Monday, March 31, 2014

The Mark of the Dragonfly - Review

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

Rating: 3 Stars

Description:  When Piper, a girl from the scrap town, discovers a girl in the wreckage of a caravan bearing the distinctive dragonfly tattoo she knows she must help her.  This leads Piper on an adventure that takes her far from home and away from everything she knows.  She finds her life full of people and creatures she's unfamiliar with and protecting a girl who doesn't know who she is other than her name is Anna.

Genre: YA

My Impression:  When I first saw the description of this book it didn't grab me.  I know I'm in the minority but I'm not a huge dystopian fan and I was less interested when I saw that it steampunk elements to it as well.  However, some of my favorite books this year have come from me stepping out of my comfort zone so I decided to give this a try.  I don't know that I particularly liked this book but I was compelled and intrigued by it to the point I couldn't put it down.  I kept thinking "well if X happens I'm done reading this." then X would happen and I'd think "well I'll just see what happens."  that was an endless cycle throughout the book.  It took me awhile to warm up to Piper or even to really find her personality.  Once I did I liked her.  She's tough, she has integrity and is a little at war with herself to do what's right and her anger at what has happened to her father and her town.  I liked that Anna isn't helpless even though she's not as tough as Piper.  I was impressed that a story on the surface that held so little interest for me grabbed me enough to make me keep reading it.  While I'm not the target market for this book I think if you liked dystopian/steampunk you would love it.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, especially if she came out with a book in a different genre.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes, definitely.  I've actually already recommended it to my daughter who is 17 and gobbles down dystopian type novels.  I think she'll love this one.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Showcase Sunday

It's time for Showcase Sunday!  This is a linkup with Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea where I figure out how many new books I've acquired over the past week.

Actual Books:

Tulle Death Do Us Part by Annette Blair - I love this mystery series even though the mystery part isn't always flawless.  It's hard to not love ghosts and vintage clothes.

Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke - one of my favorite romance authors

Southern Cooking from the Loveless Cafe by Jane Stern - this is actually a cookbook but my weakness for cookbooks is if bad as it is for other books if not worse!


In the Balance by Patricia Wentworth - I'm trying to find the few books of hers that I don't have and when this went on sale this week I couldn't turn it down.

The Man in the Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart - the free kindle books get me every single time.  Every single time.


Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past by Sharyn McCrumb - her ballad mystery series is fantastic so I was excited to see this new entry show up on Netgalley.  It also involves an old house so I'm definitely looking forward to this one!

Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay - a new author to me though I think I've read a short story by her.  This one also involves an old house though this one has been turned into an inn.

The Escape by Mary Balogh - Balogh is pretty much an automatic read for me so I'm hoping this one lives up to her usual potential.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Harm in Asking - Review

The Harm in Asking: My Clumsy Encounters with the Human Race by Sara Barron

Rating: 3 Stars

Description:  Sara Barron lets us in on her awkward childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.  And it is very very awkward.  She covers everything to envying her little brother with asthma as a child, to spending a summer in France as a teenager where things don't go quite as expected and all the way to her father having to take care of her after a bike accident when she's in her early 30s.

Genre:  Humor

My Impression: Humor books are a tricky genre for me.  There's a thin line between being actually funny and being too something - either vulgar, pretentious, mean or just trying to hard.  Luckily for me Barron managed to walk that line with extremely awkward ease.  She's easy to identify with as a girl who has visions of the way things are supposed to be and they never quite turn out that way.  Overall, it was funny, entertaining and interesting.  It'd be a good beach or airplane read.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes

Friday, March 28, 2014

This Week in Reading

What I Read - 

This was a fun lightweight read about Barron's horribly awkward childhood/adolescence and 20s.  The review will be up tomorrow.

I'm still not sure what I think about this one.  I think if I liked steampunk and dystopian style books I'd have loved it.  As it is once I really started reading it I kept wanting to pick it back up and read a little bit more.  The review will be up Monday.

What I'm Reading -

Still reading this one, still not loving it.  I just don't particularly care for the whole movie star lead character.  I'll keep reading this because I've already invested some time in this series but if this was a stand alone I'd probably have given up by now.

