Sunday, July 31, 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:

Just one this week but one I'm super excited about!

A Vacation to Die For by Lynn Cahoon - (Publisher)


ReadingTeaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie and Death at the Manor by Katharine Schellman

Listening:  The Cider Shop Rules by Julie Anne Lindsey

We have Will's room pretty much the way he wants it and he is absolutely loving it.  As you can tell his stuffed animal collection is over the top!  He's loving being able to see them all though we may need to get him another bookshelf as not all of them are out and he needs some room for growth.  Make a Wish was so fun to work with and he's really been enjoying having a newly redone comfortable place to hang out with lots of cats to look at!  This all really came at the nick of time as he had a tough day at clinic Wednesday.  He had to have his NG tube put back in which is not fun and it went rougher than usual (not that having a tube placed down your nose is ever fun).  As well, all his immune system numbers are super low so his energy levels are tanked.  We've been staying at home this week and are hoping to avoid any kind of infection so he won't have to go back to the hospital.

That's about all we've had going on this week.  Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Silent Pool - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Silent Pool by Patricia Wentworth

Rating:  Really Liked It! 
Source:   Purchased

Description:  An actress who fears her life is threatened comes to Miss Silver for help
Mrs. Smith is not the first woman who has come to Maud Silver, the genteel private detective, claiming that someone is trying to kill her. She tells a story of attempted poisoning, a shove down a flight of stairs, and a house full of relatives who might want to push her out of the way. Miss Silver is intrigued, not least because this is not Mrs. Smith. Despite her attempt at a disguise, the detective recognizes the woman as Adriana Ford, the grand dame of the London stage. Mrs. Smith was a ruse; the attempts on her life are quite real. There is soon a body at Adriana's country estate, but it is not the actress who has been killed. Fully interested, Miss Silver travels to the house, where she learns that the actress is not the only one who tells lies.

Genre:  Mystery - Classic

My Impression:  As usual I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Miss Silver has plenty of page time and while I did miss Frank Abbott watching Miss Silver win over another detective was wonderful. There is quite a cast of characters and while there is the classic Wentworth heroine - a young independent woman with plenty of common sense - she is not the main character which made for an interesting change.  Instead we see a lot of Adriana Ford who is an older but well known actress with plenty of temperament and a good number of village residents.  The mystery was entertaining, kept me guessing and well paced.  It was the perfect about of intrigue and coziness that makes Wentworth books so wonderful.

My only real issue comes with reading so many Miss Silver books in a fairly short period of time.  While I adore Wentworth's characters and writing style she has only a few standard mystery setups which can allow for a feeling of sameness over time.  The mysteries are always completely different but the framework is often the same.  This is only an issue when reading a number of them in a row  and didn't really help me guess the whos and whys.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I still have a few more to read and I'm sure I will reread them regularly.  

Would I Recommend this Book?   If you enjoy classic cozy mysteries then you really must give Miss Silver a try.  

Friday, July 29, 2022

Friday Five - Five Non-Bookish Things I'm Loving 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.  This week I'm looking at 5 Non-Bookish Things I'm Loving Right Now.

1.  Hello Fresh - We had Hello Fresh years ago but got bored with it but lately I've been getting so tired of trying to come up with a menu so I decided to try it again.  There are so many more meals to choose from and so far everything we've had has been really good.  It's been so nice to not have to think about what to have for dinner those nights even though there is still prep work.  We've been getting a 3 meal/2 serving box every other week and that's been working great for us and has saved me so much stress. And they've cut WAY back on packaging in the last few years.

2.  Tree Hut Sugar Scrubs - I love these sugar scrubs and all the different seasonal scents.  Salt scrubs don't work for my skin so I was so glad when I found these sugar scrubs and I love trying each different scent.  Right now I'm loving the Pineapple scent and the Vitamin C on my arms where I sometimes get some contact dermatitis.  

3.  It's a Southern Thing on YouTube - This YouTube channel is hysterical and it's always a bright spot in my day when I see they've uploaded something.

4.  Balsamic Glaze - It is fresh tomato season and nothing goes better on fresh tomatoes than balsamic glaze.  My favorite is a tomato sandwich with lightly toasted bread, a thinly sliced tomato, a bit of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of salt and then a good drizzle of balsamic glaze.  I could probably eat nothing else for the last month and be perfectly happy.

