Thursday, June 30, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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:  Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Marty Wingate

Blurb:  After her romantic idyll with the debonair Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse culminates in a marriage proposal, Pru Parke sets about arranging their nuptials while diving into a short-term gig at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. At hand is the authentication of a journal purportedly penned by eighteenth-century botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies. Compared to the chaos of wedding planning, studying the journal is an agreeable task . . . that is, until a search for a missing cat leads to the discovery of a dead body: One of Pru’s colleagues has been conked on the head with a rock and dumped from a bridge into the Water of Leith.
Pru can’t help wondering if the murder has something to do with the Menzies diary. Is the killer covering up a forgery? Among the police’s many suspects are a fallen aristocrat turned furniture maker, Pru’s overly solicitous assistant, even Pru herself. Now, in the midst of sheer torture by the likes of flamboyant wedding dress designers and eccentric church organists, Pru must also uncover the work of a sly murderer—unless this bride wants to walk down the aisle in handcuffs.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have all  the books in this series and haven't read past the first two.   I need to fix that!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

With a Spirit of Vengeance - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  With a Spirit of Vengeance (A Bay Island Pyschic Mystery #7) by Lena Gregory

Rating:  Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Psychic Cass Donovan must uncover the truth about long-buried secrets and recent murders to bring peace to a troubled spirit and bring justice to a flesh-and-blood killer . . .

When the spirit of Ophelia Wilson turned to clairvoyant Cass Donovan for help, Cass was able to prove Ophelia’s innocence in the century-old murders of her family members—and solve a contemporary murder in the process. But Ophelia’s spirit has returned, this time angrily demanding that Cass expose the identity of whoever did kill her family. And then eerily, two descendants from the Wilson family tree are murdered, suggesting that Ophelia has the power to meddle in modern-day events to satisfy her rage.

As Cass struggles to solve the two recent murders and unravel the sparse clues about murders from a hundred years ago, she and those around her begin to suffer Ophelia’s wrath—including an attempt on the life of one of Cass’s closest friends. Relying on all of her own psychic powers, Cass has to confront the spirit’s hunger for vengeance and track down a merciless killer before she becomes the next victim of both . . .

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:   I have really enjoyed the previous books in the series and how can I resist the big clumsy looking dog on the cover?

My Impression: I really enjoy this series!  Cass is a likable main character but what really sells it is her friends - especially Bee and Stephanie.  I also cannot get enough of her big dog aptly named Beast who is just as gentle as he is big and clumsy. The pyschic element adds an interesting element and is not always convenient for Cass.

This book follows closely with what happened in the previous book A Spirit Seeks Asylum and while you could read this book without reading the rest of the series you do need to read the book before this one for this one to really make sense.  The ghost of Ophelia is an interesting character and raises the question of just how do you solve a decades old murder with no evidence.  As well when Bee and Cass discover a modern day murder they have to figure out just how everything else is connected.  

The ending felt a little rushed but that is a common issue I have with cozy mysteries lately and since everything was esxplained I was happy with it.  This is a fun series with likable characters and a fantastic canine side kick.  If you enjoy a cozy with a good paranormal twist this is a fun series to try.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I've missed a few of the earlier books in the series and I'm looking forward to going back and reading them.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun series.

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Summer 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!  Today's topic is Summer TBR.  I love making this list each season even if I don't always (okay never) get to all the books on my list.

1.  The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin - The previous book by this author was one of my favorite books of last year and I'm so excited about this one!

2.  Round Up the Usual Peacocks by Donna Andrews - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I can't wait to see what kind of hijinks and mayhem happen in this book.

3.  A Certain Darkness by Anna Lee Huber - This is another favorite series and in the previous book the main character had some real personal growth and I'm curious to see how this affects the books going forward.

4.  Dewey Decimated by Allison Brook - I love this series involving a haunted library and a cat names Smoky Joe.  I can't wait to read this one!

5. Castle Deadly, Castle Deep by Veronica Bond - I loved the first book in this series last year and am so excited to pick this one up.

