Thursday, August 31, 2017

Agatha Christie Project - Poirot Part 6

Evil Under the Sun (Published 1941)- This is one of the many Agatha Christie mysteries that I tend to forget about until I'm in the middle of reading them and realize just how truly amazing they are.  We start with Poirot completely out of his element - on a typical British beach vacation.  Poirot at the seashore with his shiny shoes is just a mental image that never fails to make me laugh.  The hotel is populated with the typical tourists.  A over talkative American woman and her agreeable husband, the old Major who spends most of his time trying to tell people about his time in India, a gruff games mistress with a heart of gold, and a newlywed couple whose relationship is just starting to show cracks.  Throw into this the beautiful trouble making actress Arlena Stuart and the quiet beach holiday is turned on it's side.  For Arlena soon lies dead and the number of people with motives is high but no one seems to have had the means.  The mystery is so beautifully plotted that even on a reread I still found myself holding my breath a little on the reveal.  The book itself was published in 1940 which means it was written either at the beginning of the year or in the late 30s.  I have to wonder if Agatha was trying to distract herself and her reading audience from what was going on around them with such a splendidly typical beach holiday and a thoroughly unlikable corpse.  This is one I'd recommend if you're new to Agatha Christie but regardless if you're new to her or she's an old favorite this is a great mystery and an entertaining read.   Rating - Loved it!

Murder in Retrospect or Five Little Pigs (Published 1942) - Christie has several books that were looking into "solved" cases and this was one of the first.  When Carla Crale learns that her mother was tried and convicted for the murder of Carla's father she must know the truth.  Poirot loves a challenge and looking into a case that was closed 16 years ago is definitely a challenge for his little grey cells.  The structure is fairly simple.  Only 4 people witnessed what happened that day in the past and somewhere in there is the key to what happened.  Poirot interviews all 4 and has them each write a detailed account of what happened.  There are discrepancies as emotion and time shade the events but everything that Poirot (and the reader) need to solve the case is right there.  This is another one of my forgotten favorites that is an unexpected delight every time I reread the mystery.  And I must admit that every time I reread this one I still have the same light bulb moment when I realize the significance of one particular piece of evidence.  While this isn't the flashiest mystery Christie wrote I do believe it's one of the most satisfying.  Rating -  Loved it!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Need You Now - Contemporary Romance Review

Need You Now (Cloud Bay #1) by Emma Douglas
Amazon B&N iBooks Kobo Books A Million

Rating:  Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Caleb White knows what he wants out of life—and being a star tennis player is not it. After speaking to the press about his plans to retire, Caleb decides that a trip to quaint, beautiful Cloud Bay for its legendary music festival is exactly what he needs. There will be time to figure out what to do with his life without a racket in his hand soon enough. Until then, Caleb is content to be stuck on an island with CloudFest’s gorgeous director Faith Harper. . .

The daughter of a famous rock star, Faith knows all about fame, fortune, and hot flings that aren’t meant to last longer than a few good songs. Gorgeous, built Caleb is a temptation she can’t resist, but she’s not prepared for the way he makes her feel. . .and the dreams that they both share. What begins as a carefree distraction deepens into something real. But is Caleb ready to put his celebrity behind him and give life in the slow lane with Faith a chance?

Genre:  Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I liked that both characters were celebrities in their own way and especially that Caleb was a professional tennis player.  That's not something I've seen very often.

My Impression:  This was a little different from the usual "famous people" romances I've read in the past. The ones I've read in the past has one or the other unaware or unfamiliar with the famous person and their work.  In this both Caleb and Faith know exactly who each other are.  It was nice to start out that above board and open.  They're both pretty honest about their intentions as well.  Neither feels like they are ready for anything long term but are both interested in a casual fling.

I liked them both and liked them together as well.  Their chemistry was evident and they were really just fun to watch interact.  I had a few minor issues.  A few times Faith's reaction to the deepening connection made me want to shake her and while I liked Caleb I never felt like I got to see what was going on in his head as much as I would have liked.

Minor issues aside, this was a fantastic start to a contemporary romance series.  I can never resist a small town romance and when you put that town on an island I am hooked!  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Faith, Caleb, and the rest of the side characters.  I can't wait until my next visit to Cloud Bay!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes!  This is the first book in a series and I'm excited to see where it goes.  I really enjoyed my time at Cloud Bay.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like a contemporary romance this is one I think you'd enjoy!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Hidden Gem Books in the Middle Grade Genre

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is 10 Hidden Gem Books in X Genre.  I've really been enjoying Middle Grade lately and am focusing on that list and added a few picture books to make an even 10!  I'm honestly not sure how hidden these are but I do think they all deserved some more attention!10

1.  Summer of the Woods by Steven K. Smith - This series revolves around 2 brothers and a friend who have all kinds of adventures.  Most of the adventures have a historical element that manages to stay entertaining without getting text book-y and I must admit I've learned a thing or two!

2.  Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery - Okay, so this isn't really a HIDDEN gem but this is one of the books that doesn't get nearly as much attention as it should.  I love Anne and Emily but I think in real life I'd want to be friends with Jane.  She's smart and practical and a little bit mischievous.

3.  The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright - Well really all of the Melendy books.  These aren't exactly hidden but they're not as well known as they should be.  While some aspects are dated the books are still a lot of fun and it's nice to remember what kids did before electronics!

