Thursday, January 31, 2019

Books from the Backlog - A Dollhouse to Die For

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 A Dollhouse to Die For by Cate Price

Blurb: At an estate auction, Daisy is delighted to find the perfect present for a young girl she knows—a charming dollhouse in need of restoration. But when local collector Harriet Kunes tries to strong-arm Daisy into selling it, she’s in for a shocking—and deadly—surprise.

After an intruder breaks in and tries to steal the dollhouse, Daisy wonders why everyone has developed such an obsession over it. As she builds her collection of clues, she suspects that the miniature Victorian holds the key to a second unsolved murder, and soon she stumbles across much more than she bid on…

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf: I have been super into both cozies and antiques and I've always loved dollhouses so this is like the perfect trifecta of my favorite things at the moment.

What books are calling to you from your shelf?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Death by Committee - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery--Aunt Sybil's only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil's name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can't help but wonder--can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer's deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I'm a sucker for the inheriting a house after everything comes crashing down (there are more of those than you'd think) and I love a good cozy mystery.  

My Impression:
  This is very much a story involving a few of my favorite things.  I love all the bits that make up this series - a character starting over, an inherited old house, and a giant dog.  I liked Abby though I hope for her sake she learns to say no - especially to the quilt guild - in the future!  Her relationship with her aunt was very special and I could see why she got so involved with the investigation and was insistent that her aunt was innocent.

I enjoyed the mystery very much and liked the community of Snowberry Creek with all the characters in the quilter's guild and other places.  I'm hoping in the future some of the characters (especially Tripp) get a bit more developed and the mystery itself is a bit stronger.  It was as much front and center as I would have preferred.  However, this was a fun start to a new series and one I'm looking forward to continuing.  I especially need more Zeke!  Any book with a big dog like Zeke is automatically going to be a win for me!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Yes!  While not flawless I enjoyed this mystery and am looking forward to seeing the series develop.  

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you're a fan of a true small town cozy then I think you'll enjoy this series.

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Recent Additions to My TBR

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is Ten Recent Additions to My TBR.  I mostly keep track of my TBR on Goodreads though I've thought about creating some other kind of system as add-ins can get kind of lost in the mass of books.  I haven't come up with one yet though.  Until then here's the 10 books that Goodreads says I've most recently added to my TBR!

1.  The Light Over London by Julia Kelly - I don't know much about this one but the cover is gorgeous and I've been loving historical fiction lately.

2.   Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro - I'm a little bit on the fence on this one after reading an article by the author of the book.  The story itself is interesting but I'm not sure I need a full length memoir on it.

3.  A Girl Like You (Henrietta and Inspector Howard #1) by Michelle Cox - I know absolutely nothing about this one and don't really remember adding it but it looks like it could be an interesting read so I'm keeping it on the list.

4.  The Lemon Sisters (Wildstone #3) byJill Shalvis - This is coming out later this year (May I'm thinking?) and I've really been enjoying this series by Shalvis.  I want to be sure to remember to pick it up either from the bookstore or the library.

5.   What the Dead Leave Behind (A Gilded Age Mystery #1) by Rosemary Simpson - I read the 3rd book in this series at the end of 2018 and really fell in love so I'm hoping to go back to the beginning.

6.  The Suspect by Fiona Barton - I listened to The Child in 2018 and really enjoyed it and am currently listening to The Widow and enjoying that so I'm looking forward to this newest book.

7.  When We Found Home by Susan Mallery - I've had mixed feelings about Mallery's books in the past but I've been loving her more women's fiction titles lately and this one looks really good.

8.  The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life by Andy Miller - I know very little about this one but I'm always on the lookout for bookish books.

9.  The Witch Elm by Tana French - I read the first book in the Dublin Murder Squad a year or two ago and enjoyed it though I had severely mixed feelings about the ending but this one sounds amazing and I like that it's a bit of a stand alone.

10.  The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White - I enjoyed the previous group effort by these three and this one involves the Lusitania which makes it even more appealing.

What books have you recently added to your TBR?

