Thursday, September 30, 2021

Books from the Backlog - The Villa

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!

The Blurb:  Sophia is the pride of the Giambelli clan and a vital player in the family's celebrated winery. But things are about to change at Villa Giambelli.

Family matriarch Tereza has announced a surprise merger with the MacMillan family's winery. As a savvy businesswoman, Sophia knows she must be ready for anything - but she isn't prepared for Tyler MacMillan. They've been ordered to work closely together to ensure the merger goes through smoothly. But as they toil together, both in and out of the fields, Sophia finds herself increasingly torn between professional rivalry and a powerful attraction.

And when the business and the family are threatened by disturbing acts of sabotage, Sophia realises her quest isn't just for dominance, but survival...

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I read this right after it came out and remember liking it and that about sums it up.  When I saw it at a used bookstore I picked it up but need to reread it to see if it deserves to stay on the shelf. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books on my TBR That Give Off Fall Vibes


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 a freebie so I'm looking at books on my TBR that give off fall vibes.

1.  A Dream of Death by Connie Berry - I really love this series but somehow never read the first book.  This not only takes place in autumn but autumn in Scotland!

2.  A Gala Event by Sheila Connolly - Apple picking just screams fall.

3. Death at Dovecote Hatch by Dorothy Cannell - This is set in November of 1932 so it's a later fall book.  

4.  Fixing to Die by Miranda James - I love the Cat in the Stacks books by this author so I want to read more in this series about a pair of elderly sisters.  This one takes place during the fall in Natchez, Mississippi.  I'm really looking forward to a book about fall set in the climate that I live in - because we don't really have one so I'm curious to see how the author makes it fall-ish.

5.  Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs - A ghost crawl in Charleston is the most fall-y Hallween-y thing ever so I'm very much on board for this book!

6.  In the Company of Witches by Auralee Wallace - I love the cat and the creepy old house in the background with the lightening.  

7.  Death on Tap by Ellie Alexander - This book is all about craft beer and while I can't remember if there is an Oktoberfest in this book it feels like the one is on the verge.

8.  One Foot in the Grape by Carlene O'Neil - A winery during an Autumn Festival - yes please!

9.  Death by Jack O'Lantern by Alexis Morgan - I read the first book in this series a little while ago and keep meaning to get back to it.  It just so happens that the second book is set during Halloween so that seems perfect!

10. Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron - Bayous and boneyards during Halloween!  

What fall-ish books are on your TBR?

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Year of the Series - The Moon Sister + The Pirate King

 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.

The Moon Sister (The Seven Sisters #5) by Lucinda Riley
- I wasn't sure what to expect going into this one because of all the sisters Tiggy was the one I had the least sense of identity with.  All the other sisters have their distinct personality and role in the family but Tiggy always seemed a bit shadowy and just hard to pin down.  This wasn't my favorite and for the first half I'm not sure if I was really enjoying it though I was caught up in Riley's story telling.  Because it wasn't just in the other books that Tiggy didn't really seem to have much identity it was in this book at first.  It just felt a little overwrought without a character to really connect with even though the setting was a gorgeous (if impoverished) estate in Scotland.  However, when Tiggy finally takes charge of her own destiny and heads to Spain I was well and completely hooked and the book was completely redeemed.  Even the storyline of the past got better.  In the first dives back into the past Lucia had all the personality that Tiggy lacked and leaned the other way into just flat obnoxiousness.  However, as her story went on - I can't say she was redeemed but I felt like I understood her a bit better.  She was who she was for better or worse.  The ending surprised me and while it isn't all nicely wrapped up there is so much hope and happiness I can't help but feel like the future is bright.  This isn't the book I'd start this series with but while I didn't love the first half the last half made up for it.  These books have rather hefty page counts but the audio books are absolutely wonderful so I highly recommend going that route for the whole series and especially this book.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Pirate King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #11) by Laurie R. King -
Mary Russell is the star in this book as she climbs aboard a ship in which a film crew is making a film about a film of the Pirates of Penzance that goes off the rails.  And it doesn't take long before the the film itself goes horribly wrong in a story that tiptoed a bit into the land of farce which is a huge departure from the previous heavily detailed serious books in the series.  While it doesn't have the feel of the previous books it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing Mary in more control of the situation then I feel like I've seen her in previous books.  It's not that she's not been on her own before but in those books her actions were only connected to reconnecting with Holmes whereas here she is definitely in charge.  There are A LOT of characters in this book which got a bit confusing keeping the 13 daughters and 13 pirates and the rest of the cast and crew straight.  Luckily, the majority of them weren't important to the story but it still proved for a few moments that pulled me out of the story as I tried to sort out who was who.  This is an interesting series but not one you could just jump into.  In fact, I feel a bit at a loss with some of the details as it's been close to 20 years since I read the earlier books in the series.  This is a series I'd like to go back and reread from the beginning.  My Rating:  Liked It!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - September 26

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!  I took a break from book shopping for the week!  



