Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Fives - Cat Photos

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  This week I'm sharing 5 of my favorite cat photos.  I've said in the past that I'm not really a cat person.  I don't dislike cats but I've always preferred dogs and I'm allergic to cats so there's that.  I do make quite a lot of exceptions for fictional cats but the biggest exception is our actual cat, Comet.  He's really like no cat I've ever dealt with.  I'm not entirely sure he's aware he's a cat as he has mostly dog mannerisms with occasional toddler style outbursts.  He never fails to entertain, get in the way, and do his version of helping.  So here are 5 of my favorite pictures of him.

I don't know why this happened or really even how.

One of my favorite pictures of all time.  He definitely has earned his keep when Will has been feeling really bad.

He also helps with home improvement projects

And after all that helping and comforting and checking out what we're doing he's exhausted and if there is a blanket he will find it.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Books from the Backlog -

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 Spirited Gift by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Blurb:  As the mayor of Duck, North Carolina, Dae is playing host to twenty North Carolina elected officials attending her first Mayors' Conference Weekend at the Blue Whale Inn. When the body of Mayor Sandi Foxx is discovered the morning after a severe storm, Dae receives a vision through the mayor's ring; that there's a killer among the guests who's as deadly as any hurricane.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have a bunch of books in this series sitting on my shelf.  I enjoyed the first book or two but I read a later book and didn't care for it so I need to determine if the rest of the series should stay or go.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Tale of Two Cookies - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Tale of Two Cookies (A Cookie House Mystery #3) by Eve Calder

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  Pastry chef Kate McGuire is loving life on the laid-back island of Coral Cay, Florida. As junior partner in a bakery renowned for luscious desserts--especially her cookies--life is pretty sweet. So when an old friend arrives and announces a spur-of-the-moment beach wedding, that's just the icing on the wedding cake.

But the groom vanishes right as a television crew descends on the town to film a hot, new realty show. Is there a connection? Is her friend Desiree somehow involved? Or did groom Judson simply get cold feet? The bride and groom were paired better than warm cookies and cold milk, so Kate doesn't buy it.

As the show's cast runs amok on the island and the investigation into Judson's disappearance heats up, Kate and her pal Maxi, along with town dog Oliver, will brave the rambunctious world of reality TV and a wedding weekend gone awry, in an all-out effort to find the missing groom.

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I have really enjoyed the previous two books in the series so there was no way I was missing this one!

My Impression:  This one is a little different then the usual mystery.  There's no dead body to be tripped over a few pages in.  This is much more of a missing persons case - and even more of a just what exactly is going on kind of case.  I love Kate, Maxi, Oliver and the rest of the rest of crew on Coral Cay - especially when the Coral Cay Irregulars (a book club) get involved.

This story involves a friend from Kate's past life in New York.  Desiree was always unflappable, kind and helpful when she was head of concierge at a major hotel so Kate is loving seeing her old friend so relaxed in happy.  The new man in her life seems just as head over heels and happy - or is he.  When the groom disappears more and more details emerge that make Kate wonder if maybe nothing was what it seems - or was it.  This one really kept me guessing up till the very end and completely pulled in.  It was a fast read that I absolutely enjoyed though it did make me want cookies.  I feel a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies will be being baked in the near future!

If you enjoy a fun, fast paced cozy with characters you want to be friends with in a town you'd want to visit then this is the perfect series for you.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I can't wait for the next book!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a great series to pick up.  While it would probably be better to start this series from the beginning I think you can jump in here without any issue.

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

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Fictional Animal Sidekicks

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is about animals in books so I'm listing my favorite fictional animal sidekicks.  I'm sure I'm leaving about a million animals because there are so many great animal sidekicks in the books I read but I suddenly seem to have forgotten about 95% of them.

1.  The Puffin from Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan - I'm not really a big fan of birds but when I finished this one I was quite convinced that every book should have a puffin sidekick.  I haven't really changed my mind.

2.  Emma from the Tourist Trap Mysteries by Lynn Cahoon - I have a fondness for golden retrievers and while Emma isn't the quirkiest of pets she is just a sweetie and loves running on the beach.

