Friday, January 31, 2020

Friday Fives - Favorite Romances

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 week is my 17th wedding anniversary so I'm taking a look at some of my favorite romances!

1.  Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas - I love the entire Hathaway series and would really love to reread it.

2.  And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke - This is one of my favorites historicals that I've reread a number of times.  The characters are wonderful and they actually communicate which is nice.

3.  One Little Sin by Liz Carlyle - Carlyle was one of my absolute favorites years ago and this was my favorite of all of hers.  I think it needs a reread!

4.  Three Fates by Nora Roberts - Three couples, antique statues and a mad woman make for a fabulous romantic suspense read.

5.  Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne - I loved this sweet Christmas-y romance that's the first book in the Haven Point series.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Booking the Crook

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!

Goodreads:  Booking the Crook (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #7) by Laurie Cass

Blurb: Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, cruise around lovely Chilson, Michigan delivering happiness and good reads in their bookmobile. But the feisty librarian is worried that the bookmobile's future could be uncertain when a new library board chair arrives and doesn't seem too friendly to her pet project.
Still, she has to put her personal worries aside when she and Eddie are out on their regular route and one of their favorite customers doesn't turn up to collect her books. Minnie, at Eddie's prodding, checks on the woman and finds her lying dead in her snow-covered driveway. Now it's up to Minnie and her friends--feline and otherwise--to find the perpetrator and give them their due.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I got this for review last year and never around to it but I've heard great things about the series and this one looks really fun.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

What We Keep - Nonfiction Review

Goodreads:  What We Keep: 150 People Share the One Object that Brings Them Joy, Magic, and Meaning by Bill Shapiro

Rating: Good
Source: Library

Description:  With contributions from Cheryl Strayed, Mark Cuban, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Melinda Gates, Joss Whedon, James Patterson, and many more--this fascinating collection gives us a peek into 150 personal treasures and the secret histories behind them.
All of us have that one object that holds deep meaning--something that speaks to our past, that carries a remarkable story. Bestselling author Bill Shapiro collected this sweeping range of stories--he talked to everyone from renowned writers to Shark Tank hosts, from blackjack dealers to teachers, truckers, and nuns, even a reformed counterfeiter--to reveal the often hidden, always surprising lives of objects.

Genre: Nonfiction

Why I Picked This Book:  It looked interesting and it was on the end cap at the library so I figured I'd give it a try.

My Impression:  This was an interesting book.  Each page was devoted to a photo and a short essay both about one random object that for whatever reason was important to the essay writer.  There are some celebrities mentioned but there are also lots of regular people from a college student to a nurse practitioner to a voluntarily homeless man to a corporate attorney.  And the items featured have as big of a range.  There's a straw hat,  some nails, toys, beautiful antiques, and an old computer.  Each piece has its story.  Some are sweet, some are sad, some are pretentious, and some are just completely random.  Like most books of this type this isn't one you're going to pick up and dive into for hours at a time.  This is a book you leave out and pick up and read an essay or two and then in a few days you pick it up again.  And everyone around you picks it up and reads an essay or two!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would though it probably be one I'd rush out and buy.  I did enjoy this collection and how it was curated.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you're looking for a good coffee table or guest room book this would be a perfect choice.  I think just about everyone would find it intriguing.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Wintery Covers

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 cover freebie so I'm looking at Winter-y covers.  While snow features in most of these covers the color scheme makes a big difference too.  Lots of greys and icy blues make any scene look cold and winter-y!

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Mrs. Jeffries and the Alms of the Angel by Emily Brightwell

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

Season of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne

Owl Be Home for Christmas by Donna Andrews

Christmas with Anne by L.M. Montgomery

The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart

Eggs on Ice by Laura Childs

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn Ross

What are your favorite winter-y covers/  What makes a cover scream winter to you?

