Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Year of the Projects - The Girl From the Savoy + The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries + Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen

 I do love a good list.  It gives a nice sense of order and focus and I love making lists about the books I want to read.  Last year I focused just on series I was behind on.  The project went great and I caught up on a ton of series but I felt like I was neglecting other books on my shelf and books at my library.  This year I have a few lists going - Series, Library, Clear Off My Shelves, and a random TBR Bingo where I pull books off my Goodreads TBR.  Here are a few of my most recent reads.


Goodreads:  The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

Project:  TBR Bingo List

My Thoughts:  I have loved every book I've read by Hazel Gaynor and I really enjoyed this one.  I loved the story of Dolly Lane and her big dreams and her practical nature.  I loved Loretta May/Virginia Clemmons and her brother and poor sweet Teddy and all the friends Dolly made along the way.  Her time as a maid at the Savoy was at times funny, at times heartbreaking, and at times maddening.  I do feel like the book kind of started too soon.  There was so much focus on the first half of her time at the Savoy and the rest of her life was at best glossed over and mostly skipped all together.  I wanted to know more about these characters that I had come to love so much.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!


Goodreads:  The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries by Emily Brightwell

Project: Library List

My Thoughts:  I was so excited when I pulled this book randomly off my library list.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the more recent books in this series and have been wanting to go back to the beginning.  This is a fun historical mystery series involving a Scotland Yard Inspector who is doing his legitimate investigation and his household staff led by his housekeeper Mrs. Jeffries who are helping him without his knowledge.  I really enjoyed this which did not surprise me as this has been a series I've looked forward to for the last few years.  My only complaint is that in this book Inspector Witherspoon is definitely on the bumbling clueless side where in the later books he's a competent investigator in his own right.  That said I really enjoyed this and when I have a blank spot in my series project I will be rolling this in.  My Rating: Really Liked It


Goodreads: Rest Ye Murdered Gentleman by Vicki Delany

Project: Series

My Thoughts:  I have read the last few books in this series about a store owner in a little town that is all about Christmas all year round.  Merry is a fun main character running a shop that I dearly wish was real as it is full of artisan and one of a kind Christmas decorations and gifts.  This mystery introduces the town of Rudolph, New York and asks the question - just who is trying to ruin Christmas in Rudolph.  I really enjoyed getting to know Merry and her family a bit better (especially her giant St. Bernard puppy Mattie) and spending some time in Rudolph.  The mystery kept me guessing and the reveal was even a bit of a surprise.  This is a series I will definitely be continuing.  My Rating: Really Liked It

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - New to Me Authors I Read in 2021


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 New to Me Authors I Discovered in 2021.


1.  Patti Callahan - This author has been on my TBR for ages but I absolutely couldn't resist Once Upon a Wardrobe.  I'm so glad I didn't as it was one of my favorites for the year.

2.  Jacqueline Frost - I have had heard raves about this cozy author for quite some time and I really enjoyed Twelve Slays of Christmas

3.  James Anderson - I picked up The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy mostly because of the title but ended up really enjoying it.

4.  Oscar Wilde - While The Picture of Dorian Gray wasn't a book I really enjoyed I am glad I finally took the time to read it.

5.  Kate Quinn - I have heard nothing but raves for Kate Quinn's books and I finally broke down and read The Alice Network.  It broke my heart but I really enjoyed it.


6.  Anne Bogel - I used to really love Anne Bogel's podcast so when I came across a copy of her book I'd Rather Be Reading at the library I had to pick it up.

7.  Larry Loftis - One of my goals for 2021 was to read more nonfiction and I really liked The Princess Spy by this author.

8.  Julia Kelly - Kelly's historical fiction with gorgeous covers have been catching my eye for quite some time so I made The Last Garden in England one of my first reads for 2021.

9.  Katherine Arden - The Bear and the Nightingale was every bit as magical and fairytale like as I wanted it to be.

10. Winnie Archer - I do love a cozy mystery series and I love bread so I'm not sure what took me so long to pick up the first in Archer's Bread Shop Mystery series, Kneaded to Death, but this is definitely a series I will be continuing.

What authors did you discover in 2021?

