Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Comfort Reads

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 about comfort reads.  Here are 10 books I tend to reach for when I'm needing a bit of comfort and/or distraction.

1.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgens Burnett - This was one of my absolute favorite books when I was a child but I was surprised when I reread it as an adult that I might have enjoyed it even more.  I love getting lost in the rambling old manor house and exploring the gardens and watching Mary go from a rather dreadful human being to who she really is.

2.  The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright - This is another childhood favorite that transitioned into a favorite adult read.  I love taking a break from stress and immersing myself in the Melendy family adventures.  

3.  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - This is one of my favorite Christie books and I love getting lost in the detail and the mystery when I need a break.  

4.  Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas - This is one I reread when I'm not feeling mystery and not feeling middle grade.  I love the two main characters and love getting lost in their world.

5.  Belles on Their Toes by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey - I love Cheaper by the Dozen but the lesser known sequel is my go-to comfort read.  It isn't as well written as the first book but it holds a special place in my heart and is really the story of the mother of the family - Lillian - who was a fascinating woman in her own right.

6.  The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery- This is one of Montgomery's few - and maybe only - adult book and it's just a charming story.  It's hard not to love Verity and root for her throughout the book.

7.  Flowers in the Rain and Other Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher - I'm not the biggest fan of Pilcher's smaller books and when I'm reading for comforts I'm not really wanting massive family sagas.  This short story collection is just perfect.  They're a little trite but in the best possible way and I always love rereading them.

8.  Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie - This is probably my favorite Christie mysteries to reread and picking it up to reread it is basically the definitely of cozy.  

9.  The Case of William Smith by Patricia Wentworth - Pretty much ditto above except replace Christie with Wentworth.

10. Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright - The only thing I don't love about this book is that I didn't read it as a child because I would have loved it.  Luckily, I love it as an adult and this is such a comforting read for when I need a little cheering up or distraction.

What are some of your comfort reads?

Monday, May 30, 2022

The Last Mile - Romantic Suspense Review

Goodreads: The Last Mile (Blood Ties #2) by Kat Martin

Rating: Liked It
Source:  Publisher

Description:  When Abigail Holland awakes to the sound of a nighttime intruder in her rambling Denver Victorian, she knows exactly what the black shrouded figure is after—the map she recently inherited from her grandfather. Whoever he is, the man who grapples with her, then escapes, is willing to kill for the location of a treasure King Farrell hunted for more than ten years. The Devil’s Gold has claimed hundreds of lives, and it was her grandfather’s obsession.

With a killer pursuing her and her own family not to be trusted, Abby decides to take up the search herself. But she’ll need help to do it, and there’s no one better than renowned explorer and treasure hunter Gage Logan. Despite the instant chemistry between them, Gage is reluctant. Innocent people have been hurt on his watch before. But when Abby shows him a genuine gold ingot she found with the map, his curiosity is piqued. Before long they’re heading into the flash floods and brutal winds of the Superstition Mountains, straight into a passionate entanglement—and the dark heart of danger.

Genre: Romance - Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoy romantic suspense and I love treasure hunting books!

My Impression: This is my first book by Kat Martin though she has been an author I've been wanting to read for ages.  This was fun.  I especially enjoyed Abby's character.  While not a professional treasure hunter she grew up with her grandfather who was so she knows her way around the business.  She's intelligent and impulsive enough to want to go after the treasure but has enough common sense that she'll listen to sensible suggestions and advice.  Her relationship with her grandfather also endeared me to her and I could understand her desire to be involved personally in this one big quest.

I didn't quite warm to Gage quite as much.  He's smart and good at what he does.  He's open about his attraction to Abby and his issues which I liked.  However, he's just a bit over the top bossy and opinionated.  He knows his treasure hunting stuff and is aware that he isn't infallible.  

