Monday, July 27, 2020

The Last Curtain Call - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Last Curtain Call (A Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #8) by Juliet Blackwell

Rating: Really Liked It!

Source: Publisher

Description:  Mel Turner can’t resist the chance to bring the Crockett Theatre, a decrepit San Francisco Art Deco movie palace, back to life. But there’s a catch for Turner Construction: Several artists are currently squatting in the building, and they aren’t the only ones haunting the once-grand halls of the historic theater...

When one of the squatters is found dead, the police department has a long list of suspects to investigate. Meanwhile, Mel and her fiancé, Landon, are remodeling an old house for themselves, and Mel finds being on the other side of a home renovation project more challenging than she expected.

When Mel discovers that the former owner of the Crockett Theatre died under mysterious circumstances, and that there just might be a connection to the ghost haunting her own attic, the case takes a new turn—one that could bring down the curtain for the last time.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy, Paranormal

Why I Picked This Book:  I read some earlier books in the series and enjoyed them plus I do love the idea of a haunted theater.  

My Impression:  I do love a good ghost story and one involving a hidden closest and an old theater is way to much pass up!  This was a lot of fun and I loved the old Hollywood connections and just the allure of an grand old theater being restored to her heyday.  In addition to the main mystery there are all kinds of little threads that I found really interesting.  

The characters were entertaining, the mystery elements were intriguing, and the ghostly atmosphere kept me reading without ever getting to spooky.  I was in the mood for a ghost story and this delivered with a touch of Old Hollywood glam on top as well as a dollop of family secrets.  A fun read and a nice dose of escapism.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I really need to read the earlier books I've missed and will definitely be looking for the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you love a paranormal cozy and home renovation cozies you absolutely must pick up this book!

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

Sunday, July 26, 2020

This Week in Our New Normal - Back in the Hospital

Hello all.  I’m linking up with the Caffeinated Book Reviewer for Sunday Post

If you’ve been here for awhile you know that my 10 year old son was diagnosed with Leukemia about a month ago which ended up with us moving to Memphis TN while he is receiving treatment at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  It’s been a crazy month and just to keep us on our toes Friday night ended with him being readmitted to the hospital.  Despite feeling fine all Friday I noticed he was a bit warm before bed and sure enough he had a fever. And when you have Leukemia a fever means you go to the hospital for a minimum of 48 hours.  

Everything is fine - all tests show nothing is wrong other then really low numbers but the numbers are expected to be really low because of treatment.  But I’d rather be safe then sorry a thousand times over.  Right now we are playing Animal Crossing and searching for a new villager which is keeping him pretty entertained thankfully.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will be out of here this afternoon.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Five - Five Books for Armchair Traveling

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.  Today I'm looking at 5 Books to Take Me Armchair Traveling.  Since I won't be going anywhere anytime soon I figure a vicarious trip would be pretty amazing.

1.  An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly - A trip to County Cork would be lovely - especially since it may not be a billion degrees there.

2.  Off Kilter by Hannah Reed - And after my trip to Ireland might as well head on up to the Scottish Highlands with this cozy mystery.

3.  The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley - After I get my fill of the Highlands I'll head down to England's Lake District for some time in the land of Beatrix Potter

4. The French House:  An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village that Restored Them All by Don Wallace - After the Lake District it might be fun to head to France to help with some historic home renovation

5.  The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Atlee - And after some renovation in France I think heading south to the lemon plantations in Sicily with a stop off at Lake Garda's lemon houses.  I don't know really what to expect but lemons and Italy sound amazing.

What does your bookish trip look like?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Lineage Most Lethal - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Lineage Most Lethal by S.C. Perkins

Rating: Liked It!

Source:  Publisher

Description:  It's the week before New Year's Eve and genealogist Lucy Lancaster is mixing work and play quite nicely at the boutique Sutton Hotel in Austin, Texas. After two months of research she's finalizing her presentation for hotel heiress Pippa Sutton, her latest client.

