Monday, September 24, 2018

The Christmas Wishing Tree - Contemporary Romance Review + Giveaway

Rating:  Very Good
Source: Publisher

A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn't hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications --until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they'll both find the miracle they've been looking for all along...

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:
  I love Emily March's books - especially her Christmas themed ones so there was no way I could resist this one when it was offered.  I don't think I even looked at the blurb!

My Impression:
  A visit to Eternity Springs is always going to be special and this may be the most special one yet!  I loved the premise and how Reilly and Devin met first and then how his relationship with Jenna developed just through fairy anonymous phone calls.  

The plot line involving Jenna's stalker was very dramatic and since Reilly reminded me of my own little boy my heart broke for her a time or two.  My main issue with the book as a whole is how quickly that ended up wrapping up.  Everything is explained but I just would have liked a little more.

However, everything else delivered in full.  I loved seeing all the residents of Eternity Springs and I loved how they all supported Jenna.  While this isn't my first Eternity Springs novel I haven't read all of them so I was unfamiliar with a number of characters but that really wasn't a problem.  I loved how the relationship developed even further between Devin and Jenna.  It was so sweet though Devin had some fairly reasonable reservations.  I really liked them both.  Devin is sweet and soft hearted though he wouldn't really admit to either one of those things.  He's just a good guy all around.  Jenna is smart and strong and so determined to take care of her son.  She wants to do everything on her own but is able to take help when she needs it and a good solution is offered though she does have some concerns.  Reilly feels like such a typical little boy.  He's sweet and energetic and while he is incredibly resilient he doesn't take to every change easily.

This was a lovely Christmas-y read with a touch of suspense and a bit of humor.  I love the community of Eternity Springs and I loved the characters.  This is the perfect book to get you in the holiday mood!  If you're new to this series don't worry!  You can jump in right here with no problem!

Giveaway -  If you want your own little bit of Christmas magic St. Martin's has graciously agreed to send a copy of this book to one lucky winner!  Just leave your email address below and I'll pick one randomly on Monday, October 1.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Sunday, September 23, 2018

This Week in Reading - September 23

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:

Premeditated Peppermint (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3) by Amanda Flower -   This cover is so cute and it looks like a fun.  I've been wanting to read Amanda Flower forever so I'm excited about this one.  (Publisher)

The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander - I love Alexander's Bake Shop series so I'm super curious to see what this series involving a microbrewer.  (Publisher)

The Dead Ringer by M.C. Beaton - I really enjoy the Agatha Raisin series.  I don't think I'd want to spend anytime with her in real life but I like seeing what she's gotten herself involved in. (Publisher)

The Secrets We Carry (Butternut Lake #6) by Mary McNear - I've been wanting to read this series since I first came across it so when I got the chance to review it I jumped at the chance!  (Blog Tour)


Reading:  Seasons of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne and to help balance out the Christmas sweetness I'm reading Pale as Death by Heather Graham.

Listening:  I just finished Written in Red by Anne Bishop which surprised me with how much I enjoyed it and am now reading She Stopped for Death by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli.  I haven't gotten very far into it but I really enjoyed the first one.

Watching:  We watched the movie Giant with Rock Hudson, James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor this weekend and enjoyed it.  

Off the Blog:

Thanks for all the good wishes regarding streaming my aunt's wedding.  We were able to get it to work so my grandparents were able to watch her wedding.  I've decided I'm a big fan of this version of watching weddings.  You stay home and can watch from your couch without all the awkward small talk.  It's nice.

Emma was in a minor fender bender later this week.  She was stopped at a light when the car behind her decided to accelerate right into her.  The damage to her car was minimal and it wasn't a big deal until she started feeling really out of it and was sick to her stomach.  Long story short she somehow ended up with a concussion from how hard her head slammed into the back of the seat.  I really didn't know it was possible to do that!  She did end up getting checked out and is okay though has a bit of a headache but the week ended up being far more stressful than I expected.  What was kind of funny is that the girl who rear-ended her is in the class that Emma is student teaching this semester.  This kind of thing is what's hard about having kids hours away from you.  She's 21 and has a great support system where she is and is very responsible but it's not quite the same!