The pacing of this was just a touch off for me.  There's a good bit of setup for the first third of the book or so and while it wasn't boring it wasn't as fast paced as I usually like my romantic suspense to be.   This is technically part of a series but only in that Gage has two brothers who each have their own books.  The stories are not really connected in any other way. This was a fun romantic suspense book and I thought the treasure hunting was a unique plot.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes, definitely.  I'm curious about Gage's brother's stories.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy romantic suspense I think you'd enjoy this one.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2022

LIfe with Leukemia, a Puppy and Some Reading - May 29

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:

I finally had the bookstore trip I've been wanting to do and here are books I ended up picking up!

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick
The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah
How to Find Love in a Bookstore by Veronica Henry
The Thin Woman by Dorothy Cannell
Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson
Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson
Seeing Darkness by Heather Graham
Chocolate Cat Caper by JoAnna Carl
Postcards From a Stranger by Imogen Clark
Panic Button by Kylie Logan
Hot Button by Kylie Logan
Buttoned Up by Kylie Logan
The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters
Peaches and Scream by Susan Furlong
Have His Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers
Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L Sayers
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L Sayers
Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L Sayers 


Reading:  The Proof is in the Poison by Diane Kelly and Staging is Murder by Grace Topping

Listening: Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

The past few weeks have been kind of crazy.  Will spiked a fever last week and ended up having to spend a few days in the hospital.  This isn't that unusual for Leukemia kids because anytime they pick up any little bug or infection they frequently need IV antibiotics to make sure nothing worsens.  We had great nurses and he's feeling a lot better but it is exhausting!

Rover starts his next obedience class this week.  It's his third class but it's really the second class over again.  He gets the commands but he just needs a little more time to calm down.

I'm mostly just tired but am hoping to get a bit of reading done.  I'm also slowly catching up on comments.  

Have a great week and happy reading.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

The Walker in Shadows - Keeper Shelf Review

Goodreads:  The Walker in Shadows by Barbara Michaels

Rating:  Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  The house next door to Pat Robbins—eerily identical to the home Pat shares with her college-aged son, Mark—has been empty for years, the darkness within seeming to warn all to stay away. Now new tenants are moving in: affable Josef Friedrichs and his lovely daughter, Kathy, who has stolen Mark's heart on first glance. But something is not right—something old and secret lurking in the shadows that fresh paint and new furnishings cannot mask or exorcise. There is evil alive in the heart of the house next door—and it means to feed on the fears of two families . . . and drag Kathy Friedrichs with it into peril.

Genre: Mystery - Romantic Suspense

My Impression:  Oh this was such a fun read!  There's history and mystery and secrets and ghosts and haunted houses all rolled into one fast paced story.  This is the kind of book that reminds me just why I enjoy Barbara Michaels' books so much.  Her writing style pulls you in and she is able to pull in the Gothic atmosphere without taking it over the top.  The age of the book definitely shows but for the most part in the most delightful of ways.  There's a lack of technology and at one point while the characters are researching they actually go to the historical society and page through actual books and if I remember correctly microfilm is even involved.  

I love Pat and Mark and their mother/son relationship.  They're very close but there are some complicated moments as there are in any parent/child relationship. I also really liked Kathy.  She's got a bit of baggage and at the beginning seems kind of low personality but she is intelligent and gets better about sticking to her opinions.  Pat is practical and good natured and a great main character.  The main thing that keeps this book from being a total winner for me is Josef.  By himself or with Pat or Kathy he's fine if a bit uptight and bossy but the way he treats Mark makes me cringe.  It does get better as the book goes on but never quite enough to make up for the disdain he shows periodically throughout the bulk of the book.

This is the kind of book that cements Barbara Michaels as one of my favorite authors list.  It's a fun read with some solid history mixed in that doesn't feel like a history lesson.  Plus, I can never resist a ghost!  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  Michaels is one of my favorite authors and I love rereading her books.

Would I Recommend this Book?   If you enjoy a Gothic style mystery with ghosts and some historical research this is a must read!

Friday, May 27, 2022

Friday Fives - My Least Favorite Books From Five of My Favorite Authors

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.   I have lots of favorite authors but even the best author can have a book that doesn't quite click.  These are books by authors I love that just don't quite work for me.