Lucy has just arrived back at the hotel after a day of research when a strange man comes staggering toward her. She barely has time to notice his weak, sweaty appearance and broken tooth before he presses a classic Montblanc pen into her hand, whispers, "keep them safe," and collapses at her feet, dead.

Lucy only knows one person who might be able to explain the significance of the pen: her grandpa, who is a collector. But Grandpa has an odd reaction to the sight of the pen, and Lucy can't help but feel that it might have something to do with his experiences during World War II.

When Lucy becomes convinced that her hotel room has been searched and that there's more to the pen—and her grandpa—than meets the eye, she begins to draw connections from the present-day deaths and suspicious behaviors to a group of spies in World War II. Secret codes, old grievances, and traitors seem to hide behind every corner, and as Lucy begins to connect the dots someone seems determined to make sure the Lancaster line ends once and for all.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoyed the first book and I love genealogy so this is a must read.

My Impression:  This mystery is a family affair for Lucy as pretty early in her grandfather is drawn into the plot and all kinds of family secrets start coming to light.  I enjoyed that the focus was on Lucy and her family a bit and I adored meeting her grandfather who was a very much front and center character.  

I love love love the genealogy angle here and while the plot was a touch farfetched I enjoyed the book  itself enough that it didn't bother me.  I couldn't wait to see how everything unraveled and I this was an easy book to pick up and dive into.  I had enjoyed the first book but felt like it had some pacing issues and I feel that while this book isn't perfect I really felt like I saw a lot of improvement there.  Lucy isn't my favorite cozy mystery sleuth - she's still just a bit immature - but I enjoyed the side characters enough to get past that.  

If you enjoy genealogy and love a cozy mystery this is a series you really must try!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  This series seems to be getting better and I love the genealogy part of it.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun one and if you also find genealogy or family secrets interesting then I think this is a must read!

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Books I'm Thinking About Buying

We made a temporary and unexpected move back about a month ago due to my son's health issues.  I brought 5 books with me (plus my kindle and my phone which has about a zillion audiobooks) not sure how much reading I'd be able to do.  Well I'm halfway through the last book which begs the question - what next?  While I'm not hurting for things to read sometimes I just want a paper book!  And because life is pretty chaotic right now I'm feeling really picky on just what kind of books I want to read.  As well I have a room full of books at home so it can't be books I already own.  Here are 10 books I'm thinking about picking up to hold me over until we are home.

1.  The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald - This has been on my TBR since it came out and it looks fantastic and bookish.

2.  Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay - Her book that came out last year was one of my favorite reads of 2019 so this just seems like a must read.

3.  The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews - I love this cozy mystery series and this looks like a fun one and I love the punnish Christmas title.

4.  Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose - This was recommended by Stormi and I've had a great luck with historical mysteries and this looked good.

5.  The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare - Another one recommended by Stormi.  I've enjoyed the previous books I've read by Dare so I figured this sounded fun.

6.  The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan - I got a recommendation from Erin for Jenny Colgan which reminded me how much I enjoy her books.  I haven't read this one but it sounds delightful.

7.  A Stranger in the House by Shari LapenaGreg recommended this author and her books sounded really good.  This one appealed to me the most.

8.  Cut and Run by Mary BurtonAnne recommended a thriller like from Mary Burton as I thought this sounded like a fun read.
9.  Caravan by Dorothy Gilman - I've reread a couple of Mrs. Pollifax books in the last few months and liked them and this non-Mrs. Pollifax sounds really fun.

10. Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton - This cozy mystery series has been around forever but somehow I've never read it.  So I thought the first one might be fun to pick up.

Have you read any of these?  Any recommendations for fast paced pull you escapist kinds of reads?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Murder in Waiting - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Murder in Waiting (Tourist Trap Mystery #11) by Lynn Cahoon

Rating: Liked It

Source: NetGalley

Description:  At Coffee, Books, & More, Jill’s the boss. But as Amy’s maid-of-honor, she can barely keep up with marching orders—and now she’s in charge of organizing an epic bachelorette! Adding to Jill’s party-planning panic, the South Cove Heritage Society just unceremoniously dumped her historic landmark bid. While vying proposals rush in from a loaded land developer and a pushy travel guide company, Jill finds an unexpected ally in Heritage Society expert, Frank Gleason. But their happy union is cut short when Frank is mowed down in a suspicious hit-and-run. With Amy’s big day on the horizon, Jill vows to catch the killer before she has to catch a bouquet.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book: This is one of my favorite cozy series so of course I had to pick this one up!

My Impression:  Even in the absolute best series not every book can be a winner and that's how I kind of felt about this one.  Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed it.  It was a quick read that kept me entertained.  I loved seeing Jill and Greg again along with Jackie, Harold, Toby, Deek and all the rest of the South Cove group.  I really enjoyed the first half of it and was so curious about just who had killed Frank and what was going on with the developer.  

However, a couple of things kept this from being a winner for me.  There was one tiny incident that gets referred to a few times in the book that seemed completely out of left field and doesn't have anything to do with the book itself.   As well I'm about done with wedding planning Amy.  I have a similar attitude to Jill about weddings and I think she's being a remarkably patient friend.  Jill got a bit in her head regarding relationships and legalities and it felt like that took over a bit.   I had little patience with that and just kind of wanted the book to get back to the mystery as that felt a little pushed to the side at time.

That said this is still a fast read and an entertaining mystery it just wasn't my favorite of the series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would!  While this wasn't my favorite book in the series I do always enjoy this author's books.

Would I Recommend this Book? I would recommend this series but this isn't necessarily the book I would recommend starting with.  I think you would enjoy earlier books in the series more.

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

Sunday, July 19, 2020

This Week in Our New Normal - #2

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

We are one month into my son's Leukemia diagnosis and things have developed a routine and it really is becoming our new normal.  Will has appointments at St. Jude most weekdays and if it is a short day I take him while my husband works remotely from our apartment and if it's a long day we all go together though because of COVID rules only I can go in so we get dropped off and picked up.  Drive thrus feature prominently (especially Chick fil a) and then we spend the bulk of our time at the apartment.  Will is doing great.  He's had very minimal side effects and other then feeling absolutely exhausted all the time and sleeping a lot feels okay.  We are in the middle of a fairly intense few weeks medication wise but have told that his energy level will get better in a few weeks.   This is still a long process and he will be in treatment of some kind for the next 2 years minimum but everyone is very positive.  

Reading:  Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie, Lineage Most Lethal by S.C. Perkins

Watching:  Finally finished Hamilton!  I ended up watching it in pieces on my phone while waiting for chemo but it was really good.  Now I just need to get the songs out of my head.

Loving:  Jelly Belly jelly beans.  They're my new obsession.  Being able to focus on a book again has been amazing.  

Not Loving:  Getting groceries from the parking garage to our 10th floor apartment.  Dry hospital air.  

Question:  I need book recommendations!  I only brought a couple of books with me and I'm almost done with them.  I have my Kindle and plenty of audiobooks but sometimes I want a real book.  I need books with low drama and no tear jerkers and fast paced.  What's a book that you read recently that you really enjoyed?

Hope everyone has a lovely week!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Books I've Read Recently with Super Short Reviews

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.   Today I'm looking at 5 Books I've Read Recently and giving them super short reviews.

1.  Deadly Threads by Jane K. Cleland - I love this series about an antiques dealer in New Hampshire and I love vintage clothing but this one was just kind of dull.  Mystery was fine but if I wasn't already a fan of this series I wouldn't be inspired to read more.

2.  Tails, You Lose by Carol J. Perry - I love this series about kind of psychic Lee Barrett in Salem, MA and this was a fun one.  I loved the dig into the past and the old building.

3.  The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths - I've read other books by this author but none in this series about a magician, his daughter, and a detective.  I really enjoyed the mystery and the show business aspect and will definitely be looking for more in this series.

4.  Meet Me in Atlantis by Mark Adams - I love travel and research style memoirs so I figured this one about the search for Atlantis would be fantastic.  While interesting it was a bit dry and didn't really pull me in.  Won't search out more from this author.

5.  Ammie,Come Home by Barbara Michaels - I do love a reread and this did not disappoint.  It's a bit dated but this Gothic-y ghost story was pure distracting entertainment.

What books have you read lately?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Taken In

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:  Winning an appearance on a top-rated, New York based morning show means the trip of a lifetime for librarian Tori Sinclair and the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle. Anxious to experience Manhattan with her friends, Tori is less than excited when fellow member Dixie Dunn opts to use the vacation as an opportunity to rendezvous with a man she met online.
Still, Tori never imagined her friend would be taken in by a con man specializing in scamming vulnerable older women—or that Dixie would be arrested for his murder.

Now, as the sewing circle goes up against Gotham’s elite to prove Dixie’s innocence, they will have to unravel tangled secrets and alibis, patch together a mess of clues, and put a clever killer in the city’s hottest spotlight . . .

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have no memory of purchasing this book but it looks like something I would really like so I'm not surprised I purchased it.  Now I just need to read it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books That Make Me Smile

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 That Make Me Smile.   I'm focusing on books I reach for if I'm feeling low and need a smile or a distraction!  Some of these are the actual books and some are more an idea.

1.  Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie - This is probably one of my all time favorite Christie mysteries though if you're reading the books in order of publication it's a bit strange as Christie actually wrote the book in the 40s but waited to publish it until the 70s so there are characters that had died or had gotten much frailer who are suddenly in the peak of heath.  That aside this is a delightful mystery that makes you question just how much you know your own past.

2.  The Blue Bedroom and Other Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher - I love Pilcher's giant saga type books but these short stories have a special place in my heart.  Sure, they're a bit trite but they're lovely and sweet and a nice escape.

3.  Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels - I love Michaels' Gothic-y books and this one about a woman who is rebuilding her life and involves absolutely fabulous vintage clothing is a special treat.

4. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery - Pretty much all of Montgomery's books are wonderful but I do love this one is extra lovely and I love that it focuses on adults which is a nice change 

5.  The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright - Four siblings living in a house in the country with fascinating secrets and having lovely adventures.  

6.  One of the Murder She Wrote books - Because things have to be cheerful if you're hanging out with Jessica Fletcher.  Unless you've just moved to Cabot Cove in which case you will shortly be murdered or murder someone else.

7.  Anything by Jenny Colgan - I've enjoyed all the books I've read by her.  They're cozy and funny and sweet but not too sweet and they're always in lovely setting but probably not one I'd actually want to live in and the last book I read by her involved a puffin.  

8.  A "project" memoir - Are you baking a loaf of bread for every day?  Tracing the journey of a random explorer?  Growing tomatoes?  Figuring out what you really should buy vs make from scratch?  I adore reading about projects.

9.  Anything by Patricia Wentworth - I'm rereading her Miss Silver books this year and have been surprised by how little I really know all her books.  There are several that I have reread over and over again but so many that I've either never read or forgotten.  Regardless, they're perfect classic mystery comfort reading.

10. A Ghostly Suspense - I was going to say paranormal but really I mostly prefer ghosts and when I'm reading anything with a bit of mystery and a ghost I know I'm in for a fun reading time.

What books make you smile?

Monday, July 13, 2020

Death of a Wandering Wolf - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Death of a Wandering Wolf (A Hungarian Tea House Mystery #2) by Julia Buckley

Rating: Liked It

Source: Publisher

Description: Hana Keller is enjoying a day off from serving up tea and delicious pastries at her family's Hungarian Tea House when her downtime turns deadly....

The only thing Hana loves more than a good cuppa is finding a delicate porcelain treasure to add to her collection. She's usually on the hunt for teacups but when she spots a rare wolf figurine at a local yard sale, she knows it's her lucky day. Hana also knows the wolf is valuable and tells the seller that he's charging too little for it. His reaction is peculiar--he says he received the wolf from someone he doesn't trust and he just wants it out of his life.

Hana is inspecting her new prize when she finds a tiny microchip attached to the bottom of the porcelain wolf. When she shows the figure to her police detective boyfriend, Erik, Hana is shocked to learn that the chip is actually a tracking device. They decide to confront the seller about the sneaky sale but when they arrive at his house, they find him dead. Erik and Hana now must hunt a calculating killer who has no intentions of crying wolf when it comes to murder...

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed other books by this author and this one sounded intriguing.

My Impression:  This was my first time visiting the Hungarian tea house and I'm so glad I did!  I've also learned that I have severely neglected Hungarian cuisine - especially sweets - and desperately need to fix that.  All the food sounded amazing and I was fascinated by all the discussion of life in Hungary and Hungarian culture.  It's not something I remember encountering before in a book and I really enjoyed it.

The mystery was interesting and definitely had me asking questions.  What was with the tracking device and just what was going on with the giver of the wolf?  I did feel that the mystery got put on the back burner at times with the focus on the Hana, her family, and her relationship with Erik.  I enjoyed this and loved the almost fairy tale quality of the writing but I did want more mystery at times because I was enjoying that part so much.  That being said I was satisfied with the ending and I feel very connected to the characters and am looking forward to seeing more of them.

If you're looking for a unique cozy with lots of yummy food, fascinating characters, and an interesting setting this is one not to miss.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have enjoyed every book I've read by this author and this is a fun series.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy really character based cozy mysteries then I think you would love this series.

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

Sunday, July 12, 2020

This Week in Our New Normal

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

I've lost track of what week we are in but I do know that this past Thursday was 3 weeks from my son's Leukemia diagnosis and what a crazy three weeks it has been.  When I woke up Thursday morning 3 weeks ago I literally had absolutely no idea that this was in our future.  And even when I did suspect that something was wrong my worst case scenario was Mononucleosis.  But since then we have gotten the diagnosis, uprooted and moved 3+ hours to a teeny tiny apartment in Memphis and learned the layout of St Jude Children's Research Hospital forward and backward.  For the most part the news has been really positive.  He's responding wonderfully to all the different medications and so far with very few side effects.  His energy level is still low but it is getting better and we are able to walk around our building some or go sit out on the balcony.  His attitude has been absolutely amazing.  He's taken this in stride and while he has complained about all the medications he hasn't once refused or had a meltdown or any of the things I would have expected.  We've been able to bring our cat to our new temporary home and that's helped the adjustment I think and he's liked trying some of the different restaurants in our new city.  

We are adjusting to our new routines though the cooking thing is a bit of a challenge.  Anyone have any ideas for simple quick recipes that don't require a ton of ingredients or lots of equipment?  I'm a fairly experienced cook but all of my usual recipes apparently have 50 million ingredients and require a lot of work!  

I've seen a number of you guys on his Facebook group and we've really appreciated the support and comments.  

I'm reading some good books and have some new reviews coming up this week in addition to some previously scheduled posts

Hope everyone has a lovely week and happy reading!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday Fives - My Favorite Non-Mystery Authors (Right Now)

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 listed my favorite mystery authors (right now) so I thought I'd look at my favorite non-mystery authors. I'm not looking at all time favorites but more authors who I'm loving at the moment - though there may be some overlap there!

1.  Amor Towles - I finally read A Gentleman in Moscow this year and immediately went and got Rules of Civility.  

2.  Nora Roberts - I've done some rereading of my favorite Roberts books and picked up one of her newer more thriller-y type and have enjoyed them all.

3.  Lucinda Riley - I loved listening to The Storm Sister and am really excited to keep going with the series.  I love how Riley does the multiple book story arc as well the multiple timelines in each book.  I also love how she makes the settings of her books come alive.

4.  Jessica Day George - I love this Middle Grade series and have just one more before I've finished it.  I think I'm going to start back at the beginning and use this as a read aloud for my 10 year old this summer.  I think he'd really love it.  I haven't read any of her other books but I have big plans.

5.  Juliet Blackwell - So this is cheating a bit as Blackwell is a mystery author whose books I've enjoyed but I'm specifically talking about her fiction in this list.  I read The Lost Carousel of Provence earlier this year and absolutely loved it.  I'm really looking forward to reading more of her non-mystery books.

Who are some of your favorite authors?  

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Embellished to Death

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:  When Faith Hunter agrees to help PI Bob Roget find an identity thief at a local scrapbook retreat, her friendly croppers’ weekend quickly morphs into a dangerous one. As croppers share their own memories, a killer collects them for her new identity, and doesn’t appreciate Faith in the picture.

Faith struggles to balance her professional, detecting and personal lives as threats and secrets keep her off-balance. Things turn deadly when a woman is killed and Faith is blackmailed. Truth and lies collide when Faith discovers croppers aren’t the only ones embellishing, and the results might end her life.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have been flying through cozies lately and they've basically been all I want to read.  I figured I'd pull one of my massively overdue review books - this one came out in 2014 - and give it a try.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Two Quick Reviews - Summer at Lake Haven + Nothing Bundt Trouble

My Thoughts:  I was a little hesitant about this one going in.  Samantha Fremont has probably been one of my least favorite characters in the Haven Point series (topped only by her overbearing, critical mother, Linda).  But when the book begins Samantha is recovering from her mother's sudden death and is not the same Samantha I'd seen in previous books.  She's grown up a lot and it is easy to see why all the other characters have been friends with her for so long and put up with her nonsense.  Underneath all her over the top silly personality was a good kind person with a lot of self doubt.  Getting a peek at her internal monologue was illuminating and made her very easy to connect with.  Ian Summerhill has his own complicated backstory and is also incredibly likable and sympathetic.  And Thayne kept the perfect balance of having children in the story for more then just window dressing but not letting them completely takeover.  This was a sweet, authentic feeling romance about two people who need each other more then they knew.  My Rating:  Really Liked It

My Thoughts:  This is one of my absolute favorite cozy mystery series and I must admit I was a bit disappointed when I saw this would be kind of a flashback.  I love Jules and the modern day Torte crew as well as the other Ashland residents so I was sad I wouldn't be spending more time with them in this book.  However, I absolutely loved how the author handled it.  Yes there was plenty of time spent back in the 1980s with Jules' father but we also get to spend plenty of time in modern day Ashland so it was very much the best of both worlds.  I really enjoyed seeing how the theater world really got up and running and I do love a cold case!  This was a fun read and felt very much like catching up with old friends.  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is really a series you absolutely cannot miss though I don't recommend reading on an empty stomach - the food references are amazing!  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Authors I've Read the Most Books By

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 Authors I've Read the Most Books By.

1.  Agatha Christie - This was a given.  The woman wrote 85 books and I've read them all multiple times.

2.  Nora Roberts - I've read 38 books by Roberts since I joined Goodreads in 2011.  I'm sure I've read more but that's how many I'm showing as read.

3.  Patricia Wentworth - I'm showing I've read 10 but I know I've read more then that but this is one of my favorite classic mystery authors.

4.  L.M. Montgomery - I've read 33 L.M. Montgomery books and loved each and every one of them.  

5.  Barbara Michaels - Michaels' somewhat Gothic-y mysteries are my  very favorite rereads.  I love them and the various history connections they have.  I want to do a massive reread soon!

6.  RaeAnne Thayne - I've read 14 contemporary romance books by Thayne which surprised me though I do love her books!

7. Lynn Cahoon - I've been reading her cozy mysteries for years but I was surprised to see that I've read more then 20 books by her!

8.  Jill Shalvis - Shalvis has multiple series with 3 that are pretty long running so it's not shocking that I've read 22 of her contemporary romances.  What's crazy is that I know she has a ton of books that I still haven't read!

9.  Jenn McKinlay - Between her multiple cozy mystery series all of which I enjoy (especially the Library Lovers mysteries) I'm not shocked I've read 13 of her books.  I'm only surprised I haven't read more!

10. Heather Graham - I was surprised to see I had read 23 books by Graham - especially since I feel like I have SO many of her books that I'm behind on!  But I do love her paranormal suspense.

What authors have you read the most books by?

Monday, July 6, 2020

No One Saw - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  No One Saw (A.L. McKittridge #2) by Beverly Long

Rating: Really Liked It    

Source: Publisher

Description:  Baywood police department detective A.L. McKittridge is no stranger to tough cases, but when five-year-old Emma Whitman disappears from her day care, there isn’t a single shred of evidence to go on. Neither the grandmother who dropped her off, nor the teacher whose care she was supposed to be in, can account for the missing child. There are no witnesses. No trace of where she might have gone. There’s only one thing A.L. and his partner, Rena Morgan, are sure of—somebody is lying.
With the clock ticking, A.L. and Rena are under extreme pressure as they discover their instincts are correct: all is not as it seems. The Whitmans are a family with many secrets, and A.L. and Rena will have to race to untangle a growing web of lies if they’re going to find the thread that leads them to Emma…before it’s too late.

Genre: Mystery - Police Procedural

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed the first book and couldn't resist the second one.

My Impression:  I was not at my best while reading it and could usually only grab little snippets of time but that didn't stop me from being pulled in and thoroughly enjoying this mystery from beginning to end.  One thing I really liked about the first book that continued in this book was the characters.  So often in police procedural the main characters are such dysfunctional disasters I have a hard time believing that they are able to be halfway competent at their jobs.  However, while AL and Rena arent perfect they also read like real people who make reasonable decisions and don't go out of their way to self sabotage.

The mystery was seriously compelling and really pulled me in.  I had no idea who it was until the very last though I had a million guesses.  I did feel like the end was a little fast and I would have liked it to evolve a little more slowly.  I think this was a problem I had with the first one as well.  While everything was explained thoroughly I think I would have liked a few more hints before the big reveal.  
The mystery was most definitely not a cozy but at the same time wasn't super graphically violent either. While this is the second book in the series they are only connected by the main characters and the bulk of the plot is a complete stand alone.  If you're looking for a fast paced and entertaining mystery this is definitely a series you should pick up.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm really looking forward to the third book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  This was a really entertaining read that kept me turning pages.

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

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Our New Normal - Leukemia Edition

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

We are officially in our new apartment, the internet is setup and we are officially starting our new normal.  My husband has successfully worked from home here a couple of days and I think I've figured out the route to get from the apartment to St Jude without becoming convinced I've gotten turned around and am hopelessly lost.  We are getting used to apartment living and living in a much smaller area.  The cat thinks it's absolutely fantastic and is loving all the windows and all the people coming and going.  The building we are living used to be a distribution center for Sears and is this ridiculously massive building with exposed brick and pipes and all kinds of other industrial looking features.  On the first floor is this tiny little market with a hot bar, a coffee shop, a pizza place, an ice cream shop and all kinds of other things.  We are not nearly cool enough to live here but it's kind of fun and it's nice to have so many options so close.  

Treatment is going well but we are only at the beginning of a very long road.  We are in phase 1 one of a 3 phase process that should last two and a half years.  So far he's gone through everything with no real issues other then extreme fatigue and the medications making him hungry constantly.  This coming week will be a long one and Tuesday will be a pivotal day as it will be day 15 of chemo and the results from the testing then will shape how we proceed for the next few weeks.  

I've been reading again and will have a new post (maybe two) up this week.  Both the reading and the writing reviews has been a nice distraction.  I'm hoping to do some blog visiting but time is at a premium and trying to comment on my phone drives me crazy.  

Thank you so much for all the well wishes and kind thoughts.  They've meant a lot.  If anyone is interested in joining his Facebook group you can find it here -

Hope everyone has a good week.