Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My Nonfiction TBR

Last year I had really hoped to read more nonfiction but last year didn't go as planned so this is now the read more nonfiction year!  I'm making a list of books that have caught my attention that I'd like to read.  A lot of these are books I've seen at my library so they're not the newest and shiniest books but they are all that I think are interesting!

1.  A Bookshop in Berlin: The Rediscovered Memoir of One Woman's Harrowing Escape Harrowing Escape from the Nazis by Francoise Frenkel - This sounds fascinating and ever since we visited the WWII Museum I've been really wanting to read more from this time period and this sounds unusual.

2.  Missing!: Mysterious Cases of People Gone Missing Through the Centuries by Brenda Z Guiberson - I'm never not wanting to read a Missing Person book and historical missing people are even more interesting.

3.  A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland by Charles Lachman - When I think about Grover Cleveland scandal is usually not what first comes to mind so I'm seriously curious.

4.  Making Time: Lillian Moller Gilbreth A Life Beyond "Cheaper by the Dozen" by Jane Lancaster - Cheaper by the Dozen and its sequels were some of my favorite books as a child and reading it as an adult really shows what a fascinating woman Lillian Gilbreth was.  I want to learn more about her.

5.  A Woman of No Importance:  the Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell - More WWII, more unusual angles, and I just can't resist spies.

6.  King Con: The Bizarre Adventures of the Jazz Age's Greatest Imposter by Paul Willetts - I just want to know more based off the subtitle.

7.  Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer by Lisa McCubbin - I read a book about modern first ladies last year and was really fascinated by Betty Ford so I'd like to read more about her.

8.  Jane and Dorothy: A True Tale of Sense and Sensibility: The Lives of Jane Austen and Dorothy Wadsworth by Marian Veevers - Jane is such a shadowy figure in my head so I'd like to flesh her out abit.

9.  Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer by Margarit Fox - Conan Doyle had such a varied career and I love historical true crime.

10.  Defiance: The Extraordinary Life of Lady Anne Barnard by Stephen Taylor - I don't know who Lady Anne Barnard is but apparently she was defiant and I'm curious to know more about her.

What nonfiction books are on your TBR?  Have you ever come across any of these?

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Blue Castle - Keeper Shelf Review

Goodreads:  The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Rating: Loved It!
Source:  Purchased

Description:  An unforgettable story of courage and romance. Will Valancy Stirling ever escape her strict family and find true love?

Valancy Stirling is 29, unmarried, and has never been in love. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she finds her only consolation in the "forbidden" books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle--a place where all her dreams come true and she can be who she truly wants to be. After getting shocking news from the doctor, she rebels against her family and discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  This is a favorite book but when Lark posted about it on Instagram I couldn't resist picking it up.

My Impression:  Oh how I love this book.  It's the first book that I've read in one sitting in as long as I can remember and it was a total delight from start to finish.  At the beginning Valancy is so unhappy and repressed that you just can't help but feel sorry for her and watching her come alive as the book progresses is just wonderful.

This is one of the few books written by Montgomery that is really aimed at adults.  The characters are adults, the actions have adult consequences, and the situations are adult situations.  However, there is nothing I would have an issue with my 10 year old reading about.  This is a sweet book that's a bit trite but it just reads so pure and genuine that it never feels to sappy.  If you're looking for a bit of an escapist read and you want a sweet simple story this is a perfect book to pick up.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Montgomery is one of my all time favorite authors and I try and reread her books as often as possible.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  I adore all of Montgomery's books and this is one of my favorite reads.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

This Week in Reading - March 29

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:

Summer on Honeysuckle Ridge by Debbie Mason - I wasn't going to get anything but then I saw this one. The cover is gorgeous and the premise involves home renovation and a main character starting over so I couldn't resist.  (NetGalley)

Antiques Fire Sale by Barbara Allan - And once I started I couldn't really stop!  This is a mystery series that has been on my TBR because it's a cozy mystery involving antiques which is one of my favorite things.  (NetGalley)

Killing Time by Susanne Trauth - I read the previous one in the series last year and really enjoyed it and this one involves Halloween which a favorite cozy mystery holiday so I couldn't pass it up.  (NetGalley)

Murder in Waiting by Lynn Cahoon - The Tourist Trap series is one of my absolute favorite cozy series so I had to pick this one up!  (NetGalley)


Reading: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, and Laeitia Rodd and the Wandering Scholar by Kate Saunders

Listening:I finished The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley and am just starting Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

Watching:  We finished Grantchester and The Pale Horse (which only vaguely resembled the Agatha Christie book and was very good in the middle but a little too art-y at the beginning and end).  I'm not sure what we are going to start next.

