Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday Fives - Five Movies I Can Watch on Repeat

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  This is a not so much.  Today I'm thinking about movies I seem to be able to watch an infinite number of time.

1.  Apollo 13 - This was the movie that made me think of this idea.  I can't even count how many times I've seen this one and every time it comes on I end up watching it and holding my breath as they wait to get back into contact with the capsule.  It came on the other night and we watched the last 45 minutes or so and then it started playing again and could barely turn it off. 

2.  The Princess Bride - This is one of my favorite movies of all time and rewatching it is never a bad idea.  The casting is perfection, the script is genius and there are so many absolutely perfect moments that I never get tired of watching it.

3.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail - This isn't one of my favorite movies but somehow if it is on I watch it.  And every time I watch it I discover something I either never noticed or completely forgot about it.

4.  Casablanca - I don't think I'm alone in thinking this is one of the best movies of all time and there are so many perfect moments and quotable lines that it is always compelling.

5.  Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables the Sequel - Megan Follows will always be Anne for me and while the Sequel isn't super connected to the book but it is so Anne-ish and wonderful and I want to go watch it right now!

Do you have any movies you can watch over and over?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Books from the Backlog - The Hen of the Baskervilles

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!  This is a mystery I found when organizing my cozies.  I've read a few recent additions to this series and really liked them so I was excited to see I had one in my shelves and with a fantastically pun-ny name too!

Blurb:  The newest mystery in Donna Andrews's gut-bustingly funny, award-winning, New York Times bestselling series is anything but elementary. Meg Langslow is helping Mayor Randall Shiffley organize the Virginia Un-Fair, Caerphilly's entry in the race to replace the old state fair (which has gone bankrupt). Before a line can even form outside the ticket booth, however, a pair of Bantam Russian Orloff chickens are stolen from their coop in the chicken tent. Soon, a rash of vandalism crops up at the fair, showing no heritage farm animal, prize vegetable, or artisanal craft to be safe.
While patrolling the fairgrounds, determined to catch the perp, Meg runs into her friend Molly, who has been building a successful business making goat cheeses. Molly is terrified that she may lose her farm because her idle husband Brett has left her for Genette Sedgewick, a rich hobby winemaker, and is demanding his half of the land. Meg enlists Mother's help to find Molly a divorce lawyer, but later that night, Brett is found murdered and Molly is swiftly accused as his killer.

Meg is convinced that her friend wouldn't so much as harm a fly, but can she find the real killer before it's too late? Will she track down the vandal who has been terrorizing—however creatively—the fair's participants? And will Michael be able to convince her to add members of his new favorite heritage breed to their growing menagerie? Meg's most hilarious caper yet, the curious incident of the hen in the nighttime will have readers rolling on the floor with laughter.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf - Because clearly it's been there gathering dust long enough that I've forgotten I even own it! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Bone Island Trilogy - Romantic Suspense Review

Ghost Shadow - In the opening of this trilogy we start out with a tour of a Key West oddities museum that goes horribly wrong when a famous exhibit featuring a corpse bride features an actual corpse.  Fast forward more than 10 years later and no one has ever been arrested for the famous murder.  Now all the possibilities are back in town and there's another murder in another museum representing another famous corpse.  Katie O'Hara is from an old Key West family but she was a teenager when the original murder took place but now she finds herself in the middle of it as she grows closer to David Beckett - the ex-boyfriend and main suspect in the original murder investigation.  But Katie has one skill that no one knows about - she can see the dead and the dead talk to her.  This was a really fun read with Key West itself and it's history playing an active role in the story.  The history of the island is discussed in fascinating detail and Graham even includes a timeline of it's history in the front of the book.  The ending felt a bit rushed after so much research in the bulk of the book and I would have liked a little more explanation but it was enjoyable to watch unfold.  This was incredibly fun read with likable characters, a lot of history, and a good dash of ghosts.

Ghost Night - We start out with a bang here - well a scream actually.  A scream that leads to the discovery of two very dead bodies on the beach of an island called Haunt Island.  Vanessa was there that fateful day and not only is she haunted by what she saw she never really felt like she could work out just what had happened.  The one clear suspect was someone that she could just never suspect.  When people start disappearing in the waters around Haunt Island (tip - don't go to a place called Haunt Island) she connects with her old friend Katie and Katie's brother Sean who is about to start filming a documentary regarding the oddities in the water that surround Key West.  I don't think I enjoyed this quite as much as the first book.  I mean it was a fast read with an intriguing plot but I never felt like I connected with any of the characters.  I didn't really understand why Sean was so upset about the fact that Vanessa might have planned to meet with people who worked on a previous film crew.  The fact that that issue popped up throughout the book was a little annoying.  While I loved all the ghosts and the solving of not only a present day mystery but a historic one as well I do wish that more time had been invested in developing the characters.  The cast is pretty large and at time I had a bit of trouble keeping track of who was who.  Regardless, this was still fun and spooky and I'm excited that Liam will get his story next.