4. Belles on Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey - Cheaper by the Dozen is one of my favorite middle grade books but frankly this sequel needs more love.  It fun to see the Dozen grow up and I loved that the mother, Lillian, took more of a leading role in this one.

5.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming - While most people of heard of this book it seems that the movie is what is more familiar.  The book is amazing and David Tennant narrates a version of the audio which makes it absolutely magic to listen to.

6.  The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley - My daughter Emma discovered this in 4th or 5th grade and promptly became obsessed with them.  I read a few and could definitely see the appeal.  The modern day Sisters Grimm are pretty tough and pretty great at saving the day without much help.

7.  Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott - Okay confession time - I was not a Little Women fan.  I tolerated Little Men and I loved Jo's Boys but my favorite (after Eight Cousins) was Under the Lilacs about a boy and his dog who run away from the circus.  I read and reread my copy of this one until the binding fell apart.  It's one of those that I loved so much that I'm almost afraid to reread it!

8.  The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown - When the Tornado was a baby J and I frequently argued over the book Goodnight Moon.  I thought it was a perfect bedtime story and he thought it was super creepy.  This book by Margaret Wise Brown was one we agreed on without any problems.  This story about 2 kittens who are in charge of creating all the colors is just wonderful.

9.  Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw, Illustrated by Margot Apple - I bought this book when Emma was a baby (and we're going to pretend that wasn't 20 years ago) from a little catalog called A Common Reader which sadly no longer exists but was my kryponite at the time.  It's such a cute story and the illustrations add to the charm.

10. Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman - This was kind of a random bookstore buy that we basically ignored for a year and then when I finally read it we all fell in love with it and ended up buying the rest of the Bear books.  I loved while Bear is scared it never got scary to the reader and seemed to focus more on the helpers than on the scariness.

What Children's books do you think need more attention?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Murder Go Round and Grave Errors - Cozy Mystery Reviews

Lee Barrett has agreed to attend a storage auction with Aunt Ibby--even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. Her skepticism vanishes once the two win a bid on an overlooked locker and uncover a trove of beautiful curiosities, including a stunning wooden carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint. But just before Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop, the sight of a silver samovar awakens her psychic abilities and conjures visions of murder.
Lee prays the intrusive ESP episode was just a glimpse into the past--until her policeman boyfriend reports a dead man outside the repair shop. Apparently, the unknown victim had been hot on Lee's trail since the auction. And with the horse found dismantled, it looks like he was up to no good. What's the story behind the antique equine, and could a strange bubblegum-chewing woman with fiery hair have something to do with the crime? Guided by her gift and O'Ryan, her wise tabby cat, Lee's set on catching the murderer . . . before she's sent on the darkest ride of her life.

My Thoughts:  I forgot just how much I enjoyed the previous book in the series until I started this one.  The characters are just so likable which isn't always the case in a cozy.  I love Lee, her boyfriend Pete, and her Aunt Ibby.  I also really appreciate how Lee's "gift" is handled.  While it does help steer the plot occasionally the bulk of the investigation is done through non-supernatural means. The mystery itself hooked me from the beginning.  Who can resist a storage locker with all kinds of hidden treasures and buried secrets?  From start to finish this was a well paced and well plotted mystery and just incredibly fun as well!  Rating: Very Good

For residents of Salem, Massachusetts, the day after Halloween brings empty candy wrappers, sagging pumpkins, and a community-wide identity crisis. That is, until Lee Barrett s TV production class suggests extending the spooky season with the traditional Mexican celebration Dia de Los Muertos. But when the students discover not all of Salem s dead are resting in peace, the post-October blues don t seem so bad after all . . .
As if a series of haunting graveyard visits isn t disturbing enough, Lee and her policeman boyfriend connect the crime to an unsolved missing person case. Driven by a series of chilling psychic visions, Lee calls on her cleverest allies including her shrewd cat, O Ryan to go underground and dig up the evidence needed to put a lid on a cold case forever . . . before the latest headstone in town has her name on it!

My Thoughts:  So it's no secret that I really enjoy this series and this new mystery is no exception.  One thing I thought was missing a bit in previous books was setting.  The series takes place in Salem, MA but in previous books it felt like it was only an occasional mention.  However, in this book Salem and its history is front and center as Lee and her students explore some of the old graveyards.  I also really enjoyed Lee's boyfriend Pete's attitude towards her visions.  While he believes her he's not completely comfortable with them but at the same time is sympathetic to the grimness of them.  It felt very realistic and Pete doesn't come off like a jerk which I appreciated.  As expected the mystery is solid and thoroughly entertaining.  My only complaint after reading these two so close together is that I have to wait awhile till the next mystery!  Rating: Very Good

This is a very entertaining cozy mystery series with characters I feel like I could be friends with.  There is a supernatural element but it never feels like an artificial device to move the plot along.  While these are the 4th and 5th books in the series I don't think readers would have much trouble jumping in here.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

This Week in Reading - August 27

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:

Nothing!  Of course I've only been in town literally one day this week and I've gotten 2 notices from UPS about books that will be arriving in a few days but those don't count right?


Reading:  Need You Now by Emma Douglas and The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

Listening: I just finished A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas and am listening to podcasts while I'm waiting for my next audio book to come in from the library.

Watching:  I'm so behind!  All this travel has me way behind on shows and not able to start anything new!

