Sunday, October 31, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - October 31

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:

The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley - I just finished the previous book in this series and immediately went to purchase an audio of this one. I can't wait to see the characters from previous books again. (Purchased)


Reading:  Miss Moriarty, I Presume? by Sherry Thomas and Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff

Listening:  A Dark and Twisting Path by Julia Buckley

This was the scene around our house this week.  We keep my dad's dog some during the week to help get us and the cat ready for getting a puppy later this year (and I just like having the dog around).  The dog who has never really seen a cat before thinks he and the cat should be friends.  The cat does not want to be friends.  The dog is confused and the cat enjoys bullying the dog and it's just this endless cycle.  Will is enjoying it very much.

Speaking of Will he's been feeling pretty good this week now that  he's caught up on sleep from the steroids.  They've upped his chemo levels which has upped his nausea but thankfully the overnight meals through the NG tube are really helping keep his energy up and not having a constantly empty stomach helps him feeling a bit more steady. He's decided to skip Halloween this year so we are going to hang out at home and maybe play a video game and eat some candy.  

My yearly chest cold has come back.  I had pneumonia a few years ago around this time and it seems like ever since right around this time I get sick again though not quite as seriously.  I got a lot of rest the last few days and am feeling better but I still have an awful cough and just super low energy.  So needless to say we haven't done anything particularly interesting this week!  We did get all the furniture set up in the school room and I'm hoping to get all books and stuff moved in this week and then buy the rest of the odds and ends.  It's exciting to have a dedicated space for school and even Will is excited about using it.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

A Caribbean Mystery - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

My Rating: Loved It!
Source:   Purchased

Description: There is no rest or relaxation for Miss Marple. Agatha Christie's most appealing sleuth returns in this classic baffler of a vacation-turned-deadly.

Nephew Raymond West has given his favourite aunt a vacation at a beautiful resort in the Caribbean. While there she encounters an old wind-bag. One of his stories is about meeting a murderer. He has a snapshot. Suddenly he hesitates, and gets flustered. By the next morning he is dead, seemingly of natural causes. Miss Marple has doubts.

And well she should.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

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

My Impression: While we follow Hercule Poirot around the globe Miss Marple pretty much stays put.  If she's not staying at her home in St. Mary Mead she is visiting a friend at their house in a small village.  She is never out of England.  Until this book.  Not only is Miss Marple not in England but she is completely on her own at a resort in the Caribbean.  Though she is recovering from a bout of poor health she is fine form and immediately tumbles into a murder investigation.

This one is a bit unusual as Miss Marple is completely on her own here.  Here usual friends and resources aren't around to lend a hand or an ear and she is very much aware that she is very much a fluttery old lady who no one will take seriously.  And this leads to the very best part of the story - the friendship that forms between Miss Marple and a very unlikely ally.  Those interactions made this book very much a delight and I so enjoyed this read.

The mystery is a solid one and even though we are coming into a period of time where I find Christie's books somewhat unreliable this is a solid and entertaining read.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I only have 3 Miss Marple books left and I will be sorry to take a break from her for a bit.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  Because Miss Marple is very much out of her element here this would also be a good one to start with if you have not met her before.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Murder at Mallowan Hall - Historical Mystery Series

 Goodreads:  Murder at Mallowan Hall (Phyllida Bright Mystery #1) by Colleen Cambridge

Rating: Liked It 
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Tucked away among Devon's rolling green hills, Mallowan Hall combines the best of English tradition with the modern conveniences of 1930. Housekeeper Phyllida Bright, as efficient as she is personable, manages the large household with an iron fist in her very elegant glove. In one respect, however, Mallowan Hall stands far apart from other picturesque country houses...

The manor is home to archaeologist Max Mallowan and his famous wife, Agatha Christie. Phyllida is both loyal to and protective of the crime writer, who is as much friend as employer. An aficionado of detective fiction, Phyllida has yet to find a gentleman in real life half as fascinating as Mrs. Agatha's Belgian hero, Hercule Poirot. But though accustomed to murder and its methods as frequent topics of conversation, Phyllida is unprepared for the sight of a very real, very dead body on the library floor...

A former Army nurse, Phyllida reacts with practical common sense--and a great deal of curiosity. It soon becomes clear that the victim arrived at Mallowan Hall under false pretenses during a weekend party. Now, Phyllida not only has a houseful of demanding guests on her hands--along with a distracted, anxious staff--but hordes of reporters camping outside. When another dead body is discovered--this time, one of her housemaids--Phyllida decides to follow in M. Poirot's footsteps to determine which of the Mallowans' guests is the killer. With help from the village's handsome physician, Dr. Bhatt, Mr. Dobble, the butler, along with other household staff, Phyllida assembles the clues. Yet, she is all too aware that the killer must still be close at hand and poised to strike again. And only Phyllida's wits will prevent her own story from coming to an abrupt end...

