Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Releases for the 2nd Half of the Year

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 new releases - specifically what new releases I'm looking forward to picking up for the 2nd half of 2020.

1.  Deadly Touch by Heather Graham - I love Graham's Krewe of Hunter series and this one looks really good!

2.  Checked Out for Murder by Allison Brook - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. There's a haunted library, solid mysteries and likable characters.

3.  The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews - Another favorite cozy series and this might just be my favorite title of the year.

4.  Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison - I really enjoyed another series by this author so I'm excited to try this book in a new series.

5.  Murder in the East End by Jennifer Ashley - I love this historical mystery series and am so excited for this latest book.

6.  Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas - Another historical mystery series that I love and this one has such a gorgeous cover I couldn't resist.

7.  The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis - I've been really enjoying historical fiction and mysteries lately and I can never resist a dual timeline family secret kind of story.

8.  Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan - Colgan is a favorite and I loved her last books that took place on the Isle of Muir so this is high on my list.

9.  Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron - We spent last winter in New Orleans and I'm desperately missing it so I figured I might as well spend some virtual time in the bayou with this cozy mystery.  

10. Deception by Gaslight by Kate Belli - I don't really know much about this book or this author but historical mysteries have been a win lately so I couldn't resist this one.

What new releases are you looking forward to getting?

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Our first week in the land of leukemia

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

It’s actually Wednesday when I’m writing this so it hasn’t been a full week yet but it’s been crazy.  Thursday June 18 our perfectly healthy 10 year old son was diagnosed with leukemia.  When I say perfectly healthy he had never even had antibiotics in his entire life until that night.  When they asked us about allergies and reactions to medicine I literally had no idea because he’s only taken Benadryl and Tylenol and even that was very rarely.   On Thursday we took a kid who I thought maybe might have mono to the pediatrician and was sent to the ER.  When that happens you pretty much know something bad is going to happen and the official diagnosis followed a couple of hours later.  They sent us to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN the next day and it will be our new home for the next three months.  

The prognosis is very good and every test result has come back with the best results they can.  The medical team says things could not look better.  So right now we are day by day with seeing how he feels and responding to that.  It’s a mix of sitting and trying to stay out of your head and being incredibly busy.  I’m writing this during the waiting part and it’s a nice distraction.  He will survive this and not only will he survive it he will be fine.  We’ve been told over and over again that this is a detour and not a derailment.  There is a hallway downstairs in the hospital with picture after picture of adults holding a picture of themselves as patients and those are just the former patients who now work at St Jude.  

If anyone is interested you can join his face book group here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/386657402290255

I’m going to be blogging some for a distraction and for normalcy.  You guys have been a big part of my life for a long time and it’s nice to come visit.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday Fives - Five (Current) Favorite Mystery Authors

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 also going to start linking up with Kathryn over at Book Date for her Connect Five.  I've been in a big mystery binge reading phase for the last few months so I thought I'd list my 5 (current) favorite mystery authors.

1.  Agatha Christie - Christie is an all time favorite but the reason she has made my current list is because I've been focusing a bit more on my reread and remembering just why she's an all time favorite.

2.  Patricia Wentworth - Exactly the same reasoning as above!

3.  Lynn Cahoon - Cahoon has been a favorite since I read her first Tourist Trap book but in the last few months I've been catching up on her newer books and thoroughly enjoying them.

4.  Nancy Cole Silverman - I love Silverman's Carole Childs books but her new series involving psychic Misty Dawn, ghost and former set designer Wilson, and the hijinks they frequently find themselves involved in.

5.  Carol J. Perry - I had read and enjoyed a couple of books in the middle of her series involving Lee and her Aunt Ibby that takes place in Salem, MA but recently I picked up the audio of the first book and fell absolutely in love.  Planning on binging the whole series.

Who are some of your favorite mystery authors?

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Books from the Backlog - The Scent of Murder

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 Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

Blurb: The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

My Thoughts:  I got this for review last year and really sincerely meant to read it but I got sick and got way behind in reading and ended up having to skip this one and never circled back to it.  I've heard great things about this book and the latest one in the series so I need to pick this one up.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Sea King's Daughter

Today I'm linking up with Socrates' Book Reviews for First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros.  This is a meme I've been following for quite sometime and always enjoyed seeing all the different first paragraphs so I'm really excited to be linking up myself!

