Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Antique House Murders - Cozy Mystery Review

The Antique House Murders (Oakwood Mysteries #2) by Leslie Nagel

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Mulbridge House stood, silent and decaying, deep in the woods at the heart of Oakwood, Ohio, long before the passing of Augusta Mulbridge. Yet suddenly everyone in town seems to have a stake in its fate: the greedy heirs, eager to tear it down for a tidy profit; the local preservationists, determined to maintain it as an historic site; the angry neighbors, staunchly opposed to the construction of a modern subdivision. Even Charley Carpenter is forced to admit that her beloved shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, could use an infusion of the estate’s treasures.
The clock is ticking. The wrecking ball is ready to swing. All that stands between Mulbridge House and oblivion is one final vote. That, and murder . . .

The trouble begins when Charley walks into auctioneer Calvin Prescott’s office to find her cherished family friend crumpled on the floor. Detective Marcus Trenault quickly connects his death to a string of increasingly violent burglaries plaguing Oakwood. But when Charley uncovers a link to a massive land swindle worth millions, not to mention a drug ring operating out of the manor’s abandoned outbuildings, that theory crumbles faster than Mulbridge House. Now Charley’s racing to catch a killer before everything falls apart.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been wanting to read this series since the first book came out last year and this one has a crumbling manor house!  How could I resist?

My Impression:  I'm embarrassed to admit that I've had the first book in this series The Book Clum Murders on my Kindle since it came out in September but somehow never got around to reading it.  But when I saw the blurb for the 2nd one I knew that there was no way I could resist it so I went on and dove into the series at #2.  I'm glad I did!  I had no trouble figuring out who was who and how they were connected.
I liked Charley.  She knows her business (and what I wouldn't give to go through all the goodies she got at the Mulbridge House!) and is desperately trying to make it work.   She's smart and good at reading people though perhaps a little overenthusiastic in her investigations.  I liked her relationship with Marcus and really just Marcus in general.  He's got a sense of humor and while pride and wanting to keep Charley safe can cause some conflicts he also is willing to listen to her.  Dmitri nicely rounds out the cast.  He's a good friend and kind of balances out Charley.
The mystery on this was really enjoyable and very well done.  I enjoyed watching Charley and Marcus get to the bottom of it.   This was a fun read and I would pay serious money to explore Mulbridge House (without all the murder of course)!  I'm looking forward to revisiting Oakwood very soon.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to going back and reading the first book and will be on the lookout for new books in this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  I would!  This is a fun cozy series that I think most mystery readers would enjoy.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017.  This is always a dangerous topic for me.  I'm not real great with keeping up with releases except for whatever ARCs I've gotten so I end up having to search around looking for the perfect 10 which adds so many books to my TBR.  Than I read everyone else's lists which means more books for my TBR which at this point is audibly weeping.  But there are so many good books coming out this year!  I had a hard time narrowing it down to 10!

1.  The Lying Game by Ruth Ware - So far I've really loved Ware's previous books so I'm so excited about the newest one.  I'm really hoping that Imogen Church will do the audio again because she is the absolute best. (July 25)

2.  The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean - This is the 3rd book in the Scandal and Scoundrels series and features the bad guy in the first book.  I'm dying to see how MacLean redeems him!  (June 27)

3.  Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris - I was so excited with Harris started her Aurora Teagarden series back up last year and can't wait for this one!  While not quite a cozy these are more straightforward mysteries than her usual books and I love this series. (September 26)

4.  Wicked Deeds by Heather Graham - This is a new book in Graham's Krewe series about FBI agents and the occasional civilian who solve crimes with a paranormal element.  This book features the couple from Dying Breath which I reviewed yesterday and really enjoyed.  I can't remember that Graham has ever featured a couple twice in a full length book in the Krewe series so I'm excited to see how this goes.  (September 19)

5.  Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs - I love Susan Wiggs and this book involving a dual time line, family secrets, World War II and a trip that takes the family back to France seems like my kind of book!  (August 8)

6.  Year One by Nora Roberts - I'm really on the fence about this one.  On one hand it's a Nora Roberts trilogy and I always read the Nora Roberts trilogies but on the other hand there's a plague and NYC is wiped out and it really has a post-apocalyptic feel which is really not my thing.  (December 5)

7.  Copycat by Alex Lake - This one sounds so creepy!  A woman discovers that there are two Facebook profiles for her.  One is hers and one just has all her information including pictures of her kids and her home.  Someone has been following her and even been inside her house.  This does not sound like one to be read while home alone!  (September 7)

8.  Touch of Red by Laura Griffin - I've read the most recent 2 books in the Tracers series and really clicked with this romantic suspense series that's heavy on suspense.  This book features 2 side characters that I really liked in the last book so I'm excited to see them get a little page time.  (October 31)

9.  Smitten Kitchen Everyday: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman - Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs and I loved her previous cookbook.  Not all of her recipes work for my picky family but the ones that do are always home runs.  (October 24)

10. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get it!: Simple Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives by Ree Drummond - The Pioneer Woman's cookbooks aren't fine dining but they are reliable, typically quick to put together and don't rely on processed foods which are all things that make me happy.  Oh and they're tasty!  (October 24)

What releases are you anticipating?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Dying Breath - Paranormal Romantic Suspense Review

Dying Breath (Krewe of Hunters #21) by Heather Graham

Rating: Very Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  As a teenager, Vickie Preston survived an attack by a serial killer. That was the first time she saw a ghost. Now the city of Boston is being terrorized—someone is kidnapping women and burying them alive, but cruelly leaving a glimmer of hope for the authorities by sending a clue about their location. Vickie is pulled into the investigation when her name is mentioned in one of the notes. And as a historian, she has the knowledge to help uncover the graves the killer known as the Undertaker is choosing. But she also has another, unique lead: the spirit of one of the victims is appearing to her in dreams.
Special Agent Griffin Price is on the case for the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI's special unit for paranormal investigators. He feels particularly protective of Vickie, since their shared past is connected to the threat that currently surrounds them. With the killer accelerating his plans, time is running out for more victims hidden around the city. Vickie is becoming closer with Griffin, but she's getting too close to the danger, and every breath could be her last.

