Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Linkups: A Red Herring Without Mustard

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:
Do you encourage other reading friends to start a blog or at least put their thoughts/reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc?

My Answer:
Not really.  If someone asks how I keep track of what I read or mentions that they're having trouble remembering their thoughts on a book I would definitely recommend Goodreads but I don't think I would suggest it without prompting.

This week's book is A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley.  It's the 3rd in the Flavia de Luce series.  Flavia is an 11 year old girl who is brilliant and precocious.  I normally am not a fan of overly precocious children but it's hard not to like Flavia.  I've been listening to the series on audio and am really enjoying it.  The narrator is amazing and she really brings Flavia to life - plus her name is Jayne Entwistle which I just love.

The Beginning: 
"You frighten me," the Gypsy said.  "Never have I seen my crystal ball so filled with darkness."

My Thoughts:
I think I'd take that as a sign to go!  Definitely not a fortune I'd like to be told.

The 56:
Family specter?  I had the sudden feeling that someone had tossed a bucket of ice water over my heart.

My Thoughts:
I'm all for ghosts but I imagine a family specter would be a little disconcerting.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beyond the Books: Do You Believe in Ghosts?

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 -Do I Believe in Ghosts?

So awhile back I hinted that I worked in a building that was supposedly haunted and a few people were intrigued so I thought I'd use today's Beyond the Books topic to tell that story.

Before I start 1. It's not that dramatic and 2.  I'm not sure what exactly I believe so I'm only telling my experience.

When I was in college I worked as a runner for a lawyer whose office was in a 200 year old home that had been converted into offices.  Her office consisted of a waiting room that was one half of a double parlor, few small offices and a long hallway.  This wasn't a quiet building.  The floors creaked when you walked and anytime you opened or closed a door you had to put a shoulder into it a bit because they tended to stick. 

One afternoon I was in the office alone.  The lawyer was in court and the receptionist  and paralegal were out somewhere and I was sitting in the waiting room to answer phones.  I was on the phone and needed to take a message so I turned to the other side of the desk to grab a pen without fully straightening up and there in the middle of the sitting area was a man.  I saw his heavy dark shoes and dark pants clearly.  So clearly that I put my finger up to signal just a minute and when I got off the phone I straightened up with a customer service smile on my face prepared to say "How can I help you?"

Except no one was standing there.  I was so convinced I had seen someone standing there that I searched the entire office and found that I was completely by myself.  As I was walking back down the hall I realized that the floor was creaking as I walked just like it always does but the floor hadn't creaked at all when I saw the man and I hadn't heard the bell or the sound of the door being pushed open or shoved closed.  I then spent the next 30 minutes trying to recreate just what I saw and never managed anything even close.  There wasn't anything even vaguely the color I had seen and it wasn't a matter of shadows because of the way the lighting was.  And I had felt like someone was in the room though that isn't really evidence.

For the rest of my time there I never saw anything else but I used to hear things all the time.  My office was at the end of that long hallway and I used to hear people walking down the hall towards me regularly.  I can't even count how many times I looked up expectantly waiting to see what whoever it was wanted only to never have anyone there.

One afternoon I was leaving a little early.  It was just the paralegal and me in the office and when she saw that I was leaving she asked me to wait a minute and we could leave together.  She kind of shoved stuff in her bag obviously not really done and hurried to catch up with me.  When I asked her why she was leaving as she clearly wasn't ready she told me that she didn't stay in the building by herself because it was haunted and gave her the creeps.

I really don't know much about the history of the house or if there was any truth to it being haunted but I know it definitely felt like it was!  A few years ago J and I went on a Haunted Walking Tour through downtown here and we walked by that house.  The guide stopped and said that the medium they had brought in saw a red haired woman running out the door and over the balcony.  It was all I could do not to ask "What about the man in the parlor?"

So that's my story.  What about you?  Do you believe?  Have you had any experiences?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Christmas in Eternity Springs - Blog Tour Review

Christmas in Eternity Springs (Eternity Springs #12) by Emily March

Rating: Very Good
Source:  Publisher

Description:  After a devastating betrayal, Claire Branham packs up her life, along with a twenty million dollar secret, and moves to Eternity Springs.  She opens a specialty shop - Forever Christmas - and, with the help of a surprise romance with the town's sexy new handyman, Claire's heart begins to heal.  Until her past comes knocking...

Jax Lancaster never questioned the need to abandon his career as a Navy submariner in order to care for his young son in the wake of his ex-wife's death.  Desperate to help with this loss, Jax straps on a tool belt to give Nicholas the one thing he wants: A life in Eternity Springs.  What Jax never expected to find a second chance at love with a fascinating woman for whom Christmas has become a business.  But when the truth about Claire threatens their newfound happiness, can Jax prove to her that in Eternity Springs, the spirit of Christmas is real... And will last a lifetime?  (From Goodreads)

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I love this series and each new book makes me love it more!

My Impression:  Did I mention I love this series?  I've always enjoyed it but the last book - Reunion Pass - completely hooked me and this one has only made me a bigger fan. Because I was so anxious to revisit Eternity Springs I didn't even really even read the blurb so I was thrilled to discover that Nicholas, the little boy I had loved meeting in the last book is a big part of this newest book.  Normally I'm not a big fan of kids in romances but Nicholas is such a great character.  He's sweet and intelligent but not perfect and the trauma he has endured just broke my heart.  I absolutely loved seeing him start to regain his spirit in Eternity Springs.
Jax and Claire also were impossible to resist.  They're both trying so hard to help Nicholas and do the right thing.  Their connection to each other basically leapt off the page and I was rooting for them.  Claire does have a bit of a secret but as it isn't something that is continuously brought up and angst-ed about it didn't bother me.  
Eternity Springs is a delightful place to visit and I always enjoy revisiting it.  While the characters frequently have very dark back stories they tend to be just discussed occasionally and don't unfold on the page.  While there is some heat it is mostly fade to black but the emotional connections are up front and center.  
This is a series that I always immediately get swept up by.  While you do meet Nicholas in Reunion Pass I don't think reading it is necessary to enjoying this one (though you should because it's wonderful!) and understanding what is happening with the characters.  This is the perfect read to soothe a holiday frazzled brain and get into the Christmas spirit!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  There are a few early books in the series and I need to go back and read them plus I know I'll be looking for the next book!