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan so how could I resist the first in a new series featuring her housekeeper?  

My Impression:   The start of a new series can be a bit rough as not only does the mystery have to occur and be solved but the characters have to be introduced and the setup has to be explained.  As often happens it slowed the pace in this book quite a bit.  There are a lot of characters.  Not only is there a relatively substantial staff but there is also a house party in progress with a number of guests.  Since Phyllida doesn't know them personally I had a hard time keeping them all straight.

As well Phyllida's investigation style sometimes made me inwardly cringe.  She's so sure that she knows better than the police and doesn't hesitate to keep information to herself until she has investigated or to insert herself into the investigation.  She's also very quick to judge a situation or a person and has no issue making her opinion known.

That said I did enjoy this one.  Phyllida is an interesting flawed character and there are definitely secrets flitting about in her past.  Using Agatha Christie as a sounding board to the investigation without having the famed mysteryauthor take an active role was brilliant and enjoyable.  As well I was kept entertained and reading as the investigation took shape.  While I didn't love this book as much as I wanted to love it I think this series could have a lot of promise and I'm curious to see what Phyllida does next.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes, I'm curious to see how this series evolves.

Would I Recommend this Book? I would - especially for Christie fans or fans of upstairs/downstairs mysteries. 

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Cozies on My TBR That Take Place on Halloween


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 Halloween Freebie so I'm looking at 10 Cozy Mysteries on My TBR That Take Place During Halloween.

1.  A Room with a Brew by Joyce Tremel - This series as a whole has been on my TBR for ages and this one looks great!

2.  Crypt Suzette by Maya Corrigan - This is another series that has been on my TBR for ages.

3.  Death by Jack-o-Lantern by Alexis Morgan - I listened to the first book in this series and really enjoyed it and am looking forward to getting the second book.

4.  Fiber and Brimstone by Laura Childs - This series has serious flaws but I still always enjoy each book I pick up in it and I love a New Orleans setting.

5.  Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and one that takes place during Halloween sounds even more fun!

6.  Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron - This is another favorite series and I'm not sure there's anything much better then Halloween in Louisiana!

7.  Monster in Miniature by Margaret Grace - There is a grandmother/granddaughter relationship and it involves a store that sells dollhouses and miniatures.  This Halloween-y one involves a haunted dollhouse!

8.  Mrs. Morris and the Witch by Traci Wilton - I've been seeing this series around for a bit and it looks fun!

9.  Reading Between the Crimes by Kate Young - Not only does this cozy involve a book club and takes place around Halloween but it also involves an Agatha Christie mystery!

10. The Body From the Past by Judi Lynn - I listened to the first book in this series and enjoyed it plus it involves house flipping which is one of my favorite  subjects so this would be a great Halloween-y listen.

What Halloween-y books are on your TBR?

Monday, October 25, 2021

Getaway with Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Getaway with Murder (Mountain Lodge Mysteries #1) by Diane Kelly

Rating: Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  As if hitting the half-century mark wasn’t enough, Misty Murphy celebrated her landmark birthday by amicably ending her marriage and investing her settlement in a dilapidated mountain lodge at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the old inn teetering on both a bluff and bankruptcy, she must have lost her ever-loving mind.

Luckily, handyman Rocky Crowder has a knack for rehabbing virtual ruins and for doing it on a dime, and to Misty’s delight, the lodge is fully booked on opening night, every room filled with flexible folks who’d slipped into spandex and ascended the peak for a yoga retreat with plans to namastay for a full week. Misty and her guests are feeling zen—at least until the yoga instructor is found dead.

With a killer on the loose and the lodge’s reputation hanging in the balance, Misty must put her detective-skills to the test. Only one thing is as clear as a sunny mountain morning—she must solve the crime before the lodge ends up, once again, on the brink.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed other books by this author so I couldn't resist the beginning of a new series.  

My Impression: This is a fun setup.  I liked Misty and the concept of the inn.  I liked that she's a bit older then the typical cozy heroine and that while she is happily divorced her ex-husband isn't evil.  The yoga retreat is a perfect setup for murder.  There are a lot of connections and issues between the attendees that could lead to murder as well as regular motives like robbery and seeing something you shouldn't.  

There's a lot of setup in this one and getting to know the characters which does put the mystery on the backburner.  As well with all the detail throughout the ending ended up feeling rushed.  I enjoy the author's writing style and her way of building characters and settings.  The series has a lot of potential for interesting mysteries and romance and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely.  I've really enjoyed previous books by this author and I can't wait to see where this series goes.  

