Thursday, March 31, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Today I'm linking up with Carole from Carole's Random Life of Books for Books from the Backlog.  I really enjoy the chance to feature a book that's been hiding in the piles of books for far too long!

Goodreads:  Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

Blurb:  What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common?

Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, assisting a mysterious professor, unravelling a mysterious mystery, and eating a lot of pizza – not to mention saving the entire human race from extinction along the way (at no extra charge).

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This has been sitting on my "Oh yes, I'm going to read this very soon" shelf for years and despite really enjoying Adams' sense of humor I just have never gotten around to it.  I really want to fix that!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Evil in Emerald - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads: Evil in Emerald (A Harriet Gordon Mystery #3) by A.M. Stuart

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Between working at her brother’s school and typing up Inspector Robert Curran’s police reports, Harriet Gordon has little time for personal pursuits and she has been enjoying the rehearsals for her role in the Singapore Amateur Dramatic and Musical Society’s latest production – Pirates of Penzance. But Harriet quickly discovers tensions run deep within the theatre company and when the leading man is found murdered, suspicions abound, exposing scandalous behavior as well as some insidious crimes.

Inspector Curran once again turns to Harriet for help with this difficult case, but his own life begins to unravel as a mysterious man turns up on his doorstep claiming to know more about Curran’s painful past than he himself does. And after the one person he has always counted on delivers him some devastating news, the line between his personal and professional life begins to blur. Now, more than ever, Curran needs Harriet’s steadfast assistance, and when another cast member meets a violent end, Curran and Harriet will have to close in on a killer determined to make this case their final curtain call.

Genre: Mystery - Historical 

Why I Picked This Book:  I have really enjoyed the previous books in the series. 

My Impression:  I really enjoy this series and was so excited for this one.  I love the setting and have really come to love the characters as well.  Harriet has a tragic past and while she has her issues she doesn't let it weigh her down and make her prickly.  Curran also has a tragic past but he is as prickly and damaged as a character can be and still be functional.  I liked that we got a bit more backstory to him as well as seeing him at a serious low point.  

The side characters are more developed with Harriet's brother, Julian, taking more of a confidant role with Curran as well as a mysterious figure from the previous book stepping out of the shadows.  As well, since Harriet is involved with the suspects in more of an organic role because of her involvement with the society instead of just in an official capacity, I felt like we saw more of the working of society in Singapore which was interesting.  

The mystery started out seemingly simple but plunges into the relationships of the Dramatic society with a look into Singapore politics and attitudes at the time.  There are plenty of motives for why the leading man was killed but up until the pieces really come together none of them seem strong enough to kill him.  I felt like Harriet really took the lead in this book and most of the investigation is seen through her eyes with some guidance from Curran.

I really enjoyed this book and was glad to see Harriet, Julian, and Curran again.  I cannot wait for the next book as the end felt a bit like a watershed moment for the whole of the series that needed to happen but I'm not sure where it will go from here.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I cannot wait for the next book!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical mysteries with intelligent and complex characters this is a series not to miss.

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Spring TBR

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  My favorite topics are the seasonal TBRs and since I missed the one that was two weeks ago I decided to put the list together and post it today.  

1.  A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle - This is a book off my Series list.  I've read the most recent few books but never read the beginning books so I'm trying to fix that.

2. The Great Pearl Heist by Molly Caldwell Crosby -  This is a book off my TBR Bingo list and I'm excited to read this one.

3.  Dead Men Don't Ski by Patricia Moyes - This is one off of my Classic Mystery list.  I remember really enjoying this author when I read a few of her books years ago and I'm really looking forward to reading all of them in order.  

4.  The French House by Don Wallace - This nonfiction book about an American family restoring a house in France has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and on my TBR for even longer.

5.  Barefoot Beach by Debbie Mason - I picked this at random on my list on my library's website.  I haven't really tried much by this author but I'd like to read more by her.

6.  When She Dreams by Amanda Quick - I've really been loving the Burning Cove series (though in a very loose sense of the word) and I'm excited to read this newest one.

7.  Murder on Madison Square by Victoria Thompson - I love this historical mystery series and I'm really looking forward to reading this next book.