Genre: Romantic Suspense - Paranormal

Why I Picked This Book:  I can't resist Heather Graham's books and this one has ghosts!  I love ghosts!

My Impression: I love the Heather Graham Krewe books!  I mean who doesn't love solving mysteries with paranormal means?  The only trouble is that Graham can be on the inconsistent side.  I never know quite what to expect when I pick up one of her books.  I mean I always enjoy them but some just don't quite click quite as well as others and at times you have to suspend belief more than a little.  This was one of my favorites.  For starters there are ghosts!  And the main character, Vickie is a historian who loves research.  Vickie and the FBI are racing a serial killer who leaves historically based clues which was pretty awesome.

I really loved Vickie and Griffin's relationship.  They had a prior history and so their instant connection worked.  They also worked well together and weren't immediately declaring their undying love and devotion.  I thought Jackson was a good grounding presence and while he is very much a background character he added a little bit of calmness to the investigation.

The mystery was pretty well done.  There were a few red herrings sprinkled about and I had several different theories going into the final showdown.  There were a few things I would have liked explained a bit more but on the whole I was satisfied.

While this is the 21st book in the Krewe series it's a very easy series to read out of order.  While I've met Jackson before the rest of the characters are new.  Each book is essentially a stand alone with some of the same background characters and a connection to the same FBI unit.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?:  Definitely!  I have several of her books just waiting to be read already and Graham has a book coming out in September that will feature Vickie and Griffin again.  I'm really looking forward to it!

Would I Recommend this Book?: I would if you enjoy ghost stories.  The book isn't flawless but it's a lot of fun!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

This Week in Reading - May 28

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:

Lowcountry Bonfire by Susan M. Boyer - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and one I always look forward to revisiting.  This one involves a missing person but one who seems to have gone missing on his own accord.  What looks like a pretty simple case to Nate and Liz quickly turns into more dangerous than they were expecting.  I'm excited to check back in with Liz and Nate and who doesn't love spending some time in Charleston? (NetGalley)

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan - After I read and loved The Bookshop on the Corner last year there was no way I was turning down this newest book involving a Cafe by the Sea and a woman who has come home and trying to find her footing again which is one of my favorite things!  (Blog Tour)


Reading:  A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner and Until You by Denise Grover Swank

Listening:  First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Watching:  J and I started watching Life in Pieces on Netflix and are enjoying it.  We also watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie the other night.  I didn't like the other movies but I forgot how much I really enjoyed the first one.

Off the Blog:

School is over!  The Tornado had such a great year that I'm sad to see it end.   I am looking forward to some lazy days though.  Next week we will start on semi-summer routine but for now it's lots of playing games and sleeping later.  I'm going to start setting aside some reading time every day and he has his school accounts for these online math games that he really likes.  He's also gotten obsessed with a show called The Odd Squad on PBS where they solve puzzles through math so I'm going to see if there are any games connected to them.  We have a workbook that has different puzzles featuring the Mo Willems characters that I want to encourage him to do and I want him to have some time to play on his own.  He needs to get better at entertaining himself without electronics.

Monday  J and I went to estate sale in a lovely home where the woman had very similar taste to me and actually owned several things that I already own which was a little strange.  I did find several things I love that I don't already own so it was a good morning.  Estate sales are always a little strange.  I know they take a tremendous weight off the family's shoulders but walking through someone else's home always feels a little weird.

We are taking it easy this weekend at home and accomplishing some DIY tasks we've been wanting to do.  I finally got vegetables in the ground.  I'm hoping it's not too late and I got the biggest plants they had so fingers crossed!  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Dying Breath - Paranormal Romantic Suspense Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Books for the 2nd Half of 2017
Wednesday:  Antique House Murders - Cozy Mystery Reviews
Thursday:  TBD
Friday: Linkup with Current Book
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

52 Pins in 52 Weeks - May Edition

I absolutely love Pinterest! My current pin count is just under 10,500 and I have dozens of boards. I alternate between pinning from the tons of food and craft blogs (I have a different system for book blogs!) and pinning after mindlessly scrolling through the "Everything" option where I can see all the pins that have been pinned and repinned recently.

At the first of the year I make a board called 52 Pins in 52 Weeks and fill it with 52 pins that I want to do over the course of the year. I've tried to include a good mix of food, holiday, and craft pins and push myself to step a little out of my comfort zone. I pin my results on my 52 Pins in 52 Weeks Results board. Some pins are wins and some are most definitely fails but it's always interesting to attempt them!

 This year I hope you'll share your Pin Wins and Fails with me and link up below! The format is totally up to you. Just post about the pins you've tried over the month (it can be multiple posts) and link up here! The link up will the the last Saturday of every month and I can't wait to see what everyone is doing!

This month is a little light because I have 2 gardening pins going but aren't far enough along to declare success or failure yet.