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Girls in the Picture - Historical Fiction Review

Rating: Very Good
Source:  Publicist 

Hollywood, 1914. Frances Marion, a young writer desperate for a break, meets “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, already making a name for herself both on and off the screen with her golden curls and lively spirit. Together, these two women will take the movie business by storm.

Mary Pickford becomes known as the “Queen of the Movies”—the first actor to have her name on a movie marquee, and the first to become a truly international celebrity. Mary and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, were America’s first Royal Couple, living in a home more famous that Buckingham Palace. Mary won the first Academy Award for Best Actress in a Talkie and was the first to put her hand and footprints in Grauman’s theater sidewalk. Her annual salary in 1919 was $625,000—at a time when women’s salaries peaked at $10 a week. Frances Marion is widely considered one of the most important female screenwriters of the 20th century, and was the first writer to win multiple Academy Awards. The close personal friendship between the two stars was closely linked to their professional collaboration and success.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:
I love classic movies and was really intrigued by this historical fiction set during the very early days of movies.

My Impression:
  It was absolutely fascinating to see the beginnings of the film industry which was both more exciting and more humble than I expected.  Mary Pickford of course is an actress that I'm familiar with though I didn't know all that much about her other than her professional success.  Frances Marion was completely new to me and someone I'm so excited to have been introduced to.  Both are people I'm hoping to learn more about.

Benjamin is an author I've been wanting to read and she completely lived up to my expectations.  In this book she created a world that seemed to come to life as soon as I opened the book.  I could see Mary and Frances and all the characters that inhabited their world - some glamorous, some eccentric, and some deeply troubled - but all very real.  I really enjoyed it and like all good historical fiction it had me anxious to read more about the world this story inhabited.

I did find that at times - especially in the middle - the pacing felt a bit bogged down with detail.  Not that it was over detailed but more that there is such a big story to tell.  However, even with that small issue I thoroughly enjoyed this read.  Benjamin made this world and these characters come to life and left me wanting to know more!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm so glad I finally read one of Melanie Benjamin's books and this will definitely not be my last one.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy historical fiction than this is a must read.

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

Saturday, January 26, 2019

This Week in Reading - January 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:

An Artless Demise by Anna Lee Huber 

Between the Lines by Michelle Adams

Glossed and Found by India Ink

Killer Keepsakes by Jane K. Cleland

Withering Heights by Dorothy Cannell


Reading:  Gilt by Association by Karen Rose Smith and No Escape Claws by Sofie Ryan

Listening:  I finished Phantom Evil by Heather Graham and am now listening to The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Watching:  Nothing new.  I'm still enjoying this season of Top Chef and have been watching some old movies.  I've been watching a lot of crime shows on Investigation Discovery mostly as background noise but I've realized it's making me kind of jumpy so I'm thinking I'm going to slow down on that.

Off the Blog:

I'm on the last week of the latest 30 Day Yoga Challenge by Yoga with Adriene over on YouTube.  She does a 30 day program every January but this is the first year I've ever done it real time.  I had really gone off the rails with exercising and this has really got me moving and feeling better again.  Starting February I'm going to start mixing in some cardio and other things and starting to run again when it isn't too cold in the morning.  I'm excited to be getting started again.

I'm struggling to find something for the Tornado to read.  He's reading levels are fine but getting him to actually sit down and read is a struggle.  He's outgrown the Mo Willems books that he loves (even though he still reads them) but we haven't found anything to replace them.  He likes The Boxcar Children audio books so I'm trying to get him to actually read the stories but any other suggestions would be appreciated.  He's 9 and reads at grade level (3) or a bit higher but doesn't like anything that's scary or mean spirited (I tried to get him to read a book in the Bad Kitty series but he didn't like it because the characters were being mean to the cat).  It's been a bit of a struggle and I suspect a large part of it is just stubbornness so I'm hoping to find something that just grabs him and pulls him and makes him want to read.  To much to ask?