Would I Recommend this Book? If you like cozies with developed characters and interesting settings I think you'll enjoy this series.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - 24

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:

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan - This was on my wishlist so I was excited when I got an eARC of it!  (Publisher)

The rest came from a used bookstore shopping spree!

Night Train to Memphis by Elizabeth Peters

Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters

The Body in the Gallery by Katherine Hall Page

The Body in the Basement by Katherine Hall Page

To Perish in Penzance by Jeanne M. Dams

Haunted Is Always in Fashion by Rose Pressey

Did You Declare the Corpse? by Patricia Sprinkle

Murder on the Flying Scotsman by Carola Dunn

Gunpowder Plot by Carola Dunn

The Lady in the Attic by Tara Randel


Reading: Miss Moriarty, I Presume by Sherry Thomas and A Turn For The Bad by Sheila Connolly

Listening:  The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley

Steroids are rough!  Will didn't get much sleep for the week and the steroids caused some side effects that weren't fun.  Thankfully the side effects are wearing off and he was feeling well enough to go out to dinner and make silly faces when he got tired of me taking pictures of him.  It's amazing how much of a difference proper nutrition and getting actual calories makes.  

I had a migraine free week which was really nice and I've been feeling a bit more organized.  We are finally getting the school room setup.  We had started turning a guest room into a school room right before he was diagnosed but of course that took a major backseat.  But now that he's feeling better we are getting back focused on home schooling.  

Have a great week and happy reading!  

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Eternity Ring - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Eternity Ring (Miss Silver #14) by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchased
Description:  Mary Stokes discovers a dead body in Dead Man's Copse one evening but when she returns with a police officer it is no longer there. Miss Silver is baffled by this event and is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

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

My Impression: This one is a bit unusual.  Frank Abbott is involved right from the beginning but there's not a body for quite sometime.  Miss Silver is also involved early on but more as a sounding board for Abbott and is there at his invitation.  While she does point Abbott in the right place quite a few times her role is decidedly inactive and she really doesn't have much page time.

The mystery is a bit more intense then some of the previous mysteries.  There's a bit of danger and even a bit of blood.  Not enough of either to take it out of cozy genre but a bit different from Wentworth's other books.  I really liked getting to know some of Frank's relatives and getting a bit more background on him.  I adored Monica Abbott and her interaction with Miss Silver.  She's such a nice practical woman and doesn't hesitate to speak her mind but in a tactul way.

This is a bit longer then most Miss Silver mysteries at a little over 350 pages but I flew through it and finished it in just two sittings.  While the pace is a bit faster then other Miss Silver books and the mystery is intriguing I'm not sure it's the best example of a "typical" Wentworth Miss Silver book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  Wentworth is a favorite author and I can't wait to read the next Miss Silver book.

Would I Recommend this Book? I would as it is a solid and entertaining mystery but if you're looking to get to know Miss Silver and her methods this one might not be the book for you.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Friday Five - 5 Things 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.  Today I'm sharing 5 non-bookish things I'm loving right now.

1.  Tervis Cups - I love these!  There are tons of designs and a variety of sizes.  They're completely dishwasher safe and they have lids that snap on firmly for when Will's immune system is super suppressed and we have to be careful about him drinking out of open containers.  I've been trying to up my water intake and so I just keep one with me.  

2.  Weighted Blankets -  We got one of these when Will was first diagnosed to see if it would help him sleep when he was on steroids and it really did. Then I picked his up when I was having trouble sleeping and it has made such a difference.  I use this one because I'm always cold but Will gets hot when he sleeps and he really likes this one.

3.  Frappuccino - I drink my morning coffee black but I love getting one of these out of the refrigerator in the afternoon when I'm dragging.  It's such a nice indulgent treat.  Vanilla is my favorite flavor because the others seem to sweet but the vanilla always hits the spot. 

4.  Animal Crossing New Horizons - We really enjoyed playing this right when it first came out and have played a decent amount since then but lately I've really been enjoying relaxing and playing for a little bit when everything is done.

5.  Trader Joe's - One finally opened here and I am absolutely loving it.  When we lived in Memphis I went to the one there a decent amount but we didn't have much space and it was kind of a hassle to get to so I didn't go that much but here it's close by and nice and open.  I'm really enjoying going by regularly and finding different treats I hadn't noticed before.  We had the Mexican style roasted corn with dinner the other day and it was delicious!

What non-bookish things are you loving right now?

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Books From the Backlog - Have You Seen Me?