Week 19

The PinKentucky Butter Cake from Cookies and Cups

The Basic Idea: A pound cake that you poke holes in the bottom of and pour a buttery delicious sauce onto and let soak into the cake leaving it moist and buttery and delicious.

My Result: I had pretty high hopes for this one because it's from one of my favorite food blogs and I was not disappointed.  It was pretty easy to make though there is the extra step of making the sauce and the flavor is amazing!  I was a little worried that it'd be too sweet because there's sugar in the cake and then sugar in the sauce but it really wasn't.  The butter and vanilla provided a nice counterbalance.  It's really good on it's own but I think would be fantastic with fresh fruit and a little whipped cream. When she says to really grease the pan she's not kidding!  I buttered mine quite a bit and while it didn't stick I did have to run a knife around all the edges to get it to release.  Mine browned a little more than I'd like but wasn't in the slightest bit dry.  I think I'd take a few minutes off the cooking time next time.

Week 20:

The Basic Idea:  A quick recipe for the Carolina mustard based barbecue sauce

My Results:  Years ago there was this barbecue place nearby that had the best Carolina sauce but the quality kind of went down hill and their hours got weird so I haven't been there in forever.  I do still miss the sauce though so I couldn't resist it.  This was really good - kind of like honey mustard with a bit more of a vinegar-y kick.  It's not quite as mustard-y and a little sweeter than what I wanted so the search is still on but I'm keeping this around for next time I need a quick sauce!  I used it on chicken but I think it'd be great on pork as well.

Week 21:

The Basic Idea: An easy and inexpensive way to get clean up an enameled pan with baking soda.

My Reality: One of my New Year's Resolutions was to take better care of my stuff and that includes some pans I've been horribly mistreating.  As you can see this pan was pretty bad (there was another one even worse but I'm not posting the picture because the house police would show up) and the burn marks have been there for awhile.  All I did was boil some water with some baking soda in it for a few minutes, gave it a quick scrub with a scrub brush and about 90% of the stains are gone.  For the pan that's way worse I've done this 2 times and given it a scrub with some baking soda with a little elbow grease and it's on its way back to life as well.  Is there anything baking soda can't do?

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Linkups: A Bridge Across the Ocean

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:
What is the most fun part/aspect of being a book blogger?

My Answer:
For me the most fun has been just interacting with the community of book bloggers.  It's so fun to be able to talk to a group of people who love reading just as much as I do.  I also got an email from one of my favorite authors asking me to review her newest book and that made my WEEK!  

This week's book has just about all of my favorite things rolled into one.  There's dual timelines - one present day and one in 1946.  There's mystery, history and ghosts!  Plus, I've seen some awesome reviews for it from some of my favorite bloggers.  So when I saw A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner at the library I knew there was no way I was leaving it there.  So far it's been one of those books that I just want to sneak off and read just a little bit more.

The Beginning:
San Diego, California
Present Day

A friend's baby shower was the last place Brette Caslake expected to encounter a ghost.

My Thoughts:
I'm not sure I'd expect to see a ghost anywhere but a baby shower does seem like an especially unlikely place.

The 56:
You may think you can help them.  But it is dangerous, exhausting work, Brette.  And it is not your responsibility.  Remember that.  You owe them nothing.

My Thoughts:
This is a letter to Brette (MC) from an aunt.  The aunt is talking about her ability to see ghosts   Her tone surprises me.  It always seems like in books with ghosts people feel it's their duty to help ghosts but Brette's Aunt clearly does not share that sentiment!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Love and Death in Burgundy - A Cozy Mystery Review

Love and Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea
Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that's no easy task.
When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town's secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine's quiet life upside down. As more and more of the villagers' secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love the idea of the American and France and getting a look at what life is really like as an expat.

My Impression:  It's always starting a new series because you're entering a new world for the first time.  There's a new place, new characters, and in mysteries a shockingly high death rate.  This book starts in the garden of Katherine Goff's home in the Burgundy countryside.  Katherine is an American artist who is trying desperately to fit into her new home.  While she is fluent in French it hasn't been as much of a help as she expected and she is finding herself much more of an outsider than she wants to be.  I really liked that this was not a happy little welcoming small town full on unicorns and rainbows.  There's a distinct social order that isn't easily broken through.  There are lots of politics and outsiders aren't particularly welcomed with opened arms.  I thought it was very realistic that Katherine isn't just okay with the rejection.  She really wants to fix it and tries to become more involved in village life in ways that made sense.

The mystery is one of too many suspects but no real motives and I enjoyed watching everything unravel.  While this is a mystery but the book focuses equally on village life so while Katherine is looking for the killer the reader is also seeing the repercussions of the murder resonate with the other characters.

I had a few issues with the book.  This was the first book in the series so it did feel like it got a little slow at time as everything was being setup.  I also didn't love the ending.  While the reveal made since I'm not sure I really felt like justice was done.  This may be a difference in the French and US laws but I did feel a little unsatisfied.

So while I didn't find the book flawless I did find it entertaining and I really enjoyed the world that Shea created.  I'm looking forward to revisiting Reigny-sur-Canne and seeing what's happening next!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would!  I really enjoyed the author's chatty writing style and her ability to make the world inside the book come alive.