8.  The Last Mile by Kat Miles - I've been in a romantic suspense mood lately and I've never read anything by this author so I'm looking forward to trying this book.

9.  Tuesday Night Survivors' Club by Lynn Cahoon - I've really enjoyed some of Cahoon's series and this one looks really promising.

10. 'Til Death by Carol J Perry - I love this series and I was kind of afraid it was ending so I was excited to see this new book was being released.

What books are on your TBR for spring?

Monday, March 28, 2022

Cheddar Off Dead - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Cheddar Off Dead (A Cheese Shop Mystery #1) by Korina Moss

Rating: Liked It
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Cheesemonger Willa Bauer is proving that sweet dreams are made of cheese. She’s opened her very own French-inspired cheese shop, Curds & Whey, in the heart of the Sonoma Valley. The small town of Yarrow Glen is Willa's fresh start, and she's determined to make it a success – starting with a visit from the local food critic. What Willa didn’t know is that this guy never gives a good review, and when he shows up nothing goes according to plan. She doesn’t think the night can get any worse... until she finds the critic’s dead body, stabbed with one of her shop’s cheese knives. Now a prime suspect, Willa has always believed life’s problems can be solved with cheese, but she’s never tried to apply it to murder…

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love cozy mysteries, I love cheese, and I can never resist the first in a cozy series.

My Impression:   This is a tough review to write because this is one of those books where I just don't have much to say about it.  I think the big reason for that is because the main character, Willa, just doesn't seem to have much personality.  She knows a lot about cheese and a few facts about her past are mentioned throughout the book but she never really comes to life on the page and I had a hard time connecting with her.  As well, the pacing felt a bit jumpy and never fully pulled me in.

What bumped this up to three stars for me were the side characters.  I do love a good team and Mrs. Schultz, Archie, and Baz are a fantastic team.  The town of Yarrow Glen has the potential to be a great cozy mystery town with a variety of characters with a range of personalities.   I will most likely read the next book in the series and I'm hoping I'll be able to connect more to Willa in that book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I will.  This won't be an auto-buy for me but I do feel like the series has potential.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Right now probably not.  I think I'll wait to see how the next book is before I recommend this series or book.

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

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading

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 had planned on doing some book shopping but this week was just chaotic.


Reading:  When the Crow's Away by Auralee Wallace and A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

Listening:  A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell

Rover and I went on a hike this week!  This was his very first hike and the first time I had gone hiking in years.  I had forgotten just how challenging a particular trail was and I am seriously out of shape so it was a bit more of an adventure than I expected.  We had a lot of fun and Rover really enjoyed it once he got used to being out of the woods.  If the weather is nice this week I'm planning on taking him on another hike though I think I'll be a bit more careful about which trail I pick!  After we went to a new pet store that is locally owned and has a ton of fun toys and chew sticks.  It was a fun day though I was exhausted by the time we made it home!

Will had a pretty good week.  He's feeling pretty good and his energy level has definitely increased.  His numbers also improved which shows that he has definitely beaten the infection that landed him in the hospital last week.  We are really struggling with getting him to eat. Between lack of appetite, chemo making everything taste funny, and extra nausea it's really been a struggle.  We've been trying to use his NG tube more but even that is causing nausea.  

My week hasn't been very exciting.  I've dealt with Will stuff and Rover stuff but other than that I've just been flat exhausted.  I don't know if it's the time change (I know I'm in the minority but I am NOT a fan of this whole spring forward nonsense.  I will fall back all day long and let it get dark at 3PM but I hate springing forward!)  or recovering from lack of sleep from the nights in the hospital, or allergies ramping up or all of that and some other stuff but I feel like I could sleep for a year.  I'm glad I got a lot of reading done early in the month because I'm barely getting any reading time at all right now.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Henrietta Who? - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Henrietta Who? (Inspector Sloan #2) by Catherine Aird

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Larking was a typical English village and like the thousand other villages it resembled Larking had its secrets, as Inspector C.D. Sloan was to discover after the postman found the murdered body of Grace Jenkins in the road that led to her thatched cottage. But the real mystery involved Grace's daughter Henrietta since no one could really explain exactly who Henrietta really was.

Genre:  Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:   I am trying to read more classic mysteries - especially Catherine Aird.