1.  Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie - It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Agatha Christie.  It's also not a huge secret that the woman wrote an enormous number of books over 50 years.  There are several that aren't quite my favorite but none I dislike quite as much as Postern of Fate.  The plot is nonsensical with a timeline that is chaotic at best.  I want to love it because it involves a mystery from the past AND Tommy and Tuppence which are some of my favorite characters.  Unfortunately, this is one I just didn't enjoy.

2.  Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth - While I love Patricia Wentworth I haven't read all of her books so I can only list my least favorite of the ones I've read.  I actually enjoyed this one pretty well - especially after a reread - but it has such a different feel to it than her other books and has a kind of odd secret society angle.  This isn't bad just not as good as her other books.

3.  Mistress Pat by L.M. Montgomery - Montgomery brought some of my absolute favorite characters to life - Anne, Verity, Jane, Marigold, Sara the Story Girl and the King family, and countless others (though I never really could get behind Emily).  However, Pat may be one of my least favorite characters.  The first Pat book is good - not a favorite but okay - but the second one is essentially 250 pages of Pat complaining about change.  I was more than ready to see the last of her when I finished the book!

4.  Greygallows by Barbara Michaels - I've read pretty much all of Michaels' books but I'm only looking at the ones I kept on my Keeper Shelf as the rest I haven't read in probably 20 years.  This one has all the Gothic atmosphere you could ask for but the heroine is a little too damsel in distress for me to fully enjoy the book.

5.  Secret Star by Nora Roberts - I think I can pretty much say that anything by Roberts pre-early 1990s is going to be a miss for me but of the ones I've read in the last several years this one was hands down my least favorite.  The trilogy was very dated and had the kind of alpha male type that was oh so popular in the 80s/early 90s but it kind of worked in the first two books.  My main issue with this book is that the hero really looked down on the heroine for being who she was but never took the time to learn about who she actually was.  I really thought her actual HEA would have been to tell him where to go and stay single.

What are some of your least favorite books by your most favorite authors?

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Naughty in Nice

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:  Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen

Blurb:   Lady Georgiana Rannoch has once again been called into service by Her Majesty the Queen. This time she's sent to Nice on a secret assignment that's nothing to sneeze at-recover the Queen's stolen snuff box.
As much of an honor as it is to be trusted by Her Majesty, an even greater honor awaits Georgie in Nice-as Coco Chanel herself asks Georgie to model her latest fashion. But when a necklace belonging to the Queen is stolen on the catwalk, Georgie has to find two priceless items-and solve a murder. How's a girl to find any time to go to the casino?

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf - I've read the beginning few books and the last few books in the series but never the middle and I need to fix that!  Plus, this one sounds really fun.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Killer on the Court (Murder, She Wrote #5) by Jessica Fletcher + Terrie Farley Moran

Rating:  Liked It
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Jessica is delighted when her nephew Grady invites her to spend a few days with his family in an oceanside New York bungalow. She packs her bags and heads down to the city, ready to spend some quality time with Grady, his wife, Donna, and their young son, Frank.

But the morning after Jessica’s arrival, Donna finds her boss dead on a tennis court, and Jessica’s dreams of a relaxing visit are quashed. Everyone in the small beachside community is a suspect, and the local authorities—headed by an old colleague of Cabot Cove sheriff Mort Metzger—have asked that no one leave town. Will Jessica be able find a killer and salvage the rest of her trip?

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love Jessica Fletcher and have really enjoyed the books in this series!

My Impression:  I love Jessica Fletcher and the whole Murder, She Wrote franchise.  It's been awhile since I've seen Jessica's nephew Grady and his family so I was excited to head to the beach with the Fletcher family.  Unfortunately, this one wasn't my favorite.

The mystery was interesting with a complicated family that the Fletchers are drawn into and surrounded by.  No one is quite what they seem and everyone has secrets and hidden agendas.  I really enjoyed that the lead detective was an old friend of Cabot Cove Sheriff Mort Metzger so we got some stories about younger Mort and some fun interactions.  

My main issue was the level of the detail that was in the book.   Each character was described in detail - hair color, style, clothing, etc- as well as each location.  There were also a number of tangents on things unrelated to the mystery.  This slowed the pace and made for a clunky read at times.  I went between two and three stars on this but I enjoyed the appearances by Seth and Mort as well as the times when the investigation gained traction enough to round up to three.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? While this was not my favorite I always enjoy my time reading a Jessica Fletcher book and I will be picking up the next book!

