Sunday, September 30, 2018

This Week in Reading - September 30

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:

Slay in Character by Lynn Cahoon - Cahoon is one of  my favorite cozy authors and I'm excited about this newest mystery in the Writer's Retreat series.  Especially since this one involves a ghost town!  I love a good ghost town setting and it is so rarely done outside of Scooby Doo. (NetGalley)

Bird, Bath, and Beyond by E.J. Copperman - That title makes me giggle.  I love a good cozy title pun and this one that features a murder witness who just happens to be a parrot sounds like it could be really fun!  (Publisher)


Reading:  The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts - a reread but I was feeling the need for one - and Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan.

Listening:  I'm almost done with She Stopped for Death by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli which I'm enjoying and then I'm going to start the audio for The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Watching:  I haven't really found much that I want to watch but I've recorded a lot of the new fall shows so we'll see what catches my eye.  I did start watching the new series of The Great British Bake-Off on Netflix and it's okay but I'm still not used to not have Mary Berry, and Sue and Mel!

Off the Blog:

We are on countdown to Disney!  I'm so excited that I can barely stand it.  I think I'm more excited than the Tornado.  I've already warned J that even when we have no small kids I still fully intend on heading to Disney World for vacation.  I'm going to miss the whole planning thing.  I've been caught up in dining reservations and fast passes and all kinds of stuff and now I'm in the middle of getting all the to do lists and to packs lists ready and then there will be actually doing all that!  

This week was pretty busy.  We had picture day at the Tornado's school and this was the first year I was in charge of it.  It's not hard but you have to make the schedule and keep the classes coming so it's pretty busy.  According to my phone I walked more than 5 miles just up and down the halls!

Next week will be doing lots and lots of laundry and finishing up all the bits and pieces before vacation.  I'm chaperoning a field trip Friday.  I didn't really want to since it's so close to when we leave but there weren't enough parents signed up so I volunteered.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Reviews from the Children's Section - Coraline
Tuesday:  The Silver Shoes - Historical Fiction/Fiction Review
Wednesday:  Trimmed to Death - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Drink Me! - Cookbook Review
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

2018 Third Quarter Check In

At the beginning of 2018 I made a list of Bookish Goals.  One of my overall goals for the year is to actually accomplish some things I want to do instead of just talking about how much I want to do them.  I've been fairly successful on the non-bookish front but I felt like a check in was needed over here in book land.


Keep an eye out for independent bookstores - I haven't been traveling so I haven't done very well here but my attitude is good and if we do go anywhere I fully intend to check for an indie bookstore so I'm calling this is a win.

Make progress on a series I've neglected - I have!  I've really only focused on a couple of series but progress is progress.

Spend some time using a coloring book while listening to an audio book - I haven't really done this often but have been trying to work in audio books into anything relaxing and I'm really enjoying it!

Create some kind of system for incoming books - I actually did this!  I cleaned out a bookshelf that was in what is now a storage room and have a whole process for incoming books.  I'm really enjoying it.  Eventually, I'm going to get that whole room cleared out and turn it into a library but it's all stuff kids left when they left for college so it'll take some time.

Complete the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018  Reading Challenge - I'm doing really well here and have pretty much every category filled in.  I'm looking for a book that won an award in 2018 and a book over 500 pages.  


Read 200 Books - I'm at 108 and I'm starting to lose confidence in catching up.  I have a bunch of books that I'm pretty much done with and if I get them all done then I have a chance but I'm just not sure.

Focus on reading my own books - Yeah, I'm not doing so great here.  My own books just aren't calling me like all the bright and shiny new books.  

Read more nonfiction -Big nope.  I can't even remember the last nonfiction book I read.

Participate in at least one readathon -  Not even close.

3rd Quarter Stats

Books Read So Far This Year: 108

Disappointments: None.  I've pretty much enjoyed everything I've read this quarter.

Books I Loved:  Written in Red by Anne Bishop, The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

How is your reading going so far this year?

