Thursday, October 31, 2019

We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Fiction Review

Goodreads: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Rating: Very Good
Source:  Library

Description:  My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead...

Genre:  Fiction 

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm a big Shirley Jackson fan and this is one I thought I had read years ago but never had.

My Impression:  Well this was a weird one.  I feel like I've got to be careful with what I say about this one.  I knew just about nothing going into this one and for once the blurb manages to not over inform.  Going in blind was definitely the way to go because hopefully like me that means you'll spend the whole book trying to figure out just what is going on and what exactly is the explanation for the more sinister hints that are dropped here and there.

One thing I'm always impressed with with Shirley Jackson's writing is that each one is so unique.  Hill House is nothing like The Lottery and The Lottery is nothing like Life Among the Savages and none of them are at all similar to this book.  The only thing linking Jackson's stories is her brilliant ability to very subtly create an atmosphere that runs through each and every book different though they may be. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I'm pretty sure this is the last of Jackson's books that I hadn't read but I'll definitely be on the lookout just in case I missed a few.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would though don't go in expecting full scale horror.  Jackson's version of creepy is far more subtle and leans more towards eerie then fear.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A Very Mummy Holiday - Cozy Mystery Novella Review

Goodreads:  A Very Mummy Holiday (Tourist Trap Mystery #9.5) by Lynn Cahoon

Rating: Good
Source:  NetGalley

Description:  The rented house was supposed to be a relaxing getaway. But Jill and her companions feel a sense of danger instead. First, they learn that their hosts’ son had a fiancĂ©e, but her disappearance remains unexplained—and then they meet some menacing members of a local trail-riding club. When one of Jill and Greg’s friends finds human remains amid the dunes—with a diamond ring around one mummified finger—things start heating up fast, and they’ll be thankful just to survive through the long weekend . . .

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is one of my favorite mystery series so I couldn't resist picking up this novella.

My Impression:  Anytime I get to catch up with Jill and Greg I'm a happy reader and this was no exception.  I've really enjoyed the novellas where they are on vacation because both Jill and Greg are kind of butting in to the investigation instead of just Jill.  This was a fun read with two other characters who we've seen around South Cove so it was fun to see an addition to Greg and Jill's snooping. 

The mystery is intriguing with missing people, a startling resemblance, and all kinds of nefarious characters.  Oh and a mummy - how could I have forgotten about the mummy!  My only complaint was that I really liked the mystery and would have really like to have seen some of the threads more developed and turned into a full length mystery.  However, the next full length Tourist Trap mystery will be out at the end of November so I'll just have to make do until then!

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

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would definitely recommend this series to cozy lovers and you could definitely dive in here but I think it'd be best to start at the beginning of the series.

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Cozy Mysteries Set During Halloween

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is a Halloween freebie so I thought I'd look at the cozies that take place during Halloween - or at least center around fall with pumpkins galore.

1.  Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon - I don't remember how much Halloween factored into this novella but they were in a haunted house and the cover just screams Halloween.

2.  Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman - This one is more fall festival but that still counts. 

3.   The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates -  There's a ghost ship and lectures on spooky stuff.  It really sounds like a fun way to celebrate.  And it features a library in a lighthouse so that's hard to pass up.

4.  A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes - A town full of fun shops and they're decorating for Halloween.

5.  Grave Errors by Carol J Perry - This is Halloween in Salem so that's hard to beat.  Plus, this is really just a great series.

6.  The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander - I love another series by this author and I've been really wanting to give this series a try.  This one has Oktoberfest so that sounds fun.

7.  Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere - What's more Halloween-y then Halloween in a costume shop?

8.  Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews - This is one of my absolue favorite cozy mystery series and this is one I haven't read AND it takes place during Halloween.

9.  Murder, She Wrote: The Ghost and Mrs. Fletcher by Donald Bains - I'm not sure how Halloween-y this one actually is but I love Jessica Fletcher and with that title how could I resist this one?

10. A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell - There's a haunted house and a Halloween party in this novella.  It's so much fun!

What are some books in your favorite genre that take place during Halloween?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Penny for Your Secrets - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Penny For Your Secrets (Verity Kent #3) by Anna Lee Huber

Rating:  Very Good
Source:  NetGalley

Description: England, 1919. In Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery, former Secret Service agent Verity Kent is finding that life after wartime offers its own share of danger . . .
The Great War may be over, but for many, there are still obstacles on the home front. Reconciling with her estranged husband makes Verity sympathetic to her friend Ada’s marital difficulties. Bourgeois-bred Ada, recently married to the Marquess of Rockham, is overwhelmed trying to navigate the ways of the aristocracy. And when Lord Rockham is discovered shot through the heart with a bullet from Ada’s revolver, Verity fears her friend has made a fatal blunder.