Off the Blog:

It's been a busy week!  We got back from Tennessee on Tuesday and then I left to visit my Grandparents in Mississippi on Thursday.  I should be back from there on Tuesday and am already looking forward to getting back to routine.

The trip up to Tennessee was so much fun.  We spent a day in Gatlinburg and had a good time.  We haven't been there since the fire in November and it was nice to see the town doing so well.  It was nuts wit all the eclipse people being in the area!  On Monday we stayed at the campground all day because everyone was saying that traffic was going to be gridlocked for hours in all directions.  We were in the 100% band but just for slightly less time (1:15 minute vs a full 2).   It was absolutely amazing!   Totally worth the trip and just indescribable.

We'd been burning the candle at both ends and on our way home Tuesday the Tornado announced that he wasn't feeling well so he ended up staying home from school on Wednesday with a low grade fever.
A sick boy and a kitten who is happy to be home

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Murder Go Round/Grave Errors - Cozy Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Hidden Gems
Wednesday:  Need You Now - Contemporary Romance Review
Thursday:  TBD
Friday: Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Study in Scarlet Women - Historical Mystery Review

A Study for Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas (Amazon)

Rating: Good
Source: Library (Audio)

Description:  With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I love Sherlock Holmes type stories and the cover on this one is so eye catching I couldn't resist.  Plus, I heard an interview with Sherry Thomas and just loved her!

My Impression:  This has been on my TBR since it came out but since the 2nd book, Conspiracy in Belgravia, is going to be published next month I decided now is the time to read it - well listen to it in my case.

The beginning was a bit rocky as there is quite a bit to set up.  Charlotte takes some time to warm up to and it takes some time to get the whole Sherlock Holmes persona setup.  There are also a number of characters to learn and it takes some time to figure out the connection between everyone.

I liked Inspector Treadles and Charlotte's sister, Livia, immediately which helped get through the slower parts and once the mystery really starts going I was fully hooked.  I loved the character of Mrs. Watson and am really hoping that we see much more of her in the next book as she adds a bit of humor to Charlotte's more analytical serious personality.

The mystery itself is good though a little on the convoluted side.  The primary focus is on the death of Mr. Sackville and while the reasons for this are explained it does feel a little like it comes together all at the last minute though the explanation is satisfying.

This book was hard to rate.  I did enjoy the story once I got into it but there were some very definite flaws - most due to this being the first book in the series.  However, once everything was setup I loved the premise so much that I cannot wait for future books!  I'm looking forward to starting the next book in the next few days!

Audio Note:   Kate Reading does a wonderful job with this book.  Her voice has a proper-ness that fits perfectly with Charlotte's personality and overall tone of the book.  I think I enjoyed this more in audio form than I would have in print.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm really excited about seeing what Charlotte gets up to next.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Yes with reservations.  This is a solid story with a fantastic premise but there are some flaws.  If you really love Sherlock Holmes-type stories or can get it on audio it's definitely worth a listen.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Linkups - A Study in Scarlet Women

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?
Have you ever read a book written in a foreign language that you might be fluent in and then read the same book in English?

My Answer:
Unfortunately with my limited language skills I could potentially read a child's book in French (and I'm talking on the Goodnight Moon level - not middle grade) but that's about as far as I'd get. I love the idea of this though.

This week's book is one I've been wanting to read forever but have finally gotten the audio version since the 2nd book is coming out soon.  A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas is a good listen though I haven't fallen in love with it quite as much as I hoped.  I'm hoping I'll love reading it better than listening.

The Beginning:
Devonshire, England

Had anyone told the Honorable Harrington Sackville that the investigation into his death would make the name Sherlock Holmes known throughout the land, Mr. Sackville would have scoffed.

My Thoughts:
There's kind of a prim tone to this beginning which I like.  It also makes me wonder just what is so special about Mr. Sackville's death.

The 56:
Livia wondered if she were roaring drunk.  Or perhaps Charlotte was.  The moo emerged with surprising vigor, if also plenty of unintended tremolo.
She moaned, "I sound like the bovine version of a fishwife, toward the end of an argument."
"But a victorious one," said Charlotte.

My Thoughts:
I love the basic insanity of this quote.  Things aren't quite as crazy as it sounds but things have definitely gotten out of hand!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Luster of Lost Things - Fiction Review

The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller (Amazon)

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description: Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.
But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father.

So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.

Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.

Genre: Fiction - Magical Realism

Why I Picked This Book:  I just read Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spell and really wanted more magical realism.  Plus this one has a dessert shop and an overweight golden retriever.  How could I resist?

My Impression:  One of the words in the publisher's pitch for this book was gorgeous and as I was reading it that word was continuously in my mind.  This book isn't set in a particularly grand location, there are no mentions of glorious clothing or other items but all the same that word describes this book perfectly.  The writing is so golden and beautiful that I found myself savoring this book - reading only a few chapters at a time.- not because I was bored but because I didn't want to reach the end too quickly.

I loved Walter.  He's distinctly a child but at the same time far more perceptive and thoughtful than most adults.  His difficulty with speech makes him more observant and more aware of the world around him but doesn't define his identity.  He's intrigued by the puzzle of finding things and always hoping that somewhere, somehow he'll find find a clue or some tiny link that will show him where his father is.