Would I Recommend this Book?: I would!  If you enjoy RaeAnne Thayne or books that focus on emotional connections this is a book and a series that is not to be missed!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Fall TBR

This week's topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books in my Fall TBR.  I love this topic because I get to think about what's coming out, what's already on my shelf and what I really want to read.  I did okay with the last TBR post and only have 2 unread so I'm hopefully for similar if not better results for this one.

1.  The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - This is a book I've been wanting to read for ages and I've decided now is the time.  I've heard fantastic things so I'm looking forward to this one.

2.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - Neil Gaiman is an author I've been wanting to read for awhile though I'm a little nervous because the episodes he's written of Doctor Who tend to be my least favorite.  The blurb on this one really caught my eye though so I figured this would be a good place to start.

3.  The Duke and I by Julia Quinn - This is the first book in the Bridgerton series which is one of my favorite historical romance series.  I'm trying to squeeze some rereading into this year and I want to revisit the Bridgertons before reading the newest book that Quinn released earlier this year.

4.  All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris - I have had mixed results with Charlaine Harris.  I loved 1 series by her but didn't love another and to be honest I've never really felt the urge to pick up the Sookie Stackhouse series though it is becoming more tempting.  I love this series about a librarian who investigates murders and am really excited that this new one is coming out in October.

5.  The Queen's Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal - Between the cover, the 1940s setting, and mentions of a copycat Jack the Ripper I just could not pass this one up!

6. The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin - This is about a young woman in need of healing who owns a flower shop in Dublin.  It looks like there may be a touch of magical realism.  Even if not I have high hopes!

7.  Sun Sand Murder by John Keyse-Walker - I love a good murder mystery and I love when people aren't who they say they are (in fiction of course, in real life that would be troubling) and this is a new to me mystery author so I'm excited!

8.  When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz - I love a good romantic suspense and Krentz's are always so much fun!

9.  The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak - This is an older release but one that has been sitting on my Kindle for far too long.  I enjoy Novak's writing and I love romantic suspense.  Plus, this one has a heaping scoop of family secrets so it really sounds like something I'd enjoy.

10. Treasure on Lilac Lane by Donna Alward - Alward's Jewell  Cove is one of my favorite fictional towns to visit.  It's been awhile since I've been there so I'm looking forward to this one from a couple of years ago that somehow I missed when it came out.

What are you looking forward to picking up this fall?

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Munich Girl - Review

The Munich Girl: A Novel by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Rating: Good
Source: Author

Description:  Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third Reich family history is entwined with Anna’s. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged. With Hannes’s help, she retraces the path of two women who met as teenagers, shared a friendship that spanned the years that Eva Braun was Hitler’s mistress, yet never knew that the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Eva’s story reveals that she never joined the Nazi party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. As Anna's journey leads back through the treacherous years in wartime Germany, it uncovers long-buried secrets and unknown reaches of her heart to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.

Genre: Fiction - Historical 

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoy a good historical fiction and I realized I know almost nothing about Eva Braun.

My Impression:  When this book came across my desk I was instantly intrigued by the premise.  While I know who Eva Braun is I've always dismissed her as just Hitler's mistress/wife and the idea of someone discovering they have some kind of connection to her is intriguing.  Plus, I can't resist a good family secret - especially not when paired with some historical fiction.
In the present day time line I really enjoyed getting to know Anna.  She's intelligent and hard working and it's hard not to sympathize with her struggle to stay positive after her mother's death as well as making the best of a troubled marriage.  I also liked that while Anna's husband, Lowell, is most definitely a creep he does come off as a fully fleshed out character.  He has his moments of sweetness as well as being incredibly brilliant.  I also found the research that Anna did during the book fascinating.  Not only did we get a look at Eva Braun but she also interviews a woman who was a journalist on assignment in Germany during World War II.  I also enjoyed getting a look at life in Germany during wartime for regular civilians.

Not only did I enjoy the look into a little discussed (or at least that I'm aware of) aspects of World War II but I also enjoyed getting to know Anna and watching her world open up as she becomes captivated by her research subject and aware of the connection.  Hannes is also an interesting character if at times a little too perfect. There's a lot going on though it's a slow build for the bulk of the book which I enjoyed.  I always love when I feel like I'm figuring out the puzzle right along with the characters.  My only complaint is that a lot of different things developed and were resolved in the last third of the book which made it feel a little more frantic.  Overall, I enjoyed this story and it has made me wanting to find out everything about Eva Braun.  I always think it's  a super high compliment if a historical fiction story has me wanting to dive into my own research about the topic.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?:  Absolutely!  I enjoyed how she brought this piece of history to life and I'd love to see more of that.

Would I Recommend this Book?: If you enjoy historical fiction I think you'd enjoy this book - especially if you are interested in World War II.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

This Week in Reading - September 25

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:

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen - This is a psychological thriller about a woman who comes home to discover not just her live in boyfriend, Matt, gone but every single trace that he ever existed.  It looks like a serious page turner and I can't wait!  (Publisher)

Send in the Clowns by Julie Mulhern - I'm so excited to have this 4th book in the Country Club murders series I can barely stand it!  This is a series that just keeps getting better and better and this one sounds like it's going to be lots of fun!  (Blog Tour)

Only 2 this week!  I'm trying to make some progress with books I already own and get through my ridiculous NetGalley backlist but I don't feel like I'm making as much progress as I'd like.  I only have 1 request pending on NetGalley and it's one that's been there for awhile that I really don't expect to get.  Fingers still crossed though!