While striving to prove Ada’s innocence, Verity is called upon for another favor. The sister of a former Secret Service colleague has been killed in what authorities believe was a home invasion gone wrong. The victim’s war work—censoring letters sent by soldiers from the front—exposed her to sensitive, disturbing material. Verity begins to suspect these two unlikely cases may be linked. But as the connections deepen, the consequences—not just for Verity, but for Britain—grow more menacing than she could have imagined.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I really love the Lady Darby Mystery series by this same author and I love this time period with mysteries. 

My Impression:  I'm a huge fan of another series by this author that is set in a completely different time period with a completely different setup.  I was curious about just how this book would work?  Would the two very very different series feel the same?  What works for 1830 is hardly going to play for 1919.  However, as it turned out there was no need to worry.  The tone and basic feel of this book was completely different from the Lady Darby series.  While that series is darkly atmospheric this one was brighter with a bit more flash.  This is champagne while Lady Darby is a good Scotch.  Both delightful but totally different.

That isn't to say this is silly or fluffy.  There's a lot of darkness and a lot of pain lurking among the bright lights and fancy parties.  Verity and her husband are just coming back together after a long separation during the war.  There's hurt and anger and just plain adapting to the different people they've become.  The mystery reflects the complicated immediate post-war reality of 1919 London without ever feeling melodramatic or angst ridden.  This isn't a world without hope but it's a world that is just beginning to heal.

The mystery is interesting pulling possible motives and connections from everyday life as well as shadowy WWI secrets.  My only complaint is that it did feel like it took some time for the actual mysteries to really gain traction.  I enjoyed getting to know Verity and her husband but the first third or so of the book felt far more character driven with a dash of mystery instead of having the murders front and center.  That said the pacing never felt bogged down and time spent with the Kents' made up for the lack of progress in the murder investigation.  This is the 3rd book in the Verity Kent series but I had absolutely no problem jumping into the series right here. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really love this author and I'm looking forward to getting to know Verity better. 

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

Sunday, October 27, 2019

This Week in Reading - October 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:

City of Scoundrels by Victoria Thompson - I've really loved the first two books in this series so I'm super excited about this 3rd book!  (Publisher)

The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans by JoAnna Carl - I know nothing about this book or this author but this one sounds fun so I'm looking forward to reading it.


Reading:  Hickory Dickory Death by Agatha Christie and Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey

Listening:  I See You by Claire Mackintosh
Watching:  I've been enjoying The Voice so far and while I've recorded a bunch of my usual shows that have restarted I haven't actually started watching any of them!

Off the Blog:

Another not so exciting week.  It rained a ton which it hasn't done in ages so that was kind of nice.  The bad thing is that the Tornado's field trip to the local pumpkin farm got canceled.  I'm hoping they'll reschedule but we will see.  We attended a Halloween event at a local museum so he got to trick or treat and got bunches of candy so that made up for a bit.   I'm hoping that Halloween will be nice and dry.  Trick or treating in the rain is no fun.  If it does rain we will probably head to the Space and Rocket Center.  They do a big Halloween party which is lots of fun but we prefer just some old fashioned trick or treating! 

It looks like J might be sent to New Orleans for work in the next few weeks and since we no longer have a school schedule to worry about I'm thinking about going with him.  I haven't been to New Orleans in years (like pre-Katrina) so all my favorite places are probably long gone.  Also, I'll have a 9 year old with me so I need to stay kid friendly!  Anyone been to New Orleans recently?  Recommendations for places to go/places to eat?  Any places to avoid?

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Penny for Your Secrets - Historical Mystery Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Halloween Freebie
Wednesday: A Very Mummy Holiday - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Fiction Review
Friday:  Friday Fives 
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Study of Seduction - Historical Romance Review

Goodreads:  The Study of Seduction (Sinful Suitors #2) by Sabrina Jeffries

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley/Audible Escape Package

Description:  When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the whip-smart, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife ... if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Too bad he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?

Genre: Romance - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  Sabrina Jeffries is one of my absolute favorites!