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday Linkups - The Silver Shoes

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 sneak a peek at the number of views your posts have gotten?

My Answer:
I do though I don't get to wrapped up in what I see anymore.  I'm always curious to see what seems to be getting the most views and the random topics that seem to bring people to visit me!

This week's book is one I'm really excited about - The Silver Shoes by Jill G. Hall.  It's the story of two different women who are linked by a pair of sparkly shoes.  One woman has them new and the other has them vintage.  I love dual time line historical fiction and I love the vintage clothing element!

The Beginning:
Anne loved New York this time of year when maple trees began to sprout emerald leaves but it was still cool enough to bundle up.

My Thoughts:
I'm always a bit jealous when I read about other regions changes of season!  Here in the South we seem to have either hot or dreary though I'll take dreary over snow!

The 56:
"Crikey!" Fay hooted.  "Those must be your new shoes."

My Thoughts:
Crikey really isn't a word I hear often enough.  It's so expressive!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Christopher Gilhaney isn’t a popular man, and he proves why once again when he insults every guest at Abigail Chase’s Guy Fawkes Night dinner party. When Gilhaney is shot dead under the cover of the night’s fireworks, his murder is deemed a robbery gone wrong. But when the case hasn’t been solved six weeks later, Inspector Witherspoon is called upon to find the killer—and quickly!

With Christmas almost here, Inspector Witherspoon and everyone in his household is upset at the possibility of having to cancel their holiday plans—all to solve a case that seems impossible. Only Luty Belle, Ruth, and Mrs. Goodge refuse to give up and let the crime become a cold case. In fact, the American heiress, the charming next-door neighbor, and the formidable cook use all of their persuasive powers to get the others on board, because these three wise women know justice doesn’t take time off for Christmas.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I've seen this series around for quite some time but have never tried it.  This sounded really fun and like a perfect Christmas read.

My Impression:
  I really expected to enjoy this.  I love historical mysteries and have really been in the mood for them.  But I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed it!  It was such a fun read and I couldn't help but fly through it.

I've always been a fan of a team when solving a mystery and this has both that as well as a bit of an upstairs/downstairs twist.  The mystery was one of my favorite kinds where the history of the victim is just as mysterious as the identity of the murderer.  I liked seeing how all the different characters investigated - from the straight forward to police investigation of Inspector Witherspoon and Constable Barnes, to the wealthy American consulting with bankers, to wandering through the local merchants with the footman.  The only slight hiccup was that I had trouble a couple of times remembering who was who but it wasn't distracting and given the fairly large cast not surprising.

This was a delightfully old fashioned mystery with fun twists and turns and a mystery solving crew that I want to be part of!  This is the first Mrs. Jeffries book I've read but it won't be the last!  I'm glad I have 36 more books to read while I wait for the next book!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to going back to the beginning of this series to see how it all began.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  Definitely!  If you enjoy a classic mystery I think you'll really enjoy this one.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Season of Wonder - Contemporary Romance

Rating: Good
Source: Blog Tour 

Dani Capelli seized a chance to start over in a small town with her daughters. Now, facing her first Christmas in Haven Point, she wonders if leaving New York was a mistake. Dani loves working alongside veterinarian Dr. Morales, but her two children aren’t adjusting to small-town life. And then there’s Dr. Morales’s son, Ruben—Dani’s next-door neighbor. Gorgeous, muscled and dependable, the deputy sheriff is everything she secretly craves and can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.

Ruben never pictured himself falling for a big-city woman like Dani. But beneath her prickly facade, she’s caring and softhearted and she needs all the love and protection he can give. When Dani’s teenage daughter starts acting out, Ruben draws on family traditions to show the girls just how magical a Haven Point Christmas can be. But can he convince Dani that she’s found a home for the holidays—and forever—in his arms?

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:
  I love RaeAnne Thayne's Christmas books and this may just be the prettiest Christmas cover I've ever seen!

