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.  

Currently:


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)

Currently:


Reading:
  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!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Spirit Seeks Asylum - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Spirit Seeks Asylum (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery #6) by Lena Gregory

Rating: Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  Cass Donovan is confronted by ghoulish crimes both old and new when a defunct asylum is the site of a fresh murder and a long-hidden injustice . . .

The old abandoned buildings of the Twin Forks Lunatic Asylum have always fascinated and frightened clairvoyant Cass Donovan, but she never dreamed her psychic abilities would be put to the test there. Then the new owner of the site tells her he plans to renovate it and turn it into a boarding school, and he’ll pay Cass handsomely to determine whether the place is haunted! Cass accepts his offer, but her search for hints of old ghosts soon has her looking for clues among the living when the man who hired her turns up dead.

Returning to the shuttered asylum looking for evidence of who may have wanted her client out of the way, Cass stumbles upon signs of yet another murder, even as she’s besieged by an onslaught of haunting voices from the past. When it comes to light that rival real estate developers have been hatching plans of their own for the property, Cass sees no shortage of motives for the murders, but she’ll have to find a way to quiet the disturbing voices from long ago and focus on the here and now, because whoever’s behind the killings has targeted Cass as their next victim . . .

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book: I've read a few books in the series and really enjoy it so I couldn't resist this newest book.

My Impression:  I thought the idea of going out to an old asylum to prove it isn't haunted was a fun twist on a ghost hunter and this proved to be a seriously fun read.  I really like the characters here and Lena Gregory's writing style always pulls me in.  Every time I pick up one of her books I always wonder why I haven't read more from her.

I love the friendship between the characters and Cass's struggles with her psychic abilities.  I also love Beast, the giant friendly clumsy dog who has never met a disaster he couldn't land in the middle of.  The mystery here is solid and entertaining and kept me guessing.  

This is the 6th book in the series and I think you can jump in on this book with no problem though starting from earlier books will help you feel more invested in the characters.  This is a fun cozy with a solid mystery and a fantastic animal side kick.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  As I haven't read the first few books I'm planning on rolling this into my Year of the Series project and I would like to try her other series.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like a good cozy - especially one with a bit of a paranormal twist I think you would enjoy this series and this book. 

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

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Titles of Classic Mysteries On My TBR That Are Questions


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 titles that are questions.  I'm focusing on classic mysteries that are on my TBR with titles that are questions.


1. Anna, Where Are You? by Patricia Wentworth -  I love Patricia Wentworth - especially her Miss Silver books - and this is one I haven't read!

2.  N or M? by Agatha Christie - So I have read this one but I'm always rereading Agatha Christie so this one will be coming up on my reading at some point!

3.  Who Pays the Piper? by Patricia Wentworth - Pretty much the same as above though I've only read this one and I remember nothing about it.

4.  Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart - This is a bit more Gothic-y then a mystery but I'm still counting it.  Mary Stewart is an author I want to read more from.

5.  Who Is Simon Warwick? by Patricia Moyes - Another author that I want to read more from.  Years ago I found a few of her books in a used bookstore and loved them but I haven't gotten any of her books since then.  


6.  Why Didn't They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie - Another Christie and one that I have read but this is one I always enjoy.

7.  Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers - I've been wanting to read all the Lord Peter Wimsey books in order.  I have read this one but it was several years ago and I need to reread it.

8.  Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird - Another reread but pretty much the same reasoning as above.

9. Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer - I read a few of Heyer's romances years ago but never read any of her mysteries.  

10.  Ask Me No Questions by Charlotte MacLeod - So this title isn't a question but it has the word question in the title so I'm calling it a win!  I found a bunch of books from this author at a used bookstore earlier this year and I remember really enjoying the books by her I read years ago.

Do you have any books on your TBR with titles that are questions?

Monday, July 12, 2021

A Fatal Footnote - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Fatal Footnote (The Open Book Mysteries #2) by Margaret Loudon

Rating: Liked It
Source: Publisher

Description:  Writer-in-residence Penelope Parish will need to use every trick in her quaint British bookshop to unravel a murderous plot that threatens to ruin a ducal wedding.

The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Upper Chumley-on Stoke has all the makings of a fairy tale, complete with a glowing bride and horse-drawn carriage. But it wouldn't be much of a story without a villain, and as American Gothic novelist Penelope Parish is coming to learn, happy-ever-afters are as fraught in this charming British town as they are in her books.

When the Duke's former girlfriend is found murdered at the reception it's up to Penelope and her newfound family at the Open Book bookshop to catch the killer before they strike again.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I liked the first book in the series okay and wanted to give this a try.  

