Thursday, October 1, 2020

Haunted Homicide - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Haunted Homicide (A Haunted Mansion Mystery #1) by Lucy Ness

Rating: Liked It    

Source: Publisher

Description:  Avery Morgan has been hired to breathe new life into the Portage Path Women's Club, but first she'll have to deal with a dead body and a meddling ghost.

Avery Morgan has had a harrowing first week on the job as manager of the Portage Path Woman's Club. Not only is she in charge of a grand old home with a mountain of maintenance problems and scheduling nightmares--thanks to a recent fire in the Marigold meeting room--but she's also got Muriel Sadler to deal with. Muriel is the current president of the club, the one "nay" vote when the rest of the board voted "aye" to hiring Avery.

After a morning of dealing with another one of Muriel's snits and a meeting with the delicious and delightfully unsettling Ben Harkness, who will be handling renovations in the fire-damaged portions of the house, the last thing Avery needs is for one of the fuses to blow. Again.

She grabs her handy flashlight and heads into the basement, where she stumbles across Muriel's body. She also stumbles across an unexpected helper, Clemmie Bow, the ghost of a young woman who was accidentally killed in the building almost a hundred years ago.

Together the Clemmie and Avery are determined to solve Muriel's murder before the killer sends Avery to join Clemmie on the other side.

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy, Paranormal

Why I Picked This Book:  To be honest this sounded a bit like a grown up Nancy Drew with ghosts 
 
My Impression:  Well this was just fun!  Maybe not my absolute favorite or most memorable read of the year but from start to finish it was a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading.  Avery is taking over as business manager for an established women's club that happens to reside in an old mansion.  And Avery just happens to have an interesting background.  She grew up in a small town in New York state - and not just any small town but the small town of Lily Dale complete with mediums, seances and all things other worldly.  I thoroughly enjoyed that she had this background that made her fairly knowledgable but at the same time had a serious dose of skepticism.   It proves useful when she found herself face to face with Clemmie Bow a dashing young ghost in her most glamourous 1920s flapper style.  I'm sincerely hoping we learn a bit more about Clemmie as the series progresses and she takes a bit more of an active role.

This being a women's club the politics and secrets are flowing at a pretty intense rate and when the thoroughly unlikable president Muriel Sadler is murdered no one is too shocked.  But on the other hand who disliked Muriel enough to kill her?  There's a lot to set up here and a lot of characters to introduce so at times the mystery felt a little haphazard.  The bulk of the ending wasn't a huge surprise but the author did manage to to sneak a few unexpected reveals in.  While it wasn't perfect I was satisfied with the ending and am excited to see where the series goes in the future.  Avery is a likable main character with a decent amount of common sense and I do love a good ghost sidekick!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm really excited to see where this series goes next.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you love paranormal cozies you really can't miss this one!

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Books from the Backlog - A Killer Read

 


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:  A Killer Read by Erika Chase

Blurb:  For the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society, six friends gather in Molly Mathews's old Southern mansion-including Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with a penchant for mysteries. But the mystery book club meeting becomes the scene of an actual murder when a stranger is shot--and nobody knows who the victim is, or how Molly's antique gun came to be used as the murder weapon.

Then Lizzie begins finding mysterious manuscript chapters in her mailbox. As she and the book club members try to read between the lines, Molly surfaces as the next name on the killer's list...

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I'm trying to read a book from every state and somehow have missed a book from my home state (Alabama).  This book has multiple advantages - I already own it, it takes place in Alabama, and just reading the blurb makes me want cheese straws!


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Ten Books I'd Like to Buy Soon




 I've been buying books like it's my job lately.  Not being face to face with my book collection on a regular basis has kind of made me forget how many I own that are just back at home.  Plus, the only thing that feels better then buying new books is that box full of new books arriving in the mail!  Lately I've been trying to buy most of my books from Bookshop.org so the money can help a local bookstore or Book Outlet because I do love a good used book bargain.  And since I'm visiting both sites on a pretty regular basis I feel like I need to keep good lists because I want so many books it's hard to keep track of them all! 


1.  Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins - I really enjoy the books I've read by Higgins but it's been awhile since I picked up one of her books and this cover has a dog on it!

2.  What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson - I have read one book in this historical mystery series and I loved it and need to read more.

3.  The Marmalade Murders by Elizabeth J Duncan - I don't know much about this one but I like the title and it looks like a fun read.

