Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Winter-y Book Covers On My TBR

 It's starting to get colder here and with December 1st being tomorrow I have decided that it is winter even if the calender says there's almost three weeks to go!  I'm trying to read a bit more seasonally and here are 10 books on my TBR that have winter-y covers.

1.  Dark Night by Paige Shelton

2.  A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber

3.  All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

4.  Cross Her Heart by Melinda Leigh

5.  A Wee Dose of Death by Fran Stewart

6.  First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

7.  Without a Brew by Ellie Alexander

8.  Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford

9.  When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day

10. How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

Do you have any books with winter-y covers on your TBR?

Monday, November 29, 2021

Petals and Poison - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Petals and Poison (A Flower House Mystery #2) by Jess Dylan

Rating: Liked It
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Sierra Ravenswood has embraced her role as owner of Flower House floral shop and companion to her former boss's pet, Gus the Corgi. Sierra’s team are enjoying their new jobs too. At least until everyone realizes their lack of experience might be contributing to their lack of customers . . .

Sierra decides they need a change in luck, so she creates a special window display featuring lucky bamboo and auspicious flowers. It seems the new arrangement has worked when the shop is flooded with customers the next day, including a van full of college students on a horticulture club field trip. Unfortunately, Sierra doesn't notice that the students’ distracted professor has gone missing until Gus's urgent barking leads her to the storeroom – and the body of the unfortunate professor.

With folks now referring to Flower House as “Poison House” and suspects galore, Sierra fears her new business is doomed before it has a chance to get off the ground. Determined to reverse course and see justice served, she sets out to solve the crime and change her luck once more.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I read the first book in this series and liked it and was curious about what would happen next.

My Impression: I have some mixed feelings about this series.  I love that the setting is a flower shop and I love that there is a dog and not a cat.  I also really like the strong community of side characters with Deena, Richard, and Sierra's family along with the other residents of small town Tennessee.  In the previous book the character of Calvin was introduced and while he was likable he was always a bit of a mystery.  I was thrilled to see that this second book focused a bit more on Calvin and some of the questions were answered.  The mystery was an interesting one with lots of possible suspects and motives.

That said I just don't like Sierra.  She goes off on random monologues occasionally talking about her philosphy about laws of attraction and signs and whatnot but at the same time can be kind of dismissive of her grandmother's superstitions and beliefs.  I also have hard time with the whole premise of ownershop of The Flower House being kind of dumped on her.  

Even though this wasn't a favorite I did enjoy the read and like the novelty of a flower shop featuring in a cozy mystery.  The mystery was interesting and I really enjoy the group of likable side characters (plus a Corgi!).

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? The next book in the series won't necessarily be an auto-pickup from me but if the premise looks interesting I'll probably grab it.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you love flowers and a cozy with a lot of side characters then this series might be worth a try.  

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

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - November 28

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:

Bake, Borrow, and Steal by Ellie Alexander - The latest book in one of my favorite series!  (Publisher)


Reading:  Pride, Prejudice, and Peril by Katie Oliver and Nemisis by Agatha Christie

Listening:  Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer

I hope all who celebrate had a wonderful Thanksgiving and for those that don't that you had a wonderful week.  Last year at this time we were living in a little apartment in Memphis and Will was feeling absolutely awful.  We put together as much of a Thanksgiving meal as we could but it was a very quiet day.  This year we celebrated twice - the first on Thursday at my mother's and then on Friday which is our usual day where we got together with Jason's family.  There was lots of talking and laughing and great food.  Will was feeling much more like himself and ate his weight in turkey.  It was a much louder happier day.  

We had a big surprise planned for Saturday but that ended up getting pushed back until next Saturday.  After all the cooking and visiting Will and I are both feeling pretty run down so I think the pushback was definitely for the best.  This weekend will be mostly getting lots of rest and relaxing.  I can't quite kick this blech feeling.  I'm not sure if it's a cold or allergies or what but Will doesn't seem to be getting it so that's the main concern.  My reading has taken a bit of a hit but I've been trying to get as much rest as I can.

Have a great week and happy reading!

At Bertram's Hotel - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: At Bertram's Hotel By Agatha Christie

Rating: Liked It
Source:   Purchased

Description:  This old-fashioned London hotel may not be quite as reputable as it makes out!

