Saturday, July 31, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - August 1st

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 I Got:

So I was minutes away from trying to get a Cozy Mystery mystery box off of eBay after watching an unboxing on YouTube but at the last minute talked myself into going to the used bookstore instead and picked up a stack of books.  I got a mix of cozies and classic and am really looking forward to getting these read!

Superfluous Women by Carola Dunn
The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn
Blown Away by Clover Tate
Ill-Gotten Panes by Jennifer McAndrews
Killing Cassidy by Jeanne M. Dams
The Victim in Victoria Station by Deanne M. Dams
Hangman's Holiday by Dorothy L. Sayers
Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy L. Sayers
The Great Mistake by Mary Roberts Rinehart
A Day for Dying by Dorothy Simpson
Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle by Dorothy Gilman


Death in Castle Dark by Veronica Bond and The Sea King's Daughter by Barbara Michaels

Listening:  Deadly Harvest by Heather Graham

This is Will during chemo this week.  The chemo curls have come in with a vengeance!  He's always has a pretty solid wave in his hair but his hair texture was always pretty coarse which I guess kept it under control a bit.  However, the regrowth is super baby fine so the wave has turned to ringlets.  Apparently, this isn't super uncommon.  He probably has another inch or so of chemo growth and then the nurses predict his real texture will reappear so he might look crazy while we're trying to get that under control!  He's had really low energy and we are still working on his appetite but hopefully we will get some time in the pool in before he goes back to clinic later this week.  For the most part I think we are just all tired.

Thank you so much for all the good energy and prayers for Carson.  Unfortunately, the family received the worst news possible this week.  They have fought for 4 long years and there's really nothing left to do.  St Jude is out of options and when it comes to childhood cancer there's really no better place and no place with higher levels of research.  They're still fighting and praying for a miracle.  Childhood cancer research receives only a very small percentage of cancer treatment research funds and that can be so frustrating.  If it wasn't for Danny Thomas and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital there would be almost no hope for any of these kids but even with all the progress that has been made the prognosis is far too often so grim.  

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and happy reading!

A Pocket Full of Rye - Classic Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Purchased

Description:  A handful of grain is found in the pocket of a murdered businessman!

Let us explain: Rex Fortescue, king of a financial empire, was sipping tea in his 'counting house' office when he suffered an agonising and sudden death. On later inspection, the pockets of the deceased were found to contain rye grain. What is that all about? It was another incident, this time in the parlour at his home, which confirmed Jane Marple's suspicion that here she was looking at a case of crime by rhyme!

Genre: Mystery - Classic

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

My Impression:  The one lesson from this book is that I never ever want Miss Marple mad at me.  She has been called an unlikely avenging fury a couple of times (one of which occurs in this book) and here I have no doubt - especially at the end.  

The first body drops pretty early in the book though the investigation doesn't really take off until Miss Marple gets there which is about halfway through.  That's not to say the book is slow prior to that.  There's a lot going on and the primary investigator - Inspector Neel is no fool and I enjoyed seeing his observations as well as getting to know the Fortescue family.  As Inspector Neel observes "they are not pleasant people".  

The mystery is an interesting one and one where not everything is as it seems.  Miss Marple is in fine form from her first appearance to the very end.  This is a strong entertaining mystery and a good one for new Christie fans as well as for long time fans.    

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I've already got my next Miss Marple book ready to go!

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  I think most mystery readers would really enjoy this one.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Friday Fives - Five Series I'm Thinking Of Catching Up On Next

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.  We are a little more then halfway through the year and this is the year I decided to focus on series.  It's actually going better then expected and I am more then halfway to my goal and catching up fast.  I've got several series that are just a book or two away from completion and here are series I'm planning on rolling in.

1. Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie - I probably started reading this series 25 years ago and for that reason alone I should stay caught up on it!  I'd really like to go back to the beginning and reread but until then I want to at least read the books I've missed!

2.  Josie Prescott Antiques series by Jane K. Cleland - I really have enjoyed the later books in this series but haven't read many of the early books.  