To be honest I requested this one because I liked the cover.  So far it's a pretty good mystery.  It's set in Canada so I'm still trying to get my brain used to the RCMP acronym meaning police.

This is supposed to take a deeper look at why a clean home is important.  At this point it's a little more spiritual than I expected.

I'm very intrigued by this one but so far it hasn't really grabbed me. I still have high hopes though.

About halfway done with this one and am enjoying it.  This probably isn't my favorite of the early Christie's but it's still pretty good.

What I've Been Distracted By -

Going on vacation does not lend itself to lots of reading when one is travelling with a 4 year old!  Hope to get most of the ones I've started finished up by next week though.  Especially the Stewart.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Buried in a Bog - Review

It's TBR Thursday!  In honor of the Get Control of Your TBR Challenge that I've entered and not doing particularly well in I've decided that every Thursday will be a review for a book of my TBR shelf.

Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly

Rating: 4 Stars

Description:  Maura Donovan finds herself in the small town of Leap in County Cork, Ireland to fulfill a promise to her grandmother who left the area as a young widow with a little boy.  Much to her surprise she finds herself slowly finding her way and fitting in to the small community who knows so much about her family.  Her peaceful visit is interrupted when a body is found in the nearby bog that appears to be at least 50 years old. Then a few days later another body, this time present day, is found a few miles away.  Suddenly Maura finds herself a target for someone who wants her to go away now.  The mysteries are beginning to stack up.  Who was the man who was found in the bog?  Who killed the man a few days ago?  And why does someone seem so desperate for Maura to leave?

Genre: Mystery

My Impression:  This book is a mystery by one of my favorite authors, in my favorite setting with a mystery from the past and a bit of genealogy thrown in.  How could I possibly resist that?  For the most part this one lived up to its promise.  Maura took some getting used to as she was a little hard edged and cynical and didn't immediately fall in love with Ireland.  Given her upbringing this is pretty realistic.  She's also very different from Connolly's past characters from the museum and orchard series.  Maura isn't particularly ambitious or educated.  She knows she wants to do something different than the waitressing and bartending she's done in Boston but she's not sure what.  I liked that once she got involved with the murders she didn't run out and try to investigate them on her own.  She took the information that fell into her lap directly to the police.  This book is full of interesting characters with a great setting.  Maura's reasons for staying make sense and she acts like a rational adult through most of the book which doesn't always happen in cozies.  I thoroughly enjoyed this fun mystery with a touch of history and look forward to reading more in this series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely - one of my favorite authors

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes, this was a great mystery.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

At Home with Modern June - Review

At Home with Modern June by Kelly McCants

Rating: 4 Stars

Description:  This is a comprehensive sewing project book for anyone who has any room or every room to fix up.  The projects include everything you could possibly think of: curtains, pillows, duvet covers, various table cloths, shower curtains, bed skirts and quilts.  It also includes a few projects I would never have thought of - makeup trays, upholstered bulletin boards, sewing supply case and countless other projects.  The book is full of her tips and recommendations as well as detailed descriptions for how to tackle each project.

Genre: Crafting

My Impression:  My interest in sewing is just starting to take a tiny step on the bridge from thinking to doing.  I'm a beginning beginner so I wasn't sure how useful I would find this book.  What I found was a book jammed packed with inspirational projects and directions that made sense.  She discusses measurements and needed supplies in detail so that I felt that I really could do every project in the book.  What's even better is that I WANT to do just about every project in the book.  The bulk of the projects are things that you need - like curtains and pillows - to make a house feel like home and look pretty.  This would be a great book for someone who just bought a home and is a beginner to intermediate sewer.  I think some of the projects might be a little too basic for really advanced seweres.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes!  I plan on buying this book in a hard copy once I'm really able to devote some time to sewing

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Definitely!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - My Bookish Bucket List

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday!  This is a list I've been looking forward to since I saw it on the subject list!  My Top Ten Bookish Bucket List! This is a weekly linkup with The Broke and the Bookish.
*It has also come to my attention that this list is also part of a linkup with Allison at The Book Wheel and Rebecca at Love at First Book.  They actually have a list of 50 things so there's some great ideas!