First Chapter, First Paragraph:  

Don't call me Ariadne.  That's not my name anymore.

My Thoughts:  This is a reread for me so I know I'll keep reading.  I love Michaels' Gothic-y reads and this is a fun one. 

What do you think?  Keep reading?

Sunday, June 21, 2020


So this week did not go the way I expected.  I had mentioned last week that my 10 year old wasn’t feeling well but I felt kind of silly being worried because none of his symptoms were a particularly big deal.  Well long story short he was diagnosed with Leukemia at the end of the week.  I’m writing and saying the word a lot just to try and make it seem real and not like my super healthy kid who never even had a sick doctor visit wandered into a nightmare.  As I’m writing this we are on our way to St Jude Hospital in Memphis.  I don’t know what will happen though in terms of prognosis everything looks positive.  I’m not sure what my online time will look like.  Obviously while I love this blog and all of you it’s at the bottom of my priority list.  I have a lot of posts scheduled and will be checking my email so any comments or messages would be a nice distraction.  I wouldn’t be shocked if I’m still reviewing some just for a mental break and a slight sense of normalcy but I just don’t know.  

My mother will be setting up a Facebook group and I will link it when I know it if anyone is interested in following his treatment.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Lonesome Road - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Lonesome Road (Miss Silver #3) by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Really Liked It!

Source: Purchased

Description:  Every year beautiful Rachel Treherne must rewrite her will--and decide who will inherit her late father's vast wealth...But this year, things are just a little bit different:
Somebody clearly wants her to die.

"You have had that money long enough," said the anonymous note. Two venomous snakes coiled in her bed, a suspicious fire and poisoned chocolates made the same point. Now Rachel looks fearfully at those around her: Her invalid sister Mabel, the innocent looking Caroline and her fiance Richard, her first cousin Cosmo Firth, her dedicated companion Louisa, and even the handsome visitor mysteriously linked to her father's past. Enlisting the very capable talents of Miss Silver seems the only way she can stay alive...

Genre: Mystery - Classic

My Impression:  That is the Miss Silver I know and love!  While she has been a presence in the first 2 books she seemed a bit muted and much more of a side character.  Here Miss Silver is front and center from almost the very beginning with all her good sense and Tennyson quotes.  

This is one of those mysteries where everyone except the victim is a suspect and the plot is a little different as the focus is to prevent a murder and not solve one that's already happened.  Miss Silver has complicated family relationships, secrets, and a whole cast of characters with opportunity and motive.  So just who is trying to kill Rachel and what kind of secrets are everyone else hiding?  The characters with only a few exceptions are all rather terrible in that kind of classic British mystery terrible character way.  

The reading experience is warm and cozy and entertaining.  While Miss Silver is very different from Christie's Miss Marple there is a very similar feel to her books.  I'm very much looking forward to reading more of Miss Silver!

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

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would!  If you enjoy Miss Marple books then you must give Miss Silver a try.  While this is the 3rd book in the series the books are only a series because Miss Silver is in them and can be read in any order.  This would be a good one to start with.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Things that I Don't Like in a Cozy Mystery

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 also going to start linking up with Kathryn over at Book Date for her Connect Five.   A few weeks ago I did a Top Ten post about why I love cozy mysteries (find that here) but not everything in a cozy mystery is a win so here are a few things that will take a book down a star or 2.

1.  Too Many Characters - Cozy mysteries have a lot of characters.  You need a decent cast to really give that feeling of small town community that most are set in and the amateur sleuth normally comes with a built in a group.  But sometimes I come across a cozy where everyone who ever existed in this series makes an appearance and it can get a bit confusing.  I mean just because your BFF's grandmother's second cousin's boss's son was a prominent character in book 2 does not mean he needs to show up for tea in book 5 unless once again his character to the plot.

2.  The To Stupid To Live Character - One could argue that any amateur sleuth investigating falls into the TSTL category but occasionally they really go all out.  A number of years ago I read a cozy where the sleuth took her toddler to confront someone she knew was a murder at night alone.  To make it even more fun the confrontation took place on a catwalk over a vat of turpentine type chemicals.  Did I mention there was a toddler in this whole mess?  It was just a bit too much.

