Thursday, December 31, 2015

Beyond the Books: Best Advice I've Been Given

This week I'm linking up with KissinBlueKaren for Beyond the Books.  This is a meme where we all answer a non-bookish question.  It's always so fun to see everyone's answers and get a peak at the blogger beyond the books.  This week's topic is - Best Advice I've Been Given.

The best advice I've ever been given comes from my dad which is funny because he's not really an advice kind of guy.  He's incredibly smart with a wickedly sharp sense of humor and a strong idea of how things should be but he's not one to tell people what to do.   Growing up we weren't very close but now he's probably one of my closest friends and we have lunch once a week.

Dad a few years ago in Colorado

When I was a teenager and going through a tough time feeling overwhelmed with a problem that I didn't think I could get through he listened to me whine one day and finally said, "You've got to stop looking at the big picture.  Take it one day at a time and if you can't do that take it one hour at a time."

That advice has really stuck with me and is something I've applied to more than just time.  Basically, if anything seems impossible break it up into small chunks until it becomes doable.

What was the best advice you've ever gotten?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Find the Good - Review

Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende

Rating: 4 Stars
Source:  NetGalley
Description:  As the obituary writer in a spectacularly beautiful but often dangerous spit of land in Alaska, Heather Lende knows something about last words and lives well lived.  Now she's distilled what she's learned about how to live a more exhilarating and meaningful life into three words: find the good.  It's that simple - and that hard.  Quirky and profound, individual and universal, Find the Good offers up short chapters that help us unlearn the habit - and it is a habit - of seeing only the negatives.  (from Goodreads)

Genre: Nonfiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I like the message of the book and the fact that the author writes obituaries definitely caught my attention!

My Impression:  Last year I ended the year on a inspirational type book and I wanted to do that again.  However, between an overload of Christmas celebrations, my youngest's birthday (how is he 6??), and a chest cold that will not go away, my brain is very very tired.  So scrolling through the Review Book Pile of Shame I was excited when I came across this little book by an obituary writer from Alaska.  It's a short book - less than 200 - pages with short chapters that are basically short essays linked only by the fact that the author knows the people she's talking about.  The stories are sweet but not sappy and with just enough poignancy that the message didn't seem flip but the book wasn't melodramatic of melancholy.
This book was perfect for my overtired coughing up a lung holiday aftermath brain.  The stories were short with a dash of humor and a lot of heart.  While death does come up quite a bit (she is an obituary writer after all) the focus isn't on death but on life.  It's on appreciating and celebrating those that have been and what we have all without feeling hokey.  Sometimes it's on adjusting our perceptions of reality such as when Lende's daughter announces she's pregnant before she finishes her degree and throws Lende for a serious loop.  It's about singing and learning how to work together and communities coming together to help those that need it.  The underlying current in all the stories is find the good no matter what.  I think that's a pretty good message to go into 2016 with though if it fails I'll keep Lende's friend John's advice in mind - "Be nice to the dog and don't do meth."  Between those 2 messages I think 2016 will be a pretty good year!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?:  I would!  This was a nice soothing read and I'd love to read some of her other books.

Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes!  This is a good read if you're in a slump or want something a little light but still with some heart.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2016 Reading

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Anticipated 2016 Releases.  I'm not great at keeping up with release schedules so I divided my list up into 2 parts.  5 books that I'm looking forward to reading in 2016 and 5 books that I'm looking forward to being released in 2016

5 Books I'm Anticipating Reading for 2016

1.  The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - I have no idea why it's taken me so long to read this series but this is the year!

2.  A Good Marriage by Stephen King - I've been wanting to read a Stephen King book for ages and this short book appeals to me so it sounds like a perfect one to start with.

3.  In the Woods by Tana French - I don't think I'd heard of French before I started blogging but now she's high up on my list of authors I can't believe I haven't read.

4. And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander - I love Laurie R. King's Marry Russell/Sherlock Holmes series and have been looking for another historical mystery series.

5.  Tessa Dare - This year I pretty much abandoned the historical romance genre and I'm hoping to get back to it in 2016.  Tessa Dare is one of the authors I'm looking forward to reading.

5 Releases I'm Anticipating for 2016

6.  The Road to Little Dribbling: An American's Adventures in Britain by Bill Bryson - I have mixed feelings about Bill Bryson's work.  Sometimes I love it, sometimes he gets a little too caught up in what he has to say.  Regardless, I'm looking forward to reading this one in January.

7.  The Obsession by Nora Roberts - I've been disappointed with Roberts' books the last couple of years but I absolutely loved The Liar last year so I'm hoping that this one will be a similar homerun.

8.  Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn - I love Julia Quinn's books and am so excited to be revisiting the Bridgertons!

9.  Death and the Brewmaster's Widow by Loretta Ross - I absolutely loved the first book in this cozy mystery series involving an auctioneer and a bounty hunter and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

10. The Cookies and Cups Cookbook by Shelley Jaronsky - I've been following this blog for years and have gotten some of my absolute favorite treat recipes from it so I'm sure this cookbook will be lots of fun.

What are you looking forward to reading in 2016?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Looking Forward: Reading in 2016

Last week I talked about my reading in 2015 and how it was a little uninspiring.  Lots of 3 and 4 star books but not very many 5 stars.  So I'm trying to make sure my reading in 2016 has a bit more substance to it.

For my reading in 2016 I want to:

1.  Read at least 5 books off my Classics Club List

2.  Read The Lunar Chronicles because the fact that I haven't is ridiculous

3.  Actually read some of the books I already own - maybe 2 a month?

4.  Read more Agatha Christie and add in some Dorothy L. Sayers and Patricia Wentworth

5.  Keep track of the locations of the books I read because I did that some in 2015 and enjoyed it but my stick to it wasn't so great.