6.  The Evil Inside by Heather Graham - I enjoy this series and love a good romantic suspense during the summer.  I've been making slow progress on catching on on this series from the beginnning and this is the next book in the series for me.

7.  Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers - I'm making slow progress on reading the Lord Peter Wimsey series in order and this is the next book.

8.  By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates - A book set on the Outer Banks in a library inside of a lighthouse seems like perfect summer reading!

9.  Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams - This book has been on my TBR FOREVER and I'm hoping to finally read it this summer.  I love Adams' sense of humor and this looks like it'll be really fun - and more than a little weird.

10.  Tilly and the Book Wanderers (Pages and Co #1) by Anna James - It's been a long time since I've read a new to me Middle Grade and this one looks really fun.

What are you hoping to read this summer?

Monday, June 27, 2022

Donut Disturb - Cozy Mystery Review

 Goodreads: Donut Disturb (Bakeshop Mystery #15) by Ellie Alexander

Rating:  Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Love is in bloom in Ashland, Oregon. The Shakespearean hamlet is bursting with fresh spring energy. Fragrant lilacs and the sweet aroma of vanilla cake fill the air as everyone in town gathers at Lithia Park for the celebration of the year—Thomas and Kerry’s wedding.

It’s a picture perfect day. Guests gather on picnic blankets in front of the bandshell to watch Kerry walk down the aisle and wed Ashland’s favorite detective in training, Thomas. Jules and her team at Torte have been tasked with catering the outdoor reception and everything is going according to plan, until a wedding crasher shows up.

The uninvited guest isn’t just someone looking to score a free glass of champagne. It’s Kerry’s estranged father who is supposed to be behind bars. Kerry is distraught. Jules vows to do everything she can to make sure that there are no other surprises on her friend’s big day. But when the bassist for Heart Strings, the wedding band, is found stabbed with the blunt end of his instrument Jules’s promise takes on new meaning. Now she’ll have to slice through the five tiered cake and a bevy of potential suspects in order to track down a killer before they turn the knife on her.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is one of my favorite cozy series and I can never resist the newest book.

My Impression:  I always love a trip to Ashland, Oregon and this book was no exception.  Jules, Carlos and the Torte team are at their best coming up with tasty treats and catering a wedding with food so good I would happily attend and I'm not a big fan of weddings or events in general.  I also really liked that the wedding is for Thomas and Kerry who are two long running side characters.

I especially enjoyed getting a deeper look at Kerry's backstory. While she has been a side character for quite some time I never felt like I really knew her so I really enjoyed the opportunity to get into her past.   I love the relationship between Jules and the Professor and I always enjoy coming along for the investigation.  

The mystery was entertaining, well done and kept me guessing.  The relationships between all the characters is enjoyable and the treats sounded unbelievably tasty.  This was a fun read from beginning to end but then I expect no less from this series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  This is one of my favorite cozy authors and I've enjoyed everything I've read by her.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries with strong characters and a fantastic setting this is a must not miss series.  While you can jump in here like most series it is better to read this in order.

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

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Life with Leukemia, A Puppy, And Some Reading - June 26

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:

Unnatural Death by Dorothy L Sayers - The one Sayers book my library doesn't happen to have is the next one that I need to read! (Purchased)


Reading:  A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle and With a Spirit of Vengeance by Lena Gregory

Listening: Devlin's Light by Mariah Stewart

This was a pretty boring week!  Chemo hit Will pretty hard this week so he went to bed early on clinic day and when he woke up the next morning he felt fine thankfully.  He is still gaining weight and his numbers were just where his oncologist wanted them which is good.  

Rover did great in class and did great with the company we had over this weekend.  We are still working on jumping but we are seeing so much progress which is so exciting.  

