Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween - Nancy Drew Style

 

This is a weird Halloween for all who celebrate who think.  Trick or treating is in jeopardy, most events are cancelled or very much changed, and no parties.  For us even if it wasn't it wouldn't be a very Halloween-y kind of year.  But luckily there are still fabulous vintage Nancy Drew covers and when all else fails here are a few of my favorites to get in a spooky mood!  Greg over at Book Haven has been showing so many fantastic covers over the last few months that I couldn't resist showing a few of my favorites!


The Mystery of the 99 Steps - This feels like a title that was picked because they were all out of titles.  I'm not sure what's scarier - having to climb that flight of stairs behind them or finding out what's behind the rickety door.


The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion - I've read enough Nancy Drew to know that there's a very real possibility one of the three people in the picture is about to get over the head and kidnapped - it'll probably be Bess.  Digging a hole in the yard of an abandoned mansion at night is never a good idea but doing it with Nancy Drew is even worse.


The Moonstone Castle Mystery - This one scared me half to death when I first read it for reasons I can't explain now.  I'm pretty sure I reread it a year or so after and couldn't out why it scared me so much even then but just seeing the cover makes me shiver a bit!


The Secret in the Old Attic - A shadowy figure in the background is somewhat outshone by the giant skeleton hand but neither seem good.


The Witch Tree Symbol - Spooky tree at night.  Nope, no thank you!

Are you a Nancy Drew cover fan?



Friday, October 30, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Places I'd Like to Visit at Halloween


 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.  Obviously, this year we aren't doing much traveling but if we COULD travel here are five places I'd like to be for Halloween.


1.  Salem, Massachusetts - Salem in October just sounds amazing.  Touristy and a bit over the top but oh so much fun.  Add in the fact I've been listening to a mystery series that takes place in Salem and I've really been wanting to go.

2.  Savannah, Georgia - Somehow I've never been to Savannah and between the live oaks and this history it sounds like the perfect place to go in October.


3..  Disney World - This is the only place on the list I've been to for Halloween and it's fantastic.  The party is such fun and I love the decorations and treats.

4.  Williamsburg, Virginia - I've been to Williamsburg several times but never during Halloween.  It sounds like they do a fantastic job with it and honestly I'd just like to go back!

5.  Sleepy Hollow, New York - I read a Heather Graham Krewe of Hunters book that was set in Sleepy Hollow during Halloween and it was such fun.  I'd love to see it in real life.

Where would you like to go to for Halloween?

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Read and Buried

 



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:  The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library's foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code.
The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library--the map and the coded page are missing.

Lucy's nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy--or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she's forced to do what she vowed not to do--get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I'm really trying to tackle overdue books on my Review shelf and honestly this one just sounds fantatsic!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Deception by Gaslight - Historical Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  Deception by Gaslight (A Gilded Gotham Mystery #1) by Kate Belli

Rating: Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description:  Glittering Gilded-Age New York holds its lavish charms--and a litany of deadly sins--as intrepid reporter Genevieve Stewart uncovers a trail of corruption and murder.

As a chill sets in on New York City in the winter of 1888, a jewel thief dubbed the "Robin Hood of the Lower East Side" has been stealing from the city's wealthiest and giving to the poor. Genevieve Stewart--a young woman whose family is part of Mrs. Astor's famed 400 but who has forged a life of her own as a reporter--decides to chase the story, but gets more than she bargained for: a murder victim sprawled in a dark alley in the dangerous Five Points neighborhood.

A handsome neighborhood tough comes to her rescue--but when she encounters the same man at a glamorous ball a few nights later, she realizes he's society scion Daniel McCaffrey. Could this be her Robin Hood? When two more murders rock the Knickerbocker world, it becomes apparent that something much more sinister is afoot than a few stolen diamond necklaces. Genevieve is determined to prove that Daniel is Robin Hood--but she's loath to believe he is a killer as well. From the glittering lights of Fifth Avenue to the sordid back alleys of Five Points, the truth is just one murder away.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I have really enjoyed historical mysteries this past year and this series sounded interesting.