My Impression:  Sabrina Jeffries is one of my absolute favorite historical romance authors.  She's one of the few I trust to tackle some of my least favorite tropes so I figured when it came to one of my favorite tropes (marriage of convenience) it was a surefire win.  And it was for the most part.  The story was definitely unique with a stalker and the heroine dealing with a past sexual assault (not a spoiler - it's mentioned and regularly discussed in her thoughts from pretty much the beginning).  There's a bit of suspense, a good dash of romance, and a bit of spice.

What kept this from being a complete win for me was the characters.  I liked Edwin and Clarissa but I never felt like I really connected with them.  And I had a hard time really buying their relationship together.  I think if the secret had been revealed earlier on I would have been a bit happier and there would have been more time to see their develop and deepen without the dreaded misunderstanding occurring.  This is still a good read with a satisfying romance - it is Sabrina Jeffries after all - it just wasn't a favorite.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  While not a favorite this was still a good read and Jeffries is still a favorite.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I'd definitely recommend this author and this book would be a good choice if you're looking for a historical romance with a bit of a unique take on a standard trope. 

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

Friday, October 25, 2019

Friday Fives - Favorite Halloween Candy

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. Since this is the Friday before Halloween my mind has strayed to Halloween candy - specifically what I'm looking forward to swiping from my not-so little one's trick or treat bags!

1.  Almond Joys - Almond Joys are my absolute favorite and luckily I'm the only one in my house that likes them so I don't get much of a fight when these show up in a trick or treat bag.

2.  Reese's Pumpkins - I'm perfectly happy to leave the regular Reese's cups to the others but I will sneak these out of the bag when no one is looking and hide them so that they're just for me.

3.  Hershey Bars - It's not the most exciting of candies but I do love just a plain old bar of milk chocolate!

4.  100 Grand Bars - I only see these at Halloween and I love the combination of crispies and caramel and chocolate!  They definitely end up in my pile when we are dividing candy.

5.  Any kind of sour or sugared gummies - If there are peach rings or orange slices or any kind of sour gummy I always make a grab for them.  I can be fair when it comes to gummy bears but I will fight to the death over a peach ring.

What are your favorite Halloween candies? 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Books from the Backlog - Night of a Thousand Stars

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! 

Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn - On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat's wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing—she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father's quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than it seems.
With only her feisty lady's maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognita—east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan—one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, that she holds dear.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf: Raybourn is one of my very favorite authors and I've been really enjoying historical fiction lately.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Art of Theft - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Art of Theft (Lady Sherlock #4) by Sherry Thomas

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  As "Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective," Charlotte Holmes has solved murders and found missing individuals. But she has never stolen a priceless artwork—or rather, made away with the secrets hidden behind a much-coveted canvas.
But Mrs. Watson is desperate to help her old friend recover those secrets and Charlotte finds herself involved in a fever-paced scheme to infiltrate a glamorous Yuletide ball where the painting is one handshake away from being sold and the secrets a bare breath from exposure.

Her dear friend Lord Ingram, her sister Livia, Livia's admirer Stephen Marbleton—everyone pitches in to help and everyone has a grand time. But nothing about this adventure is what it seems and disaster is biding time on the grounds of a glittering French chateau, waiting only for Charlotte to make a single mistake...

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed the previous books in this series so I couldn't pass this one up!

My Impression: I love this series and really it just keeps getting better with each new book as the series develops and we get to know the characters just a bit better.  Charlotte isn't the most open and easy get to know character so the more time I spend with the her the more I feel like I know her and the more I like her.  I really liked that we saw a bit more of Livia then we've seen in previous books.  She's unique and weird and completely different from Charlotte and I was so glad to be able to spend more time with her.

I was really impressed with just how different each of the mysteries in this series feel.  This isn't one of those books where the main character is continuously tripping over a body (not that I have a problem with those but this is a nice change) but instead Charlotte is drawn into a wide variety of mysteries connected to either her job as Sherlock Holmes or through her friends and acquaintances.  While I love this it does tend to make the books in this series start slow.  I thoroughly enjoy the setup and getting to revisit the characters but if you like your mysteries to start with a bang then you may get a bit frustrated.

This is a interesting, unique, and well done mystery series with characters unlike any other.  I look forward to seeing what happens for Mrs. Watson, Charlotte, and Livia next!  Because this series has such strong characters this is a series best read in order.   

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? 
Absolutely!  I love solving mysteries with Charlotte and the rest of the cast.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy mysteries this is a fantastic series though I do recommend reading them in order so you can get to know the characters and the setup.