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:  Have You Seen Me? by Kate White

Blurb:  On a cold, rainy morning, finance journalist Ally Linden arrives early to work in her Manhattan office, only to find that she’s forgotten her keycard and needs to have a colleague she’s never met let her in. When her boss finally arrives, he seems surprised to see her—because she hasn’t worked there in five years.

Ally knows her name, but little else, and it’s only after several hours in an emergency room and multiple interviews with the hospital psychiatrist that she begins to piece together important facts: she lives on the Upper West Side; she’s now a freelance personal finance journalist; she’s married to a lovely man named Hugh. But she still can’t recall what happened to her during the previous two days. When she learns that she’s experienced a dissociative fugue state, Ally tries to think of triggers and remembers that she’d been seeing a therapist about a traumatic event from her childhood, in which she came across evidence for a murder that was never solved.

Desperate to unearth answers, Ally focuses on figuring out where she spent the missing forty-eight hours. As ominous details of the two days pile up, so does the terrifying pressure: she must recover the time she lost before the time she has left runs out.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This one looked so good when it came out and I just had to have it.  But yet I still haven't read it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Twelve Jays of Christmas - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Twelve Jays of Christmas (A Meg Langslow Mystery #30) by Donna Andrews

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Meg and Michael’s annual holiday celebration is well underway, with a throng of out-of-town relatives staying at their house. Hosting these festivities is a little harder than usual—they have to relocate all the events normally held in their library, currently occupied by Roderick Castlemayne, the irascible wildlife artist who’s creating twelve paintings of birds to illustrate Meg’s grandfather’s latest nature book.

Still, the celebrations continue—and the entire family rejoices to learn that Meg’s brother Rob and his longtime fiancĂ©e Delaney have finally decided to tie the knot. Unfortunately, they decide to do this in the middle of Meg and Michael’s annual New Year’s bash, dashing their mothers’ hopes of planning the wedding to end all weddings.

Delaney’s mother sneaks into town so she and Meg’s mother can secretly plot a way to talk the happy couple into having a big bash. Hiding her only adds to Meg’s holiday stress—it’s almost a full-time job fending all the visitors who want to confront Castlemayne—reporters, bill collectors, process servers, and several ex-wives in search of unpaid alimony.

Then someone murders Castlemayne in the middle of a blizzard and sets loose the birds he was painting. Can Meg help the police crack the case before the killer strikes again? Can she keep Christmas merry in spite of the body in the library? Can she negotiate a compromise between Rob and Delaney and their disappointed mothers? And can she recapture the twelve escaped jays before they begin nesting in the Christmas tree?

This intrigue-filled Christmas mystery takes readers home to Caerphilly to join in Meg's family's holiday celebration—including, of course, another baffling mystery.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love this series so of course I had to pick this latest Christmas mystery up.

My Impression: I'm so so so glad that I don't live Meg Langslow's life!  After about 1/10th of all the hijinks and catastrophes that happen I would have picked up one of the Pomeranian puppies, gone to bed, pulled the covers over my head and refused to come out until everyone left.  Since I'm just reading it and not living it I found it all wildly entertaining though I did miss the presence of Meg's husband and their boys Josh and Jamie.  However, there is enough other craziness going on that I didn't feel their absence too much.  

The mystery was a fun one with lots of possible suspects and lots of motives and opportunities.  As usual there's also lots of family and town activates happening.  If you are new to the series this could be overwhelming as there are a lot of characters and they are very busy but if you have a few books under your belt it's lots of fun and great to see all the familiar characters.  I was a bit sad that Meg's grandfather didn't have much page time even though he was responsible for the wombats in the basement.  

I came later to the series and have enjoyed each book more then the next and this was no different.  This is packed full of Christmas cheer, murder, secrets, Jays and Mockingbirds on the loose, and wombats as well as a whole collection of Meg's visiting relatives.  It was fun from the first page until the last and I can't wait for my next Meg Langslow adventure.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I'm planning on picking up the beginning books in the series and I can't wait for the next one!

Would I Recommend this Book? I would recommend this series to all cozy mystery lovers though it might take a couple of books to really get hooked on the series.  

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

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Ten Books I'd Buy If I Was Going Bookshopping

 I went used book shopping the other day and had a fabulous time but it got me thinking about books I'd snap up if I happened to come across them at the store next time I'm there.

1.  The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley - I've really enjoyed this series and I'm really looking forward to this one.

2.  The London House by Katherine Reay - I absolutely loved the book I read by this author and this looks fantastic.

3.  The Unforgiven by Heather Graham - I always enjoy Graham's Krewe of Hunters series and this takes place in New Orleans which is one of my favorite places.

4.  A Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry - A YouTuber I watch absolutely loves this series and she has me wanting to try it but of course I need the first book!