My Impression:  There is a lot going on in this book.  There are lots of characters, social politics, actual politics, crime, rumors, a bit of romance, a marriage of convenience or two, employment issues, past secrets, a handful of murders in multiple areas of New York City.  It's rather jam packed.

I liked the two main characters.  Genevieve Stewart is a member of an old and eccentric family who has guaranteed entrance at every society ball though what she really wants is to be a real journalist.  Daniel McCaffrey is a mystery with a large fortune.  No one knows where he came from or why he inherited what he did.  Despite their differences they work well together and made for an interesting team and both brought an interesting perspective.  I also enjoyed seeing their friends and Genevieve's family

What kept this book from being a real winner for me was really the pacing.  Because of everything going on and all the different mysteries this read a bit slow and it was difficult for me to really connect with the plot itself because there were just so many details crammed in.  I did enjoy reading it but it just wasn't as compelling as I wanted it to be.  Because I liked the characters I will definitely try this series again in hopes that some of the pacing issues were just first book in a series setup.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would.  While this wasn't a full winner for me the good far outweighed the bad and I'm curious to see where the series goes.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would with some hesitation.  I think I would recommend Jennifer Ashley's Kat Holloway series or Sherry Thomas' Lady Sherlock series over this but if you have already read those I think you would enjoy this.

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Halloween Cozies on My TBR

 


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 Halloween so I thought I thought I'd combine Halloween with my current favorite genre - cozy mysteries.  So I'm taking a look at what Halloween related cozies are on my TBR.


1.  Masking for Trouble by Diane Vellere - This is a crazy quirky series about a costume shop.  I've read a few but somehow skipped this one that actually takes place during Halloween.

2.  Grave Errors by Carol J Perry - I love this series and am thoroughly enjoying re-listening to it and really - is there anything more Halloween-y then Halloween in Salem, MA.

3.  Murder, She Wrote: The Ghost and Mrs. Fletcher by Donald Bain and Renee Paley-Bain - I love this title and I love Jessica Fletcher so this sounds like perfect Halloween-y reading.

4.  Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews - I love this series and it's punny titles.  I've read several set during Christmas but none during Halloween so it sounds lots of fun.

5.  A Room with a Brew by Joyce Tremel - This series has been on my TBR since this book came out and I'm thrilled that this takes place during Halloween.  Sounds like such fun.



6.  Gossamer Ghost by Laura Childs - This series isn't perfect but I just can't resist Halloween in New Orleans!

7. The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander - I love Alexander's Bake Shop Mystery so I'm super excited to start this series and really looking forward to this one taking place during Halloween.

8.  Bitter Harvest by Wendy Tyson - I have read pretty much all the books in this series with the exception of this one and I need to fix that!

9.  The Diva Haunts the House by Krista Davis - I read the first book in this series and was kind of meh about it so I never continued with it but Davis has so many fans and this looks really good that I think I should maybe give the series another try with this one.

10.  The Skeleton Haunts a House by Leigh Perry- A cozy mystery YouTuber I enjoy is currently reading this series and it sounds like so much fun so I really want to pick this one up.

Do you have any books set during Halloween on your TBR?

Monday, October 26, 2020

Mini Reviews - 2 Cozies and a Historical Mystery


 Goodreads:  Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey 

Premise:  Winnie Montgomery is desperately trying to get her grandmother's (known to the world as Granny Smythe) orchard back in the black and get a loan to get her cider shop up and running. The last thing she needs is to find the body of Granny's nemesis dead in the apple press.  She must work fast to save her grandmother from arrest and maybe to save her own life.

My Thoughts:  Oh this was fun!  Poor Winnie can just not catch a break between money troubles at the orchard and straight up sabotage wreaking havoc and putting her financial situation even more in jeopardy.  While Winnie's nosiness can be a bit over the top I really liked her and the rest of the residents of Blossom Valley.  It's a fun community and Smythe Orchard sounds like a delightful place to visit.  I really enjoyed the mystery on this one and actually didn't guess the bad guy until right before Winnie did.  I'm so sad I missed this one when it came out but so glad I finally read it.  I can't wait to dive into the next book.  If you're looking for a fun Christmas-y cozy you can't go wrong with this one.  My Rating:  Really Liked It.