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  The Girls in the Picture - Historical Fiction Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Most Recent Additions to My TBR
Wednesday:  Death by Committee - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday: TBD
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

A Share in Death - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James #1) by Deborah Crombie

Rating: Very Good
Source: Purchased (Audible)

A week's holiday in a luxurious Yorkshire time-share is just what Scotland Yard's Superintendent Duncan Kincaid needs. But the discovery of a body floating in the whirlpool bath ends Kincaid's vacation before it's begun. One of his new acquaintances at Followdale House is dead; another is a killer. Despite a distinct lack of cooperation from the local constabulary, Kincaid's keen sense of duty won't allow him to ignore the heinous crime, impelling him to send for his enthusiastic young assistant, Sergeant Gemma James. But the stakes are raised dramatically when a second murder occurs, and Kincaid and James find themselves in a determined hunt for a fiendish felon who enjoys homicide a bit too much.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:
  This series has long been a favorite and I've been wanting to restart at the beginning for quite some time.
My Impression: 
This was technically a reread for me but since it's been more than 15 years since I've read it I don't think it counts!  This is a favorite series of mine and I've been wanting to revisit the early days of Duncan and Gemma for quite some time.  I'm so glad that I finally did!  The latest books in this series have been pretty sizable with lots of character development and all kinds of twists and turn.  This first book in the series was a bit more simple.  We get a look at Duncan and Gemma's inner thoughts and daily lives but it's hardly the focus.  As well, the mystery, while beautifully done is a bit more streamlined as well.  It was a thoroughly entertaining listen with lots of possible suspects and motives.  I loved this modern take on a house party murder and really enjoyed looking over Duncan's shoulder as he found himself in the middle of a murder investigation.  Gemma's side investigations were also entertaining and I could understand her frustration with not knowing exactly what she was looking for as she looked into different suspects.

This was a series that completely lived up to my expectations and my memory and I'm so glad I took the time to listen to the first book in this long running series.  I listened to the audio version of this story and while narrator, Michael Deehy, did a great job I didn't feel like this is a book you simply must listen to.  It's a solid entertaining mystery either read or listened to and I'm looking forward to continuing with my reread of the series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Definitely!  I'd like to continue from the beginning but I will also be looking for any new books from Crombie.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy mysteries than Crombie is a must read.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Friday Linkups - The Girls in the Picture

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
How many books did you read last year?  Will your goal be to match that number or surpass it?

My Answer:
I read 146 books last year which was a bit short of my goal.  This year I'm hoping for 200.  I'm not sure if I'll hit it but I'm going to try!

This week's book is a historical fiction and one I've been wanting to read since I first heard about it.  I've been thoroughly enjoying classic movies in the past couple of years and have even watched a few of the silent films so I'm really excited to read The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin.  It's all about the early days of film.

The Beginning:
Lately, the line between real life and movies has begun to blur.

My Thoughts:
I really love this beginning!  

The 56:
"Yes, I've thought up a few conversations.  Just light party talk - "oh, I love your dress," "what a pretty hat," that sort of thing.  But it should satisfy the lip readers."

My Thoughts:
I like seeing the behind the scenes bits and I imagine that keeping the lip readers satisfied especially in the days of silent films!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  

Thursday, January 24, 2019

What to Eat When - Nonfiction Review

About What to Eat When

• Hardcover: 352 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic; 1 edition (December 31, 2018)

NY Times best-selling author Dr. Michael Roizen reveals how the food choices you make each day--and when you make them--can affect your health, your energy, your sex life, your waistline, your attitude, and the way you age. What if eating two cups of blueberries a day could prevent cancer? If drinking a kale-infused smoothie could counteract missing an hour's worth of sleep? When is the right time of day to eat that chocolate chip cookie? And would you actually drink that glass of water if it meant skipping the gym? This revolutionary guide reveals how to use food to enhance our personal and professional lives--and increase longevity to boot. What to Eat When is not a diet book. Instead, acclaimed internist Michael Roizen and certified physician Michael Crupain offer readers choices that benefit them the most--whether it's meals to help them look and feel younger or snacks that prevent diseases--based on the science that governs them. "Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Michael Crupain-the two doctors I always turn to for the latest scientific discoveries-explain that timing really is everything in this insightful, fun, and revolutionary book. What to Eat When shows that when you eat is just as important as what you eat-and reveals the right foods for life's toughest circumstances." -Dr. Oz "It really does matter what you eat, not just how much. And now, two of my favorite doctors take our collective knowledge a step further by looking at the timing of when you eat your calories: your circadian rhythm dictates a lot more about when you should eat than you probably realize. Through clear-eyed writing and diligent research, Drs. Roizen and Crupain explain why The When Way might just be the best approach to eating." -Sanjay Gupta "When we think about eating, we focus-as we should-on the quality and quantity of what we eat. It's becoming clear that we also need to think about chronology-when we eat. Drs. Roizen and Crupain's fun and revealing exploration of the biology of timing and eating will help you eat the way your body really wants you to." -Andrew Weil

