Thursday, September 23, 2021

Books from the Backlog - The Scent of Murder

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 Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

Blurb:  First in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Scent of Murder is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains cadaver dogs. The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

Why This Book Needs to Come Off The Shelf:  I'm trying to get some of my neglected revive books read and I love the premise of this one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

From the Back of the Review Shelf - Two Mini Reviews

I'm trying to get caught up on some of my overdue review books that have been lurking in the backs of my shelves for far too long.  Here are two quick reviews for books I have recently caught up on.

Goodreads:  Tagged For Death (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #1) by Sherry Harris

Premise:  Sarah Winston is getting adjusted to life as a military ex-spouse when she comes across a blood stained shirt while out collecting donations for the base thrift store.  And it's not just any bloodstained shirt but the bloodstained uniform shirt of the woman Sarah's husband cheated on her with.  The woman who just happens to be missing.  

My Thoughts:  There was a lot I liked about this one.  The mystery was interesting and definitely puzzling.  I really liked Sarah and her friends (especially Stella) and her stabs and creating a new life for herself.  Unfortunately, even though I really liked Sarah her focus on investigating and her continued involvement with base-life were kind of cringe-y and a bit odd.  She is having to make major life adjustments so I understand that that would be difficult but I did kind of want to shake her.  There is character progression as the book goes on (and redemption of a few characters) so I think the series will improve but for the first book the cringe factor was a bit too high for full enjoyment.  My Rating:  Liked It

Premise:  Olivia Norley and Thorn aka Marlowe Drake, Duke of Thornstock, have met twice before.  The first was when they were caught in an embrace, the second was when she turned down his proposal of marriage and now he is shocked to discover that his half brother has hired her to help prove his father was poisoned. 

My Thoughts:  Sabrina Jeffries is one of my favorite romance authors and I really liked Olivia and pretty much all of the side characters.  Unfortunately, I really really really disliked Thorn to the point it clouded my enjoyment of the book.  Olivia is intelligent, practical, and comes off as a nice straightforward woman.  Thorn is convinced that the kiss (that he initiated with no encouragement from her) was all part of a blackmail/forced marriage scheme that she and her stepmother cooked up.  Even though Thorn's nearest and dearest point out that since she turned down his marriage proposal that hardly seems very likely he is insistent and becomes dismissive and demeaning of Olivia's accomplishments and intelligence.  I wanted to hit him if you can't tell.  Because Sabrina Jeffries is a fantastic romance writer the book is incredibly readable and I enjoyed any scene that didn't involve Thorn.  While he does redeem himself somewhat by the end I can't help but think that Olivia deserved better.  I will always recommend Sabrina Jeffries if you want to read historical romances but this isn't the book I would recommend.  My Rating:  Just Okay

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Fall 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 the Fall TBR.  I love making these TBR lists every season.  I very rarely read them all during the season but I like thinking about what I'd like to read!

1.  The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde - This has been on my TBR for years and this fall is going to when it gets read!  It's not very long so I should be able to get through it relatively quickly!

2. Wings of the Falcon by Barbara Michaels - I'm rereading all the books on my Keeper Shelf to see if they get to stay and this is the next one!

3.  Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge - This is the start of a new cozy series where the main character is the housekeeper for Agatha Christie.  So excited about this one!

4.  Miss Moriarty, I Presume by Sherry Thomas - I've really enjoyed this series involving Charlotte Holmes and this one sounds really interesting.  

5.  Death on the Shelf by Allison Brook - This is the newest book in the Haunted Library series which is one of my go-to cozy mystery series and I'm really looking forward to this one.

6.  The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley - I'm trying to finish this series by the end of the year and this is the next book.  This is the sister who has had the least page time so I'm really curious about her story.

7.  The Twelve Jays of Christmas by Donna Andrews - This is the latest in another of my go-to cozy series and this is a Christmas one which means it'll be extra fun!

8.  Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King - I'm not expecting to finish this series this year but I am hoping to make more progress on it and this is the next book.

9.  The Catherine Wheel by Patricia Wentworth - I'm trying to read all the Miss Silver books this year (there are a LOT more of them then I thought!) and this is the next one.

10.  The French House by Don Wallace - I haven't had the best luck with some of the memoir-y type books I've picked up in the last year or two.  This is one I've really been looking forward to but am also kind of scared because I ended up DNFing the last book that fell into this category.

What are you hoping to read this fall?

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - September 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:

Petals and Poison by Jess Dylan - I read the first book in this series and thought it had a lot of potential so I'm curious to see what I think of this one.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Eternity Ring by Patricia Wentworth and Chapters and Curse by Elizabeth Penney

ListeningTagged for Death by Sherry Harris

Watching:  Still re-watching Friends though my re-watch has slowed a bit.  Still really enjoying it though!