My Impression:  I thoroughly enjoyed this read.  This is a mystery that wouldn't work today.  90% of the questions that arise regarding Henrietta's identity could have probably been figured out with a few internet searches.  But since that doesn't exist at this point we get to watch the whole cast of characters piece together all the clues to figure out just who killed Grace Jenkins and who exactly Henrietta really is.  I really enjoyed watching the investigation take place and trying to guess all the whos and whys.

The reader is really only able to figure out only part of the mystery before the reveal but even with Aird's fair use of clues I had no idea until the very end.  It was an interesting and entertaining mystery with a clean concise writing style and a solid pace.  If you enjoy Agatha Christie's mysteries I think you would enjoy this book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I have really enjoyed the first two Inspector Sloan books and am looking forward to reading more.

Would I Recommend this Book? Absolutely!  If you're a fan of Agatha Christie and any of the other Golden Age mystery authors I think Catherine Aird should be on your must read list.

Friday, March 25, 2022

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.

1.  Troublemaker by Leah Remini - I picked up the audio of this on a whim and found it absolutely fascinating.  Remini reads the audio and I really enjoyed listening to her though this is not a book for those who have issues with strong language as she does not mince words.  I found her childhood and how she was pulled into Scientology fascinating.   I had watched a few documentaries on Scientology featuring some of the people she mentions later in the book and this ties in fairly well with what I have seen in those.  She is a bit of the hero of her own story but not so much that I found it obnoxious and aren't we all from time to time.  This was a quick and interesting listen and if you are interested in the book I highly recommend the audio.  My Rating: Really Liked It

2.  Prologue to Murder by Lauren Elliott- I enjoyed the first book in this series about Addie Greyborne who unexpectedly inherited her great aunt's hope and fantastic book collection.  I liked this one but didn't find it as enjoyable as the first book.  The main issue was the addition of Lacey.  I understand why she was there but I'm not a huge fan of the nemesis and Lacey is just the worst.   As well Serena and Marc's reaction to her and their behavior at other times in the book also annoyed me.   The mystery was interesting and I enjoyed the history connection.  There were lots of twists and turns in the mystery and the reveal was a bit of a surprise for me.  I'm looking forward to seeing this series grow.  My Rating: Liked It

3.  Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti by Bailey Cates - This is a cute paranormal cozy with all kinds of witchy goodness combined with yummy baked goods and a Halloween setting.  I have really loved the most recent books in the series but when I looked back on my review of the first book I was surprised to see I was kind of meh on it.  Reading this book I can kind of see why book 1 wasn't a huge success.  Mostly because it features a love triangle which is one of my least favorite plot devices in any genre.  Luckily this is kept pretty tame and it didn't bother me too much though I must admit this could be because I know how it resolves.  If this is an issue for you I recommend reading the blurbs for the later books!  As well I'm not a big fan of secret keeping and Katie is keeping a big secret from her friend/love interest Declan.  Luckily that is not kept up too long and I was pleased with how it resolved.  This was an interesting mystery with a glimpse into a world Katie didn't even know existed and pushes her to explore her own heritage more.  I enjoyed this book and really enjoyed the reveal.  I'm looking forward to continuing the series.  My Rating: Liked It

4.  The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen - It's been way too long since I've read a Sarah Addison Allen book and this book reminded me just while I love her books so much.  I loved the characters from the very start and the atmosphere of small town North Carolina was beautifully done and essentially a character.  This was one of those books that when it ended I could do nothing but sigh happily and wish all the characters the very best.  The ending provided just enough closure to tell which way the futures are heading without being over the top tied in a bow.  I'm already looking forward to my next book by Allen and am wishing there was another book set in this little town.  My Rating: Loved It!

5.  The Bettencourt Affair: The World's Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris by Tom Sancton - This is about a scandal centering around Liliane Bettencourt, the heir and daughter of the L'Oreal founder.  It sounds like it would be fascinating but unfortunately I ended up just getting through this one.  If I had been trying to read a print copy I probably would have DNF'd it.  I think part of the problem is the scandal mentioned in the title really only broke within the last 15 years so I don't think it gave me enough perspective.  Without that it felt just like a "he said, she said, and then this person chimed in" with no real solid foundation.  There are several interesting stories in this book but I think they would have worked better as articles versus shoved together in a book.  When it came down to it I just didn't care about the people or what happened.  My Rating: Not For Me

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Books from the Backlog - The Spies of Shilling Lane


Today I'm linking up with Carole from Carole's Random Life of Books for Books from the Backlog.  I really enjoy the chance to feature a book that's been hiding in the piles of books for far too long!