The magical realism  is a little heavier here than in the books I've read by Sarah Addison Allen (my experience with magical realism is very limited) but at no time does it feel like a way to move the plot along.  Instead it adds to the magic of the book.  The desserts his mother makes dance and come to life, Walter sees tiny golden or silver strings that help him discover where lost things are and that helps him interact with the people around him.

This book is beautifully written with wonderful characters that pulled at my heart. It's unlike anything I've read before.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes!  I will be on the lookout for future books by this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  This was a wonderful read and I'd definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Lover's Portrait - Mystery Review

The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery by Jennifer S. Alderson (Amazon)

Rating:  Good
Source: Author

Description: When a Dutch art dealer hides the stock from his gallery – rather than turn it over to his Nazi blackmailer – he pays with his life, leaving a treasure trove of modern masterpieces buried somewhere in Amsterdam, presumably lost forever. That is, until American art history student Zelda Richardson sticks her nose in.
After studying for a year in the Netherlands, Zelda scores an internship at the prestigious Amsterdam Historical Museum, where she works on an exhibition of paintings and sculptures once stolen by the Nazis, lying unclaimed in Dutch museum depots almost seventy years later. When two women claim the same painting, the portrait of a young girl entitled Irises, Zelda is tasked with investigating the painting’s history and soon finds evidence that one of the two women must be lying about her past. Before she can figure out which one and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer’s concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it.

Her discoveries make her a target of someone willing to steal – and even kill – to find the missing paintings. As the list of suspects grows, Zelda realizes she has to track down the lost collection and unmask a killer if she wants to survive.

Genre:  Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  I may have done a binge on both Raiders of the Lost Art AND Nazi Hunters on Netflix and this neatly encapsulates both.  I love art theft mysteries and am fascinated by reclaiming or recovering treasures that were stolen by the Nazis.

My Impression:  I can't even begin to describe how much I love this topic.  The research and the history were absolutely fascinating and I loved following Zelda around as she dug into the past.  There was tragedy and hope and lots and lots of research.  Zelda is an interesting character.  She's fairly new to the museum work so everything is new to her and she's more emotionally involved than she may have been if she was experienced in this type of work.  Her emotional connection made it easier to connect with her than if this had been just business.

The beginning was a little on the slow side but while it took a few chapters to fully hook me it wasn't a tedious or boring read even at the beginning.  Once the first woman submits her claim the book really gets going and I was fully invested in seeing how everything worked out.  As the reader, we have a little more information than Zelda does which made me even more invested in the outcome.

The outcome was intriguing, fascinating, tragic, but healing all at the same time.  I really enjoyed getting to know Zelda and getting to the bottom of just what had happened to the art collection and who the rightful owner was.

I did have a few issues with this book but they were minor.  I didn't enjoy the parts about Zelda's personal life nearly as much as what was going on with the investigation.  Even when she was discussing the case with her friend I wanted her to get back to her research!  I also was very annoyed with the curator, Huub.  His rudeness crossed the line of unprofessional and frequently came off as just plain mean.  While he does have a personal connection with stolen art I didn't feel like it excused his behavior.

Despite my issues I really enjoyed this book.  It was a very interesting art mystery with lots of history and emotion but never became dry or overwrought.  As well, it has me wanting to do a nonfiction deep dive into art theft which is a pretty good sign of how much I enjoyed book!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would!  I really enjoyed the subject and I think the character has a lot of potential.  I'm curious to see where the series goes.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy mysteries with a strong historical angle this is a solid read.  While this is technically the 2nd in the series this is the 1st where Zelda is working in Amsterdam so you'd have no trouble jumping in here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - My Back to School Reading

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is a back to school freebie. While school has been quite some time ago I do still like to learn about new topics so here are some nonfiction reading that is on my Back to School TBR list.

1.  The Family that Couldn't Sleep: A Medical Mystery by D.T. Max- I'm always saying that if I didn't have to sleep I'd get so much more done but this is the story of a family who really can't sleep and things don't sound like they go particularly well.

2.  The Mad Sculptor:  The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation by Harold Schechter - I love a good murder mystery in fiction so this true murder mystery that takes place in Manhattan in the 1930s sounds like my kind of book!

3.  Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France by Caroline Moorehead - Back years and years ago I read a book about how the famous vineyards and wineries hid their supplies from the Nazis and was absolutely fascinated by the story.  While this one isn't about wine it sounds like another winner.

4.  The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley - The subtitle has my favorite author, an unsolved mystery I'm fascinated with, one of my favorite directors, and another favorite fictional character.  How can I resist the book?

5.  Mastering the Art of French Eating:  Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah - We've made some dietary changes and I've kind of lost my interest in cooking.  I'm hoping this would reawaken it.

6.  As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes - This is one of my favorite movies of all time and I've been dying to read this one but have been waiting to get it on audio.

7.  Q's Legacy: A Delightful Account of a Lifelong Love Affair with Books by Helene Hanff - 84, Charing Cross Road, is one of my favorite books of all time yet somehow I've yet to read this one.

8.  Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson - I've always been fascinated by the Lusitania and Larson is an author I've been wanting to read for awhile.

9.  The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick - I binged Raiders of the Lost Art on Netflix not that long ago and became mildly obsessed with art theft and the people who get the art back.

10.  First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower - The Residence about the White House staff was one of my favorite reads of 2015 yet somehow I've yet to read this book about the First Ladies.

