest of the characters from previous books.  As usual Carr does a great job of having previous characters appear organically to the story and not in an unnecessary characters from past books parade that adds nothing but confusion to the reading experience. 

My main issue was that the suspense aspect overshadowed the romance.  The suspense was well done and definitely kept me turning pages but it definitely pushed Hannah, Noah, and Owen to the background occasionally.  I did love seeing Helen take an active role in that plot though so it worked out pretty well.  As I've come to expect from Carr, this was an enjoyable read with likable characters and a story you can't help but get invested in.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely.  I really enjoy this series and am looking forward to the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would.  It wasn't my favorite in the series but I did enjoy it and think most fans of contemporary romance or Robyn Carr in general would enjoy it as well.

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2020

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 about my Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2020.  Usually this is a challenging topic for me but for some reason this year there were tons of books I already knew about and am already looking forward to reading.

1.  All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White - I really enjoy all 3 authors and while their first collaboration wasn't my absolute favorite I did enjoy it and this one looks really good.

2.  The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley - Agatha Christie and Ruth Ware are mentioned in the blurb so I really think I must read this one.

3.  The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni - Who doesn't want to find out that they're actually royalty though I don't think things go too smoothly for the main character!

4.  Miss Austen by Gill Hornby - I'm really looking forward to this historical fiction that focuses on Jane's sister Cassandra as she tracks down letters written by her sister and tries to protect her sister's legacy.

5. A Murderous Relation by Deana Raybourn - I'm really looking forward to this one even though it's causing me a bit of scramble!  I've read the first book in this series and loved it so now I have to read the next few before this one comes out!

6.  The House That Vanity Built by Nancy Cole Silverman - I absolutely loved the first book in this series.  It had old Hollywood, a cranky ghost, and a really fun main character.  I absolutely cannot wait to read this one.

7.  Don't Overthink it: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel - I have yet to read any of Bogel's books but I'm going to keep adding them to my TBR.

8.  Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas - I want to read more romance in 2020 and Kleypas is an absolute favorite of mine.

9.  Microphones and Murder by Erin Huss - I love podcasts, I love missing people cases, and I love mysteries and this book has all 3!

10. The Thief Knot by Kate Milford - I really loved the first Greenglass house middle grade book and I'm looking forward to the 3rd book.

What books are you looking forward to for the first half of 2020?

Monday, January 6, 2020

Upcoming Middle Grade Reads

We are starting a new homeschool curriculum that combines history and literature and I'm so excited.  Basically you supplement the history you're learning about with historical fiction set during the time you're studying to really make it come alive.  I adore this concept and am so excited to really get started on it.  It also throws in a good number of solid books for just literature study.  My 10 year old isn't the most enthusiastic reader but I'm hoping that mixing in a lot of read alouds might catch his interest.  Here is a few books that are coming up!

The Tale of Desperaux: The Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo - I'm super excited about this one and this will be the first one we start with.  We've loved other books by DiCamillo and this just sounds great.

26 Fairmont Avenue by Tomie DePaola - I know absolutely nothing about this one so I'm looking forward to discovering it.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - I read this one a few years ago and really liked it but I think the fact that I've seen the movie limited my enjoyment just a bit.  I'm really thrilled that the Tornado will experience the book first.

Nim's Island by Wendy Orr - I have heard of this story and that about sums up all I know about it.

Tales from the Odyssey Pt 1 by Mary Pope Osborne - This is connected to the history we will be studying and I'm super excited to see what he thinks of this.

Charlotte's Web is also on the list and I'm currently leaning towards sticking it.  It's a wonderful story and very much a classic but that story is traumatizing!

Have you read any of these?  What'd you think?

Saturday, January 4, 2020

This Week in Reading - January 5

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:

Molded 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton - So I said I wasn't going to get any review books but I love this series and couldn't resist that cover!  (NetGalley)


Reading:  Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie and The Country Guesthouse by Robyn Carr though I'm almost done with both.  

Listening:  Heart of Evil by Heather Graham which I'm also almost done with.

Watching:  Finishing off some Hallmark Christmas movies and just watched Noelle on Disney+ which was really cute.

Off the Blog:

So we are officially 5 days into 2020 and so far so good.  I'm doing some cleaning out and we've actually been at home for the entire time!  This is the longest we've been home since the end of October.  It's kind of nice but I have no idea how long it will last or what's coming up.  I do know that it's time to start prepping for our Disney trip next month and I'm beyond excited.  I've found some fun reservations and little events and I can't wait.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Upcoming Middle Grade Reads
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2019
Wednesday: A Country Guesthouse - Contemporary Romance Review
Thursday: Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Fives - Five Non-Bookish Favorites
Saturday: Cookbooks I Want to Try This Year

Have a great week and happy reading!