Monday, January 31, 2022

The Christie Affair - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads: The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

Rating: Liked It
Source:  Publisher

Description:  The greatest mystery wasn’t Agatha Christie’s disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it’s what she discovered.

London, 1925: In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O’Dea became Archie Christie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie.

The question is, why? Why destroy another woman’s marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O’Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing?

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors and I've always found the story of her disappearance fascinating.  I thought this sounded like an interesting premise.

My Impression:  I honestly don't know how I feel about this one.  I really liked the author's writing style.  She pulled me in and really made the story come to life.  Both Nan and Agatha are flawed women with strengths and weaknesses which I appreciated.  

There are two timelines in this book.  One involves Nan as a teenager and a young woman and the other starts shortly before Agatha Christie's disappearance.  Nan is the narrator of both stories and has a voice that is a mix of vulnerable and jaded which is interesting.  It felt like this was really two books.  While Nan's earlier story is tragic and does provide backstory for her I was always so relieved when we went back to Agatha's story.  Nan's story was so heavy and tragic that while I was pulled in it was much more distressing then I was looking for.  As well it felt much more developed then the story of Agatha's disappearance which was my main draw to the book.

I really enjoyed this author's writing style and love this concept.  While this didn't end up being the story I was really looking for I think it will appeal to many other readers who are looking for a historical read that touches on darker issues and not so much for the Agatha Christie story.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would if the subject matter interested me though I might wait for some reviews first so I can adjust expectations.

Would I Recommend this Book?  This book touches on things like sexual assault, adultery, infant death, infant loss, and animal death (which is talked about but happens off page).  Nothing is too graphically described but it is clear what is happening.  If none of these trigger you and you enjoy deeper historical fiction then I would recommend this book as I did really appreciate the writing.

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

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - January 30


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:


Dewey Decimated by Allison Brook - So excited about this one!  Love this series! (Publisher)

Currently


Reading:
 
An Impossible Imposter by Deanna Raybourn and The Golden Ball and Other Stories by Agatha Christie 

Listening: Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis 


This week flew by.  Rover had his first puppy class and basically spent the entire 50 minutes trying to saying hello to everyone.  He did enjoy it and I think once he stops being overwhelmed he's going to do really well.  He was very proud of himself as you can see above.

Will has been feeling okay but his appetite has completely disappeared.  It looks like we are going to have to go back to the feeding tube which none of us are thrilled about but it's just one day at a time.  He also got his new leg braces to help with some of the neuropathy issues.  He's getting used to them and it definitely helps with his walking but he says it feels weird because it keeps his foot flat.  He also got his first Covid vaccine Saturday morning.  So far so good other then a sore arm.  Jason has been working from home since March of 2020 but will have to be going back to the office a day or two a week starting in a few months and has a number of business trips on the horizon so it will be a relief for him to have some kind of protection.  Though really from what we've seen with cancer kids while getting Covid is not good what can go really bad is a secondary inflammatory infection.  We know of three kids who have ended up in the ICU for extended periods from that alone.

This week was one of those weeks that felt absolutely crazy and frazzled even though I have no real idea why.  I did join The Conqueror Virtual Challenge which is essentially virtual challenges where you can walk/run/swim or whatever on certain distances.  I'm doing the Giza Pyramids Challenge which means I'm going to walk 46.4 miles at my own pace.  When I put in my distance it moves me on the map and I can see Google street views of where I am and at certain points I get postcards telling me the history of particular places that I'm passing.  When I've walked all my miles they'll send me a real life medal.  There's bunches of different challenges and I'm really enjoying it.  It's good motivation to get outside and walk more and right now I need the motivation since it's still cold here.  I am NOT designed for winter temperatures!

Have a great week and happy reading!

The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy - Historical Mystery

Goodreads: The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy by James Anderson

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  The theft of the diamond necklace and the antique pistols might all be explained, but the body in the lake - that was a puzzle. Inspector Wilkins is called in to investigate, but it's going to take some intricate sleuthing to uncover who killed whom and why.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:   How could I resist that title?  Actually I have no idea how I stumbled across this book but I'm so glad I did!