Goodreads:  The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan

Blurb:  Mrs. Braithwaite, self-appointed queen of her English village, finds herself dethroned, despised, and dismissed following her husband’s selfish divorce petition. Never deterred, the threat of a family secret being revealed sets her hot-foot to London to find the only person she has left—her clever daughter Betty, who took work there at the first rumbles of war.
But when she arrives, Betty’s landlord, the timid Mr. Norris, informs her that Betty hasn’t been home in days--with the chaos of the bombs, there’s no telling what might have befallen her. Aghast, Mrs. Braithwaite sets her bullish determination to the task of finding her only daughter.

Storming into the London Blitz, Mrs. Braithwaite drags the reluctant Mr. Norris along as an unwitting sidekick as they piece together Betty’s unexpectedly chaotic life. As she is thrown into the midst of danger and death, Mrs. Braithwaite is forced to rethink her old-fashioned notions of status, class, and reputation, and to reconsider the question that’s been puzzling her since her world overturned: How do you measure the success of your life?

Why It Needs to Come Off My Shelf:  I've had this sitting on my Netgalley shelf for years and even though I loved Ryan's The Chilbury Ladies' Choir I have yet to pick this one up.  I have a few extra Audible credits and am thinking about picking this up on audio because I have a much higher chance of getting to it that way than I do my Kindle version.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Year of the Projects - The Hammett Hex + The Good Widow

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 Hamett Hex (Book Collector #5) by Victoria Abbott

Project: Catch Up on Series

Blurb:  Jordan has been able to swing a romantic trip to San Francisco with Officer Tyler “Smiley” Dekker on one condition—she must return with a rare copy of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest for her irascible employer, Vera Van Alst. For his own part, Smiley is full of surprises. He’s a Dashiell devotee himself—excited to be in the city of Hammett’s hard-boiled heroes like Sam Spade and the Continental Op—and also announces he plans to visit his previously unmentioned estranged grandmother, who lives in an old Victorian on Telegraph Hill. 

But the trip goes downhill fast when Jordan is pushed from a cable car and barely escapes death. And when a dark sedan tries to run the couple down, it’s clear someone’s after them—but who? Just like in Hammett’s world, nothing is quite what is seems...

My Thoughts: This is the last book in the book collector series and I am sad to see the last of Jordan, Tyler, Vera, and the Kelly family.  In this book Tyler and Jordan have gone to San Francisco for a vacation and to meet an estranged member of Tyler's family.  Each book in this series mirrors the tone of the author mentioned in the title and so this book has a somewhat darker tinge to it then other books in the series but with a bit of a cozy madcap spin.  The mystery was a bit disjointed and part of the ending felt a touch rushed but I still enjoyed it.  My only real issue with this book is that we didn't have the Kelly family or Sheri or Vera Van Alst or the Signora and I missed them!  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Project: TBR Bingo

Blurb:  Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.
For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancĂ©. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…

My Thoughts:  This was not what I thought it was going to be.  I figured I was in for a typical psychological thriller but instead I got more of an in-depth view of a marriage, an affair, and a grieving wife.  There are secrets both before and after as well as a twist and turn or two.  I listened to the audio and am so glad I did.  Dara Rosenberg did a fantastic job voicing both Dylan and Jacks.  As well, while the audio was a compelling listen I can see it potentially being a bit of a slower read if I had read the print version.  That said this is the first book I've read by this writing team and it won't be the last.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books on My TBR With Adjectives in the Title

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is all about Books with Adjectives in the Title.   I'm sticking with books in my TBR so here are some books I'm looking forward to reading that have adjectives in the title.

1.  The Great Pearl Heist by Molly Caldwell Crosby 

2.  We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany

3.  Deadly Appraisal by Jane K. Cleland

4.  Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers

5.  The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart

6.  The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan

7.  Dead Men Don't Ski by Patricia Moyes

8.  A Wee Murder in My Shop by Fran Stewart

9.  The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

10. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

What books do you have on your TBR that have adjectives in the title?

