Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Books from the Backlog - A Killer Read


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:  A Killer Read by Erika Chase

Blurb:  For the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society, six friends gather in Molly Mathews's old Southern mansion-including Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with a penchant for mysteries. But the mystery book club meeting becomes the scene of an actual murder when a stranger is shot--and nobody knows who the victim is, or how Molly's antique gun came to be used as the murder weapon.

Then Lizzie begins finding mysterious manuscript chapters in her mailbox. As she and the book club members try to read between the lines, Molly surfaces as the next name on the killer's list...

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I'm trying to read a book from every state and somehow have missed a book from my home state (Alabama).  This book has multiple advantages - I already own it, it takes place in Alabama, and just reading the blurb makes me want cheese straws!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Ten Books I'd Like to Buy Soon

 I've been buying books like it's my job lately.  Not being face to face with my book collection on a regular basis has kind of made me forget how many I own that are just back at home.  Plus, the only thing that feels better then buying new books is that box full of new books arriving in the mail!  Lately I've been trying to buy most of my books from so the money can help a local bookstore or Book Outlet because I do love a good used book bargain.  And since I'm visiting both sites on a pretty regular basis I feel like I need to keep good lists because I want so many books it's hard to keep track of them all! 

1.  Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins - I really enjoy the books I've read by Higgins but it's been awhile since I picked up one of her books and this cover has a dog on it!

2.  What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson - I have read one book in this historical mystery series and I loved it and need to read more.

3.  The Marmalade Murders by Elizabeth J Duncan - I don't know much about this one but I like the title and it looks like a fun read.

4.  Color Me Murder by Krista Davis - I really wanted to pick this book up when it first came out but somehow didn't and now it is time to fix that!

5.  A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn - I've enjoyed this series and have read the most recent book and the first two and am now trying to read the two in the middle!

6.  Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright - We have been in Memphis for 3 months now and I'm really beginning to enjoy our new city and its history.  I picked up some books by a favorite author that supposedly took place in Memphis but it's pretty clear she'd never actually been to the city so I thought I'd try this one.  Plus, the premise just sounds good!

7.  52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander - I do love a good project nonfiction and this sounds intriguing.

8.  Smoke in Mirrors by Jayne Ann Krentz - No real reason for this one in particular other then a Krentz book is always a good pick for a nice distracting candy bar of a read.

9.  The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village that Restored Them All by Don Wallace - This qualifies as kind of a project nonfiction which is one of my favorite genres and it just sounds great.

10. To Brew or Not to Brew by Joyce Tremel - There was a lot of positive buzz when this one came out but I never picked this one up.  Now seems like the time to grab it!

What books are tempting you these days?

Monday, September 28, 2020

For Whom the Book Tolls - Cozy Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  For Whom the Book Tolls (Antique Bookshop Mystery #1) by Laura Gail Black

Rating: Liked It
Source:  Publisher

Description:  Trouble follows Jenna Quinn wherever she goes. Fleeing some unsavory doings in her hometown of Charlotte, Jenna accepts her uncle's gracious invitation to stay with him in small-town Hokes Folly, NC. In exchange, she'll help him out in his antiquarian bookstore. But soon after she arrives, Jenna finds her uncle's body crumpled at the base of the staircase between his apartment and the bookstore.

Before the tragedy even sinks in, Jenna learns that she's inherited almost everything her uncle owned: the store and apartment, as well as his not-so-meager savings and the payout from a life insurance policy...which adds up to more than a million dollars. This is all news to Jenna--bad news, once the police get wind of her windfall. An ill wind, indeed, as a second murder cements Jenna's status as the prime suspect in both deaths.

Jenna can hit the road again, taking her chances that she can elude trouble along the way. Or she can stick it out in Hokes Folly, take over the bookstore, and try to sleuth out her uncle's killer. On the one hand, she's made some wonderful new friends, and she feels she can thrive in the genial small-town environment. On the other hand, trouble knows her address--and so does the killer, who is determined to write the final page of Jenna's story.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I can't resist bookish books - especially bookish cozy mysteries!  Plus, I always like getting in at the beginning of the series.

My Impression:  I do like a cozy mystery with a main character who is starting over and I don't think I've met one who is starting over quite as much as Jenna.  Jenna has just had her entire life turned upside down. She lost her job, she lost her fiance (who she admits wasn't much of a loss), she lost her reputation, and she had just about lost hope when she received the email from Uncle Paul offering her safe haven.  And she then finds herself right in the middle of a murder investigation.