My Impression:  This book was not what I expected.  For some reason I expected this one to be a bit dry and heavily written but I couldn't have been more wrong.  This book reminded me just a bit of Agatha Christie in both basic plot and variety of characters.  As well it had a good bit of quirk and a touch of farce without trying to hard to be quirky or funny.   There's even a touch of romance though only the lightest touch.

The mystery is an interesting one.  There's a murder, a robbery, international incidents, a notorious theif, and oddly enough a blood stained egg cosy which no one can quite figure out.  The reveal was well done with a Hercule Poirot reference and kept me guessing.  This was a fun read from start to finish and I'm planning on buying the next two books in this series to see what happens with these characters next.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes!  I've already ordered the next book by this author.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy more classic style mysteries I think you'd enjoy this one.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Friday Fives - Mini Reviews for 5 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.


1.  Hideaway by Nora Roberts - I love Nora Roberts' romantic suspense novels and this one did not disappoint!  This one like the last one I listened to has a lot more character development for the main character then I remember from earlier books.  We follow Caitlyn from the time she is about 10 until she is an adult and watch all her missteps, tragedies, and victories along the way.  I love the Sullivan family and really enjoyed that so much of her family gets so much page time.  Dylan is also a great character with a wonderful family though not as well developed.  As well I really enjoyed both sheriff and deputy.  They were both good at their jobs and sympathetic which was nice.  I listened to this book and loved January LaVoy's narration.  She is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators.  This is a fun romantic suspense with characters I grew to love and a couple that I hated from the beginning.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!


2.  Paint the Town Dead by Nancy Haddock -
This is the 2nd book in the Silver Six trilogy cozy mystery.  I read the 3rd book a couple of years ago and enjoyed it so much I went back and listened to the first two books.  This is a fun series involving Leslie Nix aka Nixy, her elderly aunt and her friends who are affectionally referred to as the Silver Six.  When a murder occurs involving an artist who is demonstrating at their newly opened Craft Shop Nixy is pulled into the investigation much to the consternation of her kind of boyfriend who also happens to be a police detective.  Most of the suspects are from out of town which makes the book a bit crammed with characters as there are also a lot of townspeople.  The mystery is an interesting one with lots of suspects and potential motives and definitely kept me entertained.  My only real issue was the number of characters kept me from really feeling invested in the Silver Six.  My Rating: Liked It!


3.  Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer -
Ivy Culpepper is back in her hometown of Santa Linda, California after a painful divorce and the sudden and shocking death of her mother.  She's still overcome with grief and has lost her passion for photography.  Trying to take back control of her life she discovers a local bread shop and from her daily visits graduated to taking cooking classes and getting to know Olaya, the owner, as well as her two sisters and the other members of the class.  When one of those classmates end up murdered Ivy is pulled into the investigation.  I loved getting to know the town of Santa Linda and the side characters - espeically Olaya and Penny Branford.  Ivy is a likable character and it was good to see her step into the investigation and start pulling slowly out of her grief.  My only real issue is that one part of the mystery didn't make much sense and I had to flip back and reread.  The rest of the book was so enjoyable and I really like all the characters so I'm looking forward to reading more from this series.  My Rating: Liked It!


4.  The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden -
This book has been on my TBR since it came out and I'm so glad I finally listened to the audio.  Neither the story nor the narration disappointed.  This book has such an old fashioned story tale with all the darkness that hide in the shadows and even more intensity.  It did take me a bit to get into it but I enjoyed the feel of the story and the narration by Kathleen Gati so much that I still enjoyed the story.  Once I got hooked I listened with baited breath to a somewhat classic struggle between good versus evil but with a serious twist.  This is a perfect winter listen when you're in the mood for a gorgeous dark tinged story.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!


5.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman -
This is another book that has been on my TBR for awhile.  I'm never quite sure how I feel about Gaiman's books.  I spend the beginning sure that I'm going to end up DNFing it and being somewhat confused by everything and then all of a sudden I'm completely pulled into the story and can't stop reading.  This book was no exception.  I'm not quite sure exactly how to describe it which is probably best because it's a book that not knowing much about as you go into it is probably for the best.  There is some dark imagery but honestly I didn't find it all that much darker then Coraline.  If you haven't read Gaiman before give this one a try.  It's weird and twisted with dark imagery that had me invested and at times made me think.  It'll probably be awhile before another book by this author but this defintitely won't be my last book by him.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Books from the Backlog - The Cracked Spine


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!