When Miss Marple comes up from the country for a holiday in London, she finds what she's looking for at Bertram's: traditional d├ęcor and impeccable service. But she senses an unmistakable atmosphere of danger behind the highly polished veneer. Not even Miss Marple can foresee the violent chain of events set in motion when an eccentric hotel guest makes his way to the airport one day late!

Genre: Mystery - Classic

My Impression: This is probably my least favorite Miss Marple.  It's not a bad book but it's clear that Christie is experimenting a bit and I'm not sure it's one of her most successful experiments.  As well Miss Marple's role is basically a side character.  While she does have a lot of page time she doesn't really do anything except report support some observations to the Chief Inspector.

I'm not going to go too much into what the book is about as this is a mystery where the less you know the better.  I did really enjoy the descriptions of the hotel though it does have wondering what "real" muffins are as they are very clear it is not what Americans consider muffins.  I did really like Chief Inspector Davey's and his ability to recognize and appreciate Miss Marple for her observation powers as well as masquerade as a bumbling harmless old man when he is most definitely not.  

This was an interesting read though a bit convoluted and while I didn't love it I did enjoy the reading experience and am very much looking forward to the next Miss Marple.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I can't wait to pick up the next Miss Marple book.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you have read a number of the Miss Marple books then I would but this wouldn't be the Miss Marple book I'd recommend starting with.  

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Nonfiction Books I Want to Read

I've been so enjoying everyone's Nonfiction November posts though they have been brutal on the TBR that I was trying to shrink.  I ended up reading more nonfiction then I really expected to this year but not nearly as much as I had wanted.  Here are 10 nonfiction books that I'd like to read soon.

1.  Epic Drives of the World: Explore the Planet's Most Thrilling Road Trips by Lonely Planet - We aren't traveling anytime soon so I'd love to flip through this to virtually travel.  I actually prefer road trips over flying.  Partly because I can't pack light enough to not get charged a fortune and partly because I like the control of it so this seems like a perfect book for me.

2.  Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Lives by John Gray - This one just sounds like a fun book to flip through!

3.  The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer - I know just a teensy bit about falconry and this sounds fascinating.  

4.  Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw by Charles Leerhsen - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of my all time favorite movies and I've done a little bit of reading on the man himself but that was years ago and this sounds interesting.  

5.  Birder on Berry Lane: Three Acres, Twelve Months, Thousands of Birds by Robert Tougias - Birdwatching is one of those hobbies I find intriguing  and this book looks interesting.

6.  Code Name: Lise: The True Story of World War II's Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis - I read another book by this author earlier this year and found it absolutely fascinating so I want to give this a try.

7.  A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell - Another one that looks fascinating and I love reading about the lives of women during World War II.

8.  The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood's Chateau Marmont by Shawn Levy - I know nothing about this book but I couldn't resist this title.

9.  The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel by Julie Satow - This one caught my eye after reading A Gentleman in Moscow.  

10. Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary - I'm not a minimalist or particularly into simple living but the idea of taking a breath and finding more peace sounds wonderful.

What nonfiction books are on your TBR.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Year of the Series - A Turn For The Bad + The Sun Sister

After the calamity that was 2020 I didn't want to give myself serious reading goals but I did want to do something to help my book stacks get a little more under control.  I've tried getting rid of the ones I want to read but unfortunately I want to read all the books I own.  So I decided to focus on series.  There are so many I have that I abandoned halfway through or came in halfway and never read the first few.  I made a list of ten series and the next book I had to read in them and will be rolling in new books and series as I go along and catch up.  Here are two reviews from that list that I've read recently.

Goodreads: A Turn For The Bad (County Cork #4) by Sheila Connolly

Premise:  A man disappears off a beach with only his toddler son as a witness and Maura and the rest of the crew at Sullivan's Pub are drawn into the world of smuggling to get him back.

My Thoughts:  I'm still on the fence with this series.  Maura irritated me a bit less in the book than she has in the past and does seem to be at least trying to understand the different culture that surrounds her.  She is still pretty judgmental which did set my teeth on edge at times.  I did like that life in Ireland isn't portrayed as just leprechauns and rainbows but instead touches on real problems.  The mystery isn't the straight forward murder mystery but instead more about just life in the pub until the end when they go kind of into spy mode.  I enjoyed this book more then I liked the previous book but I don't own the next book and my library doesn't seem to have it so I'm not entirely sure I want to continue enough to buy it.   My Rating: Liked It 

Goodreads:  The Sun Sister (Seven Sisters #6) by Lucinda Riley

Premise:  This book focuses on the youngest daughter Electra who is an internationally famous model in the depths of addiction.  As with the other books in this series this is a dual time line story with the past timeline focusing on Cecily Huntley-Morgan who has fled to Kenya to escape heartbreak and social embarrassment and ends up falling into a whole new life.