Goodreads:  This Side of Murder (Verity Kent #1) by Anna Lee Huber

Premise:  Lured to a house party she didn't want to go to by a mysterious letter War Widow Verity Kent finds herself surrounded by her late husband's fellow officers, tension, and lots of deeply rooted secrets.

My Thoughts: I absolutely adore Huber's Lady Darby series and had enjoyed the 3rd book in this series though at the time felt like I was missing a bit from reading them out of order.  This was a delight!  I love Verity and her honesty about the difficulties for the soldiers coming back home and the wives and family they're coming home too.  This wasn't the fastest paced mystery but I enjoyed spending time with the characters and soaking up the atmosphere that I didn't really even notice.  There's a lot of setup information here but it never felt like a massive info dump.  If you enjoy a historical mystery this is a strong beginning to a solidly entertaining series.  My Rating: Really Liked It!


Goodreads:  Dressed Up 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery #6) by J.C. Eaton

Premise:  A murdered man with no one seemingly wanting him dead and lots of hijinks in Sun City West mostly surrounding a dog costume contest make for a crazy holiday season for Phee, Marshall, and Nate.

My Thoughts:  This is such a fun series and while I am seriously glad Phee's mother is not my mother her antics continuously entertain me! Sun City West is jammed full of action this holiday season with a dog costume contest taking top billing and a murder and a few other things filling in the rest.  Phee and the PI firm she works for is mostly interested in the murder but they can't help but get sucked into the rest of the drama.  I found the mystery solid and well done even if it did feel a touch convoluted at times.  I really enjoyed seeing Phee and Marshall's relationship in this next stage and I really enjoyed that mystery unravels over the course of months.  While St. Patrick's Day does feature at the very tail end of the book there's also quite a bit of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas - and you do not want to miss Thanksgiving in Sun City West!  This is a well done and thoroughly entertaining series and I can't wait to find out what happens next!  While this is the 6th book in the series I think this can be read as a stand alone though you are missing 5 other really entertaining mysteries if you go that route.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Living with Leukemia (and Some Reading - October 25


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

This week was actually pretty good.  Will is feeling better and the side effects that were giving him such trouble are fading.  This week's cocktail of meds didn't have nearly the same issues for him which was good.  It'll be a month or two before that combination comes around again so we are enjoying the break.  

We are trying to decide what we are going to do for Halloween.  He doesn't want to wear a costume because of skin sensitivity but even without that issue I'm not sure what we would do anyway.  St Jude will do a few things during the week while we are there for regular visits so hopefully he will enjoy that and the current plan is to play Animal Crossing and eat candy in our pajamas.   

I've been in a bit of a reading slump this week.  It's mostly from just being tired I think as I do like what I'm reading I'm just not actually feeling like reading at the moment.  

Currently:

Reading:  Broadcast 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton and The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth

Listening:  To Helvetica and Back by Paige Shelton

Watching: I've been watching The Voice and enjoying it but also just found The Con which is a true crime show about con artists and I'm finding it completely fascinating.

What's going on in your world this week?  Have a great week and happy reading!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Favorite Audio Narrators At The Moment

 

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've been listening to audio books pretty regularly in the last few months so I thought I'd take a look at the narrators I've really enjoyed.

1.  C.S.E. Cooney - Cooney is the narrator for the Witch City Mysteries and has done such a fantastic job with them.  I love this mystery series and her voice really fits my idea of how Lee would sound.


2.  Anne-Marie Piazza - I absolutely adored her narration of Murder in the East End.  So much so that I immediately looked up her name to find out what other books she narrates.


3.  Kate Reading - I have enjoyed Reading's narration for quite some time so I was so excited to see that she was the narrator on The Hollow of Fear.  

4.  Hugh Fraser - I have long been a fan of Fraser's portrayal of Captain Hastings on the Poirot series and I was not surprised that I thoroughly enjoyed his reading of this Poirot book!


5.  Heather Wilds - I hadn't come across this narrator before but I have thoroughly enjoyed her reading of This Side of Murder.  I can't wait to continue the series in audio!