Blurb:  In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn't know much about what she's gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she'll be working with "a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes," and Delaney can't wait to get started.
When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue -- and it doesn't hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.

But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact -- a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare's plays -- goes missing, and Edwin's sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it's connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf: I've read a couple of the more recent books in this series and enjoyed them to various levels but I have a feeling they would have made SO much more sense if I had started here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Year of the Projects - The Girl From the Savoy + The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries + Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen

 I do love a good list.  It gives a nice sense of order and focus and I love making lists about the books I want to read.  Last year I focused just on series I was behind on.  The project went great and I caught up on a ton of series but I felt like I was neglecting other books on my shelf and books at my library.  This year I have a few lists going - Series, Library, Clear Off My Shelves, and a random TBR Bingo where I pull books off my Goodreads TBR.  Here are a few of my most recent reads.


Goodreads:  The Girl From the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor

Project:  TBR Bingo List

My Thoughts:  I have loved every book I've read by Hazel Gaynor and I really enjoyed this one.  I loved the story of Dolly Lane and her big dreams and her practical nature.  I loved Loretta May/Virginia Clemmons and her brother and poor sweet Teddy and all the friends Dolly made along the way.  Her time as a maid at the Savoy was at times funny, at times heartbreaking, and at times maddening.  I do feel like the book kind of started too soon.  There was so much focus on the first half of her time at the Savoy and the rest of her life was at best glossed over and mostly skipped all together.  I wanted to know more about these characters that I had come to love so much.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!


Goodreads:  The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries by Emily Brightwell

Project: Library List

My Thoughts:  I was so excited when I pulled this book randomly off my library list.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the more recent books in this series and have been wanting to go back to the beginning.  This is a fun historical mystery series involving a Scotland Yard Inspector who is doing his legitimate investigation and his household staff led by his housekeeper Mrs. Jeffries who are helping him without his knowledge.  I really enjoyed this which did not surprise me as this has been a series I've looked forward to for the last few years.  My only complaint is that in this book Inspector Witherspoon is definitely on the bumbling clueless side where in the later books he's a competent investigator in his own right.  That said I really enjoyed this and when I have a blank spot in my series project I will be rolling this in.  My Rating: Really Liked It


Goodreads: Rest Ye Murdered Gentleman by Vicki Delany

Project: Series

My Thoughts:  I have read the last few books in this series about a store owner in a little town that is all about Christmas all year round.  Merry is a fun main character running a shop that I dearly wish was real as it is full of artisan and one of a kind Christmas decorations and gifts.  This mystery introduces the town of Rudolph, New York and asks the question - just who is trying to ruin Christmas in Rudolph.  I really enjoyed getting to know Merry and her family a bit better (especially her giant St. Bernard puppy Mattie) and spending some time in Rudolph.  The mystery kept me guessing and the reveal was even a bit of a surprise.  This is a series I will definitely be continuing.  My Rating: Really Liked It

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - New to Me Authors I Read in 2021


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 New to Me Authors I Discovered in 2021.


1.  Patti Callahan - This author has been on my TBR for ages but I absolutely couldn't resist Once Upon a Wardrobe.  I'm so glad I didn't as it was one of my favorites for the year.

2.  Jacqueline Frost - I have had heard raves about this cozy author for quite some time and I really enjoyed Twelve Slays of Christmas

3.  James Anderson - I picked up The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cosy mostly because of the title but ended up really enjoying it.

4.  Oscar Wilde - While The Picture of Dorian Gray wasn't a book I really enjoyed I am glad I finally took the time to read it.

5.  Kate Quinn - I have heard nothing but raves for Kate Quinn's books and I finally broke down and read The Alice Network.  It broke my heart but I really enjoyed it.


6.  Anne Bogel - I used to really love Anne Bogel's podcast so when I came across a copy of her book I'd Rather Be Reading at the library I had to pick it up.