Monday, January 24, 2022

Two Mini Reviews - The Rhyme of the Magpie + With Vics You Get Eggroll

 

Goodreads:  The Rhyme of the Magpie (Birds of a Feather #1) Marty Wingate

Blurb:  With her personal life in disarray, Julia Lanchester feels she has no option but to quit her job on her father’s hit BBC Two nature show, A Bird in the Hand. Accepting a tourist management position in Smeaton-under-Lyme, a quaint village in the English countryside, Julia throws herself into her new life, delighting sightseers (and a local member of the gentry) with tales of ancient Romans and pillaging Vikings.
But the past is front and center when her father, Rupert, tracks her down in a moment of desperation. Julia refuses to hear him out; his quick remarriage after her mother’s death was one of the reasons Julia flew the coop. But later she gets a distressed call from her new stepmum: Rupert has gone missing. Julia decides to investigate—she owes him that much, at least—and her father’s new assistant, the infuriatingly dapper Michael Sedgwick, offers to help. Little does the unlikely pair realize that awaiting them is a tightly woven nest of lies and murder.

My Thoughts:  I have really enjoyed other books by this author and I love the idea of birdwatching so I was intrigued by this series.  I enjoyed this book.  The mystery was interesting and I really wasn't sure how it would wrap up until the end.  My only real issue was Julia herself.  Julia is in her 30s and is supposed to be a competent adult but at times I found her irritatingly immature.  I didn't really blame her for having issues with her father's remarriage but her reaction to so many other things felt really over the top.  I will continue with this series but it is not at the top of my list. My Rating: Liked It

Goodreads:  With Vics You Get Eggrolls (Mad for Mod Mystery #3) by Diane Vallere

Blurb:  Interior Decorator Madison Night has her hands full with a demanding client and a product endorsement, but when the news shifts from reports of recently abducted women to the discovery of a dead body, she can’t deny the danger. Evidence from the scene links the flirtatious Lt. Tex Allen to the crime, putting him off the case. As more abductees are either released or killed, he struggles with his suspension, on the brink of turning vigilante. Madison’s own life is complicated by the return of her hunky handyman, Hudson James. When seemingly unrelated events lead back to the abductions, she exposes a secondary agenda, a copycat crime, and a vengeful plot to destroy someone she loves.

My Thoughts:  I love Diane Vallere's quirky style of mystery and this series is fun though it's probably not my favorite of hers.  I love the decorating and mod style references but the pace can be a bit inconsistent and Madison can drive me crazy with her decisions for her personal life.  The mystery was interesting with a series of kidnappings happening in the Dallas area and Madison's friend/kind of love interest being framed for them.  Madison gets pulled into the investigation to protect her friend and because she can't resist.  This is definitely a series that you really do need to start at the beginning for as there is a lot of background information that have far reaching consequences.  My Rating: Liked It

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - January 23


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:


Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss - I can never resist a new cozy mystery and this one has cheese so what could be better?   (Publisher)

Crimson Summer by Heather Graham - I enjoyed the last book by Graham with FDLE Special Agent Amy Larson so I'm excited about this one. (Publisher)

Currently:

Reading:  The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont (just started this one) and The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King

Listening: The Secret Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams (just started this one too)


Will has been feeling pretty good and has rediscovered a game called Stardew Valley and has gotten absolutely obsessed with it so we haven't seen him much this week other then doctor's appointments and when we force him to eat.  He's eaten enough that he still hasn't had to have the NG tube put back in and we are hoping to keep it that way.  Rover got annoyed at Will not playing with him so he decided to jump up on the chair and get some attention one way or the other.  He's not technically allowed on the furniture but I'm not sure how long that rule will last.


Speaking of Rover - he's getting enormous!  He's 14 weeks (today) and about 30 pounds.  I think his feet get bigger every time I look at him.  We've finally made some progress on the mouthiness and nipping (knock on wood) and he's responding so well to obedience training.  He's starting to feel more like having a dog around and not a wild toddler who is all feet and teeth.  He's also starting to develop that gorgeous golden retriever feathering on his legs and tail.  It's only just barely starting but I'm so excited.

It's been insanely cold here (for the South so in the 20s and 30s but we don't have a furnace or anything just a heat pump because it is NOT supposed to get this cold) and I am not liking it.  Other then that it's just been a normal week.  I'm trying to get better about going to sleep at a normal hour to see if that will help with my fatigue.  So far it hasn't hurt!  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Nemesis - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchases

Description:  In utter disbelief, Jane Marple read the letter addressed to her from the recently deceased Mr Rafiel - an acquaintance she had met briefly while on vacation in St. Honore, as recounted in "A Caribbean Mystery."