1.  Visit Greenway, Agatha Christie's home and other important sites in her life.

2.  Visit Prince Edward Island and tour all the Anne of Green Gables stuff.

3.  Spend an entire rainy day doing nothing but reading

4.  Read 200 books in a year (I've topped out t about 130 lately)

5.  Have a wild, no holds barred, no budget spending spree in a bookstore.

6. Have a reading nook that is for nothing other than reading

7.  Collect all the Patricia Wentworth books.  She a British mystery writer that should be way more famous than she is.  She also rivaled Christie for the number of books.  

8.  Have a library where I can install one of those library ladders.

9.  Have enough bookcases for the number of books I own.

10.  Take a reading vacation - do nothing but relax for a long weekend and get lots of books read!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Uganda Be Kidding Me - Review

Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler

Rating: 2 Stars

Description:  This is essentially Chelsea Handler's version of a travel book.  The first half is about a trip to Africa while the rest talk about a trip to Switzerland, Montenegro and about how she travels in the U.S.

Genre: Humor

My Impression:  While I was reading this book I started coming up with lists Chelsea Handler would be featured on - like top 5 people I wouldn't want to be stuck in an elevator with, or top 5 people I would never ever want to be related too, top 5 people I would never want to work for or have work for me.  She was number 1 on this list.  She comes off as self-centered, vulgar and massively immature in this book which I suspect was her intention.  I enjoyed the first part of the book which is cringe-worthy but funny and the story of the repercussions of the African trip experienced during a morning swim in the Bahamas were probably the most vulgarly awful yet funny thing I've ever read.  However, after that things kind of begin to wander.  The trip to Switzerland had some pretty funny elements but didn't feel particularly well put together, the trip to Montenegro wasn't really even a story and the rest of the book felt like she had to write 75 more pages so she spent the time telling the reader how much money she had and that she liked to drink.  The first half of the book is a fun read, the second half feels like she had a page number minimum.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?:  Probably not

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you're a huge Chelsea Handler fan than read it.  If you're just looking for an entertaining read try something else.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Showcase!

It's time for Sunday Showcase!  The time of week where I link up with Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea to list out all the books that managed to land in my lap this week!  It's always a little horrifying to realize how many I managed to find.  

Actual Books:

The Cadaver Game by Kate Ellis - about 100 years ago I discovered a Kate Ellis book in a used bookstore, loved it and then could never find another book by her.  Thinks to paperbackswap I now own 2 more.  This was the 2nd one and I can't wait to read it!

I have 2 more actual books on their way so they'll be in next weeks list.


Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
This was my favorite Alcott when I was a little girl and I discovered that not only was it available on Kindle but it was free!  Then I kind of went on an Alcott binge.  I also ordered:

Rose in Bloom - the sequel
An Old Fashioned Girl
Jo's Boys
Little Men


Then I got a few approvals from Netgalley that I'm really excited about.

The Word Exchange: A Novel by Alena Graedon - this was an invite but it looks really interesting.

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson - French Resistance, Granddaughter going to uncover her grandmother's secrets at an abandoned chateau 70 years later.  Seriously this should have just had my name on it.

Louisa Catherine: The Other Mrs. Adams by Margery M. Heffron - a biography about the wife of John Quincy Adams - the first (maybe only?) first lady to be born outside the U.S. I'm really looking forward to this one.

At Home with Modern June by Kelly McCants - One of the most comprehensive sewing projects I've ever come across.  Makes me want to learn how to sew.

Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore - A woman goes to Ireland to discover her families' past and figure herself.  There's a castle with a ghost.  I literally squealed out loud when this approval came through.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Trouble with Honor - Review

The Trouble with Honor by Julia London

Rating: 3 Stars

Description:  Honor Cabot knows that she and her sister will be in a tricky situation when her stepfather dies and her stepbrother takes over as Earl and marries Honor's former childhood friend turned enemy.

