Saturday, May 8, 2021

She Came Back - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  She Came Back by Patricia Wentworth

Rating:  Loved It!
Source:  Purchased

Description:  Assumed dead, Lady Anne Jocelyn meets varying degrees of welcome when she returns from Occupied France to her old life in England. Though her husband Sir Philip is not overjoyed to see her, he agrees to a trial reunion. But a murder raises his doubts, and then a second and third send Miss Silver to a curious consideration of life after death.

This is also published under the title The Traveller Returns  

Genre:  Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  Patricia Wentworth has been one of my favorite authors for years and Miss Silver is one of my absolute favorite detectives.  This year I'm trying to read all of the Miss Silver books in order this year and this was the next one on the list.

My Impression:  I had read this book probably 10 years or so ago and remembered enjoying it but remembered very little about it.  Not every book ages well but I had some confidence that this one would hold because Miss Silver has yet to let me down (except in Grey Mask but that was her first book so we will give that a pass).  And that confidence was well earned because I absolutely loved this one.  From the beginning the reader is in the dark on if Anne is really Anne as she claimed or an imposter and really the evidence seems to be pointing completely to Anne being Anne.  If she isn't Anne then what could be her motive and how could she know so many personal details that only the real Anne would know.  

This book is a bit different because while Miss Silver does show up about halfway through in her professional capacity she is pulled into the mystery by a coincidence.  The interactions between Miss Silver, DS Frank Abbott and Inspector Lamb cannot be beat and in this book they were a delight.  I cannot get enough of how much Abbott respects Miss Silver and the glee he gets from how grumpy she makes his boss.  

This is one of those mysteries where the less you know going in the better (and for once the blurb doesn't spoil everything!) so I won't say anymore other then that this was an intriguing read that kept me guessing and hooked.  While this is a book in the Miss Silver series the books are only very loosely linked by Miss Silver herself. A character from a previous book may be mentioned or even appear but you don't need to know anything about how they came to know Miss Silver to thoroughly enjoy the book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I've already got the next book ready to go!

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  This is one of my favorite Miss Silver books so far.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday Fives - May TBR

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.  Since today is the first Friday in May I'm listing 5 books I'm planning to read this month.

1.  Witch by Barbara Michaels -  This is next on my Barbara Michaels reread list and it's been ages since I feel like I've read this one.

2.  Murder Take Two by Carol J. Perry - This checks two boxes for me.  Not only is the next book in a series I'm trying to finish it up but it is also an overdue review book and I'm trying to lighten the load a bit there.

3.  The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden by William Alexander - This has been on my TBR for a couple of years now and I'm going to get it off the Backlog AND get a nonfiction book read for the year.

4.  Death in Bloom by Jess Dylan - This is the first book in a new cozy mystery series and I'm really looking forward to reading it!

5.  Murder with Mirrors by Agatha Christie - I'm finishing up the Miss Marple books this year and this is next on my list.  Can't wait!  

What are you hoping to read in May?

Thursday, May 6, 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 Shroud Maker by Kate Ellis

Blurb:  A year after the mysterious disappearance of Jenny Bercival, DI Wesley Peterson is called in when the body of a strangled woman is found floating out to sea in a dinghy. The discovery mars the festivities of the Palkin Festival, held each year to celebrate the life of John Palkin, a 14th century Mayor of Tradmouth who made his fortune from trade and piracy. Now it seems like death and mystery have returned to haunt the town. Could there be a link between the two women? One missing, one brutally murdered? And is there a connection to a fantasy website called Shipworld which features Palkin as a supernatural hero with a sinister, faceless nemesis called the Shroud Maker? When archaeologist Neil Watson makes a grim discovery on the site of Palkin's warehouse, it looks as if history might have inspired the killer. And it is only by delving into the past that Wesley comes to learn a truth that will bring mortal danger in its wake.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have so many books by this author and I always enjoy them but for some reason I very rarely pick one up.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

For Batter or Worse - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  For Batter or Worse (A Cupcake Bakery Mystery #13) by Jenn McKinlay

Rating: Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description:  Life is sweet and business is booming at the Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery--and the fact that Mel and Joe are getting married is the icing on the cake. Their reception will be held at the swanky resort where Oz works as the pastry chef. The wedding planning is all fun-fetti and games until Mel and Joe meet the head chef at the resort who has been making Oz's life miserable. When the eccentric chef insults Mel's bakery, Oz gets into a blowout argument with the culinary prima donna.

Things turn extra sour when the chef is murdered, and Oz is the police's main suspect. As the countdown to the wedding day begins, Mel, Joe, and the rest of the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew must sift through clues to catch the real killer and clear Oz's name before their wedding plans are totally battered and baked.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoy this series and McKinlay is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors.

My Impression:  This was a fun quick read with discussions about cupcakes, weddings, and murder. What's not to like?  Mel and Angie have come a long way since Fairy Tale Cupcakes first opened both personally and professionally.  In this book there's a mix of both as Mel and Joe's wedding is coming up up quickly and former employee Oz gets himself suspected of murder.  And of course, luck with have it that Mel just happens to be on the scene.  

I enjoyed the flow of this book quite a bit.  It's fast paced with characters I enjoy spending time with and a mystery that surprised me a bit.  Mel and Angie aren't as hands on in the bakery as they used to be but I like that that issue is addressed and they even got a bit nostalgic.  I loved seeing the DeLaura brothers en masse as any time that happens there are sure to be hijinks and laughs.  

I don't feel this series in general is quite as strong as her Library Lover's mystery series but this was one that I especially enjoyed.  It was a nice bit of escapism with a wonderful ending.  I'm looking forward to what happens next in the lives of all these characters (and seeing what trouble they get into!).  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  This series and the Library Lover's series are auto-buys for me.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this series and this author are must tries!