Rafiel had left instructions for her to investigate a crime after his death. The only problem was, he had failed to tell her who was involved or where and when the crime had been committed. It was most intriguing. Soon she is faced with a new crime - the ultimate crime - murder. It seems someone is adamant that past evils remain buried.

Genre: Mystery - Classic


My Impression: While not the last Miss Marple published this is the last Miss Marple Agatha Christie wrote.  I'm usually not the biggest fan of her later books but I believe this is her strongest from the late 1960s/1970s.  This is also one of the only books Christie wrote that is a direct sequel to another book.  We meet Mr. Rafiel in A Caribbean Mystery in Miss Marple's only book outside of England.  The scene from that book that gets referenced in this book is pure brilliance and it's picking up that book just for that (though the rest is pretty great too).  

This is a bit of unusual mystery.  Miss Marple is involved in an almost professional role.  She is essentially hired to investigate instead of being pulled in for various reasons.  As well, she really doesn't know what she's investigating.  It's presented as kind of a you'll know it if you see it situation which has her a bit frustrated and seriously intrigued.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable mystery with a bit of a different feel.  Instead of a dead body being stumbled on Miss Marple is trying to determine just what mystery she's supposed to solve and if it can be solved.  I enjoyed the mystery and seeing Miss Marple a bit out of her element.  As well, I enjoyed seeing her in her home base and especially getting to see Cherry again who was introduced several books ago.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I'll be finishing up Miss Marple this year and am looking forward to my 2022 reading already.

Would I Recommend this Book? Absolutely!  This book and A Caribbean Mystery are both solid interesting mysteries that I think any mystery reader would enjoy

Friday, January 21, 2022

Friday Fives - Favorite Moments of 2021


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.  This week I'm sharing pictures from my 5 favorite moments of 2021.

1.  

Quality time with the hospital therapy dog.

2.  

Will got to be the Headlight Hero and judge a car show.  This was his pick.

3.  

Swimming!

4.  

Getting to reconnect with Will's Physician Assistant from St. Jude who was the medical officer on SpaceX's Inspiration 4 and getting to meet the rest of the crew.  They were so sweet.

5.  

Getting Rover!  He's grown so much since this picture was taken!

What were some of your favorite moments of 2021?

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Classic Mystery List for 2022

 

In 2021 I made a list of 10 classic mysteries that I wanted to be sure to read and really liked having that to focus on.  So I decided to do the same thing in 2022 and here is the list I'm looking forward to reading.


1.  Anna, Where Are You? by Patricia Wentworth - This is the next Miss Silver book and one I haven't read!

2.  Double Sin and Other Stories by Agatha Christie - Now that I have finished the Miss Marple books I'm starting Christie's short story collections and am so looking forward to them!

3.  Mrs. Pollifax on Safari by Dorothy Gilman - Mrs. Pollifax is such a delight and I can't wait to see what kind of trouble she gets into on safari.

4.  A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh - This is the first book in the Roderick Alleyn series.  I've had an iffy history with Marsh but am planning on starting from the beginning with the Alleyn series and seeing what I think.

5.  Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird - I really enjoyed the first Inspector Sloan book and am looking forward to rereading this one.  It's been so long since I've read it that it barely counts as a reread.


6.  Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers - This is the third book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series.  I enjoyed the first two though I have decided that audio for these doesn't work for me as they can be a little bit slower paced but it is important to pay attention to all the details.  I'm hoping that reading this in print works better for me.

7.  The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart - I have read a few Mary Roberts Rinehart books and enjoyed them quite a bit and am looking forward to continuing.

8.  Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart - This is more Gothic then mystery but Stewart is an author I want to read more from.

9.  The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey - This is the first book in the Inspector Grant series and while I have met Grant in another book I'm looking forward to starting at the beginning of the series.

10. Dead Men Don't Ski by Patricia Moyes - I read several books by Moyes back in college and remember really enjoying them.  This is the first book in the Henry Tibbet series and I'm looking forward to seeing if it lives up to my memories.

Have you read any of these?  Do you have any classic mysteries you want to read this year?