Off the Blog:

I hope everyone is doing well in quarantine or self isolation or social distancing or whatever you're doing.  We are basically going full self isolation because my husband can work from home and my son is home schooled.  Other then the internet and a drive I haven't had contact with the outside world since March 19 when I had a doctor's appointment.  My husband is the one going out to the grocery store and to pick out take out.  We are trying to balance cooking at home and getting takeout to help out local businesses (and so I don't have to cook!).  They announced at the end of this week that school is switching to distance learning for the rest of the school year with the hope that big events like prom and graduation ceremonies can be scheduled either at the beginning of June or end of May. 

I haven't had really any extra time.  I know a lot of people are very stressed or getting sucked into the news black hole but so far I'm neither of those things but things are still a bit crazy here.  I've found a channel of YouTube called Soothing Relaxation that's all pretty spa-type music that I've been loving for when I'm trying to go to sleep or when I'm reading.  It definitely helps settle the mind and tune out the background noise a bit.  How is your quarantine going?

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  The Blue Castle - Fiction Review
Tuesday: My Nonfiction Reading List
Wednesday:  TBD
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday:  March Reading Recap

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Read-Aloud Family - Nonfiction Review

Goodreads:  The Read-Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Library

Description:  Connecting deeply with our kids can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven lives. Reading aloud offers us a chance to be fully present with our children. It also increases our kids’ academic success, inspires compassion, and fortifies them with the inner strength they need to face life’s challenges. As Sarah Mackenzie has found with her own six children, reading aloud long after kids are able to read to themselves can deepen relationships in a powerful way.
Founder of the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, Sarah knows first-hand how reading can change a child’s life. In The Read-Aloud Family, she offers the inspiration and age-appropriate book lists you need to start a read-aloud movement in your own home. From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family—it has the power to change the world.

Genre: Nonfiction

Why I Picked This Book:  Life Between Words on YouTube recommended it, this is a subject I've been interested in, and my library had it so it was a bit of a perfect storm.

My Impression:  One of the things I've really enjoyed discovering through homeschooling is that why the Tornado (age 10) isn't the most enthusiastic reader he does really enjoy being read to.  This has lead to a fascination with all things read aloud and a search for read aloud suggestions.  So I was already pretty on board with the whole read aloud concept but that didn't stop me from feeling that I got a lot out of the book.

Sarah talks about her journey from overwhelmed mom of a one year to still overwhelmed but with better grip on things mom of 6 who also happens to home school.  The information is interesting and while I was already on board with reading aloud as I'm trying to hook my 10 year old on the stories reading all the extra benefits was a nice bit of confirmation.  As well I thought she gave some practical advice on how to incorporate reading aloud into regular busy life.  She's good about emphasizing that it doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be large chunks of time or any of the things that keep us from fitting in a chapter when we can.  She also includes personal stories about her own experiences to help emphasize her points.  She does a good mix of showing what to do and what not to do through her own life. While she is a home school mom her advice would work for any parent.

The last section of the book is read aloud recommendation section divided by ages and by types of books.  Some of her recommendations I had never heard of but will definitely be adding to our family To Read list. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I've already added her 2nd book to my TBR and have enjoyed exploring her website - Read-Aloud Revival

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you are a parent or have children in your life this is definitely a book worth picking up. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Fives - Disney Movies On Our To 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.  We've been all about movies lately - especially Disney movies.  So here are 5 movies that are on my Disney+ list that we will be watching soon.

1.  The Great Mouse Detective - Somehow I have ever heard of this movie but it sounds fun so it's on the list.

2.  Hercules - I never watched this one either but we saw A LOT of Hades at the Villains Party at Disney World so I'm wanting to see the movie now. 

3.  Peter Pan - My favorite Disney movie and I haven't seen it in forever and the Tornado has never seen it so it must be watched.

4.  Snow White - I haven't seen this in forever but we just read a book where the main character went and saw this in the theater so I thought it'd be fun.