6.  Cut back on NetGalley requests and try and clear out some of the backlog to get my ratio up.  Ideally I'd like to hit 80% by the end of the year but as long as it's higher than it is now (70%)I'll be happy.

7.  Read a few books that are outside of my comfort zone

8.  Make a list of authors I want to read more of or just read in general and make some progress on the list.

I think I'm going to lower my Goodreads Goal number because I just barely made it this year and that way I can focus on quality not quantity and I'm not signing up for any challenges this year which was really hard!

What are your reading goals for 2016?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

This Week in Reading - December 27th

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:

Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland - I don't remember who recommended this series about 2 Scotland Yard detectives - 1 an Irish redhead and the other a Lord turned cop - but I'm looking forward to reading the first in the series.  (Paperbackswap)

Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber - This is the 4th in the Lucy Valentine series about a psychic who is able to locate lost items.  I've really enjoyed the last 3 so I'm looking forward to seeing what trouble Lucy gets into next.

That's all I've gotten this week but I do have some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket and we're going out to do some errand running today so that may change!  We will be in the vicinity of a bookstore :)


Reading:  Find the Good by Heather Lende and finishing up Sea Glass Sunrise by Donna Kauffamn

Listening:  Not much time for lots of listening this week so I've mostly stuck with podcasts - especially old episodes of Super Serials (the Sweet Valley Twins/High episodes were great) and Happier from Gretchen Rubin.  This week's Super Serials episode is the first Harry Potter so I'm really looking forward to listening to that.

Watching: We actually have been watching a good bit of TV.  I've been watching a lot of Hulu since I was doing so much cooking and got addicted to the last season of Top Chef.  J is off work so we've been staying up too late and are rewatching Firefly and planning on tackling all the Daniel Craig James Bond movies and who knows what else.

Off the Blog:

We had the usual craziness on the week leading up to Christmas.  It's always lots of fun with lots of good food but I somehow managed to get sick last Sunday.  I have a suspicious it was more that I never got well after I was sick after Thanksgiving instead of being sick AGAIN.  I did manage to get everything done and had a good time but my energy level is a bit on the low side.  We had had a nice lazy Christmas day with Santa presents in the morning and the rest of the day the Tornado and I stayed in our pajamas.  Emma had to work in the afternoon and the other 2 went to their mom's family so it was a quiet day.  It's definitely fantastic to relax after being so busy.
This week is the Tornado's birthday (he'll be 6!  Not sure how that's possible), New Years Eve and New Year's Day.  Other than that we're trying to tackle a few projects around the house and I'm trying to think of some resolutions both bookish and otherwise for 2016.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: Looking Forward - 2016 Reading
Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2016 Releases
Wednesday: Find the Good - Nonfiction Review
Thursday: Beyond the Books: Best Advice I've Been Given
Friday: First Book
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and a happy New Year!  Happy reading!

Christmas Baking and Results

Paul, Emma, The Tornado, and Eleanor demonstrating how challenging it is to take a picture of 4 people at the same time
Christmas 2015 is in the books and I am tired!  We've got a few more things to do in addition to the Tornado's birthday but the bulk of everything is done!  Since the work is done I thought I'd share a few of the things I tried out this year.

First off is this cheesecake from Plain Chicken.  She calls it The Best Homemade Cheesecake and it so is.  It's got a light fluffy texture but all the creaminess I want from cheesecake.  I normally like a topping but this needs nothing.  So good!

Then I tried to fancy up regular cream cheese mints with this recipe for Chocolate Covered Mints Patties from Mom on Timeout and had mixed results.  I really liked the flavor but I had some trouble dunking the cool mint into the warm chocolate.  Because I had made mine relatively thin I ended up just drizzling the chocolate on top which ended up looking pretty.  Next time I think I'm make the patties thicker.

Then I pulled out my candy thermometer for the first time ever and made Buttermilk Pecan Pralines from Mom on Timeout.  They were so good!  They came together easily and even with my zero experience with candy making I didn't' have any trouble though I do think I stirred it about a minute too long at the end.

And finally, a Smoky Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball from the Recipe Critic to much on before dinner on Christmas Eve.  My family does not care for almonds so I rolled it in cheese and chopped up bacon and it got rave reviews.  I also made 2 smallish cheese balls out of the recipe instead of one regular sized one.  There wasn't much left!

And on a non-foodie note, I discoveredAnthologyCandles on Etsy.  She does candles inspired by books, movies, music and they're amazing.  I ordered four - 3 for gifts and 1 for me and they all smelled absolutely amazing.  I ordered Avonlea Afternoon for myself and it burns beautifully and smells like the Raspberry Cordial that got Anne in so much trouble with an underlying note of baked good yumminess.  I had ordered Wardrobe Into Narnia as a gift and it was so hard to give it up as it smelled amazing.  I've ordered bookish candles from FrostBeard which is a little better known and I actually like these better and found the shipping was way faster.  I can't wait to order more!

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from my family to yours!

May you get everything on your list and your stocking be stuffed with bookish goodness!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Christmas Reading (and a Little Watching)

This is the 2nd year in a row I've gotten into Christmas themed books and I've got to say it's a tradition I'm planning on keeping!  This year I added a Christmas related mystery and a Christmas-y cookbook.  If you're looking for a quick Christmas- read to read at the end of the season here are some suggestions:

A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnn Thayne  - This was probably my favorite Christmas read.  Thayne is pretty much the Queen of Christmas books and this was sweet and lovely with wonderful characters and lots of healing and redemption and holiday cheer.

Evergreen Springs by RaeAnn Thayne - Another Thayne book and this one in another series.  I didn't like this one quite as much but it was still a lovely read.  Thayne's skill at really forging emotional connections between her characters is fantastic and it was nice to see Devin as the focus after seeing so much of her as a side character in the last book.