Reading:  I'm finishing up Christmas in Eternity Springs by Emily March for a blog tour later this week and almost done with Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams.  

Listening:  I finished Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and loved it!  I'd read the book and enjoyed it but I think I enjoyed the audio even more.  I've been listening to podcasts the last few days but am planning on downloading Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley.  It's the 3rd Flavia de Luce mystery and I've really enjoyed the first 2.  The narrator is so good on this series!

Watching:  J and I are watching the 3rd season of The Blacklist and I have to admit I'm not loving it.  It's not that it's awful it's just as good as it has been the first two seasons.  I've heard rumors that it gets better so I'm keeping my fingers crossed there.  I'm finishing off the last season of Catfish and than am going to go back to watching Blindspot.  I've got a couple of new fall shows recorded (Bull and Designated Survivor) as well as the season premieres for some favorites but haven't really watched any of those yet.

Off the Blog:

It is officially fall though no one seems to have told the temperature that.  It's hard to start thinking about pumpkins and cinnamon and sweaters and boots when it's 95 degrees outside!  However, the nights are getting a little cooler and according to the weather people it will be in the 80s next week so I'm excited!  We pulled out all the Halloween decorations yesterday and the Tornado and I had a good time decorating though now I'm down to the pile of regular stuff that we usually have on tables and things that need to be packed up and a small pile of stuff that I don't really have space for that I need to either get rid of or pack back up.  This is my least favorite part of holiday decorating.

We're in car shopping mode right now because my beloved Toyota Sequoia is showing it's age and needs a few more repairs.  We've gone back and forth on deciding between doing the repairs (especially since J can do them all) or calling it done.  It's 14 years old and has 250,000 miles on it but it is the most reliable car I've ever owned and still drives really nice.  I'm definitely a fan of Toyotas!  However, we don't think it's going to make it the 4 more years until the kids are out of college so we're going car shopping for a car to get us through then until our budget opens up and I can buy the car I really want.  We're looking at the Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota 4Runner.  Anyone have experience good or bad with any of these?  I'm also remembering how much I HATE car shopping.  I know people who buy new cars every 2 or 3 years and I have no idea how they do it.  My blood pressure just can't take it!

Fall break is coming up here and we're actually planning on going on vacation!  We're really excited as this is the first real vacation that the Tornado has gone on in his memory.  The last few have either been to stay with family or help move one of the kids but this we're going to spend a few days in a hotel and all the vacation-y stuff.  Really I think the Tornado would be thrilled with the staying in a hotel part even if that was all we did!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Munich Girl - Fiction/Historical Fiction Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Fall TBR
Wednesday: Christmas in Eternity Springs - Contemporary Romance Review
Thursday:  Beyond the Books - Do You Believe in Ghosts
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Teasers from Current Book
Saturday: Pies and Prejudice - Cozy Mystery Review with Pie Recipe

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

52 Pins in 52 Weeks - September Edition

I love Pinterest.  I love pinning recipes from my favorite food blogs or scrolling down the Everything section to see what everyone else has been pinning.  I love the idea of all the crafts and recipes and everything else right there at my fingertips.

Right now I have around 10,000 pins in 60 boards.  I do use Pinterest a pretty good bit but tend to stick to the boards regarding Dinner and let other delicious looking recipes or fun crafts languish unused and ignored.  This year I'm trying to get more use out of Pinterest so at the beginning of the year I created my 52 Pins in 52 Weeks Board as well as a Results Board to keep track of it.  I'll be posting my results the last Saturday of each month.

This week went find though I'm not feeling too enthused.  I'm really excited for the Halloween treats I have coming up next month!  I've had them on my board for far too long.

Week 36:

Reason Picked:  Honestly, I didn't know what the pin was and thought it was a chocolate chip cookie sandwich with frosting.

Basic Idea:  Make your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and then take two cookies and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle and roll in holiday colored (which ever holiday you're in the mood for) sprinkles and have yummy deliciousness.

The Results: Ice cream sandwiches are just ridiculously good!  I forgot how good they are.   I used the Cook's Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (which you can find here) though I used 1 cup of chocolate chips instead of a cup and a half like the recipe calls for.  I also pulled out a little contraption that's been lounging around forgotten in my gadget drawer - an ice cream sandwich maker I got from Williams Sonomoa.  It's super easy to use and actually really works.  You put a cookie at the bottom, then your ice cream, then the 2nd cookie and put the top on and squeeze and a perfect ice cream sandwich pops out.  You could do all kinds of flavors and different combinations.   I'll definitely be making these again - though maybe a peanut butter cookie and chocolate ice cream or a sugar cookie with some kind of fruity ice cream.  While this isn't exactly the point of the pin it did get me thinking and ice cream sandwiches will be on the menu much more frequently now!

Week 37:

Reason Picked:  I watched Curtis Stone make these on The Chew and it looked so good but somehow I kept passing it by.

Basic Idea: A larger meatball with onions and bacon mixed in and cooked on the grill along with a vinegar based potato salad (which aren't grilled in anyway shape or form that I saw) and salad greens tossed in a light vinaigrette.

The Results: Mixed.  The potato salad which isn't grilled was super good but I found the Rissoles themselves lacking in flavor.  I'll probably make the potato salad again but not the Rissoles.  They weren't bad but just not worth going back for.

Week 38:

Reason Picked:  I've always wanted to try cooking lessons and this seemed like an easy way to do it.

Basic Idea:  Basically taking a cooking class but in my own kitchen which is way more comfortable!

The Results:
 The original pin linked to an offer that has long since disappeared.  However, Flinn has a number of tutorials that seem to be around 10 minutes where she really walks you how to do things.  I watched one about cutting an onion and knife skills and really felt like i learned a few techniques.  I'm definitely looking forward to trying more even if it wasn't what I was originally going for.