3.  A Big Coincidence - I hate when the mystery is solved due to a big coincidence like the sleuth walking in at just the right time to hear someone saying just the right time.  Or they just happen to stumble on just the stranger they need to find at the grocery store or something random.  I'm okay if a random discovery leads to some investigation but if it closes the whole case it feels like cheating.

4.  An Unlikable Sleuth - I don't need to be best friends with every amateur sleuth in every cozy I read but I have at least find the person I'm spending time with somewhat likable or at least interesting.  My last straw with a series I had been reading for awhile was when the sleuth went over to her quasi-boyfriend's house after she'd had a really rough day.  He went to the effort of making her a tuna casserole from his mother's recipe because he thought she needed comfort food.  From her reaction you would have thought he was sacrificing kittens when she walked through the door.  I dislike tuna casserole with the burning fury of 1000 suns but it seemed like sweet gesture and was well intentioned.  

5.  Constantly Being Framed for Murder - In any long running cozy series the main character will end up being suspected of murder at least once or twice.  As will various close friends and family.  But when the entire series is based off a main character being not only questioned but actually arrested and charged it gets a bit exhausting.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Mastering the Art of French Eating

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:  Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah

Blurb:  When journalist Ann Mah’s diplomat husband is given a three-year assignment in Paris, Ann is overjoyed. A lifelong foodie and Francophile, she immediately begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a year-long post—alone. Suddenly, Ann’s vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Lights is turned upside down.
So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Ann must find a life for herself in a new city. Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  It doesn't' look like we'll be doing any traveling anytime soon so I could use some vicarious travel.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

My Favorite Books for the First Half of 2020

I think it's safe to say that 2020 has not gone the way anyone has expected.  But thankfully there are always books and here are 10 of my favorites for 2020 so far.  I'm looking at just new to me reads so no rereads but not necessarily books that were published actually in 2020.  

The House that Vanity Built by Nancy Cole Silverman - I adored the first book in this paranormal cozy involving old Hollywood and the second book was maybe just as good and definitely just as fun.

The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley - I really loved the first book but it was so long it felt like it dragged a bit so I decided to listen to the second book and it was a delight.  The narrators were perfection and while this was still pretty hefty I was enthralled from beginning to end.

One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak - This was a perfect escapist read that just pulled me in and kept me reading.

The Read Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie - We are just finishing up our first year of homeschool and I've been amazed by how much we've both enjoyed reading aloud.  I nodded along through all this book and it definitely inspired me to keep reading!

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan - Two words - puffin sidekick.  This was a delight and one of my favorite Colgan reads.

Sugar and Vice by Eve Calder - I enjoyed the first book in this cozy mystery series involving delicious sounding treats but this second one involving pirate treasure, missing persons, and deep dark family secrets was just an absolute treat to read.

Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry - I read 2 later books in the series but went back to the first book and thoroughly enjoyed it!  Solid mystery with a fun spooky Salem, MA setting.

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman - I've read other books in the series but never the first one.  It's absolute madness and completely unrealistic but such fun.

Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long - I enjoy police procedurals but get frustrated with how dysfunctional the detectives are.  These are people with baggage but more of a how do you actually get out of bed and function every day level issues.  I really liked that the two main detectives in this book while not perfect are regular people and the mystery was solid and a great read.  I'm reading the second book next month and can't wait.

Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright - This was a nice simple story about a nice girl and her nice family on a Wisconsin farm.  Enright is one of my favorite authors and while this wasn't my favorite of hers it was a lovely read.

What are some of your favorite reads for the first half of the year?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Summer 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 all about my Summer TBR.  Now I'm not fabulous at actually completing these TBRs but I love putting them together!

1.  Murder in the East End by Jennifer Ashley - This is one of my favorite historical mysteries and I love this cover so I can't wait to read this latest mystery.

2.  The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews - I love this cozy series and this may be one of the best cozy pun titles I've come across in awhile.

3.  Checked Out for Murder by Allison Brook - How can I resist a cozy mystery series that involves a haunted library?  It also doesn't hurt that I've thoroughly enjoyed all the previous books in the series.

4.  Cat Me if You Can by Miranda James - Another favorite cozy series with another fabulous pun title. 

5.  For Whom the Book Tolls by Laura Gail Black - This is a new to me cozy series and author but I've been loving bookish cozies so why not try a new one.

6.  The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan - I have absolutely loved every Jenny Colgan book I've read lately and this one looks so fun!