Ghost Moon - This is definitely a haunted house mystery with an old isolated house in Key West stuffed with a mix of treasures and junk and a dead man.  The death of Kelsey's grandfather brings her back to her hometown years after she fled with her father after the death of her murder.  Upon arrival she meets up with old childhood friends and goes about trying to find out just what happened to her mother and grandfather.  I really loved the first one and enjoyed the second but this I liked a little bit less.  For one thing I didn't get Kelsey's insistence in sleeping in the house.  I mean I think staying in a bed and breakfast that is literally across the street from the house would be a preferable alternative to sleeping in a home that your grandfather had been sitting dead in for weeks.  And a house that you were so uncomfortable in that you had to have the bedroom door locked at night.  She comes off as hostile and prickly and illogical at times.  The mystery was a bit iffy and the romance was a little flat.  Liam is likable but I had a hard time believing that he had really carried a torch for Kelsey all these years and that they just slid into a relationship as easily as they did.  I think part of what bothered me with this one is there was just so much potential.  The house was crammed full of treasures and only a few were even mentioned and almost nothing was said about any of them.  All in all this was okay but a bit flat.  I don't think Graham is at her best with trilogies or books that focus on the same characters over and over.  I think that's why the Krewe novels really work but so many of her other series fall a little flat for me.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Books Released in the Last 10 Years That I Read This Year

Every week That Artsy Reader Girl hosts Top Ten Tuesday where we get to make Top Ten lists off a set topic.  This week's topic is Favorite Books Released in the Last 10 Years.  However, when I was flipping through my book record for the year I noticed that my goal of reading some of my own books is starting to pay off and I've read a book published from each of the 10 years this year!  So here are 10 books from the last 10 years that I've read this year and what I thought of them.

2009 - Untraceable by Laura Griffin - I love a good romantic suspense and enjoyed listening to this though the "heroine" drove me insane with her illogical and unprofessional actions.  The later books in this series are much stronger thankfully.

2010 - Ghost Moon by Heather Graham - I've really enjoyed this paranormal romantic suspense trilogy set in Key West but this final book was my least favorite.  I'm not so sure that Graham is particularly good at ending trilogies or books with repeating primary characters.

2011 - Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis - This was a reread (though I listened this time) and was a lot of fun.  I had forgotten just how much fun the community of Lucky Harbor is.

2012 - Cloaked in Malice by Annette Blair - This is a fun paranormal cozy with vintage clothes and a ghost that resembles Cary Grant.  This wasn't the realistic mystery but it was so much fun!

2013 - The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart - I've found this series to be inconsistent but I really enjoyed this one about the daughter of a Bernie Madoff type figure who is trying to survive in the wake of her father's downfall.

2014 - Blood Magick by Nora Roberts - I had mixed feelings when I first read the first two books in the trilogy and went years without ever reading this one.  However recently I listened to the first two and really enjoyed them and of course had to get this one.  I thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

2015 - Dead Wake by Erik Larson - I've been hearing about this author for years and this book is one of the most recommended.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved listening to it!

2016 - Island of Glass by Nora Roberts - I really enjoyed this trilogy and this last one didn't disappoint even though the couple this one focused on weren't my favorite.

2017 - Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell - This was a fun series starter with a great main character and another main character who thoroughly annoyed me. It's definitely one I want to continue with.

2018 - The Last Lie by Alex Lake - I loved this thriller where every chapter revealed a new secret or a new POV.  I really want to read more from this author.

So what are some books you've enjoyed from the last 10 years?

Monday, May 27, 2019

Agatha Christie Project - Hercule Poirot Mysteries Part 7

I'm a huge Agatha Christie and I've found over the years that her books can be reread essentially endlessly.  But with all the new bright shiny books that are constantly crossing my desk sometimes her straight forward yet twisty mysteries get lost in the shuffle.  So I'm trying to make an effort to keep at least one book on my short TBR pile.  While I'm reading them in chronological order by series you can really pick up any book at any point in the series. 