Would I Recommend this Book?  While I don't necessarily recommend this book I do recommend this series if you love cozy mysteries.  This is truly a series you can start at any book - especially if you've ever watched an episode or two of the show.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten of My Favorite Agatha Christie Quotes

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 about Book Quotes so I'm sharing a few of my favorite Agatha Christie quotes.

1.  When one thinks of things just before going to sleep, quite often ideas come.  - Nemesis

2.  Cleverness isn't everything.   A Murder is Announced

3.  There are things that cannot be hurried - le bon Dieu, Nature, and old people.  The Mystery of the Blue Train

4.  It really is very dangerous to believe people, I never have for years.  - Sleeping Murder

5.  People who can be very good can be very bad too.  - They Do It With Mirrors

6.  Courage is the resolution to face the unforeseen. - Death Comes as the End

7.  Dogs are wise.  They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.  - The Moving Finger

8.  The young people think the old people are fools - but the old people know the young people are fools.  - Murder at the Vicarage

9.  The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.  - Murder on the Orient Express

10. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master.  The simplest explanation is always the most likely.  - The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Monday, May 23, 2022

Fatal Flowers - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Fatal Flowers (A Flower House Mystery #3) by Jess Dylan

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  As Aerieville, Tennessee’s Flower House finally gains in popularity, Sierra Ravenswood finds herself feeling ready for new challenges. Luckily, the shop has grabbed the attention of the mayor’s daughter, and bride-to-be, Marissa Lakely. Sierra is thrilled, and nervous, to land her most important job yet: providing flowers for the biggest wedding Aerieville has ever seen.

Fortunately, Marissa bucks all stereotypes and is far from a bridezilla—but her wedding planner, Taz Banyan, has apparently taken on the role for himself. He’s uptight, intense, and a little intimidating. But Taz aside, everything seems to be under control...until Sierra makes a startling discovery in the great room: the wedding planner, lying in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, in very bad shape. In fact, he survives only long enough to mutter: "It was the snake." As Granny Mae would say, seeing a snake is rarely a good sign, and this was clearly no exception.

With the town on edge and the wedding up in the air, Sierra refuses to stop asking questions in her determination to put an end to this latest danger—so both Aerieville and the Flower House can flourish once more.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've read the first two books in the series and enjoyed them so of course I had to pick up this latest one.

My Impression:  I've enjoyed the previous two books in this series but I think this was the best one yet.  In the past two books I had a hard time really connecting to Sierra but in this book it feels like she's found her footing.  She's a bit flakey, a touch impulsive, but also quick witted with a big heart.  She's a character I could picture being friends with even though she would be making me shake my head quite a bit.

The mystery is an interesting one.  Sierra finds herself roped into the wedding of the year for Aerieville with no warning and no idea what's going on.  There are all kinds of politics and hidden agendas which wraps up at a vendor meeting with the demanding over the top wedding planner dead.  

Sierra gets pulled into the investigation partly due to her own curiosity and partly due to requests from Aerieville's first family matriarch.  The mystery has lots of twists and turns that takes Sierra on several road trips and deep dives into the world of high end wedding vendors.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and was hooked into the mystery from beginning to end.  I'm looking forward to book number 4!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I really enjoyed this one and am looking forward to seeing how the series develops.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies this is a fun series.  It's probably best to be read in order so you understand the relationships between the characters but it isn't necessary.

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

Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday Fives - Five New to Me YouTube Channels I'm Enjoying Right Now


I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  I haven't been watching much TV lately instead have been mostly YouTube.  Here are 5 YouTube channels that I've really been enjoying lately.

1.  Tasting History with Max Miller - I know I've mentioned this channel before but I really don't think I can talk about it enough.  Max does a fantastic job of mixing food and history in an incredibly informative and entertaining manner.  I'm a bit of a history nerd but I've learned more from him than countless books and documentaries.  He covers pretty much all periods of time and has made an amazing variety of food.  