Monday, January 27, 2020

Fatal Root - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Fatal Roots (County Cork #) by Sheila Connolly

Rating: Just Okay
Source: NetGalley

Description: A few months ago, Boston expat Maura Donovan was rekindled with her mother after more than twenty years of absence. Since then, Maura has been getting accustomed to Irish living, complete with an inherited house and a pub named Sullivan's. But now, her mother has returned--and she's brought Maura's half-sister in tow. To make matters more confusing, a handful of Cork University students are knocking on Maura's door asking about a mystical fairy fort that happens to be located on Maura's piece of land.
The lore indicates that messing with the fort can cause bad luck, and most everyone is telling Maura not to get too involved for fear of its powers, but Maura is curious about her own land, and she definitely doesn't buy into the superstition. Then one of the students disappears after a day of scoping out the fort on Maura's property.

Maura treads carefully, asking the folks around town who might have an idea, but no one wants anything to do with these forts. She has to take matters into her own hand--it's her land, after all. But when she uncovers a decades-old corpse buried in the center of the fort, nothing is for certain.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed this series and other books by this author in past.

My Impression:  Let me start off by saying that I do truly enjoy this series and I do truly enjoy books by this author.  However, every author has an off book and this was definitely one of those.  It started out slow but enjoyable.  I liked seeing Maura, Mick, and Rose and the rest of the cast of characters.  I like catching up with what is going on in the pub and seeing more from Maura's long lost mother.  And I was instantly intrigued by the fairy forts.  It was slow but not a book I minded reading.  About half way through the slow pace became dragging. 

Maura has never been the most motivated of characters but in this book her lack of motivation was straight up apathy.  Every question she was asked she shrugged off with a kind of "I don't know.  Why are you asking me?" attitude and this ranged from her personal life to details about the business which is supposedly her life.  She's lived in the cottage for a year but never got around to even looking through the previous owner's stuff.  She has no idea how the kitchen will add to the pub and figures Rose (who is maybe 20) will take care of all of that.  Then we have the repetition.  Every conversation between Helen and Maura is an apology and an explanation.  In real life this would probably be necessary but it becomes a bit much in book form.  It is also repeated multiple times that Maura knows nothing about the land she owns, fairy forts, or really anything in Ireland. 

I enjoyed the first half enough to give it 3 stars but I was so frustrated with the last half I would have given it 1 star.  I still love Sheila Connolly and will pick up her next books but I'm glad to have this one behind me.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would.  I've read a number of other books by this author and really just felt this book was an off book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries I would recommend this author.  However, I would not recommend this book even if you're already a fan of the series.

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

Saturday, January 25, 2020

This Week in Reading - January 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:

Death in the Doorway by Diane Kelly - House flipping, a ramshackle Colonial, and a cat names Sawdust.  How could I resist? (NetGalley)


Reading:  Claw Enforcement by Sofie Ryan and Sconed to Death by Lynn Cahoon

Listening:  A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourrn though I haven't had much time to listen this week.

Watching:  We have been flying through the Disney movies on Disney + this week.  So far we've watched a movie a day for 4 days.

Off the Blog:

We are back in Louisiana!  I didn't realize how much I missed it until I got out of the car at the hotel.  It looks like we are going to be doing 50% of our time here for the foreseeable future which will mean lots of back and forth and living out of a hotel room but it's fine.  We've got our routines nailed down pretty well.

This week I had to go up to my grandparents' house to meet with the woman who runs the estate sale place in area.  They lived about an hour from here and it's a pretty drive but it was a rough day.  Luckily the Tornado and I headed straight to the beach after it was over and that made everything better.  We did a lot of running and my ankles were not ready!  I'm super sore but it was fun.  Then we went to Chalmette which is the site of the Battle of New Orleans from the War of 1812.  It's the first battle field I've drug the Tornado to (he's 10) and he found it interesting but found it hard to visualize.  I think I'm going to look for a reenactment or something to help.  Chalmette is also a regular stop for one of the riverboats coming out of New Orleans so that was fun to see.  It was all decorated for Mardi Gras because everything is decorated for Mardi Gras.  I passed a couple who were apparently from Boston and I don' think they were prepared for the temperature.  They were melting.  We are heading home next week just in time to get ready to head to Disney World and then will be heading home just in time to head back here!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Fatal Roots - Cozy Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Wintery Covers
Wednesday:  What We Keep - Nonfiction Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  January Reading Recap

Have a great week and happy reading!