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Creepy Books on My TBR

This week I'm looking at creepy reads that I'd love to get to before Halloween.  I love books with a touch of creepiness that aren't too scary or heading too much into horror.  These have a mix of murders and ghosts - I do love a good ghost story!

1.  Ammie Come Home by Barbara Michaels - Barbara Michaels is my very favorite spooky book author.  There's a lot of mystery, a touch of romance, and a good dose of history - and in many of her books a ghost or two!

2.  The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley - I don't know much about this one though it is nonfiction but any book that talks about Jack the Ripper AND Agatha Christie is one I really must try.

3.  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving - I read a paranormal romantic suspense that had Washington Irving as a ghost and I realized that while I have seen various movies of this one I've never actually read the book.

4.  Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin - I remember when this one came out and I desperately wanted to read it.  It looks perfect for spooky reading!  Though I think it is decidedly light on ghosts and heavy on murder.

5.  Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart - I don't know how spooky this one is but the cover looks spooky and I always love a book by Mary Stewart!

6.  The Restorer by Amanda Stevens - I think I want to read this for the cover alone!  It doesn't hurt that I saw tons of good reviews for this one.

7.  Second Sight by Amanda Quick - I'm not sure how spooky this one actually is but I've been wanting to try this one and Krentz/Quick usually does pretty good suspense.

8.  Be Afraid by Mary Burton - I've had this one for ages and the title says to be afraid so I'm guessing spooky things will be happening.

9.  Omens by Kelley Armstrong - I haven't read anything by Armstrong but I've been wanting too and her books always seem to have some supernatural elements which can be spooky.

10. Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Staub - I always enjoy Corsi Staub's books when I read them.  They're definitely spooky light and super fast paced which is always fun.

What spooky books do you want to read for Halloween?

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Legacy of Murder - Mystery Review

Goodreads: A Legacy of Murder (Kate Hamilton Mysteries #2) by Connie Berry

Rating: Good
Source:  NetGalley

Description:  American antique dealer Kate Hamilton's Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby...and a chain of murders.
It's Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent's tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.

Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman's work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman's death connected?

Kate learns that Lady Barbara's son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara's son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It's up to Kate to clear her daughter's name in Connie Berry's second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book: An Antique dealer and a mystery in in Elizabethan house are just too good to pass up!

My Impression: I do love a murder that is tied to secrets from the past!  And throw in a stately manor house with a museum exhibit in the works and I couldn't be more excited.  I liked that the main character was slightly older with grown children and slowly reentering the dating world after a long time away.   I also liked seeing her thoughts with dealing with her adult daughter Christine.   Honestly, Christine is a difficult character to like but I did sympathize with her and I sympathized with Kate as the book went along.  Kate loves her daughter but sees her for who she is.  It felt authentic. 

The mystery was interesting - just what happened to the intern and how did it connect to a murder that took place 25 years before?  It took longer then I liked to really pull the past connections into the present but the whole story of the manor house was intriguing.  I especially loved when Kate started working on the exhibit and talking about all the artifacts. 

While the action started pretty much immediately I found the pacing a little uneven.  There's a lot going on between the murder investigation, the drama among the interns,  Kate and Tom's dating issues, and getting the museum exhibit ready on time.  It was never confusing or cluttered but with all the switching of focus and large cast it took several chapters to really become invested with the characters and the mystery itself. 

This was an entertaining and solid mystery with a fantastic setting and a likable main character.  I'm looking forward to visiting Kate's world again in future (and the past) books. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?   Absolutely!  I'm really looking forward to going back and reading the first book in the series. 

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy mysteries - especially British mysteries this is an enjoyable series. 

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

Sunday, October 20, 2019

This Week in Reading - October 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:

Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen - I've really enjoyed other books by Arlen and this sounds fantastic! (Publisher)

Shot Through the Hearth by Kate Carlisle - This is another series I've enjoyed though I haven't read as many of the books as I should.  This newest looks fantastic!  (Publisher)


Reading:  We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson and A Very Mummy Holiday by Lynn Cahoon
Listening:  I just finished A Study in Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries which I really ended up enjoying.  I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to start next.

Watching:  I've been catching up on Hallmark mysteries and have been thoroughly enjoying them.

Off the Blog:

Another week where we didn't do much.  I think we are all still recovering from the madness of the last month or two.  My insomnia is still in full swing but I'm at least getting some reading in which is nice.  The weather hasn't been blazing hot so I'm thinking we're going to try and go to the zoo this week and maybe just get some outside time in. 