3.  Sloan Krause series by Ellie Alexander - I'm not really much of a drinker - especially not beer (I do like the occasional cocktail at dinner but that's about it) but this series about Micro-brewer Sloan Krause by one of my very favorite cozy mystery authors is on my must try list.

4.  Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen - I have read the first few books and the last few books in this quirky series set in the 1930s but somehow I missed the middle few!  I own them but somehow I just haven't read them.

5.  Family History Mysteries by Brynn Bonner - I somehow ended up with the 4th book in the series and let it sit on my shelf for years.  When I finally picked it up I ended up enjoying the book so much that I immediately ordered the previous 3 books and I can't wait to read them!

What series do you have on your TBR?

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Books from the Backlog - The Rescue Artist

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 Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick

Blurb: The little-known world of art theft is compellingly portrayed in Dolnick's account of the 1994 theft and recovery of Edvard Munch's iconic painting The Scream.
In the predawn gloom of a February day in 1994, two thieves entered the National Gallery in Oslo. They snatched one of the world's most famous paintings, Edvard Munch's The Scream, and fled with their $72 million trophy. The thieves made sure the world was watching: the Winter Olympics, in Lillehammer, began that same morning. Baffled and humiliated, the Norwegian police called on the world's greatest art detective, a half-English, half-American undercover cop named Charley Hill.

In this rollicking narrative, Edward Dolnick takes us inside the art underworld. The trail leads high and low, and the cast ranges from titled aristocrats to thick-necked thugs. Lord Bath, resplendent in ponytail and velvet jacket, presides over a 9,000-acre estate. David Duddin, a 300-pound fence who once tried to sell a stolen Rembrandt, spins exuberant tales of his misdeeds. We meet Munch, too, a haunted misfit who spends his evenings drinking in the Black Piglet Café and his nights feverishly trying to capture in paint the visions in his head. The most compelling character of all is Charley Hill, an ex-soldier, a would-be priest, and a complicated mix of brilliance, foolhardiness, and charm. The hunt for The Scream will either cap his career and rescue one of the world's best-known paintings or end in a fiasco that will dog him forever.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  A few years I watched a ton of documentaries about art theft and became fascinated by the subject and this is one of the books I bought in the middle of that.  I need to read this one to see if I enjoy reading about art theft as much as I enjoy watching about it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Stepdaughter - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Stepdaughter by Georgina Cross

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Gift

Description:  It’s a normal afternoon when I walk out the patio doors of our kitchen to check on Mia, my stepdaughter, who is swimming in our backyard pool. But she’s gone. My heart stops when I see the back gate is open, her pink, fluffy towel lying folded on a chair. I was just feet away. Why didn’t I hear her scream? Who took our little girl?

My husband can’t understand how I could I have let his daughter disappear. And when the police come asking questions, I wish I could wind back time to that normal afternoon when I was cooking lasagna for my family, Mia’s favorite. I can tell the officers don’t believe me: they’ve cast me as the evil stepmother.

I just wish I could understand the messages I’ve found from my husband on Mia’s phone: I’m so sorry, I still love you. And why his wedding ring is found at the bottom of the pool after Mia disappeared. He never told me it was missing. What else is he hiding?

But the detective keeps asking me where I was during those ten minutes when Mia vanished. And I can’t tell her my secret. From the way she’s looking at me, I know she thinks I did something to my stepdaughter. Mia and I haven’t always been that close and sometimes she drives me nuts, just like any normal teenager, but I would never hurt her.

I just need you to believe me.

Genre: Mystery - Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:  This is a local author which had me curious and I thought a more thriller-y read would be a nice break from all the cozies I've been reading.  

My Impression:  To be honest I almost didn't read this one.  It breaks my number one reading rule which I have been very strict about lately - no children in peril.  However, because it was a gift from my mother and I was afraid she would ask me about it I forced myself to give it a try.  And I'm so glad I did!  I was hooked from the first page to the last and couldn't wait to find out what happened next!

The author does a good job of balancing pacing with a detachment from the characters so that I was pulled in but not super connected to the characters.  It definitely is more plot driven then character driven and while the story is told in first person with several different POVs it feels more of a fly on the wall narration.  I really wanted to know what happened and kept sneaking off to read "just one more chapter" but wouldn't have been emotionally crushed no matter what the outcome which made for a fantastic reading experience.  

