Saturday, July 13, 2024

And Then There Were None - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Rating: Loved It! (5 Stars)
Source:   Purchased

Description:  "Ten . . ."
Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U.N. Owen."

"Nine . . ."
At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead.

"Eight . . ."
Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . one by one they begin to die.

"Seven . . ."
Who among them is the killer and will any of them survive?

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  This was the June read for the Read Christie Challenge this year.  I'm pretty sure next month's is Taken at the Flood.

My Impression:   This is one of my favorite Christie mysteries and everytime I reread it I'm pleasantly reminded of why.  Christie is spot on here with complex characters, an isolated setting, and lots of twists and turns.  I remember the end and yet it never fails to give me a little thrill at the end.

Like Murder on the Orient Express, I feel like I notice something a little different or pick up on a new clue everytime I read this mystery.  Each character has some serious baggage and there is just enough of their backstory to flesh them out without getting confusing or overdone.  

This is a quick entertaining read that I always thoroughly enjoy and I enjoy it everytime I pick up the book.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I'm already looking forward to July's Read Christie Challenge book.

Would I Recommend this Book? Yes!  If you've never read Christie this is a fantastic book to start with.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Friday Fives - Five States I Haven't "Visited" Yet

I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random fve lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much. Every year I keep track of all the states and countries I've visited through my reading.  This week I'm looking at 5 states I haven't "visited" yet and books that I'm thinking about picking up to help my traveling.  These are5 states I usually visit pretty early in the year and for whatever reason I just haven't gotten there yet.

1.  Alabama - The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber

2.  Louisiana - The Shop on Royal Street by Karen White

3.  Idaho - Then Came You by Jill Shalvis

4.  Colorado - Take the Honey and Run by Jennie Marts

5.  Rhode Island - A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

Any suggestions for books that take place in any of these states? What states or countries do you usually "visit" regularly but haven't made it there yet?

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Books from the Backlog - The Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill

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 Fairy Bargains of Prospect Hill by Rowenna Miller

Blurb:  In the early 1900s, two sisters must navigate the magic and the dangers of the Fae in this enchanting and cozy historical fantasy about sisterhood and self-discovery.
There is no magic on Prospect Hill—or anywhere else, for that matter. But just on the other side of the veil is the world of the Fae. Generations ago, the first farmers on Prospect Hill learned to bargain small trades to make their lives a little easier—a bit of glass to find something lost, a cup of milk for better layers in the chicken coop.

Much of that old wisdom was lost as the riverboats gave way to the rail lines and the farmers took work at mills and factories. Alaine Fairborn’s family, however, was always superstitious, and she still hums the rhymes to find a lost shoe and to ensure dry weather on her sister’s wedding day.

When Delphine confides her new husband is not the man she thought he was, Alaine will stop at nothing to help her sister escape him. Small bargains buy them time, but a major one is needed. Yet, the price for true freedom may be more than they’re willing to pay.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This has kind of a cozy fantasy feel and the blurb definitely caught my eye.  It sounds like a good summer read!

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The Confidence Game - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Confidence Games by Tess Amy

Rating: Really LIked It (4 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Two female con artists must pull off the ultimate heist in this rollicking caper from a dazzling new voice.

Emma Oxley and Nellie Yarrow have been inseparable their whole lives. Ever since they reinvented themselves, changing their names and wiping clean their digital footprints, they have made a game of following wherever the next adventure leads and challenging themselves to thefts, street cons, and mind games.

Adhering to only two rules—they will only swindle men, and only ones who deserve it—Emma and Nellie are secure in their reputation as the most trustworthy swindlers on the European black market. Until suddenly, they must play to save their own lives.

Blackmailed into stealing a priceless bracelet from a high-security exhibit, Emma will reexamine everything she believed to be true. This heist takes her far beyond her comfort zone...and she and Nellie will need allies among the glitzy bejeweled gathering in London in order to survive. Will they be able to do the right thing before it’s too late?

Genre: Mystery 

Why I Picked This Book:  The blurb sounded fun.  I'm fascinated by cons and scams so a mystery focused on that sounded like perfect reading.

My Impression:  This was such a fun read!  The two main characters, Emma and Nellie, were a bit older than I expected from the cover and have a bit more life experience and history.  There skills compliment each other well and they've found a mission that gives their conning a focus.   They're also intelligent and sympathetic characters.  I loved the Emma and Nellie's friendship and especially loved seeing them work together when the stakes become high.

The story hooked me from the beginning and the pace really took off a chapter or two in when the heist gets underway.  I was rooting for the characters and holding my breath a bit to see just how everything would play out.  Emma and Nellie pick up a few characters along the way and it definitely enriched the book and I could not have loved the ending more.  

If you're looking for a fast summer reading with likable characters that's a bit different from the usual mystery this would be a perfect choice!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will keep an eye out for anything from this author.

Would I Recommend this Book? I would!  If you're looking for a fun read with likable characters and a fast paced plot this is a great choice.

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Series I Want to Catch Up On

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 a throwback and I'm picking 10 Series That I Want to Catch Up On.