Monday, March 21, 2022

Under Lock and Skeleton Key - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Under Lock and Skeleton Key (A Secret Staircase Mystery #1) by Gigi Pandian

Rating:  Liked It
Source:   Publisher

Description:  After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her closer to the inevitable: working for her father’s company. Secret Staircase Construction specializes in bringing the magic of childhood to all by transforming clients’ homes with sliding bookcases, intricate locks, backyard treehouses, and hidden reading nooks.

When Tempest visits her dad’s latest renovation project, her former stage double is discovered dead inside a wall that’s supposedly been sealed for more than a century. Fearing she was the intended victim, it’s up to Tempest to solve this seemingly impossible crime. But as she delves further into the mystery, Tempest can’t help but wonder if the Raj family curse that’s plagued her family for generations—something she used to swear didn’t exist—has finally come for her.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I have enjoyed a previous book by this author and how could I resist a book involving a company that creates secret staircases?

My Impression:  This may be the best premise I've ever come across in a cozy mystery series.  I \mean what mystery lover doesn't dream of hidden passages and secret staircases built into their home?  And for the most part I enjoyed this read.  Tempest is a unique cozy mystery character.  She's not the first to come home after the world fell apart on them but her actual personality is different.  Honestly, I wouldn't want to be friends with her.  She's kind of a diva with a dose of moodiness but at the same time she's intelligent, gifted at her job, and just really interesting.  I might not want to be friends with her but I'd love to watch a talk she gave on tricks of the trade.  

What kept this book from being a winner for me was that there was just so much detail.  It's the first book in the series so we have the necessary setup of the world.  On top of that there's the backstory of multiple characters, the story of the family curse with historical references, details of the very complicated compound that Tempest and her family live in, how her father came to own the compound, and a number of other side stories.  This caused the mystery to get a little lost at times and slowed the pace - especially for the first half.                                                                 

The mystery was interesting and kept me guessing and I really liked the characters.  The details of the secret places were fascinated and made me desperately want to add a secret staircase or door or nook in my own house.  I think the series has a ton of potential and I'm looking forward to the next book.                                                                                                                                 
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I've enjoyed both books I've read by this author and am looking forward to reading more.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy cozies I think you would like this series though be prepared for a bit of a slower pace.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Life With Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading

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:

Fatal Flowers by Jess Dylan - This is the 3rd in the series that I've enjoyed and am curious to see how it develops.  (Publisher)

The Tuesday Night Survivors' Club by Lynn Cahoon - This is a new series by a cozy author that I usually enjoy so I'm looking forward to this one.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Evil in Emerald by A.M. Stuart and The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey

Listening:  The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Last week kind of went off the rails.  Will's counts were pretty low at clinic and then he wasn't feeling well most of the week.  Saturday he woke up with a fever and for a leukemia kid that means you head to the ER.  His numbers had crashed and his fever was rising so we were admitted pretty much right away and he was put on IV antibiotics.  Luckily, he tested negative for all the scary things so it was just kind of a waiting game.  We ended up staying in the hospital for most of the week and we still aren't 100% sure what exactly he had.  It could be mono - the tests were inconclusive - or a million other viruses that for people with normal immune systems would barely have been a blip.  We got home Wednesday and he is starting to feel much better though his energy level is still pretty low.   He had a good time playing with the hospital bed and we had some really fantastic nurses and  Child Life Specialists who helped fill the time.  

In other news Rover finished puppy class.  The first picture was taken on the first day of class and the second picture was taken seven weeks later on the last day of class.  I can't believe how much he's grown!   We start Manners class this week and I'm looking forward to continuing the training.  I'm also trying to take him to different places during the week to get him used to being in all kinds of situations.  Obviously, the events of last week kind of sent that off the rails but we did get a walk in the park done today and it felt so great to be outside.