5.  Robin Hood - I remember loving it but I haven't seen it in forever.

Have you seen any of these?  What movies are you hoping to watch?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Books from the Backlog - The Blue Last

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 Blue Last (Richard Jury #17) by Martha Grimes

Blurb:  In The Blue Last, Richard Jury finally faces the last thing in the world he wants to deal with—the war that killed his mother, his father, his childhood. Mickey Haggerty, a DCI with the London City police, has asked for Jury's help. Two skeletons have been unearthed in the City during the excavation of London's last bombsite, where once a pub stood called the The Blue Last. Mickey believes that a child who survived the bombing has been posing for over fifty years as a child who didn't. The grandchild of brewery magnet Oliver Tyndale supposedly survived that December 1940 bombing . . . but did she? Mickey also has a murder to solve. Simon Croft, prosperous City financial broker, and son of the one-time owner of The Blue Last is found shot to death in his Thames-side house. But the book he was writing about London during the German blitzkrieg has disappeared. Jury wants to get eyes and ears into Tynedale Lodge, and looks to his friend, Melrose Plant, to play the role. Reluctantly, Plant plays it, accompanied on his rounds of the Lodge gardens by nine-year-old Gemma Trim, orphan and ward of Oliver Tynedale; and Benny Keagan, a resourceful twelve-year-old orphaned delivery boy.
And Richard Jury may not make it out alive.

A stolen book, stolen lives, or is any of this what it seems? Identity, memory, provenance - these are all called into question in The Blue Last

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  Well I'm riding a little high right now because I've made some progress and actually read one of the books I've featured here!  This used to be one of my absolute favorite series but I read one a few years ago and was pretty meh about it.  I picked this one up because the blurb really grabbed my attention and I thought I'd give it a try.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Sea Glass Cottage - Contemporary Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne

Rating: Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description: The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn’t so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured in a car accident, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.

It’s just for a few months—that’s what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.

As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it’s never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  Thayne is an auto-buy author for me.

My Impression: I absolutely love Thayne's Haven Point series so whenever she ventures away from there I get a bit nervous.  But no matter where the book is set Thayne never fails to deliver a cozy read with a fully formed community and this was no exception.  Unlike a typical romance this book is more of an ensemble cast with multiple characters getting page time.  It does help flesh out the community feel but these characters have ISSUES and those issues can get a bit overwhelming.  As well because the characters are so closely connected it can get a bit repetitive as we explore each character's issues from multiple perspectives.  And because of all the issues the three main characters - Olivia, Juliet, and Caitlin - can be a lot prickly and at times hard to like. 

Now that sounds pretty negative but I don't mean it to be.  Despite the issues that kept me from falling head over heels in love with the book I did still really enjoy it.  As I mentioned before Thayne is incredibly dependable and always delivers a lovely read.  The book was so readable and always one that I fell into the story as soon as I picked the book up.  Even when the character were being extra prickly there's still a lot of heart and as the book progresses you grow to care about the characters even if you don't always like them.  And of course it wraps up in a way that left me with a full heart and a smile. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Or course!  Thayne is a favorite and I always enjoy her books.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy fiction with an ensemble cast, a lot of heart and a bit of romance then this is a great pick.

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - 10 Ways to Stay Out of Trouble in a Cozy Mystery

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 Genre Freebie.  So for my Genre Freebie I'm talking about 10 ways to stay out of trouble if you find yourself in a cozy mystery.

1.  Never agree to judge something last minute - or be a last minute contestant in some kind of competition.  It will go badly and someone will die.  And then you or someone you are close too will be a suspect and then you'll have to investigate and that will eat into your free time.

2.  Never ever ever say anything even resembling a threat in public or where someone can overhear you.  That person will be killed and you will be a suspect and things will be awkward.  This is probably not a bad rule for life.  Threatening people just in general is a bad idea.

3.  Don't travel - Ever - Seriously it's a terrible idea.  Did you ever watch Murder, She Wrote?  Anytime Jessica Fletcher someone died and if you are in cozy mystery land the same thing will happen to you. 

4.  Don't befriend the new person in town.  So this isn't the nicest piece of advice but there's a 95% chance that that new person will either be a murderer or a victim so you're saving yourself some stress.

5.  Don't open a business - Any business at all is dangerous but businesses involving food are especially dangerous.

6.  Don't move to a new town.  I don't care if you inherited a house or all your analysis says this particular town is the magic place to open a business or that's where all your family lives.  If you up and move to a new town go on and make your piece with stumbling over a body every few months.  It will happen.

7.  Don't get involved in local causes or let friends and family get involved.  Bad things happen and once again you're caught up in a murder investigation.