The mystery wasn't the strongest and I did have some questions about how things happened in regards to Paul's estate.  That said I feel like this is the setup for a strong cozy series.  Jenna is a good heroine.  She's got some serious baggage but she is also really wanting a place to settle in.  I am hoping Rita, Craig, and Keith stick around because I thought they were all fantastic side characters and can't wait to see what they're going to add to the store.  

This is a solid start to a series that has lots of potential.  I enjoyed this read and getting to know Jenna and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  While this one wasn't flawless it still hooked me and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy bookish cozies with likable heroines then I think you would enjoy this first book in the series.

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

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Life with Leukemia (and some reading) - September 27


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 a crazy week it's been!  It started out bright and early Monday morning with the fire alarm going off.  Luckily the cat didn't completely freak out and we were able to get him into his carrier and then we all headed down 10 flights of stairs and stood around outside while the fire department cleared the building.  The building is over a converted Sears distribution center  and it is HUGE, like over a million square feet so that took awhile.  We did get to meet some neighbors which was fun.  I think they were mostly interested in the cat but I'm mostly interested in their dogs so I guess it all works out!

And then I broke a tooth which was all kinds of fun.  It was on a molar that had an ancient filling in it and thankfully it didn't hurt very much.  Luckily there's a dentist in the building (the advantages of using in a mixed-use building) and they were able to get me in pretty quickly.  Even luckier they took my insurance AND have an in-house lab and were able to make a crown that day so it was all taken care of really quickly.  They were also super nice and really worked to make sure it didn't hurt.  

Oh yeah and we had all of Will's appointments and school stuff.  He's doing pretty good though has had some pain and nausea with the meds.  We are going in for his next cycle of high dose chemo this week which will mean at least two nights in the hospital.  The first two cycles were really rough but last time wasn't too bad so I'm hoping this one will go okay.  Will's looking forward to seeing his favorite nurses so he's in pretty good spirits about it all.


Reading:  Emily's Ghost by Denise Giardina and Haunted Homicide Lucy Ness

Listening:  The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas

Watching:  Bar Rescue and Catfish.  I'm enjoying nice mindless trainwrecks at the moment!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Hodge Podge of Reviews - Cozy Mystery Edition #4

Goodreads:   Chili Cauldron Curse (Kitchen Witch Mystery #.5) by Lynn Cahoon - This is the start of a new series by one of my favorite cozy authors featuring Mia, a kind of practicing witch, and her Gran who is a full on practicing witch.  In this intro Mia is helping her grandmother get a local food pantry off the ground and stumbles on a dead body hiding among the bags of rotting potatoes.  While Cahoon is one of my favorite cozy authors I don't usually love her novellas and unfortunately, this wasn't an exception.  I just didn't connect with Mia or her grandmother or really anyone else in the town.  As well I never felt particularly engaged with the mystery. I do like the concept and I trust Cahoon so I will probably pick up the first full length book in the series but I think I'll skip her novellas from now on.  Rating: Just Okay

Goodreads:  Murder, She Wrote: A Question of Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain - Jessica Fletcher is at it again.  This time she's at a murder weekend that takes place in this amazing sounding old hotel with a ghost story and quite a history.  There are actors, guests, other writers, a blizzard and of course a murder!  Jessica is in fine form doing her usual sleuthing and observing.  Her relationship with official law enforcement was interesting as she didn't want to get involved and the detective very much wanted her help.  Really my main issue was that I had chosen to listen to the audio and it didn't quite work for me.  The narrator did a great job and her accent was very Maine-ish but in my head Jessica Fletcher is and can only be Angela Lansbury!  This is a fun light mystery of the kind I expect from this series.  I'll definitely pick up another book but I'll stick with reading it from now on! Rating: Liked It

Goodreads:  Ghost Ups Her Game (Bailey Ruth #9) by Carolyn G. Hart - This is the latest in a fun series by Carolyn G. Hart.  Bailey Ruth is an emissary from Heaven's Department of Good Intentions and is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma but not so happy to be embroiled in a case that seems to be way tougher then all the good intentions can save.  Bailey is a fun character with lots of spunk and a love of a good outfit.  The mystery is interesting.  Just who killed Matt Lambert and how is it possible that it wasn't Iris Gallagher who had motive, opportunity, and was found standing over the body holding the murder weapon?  It's quite a fun ride to get to the answer though there a couple of plot holes along the way.  Hart's writing style is light and fun which makes me forgive the jumps and occasional confusion.  Ann Marie Lee was the narrator and she did a phenomenal job.  Rating: Liked It

Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Middle Grade Books on Our Read Aloud List

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  Today I'm looking at 5 Read Aloud books that I have upcoming on my list.  Despite lots of trying and tempting my son just doesn't enjoy the act of reading BUT he does love listening to stories so I'm trying to cram in all the read alouds I can.