Are you an audio book lover?  Who are some of your favorite narrators at the moment?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Pane and Suffering

 


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:  To solve her father's murder and save the family-owned glass shop, Savannah Webb must shatter a killer's carefully constructed fa├žade. . .

After Savannah's father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, she drops everything to return home to St. Petersburg, Florida, to settle his affairs--including the fate of the beloved, family-owned glass shop. Savannah intends to hand over ownership to her father's trusted assistant and fellow glass expert, Hugh Trevor, but soon discovers the master craftsman also dead of an apparent heart attack.

As if the coincidence of the two deaths wasn't suspicious enough, Savannah discovers a note her father left for her in his shop, warning her that she is in danger. With the local police unconvinced, it's up to Savannah to piece together the encoded clues left behind by her father. And when her father's apprentice is accused of the murders, Savannah is more desperate than ever to crack the case before the killer seizes a window of opportunity to cut her out of the picture. . . 

Why It Needs to Come Off The Shelf - I read a later book in this series and enjoyed it but felt like it would be better if I had read the first book.  So I bought the first book and of course completely forgot about it.




Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Ten Books I'm Getting When I Have Access to My Library Again

 


I miss the library!  We have access to the one here in Memphis but it involves going in to get my account set up and that's just not on the agenda - especially when I'm not exactly hurting when it comes to book options. And since the drawer that I have designated my "book drawer" here is full I'm trying to keep from buying books and instead am thinking about my library and what books I'm looking forward to picking up as soon as we are home!


1.  A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams - I read a bunch of books from Williams several years ago and loved every one of them and then something happened and she kind of fell off the map for me.  I really want to get back to her books!

2.  Wife After Wife by Olivia Hayfield - I know nothing about this book but it looks interesting and like a perfect library pick!

3.  Tight Rope by Amanda Quick - I love books by Quick/Krentz and this looks fun though I don't think I've heard anything about it.

4.  The Suspect by Fiona Barton - I've read two other books by Barton and really enjoyed them.  I don't know why I still haven't picked this one up yet.

5.  Arsenic and Old Bones by Miranda James - I really enjoy this series and I do want to go back and start at the beginning but I'm not sure I'll be able to wait to read this one - how can I resist that title!


6.  A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor - Another author whose books I really enjoy but who I've been sadly neglecting.  This is one of her older books but it sounds fantastic.

7.  First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen -I enjoy Allen's books but somehow haven't read this one.  It sounds fantastic and I really am looking forward to reading it.

8.  How to Find Love in a Bookstore by Veronica Henry - It's a book involving a bookstore.  I can't resist it but my luck about books about books hasn't been great so I'm going to go with the library for this one.

9.  Slow: Simple Living in a Frantic World by Brooke McAlray - Sometimes I absolutely love this kind of book and somethings it's a DNF pretty quickly.  I do like the idea of focusing on simpler things and am curious about what this book has to say.

10. Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey - I haven't read anything by this author but I love how summer-y her books look.  This looks like perfect escapist reading.

What books will you pick up from the library?

Monday, October 19, 2020

15 Minutes of Flame - Cozy Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  15 Minutes of Flame (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery #3) by Christin Brecher

Rating: Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  When Stella's friend inherits a creaky, abandoned home in Nantucket, she knows it's the perfect setting for the town's annual Halloween fundraiser. A d18th century love triangle that pit two best friends against one another over a dubious man. But before the case is solved, another life will be claimed-eserted, boarded-up building on the property--once used as a candle-making shop--adds to the creepy ambiance. But as Stella explores the shack's dilapidated walls, she discovers a terrible secret: the skeleton of a Quaker woman, wrapped in blood-soaked clothing and hidden deep within a stone hearth . . .

While police investigate, Stella wastes no time asking for help from friends with long ties to Nantucket's intricate history. The key to the murder may lie within a scorching -leaving Stella to wonder who in Nantucket is friend, and who is foe . . .

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been wanting to read this series since it started and I couldn't resist this premise!