A Knights Bridge Christmas by Carla Neggers - I always enjoy the Swift River Valley series from Carla Neggers but this was probably my favorite of the series and since both main characters in the series are newcomers you can jump in here without having to keep all the Sloans and O'Dunns straight.

A Copper Ridge Christmas by Maisey Yates - This one wasn't flawless but it was a nice introduction to Copper Ridge which is definitely a town I'm looking forward to revisiting.

All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid - Nick Brennan finally gets his story!  While I didn't love all the secrets it was still a lot of fun and I absolutely cannot wait to get reading the next one!

Christmas at Mustang Creek by Linda Lael Miller - For some reason this was my first book by Miller though it definitely won't be my last.  It was a nice 2nd chance story with a dash of Christmas magic.

Christmas at Evergreen Inn by Donna Alward - This novella was a fabulous way to revisit Jewell Cove while we're waiting for the next book!

Or if you've had enough Christmas romance how about some Christmas murder?

Lowcountry Bordello by Susan M. Boyer - Answers the question - how do you "accidentally" end up owning a bordello AND races to catch a murderer in time for a Christmas wedding.

So that was what I read to get in the Christmas spirit this year.  What did you read?

To get even more Christmas-y I've been doing some Hallmark Christmas Movie watching.  My very favorite so far is Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle which was just so sweet.  Also on deck, is Nine Lives of Christmas which is based on a Sheila Roberts book.  I cannot resist the book to Hallmark/Lifetime movie movies!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Looking Back at This Year in Reading - 2015

Isn't this graphic awesome!  I'm borrowing it from Michelle over at Because Reading

Every year I like to look back at the reading I did and see what worked and what didn't.  Going in this year I didn't really have any goals in mind other than to read 130 books.  I had signed up for a few challenges which were all awesome but this is the year that I'm finally going to admit that while I love the idea of challenges I kind of suck at the actual execution of them.


Thinking back on this year there aren't many books that jump out at me.  I made my 130 goal (or I will have if I finish the 2 books I'm almost done with by Dec 31) and liked the overwhelming majority of books I read but there weren't very many that I just loved.  On the plus side there weren't very many that I hated either.  Part of this could be that I did get a little bit better at DNFing but for the most part I think it's because I stayed within my comfort zone and didn't push myself very much.  I read a lot of what I consider comfort reading which makes for an unfocused feeling.  I think I would like to come up with some more personal goals for next year but haven't quite formalized what that means yet.


These are all books I read in 2015 though not all were published this year.  Rereads, unfortunately, not count which is why my beloved Agatha Christie does not appear.

Mysteries - This is my most read genre with over 40 regular mysteries and 6 classic mysteries read.  

There were several mysteries in the running for favorite but I think the one that really sticks out is:

Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern - I loved this cozy set in the 1970s and can't wait to read more of the series.

Honorable Mention:  Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird - this is a classic mystery author that I've just discovered in the last couple of years.  It's only the 2nd book I've read by her but I'm looking forward to reading more.

I really didn't think I had read much nonfiction this year but I ended up reading more than I thought - especially at the end with a plunge into Russian history.  I read a lot more humorous nonfiction so that may have been the reason?  

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower - This was the clear winner.  While I loved all the nonfiction I read this year this one really stands out.

Honorable Mention: Two way tie - Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and Recipes for a Beautiful Life by Rebecca Barry

I'm including regular Fiction, Children's, and Classics in this category
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen - What really made this the favorite is that not only did I really enjoy the book while I was reading it but the story and the feel of the story really stuck with me.  This is an author I really wanted to read this year and I"m so glad I did!

Honorable Mention: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman because the idea of a game focused around books sounds fantastic and I loved this MG bookish adventure.

This includes Contemporary, Historical, and Romantic Suspense.  My Historical reading took a serious hit this year as I only read 2 (and one of those was a reread so it doesn't count) but my romantic suspense was way up with 15 and the Contemporary count was fairly high as well with 25.

The Liar by Nora Roberts - Roberts has long been one of my go-to authors in the romance genre but her books the last few years just haven't grabbed me.  I was thrilled when I immediately connected with The Liar and tore through it in just a couple of days.

Honorable Mention - Pretty much anything Jill Shalvis and RaeAnne Thayne wrote.  Everything I read by either of those authors I absolutely loved.

So that was 2015 for me.  How was your year in reading?  Any favorites?  Anything you want to do differently next year?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under the Tree

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under the Tree.

1.  The Lake House by Kate Morton - Kate Morton is on my list of authors that I really want to read more of.  I really enjoyed The Forgotten Garden and her newest book sounds fantastic.

2.  Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist - Anna over at Herding Cats and Burning Soup loved this one which automatically intrigues me.  I've always been fascinated by the whole story of the Tiffany Girls.

3.  It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright - Thirteen terrible breakups in history from Nero to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.  This sounds entertaining and full of interesting facts.

4.  Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz - I always enjoy Krentz's romantic suspense and this one involves an abandoned hotel which just sounds impossible to resist!

5.  Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling - Because I love her and adored her first book.  I would not complain if Santa left audio versions of both this one and her 1st book.

6.  When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare - This is an author I've really been wanting to read more of and this one sounds amazing.

7.  My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl - Her book Tender at the Bone is one of my favorite foodie books ever and this is definitely one I can't wait to get my hands on.

8.  Art of Coloring Disney Princesses by Catherine Saunier-Talec - So not technically a book but I think Santa will be okay bending the rules.  I'm not even a huge Disney fan but I do like coloring pretty dresses!

9.  Brunch at Bobby's by Bobby Flay - I love Bobby Flay's recipes and I've enjoyed his brunch show so I'd love to see all the recipes.

10.  Phantom Evil by Heather Graham and the rest of the Krewe books that I haven't read - Because even if this isn't the most flawless series I love the atmosphere and the characters that Graham creates.

