Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Year of the Projects - Castle Shade + No Farm, No Foul

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:  Series

Blurb:  The queen is Marie of Roumania: the doubly royal granddaughter to Victoria, Empress of the British Empire, and Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. A famous beauty who was married at seventeen into Roumania's young dynasty, Marie had beguiled the Paris Peace Conference into returning her adopted country's long-lost provinces, single-handedly transforming Roumania from a backwater into a force.
The castle is Bran: a tall, quirky, ancient structure perched on high rocks overlooking the border between Roumania and its newly regained territory of Transylvania. The castle was a gift to Queen Marie, a thanks from her people, and she loves it as she loves her own children.

The threat, that is less clear. Shadowy figures, vague whispers, the fears of girls, dangers that may only be accidents. But this is a land of long memory and hidden corners, a land that had known Vlad the Impaler, a land from whose churchyards the shades creep.

When Queen Marie calls, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are as dubious as they are reluctant. But a young girl is involved, and a beautiful queen. Surely it won't take long to shine light on this unlikely case of what would seem to be strigoi?

Or, as they are known in the West...vampires.

My Thoughts:  I am now caught up on this series! This was an interesting read set in a country I know very little about other than basic vampire lore.  Here Russell and Holmes tackle a case full of folklore with a touch of political intrigue and possibly a puppet master manipulating things behind the scenes.  Holmes and Russell have to figure out what is real and what is just illusion.  One of my favorite things is having Holmes and Russell work together to solve a mystery and there was a bit more one on one time than I would have preferred.  That said this was entertaining and kept me guessing and sent me down the rabbit hole to learn more about Queen Marie and the rest of the Romanian royal family.  My Rating:  Really Liked It! (4 Stars)

Project: Series

Blurb:  On her blog, The Farmer’s Daughter, Shelby McDonald is growing her audience as she posts recipes, gardening tips, and her experiences raising two kids and running Love Blossom Farm in the small western Michigan town of Lovett.
Working the farm is demanding but peaceful—until that peace is shattered when the minister’s wife is murdered on Shelby’s property during a fund-raiser for a local church. But the manure really hits the fan when Shelby’s good friend veterinarian Kelly Thacker emerges as the prime suspect. Shelby decides to dig in and find the murderer by herself. As more suspects crop up, she’ll have to move fast—before someone else buys the farm. . . .

My Thoughts:  This was a cute mystery.  I liked Shelby and enjoyed the farm as the setting along with the use of blog posts to move the story forward.  The mystery itself was interesting and a minister's wife who seems sweet but may have a bit more to her is definitely an intriguing victim.   I did guess the who but not the why fairly early on but it was fun to see how Shelby got it all worked out.  It did get slightly eye rolly that every adult male seems to fall in love with Shelby and her teenager daughter drove me absolutely crazy.  This was enjoyable but not the most memorable.  I have the 3rd book in the series on my shelf and I like it enough to read that book but maybe not enough to buy the 2nd book.  My Rating: Liked It! (3 Stars)


  1. I like making lists as well even though sometimes I get side tracked and neglect one or two.

  2. No Farm, No Foul sure sounds good. Lovely reviews!

  3. The first one sounds interesting and a part of royalty I know nothing about. Smiled at the eye rolly No Farm No Foul.

  4. Being caught up with a series that is 17 books long is an accomplishment. Too bad No Farm No Foul wasn't a little better for you though.

  5. I'm glad you caught up on the Russell-Holmes series! Castle Shade was fun, but I agree that Russell and Holmes spent more time apart than I like.