3.  Heathcliff from the Library Lovers Mysteries by Jenn McKinley - Heathcliff is a great dog but really I just adore his name.

4.  Bob from Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie - Bob has a great trick - so great in fact that someone might be trying to frame this poor pup for murder!

5.  Diesel from The Cat in the Stacks Mysteries by Miranda James - I'm not much of a cat person but after reading lots about Diesel I'm quite convinced I need a Maine Coon!

6.  O'Ryan from The Witch City Mysteries by Carol J. Perry - So I said that I'm not really a cat person but that rule doesn't apply to orange cats - or to this cat in particular.  O'Ryan is amazing and may or may not have been a witch's familiar.

7.  Elvis from The Second Chance Cat Mysteries by Sofie Ryan - Another cat I'm going to have break my rule for because not only does Elvis have a great personality but he has a built in lie detector and that just sounds incredibly useful.

8.  Matterhorn (or Mattie for short) by from A Year Round Christmas Mysteries by Vicki Delany - Mattie is an absolutely enormous galumph of a dog and never fails to make me smile!

9.  Any animal in any book written by Jill Shalvis - It's been awhile since I read a Jill Shalvis so no specific name is coming to mind but she has never written an animal side kick that I didn't immediately fall in love with!

10. Smoky Joe from The Haunted Library Mysteries by Allison Brook - Okay another exception to the cat rule but I can't make a list of animal sidekicks and leave Smoky Joe out.  He's adorable and opinionated and I sincerely wish my library had a cat!

What are some of your favorite animal sidekicks?

Monday, April 26, 2021

Murder on Wall Street - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Murder on Wall Street (A Gaslight Mystery #24) by Victoria Thompson

Rating:  Really Liked It!

Source:  Publisher

Description:  Reformed gangster Jack Robinson is working hard to bolster his image in Gilded Age New York City society as he prepares to become a new father. But when Hayden Norcross, the man who nearly ruined his wife, is shot in cold blood, Jack knows the police will soon come knocking on his door.

Frank Malloy has to agree - things don’t look good for Jack. But surely, a man as unlikeable as Hayden had more than a few enemies. And it’s soon clear that plenty of the upper echelon as well as the denizens of the most squalid areas of the city seem to have hated him.

Sarah and Frank have their work cut out for them. As the daughter of the elite Decker family, Sarah has access to the social circles Hayden frequented, and the more she learns about his horrific treatment of women, the more disturbed she becomes. And as Frank investigates, he finds that Hayden had a host of unsavory habits that may have hastened his demise. But who finally killed him?

Sarah and Frank must put the pieces together quickly before time runs out and Jack’s hard-won new life and family are ripped apart.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  This is becoming one of my reliable favorite series so of course I had to pick up the latest book!

My Impression:  I do like a mystery where the victim has more people happy to see him gone then will be mourning him.  As far as despicable victims go Hayden Norcross takes the cake.  Really, if Frank, Sarah and pretty much everyone else in New York at the time had decided to call it a win and not investigate the murder I wouldn't have blamed them in the slightest.  Of course that didn't happen and because of  Jack Robinson's, a family friend with an unsavory past, ties to the deceased they couldn't help but get involved.

The investigation ranges from opium dens in Chinatown all the way to exclusive clubs full of the highest levels of society.  I loved how big of a role Sarah's parents, the Deckers, played in this book.  Mr. and Mrs. Decker are in the running for favorite side characters - especially Mrs. Decker.  They have no real issue using their pretty impressive connections to further an investigation though Mr. Decker really does wish his wife wouldn't be quite so gleeful about it which gave me a giggle.

While I did kind of guess what was going on well before the unraveling this was a compelling mystery that kept me reading.   The lack of power and just basic say the women involved have in their life is shocking and heartbreaking.  My only real issue with the book is Sarah's nanny/office assistant, Maeve annoyed me.  I've always liked her in past books but she came off as just immature and kind of bratty.  She doesn't have a huge role in this book so this was a very minimal issue.  

