Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The Year of the Projects - The Murder of Mary Russell + The Bookshop on the Shore

 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 Murder of Mary Russell (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #14) by Laurie R. King

Project: Catch Up on Series

Blurb:  Mary Russell is used to dark secrets—her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond.
And what of the other person to whom Mary Russell has opened her heart: the couple’s longtime housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson? Russell’s faith and affection are suddenly shattered when a man arrives on the doorstep claiming to be Mrs. Hudson’s son.

What Samuel Hudson tells Russell cannot possibly be true, yet she believes him—as surely as she believes the threat of the gun in his hand. In a devastating instant, everything changes. And when the scene is discovered—a pool of blood on the floor, the smell of gunpowder in the air—the most shocking revelation of all is that the grim clues point directly to Clara Hudson.

Or rather to Clarissa, the woman she was before Baker Street.

The key to Russell’s sacrifice lies in Mrs. Hudson’s past. To uncover the truth, a frantic Sherlock Holmes must put aside his anguish and push deep into his housekeeper’s secrets—to a time before her disguise was assumed, before her crimes were buried away.

There is death here, and murder, and trust betrayed.

And nothing will ever be the same.

My Thoughts:
I've been really glad that I've started focusing on this series again and am seriously considering going back to the beginning when I get caught up.  This wasn't my favorite book in the series but I did really enjoy it.  I really liked getting Mrs. Hudson's backstory.  My main issue is that the focus was on the backstory for just a bit too long and then when the actual mystery/conclusion started rolling it was kind of crammed into the last third of the book.  Despite that it was nice to see Mary and Sherlock in a bit more of a vulnerable light.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Goodreads:  The Bookshop On the Shore by Jenny Colgan

Project:  Clear Off My Shelves

Blurb:  Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Zoe knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly!
The job description asks for someone capable of caring for three “gifted children”, two of which behave like feral wolverines. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not—and Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.

With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?

My Thoughts:  I forgot just how much I enjoy Jenny Colgan's books but 5 pages into this one I was swept into her world and when I finally put this down couldn't believe I had waited this long to read another book by her.  I love Zoe.  She's doing her best, trying to hold it together, and keep a positive attitude for her son Hari.  The jobs in Scotland are not exactly what she thought they'd be like but she's at the end of her rope and out of options so she tries to make it work.  I really liked how she tried to grow her relationships with the children - especially with Patrick.  I could relate to her self-medicating with books and enjoyed all the bookish mentions.  Colgan's writing pulls me in and is the bookish equivalents to hot mugs of tea and cozy blankets. I didn't love Ramsay or Nora (though I did like Nora in her own book) which took the book down a tiny notch for me but overall this book was an absolute delight.  My Rating:  Loved It!


  1. The first book is from a series on my wishlist. One day! The second is in my tbr Glad you liked both!

  2. You are so focused - I love that. I am trying to be better in 2022 - it worked well in January.

  3. I used to love reading series but haven't in quite a few years. I need to finish The Walk series (#'s 4 & 5) and The Broken Road series (#'s 2 & 3 by Richard Paul Evans, and the last few books in the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

  4. Colgan's books are so fun! I need to read more of them since they just make me smile.

  5. Your review of The Murder of Mary Russell is spot-on. It's not my favorite, either, but it's very good... even if the pacing is a bit off. You will find that the repercussions echo through the coming books, too.

    I enjoyed The Bookshop on the Corner and The Christmas Bookshop, so I should give The Bookshop on the Shore a try. And I already have it in my Kindle, so that's a bonus!

  6. Compiling lists is a good way to focus your reading and to feel you've accomplished something when you're able to cross books off your lists. I'm going to borrow your idea to make a list of the series I need to catch up on. I know of at least four or five off the top of my head alone!

  7. I don't think that I have read Jenny Colgan's work before. I may need to check out some of her books.

  8. Oh so pleased to know you loved this Jenny Colgan book, I did get totally involved it it. I'd love to reread at some point.

  9. These are all great challenges! 📚📚📚

  10. I love a list. It keeps me on track. I also love to veer from my list at times. That gives my life a little serendipity.

  11. Good books on your list. I love the look of the Jenny Colgan one. I'll have to add that to my TBR.

  12. You always read the best books. These are both books on my wish list I hope to read some day. I am glad you enjoyed them!