Saturday, December 2, 2023

This Week in Reading - December 3

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:

The Lost Book of Bonn by Brianna Labuskes

The Murder Club by Alexandra Ivy

Ill-Fated Fortune by Jennifer Chow

Murder, She Wrote: Fit for Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Terrie Farley Moran

The Dog Across the Lake by Krista Davis


Reading:  Death in the Dark Woods by Annelise Ryan and The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

Listening: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

There's an organization here that gives cancer patients rides in exotic cars.  Brian, the guy who started it, is a cancer patient himself and was in treatment with a kid who was obsessed with cars.  Brian decided if he survived and was able to afford an exotic car that he would offer rides to cancer patients - especially kids.  A couple of weeks ago was Will's turn and he absolutely loved it!  He did make me do the interview portion of it though so if you're interested here is Will's ride and my interview starts at about the 6:30 mark,

We got the outside lights and the Christmas tree up this week and Rover was willing to pose in front of it.  I'm planning on getting the rest of the Christmas decorations up this week.  I was going to put them up this weekend but we are keeping a friend's two black and tan coonhounds this weekend and between them and Rover it was just a little too much help.  

Happy reading and have a great week!

Monthly Reading Recap - November 2023

Monthly Breakdown

Monthly Total: 18

Print: 4
Ebook: 8
Audio: 6

Mystery:  13  
Fiction:  1
Nonfiction: 1
Romance: 3 

My Favorite Books of the Month:

Inheritance by Nora Roberts - This had all my favorite elements wrapped up into one book with a funny dog and a gorgeous old house full of ghosts. 

Favorite Audio 
Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas - I absolutely loved this audio and I think I would have loved it just as much if I had read it which doesn't usually happen.  I can't believe I waited this long to read this one!

Least Favorite Book of the Month:

None!  Normally I have a couple of books that didn't quite click for me or were just a bit meh but in November I really enjoyed everything I read.  Even the books that weren't in the running for favorites I enjoyed enough that I can't say they disappointed me in anyway.

Bookish Armchair Travels:

Domestic Travel:
No new states this month but I did visit California, Washington, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Idaho, Ohio, Connecticut, Maine, and Michigan.  I went to Maine and North Carolina multiple times.

International Travel:
No new countries either and really not much international travel.  I went to England four times and Scotland once and that was it!

How was your reading this month?  Where did your books take you this month?

Friday, December 1, 2023

Friday Fives - December TBR

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 is the first Friday in December so I'm picking out five books I hope to read this month.

1.  Coconut Drop Dead by Olivia Matthews - I read the last book in this cozy series set in a Caribbean bakery and loved it.  I can't wait to read this one!

2.  Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford - I read the first book several years ago and really enjoyed it.  I've really been meaning to read the next book and this December is the time!

3.  The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers - This is the last book on my classic mystery list and this is the last month of the year so it's time to read it!

4.  Angel's Rest by Emily March - This series is so lovely and Christmas-y and yet I've never read the first book somehow.

5.  Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis - I really enjoy Jill Shalvis' books but it's been awhile since I read one of the romances in this series and it looks nice and Christmas-y - plus one of the main characters is an author which sounds fun.

What books are you planning on reading this month?

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Books from the Backlog - Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow

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:  Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet by Dr. Jan Pol

Blurb:  The star of The Incredible Dr. Pol shares his amusing, and often poignant, tales from his four decades as a vet in rural Michigan. Dr. Jan Pol is not your typical veterinarian. Born and raised the Netherlands on a dairy farm, he is the star of Nat Geo Wild’s hit show The Incredible Dr. Pol and has been treating animals in rural Michigan since the 1970s. Dr. Pol’s more than 20,000 patients have ranged from white mice to 2600-pound horses and everything in between. 

From the time he was twelve years old and helped deliver a litter of piglets on his family’s farm to the incredible moments captured on his hit TV show, Dr. Pol has amassed a wealth of stories of what it’s like caring for this menagerie of animals. He shares his own story of growing up surrounded by animals, training to be a vet in the Netherlands, and moving to Michigan to open his first practice in a pre fab house. He has established himself as an empathetic yet no-nonsense vet who isn’t afraid to make the difficult decisions in order to do what’s best for his patients—and their hard-working owners. A sick pet can bring heartache, but a sick cow or horse could threaten the very livelihood of a farmer whose modest profits are dependent on healthy livestock. Reminiscent of the classic books of James Herriot, Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow is a charming, fascinating, and funny memoir that will delight animal lovers everywhere.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  A friend recommended this because she is obsessed with the show so I couldn't resist picking the book up.  It looks really fun!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Christmas Cozy Reviews - 'Twas the Knife Before Christmas + Slashing Through the Snow

 It's holidays season so here are two reviews for one of my favorite Christmas-y cozy mystery series!

Goodreads:  'Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

Blurb:  When a body turns up in the dumpster behind Caroline’s Cupcakes, the store’s owner is the main suspect. Everyone in town saw Caroline fighting with the victim on the night of his death. Worse, the murder weapon is Caroline’s custom-designed butcher knife. But Holly White knows that her best friend isn’t capable of murder.
Now, just ten days before Christmas, Holly’s up to her jingle bells in holiday shenanigans. Juggling extra shifts at her family’s Christmas tree farm and making enough gingerbread jewelry to satisfy the crowd is already more than she can handle. Add in her budding relationship with the sheriff, and Holly’s ready to fly south until springtime. But her mittens come off when Caroline is taken into custody. Can Holly wrap up the case in time for Christmas?