8.  Don't have a specific hobby, career, or interest that involves conventions.  Conventions are just death traps with mediocre food and seminars.

9.  Don't have a nemesis either in the past or present.  They're either going to be in the police force and accuse you of killing someone or they're going to die and you're going to have to prove your innocence.  Either way it'll be inconvenient.

10.  Don't live in a small town - especially not one in Maine or Northern California.  These are death traps with a violent death rate of about 50% of the population.  Luckily, most of the victims/killers are people who are new to town so it doesn't decimate the population too much.

So here's a few tips on how to stay out of your trouble if you happen to find yourself trapped in a book in one of my favorite genres.  Hope it helps!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Little Beach Street Bakery - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Purchased

Description:  Amid the ruins of her latest relationship, Polly Waterford moves far away to the sleepy seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives in a small, lonely flat above an abandoned shop.

To distract her from her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, and the local honey-courtesy of a handsome local beekeeper. Drawing on reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes . . . and discovers a bright new life where she least expected it.
Genre:  Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I like Jenny Colgan so I buy her books indiscriminately when I come across them in the bookstore.  It made it to the top of the pile because the sequel to this book is on Audible Escape and I figured I should read the first book before listening to the second.

My Impression:  Well this was just delightful!  I laughed, I cried, I wanted bread, and I decided I simply must get a puffin to have as a pet even though I'm in the completely wrong climate and my cat would probably object.  Polly is a fairly typical Colgan heroine.  Her life has imploded - her business has gone under, her relationship is in tatters, and she has nowhere to live and no real income.  But she's a bit of a scrappy fighter with a tendency to make impulsive decisions.  Polly's impulsive decision lands her in a tiny apartment above an abandoned bakery on a little island in the back of beyond.  But this little island is full of quirky characters, sea air, and a puffin or two. 

The island quickly came to life as Polly slowly stretched her legs and gained her footing.  I loved getting to know the island and the characters and the puffin.  Puffins are a severely underrated animal sidekick by the way.  I thought I knew what to expect from this book but Colgan surprised me in an at times heartbreaking way.  I was a fan of Colgan before I picked up this book and this read definitely cemented that status.  I'm looking forward to reading more Colgan in general and the sequel to this book in particular.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Colgan is a favorite!

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you're looking for a light read with a bit of heart and a touch of romance this is a great choice.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

This Week in Reading - March 22

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 Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber - I'm really looking forward to this book.  This series has become a favorite of mine and I'm looking forward to reading this one.  (Publisher)

Who Speaks for the Damned by C.S. Harris - I just finished the previous book in the series and really enjoyed it so I'm excited to read this one.  (Publisher)

Gone with the Whisker by Laurie Cass - This is a cozy series that I haven't read but I've really been wanting to give it a try.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, and Seaglass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne

Listening:  The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley - My goal is to finish this book this coming week.  I've really been enjoying it but it's been hard to find time to listen.

Watching:  We are almost done with Grantchester on Amazon Prime and will be looking for something else to watch soon.  Any recommendations - especially for mysteries on Amazon Prime?

Off the Blog:

What a crazy week it's been!  On the last Sunday Post stuff was just starting to close here but our libraries were staying open.  As the week went on more and more stuff started to close and we're basically in full shutdown.  Earlier this week the governor issued an order closing the beaches and all restaurants except for takeout and delivery and pretty much everything else except for necessary services.  My husband (and pretty much everyone else I know) is working from home until further notice and we're pretty much just staying put for the foreseeable future.  Luckily all 3 of us are introverts and we already home school so our lives aren't THAT different but it's still weird to have NOTHING on our calendar.  We have been eating takeout some to mix it up but that's about it.  The weather has been seriously crummy here with lots of rain so going outside hasn't seemed particularly but today we might be adventurous and go for a drive. 

I hope everyone is staying safe and sane during this weird time.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Little Beach Street Bakery - Fiction Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesdays - How To Stay Out of Trouble If You're in a Cozy Mystery
Wednesday:  Seaglass Cottage - Fiction Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog 
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  The Read-Aloud Family - Nonfiction Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Holding the Dream - Contemporary Review

Goodreads:  Holding the Dream (Dream Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts

Rating: Liked It
Source: Library

Description: Surrounded by the sweeping cliffs and beauty of Big Sur, Kate Powell treasured both her life at Templeton House and the family who raised her like one of their own. Although Kate lacked Margo’s beauty and Laura’s elegance, she knew she had something they would never possess—a shrewd head for business.
Driven by ambition, Kate measured her life’s success with each soaring promotion. But now faced with professional impropriety, Kate is forced to look deep within herself—only to find something missing in her life...and in her heart.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed this trilogy when I read it years ago and thought it was time for reread.  I read the first book last month.