7.  Larry Loftis - One of my goals for 2021 was to read more nonfiction and I really liked The Princess Spy by this author.

8.  Julia Kelly - Kelly's historical fiction with gorgeous covers have been catching my eye for quite some time so I made The Last Garden in England one of my first reads for 2021.

9.  Katherine Arden - The Bear and the Nightingale was every bit as magical and fairytale like as I wanted it to be.

10. Winnie Archer - I do love a cozy mystery series and I love bread so I'm not sure what took me so long to pick up the first in Archer's Bread Shop Mystery series, Kneaded to Death, but this is definitely a series I will be continuing.

What authors did you discover in 2021?

Monday, January 24, 2022

Two Mini Reviews - The Rhyme of the Magpie + With Vics You Get Eggroll

 

Goodreads:  The Rhyme of the Magpie (Birds of a Feather #1) Marty Wingate

Blurb:  With her personal life in disarray, Julia Lanchester feels she has no option but to quit her job on her father’s hit BBC Two nature show, A Bird in the Hand. Accepting a tourist management position in Smeaton-under-Lyme, a quaint village in the English countryside, Julia throws herself into her new life, delighting sightseers (and a local member of the gentry) with tales of ancient Romans and pillaging Vikings.
But the past is front and center when her father, Rupert, tracks her down in a moment of desperation. Julia refuses to hear him out; his quick remarriage after her mother’s death was one of the reasons Julia flew the coop. But later she gets a distressed call from her new stepmum: Rupert has gone missing. Julia decides to investigate—she owes him that much, at least—and her father’s new assistant, the infuriatingly dapper Michael Sedgwick, offers to help. Little does the unlikely pair realize that awaiting them is a tightly woven nest of lies and murder.

My Thoughts:  I have really enjoyed other books by this author and I love the idea of birdwatching so I was intrigued by this series.  I enjoyed this book.  The mystery was interesting and I really wasn't sure how it would wrap up until the end.  My only real issue was Julia herself.  Julia is in her 30s and is supposed to be a competent adult but at times I found her irritatingly immature.  I didn't really blame her for having issues with her father's remarriage but her reaction to so many other things felt really over the top.  I will continue with this series but it is not at the top of my list. My Rating: Liked It

Goodreads:  With Vics You Get Eggrolls (Mad for Mod Mystery #3) by Diane Vallere

Blurb:  Interior Decorator Madison Night has her hands full with a demanding client and a product endorsement, but when the news shifts from reports of recently abducted women to the discovery of a dead body, she can’t deny the danger. Evidence from the scene links the flirtatious Lt. Tex Allen to the crime, putting him off the case. As more abductees are either released or killed, he struggles with his suspension, on the brink of turning vigilante. Madison’s own life is complicated by the return of her hunky handyman, Hudson James. When seemingly unrelated events lead back to the abductions, she exposes a secondary agenda, a copycat crime, and a vengeful plot to destroy someone she loves.

My Thoughts:  I love Diane Vallere's quirky style of mystery and this series is fun though it's probably not my favorite of hers.  I love the decorating and mod style references but the pace can be a bit inconsistent and Madison can drive me crazy with her decisions for her personal life.  The mystery was interesting with a series of kidnappings happening in the Dallas area and Madison's friend/kind of love interest being framed for them.  Madison gets pulled into the investigation to protect her friend and because she can't resist.  This is definitely a series that you really do need to start at the beginning for as there is a lot of background information that have far reaching consequences.  My Rating: Liked It

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - January 23


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:


Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss - I can never resist a new cozy mystery and this one has cheese so what could be better?   (Publisher)

Crimson Summer by Heather Graham - I enjoyed the last book by Graham with FDLE Special Agent Amy Larson so I'm excited about this one. (Publisher)

Currently:

Reading:  The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont (just started this one) and The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King

Listening: The Secret Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams (just started this one too)


Will has been feeling pretty good and has rediscovered a game called Stardew Valley and has gotten absolutely obsessed with it so we haven't seen him much this week other then doctor's appointments and when we force him to eat.  He's eaten enough that he still hasn't had to have the NG tube put back in and we are hoping to keep it that way.  Rover got annoyed at Will not playing with him so he decided to jump up on the chair and get some attention one way or the other.  He's not technically allowed on the furniture but I'm not sure how long that rule will last.