My Impression:  I do love a good historical mystery so I went into this one with high expectations and for the most part it lived up to them.  While this is the third book in the series it is the first book I've picked up but I really had no problem keeping track of who is who and how they're connected.  I liked Stella and I always enjoy a cat companion in a cozy.  The candle making angle is something I haven't come across before and I really enjoyed it though it did make me want to do some candle shopping!

A mystery with deep historical ties will always pull at me and this was no different.  I was fully in when the skeleton was discovered and fascinated by the historical investigation.  My main issue with this book is that I felt like the pacing got a bit tripped up in the middle.  I was all in and flying through the pages and then it came a bit to a screeching halt.  It wasn't that I wasn't enjoying it but it just felt like I wasn't making progress.  It did get better and was an enjoyable story it just wasn't as consistently fast paced as I expected.  

This is a fun series with an usual setting and I'm really looking forward to reading more!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm really looking forward to going back and reading the first 2 books and will definitely pick up the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies this is an entertaining read and definitely worth picking up!

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

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Life with Leukemia (and Some Reading) - October 18

 


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

Will made his counts which means we are officially in phase 3!  Phase 3 is 120 weeks of treatment so it's definitely a marathon but other then 2 3 week periods it is supposed to be way less intense.  Basically if everything is going right you go in once a week for labs and chemo and a new prescription for some kind of oral chemo.  Unfortunately, the medicine combo this week has been hard on him and he's been really groggy and more then a little cranky.  Thankfully he just took his last dose of the one that I suspect is the problem so I'm hoping that those side effects will fade away and it'll be about a month before we have to worry about that one again.

I'm hoping to head to a used bookstore that is not far from us and am really excited.  It's been a long time since I've been in person book shopping and  used book shopping is my favorite thing because it's like a treasure hunt.  

Currently:  

ReadingDressed Up 4 Murder by JC Eaton and Deception by Gaslight by Kate Belli

Listening:  This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

Watching:  I watched American Murder: The Family Next Door on Netflix and found it fascinating.  It wasn't anything I didn't know but it made for compelling TV.

How did your week going?  What are you reading?

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Elephants Can Remember - Classic Mystery Review


Goodreads:  Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christe

Rating: Liked It!
Source:  Published

Description:  Hercule Poirot stood on the cliff-top. For here, many years earlier, there had been a tragic accident – the broken body of a woman was discovered on the rocks at the foot of the cliff. This was followed by the grisly discovery of two more bodies – a husband and wife – shot dead. But who had killed whom? Was it a suicide pact? A crime of passion? Or cold-blooded murder? Poirot delves back into a crime committed 15 years earlier and discovers that, when there is a distinct lack of physical evidence, it’s just as well that ‘old sins leave long shadows.'

This story is part of Agatha Christie’s murder in retrospect series, a collection of stories which look at a crime several years after the fact, piecing together testimonials and witness reports to finally uncover the truth. This time we see Mrs Oliver’s goddaughter, attempting to find out the truth about her deceased parents – who killed whom?

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  This was the next book in my Poirot reread!  

My Impression:  Without a doubt Christie's later books are considerably weaker then her earlier books.  This was the last Poirot book that Christie wrote (Curtain was written in the 1940s to be published after her death) and in her looser plotting and repetitive writing it definitely shows.  However, this has the charm that is so present in her earlier books but lacking in her older books.  I feel like in this book Christie was writing what she liked and not trying to play with trends and "modern up" her books like she had in the past few.  

I love seeing more of Mrs. Oliver and her dislike of literary lunches had me laughing.   The mystery was entertaining and I enjoyed the active investigation.  As usual I didn't feel like it was as cleanly written as her earlier books.  There were a few jumps in logic and the occasional coincidence but I did enjoy this one more then I have the last few books.  I would probably recommend Five Little Pigs/Murder in Retrospect which has a similar premise over this one but this is still a fun read.

I listened to the audio on this one and unsurprisingly Hugh Fraser did a fantastic job!

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

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would though with some caution.  While it's not her worst it's not my favorite either.  

Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday Fives - My Favorite Foodie Things Right Now


 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 is a not so much as I'm looking at foodie things I've been loving lately.