5.  Trader Joe's Kettle Corn - Okay I would want to eat this on my tomato sandwich diet but with this kettle corn and that sandwich I would be perfectly happy.  I LOVE this stuff and it's got just the right of touch of sweet touch of salt balance.

What are some things you're loving right now?

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Books from the Backlog - The Vanished Bride

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 Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Blurb:  Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson's daughters--the Brontë sisters--learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.
These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent "lady detectors." Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, "detecting is reading between the lines--it's seeing what is not there."

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman's place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril...

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This one has been gathering dust on my NetGalley shelf since 2019 and it does look intriguing.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Point Last Seen - Romantic Suspense Review

Goodreads: Point Last Seen (Last Seen in Gothic #1) by Christina Dodd

Rating:  Liked It (3 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  LIFE LAST SEEN

When you’ve already died, there should be nothing left to fear… When Adam Ramsdell pulls Elle’s half-frozen body from the surf on a lonely California beach, she has no memory of what her full name is and how she got those bruises ringing her throat.


Elle finds refuge in Adam’s home on the edge of Gothic, a remote village located between the steep lonely mountains and the raging Pacific Ocean. As flashes of her memory return, Elle faces a terrible truth—buried in her mind lurks a secret so dark it could get her killed.


Everyone in Gothic seems to hide a dark past. Even Adam knows more than he will admit. Until Elle can unravel the truth, she doesn’t know who to trust, when to run and who else might be hurt when the killer who stalks her nightmares appears to finish what he started…

Genre:  Romance - Romantic Suspense 

Why I Picked This Book:  I love romantic suspense and this is an author I've been wanting to try.

My Impression:  This is a really interesting setup for a romantic suspense series.  Everyone in the small town of Gothic has a backstory that's not exactly pleasant and there's always the chance it will catch up to them.  It also seems to be a place that people end up when they are trying to escape said past.

Adam definitely has some baggage and has kept himself from getting close to most of the residents until he pulls a woman out of the ocean who seems to be dead but when she comes to doesn't even remember her name.  There's a lot to unpack in this series.  There's how the town was setup in the first place and the backstory of a side character or two.  As well, we have to get to know Adam and Elle and what drove Adam to end up in Gothic and Elle to end up in the icy Pacific Ocean battered and bruised.

The mystery surrounding Elle was interesting and at times brutal.  Adam is haunted by ghosts that he never actually harmed but can't bring himself to believe it.  Elle is able to help Adam make a little peace with his past and Adam is able to make Elle feel safe.  It's an interesting pairing that works which isn't always the case when one of the main characters is a bit on the surly side.

My main issue is that there is SOOO much in this book that it slowed the pacing down quite a bit.  While I never wanted to abandon the book it wasn't one I necessarily flew through because there were subplots on top of subplots.  This isn't a must read for me but it was enjoyable and the beginning of a series I'll be interested to see more of in the future.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  It isn't going to be a must read but I will look out for the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy romantic suspense this is an entertaining read.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books From Past TBRs I 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 from Past TBRs I Still Haven't Read.  I've gotten a lot better about these but I there is still a lot of room for improvement!

1.  Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay (Summer 2014) - I've read the later books and the first two books in this series but somehow never read the middle books.

2.  Hardcastle's Quartet by Graham Isom (Fall 2014) - I remember nothing about this one but when I got it off NetGalley I really wanted to read it.

3.  Be Afraid by Mary Burton (Spring 2015) - Same as above

4.  Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis (Summer 2015) - I always enjoy Shalvis's books though I did not like a later book I read in this trilogy.  I still should read this one though!

5.  No One Needs to Know by Kevin O'Brien (Fall 2015) - Ditto #2 and #3

6.  Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (Spring 2018)  - I've heard wonderful things about the sequel (prequel?) to this but I want to read this one first.

7.  Reading People by Anne Bogel (Summer 2019) - I meant to read this one right when it came out but never managed it.

8.  The Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews (Fall 2020) - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series but somehow I never read this one.

9.  The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis (Winter 2021) - This one looks amazing and a picked up a copy of this one on sale.

10. The Great Peal Heist by Molly Caldwell Crosby (Spring 2022) - I love books about art and jewel theft so of course I need to read this one.

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Librarian Spy - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin

Rating: Loved It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the US military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as a librarian while working undercover as a spy gathering intelligence.