Would I Recommend this Book?: I would!  Because of the character development I think readers who don't typically enjoy mysteries would enjoy this book.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Watching the Detectives - Blog Tour Cozy Mystery Review + Giveaway

Watching The Detectives by Julie Mulhern

Watching the Detectives (The Country Club Murders) Cozy Mystery 5th in Series Publisher: Henery Press (May 23, 2017) Paperback: 234 pages ISBN-13: 978-1635112115 E-Book ASIN: B06WWF1PWQ
Ellison Russell wanted a decorator, not a corpse. Too bad she finds Mrs. White in the study killed with a revolver. Things go from bad to worse when she finds Mr. White in the dining room killed with a candlestick. With so many bodies, is it any wonder Detective Anarchy Jones’ new partner considers Ellison a suspect?
With the country club gossips talking a mile a minute, an unexpected cocktail party, a visit from Aunt Sis, and a romantic decision, Ellison hardly has time to think about murder. Unfortunately, the killer has plenty of time to think about her.
  Books in the Country Club Murders Humorous Mystery Series: THE DEEP END (#1) GUARANTEED TO BLEED (#2) CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE (#3) SEND IN THE CLOWNS (#4) WATCHING THE DETECTIVES (#5)

My Thoughts: 

Pretty much every new Country Club Murder mystery I read I proclaim my new favorite and Watching the Detectives is no different!  Right from the beginning I was completely sucked in.  And it was hard not to be because within in the first 20 pages or so poor Ellison is already tripping over a body.  Her mother is not amused.  And neither is handsome detective Anarchy Jones or his new partner the decidedly less handsome and nice Detective Peters.  The mystery is excellent and thoroughly entertaining.  What captivated me more in this book is the issues of social justice that arise.  Since it's a crucial part of the mystery I don't want to give too much away but I found it really interesting how Mulhern handled it without undermining the serious nature but reminding the reader of the thoughts of the day.

As usual, one of my biggest treats after finishing this thoroughly enjoyable mystery was visiting Mulhern's Pinterest board for the book to see her inspiration.  If you enjoy mysteries of any kind this is a series not to miss.  While you could jump in here I think you'd enjoy it even more if you started at the beginning and you won't regret it!  Rating:  Very Good


About The Author

- Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean--and she's got an active imagination. Truth is--she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.
Author Links Webpage –
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  Goodreads –
  Purchase Links Amazon Paperback Amazon Kindle kobo B&N
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants
May 22 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
May 23 – Queen of All She Reads - REVIEW
May 23 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
May 24 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW
May 24 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 25 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW
May 25 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW
May 26 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
May 27 – Author Annette Drake's blog – INTERVIEW
May 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy. &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
May 29 – I Read What You Write - REVIEW
May 29 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
May 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
May 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW May 31 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW May 31 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST
June 1 – Community Bookstop - REVIEW
June 1 – Laura's Interests - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 2 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 
June 3- Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW
June 3- Bookworm Café - CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 4 – Brooke Blogs - REVIEW, GUEST POST
  Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - My Summer Reading List

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is a summer reading freebie.  Now I never minded assigned summer reading in school.  There were some books I didn't enjoy reading but for the most part it just wasn't a big deal.  Of course now summer means the kids being out of school and schedules being turned on end.  That coupled with temps in the 90s and humidity so high that it feels like I can reach out and grab handfuls of air typically means I'm headed towards a slump.  Since nobody likes a slump I've been trying to avoid it this year and focus on what books really tempt me when my brain feels fried.  This is what I'm hoping to read this summer to avoid the dreaded slump!

1.  I See You by Clare Mackintosh  - The blurb on this book reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of Criminal Minds where people start seeing themselves on missing persons fliers before they go missing.  It was super creepy in the show and I'm betting it'll be super creepy in the book!

2.  I Found You by Lisa Jewell - I love that this book takes place on a beach but is hardly a typical beach book.  Plus, I've been wanting to try Lisa Jewell's books forever and this seems like a good place to start.

3.  Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts - I loved the first book in this trilogy but for some reason have yet to read the second book even though it's been out for almost a year.  It's light, fun, with a little bit of suspense, and there's even some beach time!

4.  The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick - I love the 1930s setting and Krentz/Quick's books are just like popcorn - tasty and fun if not the most filling.  Perfect beach or hammock reading!

5.  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen - I read The Peach Keeper last summer and loved it and Allen's writing style just screams summer.

6.  Killer Party by Lynn Cahoon - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and is just perfect for summer!

7.  The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan - It's about a cafe by the sea and written by Jenny Colgan!  How could I resist it!  Also, I think the main character is coming home to get her bearings which is one of my favorite things.

8.  The Dream Keeper's Daughter by Emily Colin - There's a years old disappearance and creepy phone calls!  And the main character is an archaeologist.

9.  The Blue Bedroom and Other Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher - I love a short story collection and this one by Pilcher is one of my favorites..  It'll be a perfect read when my brain is tired but I want some comfort reading.

10. The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee - There's sisters and food and magic.  It sounds like a whole lot of fun but sweet too.  I love books with sisters - probably because I never had any!

What books are on your summer reading list?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Buns - Contemporary Romance Review

Buns (Hudson Valley #3) by Alice Clayton

Rating: Very Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….
Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book: I've heard raves about Clayton's romances forever and keep meaning to try her books so when I saw this on NetGalley I couldn't resist (even though the title and cover make me cringe a little!)

My Impression:
The Couple - 
Clara - Clara's backstory is heartbreaking and fits how she's chosen to live her life as adult with herself firmly in the drivers seat and refusing to let anyone in.  She struggles with traditions and holidays because she doesn't quite understand how to be a part of either.

Archie - Archie firmly believes in family and tradition first.  He's worked his entire life to keep the family hotel up and running and is not so crazy about having an outsider come in and tell him what to do.  However, he's not so hardheaded that he refuses to listen to reason and is intelligent and motivated to make things work.

