Monday, November 30, 2020

A Murder Between the Pages + 2 More Cozy Reviews

Description:  A 50 year old missing person's case and a modern day mystery collide with the help of the Sugar Springs, Mississippi book club.

My Thoughts:  This one wasn't for me.  It might have helped if I had read the first book in the series but I'm pretty sure this wouldn't be one of my favorite series regardless.  Reading it kind of felt like listening into a conversation over the course of multiple days.  I kind of knew who everyone was and I was curious to find out what happened next but I was a bit iffy on exact details and never really got as much information in the conclusion as I wanted.  Rating:  Not For Me

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

Description:  Opening up a gluten free bakery in the heart of wheat country seems a bit risky and when a wheat farmer is murdered right outside her store Toni Holmes realizes just how risky it was!  Especially when the threats keep coming.

My Thoughts:  This was a cute read and while it did take me a bit to warm up to Toni I did come to like her and her crazy family as well as her friend Tasha and assistant Meghan.  The mystery wasn't one that kept me guessing but it was enjoyable and had a twist or two I didn't fully expect.  Once the pacing cleared the initial setup of the series in general it really gained traction and proved to be an enjoyable read.  It probably isn't a standout read for me but I did enjoy it and would pick up the next book in the series.  Rating:  Liked It

Goodreads:  Crewel World (A Needlecraft Mystery #1) by Monica Ferris

  Betsy's reunion with her sister, Margot, is cut short when Margot is murdered in her needlework store.  Determined to find justice for her sister Betsy is pulled into Margot's world and into the world of needlework.

My Thoughts:  Another cozy that had a bit of a slow start that paid off in the end.  I'm thinking both this book and the book above suffered from being the first book in the series.  Some of the pacing is lost due to setup and given that the murder usually occurs pretty early on the characters aren't exactly at their best which makes them a touch difficult to warm up to at first.  I ended up really liking Betsy and very much sympathized with her grief over her sister.  I also very much enjoyed watching her learn to do needlework and her struggle with knitting had me laughing a time or two.  The mystery was very entertaining and while it's another that wasn't the most memorable it is one that I'm planning to seek otu the 2nd book.  Rating: Liked It

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Curtain - Classic Mystery Review

Rating: Like It
Source: Purchased

Description:  Arthritic and immobilized, Poirot calls on his old friend Captain Hastings to join him at Styles to be the eyes and ears that will feed observations to Poirot's still razor sharp mind. Though aware of the criminal's identity, Poirot will not reveal it to the frustrated Hastings, and dubs the nameless personage 'X'. Already responsible for several murders, X, Poirot warns, is ready to strike again, and the partners must work swiftly to prevent imminent murder.

Poirot’s final case, a mystery which brings him and Hastings back to Styles where they first solved a crime together.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm always rereading Agatha Christie's books and it was time for Poirot's final case.

My Impression:  I have such mixed feelings about this book.  While it was the last book that was published while Christie was alive it was written in the 1940s which I feel was really her peak writing time. It's definitely one in which the less you know going in the better.  It's hard not to spoil it but it's worth avoiding full blurbs and anything else if you possibly can.  But I can't say I really enjoy this one - in fact the changes to Hastings and Poirot make me sad.  I don't mind the age - Miss Marple gets very physically frail in her later books and this doesn't bother me in the slightest - but I do mind just how unhappy they seem and their reunion doesn't really seem to make them any happier.  

The mystery itself is cleverly done using Christie's house party trope and a wide variety of characters that seemingly have no connection.  For most of the book I was just as lost as Hastings and chased more then a few red herrings trying to figure out just who the mysterious X really was.  

If you are a Christie fan this is one you cannot miss because it is Poirot's last case but it will never be one I just simply have to reread.    

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Christie is probably my favorite author of all time and while this isn't a favorite it doesn't deter me from picking up her book.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  With reservations.  It's a must read for Poirot fans however.  

Monday, November 23, 2020

Fishing for Trouble - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Fishing for Trouble (Alaskan Diner Mystery #2) by Elizabeth Logan

Rating: Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description:  Something fishy is going on at a local seafood processing plant, and Charlie Cooke is on the hook to solve the case in this new Alaskan Diner Mystery.