Jason and I have started watching the latest season of The Great British Bake-Off.  I always forget how much I love that show until we start watching it again.  We are trying not to binge it because we don't want it to be over to fast.  And thanks to Instagram reels I've gotten hooked on a Turkish soap opera called Sen Cal Kapimi and finally found a streaming service that has the whole series with English subtitles.  It's been a long time since I've watched any kind of drama but I'm really loving it!  I got a pretty good amount of reading done while we were hanging out in the hospital.  There's really only space for one person to sleep so Jason went home after dinner so I would spend most of my time reading.  I've found I've really been loving reading from actual books and have found my Kindle less appealing.  Not sure what that's about!   

Have a great week and happy reading!  

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Watersplash - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Watersplash by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  To the innocent visitor the picturesque village of Greenings would appear to be a haven of tranquility. But every place has its secrets and beneath the calm surface lurk hidden resentments and dangerous passions. When a man is found lying face down in a nearby watersplash, the verdict is death by misadventure. But Miss Silver happens to be in the neighbourhood and she suspects foul play...

Genre: Mystery - Classic

My Impression: Miss Silver is frequently compared to Christie's Miss Marple and this is definitely one that shows why.  Miss Silver is staying with a friend who of course is a Vicar's wife in a small English village where two mysterious deaths have just happened to take place.  But Miss Silver is not there by accident.  A somewhat chance encounter led a young woman to confide in Miss Silver.    When the young woman refuses to take Miss Silver's advice and is soon found dead Miss Silver can't help but become involved.  However, there is a lot of setup before Miss Silver is pulled into to the story and almost half the book has gone by before we see her.  

I really loved the characters in this book.  I especially loved Emmeline, Edward's stepmother.  She pretty much ignores what she wants to ignore and enjoy hanging out with her cats of which she has 11.  Susan Wayne is a good Wentworth heroine with plenty of common sense and the scenes between Susan and Emmeline were usually very funny.    The mystery wasn't quite as strong unfortunately.  While the whodunnit kept me guessing there were a lot of details that were glossed over or not fully fleshed out.  Why I do know the who, the why, and the how there are several issues I wanted a bit more clarification on and that kept this book from being a total winner for me.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy Christie's Marple books I think you would enjoy most of the Miss Silver books.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Saddled Up 4 Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Saddled Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Spring is in the air as Sun City West gears up for its annual Bye Bye Birdie festivities, when residents bid a fond farewell to the snowbirds and happily reclaim the town for themselves. But planning comes to a screeching halt when the town curmudgeon plummets to her death from the library bell tower and sheriff’s deputies suspect foul play. With the celebration on hold—and Phee’s mother worried that she won’t get her moment in the spotlight on a local TV show slated to cover the event—Phee is thrust into the role of sleuth once again to find the killer.

As Phee soon discovers, there’s no love lost between the town and the unfortunate victim, and with the clock ticking and virtually everyone a potential suspect, she’s got her work cut out for her. Then a passel of horseflesh goes missing, and Phee starts to think the two crimes might be connected. With the town on edge and high noon approaching, she’ll have to wrangle with a band of daring desperados and lasso a lawbreaker who’s dead set on sending her to boot hill

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is one of my favorite series so of course I had to pick this one up!

My Impression: I just love this series and this was no different.  Harriet's book club is in full swing as is life at the dog park and all the different clubs in Sun City West.  My only complaint is that Nate and Marshall have very little page time as they are out chasing horse thieves.  

Phee is in a more direct investigating role.  She's pulled into it thanks to her mother (of course!) and this time doesn't have Marshall and Nate to use and a sounding board.  Luckily, Phee is intelligent and a quick thinker and doesn't slide too much into Too Stupid To Live territory (and when she skates around the edges there's solid motivation).

This is a fun series with lots of comedic moments that never falls into too quirky.  This series is a must read if you are a cozy lover!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I'm a little concerned that the series is coming to an end as it recently changed publishers but if there is a next one I will be reading it.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  If you love cozies you really should try this series though I would start from the beginning so you can follow the character arcs.  

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

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Man in the Queue - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey

Rating: Not For Me
Source:   Library

Description:  Inspector Alan Grant searches for the identity of a man killed in the line at a theater and for the identity of the killer—whom no one saw.