Week 39:

Reason Picked:  I'm not artistic and this looked simple enough that even I could manage it.

Basic Idea:  Get a canvas and paint the entire canvas.  After it dries use painter's tape to make some kind of pattern and paint another color on top.  Remove painter's tape for clean lines.

The Results:  You're not getting a picture because I didn't end up finishing this because once I started I realized it really just wasn't me.  However, I did experiment enough to verify that it does work and would be a really fun project and look good if done by the right person.  I do recommend using spray paint over acrylic or anything else just because spray paint finishes so much smoother.

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Linkups: Real Murders

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:
How many years have you been blogging?  Anything special you want to share about your experiences?

My Answer:
I started blogging on August 1, 2013 but didn't really start focusing on it until February of 2014.  I'm not sure I have any particularly special experiences but it has been a wonderful experience.  I love talking to other readers and dealing with authors and publishers.  I just wish I could figure out a way to read more!

This week's book is a reread and one I read years and years ago.  I really liked Charlaine Harris' Harper Connolly series but had struck out with her Shakespeare series.  However, the Aurora Teagarden series was a hit!  I'm so excited about the new one coming out in October so I just had to get my hands on the first book for a little reread.  Real Murders is the first book that introduces us to Aurora Teagarden and her book club friends.

The Beginning:
"Tonight I want to tell you about that most fascinating of murder mysteries, the Wallace case," I told my mirror Enthusiastically.
I tried Sincere after that; then Earnest.

My Thoughts:
Right from the beginning I'm remembering why I liked this series so much!  I can definitely see myself doing this if I had to give a speech.  In fact I used to do this before presentations!

The 56:
Either he is a murderer and is setting up his alibi, or the real murderer is making sure Wallace will be out of the house Tuesday evening.  And this dual possibility, that almost hanged Wallace, runs throughout the case.

My Thoughts:
One of my favorite things about this book in particular is not just the interest in but the discussion of real crimes.  I love this part where they are dissecting a crime and everyone is tossing around their theories.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  Do new books in a favorite series make you want to go back and do a reread?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Beyond the Books - Signs I'm Getting Older

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 - Signs I'm Getting Older

Well this is a hole with no bottom or list with no end or other expressions that mean roughly the same thing!

1.  Normally I don't feel all that different from how I think I felt when I was in college - until I spend lots of time around college students.  Then I remember that I am definitely NOT 18 - 22.

2.  I'm aware of every joint I've injured ever.  It all twinges periodically and my ankle which I managed to spectacularly break lets me know when it's going to rain more accurately than any weather report.

3.  If I have been sitting down for long periods of time I don't just bounce up and go on my way.  There's always a few limping steps first (see #2) and some occasional stretching that must be done.

4.  I have opinions on things I used to think were mind numbingly boring.  Like windows, and retirement plans, and organic food and all kinds of stuff.

5.  I've noticed that I don't get called "miss" anymore in public - it's always "ma'am".

6.  I accidentally turned the camera around on my phone and was horrified to get a very close and unexpected look at my face.  Who knew the Grand Canyon had taken up residence between my eyebrows.  Thankfully wrinkle cream helps diminish that a bit.

7.  I now know that wrinkle cream helps.

That's all the signs I can think of at the moment but I'm sure I'm forgetting some (which maybe should be #8!).  What made you realize you might be getting older?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Bookshop on the Corner - Blog Tour Review

About The Bookshop on the Corner

• Paperback: 368 pages • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 20, 2016) “Losing myself in Jenny Colgan’s beautiful pages is the most delicious, comforting, satisfying treat I have had in ages.”—Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of Summer Secrets Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

My Thoughts:

I'm going to be honest here - I went into this book fully expecting to really like it.  I mean it's a mobile bookshop - how could I not?  Than when I opened the book I was greeted by a delightful introduction written by the author about all the possible places to read and their challenges and advantages and then I was pretty sure that not only was I going to like the book but that Jenny Colgan falls on my "kindred spirit" list.  And my initial thoughts were so right.  Not only did I like this book but I LOVED this book and I loved it right from the beginning.  I clicked with Nina right away which surprised me as she definitely starts out a bit on the nervous side but I loved her love of books and her feelings that there is the right book for everyone jst waiting to be found.  And really it only got better.  The only thing I enjoy more than a bookish book is a book about someone who finds their place in the world and figures out what really makes them happy and really this book does both gloriously.

Basically this book was total and complete comfort reading.  It is the bookish equivalent of the very best comfort food eaten in front of a cozy fire while wearing the softest comfiest clothes and wrapped in the warmest of blankets all while rain falls on on a metal roof overhead.  And I also want to move it Scotland.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland. Find out more about Jenny at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Audio Freebie

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and The Bookish is an audio freebie.  When I started blogging a few years ago I kept seeing mentions of audio books and how great they were to get in some extra reading but I never thought that they would be for me!  I don't have a commute and don't spend that much time driving by myself and it never really occurred to me that I could use them other places!  Eventually I discovered that my library has a great digital site full of audio books that I can download right to my phone so I decided to give it a try.   It did take awhile to get used to listening to stories and focusing enough that I followed along as well as figuring out which tasks have the right amount of mindlessness that I can add an audio too.  Basically anything cleaning or laundry related works but nothing in the cooking realm unless I want to hit the rewind button a LOT!

5 Audio Books for Audio Book Beginners

For me the first step to getting into audio books was discovering the right books to start with.  I had to learn to listen and if you're like me you might have better luck sticking with humorous nonfiction and children's books at first.  These are a few that really helped me become and audio book listener!

1.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming read by David Tennant -  I've seen a few other narrators but if you can get the one narrated by David Tennant it's so worth it.  Seriously, I could listen to that man read a phone book (if you could find one these days) and be completely enthralled.  It doesn't hurt that this story is action packed and so much fun!