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

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - My Ten Most Recent Reads


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 My Ten Most Recent Reads.  Some of these I have reviewed and those reviews have been posted or are coming up.

1.  Late Checkout by Carol J. Perry - One of my favorite series and this was another delightful listen!

2.  Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts - I felt the need for some comforting rereading and this is one of my favorite trilogies and I love the book featuring an author and a librarian.

3.  A Tale of Two Cookies by Eve Calder - A fun missing persons case with lots of cookie descriptions.

4.  Key of Light by Nora Roberts - I enjoyed rereading the 2nd book so much I had to go back and read the first.

5.  The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle by Laura DiSilverio - This was a good cozy but nothing that will really stick with me.  

6.  The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley - Loved it, loved it, loved it!

7.  Murder on Wall Street by Victoria Thompson - This is one of my favorite historical mystery series and this did not disappoint.  

8.  Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther - This book was the inspiration for the movie of the same name which is one of my absolute favorites.  The book was lovely with small moments that were sometimes exactly that and other times amazingly poignant.  

9.  She Came Back by Patricia Wentworth - A reread and a favorite by a favorite author.  It didn't disappoint.  

10. Phantoms and Felonies by Lucy Ness - Fun ghostly cozy series  - enjoyed the 2nd as much as the 1st. 

What are some of the books you've read recently?

Monday, May 3, 2021

An Invincible Summer - Contemporary Fiction Review

Goodreads:  An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart

Rating: Not For Me
Source: Publisher

Description:  It was a lifetime ago that recently widowed Maggie Flynn was in Wyndham Beach. Now, on the occasion of her fortieth high school reunion, she returns to her hometown on the Massachusetts coast, picking up right where she left off with dear friends Lydia and Emma. But seeing Brett Crawford again stirs other emotions. Once, they were the town’s golden couple destined for one another. He shared Maggie’s dreams—and eventually, a shattering secret that drove them apart.

Buying her old family home and resettling in Wyndham Beach means a chance to start over for Maggie and her two daughters, but it also means facing her rekindled feelings for her first love and finally confronting—and embracing—the past in ways she never thought possible. Maggie won’t be alone. With her family and friends around her, she can weather this stormy turning point in her life and open her heart to the future. As for that dream shared and lost years ago? If Maggie can forgive herself, it still might come true.

Genre: Fiction - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I really loved Stewart's Hudson sister trilogy and I usually enjoy a rebuilding story so I thought I'd give this a try.

My Impression:  I've read a lot of Stewart over the years and I've found that I either thoroughly enjoy them or they land decidedly on the meh side.  Unfortunately, this was a meh for me.  Part of it is that this turned out to be a second chance high school story that I just don't really enjoy.  I get being glad to reconnect with old friends and old places but the dialogue and inner monologues of the characters tended to be heavily focused on the "glory days" of high school which got a little dull.  Really that is kind of the root of my issues with the book.  All of the characters were kind of stuck in who they had been in high school and the relationship between the "golden couple" that had ended literally 38 years before.  The book just seemed to skirt on the surface for me and I never felt really connected to any of the characters of what was going on in their lives.  

Stewart writes a nice story with a good flow but this just didn't end up being one I enjoyed reading.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  If the blurb interests me I will pick it up as I do enjoy her books but she's not an auto-buy for me.

Would I Recommend this Book? This might work out better for you if you enjoy books around high school reunions.

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

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Life With Leukemia (And Some Reading) - May 2


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

I found this picture the other day.  It's not a new one to me but I haven't seen it in awhile.  It was taken in 1943 on one of my grandfather's visits home after he enlisted.  He's the solider and the little girl is his niece who was only about 10 years younger then him and really I think more of a little sister. She's the only person I'm aware of in my entire extended family who ever had leukemia (or really any kind of cancer) before Will was diagnosed last year.   She was diagnosed in a very different time when a leukemia diagnosis came with a deadline that if you were lucky was in the months.  The picture made me wonder if that little mutation was hiding somewhere in my DNA but mostly it made me so profoundly grateful for Danny Thomas and the wonderful minds he pulled into the project to start St Jude Children's Research Hospital in 1962.  Because of that and everyone who has been involved since then the realities of childhood cancer have completely changed.  

This week has been pretty good.  Will had his spinal tap which went pretty well though the chemo for this week is a challenging one.  It makes him tired but not able to sleep well which frustrates him but thankfully it's short lived and he'll be off it my early next week.  I had my 2nd Pfizer vaccine last weekend and it went pretty well.  My arm hurt like crazy for a few hours and then I felt really tired the next day but I also hadn't been sleeping well so I don't feel like I was going in in the best shape.  Full immunity will be at the end of this week which also is my birthday so it's a pretty great present!


Reading: Key of Valor by Nora Roberts (I was feeling the need for some comfort rereading) and For Batter or Worse by Jenn McKinlay

Listening:  As The Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz

Watching:  I think I'm going to stop including this unless I'm actually watching something because other then YouTube I'm really not watching much.  I watch a lot of makeup, bookish, and true crime content on YouTube but haven't watched much real TV lately.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

April Reading Recap


Number of Books Read This Month:  

Bookish Breakdown: 16 

Print:  8

Ebook:  4


Mystery: 11

Fiction:  3

Romance: 2

Rereads:  5

Backlog Books: 1

My Favorite Book of the Month:

Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther - This was a lovely quiet book about an ordinary family living their regular life with the clouds of war building around them.

The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley - I had serious doubts going into this one but I ended up loving both present day and past stories.  

Least Favorite Book of the Month:

Deadly Editions by Paige Shelton - This wasn't bad by any means it was just my least favorite read in a month with serious competition.

What books did you read in April?