Summer has come to Elkview, Alaska, bringing twenty hours of sunlight every day, not to mention a surge of tourists and seasonal workers. Chef Charlie Cooke is eager for a busy yet relaxing season, but when a young man working a summer job at the local fish processing plant dies moments after walking into the Bear Claw Diner, she’s quickly swept into the investigation.

Soon, through her best friend Annie Jensen, Charlie learns that another student worker at J and M Processing has disappeared, leaving more questions and fewer answers. The near-endless sunlight gives plenty of time to search for clues, but Charlie will have to work with Annie and local reporter Chris Doucette to net the killer before anyone else gets hurt.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoyed the first book and was curious to see what happened next with Charlie, Chris, Annie, and the Bear Claw crew.

My Impression:  I was so glad to get back to Elkview, Alaska and see what the next chapter held for Charlie and everyone else at the Bear Claw.  It didn't disappoint.  Characters from the first book are settling into their lives and Chris and Charlie are still dancing around in a will we/won't we situation but in a grownup non-angsty way.  And of course it is always good to see what hijinks Charlie's indulged cat Benny is up to.

This was an entertaining read with a focus on the fish processing industry and a bit of Charlie's past showing up to confront her.  I enjoyed the Alaskan setting and following along with Chris and Charlie as they investigate just what is going on at J and M Processing.

What kept this from being a home run for me is a pacing issue with the unraveling of the mystery.  The book is never a slow read but it does feel we go large stretches of time with no new information and then in the last 20 pages or so everything is revealed which can get a bit confusing.  I'd love to see the information laid out a bit slower so that I would feel more invested in the outcome of the mystery.

While I didn't find this book flawless it was a fun read with a great setting and likable characters.  I'm looking forward to seeing more from Elkview, Alaska.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would.  I really think this series has so much potential and  I'm hoping the mystery pacing improves.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would definitely recommend this series if you enjoy a good cozy mystery.  

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

Monday, November 16, 2020

Broadcast 4 Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Broadcast 4 Murder (A Sophie Kimball Mystery #7) by J.C. Eaton

Rating:  Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  Phee's mother Harriet is going to be a star! At least, that's how the Sun City West retiree describes her chance to host a live radio program of her book club's Booked 4 Murder Mystery Hour on Arizona's KSCW. But instead of chatting about charming cozies, Harriet ends up screaming bloody murder over the airwaves after discovering the body of Howard Buell, the station's programming director, in a closet--with a pair of sewing shears shoved into his chest.

The number one suspect is Howard's ex-girlfriend Sylvia Strattlemeyer who believed she was going to host a sewing talk show before Harriet was offered the spot. But not only do the fingerprints found on the scissors not match Sylvia's, they belong to a woman who passed away twenty years ago at the age of ninety-seven. Now, with the whole town on pins and needles, it's up to Phee to stitch together enough clues from the past to uncover the identity of a killer in the present...

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is a favorite series and of course I had to pick up the latest book!

My Impression:  I will never turn down a visit to Sun City West and as expected this was jammed full of hijinks, gossip, rumors, snowbirds, and pre-dawn visits to the dog park.  What was unexpected is that it's Phee herself who is leading quite a bit of the hijinks and taking a more active role in the investigation without her well-intentioned and eccentric mother pushing her along.   While enjoyed seeing Phee taking a more active role she did jump to some conclusions that I just didn't quite follow and seemed to have pretty gaping holes.  At one point Marshall states that she is definitely her mother's daughter and I couldn't help but agree!

The mystery is quite intriguing and I very much enjoyed the investigation even with some of Phee's jumping to conclusions at times.  I also loved visiting with the characters - especially Augusta who seemed to have a bit more page time in this book.  While this wasn't my favorite mystery in this series it was still lots of fun and was a delight to read.

If you enjoy a cozy mystery with quirky characters but also a solid mystery that doesn't trend towards silly then this is the perfect series for you!

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

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  This is one of my favorite cozy series and one I think most cozy readers would love.