So what books would you not mind finding under the tree?

Monday, December 21, 2015

All Wrapped Up - Review

All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: NetGalley
Description:  Talk about a hot lead... Christmas is coming to Pine Mountain - and it has a way of stirring up memories, good and bad.  Nick Brennan may manage the Double Short bar smooth as good whiskey, but his past is a hot mess.  When he runs into a burning building to save a little boy, some people start thinking there's more to his heroism than holiday spirit.  And then then local reporter assigned to the story turns out to be gorgeous Ava Mancuso, the girl who got away.  Ava knows what it's like to have a past.  But the changes she's seen in Nick since she knew him do more than set off her natural curiosity - his warm eyes and gruff charm have her instincts fired up.  Still, all the chemistry in the world doesn't erase history, even when Nick invites her to his little sister's mistletoe wedding.  Does he have a heart under all those secrets?  Or is this going to be just another Christmas past?  (from Goodreads)

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I absolutely loved Just One Taste which came out earlier this year and couldn't wait to read more in the series.

My Impression:  While I haven't read the rest of the Pine River series (though that will be changing soon) I had met Nick Brennan in the earlier book and it was obvious he had quite a story to tell so I was excited to see what it was.
Let me get the negative out of the way - I don't like the Secret plot. Of all the plots I've come across one involving the main characters keeping secrets just tend to not work for me.  In this one both Ava and Brennan have their secrets and they're key components of the story.  There were times I wanted to reach into the book grab which ever one was being hardheaded at the time and say "Just tell him/her!!" And I was dreading when all the secrets come out because you know that's going to happen.

Now for the positive - Kincaid did a fantastic job of making one of my least favorite plot devices a really enjoyable book.  For starters I really understood the motives of the characters which really helped keep me from being to annoyed with them.  I totally got why Brennan wasn't looking to share his past and really just wanted to be left alone.  I understood why Ava pursued the story and why she wanted to keep going with it.  Her motives were underhanded or purely self-serving so while I knew certain things were a bad idea I understood why she was doing what she was doing.

The ending was super satisfying.  Sweet and with everything I wanted from it.  And I did a dance of joy when I realized that Kincaid's new series is going to be about Station Eight!  The scene with Ava and Alex was fantastic and seeing him fall head over heels is going to be great fun.

Overall, I was really impressed with Kincaid taking a plot device that I don't love and making a story I really enjoyed.  I'm looking forward to going back and reading Adrian and Teagan's story.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I've already gotten the first book of her new series and going back and reading what I missed in Pine River

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes, if you like a good dash of spice mixed in with the sweet I think you'd enjoy this book and the series.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

This Week in Reading - December 20

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:

Counterfeit Conspiracies by Ritter Ames - I love a book about art theft and the main character in this one specializes in art recovery.  (NetGalley)

Murder on Wheels by Lynn Cahoon - I've enjoyed this tourist trap series so far and am looking forward to this new one involving a food truck! (NetGalley)

At the Drop of a Hat by Jenn McKinlay - Now that I have the 3rd book in this mystery series involving a hat shop in London I probably should start the first one! (Paperbackswap)

Afoot on St. Croix by Rebecca M. Hale - I like her cat mysteries and am curious to see what this series set in St. Croix without cats is all about.  (Paperbackswap)


Reading: Snowflake Bay by Donna Kauffman and ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

Listening:  I stopped listening to The Little Paris Bookshop at about 65%.  It's well done but just wasn't for me.  Since then I've been listening to podcasts - especially Super Serials.  Their episode on Christoper Pike's Slumber Party was hilarious!

Watching:  J saw enough of Waking the Dead that he decided he wanted to try it so we've started the series over and are watching it together. So I've started rewatching Doctor Who.  I'm thinking about going back and watching the original since I only saw the Tom Baker episodes.

Off the Blog:

We've all managed to stay healthy this week which is so nice.  J and the Tornado still have horrible coughs but are feeling okay so we're calling it a win.  About 95% of the Christmas shopping is done and what isn't done is easy stuff to pick up.  This weekend I'll be getting some baking done and am going to attempt a few different candy recipes for the first time ever.  I have a backup plan just in case it doesn't go well!
All the kids are done with school - Paul and the Tornado finished this week and Emma and Eleanor last week.  Emma will be home tonight for almost 2 weeks.  Today marks the beginning of the Christmas extravaganza.  We're celebrating Christmas with my mother and her husband tonight, then with my dad and his family later in the week, then Christmas Eve with J's brother and wife, then Christmas, and then Christmas take 2 when my mother gets back from visiting her parents.  Oh and in all that will be the Tornado's birthday and New Year's Eve.  On New Year's Day I'm going to relax and do nothing.  My goal is to stay in pajamas all day but we'll see how that goes!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: All Wrapped Up - Holiday Contemporary Romance Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under the Tree
Wednesday: TBD
Thursday: Beyond the Books: Favorite Family Traditions
Friday: Christmas
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

The Dead Room - Review

 The Dead Room (Harrison Investigations #4) by Heather Graham

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Library

Description:  A year ago, archaeologist, Leslie MacIntyre barely survived the explosion that took the life of her fiance, Matt Connolly.  In the long months since, she's slowly come to terms not only with her loss but with her unsettling new ability to communicate with ghosts, a dubious "gift" received in the wake of her own brush with death.  Now she's returned to lower Manhattan's historic Hastings House, site of the explosion, to conquer her fears and investigate a newly discovered burial ground.  In this place restless spirits hold the secrets not only of past injustice but of a very real and very contemporary conspiracy with deadly designs on the city's women - including Leslie herself.  By night Matt visits her in her dreams, warning her and offering clues to the truth, while by day she finds herself helped by - and attracted to - his flesh-and-blood cousin Joe. As is drawn closer to the darkness at the heart of Hastings House, she must ultimately face the power of an evil mind, alone in a place where not even the men she loves can save her. (from Goodreads)

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Why I Picked This Book: How can I resist old houses, ghosts, archaeology and Heather Graham?