Daring to Dream - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads:  Daring to Dream (Dream Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts

Rating: Really Liked It
Source: Library

Description: Margo, Kate and Laura were brought up like sisters amidst the peerless grandeur of Templeton House. But it was Margo whose dreams first took her far away . . .
Margo Sullivan had everything a young woman could ask for. But while growing up along the rocky cliffs of Monterey, she couldn't help but dream of bigger things. The daughter of the Templeton's stern Irish housekeeper, Margo had been treated like a member of the family. Deep down, she knew that money could not buy the thing she craved most -- her mother's acceptance.

Maybe things would be different if she could be sweet like Laura -- or had Kate's shrewd head for business. But all Margo knew how to do was be Margo, and that meant doing things her own way -- no matter what the consequences . . .

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  This is an old favorite that I haven't read in awhile but it called my name at the library so I thought a reread was in order.

My Impression:  I'm going to get the negative out of the way first.  This book is dated.  Margo smokes like a chimney and is constantly lighting a cigarette.  It's not a big deal but it's surprising considering how little I see it now - especially from the heroine of a romance.  The bigger problem is the aggression.  Margo and Josh aren't nice to each other.  When they fight they can lapse into cruelty (especially Josh) that I don't think would fly in a romance written in the last few years.  It doesn't go as far as domestic violence or abuse but it is more then I'm used to seeing.

That being said - I thoroughly enjoyed this read.  Nora Roberts has a gift for portraying friendships and this book is no exception.  The loyalty and enjoyment in each others company that Margo, Kate, and Laura share is just lovely to read.  They're there for each other without question but without getting sappy.  Margo's total love of the Templetons, not for what they can give her, but who they are is also really nice to see.  It makes a character who has made some stunningly bad decisions easy to like.  I also really liked the relationship between Margo and her mother.  It's prickly and full of resentment but watching them work through everything - especially the scene toward the end - added a touch of uniqueness.  I feel like so often when the mother/daughter relationship isn't super supportive the mother is a villain but that wasn't the case here.

The relationship between Josh and Margo is true but stormy.  They both are convinced the other thinks little of them for various reasons and it causes problems and they also both have their hangups about each other which get in the way.  Working through all of that was sometimes sweet and sometimes bumpy but it was always entertaining.  Despite the issues this was an enjoyable read that pulled me in right away and immediately connected me with the characters.  I'm looking forward to picking up the 2nd book next time I'm in the library.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Nora Roberts is an auto read for me and I'm already looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you love Nora Roberts already then I think you'd enjoy this.  However, if you're new to Roberts or the genre in general I think the datedness would be a bit much.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday Five - Books About Snow

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 week I'm thinking about something I don't see all that often - snow.  I live in Alabama and have been spending most of my time in Louisiana lately.  Neither state is really known for snow and this year has been no exception much to the distress of my now 10 year old who desperately wants to have snow.  So this year I'm thinking of books that will help me experience snow without having to deal with the reality of it.

1.  The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - Most of this book takes place with the main characters completely surrounded by snow and one of the characters can't survive without the snow so I'm not sure any book could be more about snow!

2.  Three Blind Mice by Agatha Christie - I adore this novella and being completely snowed in plays a huge part in the story.

3.  The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley - I haven't actually read this one but the premise sounds a bit like a cross between a Ruth Ware book and the Agatha Christie book mentioned above so how can I resist it?

4.  A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow - I read a number of books by Stabenow and enjoyed them but I'm not sure I ever read this first book and it's a series I'd like to read more of.

5.  Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford - I read the first book a year or two ago and really enjoyed it so I'm really looking forward to reading the next book and seeing what the next adventure these characters get into the next time Greenglass House is snowed in.

What books do you like or want to read that are about snow?

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Final Sentence

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!

Goodreads:  Final Sentence by Darryl Wood Gerber

Blurb:  In need of a change, Jenna Hart leaves the high-pressure world of advertising to help her aunt, Vera, open a culinary bookshop and cafĂ©. Back with her family in Crystal Cove, California, Jenna seems to have all the right ingredients for a fresh start—until someone adds a dash of murder.
As a marketing expert, Jenna wants to make sure the grand opening of the Cookbook Nook draws a crowd, and no one is better at getting attention than her old college roommate, celebrity chef Desiree Divine. But when Desiree arrives in quiet Crystal Cove to do a cookbook signing, the diva stirs up more trouble than business…especially when she turns up dead.