My Impression:  I'm not sure anyone writes friendships quite as well as Nora Roberts and this trilogy is one of those series that proves that.  While yes, this is Kate's story and most of it focuses on her developing relationship the true star is the relationship between the three women - Kate, Margo, and Laura.  Not only have these three been lifelong friends but they have weathered some pretty severe storms together and have now opened a business together. 

Kate has always been a creature of habit and craves order and control. She's always been ambitious and measures her self worth in accomplishments.  When her entire world gets knocked on it's ear Kate is flailing but comes to realize what truly matters to her.  It's an interesting and unique evolution.   While Kate is not the first fictional character to have to reevaluate the way she does it and who she is in general keeps this from feeling a bit same old same old.  I loved the romance, loved spending more time with Kate, and loved seeing this next chapter in the life of the Templeton family.  I'm looking forward to picking up Laura's story next.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  Roberts is a must read and a frequent reread for me.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy Roberts' friendship based trilogies this is one you really should pick up!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Friday Fives - Middle Grade Wishlist

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.  One of my favorite bookish Youtubers - Katie from Life Between Words - has been talking a lot about Middle Grade March which has gotten my thinking about what Middle Grade books I want to read.  Because Middle Grade is one of my favorite genres to reread I'm focusing on new to me Middle Grades and not rereads.  I'm also avoiding authors and series that I'm already familiar with and already love.

1.  Tilly and the Bookwanders (Page & Co) by Anna James - a little girl who lives above her grandparents' bookshop discovers that her favorite fictional characters are appearing in the shop.

2.  The Rescuers by Margery Sharp - The Rescuers is one of my very favorite Disney movies and one I just discovered was based on a book.  So of course I have to read the book!

3.  Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein - This one has been on my TBR for years and somehow I've never read it.  Soon, perhaps?

4.  The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston - Someone recommended this to me but for the life of me I can't remember who (maybe Lark?) but regardless it looks wonderful and definitely like a book I'd enjoy.

5.  The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill - I have heard so many raves about this book and it has been on my TBR since it came out years ago.

What middle grade books are on your wish list?  Have you read any of these?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Books from the Backlog - The Haunted Lady

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 Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Blurb:  Eliza Fairbanks may be old, but she's hardly senile. So when she claims to have found bats in her bedroom and arsenic in her strawberries, Miss Pinkerton is quickly assigned to investigate. It doesn't take the shrewd nurse-detective long to discover that Mrs. Fairbanks is quite sane after all—and quite dead!

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I've read a few books by this author years ago and don't really want to remember much about them.  I picked this one up at a used bookstore not that long ago and need to read it because I'm considering trying to collect all her books.  I figure I should see if I like her before buying 30 books.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Forgotten Murder - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Forgotten Murder (Medlar Mystery #3) by Jude Deveraux

Rating: Just Okay
Source:  Publisher

Description:  After solving two murder cases in their hometown of Lachlan, Florida, Sara Medlar, her niece Kate and their friend Jack need a change of scenery. Sara arranges for them to visit an old friend of hers in England. Upon arrival at Oxley Manor, a centuries-old estate that has been converted to a luxury hotel, Kate and Jack quickly realize that Sara is up to something. They learn that Sara has also invited a number of others to join them at Oxley.
When everyone assembles, Sara lets them know why they are there. Decades earlier, two people ran off together from Oxley and haven’t been heard from since—and Sara wants to solve the case. As the people who were there the night the two went missing, the guests find themselves cast in a live mystery-theater event.

In reenacting the events of that night, it becomes clear that everyone has something to hide and no one is safe, especially when the discovery of a body makes it clear that at least one of the people who disappeared was murdered.

Sara, Jack and Kate are once again at the heart of a mysterious case that only they are able to solve. But someone is willing to continue to kill to keep the truth about Oxley Manor buried, and none of the guests are safe.

Genre: Mystery 

Why I Picked This Book:  This is an author I've seen around for years but never read and this particular story sounded like something I would absolutely love.