:  Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King and Twisted Tea Christmas by Laura Childs

Listening:  Hearse and Gardens by Kathleen Bridge (not sure I'm going to stick with this one - the main character is driving me crazy)

Watching:  Still watching Friends.  I took a little break from it but I'm back to watching it!

This is my Dad's dog who we have started keeping one day a week to get our cat used to dogs (we are talking about getting a puppy)and I thought it'd be fun for Will and me to walk him.  He's such a sweetie and so calm.

Other then that this week was not a good one.  Will's numbers were super low which were unexpected so chemo was held and we've had to really isolate.   His weight has also dropped again so after a few tests he had to have a feeding tube inserted.  It's an NG tube (so through the nose) and he says it isn't too bad and feedings have gone really well.  The placement looked absolutely horrible but he was such a champ through it.  I'm so tired of this for him and I hate it so much.  

I did finally figure something out to help me with the insomnia I've been dealing with for the past year or so.  We started trying weighted blankets with Will to help him sleep when he's on steroids and I gave one of them a try and was out like a light.  I've been using it for the last few days and have been really sleeping well.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Three Books by Rosamunde Pilcher - Part 1


Rosamunde Pilcher is probably best know for her enormous family sagas like The Shell Seekers or Winter Solstice.  But before Penelope Keeling and Lawrence Stern walked the streets of Cornwall she published a number of shorter fiction books and I wanted to try and read as many of those as I can this year.

Sleeping Tiger (1967)
- Selina Bruce spent her whole life with a father who was a mystery.  She was told he was dead but didn't even know his name.  When she sees an author's picture who strongly resembles the single picture she had found of her unknown father she leaves her fiancĂ© and hops on a plane to a tiny island off the Spanish coast. Pilcher's early books have some serious father issues with main characters who are incredibly young and inexperienced.   I like Selina.  She's spent her whole life surrounded by very strong personalities who are constantly telling her what to do and not being a confrontational person she tended to do what she was told but she's got a bit of a spine and it was fun seeing her stand up for herself a little.  Pilcher writes incredibly readable books and this was no different.  I was pulled in from the very beginning and probably could have read it in one sitting.  That said there are some serious dated-ness issues with this one.  There's a serious age difference but more importantly (for me, anyway) there is a serious experience difference.  I did enjoy this one but I'm not sure I'd recommend it - especially not for new Pilcher readers.  

Another View (1968)
- Emma Litton has spent most of her life in boarding school or working in Paris while her father, artist Ben Litton travels the world at a whim.  With Ben back in their cottage in Porthkerris Emma decides it's time to be part of her father's life and leaves Paris to come home for once and for all.  Like many of Pilcher's heroine's Emma has some serious daddy issues and for good reason.  While charming and brilliant Ben's ability to be a consistent paternal figure is less then nil.  This is a sweet, uplifting story and while not a 5 star read it does showcase Pilcher's ability to make the worlds she creates leap off the page.  I liked all the characters even when I wanted to shake them and thoroughly enjoyed reading the story even with its predictability.  

The End of Summer (1971) - This is quite the story!  Jane has been away from her family home, Elvie, in Scotland and living with her father in the US.  She yearns to go back to Elvie and to see her cousin Sinclair who she had the world's biggest crush on since childhood.  Jane is the typical Pilcher heroine.  She tends to flush, can't be bothered with fashion and isn't particularly ambitious.  The main difference though is that Jane does stand up for herself when she really needs to (she doesn't want to but she does which is a solid accomplishment).  As well,  she doesn't ignore signs that might shatter her illusions and as time goes on she is able to see people for who they really are no matter how much insincere charm they pump her way.  And like in most Pilcher books there's a pretty solid insta-love situation and things like a pretty solid age difference don't seem to be an issue.  I read this book in a day and while it isn't flawless I love Pilcher's writing style and really feel like this is her best one yet.  