I really enjoyed this read and am excited to find a new author outside of cozy mystery land!  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'll definitely be looking for more from this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like plot driven suspense novels then I think you' d really enjoy this one!  

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Book I'd Want With Me On a Deserted Island

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is Books I'd Want With Me On a Deserted Island and since "all of them" isn't an acceptable answer I made a list of 10 that I'd want to have with me.  

1.  The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley - I feel I need a few books with pretty hefty page counts - especially if I'm going to be on the island for more then a few days.  I love this series and this is the next one in the series. 

2.  The House of Many Shadows by Barbara Michaels - Since there was not a time limit put on how long I'm going to be on this island I had to put some rereads in this list.  This is probably my favorite Barbara Michaels and is one I can always reread.

3.  The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - This is another favorite author and another book that's got a pretty solid page count.  Plus, Morton's books always pull me in so this seems like a perfect choice.

4.  Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie - Another reread.  I'm not sure if I'd say this is my favorite Christie (though it's definitely up there) but it's definitely one I enjoy rereading.

5.  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - This is kind of the ultimate chunkster of a book.  I've seen a film adaptation of this story that I really enjoyed and I've been wanting to read the book for some time.  In regular life there's always other books that get in the way but a deserted island seems like the perfect time for this.

6.  The Glass Kitchen by Linda Frances Lee - This one has been on my TBR for years but I've never had time to read it so I thought I'd throw in on the pile.

7.  The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins - I adored The Woman in White and have been wanting to read this one since I read that but haven't found time.

8.  The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery - Another reread!  This is one of my favorite Montgomery's and definitely one I'd want to reread.  

9.  The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor -This is an author whose books I always and enjoy and this is one I haven't read but have been wanting to since it came out.

10. A Whisker of Trouble by Sofie Ryan - And of course I can't go to a deserted island without at least one cozy!  This is the next one in a series I'm working on catching up on.  

So here's my pile for the deserted island.  A few rereads, some new books by authors I always enjoy and a few risks.  What books would you take?  

Monday, July 26, 2021

A Place Like Home - Short Story Collection Review

Goodreads:   A Place Like Home: Short Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher

Rating:  Really Liked It
Source:  Publisher

Description:  A Place Like Home is a spellbinding collection of short stories by internationally bestselling author Rosamunde Pilcher, never before published in book form. The collection contains fifteen stories, which range from The Holiday, in which a wife surprises her husband of twenty-five years with a holiday full of Mediterranean sunshine, red rocks and blue seas in an effort to rekindle the romance they had before children; The Eye of Love, which takes the reader to a village by the sea where old flames meet again; and A Place Like Home, where a lonely young woman goes to recuperate in the Scottish countryside after a brief illness. The fruit orchards and fresh sea air offer much needed respite--but not as much as the handsome, mysterious farmer she meets.

Each unforgettable story is the perfect slice of romance written with warmth and passion featuring wonderfully memorable, smart, and feisty female characters that will transport the reader to another time and place.

Genre: Fiction - Short Story

Why I Picked This Book:  Rosamunde Pilcher is one of my all time favorite authors so there was no way I couldn't pick up this newest collection.  

My Impression:  I'm not sure I can really write a fair review on this book.  I love Rosamunde Pilcher.  I read The Shell Seekers so many times that I had two paperbacks literally fall apart in my hands.  I adore her previous two short story collections and read them when I need serious comfort.  

These short stories were dated, trite and predictable.  Most of her heroines are too thin with lots of straight hair, good bone structure and can look either beautiful or very plain depending on various factors.  However, Pilcher's writing is magic.  Her settings come alive and instantly pull me into the book.  I love her characters and somehow she gives a different face to all the straight haired plain/dazzling girls she writes.  It's essentially the book equivalent of a hot cup of tea, a warm blanket, and piece of very good shortbread on a very rainy day.  

I think Flowers in the Rain or The Blue Bedroom are both stronger short story collections but to have this book be published several years after Pilcher's death is such a special gift and this is a book I will revisit.    