My Impression:  So I liked this mystery.  I love the premise and I like the main characters.  It didn't feel like it dragged and was an easy read.  I liked the tidbits about Penelope's writing process and the introduction of her sister.

 Unfortunately, I also just never felt invested in the mystery or the characters.  It seemed like there was may more telling then showing and that kept me from feeling connected with either the characters or the general plot.  It was more like hearing about the investigation 2nd hand vs following along with the main character as she investigated.  

This series lands in okay territory for me.  If I saw the next one on audio I'd probably give it a try but after 2 books I don't feel invested enough in the characters to want to continue with this series.


Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Probably.  I don't think this series is for me but I'd give the author try.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you love a British bookish setting then you may enjoy this series.

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

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - July 11


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:


A Spirit Seeks Asylum by Lena Gregory - I've enjoyed this series for several years so I had to pick this one up - plus there is no way I could resist the dog on the cover! (Publisher)

Currently:


Reading:  Fatal Family Ties by S.C. Perkins and An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly

Listening: Buy a Whisker by Sofie Ryan


I was so excited when I got on Instagram the other day and saw Will was in the stories for the Therapy dogs!  This picture is a few months old but our favorite therapy dog Orbit is still as sweet and low key as ever.  Will's has been feeling pretty good this week though we are still dealing with low energy and low appetite.  Getting kids to eat consistently over two + years of chemo is tough going for everyone involved!  Jason took the week off work and took him to his clinic appointment.  With Covid protocols only one parent is allowed with a patient so he hasn't seen the affiliate facility ever.  It's very different from the big sprawling Memphis St. Jude campus so he had been having trouble visualizing it.   

Other then that it's been a pretty quiet week. Though my neighbor did bring us some tomatoes and for the first time in 2 years I made myself a tomato sandwich.  I didn't want to mess with bacon so I lightly toasted the bread, put a thin layer of mayo on both sides and loaded it up with tomatoes.  Then a sprinkle of kosher salt and a pretty hefty drizzle of balsamic glaze and I was in absolute heaven.  It was so good I made myself another right away!  I forgot how much I love tomato sandwiches and it reminds me of my grandfather because tomato sandwiches were his absolute favorite.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

  

Saturday, July 10, 2021

House of Many Shadows - Keeper Shelf Review

Goodreads:  House of Many Shadows by Barbara Michaels

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Purchased 

Description:  Meg Rittenhouse fears she is losing her mind. The doctors tell her the strange and disturbing hallucinations she's been experiencing ever since her accident are all in her head, and that, with a little rest, the haunting visions will vanish. But accepting an invitation to stay with her cousin in the country may be the worst decision Meg has ever made. Here, in a remote old house miles from anywhere, the terrible sights and sounds have gotten even worse. Suddenly eerie black shapes dance in the shadows—mocking Meg, haunting her . . . threatening her. And the presence of kind, considerate Andy Brenner, the caretaker, both reassures her and terrifies her—because Andy also sees these dark specters . . .

Genre: Mystery - Gothic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm rereading all the books on my Keeper Shelf to make sure they still deserve their spot and this was next on the list.

My Impression:  So I don't want to get hit by a car, have hallucinations, or have to depend on a distant and very forceful relative and I'm not entirely sure I want to get as involved with a long ago horror as Meg does BUT I desperately want access to an old house with an attic stuffed full of old furniture and treasures.   
This is Barbara Michaels at her Gothic-y best.  The atmosphere is essentially a character and has its own moods.  Meg and Andy are likable though I do want to give them both a shake now and then because their communication needs some work but it's nothing crazy.  The story is a page turner especially compared with the amazing readability that is a Michaels book.  Honestly, if I had a day to myself I could have easily read this book from start to finish and been perfectly happy - in fact I'm quite sure I've done just that in the past!  There's history and antiques, a bit of romance, and a solid ghost story.  If you enjoy a good Gothic-y read this is a perfect one to pick up.  Really the absence of cell phones and other technology is the only thing that gives away the book was published in 1974.  It was a delight to read and one that is firmly back in its place on my keeper shelf.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I love Barbara Michaels and really need to read more of her books published under the Elizabeth Peters name.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would if you like a light Gothic-y read.   

Friday, July 9, 2021

Friday Fives - Five YouTube Channels I'm Loving Right Now

 


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 haven't really had the attention span for TV shows lately but when I'm not feeling like reading or want something on while I'm cooking or something I end up watching a lot of YouTube.  Here are 5 channels I'm really loving.


1.  Intentionally Bookish - Spencer talks about cozy mysteries and romances and is just absolutely adorable.  She's got a lot going on right now so doesn't post as much as I'd like but I never miss one of her videos.