My Impression:
  This was everything I expect from a RaeAnne Thayne Christmas romance.  It's sweet and heartwarming, poignant and hopeful all with the perfect bit of Christmas cheer that never gets over the top.  The community of Haven Point is just so kind and open and truly special.

I loved Ruben.  His hesitation for getting involved with a woman with children is really for the best of motivations.  He wants to settle down, he wants a family, and he wants to be happy.  He's close to his family and he's involved with his community.  It's hard not to like him - especially when he gets involved with Silver and more importantly - Silver's mother Dani.

Dani is in a tough spot.  She's struggling to keep everything together and keep her girls happy.  I really felt for her as she tried to do the right thing for Silver and for Mia.  I think anyone who has been a teenage girl can relate to Silver's actions even when I felt like she needed a good shaking.  Mia was so adorable and sweet and so vulnerable.  Her past makes for  a lot of baggage and she's incredibly strong.  I'm very rarely a fan of really prickly characters but her guardedness and reserve felt very natural to her personality.

I did like how her relationship with Ruben developed.  Once again it just fit the characters and I don't really see how it could have happened any other way.  It is a slow burn but once again for these characters there really was just no other option.  I really loved all the characters and really felt connected to them from page one.  There was a bit of a repetitive feel that really kept this from being a standout read.  I think you'll come across this kind of story in a number of Christmas romances though of course Thayne's version is one of the most delightful!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I never miss a book by this author!

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you love romances that focus on emotional connections that are full of really relatable characters then you need to be reading Thayne!  This is a lovely Christmas read and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ten Spooky Reads for October

I have been in the middle of the late September holiday releases.  Now I love a good Christmas romance or murder but right about now I'm starting to crazy something a little more creepy.  Now my version of creep is pretty low key.  I'm not much of a horror reader and I have very strict rules about who can be in danger (no kids, no animals, no older people) so this is pretty much just lightweight creepy but it's enough for me!

1.  We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - It always annoys me when I see Jackson listed as horror.  I think people who are looking for serious horror would be very disappointed.  What Jackson is a master of is the eerie, the unsettling, the feeling of something just isn't right.  I really was convinced I had read this one so never really made an effort but recently I really read the blurb and realized that I had never opened this one before.  I'm hoping to fix that one!

2.  Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - Pretty much anything by Neil Gaiman is going to be creepy and weird and slightly unsettling plus the world "eerie" is used in the description of this one so I figure it counts.  Plus, I happened to have bought it on sale at Audible a few months ago so I figure that's a sign.

3.  The Turn of the Screw by Henry James - I have dreams of reading Portrait of a Lady by Henry James but this looks a bit spooky and like a better introduction than the rather massive novel.

4.  The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - I have the movie of this recorded but I'd really like to read the book first.  It's such a short one I should be able to get it in fairly quickly.

5.  Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart - I've been fooled before with a Mary Stewart book that looked Gothic-y and creepy but ended up being not so much.  This could go that way but it has an old family estate and a curse so it's going to be a win either way.

6.  Ten by Gretchen McNeil - This one has a very And Then There Were None feel with a modern and YA twist so I'm seriously intrigued!

7.  Second Sight by Amanda Quick - This is the first in the Arcane Society series which so many people have told me that I need to read and I know Quick/Krentz does some pretty fun suspense so I think now seems like the time!

8.  Hunting Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco - I really meant to read this last year but never quite managed it but I really want to try it this year.  I'm fascinated by the Jack the Ripper case so I like this fiction twist.

9.  Phantom Evil by Heather Graham - I love the Krewe of Hunters series!  It's the perfect mix of supernatural with romantic suspense and I always enjoy them but somehow I've never gone back and read the first one.

10. Omens by Kelley Armstrong - I've been wanting to read Armstrong since I started blogging but have yet to manage it.  Halloween sounds like the perfect time to try her books!

What creepy books are you hoping to read this October?  Are you a lightweight creepy lover or do you like a little more serious creepy?

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?