Next week I've got some volunteering at the Tornado's school and am going to try and get caught up on my visiting.  I've been terrible at revisiting Sunday Post commenters and really just Sunday Posts in general between being out of town and being sick and other drama but I'm going to try and fix that.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

This coming week is very Christmas themed (except for Tuesday)!  I'm not quite ready for it but I have enjoyed all these books!
Monday:  The Christmas Wishing Tree - Contemporary Romance Review
Tuesday: Ten Creepy Reads for this Halloween Season
Wednesday:  Season of Wonder - Contemporary Romance Review
Thursday:  Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women - Cozy Mystery Review
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  2018 Third Quarter Check In

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Non-Bookish Summer Favorites

Today is officially the last day of summer despite the fact that the high here is 93 and we're not even going to talk about the humidity.  Every once in awhile I get just a hint of crisp air and that reminds me that fall just might happen one of these days!  

Simply Orange Orange Juice - I've always liked orange juice but it was never something I went out of my way to drink.  This school year I've started getting up earlier so that I can be awake before I start dealing with the Tornado who is also not a morning person and I've really enjoyed drinking a glass of orange juice while I make my To Do list and before I switch to coffee.

YouTube - I've gotten obsessed with YouTube videos lately.  I've been watching a lot of makeup videos but also some lifestyle and family stuff.  One of my favorites is RachhLovesLive she has a makeup channel to but on this channel she focuses more on trying out click bait recipes and Pinterest organization hacks and stuff like that.  She's hilarious and really upbeat.  I've also really been liking The Whole Happy Life and Amy Landino which are all about healthy habits and improvement.  The Whole Happy Life is very calming where as Amby Landino is very upbeat and focuses more on productivity.

Speaking of YouTube I've been loving yoga on YouTube.  I've been a fan of Yoga with Adriene  for ages but I recently found SarahBeth Yoga which I think I might like even more.  Her relax or nighttime yoga videos are perfection.  I also really love the PopSugar Fitness channel.  They have all kinds of workouts of all different lengths and my favorite thing is they always have a timer in the corner that shows how long you have left.  There's one instructor I don't love but all the rest have been really great and easy to follow.  

NYX Epic Ink Eyeliner - I love a good eyeliner but sometimes it can be a bit too dramatic looking or smudge so I love bedraggled by the end of the day.  This one is really versatile and I can do a really narrow line or a dramatic line really easily and this stuff stays on - like being outside all day in 90 degree heat and being in the pool staying on.  Plus it's pretty inexpensive and performs better than eyeliner I paid 3x as much for.

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream - These are these little dough covered balls of ice cream.  They're a bit different so they took some getting used to but I love them.  My favorite is the Mango though the chocolate is a close second.  The strawberry is tasty too but the green tea flavor and I aren't friends even though I usually love green tea.  They're so refreshing and portion controlled.

What non-bookish stuff did you love this summer?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Linkups - Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise 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:
Do you like to finish one book before starting the next or do you read several at once?

My Answer:  I typically read several books at once but usually in different mediums.  I usually have at least one audio book, one print book, and one book on my Kindle all going at the same time.  If I'm finding a book heavy or to creepy to read before bed or something I might throw another book in.  As long as they're different enough I don't have trouble keeping track of what's what even if they're in the same genre.

I've seen the Mrs. Jeffries by Emily Brightwell series around since I started reading cozies but somehow I never managed to pick one up until now so I'm super excited to see what this series is all about.  The one I'm starting with is Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women.  While it seems crazy to be reading a holiday read this early I am enjoying seeing all the Christmas tie-ins.

The Beginning:
"That awful man is never going to be welcome in this house again," Abigail Chase muttered to her husband.

My Thoughts:
I wonder just why the man is so awful and what he did to get himself banned!