7.  Love Without Border by Angela Braniff - I really enjoy both of Braniff's YouTube channels so I had to preorder her book.  I'm looking forward to learning more about her and her family.

8.  The Lilac Bus by Maeve Binchey - I have read one Binchey book and absolutely loved it so I have high hopes for this one.

9.  The Sea King's Daughter by Barbara Michaels - My son is learning all about ancient Greeks in history lately which has been making me want to reread this book. 

10. The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden by William Alexander - I'm not going to have a garden this year so I figure this book will help remind me it's not so bad!

What are you hoping to read this summer?

Monday, June 15, 2020

Murder, She Wrote: The Murder of Twelve - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Murder, She Wrote - The Murder of 12 by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land

Rating: Really Like!d It

Source: Publisher

Description:  Still staying at the Hill House hotel while her beloved home is being rebuilt, Jessica Fletcher finds herself sharing the space for a weekend with a dozen members of a wedding party who have gathered there for a rehearsal dinner. The families of the bride and groom can't stand each other but have agreed to put aside years of long-simmering tension to celebrate the nuptials.

Unfortunately, weather forecasters underestimated the severity of a storm that turns into a historic blizzard that dumps nearly five feet of snow on Cabot Cove, leaving everyone stranded.

But the hotel guests have bigger things to worry about than bad weather conditions and potential cold feet, because a murderer has shown up ininvited--one who has vowed to take them down one by one.... 

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love this series and this one sounded fantastic!

My Impression:  If I have to be snowed in with a murderer in a cute inn in Maine I definitely want Jessica Fletcher to be with me!  Granted at no point do I want to be snowed in anywhere - especially not with a murderer - but if it has to happen I was Jessica by my side.  Not only will she get everything figured out but she has plenty of good common sense and quite of on the ground experience with that kind situation and those seem pretty handy.  

There is a clear nod to one of my absolute favorite mysteries - Agatha Christie's And Then They Were None - and such a fun version it is.  There's Seth's gloom and doom predictions, Mort's disbelief over the whole thing and Harry McGraw (who will always be played by the amazing Jerry Orbach in my head) makes an appearance though mostly over the phone.  My absolute favorite thing is Mort teasing Jessica about the crime rate in Cabot Cove. I love the straight acknowledgement of that and it definitely gave me a giggle or two.  The mystery is page turning, thoroughly entertaining and kept me guessing all through the read which I expect from this series.  Jon Land has given the series a little more intense thriller-y feel but the language and on page violence is at standard cozy levels which is an interesting mix.  

If you're a fan of the show this is book is such a fun treat but even if you're not it is still a solid entertaining mystery that will keep you reading.   While it is part of a long running series there's enough back story supplied where you can jump in with this book with no problem.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'll be looking for the next book and am really hoping to catch up on some of the older books in this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy mysteries you really should give this series a try.  I had skipped reading it because I figured a book based on a TV show couldn't possibly be good but this series has definitely proven me wrong!

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

Sunday, June 14, 2020

This Week in Reading - June 14

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:

Chili Cauldron Curse by Lynn Cahoon (NetGalley) - Cahoon is one of my favorite cozy authors so I'm curious to see what this new series is all about.

15 Minutes of Flame by Cristin Brecher (NetGalley) - I've been wanting to read this series for awhile so I couldn't resist picking this one up.

Murder Take Two by Carol J Perry (NetGalley) - I have absolutely fallen in love with this paranormal cozy series so I had to pick up the newest one.


Reading:  Summer at Lake Haven by RaeAnn ThayneThe Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths and Meet Me In Atlantis by Mark Adams

Listening:  A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

Watching:  We haven't been watching much TV lately but are finishing up the last season of City Homicide (Australian crime show on Amazon Prime) and are planning on watching Rear Window this week.

Off the Blog:

It's been a bit of a crazy week.  I got some kind of good news at the doctor's this week.  I've been having a lot of problems with all over pain and extreme skin sensitivity and it seems that it is most likely allergy related.  It's not fantastic and I'm not sure what it means long term but it's so much better then any of the other options I was potentially facing.  The medication is making me a bit sleepy which is cutting into my reading time but it's so much better then to be really hurting. 