In between dog stuff and kid stuff I got a good bit of reading done and some blogging posting/commenting as well as catching up on laundry and whatnot.  I'm not caught up but I'm no longer buried so I will take that as a win.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station - Keeper Shelf Review

Goodreads: Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station (Mrs. Pollifax #6) by Dorothy Gilman

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchased

Description: Once again, Mrs. Pollifax, the cheerful cozy little woman with the flyaway white hair and a penchant for old hats is plunged headfirst into another hair-raising CIA mission.
Posing as a tourist in China, Emily Pollifax meets the sinister challenges of the Orient to safeguard a treasure for the CIA...and all but loses her life in the bargain.

Genre: Fiction

My Impression: There's no such thing (in my opinion) as a bad Mrs. Pollifax book but this was probably my least favorite of the series so far.  It is a bit different from the past books as Mrs. Pollifax isn't front and center in the most dangerous part of the adventure.  In fact she really doesn't know how it is going to go.  With some mild deviation - it is still Mrs. Pollifax after all - she mostly stays on the plan laid out by Carstairs in the begining.

What kept this book from being a "Love It" for me was Mrs. Pollifax doesn't has as much page time as I prefer.  We see the other agent's POV several times as well as seeing the dynamics of the people in the tour group.  I'm pretty much convinced the character of Jenny was based on someone Gilman knew in real life and this was her way of venting her annoyance at that person. As well, since Mrs. Pollifax is just an ordinary tourist for the first half of the book it's a bit slower paced than previous books.  It's still delightful and the last half flies by but it didn't catch my attention and pull me in as much as I usally expect from this series.

I did really enjoyi seeing Mrs. Pollifax in more of a senior agent role with experience under her belt.  I also liked that we are seeing a bit of growth with Mrs. Pollifax as the danger she finds herself in does have some consequences and she is sorting out her relationship with Cryrus, who she met in the previous book.   There's also some brilliant scenes with Mrs. Pollifax in action as an agent which I always love to see.

This series is such fun and one I always enjoy.  While each story is a stand alone it's best to at least read the first book before this one so you understand just how all this craziness came to be.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  After reading the blurb I'm already super excited for the next book.  

Would I Recommend this Book? Definitely!  If you can suspend belief a bit this is a fun fast paced read with an endearing main character who is way more complicated than meets the eye!

Friday, June 24, 2022

Friday Fives - Authors I Haven't Read Yet But Are On My TBR

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 looking at 5 authors I haven't read yet but have books on my TBR.

1.  Susan Meissner - Every book this author has written has ended up on my TBR but I've yet to read any of them.

2.  Melinda Leigh - I love romantic suspense - especially in the summer - and I've heard raves about this author.

3.  Hazel Prior - This sounds really good and different and the fact that it is set in Antarctica sounds pretty appealing as it is currently100+ degrees outside with high humidity.

4.  Katherine Center - Another author where every book has ended up on my TBR but I've yet is to read any of them.

5.  Amanda Flower - We aren't even going to talk about how many books by this author I own and they all sound like such fun cozies!

Do you have authors with multiple books on your TBR but you haven't read any of their books?

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Ghosts of Greenglass House

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:  Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Blurb:  Welcome back to the irresistible world of Greenglass House where thirteen-year-old Milo is, once again, spending the winter holidays stuck in a house full of strange guests who are not what they seem. There are fresh clues to uncover as friends old and new join in his search for a mysterious map and a famous smuggler’s lost haul.

Why This Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I really enjoyed the first book in this series and I'm curious to see how the series develops.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Murder is No Picnic - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Murder is No Picnic (Cape Cod Foodie Mystery #3) by Amy Pershing

Rating: Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  July 4th is coming, and for professional foodie Samantha Barnes, it's all about the picnic. Okay, and the fireworks. And the parade. But mostly the picnic. What could be better than a DIY clambake followed by the best blueberry buckle in the world? Sam has finally found the perfect recipe in the kitchen of Clara Foster, famed cookbook author and retired restaurateur, and she's thrilled when Clara agrees to give her a lesson.

But when Clara dies in a house fire blamed on carelessness in the kitchen, Sam doesn't believe it. Unfortunately, Sam's doubts set in motion an investigation pointing to the new owner of Clara's legendary restaurant--and a cousin of Sam's Harbormaster boyfriend. So, in between researching the Cape's best lobster rolls and planning her clambake, Sam needs to find Clara's killer before the fireworks really start...