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday Fives - 5 Hobbies I Really Wish I Did

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  This is a not so much.  I don't really have hobbies.  I enjoy reading and do like to bake and am a great stress shopper but there are so many things I'd like to be able to do that I either can't or haven't taken the time to learn.

1.  Quilting - I love the history of quilting and the idea of collecting pretty fabrics and arranging them in different patterns.  I love reading books where they quilt but so far I have neither the patience or the fine motor skills to actually do it.

2.  Knitting - I love sweaters and what not but mostly I can't quite get my head around how knitting work so it kind of seems like a witchcraft way to make sweaters and socks.

3.  Photography - I would love to be able to take really gorgeous photos but have never taken the time to learn how to really use my camera or how to set up lighting and whatnot.

4.  Running - I love the idea of running and I'd love the calorie burn but I've done enough damage to my lower joints that running doesn't seem to work for me.  I've tried a few times and done various different methods but have never been able to maintain it.  I'm relatively in shape but running is not for me.

5.  Painting - I'm not artistic.  I can see something in my head but I can never make my hands come anywhere close to getting it on the page.  My dad's wife has started painting and gets so much joy from it and it really appeals to me but I'm afraid I'd just end up getting really frustrated.  

What hobbies do you have?  Do you have any you wish you had but either don't or can't do them?

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Books from the Backlog - The Scent of Murder

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 Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

Blurb:  First in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Scent of Murder is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains cadaver dogs. The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

Why This Book Needs to Come Off The Shelf:  I'm trying to get some of my neglected revive books read and I love the premise of this one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

From the Back of the Review Shelf - Two Mini Reviews

I'm trying to get caught up on some of my overdue review books that have been lurking in the backs of my shelves for far too long.  Here are two quick reviews for books I have recently caught up on.

Goodreads:  Tagged For Death (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #1) by Sherry Harris

Premise:  Sarah Winston is getting adjusted to life as a military ex-spouse when she comes across a blood stained shirt while out collecting donations for the base thrift store.  And it's not just any bloodstained shirt but the bloodstained uniform shirt of the woman Sarah's husband cheated on her with.  The woman who just happens to be missing.  

My Thoughts:  There was a lot I liked about this one.  The mystery was interesting and definitely puzzling.  I really liked Sarah and her friends (especially Stella) and her stabs and creating a new life for herself.  Unfortunately, even though I really liked Sarah her focus on investigating and her continued involvement with base-life were kind of cringe-y and a bit odd.  She is having to make major life adjustments so I understand that that would be difficult but I did kind of want to shake her.  There is character progression as the book goes on (and redemption of a few characters) so I think the series will improve but for the first book the cringe factor was a bit too high for full enjoyment.  My Rating:  Liked It

Premise:  Olivia Norley and Thorn aka Marlowe Drake, Duke of Thornstock, have met twice before.  The first was when they were caught in an embrace, the second was when she turned down his proposal of marriage and now he is shocked to discover that his half brother has hired her to help prove his father was poisoned. 

My Thoughts:  Sabrina Jeffries is one of my favorite romance authors and I really liked Olivia and pretty much all of the side characters.  Unfortunately, I really really really disliked Thorn to the point it clouded my enjoyment of the book.  Olivia is intelligent, practical, and comes off as a nice straightforward woman.  Thorn is convinced that the kiss (that he initiated with no encouragement from her) was all part of a blackmail/forced marriage scheme that she and her stepmother cooked up.  Even though Thorn's nearest and dearest point out that since she turned down his marriage proposal that hardly seems very likely he is insistent and becomes dismissive and demeaning of Olivia's accomplishments and intelligence.  I wanted to hit him if you can't tell.  Because Sabrina Jeffries is a fantastic romance writer the book is incredibly readable and I enjoyed any scene that didn't involve Thorn.  While he does redeem himself somewhat by the end I can't help but think that Olivia deserved better.  I will always recommend Sabrina Jeffries if you want to read historical romances but this isn't the book I would recommend.  My Rating:  Just Okay

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Fall TBR

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is the Fall TBR.  I love making these TBR lists every season.  I very rarely read them all during the season but I like thinking about what I'd like to read!

1.  The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde - This has been on my TBR for years and this fall is going to when it gets read!  It's not very long so I should be able to get through it relatively quickly!