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  Pilcher is on my regular reread list.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Honestly, if you aren't a Pilcher fan or have never read her this probably isn't the book I'd recommend starting with.  However, if like me, you are a longtime fan then of course you need to pick this up!

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

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - July 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.

What I Got:

Nothing!  Though I do have some Audible credits to burn if anyone has any recommendations for must have audio books.  


Reading:  Murder Always Barks Twice by Jennifer Hawkins and Wicked Uncle by Patricia Wentworth

Listening:  Broken by Jenny Lawson

We went swimming!  It finally stopped raining and storming long enough for us to get some swimming in Saturday and it was such fun.  The chemo Will got this past week can cause a lot of muscle pain and tightness - especially in the back and legs - and his physical therapist has really been recommending swimming.  Plus, it's just fun.  We do have to be careful as some of his medicines make him more sensitive to sun and as you can see we're pretty pale in general.  I was an idiot and used the leftover sunscreen from getting him covered on my shoulders and then forgot to put anymore on.  So basically I gave myself a farmer's tan.  My shoulders are fine but my arms and face are burnt.  I've definitely had worse in my life but one would think I'd learn at some point!  

I can't even begin to describe how much the prayers and good vibes and all the positive energy people have sent our way since Will was diagnosed last summer.  I don't normally ask this kind of thing but if you could send out a prayer or energy or anything to a boy named Carson who is about Will's age and is currently at St. Jude in Memphis waiting for test results. This kid and his family are absolutely wonderful and they have been fighting this fight for 4 years.  After finally having 6 months of really great test results they are waiting on news that could be a slight setback or catastrophic or if a miracle occurs absolutely nothing.  Childhood cancer is not fair with what it takes away from all of these kids but this situation seems especially cruel.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Latter End - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Latter End (Miss Silver #11) by Patricia Wentworth

Rating:  Loved It!

Source:  Purchased

Description:  Things had never been quite the same at Latter End since Lois had taken over. Suddenly life seemed to be an endless succession of bitter family rows - which Lois invariably won. When she is murdered, it is up to Miss Silver to discover her killer.

Genre:  Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm reading the Miss Silver books in order this year and this was the next one on the list.

My Impression:  This was a delightful surprise because within a few pages I realized I hadn't read this before!  Wentworth wrote a number of unlikable relatives being murdered during house party books and I had gotten this confused with another book.  As well, Lois Latter may just be the most unlikable unlikable relative Wentworth has ever written as well as being one of the most villainy villains I've yet to come across.  It's not amazing that she ends up being murdered.  What is amazing is that she lasted as long as she did without someone being pushed past the breaking point and taking her out.  

When the story begins the majority of the characters are under a great deal of strain and is very obvious that something is going to have to give and soon.  A lot of the action takes place off screen and the reader learns of it as Julia Vane is reporting to Antony Latter who fled the tense house and went back to London.   Miss Silver is front and center in the investigation which I am pleased about but she doesn't really become one of the household which is her usual habit.  She is there in a professional capacity and that is very very clear.  I enjoyed seeing her in a role that is a bit more straightforward then her usual knitting and conversation interrogations.  As well, I will never not love Chief Inspector Lamb's reaction to her and his subordinate Frank Abbot's (whose rank I can never remember) obvious glee and fondness for Miss Silver.

This was a delightful read that's a little different from the usual Miss Silver book.  While this is the 11th book in the series it can be read in any order.  There is occasionally a character from a past book mentioned but it's in the most background kind of way.   Really it's normally just Miss Silver knitting something for their offspring or an offhand mention of the character giving another character a glowing recommendation for Miss Silver.  
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Miss Silver is one of my absolute favorite fictional detectives and I've got quite a few left to read!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy Miss Marple you really must read Miss Silver though I do not recommend the first book.  

Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday Fives - Five Authors I Have Been Neglecting

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.  I've been in a serious cozy mystery binge the last few years which means I've been neglecting some of my favorite authors from other genres.  Here are 5 I'm hoping to pick up books from soon.

1. Hazel Gaynor - I have loved every book I've read by this author but she has so many that I haven't picked up yet.

2.  Beatriz Williams - There was a year or two were I was flying through her books but it's been at least 2 years since I've picked up anything by her.