Speaking of Rover - he's getting enormous!  He's 14 weeks (today) and about 30 pounds.  I think his feet get bigger every time I look at him.  We've finally made some progress on the mouthiness and nipping (knock on wood) and he's responding so well to obedience training.  He's starting to feel more like having a dog around and not a wild toddler who is all feet and teeth.  He's also starting to develop that gorgeous golden retriever feathering on his legs and tail.  It's only just barely starting but I'm so excited.

It's been insanely cold here (for the South so in the 20s and 30s but we don't have a furnace or anything just a heat pump because it is NOT supposed to get this cold) and I am not liking it.  Other then that it's just been a normal week.  I'm trying to get better about going to sleep at a normal hour to see if that will help with my fatigue.  So far it hasn't hurt!  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Nemesis - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Nemesis by Agatha Christie

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchases

Description:  In utter disbelief, Jane Marple read the letter addressed to her from the recently deceased Mr Rafiel - an acquaintance she had met briefly while on vacation in St. Honore, as recounted in "A Caribbean Mystery."

Rafiel had left instructions for her to investigate a crime after his death. The only problem was, he had failed to tell her who was involved or where and when the crime had been committed. It was most intriguing. Soon she is faced with a new crime - the ultimate crime - murder. It seems someone is adamant that past evils remain buried.

Genre: Mystery - Classic


My Impression: While not the last Miss Marple published this is the last Miss Marple Agatha Christie wrote.  I'm usually not the biggest fan of her later books but I believe this is her strongest from the late 1960s/1970s.  This is also one of the only books Christie wrote that is a direct sequel to another book.  We meet Mr. Rafiel in A Caribbean Mystery in Miss Marple's only book outside of England.  The scene from that book that gets referenced in this book is pure brilliance and it's picking up that book just for that (though the rest is pretty great too).  

This is a bit of unusual mystery.  Miss Marple is involved in an almost professional role.  She is essentially hired to investigate instead of being pulled in for various reasons.  As well, she really doesn't know what she's investigating.  It's presented as kind of a you'll know it if you see it situation which has her a bit frustrated and seriously intrigued.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable mystery with a bit of a different feel.  Instead of a dead body being stumbled on Miss Marple is trying to determine just what mystery she's supposed to solve and if it can be solved.  I enjoyed the mystery and seeing Miss Marple a bit out of her element.  As well, I enjoyed seeing her in her home base and especially getting to see Cherry again who was introduced several books ago.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I'll be finishing up Miss Marple this year and am looking forward to my 2022 reading already.

Would I Recommend this Book? Absolutely!  This book and A Caribbean Mystery are both solid interesting mysteries that I think any mystery reader would enjoy

Friday, January 21, 2022

Friday Fives - Favorite Moments of 2021


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 I'm sharing pictures from my 5 favorite moments of 2021.

1.  

Quality time with the hospital therapy dog.

2.  

Will got to be the Headlight Hero and judge a car show.  This was his pick.

3.  

Swimming!

4.  

Getting to reconnect with Will's Physician Assistant from St. Jude who was the medical officer on SpaceX's Inspiration 4 and getting to meet the rest of the crew.  They were so sweet.

5.  

Getting Rover!  He's grown so much since this picture was taken!

What were some of your favorite moments of 2021?

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Classic Mystery List for 2022

 

In 2021 I made a list of 10 classic mysteries that I wanted to be sure to read and really liked having that to focus on.  So I decided to do the same thing in 2022 and here is the list I'm looking forward to reading.


1.  Anna, Where Are You? by Patricia Wentworth - This is the next Miss Silver book and one I haven't read!

2.  Double Sin and Other Stories by Agatha Christie - Now that I have finished the Miss Marple books I'm starting Christie's short story collections and am so looking forward to them!

3.  Mrs. Pollifax on Safari by Dorothy Gilman - Mrs. Pollifax is such a delight and I can't wait to see what kind of trouble she gets into on safari.