5.  The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan - I've loved every book I've read about by Colgan and this book involving a bookstore during Christmas sounds like one I would love.  

6.  Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan - I've been wanting to read this author for awhile and the premise and cover are too much for me to resist.

7.  The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley - I've seen Worsley on various documentaries and love her way of speaking and her humor so I really want to read this.

8.  The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - This is the only Morton book I don't own and one of the few I haven't read.  I do hope that she will come out with another book soon as I do enjoy her stories.

9.  And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander - I have several later books in this series but haven't read them as I want to start with the first one.  I mean to get it from the library but if I see it in a used bookstore I'm definitely going to pick it up.

10. Murder on Black Swan Lake by Andrea Penrose - I've heard such great things about this author and they look like books I would love.  I really want the first one especially.

What books would you snap up if you came across them in a used bookstore?

Monday, October 18, 2021

The Year of the Series - Paging the Dead + Telling Tails

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.

Paging the Dead (A Family History Mystery #1) by Brynn Bonner - I had picked up the fourth book in this series kind of on a whim and enjoyed it so much I had to go back and get the previous book.  This series is about Sophreena and Esme who are professional genealogists whose deep dives into family history answers generations old questions and sometimes leads to murder.  I feel like this is a series that people are either going to love or find a bit dull.  I am firmly on the love side.  I adore research, old family secrets, family history, and any kind of group collaboration when it comes to solving a mystery and this book had all of this is spades.  This mystery was all about a family matriarch trying to showcase her prestigious family only to wind up murdered and missing two family heirlooms.  Sophie and Esme are immediately suspects in the investigation and dive into clearing their name and finding out just what is lurking in the past.  I thoroughly enjoyed this and loved all the bits about their research.  This is a cozy series that was pretty much written for me and I can't wait to get to the next book!  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Goodreads:  Telling Tails (Second Chance Cat Mystery #4) by Sofie Ryan - This is the 4th book in the Second Chance Cat Mystery series featuring store owner Sarah, her cat Elvis, and a group of older private detectives who happen to have taken up residence in Sarah's sunporch and all happened to have changed her diapers as they have no issue reminding her of.  The book starts out with Rose making a delivery an stumbling onto a crime scene.  Unfortunately, right after seeing someone dragging a dead body across a kitchen floor she is knocked on the head and wakes up two houses down and there is no dead body to be found.  This was a bit different from the usual mystery as the Angels don't have a typical client.  Instead, Rose is trying to prove she saw what she saw and figure out exactly what it was that she saw.  I really enjoyed this one but didn't feel like ending fully wrapped up.  I understood the motives and the who but I still had a few questions.  With this book I am officially caught up on the Second Chance Cat Mystery and I'm sad that I 'll have to wait until the next book is released before I can revisit Sarah, Rose, Liz, Avery, Mr. P and the whole crazy bunch again!  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - October 17

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'm feeling a book shopping binge coming so I doubt next week will be an empty shelf but this week was.


Reading: Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge and The Brading Collection by Patricia Wentworth

Listening: Hideaway by Nora Roberts

WatchingStill watching Friends.  I'm almost to season 5 now. Ross is the worst but other then that I'm really enjoying it.

Most of this week was really great.  Now that Will's getting the proper number of calories his energy is so much improved.  The Physical Therapist at clinic was amazed by his energy level and we got a visit from our very favorite therapy dog which always makes for a good hospital visit.  The end of the week has not been so good because of side effects from the steroids.  He's only on them for 5 days but it's a long 5 days and there's some recovery time on the other side.  We hate seeing him not feeling well but we have hope that we will be back in a good place by next weekend.

I'm not sure if it was the weather or stress or just bad luck but I got hit hard with migraines at the end of the week and was kind of MIA.  I'm feeling better though just a bit tired.  I'm getting some reading done and really enjoying my books.  I did get some energy and go to the Trader Joe's that just opened here.  We went to the one in Memphis all the time when we were there but since we moved back I've missed it!  Do you have any favorite/must buy treats from Trader Joe's?  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Clouds of Witness - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers

Rating: Liked It
Source:   Library

Description:  Rustic old Riddlesdale Lodge was a Wimsey family retreat filled with country pleasures and the thrill of the hunt -- until the game turned up human and quite dead. He lay among the chrysanthemums, wore slippers and a dinner jacket and was Lord Peter's brother-in-law-to-be. His accused murderer was Wimsey's own brother, and if murder set all in the family wasn't enough to boggle the unflappable Lord Wimsey, perhaps a few twists of fate would be -- a mysterious vanishing midnight letter from Egypt...a grieving fiancee with suitcase in hand...and a bullet destined for one very special Wimsey.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:   I'm trying to read more books from Sayers and this was the next book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series.