My Impression:  As is the norm with any Heather Graham book this one is easily read as a stand alone.  You do see some characters from previous books but the story itself is completely unrelated.  As is also the norm with any Heather Graham book I was immediately drawn into the story and the atmosphere is wonderfully drawn.  There are really two plots going at once.  The first surrounds Leslie, an urban archaeologist, who has always had a knack for knowing where to look but since her fiance's death in an explosion is even better.  Because now Leslie can see ghosts but not the one she wants to see the most - her fiance Matt.  When a project recalls her to the scene of Matt's death she is trying to solve the mystery of his death, the house and really just connect with him.  The second mystery involves a series of prostitutes who have disappeared off the streets as well as a social worker who was working with the girls.  When Matt's cousin Joe is hired to investigate this brings him into contact with Leslie.

Now that it's been a day or so since I finished this book I'm realizing that there were a few loose ends that didn't get tied up and a few issues that just didn't make the most sense.  However, when I was reading this one and even immediately after I finished it none of that occurred to me.  I was so caught up in the atmosphere and the characters and wondering what was going to happen next that it made for a fantastic read even if the story itself had some flaws.  Leslie and Joe were interesting characters and I was fascinated by the concept of a city under a city and urban archaeology as a whole.

While there is a HEA it was definitely an unusual one.  I wasn't clear how Graham was going to wrap up the story but I was satisfied with the way it ended.  While this isn't one I would recommend if you're looking for a tight mystery if you want a good read with lots of atmosphere and interesting characters this is definitely a fun one!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Well yes - I always enjoy a Heather Graham book even with the flaws.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  For a light read - absolutely!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Linkups: The Language of Bees

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Which format do you use?  Blogger, Wordpress, or an independent format?  Any reason for your choice?

My Answer:
I use Blogger for no other reason that I have a gmail account and it was easy to set up.  I do like all the plugins that you can get for Wordpress but for right now I'm okay with Blogger.

This week's book is from one of my very favorite series that I'm several books behind in.  I started Laurie R. King's series about Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes 10+ years ago and have always enjoyed each new entry.  The Language of Bees came out in 2009 and I'm curious to see if there's a connection to the first book in the series which also had bees in the title (The Beekeeper's Apprentice).

The Beginning: 
As homecomings go, it was not auspicious.
The train was late.
Portsmouth sweltered under a fitful breeze
Sherlock Holmes paced up and down, smoking one cigarette after another, his already bleak mood growing darker by the minute.

My Thoughts:
It doesn't sound like they're having a good day.  In fact it sounds like they're having one of those days where everything takes longer than it should and is far more challenging than it should be.

The 56:
"...and life began to settle into a pleasant pace..."
"Until?" Holmes prompted.
"until the latter half of June." Damian ran fingers through his long hair, revealing a glimpse of scars, and went through the process of lighting another cigarette.

My Thoughts:
I have no idea what's going on here but it doesn't sound like whatever happened in the latter half of June was positive.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the scars Damian has.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Beyond the Books: Christmas Decorations

This week I'm linking up with KissinBlueKaren for Beyond the Books.  This is a meme where we all answer a non-bookish question.  It's always so fun to see everyone's answers and get a peak at the blogger beyond the books.  This week's topic is - Christmas decorations.

I love Christmas decorations!  We got ours up the first weekend in December and I've thoroughly been enjoying having all the pretties out!

My favorite of all my decorations is probably my nutcracker collection.  It's kind of outgrown the top of the bookshelves so this is probably it's last year in this location.  

At the top is one of my favorites - Nutcracker Scrooge complete with a gold coin and a wood stove. This is on Christmas Eve so he's still the un-Christmas-y spirit.
Middle left is Santa Nutcracker in PJs with cookies and milk.  He's one of my new ones this year.
Middle right is another new decoration this year (if you have a Costco membership you probably recognize it!).  I love miniatures and loved this little wintery scene with deer and snow.  Plus it lights up just a little which is pretty at night.
Finally on the bottom is the dreaded Elf on the Shelf.  My Elf is very very lazy.  He gets into no trouble and causes no mischief.  He's never once made a mess.  Instead he periodically moves to a new location in the living room and if he's being really wild he visits the kitchen.  The Tornado thinks it's hilarious.  

So that's a few of my decorations.  We have a village that we haven't gotten down yet but will hopefully put out tomorrow.  What are your favorite Christmas decorations?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Silent Witnesses + Little Paris Bookshop - Short Reviews

Today I'm doing short reviews on two books that have been on my shelf for far too long.  That's pretty much the only thing these books had in common as they couldn't be more different if they tried!

I don't remember when I first became interested in forensic science.  It was either in the first few Kay Scarpetta books by Patricia Cornwell or because of a show on the Discovery Channel called New Detectives which I loved.  Where ever it came from I've been a fan of all things crime and forensics ever since so when I saw Silent Witnesses by Nigel McCrery on NetGalley last year I couldn't resist it and I'm so glad I didn't!  It was completely fascinating.  In each chapter McCrery tackles an aspect important to forensic science (Identification, Blood, DNA, Ballistics, etc) and explores it thoroughly.  He gives up the history of the development of the science and actual cases that were landmarks in developing the science  I found the old cases interesting and it helped keep the subject from getting too dry.  If you're a fan of CSI type shows then I think you would enjoy this one.  It definitely helped me understand the science behind the terms that get tossed around on TV and in books so frequently.  Rating4 Stars