2.  That Chapter - This one is relatively new to me but I've really been enjoying it.  This is a true crime channel and he covers stories from all over the world.  I really like how he edits and how he tells the story.  

3.  The Daily Woo - This is a channel I've been following for awhile but recently have really been enjoying.  I found Adam because of his theme park content but I love his road trip series - especially the most recent one that he took with his dad.  

4.  The Try Channel - This is an old favorite but one I just keep enjoying more and more.   It's essentially a group of Irish people trying different foods and drinks.  The videos frequently have me dying laughing and it's always interesting to see all the different opinions.  

5.  This Gathered Nest - This is another old favorite and one that I've recently really been enjoying.  It's the only family channel I watch because I don't feel like the kids are exploited or made to act in a certain way.  The focus is on the adults with the kids in the background.  Last year they bought a small farm and now have goats, llamas, chickens, horses and a few other assorted animals and watching all that goes into that is really interesting.  

Do you watch YouTube?  What are some of your favorite channels? 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Books from the Backlog - By Book or By Crook


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:  By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates

Blurb:  For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite.
Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.

Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending....

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I've read a couple of the middle books in this series and I think I'm going to add this series in to My Year of the Series project as soon as I get caught upon the next series.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Moonshine Shack Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Homebrew Mystery #1) by Diane Kelly

Rating: Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright--until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new 'shine shop will be a smashing success. What's more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store's doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

The homicide detective can't seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie's longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn't talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I read another book from this author and enjoyed it so thought I'd pick up this start of a new series up.

My Impression:  You can't turn around in any tourist-y area in Tennessee without tripping over a moonshine place (all of which give out free samples) so I thought this was a clever hook for a new cozy series.  I've only done one taste testing but the samples were tasty and I even happen to have a mason jar of a mulled spice moonshine in my refrigerator right this second.  It makes for a fantastic hot apple cider in the winter.  I do find the popularity of moonshine fairly entertaining.  My black sheep Great Aunt's ne'er do well husband was a moonshiner (his nickname was Shine in fact).  My very respectable family was horrified - especially when he was arrested and the story was on the front page on the very same day his daughter's wedding was on the front of the society section.  But that has nothing to do with this book.

Kelly writes in a very conversational tone (which apparently brings out my ramblings) which makes for an entertaining read.  Hattie, her grandfather, and her friend Kiki are fun characters and I liked the development of her relationship with the main detective Ace and Marlon who patrols on horseback around the Moonshine Shack.  A few neighboring business owners were also introduced and I really feel like the series has a lot of positive space for growth.  

The mystery wasn't the most mysterious but while I guessed the who pretty quickly I really enjoyed discovering the why and seeing how the investigation unraveled.  It's a bit on the cutesy side which I enjoy but might not be for everyone.  This is a series that I'm really looking forward to continuing with as I suspect Hattie will have a talent for getting into trouble!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  So far I've read two books by this author and enjoyed both.  I'll definitely be looking for the second book in this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like cozies that are on the fun side with a touch of cutesy I think you'll enjoy this read.

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

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Ten Books on My TBR Set In Summer



One of the things I'm trying to do is to read a little more seasonally.  It's always a little more fun to read a book set around the time of year I'm currently in (unless I'm tired of being cold and then I pick up one set on the beach in July!) so I'm working on keeping a list of books on my TBR that are set around certain holidays and seasons.  So today I'm looking at books that are set in summer and around the 4th of July.  


1.  Plot Boiler by Ali Brandon - Books and cats and a fantastic cozy title.  How can I resist?

2.  Clammed Up by Barbara Ross - A clambake in Maine with lots of family drama and some murder.

3.  Mrs. Morris and the Sorceress by Traci Wilton - I don't know a huge amount about this series but I've seen it around quite a bit and I love the titles!

4.  Independence Slay by Shelley Freydont - This series involves a small town that is always having a festival for something and unfortunately also seems to have a surprisingly high crime rate. 

5.  Gone with the Whisker by Laurie Cass - This series has been on my TBR forever and this one looks really fun!


6.  Dead, White and Blue by Carolyn Hart - Carolyn Hart has been around for ages but I can't remember if I've ever read a book by her and this series looks fun.

7.  Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton - This series involves vintage kitchen stuff which sounds interesting and also like it's going to send me on vintage kitchen stuff searches.  

8.  Live and Let Fly by Clover Tate - This is a cozy mystery involving the owner of a kite store which just screams summer.  

9.  Gone Gull by Donna Andrews - Not only is this one of my favorite series but the title just makes me smile.

10. Bushel Full of Murder by Paige Shelton - This series is set around a farmer's market and this one is set right in the middle of summer.

Do you like reading seasonally?  What books are on your summer list?