The 56:
"I needed a genius, Inspector, someone brilliant with numbers but also able to look at the whole company and help me determine its worth."

My Thoughts:
That's quite a list of requirements!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  How many books do you usually have going once?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Books from the Backlong - The Affair of The Blood Stained Egg Cozy

Today I'm linking up with Carole from Carole's Random Life of Books for Books from the Backlog.  I really enjoy the chance to feature a book that's been hiding in the piles of books for far too long!  Today's book is The Affair of the Blood Stained Egg Cozy by James Anderson

The Blurb:  The 1930s country house party packed with crooks, cops, and the usual suspects frame the perfect scene of the crime. This one assembles all the right ingredients - the theft of the fabled diamond necklace, the purloined antique pistols, the secret passage, the ravishing baroness with a past, the body in the lake.... What a pretty puzzle!

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I adore a classic house party mystery and this sounds so fun!  Plus, I'm hoping to figure out exactly what an egg cozy is.

What book is calling your name this week?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir - Historical Fiction Review

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Library (Audio)

  The village of Chilbury in Kent is about to ring in some changes.
This is a delightful novel of wartime gumption and village spirit that will make your heart sing out.

Kent, 1940.

In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot. Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and when the Vicar decides to close the choir until the men return, all seems lost.

But coming together in song is just what the women of Chilbury need in these dark hours, and they are ready to sing. With a little fighting spirit and the arrival of a new musical resident, the charismatic Miss Primrose Trent, the choir is reborn.

Some see the choir as a chance to forget their troubles, others the chance to shine. Though for one villager, the choir is the perfect cover to destroy Chilbury’s new-found harmony.

Uplifting and profoundly moving, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR explores how a village can endure the onslaught of war, how monumental history affects small lives and how survival is as much about friendship as it is about courage.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:

My Impression: 
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was one of my favorite books last year so when I heard the comparisons to that book in reviews of The Chilbury Ladies' Choir I knew I couldn't resist.  There's definitely a similarity.  Both books are epistolary made up of letters and journal entries.  Both books take place in England around World War 2.  And there the similarities end.  The Chilbury Ladies' Choir is very much its own book.

Our four main characters are Mrs Margaret Tilling, a widow whose only son just left for war, Kitty Winthrop, a 13 year old girl who loves singing and is convinced she has her entire future figured out, Venetia Winthrop, Kitty's 18 year old sister who is beautiful and fully aware of it, and Miss Edwina Paltry, the scheming midwife.  None of these characters are particularly likable at the beginning.  Mrs. Tilling is dreadfully weak and wishy washy, Kitty is such a child, and Venetia and Miss Paltry are just plain awful.  But as the book went on things changed within the characters just as much as the world around them was changing and I grew to love them (well except for Miss Paltry though I did feel sorry for her).  I don't want to say too much about what happens in the book because watching events unfold is part of the magic.

While the format is epistolary and we really only see through the eyes of Mrs. Tilling, Kitty, Venetia, and Miss Paltry, with occasional mentions from Silvie (the little girl refugee who is staying with the Winthrops) and a few other characters, the village of Chilbury really comes to life.  I'm not sure that the journal entries really read as journal entries but they showed the personality of the writer and told their version of events which is the main point.   The story went along seamlessly with each account weaving into the other.  I had to laugh at a few things and there were several times I was very glad my mascara was waterproof.

Now that it is over I will miss these characters and wonder what will become of them next though I'm not worried for them.  While not resolved I loved the ending and I was left with hope and happy tears.

The audio was read by Gabrielle Glaister, Laura Kirman, Imogen Wild, Adjoa Andoh, Tom Clegg, and Mike Grady.  They all did a fantastic job and their voices were perfect for the characters they were portraying.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  This was lovely.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  Not only would I recommend it but I've actually already it given it as a gift to several people!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - My Fall TBR

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is My Fall TBR.  I LOVE these posts.  I normally on read about half of the books I put on these lists but I love planning them and pretending that I'm going to read them!