Meanwhile, in occupied France, Elaine has begun an apprenticeship at a printing press run by members of the Resistance. It’s a job usually reserved for men, but in the war, those rules have been forgotten. Yet she knows that the Nazis are searching for the press and its printer in order to silence them.

As the battle in Europe rages, Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages and discovering hope in the face of war.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  The Last Bookshop in London by this author was one of my favorite books of 2021 and I thought this sounded wonderful. 

My Impression: This story introduces the reader to two amazing women in two different but dangerous situations.  Ava is a librarian who finds herself in supposedly neutral Portugal.  Her awareness of the refuges desperate journey to get to safety, the constant scrutiny of the Nazis in the supposedly neutral country and the hard work the Resistance is doing in France.  While in France, Elaine has been chafing under the German occupation and been desperate to do something for the Resistance despite her husband's insistence that she stays out of it and keeps her head down.

The book alternates POV so we go from Ava to Elaine as the war progresses and the tension increases.  Martin does a good job of not glossing over the horrible things that are happening around the two women but at the same time keeps it from being emotionally too much for me.  There were tears in my eyes at the end of this book and I was sad to say goodbye to these extraordinary women. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have loved both books that I have read by this author and will pick up anything else she writes.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy Kate Quinn or other World War II era stories but aren't quite up to something quite as emotionally grueling but still want depth than I think you will love this book.

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

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading - July 24


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:

The Book Hater's Book Club by Gretchen Anthony- I can never resist a book that mentions book clubs or libraries or book stores.  This sounded interesting and I love the concept of there being a book to turn anyone into a reader.  (Publisher)


ReadingRound Up the Usual Peacocks by Donna Andrews and The Silent Pool by Patricia Wentworth

Listening:  Castle Shade by Laurie R. King

This has been a bit of a crazy weekend with a somewhat chaotic week leading up to it.   Saturday was Will's Make a Wish day!  Because of his leukemia diagnosis he became eligible for a Make a Wish and after much discussion (I was pushing hard for a few different trip ideas) he chose a room makeover!  Prior to his diagnosis he had had a loft bed but when we came back from Memphis he was no longer able to navigate the stairs to get to it or crouch to get into it.  We had moved his mattress to the floor but everything was temporary looking and disorganized.  Because, he's a bit older he didn't really pick a theme (though cats are prominent as you can see by the bedspread in the pic below) but he got this really fun bed and an amazing gaming chair and 3 bookcases to hold all of his stuffed animals and some other fun stuff.  

I'll post more pictures next week once everything is the way he wants it.  The people who came up from Make a Wish to get everything set up were super nice and really made the experience even better for him.  He's so excited to have his room all set up and comfortable for him now.  The only issue is all the bits of stuff that were in his room that he doesn't really want anymore but doesn't want to get rid of that are now taking up most of the floor space in my office!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Unnatural Death - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Unnatural Death (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #3) by Dorothy L. Sayers

Rating:  Just Okay (2 Stars)
Source:   Purchased

Description:  The wealthy Agatha Dawson is dead--a trifle sooner than expected--but there are no apparent signs of foul play. Lord Peter Wimsey, however, senses that something is amiss and refuses to let the case rest--even without any clues or leads. Suddenly, he is faced with another murder: Agatha's maid. Can super-sleuth Wimsey find the murderer and solve the case before he becomes the killer's next victim?The intricate trail of horror and senseless murder leads from a beautiful Hampshire village to a fashionable London flat and a deliberate test of amour.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  Sayers is a classic mystery author that I have seriously neglected so I'm slowly reading through her booklist.

My Impression:  I thoroughly enjoyed the 75% of this book and was all set to give this at least a 4 star review.  Wimsey is at his slightly mad flippant best and there's a clever elderly spinster who excels at putting together information in a way that reminds me very much of Wentworth's Miss Silver.  As well, the mystery is one of my favorite types in a classic mystery - the was the supposed murder even a murder where the detectives not only have to figure out the who and the why but even if it's all worth investigating.   All one was going well and I was happily diving into this story every night.  Until I got to the last quarter or so.