2. Wings of the Falcon by Barbara Michaels - I'm rereading all the books on my Keeper Shelf to see if they get to stay and this is the next one!

3.  Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge - This is the start of a new cozy series where the main character is the housekeeper for Agatha Christie.  So excited about this one!

4.  Miss Moriarty, I Presume by Sherry Thomas - I've really enjoyed this series involving Charlotte Holmes and this one sounds really interesting.  

5.  Death on the Shelf by Allison Brook - This is the newest book in the Haunted Library series which is one of my go-to cozy mystery series and I'm really looking forward to this one.

6.  The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley - I'm trying to finish this series by the end of the year and this is the next book.  This is the sister who has had the least page time so I'm really curious about her story.

7.  The Twelve Jays of Christmas by Donna Andrews - This is the latest in another of my go-to cozy series and this is a Christmas one which means it'll be extra fun!

8.  Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King - I'm not expecting to finish this series this year but I am hoping to make more progress on it and this is the next book.

9.  The Catherine Wheel by Patricia Wentworth - I'm trying to read all the Miss Silver books this year (there are a LOT more of them then I thought!) and this is the next one.

10.  The French House by Don Wallace - I haven't had the best luck with some of the memoir-y type books I've picked up in the last year or two.  This is one I've really been looking forward to but am also kind of scared because I ended up DNFing the last book that fell into this category.

What are you hoping to read this fall?

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - September 19

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:

Petals and Poison by Jess Dylan - I read the first book in this series and thought it had a lot of potential so I'm curious to see what I think of this one.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Eternity Ring by Patricia Wentworth and Chapters and Curse by Elizabeth Penney

ListeningTagged for Death by Sherry Harris

Watching:  Still re-watching Friends though my re-watch has slowed a bit.  Still really enjoying it though!

The trip to Memphis went well.  It was good to see all the people we've met at the main campus and all of his test results came out where they should.  We stayed at a hotel that had been the Central Train Station downtown and was super art deco and had all kinds of original details.  We ate at at one of our favorite restaurants and then tried one that we had wanted to try but never managed to get to.  And best of all there was a used bookstore from the hotel that I got to spend some time browsing in.  The selection wasn't spectacular but it was still fun.  Before we left we grabbed breakfast at Arcade Restaurant which was also right across from the hotel and is the oldest continuously running cafe's in Memphis.  Apparently, it was Elvis's favorite restaurant when he lived there.  It was tasty though I was not brave enough to try the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich with bacon (apparently Elvis's favorite dish) and settled on French toast.  

By the time we got back home we were all pretty exhausted but Will especially.  This is a steroid week for him which makes him a bit grumpy and keeps him from getting solid sleep so he's been extra tired.  Saturday he had just enough energy to get some lunch and go to a new cookie dough bakery.  He got chocolate chip cookie dough and cookies and cream cookie dough and even though he wasn't able to eat very much he seriously enjoyed it.  

That's been pretty much our week.  I've been trying to get caught up on laundry and dealing with my allergies that have gone bonkers thanks to ragweed.  The allergy issue has kept my reading down a bit.  I'm doing pretty good with my audio books and my print books but weirdly just haven't been reaching for my Kindle.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Case of William Smith - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Case of William Smith by Patricia Wentworth

Rating:  Loved It!
Source:  Purchased

Description: Who was William Smith? And why was Mavis Jones so horrified to see him? For seven years William had worked as a woodcarver for the local toyshop, ignorant of his true identity. The war had robbed him of his memory, and no one expected him to ever find the answer. So when he took his work to Evesleys Ltd, why was his life instantly in danger?

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  This was the next book in my Miss Silver reread.

My Impression: This is a bit different from the usual mystery as this isn't a murder mystery.  Instead the focus on just who is William Smith and who is trying to kill him and why?  Miss Silver is very much a side character in this case and doesn't make an appearance at all until about halfway through the book.  When she does appear it's mostly in an advisory capacity though her interactions with Abbott and Chief Inspector Lamb more then make up for it.  Abbott actually appears a bit earlier as he ties into the search for William Smith's identity.

Because it isn't a traditional mystery the reader isn't really investigating along with the characters but is instead just along for the ride as the story unfolds.  I found the story itself interesting with lots of sweet moments mixed in.  It's hard not to like William and most of the other characters and to root for the best ending possible.  It's a bit slower to unfold but that helped me become more invested in the characters and their future. 