The Hollow (1946) - I have read that Agatha Christie believes she ruined this one by the addition of Poirot and while I can definitely agree that Poirot's addition definitely feels unnecessary I don't feel like he ruined my enjoyment of the book.  This is an interesting twist on the house party murder with a victim who is both loved and hated.  This was an entertaining mystery with characters who were at times likable, pathetic, and maddening.  This isn't the most surprising ending but it is an entertaining read.  Rating: Very Good

Labors of Hercules (1947) - This is such a fun concept.  Hercules is ready for retirement (he retires a lot throughout the books) and a chance mention regarding the classics gives him the perfect idea of his last hurrah.  He will take on each of the original Hercules' famous labors and once they are all completed it will then be time to retire.  And so starts a series of short stories featuring Poirot's interpretation of each of the labors.  I love Christie's short stories and this was incredibly entertaining and featured a few appearances of Miss Lemon who is one of my absolute favorite side characters.  Rating: Loved it!

Taken at the Flood (1948) - This one is a favorite yet one I always forget about.  Gordon Cloade shocked his family by marrying a much younger woman and then horrified them by dying in the Blitz just a few days later.  The aftermath is disastrous for the entire Cloade family and for Gordon Cloade's new widow.   Not only is the mystery compelling but there is a lot of room for thought and discussion about how the Cloade family should have acted and what happens to those who are coming home from the war and trying to adjust back to their old life as different people.  Rating: Loved it!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

This Week in Reading - May 26

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:

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See - I haven't read any Lisa See but have really been wanting to try her books so I couldn't pass this one up.  (Goodreads Giveaway Win!)

Layover by David Bell - I enjoyed a previous book by Bell and this one looks so good.  Can't wait to read.  (Publisher)

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan - I love historical mysteries and this looks like one I'm really going to enjoy.  (Blog Tour)

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore - I don't know much about this one or this author but it looks lovely and summery and I think there's some secrets lurking about (Blog Tour)

The Summoning by Heather Graham - I love the Krewe of Hunters so I preordered this one and am really looking forward to it.  (Purchased)

A Beach Wish by Shelley Noble - I loved the last book by Noble that I read so I'm excited to start this one.  (Blog Tour)

The Search by Nora Roberts - Audible had a 2 for 1 credit sale and I've really been loving relistening to Nora Roberts' books in audio so I had to get this one. (Purchased)

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston - I don't know a huge amount about this one but it sounded interesting and I had that 2 for 1 burning a hole in my pocket.  (Purchased)

Death in the Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley - This is one of my favorite series so I'm so excited to read this newest one.  (Publisher)

The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle - This isn't my favorite series but I do love the bookishness of it and this one involves a first edition James Bond so I'm really looking forward to this one. (Publisher)


Reading:  Slay in Character by Lynn Cahoon, The Book Shop Book by Jen Campbell and The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

Listening:  I finished up Blackberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne (not my favorite) and just started Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

Watching:  I'm sad to see the end of this season of The Voice.  I was kind of meh about last season but I really enjoyed last season though I was really pleased with the ending.  Really though I would have been happy with any of the finalists winning.

Off the Blog:

I've been having really bad headaches for the last month of two that seem to be mostly in my neck and I finally went to the doctor.  I was hoping for a "oh it's this - do this and it'll go away" but of course it isn't that simple.  I've had some X-rays and apparently I show signs of degenerative disc disease in c4, c5 and c6 (ie middle of my neck) and am going to have to start physical therapy.  Anyone know anything about this or what physical therapy entails?  I don't have a follow up until next week and the internet is useless for actual information.

Other than that we haven't been doing much this week.  School is out (we get out early but go back super early) so I've enjoyed not having to wake up early and drag a very grumpy kid out of bed.  Next week we will be trying to get into our summer routine but for now it's just all laziness.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Reviews on a Few Hercule Poirot Mysteries
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Books Released in the Last 10 Years
Wednesday:  TBD
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography - Memoir Review

Goodreads: Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

Rating: Just Okay
Source: Blogging For Books/Purchased (Audible)

Description:  Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. You will be born in New Mexico. You will get your big break at an acting camp. You will get into a bizarre confrontation outside a nightclub with actor Scott Caan. Even better, at each critical juncture of your life, you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D. You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht.
Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song. Yes, if you buy one book this year, congratulations on being above the American average, but make that book Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography!

Genre: Nonfiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I like Neil Patrick Harris and was super curious to see how this worked.

My Impression:  Honestly - I was never a big fan of those Choose Your Own Adventure books that were everywhere when I was a kid.  I mean I liked the basic concept but I always died really quick and than I would lose patience trying to try all the different options.  However, I love Neil Patrick Harris and was curious about how the Choose Your Own Adventure format would work for an autobiography - with some silliness and craziness being a given.  I had actually tried to read this in book form and had a similar experience to those childhood Choose Your Own Adventures and lost interest pretty quickly.