My Thoughts:  This was an interesting read though one way outside my usual genres.  I don't read many self-help books and even fewer books about diet.  However, between the holiday overeating and being sick which meant being inactive for a fairly extended length of time as well as lots of medication my system felt all out of whack so I thought I'd give this a try.  The main focus of this book other than eating whole grains, lots of vegetables, very little dairy or red meat, and no sugar seems to be essentially intermittent fasting from sun down to sun up.  I don't really disagree with this as I do know that when I stop eating earlier in the evening I feel much better and sleep better.  The foods to eat weren't really shocking.  I mean by this point I think we all know that whole grains are better than white flour and sugar is the root of all evil.  However, I wonder how feasible eating two larger meals during the day and the smallest one in the early evening really is for those that work outside the home.  For example, my husband has a fairly high stress job and is frequently in meetings for the majority of the day.  I'm just not sure how practical or sustainable taking the time to eat the bulk of your calories during the day would be for everyone.  I'm not sure I'm dedicated enough to drop all processed foods and sugar and I doubt I'll ever start eating cold sweet potatoes but this book did give me inspiration to start eating better and stop eating earlier.  I also got some inspiration from the substitution suggestions as well as the what to eat when section - especially the one regarding what to eat when you're fatigued as I tend to over eat or go to the junk when that happens.  Rating: Good

Purchase Links

Amazon | Amazon Canada | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

About Dr. Michael Roizen

DR. MICHAEL ROIZEN is the Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, Chief Medical Consultant on The Dr. Oz Show, author of four #1 New York Times best-selling books, and originator of the popular website. He is board certified in anesthesiology and internal medicine. He's been recognized with an Ellie, an Emmy, and the Paul G. Rogers Award from the National Library of Medicine for Best Medical Communicator. He also chaired an FDA advisory committee and has published more than 175 peer-reviewed articles. He lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

About Dr. Michael Crupain

DR. MICHAEL CRUPAIN is the Medical Director of The Dr. Oz Show. He is board certified in preventive medicine, a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, and part-time faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to joining The Dr. Oz Show, he directed food safety testing at Consumer Reports. He is an Emmy award-winning producer, sat on an USDA advisory committee, has written multiple peer-reviewed articles, and cooks every day. He lives in New York City.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Classic Films - My Essential Actors

It's no secret that I love classic movies but while I've always them this past year I've really made a mission of really watching them.  When browsing through the Turnthere are certain aspect er Classic - my favorite channel for movie watching - there are always certain actors I look for.   While a good plot can get me it's really the actors that have me hitting record.  Here are a few that I always look for and some of my favorite movies from them:

1.  Cary Grant - I will watch pretty much anything that has Cary Grant in it.  He's comedic timing is perfection (Arsenic and Old Lace) and no one is more subtly and convincingly sinister (Suspicion)

2.  Ginger Rogers - I really think Ginger Rogers is underrated.  Yes, she's a gorgeous dancer but she's also a delight in any comedic role or even a more dramatic role (Stage Door and Vivacious Lady).

3.  Fred Astaire - Fred Astaire is obviously a wonderful dancer and I love how effortless he makes even the craziest of moves look.  As well he comes off as just an extraordinarily nice man both on film and in real life.  His movies don't stand out individually to me but they're always enjoyable.

4.  Gene Kelly - While Astaire makes movement look wonderfully easy with Kelly you can see the sheer strength and artistry in every move.  While I could do without his extended dance numbers that have nothing to do with the plot of the movie but there's a reason that An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain are classics.

5. Oscar Levant - I love a witty piano playing sidekick and Levant is the best of the best.  I adore him in An American in Paris and Humoresque and will watch anything he is in.  He was an incredibly talented musician and composer but really I just want to see him as the voice of reason behind the piano.