I love Wentworth's way of really making the scene and the characters come to life.  I was fully pulled into the story and enjoyed every minute of it.  This is probably one of my favorite Patricia Wentworth books and the reread didn't disappoint.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  Already have the next Miss Silver book ready to go.

Would I Recommend this Book? I do if you're not going in expecting a not so typical fast paced mystery.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday Fives - Five Mini Reviews for Books I've Read Lately

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.  Here are 5 short reviews for books I've read lately.

1. I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel - I have finally read a book by Anne Bogel!  And her short memoir on reading was the perfect one to start with.  I haven't had the best luck with books about books.  I always want to love them but I very rarely connect with them but this one I absolutely did!  This is a quick little book that talks about all the joys and magic of being a reader.  I think because she doesn't specifically talk about WHAT she's reading but more about HOW books make her feel so I think that helped.  If you haven't really connected with a book about books this might be the one for you!  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

2.  Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson -
I have been a Jenny Lawson fan since long before her first book so of course I had to pick up this newest book.  This one is a bit different as Lawson feels in a very different place in both her physical and mental health.  The stories are much more introspective and poignant and even her usual off the wall stories have a bit more of an edge to it.  I didn't find this one to be as laugh out loud funny as the previous books but I do feel like I know Lawson a bit better.  I have listened to all three of her books in audio and highly recommend going that route if you can.  My Rating:  Liked It!

3.  The Alice Network by Kate Quinn -
This book has been on my TBR since it was first released several years ago and it absolutely did not disappoint.  There are two timelines here - the first in post- World War II England and France as Charlie Sinclair is brought to Europe by her mother to deal with her unwed pregnancy.  We quickly meet Eve and are transported to 1915 France in the height of World War I.  Both timelines kept me fully invested though Eve's was at times almost too painful to listen to as we know kind of how it ends.  I loved seeing the evolution of the characters in the 1947 timeline as people desperately looking to find their way find each other and take the first steps while still wrestling with their demons.  I listened to the audio and really enjoyed it and am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

4.  Deadly Harvest by Heather Graham -
This is the 2nd book in the Flynn Brothers trilogy.  I listened to the first one several years ago and enjoyed it so when I saw this one on sale on Audible I snatched it and let it sit for a couple of years.  This is a fun read and very much what one expects from Graham's books.  It's set in Salem, Massachusetts during the Halloween season and there's some supernatural elements, a bit of romance, and a pretty good suspenseful plot.  Rowena and Jeremy are likable if a bit flat and I enjoyed the combination of Salem local and Salem newbie.  Graham uses the scarecrow element in a later book but I found it better done and extremely creepy in this situation.  I enjoyed this listen and it was just what I expect from a Heather Graham book.  My Rating: Liked It!

5. Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah -
This is Mah's memoir of the year she spent in Paris on her own when her husband was transferred unexpectedly to the embassy in Baghdad right after they had left everything to move to France for his job.  She uses the food of different regions as a framework as she learns how to find her own version of France alone.  I really enjoyed this book.  Mah is educated, childless, and relatively affluent so she has a lot of free time which is equal parts a blessing and a curse at times.  She mixes in all kinds of food descriptions with the history of different regions, stories of the people she meets while learning about the food, missing her husband, and learning how to make friends as a shy but relatively social person in a foreign country.  This is a calm and interesting book that made me want to go into the kitchen and start cooking.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

What have you read lately?

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Year of the Series - Thread on Arrival + French Fried

 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:  Thread on Arrival (Mainely Needlepoint #8) by Lea Wait

Premise:  Ike Hamilton is a part of the Haven Harbor community just like anyone else, though he's fallen on hard times and has to make do on disability checks and deposit bottles. Most of the locals do what they can to help him out, and needlepointing partners Angie and Sarah are happy to see him at the annual Blessing of the Fleet, honoring all those lost at sea over the centuries.

But when harmless Ike is stabbed, suspicion quickly falls on a troubled teenage boy who's new in town. Angie's convinced that young Leo is innocent--but if he didn't do it, who did? Turns out Ike may have appeared simple-minded, but he knew a few secrets that someone might have murdered him to keep quiet. Angie sets out to trace Ike's bottle-collecting route to find out what he witnessed--and for this killer, there may be no redemption . . .