4.  Color Me Murder by Krista Davis - I really wanted to pick this book up when it first came out but somehow didn't and now it is time to fix that!

5.  A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn - I've enjoyed this series and have read the most recent book and the first two and am now trying to read the two in the middle!


6.  Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright - We have been in Memphis for 3 months now and I'm really beginning to enjoy our new city and its history.  I picked up some books by a favorite author that supposedly took place in Memphis but it's pretty clear she'd never actually been to the city so I thought I'd try this one.  Plus, the premise just sounds good!

7.  52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander - I do love a good project nonfiction and this sounds intriguing.

8.  Smoke in Mirrors by Jayne Ann Krentz - No real reason for this one in particular other then a Krentz book is always a good pick for a nice distracting candy bar of a read.

9.  The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village that Restored Them All by Don Wallace - This qualifies as kind of a project nonfiction which is one of my favorite genres and it just sounds great.

10. To Brew or Not to Brew by Joyce Tremel - There was a lot of positive buzz when this one came out but I never picked this one up.  Now seems like the time to grab it!

What books are tempting you these days?

Monday, September 28, 2020

For Whom the Book Tolls - Cozy Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  For Whom the Book Tolls (Antique Bookshop Mystery #1) by Laura Gail Black

Rating: Liked It
Source:  Publisher

Description:  Trouble follows Jenna Quinn wherever she goes. Fleeing some unsavory doings in her hometown of Charlotte, Jenna accepts her uncle's gracious invitation to stay with him in small-town Hokes Folly, NC. In exchange, she'll help him out in his antiquarian bookstore. But soon after she arrives, Jenna finds her uncle's body crumpled at the base of the staircase between his apartment and the bookstore.

Before the tragedy even sinks in, Jenna learns that she's inherited almost everything her uncle owned: the store and apartment, as well as his not-so-meager savings and the payout from a life insurance policy...which adds up to more than a million dollars. This is all news to Jenna--bad news, once the police get wind of her windfall. An ill wind, indeed, as a second murder cements Jenna's status as the prime suspect in both deaths.

Jenna can hit the road again, taking her chances that she can elude trouble along the way. Or she can stick it out in Hokes Folly, take over the bookstore, and try to sleuth out her uncle's killer. On the one hand, she's made some wonderful new friends, and she feels she can thrive in the genial small-town environment. On the other hand, trouble knows her address--and so does the killer, who is determined to write the final page of Jenna's story.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I can't resist bookish books - especially bookish cozy mysteries!  Plus, I always like getting in at the beginning of the series.

My Impression:  I do like a cozy mystery with a main character who is starting over and I don't think I've met one who is starting over quite as much as Jenna.  Jenna has just had her entire life turned upside down. She lost her job, she lost her fiance (who she admits wasn't much of a loss), she lost her reputation, and she had just about lost hope when she received the email from Uncle Paul offering her safe haven.  And she then finds herself right in the middle of a murder investigation.

The mystery wasn't the strongest and I did have some questions about how things happened in regards to Paul's estate.  That said I feel like this is the setup for a strong cozy series.  Jenna is a good heroine.  She's got some serious baggage but she is also really wanting a place to settle in.  I am hoping Rita, Craig, and Keith stick around because I thought they were all fantastic side characters and can't wait to see what they're going to add to the store.  

This is a solid start to a series that has lots of potential.  I enjoyed this read and getting to know Jenna and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  While this one wasn't flawless it still hooked me and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy bookish cozies with likable heroines then I think you would enjoy this first book in the series.

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

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Life with Leukemia (and some reading) - September 27

 


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 a crazy week it's been!  It started out bright and early Monday morning with the fire alarm going off.  Luckily the cat didn't completely freak out and we were able to get him into his carrier and then we all headed down 10 flights of stairs and stood around outside while the fire department cleared the building.  The building is over a converted Sears distribution center  and it is HUGE, like over a million square feet so that took awhile.  We did get to meet some neighbors which was fun.  I think they were mostly interested in the cat but I'm mostly interested in their dogs so I guess it all works out!

And then I broke a tooth which was all kinds of fun.  It was on a molar that had an ancient filling in it and thankfully it didn't hurt very much.  Luckily there's a dentist in the building (the advantages of using in a mixed-use building) and they were able to get me in pretty quickly.  Even luckier they took my insurance AND have an in-house lab and were able to make a crown that day so it was all taken care of really quickly.  They were also super nice and really worked to make sure it didn't hurt.  