What I Liked:
Both characters have baggage from very real circumstances but neither dismisses the other's issues.  I also liked that Clara had some trepidation about spending time with Archie in the home he shared with his late wife.  She's not melodramatic about it but she's uncomfortable and that felt very real.

They're both good at their jobs and it was fun to watch them in action.  Sometimes they even worked well together and that was even more fun.

While this is definitely a spicier romance than I usually read I did feel like there was an emotional connection between Archie and Clara.

The setting is amazing.  I loved the hotel and I loved the town.  The employees and friends really added a lot of joy to the reading.

What I Didn't Like:
Way heavy on the sexual innuendos or just comments without the innuendo - especially from Clara's friend Natalie.  I get that she and Oscar are having a lot of sex but seriously talk about something else occasionally.

I expected a fun and funny read but I was surprised by the amount of heart that ran through the stories.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and getting to know Hudson Falls and am looking forward to going back and reading Roxie and Natalie's stories.  The title and the cover made me cringe a little but that's what Kindles are for!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  This was a fun read.

Would I Recommend this Book?: If you enjoy contemporary romance and don't mind a lot of spice and even more language than this is a must read!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

This Week in Reading - May 21

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:

A Stardance Summer by Emily March - I absolutely love the Eternity Springs series and I'm super excited to have this next book.  Plus this has a best friend's little sister/brother's best friend plot which I love.  (Publisher)

A Strange Scottish Shore by Juliana Gray - I really don't know all that much about the series but it takes place in 1906 Scotland, there's an old castle and an archealogist.  I'm thinking I'll enjoy it!  (NetGalley)

I've got a couple of request pending - 1 I'm pretty sure I'll get and 1 that I don't think I'll get but it couldn't hurt to request it!  I'm trying to cut down on the number of books I'm getting and I figure 2 isn't too bad a number!


Reading:  Three Fates by Nora Roberts, Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (almost done!), and Love and Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea

Listening:  I'm listening to podcasts while I wait for my next audiobook to be available.  Right now I'm going through the backlist of The Babysitter's Club Club where they're talking about Babysitter's Club book #19 Stacey's Mistake.

Watching:  I'm getting caught up on this season of Doctor Who and I'm really enjoying it.  Capaldi seems to be really comfortable in the role and I love the new companion Billie.  She kind of reminds me of Donna.

Off the Blog:

We are in the middle of the end of the school year festivities.  Friday was Field Day which involved a whole day outside doing games and then the fire truck came with the fire hose and sent water high up into the air so that it fell kind of like a waterfall.  The kids loved it and were completely drenched.  I volunteered in the concession stand all day which was fun and crazy.  Thankfully, the weather cooperated and it was clear and sunny though a bit hot at right around 90.  The Tornado and I were both asleep by 9 on Friday night!

I had a DNF this week which was disappointing as it was a book I've been wanting to read for awhile.  I realized that it was time to DNF it when I voluntarily called my cell phone provider to talk about my plan instead of reading!

Eleanor's 22nd birthday is tomorrow.  She's always the easiest one to buy presents for and I've had a good time trying to go with a mix of things that she'll find useful and things that are just fun.  We're also going out to the Melting Pot because who doesn't love to dip stuff in cheese?

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Buns - Contemporary Romance Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - 10 Books on my Summer Reading List
Wednesday: Watching the Detective - Cozy Mystery Blog Tour Review + Giveaway
Thursday:  Love and Death in Burgundy - Cozy Mystery Review
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  52 Pins in 52 Weeks - May Edition

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hello Fresh - Subscription Review

The box is giant!
I love a subscription box!  Seriously, send me a box of miscellaneous stuff and I'm all in.  I've subscribed to Birchbox, ipsy, MyIreland, Le Tote, Stitch Fix and FabFitFun. Then I started seeing all the ads for the different dinner subscriptions and while I was intrigued I just didn't see it working for me.  For one thing I was cooking for 4 to 5 people and for another most of the people I'm cooking for are ridiculously picky.

But then all of a sudden I was only cooking for 2 actual people and 1 child who mostly exists on air AND I was in the middle of a serious cooking slump.  I mean I did still cook but I definitely wasn't feeling it - especially when you throw in list making and grocery shopping.  So when my sister-in-law mentioned that they'd had a really great experience with Hello Fresh AND Anna at Herding Cats and Burning Soup posted her positive review the next day I figured it was a sign.  So I signed up and I gotta say - I've been loving it!

What It Is:

Essentially a subscription box of 3 meals.  Everything you need for those 3 meals (with the exception of the very basics - salt, pepper, olive oil) is included along with detailed recipe cards.  You can pick what meals are in your box or skip a week all together.  I've found the ingredients of good quality and the meat is labeled as to where it came from and is antibiotic and hormone free.
The Meal Box - Everything but the protein is in here

Why Sign Up:

For me, I've enjoyed having someone else do the shopping and planning for me.  It's nice to have all the ingredients I need for one meal all together.  Plus, choosing from their menus has shaken me out of my slump a bit.  I've also found that I'm willing to try different techniques because I'm following instructions and everything is right in front of me.

After my success, my mother signed up for the service as well.  Her husband is not a very confident cook but his commute is much shorter than hers.  Having everything together and the detailed recipes has made it easier for him to have dinner on the table when she gets home and has kept them from eating out as much.
Inside of the box 

The Good:

Some of my favorite meals so far:
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Lemony Potatoes and Zucchini - Probably not the most unique meal but the flavors were amazing!  
Bacon Apple Breakfast Pizza - This I got just for me and I'm glad because I did not want to share!  Between the apple, the ricotta, the balsamic onions and the bacon I just couldn't get enough.
Chicken Lo Mein with Carrots and Green Beans - The sauce was restaurant quality and the udon noodles were amazing.  
Hunan Cumin Beef Stir Fry - I had never really done anything with cumin seeds before so I thought that was interesting.  The flavor combination was delicious and unusual and made for a yummy bowl of food.