My Thoughts:  My main complaint is that I only have one book in this series and I'll be so sad to see the last of Angie, Sara, Dave, Patrick, and everyone else in Haven Harbor.  I really love these characters and the community of Haven Harbor.  In this book I really liked that we got to get a little bit of Dave's backstory and got to know him a bit better.  I did have a pretty good clue as to at least part of the who and the why but I still had plenty of questioned and I really enjoyed the journey to the reveal.  I really enjoy the notes on different samplers or other things related to antique embroidery.  This is perhaps a slower moving series and Angie definitely took some time to really grow on me but  this is proving to be a series that I thoroughly enjoy.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Goodreads:  French Fried (Ethnic Eats #2) by Kylie Logan

Blurb:  The Statue of Liberty is 130 years old, and for the struggling residents of Hubbard, Ohio, any opportunity to bring in tourists is reason enough for a celebration. Laurel Inwood and her aunt, Sophie, are pitching in. Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks, a former greasy spoon turned charming ethnic eatery, will be offering French cuisine for the entire week.

For expert help with their quiche and escargot, the ladies turn to Raquel “Rocky” Arnaud, a former French chef and friend of Sophie. What looks like a match made in heaven turns rank as quickly as buttermilk on a summer’s day. Rocky turns up dead and when her nightly red wine shows notes of oak, cinnamon, and poison, Laurel turns from soufflĂ© to sleuth.

My Thoughts:  I really don't like Laurel.  In this book and the previous book she comes off as pretentious and judge-y and she sets my teeth on edge.  However, in this book as in the last book she somehow redeems herself as the book goes on and I find myself fully invested in the mystery.  It actually ends up giving quite a bit of depth to her character as I feel like her past in the foster care system followed by a career as a private chef in Hollywood has jaded her and made her build up walls and she's still trying to figure out who she really is.  The mystery is a doozy with lots of secrets from the past that must be dealt with as well as restaurant business.  This was a fun read with a mystery that was well paced with characters that stick with me.  My only real complaint is that there wasn't nearly as much of the Fury clan as I'd like. This is the last book in the series for me as I read the third book a couple of years ago and I'm kind of sad to put Terminal at the Tracks behind me.  Kylie Logan has written several other series so I'm looking forward to starting anew one soon.  My Rating:  Liked It!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Death of a Red-Hot Rancher - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Death of a Red-Hot Rancher (Love is Murder Mystery #1) by Mimi Granger

Rating:  Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Lizzie Hale may be the lucky owner of a successful romance bookshop, Love Under the Covers, but she's decidedly un-lucky in love. Though she's read almost every famous romance novelist, from Jane Austen to Nora Roberts, none have helped her figure out how to get--and keep--a man.

But Lizzie has bigger problems to worry about. Like murder.

When Brody Pierce, swoon-worthy ranch owner and resident bachelor, is found stabbed through the chest, hearts were heard breaking all over idyllic Tinker's Creek. But when Lizzie's aunt is implicated in the murder, she's determined to clear her name. Lizzie quickly realizes that Brody was a hunk with many hidden secrets, and she's soon leafing through a stack of suspects longer than Brody's list of lovers.

With the killer still on the loose, Lizzie will have to find the truth before this act of passion ignites a fire she can't put out.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love a bookish cozies but don't think I've ever come across one that was set in a romance bookstore.  I was really intrigued by this genre mish-mash.  

My Impression: This was such a fun read!  Love Under the Covers is a bookstore that I wish was real (and local!) and I really enjoyed the atmosphere of it.  Things start looking decidedly less rosy when she stumbles over a dead body while returning a credit card.  The body happens to belong to Brody Pierce who every woman in town is in love with and every man wants to be.  And Lizzie thinks might be her aunt's secret boyfriend.

The mystery unravels nicely as Lizzie gets pulled into the investigation to defend her aunt and find out just what happened.  The addition of Violet, Brody's dog who now seems to belong to Lizzie made for a good companion and a nice change from the usual cat cozy.  

I enjoyed this mystery.  It was a quick easy read and even with the first book setup it was well paced.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I've enjoyed other books by this author under another name and I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you like cozies this is a great start to the series - especially if you romances as well.

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Agatha Christie Books With Numbers in the Title

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 with Numbers in the Title so I decided to see how many Agatha Christie titles have numbers in them.  The answer is 8 so I threw in a Dorothy L. Sayers title and a Patricia Wentworth title to finish off the list.  