Genre: Romance

My Impression: When I started reading romance novels about 100 years ago (okay 15 but it's still been awhile) Julia London was one of the authors I read.  Her books were so different from the some of the light funny romp style books that I was mostly reading.  These were darker, heavier and more complex.  They involved characters who weren't always wealthy and beautiful and they frequently experienced real tragedy.  Somewhere along the way I stopped reading London but I was thrilled when I saw this new historical from her on netgalley. London stays true to creating unusual characters.  Honor is a completely unique character - she is flawed, strong willed, yet aware of the importance of her reputation.  She is impulsive but admits it.  George Easton is the unclaimed illegitimate son of a Duke.  He is neither a perfect gentleman nor a rake to be redeemed.  He is a survivor who has seen parts of the world aristocrats have never seen.  I really liked the first half of the book and then it started to slip a bit.  Honor becomes so set on a ridiculous plan that it becomes annoying.  She's an intelligent quick thinking woman but she seems unable to recognize that her plan to stall her stepbrother's wedding isn't working and unwilling to try a new solution.  It's hard not to be sympathetic to her situation but her attitude makes me want to shake her. I do like George.  He comes off as a decent guy who takes risks.  He came up from a hard upbringing and has a lot of frustration mixed with embarrassment with how society treats him.  He is attracted to and intrigued by Honor but also has quite a bit of disdain for her that I don't really enjoy in a romance despite that the disdain may be a misunderstanding.  I like that London stays away from a typical  one note villain with Monica and Augustus.  They're not evil, they're not even really mean spirited.  Monica is insecure around Honor and isn't always the nicest to her but Honor isn't entirely innocent and gives as good as she gets.

Rating Explanation: The Trouble with Honor earned 3 stars for being a well written enjoyable read with interesting and unique characters.   I didn't give it 2 additional stars due to the main character's focus and inability to change plans for far too long as well as the fact that I didn't care for George's opinion of Honor for much of the book.  I thought his opinion was justified but it just was't what I look for in a romance.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?:  Yes definitely.  Honor's 3 sisters are introduced here and I'm very interested to read about Grace, the next oldest sister who seems far more level headed and reasonable than Honor.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  I'm not sure I'd recommend this particular book but I'd definitely recommend the author.

Friday, March 21, 2014

This Week in Reading

What I Read This Week -

So I wasn't a huge Chelsea Handler fan before reading this book and this didn't really improve things for me.  I probably won't be searching out her other books.  The review will be up Monday.

Loved this one!  Ireland, the past, a woman trying to find her place, a good murder mystery and all written by Sheila Connolly who is one of my favorite mystery authors! Totally and completely lived up to its potential.  Review up Thursday.

This is the 2nd in a series involving a mod-style Doris Day loving interior designer.  It was an interesting read and there were some fund tidbits about that kind of vintage style.  I'm definitely going to have to dig up the 1st in the series.  Review will be up April 2nd.

Eh - strong writer, annoying character.  I really wanted to love it because I love London's writing style but Honor was a little too annoying for me.  I will definitely continue with this series though.  Review up Saturday.

Another one of my favorite Christie's with a fantastic plot twist.  The 2nd of the stand alones that were published in the 1930s.  Two more to go before the review.

What I'm Reading -

I've tried this one a few times and was never able to get into it.  I figure I'll give it one more good reading session and if I'm still not interested I'll give up.

I love this series but so far Dallas is not my favorite character.  For starters her name is Dallas.  I do like the other characters in the series so I'll keep going with this one.  

Another fantastic Christie!  This is one of my favorites and one I feel is really overlooked.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Buttercream Bump Off - Review

I have declared all Thursdays for the time being TBR Thursdays!  This is when I review a book that's been sitting on my TBR shelf for way too long!  Today's is:
Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay

Rating: 3 Stars

Description:  Mel and her business partners Angie and Tate are forced to stop focusing on their cupcake bakery and start focusing on solving murders when Mel's mother becomes the main suspect in one.  Turns out that Baxter Malloy, Mel's mom's now deceased date, managed to make a lot of enemies.  Now the cupcake bakers have to figure out which one was the angriest before Mel's mom, Joyce, ends up in trouble.