If you enjoy historical mysteries with interesting characters and compelling mysteries this is a great series to start with.  While there are somewhat complicated personal relationships between the characters enough is explained that I think you can jump into the series where ever you'd like.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'd really like to go back and pick up the earlier books I've missed and I'll definitely be looking for the next book.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical mysteries I think this is a series that should not be missed.

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

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - April 25

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 another good one.  Will was feeling really good other then the day right after his clinic appointment where he was still processing the chemo.  And even better for the first time really since his diagnosis his numbers were pretty good and since the weather was cooperating we went out to eat on a local restaurant that has a patio and heavily enforces mask and distancing rules.  It was such fun!  Other then that we've been making good progress with school and having fun playing all kinds of board games and video games.

I got my 2nd Covid vaccine today (Friday) and am so relieved to have it over and done with.  I'm writing this on Friday because so many people do seem to have a reaction with the 2nd one so I'm being prepared!  I haven't been sleeping well this week so am already pretty exhausted so I might just take a lazy day tomorrow even if I'm feeling perfectly fine - especially since this is supposed to be a rainy weekend.


Reading:  A Tale of Two Cookies by Eve Calder and The Life and Times of Miss Jane Marple by Anne Hart

Listening:  Late Checkout by Carol J Perry

Watching:  I still haven't been watching much other then YouTube.  One of these days I'll get back to actual television shows or movies.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Religious Body - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Religious Body (Inspector Sloan #1) by Catherine Aird

Rating: Really Liked It
Source: Purchased

Description:  Inspector C.D. Sloan of the Callehsire C.I.D. makes his first appearance here as he looks into the murder of a nun at the Convent of St. Anselm. First published in 1966, The Religious Body was Aird's first book and immediately established herself as one of the leading exponents of the post-WWII English traditional mystery.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I had read a Catherine Aird book several years ago and have been wanting to read more from her so I couldn't resist the first Inspector Sloan book.

My Impression:  This may be at first glace the ultimate locked room mystery.  Who could have gotten into a convent to murder a nun?  And why on earth would they have wanted to?  At second glance things aren't nearly so simple and involve everything from Guy Fawkes bonfires to corporate secrets all wrapped in the anonymity of a nun's habit.

This is a short read - less then 200 pages - and Aird keeps the story almost stripped to the bone.  In theory there are lots of characters.  The convent has a Community of at least 50 and the boy's school next door has at least that many as well.  But Aird does a good job of getting the impression of a busy facility with only cluttering up the pages with the names the reader really needs to know.  I couldn't even guess how things would work out and the very end definitely had me surprised!

This is the first book in the Inspector Sloan series and I'm really looking forward to continuing.  Not only did Aird create a solid mystery but Sloan is a likable, practical and observant detective.  I am hoping to see him and his colleagues fleshed out a bit more because I couldn't help but want to connect just a bit more.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm really looking forward to continuing with this series and this author in general.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy Agatha Christie I think you'd enjoy this author.  

Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday Fives - Five Books I'd Buy If I Found Them In A Used Bookstore


I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  Today I am getting my 2nd vaccine!  Given that our son is in active Leukemia treatment and has a repressed immune system our lives won't be changing hugely but I am planning on treating myself to a used bookstore trip.  Especially since the 2 week full immunity guideline just happens to fall on the same week as my birthday!  Here are 5 books (or series) that I will scoop up without hesitation if I happen to stumble on them while meandering the shelves!

1.  Any of the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson - I'm just finished the most recent book in this series and every time I read one I remember just how much I enjoy it.  Somehow, though, I've never read the older books and a bit of a shopping binge would help fix that!

2.  Anything by Jenny Colgan - I've read a number of books by Jenny Colgan and have really enjoyed every single one of them so if I find one I haven't read I will be scooping it up!

3.  The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths - This book has been on my TBR since it came out and I'm leaning towards getting it on audio but if I happened to see it in the store I don't think I could resist it.

4.  Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece by Rose Pressey - I heard a cozy mystery YouTuber talking about this book and it sounds like so much fun that I'll be looking forward to it.