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been reading this series since the beginning and can never resist a cozy mystery with a dog - especially a big yellow dog!

My Impression:  I'm really enjoying this series!  Sam isn't my favorite main character but I'm beginning to connect with her a bit more and I really like the side characters and of course I adore her big yellow dog.  He's such a fun cozy sidekick.  Sam's career in Cape Cod is really starting to gain traction as she becomes known as the "Cape Cod Foodie" and I love that she's working with her friend Jenny and force of nature Krista.  

We meet the victim almost immediately in the book and she gets some page time before she meets her untimely end.  Clara is a complicated woman which leads to a number of possible suspects and motives.  I really liked that Sam spends some time with former high school classmate and current police detective Vivvie.  I also liked that Sam was pulled into the investigation somewhat officially.

Like the previous two books in this series this has a bit of a slower start but we are essentially following Sam around in her day to day life so we really get a sense of who she is and the world she lives in.  The mystery kept me guessing and for most of the book I had really no idea the who and the why.  

This series keeps getting stronger and this was my favorite book yet.  I'm looking forward to the next book and seeing where the series goes.  If you enjoy foodie cozies with interesting side characters and a big clumsy dog this is a must read!

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

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would!  While I think pretty much any series is best read in order you could pick this one up without reading the previous books without too much trouble.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Bookish Wishes

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 Bookish Wishes so here are ten books on my Bookish wish list.

1.  With Love From London by Sarah Jio - I've read a few books by this author and enjoyed them and this one sounds amazing!  

2.  Sound of Darkness by Heather Graham - I always love Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunters books and they're such great summer reading.  I'm looking forward to picking up this one that was published last month.

3.  Murder Book: A Graphic Memoir of a True Crime Obsession by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell - I know very little about this book but it sounds really interesting.

4.  An Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan - I love Jenny Colgan and this series set on a remote Isle in Scotland is my favorite.

5.  Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson - How could I resist this title?

6.  The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor - This series looks fantastic and I really want to start it.

7.  The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths - I have really enjoyed this mystery series set in the 1950s involving a famous magician and a police officer.

8.  The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan - Another Jenny Colgan book but I can never resist them and this one involves a bookshop so I must get it.  

9.  The Life and Times of Hercule Poirot by Anne Hart  - I read Hart's book about Miss Marple and found it interesting and am curious to see what she puts together about Poirot's life.  

10. The Lady Has a Past by Amanda Quick - I have loved this 1930s romantic suspense series and this is one I haven't read yet.  

What books do you want to buy?

Monday, June 20, 2022

Year of the Projects - We Wish You a Murderous Christmas + Butter Off Dead

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: We Wish You A Murderous Christmas (A Year Round Christmas Mystery) by Vicki Delany
Project: Catch Up on Series

Blurb:  It’s Christmastime three hundred sixty-five days a year in Rudolph, New York, and as Christmas Day approaches, shop owner Merry Wilkinson is enjoying a rare evening off at the Yuletide Inn when she runs into owners Grace and Jack Olsen. With Jack's health failing, Merry is relieved to hear that his son Gord will be taking over the day-to-day running of the Inn.

But then Gord reveals that his new plans have no room for Christmas at the Inn, and Merry and the other shopkeepers start to fret about the effect a bland franchise hotel could have on their livelihoods.

When Gord is found stabbed to death, there’s an entire town of potential suspects—and it’s up to Merry to find whoever brought homicide home for the holidays...

My Thoughts:  Gord is one of those cozy victims that when he's found dead the reader is not sad.  He's really really dreadful.  But while I wouldn't want to spend anytime with Gord and wasn't sorry to see his page time come to a rather abrupt end I did thoroughly enjoyed watching Merry and the rest of the community of Rudolph unravel the mystery.   This is such a fun Christmas-y series and one I was sorry to read had ended.  I have one more book left in the series and am looking forward to visiting Rudolph again soon.  My Rating: Liked It!