To start off with there are some racial slurs that were jarring.  The first time while surprising didn't bother me too much because it reflected far more negatively on the person who was making the slur than the person who it was aimed at.  But then several more were sprinkled here and there as general "observations" that really had nothing to do with the story itself.    But this wouldn't have completely derailed the book for me. What derailed the book was the ending itself.  It feels a bit like Sayers was writing the book and than all of a sudden realized her deadline was that afternoon and she just threw some stuff together and called it done.  It was chaotic, rushed, and there were a few pieces of the mystery that were so obvious that Wimsey and Parker should be embarrassed to not have figured it out.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would and hopefully the next book will be more like the first part of this book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Honestly, no.  The ending was just too disappointing for me to recommend.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday Fives - Mini Reviews for Books I've Read Recently

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much. This week I'm sharing 5 quick reviews for books I've read recently.

1.  All the Colors of Night by Jayne Ann Krentz - This was lots of fun in a bonkers supernatural kind of way.  Sierra and North are an interesting couple who have their own powers and appreciate the skills that each other have.  This is a fast paced paranormal romantic suspense with main characters that work really well as a team.  The trip to Fogg Lake and the tie in to the Arcane Society was lots of fun and it ended on a teaser that has me really looking forward to the next book. My Rating: Really Liked It

2.  Silence in the Library by Katharine Schellman - I am really enjoying this series.  In this book Lily has had a little space from the first murder investigation but quickly gets pulled into another.  To complicate matters a bit Lily's father has made a surprise appearance and it is easy to tell why their relationship is strained and distant.  I enjoyed seeing the side characters from the first book - Ophelia, Bowstreet Runner Simon Page, and Captain Jack Hartley.  There's also a few new characters and a potential love interest.  The mystery resolved in a satisfying way and I'm looking forward to reading Lily's net adventure.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

3.  Devlin's Light by Mariah Stewart -
I have a complicated history with this author.  Some of her books I've absolutely loved and others that were just not for me.  Unfortunately, this one was one of the latter.  I went in expecting a romantic suspense and ended up listening to a book that couldn't seem to make up its mind what it was.  I feel like the author really wanted to write a women's fiction story about a woman who lost her brother and finds herself trying to pick up the pieces and try and build a new life with her niece and the people in her hometown.  Unfortunately for her, her publisher insisted on a romantic suspense and both aspects of the story suffered and ended up with an ending that was so incredibly obvious it felt tedious getting there for one part of the story and the ending for the other part bordered on ridiculous.  My Rating: Not For Me

4.  Someone to Watch Over Me by Lisa Kleypas - 
This is a bit dated and heavy on the alpha male main character.  Honestly, for quite a lot of the book Grant Morgan is hard to like.  His attitude towards Vivian is vindictive and a bit degrading.  What saves the book is that it isn't the way he treats her when he is around her and he keeps forgetting his original attitude.  As well, Vivian herself saves it.  She's kind and sweet and intelligent.  As well she demands an apology for someone else when certain facts come to light and makes Grant stick to it.  This is a solid take on an amnesia story and one I enjoyed even if it isn't one of my favorite Kleypas romances.  My Rating: Liked It!

5.  Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty -
I had seen that the reviews on this book were kind of mixed so I wasn't sure what to expect going in but I ended up really enjoying it.  It's a bit twisty with complicated family dynamics and secrets on top of secrets.  How these secrets and the identity and motive of a previous house guest contribute to the disappearance of family matriarch, Joy Delaney, is revealed as the book goes on.  The book digs into the competitive history of the Delaney kids, the marriage of Joy and Stan and how tennis affected it all.  The book kept me hooked from beginning to end and I really enjoyed getting to know these complicated characters and figuring out just who the mysterious house guest just happened to be.  I listened to the audio narrated by Caroline Lee and it was a compelling delight.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Books from the Backlog

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:  Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Blurb:  Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.
Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I completely forgot I had this one and I was so excited to pick it up.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Year of the Project - Travels with George + Hark the Herald Angels Slay

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

Project:  Library List

Blurb:  Does George Washington still matter? Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick argues for Washington's unique contribution to the forging of America by retracing his journey as a new president through all thirteen former colonies, which were now an unsure nation. Travels with George marks a new first-person voice for Philbrick, weaving history and personal reflection into a single narrative.
When George Washington became president in 1789, the United States of America was still a loose and quarrelsome confederation and a tentative political experiment. Washington undertook a tour of the ex-colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about his new government, and to imbue in them the idea of being one thing--Americans.