1.  The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright - This is an old favorite of mine and I think he'll enjoy it and be fascinated by the level of freedom the kids have.

2.  Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone by JK Rowling - He's 10 so I think it's time to introduce him to Harry Potter.  I don't think he's ready for the later darker books but I think he'll enjoy thi sone.

3.  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - This one is a little dicey.  I loved it but I'm not entirely sure he will.  When I reread it as an adult I was surprised how much I loved it as a kid so you never know!

4.  Word of Mouse by James Patterson - I know just about nothing about this one (other then recognizing the names of the authors) but someone sent us this one and it looks fun.

5.  Greenglass House by Kate Milford - I read this one a few years ago and enjoyed the spooky but not too creepy vibe and I think he would enjoy this so this one is going on the list for closer to Christmas.

What are some of your favorite read alouds or middle grade books?

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Apple Cider Slaying


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:  Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey

Blurb:  Blossom Valley, West Virginia, is home to Smythe Orchards, Winnie and her Granny's beloved twenty-five-acre farm and family business. But any way you slice it, it's struggling. That's why they're trying to drum up business with the "First Annual Christmas at the Orchard," a good old-fashioned holiday festival with enough delicious draw to satisfy apple-picking locals and cider-loving tourists alike--until the whole endeavor takes a sour turn when the body of Nadine Cooper, Granny's long-time, grudge-holding nemesis, is found lodged in the apple press. Now, with Granny the number one suspect, Winnie is hard-pressed to prove her innocence before the real killer delivers another murder . . .

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I really wanted to read this one when it came out but somehow never did.  Plus, I'm trying to read a book (preferably cozy mystery) set in every state and I don't have West Virginia yet.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax - Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax (Mrs. Pollifax #2) by Dorothy Gilman

Rating: Really Liked It
Source:  Purchased

Description:  When Emily Pollifax answers the phone that Sunday morning, she quickly forgets all about her Garden Club tea that afternoon. For the voice on the other end belonged to a man she had never seen, a man from the CIA who asked her if she could leave immediately on a mission that would take her halfway across the world! What could Mrs. Pollifax say but yes?

Genre: Mystery 

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm reading this series in order and this was the next one!

My Impression:  This story may have been even more bonkers then the first book and considering that one was completely bananas that's saying quite a bit.  I mean this in the best possible way as while it is not believable in the slightest it is quite a lot of fun.  Mrs. Pollifax is living her perfectly ordinary life after her perfectly extraordinary adventure in the first book when Mr. Carstairs calls once again and within 24 hours she finds herself on a plane to Turkey.  

I adore Mrs. Pollifax.  She's a very sensible woman who is seriously adaptable and has quite the sense of humor.  If I'm ever running from police and criminals in an unfamiliar country without my passport I definitely want her on my side!  There are some colorful characters and more then a few tight spots and it was really fun to see just how Mrs. Pollifax managed to get herself out of them.  I loved the addition of Colin and Sandor.  It was fun to see Colin kind of come into his own and Sandor is just pure fun.  And the ending was perfection.  I had to go back and read the last couple of pages twice just because I enjoyed them so much. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I can't wait to read book 3!

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would!  If you are able to enjoy an adventure story and put aside that it isn't remotely plausible then I think you would love it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Fall 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 Fall TBR.  I love this topic and am always excited when it comes up every season.  I'm not great about actually reading the books that go on these lists but I always enjoy imaging that I will!  Half the list is upcoming releases and the other half overdue reads.

1.  Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas - I love this series and I love the covers!  I'm really excited to read this one.

2.  The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere - I've read a few of VanLiere's books and they're always sweet uplifting reads and this one sounds really great.