Genre: Mystery

My Impression:  This is the 2nd Cupcake Bakery mystery and is an enjoyable light read.  The mystery was pretty well done though I did guess the murderer about 3/4 of the way through just because the character was so prominent.  A lot of the behavior is very childish which gets annoying.  Angie's brothers were ridiculously over-protective and Tate spent most of the time acting like a sulking 5 year old.  The competitor Olivia played a tiny role but her actions seemed silly and Mel and her assistant taking over an event seemed almost criminal.  The way the murderer and motive were revealed fit naturally into the story and Mel had a legitimate reason to get involved in this mystery.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I will be definitely reading more of her librarian series which seems much stronger than this one.  I will probably keep going with the series.  Partly because they're fun reads and I love cupcakes but also because I already have the next 3.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you read murder mysteries and are interested in cupcakes and baking this is definitely a fun read.  If you have no interest in baking you may want to find another series.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Quick Guide to Home Organizing - Review

The Quick Guide to Home Organizing by Sandra Felton

Rating: 3 Stars

Description:  This is a strategy to reorganize your home and your life in 40 days. There is a new chore or mindset presented each day with examples from the author or people she has worked with.

Genre: Non-Fiction

My Impression:  Many organization books and websites present you with a plan and if you don't do it that way than you'll never be organized.  I really liked that Felton provided multiple ideas but really stressed finding what works best for you and taking the time to not only do so but to reevaluate the system   Much of the book is readjusting your mindset and just your way of doing things.  She advocates cleaning up quickly and keeping things simple which I think will stick around in daily life much better than a complicated system.  The only thing that didn't work for me is she talked a lot about entertaining.  This is strictly a personal thing as I'm sure the advice was very good but entertaining is not high up on my list of reasons why I want to be more organized.  Most of the information wasn't completely new or groundbreaking but all of it was useful and I liked that her message was "Find what works for you" instead of "Do it my way".

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?:  Yes

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes, especially to those who are feeling overwhelmed or disorganized.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Top 10 TBR Books for Spring

It's Tuesday!  This means it's time for the Top Ten Tuesday Linkup with The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's top ten list is the top ten books on my spring TBR.

This year I've been reading more review books than anything else which is leaving my TBR shelf neglected, still growing and overflowing to the point of breaking.  I've been doing the Take Control of Your TBR Challenge this month hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewerand have made a little progress with the books I pulled for that.  For this week's top 10 list I pulled 10 more books off the shelf.  These are the ones I really wanted to read but for some reason just let sit on the shelf or is the next one in a series I've got some backup going on in.

So here's my current list!

From bottom to top:

At Home by Bill Bryson - When this book came out I really wanted to read it.  Like to the point I went out and bought it new in HARDCOVER (granted it was with a gift card but still).  That was almost 4 years ago and it has been sitting untouched on my shelf ever since.

The 8:55 to Baghdad by Andrew Eames - This is one of my nonfiction books about Agatha Christie and her work.  I may put this to the end of the stack to line it up as closely with reading Murder on the Orient Express as possible.

Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie - Crombie is one of my favorite and most reliable mystery authors.  I've loved all her books (well except for one) but for some reason completely forgot about her a few years ago.  I now have this book from 5 years ago and the next 2 on my Kindle.

Almost Home by Mariah Stewart - Number 3 in the Chesapeake Diaries series.  I've read #1, pulled #2 for the TBR challenge.  I've read 7 for review and just got 8.  I also own 4, 5 and 6.  Obviously this is a series I need to read as it keeps growing and I keep acquiring them.

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean - read the first one, have the 2nd on Kindle and have been ignoring this one despite owning it for months.  I figure spring seems like the time to tackle the neglected romance novels I have sitting around.

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn - Julia Quinn is a longtime and reliable favorite.  I've heard good things about this series and I'm very intrigued by the main characters after meeting them in the last book.

Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis - I've been looking forward to this one since I saw the words pastry chef in the description as that is a weakness of mine.  However, I ended up skipping it to read the next one for review fully intending to go straight back to this one.  It's been months.

Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell - read the first one years ago and really enjoyed it.  I now have #2 through 4 sitting on my shelf so I figured I should get started on the series.