In the fall of 2018, Nathaniel Philbrick embarked on his own journey into what Washington called "the infant woody country" to see for himself what America had become in the 229 years since. Writing in a thoughtful first person about his own adventures with his wife, Melissa, and their dog, Dora, Philbrick follows Washington's presidential excursions: from Mount Vernon to the new capital in New York; a monthlong tour of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; a venture onto Long Island and eventually across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The narrative moves smoothly between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries as we see the country through both Washington's and Philbrick's eyes.

Written at a moment when America's founding figures are under increasing scrutiny, Travels with George grapples bluntly and honestly with Washington's legacy as a man of the people, a reluctant president, and a plantation owner who held people in slavery. At historic houses and landmarks, Philbrick reports on the reinterpretations at work as he meets reenactors, tour guides, and other keepers of history's flame. He paints a picture of eighteenth-century America as divided and fraught as it is today, and he comes to understand how Washington compelled, enticed, stood up to, and listened to the many different people he met along the way--and how his all-consuming belief in the union helped to forge a nation.

My Thoughts:  This was an interesting listen and Philbrick and his wife (and sometimes their dog) retrace George Washington's footsteps during his presidential tour of the country.  Philbrick discusses Washington's complicated legacy including his feelings about slavery and the pressure he was under to not just establish exactly what the role of a president was but to keep the recently united colonies together.  He also discusses the varying receptions that Washington received during his travels and his feelings about his time in the public eye.  This is an interesting read and while I don't think I learned anything groundbreaking I do feel like I got a better and fuller picture of Washington as a person with flaws and strengths.  My Rating: Liked It

Goodreads:  Hark the Herald Angels Slay (Year Round Christmas Mysteries #3) by Vicki Delany

Project: Clearing Out My Series

Blurb:  The town of Rudolph, New York, has the Christmas spirit all year long—but when homicide heats up a summer holiday, it’s up to shop owner Merry Wilkinson to wrap up the case.

In Rudolph, Christmas in July heralds Santa’s arrival by boat to begin his summer vacation at the lake, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is looking forward to a busy weekend. But she’s caught off guard when her ex-fiancé, Max Folger, unexpectedly arrives with a team from a lifestyle magazine wanting to do a feature on the July festivities.

It’s clear that Max’s visit has less to do with business and more to do with winning back Merry’s heart. Merry has too much on her plate to deal with an old flame, but when Max is found strangled to death in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, she must find out who wanted him dead—and stop a killer from ruining the summer holiday cheer.

My Thoughts:  While there are two more books left in the series this was the last book I had to read to finish up the series and I'm sad to see the end of my time with Merry and the town of Rudolph.  This was a bit of an interesting one as Merry's past collides with her present as her former fiancé and former coworkers come into town for a magazine shoot.  It was interesting to see Merry trying to balance her past and present and added some depth to her character.  The mystery was interesting and had a surprising ending.  The Christmas in July was also a fun bonus.  My Rating:  Really Liked It!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Signs You Probably Won't Make It To the End of a Cozy Mystery

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 a Freebie so I'm listing Ten Signs You (If You're a Character) Won't Make It To The End of a Cozy Mystery.  The reason you don't make it to the end could be because you become an unfortunate victim or you could be the killer but either way you will not be seeing the last page.

1.  You're new to town - Never ever be new to town and if you absolutely must be new to town (because you randomly inherited a dilapidated house or a bookstore) than make sure there have been no murders in the last few years otherwise you're either the victim or the killer. 

2.  You're not new to town but you've just recently somehow landed in the circle of someone who has solved a mystery or two - if a new person randomly shows up in an established series there's almost a 100% chance they won't be around on the last page.

3.  You have an argument in public - Never EVER argue with someone in public and never EVER make any kind of statement that could be interpreted as a threat.  Best case scenario is that you'll end up wrongly accused.  

4.  Someone has died and you remember something but you need to think about it before you voice your thoughts - If this is you you'll probably around for the first half or so of the book but the future is not bright.

5.  Your ex has unexpectedly arrived in town - This is always bad.  It's also bad for the ex.  Things will happen and none of them will be good.

6.  You own property that someone wants but are unwilling to sell - This may not be the reason you don't see the end of the book but it will definitely come up in terms of motive.

7.  You are trying to do something controversial in town - You own property and are trying to sell it to a big box store to drive all the little stores out of business?  You are trying to block the arrival of some big company or factory to town?  The more uproar the less page time you'll end up with.

8.  You're a telephone operator in a small village in the UK before there were direct lines - Obviously you're going to eavesdrop on conversations and obviously you're going to hear something you're not supposed to hear and obviously you're going to hint about that to someone else (or flat out try to blackmail them) and it won't end well for you.