2.  That Chapter - I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this channel before but Mike is my favorite True Crime YouTuber.  He covers crimes from all over the world and does a great job of being entertaining without disrespectful.  Plus, he just seems like the nicest guy ever.

3.  Abby Cox - Abby Cox's channel is all about historical clothing.  She used to be connected to Colonial Williamsburg and her education is in Fashion History.  The most recent video I watched was about Kim Kardashian wearing the Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday dress (spoiler - she wasn't a fan) and she did an amazing job of explaining the problems with this from an academic and historical perspective.  

4.  Georgia Marie - I just discovered Georgia Marie and am really enjoying her channel.  She does a mix of regular true crime cases, cold cases, Jane/John Does, and history of different points in history.  I just watched a video she had on 5 flights that mysteriously disappeared and it was fascinating.  

5.  Briannah Jewel - So this is a bit different from others but I get no less enjoyment out of this channel.  Briannah has a background in biology, is a certified personal trainer, and is in school to become a registered dietician.  She reviews "fitness influencer" workouts on Instagram and critiques them and then shows how to do the exercise correctly.  She's also worked with registered dieticians to talk about different diet plans.  She's smart, funny, and sarcastic, and has super cute dogs.  

Do you watch much YouTube?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Crocodile on the Sandbank

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:  Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

Blurb:  Amelia Peabody inherited two things from her father: a considerable fortune and an unbendable will. The first allowed her to indulge in her life's passion. Without the second, the mummy's curse would have made corpses of them all.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I absolutely adore Barbara Michaels but never read her Amelia Peabody books under her Elizabeth Peters name.  Also, Barbara Mertz (who is both Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters) was actually an Egyptologist with several published books under her real name.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Year of the Projects - Crime Rib + The French House

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.

Project: Catch Up on Series

Blurb: Food Preneurs, one of the hottest cooking shows on TV, has decided to feature Jewel Bay in an upcoming episode, and everyone in town is preparing for their close-ups, including the crew at the Glacier Mercantile, aka the Merc. Not only is Erin busy remodeling her courtyard into a relaxing dining area, she’s organizing a steak-cooking competition between three of Jewel Bay’s hottest chefs to be featured on the program.
But Erin’s plans get scorched when one of the contending cooks is found dead. With all the drama going on behind the scenes, it’s hard to figure out who didn’t have a motive to off the saucy contestant. Now, to keep the town’s reputation from crashing and burning on national television, Erin will have to grill some suspects to smoke out the killer . . .

My Thoughts:  I so enjoy this series!  Budewitz has created a a town and a community that I would absolutely have on my list of places to visit.  Just the description of the Merc alone has me hooked.  I like Erin and her relationship with her family and there are a few scenes where she had my complete sympathy regarding her mother.  This was a fun read and one that kept me invested from beginning to end (though don't read while hungry - the food mentions are mouthwatering!).  This is a series I came into later so I only technically have one more book before I'm caught up on the series and I will miss Erin and the rest of Jewel Bay when I've finished that one.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Project:  Clear Off My Shelves

Blurb:  When Francophiles Don and Mindy Wallace received an offer for a house on a tiny French island, they jumped at the chance, buying it almost sight unseen. What they found when they arrived was a building in ruin, and it wasn't long before their lives resembled it. Plagued by emergency repairs, a stock market crash, and very exasperated French neighbors, the Wallace's could have accepted their fate. Instead, they embraced it. The French House is the delightfully amusing and picturesque memoir about a family who seized life, rose from the rubble, and built themselves a home away from home.

My Thoughts:  This was an interesting read.  I didn't like it as much as I want too but more than I was afraid I might.  The history of the village was interesting as was what it was like to live there.  I also enjoyed getting little snapshots of the different villagers as well as the different rules and regulations and traditions for building in a small Breton village.  I didn't love the parts with Don and Mindy in the States or the parts about surfing which seemed to take up a bit too much page time.  My Rating: Liked It

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I Was Excited to Get But Still Haven't Read

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 Books I Was Excited to Get But Still Haven't Read.  A couple of years ago this list was much much bigger but I've really been working on getting some of the books from my shelves read and it's nice to really see some progress!