What is your back to school reading?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Ramblings from the Stacks - Pet Peeves

I like to think of myself as an easy going person that doesn't let much bother me - especially not trivial things or things that are you know - technically fiction.  However, when I was making this list I realized I might be just a bit more high strung than I thought!  Turns out lots of things make me kind of rant-y.

In Mysteries

1.  No reason to be investigating - This is mostly for cozies but it drives me crazy if the main character gets involved in the investigation just to be nosy - especially if they're being aggressive about their question asking.

2.  Too many coincidences - Occasional coincidences happen but when huge pivotal parts of the plot turn on a conversation you happened to overhear or a newspaper that happened to be left out than it's hard to keep my eyes from rolling.

3.  No explanation with the reveal - I love a good why mystery and the why usually interests me as much as the who so when the reveal is basically "this guy did it" I'm very unhappy!

4.  The killer was not mentioned in the book - This drives me crazy!  I read a mystery once where the night manager of this hotel was the killer which is all well and good but the night manager was mentioned precisely once and only in his capacity as a night manager.  That's just cheating!

In Romances

1.  Inequality of power - When one character is in a position of power and the other isn't - professor/student, boss/employee, rich person/person desperate for money - there's a serious ick factor for me.  If they're working as a team than I'm good with an age difference or an economic difference but if one person really needs something from the other and that isn't reciprocated or one person has power over the other I'm pretty much out.

2. Cheating - Nope just nope.  Don't care if you're about to break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend or haven't done anything if a romance starts in anyway shape or form when they're in relationships with other people I'm out.

3.  Holding on to romance/grudges from high school - I don't understand it!  Granted I've been out of high school way longer than a lot of the main characters in a romance but still!  No part of me wants to be the person I was in high school and that includes not having a deep longing for past relationships

On Television

A multi-show story arc - I tend to watch crime shows (NCIS, CSI, etc) where the show starts with a dead body and ends with an arrest.  I can handle a plot taking a couple of shows to flesh out the story but if it gets more than that I'm out.  My main issue is that when a plot goes more than a few shows the plot gets really convoluted, the characters go crazy, or you end up with an arch-nemesis and I hate those!

In Real Life

People who leave shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot - This drives me CRAZY!  The only exception to this if a shopping cart is pushed out of the way in the handicapped parking area.

I could go on but I think I should stop now!  I'm going to go drink some calming tea and do some yoga.  Turns out I'm not nearly as relaxed as I thought I was!  What are your pet peeves?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

This Week in Reading - August 20

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper - I read one Molly Harper book a few years ago and really loved and have been wanting to read more ever since.  I haven't been quite sure where to start so when I saw this new book on NetGalley I figured that was a pretty good place.  I'm really looking forward to this one!  (NetGalley)

And that's it!  Just one book this week and not much pending.  I need to have a some intake slowdown so I can get caught up!


Reading: Murder Go Round by Carol J. Perry and The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller

Listening: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Watching: Hard Knocks on HBO which is kind of a behind the scenes at spring training for an NFL team.  This year it's about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Off the Blog:

Comet is getting bigger but he is no less a brat.  He gets very annoyed if I'm gone a lot during the day and will follow me around yowling at me until I sit down.  He's pretty impossible to get a decent picture of because as soon as he sees the camera he's trying to figure out what it is.  I have lots of close ups of his nose.  He's definitely way more people oriented than any cat I've ever had which is pretty fun.

This weekend we're out of town.  We headed up to Tennessee to watch the eclipse and are really looking forward to the trip.  We are going with Jason's brother and the brother's wife.  I really like my brother-in-law and sister-in-law but we've never traveled with them so I'm a little curious to see how it goes.  I think the only problem we're facing is wishy washiness about what to do because neither couple wants to offend the other.

I'll be home for 1 day and then I'm hopping in the car and heading down to south Mississippi to visit my grandparents which I'm looking forward too.  We've gotten a little spoiled with the motor home and are doing a lot more traveling.  We've been in town almost 6 weeks and I'm going stir crazy but I have a feeling all the running around next week will fix that!

Speaking of traveling J and I are talking about taking a big trip sometime next year and are trying to figure out where to go.  We've talked about San Diego, Montreal, Boston and surrounding areas, and Iceland but just can't decide.  If you could go anywhere where would you want to go?  Where have you been and loved?  Give me suggestions!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Ramblings from the Stacks - Pet Peeves
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Back to School Freebie
Wednesday:  The Lover's Portrait - Fiction Review
Thursday:  Luster of Lost Things - Fiction Review
Friday: Friday Linkups with Current Books
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

At Wit's End - Cozy Mystery Review

At Wit's End by Kirsten Weiss (Amazon)

Rating: Good
Source: Author

Description: When Susan Witsend inherits her grandmother’s UFO-themed B&B, she’s ready to put her organizational skills to the test. She knows she can make the B&B work, even if there is a faux-UFO in the roof. After all, what’s not to love about a Victorian nestled in the high Sierra foothills? None of her carefully crafted policies and procedures, however, can prepare her for a corpse in room seven – the body of her small-town sheriff’s ex-husband. But Susan has her own plans to solve the crime.
In Susan’s mind, Men in Black, conspiracy-crazed old ladies, and an angry sheriff are just part and parcel of catering to UFO enthusiasts. But is there a government conspiracy afoot? Or is the murder a simple case of small town vengeance?