2.  Yes Please by Amy Poehler read by Amy Poehler - This book had me laughing to the point of tears a number of times and I think if anything it's better in audio because not only do you have Amy's inflections and infectious sense of humor shining through but you also have guest stars like Seth Meyers and Patrick Stewart who randomly show up and do readings.  It also really helps that each chapter is basically a stand alone essay if you're having trouble focusing on a book.

3.  Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain read by Anthony Bourdain - Like Yes Please the chapters in this book are basically stand alone essays which works great if your attention span isn't quite used to audio books.  Also, Bourdain is hilarious!  I'm not a huge fan of him from his television appearances but this was another book that had me laughing to the point of tears and the peek into Bourdain's world is just fascinating.

4.  The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister read by Cassandra Campbell - This was the first adult fiction book I listened to and the first book narrated by Cassandra Campbell.  It really worked because 1. Cassandra Campbell is amazing and 2. While it is an actual regular length book we meet the characters basically one at a time so it almost feels like a book of connected short stories.

5.  The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan read by Jesse Bernstein - This is a little longer and a little more complex than the other stories I've mentioned but it's so action packed that it's hard not to pay attention!  Plus Bernstein does a fantastic job of really bring Percy to light.

My Favorite Audio Books

1.  In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware read by Imogen Church - I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery on it's own merits (though don't go in expecting a super twisty Gone Girl type story or you'll be disappointed) but Imogen Church was amazing and really brought the story to life.  I would listen to pretty much everything she reads.

2.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows read by Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, and Juliet Mills - This was my first audio book that was told by multiple narrators and my first that was told in an epistolary style.  I wasn't sure how well either would work but it was wonderful.  It made me cry at times and laugh at others and was fascinating in between.

3.  Cinder by Marissa Meyer read by Rebecca Soler - I was super nervous starting this one because while I've wanted to read Cinder for ages it's really different from my usual read but Soler really brought Cinder to life and kept me interested in the story in a few parts that I think I would've been tempted to put it down if I had been reading it.

4.  Bossy Pants by Tina Fey read by Tina Fey - This was actually a reread (well listen).  I had read the book soon after it came out and had liked it though wasn't blown away by it.  After I listened to Yes Please and absolutely loved it I decided to give Bossy Pants another try.  I enjoyed it so much more listening to it than I did reading it.   I think I needed Fey's inflections and just her own spin on it to really make it hilarious.

5.  Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee read by Reese Witherspoon - I was dead set against reading this book when it first came out.  While I enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird and understand its importance it isn't one of those books that really stayed with me and then the whole way the book came to be just felt a little hinky.  But when all the controversy started my contrary side kind of woke up and all of a sudden the book started looking way more appealing!  Then when I discovered that not only did the library have a digital audio copy available but that it also was under 6 hours I just couldn't pass it up!  Story-wise it reads like what it is - a manuscript that was turned down - but I really enjoyed it on an academic level.  I could really see why the publisher asked for more of Scout as a child and I really feel like I understand TKAM more after listening to this.  Plus, Witherspoon's accent is flawless and I just loved listening to her.

So what would make your list of favorite audios?  What books would you recommend for audio beginners?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ramblings from the Stacks - "I Just Read Junk"

At 36 I don't think I'm anywhere near old but I am firmly in the realm of adult.  One of the best things about getting older is that I find I'm caring less about what people think.  I mean I care what the people who are close to me think of me and I want to be the best person I can be but my concern on whether the woman in front of me thinks I have too much processed food in my cart has pretty much dropped to zero.  As well feeling the need to create an image of me that isn't quite me is pretty much me.  I will freely admit that I watch all kinds of junk television and would happily hole up in my house wearing comfy clothes for days at a time.  Yet I found when people asked me what I read I was replying "I just read junk!"

This got me thinking.  Why am I saying this?  Why am I dismissing what I'm reading and what I enjoy and what about what I'm reading makes me be so dismissive?   The genres I tend to hide that I read are romance, cozy mysteries, and women's fiction aka "chick lit".    I have no problem admitting to nonfiction and classical or thriller type mysteries.

Part of this is because I think my role model readers (otherwise known as my mother and grandmother) very much looked down on romance which given what was starting to be published in the 70s and early 80s is understandable (though for a fascinating discussion of the ins and outs of one of the first modern romances The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss go to the Avon on the Air podcast featuring Sarah Maclean for 2/18/16 - it's so interesting!).  But there attitude of romance not being worth reading definitely penetrated my thoughts as well.  It stayed that way until my early 20s when Lisa basically gave me a set down in the middle of a used bookstore and told me that romance was "really just a story with a happy ending that focused on a relationship and I couldn't run it down until I tried it."  And I tried it and pretty much read nothing else for the next year or so because it turned out I really really liked the genre.  But for the most part I hid them.

And then when cozies became a thing I kind of hid them too because they didn't feel like "improving books" and they kind of felt like they were in the same area of romances.  And the same with the more women's fiction titles.

But you know what?  Since I had this epiphany I'm coming to terms with admitting what I read without dismissing or excusing it because I LIKE what I read.  And there's nothing wrong with it.  Yes, there is some junk in the romance or cozy mystery genres but find a genre that there isn't junk hidden somewhere in the shelves.  And while I've been thinking about all this I've come to another epiphany that it's really the blogging community that gave me the extra boost to feel perfectly good with what I'm reading because everyone is so accepting of everyone's opinions and it's really really nice.