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

Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Chinese Shawl - Classic Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Purchased

Description:  All London loves Tanis Lyle. A beautiful amateur who happened accidentally on a career in the theater, she has just finished filming her first motion picture. Though not classically beautiful, she does have an enormous amount of charm and style, and seems to hypnotize all who meet her. This is the effect she has on Laura Fane, a distant cousin who has long heard rumors of the relative who, because of a long-standing family feud, she has never been allowed to meet until now. But then someone dies, and Miss Silver and Laura quickly learn that a desirable woman may invite hate just as readily as she does love.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I adore Miss Silver and Patricia Wentworth so I'm trying to do a read all the Miss Silver books in order.

My Impression:  Oh I do love Miss Silver.  I think I start smiling as soon as she appears on the page no matter how grim what's going on around her happens to be.  In the case of this book it's all very civil grimness.   Tanis is a somewhat typical Wentworth villain.  She seems beautiful and polished and everyone loves her but what's behind that shiny fa├žade is rotten.  And on the other side Laura is a somewhat typical Wentworth heroine.  She's lovely but in a somewhat reserved way with a tendency to go very pale and shrink a bit.  But she's also intelligent and hardworking and very kind.  The side characters are interesting and I loved Petra and would love to see more of her. 

The mystery is especially good.  It's hard to find someone who didn't want to kill Tanis but did any of them really have a strong enough motive to pull the trigger?  Throw in a decades old family feud and a seriously strong personality and this was an entertaining mystery that could go all kinds of different ways.  

Miss Silver takes a bit more of an active role in this investigation then she has in the previous books but I still want more!  I'm already looking forward to the next book.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I love seeing Miss Silver and I can't wait for the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy classic mysteries then is definitely one to pick up.  I don't find her as strong as Agatha Christie but she does hold her own.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Friday Fives - My November 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. Since today is the first Friday in November I thought I'd list 5 books I'm looking forward to reading in November.

1.  Island of Glass by Nora Roberts - I've reread the first two in the series so I might as well finish!

2.  Gluten for Punishment by Nancy J Parra - This looks fun and it's set in a state I haven't read a book from yet.

3.  Crewel World by Monica Ferris - Basically ditto above

4.  Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan - I am so excited for this book - words cannot describe it.  I've love the previous books set in Mure.

5.  The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart - This has been on my TBR or ages and I'm hoping to read it this month.

What are you hoping to read in November?

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Books from the Backlog - Blood Brothers


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: In the town of Hawkins Hollow, it’s called The Seven. Every seven years, on the seventh day of the seventh month, strange things happen. It began when three young boys—Caleb, Fox, and Gage—went on a camping trip to The Pagan Stone...
It is only February, but Caleb Hawkins—descendant of the town founders—has already seen and felt the stirrings of evil. Though he can never forget the beginning of the terror in the woods twenty-one years ago, the signs have never been this strong before. Cal will need the help of his best friends Fox and Gage, but surprisingly he must rely on a stranger as well.

Reporter Quinn Black came to Hawkins Hollow hoping to make its eerie happenings the subject of her new book. She too can see the evil the locals cannot, somehow connecting her to the town—and to Cal. As winter turns to spring, they will shed their inhibitions, surrendering to a desire that will grow and form the cornerstone of a group of men and women bound by the fight against what is to come from out of the darkness…

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have bought and decluttered this book at least 3 times but now it is back sitting on my shelf.  It's a bit more paranormal then what I usually read but I love Nora Roberts and I need to give this one a real try and either finish it or stop buying it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Ten Cozy Mysteries from Across the US

This year I've been trying to read a book from each state in the US and am trying to stay within the cozy mystery genre.  For the most part I'm doing pretty well and here are few on my upcoming "travel list"

1.  Gluten for Punishment by Nancy J. Parra - Kansas

2.  A Spoonful of Murder by Connie Archer - Vermont

3.  Crewel World by Monica Ferris - Minnesota

4.  A Potion to Die For by Heather Blake - Alabama

5.  Murder, She Wrote: Aloha Betrayed by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain - Hawaii

6.  Hearse and Buggy by Laura Bradford - Pennsylvania

7.  Murder at the Mansion by Sheila Connolly - Maryland

8.  Between a Book and a Hard Place by Denise Swanson - Missouri

And 2 A Little Less Cozy!