5.  Anything by Dorothy Gilman - I'm working on collecting the Dorothy Gilman books so I'll be taking a look to see if they have anything that I haven't already found.  

And of course I'll probably get a ton of books that aren't on my list but that's the fun of a used bookstore visit!  Do you have a favorite used bookstore?  Do you stick to a list or do you just grab anything that catches your interest?  

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Books from the Backlog - Trouble on the Books


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:  Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang

Blurb: Shelby Cox never intended to become a bookseller, so when the former editor returns to her hometown of Alexandria Bay, nestled in upstate New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region, to take over her aunt’s bookstore, she has no idea what to expect. To her amazement, she discovers that she now owns a fifty-percent share in Bayside Books, and will also run the store’s second location in the majestic castle on nearby Blye Island.

But just as Shelby is gearing up for the start of the tourist season, the Castle volunteer coordinator is found murdered in the nearby Grotto. Castle caretaker Matthew Kessler is suspect number one, but Shelby thinks the killing may be connected to an earlier era, when violence among Prohibition-era smugglers was rampant in the region. As Shelby launches her own investigation, handsome and unnerving Special Agent Zack Griffin of the Coast Guard Investigative Services tries to quell her smuggling theory and keep her safe. But Shelby is determined to summon all her savvy as a book editor to plot the murder—and find the killer before he strikes again—in Trouble on the Books, Essie Lang’s clever and captivating series debut.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I listened to the 2nd book in this series last year and while I could not stand the narrator I enjoyed the book enough that I kept going and really wanted to read the 1st book.  So of course I bought it new - a year ago - fully intending to read it right then and it is still unread on my shelf.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Wonderous Words - One of My Favorite Words


Today I'm linking up with one of my favorite reading blogs - Elza Reads - where I keep up with the reading adventures of adorable white kitten Elza and her behind the scenes mom.  I couldn't resist linking up with this feature all about words. 

Today I'm talking about one of my most favorite words to use when describing the antics of cozy mystery characters:

Hijinks - as in boisterous fun, or zany (another activity) activities, or rowdy activity.  Usually I'm using it to describe a combination of all three.

And to use it in a sentence:

Charlotte's Angels got involved in all kinds of hijinks when they entered Sarah's cat, Elvis, in a cat show, so they could investigate misdeeds undercover.

What is one of your favorite descriptive words?

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Colorful Titles on 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 about colorful book titles so I took a look through my TBR and pulled out the most colorful covers I could find.

The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey

Garden of Death by Chrystle Fiedler

Here Today, Gone Tamale by Rebecca Adler

Daisies for Innocence by Bailey Cattrell

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer

The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly

The $64 Tomato by William Alexander

Mimi Lee Gets a Clue by Jennifer J. Chow

What books with colorful covers are on your TBR?

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Book vs The Movie - Mrs. Miniver

Goodreads:  Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther (1939) - The 1942 film entitled Mrs. Miniver is easily in my top 5 favorite movies.  It makes me laugh, cry, and covet a particularly gorgeous Wedgwood coffee pot that appears fairly early in the film and I CANNOT find no matter how hard I look (but that's another story).  The movie is wonderful and is essentially a series of vignettes about a very ordinary, very nice upper middle class family in 1940s England and living under extraordinary circumstances.  There are so many small moments that stick with me and these are characters I really love. So when I saw in the credits during the 2nd or 3rd time I watched it that the movie was based on a book I knew I had to have it.  And it wasn't quite what I expected.

Book adaptations are a tricky subject.  There are some that are done well, some that are passable, but most seem to fall in the category that has me pausing the movie frequently and venting to my husband that "that was NOT how that happened."  In this case I think it was done rather brilliantly and unexpectedly.  The setup is essentially the same.  The Miniver family is a very nice upper middle class family consisting of Kay and Clem and their children Vin, Judy, and Toby.  Each chapter is a vignette and is essentially told through a peek of what is going on Mrs. Miniver's brain.  The primarily difference is the book takes place shortly before the war begins whereas in the movie the war is full and truly on.  So essentially the movie is a sequel to the book and a well done one at that.  