Susan must keep all her wits about her. Because the killer isn’t finished, and if she isn’t careful, her fate may be written in the stars…

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed Weiss' Paranormal Museum mysteries so this UFO Bed and Breakfast mystery sounded too good to pass up!

My Impression:  UFOs aren't really my thing but a cozy mystery with a good dose of zany is most definitely by thing and this book delivered in spades!

I really liked Susan and her friend Arsen.  They've been friends for a long time and it's pretty clear to everyone but Susan that something is evolving there but that was never really center stage.  I enjoyed how they work together both professionally and for some of the other mayhem and hijinks that show up along the way.

One of my big questions when I read a mystery with an amateur detective is why are the investigating.  Just plain nosiness can get annoying fast but Susan passes the test with 2 reasons to become involved.  The body is found in her hotel and her cousin with a sketchy past is a prime suspect. The mystery is solid.  The reasons made sense and I really had no idea just who the killer was until towards the end of the book.  This is one of those mysteries were suspects abound and it was hard to narrow it down just who was the killer!  My only issue was that the reveal was a bit contrived.  However, this is a shorter mystery and I'd rather know all the details in a slightly contrived fashion than be left hanging.

There are a few background mysteries such as the "Disappeared" and just what is going on with the FBI agent that I hope are explored in later books.  This is a fun, seriously quirky cozy mystery that was a fast and entertaining read.  I'm looking forward to visiting with Susan and Arsen at Wit's End again soon!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to the next Paranormal Museum mystery and the next in this series as well!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy Weiss' Paranormal Museum mysteries I think you would really enjoy this as well.  If you enjoy a mystery with a lot of quirkiness that doesn't devolve into slapstick this is a good read!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Linkups - The Luster of Lost Things

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:
When you enter an unfamiliar house or apartment for the first time, do you feel disappointed if you don't see any bookshelves or books on the coffee table?

My Answer:
I'm not sure I'd be disappointed though what do you look at when your host steps out of the room for a minute if you don't have a bookcase or stack of books to scan?    I'm always mystified by people who don't read.  I mean I love TV and watch a decent amount (okay more than decent) but sometimes only a book will do!

This week's book is a review book that I'm really excited about!  The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller is about a little boy who is unable to speak, a bakery full of magic and a journey complete with an overweight golden retriever.  So far it's just a gorgeous read.

The Beginning: 
Somewhere in the Fourteenth Street subway station there is a statue of a little bronze man who waits for a train that never comes.

My Thoughts:
I just love that image of the little man waiting for the train that never comes.  It's poignant and patient.

The 56:
They head away from the front window and I let out a trapped breath.  The big man does not have a crowbar tucked into his belt ad there is no sledgehammer crew waiting to barge inside; he did not come here to seive the shop after all, but to consider it, and I think we passed his test because he is at ease, making small talk with Lucy with his elbow propped on the Book's display case.

My Thoughts:
This sounds like the thought process of a twelve year old but not in a bad way.  There's a little bit of ramble and some nervousness but I do feel like I'm getting the boy's inner thoughts.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tiny House on the Hill - Contemporary Romance Review

Tiny House on the Hill by Celia Bonaduce (Amazon)

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

Description: Home is where the heart fits . . .

Summer Murray is ready to shake things up. She doesn’t want to work in risk management. She doesn’t want to live in Hartford, Connecticut. So she plans a grand adventure: she’s going to throw out all the stuff she doesn’t want and travel the country in her very own tiny house house shaped like a train caboose. Just Summer, her chihuahua-dachshund Shortie, and 220 square feet of freedom.

Then her take-no-prisoners grandmother calls to demand Summer head home to the Pacific Northwest to save the family bakery. Summer has her reasons for not wanting to return home, but she’ll just park her caboose, fix things, and then be on her way. But when she gets to Cat’s Paw, Washington, she’s shocked by her grandmother’s strange behavior and reunited with a few people she’d hoped to avoid. If Summer is going to make a fresh start, she’ll have to face the past she’s been running from all along . . .

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I've watched more than my share of Tiny House Hunters on HGTV so I thought it'd be fun to read a book set in a tiny house.

My Impression: I'm so torn on this one!  This book reads super fast and is fun but at the same time several elements left me rolling my eyes. So that this doesn't become too convoluted I'm going with a list format for this one!

The Good:
The pacing is super fast and it's a really light read - this would be a good sick in bed read or a stress relief book.

The parts of Summer's journey where she's learning how to travel in her tiny house were pretty fun and I enjoyed seeing her confidence grow as she went along.

Summer's relationship with her grandmother, Queenie was interesting.  We get hints that Queenie is not quite so serious and rigid as she seems and that's really fun.

Summer's dog, Shortie, was really cute and I loved his friendship with the much bigger Andre.  That's a visual image that really gave me a lot of giggles.

The Not As Good:
I had a hard time believing that Summer was really 28.  She seemed so very immature and unsure of herself.  It got better in the middle of the book but towards the end flared up again.  She makes assumptions based on things that happened 10 years ago and it never occurs to her that things could have changed since they were teenagers.  As well I struggled to really get behind her new plan when she had yet to really successfully make a purse.