Known for stealing husbands and burning bridges, Desiree left behind plenty of suspects—including Jenna. Though the celebrity’s life always appeared to be an open book, Jenna will have to read between the lines in order to clear her name, and catch a killer before another body is served cold.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf: I've had this book on my shelf since it first came out and lately cooking related mysteries sounds good so I think it's the time to pick this one up!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Careless Whiskers - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Careless Whiskers (Cat in the Stacks #12) by Miranda James

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description: Charlie Harris has sworn off investigating murder and mayhem after a recent close call. Instead, he's delighted to cheer on his daughter, Laura, who's starring in a production of Careless Whispers. The theater department at Athena College is debuting the play written by a fledgling playwright with local connections and Charlie's son-in-law, Frank Salisbury, will be calling the directorial shots.
Laura is upset to learn that Luke Lombardi, an overbearing actor she knew from her time in Hollywood will also be taking part in the production as a guest artist. Lombardi arrives with an entourage in tow and promptly proceeds to annoy everyone involved with the production. When he collapses and dies on stage, after drinking from a glass Laura handed him, she becomes the chief suspect in his murder.

Charlie knows his daughter is innocent, and he's not going to let anyone railroad his little girl. So, despite his intentions to put his amateur sleuthing days behind him, Charlie has to take center stage, and with Diesel's help, shine a spotlight on the real killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed this series so I couldn't pass up this newest one!  And who can resist the title?

My Impression:  Whenever I pick up a book by this author I know I'm in for a delightful cozy mystery and this mystery was no exception.  Charlie and Diesel (and Ramses) are back in full force but I really enjoyed that Charlie's daughter Laura and her husband Frank are much more central characters then they've been in the past.  I really enjoyed seeing more of them and getting some more time to observe their relationship with each other and with Charlie.  And it's always good to see more of the some of my favorite characters - Haskell, Azalea, Stewart, and Kenesha and of course Helen Louise.  In addition to my regular favorite characters we also got a few visits from the Ducote sisters and watching them keep that rather dreadful Luke Lombardi under control was incredibly entertaining. 

I would have liked a little bit more time unraveling the identities and the motives.  Not only did it seem to all come together really fast but I really enjoyed it so I wanted more detail.  That minor issue aside, this was a fun cozy mystery with likable characters and an entertaining story.   This has become one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I always look forward to seeing what's next for Charlie and Diesel - okay especially Diesel!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would.  I've missed some of the earlier books in the series and I'm looking forward to going back and catching up as well as keeping my eyes open for the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a great series!

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Most Recent TBR Additions

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 Ten Most Recent Additions to MY TBR.  I'm looking at my Goodreads account because that's where I keep my TBR as best as I can.  I feel like I need a new system but I haven't figured out what that is yet.

1.  Come Homicide or High Water by Denise Swanson - I'm not sure I've ever actually read anything by Denise Swanson but she's a name I've seen for ages.

2.  Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis - I like this series and this author so of course I can't pass this one up!

3.  Home Lessons: Renovating a Life by Erica Bauermeister - I've adored previous books by her and this one really has me intrigued.

4.  Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah - I've really liked Hannah's Poirot books so I'd love to see what she does with her own characters.

5.  Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico - This is a new to me cozy mystery author and this book caught my eye.

6.  A Treacherous Curse by Deana Raybourn - I'm trying to catch up on this series before the most recent one gets released in a couple of months.

7.  Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict - I love historical fiction and this one sounds really good.

8.  Murder in an Irish Cottage by Carlene O'Connor - I have pretty much every book in this series on my TBR but I'm not sure I've actually read any.

9.  No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews - I love this series and am really wanting to go back and read earlier books in it.

10. Sell Low, Sweet Harriet by Sherry Harris - I couldn't resist this title pun and this is a cozy series I've been wanting to read.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Dead Man's Folly - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Purchased

Description:  Whilst organising a mock murder hunt for the village fete hosted by Sir George and Lady Stubbs, a feeling of dread settles on the famous crime novelist Adriane Oliver. Call it instinct, but it's a feeling she just can't explain...or get away from.