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  A Legacy of Murder - Mystery Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday List
Wednesday:  TBD
Thursday: Books From the Backlog
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Friday Fives - Five Classic Movies on My Watch List

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.  Today I'm looking at my movie list and figuring out what I'm going to be watching next.  Most of these are rewatches but it's been so long since I've watched them it doesn't count.

1.  Gaslight (1944) - Not only is Ingrid Bergman incredibly gorgeous and the plot incredibly creepy but this was Angela Lansbury's film debut and she is one of my absolute favorites.

2.  White Heat (1949) - This is the movie that all gangster stereotypes are made from and James Cagney is amazing.  Plus Virginia Mayo is just stunning.

3.  Rear Window (1954) - This is probably my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie and its' been far too long since I've watched it.

4.  Send Me No Flowers (1964) - I adore Rock Hudson and Doris Day and I especially love them together.  Throw in Tony Randall and I have no idea why I haven't watched this one yet.

5.  Conflict (1945) - I love Humphrey Bogart and I don't think I've ever seen him paired with Sydney Greenstreet but it sounds delightful.  Well delightful in a creepy suspenseful way.

What movies are you hoping to watch soon?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Bitter Feast - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Bitter Feast (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James #18) by Deborah Crombie

Rating:  Very Good
Source:  Edelweiss

Description: Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, have been invited for a relaxing weekend in the tranquil Cotswolds, one of Britain’s most beautiful and historic regions, famous for its rolling hills, sheep-strewn green meadows, golden cottages, and timeless villages that retain the spirit of old England.
Duncan, Gemma, and their children are guests at Beck House, the country estate belonging to the family of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s trusted detective sergeant. No ordinary farmers, the Talbots are wealthy and prominent with ties to Britain’s most powerful and influential. A centerpiece of this glorious fall getaway is a posh charity luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. After more than a decade in London, Viv has returned to her native Glouscestershire, making a name for herself with her innovative, mouthwatering use of the local bounty. Attended by several dozen of the area’s well-to-do, as well as national food bloggers and restaurant critics, the event could make Viv a star.

But a tragic car accident followed by a series of mysterious deaths could ruin her ascent. Each piece of information that surfaces makes it clear that the killer had a connection with Viv’s pub—and perhaps with Beck House itself.

Does the truth lie in the past? Or is it more immediate, woven into the tangled relationships and bitter resentments swirling among the staff at Beck House and at Viv’s pub? Or is it even more personal, entwined with secrets hidden by Viv, her business partner Bea Abbot, and Viv’s eleven-year-old daughter Grace?

Further revelations rock the Talbots’ estate and pull Duncan and Gemma and their colleagues into the investigation. With so much at stake both personally and professionally, especially for Melody Talbot, finding the killer becomes one of the team’s most crucial cases.

Genre: Mystery - Police Procedural

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been reading this series since the beginning and even though I missed a few between the first one and this one it is always a favorite.

My Impression:  Oh I love this series and this may just be my favorite one in awhile.  One thing I've missed in the more recent books is seeing Gemma and Duncan working together and so I was thrilled when this one threw them together in an unofficial investigation.  This one had a little bit of an Agatha Christie vibe with a country house party plot and Gemma and Duncan essentially acting as unofficial detectives. 

The plot pulled me in from the very beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed it from the time I picked it up until the time I put it down.  I was interested in the characters and found the plot compelling right from the start.  As someone who has read the series since the beginning I was delighted to see how grownup Kit has become but I don't think the kids roles were so prominent in the story that it would be annoying if you were new to the series.

Deborah Crombie never disappoints and this one was especially delightful.  If you're looking for a solid British police procedural with a bit of a country house feel this is a great choice!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes!  Crombie is a favorite and I'm glad I have a few older books to catch up on while I wait for the next book. 

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy mysteries I highly recommend this book and this series as a whole.

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Bodies in the Library - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Bodies in the Library (First Edition Library Mystery #1) by Marty Wingate

Rating:  Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Hayley Burke has landed a dream job. She is the new curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling's First Edition library. The library is kept at Middlebank House, a lovely Georgian home in Bath, England. Hayley lives on the premises and works with the finicky Glynis Woolgar, Lady Fowling's former secretary.
Mrs. Woolgar does not like Hayley's ideas to modernize The First Edition Society and bring in fresh blood. And she is not even aware of the fact that Hayley does not know the first thing about the Golden Age of Mysteries. Hayley is faking it till she makes it, and one of her plans to breathe new life into the Society is actually taking flight--an Agatha Christie fan fiction writers group is paying dues to meet up at Middlebank House.