My Thoughts:   I loved getting to know Holly's friend Caroline a bit better - even if it involved her getting involved in a murder investigation!  The Christmas-y vibes are strong and lots of fun with a suspiciously jolly general contractor and the annual reindeer games at Holly's family tree farm.  This was a fun mystery with some development in Holly's life as well as her solving a murder in time to save her friend from spending Christmas in jail.  This was a fun read and really made me look forward to my next visit to Mistletoe, Maine - and luckily, I didn't have to wait too long! My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Goodreads:  Slashing Through the Snow by Jacqueline Frost

Blurb: Reindeer Games Christmas Tree Farm is going into the B&B business, and Holly White is looking forward to her new role as innkeeper. Even better, Mistletoe, Maine's sheriff, Evan Gray, has deputized his little sister Libby to help Holly wrap presents for Mistletoe's toy drive. But a cold wind ruffles the cheery holiday decorations when a new guest checks in: Karen, a vicious B&B critic, who could make or break the new inn. And the short December days turn even darker when Evan and Libby find Karen's dead body in the gift-wrapped toy donation box.
The suspect list is longer than Santa's naughty list, and local resident Cookie is on it, since her fingerprints are all over the murder weapon, a metal nutcracker that she gave to Holly. So is Libby, who recently moved to town from Boston in less-than-savory circumstances. But cranky Karen was an oh-holy-nightmare to lots of the townsfolk, such as Evan's reporter friend Ray; Christopher, the inn's former contractor; and confectioner Bonnie, whose Gum Drop Shop was a direct target of Karen's scathing prose.

To figure out the killer's identity and clear Cookie's name, Holly and her friends brainstorm at The Hearth, the farm's café, while her mother keeps them fueled with Christmas goodies fresh from the oven. But if they can't put the culprit on ice, Holly may never see another Christmas.

My Thoughts:  Back to Mistletoe, Maine and another annual Reindeer Games at the Christmas tree farm - this one featuring Holly's new bed and breakfast.  It's Holly's unofficial second mother who is in the murder spotlight as a very grumpy critic is found dead within steps of the inn.  I liked that Holly and Evan were able to balance their relationship with their investigations - especially when neither was happy about the other.  We get to see more of Evan's sister Libby and her new relationship with reporter Ray.  The mystery was a good one and the ending was just perfectly sweet! My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)  

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Books Set in My Home State

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 Books Set in x and to fill in that x I'm picking books that take place in my home state (Alabama) that are on my TBR.  I don't read many books that are set here but it's so fun to read books that are set in a familiar place that I should really do it more.

1.  The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins - This one has been on my TBR since it came out and next time I'm in the mood for a creepy book this will be one I'll pick up.

2.  A Killer Read by Erika Chase - I love a cozy and this is a bookish cozy!

3.  Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry - This is one of my favorite authors and of course I need to read her book set in Alabama.

4.  The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton - An inherited house and a motley group of senior citizens sounds like a good read so of course I have to try it!

5.  Death on Eat Street by J.J. Cook - Another cozy and this one involves a food truck!

6.  The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber - I have read two books by this author and loved them both.  This one looks fantastic.

7.  Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson - This is an author I've been meaning to read for ages and this one looks like a great story!

8.  Trust No One by Debra Webb - I've heard some great things about this author and I was thrilled to see this one takes place in Alabama.

9.  Silent Killer by Beverly Barton - I have had this book sitting on my shelf for literally years and I need to actually read it!

10. Murder on a Girls' Night Out by Anne George - This is a quirky cozy series that I've been wanting to try for awhile.  

What are some books set in your home state?

Monday, November 27, 2023

Sleigh Bells Ring - Holiday Romance Review

Goodreads:  Sleigh Bells Ring by RaeAnne Thayne

Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)
Source:   Library    

Description:  Ranch manager Annie McCade thought her twin niece and nephew could join her at the Angel View Ranch for Christmas with her absent employer being none the wiser. But when the ranch's owner, Tate Sheridan, shows up out of the blue, Annie's plans are upended. Soon she finds herself helping Tate make a Christmas to remember for his grieving and fractured extended family.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I love Thayne's stories and her holiday reads are my favorite.

My Impression:  Thanksgiving is done so it is officially holiday season here and I am enjoying diving in to all my holiday reads.  RaeAnne Thayne's holiday stories are such cozy Christmas-y goodness that I can never resist and this one was just a delight.  Annie McCade is back at the ranch she grew up on to help support her brother who isn't dealing well with a tragedy.  She has temporary custody of her niece and nephew and wasn't expecting to have to deal with her employers for what has the potential to be a complicated Christmas.

Tate and Annie knew each other as children but have existed in two very different worlds for a long time.  They're both nice people dealing with some relatable challenges and trying to figure out their next move.  I loved all the family scenes with the Sheridan family and Thayne put in just the right amount of sweet without being saccharine and drama without being angsty.  I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy read from beginning to end.  If you are looking to get in the holiday spirit then grab this book, a mug of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket and you'll be good to go!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  This is one of my favorite romance authors and I always look forward to reading her books.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you're a fan of holiday romances and stories of family dynamics I don't think you could go wrong with picking this one up!