My Thoughts:  At the beginning Electra is a hard character to like.  She's rude, self involved, angry and careless of the feelings of those around her.  She has zero interest in finding out where she comes from or taking care of herself.  Like in previous books as the story progresses Lucinda Riley works her magic and I came to understand Electra and got caught up in her story.  Cecily's story was just as fascinating and engaging and this is one of the few books where I enjoyed both POVs equally.  I was so glad to see so much of the other sisters in this book and it made me super excited to start the next book.   Both of these women are flawed but I found both sympathetic and was engaged in both their stories.  My Rating: Loved It!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Ten Cookbooks On My To Try List

 I used to love to cook. I'm not a creative cook who can open the refrigerator or the pantry and create something competely off the top of their head and have it be fabulous.  Nor am I a person who can recreate a restaurant meal or suddenly come up with a flavor combination or anything like that.  I do, however love cookbooks.  I love flipping through them and choosing recipes to try.  I even enjoy making the grocery list and the meal plan but the best part is taking the pile of different ingredients and making something that is (usually!) really good!  But in the last few years between traveling and living out of hotel rooms, health issues, a quick unexpected move, severe health issues accompanied with chemo taste buds, moving home, general exhaustion and all that I kind of stopped cooking.  But lately I've been really missing it and have been enjoying finding my footing in the kitchen again.  When it comes to cookbooks I'm a big library used so here are 10 Cookbooks I'm planning on checking out and trying soon!

1.  An Unapologetic Cookbook by Joshua Weissman - The attitude of getting back to basics and cooking what you like appeals to me though I haven't watched anything from Joshua Weissman.

2.  Everyday Dinners: Real-Life Recipes to Set Your Family Up For a Week of Success by Jessica Merchant - I know nothing about this person or this book but the title and subtitle got me so I'm hoping it will provide some good go-to meals.  

3.  Baking for the Holidays: 50+ Treats for a Festive Season by Sarah Kieffer - I've been cutting way back on desserts but I do love to bake so I decided to give this festive cookbook a try.

4.  Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food by Julia Turshen - Another book I know nothing about but I like the idea of healthy comfort food so thought I'd give it a try.

5.  Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty, & Simple by Dorie Greenspan - Another baking book but I've had such good luck with other books from Dorie Greenspan I just couldnt' resist this one.

6.  Grand Dishes: Recipes and Stories From Grandmothers of the World by Anastasia Miari and Iska Lupton - I only have a few family recipes but I really treasure them and so wish I had more.  Even if I get no food out of this book I'm looking forward to flipping through it.

7.  Food Between Friends by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous - I really enjoyed Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Modern Family and thought this cookbook looked fun.

8.  Quick and Delicous: 100 Recipes to Cook in 30 Minutes or Less by Gordon Ramsay - Somehow I have never tried any recipe from Gordon Ramsay or watched any show he's been on.  And while I don't love what I've seen of his tv persona I've heard good things about his recipes.

9.  Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France by Melissa Clark - The title caught my attention.   I've really enjoyed what French cooking I've done and this sounds very approachable.  

10. Quick Cooking by Mary Berry - I love Mary Berry and this looks like a newer cookbook so I need to try it.  

What are some of your favorite cookbooks?

Monday, November 22, 2021

Mrs. Jeffries and the Midwinter Murder - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads: Mrs. Jeffries and the Midwinter Murders (Mrs. Jeffries #40) by Emily Brightwell

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Mrs. Jeffries and Inspector Witherspoon should be checking off their Christmas present list but instead they're listing murder suspects in this latest entry of the beloved Victorian Mystery series.

Harriet Andover had no intention of dying young like her silly siblings had. She intended to outlive them and outdo them as she always had. But Harriet discovers that the best intentions can lead to murder when she is strangled inside her mansion with a house full of holiday guests.

As much as Inspector Witherspoon enjoys his job delivering justice, the last thing he wanted was a complicated murder case just a week before Christmas. He soon discovers that Harriet's own husband and grown stepchildren are not overcome with grief and neither are most of her friends. And to put the icing on the Christmas cookies, the room where Harriet's body was found was locked from the inside and she had the only key in her pocket.