But when one of the group is found dead in the venerable stacks of the library, Hayley has to catch the killer to save the Society and her new job.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed other series by Marty Wingate and I can never resist a cozy mystery that has a title that's a play on an Agatha Christie title.

My Impression:  I've enjoyed other series by Wingate so I was not surprised at all when this one pulled me in from the beginning.  I adored the setting for this series - a lovely Georgian home in Bath filled with first editions of Golden Age mystery authors.  I would love to sit in the library (pre-dead body) and just stare at all those beautiful Agatha Christies, Patrica Wentworths, and Dorothy L. Sayers. I thought the addition of an Agatha Christie fan fiction added a bit of humor though most (okay all) of their ideas made my eyes wide with horror.  This is especially delightful/horrifying if you're an Agatha Christie fan.  While Hayley is new to crime fiction Wingate is clearly not and I loved all her obscure mentions of some of my favorite detectives.

At first I thought it was a bit odd that Wingate made her MC have very little interest in crime fiction but as the book progressed I thought it added a fun element to see Hayley embrace the genre.  The mystery was entertaining and the pacing kept me reading.  The characters are varied and interesting and definitely people I'm looking forward to getting to know as the series progresses.

The book wasn't flawless.  The plot got a little convoluted at times and I regularly forgot that Hayley is supposed to be a woman in her 40s with a daughter in her 20s.  Most of the time she reads much younger and more immature.  I would have put her in her 20s and not her daughter.  Despite the minor flaws this was an enjoyable read with likable characters and a fantastic setting. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I've really enjoyed every book I've read from this author and definitely will be continuing her books. 

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy lighter cozies then this is a great book to pick up - especially if you're a fan of classic mysteries.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Favorite Cozy Mystery Titles

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is about extraordinary titles.  I'm going to be honest no extraordinary titles came to mind BUT lots of over the top cozy mysteries in all of their pun-ish glory did come to mind.  So here are 10 of my favorite pun-ny titles!

1.  Doom with a View by Kate Kingsbury 

2.  No Escape Claws by Sofie Ryan

3.  The Pawful Truth - Miranda James

4.  Yule be Dead - Lorraine Bartlett

5.  A Wrench in the Works by Kate Carlisle

6.  Toucan Keep a Secret by Donna Andrews

7.  Clairvoyant and Present Danger by Lena Gregory

8.  Another One Bites for Crust by Ellie Alexander

9.  Honey-Baked Homicide by Gail Leeson

10. Assault and Buttery by Kristi Abbott

What are some of your favorite titles?

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Widow of Rose House - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  It's 1875, and Alva Webster has perfected her stiff upper lip after three years of being pilloried in the presses of two continents over fleeing her abusive husband. Now his sudden death allows her to return to New York to make a fresh start, restoring Liefdehuis, a dilapidated Hyde Park mansion, and hopefully her reputation at the same time. However, fresh starts aren't as easy as they seem, as Alva discovers when stories of a haunting at Liefdehuis begin to reach her. But Alva doesn't believe in ghosts. So when the eccentric and brilliant professor, Samuel Moore, appears and informs her that he can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds Liefdehuis, she turns him down flat. She doesn't need any more complications in her life―especially not a handsome, convention-flouting, scandal-raising one like Sam.
Unfortunately, though Alva is loath to admit it, Sam, a pioneer in electric lighting and a member of the nationally-adored Moore family of scientists, is the only one who can help. Together, the two delve into the tragic secrets wreathing Alva's new home while Sam attempts to unlock Alva's history―and her heart.

Set during the Gilded Age in New York City, The Widow of Rose House is a gorgeous debut by Diana Biller, with a darkly Victorian Gothic flair and an intrepid and resilient American heroine guaranteed to delight readers.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I love a good ghost story book and this sounded interesting.

My Impression:  Alva Webster has a past with a capital P.  There's nothing she can do to hide it but she's hoping to capitalize on it to her benefit by restoring a house and writing a book about it.  The only problem is that the house has a past that is just as lurid and scandalous as hers is.  Enter Professor Sam Moore of a rather distinguished family of scientists who is fascinated by ghosts. 