Oh yeah and we had all of Will's appointments and school stuff.  He's doing pretty good though has had some pain and nausea with the meds.  We are going in for his next cycle of high dose chemo this week which will mean at least two nights in the hospital.  The first two cycles were really rough but last time wasn't too bad so I'm hoping this one will go okay.  Will's looking forward to seeing his favorite nurses so he's in pretty good spirits about it all.

Currently:

Reading:  Emily's Ghost by Denise Giardina and Haunted Homicide Lucy Ness

Listening:  The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas

Watching:  Bar Rescue and Catfish.  I'm enjoying nice mindless trainwrecks at the moment!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Hodge Podge of Reviews - Cozy Mystery Edition #4


Goodreads:   Chili Cauldron Curse (Kitchen Witch Mystery #.5) by Lynn Cahoon - This is the start of a new series by one of my favorite cozy authors featuring Mia, a kind of practicing witch, and her Gran who is a full on practicing witch.  In this intro Mia is helping her grandmother get a local food pantry off the ground and stumbles on a dead body hiding among the bags of rotting potatoes.  While Cahoon is one of my favorite cozy authors I don't usually love her novellas and unfortunately, this wasn't an exception.  I just didn't connect with Mia or her grandmother or really anyone else in the town.  As well I never felt particularly engaged with the mystery. I do like the concept and I trust Cahoon so I will probably pick up the first full length book in the series but I think I'll skip her novellas from now on.  Rating: Just Okay

Goodreads:  Murder, She Wrote: A Question of Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain - Jessica Fletcher is at it again.  This time she's at a murder weekend that takes place in this amazing sounding old hotel with a ghost story and quite a history.  There are actors, guests, other writers, a blizzard and of course a murder!  Jessica is in fine form doing her usual sleuthing and observing.  Her relationship with official law enforcement was interesting as she didn't want to get involved and the detective very much wanted her help.  Really my main issue was that I had chosen to listen to the audio and it didn't quite work for me.  The narrator did a great job and her accent was very Maine-ish but in my head Jessica Fletcher is and can only be Angela Lansbury!  This is a fun light mystery of the kind I expect from this series.  I'll definitely pick up another book but I'll stick with reading it from now on! Rating: Liked It

Goodreads:  Ghost Ups Her Game (Bailey Ruth #9) by Carolyn G. Hart - This is the latest in a fun series by Carolyn G. Hart.  Bailey Ruth is an emissary from Heaven's Department of Good Intentions and is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma but not so happy to be embroiled in a case that seems to be way tougher then all the good intentions can save.  Bailey is a fun character with lots of spunk and a love of a good outfit.  The mystery is interesting.  Just who killed Matt Lambert and how is it possible that it wasn't Iris Gallagher who had motive, opportunity, and was found standing over the body holding the murder weapon?  It's quite a fun ride to get to the answer though there a couple of plot holes along the way.  Hart's writing style is light and fun which makes me forgive the jumps and occasional confusion.  Ann Marie Lee was the narrator and she did a phenomenal job.  Rating: Liked It


Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Middle Grade Books on Our Read Aloud List




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 looking at 5 Read Aloud books that I have upcoming on my list.  Despite lots of trying and tempting my son just doesn't enjoy the act of reading BUT he does love listening to stories so I'm trying to cram in all the read alouds I can.


1.  The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright - This is an old favorite of mine and I think he'll enjoy it and be fascinated by the level of freedom the kids have.



2.  Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone by JK Rowling - He's 10 so I think it's time to introduce him to Harry Potter.  I don't think he's ready for the later darker books but I think he'll enjoy thi sone.



3.  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - This one is a little dicey.  I loved it but I'm not entirely sure he will.  When I reread it as an adult I was surprised how much I loved it as a kid so you never know!


4.  Word of Mouse by James Patterson - I know just about nothing about this one (other then recognizing the names of the authors) but someone sent us this one and it looks fun.


5.  Greenglass House by Kate Milford - I read this one a few years ago and enjoyed the spooky but not too creepy vibe and I think he would enjoy this so this one is going on the list for closer to Christmas.

What are some of your favorite read alouds or middle grade books?