3.  Sarah Addison Allen - This author was my go-to summer read for awhile and I always enjoy her books.  

4.  Jenny Colgan - I actually have read a Jenny Colgan in the last year but I have at least 4 more by her on my shelf that I need to read.

5.  Lisa Jewell - This is more on the suspense side and I love Lisa Jewell's books in audio.  This looks like a good one to pick up this summer.

Do you have any authors you love that you've been neglecting?

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Books from the Backlog - First Frost

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:  First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Blurb:  It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.
Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections — rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds — are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.

Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby — a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.

Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to.. if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?

When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I read Garden Spells several years ago and absolutely adored it and really meant to read this right after.  Sarah Addison Allen's books always seem like such summertime books to me so this is the perfect time. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Fatal Family Ties - Cozy Mystery Review


Goodreads:  Fatal Family Ties (Ancestry Detective #3) by S.C. Perkins

Rating:  Really Liked It!
Source:  Publisher

Description: Lucy is just about to tuck into a plate of tacos at her favorite Austin joint, Big Flaco's, when she gets an unexpected visit from her former--and least-favorite--co-worker. Camilla Braithwaite hasn't gotten much friendlier since the last time Lucy saw her, but that doesn't stop her from asking a favor. In her hand is a newspaper feature on an ancestor, a civil war corporal--and a liar, according to the article. Charles Braithwaite is depicted as a phony and a deserter, and Camilla wants Lucy's help clearing his name.

Lucy would prefer to spend her free time with her new beau, special agent Ben Turner, but takes the case, making no promises that Camilla will like the outcome of her investigation. Camilla leads Lucy to the Texas History Museum, where their first clue is a triptych painting, passed down in the Braithwaite family for generations, one panel of which has disappeared. But before Lucy can get much further, a member of the Braithwaite family is murdered in his own bed, and another panel of the painting found missing.

There are no shortage of suspects among the Braithwaite clan--including Camilla herself. This case will take Lucy to Houston and back again as she works to find the truth, and catch an elusive killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  

My Impression:  I've loved the idea of this series since it started.  Professional genealogist is on my top ten list of dream jobs and I love books involving family history.  However, while I enjoyed the last two books I felt they were missing just a little something I couldn't put my finger on.   This one was the one I had been wanting.  The mystery is solid, the characters are likable and developed, and the ending was nicely fleshed out and explained.  There was a bit of research, a bit of adventure, and even a touch of romance all with the occasional description of some mouthwatering Mexican food.  

When Camilla, one of the mean girls from the library where Lucy had worked in the past, shows up begging Lucy to clear her ancestor's name Lucy has to wonder just what the big deal is.  Charles Braithwaite has been dead for 100 years and why does cool collected Camilla care that he's now being branded a deserter from a war that he fought on the wrong side of in the first place.  Lucy is always willing to give people a second chance agrees to help Camilla and I thoroughly enjoyed the chase as what was a simple "prove this guy didn't desert" turns into a case of murder and art theft.  I really liked the art restorer Helen Kim and hope we see more from her in future books.  As well the mystery did keep me guessing and I loved how the wrap up was handled - especially the genealogy aspect.  

This is a great mix of history and mystery with likable characters and a good pace.  While it is the 3rd book I think you could easily jump in here though the previous two are good reads.  

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

Would I Recommend this Book? If you like a solid mystery with a lot of history I think you'd enjoy this one. 

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Ten Creepy Reads on My TBR


Something about summer always makes me crazy books on the creepy side for me.  Maybe the humidity makes the air seem claustrophobic?  Or maybe I need something fast paced to distract me from the humidity?  Whatever the reason I feel like the humidity is somehow to blame.  Now my version of creepy is pretty low key.  I don't read horror and don't like gore and I'm already pretty paranoid but these are 10 books I think will keep me reading and maybe have me double checking the locks!

1.  The Stalking by Heather Graham - When I think creepy I almost always go to Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunters series.  There's always something paranormal and some murders and a touch of romance - a usually a fantastic setting.