The audio worked way better for me.  Not only does Neil do a great job with the narration (hardly surprising) but I found the actual autobiography part easier to follow.  Granted there was still a lot of silliness and general off the wall nonsense but the core of the audio was the actual Neil Patrick Harris' thoughts and journey which was quite entertaining.  I would have liked a bit more about How I Met Your Mother as I really enjoyed the bits about his theater career and his family.  The book itself definitely had a gimmicky feel and I never felt quite as connected with him as I had with Anna Kendrick or Kunal Nayyir after listening to their autobiographies.  If you're not already a big NPH fan I don't think you'll get much out of this book - and honestly while I've enjoyed some of his TV work and interviews I'm not sure I'm a big enough fan.  In addition to the random side trips into nonsense land there's a bit of rambling.  While not a must read it is entertaining though I'd definitely go with the audio version over print.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Probably not though I would listen to just about anything he narrated.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Not really unless you're a huge NPH fan and even then I'd suggest getting it from the library.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday Fives - Five Random Library Picks

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  This is a bookish week! My library has this option where you can search their book catalog by acquisition date which I do frequently and then save books that interest me onto my TBR list.  Frequently I know nothing about the books other than their title, cover, and basic general category.  Here are 5 random picks that I know nothing about but my library tempted me with.

1.  A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland by Charles Lachman - I do love some presidential history and know nothing about Cleveland!

2.  Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse by Andrea Di Robilant - While I've never been a huge fan of Hemingway's writing his personal life fascinates me.

3. Victuals: An Appalachian Journey with Recipes by Ronni Lundy - I love a book about a journey and a journey with recipes is impossible to turn down.

4.  The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice - The title 100% got me on this one.  The lost art of anything always appeals to me and I can never resist a book about secrets.

5.  The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders - The subtitle was pretty much all I needed to know.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Have You Seen Luis Velez? - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Rating: Loved It!
Source:  Publicist

Description:  Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?

Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.

Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed a previous book by this author and have really been wanting to read more from her.

My Impression:  I think I fell in love with this one about 20 pages or so in when Raymond takes some food to a stray cat he's been caring for.  It's such a sweet and honest moment that broke my heart and made me feel a bit warm fuzzy at the same time.  Raymond is in some ways a typical teenager.  He's uncomfortable and awkward and desperately wants to fit in somewhere but is so insecure about just where that place might be.  But that need to fit in makes him pay attention to those that need help - to that stray cat and finally to the lonely elderly woman in the hallway.

This book is powerful in its simplicity.  Two people with seemingly nothing in common are united on the surface by the search for Luis Velez but more importantly by the need to have someone to connect with and to care for.  This book is heartwarming and poignant and I loved it.  These are people that I'm grateful to have met and spent time with and that I miss now that I've finished the book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really enjoyed the last book I read by her and this one was simply wonderful.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Without a doubt!  If you are in the mood for a heartwarming book with wonderful characters this is a wonderful choice.

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Mistress of the Ritz - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

Rating:  Loved it!
Source:  Publisher

Description:  Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors to be welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel's director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests--and each other.
Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For the falsehoods they tell to survive, and to strike a blow against their Nazi "guests," spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone--the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed a previous book by this author and this blurb really caught my attention.

My Impression:  So I just spent the last few days in the Paris in the most luxurious hotel in the world during the 20s through the 40s.  It was glorious and glamorous, and terrifying and heartbreaking all at once.  My hosts were the manager and the mistress of the Ritz themselves - Blanche and Claude Auzello and they told me all their secrets.  They're maddening and sympathetic and I wanted to hug them both at different times as well as give each of them a shake now and then.   But they were utterly and completely living breathing people who just stepped off the page along with the ever present grandeur of the Ritz herself.  Even when crawling with heavy booted German officers and the sharp nosed demanding and occasionally vicious Coco Chanel. 

I discovered Benjamin's gift for making the past and the characters come alive in her previous book, The Girls in the Picture but while that one occasionally dragged a bit this one gripped me and pulled me in from the beginning.  I think part of the difference is that the focus is fairly narrow here.  While there are lots of side characters the main characters are Claude and Blanche and the ups and downs of their marriage and the setting is primarily the Ritz which is almost a character itself.   As well, the constraints and fear living directly under the nose of the occupying forces make for compelling reading.  I figured out Blanche's secret fairly quickly but I think there was even more suspense wondering when it would come out and what would happen when it did. 