My Impression: The main thing I have decided is that these books don't really well in audio for me.  It's not that the narrator doesn't do a good job but more that the pace is a touch slow and they're very detailed so if my mind starts to wander a little I miss so much of the books.  The first book I had read first and then listened to the audio and ended up really enjoying both but with this one I just listened to the audio and I feel like I lost quite a bit of the story.

I loved getting to know a bit of Lord Peter Wimsey's family and the dynamics of the relationships.  And as usual I love seeing Wimsey and Bunting work together.  They remind me just a little of Bertie and Jeeves though Wimsey has a lot more sense then Bertie ever did.  I am looking forward to rereading this as I think it will be much richer and even more enjoyable that way and I'm looking forward to getting the next Wimsey book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I'm really looking forward to reading more by this author.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  Yes though I don't think I recommend going the audio route with these unless you're already familiar with the story.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

God Rest Ye, Royal Gentleman - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: God Rest Ye, Royal Gentleman (Royal Spyness #15) by Rhys Bowen

Rating: Really Liked It
Source:   Publisher

Description: Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas. Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham.

Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping. There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:   I've enjoyed the most recent books in this series and couldn't resist this one!

My Impression:  One of the things I missed in the last book was Darcy playing more then a cameo role.  I was thrilled that in this book he had page time from the beginning to the last page.  Georgie is still figuring out her new role as wife and lady of the manor and decides she should plan a house party for Christmas.  But just as she begins planning they receive a dual summons - one from the Queen to Georgie and the other from Darcy's aunt.  Suddenly Georgie, Darcy and their house party are on their way to the royal estate of Sandringham.  

I loved seeing more of Georgie's mother and brother, Binky.  Binky's wife Fig is still rather awful but I found myself quite liking Binky and Georgie's mother always managed to make me laugh - especially when she sparred with Wallis Simpson.  I was a bit sad that Georgie's grandfather did not make the trip but it made sense and I'm hoping we see more from him in future books.       

The mystery was one that kept me guessing and had a surprising ending.  There were so many ways that it could have unraveled and I really enjoyed seeing how it did.  The pacing at the beginning was a bit slow but still enjoyable and once the story got moving it was a fast read.  This is a fun mystery with lots of holiday cheer and even some historical royal gossip.                    

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  This is a series I'm looking forward to going back and reading the books I've missed and one I'll always be looking for new books from.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy historical cozies that are on the lighter side this is a fun series.

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Bookish Settings

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 Favorite Bookish Settings.

1.  Ireland - I can never resist a book set in Ireland!

2.  Salem, Massachusetts - I love a book set in Salem because usually there's a bit of paranormal as well as some interesting history.

3.  Small villages in England - From Miss Marple to modern day cozies small villages are always a delight and also usually very very fatal.  

4.  Maine - Some of my very favorite cozy mystery series are set in Maine so when I see a book set in Maine there's no way I can resist.

5.  New Orleans, Louisiana - I've spent a lot of time in New Orleans and love it so reading a book set there lets me take a bit of a mental vacation - especially if the author has been there and puts the right feelings/locations into the book.  

6.  A Bookstore/Library - I love a bookish character and love when there are lots of books around!

7.  A Bakery - There are so many wonderful bakery books and normally it makes me want to start baking myself (or at least buy some yummy treats).

8.  An Antique Store - I love antiques and I love history so when these two come together I'm a happy reader.

9.  An Inn/B&B (especially if it's haunted) - I'm also okay if this is just a big rambling old house especially if it's full of the previous occupants' stuff.  Bonus points if the main character unexpectedly inherited the Inn/B&B/house.

10. An Island or Beach of some kind - I love beachy settings!  Not only is it the only way I'll actually be going to the beach for a little while but it allows for so many different victims, suspects and murders.

What are some of your favorite bookish settings?

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Year of the Series - The Christie Caper + A Whisker of Trouble

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:  The Christie Curse (A Book Collector Mystery #1) by Victoria Abbott

My Thoughts:  I've had this series about a book collector searching for books connected to classic mystery authors for ages but somehow never picked up.  I'm so glad I finally did!  This was such fun!  Jordan Bingham is an interesting lead.  She's determined and resourceful and thanks to her uncles has some interesting connections to the not so legal way of doing things.  I really liked the side characters - especially Jordan's uncles.  Vera Van Alt is an interesting character.  To call her prickly is a massive understatement and I'm curious to see how her personality develops as the books go on.  There wasn't as much Christie mentions as I would like because Jordan is having to learn all about her as the book goes on.  I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more of the series.  My Rating:  Really Liked It