The romance isn't developed.  For a good 3/4 of the book I would have considered this just really light contemporary fiction.  Nothing is really resolved at all until the last few pages.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Since this book was so readable despite my irriations I'd give this author another try but only if the premise really grabbed me.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you're in the mood for a really light read and the premise appeals to you this is a fun read.  If you're in the mood for a good romance I'd skip this one.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Cottingley Secret - Blog Tour Fiction Review

About The Cottingley Secret

• Hardcover: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (August 1, 2017)
  “The Cottingley Secret tells the tale of two girls who somehow convince the world that magic exists. An artful weaving of old legends with new realities, this tale invites the reader to wonder: could it be true?” — Kate Alcott, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker
One of BookBub's Most-Anticipated Books of Summer 2017! 

 The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story. 1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told. One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Thoughts:

I've wanted to read Hazel Gaynor's books for years but somehow the timing was just never right and I never got around to it.  This had a few irresistible topics for me - an old bookshop in Ireland, an old manuscript, and a main character who is trying to learn to believe in herself - and of course the gorgeous cover didn't hurt!  This was one of those special books that was exactly what I wanted when I wanted it.  I loved Olivia and I loved watching her learn to give herself permission to be happy.  I could relate to her struggle with trying to keep things together after two of the most important people in her life are gone in body or in spirit.   I really loved watching her as she learned more and more of Frances' story and I couldn't wait to figure out the connection and how it all works out.  I loved Frances' story when told through her own words as well.  This is one of the few dual timeline books where I enjoy both timelines equally and love both main characters.  This was my first introduction to Gaynor's work but it most definitely won't be my last!  Rating:  Loved it!

About Hazel Gaynor

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017. Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland. Find out more about Hazel at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books for New Mystery Readers

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from the Broke and the Bookish is 10 Book Recommendations for --.  Since I'm in a bit of a mystery phase right now I thought I'd do 10 Book Recommendations for New Mystery Readers.

Children's Mysteries

1.  The Boxcar Children Great Adventure: Journey on a Runaway Train by Gertrude Chandler Warren -  The Tornado (now age 7 but probably starting at age 5) is a huge Boxcar Children fan.  In fact the audio books were what really got him reading on his own.  I'm not usually a fan of rebooted series but this one is so much fun!  There's history and a bit of a treasure hunt and all kinds of fun antics.

2.  Summer of the Woods by Steven K. Smith - This is another series with a history element but in the best way possible.  This is the story of 2 brothers and their friend getting into all kinds of hijinks in Virginia and it's a lot of fun.  The mysteries are fun and the history is fascinating.  I've even picked up a few tidbits that I didn't know!

3.  The Mummy with No Name by Geronimo Stilton - Geronimo Stilton mysteries are so much fun and are fun for readers just starting chapter books.  There's lots of gorgeous illustrations, colorful text and hijinks and mayhem galore.

4.  Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison - This is one that I stumbled on almost by accident at the library and it's one I think my girls would have really enjoyed in 4th to 6th grade or so.  Gilda's an interesting character who has a talent for getting into trouble.  This wasn't the best mystery but the characters make up for it.

5.  The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - I just reread it and remembered just why I loved it so much as a kid.  It's a great mystery and a fun read as well.  While a murder is discussed the bulk of the mystery is more of a treasure hunt and a wonderfully done one.  It was one of my favorites from about 5th grade and up and one of my daughter's has read it so many times her copy has fallen to pieces!

Mysteries for Adults

1.  A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie - This is a super solid police procedural with really great characters and fascinating mysteries.  They get more serious as the series goes on but if anything this series just keeps getting better!

2.  Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - Of course I had to have an Agatha Christie book!  This is a great one to start with because it's Poirot at his most likable and it's a great cast of characters.

3.  The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King - If you're looking for a historical setting and love a twist on the Sherlock Holmes story than you can't go wrong with King's Mary Russell series which features an older Holmes and his young wife Mary Russell.

4.  The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala by Laura DiSilverio - I couldn't make this list without including a cozy!  There are so many great cozies to choose from but this very bookish mystery which involved book club chat, a dead body, and a really fun mystery is one of my favorites!

5.  The Hexed by Heather Graham - If you like a little paranormal in your reading the Krewe of Hunters by Graham is one of the best and The Hexed is one of my favorites.  This is a fun series involving ghosts, witches, history and a very modern day murder.  Don't let the size of the Krewe series scare you.  You can jump in where you want and almost all feature different main characters who are connected by paranormal investigations only.

What mysteries would you recommend to new mystery readers of all ages?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reviews From the Children's Section - The Westing Game

One of my favorite genres and one that is the easiest for me to push aside is middle grade fiction. This year to make sure I get a little more children's and young adult fiction I thought I would designate the first Monday of every month Middle Grade Monday.  While a lot of my picks this year are classics I am trying to branch out a little bit and read new or at least recent releases.  This week's book is an old favorite but one I haven't read in decades.  It was nice to revisit it.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Description:  A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

My Thoughts:  Reading an old favorite is always a little bit of a risk.  Will a book I loved as a child still be a decent read for an adult?  How much will nostalgia affect my reading experience?  Will reading it now ruin it for me?