So that's my confession for today.  Do you have any reading secrets?  Or things you find yourself hesitating to admit?  As for me I will be loading my grocery cart full of chips and soda and stacks of Julia Quinn novels!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

This Week in Reading - September 18

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:

Dangling by a Thread by Lea Waite - This is the 4th book in the Mainely Needlepoint series involving a group of needlepointers and their business manager/private investigator/niece.  So far I've really enjoyed it and it always seems to have a link to the past which I really love.  I'm looking forward to this newest book.  (NetGalley)

Other than that I only have 1 request outstanding.  I really don't expect to get it but I figured it can't hurt to request it.  The worse that happens is that I'm told no.  I'm not entirely sold on the new NetGalley shelf arrangement.  I think I've finally gotten it figured out and know where to find everything but I'm not sure I like seeing just how many reviews I have outstanding!


Reading: The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring and The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan for a tour later this week and unless she starts kicking kittens or something in the last 50 pages it's going to be hard not to gush about it!

Listening: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.  I've already read this book and really enjoyed it but I couldn't resist it in audio book and it is fantastic!  If anything it's even funnier than it is in print.

Watching:  Well I'm almost done with Catfish which is unusual for me.  I'm not great about binge watching shows because watching more than a season in a row (not all at once but spread over a few weeks) and I want some variety but that has not been the case here.  J and I are also watching the 3rd series of The Blacklist.  I'm not loving it as much as the previous 2 but I'm starting to enjoy it more.  

Off the Blog:

Well I am pleased to report no alien abductions this week.  It wasn't the most productive of weeks but I at least no where all my time went and I don't feel like a frazzled mess.  I ended up with a bit of a cold in the middle of the week but I actually just let myself go to bed and slept for like 15 hours and I felt so much better!
The Tornado has learned to whistle and is driving me absolutely mad whistling all the time.  He got his 6 week progress report and is doing fantastic.  This is the first grade he's actually gotten real grades for and since it's a new school I was worried he'd have a difficult adjustment but he is doing great.  His best subject is math which is not a shock but he's doing well in the other subjects too.  He's also doing better with the not talking when he's not supposed to and got all good marks in behavior this week as well.
We were at Costco last week and I bought these sweats and they're so awesome I invented an excuse to go back and buy another pair.  Seriously if you have a Costco membership and you see Women's Joggers by 32 Heat buy a pair!  They're made of clouds and warm hugs and are only $10.  They're so comfortable that I don't want to leave the house because then I'd have to change out of them.

Speaking of leaving the house J and I are going to a play tonight (or last night if you're reading this on Sunday) and I'm so much looking forward to it.  It's called The Game's Afoot and is about a murder happening at a party that an actor best known for playing Sherlock Holmes is attending.  It's being done by a local theater company that is usually good, sometimes great and occasionally awful but it's always fun to get dressed up and go watch a play regardless of the results.  Last time we went there we saw And Then There Were None and they did a fantastic job even though it had the play ending which I HATE!  We're having dinner at this little restaurant that has the best butternut squash ravioli and is the only dish where I find the use of nutmeg acceptable.

I'm still trying to catch up from the alien abduction last week and the cold this week but I'm slowly but surely making my way through blog posts so I can be caught up with everyone and comment replies.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: Ramblings from the Stacks "I Just Read Junk"
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday: Audio Freebie
Wednesday: The Bookshop on the Corner - Fiction Blog Tour Review
Thursday: Beyond the Books - Signs I'm Getting Older
Friday: Friday Linkups Featuring Current Book
Saturday: 52 Pins in 52 Weeks - September Edition

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

My Name is Lucy Barton - Review

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (Amazon)

Rating: Good
Source: Library (Audio)

Description:   A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including Olive Kitteridge andThe Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I had seen some good reviews for this book and it's not one I'd typically pick up but since I"m trying to stretch my reading legs a little I decided to try it.

My Impression: This is one of those books that's hard to review because so it's complicated but so simple all at the same time.  The bulk of the story is told through conversation between herself and her somewhat estranged mother as Lucy is stuck in the hospital.  The conversations reminded me of those conversations that happen in cars where you end up talking much deeper subjects and being more honest and insightful than you would anywhere else.  The book itself kind of snuck up on me.  I was enjoying it well enough but didn't really love it until all of a sudden I felt like I knew Lucy.  All the little stories and monologues and bits of conversation really allowed me to feel like I knew her in a way that I don't think a traditional format would have allowed for.

It's hard to say what this is really about because it's really a nothing and everything kind of book.  It's about poverty, class levels, families both functional and dysfunctional, the mother-daughter relationship, fitting in, and realizing dreams.  In short it's the story of Lucy Barton's life and existence.

The format is a bit more stream of consciousness style than usually appeals to me and so I don't think it really clicked with me as it did with so many others.  I enjoyed it and found Lucy interesting, at times annoying and at times someone to admire.  It's a short book but much longer would have been too much and I think I would have lost focus on it.  If you're an audio book fan this is a good one.  The very subject meant that listening while doing something else kept me engaged with the book where I'm not sure how much I really would have enjoyed it if I was reading it.  Kimberly Farr did a fantastic job with the narration and really brought Lucy to life.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would.  I like how the author drew me into the story without me even realizing it!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  I would but I think it's a book you have to be in the right mood for.  This is a good to pick up or listen to if you're in the mood for a quiet story with a memorable main character.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Linkups: The Lightning Thief

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 Question:
Have you ever wanted to write a book?

My Answer: 
So there a few more parts to the actual question but since my answer makes the rest not applicable I'm leaving them off.  For some reason writing has never pulled at me.  When I was in my early teens I'd get caught up in a specific scene or character and try and write my own but it was always writing someone else's work in order to process what I had read and not creating my own stories.

This week's book is one I've been meaning to read for ages!  My daughter discovered Rick Riordan and his first Percy Jackson book entitled The Lightning Thief a few years after it came out and immediately fell in love with the series.  She's read them all as well as everything else Riordan has ever written.  I loved the mythology angle and always meant to read them myself but never managed it until I finally got my hands on the audio a few days ago.  I'm almost halfway done and am loving it!

The Beginning:
Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood.