The Bad:

While none of the meals I've gotten have been really bad there were a few that I probably wouldn't get again.
Winning Pork Medallions - This has Brussels Sprouts which we decided we just weren't fans of and I thought the Tarragon Cream Sauce was a little heavy on the Tarragon.
Sesame Beef Tacos - I liked the pickled veggies but not sure I liked the red cabbage mixed with the ground beef on my tacos.
The Recipe Card - Lots of pictures and clear instructions.  Everything you need for the recipe is listed on the left hand side

When Something Goes Wrong:

No company is perfect but for me the main thing is how a mistake is handled.  On my 2nd box the proteins were left out completely.  Luckily, UPS gets to my house pretty late so I wasn't planning on having one of the meals for dinner and I could run by the grocery store the next day so my meals weren't ruined but it's still not okay.  I emailed their customer service that evening and within 30 minutes I had an email from a person with an apology and a credit for a free box which left me a pretty satisfied customer!  

Other Issues:

I've noticed these subscriptions (not just Hello Fresh but all the meal subscriptions) seem to be ridiculously controversial on social media so I thought I'd respond to some of the biggest complaints.
Amount of packaging - There's a decent amount.  There's the big box it comes in, the individual box each meal comes in and the different containers plus the ice packs.  However, most of the packing material is from recycled materials and they have recycling instructions on their website.  Plus if you have kids in sports or do anything that requires a cooler those ice packs are reusable and pretty great.
Cost - This isn't low cost but I don't find it crazy expensive either.  For a 2 person Classic plan box it's $59 (so around $20 per meal - $10/serving).  I can definitely eat cheaper if I really try but it's definitely cheaper than getting a similar quality meal at a restaurant.  Plus I do notice a corresponding decrease in my grocery bill on the weeks when we have a Hello Fresh box.
Processed or Flavorless Food - This seems to come up a LOT and I think most people who complain about this don't understand what the service is.  You're actually cooking so you're in control of salt and pepper or any other seasoning.  As for processed foods I haven't seen much of it.  If a recipe calls for a zucchini I pull an actual whole zucchini out of the box.  


I've really enjoyed my Hello Fresh subscription and get excited anytime the box arrives.  We don't get it every week but only on weeks where the meal selection has 3 we really want to try.  So far that seems to be 2 or 3 times a month.  Something about having everything all together makes cooking seem easier and more fun.  Not to mention it's encouraged my husband and myself to try new things and we've found a few new favorites!  

If you'd like to try a box for $20 you can use my link for the discount.  They have a few different options including a vegetarian box.  There's no contract or anything so no worries if you decide after 1 box that it isn't for you.   If you do try it I'd love to hear what you think and your favorites!

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Linkups: Three Fates

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:
What do you do with books you no longer want?  Do you donate them?  Do you take them to a half-price bookstore?  Does a friend or family member benefit?

My Answer: 
If I have a friend or family member who I think will enjoy the book I'll pass it onto them.  Otherwise, I typically use paperbackswap and exchange the book for credit to get more books!  If I can't trade them I'll donate them.  So a little bit of all!

This week's book is off of my reread shelf and so far I'm really enjoying it!  Three Fates by Nora Roberts is kind of like a trilogy in one book and is lots of fun.  It also has a lot of factors I always enjoy in a book - strangers coming together to work as a team, historical mystery, research, treasure hunts and different personalities bringing out the best in each other!  I'm really glad it's living up to my memories of it.

The Beginning:
May 7, 1915
Happily unaware he'd be dead in twenty-three minutes Henry W. Wyley imagined pinching the nicely rounded rump of the young blonde who was in his direct line of sight.  It was a perfectly harmless fantasy that did nothing to distress the blonde, or Henry's wife, and put Henry himself in the best of moods.

My Thoughts:
I think 'I'd like Henry W. Wyley.  He's got a little bit of mischief in him but enough common sense and respect for those around him that he doesn't act on it.

The 56:
Cleo went straight to her apartment, though calling the single room an apartment was like calling a Twinkie a fine dessert.  You had to be either really your or stupidly optimistic.

My Thoughts:
I had to laugh at this one!  I know the kind of apartment she's talking about and the term is definitely stretching it a bit!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

James Bond Book vs Movie - Diamonds are Forever

Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming
Setting:  Sierra Leone, New York, Las Vegas, Ocean liner on the Atlantic
Characters: James Bond, Tiffany Case, Felix Leiter, Jack Spang, Seraffimo Spang, Wintt, and Kidd

My Thoughts:  Well this was a bunch of craziness!  The book starts out from a scorpion's point of view on a landing pad near a diamond mine and then is off to the races quite literally at times.  The story itself was inspired by an article Fleming read about diamond smuggling and he later went on to write a nonfiction book on the subject (creatively titled The Diamond Smugglers published in 1957 and I'm now on the search for a copy.) as well as a trip to the US aboard RMS Queen Elizabeth which figures into the last part of the book.  There's diamond smuggling, gambling, horse racing, the American mob, a real old West ghost town and car chases.  There's even humor as Bond starts out completely dismissing the American mobsters and realizing later that that was a mistake.  Our old friend Felix Leiter has a role in this book and I think I was just as delighted to see him as Bond.  The now former CIA operative is just as funny as I remembered and is just as quick to tease Bond or just give him a hard time but is there in a tough spot without fail. While I don't think I enjoyed this book quite as much as I did Moonraker it did make for an entertaining read.  Tiffany is an interesting Bond girl.  She's smart and she's tough and she' brings out the sensitive side of Bond a few times which is always fun to see. Rating: Very Good