2.  Be Afraid by Mary Burton - I've had this book on my TBR for ages and it looks like a nice suspenseful read.

3.  Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Staub - I've read a few books by this author that were a bit more on the cozy side but I don't think I've read any of her more suspenseful topics.  

4.  Die in Plain Sight by Elizabeth Lowell - I found this one on my shelves when I was reorganizing things.  No idea how long it's been there but it looks like a good read!

5.  Omens by Kelley Armstrong - This author has been on my TBR for years and this looks like a good read!


6.  Close Your Eyes by Iris Johansen - I read a later book in this suspenseful series a few years ago and really enjoyed it so I want to go back to the beginning and find out the backstory.

7.  Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose -  When it comes to creepy I do prefer ghosts but serial killers will do in a pinch and this one involves the one who got away teamed up with an investigator and being pursued by the killer.

8. The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz - Krentz is another one of my go-to authors when I want a bit of fast paced suspense that isn't too scary for my wimpy self!

9.  An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena - I've heard great things about this author and this one especially appeals to me.

10. The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni - This one sounds a bit Gothic-y with an American who unexpectedly inherits a castle, title, and fortune in Italy.  There's darkness lurking in the corners though!

What level of creepy do you enjoy?  What are some of your favorite creepy books?

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Year of the Series - A Dangerous Collaboration + Irish Stewed


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 Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell Mystery #4) by Deanna Raybourn

My Thoughts:  When an unresolved tension about their relationship develops between Veronica and Stoker, Veronica jumps at an offer from Stoker's brother, Tiberius, to collect a rare butterfly specimen at the home of Lord Malcom Romilly, an old school friend in Cornwall.  The catch is that Veronica must pose as Tiberius's fiancĂ© AND three years ago Malcom's bride disappeared on the day of their wedding never to be seen again.  What follows is an intriguing mystery as Veronica, Stoker, and Tiberius must separate myth from truth as they interview the residents of the island and the castle.  A small island in Cornwall complete with a castle riddled with secret passages and priest holes is the perfect atmosphere and kept me riveted.  I really enjoyed getting to know Tiberius more and seeing behind the mask.  As well, the evolution of the relationship between Veronica and Stoker was interesting but didn't take over the book which I enjoyed.  I really think this may be my favorite entry into this really solid and entertaining series!  My Rating: Really Liked It

Goodreads:  Irish Stewed (An Ethnic Eats Mystery #1) by Kylie Logan

My Thoughts:  When Laurel Inwood loses her posh job as the personal chef of a Hollywood star she comes to Hubbard, Ohio to run her Aunt Sophie's restaurant while Sophie is having knee surgery.  But instead of the fine dining restaurant her aunt had been describing for years she finds a greasy spoon dive cafe and a dead body in the dining room.  I really didn't think I was going to like this one.  Laurel is a snob and I was not her biggest fan for quite sometime. Throughout the book I began to understand her and sympathize with her.  As well I enjoyed getting to know Declan and his family and seeing Sophie's Terminal at the Tracks find new life.  The mystery was quite good and I enjoyed Laurel's investigation.  She's a total outsider which gives her a bit of a unique perspective and she has no problem diving head first into investigating.  The reveal was fantastic and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.  My Rating: Really Liked It

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - July 18

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

What I Got:

Taken at Birth: Stolen Babies, Hidden Lies, and My Journey to Finding Home by Jane Blasio - I got fascinated by the Hicks baby case when the TLC series came out a couple of years ago and then it turned out my dad's wife discovered that's she related to two of the Hicks babies after DNA tests.  One she knows who the parent is but the other is a total mystery.  This is a crazy story and I'm really curious about what the book shares.  (Purchased)

I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of The Reading Life by Anne Bogel - This is a tiny little book so I'm looking forward to reading through it.  I've haven't had the best luck with books about books but I have high hopes about this one! (Library)


  A Place Like Home by Rosamunde Pilcher and Pirate King by Laurie R King

Listening:  The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley - I'm hoping this one gets better because so far it's my least favorite.