1.  Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - Somehow I've never read this book by Jane Austen though I know a number of people say they like this one better than Pride and Prejudice.  I'm hoping to try it out on audio soon.

2.  The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood - This one scared me off because of the blurb but I've heard some glowing reviews for it and I've decided to reconsider!

3.  The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts - I read this trilogy when it first came out and while I liked it I didn't really love it and I remember nothing about it.  On a whim I picked up the first book and ended up really enjoying so I really want to continue with the second book.

4.  Seasons of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne - Thayne has the absolute best Christmas reads and I'm excited about this one!

5.  Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron - I love this cozy mystery series set in Bayou country and am excited about this newest one.

6.  A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes - I loved the first book in this cozy mystery series even though it made me want to start a music box collection and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the series develops.

7.  The Likeness by Tana French - I read the first book in this series last fall and liked it though I had some issues with the ending.  I've seen a number of bloggers I really trust give this one a super high rating so I'm looking forward to this one.

8.  The Child by Fiona Barton - Honestly I don't remember what this one is about but I remember really wanting to read it when it came out and that it sounded creepy so I figured this fall is the time to read it!

9.  Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge - I've been reading more cozies than police procedurals and I'm realizing that I missed the straightforward procedural!  This series looks good and since I already own the first one (no idea how - do books just show up in corners when I'm not looking?) I thought this would be a good one to try.

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - I've been wanting to read this for years and I have the movie version featuring Angela Lansbury recorded so this is the season to read it!  

What do you want to read this fall?

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Mystery of Three Quarters - Mystery Review

About The Mystery of Three Quarters

• Hardcover: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (August 28, 2018)

The world’s most beloved detective, Hercule Poirot—the legendary star of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and most recently The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket—returns in a stylish, diabolically clever mystery set in the London of 1930. “We Agatha Christie fans read her stories--and particularly her Poirot novels--because the mysteries are invariably equal parts charming and ingenious, dark and quirky and utterly engaging. Sophie Hannah had a massive challenge in reviving the beloved Poirot, and she met it with heart and no small amount of little grey cells. I was thrilled to see the Belgian detective in such very, very good hands. Reading The Monogram Murders was like returning to a favorite room of a long-lost home.” — Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

 Hercule Poirot returns home after an agreeable luncheon to find an angry woman waiting to berate him outside his front door. Her name is Sylvia Rule, and she demands to know why Poirot has accused her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. She is furious to be so accused, and deeply shocked. Poirot is equally shocked, because he too has never heard of any Barnabas Pandy, and he certainly did not send the letter in question. He cannot convince Sylvia Rule of his innocence, however, and she marches away in a rage. Shaken, Poirot goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man called John McCrodden who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy... Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?

My Thoughts:  To be honest I was really torn on reading this series.  I’ve been a huge Agatha Christie fan for years and years and I’ve read everything she’s ever written multiple times so how can someone else voice Hercule Poirot???  But then I saw that not only had the Agatha Christie estate given permission for Sophie Hannah to continue the series but had also given her access to Christie’s notebooks and other sources.  So I decided to take a deep breath and give it a try.  I wasn’t crazy about the first one but I really enjoyed the 2nd book and this third mystery really continued that trend. I think the author was very smart in giving us a new narrator so the fact that the voice is different isn’t quite as jarring as it would be if the narrator was supposed to be Captain Hastings.  It also helps that I really like the new narrator, Scotland Yard Inspector Catchpool.  He has a very practical straightforward nature that works well with Poirot’s more meticulous manner.  The mystery itself is intriguing and unique.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting new pieces of the puzzle and being able to watch Poirot use his “little grey cells” again.  While I wouldn’t confuse this with Christie, Hannah’s version of Hercule Poirot feels like Poirot.  If you’re a Christie fan I think you’ll enjoy it and if you’re not a devoted Christie reader but enjoy a good mystery than I think you’ll really enjoy this one too!  I’m so glad I took the chance on this series and am hoping that Sophie Hannah continues it.  Rating: Very Good

Sunday, September 16, 2018

This Week in Reading - September 16

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!  I'm not sure how that happened and since I'm writing this a bit early in the week I'm not sure how long it will last but for right now I've added 0 books to the stacks


Reading:  The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan and In Want of a Knife by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Listening:  I'm almost done with Written in Red by Anne Bishop and though it took me a little while to get used to the different genre I've ended up really enjoying it.