3.  Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan - I am so excited to have the opportunity to go back to Muir and can't wait to see more of Flora and find out what happens next with her.

4.  Broadcast 4 Murder by JC Eaton - I love love love this cozy mystery series and can't wait to read this latest one.

5.  The Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews - I love Andrews' series and the name on this one is just fantastic.

6.  Murder Go Round by Carol J Perry - I've been listening to this series from the beginning and really loving it.  I can't wait to listen to the next one.

7.  The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald - I've been wanting to read this book since it came out and I finally bought a copy.  Now I need to actually read it!

8.  Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie - This is the next book in my Christie reread and while it's not my favorite I am looking forward to it.

9.  The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley - These are so long that I tend to have a hard time diving into them but I have loved the first two and really want to listen to this one.

10. Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie - Life has derailed a bit and homeschooling suddenly has some challenges I wasn't expecting.  I loved the previous book I read by this author about family read alouds and unshakeable peace sounds pretty great.

What are you hoping to read this fall?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

This Week with Leukemia (and Some Reading) - September 20

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

Off the Blog:

Thanks everyone for being so kind during my pity party last week.  My mood can be a bit of a roller coaster sometimes.  Most of the time everything is going okay but every once in awhile the bottom drops out a bit.  This week went pretty well.   He had his latest round of high dose chemo and cleared it pretty well.  There was no extra time in the hospital this time and only one extra day on IV fluids.  His energy level is way up and he's able to play video games and do legos and actually play some.  We are all running a bit short of sleep but this week should be pretty easy and I'm hoping we can get caught up a bit.  

I'm hoping we can get some fun things in soon.  I'd love to visit the zoo again and Memphis has so much to offer that I'd like to explore.  Have you spent any time in Memphis?  If so what are your must dos?  Or must eats?  We've found some favorites but I'd love to find more!


Haunted Homicide by Lucy Ness, Emily's Ghost by Diana Giardina, and The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

ListeningGhost Ups Her Game by Carolyn G. Hart

Watching:  I've been loving a YouTube channel called Lil's Vintage World.  She reviews and discusses classics - especially mysteries and have a fabulous series on The Six Wives of Henry VIII which is well researched and laid out.  Plus she has a lovely accent!  I'm also watching some Hallmark and Catfish and now Dancing with the Stars.  Good escapist TV!

How is your week going?  What are you reading?

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Hallowe'en Party - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie

Rating: It's Okay
Source: Purchased

Description:  A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples... At a Hallowe'en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the 'evil presence'. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer...

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm rereading all the Poirot books and this one was next!

My Impression:  This book was published in the very last decade of Agatha Christie's 50 + year writing career.  It's an entertaining premise but I feel like these last few books just aren't quite as tightly plotted as her earlier books.  I like the premise on this one though it does feel like a retread of an earlier (and in my opinion better) mystery that also stars Mrs. Oliver.  

I do love Poirot out of his element and Poirot out of his element WITH Mrs. Oliver in tow is even better.  I loved the details of the Halloween party and seeing the setup of the village.  Unfortunately, I didn't love the execution of this one as much as I normally do.  The last quarter felt a little rushed and frankly jumbled.  And even worse the first three quarters of the book felt a little lackluster and never really engaged me.  

I love Agatha Christie and for the most part she's incredibly consistent but I just don't love her last few books and this is a clear case of that.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Obviously!  Agatha Christie will always be my favorite even though this book isn't.

Would I Recommend this Book?   Probably not.  If you like the premise I think you'd prefer Dead Man's Folly or if you're just interested in trying Christie I'd recommend one of her earlier books.

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

Friday, September 18, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Books I've Bought Recently


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.   Lately I am buying books like there is a time limit and the person with the most wins.  I'm not sure if it's stress shopping or not having access to all the books I own makes me forget I own them or what but it's becoming a bit of a thing around here!  So here are 5 of the many (many) books I've bought recently - chosen a bit at random.

1. Gluten for Punishment by Nancy J Parra - This series has been on my TBR for awhile though not very high priority just because I hadn't heard much about it.  But this year I'm trying to read a book that takes place in each state and when I was looking for books in Kansas this book came up! So of course I bought and I'm looking forward to reading it!

2.  Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts - I've been craving rereads lately and it's a balance finding books I want to reread that I don't already own (I'm not that desperate yet!) but this one fit the bill!