4.  A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh - This is the first book in the Roderick Alleyn series.  I've had an iffy history with Marsh but am planning on starting from the beginning with the Alleyn series and seeing what I think.

5.  Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird - I really enjoyed the first Inspector Sloan book and am looking forward to rereading this one.  It's been so long since I've read it that it barely counts as a reread.


6.  Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers - This is the third book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series.  I enjoyed the first two though I have decided that audio for these doesn't work for me as they can be a little bit slower paced but it is important to pay attention to all the details.  I'm hoping that reading this in print works better for me.

7.  The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart - I have read a few Mary Roberts Rinehart books and enjoyed them quite a bit and am looking forward to continuing.

8.  Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart - This is more Gothic then mystery but Stewart is an author I want to read more from.

9.  The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey - This is the first book in the Inspector Grant series and while I have met Grant in another book I'm looking forward to starting at the beginning of the series.

10. Dead Men Don't Ski by Patricia Moyes - I read several books by Moyes back in college and remember really enjoying them.  This is the first book in the Henry Tibbet series and I'm looking forward to seeing if it lives up to my memories.

Have you read any of these?  Do you have any classic mysteries you want to read this year?

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Final Year of the Series Reviews - The Missing Sister, Cajun Kiss of Death, and Picture Them Dead


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.  These are mini reviews for 3 series ending/catching up books.


Goodreads:  The Missing Sister (The Seven Sisters #7) by Lucinda Riley

Blurb:  The six D’Apli├Ęse sisters have each been on their own incredible journey to discover their heritage, but they still have one question left unanswered: who and where is the seventh sister?

They only have one clue – an image of a star-shaped emerald ring. The search to find the missing sister will take them across the globe; from New Zealand to Canada, England, France and Ireland, uniting them all in their mission to at last complete their family.

In doing so, they will slowly unearth a story of love, strength and sacrifice that began almost one hundred years ago, as other brave young women risk everything to change the world around them.

My Thoughts:  While the other 6 books in this series have been focused on each individual sister this book reads partly as a bridge between those books and the next book which is the story of Pa Salt.  We did get the story of the missing sister and it does connect some threads that have made appearances since the first book.  I also enjoyed getting a quick check in with each sister as they each had their own mini journey in finding the next sister.  That said because it ends somewhat on a cliff hanger and has a split focus this book as well as the usual two timelines it felt a bit disjointed.  I have heard Lucinda Riley's estate has chosen an author to continue with the last book and I can only hope that this author lives up the expectations that have been set.  My Rating: Liked It


Blurb:  In Pelican, Louisiana, Valentine's Day has a way of warming the heart, despite the February chill. But the air at Crozat Plantation B&B turns decidedly frigid when celebrity chef Phillippe Chanson checks in. And when the arrogant Phillippe--in town to open his newest Cajun-themed restaurant--perishes in a fiery boat crash, Maggie Crozat's dear friend JJ lands in very cold water.

Did JJ, proprietor of Junie's Oyster Bar and Dance Hall, murder Phillippe because he feared the competition? Might Maggie's mother, Ninette, have bumped off the chef for stealing one of her cherished recipes? Or was the culprit a local seafood vendor, miffed because Phillippe was somehow able to sell oysters for a remarkably reasonable price, despite an oyster shortage?

Maggie had planned to devote her February to art lessons in New Orleans, a present from her sweetheart, Bo. But now she has to focus on helping her friend and her mother cross a murder charge off the menu. Meanwhile, Maggie receives a series of anonymous gifts that begin as charming but grow increasingly disturbing. Does Maggie have an admirer--or a stalker? And are these mysterious gifts somehow related to Phillippe's murder?

My Thoughts:  I love this series and this did not change that.  I loved that this was an intentional end to the series and doesn't leave anything open ended.  I really loved seeing Maggie and Bo married.  The mystery was a solid one which I have come to expect from this series and I loved that it involved a long time side character in the series so we got to know JJ a bit better.  That said the side mystery was a bit weak.  Overall, this is such a great series and one that I am sad to see end but am so pleased that Byron gave us a peek into the future of these characters.  My Rating: Really Liked It!