The book is quieter then the movie.  The moments less monumental but no less delightful.  Chapters range from the trickiness of choosing a date book, to the issues of finding people one actually likes to invite to dinner, to Mrs. Miniver facing her fear of flying and all kinds of other everyday moments.  There are more war centered moments towards the end but even those are on the quieter poignant side such as watching her children's faces as they are fitted for gas masks.  I truly enjoyed my time with Mrs. Miniver.  She is funny, insightful, nice, and her mind wanders just the way mine does.   This was a book I relished and read a couple of chapters at a time curled up in my reading chair at night when the house was quiet.  The writing was gorgeous and while I'm not one who really ever notices quotes this is one I wanted to take notes on.  I will be seeking more books out from this author and I want to watch the movie again.

This is one of the very few books vs movies where I feel like the book enhanced the movie and vice versa.  

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - April 18

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 has been a good week!  Will has been feeling pretty good which meant there was lots of time with him trying to get caught up with school and just playing different games and having fun.  He's definitely feeling more like himself then he has really since last summer and it's been fun to see.  We even had Jason's brother and his wife over for dinner and a few rounds of rather cutthroat Uno.  It turns out we are all crazy competitive but Will loved it and it was a lot of fun.  The only negative is that his reaction to some of the medicines is somewhat extreme and they are wanting to do more genetic testing and a few other things to make sure that he is getting enough chemo but not risking toxicity.  Leukemia is a stubborn, aggressive and sneaky cancer and there is the constant concern of it coming back but we are all trying not to borrow trouble.  

With all the time with Will I haven't had much extra reading time but I have been taking a few minutes at night after everyone's asleep for yoga and to read a chapter or two of a quiet book and it's been lovely.  Other then that nothing else is going on and having some non-exciting weeks have been rather nice!


Reading The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle by Laura DiSilverio and Murder on Wall Street by Victoria Thompson

Listening: The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley

Watching:  Not much - I miss TV and getting into a really good show but it just hasn't been happening lately.  I have watched a few of the Hallmark Movie & Mysteries mysteries which I've been enjoying.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

A Murder is Announced - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie

Rating: Loved It!
Source:  Purchased

Description:  "A Murder is Announced" is a staple of crime fiction and is often considered the best of all the Miss Marple novels. The villagers of Chipping Cleghorn, including Jane Marple who is staying nearby, are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which reads: ‘A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29th, at Little Paddocks at 6.30 p.m.’ Is this a childish practical joke? Or a hoax intended to scare poor Letitia Blacklock? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out…

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm reading all of the Miss Marple books this year and this was the next one on my list.

My Impression:  Any book with Miss Marple is pretty much going to be a win for me but the fact that this one involves a murder being literally announced in a newspaper ahead of time.  And instead of a locked door murder we get the complete opposite problem - how does one commit murder in a crowded room without anyone knowing what really happened?  Luckily, Inspector Craddock, his godfather Sir Henry Clithering, and Miss Marple are on the job.  I absolutely love Sir Henry's open admiration for Miss Marple's abilities and how Miss Marple deals with that attention.  As well, Craddock's conversion to the wonders that are Miss Marple was pretty great too.  

The mystery is a lovely twisty one and Christie gives you all the clues if you are paying super sharp attention. The characters are typical small village but all entertaining and interesting and Christie makes us wonder just who might not be who they say they are.  Thankfully, this isn't one of those books where Miss Marple shows up in the last few chapters.  We have her for more then half the book and while I always want more page time for her this was a fun read.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  Christie is one of my absolute favorite authors and I am loving this Miss Marple read-thru.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Yes, definitely!  If you are new to Miss Marple this might be a fun one to start with.  While it doesn't take place in St. Mary Mead it has all the small village details that Christie excelled with.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday Fives - Five Random Books That Are Next on My Library List

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  So I really am hoping to read more books off my shelf this year but that doesn't mean I'm going to be neglecting my library completely.  I love the sheer randomness of the books I can find there and give them a try without the risk of not liking it.  Here are 5 books I'm planning on picking up on my next trip to the library.