Watching:  Not much but I have a few episodes of Victoria downloaded off of Amazon Prime so I thought I'd give that a try.

Off the Blog:

I'm in Mississippi this weekend visiting my grandparents.  J's travelled a lot for work recently so I that's thrown my schedule off a bit.  I usually try to get down once a month but it's been hard the last few months.  This weekend my aunt is getting married in Pennsylvania so we're going to try to figure out a way to stream it so they can watch it.  My grandfather isn't really able to travel so hopefully this will work out!  They don't have the fastest internet so this could be tricky!  

I'm still running.  It's slow and ugly but I'm doing it so I'm calling it a win.  I desperately need new running shoes.  Mine are old and not really designed for running.  I'm thinking of going into one of the stores where they have you walk on a treadmill and select shoes for your particular needs but I'm a bit intimidated.  Anyone ever done one of those?  Had good results?  Or am I better off doing some Googling and trying some different shoes at the sporting goods store?  I have an ankle that's on the weak side and sprained it badly earlier this summer so I'm trying to be careful.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  The Mystery of Three Quarters - Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Fall TBR
Wednesday: TBD
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  Summer Favorites

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hitting the Books - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

When a stack of library materials is found at the scene of a hit and run, library director Lindsey Norris finds herself dragged into the investigation as the police try to link the driver of the stolen car to the person who borrowed the books. Before Lindsey can delve into the library's records, the victim of the hit and run, Theresa Houston, suffers another "accident" and the investigation shifts from driver negligence to attempted homicide.

A clue surfaces in the confiscated library materials that could crack open the case and it is up to Lindsey to piece it all together. But things are not as they seem in the sleepy town of Briar Creek and when the driver of the stolen car turns up dead, Lindsey, her staff and her library friends have to hit the books before the murderer gets the last word...

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This has been on of my favorite cozy mystery series for years and I love the premise of this one!

My Impression:  This series has been a favorite since the very first book but the most recent books have just been an absolute delight!  The balance of non-mystery cozy life, straight up investigation, and bookish fun has just been perfect.  The mystery never takes a backseat but at the same time there is plenty of development in Lindsay’s life as well as the side characters.  I’ve especially enjoyed the recent thawing of Ms. Cole aka the Lemon.  She’s still lemon-y enough to be recognizable but her moments of niceness and the reactions of those around her is really a bit of a treat - especially for regular readers of this series.

While I always really enjoy a visit to Briar Creek the mystery here was what really kept me reading.  I really had no idea just how the story was going to develop so every plot twist was a surprise.  I read mostly mysteries so normally I’ve got a pretty good guess which way the wind is blowing so that made this an especially nice surprise.

If you’re looking for a fun cozy mystery with lots of bookish goodness then this is a must read! 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  This is one of my favorite series by one of my favorite authors.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries you really need to be reading this series!  While this is a fairly long running series I think you could start right here with no problems.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Linkups - Hitting the Books

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 author do you not read and why?

My Answer:
There aren't many authors I really consciously avoid.  I haven't read much Stephen King partly because watching Pet Semetary as a child caused some trauma and party because his page count scares me off but it's not a set thought that I'm NOT going to read him.  Probably the only author I find myself avoiding is Jodi Picoult.  I've only read one of her books (the one with the little girl who had the illness that caused her bones to break easily) and the ending made me SO mad that I've avoided her books ever since.

This week's book is the latest in the Library Lovers series - Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay.  I've always really enjoyed the series and the bookish elements but I absolutely loved the last one so I'm  super excited about this one!