In desperation she summons her old friend, Hercule Poirot -- and her instincts are soon proved correct when the 'pretend' murder victim is discovered playing the scene for real, a rope wrapped tightly around her neck.

But it's the great detective who first discovers that in murder hunts, whether mock or real, everyone is playing a part.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  It was next up in my perpetual Agatha Christie reread.

My Impression:  Any Poirot featuring Ariadne Oliver is going to be a good one.  Not only does she feel very based on Christie but the interaction between her and Poirot is always a treat.  Here she plays a vital role in getting Poirot involved in the mystery of the murder hunt.  This felt a little different then the usual Poirot mystery in that it didn't feel like Poirot had an active role in the investigation.  He was there, he asked questions but he was definitely moving in the background and letting the actions of the other characters take center stage.  It also doesn't feel like the investigation is progressing for much of the mystery.  Poirot talks about having all the pieces of the puzzle but not seeing how they go together and that was very much what it felt like to me while reading it.  It gave me time to come up with my own theories which I enjoyed. 

This is not necessarily one of Christie's best but it is a fun quick read that might have you puzzling a bit and of course any book with Ariadne Oliver is not to be missed!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I will always be reading an Agatha Christie

Would I Recommend this Book?  Yes I would!  This isn't necessarily in my top 5 but it is a solid entertaining read with an intriguing mystery.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

This Week in Reading - January 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 Field Guide to Homicide by Lynn Cahoon - I wasn't going to get this one but then I saw it and I'm just not that strong.  (NetGalley)

Claw Enforcement - I really enjoy this series and I'm excited to read this next one. (Publisher)

Buried to the Brim by Jenn McKinlay - I love Jenn McKinlay but somehow I've never read any of this series set around a hat store in England. (Publisher)


Reading:  Fatal Roots by Sheila Connolly and Duchess in Love by Eloisa James

Listening:  I'm finishing up Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and about to start A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Watching:  We are really loving Disney +.  We watched The Princess and the Frog and it was fun to see a Disney movie that takes place in a city we're so familiar with.  We've also been really loving The Imagineering Story too.

Off the Blog:

We had a quiet week this week.  School is rolling along and he had 2 classes at the school he's signed up for this week and a birthday party this weekend.  Something about a kid's birthday party just absolutely wears me out!  I've done some drawer cleaning out and was shocked at the amount of junk I've been hoarding.  I have 3 empty drawers now.

We are heading back to New Orleans soon and I'm glad because I'm getting stir crazy being in one place for so long.  Now I have to find some winter/spring stuff to do there.  I feel like I did a good job with finding Christmas stuff so I want to keep that rolling.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Dead Man's Folly - Agatha Christie Classic Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Most Recent TBR Additions
Wednesday: Careless Whiskers - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday: Friday Fives - Fives Books 
Saturday:  TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Heart of Evil - Paranormal Suspense Review

Goodreads:  Heart of Evil (Krewe of Hunters #2) by Heather Graham

Rating: Good
Source: Purchased (Audible)

Description: Emerging from the bayou like an apparition, Donegal Plantation is known for its unsurpassed dining, captivating atmosphere, haunting legends and now a corpse swinging from the marble angel that marks its cemetery's most majestic vault. A corpse discovered in nearly the same situation as that of Marshall Donegal, the patriarch killed in a skirmish just before the Civil War.
Desperate for help traditional criminologists could never provide, plantation heiress Ashley Donegal turns to an elite team of paranormal investigators who blend hard forensics with rare & often inexplicable intuition. Among the Krewe of Hunters is an old flame, Jake Mallory, a gifted musician with talent stretching far beyond the realm of the physical, and a few dark ghosts of his own.

The evil the team unveils has the power to shake the plantation to its very core. Jake and Ashley are forced to risk everything to unravel secrets that will not stay buried even in death.

Genre: Romance - Paranormal Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed more recent books in this series and I liked the first book so I thought I would continue this series.