This was a compelling historical fiction with characters that seemed to jump of the page.  They were fascinating and flawed and I felt like I knew them by the end of the book.  Melanie Benjamin is becoming my favorite historical fiction author and I always know when I pick up her books that I will be transported to another time.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  At this point I think I'll read anything that Melanie Benjamin writes.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical fiction 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. *

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Ten Books I'm Getting for My 9 Year Old This Summer

My 9 year old isn't much of a reader.  There isn't really a reason.  There is no issue with his ability it's more a combination of he's made up his mind that he can't read a true chapter book and is convinced he doesn't like reading.  As well, he hasn't found THAT book.  You know the book or the book series that catches you and makes you want to sneak off and read just a few more pages.  He does love audio books and listens to one every night so I know he enjoys stories so I'm hoping that if I throw enough books his way one of them will finally hook him.  Here are a few I'm going to pick up.

1.  Clues in the Attic by Cari Meister - I figure this graphic novel will be a good way to ease into reading for pleasure.  It's a mystery, it's a graphic novel, and honestly it looks really fun!

2.  Disaster Strikes: The Most Dangerous Space Missions of All Time by Jeffrey Kluger - We're very into space and this is a series of stories about the most dangerous missions which sounds like compelling reading even for a reluctant reader.

3.  Missy Piggle Wiggle and the Won't Walk the Dog Cure by Ann M. Martin - When he was little we read a Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book and he thought it was lots of fun so I'm hoping this newer iteration catches his attention.

4.  Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis - We watched the movie (which is very good) a few weeks ago because he loved reading the first two books in school so I'm hoping he'll enjoy the book as much as those books and the movie.

5.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - He's suddenly started talking about Harry Potter all the time and I'm hoping to hook him with the first book.

6.  Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W Stokes - I know nothing about this one but it's an adventure story with a bit of mystery and sounds like lots of fun.

7.  The Apothecary by Maile Meloy - This is another one I don't know much about but it's a mystery with a bit of magic and a spy so how can it be bad?

8.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - I think he'll enjoy Dahl's incredibly visual writing style and this is short read that is lots of fun.

9.  Restart by Gordon Korman - The librarian hyped this one up before book fair last year and he absolutely had to have it.  I think now is the time he should read it!

10. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming - This is a fun action packed story with Fleming's streamlined writing and a very entertaining car with a mind of its own.

What books would you put on the stack for a hard headed 9 year old?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Ramblings from the Stacks - Why I Love the Book Blogging World

I have to admit - lately I've been spending lots of time away from the world of book blogs.  Between my newfound love of YouTube and Disney blogs and a few other things I've been visiting all kinds of different worlds and honestly this and the inevitable reading of the comments (always a bad of a day in worlds other than the book world) have made me so appreciative of the community here.  Here's some of the things I love about my experience in the World of Book Blogging

1.  Everyone is nice - In almost six years of blogging I can count on one hand the number of comments I've gotten that were even vaguely negative and even those were negative about my opinion of the book and never strayed to me personally which seems to be a rarity online.

2.  We can disagree about books and it's okay.- There have been many times where I have disagreed with a blogger friend's book opinion or vice versa and it's always okay.  I remember in particular absolutely loving The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and Stormi over at Books, Movies, Reviews, Oh My! really didn't.  We both commented on each others posts and it was okay.  I didn't take it personally that she didn't like it and vice versa (or at least I don't think she took it personally that I disagreed with her!). 

3.  We can read different genres and still be blogging friends - There are so many bloggers I follow who either read genres that I have no interest in or the other way around and yet I always look forward to their comments and enjoy reading and commenting on their blogs.

4.  We are all incredibly different people with different lives, from different places and yet the love of books is really the most important thing. - I think most of us could say that we don't know many people in our day to day lives who read like us.  All of my family are readers (expect for my 9 year old but I haven't given up hope yet!) but none of them read even close to the same number that I do and none of them seem to enjoy it as much as I do.  It's so wonderful to have found such a diverse group of people who all get that side of each other.

What do you love about the Book Blogging World?  Have you had any less than positive online experiences? 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

This Week in Reading - May 19

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

What I Got:

A Beach Wish by Shelley Noble - I'm still relatively new to Shelley Noble but I've loved the books I've read from her so I'm really excited about this one.  (Blog Tour)

The House on Hallowed Ground by Nancy Cole Silverman - I've really enjoyed Silverman's Carol Childs series and I'm really excited about this series featuring a reoccurring character who is also a psychic. 

A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie - I love Crombie's police procedural series and am excited to read this newest one.  (Edelweiss)

Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries - I love Sabrina Jeffries so there was no way I was passing up this newest historical romance from her.