1.  The Life and Times of Miss Jane Marple by Anne Hart- Since I'm reading the Miss Marple books this year I of course have to pick up this biography of Miss Marple.  The author has a book on Hercule Poirot which I'm anxious to pick up but I'm going to start with this one.

2.  Close Calls:  How Eleven US Presidents Escaped from the Brink of Death by Michael Spradlin - I read Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell and found it fascinating and I'm curious about this one. 

3.  Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas - Devil in Winter is one of my favorite historical romance books and I'm curious about this one involving one of the daughters of the couple in that book.  

4.  Fairy Spell: How Two Girls Convinced the World That Fairies Are Real by Marc Tyler Nobleman - I read and loved The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor which was a fictional account of this story.  I'm really curious to see more about the real story because it sounds fascinating!

5.  I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel - I've been wanting to read one of Bogel's books since her very first one and this one is the one that appeals to me the most.

Do you use your library to try out random books that catch your interest?

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Books from the Backlog -

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 Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

Blurb:  A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.

Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Zoe knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly!

The job description asks for someone capable of caring for three “gifted children”, two of which behave like feral wolverines. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not—and Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.

With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?

Why This Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  Colgan is one of my absolute favorite comfort reads.  So much so in fact that I bought this one new AND it was one of the first 10 books I brought with me when we temporarily relocated to Memphis.  I figured this would be one of the first books read but somehow it came home with me after 6 months unread AND is still unread even several months of being home.  I need to get this read!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Year of the Series - A Likely Story + Tightening the Threads


After the calamity that was 2020 I didn't want to give myself serious reading goals but I did want to do something to help my book stacks get a little more under control.  I've tried getting rid of the ones I want to read but unfortunately I want to read all the books I own.  So I decided to focus on series.  There are so many I have that I abandoned halfway through or came in halfway and never read the first few.  I made a list of ten series and the next book I had to read in them and will be rolling in new books and series as I go along and catch up.  Here are two reviews from that list that I've read recently.

Goodreads: A Likely Story (Library Lover's Mystery #6) by Jenn McKinlay - One of the tasks library director Lindsay Norris likes best is delivering books to housebound residents.  This time she and kind of boyfriend boat captain are delivering books to the reclusive Rosen brothers when they come across a scene neither expected.  Not only is Stewart Rosen not at the dock to great them but after they make their way through the brothers' booby trapped home they discover Peter Rosen shot to death in his wheel chair.  This starts a search into the past but with lots of danger lurking in the present.  As well, there are lots of Briar Creek business with appearances from the crafternooners, Ms. Cole (aka the Lemon), children's librarian extraordinaire Beth as other old friends that were a delight to see.  I really enjoyed this read.  The mystery kept me involved and guessing and I really enjoyed spending time with characters that feel like old friends.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Goodreads:  Tightening the Threads (Mainely Needlepoint #5) by Lea Wait - Angie Curtis' friend Sarah Byrne has been acting like she has a secret for the last month or so and Angie's been trying not to pry.  But finally Sarah spills the beans - Sarah left her native Australia to move to Haven Harbor, Maine to try and connect with family she never knew.  And that family happens to be her newly discovered uncle - Ted Lawrence, who just happens to be the son of famed artist Robert Lawrence.  He's so excited by this new connection that he decides to host a family weekend where he invites his three children and proceeds to drop a series of bombshells - Sarah's identity being the least of them.  When the weekend comes to a tragic end with Ted being poisoned and a second death following close on his heels the police (and Angie) start digging into the Lawrence family secrets.  This wasn't my favorite of this series.  While the Mainely Needlepointers do feature in this book they don't have nearly the page time they do in previous books and I missed them!  As well, there's a lot of setup in this one.  We meet Ted's children and learn the dynamics on the Lawrence family (and wow are they dysfunctional!) and the first death doesn't really occur until close to halfway through the book.  This mystery is a good one and the series is a strong one but this just didn't click quite as much with me.  One thing that Wait does in this series that I always enjoy is start each chapter with a quote from a sampler and gives a little bit of history on the sampler and the woman who created it.  My Rating:  Liked It!