1.  Gnocchi - This isn't a new love but it's a love that has definitely ramped up in the last few weeks.  Whether it's at the Italian restaurant down the street, shopping at Trader Joe's (the sweet potato gnocchi is my favorite there), or getting the ready to boil stuff from the grocery store and trying out a sauce, if gnocchi is an option I will be going that route!  I have made it from scratch before and may try my hand at that again too.

2.  Balsamic Reduction - Also not a new love but also one that's ramped up lately.  I put this on some of the versions of gnocchi or on steak or on just about anything.  I haven't found anything it doesn't make better!


3. My New Crockpot! - I have an 8qt crockpot at home but didn't end up bringing it up to Memphis.  I'd been thinking about getting a smaller one anyway and when I found a 4 qt programmable one at Target for $26 I figured it was a sign.  I made soup in it for the first time earlier this week and it was delicious and made me feel so productive.  I'm excited to find some new and easy recipes!

4.  Reese's Pumpkins - I don't like actual pumpkin flavored stuff but Reese's Pumpkins are my absolute favorite.  Really anything holiday shaped Reese's is a favorite but right now I'm enjoying the pumpkins.

5.  Cold Brew/Iced Coffee - It started with the coffee shop downstairs serving an Iced New Orleans style coffee (ie it's a chicory coffee) that I absolutely fell in love with.  And then I started hitting the iced section of the Starbucks menu at the hospital and I haven't looked back.  I still drink hot coffee in the morning but other then that if Iced is an option that's what I'm going with.

What foodie things are you loving at the moment?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Myth and Magic

 


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:  Myth and Magic by Mae Clair

Blurb:  As children, they played games of myth and magic…


Veronica Kent fell in love with Caith Breckwood when they were children. As a teenager, she was certain he was the man she was destined to marry. But a traumatic event from Caith's past led him to fear a future together. He left Veronica, hoping to save her from a terrible fate. Twelve years later, Caith, now a P.I., is hired to investigate bizarre incidents at the secluded retreat Veronica manages. Returning to his hometown, Caith is forced to face his nightmares—and his feelings for the woman he’s always loved.

Then one day, the monsters became real.

After the callous way Caith broke her heart, Veronica isn’t thrilled to see him again. But strange occurrences have taken a dangerous toll on business at Stone Willow Lodge. Forced to work together, Veronica discovers it isn’t ghostly apparitions that frighten her, but her passion for a man she has never forgotten. Or forgiven. Can two people with a tarnished past unearth a magical future?

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This has been sitting on my review shelf for 5 years and I had forgotten all about it but it looks like lots of Gothic-y fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Hodge Podge of Reviews - Mini Reviews Edition #2


Goodreads:  Emily's Ghost by Diana Giardina

Premise:  This a story about the Bronte sisters with a focus on Emily.

My Thoughts:  My main thought is that Charlotte Bronte must have done something terrible to the author in a past life because the author clearly has it out for her.  Emily was interesting, Branwell is a bit of a wastrel, Patrick is kind, Anne is sweet and stubborn, and Charlotte is just the absolute worst.  She's shallow and judgmental, petty and mean spirited and made me cringe anytime she was on the page.  And her final act in the bock was flat out shocking.  The writing style did pull me in and keep me reading.  When Charlotte wasn't around it was a fairly fast read that did keep me engaged even when I didn't want to be.  I did like Emily and Willie Weightman and her various animals and found their story both together and individually interesting though the ending did drift over to overwrought.  I would have liked an afterward or author's note or something to hear more inspiration for her interpretation of the Bronte's lives and what was based off fact and what was pure fiction.  And did I mention I really hated this version of Charlotte Bronte.  My Rating:  Just Okay



Goodreads:  The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Premise:  A visitor from Sweden arrives in small town Iowa to find the woman she had been corresponding with has died and she is now the guest of the entire town.  