1.  The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman - I was so excited to get this book the year it came out which was more than a few years ago.  Still haven't read it!

2.  Agatha Christie's Secret Diaries by John Curran - I bought this new in hardback.  Agatha Christie is by far my favorite author.  I have no explanation.

3.  The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan - Of all the places I've visited the Biltmore is in my top 5 places to go back to and I would love to know more of the history.

4.  Love Without Borders by Angela Braniff - Braniff's channel This Gathered Nest is one of my favorite YouTube channels and I preordered this book but still haven't read it.

5.  Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert - I was absolutely thrilled when I got the ARC of this one by surprise but never got around to reading it.

6.  Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn  - I picked up this one the year it was published and not only is it by one of my favorite authors but it sounds amazing.

7.  Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen - This is an author I really enjoy and this mystery sounds fantastic.

8.  The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson - I picked this one up based almost solely on the cover and title and it looks fantastic.

9.  The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan - I adored a previous book by this author and was so excited to pick this one up.

10. The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton - This is another previous author and this is one I picked up on Audible and still haven't listened to it.

What are some books you were excited to get but still haven't read?

Monday, May 16, 2022

Smile Beach Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Smile Beach Murder (An Outer Banks Bookstore Mystery #1) by Alicia Bessette

Rating: Liked It
Source:   Publisher

Description:  When Callie is laid off from her reporting job, she returns to her hometown of Cattail Island and lands a gig at the local bookstore -- the same one where she found comfort after her mother died. In fact, the anniversary of her mother's infamous death is approaching. Years ago, Teri Padget tumbled from the top of the lighthouse. As islanders are once again gossiping about the tragedy, devestating news strikes: the lighthouse has claimed another victim -- Eva Meeks, of Meeks Hardware. The police are calling it suicide, but Callie does not believe Eva jumped any more than she believes her mother did -- especially because Callie knows that before her death, Eva had dug up a long-forgotten treasure hunt that could have put a target on Eva's back. In Callie's search for answers, she enlists the help of some beloved books and several new friends, including the handsome local martial arts instructor, Toby Dodge. But when another death rocks Cattail Island, Callie must face her fears alone. As she earns enemies in pursuit of the truth, Callie knows she will either uncover the killer or become a victim herself.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love bookish cozies and beachy cozies and can never resist the first book in a new series and this was all three!

My Impression: This was a bit of an unusual cozy.  It's definitely in a small town and it definitely involves a bookstore but it doesn't have that quirky cozy feeling that small town cozies frequently have.  Callie isn't the most likable of main characters.  She's a bit frustrated with the state her life has ended up in, she's obstinate, prickly and has a bit of a sharp edge.  Despite the fact that she loves her uncle and likes where she grew up she's not particularly thrilled to be home and isn't really looking for anything.  

When a friend of Callie's dies in a manner eerily similar to Callie's mother's death years before Callie can't help but be drawn in.  Callie is not only looking for justice for Eva but is also hoping that if she breaks the story she will get a foothold back into the journalism world she wants to get back to.   This is Callie's story.  While the mystery is important and very front and center the primary focus is Callie's growth.  She's not a character I particularly connected with but she is a character that I found interesting in a community that I enjoyed and that is a bit different from most other cozies I've read.

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

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy mysteries this is a good read.

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

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Life With Leukemia, A Puppy, And Some Reading - May 15

 It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

An Unforgiving Place by Claire Kells - I really enjoyed the early Nevada Barr books that were set in National Parks so I was excited to see this one which looks like an intriguing mystery.  (Publisher)