Project: Catch Up On Series

Blurb:  In an attempt to woo tourists to Jewel Bay and cheer up the townies, Erin Murphy, manager of the specialty local foods market known as the Merc, is organizing the First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, filled with classic foodie flicks and local twists on favorite movie treats. But when her partner in planning, painter Christine Vandeberg, is found dead only days before the curtain rises, Erin suspects someone is attempting to stop the films from rolling.
To make matters worse, Nick—Erin’s brother and Christine’s beau—has top billing on the suspect list. Convinced her brother is innocent and determined that the show must go on, Erin has to find who’s really to blame before Nick gets arrested or the festival gets shut down. But the closer she gets to the killer, the more likely it becomes that she’ll be the next person cut from the program...

My Thoughts:  Oh I will miss this series!  There are actually a few more books but this is one of those series I started about halfway through and I have really enjoyed going back and reading the first 3 books.  I really enjoyed that this festival wasn't Erin's brainchild and that we were able to get to know her brother Nick a bit as he's always been kind of a shadowy character.  The mystery was an intriguing and the wrap up was a bit of a surprise.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading - June 19

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 took a week off from new books.


  Murder is No Picnic by Amy Pershing and Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman

Listening:  Travels with George:  In Search of Washington and His Legacy by Nathaniel Philbrick

This was two years ago today.  Will had just been diagnosed with leukemia and was getting loaded up from transport to Memphis.  The blanket over him is from the Linus Project and it is one he still has and is very special to him.  We were less than 24 hours past diagnosis, had packed for unknown period of time at 2AM in complete shock and had no idea what the future held.  

This was one year ago and we were just getting comfortable being back home.  His hair is finally starting to grow in and he has the beginning of what would be a glorious crop of chemo curls.

And this was just a few days ago with our very favorite astronaut and Will's former Physician's Assistant when we first in Memphis.  It's been a crazy two years but Will has done so amazing.  He's been so matter of fact about everything, asked tons of questions, and been very sarcastic pretty much throughout.  For the first time we are starting to feel like the end is is sight with just 32 weeks left in treatment!  

Today we are taking Rover on a play date and then going swimming since it is crazy hot outside and swimming is about the only thing that one can do outside.

And here's a picture of Rover from after class this week.  He's getting to be such a good boy even though he drives me crazy sometimes!  His adult coat is starting to come in and he's starting to get that golden retriever fluff.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Out of the Past - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Out of the Past (Miss Silver #23) by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Loved It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  James and Carmona Hardwick are spending the summer playing host to numerous friends and relatives in an old Hardwick family residence by the sea. The arrival of Alan Field, a devastatingly handsome though shady figure from Carmona's past, destroys the holiday atmosphere in the ugly old house and replaces it with mounting tension, culminating in murder. Fortunately for the Hardwicks and their guests, Miss Silver is present to unravel the secrets from the past -- secrets the killer will stop at nothing to keep hidden.

Genre:  Mystery - Classic

My Impression:  This is Miss Silver at her best I think.  Alan Field is the most unlikable victim and Wentworth paints him as thoroughly detestable but doesn't overdue it.  He seems to have discovered a little something on just about everyone that is staying at the Hardwick family home and one person doesn't want their secret revealed to the point that murder is the only option.   It is a challenge to determine just what potential suspect at the house party finally had enough.

Miss Silver starts out as being merely an innocent bystander who happens to be summering at the beach with her beloved niece but finds herself drawn into the investigation first by Inspector Abbott and then by one of the suspects.  She is at her prim Edwardian best knitting and carefully discovering bits of information.  

The mystery kept me reading and guessing and was a delight from beginning to end.  While this is the 23rd book to feature Miss Silver the books are in no way a series and can be read in any order.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I've already got the next one pulled out and ready to read.  