A long line had formed for the standing-room-only section of the Woffington Theatre. London’s favorite musical comedy of the past two years was finishing its run at the end of the week. Suddenly, the line began to move, forming a wedge before the open doors as hopeful theatergoers nudged their way forward. But one man, his head sunk down upon his chest, slowly sank to his knees and then, still more slowly, keeled over on his face. Thinking he had fainted, a spectator moved to help, but recoiled in horror from what lay before him: the man in the queue had a small silver dagger neatly plunged into his back. With the wit and guile that have made Inspector Grant a favorite of mystery fans, the inspector sets about discovering just how a murder occurred among so many witnesses, none of whom saw a thing.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm trying to read more classic mystery and Tey is an author that I have read very few books from.

My Impression:  The premise in this one is absolutely fantastic.  A man dies in a tightly packed queue.  Even though a crowd of people is all around the victim no one one knows what happened.  It's up to Inspector Grant to figure out who the victim was and who would want him dead.  

While the premise was interesting the rest of the book fell a bit flat.  I was not impressed with Grant as an investigator.  He has neither the detail oriented brilliance of Hercule Poirot, the ability to get people to talk of Miss Silver, or the original and flexible mind of Lord Peter Wimsey.  Early on Tey describes him as plodding but I'm not sure I would even call him that.  Other then rare moments of clarity he spends most of his time jumping to conclusions and hanging onto them for dear life despite information that seems to prove his conclusion is wrong.  As well this may be the most dated classic I've ever read.  The primary suspect is referred to in a derogatory slur towards people of Italian descent throughout the entire book and his looking Italian seems to be all the proof that anyone needs that he could have committed murder.  This got old pretty quickly and definitely dampened my enjoyment of the read.  

The mystery reveal itself wasn't jaw-dropping or interesting enough to redeem this book.  I have enjoyed a later book involving Inspector Grant and am hoping the series improves as it goes along.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I will but not based off of this book.

Would I Recommend this Book? No.  I have enjoyed Daughter of Time by this author but this one just didn't feel worth it.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Friday Five - Five Series I'm Going to Roll Into My Series Project Next

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. These are all series I've read a book or two (or more in) and would really like to read more from - once I finish the other 10 I've got going!

Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries by Gigi Pandian - I listened to the first book in this series and it was such fun!  I really want to read more from this as I love the archeology/treasure hunting aspects.

Magical Bakery Mystery by Bailey Cates - I've read the very first book and the most recent couple of books and want to read the ones in the middle.  

Secret, Book, & Scone Society by Ellery Adams - I had picked up the first book in this series on the Audible sale and it ended up being one of my favorite books in January.  I'm really looking forward to reading/listening to more of it.

Abby McCree Mystery by Alexis Morgan - I've read or listened to the first two books in this series and enjoy it - especially the fact that it's a dog cozy series!  There are only a few books left and I'm looking forward to finishing it up.

Mrs. Jeffries Mysteries by Emily Brightwell - I have read the most recent few and really loved them and then I listened to the first book and was surprised by how different it was.  I'm looking forward to reading the ones in between to see how the series evolves.

Are you  a series reader?  If so, what series do you want to finish?

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Mr. Zero

Today I'm linking up with Carole from Carole's Random Life of Books for Books from the Backlog.  I really enjoy the chance to feature a book that's been hiding in the piles of books for far too long!

Goodreads:  Mr. Zero by Patricia Wentworth

Blurb:  A high society house party in the country sets the stage for blackmail, sabotage, illicit passion, and murder in this witty, classic British mystery with a touch of political intrigue
The last thing London debutante Gay Hardwicke wants is to become involved in another one of her cousin’s messy jams. But Lady Sylvia Colesborough is in over her head this time: She claims she’s being blackmailed by the mysterious Mr. Zero. If she doesn’t steal important government papers from the safe of her politically connected husband, the distinguished Sir Francis, her gambling debts will be exposed. Gay’s reluctant attempts to help Sylvia backfire when a murder raises the stakes—and Gay’s boyfriend, Algy Somers, becomes the prime suspect.

Enlisting the aid of her society friends, Gay races to clear Algy’s name and catch a cagey killer before her own days are numbered.

Why It Needs To Come Off The Shelf:   This is one of Wentworth's stand alone mysteries that I have yet to read and it looks really fun.  As well it has the letter "Z" in the title and I like to read books that start with as many letters as I can (though I do have to cheat a little with some of them!).  