1.  The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie

2.  Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie

3.  One, Two Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie

4. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie - I actually prefer the other title Murder in Retrospect but that doesn't fit with this prompt!

5.  Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

6.  4:50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie - Just read this one and so enjoyed it!

7.  Third Girl by Agatha Christie

8.  The Big Four by Agatha Christie

9.  Mr. Zero by Patricia Wentworth - I think I've read this one but it's been so long I remember nothing about it.  I'm really looking forward to picking it back up at some point soon!

10.  The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers - I have read shockingly little Sayers but am hoping to start a read through of her books soon and this one is on the list.

What are some of your favorite books with numbers in the title?

Monday, September 13, 2021

From the Back of the Review Shelf - Two Mini Reviews


I'm trying to get caught up on some of my overdue review books that have been lurking in the backs of my shelves for far too long.  Here are two quick reviews for books I have recently caught up on.

Goodreads:  The Corpse at the Crystal Palace (Daisy Dalrympe #23) by Carola Dunn

Blurb April 1928: Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is visited in London by her young cousins. On the list of must-see sites is the Crystal Palace. Discovering that her children's nanny, Nanny Gilpin, has never seen the Palace, Daisy decides to make a day of it―bringing her cousins, her 3-year-old twins, her step-daughter Belinda, the nurserymaid, and Nanny Gilpin. Yet this ordinary outing goes wrong when Mrs. Gilpin goes off to the ladies’ room and fails to return. When Daisy goes to look for her, she doesn't find her nanny but instead the body of another woman dressed in a nanny's uniform.
Meanwhile, Belinda and the cousins spot Mrs. Gilpin chasing after yet another nanny. Intrigued, they trail the two through the vast Crystal Palace and into the park. After briefly losing sight of their quarry, they stumble across Mrs. Gilpin lying unconscious in a small lake inhabited by huge concrete dinosaurs.

When she comes to, Mrs. Gilpin can't remember what happened after leaving the twins in the nurserymaid's care. Daisy's husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the murdered nanny. Worried about her children's own injured nanny, Daisy is determined to help. First she has to discover the identity of the third nanny, the presumed murderer, and to do so, Daisy must uncover why the amnesic Mrs. Gilpin deserted her charges to follow the missing third nanny.

My Thoughts:  I read a couple of the Daisy Dalrympe mysteries close to twenty years ago so when I saw this one I couldn't help but pick it up not realizing that it is expected to be the last mystery in the series.  This was a fun mystery with quite an interesting start.  The mystery does a good job of alternating between Daisy's amateur sleuthing and Alec's professional investigating.  There are a lot of tiny threads and an untold amount of people wanting the victim dead which made for quite the mystery.  This mystery was much lighter on historical detail then most of my other historical mystery reads and really could have taken place at anytime between cars coming into regular use and the internet coming to be.  It's definitely a lighter cozy but was still a fun read and made me want to go back to the beginning of Daisy's story.  I listened to the audio of this book and the narrator, Lucy Rayner, is new to me but I won't be listening to her again.  I found her voices a bit overdramatic and sharp and it dampened my enjoyment of the book.  My Rating:  Liked It

Goodreads:  A Sprinkling of Murder (A Fairy Garden Mystery #1) by Daryl Wood Gerber

Blurb:  Since childhood, Courtney has loved fairies. After her mother died when she was ten, she lost touch with that feeling of magic. A year ago, at age twenty-nine, she rediscovered it when she left her father's landscaping business to spread her wings and start a fairy garden business and teashop in beautiful Carmel, California. At Open Your Imagination, she teaches garden design and sells everything from fairy figurines to tinkling wind chimes and trickling fountains. Now she's starting a book club tea.

But the light of the magical world she's created inside her shop is darkened one night when she discovers neighboring dog-grooming business owner Mick Watkins dead beside a fountain. To make matters worse, the police suspect Courtney of the crime. To clear her name and find the real killer, Courtney will have to wing it. But she's about to get a little help from an unexpected new friend . . .