  Fatal Flowers by Jess Dylan and The Villa by Nora Roberts

Listening:  Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King

Last weekend we went to Louisiana for the Dream Day Foundation event which is connected to the Baton Rouge affiliate of St Jude Children's Research Hospital.  This is a big event with fishing, a big petting zoo, food and all kinds of different games and crafts for kids and their families who are either in active treatment, through treatment, or the family of those whose fight has ended.  Will's immune system numbers had been trending down and honestly if we had been going anywhere else we wouldn't have been able to go.  We had such a good time!  Pre-pandemic we had spent several months in the New Orleans area so we went down a day early and went to some of our favorite restaurants and the drove over to Mississippi to visit the beaches we spent so much time at.  It was really fun.  The event in Baton Rouge was also so much fun!  We don't really fish but we had a fabulous time at the petting zoo part.  They had a camel, ducklings, chicks, goats, bunnies, a tortoise, an Alpaca, an owl (NOT for petting), some baby alligators and a number of other things.  Will got tired pretty quickly but he had such a good time!  And he ate at his favorite fast food - Raising Cane's 5 times in 4 days.  It's a chicken fingers and fries place and while not healthy I must admit it is pretty tasty.  Unfortunately, his immune system numbers have continued to drop so we are housebound for the week.  Luckily, he's feeling good and not showing any sign of any infection but if something did happen he would really have no defense for it.  This isn't unusual in leukemia patients though he is proving to be extra sensitive to several of the chemo drugs.

While we were in Louisiana, Rover boarded at our vet for the first time.  We love our vet and they kind of a resort boarding area.  Honestly, I expected him to barely notice we were gone but he was so excited to see me when I picked him up I felt a little guilty.  We are starting Manners class again this week.  This is second go round and while he did great he needs a bit more maturity and we are working on him being able to calm down easily.  He's not quite 7 months old so he's still got a puppy brain even though it's in a 60 pound (and growing!) body.

Friday was my birthday and we had such a nice time!  We drove down the beach and stopped in Bay St Louis at this absolutely amazing ice cream place. We stopped at our favorite beach (not the one in the picture) and dipped our toes in the water and just relaxed a bit.  It was such a nice day.  I celebrate a birthday season so I'm still officially celebrating until at least the first week or so of June so I still have lots of plan.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Ladies' Bane - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Ladies' Bane (A Miss Silver Mystery #22) by Patricia Wentworth

Rating:  Really Liked It
Source:   Purchased

Description:  No one has seen Allegra Trent since she got married. Her husband swept her off her feet and out of London, to a faraway town called Bleake. She has stopped writing letters, and her family has begun to worry. Allegra’s husband is a strange man, consumed with the dream of owning a ramshackle medieval estate, and he intends to use his new wife’s money to do it. Why he wants to live there no one knows, but Josepha Bowden does not want his castle to become her goddaughter’s prison. She asks the help of Maud Silver, the former governess who now makes a living using her reason to unravel the intricacies of murder. There has been no killing in Bleake, but if Miss Silver doesn’t intervene quickly, there could be one soon.

Genre:  Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm finishing the Miss Silver series this year.  

My Impression:   This book frustrated me a bit.  A large part of it was absolutely fantastic - easily 5 Star.  The goings on at the Ladies' House were intriguing with lots of dark elements.  Miss Silver is pulled in an intriguing way, has plenty of page time and is playing very much into her strengths.  The mystery kept me interested and guessing until the very end.  Frank Abbott plays a very small role here but I didn't mind that too much as it gave Miss Silver a bit more time to shine.  

What kept this book from being 5 stars for me is a convoluted beginning and a few almost distracted transition points.  It almost feels like the mystery was written in chunks with breaks in between.  I'm not sure if maybe I was distracted without realizing it but there were a couple of times while reading the book that I had to take a step out and figure out just who was who and what was going on.  While this would normally really annoy me the moments were small enough and I was pulled back into story quickly enough that it didn't ruin my reading experience.

All the Miss Silver books are standalones and this one was no difference.  Despite the chaotic moments this was an interesting and entertaining mystery.  I'm looking forward to the next Miss Silver mystery!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Patricia Wentworth is one of my absolute favorite authors and I always enjoying reading and rereading her books.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries and enjoy Christie's Miss Marple books I think you would love Miss Silver.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday Fives - Five Mini Reviews

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 5 quick reviews for books I've read recently.