Would I Recommend this Book?   If you enjoy Miss Marple mysteries you must try Miss Silver - especially this book.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Friday Five - 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.  Mrs. Jeffries Dusts for Clues by Emily Brightwell - While I'm a big fan of this later books in this series I had some issues with the first book when I read it recently.  However, my main issue (Inspector Witherspoon being so clueless) didn't seem to transfer over to this book.  Witherspoon is a capable investigator unknowingly helped by his clever household staff.  This was a fun mystery with a likable cast of characters.  This is a very classic feeling cozy mystery that I feel like most mystery readers will enjoy.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

2.  A Hex for Danger by Esme Addison - I liked the first book in the series and was hoping the second book would be stronger.  This one didn't quite work as well for me.  I felt like it was too detailed (ie I don't need to know the hairstyle of the EMT who has approximately 2 minutes of page time) and I didn't like the relationship between the main character and her boyfriend.  The mystery didn't really grab me though I did enjoy the side characters and the setting.  My Rating: Not For Me

3.  Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters - Oh this was fun!  I'm a huge Barbara Michaels fan but hadn't read many of her books under this name.  Michaels/Peters was actually an Egyptologist which makes this even more interesting.  I love Amelia Peabody and she reminds me a bit of Veronica Speedwell in her straight forward practicality (I would not be shocked if Peabody factored into the inspiration for Speedwell).  She meets her match first in the softer Evelyn and then again in outspoken stubborn archeologist Emerson.  This was a fun mystery with an immersion into Victorian Egypt.  I'm so looking forward to reading more of the series and getting to know Amelia better and seeing what new adventure she falls into!  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

4.  Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases by Paul Holes - I watch a lot of true crime but while I read a lot of mysteries I don't read much true crime.  This was fascinating.  Paul Holes is definitely not the hero of his own story and I really was impressed with how open he was about his anxiety and how his mindset affected other aspects in his life.  Listening to the details of his years long investigation into the Golden State Killer was fascinating as was all the information he shared about his role in processing crime scenes.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

5.  The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet by Katherine Cowley -
This is the story of the Bennett sister we know the least about - Mary - and how her life unfolds after the marriage of three of her sisters and the death of her father.  We see many characters from Pride and Prejudice at the beginning of the book including Mr. Collins who is just as awful and pompous as one would expect.  I can't say I particularly liked Mary.  She's socially awkward and while intelligent is given to trapping people with long lectures and recitals of music, poetry, or sermons.  She's also is not great at reading people and is frequently convinced of her own superiority.  However, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her.  She's never quite fit despite desperately wanting to and not truly understanding why she doesn't.  She isn't close with her sisters and has a difficult time making friends.  Since she is a constant outsider she excels at observation and being able to blend into the background.  This comes in handy as the book goes on and she must discover just what going on at the mysterious castle she's been invited too and what the residents want with her. I don't know that I will continue with this series but this was an interesting read and a fantastic concept.  My Rating: Liked It!

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Books from the Backlog - A Dangerous Talent

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:  A Dangerous Talent by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

Blurb:  Alix London has a promising career as an art consultant, a sumptuous condo in Seattle’s toniest neighborhood, a gorgeous figure, and a presence that exudes Ivy League breeding and old money. She has it all…or does she?

Only Alix knows that the image she presents to the world is a carefully constructed mirage that veils an embarrassing truth. A brilliant, once-promising art student, the daughter of a prominent New York art conservator, her world was left in ruins when her father went to prison for art forgery. Now a Harvard dropout with an emptied bank account, she is languishing in a career that has produced little more than a lucky house-sitting gig. But all of that changes when Alix meets Christine Lemay, a novice art collector with money to burn and a hot tip on a recently discovered painting by American master Georgia O’Keeffe. Chris hires Alix to perform the authentication, an assignment that finally could launch Alix into the big leagues. But soon after her arrival in Santa Fe, she finds herself tangled up in a web of forgery, deceit—and murder. Anxious to avoid becoming the next victim, she teams up with FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth—and gets a little unlikely help from her roguish father—to uncover the truth behind the painting and those who would kill to have it.