Mrs. Jeffries and the household have no intention of letting their inspector down and learn that Harriet's sister may have died from foul play as well. As the clues mount, this dedicated band of merry sleuths will not rest until they've delivered a stocking full of coal to a crafty killer.

Genre: Mystery -Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I have really enjoyed the most recent books in the series so I couldn't help but pick this one up.

My Impression:  The last few years I have very much looked forward to the new Mrs. Jeffries for Christmas.  This one did not disappoint though it didn't have quite as much Christmas spirit as some entries previously.  However, the fact that this was a true locked room mystery made up for it.  I've read a number of takes on locked room but not an actual one.  

Harriet Andover had a strong personality and inspired very different feelings.  Her household staff regarded her as a kind and considerate employer while her husband and stepchildren resented her wealth and tight control over it.  But was that resentment strong enough to lead to murder and if it was how was it done?  

Luckily, Mrs. Jeffries and the rest of the team are there to back up Inspector Witherspoon and Constable Barnes.  I love seeing the different characters and how they investigate according to their strengths and connections.  I also really enjoy seeing how the surreptiously get the information to Inspector Witherspoon without him knowing exactly what is going on.  I also really like that in his own right Witherspoon is a solid investigator.  While he has quite a lot of backup he is intelligent and capable as well as able to read people.  

This is a solid entertaining series.  Don't let the high number of the series keep you from picking any of these mysteries up.  Like any series with a pretty broad cast of characters each book read gets better as you get to know the characters but there's enough background information shared that even in the first book I read (I think #36) I was able to understand what was going on and who was who.  I'm already looking forward to next year's book and want to go back and read the earlier books.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I have really enjoyed every book in this series that I've read and am looking forward to reading more.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy a cozy mystery with a twist of upstairs/downstairs you should give this series a try!

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

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Life with Leukemia (and Some Reading) - November 21

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 trying to take a bit of a break from getting new books.  Not a long break of course but just a bit of one.


The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart
and Petals and Poison by Jess Dylan

Listening:  Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King

So we got the school room basically setup with the pictures and what not hung up.  I really like how it came out and it's been wonderful having a place dedicated to homeschool again.  We've really been enjoying it so far.  This is one of the few rooms in our house that gets a lot of natural light which is also really great.  Will picked the color of the walls and helped get everything laid out.  I want to get more books, more stuff for the walls, and more odds and ends but I figure that will come and it's good to have some space for growth.  I figure this room is also able to grow with him pretty well.  

I don't love how slouchy the bean bag couch ended up being but it is comfortable and big enough to relax on during reading or things like that.  

Other then that it was a pretty tough week.  Will had a sharp increase in nerve pain which is caused by one of the chemo drugs and the steroids.  They're going to do an MRI to rule out a couple of conditions that can occur with adolescents undergoing cancer treatment but we are hoping that none of those are an issue and that we just need to play around with medicine to get everything under control.  

We are getting ready for Thanksgiving.  We normally have our big meal on Friday but we will be going to my mother's on Thursday and then we have something really fun planned for Saturday so I'm trying to make sure Will gets plenty of rest so he's not worn out by then.  We did manage to get 2 turkey breasts (none of us are dark meat fans) which was a relief as I'd heard that finding turkeys this year was a bit of a challenge.  I've got just a couple of more things to pick up and we should be good.  This year is SO different from our Thanksgiving last year and in the best possible week.  

If you celebrate Thanksgiving are you ready or do you have tons of stuff left to do?

Have a great week and happy reading!

Thunder on the Right - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Thunder on the Right by Mary Stewart

Rating: Liked It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  Artist Jennifer Silver has come to the picturesque, secluded Valley of the Storms in the French Pyrenees to meet with a young cousin who is about to enter the convent there -- only to discover that the young woman has died in a dreadful car accident. Or did she?

Lies abound in this strange and frightening place, but seeking the truth could lead Jennifer to her own violent death.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been wanting to read more Mary Stewart and I kind of picked this title at random.