3.  The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman - I have been loving the Mrs. Pollifax books lately.  They're pure madness but such fun so I had to buy the next one in the series!

4.  The Shadow of Vesuvius by Tasha Alexander - I haven't heard very much about this series but I've been loving historical mysteries, the cover is beautiful and it's Pompeii!  I couldn't resist!

5.  The Collector's Apprentice by B.A Shapiro - I wanted to read this book when it came out and somehow never did so I had to pick it up now.

Have you read any of these?  Are you book shopping like there's no tomorrow?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Lost Books and Old Bones


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:  Delaney Nichols, originally of Kansas but settling happily into her new life as a bookseller in Edinburgh, works at The Cracked Spine in the heart of town. She’s recently befriended a few medical school students after they came into the shop to sell some antique medical tomes. But when one of the students’ friends is found murdered outside in the alley, Delaney takes it upon herself to help bring the murderer to justice.
During her investigation, Delaney finds some old scalpels in the bookshop’s warehouse—she finds out that they belonged to a long-dead doctor, whose story might be connected to the present-day murder. It’s all Delaney can do to race to solve this crime before time runs out and she ends up in danger herself.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  Sounds like a good read and I've been loving cozies lately.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Checked Out for Murder - Cozy Mystery Review


Goodreads:  Checked Out for Murder (Haunted Library Mystery #4) by Allison Brook

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  Daphne Marriott strolls into Clover Ridge and informs librarian Carrie Singleton that she's a psychic. But had she foreseen what fate awaited her, Daphne would have steered clear of the quaint Connecticut town. Evelyn, the library ghost, tells Carrie that there's more to Daphne than she lets on.

The mysterious woman grew up in Clover Ridge with her no-good dad, who apparently met his end at the hands of Daphne's brother, Billy. Still, Daphne proves a welcome distraction when Carrie's overbearing mother hits town. Mom's much younger husband, Tom, is in a movie that's lensing locally, and she's there to keep an eye on him: Tom's costar, sultry Ilana Reingold, is also his ex-fiancée, and there's no denying the chemistry is still there. Soon after mingling with the moviemakers at a meet-and-greet, Daphne is found dead.

Carrie and Evelyn investigate, assisted by bushy-tailed library cat Smoky Joe. But the suspect list could overflow the library shelves. Has Billy killed another relative? Is their long-missing mother involved? Or Daphne's mean ex-husband? Carrie's sure she knows who committed the crime, but can she bind together the clues before the culprit Dewey-decimates the town?

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoy this series and how can I resist a mystery set in a haunted library?

My Impression:  I so enjoy this series and each book has just confirmed my love for it!  I think I'd be on board regardless because no part of me can resist a haunted library.    Luckily, I also enjoy the characters and the mysteries too!  What really sells me on this series are the characters and their relationships.  I appreciated that Carrie's feelings towards her mother were complicated.  She was frustrated by her frequently and annoyed by her regularly but she was also protective of her at times and couldn't just write her off even if the woman was being awful to her.  As well, I liked that Carrie listened to Dylan's concerns about the danger of getting involved in a murder investigation and Dylan was also willing to listen to Carrie's reasoning.  

The mystery is a bit of a slower start in this book.  We do get a lot of the threads that lead to the murder and mayhem but it takes a bit to fully come together.  I didn't mind that as I enjoyed watching it all unravel and then come together and as I mentioned earlier I really love the characters.  

If you're looking for a fun bookish cozy mystery with a tiny touch of supernatural this is a series that can't be beat!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I'm already looking forward to the next book!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a series I think you would enjoy.  While you can easily start here I think it would be even better if you start from the first book.

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Creepy Covers in My TBR


Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is a cover freebie and since Halloween is in the future I'm looking at creepy covers that make me want to pick up the book!

1. Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart - Mary Stewart has some of the best covers that always pull me in.

2.  A Test of Wills by Charles Todd - There's something about a shadowy figure that gets me every time.

3.  Dead, Without a Stone to Tell It by Jen J Danna - The stormy desolate sea with the lighthouse in the background just seems ominous.

4.  The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey - The shadow of the house in the background paired with the black and white photo at the bottom is just ominous.

5.  The Guest List by Lucy Foley - I do love a black and white landscape!

6.  The Restorer by Amanda Stevens - It's a black and white tombstone - of course it's creepy!

7. You Can Trust Me by Sophie  McKenzie - A shadowy figure running away is very ominous!

8.  Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Staub - Blood in snow seems bad.  