My Thoughts:  I wanted to absolutely love this book - it's a book about books, there's a small town, it's heartwarming, and all about people finding their place.  And I didn't dislike it but it definitely wasn't a favorite.  I think part of the problem was the length of the book.  Instead of a short charming little book about finding your place and books it was a longer book that went into detail on things that didn't really matter and really caused the book to drag for me.  I grew to like the characters and wanted to find out what had happened but at the same time this wasn't a book I looked forward to picking up.  Great premise, interesting characters, but an execution that didn't quite work for me.  My Rating:  Liked It

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books With Long Titles on My TBR

 


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 long titles.  I'm looking at the longest titles on my TBR (without counting subtitles).  I am quite sure there are longer titles out there but these are the ones I want to read!  And it turns out that I am not especially attracted to long titles!


1.  The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon - I have started this book about half a dozen times but always ended up having to send it back to the library before I made any real progress on it.  I'm thinking of getting the audio.

2.  The Scandalous Sisterhood of Pickwillow Place by Julie Berry - I'm convinced I read this one but Goodreads says otherwise and I have no memory of it so I figure a reread wouldn't hurt.

3.  As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley - All of the Flavia de Luce book titles are pretty long but this was just the first one that came up.

4.  How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke - I haven't read much historical romance (or really any romance) lately but this is one of my favorite authors and I adore this title.

5.  The Murders of Mrs. Austen and Mrs. Beal by Jill McGown - I read a few books from this author years and years ago and picked this one up when I saw it in a used bookstore recently.  Now I just need to read it!


6.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - I've read a couple of Gaiman's more middle grade books and enjoyed them and this one looks interesting.

7.  The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cozy by James Anderson - I can't remember where I came across this one but I love the title and am looking forward to reading it.

8.  The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse by Marie Piu Eatwell - How can I resist that title?  

9.  The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan - A lovely chocolate shop in Paris sounds a bit like heaven.

10.  The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente - And saving the longest for last!

What are some books with long titles on your TBR?  Have you read any of these?

Monday, October 12, 2020

Murder on Cold Street - Historical Mystery Review


Goodreads:  Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5) by Sherry Thomas

Rating:
Source:  Publisher

Description:  Inspector Treadles, Charlotte Holmes’s friend and collaborator, has been found locked in a room with two dead men, both of whom worked with his wife at the great manufacturing enterprise she has recently inherited.

Rumors fly. Had Inspector Treadles killed the men because they had opposed his wife’s initiatives at every turn? Had he killed in a fit of jealous rage, because he suspected Mrs. Treadles of harboring deeper feelings for one of the men? To make matters worse, he refuses to speak on his own behalf, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

Charlotte finds herself in a case strewn with lies and secrets. But which lies are to cover up small sins, and which secrets would flay open a past better left forgotten? Not to mention, how can she concentrate on these murders, when Lord Ingram, her oldest friend and sometime lover, at last dangles before her the one thing she has always wanted?

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  This is one of my favorite historical mystery series so I can't resist what happens next.

My Impression: This is such an entertaining series and I'm always so glad to spend more time with Charlotte, Lord Ingram, and especially Mrs. Watson. Over the course of the series I feel like I've really gotten to know and love them despite (or because of) their quirks and it feels very much like catching up with old friends.  

I especially enjoyed this one because for the first time Mrs. Treadles is front and center.  She's always been in the book but only on the very edges of the story and we've only really seen her through her husband's eyes and in relation to how he felt.  I really loved getting to know her and getting her take on their marital woes.  She's a likable and strong woman and made for a fantastic lead in this mystery.  As well I thoroughly enjoyed the team element of the investigation.  Charlotte has always been a good delegator but in this book the team element really seemed to flourish and Lord Ingram and Mrs. Watson really had their own space.    The mystery was intriguing with lots of twists and turns and kept me guessing until the very end.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I can't wait until the next book!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical mysteries this is a must read - though you may want to read at least the first book so you can know who is who and the whys.

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

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Living with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - October 11


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

We made it home for the weekend and brought back a ton of books and warmer clothes which was fun.  It was so good to be home.  The last time I had been in my house was at 2 in the morning 5 hours after Will was diagnosed desperately trying to pack what I would need for an unknown period of time.  To say I was a bit out of it is a serious understatement.  It was a bit surreal to be back but lovely.   As much as we enjoy our quirky little apartment and love the old historical building with all the fabulous places to eat it will be wonderful to be home when we finally get there.