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Two Historical Mystery Reviews - The Other Lady Vanishes + A Wicked Conceit


Goodreads:  The Other Lady Vanishes (Burning Cove #2) by Amanda Quick

Blurb:  After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over. Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.
In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they'll be drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.

Neither Adelaide or Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they'll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be—and uncover the specter of a killer who's been real all along...

My Thoughts:  I really enjoy Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz's books and I think this book is a great example of why.  I really liked by Adelaide and Jake as well as Rayna and the rest of Adelaide's friends in Burning Cove.  As well the plot had a good helping of suspense with enough twists and turns to keep it a fast paced read without getting confusing.  For the most part we know who the bad guys are from the beginning so the main question is who is the worst of the bad guys and just what are they up too.  As well there are a few surprises along the way.  This isn't a book I'll be able to recall in detail in a few months but it is one I will remember enjoying reading.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Goodreads:  A Wicked Conceit (Lady Darby Mystery #9) by Anna Lee Huber

Blurb: Edinburgh, Scotland. March 1832. Kiera and Gage have been eagerly awaiting their bundle of joy, but trouble has been brewing in the form of the roguish criminal, Bonnie Brock Kincaid. A new book and subsequent play features some of Kincaid's daringly heinous exploits, although he swears he had nothing to do with it or the characters which are obvious representations of Kiera and Gage. While the scoundrel's fury seems genuine, as well as his determined quest to uncover the real identity of the author, the Gages still hold doubts about his innocence.

A rash of crimes break out across the city, seemingly inspired by the play and book. When the publisher is found brutally murdered—in an imitation of a gruesome scene—the finger not only points to Bonnie Brock as the possible culprit, but also the Gages, who have been outspoken in their condemnation of the tale. Now, the Gages are on a hunt to unmask the killer. Between the infamy garnered by the play, the cholera outbreak still wreaking havoc throughout the city, and the impending birth of their child, they will need all the resources they can garner.

But family quarrels and the revelation of a secret Kiera has been keeping from Sebastian threaten to undermine everything they have overcome. When they find themselves in the crosshairs of the killer, trapped in the squalid underground vaults of the city, they will soon discover that the truth does not always set you free, and death can lurk around any corner.

My Thoughts:  If you have never read this series this is NOT the book to start with.  The plot relies heavily on situations that occurred in the last book or two and I found it a bit confusing and I've read those books!  Kiera is incredibly pregnant and is pretty angsty both regarding the secret she is keeping from her husband and her relationship with her sister (they're both behaving like children and could both use a time out).  The book felt a bit disjointed with bits of plots from previous plots being brought up and Kiera and Gage kind of bouncing around interacting with various people without a strong rhyme or reason.  Once the first murder occurs things get much better and the story feels like it really starts to gain traction and pulled me in.  I love Anna Lee Huber's books but this wasn't her strongest.   My Rating: Liked It

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Ten Books Set in Ireland On My TBR

The Becoming by Nora Roberts - Only a portion of this is actually in Ireland.  The rest is in another realm but it feels like Ireland so it counts.

The Lilac Bus by Maeve Binchy - I've only read one Maeve Binchy book but I absolutely loved it and I bought this one a little while ago but haven't gotten to it.

The Mountain Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor - This one has been on my TBR for ages and it sounds fantastic.

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy - I can't resist library books and a library in Ireland sounds even better.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley - I'm not entirely sure this one is set in Ireland but I read somewhere that it was so I'm counting it.

The Book of Killowen Erin Hart - This is kind of a last chance book for this series.  I really enjoyed the first book or two in the series but the last book was painful.  If I don't like this one I think it's time to call it done.

The Likeness by Tana French - I read the first book in the Dublin Murder Squad and had very mixed feelings about it but I've heard great things about this one.

The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney - I'm kind of surprised I've never read this author because this one is all about sisters and family secrets and it sounds fantastic.

The Girl on the Cliff Lucinda Riley - I've only read the Seven Sisters series by Riley but this one looks great.

Murder at an Irish Wedding Carlene O'Connor - I read the first book in the series and really enjoyed it so I need to continue the series.

Do you have any books set in Ireland on your TBR?