The trip to Memphis went well.  It was good to see all the people we've met at the main campus and all of his test results came out where they should.  We stayed at a hotel that had been the Central Train Station downtown and was super art deco and had all kinds of original details.  We ate at at one of our favorite restaurants and then tried one that we had wanted to try but never managed to get to.  And best of all there was a used bookstore from the hotel that I got to spend some time browsing in.  The selection wasn't spectacular but it was still fun.  Before we left we grabbed breakfast at Arcade Restaurant which was also right across from the hotel and is the oldest continuously running cafe's in Memphis.  Apparently, it was Elvis's favorite restaurant when he lived there.  It was tasty though I was not brave enough to try the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich with bacon (apparently Elvis's favorite dish) and settled on French toast.  

By the time we got back home we were all pretty exhausted but Will especially.  This is a steroid week for him which makes him a bit grumpy and keeps him from getting solid sleep so he's been extra tired.  Saturday he had just enough energy to get some lunch and go to a new cookie dough bakery.  He got chocolate chip cookie dough and cookies and cream cookie dough and even though he wasn't able to eat very much he seriously enjoyed it.  

That's been pretty much our week.  I've been trying to get caught up on laundry and dealing with my allergies that have gone bonkers thanks to ragweed.  The allergy issue has kept my reading down a bit.  I'm doing pretty good with my audio books and my print books but weirdly just haven't been reaching for my Kindle.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Case of William Smith - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Case of William Smith by Patricia Wentworth

Rating:  Loved It!
Source:  Purchased

Description: Who was William Smith? And why was Mavis Jones so horrified to see him? For seven years William had worked as a woodcarver for the local toyshop, ignorant of his true identity. The war had robbed him of his memory, and no one expected him to ever find the answer. So when he took his work to Evesleys Ltd, why was his life instantly in danger?

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  This was the next book in my Miss Silver reread.

My Impression: This is a bit different from the usual mystery as this isn't a murder mystery.  Instead the focus on just who is William Smith and who is trying to kill him and why?  Miss Silver is very much a side character in this case and doesn't make an appearance at all until about halfway through the book.  When she does appear it's mostly in an advisory capacity though her interactions with Abbott and Chief Inspector Lamb more then make up for it.  Abbott actually appears a bit earlier as he ties into the search for William Smith's identity.

Because it isn't a traditional mystery the reader isn't really investigating along with the characters but is instead just along for the ride as the story unfolds.  I found the story itself interesting with lots of sweet moments mixed in.  It's hard not to like William and most of the other characters and to root for the best ending possible.  It's a bit slower to unfold but that helped me become more invested in the characters and their future. 

I love Wentworth's way of really making the scene and the characters come to life.  I was fully pulled into the story and enjoyed every minute of it.  This is probably one of my favorite Patricia Wentworth books and the reread didn't disappoint.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  Already have the next Miss Silver book ready to go.

Would I Recommend this Book? I do if you're not going in expecting a not so typical fast paced mystery.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday Fives - Five Mini Reviews for Books I've Read Lately

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  Here are 5 short reviews for books I've read lately.

1. I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel - I have finally read a book by Anne Bogel!  And her short memoir on reading was the perfect one to start with.  I haven't had the best luck with books about books.  I always want to love them but I very rarely connect with them but this one I absolutely did!  This is a quick little book that talks about all the joys and magic of being a reader.  I think because she doesn't specifically talk about WHAT she's reading but more about HOW books make her feel so I think that helped.  If you haven't really connected with a book about books this might be the one for you!  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

2.  Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson -
I have been a Jenny Lawson fan since long before her first book so of course I had to pick up this newest book.  This one is a bit different as Lawson feels in a very different place in both her physical and mental health.  The stories are much more introspective and poignant and even her usual off the wall stories have a bit more of an edge to it.  I didn't find this one to be as laugh out loud funny as the previous books but I do feel like I know Lawson a bit better.  I have listened to all three of her books in audio and highly recommend going that route if you can.  My Rating:  Liked It!

3.  The Alice Network by Kate Quinn -
This book has been on my TBR since it was first released several years ago and it absolutely did not disappoint.  There are two timelines here - the first in post- World War II England and France as Charlie Sinclair is brought to Europe by her mother to deal with her unwed pregnancy.  We quickly meet Eve and are transported to 1915 France in the height of World War I.  Both timelines kept me fully invested though Eve's was at times almost too painful to listen to as we know kind of how it ends.  I loved seeing the evolution of the characters in the 1947 timeline as people desperately looking to find their way find each other and take the first steps while still wrestling with their demons.  I listened to the audio and really enjoyed it and am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

4.  Deadly Harvest by Heather Graham -
This is the 2nd book in the Flynn Brothers trilogy.  I listened to the first one several years ago and enjoyed it so when I saw this one on sale on Audible I snatched it and let it sit for a couple of years.  This is a fun read and very much what one expects from Graham's books.  It's set in Salem, Massachusetts during the Halloween season and there's some supernatural elements, a bit of romance, and a pretty good suspenseful plot.  Rowena and Jeremy are likable if a bit flat and I enjoyed the combination of Salem local and Salem newbie.  Graham uses the scarecrow element in a later book but I found it better done and extremely creepy in this situation.  I enjoyed this listen and it was just what I expect from a Heather Graham book.  My Rating: Liked It!

5. Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah -
This is Mah's memoir of the year she spent in Paris on her own when her husband was transferred unexpectedly to the embassy in Baghdad right after they had left everything to move to France for his job.  She uses the food of different regions as a framework as she learns how to find her own version of France alone.  I really enjoyed this book.  Mah is educated, childless, and relatively affluent so she has a lot of free time which is equal parts a blessing and a curse at times.  She mixes in all kinds of food descriptions with the history of different regions, stories of the people she meets while learning about the food, missing her husband, and learning how to make friends as a shy but relatively social person in a foreign country.  This is a calm and interesting book that made me want to go into the kitchen and start cooking.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

What have you read lately?

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Year of the Series - Thread on Arrival + French Fried

 After the calamity that was 2020 I didn't want to give myself serious reading goals but I did want to do something to help my book stacks get a little more under control.  I've tried getting rid of the ones I want to read but unfortunately I want to read all the books I own.  So I decided to focus on series.  There are so many I have that I abandoned halfway through or came in halfway and never read the first few.  I made a list of ten series and the next book I had to read in them and will be rolling in new books and series as I go along and catch up.  Here are two reviews from that list that I've read recently.

Goodreads:  Thread on Arrival (Mainely Needlepoint #8) by Lea Wait

Premise:  Ike Hamilton is a part of the Haven Harbor community just like anyone else, though he's fallen on hard times and has to make do on disability checks and deposit bottles. Most of the locals do what they can to help him out, and needlepointing partners Angie and Sarah are happy to see him at the annual Blessing of the Fleet, honoring all those lost at sea over the centuries.

But when harmless Ike is stabbed, suspicion quickly falls on a troubled teenage boy who's new in town. Angie's convinced that young Leo is innocent--but if he didn't do it, who did? Turns out Ike may have appeared simple-minded, but he knew a few secrets that someone might have murdered him to keep quiet. Angie sets out to trace Ike's bottle-collecting route to find out what he witnessed--and for this killer, there may be no redemption . . .

My Thoughts:  My main complaint is that I only have one book in this series and I'll be so sad to see the last of Angie, Sara, Dave, Patrick, and everyone else in Haven Harbor.  I really love these characters and the community of Haven Harbor.  In this book I really liked that we got to get a little bit of Dave's backstory and got to know him a bit better.  I did have a pretty good clue as to at least part of the who and the why but I still had plenty of questioned and I really enjoyed the journey to the reveal.  I really enjoy the notes on different samplers or other things related to antique embroidery.  This is perhaps a slower moving series and Angie definitely took some time to really grow on me but  this is proving to be a series that I thoroughly enjoy.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Goodreads:  French Fried (Ethnic Eats #2) by Kylie Logan

Blurb:  The Statue of Liberty is 130 years old, and for the struggling residents of Hubbard, Ohio, any opportunity to bring in tourists is reason enough for a celebration. Laurel Inwood and her aunt, Sophie, are pitching in. Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks, a former greasy spoon turned charming ethnic eatery, will be offering French cuisine for the entire week.

For expert help with their quiche and escargot, the ladies turn to Raquel “Rocky” Arnaud, a former French chef and friend of Sophie. What looks like a match made in heaven turns rank as quickly as buttermilk on a summer’s day. Rocky turns up dead and when her nightly red wine shows notes of oak, cinnamon, and poison, Laurel turns from soufflĂ© to sleuth.

My Thoughts:  I really don't like Laurel.  In this book and the previous book she comes off as pretentious and judge-y and she sets my teeth on edge.  However, in this book as in the last book she somehow redeems herself as the book goes on and I find myself fully invested in the mystery.  It actually ends up giving quite a bit of depth to her character as I feel like her past in the foster care system followed by a career as a private chef in Hollywood has jaded her and made her build up walls and she's still trying to figure out who she really is.  The mystery is a doozy with lots of secrets from the past that must be dealt with as well as restaurant business.  This was a fun read with a mystery that was well paced with characters that stick with me.  My only real complaint is that there wasn't nearly as much of the Fury clan as I'd like. This is the last book in the series for me as I read the third book a couple of years ago and I'm kind of sad to put Terminal at the Tracks behind me.  Kylie Logan has written several other series so I'm looking forward to starting anew one soon.  My Rating:  Liked It!