On the negative side the Tornado is sick again.  He gets sick a decent amount but it's normally super short lived (like less then a day - it's crazy) and this time it's a bit different which makes me nervous.  There's nothing bad - no real symptoms other then a headache and a fever that's been between 99.5 and 100.9 and just super lethargic.  If it's still around tomorrow I'm calling the doctor.  I know it seems like a big nothing but he's NEVER sick like this.

On a distraction note I enjoyed this video  from the WDW Couple where they stayed in a Harry Potter AirBNB.  The attention to detail was amazing and would be fantastic if you were looking to do some Harry Potter themed decorating.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Murder She Wrote - The Murder of Twelve - Cozy Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Summer TBR
Wednesday: A Hodge Podge of Reviews - What I'm Reading #1
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog 
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: Lonesome Road - Classic Mystery Review

Hope everyone is staying sane and safe and reading good books!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A Hodge Podge of Reviews - Cozy Mystery Edition #2

Goodreads:  Digging Up the Dirt (Southern Ladies Mystery #3) by Miranda James

Premise:  When former most eligible bachelor Hadley Partridge comes home the mystery of just what happened to his brother's wife 40 years ago.  Until now, everyone thought she had run off with Hadley but it seems that wasn't the case - especially when a storm turns up a body on the Partridge property.

My Thoughts:  When I saw this series centered around two of my absolute favorite characters in the Cat in the Stacks series I couldn't resist picking this one up - especially when I saw the blurb on this one.  I do love when a cold case heats up!  This one was quite good with all the drama a group of Garden Club ladies can bring.  While I enjoyed this one, I didn't feel like it had the charm and warmth that the Cat in the Stacks series has and while I love the Ducote sisters in that series when given their own book they looks a lot of what makes them interesting.  As well, the ending felt a bit rushed and I'm still not exactly sure what all happened at the end.  Despite that this is a fun mystery an I did enjoy reading it.  However, if you're new to Miranda James start with Cat in the Stacks.  Rating:  Liked It

 My Thoughts:  I have thoroughly enjoyed this series about Jenny Wilson, who is in the middle of some life upheaval, her neighbor, writer Zoe Zola, and all of their adventures.   This is an interesting community with many reoccurring characters but not so many that it gets overwhelming or hard to keep up with.  This mystery involves a dead girl found in odd circumstances, a missing girl and a group of newcomers throwing money around and causing quite a stir.  Zoe is front and center in this mystery which I enjoyed as I like seeing how her mind works.  The mystery was intriguing and while I did figure out kind of what was going on about halfway through the book I was holding my breath to find out just how it was going to all unravel at the end.  This ended up being a thoroughly enjoyable mystery with good level of suspense and nice pacing.  I listened to the audio of this book and really enjoyed Marguerite Gavin's narration.  My Rating:  Really Liked It

My Thoughts:  I had read the 3rd and 4th books in this series about Lee Barrett, her Aunt Ibby, and the big orange cat O'Ryan and really enjoyed them but had some questions about just how the series got started.  I was thrilled when I found the 1st book on audio and couldn't wait to give it a listen.  And it didn't disappoint!  We meet Lee as she finds out the job she had traveled halfway across the country to interview for was already filled and almost immediately she stumbles upon a dead body.  Before she knows it she's a psychic on a late night TV show, discovering she might actually have some kind of psychic powers, dealing with two potential relationships, and caught up in a murder investigation.  It's quite a ride but it never feels rushed or over the top.  I really enjoyed seeing Lee and Aunt Ibby get used living together again and Lee take the first steps towards building her own life after the death of her husband.  The mystery was solid and thoroughly enjoyable even if I did figure out the twist a little before Lee did.  I'm so glad I took the time to go back and listen to the first book in the series and I'm really looking forward to continuing with the rest of the series.  Rating:  Really Liked It!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Books My Library Picked for Me

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 also going to start linking up with Kathryn over at Book Date for her Connect Five.  In the last few weeks my library has opened for curbside which has been so exciting as I think out of everything I missed my library the most!  However, being open for curbside only does prevent those fun wandering trips through the shelves.  So to help with that they've started to Grab Bags where you pick the genre and they pick 10 books from that genre.  So far I've gotten Grab Bags in adult fiction, mystery, and middle grade.  Here are 5 of the books my library picked for me.