Why This Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I read and loved a number of books by Aaron Elkins and this one sounds really interesting.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Bayou Book Thief - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Bayou Book Thief (A Vintage Cookbook Mystery #1) by Ellen Byron

Rating: Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. The Big Easy is where she was born and adopted by the NICU nurse who cared for her after Ricki's teen mother disappeared from the hospital.

Ricki's dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve "Vee" Charbonnet, the city's legendary restauranteur. Ricki is excited about turning her avocation - collecting vintage cookbooks - into a vocation by launching the museum's gift shop, Miss Vee's Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware. Then she discovers that a box of donated vintage cookbooks contains the body of a cantankerous Bon Vee employee who was fired after being exposed as a book thief.

The skills Ricky has developed ferreting out hidden vintage treasures come in handy for investigations. But both her business and Bon Vee could wind up as deadstock when Ricki's past as curator of a billionaire's first edition collection comes back to haunt her.

Will Miss Vee's Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware be a success ... or a recipe for disaster?

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed previous books by Byron and I love New Orleans and can never resist a book set there.

My Impression:  This book was like a visit to New Orleans.  As most of you know we essentially lived in New Orleans for four months prior to the pandemic and honestly if I had my way entirely we would pack up and move to the area.  Until that happens or until our next visit I have this series to get me through.  There are so many tidbits that are so truly New Orleans - the conversation about pronunciations had me dying laughing as it is so true.   

Ricki is an interesting lead for the series.  She was born in the city but grew up in Los Angeles so she is both a local and an outsider at the same time.  She's a bit flaky and never met a conclusion she couldn't jump at or a potential suspect that she doesn't become convinced was the murder if only for a paragraph or two.  She has an interesting backstory and I think the dynamic of her becoming used to her new community was really interesting even if I did want to shake her a time or two.  I also enjoyed all the vintage cooking talk and would love to shop at Ricki's store.

The mystery was an interesting one.  I do love when EVERYONE wanted to murder the victim.  It definitely kept me guessing and wondering just which motive was strong enough to end in murder.  Because this is the first book in the series there is some setup and introductions which slowed the pace a bit but overall this was an enjoyable and entertaining read.  I'm looking forward to the next book already.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to the next in this series and will read pretty much any book this author writes.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you are in the mood for a virtual trip to New Orleans this is a great choice.  

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Top Ten Tuesdays - Books I Wish Had an Epilogue

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 Wish Had an Epilogue.  Here are ten books with characters I'd like to spend just a little more time with.

1.  No River Too Wide by Emilie Richards - This is part of a series so I'll probably get to see more of these characters but I will miss them being front and center.

2.  The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright - I really enjoyed this book and how the characters progressed through the story.  I'm curious to see how they are all faring after their pilgrimage to Canterbury.

3.  Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber - I loved this book and I want to know what happened next in these characters' lives. 

4.  Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King - On this book I don't really want an epilogue but more of a spin off story featuring one the side characters.  There's a broke American socialite in 1920s Venice who throws fabulous parties and I think it would be amazing to read her story.

5.  The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan - I loved the main characters in this book and would love to see more of their story.

6.  The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin - Even though I read this book last year I still think about the characters.  

7.  House of Many Shadows by Barbara Michaels - This is one of my favorite Michaels books and I'd love to know what happens next and see more from Andy and Meg.

8.  Red Lily by Nora Roberts - I loved all the characters in this trilogy and would love to check in on them.

9.  A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards - The main character has a podcast on cold cases and when I was reading this one I was really hoping it'd be a series.  

10. The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell - I really enjoyed this book and I want to see what happens next - especially with the main character as she had had such an incredibly difficult life.