My Impression:  I wanted to love this one.  I really did.  I went in just knowing I was.  And... well I didn't hate it.  There's a lot of potential here and moments that I really enjoyed.  But the bulk of it felt like I was reading a detailed outline that hadn't quite made the jump to the actual finished manuscript. 

The mystery was interesting and there were definitely secrets galore which I found intriguing.  I though Puck was an unusual character and I liked that she had found a way to live life her way even if it was on the odd side.  Frankly, I would want to hide from most of the characters too.  The flashbacks which centered around her were the best parts of the story and were the only times I really felt myself connecting with what was going on. 

This was a story that I didn't mind reading but never felt fully invested in or was ever really able to just sink into the story.  I was always very aware of each word I was reading.  While this wasn't a particularly engaging read it wasn't terrible and it does make me curious to read more of Deveraux's books but this is one I probably wouldn't recommend.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  While I was underwhelmed by this book I would try something else by Deveraux as there were parts of this I liked.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Probably not.  It wasn't terrible but it was just okay. 

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Spring TBR

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 favorite of mine - the seasonal TBR - and since it is technically very close to spring it's the Spring TBR!

1.  The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne - I really enjoyed Thayne's last women's fiction book and this cover was so pretty I couldn't resist! 

2.  Dressed Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton - This came out in February and I really meant to read it then but I didn't so I'm hoping to get to it this spring.

3.  Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer - I'm a little worried this will hit a little too close to home as the main character is dealing with her father's worsening dementia (in my case it's my grandmother's) but other then that I'm looking forward to this as the main character learns more about the mother she never really knew.

4.  Miss Austen by Gill Hornby - This is a historical fiction about Jane Austen's sister and I'm really looking forward to it.

5.  The House that Vanity Built by Nancy Cole Silverman - I absolutely adored the first book in this mystery series about a psychic and a ghost  with touches of old Hollywood so I'm really excited about this one.

6.  Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett - I've had this book sitting on my shelf for years and it looks really fun so this spring seems like the time to read it!

7.  A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn - I've read books 1,2, and 5 so now it's time to read 3!

8.  Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth - I have finally completed my collection of the Miss Silver Mysteries and am celebrating by doing a big reread.  This isn't my favorite (it's actually my least favorite) but it's the first so that's where I'm starting.

9.  The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman - Another book that has been on my shelf forever and one I'm really hoping to read this spring.

10. Meet Me in Atlantis by Mark Adams - This book has been on my TBR for years and I have started it at least twice but never got very far before I had to put it away for a review book.  This spring actually finishing this book is happening!

What's on your TBR this spring?

Monday, March 16, 2020

Lavender Blue Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Lavender Blue Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery #21) by Laura Childs

Rating: Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description: Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.
But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor's lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald's daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she's made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book: I enjoy this series and that cover is just so pretty.

My Impression:  This series is just as warm and cozy as the cups of tea that Theodosia and Drayton serve at Indigo Tea Shop.  Yes there's murder and mayhem and the occasional dangerous situation but it doesn't take away from the pure coziness of the series.  This book was no exception and the murder and mayhem were on serious overdrive.  There's murder, fire, missing people, secrets, lawsuits, intrigue, and family tensions.  The number of suspects is huge but at the same time no one has an overwhelming motive.  Watching Theodosia snoop around, ask interesting questions, and theorize with Drayton and Haley was lots of fun.  As usual even though I had a guess who the killer was I enjoyed getting to the big reveal so much that it didn't bother me at all.

The book isn't flawless.  Theodosia has a case of the "too perfects" which is a condition that plagues many a cozy heroine.  She's lovely, has perfect taste, everyone likes her, and she's an expert on just about everything there is.  However, she's not arrogant or annoying so the too perfects didn't keep me from liking her and seriously wishing that the tea shop really did exist. 

If you enjoy a cozy mystery this is a delightful series with entertaining mysteries, an enjoyable cast, and warm fuzzy cozy feelings. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course.  I keep meaning to go back and read the series from the beginning and I'll be picking up the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies this is one of the coziest of series!

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

Sunday, March 15, 2020

This Week in Reading - March 15

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:

Deception by Gaslight by Kate Belli - I love historical mysteries and I love jewel thieves so how could I resist? (NetGalley)


Reading:  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and A Forgotten Murder by Jude Deveraux

Listening:  Still listening to The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley.  I'm really enjoying it but didn't have much listening time this week.