My Impression: Stewart absolutely excels at atmosphere.  While there are some flaws in this book Stewart pulled me in and I could feel the ominous gloom of the convent bearing down on me.  I liked Jenny and Stephen.  Jenny is determined that something is not right with the situation that is explained to her and Stephen while doubtful listens and supports her.  Jenny has been underestimated her entire life and really only her father and Stephen see that there's more to her then there seems.  The pacing for the last half was fantastic and I flew through the last 200 pages anxious to find out what happened next and to see how it all worked out.  

Now for the flaws. I feel like the book was a bit too long.  There is a bit too much description and while I appreciated the atmosphere the detail ran a bit long as well.  As well while I liked both Stephen and Jenny I didn't feel like I really knew them.  The ending while it pulled me in and kept me reading the ending felt a bit disjointed and like things weren't fully explained.  

I enjoyed this read and am glad I read it.  I definitely want to read more from Mary Stewart - especially since reading that she considered this one of her weakest books.   

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would!  I really enjoyed Stewart's writing and her way of creating atmosphere.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy a good Gothic-y read I would recommend this one even with its flaws.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Friday Fives - Five Recipes I've Made 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.  This week is one of the not so much!  I've been getting back to experimenting a little with new recipes and I thought I'd share 5 recipes I've made recently and what I thought.

1. One Pot Chicken Alfredo from Kitchen Meets Girl - I did not have high hopes going into this recipe - especially when I saw that the blogger used fat free half-n-half - but it ended up being soo good!  It's not a traditional alfredo which is essentially just cream but it had a lot of flavor and came together really easily.  I didn't add the bacon because it just didn't seem needed (and I love bacon) but other then that I followed the recipe exactly.  It also heats up nicely which is always a plus.

2.  Irish Wake Cake from Nourishing Death - This is essentially a cream cheese pound cake.  The texture is a little different but that's what this reminded me of.  I had to add a bit more liquid to the glaze then called for (I used a bit of vanilla and milk as well as the lemon juice) but other then that I followed the recipe exactly.  This cake travels well and is a little bit different from the usual pound cake but still familiar.  I will definitely be making this again!

3.  Cream Cheese Corn from Buns In My Oven - Side dishes are typically my nemesis as I can only make one thing that requires a lot of steps at a time.  This was a super easy side dish that is essentially made my dumping the ingredients into a slow cooker and stirring.  I think next time I might add a little bit of spice but we really enjoyed it and it pairs well with most main dishes as well as reheating well.

4.  Gooey Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars by Averie Cooks - I used to work with someone who always brought her version of Gooey Butter Cake in and everyone loved it but I always found it too sweet.  Most of the recipes I've seen involve a cake mix, cream cheese, and a lot of powdered sugar.  I was intrigued that this one was from scratch and didn't have tons of sugar in it.  This is definitely sweet but not as sugary as other similar deserts.  The shortbread crust is really good and the gooey topping has a melt in your mouth quality.  A little goes a long way but it's definitely a dessert we are all enjoying!

5.  Slow Cooker Beef Stew from Chef in Training - This was a nice tasty stew that is super easy to throw together.  I didn't end up adding the peas because we don't really love peas.  She does suggest thickening it a bit at the end with a little flour and water and I think next time I make this I will definitely take this suggestion as I did find it a bit too liquid-y though the flavor was very good.  It reheats well and makes for excellent leftovers.  

What have you made lately?

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Once Upon a Wardrobe - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads: Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan

Rating: Loved It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Megs Devonshire is brilliant with numbers and equations, on a scholarship at Oxford, and dreams of solving the greatest mysteries of physics.

She prefers the dependability of facts—except for one: the younger brother she loves with all her heart doesn’t have long to live. When George becomes captivated by a copy of a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there’s no way she can refuse.

Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, imploring them for answers. What she receives instead are more stories . . . stories of Jack Lewis’s life, which she takes home to George.

Why won’t Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother—the story behind Narnia—turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  Not going to lie - that cover is mostly what pulled me in but The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of my favorite books.

My Impression:   I loved this book.  I'm not really much of  a book collector or one who has book hangovers but by the time I finished this book I knew I needed to own a physical copy to sit on my shelf and that I was going to need to process this story.  It's a truly wonderful story that pulled me in right from the beginning and I loved it more and more every page.  As the parent of a child with severe health issues I was worried that this story would be too much for me.  However, it's such a story of hope and healing and magic that it wasn't an issue.  My only negative is that Megs and George aren't real because I want to know more about them and spend more time with them.