Blurb:  When genealogists Sophreena McClure and Esme Sabatier are called on by Detective Jenny Jeffers to help figure out who the corpse in the backyard of her father’s house is, they reluctantly agree. Known for figuring out the unusual, Sophreena and Esme do their best to uncover the mystery behind the corpse, and the glass coffin he’s buried in. Word soon spreads about the bizarre burial site, leading the people of Morningside to “adopt” the corpse and begin leaving mementos in memoriam for him. But when the body of a young woman is found near the memorial, the duo has another task on their hands: to dig into the past of the house’s previous owners. Could the clues to a recent murder finally help this soul rest in peace?

My Thoughts:  I love this series so much.  I love the research, the characters, the dives into history and finding out long buried family secrets.  I enjoyed that we got a bit of background on Jenny Jeffers who has been Sophie's kind of nemesis since the beginning of the series.  I loved the mystery and spending time with these characters and am so sad to be done with it.  My Rating: Really Liked It!


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten 2021 Releases I Didn't Get Around to Reading


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 2021 Releases I Didn't Get Around to Reading.  This is the first year that I don't have overdue 2021 review books which is VERY exciting for me so while I was better about that I still didn't read all the books I wanted to read.


1.  Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson - With this title how can I not want to read this one??

2. Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest - I've seen a couple of reviews for this one and it sounded fantastic but I didn't get to it.

3.  The Wicked Widow by Beatriz Williams - I've really enjoyed books from this author but it's been far too long since I've read anything by her.

4.  The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict - It's historical fiction involving Agatha Christie.  I feel like I'm either going to love this one or hate it but I do know I want to read it!

5.  Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas - Basically this is a stand in for the last several years of books by Kleypas because I haven't read any of them even though I've really meant to get them.


6.  The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan - This sounds amazing and I always enjoy Colgan's books but somehow I didn't get to this one.

7.  A Hex for Danger by Esme Addison - I really enjoyed the first book in this series but didn't pick this one up.

8.  The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis - This is another stand in but for basically every book by Shalvis in the last few years.  

9.  The Rose Code by Kate Quinn - I finally listened to The Alice Network this year and loved it so now I really want to read more by her.

10. The London House by Katherine Reay - I have read one of her books and it was one of my favorites of 2019.  This blurb really caught my attention but I just ran out of time.

What books did you mean to read but didn't?

Monday, January 17, 2022

Spirits and Sourdough - Cozy Review

Goodreads: Spirits and Sourdough (Magical Bakery Mystery #10) by Bailey Cates

Rating: Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Baker Katie Lightfoot needs a sprinkle of magic to solve a haunting mystery in the newest book in this New York Times bestselling series.

Hedgewitch Katie Lightfoot works at the Honeybee Bakery in Savannah, and she's always up for investigating her adopted home's rich supernatural history. That's why she's taking a ghost tour for the very first time. But when the psychic tour guide tells Katie that she's being followed by the ghost of a recently murdered woman, Katie realizes she met the victim earlier that day, just before she died. She knows she must bring the killer to justice.

And this murder isn't the only mystery Katie needs to solve. Her new husband, Declan McCarthy, is missing the guardian spirit who always watched over him, and she's concerned that Deck's life could be at risk if they can't find him. Under pressure from the living and the dead, Katie will have to use all of her magical skills to start an investigation from scratch and avoid half-baked alibis, because this baker kneads to find a killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoyed the previous book in this series so had to pick up this one.

My Impression: This is such a cute series with lots of yummy food mentions and likable characters I like the mix of mystery and supernatural  and that the supernatural part isn't involved in helping Katie investigate.  

The mystery did keep me guessing until just before the reveal with lots of possible suspects and motives.  I liked the hook of the ghost tour and the tour guide who can see the dead.  It did surprise me a little that Katie was pretty much on her own with the investigation other then the occasional phone call with the police detective.  Most of the spell book club is busy with the side plot of Declan's guardian spirit.  