Goodreads:  A Whisker of Trouble (Second Chance Cat Mystery #3) by Sofie Ryan

My Thoughts:  There's not much that I can say about this book that I haven't already said about this series.  I really love it.  I love the characters - especially Charlotte's Angels.  I love Elvis.  I love Sarah's store and just seeing the whole crew together.  I really enjoyed this mystery.  Sarah, Mac, and Elvis stumble over a body at a house they've been hired to clear out.  This plunges them into an investigation ranging from murder to defrauding senior citizens.  Nick and Michelle (ie the official law enforcement) are very much side characters as they're pursuing other lines of investigation so the Angels are up front and center which as always makes for a fun ride.  I only have one more book before I'm fully caught up on this series and I'm going to be so sad to have to wait until Ryan published the next book.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - October 10

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:

Peril at Pennington Manor by Tracy Gardner - I enjoyed the first book in this series so I'm curious to see where it goes.  (Publisher)


Reading:  The Twelve Jays of Christmas by Donna Andrews and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Listening:  The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Watching:  Nothing really other then YouTube videos and I've been using ambient noise/music videos from Cinemagic Park Ambience on YouTube when I read.  They have videos based on different rides and locations at the Disney Parks and they're really fun and great background noise while reading.

This week was so much calmer then last week.  No hospital visits and no fevers!  Will is feeling much better and is completely over whatever it was that caused the fever last week.  And even better his numbers were strong at clinic last week so he has been able to restart chemo.  As well 2 weeks with the feeding tube he's finally started gaining some weight back and is starting to get more energy.  I think this week we are going to go scout out some of the walking trails in our area to use.  Now that it's not a million degrees with equal level humidity and mosquitos it's the perfect time to do some hikes or walks and we can go during the week to avoid people.  It'll be awhile before he's built up his endurance and strength to be able to do much but baby steps.  

Given my usual pattern I've been feeling my energy crashing now that the emergency is over and things are going pretty well.  I'm using this as an excuse to spend the day being lazy and hopefully getting some rest. 

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Mirror Crack'd - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Mirror Crack'd by Agatha Christie

Rating: Loved It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  One minute, silly Heather Badcock had been gabbling on at her movie idol, the glamorous Marina Gregg. The next, Heather suffered a massive seizure. But for whom was the deadly poison really intended?

Marina’s frozen expression suggested she had witnessed something horrific. But, while others searched for material evidence, Jane Marple conducted a very different investigation – into human nature.
Genre: Mystery- Classic

My Impression:  I really loved this one.  This is set in St. Mary Mead but it's a new St. Mary Mead with new people coming in and "the Development" encroaching on the village.  But the biggest news in this small village is that Gossington Hall once owned by Col and Mrs. Bantry has been bought by a famous American movie star, Marina Gregg.  Miss Marple is older and frailer then we've seen her before and frustrated by her limitations - especially since it means being saddled with the well meaning but hovering Miss Knight.  Her responses to Miss Knight's questions had me laughing.

This is a mystery I remember clearly so I wasn't surprised by how it worked out but I really enjoyed seeing it all worked out.  This mystery is very loosely based on an event in the actress Gene Tierney's life (don't look it up until after you've read it!) and there quite a bit of development of Marina Gregg.  I loved Cherry and I loved seeing Miss Marple investigate in a slightly different manner.  This was a great read and this is one I always enjoy revisiting.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I already have the next book ready.

Would I Recommend this Book?   Absolutely!  This might be one of my favorite Miss Marple books.  

Friday, October 8, 2021

Friday Fives - Mini Reviews For Books I've Read Recently

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  Today I'm sharing 5 short reviews for some random books I've read recently.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
- This is the third book I've read by this author.  I read Dead Wake several years ago and absolutely loved it.  I loved how the two different sides of the Lusitania sinking came to collide.  I did not love Thunderstruck as I found the Crippen story fascinating and the Marconi story rather dull.  I found this book to be somewhere in the middle.  Both the story of the Holmes murders and the story of the building of the Chicago World's Fair were interesting but the connection felt at best tentative.  It kind of reads like two separate books put into one - and honestly I would have liked more of both but in separate books.  It was still an interesting read and I felt like I learned a lot - especially about the Fair - and I like Larson's writing style but I'm not sure this dual storytelling really works perfectly in all cases.  My Rating: Really Liked It

The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes -
I'm going to be honest I think I've seen a total of 4 episodes of Shonda Rhimes' shows total but I've been wanting to read this book since it came out.  Even with zero connection to Shonda Rhimes and almost zero knowledge about Greys or Scandal I still really enjoyed this one.  This isn't so much saying yes but more one woman facing her demons and conquering them one by one.  There is a lot more self reflection and facing hard truths about herself then I expected and there was a somewhat more serious tone as well.  I listened to this one and thoroughly enjoyed it - especially listening to her speeches.  My Rating:  Loved It!