I don't want to say too much about this story because I want you to read it and discover it for yourself!  This is one of those books that not only do I want to own but it's one that probably most of my family will be receiving as Christmas gifts because I want everyone to read it.  This is the first book I've read by Patti Callahan but I now want to read anything that she has written.  This will easily be in my Top Ten Books of the year.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  Just based off of this book this author will be an autobuy for me.
Would I Recommend this Book? Yes!  Go read it!  If you can try the audio book because the narrator does a wonderful job with the accents.  

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Doggone Deadly - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Doggone Deadly (A Catskills Pet Rescue Mystery #2) by Deborah Blake

Rating: Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  When the woman running the big regional dog show calls out sick, dog groomer Suz Holden is asked to take over. But it's too much for her to handle by herself-- considering the president of the kennel club, Olivia Weiner, criticizes her at every turn--so she calls in her best friend, Kari Stuart, for help.
A long, stressful day goes from bad to worse when a local breeder is found dead, and the murder weapon seems to incriminate Suz.

While Kari knows her friend isn't guilty, the police aren't so sure, especially after a second murder points to Suz again. But trying to run a dog show and investigate a murder at the same time is like herding cats, and Kari will have to rely on the rest of the Serenity Sanctuary staff to keep things running smoothly while she--and her beloved and clever kitten, Queenie--sniff out the truth.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed the first book in the series so of course I had to pick up book 2!

My Impression:   This was a bit different from what I was expecting.  Kari spending time at a dog show full of AKC (American Kennel Club) breeders and handlers with all the dog show craziness that that entails was entertaining and unexpected.  I love that her black kitten, Queenie, managed to worm her way into the mix as well.  

Kari is just as likable of a character as I remember from the first book and I love the team feel that the Serenity Sanctuary group feels like.  The mystery was interesting with lots of potential motives and lots of suspects.  I love the time spent around the dogs (and Queenie) and enjoyed this read from start to finish.  It's nice to have a cozy mystery where dogs show up a bit more even if there is a cat main character!  This is a fun cozy mystery series that is perfect for animal lovers and is just lots of fun!

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

Would I Recommend this Book? If you're a cozy mystery lover - especially if you love animals you should definitely give this a try!

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Fall Cozy Mysteries On My TBR with Titles That Make Me Laugh


1.  One Foot in the Grape by Carlene O'Neil -I'm not really a wine drinker but I love the look of this series involving a winery and I love the title!

2.  Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower - This magical bookshop mystery series is on my TBR but I can never resist any kind of literary or bookish pun title.

3.  Sealed with a Kill by Lucy Lawrence - I haven't heard of this series but it sounds delightful and I love this title!

4.  The Cider Shop Rules by Julie Anne Lindsey - I've really enjoyed the first two books in this series so of course I have to pick this one up!

5.  The Grim Steeper by Amanda Cooper - The play on the Grim Reaper always makes me giggle and of  course this book is set in a tea shop.  

6.  The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander - I love the title and I love this author and can anything feel more fall then an Oktoberfest?

7.  Til Dirt Do Us Part by Edith Maxwell - I love this title and this is a series that I have on my TBR.

8.  A Killer Maize by Paige Shelton - This is a series that I own most of but haven't read much from.  I need to pick it back up and either get through the series or decide it isn't worth the shelf space!  

9.  Bake, Borrow, and Steal by Ellie Alexander - Another book from Ellie Alexander though in a different series but one of my favorites.  This one doesn't come out until next year and I can't wait!

10.  Hooked on Ewe by Hannah Reed - Another series on my TBR and another one where the title cracked me up!

Do you have any fall themed books on your TBR? 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Killer Research - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Killer Research (A Library Lover's Mystery #12) by Jenn McKinlay

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Spring is livening up Briar Creek after a long, cold winter, and newlyweds Lindsey and Sully could not be happier. Even though the upcoming mayoral election is getting heated, everything else in town is coming up daffodils...until a body is found.

Ms. Cole, a librarian and current candidate for town mayor, is shocked when she opens her trunk to discover a murder victim who just so happens to be a guy she dated forty years ago and the founder of the baking empire Nana's Cookies. As the town gossip mill turns, a batch of rumors begins to circulate about Ms. Cole's rebellious youth, which--along with being a murder suspect--threatens to ruin her life and her budding political career. But Ms. Cole is one tough cookie who will not go down without a fight.