My Thoughts:  I wanted to love this so much as I love fairy gardens and the cover is just so pretty.  Unfortunately it fell a bit flat for me.  The mystery was well done and the reveal was a surprise but I didn't always enjoy getting there.  My primary issue was I really disliked pretty much every single character.  Courtney was okay though a bit immature but most of the other characters were argumentative, quick to judge, and just didn't seem to be very nice.  Really it just seemed like most of the page time was spent with different characters (including the detectives) bickering loudly with each other. I'm not a big fantasy reader so the bits about the fairy rules and whatnot took some getting used too but that wouldn't have bothered me very much if I had enjoyed spending time with the characters.  I was never bored with this one and I did end up really enjoying the last quarter of it.  This is an author I would like to read more from but my dislike of the characters will probably keep me from revisiting this series.  My Rating:  Just Okay

*I received these books in exchange for my honest review.  My thoughts as always, are completely my own*

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - September 12

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!  I got a ton of books last week so it was good to get a bit of a break!  


  First Degree Mudder by Kate Dyer-Seeley and The Stalking by Heather Graham

Listening:  Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers 

Watching:  Still re-watching Friends.  I'm about halfway through season 3 now and really enjoying it.  

Will is not a fan of people singing so to get him to cooperate quickly (and just to tease him) some of the nurses started singing at him.  This was one of his many expressions.  As you can see he was not a fan!  It's been kind of a quiet week. Will wasn't feeling very well after chemo last weekend and wasn't able to go to his physics class but he got lots of sleep and is feeling much better.  This week we are heading back to the main St Jude campus in Memphis for tests.  It's just routine but it's a bit stressful.  It'll be good to see all the doctors and nurses we got to know so well last year but it'll be a long couple of days.

 I haven't been getting much sleep lately but I've been getting lots of reading done and sticking to a decent exercise schedule.  I'm not doing very long workouts but I'm getting some movement in every day so I figure that's a good place to start.   I have started playing this YouTube channel at night called Ambient Worlds  which I've been loving.  They have some videos that are just nature sounds but my favorites are the videos that are themed around different fictional places from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and actual places too.  My favorite at the moment is the Downton Abby video.  It's so relaxing!  

I'm two books away for hitting my Goodreads challenge for the year which I'm very excited about AND I'm on pace to hit my super secret goal which is even more exciting because I've wanted to hit 200 books for a few years now and always fallen short.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Chuckling Fingers - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Chuckling Fingers by Mabel Seeley

Rating: Liked It!
Source:  Publisher

Description:  An urgent note from a friend spurs Ann Gay to visit her recently married cousin, Jacqueline Heaton. Upon her arrival at Fiddler's Fingers, a remote, pine-grown estate on Lake Superior, Ann immediately senses her cousin's fear—someone has been playing increasingly malicious tricks on the Heatons, a proud family of Minnesota lumber tycoons, and worse yet, they seem determined to frame Jacqueline.

Ann quickly resolves to take Jacqueline and her young daughter, Toby, away from the danger. But what began as seemingly trivial pranks—ruined clothes, a burnt bed, a smashed boat—escalates to direct attacks and ultimately murder. Dangerous waters crash against the finger-like rocks on the lakeshore, making a sound like a guttural chuckle, one that seems to mock the murder that took place there—but no one is laughing when everyone on the estate becomes a suspect. Potential motives are revealed as Ann learns more about the Heaton family, and with no chance of anyone leaving Fiddler's Fingers until the killer is caught, Ann realizes that the only way to prove her cousin's innocence is by snaring the murderer herself.

The trap is set; with herself as bait, Ann's door creaks open in the night as a cloaked figure moves silently toward her bed....

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I love classic mysteries but don't read many American authors so I'm excited about the chance to read more of this author's work.

My Impression:  This one reminded me a bit of The Crying Child by Barbara Michaels for some reason.  I think it was the atmosphere of extreme paranoia and unreliable witnesses as well as the strong bond between two female characters as when it really comes down to it the books have nothing in common plot wise.  I enjoyed this one quite a bit.  As with most books in the classic American mystery genre the book is a bit slower paced with details and plot points carefully layered in.  

I really liked Ann as a main character here.  When she realizes that something hinky is going on her first reaction is to bundle up her cousin and daughter and get out of dodge.  She doesn't know what's going on but she does know she doesn't want any part of it and fully believes in her cousin's sanity.  After the first body falls and they have to stay put she works just as hard to prove her innocence.

This is the second book I've read by Seeley and I have really enjoyed both of them.  I liked the bond between Ann and Jacqueline and was really invested in finding out just what was going on.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm so glad I have discovered this author and her 

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy slower paced mysteries with sinister atmosphere I think you'd really enjoy this one.

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