1.  The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths - I've read Elly Griffiths but not from this series and I love the sound of this one. (from the Mystery Grab Bag)

2.  Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague - I think I've read something by Marisa de los Santos but am not sure and I don't think I've heard anything about this book.  (from the Middle Grade Grab Bag)

3.  The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler-Olsen -I know nothing about this author or this book.  It looks pretty dark but interesting.  (from the Adult Fiction Grab Bag)

4.  When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton - I was super excited when I pulled this out of the bag.  I've been wanting to read something by this author and the cover is absolutely gorgeous.  (from the Adult Fiction Grab Bag)

5.  Sidney Sheldon's The Silent Widow by Tiggy Bagshawe -Apparently this author is writing with permissions from Sidney Sheldon's estate.  I'm iffy on who Sheldon is but thought this sounded like it could be a good read.  (from the Mystery Grab Bag)

Have you read any of these?  Is your library open or doing anything fun during all the closures?

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Headhunters on my Doorstep

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!

Blurb:  Headhunters on My Doorstep chronicles Troost’s return to the South Pacific after his struggle with alcoholism and time in rehab left him numb to life. Deciding to retrace the path once traveled by the author of Treasure Island, Troost follows Robert Louis Stevenson to the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, Tahiti, the Gilberts, and Samoa, tumbling from one comic misadventure to another as he confronts his newfound sobriety.
Somewhere en route from the shark-infested waters of Fakarava to the remote islands of Kiribati, Troost gradually awakens to the beauty of life and reconnects with his family and the world. Headhunters on My Doorstep is a funny yet poignant account of one man’s journey to find himself that will captivate travel writing aficionados, Robert Louis Stevenson fans, and anyone who has ever lost his way.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I absolutely loved the first book and enjoyed the second book but this one has been on my shelf for awhile.  The title really grabbed me but the blurb kind of lost me so I need to give it a try and either read it or DNF it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Wife Who Knew Too Much - Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

Rating: Liked It!

Source: Publisher 

Description:  Tabitha Girard had her heart broken years ago by Connor Ford. He was preppy and handsome. She was a pool girl at his country club. Their affair should have been a summer fling. But it meant everything to Tabitha.

Years later, Connor comes back into Tabitha's life—older, richer, and desperately unhappy. He married for money, a wealthy, neurotic, controlling woman whom he never loved. He has always loved Tabitha.

When Connor’s wife Nina takes her own life, he’s free. He can finally be with Tabitha. Nina’s home, Windswept, can be theirs. It seems to be a perfect ending to a fairy tale romance that began so many years ago. But then, Tabitha finds a diary. "I’m writing this to raise an alarm in the event of my untimely death," it begins. “If I die unexpectedly, it was foul play, and Connor was behind it. Connor—and her.”

Who is Connor Ford? Why did he marry Nina? Is Tabitha his true love, or a convenient affair? As the police investigate Nina’s death, is she a convenient suspect?

As Tabitha is drawn deeper into the dark glamour of a life she is ill-prepared for, it becomes clear to her that what a wife knows can kill her.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  I thought the premise sounded fascinating and I've enjoyed a previous book by this author.

My Impression:  I flew through this read in 2 sittings finishing it up at 3AM without realizing where the hours had gone.  I've been in the mood for nothing but cozy mysteries so it was kind of fun to step a bit outside of that and go for something a little darker with a little more tension.  

When a book is this fast paced I don't really expect to like the characters but in this case I did really like Tabitha.  I don't think she could make a good decision (especially when it came to men) to save her life.  She's caught up in the dream and romance and while I don't think she's particularly dumb she doesn't come off as a person who has a huge amount of common sense.   This helped keep me from being frustrated when she steps into situations that are clearly not what they seem.  Sure the reader knows better then to trust someone or go somewhere but it seems reasonable that Tabitha doesn't.  She's just acting on impulse which is very true to who she is.  

There's a distinct Rebecca note to part of the book which I very much enjoyed but instead of the terrifying housekeeper there's a rather business-like assistant.  As well the suspense element while not overwhelming kept me reading.  I wanted to know what happened next and just how everything would unravel.  I wasn't disappointed.  My only issue is there is a bit of a redemption arc at the very end that I just couldn't believe but that was a minor issue.

If you're looking for a good fast paced read that isn't cozy but not so scary that you'll be double checking locks this is a perfect pick.  
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  This was an entertaining read and a nice break from cozies.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like fast paced mysteries with tension and suspense but not so much that you'll be pulling the blankets over your head at every sound this is a good choice.

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I've Added to My TBR But Forgotten Why

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 Books I've Added to My TBR but Forgotten Why.  Now that's a hole with no bottom!  Probably 2/3 of my TBR falls under this category but here are 10 that come to mind.  These are all books I don't know where I heard about them and know nothing about them but they look too good to remove from the list!

1.  Bitter Almonds: Recipes and Recollections from a Sicilian Girlhood by Mary Taylor Simeti 

2.  Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

3.  Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes

4.  Living with Books by Alan Powers

5.  Going to Pot by Jill Laurimore

6.  Lost and Found in Prague by Kelly Jones

7.  The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen by Lindsay Ashford

8.  Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan

9.  The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery by Catherine Bailey

10. Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet 

What books are on your TBR for reasons you can't remember?

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Clutter Corpse - Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Clutter Corpse by Simon Brett

Rating: Just Okay

Source: NetGalley

Description: Ellen Curtis runs her own business helping people who are running out of space. As a declutterer, she is used to encountering all sorts of weird and wonderful objects in the course of her work. What she has never before encountered is a dead body.

When Ellen stumbles across the body of a young woman in an over-cluttered flat, suspicion immediately falls on the deceased homeowner's son, who has recently absconded from prison. No doubt Nate Ogden is guilty of many things – but is he really the killer? Discovering a link between the victim and her own past, Ellen sets out to uncover the truth. But where has her best friend disappeared to? And is Ellen really prepared for the shocking revelations to follow?

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  I had read a book by this author in another series and enjoyed it 

My Impression:   I had picked up another book by this author and enjoyed it.  It was kind of fun and quirky and an interesting mystery.  I think I was expecting a similar feel in this book just with a different setup and characters and that definitely didn't happen.  I had issues with this book so for clarity I'm going to go to list form.

1.  The writing style was more telling then showing.  The reader isn't going along with Ellen as she finds a body and investigates instead we are being told what she did and what she thought which for me minimized my connection to the story.

2.  This was grim.  Ellen isn't decluttering overcrowded guest rooms and disorganized offices.  She's involved with some serious hoarding situations and seems to work with a lot of public housing offices so these are frequently people in pretty dire situations.  She also does follow up appointments (without pay it seems) and the situations just seem to get sadder and sadder.  As well, Ellen has a pretty intense backstory that deals with severe clinical depression, suicide, and suicide attempts of loved ones.  While it was handled sympathetically it felt like it took up a large chunk of the book and that paired with the mystery plot and the hoarding situations made this a pretty depressing read.

3.  The mystery itself.  I loved the basic premise of this mystery - dead body found in a jammed full room in a hoarder's house.  Who was she, why was she there, and who killed her.  I'm on board for all these questions.  However, the pacing on the mystery was a bit weird.  The discovery of the body took maybe two sentences where whole chapters were devoted to non-mystery related material.  As well Ellen seemed to fluctuate between being disconnected and overly involved.  There are a few times where she falls into TSTL behavior and there is a pretty sizable coincidence needed to help solve the case.  

Overall, this wasn't a great read for me.  I did like Ellen and her son Ben.  I found the concept interesting and while I didn't love the writing style it did read pretty fast.  Maybe in another mood I wouldn't have minded the very grim tone of the book but for now it was a book that left me feeling low with an unsatisfying mystery.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Not in this series but I might try another book in the earlier series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Not really.  It had some okay points but I felt like for the most part it just missed the mark.

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

Sunday, June 7, 2020

This Week in Reading - June 7

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 of a Wandering Wolf by Julia Buckley (NetGalley) 

The Last Curtain Call by Juliet Blackwell (NetGalley 


Reading:  Lonesome Road by Patricia Wentworth, The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell, and Meet Me in Atlantis by Mark Adams

Listening:  A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

Watching:  Not much other then YouTube on occasion.

Off the Blog:

I've been sick all week so there wasn't much happening off the blog except doctor's appointments and the Tornado's school.  And now I'm going back to bed.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  The Clutter Corpse - Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday -Books I've Added to My TBR But Forgotten Why
Wednesday:  The Wife Who Knew To Much - Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  A Hodge Podge of Reviews - Cozy Mystery Edition #2