Home for the Homicide by Jennie Bentley - I love this series and really wanted to read this as soon as I got it but for some reason didn't.  It's been sitting there waiting for months.

The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor - A classic mystery series that somehow I never read.  This is the first one and if I like it there are tons more to read!

And now for a look at the books I pulled for the TBR Challenge!

I've actually made pretty good progress - I'm just under halfway done just a little over halfway through the month. I've started the Mariah Stewart and will hopefully finish the rest of these by the end of the month!

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Death of a Policeman - Review

Death of a Policeman: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M.C. Beaton

Rating: 3 Stars

Description:  When DCI Blair sends a spy to see if he can shut down Sergeant Hamish Macbeth's station things go horribly wrong.  For starters everyone in Lochdubh spots Cyril Sessions for exactly what he is and refuse to give him the information he and Blair want.  Things get worse when Sessions is found dead from a shotgun blast to the chest.  Things begin to lead away from Macbeth when a strange phone number is found in one of the last places Sessions was and the new Scottish police forces finds themselves embroiled in a very sinister mystery where it becomes hard to tell who the enemy really is.

Genre: Mystery

My Impression:  While I have read several of Beaton's Agatha Raisin books this is my first Macbeth.  There is a lot of back story for this character.  There are 2 past fiances and an ex kind of stalker as well as a rocky history with DCI Blair and who knows what else.  While I was able to still read and enjoy this book I think I would've enjoyed it more if I had started earlier in the series. That being said the mystery was very interesting and not to coincidence based which is one of my pet peeves.  Each link in the story is added due to something uncovered either in an interview or other form of investigation.  The story did meander a bit and the end seemed unnecessary to the core story though it was pretty funny in a very dark kind of way.  There are some very serious subjects presented but they are handled with a very light hand and would be fine for mystery readers who tend to stick to cozies.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, I think any cozy mystery reader would enjoy it.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes though I would recommend starting with an earlier book.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Showcase Sunday

Linking up this Sunday with Vicky from Biscuits, Books and Tea to show what books I got this week!

This week I tried to take a break for requesting books.  And I did for the most part.  Then a bunch of books I had requested ages ago got approved so what I thought would be a quiet week got a little busier!

No physical copies of books but I did get a much of e-ARCs from Netgalley!

Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins - I've never read this author but I've read a lot of good things about her.

Never Entice an Earl by Lily Dalton - completely new to me author but the summary sounds intriguing.

Biting Through the Skin by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau - also a new to me author but it's a food memoir so I'm helpless to resist.

Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout - a funny sounding book about a somewhat reluctant veterinarian.

The Cursed by Heather Graham - a haunted house in Key West. How can I not request that?  I've seen Heather Graham's books around forever but have never picked one up until now.

Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan - two girls left on their own to solve a family mystery and reclaim what's theirs in 1920s New York.

The Beekeeper's Ball by Susan Wiggs - I read a few of her historicals years and years ago and liked them okay but then I picked up one her new contemporaries last year before going to the beach and LOVED it.  This one involves a chef and a former journalist.  Really looking forward to reading this one!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Growing Up Duggar - Review

Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships by Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger Duggar

Rating: 2 Stars

Description:  Ranging from 24 to 20 the 4 oldest Duggar girls of the TLC show 20 and Counting share their feelings about life and their beliefs.

Genre: Self-Help

My Impression:  When the Tornado was a baby we spent a lot of time being awake at 5am and the Duggar's kept me company.  While our religious beliefs don't line up I was impressed by their ability to run such a large family efficiently and the discipline it took to stay out of debt and make so much yourself.  I was interested in a more in depth look at how the family worked from the perspectives of the now adult children.  That wasn't what I got which is completely my fault for not reading the summary close enough!  This is a book for girls from I'd say around ages 8 to 14 who are trying to navigate through that difficult time in life and figure out how their religious beliefs can relate to what they see around them. I think it would be wonderful for that - especially for girls growing up in a religious homeschool environment.  The writing style is a bit clunky and it's obvious these girls aren't professional writers but the fact that they're trying to genuinely connect with girls does come through.  So while I'm clearly not the target market in age and religious beliefs I think it would be a beneficial to those that it is actually designed to help.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: No

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Only if you're looking for a book for your Christian homeschool group to read.