9.  Black Hills by Nora Roberts - South Dakota

10. Watching Eagles Soar by Margaret Coel - Wyoming

Can you think of any books set in Delaware, Nebraska, or North Dakota?  Those are the 3 states I'm missing!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Murder in the Margins - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Murder in the Margins (The Open Book Mysteries #1) by Margaret Loudon

Rating: Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  Penelope Parish has hit a streak of bad luck, including a severe case of writer's block that is threatening her sophomore book. Hoping a writer in residence position at The Open Book bookstore in Upper Chumley-on-Stoke, England, will shake the cobwebs loose, Pen, as she's affectionately known, packs her typewriter and heads across the pond.

Unfortunately, life in Chumley is far from quiet and when the chairwoman of the local Worthington Fest is found dead, fingers are pointed at Charlotte Davenport, an American romance novelist and the future Duchess of Worthington. Charlotte turns to the one person who might be her ally for help: fellow American Pen. Teaming up with bookstore owner Mabel Morris and her new friend Figgy, Pen sets out to learn the truth and find the tricks that will help her finish her novel.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book: A murder mystery in a bookshop in a place called Upper Chumley-on-Stoke?  How could I resist?

My Impression:  This was a fun start to the series.  The premise is fantastic, Pen is sympathetic and interesting, and the village is full of quirky characters with rather vivid backstories.  Throw in a bit of a romance and what's not to love.  Though honestly my favorite part was the kind of behind the scenes bits of Pen working on her book.  I really enjoyed watching her figure out the hows and whys of her story.  

But back to the mystery!  Really no one in Upper Chumley-on-Stoke is asking to get murdered more then Regina and there are more people wo aren't sorry to see her gone then will miss her.  I'm not sure I 100% bought why Pen got pulled into the investigation but that's pretty minor when it comes to amateur sleuths.  It was fun to watch the investigation progress and all the secrets unravel.  Really the only thing that kept this book from being a Really Liked It is that there are so many characters and I didn't quite fully feel like I really knew them all.  I'm thinking this is a first book issue and I am fully expecting for the 2nd book to be a favorite read next year.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm expecting the next book to be absolutely fantastic!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy bookish cozies this is definitely a good one to pick up.  I think it's the beginning of a fantastic series.

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

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Life with Leukemia (and Some Reading) - November 1


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

Normally I write this post sometime Saturday afternoon.  So last week when I said everything was going good it was.  And then a few hours later just as we were getting ready to head to dinner Will ran through the apartment in socks and sock and cement floors just don't mix.  He took quite the fall and it was so fast I'm not exactly sure what happened but the injury was in his mouth.  Mouth injuries are dramatic but it ended up being nothing more then a badly split lip.  We ended up being sent to the emergency room for the children's hospital here in Memphis just to be sure.  I was terrified about potential exposures to pretty much all the things but the children's hospital (Le Bonheur) was absolutely amazing.  St Jude had called ahead to let them know he was one of theirs but they went above and beyond to keep us completely isolated and safe.  I was seriously impressed.  They decided against stiches because of the location but they did put him on an antibiotic because he's so much more susceptible to infection.  So a lot of drama that thankfully came to nothing.  He's healing up remarkably well and his lip is only the slightest bit puffy.  

I'm dreading next week as it's the med combo he had such problems with a few weeks ago.  His team is going to try a few things to help decrease skin sensitivity but some of the other side effects just really can't be countered so it's going to be a tough week I think.  For Halloween we are staying in and relaxing, playing some video games and snacking.  


Broadcast 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton, Murder She Wrote: You Bet Your Life by Donald Bain, and The Eagle Soars by Margaret Coel

Listening:  Finishing up To Helvetica and Back by Paige Shelton though I'm almost done.

Watching:  I'm still enjoying the true crime show called The Con and we've been watching The Great British Bake Off and really enjoying it.  

Happy Halloween, have a great week and happy reading!