I would like to go back and read more about the side plot and the spend more time with the characters in general but I do feel like you could jump in with this book without too much issue.  There's enough information about who is who and even the guardian spirit subplot that I think even new to the series readers would have no issue.  This isn't a book that will really stay with me long after I'm done but it is one I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end which is sometimes just what I want.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I'd really like to go back and read the earlier books in this series and will be keeping an eye out for new books.  

Would I Recommend this Book? If you like a supernatural edge with your cozies and are looking for a fun read I think you'd enjoy this series.

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

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Life with Leukemia (And Some Reading) - January 16


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 really meant to do some book shopping but there just wasn't time this week.

Currently:


Reading:  Totally Pawstruck by Sofie Ryan and Rest Ye Murdered Gentleman by Vicki Delany

Listening: The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor


You can't really tell super well in this picture but Will no longer has the feeding tube in his nose.  On New Year's Day at about 4AM he woke up really sick to his stomach and the tube ended up coming out when he was sick.  It was quite a dramatic way to start the year.  Because he had done so well with it and put on enough weight it gave us a little wiggle room to try to get him to eat on his own and not have it put back in.  He is seriously motivated to keep it out and has been really working hard on eating. We are all holding our breath and hoping he can do it.  The NG tube is definitely worth the trouble and made a tremendous difference for him but he's really enjoying not having to deal with it.  He's still having a lot of foot pain things to the neuropathy and we are still waiting for the braces to be delivered. I'm really hoping they make a big difference and allow him to get back to being more active.


Rover is growing in leaps and bounds.  He had a vet appointment Tuesday and had doubled his weight in 3 weeks.  They keep kind of warning me that he's going to be big which is kind of funny.  We are estimating probably around 80 pounds when he's full grown.  He starts puppy class this week and I'm so excited to really start working with him.  He's so smart and pretty well behaved for a 13 week old puppy so I think once we harness his energy a bit he's really going to be a great dog.  I will not miss those little dagger puppy teeth though!

I thought last week was the week of appointments but it turns out this week has even more which I'm not super thrilled about.  My insomnia decided to show up again with an added twist.  I'm sleeping super light when I finally get to sleep and it's driving me crazy!  Normally I'm a super heavy sleeper once I actually get to sleep but right now every tiny little sound wakes me up.  I'm not a fan.  Any light sleeper tips?  At least I'm getting some decent reading done.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

The Brading Collection - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Brading Collection by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchased

Description: Lewis Brading loves only one thing – his collection of jewels. Not only are the gems extremely valuable but also every piece has a fascinating and bloody history attached to it.

However Lewis is a frightened and difficult man who sees thieves around every corner. When he asks Miss Silver for help, she gives him some sound advice and turns him away. A few days later, she receives a letter from him, again asking for help. But it is too late. In the morning paper is the news of his murder.
Lewis Brading loves only one thing – his collection of jewels. Not only are the gems extremely valuable but also every piece has a fascinating and bloody history attached to it. However Lewis is a frightened and difficult man who sees thieves around every corner. When he asks Miss Silver for help, she gives him some sound advice and turns him away. A few days later, she receives a letter from him, again asking for help. But it is too late. In the morning paper is the news of his murder.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

My Impression: I love the premise of this one - especially the actual Brading Collection which consists of jewels with notorious histories.  Lewis Brading is not the nicest of individuals.  He has no issues with blackmail, manipulation, and just general ruthlessness.  When he meets Miss Silver she refuses to take his case because of his behavior and recommends he change his ways.  I loved that she refused him and told him so as succinctly as she could.  As well I really enjoyed the concept of the collection and thought the setting was perfect for a murder mystery.  

Let me say first that I did enjoy this one and it was a fast entertaining read.  That said I felt like this was a bit undeveloped.  The collection was barely mentioned and was basically window dressing which was too bad as it could have been so interesting.  As well there are several characters who have sinister motives for various actions and while these were touched on I really wish there could have been more development across the board.  I feel a bit like Wentworth had a few plots that weren't completely finished and she had an approaching deadline so she just kind of shoved them all together.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Well of course!  I'll probably reread this one though it won't be top of my list.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Without a doubt I would recommend this author and while there are some issues this is a fun book though I think many of her other books are better.