Has the campaign for mayor turned deadly? It is up to Lindsey, Sully, and the rest of the crafternoon pals to see how the cookie crumbles and figure out who is trying to frame Ms. Cole for murder and why.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is a favorite series so of course I had to pick up this latest book.  

My Impression:  Oh I love this series!  I love Lindsey and that she introduces townspeople to the reader by describing what kinds of books they tend to checkout.  One of the things that I've really appreciate about the series is the evolution of Ms. Cole.  For the first few books she's almost a one note cranky librarian character but as the series has continued we've seen her become more and more human which I've really enjoyed.  In this book not only is Ms. Cole much more front and center but we get a peek into her backstory which did explain a lot about her and was really interesting.

I expect the mystery to be solid in this series and this did not let me down.  There are a lot of potential motives though no real suspects until more then halfway through the book.  As always I love Emma as police chief and Robbie as her boyfriend/ Lindsey's conspirator is top notch and I'm really pleased that the romance between Lindsey and Sully has settled down and there is no more uncertainty there.  

This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and it very rarely disappoints.  Not only are the mysteries solid and intriguing but the characters are just like visiting old friends.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  This is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors.

Would I Recommend this Book? Yes!  This is a fun and well done bookish cozy series.  I do recommend starting towards the beginning as the character development is a pretty big part of the plot but I don't think you'll regret it!

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

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Life with Leukemia (and Some Reading) - November 14

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:

An Impossible Imposter by Deanna Raybourn - Not only do I love this series but this one sounds especially interesting.  I can't wait to get started on it!  (Publisher)


ReadingMrs. Jeffries and the Midwinter Murders by Emily Brightwell and Wings of the Falcon by Barbara Michaels

ListeningOnce Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan

We got to hang out with Orbit at clinic this week which is always fun!  His numbers came back really good and he's been feeling pretty healthy.  We've gotten a lot of school done and have actually been making some progress in catching up.  It's been so great to have a dedicated space.  I've got to get a couple of poster frames and then I'm going to share pictures.  

I've been feeling much better and I think the chest cold is on its way out.  I've gotten back to exercising which has also really helped.  We've also still been keeping my dad's dog some and I've been enjoying going on lots of walks with him.  We've reached a point in dog and cat relations where the dog desperately wants to be friends with the cat and the cat is just enjoying messing with him.  The dog will be all relaxed and the cat when walk into his line of sight and then the dog will get excited that the cat wants to be friends and then the cat will hiss at him which will confuse the dog.  I'm feeling pretty sorry for the dog at this point because it is extremely clear that the cat is enjoying himself!

Have a great week and happy reading!

The Catherine Wheel - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Catherine Wheel by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  There was certainly a heavy air of intrigue and mystery emanating from the old inn high on the cliff top. The Catherine-Wheel had once been a home for pirates and smugglers, but now it looked like it was harbouring a murderer.

It began with an advertisement in the paper requesting descendants of the late innkeeper, Jeremiah Taverner, to stay for a weekend at the inn. They arrived, a mixed assortment, at the family reunion eager to discover the secrets of their ancestry. But one of them was then hideously murdered, bringing the inn's stormy past into frightening focus.

Scotland Yard, already suspicious of drug smuggling in the area, sends Maud Silver to investigate.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm reading the Miss Silver books this year.

My Impression: This was a bit different from the usual Miss Silver mystery.  For starters Miss Silver has not been recommended to some desperate person by a ardent fan and former client.  Instead, Chief Inspector Lamb has sent Miss Silver down to investigate rumors of unsavory dealings.  And wow are the dealings unsavory!  Especially when someone is found murdered in the middle of the night.

There is quite a lot of family drama as the Taverner family has gotten together for a reunion after a multi-generational feud.  Secrets are uncovered and bonds are formed (or destroyed) as the days go on.  The atmosphere is painted a bit more heavily then Wentworth usually goes for with the inn having a gloomy almost claustrophobic feel which made it a slightly creepier (very slight) then I usually expect.

The mystery was entertaining with lots of twists and turns and featured lots of interaction between Miss Silver, CI Lamb, and Frank Abbott which I can never resist.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  And I need to get reading as there are lots more Miss Silver books then I realized!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy Miss Marple books or have read and enjoyed other books by Patricia Wentworth I think you would really enjoy it!

Friday, November 12, 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.  Today I'm sharing 5 short reviews for some random books I've read recently.