My Impression:  This is such a fun series and the 2nd book is no different.  I do love a murder with ghosts at a Louisiana plantation and this one did not let me down.  I loved the Civil War reenactment involvement intermingling with the actual history.  I absolutely adored the investigations done by the Krewe into the history of all the suspects.  The setting was beautiful and I could easily believe that Donegal Plantation really does exist.  I also really liked the mystery and how it all came together with each bit of information.  This isn't really a mystery that you can unravel on your own but it is one that is fun to go along for the ride.

My main issue is that Ashley was a bit flat.  I loved all the characters from the Krewe and Cliff and Beth were also interesting but Ashley seemed a bit wishy washy.  This didn't stop me from enjoying the book but it will keep this from landing on my favorites list.  If you're looking for a fun read with suspense, history and lots of ghosts this is a good choice and with Luke Daniels doing a fabulous job with the narration the audio is always a fabulous choice.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  While not my favorite, this is a fun series that I'm looking forward to continuing.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you are looking for a fun romantic suspense with ghosts then this book is a perfect read.  While it is the 2nd in a series you can read this one easily on its own.

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

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday Five - 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.  I'm still struggling with getting back in tune with figuring out what I want to read.  I'm getting there but it's weirdly difficult sometimes!  The other day I went to the library and wandered the shelves trying to pick up whatever interested me.  Here are the five I picked out.

1.  What We Keep by Bill Shapiro with Naomi Wax - I know nothing about this book but flipping through it it appears to be a collection of essays by various people about items they keep and why.  Could be bad, could be heartbreaking, could be amazing - or a little bit of all 3.

2.  Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George - I have thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade series but have been putting this one off for no real reason other then arbitrary schedule.

3.  Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts - This is a reread but I remember enjoying it but not a huge amount else about it. 

4.  Duchess in Love by Eloisa James - I read an Eloisa James years and years ago and have been meaning to read more ever since.  The premise of this one was most intriguing.

5.  I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney - The cover jumped out at me and it sounds good.  There's some unreliable narrator issues but I haven't read any in awhile so I have high hopes.

Have you read any of these?  How do you decide what you want to read next?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Books from the Backlog - The Comfort Food Diaries

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!

Goodreads: The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart by Emily Nunn

Blurb:  In the tradition of Elizabeth Gilbert and Ruth Reichl, former New Yorker editor Emily Nunn chronicles her journey to heal old wounds and find comfort in the face of loss through travel, home-cooked food, and the company of friends and family.
One life-changing night, still reeling from her beloved brother's sudden death a few weeks earlier, Emily Nunn was dumped by her handsome architect fiance and evicted from the apartment they shared, losing in the same moment all sense of family, home, and financial security. After a few glasses of wine, heartbroken and lost, Emily, an avid cook and professional food writer, poured her heart out on Facebook. The next morning she woke up with a terrible hangover and a feeling she'd made a terrible mistake, only to discover she had more friends than she knew, many of whom invited her to come visit and cook with them while she put her life back together. Thus began the Comfort Food Tour.
Searching for a way forward, Emily travels the country, cooking and staying with relatives and friends, among them renowned chefs Mark Bittman and Ina Garten. She also travels back to revisit scenes from her dysfunctional Southern upbringing, dominated by her dramatic, unpredictable mother and her silent, disengaged father. Her wonderfully idiosyncratic aunts and uncles and cousins come to life in these pages, all part of the rich Southern story in which past and present are indistinguishable, food is a source of connection and identity, and a good story is often preferred to a not-so-pleasant truth. But truth, pleasant or not, is what Emily Nunn craves, and with it comes an acceptance of the losses she has endured, and a sense of hope for the future.
In the salty snap of a single Virginia ham biscuit, in the sour tang of Grandmother's Lemon Cake, Nunn experiences the healing power of comfort food, and offers up dozens of recipes for the wonderful meals that saved her life. With the biting humor of David Sedaris and the emotional honesty of Cheryl Strayed, Nunn delivers a moving account of her descent into darkness and her gradual, hard-won return to the living.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I've actually already read this but I remember nothing about it other then I wanted to try some of the recipes which is why I ended up with a physical copy (I had an eARC) of the book.  So I should probably did that.