No More Time by Suzanne Trauth - I've been wanting to read this author for awhile and this cozy mystery involving a restaurant manager looks really fun.  (Author)


Reading: Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin and Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie

Listening:  Blackberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne

Watching:  We watched the series finale of The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon's speech killed me at the end.  We've been watching the series since the beginning and I'm sad to see it go though I do think it was time and I loved the way it ended.

Off the Blog:

I'm feeling better thankfully.  The weather is nice and my allergies are under control so everything is happy again.  Today I'm hoping to get some tomato plants in the ground.  It's a little late but hopefully better late than never.  I'd like to add in some herbs but we'll see how it goes. I didn't grow anything last year and I'm hoping to take some baby steps back into gardening this year.  Fingers crossed I get lots of delicious tomatoes.

Last week was the Tornado's last full week of school (we get out really early but go back  which ended with Field Day which means about 800 kids are floating on sugar highs, exhausted from spending all day running around outside, and slightly sunburned because there is no sunscreen that can fully protect you from Field Day.  This weekend is pretty low key partly because of that and because sometimes low key weekends are just what you need!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Ramblings from the Stacks - Why I Love the Book Blogging Community
Tuesday: TBD
Wednesday: Mistress of the Ritz - Historical Fiction Review
Thursday: Have You Seen Luis Velez - Fiction Review
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Secret Keeper - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Rating: Very Good
Source: Library

Description:  During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really loved the other Kate Morton books so naturally I had to pick this one up.

My Impression:  This is my third Kate Morton book and it has everything I've come to expect from Morton's book - intensely atmosphere with an intricately woven plot - but with a bit more.  The characters are more vivid than I've found them in previous books and the mystery hooked me a bit more.  Just what happened on that long ago day?  Just who had Laurel witnessed her cheerful fun loving mother oh so casually murder and why?

The present day storyline is told through Laurel Nicholson's POV.  She is the oldest daughter of Dorothy Nicholson whose past life has always been a bit of a mystery  but who is now at the end of her life.  Laurel, a well known actress, becomes obsessed (but not in an unhealthy feeling way) with determining just who her mother was and how the dead man in the garden factored in to that past.  While Laurel does have sisters they are very much side characters and not only do we never see their perspective on things but they aren't particularly fleshed out.  Because the story was so full and the focus was really on Dorothy Nicholson I don't think I even noticed this until the end.  I loved Laurel's little brother Gerry's role in the story and only wish there could have been more of a collaboration between the two but then I'm a sucker for a team style investigation so I might be a bit biased.

The 1940s storyline is a bit more of a fly on the wall POV with most of the focus on Dolly Smitham who is living in London away from her family during the war.  I was never quite sure what I thought of Dolly.  I'd think that I disliked her and then something would happen and I'd swing to feeling sorry for her or even liking her and then I'd be back at disliking her.  I was so intrigued by just what had happened to in the 1940s that led to the present day storyline and the questions of that day in the garden.

This is a long book but not one that ever felt like it dragged.  I was completely caught up in this one and thoroughly enjoyed the read.  I'm looking forward to visiting Kate Morton's world again soon.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  In fact I have another Morton book on my desk waiting to be read.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would.  This is a wonderful bit of historical fiction with a bit of mystery and all kinds of family secrets. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday Fives - Five Classics I Can Realistically Read

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  This is a bookish week!  After taking a hard look at my reading I've had to admit that I'm not going to make my Classic Club goals which technically comes to an end in August.  But I do want to up my reading and here are 5 classics I think I can realistically read this year - so not War and Peace.

1.  The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart - I read several Mary Roberts Rinehart years ago and I'm trying to revisit all of my favorite classic mystery authors.  After Mary Roberts Rinehart I'm tackling Josephine Tey.

2.  The Bell Jar by Sylvia Path  - Somehow I've never read this one but it's short and I think one I can I can easily get off my TBR this year.

3.  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - I love middle grade adventure stories and my Dad read this one to me as a bedtime story when I was a little girl.  Of course I remember nothing about it but I'd love to revisit it.

4.  The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett - I recently watched the Humphrey Bogart movie and enjoyed it and I'd really like to read the original story.

5.  The One Hundred and One Dalmations by Dodie Smith - Honestly I didn't know this was a book until recently but now I really want to read it!

What classics do you think you can realistically read this year?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Books from the Backlog - The Ivory Dagger

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!  This week's book is a Patricia Wentworth book that I somehow own but haven't read.  