9.  What Angels Fear by CS Harris - Sinister cloaked figure disappearing into the fog.  You just know he's up to no good.

10. I'll Never Let You Go by Mary Burton - A shadowy figure lurking outside a house at night.  Pretty much my worst nightmare in a book cover!

What covers are pulling you in right now?

Monday, September 14, 2020

Revenge in Rubies - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads: Revenge in Rubies (Harriet Gordon Mystery #2) by A.M. Stuart

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  When Harriet Gordon receives word from a friend about a tragic death, she and Inspector Curran are thrust into a web of family secrets that threatens to destroy them both in this all-new mystery from the author of Singapore Sapphire. Singapore.

1910 Singapore. Harriet Gordon has found fulfillment at last. Her young ward, Will, has settled into his new home with Harriet and her brother, Julian. And Harriet’s employment as a typist at the Straits Settlements Police Force has given her an intriguing way to occupy her time and some much-needed financial independence. But when her friend and employer, Inspector Robert Curran, is called to the scene of a brutal murder and Harriet is asked to comfort the victim’s family, her newfound sense of contentment is abruptly shattered.

Sylvie Nolan, the new and much-younger wife of Lieutenant Colonel John Nolan, has been bludgeoned to death in her bedroom. The tightly knit military community in Singapore quickly tries to close ranks to hinder Curran’s investigation. Harriet has ties to the Nolan family and realizes that her friendship with the colonel’s sister might prove useful to Curran’s efforts to find the culprit. But to get close enough to the family’s secrets, Harriet must once again face her painful past and Curran is forced to dredge up some long-buried secrets of his own.

And when more shocking deaths occur that all seem linked to Sylvie’s murder, Harriet and Curran realize that they too are in the sights of a callous killer. . . . 

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed the first book in this series and couldn't pass up the second book!

My Impression:  I really enjoyed the first book in this series and honestly I think I enjoyed this one even more!  Often the second book just doesn't quite live up to the first book but instead of feeling awkward or slow this book feels like the series is really gaining traction.  I really loved seeing Harriet again and I loved that while she is a main character we also see a lot through Curran's eyes.  Curran is an interesting man and I enjoyed learning more about his military service and the hints regarding his father were fascinating and I'm hoping come front and center in a future book.  I absolutely loved that Li An stepped out of the shadows a bit and we learned more of her back story.  

The mystery was a good one with a victim who was described as an angel but had hidden depths, a whole host of characters with possible motive but no opportunity, and secrets stretching across oceans.  Early 20th century Singapore is a fascinating world with a multi-layer society, unspoken rules, and a labyrinth of prejudices.  I find the world fascinating and felt like with the addition of the military angle of this particular mystery and the hints of Chinatown I really got a good picture of the world the characters inhabit.  This is an interesting series with likable yet flawed characters and a unique setting and I will be anxiously awaiting the third book!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I've really enjoyed the two books I've read by Stuart and will definitely read more.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you enjoy historical mysteries - Jennifer Ashley's Kat Holloway series comes to mind - I think you will enjoy this one.

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

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Life with Leukemia (and some reading) - Week 1 billion or something like that.

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

So I fell off the earth for a bit these last few weeks.  I hit my promised reviews (and thankfully I am still enjoying reading!) but I didn't have any more spoons or emotional bandwidth or whatever you want to call it for anything else.  It was a hard few weeks.  Will had a hard time with his second high dose chemo.  We had worked with his team and come up with a plan to minimize the side effects that he had really struggled with after the first dose which really worked but his system was so messed up it took a long time to clear the meds which meant a full week of IV fluids and long days at the hospital. I've been really struggling with the weight of everything lately which hasn't helped.  It just seems so unfair sometimes that he's having to go through this and miss so much.   And I hate it for all the kids I see in the hospital day in and day out and their families.  And I hate how isolated we are with the whole pandemic and the level of fear there is when you have a child whose immune system has been decimated.  And and and... I'm glad I'm a reader because that's been a life saver when I can't get my brain to shut up!   

Thanks to everyone who has sent cards and messages.  I've thanked everyone individually that I could but there are a few I don't really have a way to reach.  If you have sent a card just know we really appreciate it.  He has really enjoyed getting cards from all over the place.  If you're interested in checking out his progress on Facebook you can join the group here.  