Next up is The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.  Like most book lovers, I can't resist a book about a bookshop and put one in Paris on a barge run by a man who treats books like medicine and I was immediately hooked.  Unfortunately, this wasn't the book I wanted it to be.  I don't think it's a bad book.  In fact I think it's an excellent book of it's type but the problem is that it's a type that I don't really relate too.  There were parts I really enjoyed.  Some of the dialogue sparkled with a dry wit and I very much wanted to see how the story spun out.  But, the incident that sparked this journey made absolutely no sense to me.  I had little patience with Perdu's worrying and hesitations and the long winded flashbacks and daydreams just didn't click with me.  The writing was lovely and I think this is a case of a book and a reader just not working together.  I think if you can be sympathetic to waiting 20 years to open a letter from someone you loved who left you, then you might enjoy this book.  If you can't you may want to pass.  For another take try this review from Tina at Novel Mealsthis review from Kathryn at The Book Date, or this one from Heather at Random Redheaded Ramblings.  Rating: Not for me

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of 2015

Today's Top Ten Tuesday Topic from the Broke and the Bookish is Best Books of 2015.  It was really hard to determine what was really on my best list because I really enjoyed the majority of the books I read.  So these are my 10 that I really enjoyed and that stayed with me long after I read them.


Recipes for a Beautiful Life by Rebecca Barry - I was in a slump when I stumbled upon this incredibly honest, interesting story of a woman moving with her family to a little town in upstate New York to start a magazine and write a book.  It was like a breath of fresh air and it completely kicked me out of my slump.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower - This was one of those books that I pretty much read aloud because it was just so fascinating.  Seeing the inner workings of the White House was so interesting and this is one I still talk about.

A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot - The ending of this one still sticks with me.  It was truly heartbreaking yet at the same time gave Mouillot the answers and the closure she was looking for.

Behind Every Great Man: Women in the Shadows of History's Alpha Males by Marlene Wagner-Geller - This is another book that I read mostly aloud and I do find myself quoting.  It covered so many fascinating women that it seems to come up in coversation quite a bit whether we're talking about Stephen Hawking, Oskar Schindler, Karl Marx or any major figure in sports, politics, science, or art.


Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers - This was my first real introduction to Sayers and I really enjoyed it.  Her wit is so delightful and I loved how nuanced Lord Peter Wimsey is.  I can't wait to read more!

Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern - When the first one in this series came out it didn't really grab me but the reviews were so positive that I just had to pick up the 2nd one and I'm so glad I did!  The characters, mystery and pacing were excellent and I think this would be a great cozy for those that either aren't fans of cozies or are new to the genre.

Twisted Threads by Lea Wait - This is the first book in the series and I really enjoyed this mystery.  I loved that the primary investigation was into the past and I really liked the main character.  I enjoyed the 2nd one and will be starting the third very soon.


The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig - The blurb on this one grabbed me.  I can't resist secrets from the past showing up in the present.  Add in the fact that I had been wanting to try this author AND that it was set in the 20s and I couldn't resist and I'm so glad I didn't!  The wardrobe alone was worth reading the book for but throw in interesting and likable characters and and a fascinating setting and it was definitely a win!

The Liar by Nora Roberts - I've been reading Roberts for years and years and she's one of the few authors I've been known to buy new but the last few I've been kind of meh about.  So my expectations weren't super high when I picked up this newest stand alone from the library.  But I don't know if it was my mood or what but I was immediately sucked in and along for the ride.  I loved the characters, loved the story and couldn't wait to see how it all ended.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen - At the beginning of the year I made a list of authors I really wanted to read before the year was out and Sarah Addison Allen was on it.  I was a little nervous because my only experience with magical realism I hadn't exactly loved but I loved the way Allen wove just hints of magic into the story.  I can't wait to read more!

So what were your favorite books this year?

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Copper Ridge Christmas - Review

A Copper Ridge Christmas by Maisey Yates

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Source: NetGalley
Description:  Holly Fulton is throwing a special Christmas Eve party for the foster parents who gave her so much.  To finish her preparations in time, she needs to recruit her one time foster brother, Ryan Masters.  He may have a scowl that can curdle eggnog but under that surly demeanor is a big heart.  And amazing muscles.  And a gorgeous chest.  In fact X-rated visions of Ryan have been dancing in Holly's head for years, but she can't risk complicating the only family she's ever known.
But maybe there's a way for Holly to have her Christmas cake and eat it too.  A no-strings affair just until they're done with the planning.  But from the first touch, it's clear this isn't just a festive fling it might just be a Christmas miracle in the making.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book: Maisey Yates is an author I've been wanting to try and while I don't always love novellas they're a good way to get a taste for an author without the time commitment of a full length novel.

My Impression: With my main focus being the author I didn't really pay attention to the blurb so I was a little concerned when I started reading and discovered that the main characters had been foster kids with the same family.  Would this cross too close into ick territory with main characters who consider themselves brother and sister?  (The award for that goes to the step-siblings in Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly books where one character has to remind herself not to think of the other character as her brother WHILE THEY'RE IN BED.  I still haven't recovered.)  Thankfully, Yates handles this situation beautifully.  Holly and Ryan never thought of themselves as siblings, only lived under the same roof for a month or two, and have a big enough age difference that they weren't super close.  But, the really wonderful thing is that the same people are important to them for the same reasons so it really makes sense as to why they're working together.  This also has one of my favorite type of characters in a novella - one with history.  Holly and Ryan definitely have history and a solid reason to not get involved.  Neither of them want to damage the only family they've ever had and so their reasons for fighting the attraction they have to each other makes perfect sense.
But they're so sweet together and they're so obviously good for each other that it was a joy watching everything evolve.  Plus, Ryan *sigh* is kind of dreamy underneath the grouchiness.
While this is a novella and there were a couple of pretty hot scenes it still read like a complete story.  The characters felt fleshed out and the story just really worked.  This was my first visit to Copper Ridge but it will absolutely not be my last.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I want the rest of the Copper Ridge series immediately!

Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes! If you enjoy a romance with a good dose of heat but a lot of heart this is a good one to pick up.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

This Week in Reading - December 13

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:

Snow White Red Handed by Maia Chance - I've been wanting to read this one since it came out and I really enjoyed another book by this author earlier this year.  (Paperbackswap)

The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle - I love this series even though we're not going to talk about how many books behind I am.  (Paperbackswap)

How to Paint a Cat by Rebecca M. Hale - I'm a few books behind in this series as well and I'm looking forward to catching up.  I have mixed feelings about this puzzle solving series involving the nameless main character's cats and a whole host of other characters.  It kind of reminds me of the Nancy Drew computer games I used to play with the kids.  Lots of puzzles that don't always actually connect to the story itself.  (Paperbackswap)

I don't know if you noticed but there's no review books!!  I'm very excited about this and am calling it a win even though my actual bookshelves did get a little more crammed.  


Reading:  All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid and The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

Listening:  The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George - I have a review copy of this but decided to go to the audio route.  I'm not loving it as much as I expected.

Watching: Not a huge amount with all the Christmas stuff going on.  We're keeping up on the sitcoms we enjoy - The Middle, Modern Family, Blackish, and The Big Bang Theory but I'm not watching much else.  I did watch one of the Aurora Teagarden Hallmark movies and enjoyed that.  It stayed pretty close to the book - or at least it did from what I remember of the book!

Off the Blog:

The Tornado missed his first day of school due to illness Monday.  He's been on the edge of not feeling good for awhile and I don't think he fully recovered from when he was sick before Thanksgiving.  Sunday he ended up with a fever and I kept him home Monday just for some extra rest.  I know this isn't that unusual but this is a kid who is NEVER sick.  Seriously.  Like he didn't run a fever until he was 3 or 4 and the first illness of any kind was when he was 2 1/2.  He's never had a sick kid doctor visit.  So for him to be actually sick twice in less than a month is just weird.  It makes me grateful that he's not sick very often because he's a terrible patient.  He does NOT want to rest.
Other than that we got our decorations up this past weekend and our tree up this Monday.  We also got the bulk of our Christmas shopping done with the exception of 1 order from Amazon and a little more for bits and pieces.  I have menus and shopping lists so I'm feeling not quite as behind as I usually feel this time of year.  That'll probably change in a week or two but for now I'm feeling pretty good.
The Tornado has his Christmas concert this week and did fine.  He's not one for stage fright and he actually participated in the singing so it was fun to watch.  He has one more week of school and then he'll be out for break.
My reading has been slow lately.  My brain just feels tired and I've been falling asleep way earlier than usual which has cut down on my number significantly.  I'll still make my goal but it will be tighter than I'd like.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: A Copper Ridge Christmas - Contemporary Romance Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Best Book of 2015
Wednesday: TBD
Thursday: Beyond the Books: Christmas Decorations
Friday: Friday Linkups with Excerpts from Current Book
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

When You Are Engulfed in Flames - Review

When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Library (audio)
Description:  Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina.  In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life - having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds, to the most deeply resonant human truths.  (from Goodreads)

Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir

Why I Picked This Book: I had just finished another audio book and this one was available.  I have had mixed results with Sedaris but I figured I'd give this a try.

My Impression: There are some books that really should be listened to instead of read and When You Are Engulfed in Flames is one of them (so is Bossypants by Tina Fey and Yes Please by Amy Poehler if you were wondering).  Quite a bit of this is done as a live performance and that's where Sedaris really delivers.  His timing is spot on and there were a number of times where I literally burst out laughing.  My favorites were when he bought his boyfriend a skeleton for a gift, when he gave up asking people to repeat things after moving to France and settled with just saying basically okay to everything with incredibly varied results, and the babysitter his parents left him with as a child.  His travels with Hugh are often hilarious and I loved listening to him talk about his time in Japan.

Several stories went on far too long and I could've lived without his Princeton graduation speech entirely.  There were a number of times that I thought "if I was reading this I'd be annoyed" but in audio form it was entertaining.

If you're familiar with Sedaris you know he's not family friendly and this is no exception.  This isn't an audio you want to listen to with small children around since mine at least repeats everything.  Sedaris quickly made it onto the list of top 5 people I really don't want to be trapped in an elevator with but I think he'd be okay with that.  In fact he'd probably nominate himself.  Despite the flaws I really enjoyed listening to this one and look forward to trying more of his books in audio form in the future.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely though I'll probably continue to go the audio route.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes definitely though I would recommend the audio route.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Linkups: The Christie Curse

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice.

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Are you a blogger that only has reviews on your blog or do you feature giveaways and attention-grabbing posts such as personal and bookish posts?

My Answer:
I lean towards mostly reviews but I do participate in several linkups - this one, Top Ten Tuesday which is bookish, Beyond the Books which talks about non-bookish stuff, and Weekend Cooking on Saturday.  I love the idea of doing discussion posts but haven't really done one yet.

This week's book is a cozy mystery series I'm really excited about.  I think there are at least 4 now but I'm starting with The Christie Curse which is the first one in the Book Collector series by Victoria Abbott.  It has Agatha Christie's name in the title and they're looking for valuable books!  I cannot pass that up!

The Beginning:
If I hadn't been desperate for a job and a new place to live, I might have made a run for it as soon as I got a good look at that sour face.

My Thoughts:
I'm curious why she's so desperate and what's she's getting away from.

The 56:
But once I was out of sight, I wondered not just about that totally bipolar cat, but about the woman.