Goodreads:  The Ivory Dagger by Patricia Wentworth

Blurb: When Lila Dryden is discovered standing over the dead body of her irritating fiance with a dagger in her hand, Miss Silver is called in to investigate. What her patience and particular genius uncover is Lila's talent for sleepwalking, the return of her former lover, and the victim's entire staff and circle of acquaintances - all of whom occasionally wished him dead.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I'd like to try to read all the Patricia Wentworth books and this is one I already own!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Reading When Sick

This month has been a month of headaches - literally.  I'm not sure what exactly has been the issue - weather, allergies, just a cosmic bit of bad luck - but I've definitely not been feeling my best and my reading has taken a serious hit. 

I started this month with a big stack of my favorite topics that I was looking forward to diving into.  So far I've read about 2/3 of one and honestly I'm not loving it.  It could be that the book is actually just a bit flat.  Even worse my interest in reading is just about nil.  I've managed to keep my interest in audio books but that's about it. 

Basically, I just want to go bed and pull the covers over my head and sleep which is making reading incredibly unappealing.  I know there are some people who can curl up under a blanket and just plow through a stack of books when feeling under the weather but I'm definitely not one of them!  Can you read when sick?  Can you maintain interest in reading when you're not feeling so great?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Page to Screen Adaptation

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic hosted from That Artsy Reader Girl is a Page to Screen Freebie.  I'm always a bit nervous when favorite books or books I've enjoy even slightly are turned into TV shows or movies but here are a few I've enjoyed.

1.  Anne of Green Gables - The 1980s Disney Channel version - So this isn't the most accurate adaptation but it's my favorite.  Megan Follows is the best Anne and I can watch this one and the sequel for ages.  We're not going to talk about the third one though. 

2.  The Alienist on TNT - So this is only a guess because while I read this book it was years ago and I only barely remember it.  But I did enjoy the mini series and it had the same creepy feel that I remember the book having.

3.  Gone Girl - I loved the casting and the story really translated well into film.

4. The first two seasons of Shetland - So this is cheating a bit because I haven't actually read the books but I really loved the seasons that were based on the actual books by Ann Cleeves.  The characters are fantastic and the mysteries kept me hooked.

5.  Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Pretty much any of the film adaptations are pretty good.  Douglas Adams' brand of humor translates well and his time as a screenwriter for Doctor Who is very clear in his style of writing.

6.  Aurora Teagarden series on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries - These are so different from the series by Charlaine Harris but they're such fun and I love Candace Cameron Bure as Aurora.

7.  Murder, She Baked on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries - This is another one that isn't really like the book series but it is such fun and carries the same spirit as the book.

8.  Hercule Poirot BBC adaptations with David Suchet - Suchet is the perfect Hercule Poirot and his love for Agatha Christie's books make it even better.

9.  Casino Royale with Daniel Craig - Almost all of the earlier James Bond movies are just straight up ridiculous but this one not only follows the book pretty closely (with some changes to keep it from seeming too dated) but keeps the feel of the book.

10. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - I forgot how much I loved the movie adaptation of this favorite until we rewatched it recently.  The casting was wonderful and they did such a good job with the movie.

What are some of your favorite page to screen adaptation?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Island of Glass - Romantic Suspense Review

Goodreads:  Island of Glass (Guardians Trilogy #3) by Nora Roberts

Rating:  Very Good
Source: Purchased

Description:  As the hunt for the Star of Ice leads the six guardians to Ireland, Doyle, the immortal, must face his tragic past. Three centuries ago, he closed off his heart, yet his warrior spirit is still drawn to the wild. And there’s no one more familiar with the wild than Riley—and the wolf within her…
An archaeologist, Riley is no stranger to the coast of Clare, but now she finds herself on unsure footing, targeted by the dark goddess who wants more than the stars, more than the blood of the guardians. While searching through Irish history for clues that will lead them to the final star and the mysterious Island of Glass, Riley must fight her practical nature and admit her sudden attraction to Doyle is more than just a fling. For it is his strength that will sustain her and give her the power to run towards love—and save them all…

Genre: Romantic Suspense - Paranormal

Why I Picked This Book:  I loved the first two in this trilogy so I had to read the conclusion and of course I can never resist a Nora Roberts book.