Diamonds are Forever (DVD)
Setting:  South Africa, Holland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Baha, California
Characters: James Bond (Sean Connery), Tiffany Case (Jill St. John), Ernst Stavro Blofield (Charles Gray), Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith), Plenty O'Toole (Lana Wood), Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean), Professor Metz (Joseph Furst) , Felix Leiter (Norman Burton)

My Thoughts: So if we're still playing the drinking game that was started while watching Moonraker where you take a drink every time something that happened in the book happens in the movie you might be kind of tipsy by the first half but you have the entire last half to sober up.  The movie starts off pretty similar to the book - there's even the scorpion which I thought wa a nice touch.  However, once Bond and Tiffany land in Los Angeles things take a dramatic left turn towards insanity and never looks back.  Suddenly Bond's fleeing from people on a moonbuggy (sure why not), girls are getting thrown out of 5th floor windows and landing in swimming pools completely unhurt, and there seem to be a few clones with voice boxes running around.  Since I'm going in order of the books not the movies this is my first Sean Connery Bond and I must say I found his portrayal much closer to the original Bond than Roger Moore's.  There's much less focus on gadgets and toys and more focus on either sneaking around or a flat out fist fight.  There are times where he's quick with a witticism which I really enjoyed despite book Bond famously lackng in sense of humor. Rating: Just Okay

Other Thoughts: I'm always interested with how Fleming treats the female characters in his books.  The Bond books and the franchise in general are known for their sexism but to me in the books I've read so far it's a little more complicated than that.  Yes, the women are discussed in a dismissive tone but so far they're not women who really let themselves be dismissed.  When we first meet Tiffany Case she is very clearly in charge of the situation and it is she that comes up with the way to smuggle the diamonds.  Later in the book she very much saves the day and Bond with it.  She's a woman who has managed to hold her own against the worst of mobsters over a period of years and her back story is horrific.  She doesn't trust men and makes no apologies for it and really is an interesting character in her own right.  As well while rape is lumped in with "light" crimes it is very clear that Bond is very adamantly against it as well as the ill treatment of women (which while doesn't mean he deserves a medal does put him head and shoulders about Connery's Bond who slaps Tiffany in the face).  The movie franchise is very different.  The movie version of Tiffany Case is decorative but not particularly bright.  She's often nervous and never seems to know what to do in a crisis without guidance.  Without the book Tiffany Case James Bond doesn't make it to the next day while without the movie version Bond sees one less woman in a bikini.

Overall - The movie is fun and silly with super villains and lots of girls in bikinis.  The book has far fewer girls in bikini but lots more danger and a plot that doesn't stray into complete science fiction.  If you want to watch a fun action movie and don't mind stretching believability there are worse ways to spend an evening than watching Diamonds are Forever.  If you want a good mystery about diamond smuggling and the Mafia give the book a try.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Reference to Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

A Reference to Murder by Kym Roberts

Rating: Very Good
Source:  NetGalley

Description:  Charli Rae Warren is back home in Hazel Rock, Texas, spending her time reading, collecting, and selling books—at least, the ones that don’t get eaten first by her father’s pet armadillo. Running the family bookstore is a demanding job, but solving murders on the side can be flat out dangerous…
The Book Barn is more than just a shop, it’s a part of the community—and Charli is keeping busy with a fundraising auction and the big rodeo event that’s come to town. That includes dealing with the Texas-sized egos of some celebrity cowboys, including Dalton Hibbs, a blond, blue-eyed bull rider who gets overly rowdy one night with the local hairdresser . . . and soon afterward, disappears into thin air.

Dalton’s brother also vanished seven years ago—and Charli is thrown about whether Dalton is a villain or a victim. After a close call with an assailant wielding a branding iron (that plays havoc with her hair) and some strange vandalism on her property, she’s going to have to team up with the sheriff to untangle this mystery, before she gets gored . . .

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book: The first book in this series intrigued me because it involves a bookstore so when the second book showed up with a missing persons case in the blurb I couldn't resist it!

My Impression: I am on a roll with good cozies and A Reference to Murder kept the streak going!  Charlie is still trying to adjust to moving back to her hometown and is trying to repair her relationship with her father.  Her days are busy working in the Book Barn, participating in a fundraising auction, and keeping her pet armadillo from eating the stock.  Throw in some tangled feelings for the mayor, Cade, and the sheriff, Mateo, and her plate is more than a little full.

When Dalton Hibbs strides into Hazel Rock, charms Charli's best friend Scarlet, then disappears leaving nothing but questions just like his brother did years before Charli has no choice but to get involved.  I have no interest in bull riding and have never been to a rodeo but I did enjoy the tidbits that were in this book.  It was fun to get a look inside the business.  I doubt I'll ever go to a rodeo but I think I have a new appreciation for bull riders.  I liked the town of Hazel Rock a lot.  There are a few quirky characters and quite a number of likable and interesting people.  I'm curious about the direction Charli's love life will go and how she continues to make her adult home in her hometown.

