Friday, September 30, 2022

Friday Five - Five Short Revews

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.  The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman - This book did not work for me on audio.  It changes POV and has journal entries.  However, when I switched to the print version those issues disappeared and I was pulled into this quirky mystery.  I love that the main characters are in an assisted living community and are using their different skills.  I also liked that there are a number of serious elements pulled in so while it is a bit quirky it definitely isn't silly or zany in any way.  The mystery wrapped up well and kept me reading.  My Rating:  Really Liked It! (4 Stars)

2.  The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis - This was such a wonderful story.  Typically books with two timelines have one that is my favorite and one that I'm just trying to get through but this book was the exception.  I enjoyed my time with Lillian as much as I did my time with Veronica.  I loved the talk of art and was fascinated by the Frick family and their collection.  Both Lillian and Veronica were likable characters who I rooted for even if they didn't always make the wisest decisions.  This was my first book by Davis but it definitely won't be my last.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

3.  A Ghostly Undertaking by Tonya Kappes - I've read several books by Kappes but somehow have never picked up this series.  I enjoyed this first book in a ghostly cozy mystery series involving an undertaker who happens to see the dead.  This was fun and I enjoyed both getting to know Emma Lee and the rest of the small town.  Emma having to come to terms with her new power was entertaining even if I regularly squirmed from second hand embarrassment.  I'm looking forward to reading the next one to see what happens next!  My Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)

4.  The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell - I forgot just how much I enjoy Lisa Jewell's books - especially in audio format.  Right from the beginning this book sucked me in and I couldn't wait to see how it all unraveled.  Because the two timelines are very close in time and involve a number of the same characters it did get a little confusing at the very beginning but as soon as I got invested in the story that went away.  This was one of those listens that had me contemplating dusting baseboards just so I could keep listening and I HATE dusting baseboards.  The audio was fantastic and the story had lots of twists and turns and kept me guessing.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

5.  Vanishing Edge by Claire Kells -
This is the first book in the National Parks Mystery series.  I accidentally got the 2nd book without realizing it was part of a series so of course I had to pick up book 1.  I'm so glad I did.  Felicity Harland is a new ISB agent after 7 years in the FBI and a tragic loss combined with a life changing accident.  She's a smart and able investigator, incredibly stubborn but also able to listen to theories and opinions and others.  I loved the setting in the Sequoia National Park and the fact that the author showed both the beauty and the danger.  Park Ranger Hux is a fantastic partner to Harland as they work well together and just seem to click from the beginning.  The mystery kept me pulled in and wondering just how on earth it was going to turn out.  My main complaint was the audio - most of the narration by Natalie Naudus is done really well but periodically throughout the book there's a weird voice change that feels like it was dubbed over the original narration and is a bit distracting.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4 Stars)

What books have you read recently?

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Don't Overthink It

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:  Don't Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel

Blurb:  We've all been there: stuck in a cycle of what-ifs, plagued by indecision, paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong. Nobody wants to live a life of constant overthinking, but it doesn't feel like something we can choose to stop doing. It feels like something we're wired to do, something we just can't escape. But is it?
Anne Bogel's answer is no. Not only can you overcome negative thought patterns that are repetitive, unhealthy, and unhelpful, you can replace them with positive thought patterns that will bring more peace, joy, and love into your life. In Don't Overthink It, you'll find actionable strategies that can make an immediate and lasting difference in how you deal with questions both small--Should I buy these flowers?--and large--What am I doing with my life? More than a book about making good decisions, Don't Overthink It offers you a framework for making choices you'll be comfortable with, using an appropriate amount of energy, freeing you to focus on all the other stuff that matters in life.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I'm definitely an overthinker but this is a fairly short read that's been sitting on my shelf for far too long.  It seems like an easy one to get off the shelf and one where I could pick up some valuable tips.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Year of the Projects - The Pint of No Return + Jell-O Girls

I do love a good list.  It gives a nice sense of order and focus and I love making lists about the books I want to read.  Last year I focused just on series I was behind on.  The project went great and I caught up on a ton of series but I felt like I was neglecting other books on my shelf and books at my library.  This year I have a few lists going - Series, Library, Clear Off My Shelves, and a random TBR Bingo where I pull books off my Goodreads TBR.  Here are a few of my most recent reads.

Goodreads:  The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krauss Mystery #2) by Ellie Alexander

Project:  Series

Blurb:  No other festival compares to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington. The whole town is buzzing with excitement over this year’s activities and eagerly awaiting Nitro’s latest offering Cherrywizen, made with locally sourced cherries. But local brewmaster Sloan Krause is tapped out. Between trying to manage the pub, her pending divorce with Mac, and her mounting feelings for Garrett, she’s fermenting in internal turmoil.
To complicate matters, dreamy movie star Mitchell Morgan and his production crew have arrived in the village to film during the authentic Bavarian brewfest. Mitchell has his eye on Sloan and a taste for Nitro’s Cherrywizen. Sloan escapes his advances for good when she finds Mitchell slumped over the bar. Is this a case of one pint too many, or has Mitchell been murdered by microbrew?