6.  John Garfield - Garfield is one of those actors that manages to completely disappear into a role.  I'm never feel like I'm watching an actor pretending to be a particular character but always that particular character come to life.  Humoresque with Joan Crawford is probably my favorite but that could be because it also stars Oscar Levant!  Though keep in mind it is in no way a comedy.

7.  Lauren Bacall - Bacall fascinates me.  I always know I'm watching her but I never mind it.  She's stunning in To Have and Have Not though I probably prefer Key Largo as a movie.

8.  Frank Sinatra - I knew Sinatra had starred in movies but I never really thought much of them.  I mean he's a singer not actor.  But then I watched From Here to Eternity and was amazed.  Sinatra was fabulous.  He typically plays a character with a bit of an edge and he does it wonderfully. Pal Joey is probably my favorite movie of his that I've seen so far.

9.  Rosalind Russell - I love Russell's cool sharp way she delivers dialogue.  She's wonderful with Cary Grant in His Girl Friday but really I've enjoyed every film I've seen her in.

10.  Humphrey Bogart - Bogart was about 5 ft 8 and kind of a little guy but you forget all that as soon as you start watching him and he seems 10 feet tall and just as tough as all the characters he plays.  Obviously, Casablanca is wonderful but I also love The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

11. Eve Arden - I haven't seen Arden in very many things but I love her and am hoping to see more.  She has a small part in Stage Door and I have several more movies recorded that I'm excited to watch.

12. James Cagney - Cagney's role in White Heat is the gangster role that all gangster roles are based off of and I love the depth he puts into his role in Love Me or Leave Me with Doris Day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Meant to Read in 2018

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is Books I Meant to Read in 2018.  I could easily do a Top 100 for this one but to keep it from getting a bit overwhelming I'll keep it to 10.  

1.  I'd Rather Be Reading by Ann Bogel - I've been meaning to read Bogel's first book since it came out but this one especially really appeals to me.  I'm always on the lookout for bookish books and this one sounds fun.

2.  The Lacemaker's Secret by Kathleen Ernst - I was so excited when I got this mystery that involves the restoration of an old farmhouse and an antique and very valuable piece of lace.  Somehow it just never got read and I'm hoping to fix that soon.

3.  Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis - I've really been enjoying this latest series by Jill Shalvis and have been really looking forward to this one but somehow it just didn't get read.

4.  Read and Gone by Allison Brook - I loved the first book in this series about a haunted librarian and actually started this one but never got around to finishing it.

5.  Echoes of Evil by Heather Graham - I really liked the first two in this trilogy within the Krewe series and the series itself is one off my favorites.  I've heard mixed reviews on this one which may have been why I haven't gotten to it yet.

6.  Slay in Character by Lynn Cahoon - Cahoon is one of my favorites and I've enjoyed this series about a writing retreat in Colorado.  November just wasn't a good reading month for me and this one was one of the ones that suffered.

7.  Hidden Secrets by Jannine Gallant - I love romantic suspense.  I love books involving antiques and I love books involving restaurant owners.  And I love books set in small towns.  This one was another casualty of November I think. 

8.  Bells, Spells and Murder by Carol J. Perry - I absolutely love this series but am so behind on it and didn't get caught up in time to read this one.

9.  Murder on Memory Lake by J.D. Griffo - There's a secret lakehouse.  And this is the first in a cozy mystery series.  

10. As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz  - I've read two books by Budewitz and really loved both and was super excited about this one but somehow it just never got read.

My list seems to be pretty heavy on cozy mysteries even though that's what I feel I read so many this year.  All of these look just as tempting as they did when I first got them and I'm hoping to read these soon!  What books did you just not quite get to in 2018?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ramblings from the Stacks - 2019 Bookish Resolutions

It's time for 2019 Bookish Resolutions!  I was pretty pleased with last year's resolutions (find them here) even though I didn't do quite as well as I would have liked.  One of the things I think I was missing last year was specifics.  I mean I'm always going to want to read more books off my shelves but this time I'm going to attach a number to the resolution.  So here are my 8 Resolutions for 2019! 