Alva has had a rough time of it and has built more then a few walls and a very stiff upper lip to cope with it.  Sam with his enthusiasm and charm might just be her opposite but right from the start they are attracted to each other and seem to thoroughly enjoy each other's company. 

I was surprised to read this was a debut book for this author.  She has such a clean straightforward style while still managing to give a good dash of humor and atmosphere.  Sam is so incredibly likable that I couldn't help but smile when he showed up on the page and I loved Alva even though at times my heart broke for her.  The pacing of this was nice and solid - never rushed but I never felt like it was dragging.  This was a nice book to sink into and escape from the work for a bit.  I wanted to know what was going to happen with the house, between Alva and Sam and with all the other plot threads that ran through this book.  This was a wonderful spooky (but not scary) historical fiction with great characters and a touch of romance. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  This is an author I'll be looking out for from now on.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you enjoy slightly spooky fiction then this would be a great choice.

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

Sunday, October 13, 2019

This Week in Reading - October 13

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

What I Got:

Murder and Microphones by Erin Huss - I know nothing about this other then it is a cozy mystery involving podcasts about cold cases so I could absolutely not pass it up.  (Edelweiss)

Sauvigone for Good by J.C. Eaton - I love this author so I couldn't resist this one. (NetGalley)


Reading:  A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie and finishing up The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate.

Listening:  Finishing up The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries.  It's taking forever but it's more things have been a bit hectic then any fault of the book.

Watching:  I binged the Taken at Birth mini series on TLC about the Hicks black market baby ring in Georgia.  The story is crazy and heartbreaking and absolutely fascinating.  I would've known absolutely nothing about it except my dad's wife has a very loose family connection (some distant cousin may have been a biological father) and the true story is even crazier then I originally thought.

Off the Blog:

This week was a kind of quiet week which was nice.  We got some schooling done and seem to be finding a bit of a routine which is good.  I'm exhausted but more because insomnia decided to come visit then because my days are particularly crazy.  This happens every once in awhile and drives me crazy.  Of course part of the problem is that I very rarely manage to go to bed at a decent hour.  Despite all that I am starting to get back to reading which is such a relief.  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday - The Widow at Rose House - Historical Mystery Review
Tuesday - Top Ten Tuesday - Extraordinary Titles
Wednesday:  The Bodies in the Library - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  A Bitter Feast - Mystery Review
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Blackberry Summer - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads:  Blackberry Summer (Hope's Crossing #1) by RaeAnne Thayne

Rating: Good
Source: Audible Escape Package

Description:  Claire Bradford needed a wake-up call.

What she didn't need was a tragic car accident. As a single mom and the owner of a successful bead shop, Claire leads a predictable life in Hope's Crossing, Colorado. So what if she has no time for romance? At least, that's what she tells herself, especially when her best friend's sexy younger brother comes back to town as the new chief of police.

But when the accident forces Claire to slow down and lean on others; especially Riley McKnight; she realizes, for the first time, that things need to change. And not just in her own life. The accident; and the string of robberies committed by teenagers that led up to it; is a wake-up call to the people of Hope's Crossing. The sense of community and togetherness had been lost during those tough years. But with a mysterious "Angel of Hope" working to inspire the town, Riley and Claire will find themselves opening up to love and other possibilities by the end of an extraordinary summer.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed Thayne's most recent series so I thought I'd give this earlier series a try.

My Impression:  I had seen this book mentioned a time or two on other blogs with less then glowing reviews which always surprised me a bit.  I absolutely love her Haven's Point series so I figured maybe the book didn't work for those particular readers which happens.  But after listening to this one I completely get it.  Honestly, if I wasn't already a big RaeAnne Thayne I'm not sure I would've gotten through the first half or so of this one without giving up on it.  It wasn't terrible but it's just a bit meh and there seems to be so much angst without much positive in that first half.  When I pick up a Thayne book I expect some tough issues but also a nice helping of warm and fuzzy to make up for it and this didn't quite deliver.

It did pick up in the 2nd half and I did end up enjoying this enough where the 2nd book is on my To Listen list.  I liked the two main characters and some of the townspeople are interesting and I was glad to see my favorites' names on the blurbs for other books in this series.  This was fine - it was entertaining and interesting enough to keep me listening but if it wasn't an author I was already a fan of I'm not sure I would have stuck around through the first half.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely though I will keep my expectations a bit lower for this earlier series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would definitely recommend this author but probably not this book.  It's okay but not a must read/listen.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Friday Fives - Books I'm Rereading This Month

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.  September was a rough month in a year that hasn't been the kindest and I'm craving some comfort reading.  I love a good reread and there's nothing more comforting then picking up an old favorite.  Here are 5 I'm thinking of picking up soon.