My Impression:  This was a fantastic conclusion to a thoroughly enjoyable trilogy.  Not only does the main plot wrap up nicely but the connection between the six was explained as well and all without being too trite.  To be honest this was my least favorite romance.  While I like Riley and found her character fascinating I just never quite felt connected to Doyle.  He's got so many walls and is so angry that I couldn't quite buy his letting everything go all at once.   The book made up for that issue though because I loved seeing the six really working as a team and I loved the descriptions of Bran's house.  I  need a house like that with towers and libraries on the Irish coast though without the demons and whatnots coming to kill me.  It was a fun read and one I flew through.  I'm a bit sad to see the last of these characters though it did make me want to reread the first book so I'll get a bit of a revisit.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  Nora Roberts is an auto-buy/read for me.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would though you really need to read the first two books in the trilogy first or you'll be very lost.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

This Week in Reading - May 12

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:

Murder She Wrote by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land - The Murder She Wrote books have been a pleasant surprise so I'm looking forward to this new one.  (Publisher)

The Duke is But a Dream by Anna Bennett - I've been wanting to read Anna Bennett for awhile and this one has an amnesia plot which I haven't read since an old Lisa Kleypas years ago so I'm excited about this one.  (Publisher)

One Minute Later by Susan Lewis - I love a book involving a crisis which starts the main character with finding herself and reevaluating her whole life.  I couldn't resist this one!  (Blog Tour) 


Reading:  I'm finishing up The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright and Ghost Moon by Heather Graham

Listening:  I finished up The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart and am now almost done with Blood Magick by Nora Roberts.  Not sure what's up next.

Watching:  I haven't been watching a huge amount of TV but I caught up on this season of NCIS which I've been enjoying.

Off the Blog:

I haven't been feeling very well this week so there wasn't much going on here.  The weather has been gross with lots of storms which cuts down on pretty much everything I had on my to do list.  So this week wasn't exactly a winner but I'm hoping that next week will be better.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Islands of Glass - Romantic Suspense Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - My Favorite Page to Screen Adaptations
Wednesday: TBD
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Phantom Evil - Romantic Suspense Review

Goodreads:  Phantom Evil (Krewe of Hunters #1) by Heather Graham

Rating: Good
Source: Purchased

Description: A secret government unit, a group of renegade paranormal investigators... and a murder no one else can crack.
Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that the living commit the most heinous crimes.

A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.

But one assignment calls to them too strongly to resist. In a historic mansion in New Orleans's French Quarter, a senator's wife falls to her death. Most think she jumped; some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits inhabiting the house — once the site of a serial killer's grisly work.

In this seemingly unsolvable case, only one thing is certain: whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion will cast Jackson and Angela into danger of losing their lives... and their immortal souls.

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been enjoying the more recent books in this series and decided it was finally time to read the first book in the series.

My Impression:  I came to this series around book 12 or so and always meant to go back to the beginning.  I'm so glad I took the time!  While I've never had any problem keeping up with the plot of the later books it was lots of fun to see the beginning and to have Jackson and Angela the focus of the story instead of side characters.  New Orleans seems the perfect place for the series to start as very few cities have more ghostly legends and it was fun hearing mentions of streets and places that I'm familiar with.  The ghosts were slightly creepy and very intriguing involving a serial killer from a century ago as well as modern misbehaving.  I liked the mix of history and modern crime and the different methods that were used to investigate.  I would have liked both the characters and the ghostly interactions to have been fleshed out a bit more but I found this entertaining none the less and was satisfied by the conclusion.  I'm looking forward to seeing the other members of team in their own books.

I listened to the audio version narrated by Jeffrey Cummings.  While he did a good job I don't think this was a book that just has to be listened to versus read.  I think I will enjoy this series either in print or audio.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  This is a favorite series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy some ghostly romantic suspense than I think you'll enjoy it.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday Fives - My Favorite Things

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  This is a not so much week.  Since it's my birthday month I'm focusing on my favorite things and this week I'm listing my favorite non-bookish things!

1.  Disney Mugs/Tumblers - I love Disney World and right now it's my favorite vacation spot.  I love using my Disney mugs for my coffee in the morning or my tea at night as well my tumblers for water.  I'm always looking for new ones to add to my collection!

2.  Audible - Okay so this one is bookish but there's just something about the way Audible works that really works for me and I've really been enjoying it since I've added the Romance package (which has a pretty decent variety of other genres too) I've been using it all the time. 

3.  Scrunchies - Scrunchies were a big deal when I was a teenager and then they went away.  And now they're back!  I'm not sure if they're in any way trendy or stylish or any of those things but they're way better than those skinny hairbands I've been putting up with for years.  I'm beyond thrilled and am acquiring quite the collection.

4. Yoga - I've been having some health issues lately which has caused a lot of joint pain and yoga has been a lifesaver.  I love Yoga with Adriene and SarahBethYoga on YouTube.  They have a lot of great wind down videos as well as some great more active practices.

5.  TV - I've been really enjoying TV lately.  I'm really liking NCIS, MacGyver, Magnum PI, The Voice and a bunch of other shows and have been watching a lot of Hallmark movies and classic movies.

What are some of your favorite things?