9.  You are selling your worldly possessions or having them appraised - Unfortunately, if you decide to do this than one of your no-good relatives, beloved staff, or friends has been stealing from you and your Monet is no longer a Monet.

10. You are some kind of food critic or food writer that is visiting a festival or some kind of eatery - This goes double if you have a reputation for being a bit of a hothead.  

Monday, July 18, 2022

Overdue Review Shelf - Chained + Between a Rock and a Hard Place Mini Reviews

Goodreads:  Chained (Kate Turner DVM #3) by Eileen Brady

Blurb:  Everyone in the charming Hudson Valley town of Oak Falls expected Flynn Keegan, their handsome blond "Golden Boy" to make it big in Hollywood. So when veterinarian Kate Turner identifies a bone dug up by one of her dog patients as human, no one thinks back ten years to remember Flynn. Until DNA and a smashed skull prove he was murdered.
With few clues available to the forensic team, the grieving family begs Kate to investigate. His four closest friends plead ignorance. Neighbors and teachers remember the charismatic young man but offer no real help. Meanwhile, Kate is juggling her eccentric house call clients, a silly pot-bellied pig wedding and the sudden re-appearance of an old college boyfriend. Anthropologist Jeremy Engels, who returns like Indiana Jones from an African dig, is eager to rekindle their romance and offer his help. Together, they plan to crash Flynn's high school reunion, a re-creation of his senior prom, and interview his fellow students. Time isn't of the essence with a ten-year-old cold case. Right? Her Gramps is convinced the killer is long gone, just like the illegally captured brown bear she helped save, now roaming free in the woods. But Kate soon discovers that chains of love can be as strong as those made of steel - and some deadly secrets have put her next on the kill list.

My Thoughts:  This was a fun read.  Reading the author's bio I was not surprised to see that she was a veterinarian herself as Kate was incredibly believable and capable at her job and honestly the vet parts were my favorite.  I really enjoyed seeing all the animals and how Kate and her staff treated them.  The mystery was interesting and the end a bit of a surprise.  Since I'm new to the series I didn't fully grasp all the undercurrents between Kate and Luke but that's a small enough part of the story that it didn't both me at all.  I do have opinions on Luke himself though.  If you're an animal lover and a mystery lover this is a great cozy series that I think you'll really enjoy!  My Rating: Really Liked It

Goodreads:  Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Potting Shed Mystery #3) 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.

My Thoughts:  This is a series I've really been neglecting and I'm so glad I picked up this third book in the series!  I really like Pru in this book (and in general).  She's a bit older than the typical bride and not the most fashion conscious so the whole wedding planning process is completely overwhelming and not very much fun yet she does want to have a celebration with those closest to her.  The dress fitting scenes especially were quite funny.  I liked all the garden history talk and loved the Edinburg setting.  The mystery was good though the reasons for some of the tension was a bit convoluted and I did feel like I guessed the who and the why fairly early.  I enjoyed the time with the characters enough that this didn't bother me but didn't make for a shocking reveal.  This is a lovely series with an interesting main character and gorgeous garden settings.  I'm looking forward to the next book where it looks like Pru is getting her hands back in the dirt.  My Rating: Liked It!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading - July 17

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:

A Streetcar Named Murder by T.G. Herren
- This is the first book in a new series set in New Orleans and featuring an antique store.  So excited about it! (Publisher)

Murder of a Mail-Order Bride by Mimi Granger - I enjoyed the first book in this series featuring a romance themed bookstore and am curious to see how the series develops (Publisher)

Dashing Through the Snowbirds by Donna Andrews - The newest book in a series I always enjoy and the Christmas mysteries are usually extra fun.  (Publisher)


Point Last Seen by Christina Dodd and Unnatural Death by Dorothy L. Sayers

Listening: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

I've missed the last few Sunday Posts and have missed it!  Nothing major is going on just a series of little catastrophes and general mayhem.  

Will is feeling great after a tough medical procedure and getting a stomach bug.  I swear he picks up something every time we go to the hospital.  Luckily this didn't involve a fever and we were able to keep the symptoms under control so we didn't have to go back to the hospital.  His energy level is great and we are just trying to keep his weight up.  