Friday, March 14, 2014

This Week in Reading

I managed to get all the books I was reading last Friday finished by this Friday!  

What I Read:

I really enjoyed this one.  I thought the characters felt like actual teenagers.  There was some angst and some out of proportion reactions but that's kind of what it's like to be 15 even if you don't have the ability to read minds.  I liked that both the good and bad were shown.  Emma borrowed the book and got through it in about a day and enjoyed it as well.  I may do a give away in the next couple of weeks for this one so keep a look out if you're interested.

This is one of her stand alone books from the 1930s and one of the first that is published under 2 titles causing confusion for anyone trying to read all of Agatha's books.  This is a really fun one where we're starting to see more of the traditional Agatha format.  There's less espionage adventure and more carefully plotted locked room style murder.  Review will be up when I read the other 3 books.

This was a cute mystery if you like cozies and cupcakes which I do.  The characters have some childish behavior that gets a little annoying.  So far I think her library series is way better.  The review should be up sometime in the next couple of weeks.  This was the 2nd in the Cupcake series.

I'm not sure how I feel about this series.  It feels like a cozy.  Cutesy writing, small town setting and then goes and deals with things like drug and human trafficking, corrupt police and suicide.  But then handles those lightly.  It's an interesting series but I think I may like her Agatha Raisin books a little better.  Review will be up Monday.

What I'm Reading:

Have you ever started a book that had a lot of promise and you were really enjoying it and then halfway through you were so annoyed that you just wanted to put it down?  That's how I am with this book.  This series has a lot of promise but unless Honor gets her act together I'm going to spend the rest of this book being very annoyed.

This is a really good one and one of my favorites.  It's been nice to read a little of it when Honor from the above book is driving me crazy.

This is another book I started because I had to get away from Honor for a little bit.  I have mixed feelings about Chelsea Handler - sometimes I think she's really funny other times she just seems a little too over the top with the self involved high maintenance stuff.  So far this book has not helped make up my mind whether I like her or not.

I haven't so much started this as moved it off of the shelf onto the top of my nightstand.  Sheila Connolly is one of my favorite mystery authors so I have high hopes.  This also goes towards the TBR challenge, Cozy challenge and Ireland challenge so it's a multi-purpose book.

What's I've Been Distracted By:

Actually not too much though I've been going to bed earlier which has been significantly impacting my reading.  I'm doing the TBR readathon this weekend so hopefully I can get some more read!  Sleep is optional right?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ides of March Read-a-thon

So I'm participating in the Take Control of Your TBR Challenge hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer but am not necessarily making as much progress as I'd like so I thought I'd try the read-a-thon.  I figure I can take some inspiration from the host and ramp up the caffeine intake and see what I can get read.

Here's what I'd like to read/finish:

1.  Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay pub 2010
2. The Trouble with Honor by Julia Lond pub Feb 2014
3. Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connolly pub 2013

There's about 200 others I'd like to read but baby steps!

The Outcast Dead - Review

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

Rating: 3 Stars

Description:  Forensic archaelogist, Ruth Galloway, finds herself submerged in a Victorian mystery when the remains of a murderess known as Mother Hook are discovered.  Much to her dislike she now finds herself on a popular crime show involving the case.  At the same time DCI Harry Nelson finds himself dealing what he believes is a simple but tragic case of a mother killing her own children.  However, when someone who calls himself the Childminder takes credit and another child is killed things begin to take on a more sinister look.

Genre: Mystery

My Impression: I love archaeological mysteries and this one didn't disappoint.  I thought Galloway was tough but still likable and Nelson was sympathetic.  The top of the mystery was horrible but it was handled well without too much extra angst.  The historical element was great.  The main thing that kept this from being a 4 star book for me was Griffiths' use of present tense.  Instead of saying "Ruth walked to her car" it would be "Ruth walks to her car".  It made the pacing feel very rushed and took me awhile to get used to.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes!  Now that I've gotten used to the tense she uses I've added all her previous books to my TBR

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes!  If you like Deborah Crombie I think you'd like this one.