The mystery was entertaining and there were a lot of different threads.  What happened to Dalton?  Who attacked Charli with a branding iron?  Who broke in to Scarlet's trailer?  What happened to Wyatt all those years ago?  I think I changed my mind about a dozen times while reading!  I was surprised by the reveal but I thought it felt a little rushed.  All the questions were answered but I would have liked a little more time to get everything resolved.

Overall, this was an entertaining mystery with a likable main character.  I'm looking forward to visiting Hazel Rock again in the future!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  I really enjoyed this one.

Would I Recommend this Book?: I would!  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun series that I hope will be around for awhile.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Memorable Fictional Mothers

In honor of Mother's Day this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is a Mother's Day freebie.  So I thought I would do a list of memorable mothers - not main characters who are mothers but the mothers of main characters.  Some are good, some not so much but all stick in my mind for some reason or other.

Lillian Gilbreth - The mother in the famous Cheaper by the Dozen and the lesser known Belles on Their Toes.  She's also not so fictional and a fascinating woman in her own right.

Emily Inglethorp - This overbearing mother was Agatha Christie's first victim in The Mysterious Affair at Styles and far from the last mother she killed off but she was one of the most entertaining.

Violet Bridgerton - I adore Violet Bridgerton because how can you not?  She's one of the best side characters in Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series.  She's funny and nice but has her own bit of snark to her.  Plus she can hold her own against her own strong willed children.  Since I know how her own romance ends I don't think I want a book about her but more books with her as a side character please!
Marmee -  The long suffering mother from Little Women at times drove me a bit crazy with all her listen giving but she was also a woman in a seriously tough situation and it was hard not to respect her even though I thought she was WAAY to easy on Amy.

Harriet de Luce - She's not really an active character but her presence is most definitely felt in the Flavia de Luce series.  I love learning about her along with Flavia.

Mrs. Bennett - Well I can't have a list about memorable mothers without including the matchmaking Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice now can I?

Ma Ingals -She might not have the charisma that Little House on the Prairie's Pa has but Ma keeps the family going with her kindness and good sense.

Marilla Cuthbert - While she's not Anne Shirley's mother in Anne of Green Gables Marilla is definitely the most important maternal figure in Anne's life.  Marilla's change through the course of the Anne books is one of my very favorite things.

Sophie Stern - Sophie's more like a sister to The Shell Seekers Penelope Keeling but with her French accent, gentle manner, and sparkling sense of humor she's a delight any time she's on the page.

Iris Stanford -  She's a little more recent but Iris from The Honeychurch Hall series of cozy mysteries from Hannah Dennison is definitely memorable.  She has more secrets than she knows what to do with and a gift for meddling in her daughter, Kat's, affairs.

What memorable mothers have you come across in your reading?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ramblings from the Stacks - How Do You Rate a Classic?

Lately, I've been making an effort to incorporate more classics into my reading.  There are so many great books that I never read or that I read when I was in high school and really beg to be reread as an adult.  For some books this has been incredibly rewarding.  I've re-fallen in love with old favorites (The Great Gatsby, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) found some newer favorites (The Woman in White) and had a few come up less than enjoyable (Little Women - please don't throw stuff at me).

But when the last page of the great book is read and I go to mark the book as read on Goodreads (because otherwise how do you know you finished a book or read it in the first place) I always hesitate to assign that star rating.  I mean, if I loved the book it's not so hard to give it 5 stars or even 4 stars but what if I didn't love it?  What if it was just okay?  Or it felt like trudging through a swamp?  Who am I to assign 1 star to Little Women?  (Please don't send me angry messages.)  I'm not a student of literature.  To be honest my literature classes were some of my least favorite in college and I'd rather stick a fork in my eye than listen to an hour of in depth literary discussion on symbolism and metaphors and all that.  What right do I have to label an important or classic book 1 star or 5 stars?  

Luckily I had a long drive ahead of me and is there really a better time to mull over issues than a 400 mile drive?  Especially when you're by yourself.  Here's what I came up with:  While I really can't assign literary value or rate lasting power of a particular book, my reading experience is just as valuable as anyone else's.  So when I rate a book (not just a classic) I'm rating my reading experience and I'm talking about my opinion of what I liked and disliked.  

This issue has been weighing on my mind as I just finished listening to an audio book edition The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  Going in I thought it'd be a reread but as I listened I realized that I had at best read some excerpts and I'm pretty sure I saw a sanitized play version.  So while I was familiar with the very general outline of the story most of it was fresh and new.  I also went in expecting to like it.  I mean it's Mark Twain who is famous for being witty and telling good adventure yarns.  But instead I found it a little more complicated than just a quick adventurous romp through pre-Civil War Missouri.

There was quite a lot about it that I enjoyed.  Some of the adventures Huckleberry and Jim get themselves into are very entertaining and I wanted to know just how they were going to get themselves out of a few scrapes.  But there was a lot I didn't love.  For starters it just felt too long.  I was entertained at first by the King and the Duke but after awhile I just didn't care any more and that seemed to be the way many of the adventures went.  As well the language made me really uncomfortable.  While the racial slurs may have been okay in 1880 they were a bit startling in 2017 and there were a LOT of them.  As well I think with the different strong dialects that the characters speak in an audio book is the way to go.  I'm not sure I'd have been able to wade through Jim and Huck's conversations if I was trying to read it!

Which brings me back to my original question - how do you rate a classic?  While I can definitely understand the literary and culture value of this book I can't say I fully enjoyed this reading experience.  However, parts were entertaining and I found the issues raised about race relations in the pre-Civil War South interesting and thought provoking.  So overall I when it came time to fill in the stars on Goodreads I went with 3.

How do you rate classics?