Watching:  We just started watching Grantchester and are really enjoying it.  I know we're a bit late to the party but late is better then never!

Off the Blog:

We had a fairly quiet week.  I haven't been feeling very well (allergies and my usual headache issues) and this time change kills me EVERY single year.  I know most people hate the time change in the fall where we fall back but I love that one!  It gets dark earlier which just feels cozier.  This whole losing an hour of sleep thing makes me groggy and sleepy and grumpy for about a month.

And then of course we went on Corona virus watch.  I mean obviously it's been a topic of conversation and concern for quite some time but the news of the first case in Tennessee broke Wednesday and then the first case for us in Alabama showed up Friday.  And of course everything is closing and cancelling. It doesn't really change things too much for us as the Tornado is home schooled.  He has a couple of classes he takes that are cancelled for now and some of the regular activities won't be happening for awhile but our day to day lives will pretty much remain the same.  One of the few things still open here is the library and while they have cancelled all gatherings they are still open, have increased the number of times you can renew things, and have increased the number of items you can have out at at time.  I've always liked our library but now I have all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings.  Other then runs to the library to pick up holds and runs to the grocery store for supplies we are staying put.  My husband can fairly easily work from home (and it looks like his company is going to start requesting everyone who can do so) so that will take some getting used too but it'll be fun.  I don't have any real health problems but the last few years I've gotten sick very easily and have a hard time getting over everything so I'm taking no chances.

I hope everyone is taking home, staying safe, and staying healthy.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Lavender Blue Murder - Cozy Mystery Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Spring TBR
Wednesday:  A Forgotten Murder - Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  Holding the Dream - Contemporary Romance Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

My Non-Bookish Winter Favorites

This winter wasn't all that winter-y since we spent most of it in New Orleans.  In my opinion it's definitely the way to spend winter!  Granted, where I actually live doesn't get super winter-y but and day below 50 is way too cold for me.  But that aside here are a few things that I've really enjoyed this winter.

Fresca - I loved Fresca as a kid but then forgot all about it until I had some at my mother's around Thanksgiving.   It's my go to mid afternoon drink when I'm not wanting lots of caffeine but need something to give me a refreshing pick me up.  I discovered they have a cherry citrus and a peach citrus flavor so it is now my mission in life to find those.

Adidas Baseline Shoes - I bought these on a whim before we went to Disney.  All the cool soccer players wore these when I was in high school and I desperately wanted a pair.  Plus, my feet are on the smaller side and I can wear youth sizes which just happened to be on sale when we were looking for new shoes for the Tornado.  I love these shoes.  They were on my feet for most of the 50 miles we walked and never let me down. 

Hint Water - I live on this stuff.  The watermelon is probably my favorite flavor but I've yet to discover a flavor I don't enjoy.

The Office Ladies Podcast - I loved The Office when it was originally on and when I heard of this podcast hosted by Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer (aka Angela and Pam) I downloaded the first few episodes and was immediately hooked.  I love the behind the scenes peeks and just listening to how the show came to be.  It also helps that both women are very obviously huge fans of the show.  We've been listening to the podcast and then going to watch the show and it's just been a delight!  They're only halfway through the 2nd season now so you can catch up easily. 

What were your favorite Non-Bookish things this winter?

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday Fives - Classic Movies I Want to Watch

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.   Life is getting back to normal for us which means I'm hoping to start watching classic movies again.  Here are 5 that are coming up on Turner Classic Movies that I'm looking forward to watching.

1.  I Married a Witch (1942) - This sounds a bit madcap and is about a 300 year old witch who falls in love with a politician and hijinks ensue (I'm assuming).  The real reason I want to see this is because the witch is played by Veronica Lake who I've never seen in a movie before but my grandmother used to compare me to her ALL the time because my hair was always falling in my face.

2.  Jamaica Inn (1939) - I tried to read this book and ended up DNFing it but I love the premise and this is directed by Hitchcock.

3.  White Heat (1949) - I've actually seen this before but Cagney is so brilliant in it I think it needs a rewatch.

4.  Key Largo (1948) - It has Bogard, Bacall, and Edward G Robinson.  It must be watched!

5.  The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) - Not only does this have John Garfield who is one of my absolute favorite actors but it has Lana Turner who was one of my grandmother's favorite actresses (so much so that I have an aunt whose name was Lana).  I like suspense and this is such a classic  that I feel like I need to watch it. 

What classic movies are on your watch list?