1.  Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams - I really enjoyed the first two books of this series but for some reason it hasn't been a series I keep up with.  I need to fix that.

2.  Sebastian St. Cyr by C.S. Harris - I have really loved the most recent books but feel like I'm missing a little by not reading the first few books.

3.  Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson - Basically ditto above.

4.  Wescott Series by Mary Balogh - I picked up the first in this historical romance series and absolutely loved it and really want to continue with the rest of the books.

5.  Lady Darby Mysteries by Anna Lee Huber - I've loved the past few books but never read the earlier books.  There aren't that many that I've missed so I need to fix that.

Rockton/Casey Duncan Series by Kelley Armstrong - I loved the first book that I read earlier this year and it's been on my mind so I need to pick up book 2.

7.  Bookmobile Cat Mystery Series by Laurie Cass - I've read one book and enjoyed it and we aren't going to talk about how many books in this series I own.  Now I just need to read them!

8.  Amish Candy Shop Mysteries by Amanda Flowers - I really enjoyed another series by this cozy mystery author and I enjoyed the first book in the series so I need to continue it.

9.  Wrexford and Sloane Mysteries by Andrea Penrose - I liked the first book and am loving the second book that I'm currently listening to.  I waited over a year between book one and two and don't want to wait nearly as long between two and three.  

10. Krewe of Hunters series by Heather Graham - I've read most of the books in this series and always really enjoy them but there are a handful that I haven't gotten around to so I need to finish them up - especially as the series seems to have come to an end or is at least slowing down.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Murder on Devil's Pond - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Murder on Devil's POnd (A Hummingbird Hollow B&B Mystery) by Ayla Rose

Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  When 33-year-old Hannah Solace returns to her hometown to renovate and reopen the inn she co-owns with her sister Reggie, her mission is to give the old Victorian hotel an entirely new life. She’s even planting pollinator gardens around the inn–native flowers and fruit trees to lure honeybees and houseguests alike. 
Hannah’s fresh start is stymied by Reggie’s continual interference, unreliable contractors, a check-the-couch-for-coins budget, and townspeople Hannah left behind fifteen years ago. Her main source of camaraderie is Ezra Grayson, an 80-year-old recluse who lives nearby. After an unsettling conversation with a disgruntled Ezra, Hannah is horrified to discover him dead on her property later that day. Ezra had always had plenty of people to complain about, especially locals trying to force him out of his property for its prime real estate. As buzz around town grows after his death, Hannah finds herself on the short list of suspects. Hannah starts digging and quickly discovers that secrets lurk beneath the charming surface of the town she once again calls home.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm always on the lookout for a new cozy series and this looked like a good one.  

My Impression: Well this was a fun read - and one I got through in 2 sittings though it did keep me up way too late as I just had to finish it.  I have read other books by this author under another name and really enjoyed them so I had high expectations going into this one and I was not let down.

Hannah has some baggage that she's still working through when she comes back home to small town Vermont to manage the B&B.  Her relationship with her father is strained and her relationship with her sister is complicated in a big sister/little sister way.  Her friendship with town curmudgeon, Ezra, is a bright spot for her even though he would protest at having it put that way.  When Ezra dies and Hannah finds him she is quickly pulled into not only investigating who would want Ezra dead but who Ezra was in the first place.  This pulls her into making peace with some aspects of her pass as well.

The pacing of this one kept me turning pages way past my bedtime.  Hannah frustrated me at times but I did sympathize with her and I found her fairly easy to connect to.  Plus, there is a big dog named Moose and who could resist a big dog named Moose?

This was a fun read that touches on some darker issues.  The characters are flawed but sympathetic and the pacing kept me hooked from beginning to end.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I really liked this one and am looking forward to visiting Hannah, Reggie, Peach, and especially Moose again.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you are a cozy mystery lover this was a solid and enjoyable read.

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

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Reading Recap - June 2023


Monthly Recap:

Monthly Reading Count -  19 - I'm hoping in July to beat this number but so far I've been pretty consistent at 19!

Print - 7
Ebook - 7 
Audiobook - 5 

Mystery -  14
Fiction - 3
Romance - 1 
Nonfiction - 1

Favorite Books of the Month:

Favorite Audio: A Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose - I didn't liked but didn't love the first book in this series but I'd seen so many great reviews I had to keep going with it and I'm so glad I did!  I thoroughly enjoyed this second book.

Favorite Read: Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy - This wasn't a perfect read but this was the book I looked forward to picking up the most.  I loved the characters and Binchy's writing style.

Least Favorite Read of the Month:

Come Shell or High Water by Molly MacRae

Where My Books Took Me This Month:

Domestic Travel:  The only new state I visited was Mississippi but I also visited Florida (twice), North Carolina, Arizona, and Vermont.

International Travel: I had a fairly big month internationally.  I visited England 8 times in multiple different time periods, Scotland, France, and Greece.  I also crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Luisitania.  

Where did your books take you this month?  What was your favorite read of the month?