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones
- I grabbed the audio of this on a whim after reading some positive reviews of the 2nd book in the series and I really enjoyed it!  This is a quirky mystery with fun characters and some darker themes.   I liked Sunshine's relationship with her parents and daughter Aurie as well as her interactions with her deputies and those around her.  I did get a little eye rolly at Sunshine's hot and bothered act every time a particular character strolled into sight.  The primary mystery in the book was compelling and had a few hold your breath moments and Sunshine is a solid investigator.  I'm curious to see how the bigger background mystery gets resolved and am really looking forward to reading or listening to the 2nd book.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

The Stalking by Heather Graham -
This is the 29th Krewe of Hunters book and the 3rd book in the 2019 trilogy (Graham tends to do 3 books a year).  Normally, I've found that the 3rd book is by far the weakest but I don't know if it was because the books were only very loosely related this time or that I had let a decent amount of time pass before picking this one up but this was definitely an exception.  I really enjoyed reading this and from start to finish was hooked.  I liked that both leads were FBI agents and competent ones as that did put them on more equal footing that frequently happens in this series.  It wasn't a case of one protecting the other.  I loved the ghost hook and how the story played out with lots of Louisiana atmosphere.  These books aren't particularly realistic or memorable but they are incredibly entertaining distractions for when you're in the mood for a light fast read with some suspense and a bit of spookiness.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Hearse and Gardens by Kathleen Bridge
:  I'm so torn on this series.  I love that the Meg, main character, is a big fan of garage sales and estate sales and does interior design work for cottages in the Hamptons.  I like her friendship with Elle and watching as she explores some of the house of the rich and famous.  Unfortunately, there are times that Meg drives me absolutely crazy.  She's very impetuous, undercharges for her work which leaves her perpetually broke, and has never met an embarrassing situation she can't fall into face first.  As well,  there's a LOT going on.  There's real estate issues, her semi-obsession with her neighbor who is a secretive poet, pet stuff, work stuff, car drama, etc which means the mystery frequently gets lost in all the other stuff.  In both this book and the first book  in the series I almost DNF'd but finally got hooked about halfway in.  My Rating: Liked It

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Chapter and Curse - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Chapter and Curse (Cambridge Bookshop Series #1) by Elizabeth Penney

Rating: Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Librarian Molly Kimball and her mother, Nina, need a change. So when a letter arrives from Nina’s Aunt Violet in Cambridge, England requesting their help running the family bookshop, they jump at the chance.

Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts and Folios, is one of the oldest bookshops in Cambridge, and—unfortunately—customers can tell. When Molly and Nina arrive, spring has come to Cambridge and the famed Cambridge Literary Festival is underway. Determined to bring much-needed revenue to the bookstore, Molly invites Aunt Violet’s college classmate and famed poet Persephone Brightwell to hold a poetry reading in the shop. But the event ends in disaster when a guest is found dead—with Molly’s great-aunt’s knitting needle used as the murder weapon. While trying to clear Violet and keep the struggling shop afloat, Molly sifts through secrets past and present, untangling a web of blackmail, deceit, and murder.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  It involves a bookstore in England.  How could I resist it?

My Impression: This is another new series that I'm so excited for.  I love Molly, her mother Nina, and Aunt Violet.  I also really enjoyed the atmosphere of Thomas Marlowe bookstore.  I really loved the community and the friends that Molly makes.  

The mystery was solid.  Pretty much as soon as the body is discovered, Molly, her family and a few friends immediately form a group to investigate.  I love a team effort when it comes to an investigation and while this wasn't as fully used as I would have liked I loved when they would all get together and discuss new leads and whatnot.  As the investigation continues the question changes from who would have wanted to kill the victim to who WOULDN'T want to kill the victim.  The chase to the reveal was entertaining with just enough clues and red herrings to keep me me guessing.

Because this is the first book in the series there is quite a lot of setup.  Penney has to explain why Molly doesn't know anything about her mother's family and why she hasn't been back as well as setup just who everyone is on this small lane in Cambridge.  I found all of this interesting and enjoyed getting to know the characters.  However, the setup did slow the pacing down just a smidge.  

I'm excited to see where this series goes and I'm looking forward to spending more time with Molly, Nina, Aunt Violet, Kieran, Daisy and the rest of the group.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I really enjoyed this one and would love to read more from this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy bookish cozies this is one you should definitely pick up.

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