My Thoughts:
That's quite a beginning!  Of course I do know the premise so I can guess what half-blood means but it's still intriguing and I like how blunt the narration is.

The 56:
"He's the one.  He must be."
"Silence, Annabeth" the man said.  "He's still conscious.  Bring him inside."

My Thoughts:
We've just got through a huge traumatic scene and now Percy has landed somewhere and has no idea what's going on.  It definitely kept me turning pages to figure out if he is in fact "the one" and what that means!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Body on the Bayou - Mystery Review

Body on the Bayou (Cajun Country Mystery #2) by Ellen Byron

Rating:  Very Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:   The Crozats feared that past murders at Crozat Plantation B&B might spell the death of their beloved estate, but they’ve managed to survive the scandal. Now there’s a très bigger story in Pelican, Louisiana: the upcoming nuptials between Maggie Crozat’s nemesis, Police Chief Rufus Durand, and her co-worker, Vanessa Fleer.

Maggie, inexplicably tasked with being Vanessa's Maid of Honor, quickly discovers why everyone else refused the assignment when the Bridezilla hands her a long list of duties — the most important of which is entertaining Vanessa’s cousin, Ginger Fleer-Starke, a mysterious woman with dangerous secrets. But just days before the wedding, Ginger’s lifeless body is found on the bayou behind Crozat Plantation and the Pelican PD, as well as the Crozats, have another murder mystery on their hands.

There’s a gumbo-potful of suspects, including an ex-Marine with PTSD, an annoying local newspaper reporter, and Vanessa’s own sparkplug of a mother. But when it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, the second in Ellen Byron's charming and witty series.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I absolutely loved the first one in this series and couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

My Impression:  I love a good cozy mystery and Ellen Byron has definitely earned her spot on my auto-buy list with this 2nd Cajun Country Mystery.

First off we have the characters and like any small town setting there are a lot of them.  We have the Crozat family which consists of our amateur sleuth Maggie as well as her parents, grandmother and a sprinkling of cousins, as well as Maggie's co-workers at the Doucet Plantation and a good number of townspeople but it never stayed into so many characters that I couldn't keep up with who was who.  Like most small towns (or anywhere really) there is a mix of people among the residents and while most are good, intelligent, considerate people you also have the Fleers and Rufus who are basically none of those things.  I loved Maggie.  She's smart, funny and really close to her family but has realistic self-doubts about what having left New York, still being single in her early 30s, and working with her family at a Bed and Breakfast as well as being a part time tour guide which seem intensified now that her kind of boyfriend's ex-wife has shown up in town.  However, she doesn't get angsty or too navel gazing and it feels like a real adult having some real issues.  The drama that is Vanessa and Rufus' wedding had me laughing as Vanessa keeps adding one thing after another to the list of problems Maggie is supposed to solve including - find Ginger's real murderer.  I can completely see the LSU themed wedding from people who never actually attended the university.  I can just see that happening.

With all that going on it would have easy for the mystery itself to get lost but Byron wove it in quite wonderfully.  I never felt like the mystery had been forgotten even in the middle of a Bachelorette party or a regular day at work for Maggie but at the same time I felt like I got to know the characters even better than I had in book 1.  I pretty much inhaled this book in 2 sittings and couldn't wait to find out how everything wrapped up from Maggie's personal life, to the wedding of the century, to the murder itself.  I don't think it's a secret that I read a lot of mysteries and usually I have a pretty good guess as to the whodunit question if I haven't figured it out completely but I really had no idea in this one.  Not only was it a surprise but once all the motives were laid out it made perfect sense.

While I think you could easily read this book without reading the 1st book you would probably enjoy it more if you read them in order.  There are a number of relationships that started in book 1 that are developing in this book.  Both are fantastic mysteries and quick reads and I highly recommend both.   They're both fast-paced mysteries full of interesting characters and from a series that just seems to ge getting stronger!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  Is the 3rd book out yet?  I want it now!

Would I Recommend this Book?: Definitely!  I think this series has to be added to my list of gateway cozies.  If you enjoy a good mystery don't pass this one up!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore - Review

Mr. Penumbra' 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan (Amazon)

Rating: Very Good
Source:  Library (Audio)

Description:  The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  How could I resist a book that has a 24-Hour Bookstore in the title?

My Impression:  This book was absolutely not what I thought it was going to be and in no way was that a bad thing.  I was expecting the antics of a late night bookstore with quirky characters and maybe a community forming as they bookstore customers got to know each other.  Instead I got a book full of mysteries, codes, secret societies, and quests and it was such a fun ride!

  I don't want to say too much about the plot because I had such a good time just going along for the ride.  I couldn't wait to see what they were going to discover next and what the next step would be.  The story is told through the eyes of Clay Janning a 20 something graphic designer who is trying to weather a rather bad time to be a graphic designer economically.  When desperation drives him to find a job - any job - he ends up walking into Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore and the adventure begins.  I liked Clay.  He has a good sense of humor and a sense of realism that balances out his dreamer tendencies.  He ends up at Penumbra's because he drops his employment standards from "companies in which he agrees with their mission completely" to "companies that aren't actively being evil".  With Clay we have his roommates - special effects guru Matt and android like Ashley - as well as his old friend Neal who he bonded with in middle school over a sci fi/fantasy book series.  Along the way more characters get picked up and join the quest as well as adding new elements of personality and expertise.
There is a lot of talk about Google, "Googlers", or Google products.  For me it didn't feel like product placement but more cultural.
When I looked on Goodreads the reviews seem decidely split.  Some people really loved the book and other people couldn't stand it.  I think if you're going in wanting a bookish book that takes place in a bookstore you're going to be disappointed.  Despite the bookstore setting and the mass quantities of books all around the characters it isn't particularly bookish.  It's far more of an adventure story - think National Treasure style quest.  If you like puzzles, codes, and adventure stories this is a fantastic choice and one you shouldn't miss.