The Beginning: 
He was whistling.  At five o'clock in the morning, the man was whistling.

My Thoughts:
She isn't talking about the person who will be the murder victim but whistling that early in the morning seems like the beginnings of a justifiable homicide to me.

The 56:
"All right," Lindsey said  "I understand how you're feeling but I don't think you should go alone."

My Thoughts:
Really no one should go anywhere alone in any book, show, or movie that involves murder.  It always ends badly.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  Any authors that you absolutely won't read?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Books from the Backlog - The Madonnas of Leningrad

Today I'm linking up with Carole from Carole's Random Life of Books for Books from the Backlog.  I really enjoy the chance to feature a book that's been hiding in the piles of books for far too long!  Today's book is The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean.

Blurb:  Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding Marina's grip on the everyday. And while the elderly Russian woman cannot hold on to fresh memories—the details of her grown children's lives, the approaching wedding of her grandchild—her distant past is preserved: vivid images that rise unbidden of her youth in war-torn Leningrad.

In the fall of 1941, the German army approached the outskirts of Leningrad, signaling the beginning of what would become a long and torturous siege. During the ensuing months, the city's inhabitants would brave starvation and the bitter cold, all while fending off the constant German onslaught. Marina, then a tour guide at the Hermitage Museum, along with other staff members, was instructed to take down the museum's priceless masterpieces for safekeeping, yet leave the frames hanging empty on the walls—a symbol of the artworks' eventual return. To hold on to sanity when the Luftwaffe's bombs began to fall, she burned to memory, brushstroke by brushstroke, these exquisite artworks: the nude figures of women, the angels, the serene Madonnas that had so shortly before gazed down upon her. She used them to furnish a "memory palace," a personal Hermitage in her mind to which she retreated to escape terror, hunger, and encroaching death. A refuge that would stay buried deep within her, until she needed it once more. . . . 

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  A friend recommended this one to me years and years ago and her recommendations were always enormous hits or total failures.  I'm fascinated by Russian history and the blurb of this book sounds like it could be amazing - or terribly hopelessly depressing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Marigolds for Malice - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher 

Elliana Allbright is happy running her perfume shop, Scents & Nonsense, in the charming town of Poppyville, California. And she's even happier when she can use her inherited abilities to infuse her perfumes with an extra special something that eases woes or solves problems for her customers. But she'll need those abilities and more when murder comes to town.

Ellie and her women's business group, the Greenstockings, are helping to open a new museum about local history, and while sorting through the collection of artifacts they discover a time capsule from the days of the Gold Rush. Among the contents is a strange botanical manuscript, recognized by local history professor Eureka Sanford as extremely rare and valuable. When the professor is found dead in the museum, Ellie has no choice but to sniff out the murderer... but this one may have roots that are as old as Poppyville.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  The cover is so pretty and I just love the idea of an enchanted garden.

My Impression:
  The cozy mystery genre is chock full of libraries, bookstores, bakeries, and cafes but a perfume shop is a new one for me and one I really enjoyed.  There's a touch of magic here as Ellie not only has a really enhanced sense of smell but is able to detect what will make someone feel better.  She also has a journal that was written by her grandmother and is ever changing.  I really enjoyed this element.  It didn't take over the story though it did provide some helpful nudges and increased the feel of magic in the story.

The mystery itself was intriguing.  I loved the look into the Gold Rush history and the whole concept of the time capsule.  The mystery really kept me guessing though I must admit I wasn't shocked at the end.  I was however thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.  The pacing was good and while there is some non-mystery small town life/character development it never felt like it took over or that the mystery was ever shoved into the background.

This was a fun mystery that was a bit different from the usual cozy.  My main complaint is that Ellie isn't a real person so I don't have anyone to magically figure out just exactly what oil blend I need!  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'd really like to read the first two books and will be looking for book four!

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun one and the magical element added a fun little extra to it.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *