Monday, August 31, 2020

Cat Me If You Can - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating:  Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description: Charlie and Diesel along with Charlie's fianc�e, Helen Louise Brady, are heading to Asheville, North Carolina to spend a week at a boutique hotel and participate in a gathering of a mystery reader's club composed of patrons of the Athena Public Library. In addition to seeing the local sights, the members will take turns giving talks on their favorite authors.

The always spry Ducote sisters, friends of the hotel's owners, are helping underwrite the expenses, and they've insisted that Charlie, Helen, and Diesel join them. Anxious to get Helen Louise away from her bistro for a vacation, Charlie readily agrees. While Charlie is looking forward to relaxing with Helen Louise and Diesel, other members of the group have ulterior motives including a long-standing score to settle.

When an intrusive, uninvited guest turns up dead, only one mystery club member with a connection to the deceased appears to have a motive to kill. But could the answer really be that simple? Charlie and Diesel, along with the detecting Ducote sisters, know that every murder plot has an unexpected twist.
Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is a cozy mystery series I always enjoy and I was excited to see Charlie and Diesel outside of their hometown.

My Impression:  This is one of the coziest of cozy series.  I love Charlie and the Ducote sisters and all the other quirky residents of Athena, Mississippi.  And of course Diesel is my favorite.  If Diesel was a real cat I'd be seriously tempted to catnap him and I've never considered myself a cat person!  In this book Charlie and a few friends (and Diesel of course) take a roadtrip to Asheville, NC.  While I missed the characters who weren't along for the ride it was fun for a vacation type mystery.  Even better Asheville is a place I've really enjoyed and would love to go back and visit so I thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the Biltmore and just their time around Asheville.  I also loved all the bookish talk - especially since it involved classic mystery authors.

This was a really fun locked door mystery.  There's something extra fun about a murder in an inn - it's got a nice Murder, She Wrote vibe but in this rendition involves a fabulous cat, a librarian with a wry sense of humor and his practical and kind fiance.  The mystery didn't exactly have me guessing but I did enjoy the ride and watching how everything unraveled.  This wasn't my favorite in the series but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and was a nice escape.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I missed some of the earlier books in the series and am looking forward to picking them up and will definitely grab the next book in the series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this series is one you should pick up.

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

Monday, August 24, 2020

Thread and Dead - Cozy Mystery Review

 Goodreads: Thread and Dead (The Apron Shop Mysteries #2) by Elizabeth Penney

Rating: Liked It
Source:  Publisher

Description: Iris Buckley is busier than ever this July, with the town’s annual Lobster Festival fast approaching. In just a matter of days her apron shop Ruffles & Bows, will be jam-packed with tourists eager to lay eyes on its world-class collection of aprons and linens—and Iris’s inventory is running low. Then, just when all hope seems lost, Iris gets a call from Eleanor Brady, a wealthy, reclusive spinster who just happens to have trunks full of vintage fabrics. Would Iris like to come down to Eleanor’s cottage estate Shorehaven and have a look?

Before long Iris is on the scene—and on the case. Turns out that Eleanor has rented Shorehaven to the handsome, charismatic environmentalist Dr. Lukas de Wilde and his flock of students. What begins as an apron-scouting endeavor soon morphs into a full-blown murder investigation when Dr. de Wilde’s beautiful young teaching assistant turns up dead. Now it’s up to Iris—along with her partner-in-love-and-crime Ian Stewart—to unravel the mystery before the Blueberry Cove killer strikes again.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: I love cozy mysteries and I love the vintage clothing aspect as well as the mysteries from the past.

My Impression:  This was a fun mystery with a fairly unique premise.  I didn't realize I wanted a vintage apron collection but it appears that I do!  I would love to visit Iris' shop and explore all the vintage aprons and linens as well as meet Grammy and the rest of the game.  

I did enjoy the murder mystery and liked digging through the suspects and motives.  However, what really kept me turning pages was the mystery of Eleanor's mother.  I really wanted to know more about her story and what had brought her to Shorehaven.  I do love vintage clothes and secrets and this had a bit of both!

One of my favorite things about a cozy mystery is when they get together a team.  This definitely had an ensemble cast between Irish, her grandmother, her boyfriend and all of her friends.  I did struggle a bit to keep track of which friend was who and what they each brought to the table.  I liked the different women but they just seemed to blend a bit.

This is the second book in the Apron Shop series and I enjoyed my time in Blueberry Cove.  Iris is likable and doesn't fall into Too Stupid to Live territory even when she is being noisy.  While it didn't suck me in quite as much as some other books I've read recently it was a fun mystery and introduced me to a town that I'm looking forward to revisiting again soon.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would and am planning on reading the first book in the series soon.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries - especially those featuring vintage clothing - I think you would enjoy this one.

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

Sunday, August 23, 2020

This Week in Reading - August 23

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 been a long week though thankfully not a terrible one.  He's had some reactions to the high dose chemo that he received last week that have come and gone.  Things have settled down a bit - just in time for his next round of high dose chemo but that's kind of the way things go.  We have decided to stay in Memphis until mid-December.  Technically we could go home at this point and while I have full confidence in the St Jude affiliate at home the idea of him being admitted to the regular hospital at home was really causing a lot of stress.  It's a perfectly fine hospital with a very good reputation but at St Jude the nurse to patient ratio is incredibly low and it specializes in childhood cancer so no kid there has a working immune system so they take precautions to the next level.  And all the kids, parents, and staff members are COVID tested at least once a week so that's helps me breathe a little easier (though I will not miss those weekly tests when we do finally go home!).

We went to the zoo this weekend which was really fun.  We had gotten the okay from the doctor to get out some just as long as he wasn't in crowds, maintained social distance, wore his mask (which is an N95) and were outside as much as possible.  So we thought we'd give the zoo a try and it was a lot of fun.  It was really the first time we've been anywhere since he was diagnosed where his being obviously sick drew attention so that took a lot of getting used to but it didn't bother him.  His endurance level is pretty low so we only were there for about an hour before he was wiped out but we will go back and see what we missed another day.


ReadingDeath Comes to Pemberley by PD James and Cat Me if You Can by Miranda James

ListeningBeaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries by Tonya Kappes

Watching:  We watched some of Unwell on Netflix which was fascinating  and disturbing.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week and reading fantastic books!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Spider Woman's Daughter - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Spider Woman's Daughter (A Leaphorn and Chee Novel) by Anne Hillerman

Rating: Very Good

Source: Library

Description:  It happened in an instant: After a breakfast with colleagues, Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manualito saw a truck squeal into the parking lot and heard a crack of gunfire. When the dust cleared, someone very close to her was lying on the asphalt in a pool of blood.

With the victim in the hospital fighting for his life, every officer in the squad and the local FBI office are hellbent to catch the gunman. Bernie, too, wants in on the investigation, despite regulations strictly forbidding eyewitness involvement. Her superior may have ordered her to take some leave, but that doesn't mean she's going to sit idly by, especially when her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, is put in charge of finding the shooter.

Pooling their skills, Bernie and Chee discover that a cold case involving his former boss and partner, retired Inspector Joe Leaphorn, may hold the key to the shooting. Digging into the old investigation with fresh eyes and a new urgency, husband and wife find themselves inching closer to the truth with every clue . . . and closer to a killer who will do anything to prevent justice from taking its course.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  I didn't exactly as it was in the Mystery Grab Bag I got from the library but I had been wanting to read Anne Hillerman's books as I had loved her father's and had heard that she was doing a good job with the characters.

My Impression:  So I'm going to start with the caveat that it's probably been 15 years since I've read a Tony Hillerman mystery.  I read a number of them and still remember the characters and the setup but they're hardly fresh in my mind.  So I can't say with certainty just how true Anne is to her father's characters.  I can say though that any changes are done respectfully both to the author and to world he had created.  

I loved that Bernie was front and center in this one and I was really concerned about the plot involving her sister and mother.  I found the mentions of weaving fascinating as well as the world of insurance appraisal with the artifacts.  The scenes with Leaphorn were sweet but realistic and their interactions in the hospital were very interesting.  The mystery was complex without being overly complicated.  My only real issue is there were a few comments that I really thought Bernie and Chee would have paid more attention to that they seemed to ignore.  

I'm so glad the library chose this book for me and Anne Hillerman has stepped wonderfully into her father's shoes and I'm looking forward to reading more with Bernie, Chee, and Leaphorn.  I missed them!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I enjoyed this read quite a bit.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you were a Tony Hillerman fan do not hesitate to pick up Anne's book.  And if both of them are new to you but the mystery is intriguing then I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Friday Fives - Five New Releases I Really Wanted to Read But Didn't

 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 always think I'll have more reading time then I do and there are always books that I'm so excited for but somehow just don't quite get to them.  With everything that has gone on this year both in the world and for my family I'm not beating up myself for it but here are five that I'm hoping that I won't forget about so that I will get to just as soon as I can.

1. Dressed Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and somehow I have still not read this latest book.  I did end up buying a copy a few weeks ago and I'm looking forward to reading it to see what's going on in Sun City West.

2.  Dead in the Doorway by Diane Kelly - I haven't read anything in this series but I like the sound of the blurb and need to give this is a try.  I have read a pretty meh review of a previous book in the series so I think I've been a bit reluctant.

3. Antiques Fire Sale by Barbara Allan - I love mysteries related to antiques and so I couldn't pass up this one.  I've heard this author isn't for everyone but I"m hoping I'll enjoy it.

4.  A Sprinkling of Murder by Darryl Wood Gerber - I love fairy gardens and this cover so I couldn't pass this one up.  I did actually start this one but didn't get very far.  I need to pick it up again.

5.  A Fatal Fiction by Kaitlyn Dunnett - I don't know much about this series but I can never resist a bookish cozy and this one looks delightful.

What books were you looking forward to but didn't end up picking up?

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Books from the Backlog - The Clockmaker's Daughter

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 Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton


Blurb: In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I always enjoy Kate Morton's books and this sounds like my kind of read.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Murder in East End - Historical Mystery Review


Goodreads:  Murder in the East End (Kat Holloway Mystery #4) by Jennifer Ashley

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  When young cook Kat Holloway learns that the children of London's Foundling Hospital are mysteriously disappearing and one of their nurses has been murdered, she can't turn away. She enlists the help of her charming and enigmatic confidant Daniel McAdam, who has ties to Scotland Yard, and Errol Fielding, a disreputable man from Daniel's troubled past, to bring the killer to justice. Their investigation takes them from the grandeur of Mayfair to the slums of the East End, during which Kat learns more about Daniel and his circumstances than she ever could have imagined.

Genre: Mystery - Historical    

Why I Picked This Book:  This is one of my absolute favorite series and there is no way I'm passing up the latest book.

My Impression:  This series just does not disappoint!  Anytime Kat Holloway is on the page I will be reading - especially if Daniel McAdam, Lady Cynthia, Mr. Davis and the rest of the downstairs staff are present!  I especially enjoyed this one because I felt like we made some progress on just who exactly Daniel is.  He's been so mysterious since the very beginning of the series that it was nice to have, if not answers, at least more of a direction.  I also enjoyed seeing Kat and Daniel butt heads a little more.  In the past Kat would get frustrated with Daniel but never actually address it with him.  As well, I thought Miss Townsend was a welcome addition to the team.  

The mystery in this book was a bit on the darker side with missing children and a dive into the darkest side of child exploitation.  Kat explored darker and grittier places then she ever has in the past and there were a few nail biting situations.  I was pulled in from the very start of this one couldn't wait to find out what happened next.  This is a fascinating historical mystery series with lots of upstairs/downstairs action and a full ensemble of entertaining characters.

I listened to the audio of this one and Anne-Marie Piazza did an absolutely fabulous job.  I'll be looking for more books narrated by her.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  This is a must read series for me.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical mysteries this is one you absolutely shouldn't miss.  While you can jump in here it's probably best to start at the beginning of the series.  You won't be disappointed.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Ten Books I Want to Buy


I've been doing lots of virtual browsing lately and books are always one of my favorite things to browse for.  Here are 10 books I'm planning on picking up soon.

1.The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley - I love the cover and the title and the blurb features an old house and family secrets so there's no way I can resist!

2.  Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart - I really want to read more Mary Stewart and this one kind of jumped out at me.

3.  Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay - I loved Reay's previous book and this one also looks delightful.

4.  The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs - I enjoy Wiggs' books and how can I pass this one up with that title?

5.  Close Up by Amanda Quick - This is the 4th book in a series that apparently I'm just going to buy all of them before I've actually read the 1st one.  It is Amanda Quick and her books are always entertaining so I feel fairly safe.

6.  The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis - I love historical fiction and I love the cover and this author has been on my TBR for ages.

7.  Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie - I read Mackenzie's book about reading aloud to children and found it so inspiring.  Plus, I could use a little peace.

8.  To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey - I adore another one of Tey's books but haven't read that much from her so I figured I'd pick up this one.

9.  The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman - If I don't get this book really any book by Shipman will do!  They all look delightful.

10. Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams - A few years ago it felt like I read Williams nonstop but it's been so long since I've picked up any books by her.  This one looks great and it's another cover that kind of sucked me in.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Witches and Wedding Cake - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Witches and Wedding Cake (Magical Bakery Mystery #9) by Bailey Cates

Rating: Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description: Katie will be marrying firefighter Declan McCarthy in less than a week, and she's still finding time to run the Honeybee Bakery, where she infuses sweets and treats with special spells and cheerful charms. But her hope of getting hitched without a hitch is short-lived. When Declan's family shows up early to enjoy a few extra days in Savannah, his youngest sister finds an unsavory surprise: her ex-husband, dead in a hotel room hours after they argued.

The ex was scam artist with a lot of enemies, but the argument puts Declan's sister under suspicion. Between dress fittings and dough-kneading, Katie--along with her witchy friends in the spellbook club--will really have to work some magic to figure out who killed the con man...or there may not be a wedding.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy, Paranormal

Why I Picked This Book:  I've read a book by this author in another series and enjoyed it and I thought the cover was just gorgeous.

My Impression:  I've been enjoying paranormal cozies lately so when this one came up I couldn't resist - and I'm so glad I gave this one a try.  It's such a fun read and one that I flew through.  The pacing was excellent and the back stories are enough to fill out the world of the book without taking over or pushing the mystery to the back burner.

This is a touch more paranormal then I normally read with all kinds of witchy action.  There are spells and glamours and enchanted sachets.  And can I just say I would pay serious money for a comfort infused vanilla scone.  Where can I get that here?  I did love the bakery aspect and do wish more time was spent there but it would be pretty hard to get any investigating done so I'm willing to cut Katie some slack.  I did like that she was concerned about how much time she was spending away from it though.  So often the main character spends just about zero time at their job and no one comments or thinks about it.  It's a mild pet peeve of mine.  I did find the main characters a bit bland but I'd prefer bland to annoying.

 I love Savannah, Georgia and throw in lots of witchy intrigue and it makes for a thoroughly entertaining read.  I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I enjoyed this one and I've enjoyed her other series under the name Bailey Cattrell  so I'm looking forward to catching up on all of her series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy paranormal cozies then I think you would like this series.

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

Sunday, August 16, 2020

This Week in Our New Normal - Week # 1,444,402 (or 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.

I hope everyone had a wonderful week.  While I have been reading I've been completely MIA around here.  We had a crazy week - not necessarily a bad one just an exhausting one.  Will had his third spinal tap/bone marrow test earlier this week and and we are still waiting for results.  This should tell us if he's in remission or not so we are rather anxious.  He started phase two of treatment as well which involved a 24 hours high dose chemo followed by minimum of 24 hours of IV fluid which meant going inpatient for that time.  If you have to stay in a hospital for any length of time St Jude is definitely the hospital to stay in.  They try to be really quiet and even wear little reading lights around their neck for when they have to do any kind of late night checks so they don't have to turn on bright lights.  They're really amazing.  However, it's still a hospital and it can only be so restful.  On the plus side, he's feeling pretty good and his energy level is holding pretty steady.  We are hoping to have more visitors soon and I see a visit to the zoo in our future since it's outside and the crowds have been really low.  

As well, we are trying to decide at what point we go back home.  We are heading to a point where he can get some of his treatment at the affiliate at home BUT we'd still be back and forth to Memphis a good bit.  On top of that I'm concerned about what happens if he runs a fever or if anything comes up that would send him inpatient.  Most likely he'd be admitted to the children's hospital there which is excellent but doesn't specialize the way St Jude does.  It's a lot of mental back and forth.  On the plus side I have been really enjoying my books and they've definitely provided a nice mental break


Reading: Molded 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton and Thread and Dead by Elizabeth Penney

Listening: Murder in the East End by Jennifer Ashley

What are you reading?  Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Books from the Backlog - The God of the Hive

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 God of the Hive (Mary Russell about Sherlock Holmes #10) by Laurie R. King

Blurb:  It began as a problem in one of Holmes’ beloved beehives, led to a murderous cult, and ended—or so they’d hoped—with a daring escape from a sacrificial altar. Instead, Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, have stirred the wrath and the limitless resources of those they’ve thwarted. Now they are separated and on the run, wanted by the police, and pursued across the Continent by a ruthless enemy with powerful connections.
Unstoppable together, Russell and Holmes will have to survive this time apart, maintaining tenuous contact only by means of coded messages and cryptic notes. With Holmes’ young granddaughter in her safekeeping, Russell will have to call on instincts she didn’t know she had. But has the couple already made a fatal mistake by separating, making themselves easier targets for the shadowy government agents sent to silence them?

From hidden rooms in London shops and rustic forest cabins to rickety planes over Scotland and boats on the frozen North Sea, Russell and Holmes work their way back to each other while uncovering answers to a mystery that will take both of them to solve. A hermit with a mysterious past and a beautiful young female doctor with a secret, a cruelly scarred flyer and an obsessed man of the cloth, Holmes’ brother, Mycroft, and an Intelligence agent who knows too much: Everyone Russell and Holmes meet could either speed their safe reunion or betray them to their enemies—in the most complex, shocking, and deeply personal case of their career.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf: I've now bought this book in multiple formats and it's a favorite series that I desperately need to catch up on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Falcon Always Wings Twice - Cozy Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  The Falcon Always Wings Twice (A Meg Langslow Mystery #27) by Donna Andrews

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description: When Meg's grandmother Cordelia hosts a Renaissance Faire at her craft center, the whole family is put to work: Meg handles the blacksmithing, Michael and the boys will be performing, and no one misses the opportunity to dress up in full regalia.

More exciting to Grandfather is the pair of rare falcons he discovers breeding at the fairgrounds. Concerned for their well-being amid all the activity, he appoints himself their protector.

When one of the actors performing at the fair is found dead--an actor suspected of mistreating one of the falcons, among other sins--Grandfather is a prime suspect.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed this series in the past and when I saw that this involved Meg's larger then life Grandfather at a Renaissance Faire I couldn't resist!  Plus the title is just fabulous.

My Impression:  I thoroughly enjoy this series and each book I've read confirms my love for it.  Meg is a pretty even keel heroine with a fascinating career (she's a blacksmith), two entertaining boys, and a likable husband.  They are the calm in the storm that is Meg's family.  I adore her family and love every time any of them make an appearance on page but I'm also so glad they're not mine (except for her dad - he'd be fun to talk forensics with).  Andrews does a good job of making them larger then life and quirkier without turning them into caricatures or making them annoying - to the reader that is they regularly drive Meg bonkers. 

The mystery on this one was fabulous.   The victim, Terrence, is around for the first third of the book, and it is pretty easy to see why he was murdered.  It's actually more difficult to find someone who DIDN'T want to kill him!  I wasn't sure who the actual murderer was until the end but I enjoyed every page of getting there! 

This series is so long running but as with most cozies it's pretty easy to jump right in.  While I have read several of them I haven't read anywhere close to the whole series and every once in awhile a character from a previous book shows up that I've never met before.  Andrews does a really good job of telling you just what you need to know about the character without doing an overload.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Every book I've read in this series has been so fun and I'm looking forward to reading earlier books in the series.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy entertaining cozies this is a great series to try.

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Books I Picked Up Recently


Lately, I've been in a book shopping mood.  Part of it was actual book shopping, part was getting a box of books from my mother, and part are books from my own personal library that I had my husband bring up when he went home for an appointment.  It's a bit of a memory exercise trying to remember exactly what books you have and where they are located.  It showed me I need to drastically reorganize!

1.  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman - This came from my personal library and I knew I had to have a Mrs. Pollifax brought up here.  

2.  The Summoning by Heather Graham - Another personal library book and one I'm looking forward to reading since I've been swearing up and down I was going to read it for at least a year!

3. A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable - This book was on my TBR from the moment it came out.  It's a time capsule of an apartment in Paris!  How could I resist?  I was thrilled when I finally picked up a copy not that long ago and it had to make the move.

4.  The Bookshop by the Shore by Jenny Colgan - Another personal library pick up and one I've really been looking forward to reading.  I love Jenny Colgan and this one sounds delightful.

5.  Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald - I've been wanting to pick this one up so when I got a gift card from a very kind friend I knew this was one I'd be buying.

6.  Emily's Ghost by Denise Giardina - This one came from my mother and I know absolutely nothing about it.  But I like the cover and it looks interesting.

7.  Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner - This is another one from my mother and it does look really good.  

8.  Molded 4 Murder by J.C Eaton - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series but I realized that even though I did read this last year I remember absolutely zero about it so I decided to go on and buy a copy.

9.  Dressed Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton - This is the latest book in that series.  I have an eARC of it from NetGalley but just haven't gotten to it so I decided just to go buy it.
10. Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts - I ordered this book (and the rest of the trilogy) on a whim because it takes place in Memphis, TN where we are currently living. It's a reread but it's been awhile so I thought it'd be fun to revisit fictional Memphis and see if I could identify any places.

What books have you picked up recently?

Monday, August 10, 2020

A Hodge Podge of Reviews - Mini Reviews Edition #1

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Premise:  In 1922 aristocrat Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a luxury hotel by a Bolshevik Tribunal.  Thirty years come and go all under the count's observant eye.

My Thoughts:  I had been meaning to pick this book up since it came out and quarantine seemed the perfect time to do so.  It was a slow read but not because it dragged but simply because this was not a book to be hurried.  I enjoyed the vignettes and flow of the story and the Count adjusted to his new circumstances, reflected on his life, and learned to live under the new regime.  It's fascinating to see how life changes as reflected by the events in the hotel.  I did have a bit of trouble keeping up with some of the characters but really enjoyed it and the Count is someone who will stick with me for quite awhile.  My Rating:  Really Liked It

Premise: The interwoven stories of two men whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time - Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication.

My Thoughts:  I absolutely adored Dead Wake by this author and was super excited to pick this one up.  Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations.  I really enjoyed the part of the book dedicated to Crippen but the Marconi part felt a bit tedious for the bulk of the book.  The link between the two was critical but only a part of the very very end so reading through all the ups and downs of Marconi's quest for wireless communication seemed a little unnecessary and like it was preventing me from reading the Crippen story which was really what interested me the most!  While I enjoy Larson's multi-POV way of telling a part of history I think I would have preferred it had been from a different angle on the Crippen case.  My Rating: Liked It

Premise:  Civil War ghosts abound and two reenactors have been murdered in uniform.  FBI Agent Ethan Delaney comes home to Louisiana and to his "one that got away".  Only problem is she seems to be in danger and her father is a suspect in the murders.  And this being a Krewe book everyone sees ghosts.

My Thoughts:  Every year there is a new Krewe trilogy and every year I find that the last book just doesn't live up to the other two.  This is no exception.  This hasn't been my favorite trilogy and this one wasn't my least favorite of her books but I just found it a bit dull.  Charlie and Ethan are nice people and I'm usually a big fan of ghosts but other then a few tense moments that kept me engaged this one just felt a little flat and the ending felt rushed.  While I do know who the bad apples were I thought the reasoning was a bit shaky.  It was an okay listen and Luke Daniels is always a good narrator but the story just failed to keep me engaged.  My Rating:  Just Okay  


Sunday, August 9, 2020

This Week in Our New Normal - Week 945 (or maybe 6)

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

This was not the best of weeks.  Nothing particularly bad happened just long days at the hospital.  He's feeling really well and more like himself then he has since the diagnosis at the end of June. I'm feeling exhausted.  I think the last month or so has finally caught up with me.  We've been in a don't stop mode since he was diagnosed.  If you stop you think and thinking isn't the best thing to do right now.  It's better to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We've been the okay to have close family visit with precautions and are so excited to see family. From a distance with masks on of course. 


ReadingMissing, Presumed by Susie Steiner and The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews

Listening:  Look Both Ways by Carol J. Perry

What are you reading this week?  Have a lovely week!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

In the Balance - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  In the Balance (Miss Silver #4) by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Really Liked it!

Source: Purchased

Description:  Former schoolteacher Miss Maud Silver is on her way back to London when, with a violent shudder of the train, a young woman is thrust into her compartment. She’s beautiful, well dressed, newly married, and wealthy—a lethal combination.

In a state of shock, Lisle Jerningham explains that she fled her home in a hurry after overhearing a sinister conversation. Her new husband’s first wife died in an apparent accident, and the resultant infusion of cash saved his family home. Now, he’s broke again—and attempting to engineer a second convenient mishap. Miss Silver is unsure whether the drama is real or a figment of Lisle’s imagination—but if this frightened young lady is a target for murder, the killer will have to deal with the governess-turned-sleuth first.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  Miss Silver is one of my absolute favorite classic mystery detectives and I'm trying to reread all of the books in her series in order.

My Impression:  This was a rare treat for me as it is a Miss Silver I haven't read.  I think I have a few more since I started focusing on filling up the gaps in my collection only in the last year or so but this is the first one I've gotten too.  It's a very classic style - a rich woman (pretty in the right kind of light/mood) who married a man who doesn't have any money begins to believe her life is in danger.  Luckily for this particular rich woman she stumbles into a train compartment inhabited by Miss Silver.  

There's a beautiful and heavily in debt manor ancestral home, a beautiful, flirty and somewhat sinister cousin, another cousin who is helpful and kind but may be hiding darker motives, and of course a first wife whose accidental death seems highly suspect.  This made for a bit of a nostalgic read in the best possible way.  I don't feel like it had the most surprising end but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy getting to it!  

My main issue with this read and what kept it from being a Loved It! Read is that Miss Silver is at best a side character.  She wasn't even particularly instrumental behind the scenes but more served as a character to kind of verbalize the different theories and how the investigation was developing.  I did love that the lead investigator was one of her former charges.  Governess-mode Miss Silver is pretty much my favorite Miss Silver.    This was a fun read and it was a nice treat to have a new to me Miss Silver.  Next book I'm hoping for more Miss Silver though!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Wentworth is one of my favorite authors and I love Miss Silver.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy a good classic mystery this is a good read and anytime Miss Silver is in governess mode it has to be a winner!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Friday Fives - August TBR

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.  Since it's the first Friday of August I'm taking a lot at what I hope to read this month.  This August is a little different because my possibilities are a little more limited since we are in our temporary home but that just mans there's a greater chance of me actually reading all of these!

1.  Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katrina Bivald - This has been on my TBR for ages and I finally bought it with a gift card sent by a very kind friend.  I'm really looking forward to picking this one up.

2.  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman - I read the first one a few months ago and it was pure nonsense but in the most fun way so I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble Mrs. Pollifax gets into next.

3.  Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner - I've heard good things about this one and when I saw it in a bag of books my mother sent it went straight to the top of the list!

4.  Dressed Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I actually have an eARC copy of this one.  However, I've been reading more print books lately so I went on and purchased this one and can't wait to read it!

5.  The Summoning by Heather Graham - I brought my copy of this one with me and I am reading it this month!  It will happen.

What are you hoping to read in August?

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Tagged for 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: Starting your life over at age thirty-eight isn't easy, but that's what Sarah Winston finds herself facing when her husband CJ runs off with a 19-year-old temptress named Tiffany. Sarah's self-prescribed therapy happily involves hitting all the garage and tag sales in and around her small town of Ellington, Massachusetts. If only she could turn her love for bargain hunting into a full-time career.
One man's junk is another man's treasure

But after returning from a particularly successful day searching for yard sale treasures, Sarah finds a grisly surprise in one of her bags: a freshly bloodied shirt…that undoubtedly belongs to her ex, CJ, who now happens to be Ellington's chief of police. If that's not bad enough, it seems Tiffany has gone missing. Now it's up to Sarah to prove that her cold-hearted ex is not a cold-blooded killer…

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This book was a victim of early NetGalley enthusiasm where I requested far more books then I could possibly read.  I love garage sale/antique/vintage/junk store kinds of cozies and I just discovered that my library has this one on their audio site so I'm hoping to dust it off soon.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Last Mrs Summers - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Last Mrs. Summers (A Royal Spyness) by Rhys Bowen

Rating: Really Liked It!

Source: Publisher

Description:  Georgie's best friend, Belinda, inherits a spooky old house in Cornwall and asks Georgie to go with her to inspect the property. When they arrive, they meet Rose, a woman Belinda knew as a child when she spent her summers with her grandmother in Cornwall. Belinda never liked Rose, who has always been bossy and a bit of a bully, but when Belinda's house proves to be uninhabitable, Rose invites them to stay with her.

Rose is now married to Tony Summers, Belinda's childhood crush, and lives in the lovely house on the cliffs that he has inherited. Rose confides that she thinks Tony killed his first wife and now she is afraid. She asks Georgie and Belinda to observe Tony's behavior and their surroundings. Is Rose imagining things? Is Tony dangerous? In their quest for answers, they encounter a creepy housekeeper, Mrs. Manners, and learn that some kind of forgotten tragedy occurred on the property years ago involving them all.

There is a lot of strange to go around and things only get weirder--and deadlier--when one night a member of the household is found dead. All clues point to Belinda as the prime suspect. Now Georgie must uncover some long buried secrets that may prove the victim was really a villain before Belinda takes the fall for the murder.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoy this series and this one sounded fun and spooky.

My Impression:  I've been reading this series since the beginning and while I've missed a few in the middle I've always enjoying catching up with what Georgie was up to and I've really enjoyed seeing her relationship with Darcy grow.  It's especially nice to have the will they/won't they wrap up with a decided will.  I do wish Darcy was in this book more but his presence would have been a bit odd so I'm willing to overlook it.

Belinda has long been a favorite side character and I really enjoyed seeing her front and center in this latest book though she definitely didn't have the easiest time of it.  Her friendship with Georgie has really come through a lot and these are two women I really believe are friends.  What really stands out about this particular book is the atmosphere.  While this is usually a fun romp of a series this book has full on Rebecca style atmosphere with a huge maze of a house, a sinister housekeeper and a host of tragedy centering around the family that lived there.  The atmosphere is strong from the beginning but the actual murder doesn't occur until about halfway through the book.  That doesn't mean this book drags though.  There's plenty of non-murderous mystery from the very beginning so really when the body falls I had kind of forgotten there hadn't been a murder.  

While this is book 14 in the series I really think you could jump in here though some aspects of characters will be easier to understand if you're a bit more invested in the series.  If you are looking for a fun spooky read with a great Cornish setting and lots of secrets then this is a read not to be missed.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I always enjoy this author's books.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy a good cozy historical mystery I recommend this series and if you're looking for a spooky (but not too scary) read then this is one you shouldn't miss.

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books With Colors in the Title

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 with Colors in the Title.

1.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - This was an easy one and one of my favorite books of all time!

2.  The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery - This is the sequel to another all time favorite - The Story Girl.  I don't think this one is quite as good as the first but it was still a delightful read.

3.  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts - I actually just reread this because it takes place in my current city (Memphis, TN) and really enjoyed it.

4.  The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery - Apparently Montgomery enjoyed using colors in her titles.  Who knew?  This is another all time favorite and just a delightful read.

5.  Greenglass House by Kate Milford - This is a fun middle grade that I'm looking forward to pulling out when it gets closer to Christmas to reread with my son.

6.  Written in Red by Anne Bishop - This is really outside my usual genre comfort zone but I listened to it a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  I have the 2nd on Audible and need to make time to listen to it.

7.  Miss Silver Comes to Stay by Patricia Wentworth - Another favorite.  Apparently a lot of my favorites have colors in the title.

8.  Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - I need to get back to this series.  I read this and enjoyed it (and the first one) but have yet to get around to listening to book 3 even though I own it.

9.  Fade to Black by Heather Graham - This is a fun paranormal romantic suspense.  I don't remember all that much about it but I do remember enjoying it.

10. Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase - This was a Rebecca-like atmospheric dark family secrets kind of tale that I remember enjoying but wasn't a favorite.  I do love that title though!

What are some books that you've read with colors in the title?

Monday, August 3, 2020

Reviews from the Children's Sections - Tales from the Odyssey Pt 1 and 2

One of my favorite genres and one that is the easiest for me to push aside is middle grade fiction. This year to make sure I get a little more children's and young adult fiction I thought I would designate the first Monday of every month Middle Grade Monday (though sometimes it doesn't end up working quite right) .  While a lot of my picks this year are classics I am trying to branch out a little bit and read new or at least recent releases.  Since it's heading toward the beginning of our school year (we home school semi-year round) I thought I'd talk about the hit read aloud book from last school year!

Goodreads:  Tales from the Odyssey, Part 1 and 

I've long been familiar with Mary Pope Osborne's books as the Magic Treehouse series is much loved and combines adventure and education in such a fun way.  I was unfamiliar with her retelling of The Odyssey but definitely willing to give it a try though I had some reservations.  I read The Odyssey in high school and don't remember much about it other then finding the prose a bit tedious.  I was worried that since this was a kid's retelling it would be a bit too simplified or would worry so much about cleaning up the subject matter that it would cut out all the adventure.  

I should have trusted Mary Pope Osborne!  We enjoyed reading this so much!  In fact my 10 year old who feels like reading independently is the worst kind of punishment actually picked this up to read a little on his own because he couldn't wait to find out what happened next.  For that miracle alone I give this 5 stars!  The danger and adventure are still there but in a much easier to read format.  There's a pronunciation guide and map in the back which was useful.  The Odyssey is a violent story and this retelling still has all the violence but does cut down on the gore and intensity.  Sailors still get eaten by a cyclops or sea monsters or whatnot and walls are occasionally splashed with blood but while it's very clear what happens to everyone it lacks intensity or excess description.  I don't think this would be a good read for younger elementary and probably wouldn't be a good read aloud for a bedtime book especially for a sensitive child or one with a vivid imagination.  However, my 10 year old who is on the sensitive side didn't find this at all scary - just exciting.  He was actually sad when we read the last page.  

I would recommend this for older elementary children or kids who are not quite ready for Harry Potter or Percy Jackson but are close.  Honestly, if you have never read The Odyssey or have but don't remember and want a refresher I would recommend this version for adults too.  This was a surprise hit at our house and if you are wanting to teach some of the Greek legends to your kids (or are wanting to brush up on your own) this was a great set of books.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

This Week in Our New Normal - Week 527 (at least)

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

This week was a long week.  Nothing particularly bad happened but Will was on a new medicine that made him really out of it and zombie-ish.  Luckily he's off it now and is spending some time sleeping it off but when he's awake he's back to himself which is good.  We were discharged from the hospital Sunday afternoon and had a few long days here and there.  This week seems like it'll mostly be a recovery week to try and get his numbers up before he has his bone marrow test and spinal tap.  This will show if he's ready to enter the 2nd phase of treatment which sounds like it's a mix of down time and intense time.  I'm not sure if this will start the 120 weeks of treatment or if the 120 weeks is phase 3.  

He's been nominated for Make A Wish by one of our team (not unusual - basically if you are at St Jude you qualify) so we've had a good time coming up with ideas.  It's been a good distraction in waiting rooms and stuff when he's awake enough to talk but not really awake enough to do anything.  And we got a Lite Brite from Concierge the other day at the hospital.  I'm super excited about it because I loved Lite Brite as a kid and I think it'll work for a good activity for when he's got a little more energy.  They're much thinner then they used to be and there are lots of refill pages on Amazon so I think it'll be great.  If he doesn't like it I might use it!  We've also been playing lots of Animal Crossing and have enjoyed visiting other islands.  

In non-Leukemia news I've gotten a lot of books and am having a good time organizing them and deciding what to read next.  I'll have to do a show and tell soon.  I discovered the coffee shop on the first floor of our building serves New Orleans style (chickory) Iced Coffee and I've been loving it.  Pretty much 90% of my non-hospital meals have been the Iced Coffee and then the queso dip and tortilla chips that the market in our building sells.  When we head home I will miss those!  

Only one blog post last week but this week there will be a few.  I have a Middle Grade review that will be up Monday that was written back at the beginning of June in another life.  And I have a review for a historical mystery that I'm still reading but is so far really good.  I tried to do some blog visiting yesterday but my Bloglovin feed was really glitchy so I ended up giving up.  Hopefully this week I'll do a little visiting.  

I hope everyone has a good week and is reading fantastic books!