My Thoughts:  I'm really enjoying this series!  I'm not a beer drinker (or much of a drinker at all) but Sloan's enthusiasm of the brewing process and the descriptions of all the types of beer has me fascinated.  I also love the mystery about Sloan's past that seems to be running through the series.  I can't wait to see how it all plays out.  The mystery in this book was interesting and kept me guessing until the very end.  My Rating:  Really Liked It! (4 Stars) *Received in exchange for my honest review*

Goodreads: Jell-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom

Project: TBR Bingo

In 1899, Allie Rowbottom's great-great-great-uncle bought the patent to Jell-O from its inventor for $450. The sale would turn out to be one of the most profitable business deals in American history, and the generations that followed enjoyed immense privilege - but they were also haunted by suicides, cancer, alcoholism, and mysterious ailments.
More than 100 years after that deal was struck, Allie's mother Mary was diagnosed with the same incurable cancer, a disease that had also claimed her own mother's life. Determined to combat what she had come to consider the "Jell-O curse" and her looming mortality, Mary began obsessively researching her family's past, determined to understand the origins of her illness and the impact on her life of Jell-O and the traditional American values the company championed. Before she died in 2015, Mary began to send Allie boxes of her research and notes, in the hope that her daughter might write what she could not. JELL-O GIRLS is the liberation of that story.

A gripping examination of the dark side of an iconic American product and a moving portrait of the women who lived in the shadow of its fractured fortune, JELL-O GIRLS is a family history, a feminist history, and a story of motherhood, love and loss. In crystalline prose Rowbottom considers the roots of trauma not only in her own family, but in the American psyche as well, ultimately weaving a story that is deeply personal, as well as deeply connected to the collective female experience.

My Thoughts:  I didn't care for this one.  This is a family that is loosely connected to Jell-O (a great-uncle by marriage purchased the patent for cheap, got Jell-O going and starting to become a household name and then sold it all long before the author, her mother or really anyone in the book is born) but the author references it regularly to show how stuck the women in her family were and makes regular comparisons to different kinds of Jell-O salads.  At first it's clever but after happens about a dozen times in 50 pages it gets a bit old.   Jell-O has nothing to do with the family's misfortune -it's more alcoholism and generations of family dysfunction.  Really they just needed lots of therapy and rehab and a bit more therapy.  Looking at the reviews it looks like they were fairly split.  Half the readers loved it and half the readers had similar feelings towards the book that I did.  My Rating: Not For Me (DNF)

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books on My TBR With Typographic Covers

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by 
That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is about books with typographic covers.  This was a hard one!  I am definitely influenced by covers and tend to be drawn to images and very rarely notice the font but after combing through my TBR lists I found ten books with covers that are mostly words.

1.  A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

2.  The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

3.  Battle for the Big Top: P.T. Barnum, James Bailey, and John Ringling and the Death Defying Saga of the American Circus by Les Standiford

4.  The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse by Piu Marie Eatwell

5.  A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders

6.  A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the End and Back by Kevin Hazzard

7.  A Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell

8.  The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders

9.  All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehforth

10. Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd

What books with typographic covers are on your TBR?

Monday, September 26, 2022

All is Bright - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads: All is Bright by RaeAnne Thayne

Rating: Really Liked It! (4 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Sage McKnight is an ambitious young architect working at her father’s firm who takes on her most challenging client in Mason Tucker. The former pro baseball player is still healing from the physical and emotional scars after a plane crash left him a wheelchair-using single dad, and he’s determined not to let anyone breach his emotional defenses. Sage knows her work on Mason’s new home in Hope’s Crossing is her best work yet, and she won’t let her grumpy client prevent her from showcasing her work personally.

With Sage’s gift for taking broken things and making them better, the matchmaking talent of the quirky locals and a generous sprinkling of Christmas cheer, Mason doesn’t stand a chance against the power of this magical holiday season.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:   I love Thayne's Christmas stories but it has been a year or two since I've read one.  

My Impression: I love the cozy feel of Thayne's Christmas books and this was a lovely one.  I love the community of Hope's Crossing and reading this book made me want to go back and reread the earlier books in the series.

I liked Sage a lot.  She's had some very tough times but has made the absolute best of it and has found her passion with creating homes with universal designs.  She's positive and a hard worker but is still struggling a little to find her place and figure out what makes her happy.  Mason is a slightly harder sell.  He's got a lot of anger both from his accident and from things that happened in his childhood.  He has a hard time forgiving and makes a snap judgement about Sage even when there is clear evidence that things might not be fully what he believes them to be.  