The Westing Game exceeded my expectations and was really just a joy to read.  There's quite a large cast here and while the book does seem to center around adolescent Turtle Wexler we get a peeks of all the other characters too.  It's fun seeing the different ways each team investigates the clues they are given as well as the development of the different relationships.  The characters while not super developed are surprisingly complex with hidden secrets and weaknesses.  As part of the game each character is partnered with another making some unlikely allies and it was entertaining to watch.  The mystery isn't scary but is definitely puzzling and really a solid mystery.  Raskin isn't dumbing anything down because this is a Middle Grade book!  Even knowing the ending I really enjoyed watching the investigation and seeing the conclusion be revealed.   There are two epilogues which show what has happened to the characters 5 years from the end of the mystery and then again even more into the future which I really enjoyed but might make some readers who don't like super tied up endings a little eye rolly.

While this book was published in 1979 very little feels dated except for the occasional decor description.  There are some mentions of race and gender role issues but Raskins handles it all beautifully and with an unexpected flair.  There was one mention of a character's daughter that was born with some sort of disability (possibly Down Syndrome) that made me cringe a bit but this was literally one mention.

The plot is fairly complex and there are a lot of subtleties that I think might bore younger readers but I think any reader - especially one who loves mysteries - who is 10 or older would love this.  If you're an adult who has never read this or if this was a favorite childhood read it's definitely worth a visit.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.  Rating:  Loved it!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

This Week in Reading - August 13

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Just one this week!  Though I may have 2 pending requests out there lurking.

Say No Moor by Maddy Hunter - A tour of travel bloggers through Cornwall goes horribly wrong and the tour organizer finds herself running an inn and trying to save the day to keep her travel company going.  This is the beginning of a new series and this is a new to me author but it's a cozy I'm really looking forward to trying!  (NetGalley)


Reading:  I'm finishing up The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor for a blog tour stop later this week and am about to start Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent.  For Kindle reading I'm reading Tiny House on the Hill by Celia Bonaduce.

Listening:  Still waiting for A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas but until that gets here I'm listening to podcasts.

Watching:  We just finished Shetland on Netflix and we really liked it though I didn't love the last season.  I felt like the characters did a few things that they never would have done and few things that happened just din't feel like the rest of the series.  Now we're looking for something else to watch.  Right now it's between River on Netflix or Grantchester

Off the Blog:

Well the big news around here is that Eleanor got married this week!  She and her long time boyfriend had been talking about getting married for awhile and had been working on wedding planning but a few days ago they decided they didn't want to mess with all the wedding stuff and just wanted to be married.  So earlier this week we all met at the courthouse and watched them get married.  They're very excited and we're very happy for them and excited to see them start their life together.

Other than that it's been a busy but ordinary week.  The Tornado is getting back on schedule at school and so far really liking his teacher and the kids in his class.  The kitten is still adapting well though has not liked that I've been away from home quite a bit this past week.  He's made his displeasure clearly known by following me around and yowling at me until I sit down so he can sit on me.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Reviews from the Children's Section - The Westing Game
Tuesday:  10 Book Recommendations for Young Mystery Lovers
Wednesday: The Cottingley Secret - Blog Tour Review
Thursday: TBD 
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  At Wits End - Cozy Mystery Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Bellingham Bloodbath - Historical Mystery Review

The Bellingham Bloodbath (Colin Pendragon #2) by Gregory Harris

Rating: DNF'd 65%
Source: NetGalley

Description:  After a captain in Her Majesty's Guard and his young wife are brutally murdered in their flat, master sleuth Colin Pendragon and his partner Ethan Pruitt are summoned to Buckingham Palace. Major Hampstead demands discretion at all costs to preserve the reputation of the Guard and insists Pendragon participate in the cover-up by misleading the press. In response, Pendragon makes the bold claim that he will solve the case in no more than three days' time or he will oblige the major and compromise himself.
Racing against the clock - and thwarted at every turn by their Scotland Yard nemesis Inspector Emmett Varcoe - Pendragon and Pruitt begin to assemble the clues around the grisly homicide, probing into private lives and uncovering closely guarded secrets. As the minutes tick away, the pressure - and the danger - mounts as Pendragon's integrity is on the line and a cold-blooded killer remains on the streets...

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I love a good historical mystery and this series was new to me.

My Impression:  Historical mysteries are really hit or miss for me.  When I love them they're my absolute favorite but when they don't work I tend to find them dry and tedious.  That unfortunately was the case with this mystery.  This takes place towards the end of Queen Victoria's reign which is a time period I haven't found very often in the mystery genre.  As well I was curious to see how Colin and Ethan's sexuality would affect their day to day life as it wasn't particularly socially acceptable at the time.  And I never can resist a nice bloody murder!

Unfortunately, it all fell about flat for me.  I didn't hate it - I just didn't care, which might be worse.  Ethan and Colin both seemed to speak in almost a presentation style.  I expect there was lots of throat clearing before they would make their paragraph length pronouncements.  I really couldn't tell the difference between the two men which made it hard to keep track of who was who.  Basically Colin seemed a little more arrogant and Ethan spent more time worrying about Colin and occasionally making foreshadowing statements.

For me this was one of those books that was completely out of mind as soon as I put the book down and it always took a minute to remember just what was happening and who everyone was when I picked up again.  So finally at about 65% when I realized I just didn't care who did what and why I called it quits.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Probably not.  While I like the time period the rest of the book just didn't work for me.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Probably not.  I mean it wasn't awful but if you want a historical mystery give Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series a try.