Legacy by Nora Roberts
- Adrian Rizzo has been in the public eye since even before birth as her mother built her fitness empire while pregnant.  When she is 7 she has a life changing trauma and at 17 she begins to figure out what she wants and do it her own way.  Unfortunately, there is someone watching from the shadows.  This is one of Roberts' romantic suspense stand alones and I really enjoyed listening to this one.  I'm on the fence on whether or not I'd want to be friends with Adrian but I did like her independence and her confidence in herself and her vision.  I loved the friendships and community Roberts developed in Traveler's Creek and how she dealt with Raylan's past life.  I liked that his marriage had been happy and we were shown him getting some closure.  This is a light fast paced romantic suspense that I really enjoyed.  January Lavoy did a fabulous job with the narration and I thoroughly enjoyed the listen.  *Slight Spoiler*  No dog is hurt in the book!  I had some tense moments but the dogs are fine.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffith -
When a high school English teacher at a school that was once the home of famed Gothic writer R.M. Holland is found murdered coworker Clare Cassidy is drawn into a web of lurking danger that might have her at the center.  This was an interesting premise.  We get several POVs - Clare, detective Harbinder Kaur, and Clare's daughter Georgia, as well as excerpts from the short story by R.M. Holland that Clare frequently teaches from.  At the beginning I didn't love this one.  Clare is okay but Harbinder is the absolute worst.  As the story goes on the mystery pulled me farther and farther in until I was just sitting and listening anxious to see what would happen next.  There's lots of Gothic elements though they are a bit more window dressing then actually influencing how the story plays out.  The audio was well down with different voices for the different POVs.  I wasn't quite sure just how everything was going to resolved until the very end.  I wasn't sure at first but after finishing it I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  My Rating: Really Liked It

The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz -
Catalina Lark and her friend Olivia Dayton are making their own way in a detective firm in Seattle after witnessing a murder as children in their hometown of Fogg Lake.  But when Olivia goes missing and a mysterious man named Slate Trevelyan with a mysterious aura shows up and Catalina finds herself facing the demons she's been running from most of her life to find her friend and uncover the secrets of her hometown.  I always enjoy Krentz's books.  They usually don't stick with me but they're such fun to read.  This was no exception except for the fact that it is way more supernatural then I expected.  There are auras, psychics and secret organizations all running around which make for an exciting and interesting read.  While I thought her more paranormal books were typically under written under her Castle name this proved for a surprising and entertaining read.   I listened to this one and the narration was well done and the story was well paced.  I'm looking forward to reading more from this series.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Pumpkins in Paradise (TJ Jensen Mystery #1) by Kathi Daley
 - I rolled a Kathi Daley book in my TBR roulette and since I couldn't find that one anywhere I went with the first in this series which I've been wanting to read for awhile.  TJ is a high school soccer coach who has recently gotten custody of her two grade school half-sisters after the death of her estranged mother.  When a close friend of her dies TJ is convinced that all is not what it seems.  There is a LOT going on in this book especially given how short it is.  There are a ton of characters and most have relatively complicated relationships.  As well there is a mystery to solve, a lodge to run, sisters to deal with, new deputies to get to know, festivals to run, and high schoolers to coach.  I felt a bit like I got dropped into an ongoing series and was scrambling to catch up for quite awhile.  Once I got used to all the characters and the concept I did end up enjoying it though it isn't the most memorable of books.  I'll probably pick up more of this series but it won't be at the top of my list.  My Rating: Liked It

Pulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindse
y - I listened to the first book in this cozy mystery series involving Winnie, her grandmother and the family orchard and really enjoyed it so now that fall is starting to make its appearance here it seemed like the perfect time to pick up the second book.  Winnie is excited when her newly opened cider shop holds its first event - a barn style wedding - but less excited when then reception ends with the groom being run over and killed by the vintage truck that the happy couple was supposed to make their exit.  When Winnie's ex-boyfriend Hank is the primary suspect she is drawn into the investigation.  The mystery is full of red herrings and kept me guessing.  I like the characters in this book - especially Winnie and her relationship with her grandmother.  As well, Winnie's best friend Dot and her penchant for rescuing animals and landing them on Winnie is always entertaining.  My only issue is relationship between Winnie and Colton.  I wish they'd just talk to each other!  I'm looking forward to listening to the 3rd book and any future books in the series.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

What have you read lately?