On a positive note we got a Philo subscription which is a streaming service that's kind of a cable replacement and I've been loving it.  I've been watching any Hallmark mystery movie I can find and it also has MTV so I've been binge watching Catfish which is such a trainwreck but one I truly enjoy.  And Will has discovered Care Bears because he was sent a few and we found a Netflix reboot of the show that happened a few years ago and have been having a fun time watching them together.


:  Checked Out for Murder by Allison Brook and The Summoning by Heather Graham

ListeningMurder, She Wrote: A Question of Murder by JD Fletcher and Donald Bain

WatchingHallmark mystery movies and Catfish

Hope everyone has a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Third Girl - Classic Mystery Review

 Goodreads: Third Girl by Agatha Christie

Rating: Liked It
Source: Purchased

Description:  Poirot is approached by a girl who shared a flat with two other girls in London. She is convinced she is a murderer. With rumours of weapons and blood stains and no hard evidence can Poirot determine whether she's guilty, innocent or mad?

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  Agatha Christie is one of my absolute favorite authors and I like to reread her books periodically.

My Impression: This book was published in 1966 which puts it essentially at the beginning of my least favorite Agatha Christie period.  Whether it was the style she was experimenting with or the fact that by this point she had already written at least 70 books and was getting a bit tired of it her plots become much less tightly wound.  This was an entertaining read with a thoroughly unlikable and yet strangely pitiful murder suspect and a question if the murder victim actually exists.  The investigation is beautifully conducted by Poirot with a very able assist from Ariadne Oliver.  Any book that features Mrs. Oliver is automatically a winner and she takes a pretty front and center role in this mystery which is a delight.  It's a fun short read that goes pretty quickly.  There are two main issues with the book in my opinion.  The first is that this book is pretty forgettable.  I've read it probably half a dozen times and each time I find that the details didn't stick and pretty much as soon as I put the book down they're gone again.  My second issue is the ending was super rushed.  Everything comes out and is tied up in the last 20 pages or so.  It feels a bit like she was writing a longer book and was then told she had to keep it under 200 pages so she dumped everything in the last little bit.  This is still a good read but definitely not Christie's best.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I will always read more Agatha Christie!  

Would I Recommend this Book?  I will always recommend Christie but this probably isn't the book I'd start with.  Her earlier books - especially those written in the 30s, 40s, and 50s - are much stronger.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Quick 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 going to share 5 quick reviews on 5 books I read recently.

1. Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James - It's Pride and Prejudice but 5 years later and the dreaded Mr. Wickham and the truly terrible Lydia are implicated in a murder.  Luckily, Mr. Darcy is there to help.  This isn't so much an investigating mystery as one that unravels before the readers eyes.  I enjoyed visiting with Elizabeth and Jane and their respective husbands.  The mystery was interesting if a bit slow paced and I think any Pride and Prejudice fan would enjoy it. Rating: Really Liked It!

2.  Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries by Tonya Kappes - A cute mystery about a woman whose husband stole money in a Bernie Madoff style scheme and has now been sent to prison.  She finds herself owning a rundown campground in Kentucky - a state she swore never to live in ever again.  I thought this was a fun listen but the mystery was a bit weak and there were aspects especially about the main character that weren't quite fully explained.  Rating: Liked It

3. Look Both Ways by Carol J. Perry - This was actually the first book in this series that I read ages ago and while I enjoyed it then the series is definitely better when read in order.  I really enjoy this slightly paranormal cozy series set in Salem, MA.  The characters are likable and the mysteries are solid and entertaining.  Rating: Really Liked It!

4.  Murder at Crossways by Alyssa Maxwell - I do love a historical mystery and one set in Gilded Age Newport amid the Vanderbilts is especially entertaining.  I loved that all the side characters were real people and it sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole learning more about them.  The mystery was well done with lots of red herrings.  This is definitely a series I'll be reading more of.  Rating: Really Liked It!

5.  Molded 4 Murder by JC Eaton - I read this one last year and really enjoyed it but I ended up really feeling like I rushed through it.  I picked it up again recently and really had a good time with it.  This is a series that is probably best read in order and is lots of fun with quirky characters and solid mysteries.  This series really does a fantastic job in being fun without  ever getting too silly.  Rating:  Really Liked It!

What books have you read recently?