1.  After Many Days by L.M. Montgomery - This is a collection of short stories that is one of my favorites.  Sometimes they're a bit too sweet but the endings are always happy and it is just the perfect comfort reading.

2.  She Came Back by Patricia Wentworth - I love Patricia Wentworth and this is a favorite that I haven't reread in awhile.  Lady Anne Jocelyn was presumed dead in Occupied France during the war but did she really die?  And if she did just who is this woman claiming to be her?

3.  Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie - Sometimes and Agatha Christie read is just necessary and this seems like one of those times.  This is one I remember nothing about so it'll kind of nice to have a "new" Agatha Christie.

4.  Devil in the Winter by Lisa Kleypas - This is a favorite historical romance and I haven't read a really good historical romance in awhile.

5.  Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels - There's romantic suspense, designer vintage clothes, a cold case, and lots of secrets.  Oh and the main character is rediscovering what makes her happy which is always a favorite of mine.  I haven't read this one in awhile and I think now would be a perfect time.

What do you read in times of stress?

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Books from the Backlog - Murder in the Mystery Suite

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! 

Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams:  Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving.

But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There’s no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up… 

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf - It's a cozy set in a book themed resort.  How have I not read this?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mumbo Gumbo Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Mumbo Gumbo Murder (A Scrapbooking Mystery #16) by Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran

Rating:  Good
Source:  Publisher

Description:  It's Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre are parading through the French Quarter. Some are very spooky and veiled, others are tall and gangly, like strange aliens.
As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street and past the food booths. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling's antiques shop. They rush inside to find Devon collapsed with blood streaming down the side of his face. Has he been shot? Stabbed? 911 is hastily called, and the police and EMTs show up. After the police examine Devon's body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. They're shocked beyond belief--and now Mimi, Devon's little pug, is left homeless.

Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but the list of suspects is long. How long do they have before they find themselves on the killer's list?

Genre:  Mystery -  Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed the last few books in this series and I love Laura Childs' books.

My Impression:  One of my favorite things about Laura Childs' books is that her books are always set in great places and she uses the settings.  In this book the city of New Orleans isn't just window dressing.  It's basically a character in its own right.  I feel a bit like I've taken a trip to New Orleans after finishing one of the books in this series. 

Carmela suffers a little bit from to perfect syndrome but not to the point where I disliked her.  I did want to shake her a little bit because of her actions regarding her relationship with her fiance but again not so much that it took away from the book.  I love the setting of the craft store!  I'm decidedly not crafty but every time I read one of these books I feel like I could make a beautiful multi layered cards or maybe a artistic picture frame.  I can't but I enjoy feeling like I could.

The mystery is good and gets rolling pretty early in the book.  It's always interesting to watch Carmela navigate the rocky territory between wanting to help and not getting in trouble either from a killer or her fiance who just happens to be a homicide detective.  This was a fun read and a new entry in a long running series that you can jump in with whatever book that interests you.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I love this series and her Tea Shop series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies Laura Childs is a must read author.

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Character Traits

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is about my favorite character traits.  I couldn't come up with the full 10 but here are a few of my favorite traits.

1.  Honesty - I hate when characters lie because 99.9% of the time it's usually a lie that is just making things 100 times worse then if they just went to whoever they were keeping a secret from or lying to and just old the truth.  It drives me crazy no matter the genre.

2.  A good sense of humor - I love when a character is funny and not in a "look at me aren't I crazy" kind of way.   A bit of snark or sarcasm will usually make me love a book.

3.  Mature - I can't not even count the number of times I've screamed at a character to act like a grownup.  I hate characters that overreact time and time again or hold a grudge over something incredibly minor or having foot stomping temper tantrums.

4.  Relatives that hide old letters/diaries in drawers and walls and are willing to die and leave their mysterious house to their main character - so this isn't actually a personality trait but I think it counts.

5.  A love of reading - I frequently see characters that talk about loving to read but it's extra great when the character talks about books or authors and really feels like a reader.

6.  The ability to ask for help - I love when a character admits they can't do everything or aren't portrayed as absolutely perfect and I love it even more when they bring together a group of people who have their different specialties and then they work together.  I'm a big fan of putting together a team.

What are some of your favorite traits to see in your characters?