1.  Read 200 Books in 2019 - So I only got to 146 in 2018 but I had a lot of stuff come up and I think I've learned a thing or two so I'm going to try again.

2.  Complete the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge (here) and the Read Christie 2019 Challenge (here)

3.  Read 4 Nonfiction Books - That makes it one per quarter.  I really enjoy nonfiction but somehow never take the time to read any.

4.  Read 10 Books I Already Own - Not a huge number but I've got to start somewhere!

5.  Make Progress On Series I've Enjoyed But Neglected - Read 5 off of this list.

6.  Read at least half the books this list and this list -   I'm trying to make some progress on some of the lists I enjoy making!

7.  Read 4 Classics - or at least books I have deemed classics.

8.  Try 10 new cookbooks either purchased or from the library.

I normally do lists of 10 but I'm going to stop at 8 because I'm not trying to push myself this year except on the reading number!  Like last year I'll check in quarterly so I can remind myself of just what I decided to try and do this year!

What are your bookish goals for 2019?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

This Week in Reading - January 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:

No Escape Claws by Sofie Ryan - I discovered this series about a second hand store amateur sleuth last year and fell in love with it.  Super excited about this one!  (Publisher)

The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan - I loved The Chillbury Ladies' Choir by this author so I'm super excited to read her new book which is also set during World War II - this time in London. (NetGalley)

The Goodbye CafĂ© by Mariah Stewart - This is the conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies and I'm super excited to see how it wraps up.  This one is about my least favorite sister so I'm a little nervous but my hopes are high.  (NetGalley)


Reading:  Cloaked in Malice by Annette Blair and Gilt by Association by Karen Rose Smith

Listening:  I finished Dark Witch by Nora Roberts which I liked much better in audio than print (though it also could have been my mood at the time I read it) and am about 1/3 of the way through Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

Watching:  This season of Top Chef.  So far I'm enjoying it.  I like most of the chefs that competing this season.

Off the Blog:

This was a quiet week.  Still getting back into the school routine but other than hating to get up in the morning things have gone pretty smoothly.  No one around here is a morning person.  I've really been enjoying the books I'm reading/listening which has been really nice.  I went through some meh phases last year so it's been a delight to love everything I'm reading.  I'm hoping that will be the trend for the rest of the year - or at least be in this position more often than not.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: Ramblings from the Stacks - 2019 Bookish Resolutions
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I Meant to Read in 2018
Wednesday: My Classic Movie Essentials - My Essential Actors
Thursday:  What to Eat When - Nonfiction Review
Friday: Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

A Curious Beginning - Historical Mystery Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Library

London, 1887.

After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as with fending off admirers, Veronica intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans when Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. But before the baron can reveal what he knows of the plot against her, he is found murdered—leaving Veronica and Stoker on the run from an elusive assailant as wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed previous books by Deanna Raybourn and this one was highly recommended.  

My Impression:  
Oh wow!  I went into this book with high expectations.  I've really enjoyed everything I've read by Deanna Raybourn and this series sounded like a lot of fun so I expected it to be great.  However, this not only met but exceeded my expectations and was just a true delight to read.  Veronica Speedwell is a fantastic character.  She doesn't quite fit in with what is considered fitting for a lady but she quit worrying about it and does what she wants and what see feels is right.  She wasn't particularly fond of her Aunt Nell though she is attending her funeral at the beginning of the book and is busy setting all the affairs in order but she believed her and did feel some debt to her.  I liked her from the start but when Stoker showed up on the page I was completely in love with this book.  They are so funny and so perfect together.  Their banter is often hilarious and they can both hold their own with the other.  I loved how Stoker couldn't quite tamp down his gentlemanly instincts and how Veronica called him on it.  Not only were the characters wonderful but the mystery itself kept me turning pages excited to find out just what was going to happen next.  Who had killed the mysterious Max and just what were the people who were chasing them after?  The conclusion to the mystery was surprising and I enjoyed the history lesson.  The end of the book was a delight and set the series up perfectly for any number of adventures.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Yes!  Raybourn is a favorite and I think this series might just be the best yet.  

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy historical mysteries with strong female characters then this is a series you must not miss.