1.  Second Sight by Amanda Quick - This is the first book in the Arcane Society and is the story of Gabriel Jones and Venetia Milton.  Gabriel is in charge of the Arcane Society that has hired Venetia Milton to photograph and document the Society's collection.   Their time together is interrupted by an attack and Venetia is left to rebuild her life as a "widow" running a photography business.  This was an entertaining story with  a likable and practical heroine.  Gabriel is a bit flat and a bit heavy handed on the alpha male side of thing but never got annoying.  This wouldn't be an Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz without it being an entertaining read and it didn't disappoint.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the series continues.  My Rating: Liked It

2.  The Body in the Garden by Katharine Schellman - I picked this book up because I picked up the 3rd book in the series without realizing it was the 3rd book in the series so obviously I had to read the first 2 books.  This was a delight!  I really enjoy historical mysteries and I'm so excited to find a new series that I really enjoy.  Lily Adler is an interesting and likable main character with common sense and a dash of daring.  I also love a team element and Ophelia Oswald and Captain Jack Hartley make a fun team and work really well with Lily.   The mystery was interesting and while I did guess the reveal a little before Lily I was curious as to how she would pull everything together.  I'm so excited to have discovered this series and can't wait to continue with it!  My Rating: Really Liked It!

3. Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber - This book gave me strong Sarah Addison Allen vibes. It could be because the premise was vaguely similar to a book by that author that I had just read.  Regardless, this is a story set in a small Southern town with a focus on community and healing.  There are strong elements of magical realism and two strong main characters who are connected but have had very different paths.  I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end and wish there were more books to be set in the town of Wicklow, Alabama as there are so many memorable characters in the town that I would love to see again.  My Rating: Loved It!

4.  Crime on the Fens by Joy Ellis - This police procedural set in the UK has been on my TBR for ages and I just finally got around to listening to the audio and I'm so glad I do.  I mostly read cozy mysteries but every once in awhile I want something a little grittier and this was perfect.  While the subject matter is dark and there is violence it isn't overly detailed or grisly.  I really liked DI Nikki Galena.  She's driven and on a mission but not of her own ambition.   The addition of DS Joseph Easter softened the edges without going romantic (and I'm hoping it stays that way) and humanized her.  The rest of the team is capable and interesting.  This is a procedural series I'm really excited to continue with.  My Rating: Loved It!

5.  Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas - It's been a long time since I read a historical romance and I wasn't sure what I was going to think when I picked this one up.  I ended up absolutely loving it.  Helen is a delightful character.  She's kind natured with a warm heart and is not naturally confrontational but is learning to express herself and stand up for herself.   Rhys is a little harder to like.  He's a kind man with a fair and generous nature but because of his past is used to keeping up his defenses and using arrogance as a shield.  The relationship between the two feels authentic and genuine and it is easy to believe that their relationship is lasting.  There is a Secret in this book which is one of my least favorite plot devices.  However, in this case I can understand why it is kept and not shared.  I'm looking forward to reading more historical romance and more of Kleypas's Ravenal books in the future!  My Rating: Loved It!

What have you read recently?

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Deadly Appraisal

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:  Josie Prescott is settling into her new life in New Hampshire. Her antiques business is thriving, she's beginning to make some close friends, and her relationship with the local police chief is becoming more interesting. Not bad for someone who has completely uprooted her life as a New York City auction house expert in order to get a fresh start in a small New England town. 

 With so much suddenly to lose, Josie can't help but worry when murder invades her seemingly quiet community. Josie is sponsoring the Portsmouth Women's Guild Annual Black and Gold Gala and is looking forward to receiving a kindly worded thank-you for her efforts. Instead, the Guild representative, Maisy Gaylor, dies a horrible death in the midst of the banquet. Who could have wanted to kill earnest, drab little Maisy? "Funny, isn't it," muses the hostile Detective Rowcliff, "how a lot of people end up dead when no one has any enemies."

Everyone who had access to the wine Maisy drank, including Josie herself, soon comes under suspicion. Can Josie manage to ferret out the truth, keep her business running smoothly, and continue to put down roots in her new town, or will everything prove too much for her to handle on her own?

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  Because it's going to have to go back to the library soon!  I've had it for just over two months and I only have one renewal left on it.