Monday, June 13, 2022

The Tuesday Night Survivor's Club - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Tuesday Night Survivor's Club (Survivor's Book Club Mystery #1) by Lynn Cahoon

Rating: Loved It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Two things got Rarity Jones through her breast cancer treatments: friends and books. Now cancer-free, Rarity is devoting her life to helping others find their way through the maze to healing. She’s opened a bookstore focusing on the power of healing—Eastern medicine, Western medicine, the healing power of food, the power of meditation, and the importance of developing a support community. To that end, she’s also started the Tuesday Night Survivors book club. With its openness to new-age communities, Sedona, Arizona, is the perfect fit for Rarity’s bookstore and the tightly knit group.

But their therapeutic unity is disrupted when one of their members suddenly goes missing. Martha has always kept to herself, never opening up much of her personal life to the group. Now she’s nowhere to be found. With her car abandoned on a trail and her dog left with a friend, Rarity is sure something terrible has happened—but will she be able to uncover Martha’s secrets before it’s too late?

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:    Cahoon is one of my favorite cozy authors and this one sounded interesting.  

My Impression:  I've enjoyed almost every book by Cahoon I've read so I was super excited to pick this one up and I absolutely loved it!  The setup is interesting.  Rarity is starting fresh in Sedona with her old friend Sam and is running the bookstore she's always wanted to run.  Looking to meet new people and to meet other cancer survivors she starts a book club just for survivors.  When a new member goes missing the survivors club quick becomes the sleuthing club.  

While the mystery is the focus of the story there is so much else going on.  Rarity is learning how to run a bookstore and getting used to her new home.  I liked watching her start to build connections with other business owners and make friends with those around her.  Rarity is an interesting person and someone I would probably enjoy getting to know in real life.  There is an understandable misunderstanding with her friend Sam and it is dealt with quickly and with low drama which I really appreciated.  

While I am not a cancer survivor my son is currently under active treatment for leukemia so so much of my world is cancer related.  I really liked how Cahoon handled that aspect of this series.  While being a survivor is what initially brings the women together it is not what defines them as people.  

I did figure out some aspects of the mystery fairly early on but that didn't keep me from thoroughly enjoying this read.  This was one of those books that was exactly what I wanted when I read it and I really enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this series develops.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I've really enjoyed pretty much every book I've read by Cahoon and this one might be my favorite yet.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  This was a fantastic mystery as well as a book about an intelligent and likable group of women.

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

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading - June 12

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:

Round Up the Usual Peacocks by Donna Andrews - This is one of my favorite cozy series and I'm so excited to read this newest mystery.  (Publisher)

High Spirits by Carol J Perry - Perry is one of my favorite cozy authors and I adored the first book in this series last year so I'm really looking forward to this one - plus the main character has a golden retriever so how can I resist.  (Publisher)

A Treacherous Tale by Elizabeth Penney - I enjoyed the first book in this series and it's one I'm really intrigued to see where it goes. (Publisher)

With a Spirit of Vengeance by Lena Gregory - This series has ghosts and a big clumsy dog.  What's not to love?  (Publisher) 


Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron and Out of the Past by Patricia Wentworth

Listening:  Silence in the Library by Katharine Schellman

We got a visit from Orbit the therapy dog at clinic this week which thrilled Will to no end.  As you can see Orbit has no issue with being a pillow.  Will is feeling pretty good and still gaining weight slowly both of which are good.  We have just a little bit of school to finish up until he can take a bit of a summer break.  J might be traveling to New Orleans for work some this summer and we are all hoping that Will's health stays solid enough that we can go with him at least for part of the time.  

Rover is closing in on 70 pounds and 8 months old.  He's feeling kind of teenager-y so we've had some backsliding on training but we are getting there.  He's gotten where he's absolutely fantastic at home about 95% of the time and he's great in the car but he still goes crazy when he meets new people or dogs.  I think a lot of that will get better just with age but I'm really enjoying training and he seems to like it too.  We are planning to start agility classes and scent work classes in the fall so I'm really looking forward to that.

I've been catching up on rest and am feeling a bit better.  I decided to restart my Hello Fresh subscription.  We used their meal surface for awhile several years ago and liked them but got bored with them.  Lately, I've been struggling to come up with what to cook for dinner so I thought I'd give them a try again.  

Have a great week and happy reading!