Will had what we hope is his last high dose chemo last week and got through it like a champ.  Unfortunately, his numbers bottomed out which means his immune system had gone on vacation.  This isn't unexpected and isn't a bad thing but it did mean that we've had to take a lot of precautions to minimize exposure to anything.  We had planned on kind of taking a fall break and going to a museum or two or maybe the zoo again but we changed that pretty quickly to lots of movie watching and game playing in our own four little walls.  

I finally bought a crock pot!  I have one at home but it's a huge one and I don't really have the space for it here and had been thinking about buying a smaller one anyway.  We've been eating out a LOT but things look like they might start getting more routine and I'd like to cook more and a crock pot seems like a good way to do that.  Now I just need to find my favorite recipes and maybe a few new ones.

Currently:  


Reading: 
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald and 15 Minutes of Flame by Cristin Brecher

Listening: Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie

Watching:  We have been doing a Jurassic Park marathon.  I haven't really set down and watched them but my husband and Will have and they've been loving them and I've been enjoying the little snippets I've seen.

What are you reading this week?  Happy reading!


Saturday, October 10, 2020

How Many Best Loved Novels of All Time Have I Read?

I tend to bookmark things and then completely forget about them and really I never use bookmarks so I'm not sure why I do it in the first place.  Anyway, while clearing out all the stuff cluttering up my browser I discovered that years ago I had bookmarked BBC's The Big Read - The Best Loved Novels of All Time.  I had a good time with the Essentials Mystery list last week so I thought I'd do the same with this one.  Five Favorites Off the List, Five Books I Want to Read, and just how many I have read.  Plus, I just adore a good list so I couldn't pass this one up.

Five Favorite Books On the List


1.  Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Love this bit of nonsense and love the movies! Adams' humor gets me every time.

2.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - I don't even know how many times I reread this book but it is a lifetime favorite.

3.  Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - I've read this book countless time and always enjoy it though sometimes I feel like my sympathy is with Rebecca.  Yes she's awful but she at least has some backbone.

4.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - Another lifetime favorite!  I absolutely love this book and the rest of the series - and pretty much everything else by this author.

5.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I read this in highschool and enjoyed it but was blown away when I reread it as an adult.  Though the later reread did make me question why there are Gatsby themed parties!

Five Books I Want to Read


1.  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - I feel like my dad read this to me when I was really little but I have no real memory of it and want to reread it.

2.  Persuasion by Jane Austen - I listened to Sense and Sensibility earlier this year (or was it last year?) and am trying to continue to broaden my Austen reading.

3.  The BFG by Roald Dahl - Honestly I didn't read a book by Dahl until I was an adult but I have enjoyed all the ones I've read and this is next on my list.

4.  Watership Down by Richard Adams - This is one of my husband's absolute favorite books and one somehow I've never read and I'd like to fix that.

5.  Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - This one has been on my TBR probably since high school because I loved the book we were required to read and wanted to read more from him.  

Number I've Read:  32/100

How many best loved books have you read?  


Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Books I Brought From Home

 


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.   We went home for a quick trip last weekend mostly to grab warmer clothes but also because I needed to change out books!  I've been buying books pretty regularly but there were so many I knew were sitting on my own shelves that I knew I wanted to read and it was fun to shop my own shelves for a bit.  


1. Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey - This was the first mystery by Tey I ever read and I remember just about nothing about it.  I figure a reread is in order!


2.  Live and Let Pie by Ellie Alexander - I love the Bakeshop mystery series set in Ashland, Oregon but somehow I missed this one.


3.  The Clairvoyant Countess by Dorothy Gilman - I've been thoroughly enjoying Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax series so I thought I would reread one of her more stand alone books.


4.  Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts - I started to read this one years and years ago when it first came out but decided it was too paranormal for me. My reading has expanded a bit in that area so I thought I would give it another try.


5.  The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth - I have been missing Patricia Wentworth so I had to pick up a few books when I had access to them!

What are some books you would grab off your shelves if you had limited access?