This child is impossible to take a picture of!  This is the only one I got where he isn't making a crazy face and I'm still not entirely sure what he's doing.  It's been an okay week.  Will's counts were pretty low so we've mostly stayed home except for one off hours visit to his favorite restaurant.  His appetite has been so low that I couldn't help but give in when he wanted Red Robin.  We went for a super early dinner, masked up and bathed just about everything in hand sanitizer.  And he ate enough that it was definitely worth it!  His energy levels haven't been great but he's been feeling okay and has definitely had moments of regular silliness.  Next week will be another spinal tap and steroids which are never fun but he's starting in a pretty good place so I'm hoping it won't be too bad.  He is going to start doing an in-person class every other week one day a week.  It's a homeschool group so it's only a few kids with lots of cleaning.  It'll be nice to have a little bit of normalcy for him and I just hope he's feeling well enough to participate fully. 

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax - Classic Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax (Mrs. Pollifax #4) by Dorothy Gilman

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Purchased

Description:  A secret agent like no other, Mrs. Pollifax was leading a very full life: Garden Club, karate, yoga--and a little spying now and then. This time the mysterious Mr. Carstairs sent her to Switzerland--to a famous health resort where the world's intelligence agents had gathered. Her mission: to track down a missing package of plutonium--just enough to make a small atomic bomb. It was a job that suited Mrs. Pollifax's talents. She's good with people and even better at sniffing out their secrets. But it was not until she became enchanted with Robin, the young jewel thief, that her new adventure really began....

Genre: Mystery (kind of?) - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm reading all the Mrs. Pollifax books in order and this was next on my list!

My Impression:  Just like with every Mrs. Pollifax book you need to let go of believability and just go along with the adventure.  And with Mrs. Pollifax there is always an adventure as well as some great side characters that she always manages to pick up along the way.  My absolute favorite thing in every book is when the side characters start realizing that Mrs. Pollifax is not quite what she seems.

This was an amazingly fast read and a bit different from the usual as Mrs. Pollifax is more stationary then usual and having to figure out who around her is up to no good.  And along the way she manages to pick up a scared little boy, a jaded jewel thief, and a super cautious young woman.  I do wish I could have seen more Mr. Carstairs because I love his resigned admiration of Mrs. Pollifax but that's just me being greedy.  

This was a fun fast read with danger and intrigue and a few laughs.  Mrs. Pollifax and Dorothy Gilman never disappoint!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  The more time with Mrs. Pollifax the better!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you love fun adventures then Mrs. Pollifax is a must read.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Friday Fives - Five Cookbooks I Want to Explore

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.  Cooking has been one of my favorite things for years but for the last half of 2019 and most of 2020 I pretty much got out of the habit.  Between living out of a hotel and then an unexpected move and having a kitchen with limited supplies I just didn't do much.  Will has always been a picky eater and throw in chemo taste buds and food has been a challenge.  He's still not eating a wide selection but things have leveled out a bit and I'm wanting to get back into cooking.  Here are 5 cookbooks I'm planning on picking up at the library for inspiration.

1.  At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking by Nigella Lawson - I love Nigella's attitude towards food and it's been ages since I've picked up one of her cookbooks.

2.  Dinner Made Easy With Six Sisters' Stuff: Time Saving Recipes for Busy Moms - This is one of my favorite food blogs so I have high hopes for finding some new favorite meals.  Plus easy and quick meals sound perfect for most days!

3.  United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State by Warren Brown - This one just sounds fun and I love to bake so it'll be entertaining to look through and see which cake represents each state.

4.  Dinner Illustrated: 175 Meals in 1 Hour or Less from The Editors of America's Test Kitchen - American's Test Kitchen is pretty reliable and I like the one hour or less so I'm hoping to find some good weekday options.

5.  It's Not Complicated: Simple Recipes for Every Day by Katie Lee - I tried a lot of Katie Lee's recipes years ago and always liked them and would love to check out her newest cookbook.

What are some of your favorite cookbooks or food blogs?  Have you discovered any new ones lately?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Books from the Backlog - I'd Rather Be Reading

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:  I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel

Blurb:  For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.

I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone's life, I'd Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This one isn't actually on my shelf but it's been on my Library TBR list since it came out.  As well, I've wanted to read something by this author since her first book came out which was several years ago.  This looks like a nice quick read and it's ridiculous that I haven't gotten to it yet!