I listened to this book on audio and really enjoyed the experience.  Ari Fliakos did a fantastic job of bring Clay to life with just the right amount of expression and inflection without ever going over the top.  He's definitely a narrator I'd love to hear more from.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would - especially if it's a quest type story.  I enjoyed how Sloan spun the story out and there's a prequel that I'd love to read!

Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes but don't go in expecting a book about books or I think you'd be very disappointed.  It's a fantastic quest story but not very bookish.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - All Time Faves

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten All Time Faxes in "x" genre.   Back in the early days of the internet there was a romance review website and they had a special ranking that they called "Desert Island Keepers" as in if you were on a Desert Island these would be the books you'd bring with you.  These are my Desert Island books in a few different genres!

Middle Grade -

Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright - If I could design a book for myself this would pretty much be it.  There's adventure, a little bit of mystery and tons of abandoned houses to explore.  The only thing I regret is that I didn't discover this one as a child though I did love another book by Enright - Four Story Mistake - which is part of her Melendy series.

Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery - Don't get me wrong - I love Anne and adore Gilbert but this book which focuses on their youngest daughter during World War 1 is an amazing book and one that could stand up to countless rereads (trust me!  I've done it).

Agatha Christie

Of course Agatha gets her own category!  

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie - This is probably my favorite Agatha Christie and it is Miss Marple at her best.  It's kind of funny to read in chronological order by publication date because while this was published around the time of her death she actually wrote it during World War II.  There are several characters who come back to life and Miss Marple has a rapid increase in strength and independence!  

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - Granted this might not be the best book to have along with me on an island as it doesn't go so well for the characters in the book but there are so many little details that it's almost a new book every time I read it.  Plus, it's just a super entertaining read!


The Case of William Smith by Patricia Wentworth - Patricia Wentworth takes 2nd to only Agatha Christie as my favorite mystery author and this is probably my favorite.  I just loved all the characters so much and thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwall - This one still gives me shivers when I think about it.  It's the creepy story of an author and her stalker and it made me never ever feel comfortable if my the airline lost my bag.  It also made me want to check my car for scratches regularly and practice with a firearm so I'd be able to use it if I need to defend myself.  It did not help me sleep!


Three Fates by Nora Roberts - I love Roberts' ensemble cast books and this is a fantastic one.  There's an Irish guy, an uptight woman who is figuring out who she really is, statues, a bit of a historical mystery, and a touch of paranormal.  Oh and some really awful villains!  

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas - I"m generally not a bad guy redeemed book person but Sebastian is so much the exception.  I love him, I love Evie and I love their relationship.  Plus, very few historical romances take place in a Gambling Hall which makes for some great reading!


The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom - Oh this book.  I resisted reading it because the copy a friend lent me was a Christian press and I worried that it would be preachy but it so wasn't.  It's so amazing and tragic and is absolutely everything that is good and right in the world against the worst of human nature.  It's stayed with me more than any other book I've read.

The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry by Kathleen Finn - I've read 2 of her books and adored them both.  This made me never ever want to take classes at the Cordon Bleu but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading this book and really need to read more from her.

So what are some of your all time favorites?

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Secrets of Wishtide - Review

The Secrets of Wishtide (A Laetitia Rodd Mystery #1) by Kate Saunders (Amazon)

Rating: Very Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Mrs. Laetitia Rodd, aged fifty-two, is the widow of an archdeacon. Living in Hampstead with her confidante and landlady, Mrs. Benson, who once let rooms to John Keats, Laetitia makes her living as a highly discreet private investigator.
Her brother, Frederick Tyson, is a criminal barrister living in the neighboring village of Highgate with his wife and ten children. Frederick finds the cases, and Laetitia solves them using her arch intelligence, her iron discretion, and her immaculate cover as an unsuspecting widow. When Frederick brings to her attention a case involving the son of the well-respected, highly connected Sir James Calderstone, Laetitia sets off for Lincolnshire to take up a position as the family’s new governess—quickly making herself indispensable.

But the seemingly simple case—looking into young Charles Calderstone’s “inappropriate” love interest—soon takes a rather unpleasant turn. And as the family’s secrets begin to unfold, Laetitia discovers the Calderstones have more to hide than most.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  The cover caught my eye and I like a good mystery so this one sounded appealing.

My Impression:  I don't think it's a secret that I'm a big fan of Agatha Christie and the lesser known but just as great, Patricia Wentworth.  They are my comfort reads and picking up their books is always a treat.  While I love and read quite a lot of modern mysteries I haven't found many that have that same feel as the classics but The Secrets of Wishtide just earned it's place on that shelf!

I loved Laetitia Rodd from page one and with each page I liked her more.  She exudes common sense and is so wonderfully practical but at the same time unfailingly kind and compassionate.  I loved her relationship with her landlord/friend/confidante Mrs. Benson and how she is always trying to make Mrs. Benson take care of herself when Mrs. Rodd is away.  I loved how she talks about her late husband and her interactions with her brother was quite entertaining as they come off as very much an actual brother and sister who at times drive each other crazy.

The mystery is a little faster paced than Wentworth and Christie tended to be and much busier.  The mystery itself starts out very simple but as more and more secrets are revealed and the body count rises things get more and more complicated.  I had no idea how Mrs. Rodd was going to solve the mystery but I had complete and total faith that she would.  I thoroughly enjoyed going along with her as she unraveled the mystery.  It was a treat every time I was able to pick up this book and spend a little more time with Mrs. Rodd, Mrs. Benson and the rest of the characters.  I noticed that this is listed as Laetitia Rodd Mystery #1 so I'm hoping that there will be more mysteries in this series coming soon.  This is a world I'm very much looking forward to revisiting.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  I will be checking regularly for news of the 2nd book in this series!

Would I Recommend this Book?: Definitely!  If you enjoy more classic style mysteries do not pass this up!