My Thoughts:
I'm not sure if I'm more curious about the cat or the woman!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  What topic is impossible for you to resist?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Knights Bridge Christmas - Review

A Knights Bridge Christmas (Swift River Valley) by Carla Neggers
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Clare Morgan is ready for a fresh start when she moves to the small Massachusetts town of Knights Bridge with her young son, Owen.  Widowed for six years, Clare settles into her job as the town's new librarian.  She appreciates the warm welcome she and Owen receive and truly enjoys getting the library ready for its role in the annual holiday open house.  Clare expects to take it slow with her new life.  Then she meets Logan Farrell, a Boston ER doctor in town to help his elderly grandmother settle into assisted living.  Slow isn't a word Logan seems to understand.  Accustomed to his fast-paced city life, he doesn't plan to stay in Knights Bridge for long.  But Daisy Farrell has other ideas and enlists her grandson to decorate her house on the village green one last time.  Logan looks to Clare for help.  She can go through Daisy's book collection and help him decorate while she's at it.  As Clare and Logan get his grandmother's house ready for the holidays, what neither of them expects to find is an attraction to each other.  Better than most, they know all the crazy things that can happen in life, but everything about Knights Bridge and this magical season invites them to open themselves to new possibilities ...and new love.  (from Goodreads)

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  So many reasons!  For starters I just really enjoy this series.  Then throw in a bookish character who not only is a librarian but gets to spend part of the story sorting through someone's collection of books?   How could I pass that up?

My Impression:  I always enjoy a visit to Knights Bridge, MA and I can never resist a book where one of the characters is a librarian.  I was prepared to like Clare but I was a little taken aback by Logan's first appearance in the book.  He doesn't come off as a nice guy.  In fact he comes off as rude and kind of a jerk.  I wasn't sure how he was going to be redeemed into a character that I could root for Clare to have a HEA ending with but he was!  It's not that Logan's a jerk it's more of an intense efficiency and a lack of people skills bred from years working in the ER.  I liked that we could see inside his head a bit which helped me understand him.  Plus, how can you not like a guy who is devoted to his grandmother and truly misses his grandfather?  And is incredibly sweet to a 6 year old boy without being condescending?  Turns out I cannot because I was a member of the Logan fan club within 5 pages of his not so promising beginning.  Logan Farrell may be my favorite jerk turned not so much in a contemporary (if you were wondering - Sebastian from Kleypas' Devil in Winter is my favorite in a historical).
The story is lovely and wonderfully Christmas-y.  I loved watching Logan and Clare get to know each other as they decorated Daisy's house and I also enjoyed watching Owen make friends and really enjoy the season.   There weren't any huge misunderstandings or big drama but it wasn't all unicorns and rainbows either. They read like regular people and there problems felt like regular problems that people actually have.
While I enjoyed the tie in to Dickens' Christmas Carol I thought the connection to Logan's dreams could've been fleshed out a little bit.  There were a few mentions of Marley visiting Logan at night but we didn't really see it.  However, that was really the only flaw I found.  I've read all but one of the Carla Neggers' Swift River Valley books and this was my favorite one.  Of all of the books this is one that would be the easiest to jump into as both characters are new to town but I do think this is a series best read in order so that you can really get a feel of what life in Knights Bridge is really like (and it'll help you keep track of all those Sloans!)
As usual for this time of year I'm knee deep in Christmas romances.  Of all the ones I've read so far this year this is my favorite.  It's sweet and funny and perfectly Christmas-y!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Oh definitely!  I can't wait for the next one in this series!

Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes, but this is a series best read in order.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Body in the Landscape - Blog Tour Review + Giveaway

The Body in the Landscape by Larissa Reinhart
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Blog Tour - For More Info Visit the tour page here
Description:  When Cherry Tucker's invited to pain the winning portrait for Big Rack Lodge's Hogzilla hunt, it seems like a paid vacation.  Back home in Halo, a Hatfield-McCoy style standoff builds between Luke and Cherry's families.  She's ready for a weekend away, hobnobbing with rich and famous hunters, where she can forget her troubles and nobody knows her name.  As Georgia sunshine turns to bleak December rain, Cherry's R&R goes MIA when she finds a body in the woods.  While the police believe the local drunk took an accidental spill, Cherry has her doubts, particularly when a series of malicious pranks are targeted at the rifle toting contestants.  With loyal companions at her side - sort of ex-husband Todd and a championship bayer named Buckshot - Cherry tracks suspects through a forest full of pitfalls and perils.  And all the while a killer's stalking the hunt party with a bead on Cherry.  (from Goodreads)

Genre:  Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  The cover caught my eye and I liked that the main character was an artist.

My Impression: I'm always a little nervous when starting a new cozy mystery author.  Are they going to be overly cute-sy?  Is it going to be silly with lots of plot holes?  Or even worse, is it going to be boring?  The answer to all those questions is no not in the least.  Instead, Reinhart provides a fast paced mystery and an interesting and quirky detective told in a breezy friendly voice that I couldn't help but be drawn into.
Cherry is the type of amateur detective that I'd usually have issues with.  Not only is she a full on amateur detective but she's also a visitor.  She's the nosiest of nosy detectives and has no problem involving herself in a mystery that she has absolutely no business being in.  But in this case it actually worked.  I think it's because Cherry is so likable and matter of fact about her motives that to me she read as quirky instead of busybody.
This is the 5th book in the Cherry Tucker series and there are mentions or a pretty intense back story.  While it is talked about and Cherry does spend quite a bit of time worrying about what's going to happen I didn't feel like it affected my enjoyment of this mystery.  The turmoil that's swirling around Cherry is talked about quite a lot but I felt like I got enough of an idea of what was happening to not be confused.  This series would probably be better read in order but it's definitely not mandatory.  If you're looking for a fun cozy mystery with a unique amateur detective this is definitely one to try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to Cherry next and I'd love to see what caused all the turmoil and drama.

Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes, if you like cozy mysteries I think you'd enjoy this one.