Rover is now officially 9 months old and is now 70 pounds.  He graduated from Manners class on our second attempt and we are looking forward to moving on to other classes.  We will be doing another obedience class or two and then this fall move on to scent work classes and agility.  

I've started volunteering at the dog club and am an assistant in puppy class which is so fun.  I always volunteered a ton at school stuff but dealing with dogs is way more fun.   I've had some issues with migraines and insomnia that have kept my commenting super regular but am looking forward to getting my visiting in this week.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Three Blind Mice and Other Stories - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Three Blind Mice and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

Rating: Loved It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  The feature of this nine short story collection is "Three Blind Mice" which is actually a novella.

The famous story opens with a blinding snowstorm trapping a small group of owners and guests in an isolated estate, recently re-purposed as a country inn. Although not aware of it, they are also trapped by a homicidal maniac! Out of this deceptively simple set-up, Agatha Christie fashioned one of her most ingenious puzzlers which, in turn, provided the basis for "The Mousetrap," the longest-running play in history.

The book includes this classic and eight more deliciously clever gems (solved to perfection by Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Harley Quin). The inimitable Christie at her inventive best - proving her reputation as "the champion deceiver of our time." The New York Times

The collection includes: 1. Three Blind Mice; 2. Strange Jest; 3. The Tape-Measure Murder; 4. The Case of the Perfect Maid; 5. The Case of the Caretaker; 6. The Third Floor Flat; 7. The Adventure of Johnny Waverly; 8. Four-and-Twenty Blackbirds; and 9. The Love Detectives.

Of the nine, the 1st is an Agatha Christie standalone - not part of any series. Following that are Miss Marple in #2, #3, #4, and #5; Hercule Poirot in #6, #7, and #8, and the intriguing Mr. Harley Quin in #9.

Genre: Mystery - Classic, Short Stories

My Impression: I really love Christie's short story collections.  She's one of a few authors that I've read who can tell a complete story in just a few pages.  As well, she frequently used her short stories to experiment a bit or indulge in a more supernatural type story.  

The star of this collection is Three Blind Mice which never disappoints and has all kinds of twisty details.  After that my favorites are The Case of the Perfect Maid (featuring a very observant Miss Marple) and The Third Floor Flat but really they are all excellent.

In my opinion this is probably Christie's most solid short story collection and I thoroughly enjoyed every story.  

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

Would I Recommend this Book? If you're new to Christie and want to give her a try without making a full length book commitment I think this would be an excellent short story collection to start with.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Friday Fives - The Last Five Books I Checked Out of the Library

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'm not much of a mood reader except when it comes to library books.  I normally put one book on hold and then wander around and end up with 10 more books that I had no intention of picking up right then but I always love seeing what I ended up with.  Here are the last 5 books I picked up last time I was there.

1.  Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman - This is a read aloud book with Will and so far it's the least creepy Gaiman book I've ever read (don't even get me started on those button eyes in Coraline).  So far we're enjoying it.

2.  Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay - I've read some great reviews for this one and it sounds so intriguing!

3.  Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts - This was a reread for me and I picked it up because I was in a romance mood and a baking mood and this one has both.

4.  The Killings at Kingfisher Hall by Sophie Hannah - I've enjoyed the other Poirot books by Sophie Hannah but haven't gotten to this one yet.

5.  The Bookwanders by Anna James - This has been on my TBR for ages and I'm really looking forward to reading it so when it was on an endcap at the library I figured it was a sign and couldn't resist picking it up.

Have you read any of these?  What books have you gotten from the library recently?

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Books from the Backlog - The Reef

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 Reef by Nora Roberts

Blurb:  Tate Beaumont has a passion for treasure-hunting. Over the years, she and her father have uncovered many fabulous riches, but one treasure has always eluded them: Angelique’s Curse—a jeweled amulet heavy with history, dark with legend, and tainted with blood. In order to find this precious artifact, the Beaumonts reluctantly form a partnership with salvagers Buck and Matthew Lassiter.
As the Beaumonts and Lassiters pool their resources to locate Angelique’s Curse, the Caribbean waters darken with shadowy deceptions and hidden threats. Their partnership is placed in jeopardy when Matthew refuses to share information—including the truth behind his father’s mysterious death. For now, Tate and Matthew continue their uneasy alliance—until danger and desire begin to rise to the surface…

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This is one of the few Nora Roberts books I haven't read.  I picked it up at a used bookstore a few years ago and it is still sitting there!