As the story went on I grew to understand Mason a bit more and was caught up in the story of Sage and Mason and of the town itself.  I loved being in Hope's Crossing at Christmas time and getting caught up in the magic of the town and the season itself.  I do wish Taryn's relationship had been explored a little more as it did feel like her story was shoved into the corners a bit.  

This was a fantastically cozy Christmas-y read with likeable characters (who aren't so likable they're unrealistically perfect) and a magical setting.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would!  It's been awhile since I read any book by Thayne and it was such a joy to rediscover just how much I enjoy her books.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like stories that have a bit of an ensemble cast with a touch of romance and a lot of heart then I think you would love this book - and really most books by Thayne.

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

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Life with Leukemia, A Puppy and Some Reading - September 25

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 Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry

An American in Scotland by Lucy Connelly

Sleep No More by Jayne Ann Krentz


Reading:  The Ghost and the Stolen Tears by Cleo Coyle and Silent Murders by Mary Miley

Listening:  Heiresses: The Lives of the Million Dollar Babies by Laura Thompson

September is Childhood Cancer awareness month and this amazing foundation in our city put on a big event for all the St Jude patients.  They rented out this business that has an arcade and roller skating and laser tag and a whole bunch of other activities for just patients and their families.  As well it was catered and the kids got unlimited coins for the different games.  The mascot for our local baseball team was also wandering round to interact with the kids.  It was such a fun night and Will had a great time.  His numbers are still pretty low and his energy has been down too but other than that he's feeling pretty good.

I'm writing this on Friday because Saturday the dog club I'm a member of is having a big event where we showcase all the different activities we do and have lots of dog related vendors and food trucks (not dog related but most will have some kind of dog treat!) and lots of other stuff.  Normally a few thousand people show up so it's kind of crazy.  I'm volunteering for the bulk of the day in different activities and am expecting to be absolutely wiped out Saturday night and Sunday!  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Vanishing Point - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Vanishing Point by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)
Source:   Purchased

Description:  Nothing much ever seemed to happen in the sleepy village of Hazel Green apart from the occasional tea-party, spiced with local gossip. Until Maggie Bell went out one evening for a breath of fresh air and never came back. Could Maggie's disappearance be linked to security leaks at the nearby Air Ministry? Or is a sinister scheme being hatched closer to home? Miss Silver is called in to solve the mystery just as a second person goes missing ...

Genre: Mystery - Classic

My Impression:  In my previous Patricia Wentworth review I commented on the sameness I was starting to see in the Miss Silver books.  Here it seems that Wentworth was feeling the same as she definitely shook things up a bit in this book.  There are some common factors that do occur frequently in the Miss Silver books.  There's a bit of romance, a small village that Miss Silver happens to have an old school friend who resides there, and a prominent family fallen on hard times.

I don't want to say too much about this one because there are a lot of twists and turns some more unexpected than others.  Miss Silver's involvement was well done and I liked the Maxwell sisters.  This has a little more suspense and intrigue then I've come to expect from the other Miss Silver books.  My only real complaint was that the security leaks at the Air Ministry mentioned in the blurb seemed to be a contrived point to get Miss Silver in the neighborhood and then seemed to be forgotten about until the very end.  When that particular plot point was wrapped up it took me a minute to remember what they were talking about.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  Miss Silver is one of my favorite detectives and Patricia Wentworth is one of my favorite mystery authors.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you love classic mysteries you should definitely try a Miss Silver book and this is a fun one to start with.  

Friday, September 23, 2022

Friday Five - Five Books I Might Put on My Must Read List for 2023

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 starting to think about my reading for 2023 and while I don't want to be as list focused as I was this year I do want to have a short list of books to read so that I can have a little focus.  Here are 5 books I'm considering putting on my 2023 reading list.  

1.  The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams - I haven't read Beatriz Williams in a year or two and I'm missing her books.  This one is sitting on my shelf just waiting to be read!

2.  Death in the Family by Teresa Wegert - This book has been sitting on my shelf staring at me for far too long and I've wanted to read it since the day I got it.

3.  Cross Her Heart by Melinda Lee - I love suspense and this author has been on my TBR for ages.  

4.  Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in an English Village by Maureen Johnson by Jay Cooper - How can I resist this title?  It seems like such an interesting read.

5.  The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - This is one of the few Kate Morton books I haven't read and I've been really wanting to pick up another book by her.

Are you thinking about your reading plans for 2023? What are you wanting to read?

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Snowed in for Christmas - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads: Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Rating:  Really Liked It! (4 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  A family gathering

This Christmas the Miller siblings have one goal—to avoid their well-meaning family’s endless stream of prying questions. Ross, Alice and Clemmie have secrets that they don’t intend to share, and they are relying on each other to deflect attention.

An uninvited guest

Lucy Clarke is facing a Christmas alone and the prospect of losing her job. Unless she can win a major piece of business from Ross Miller, the season promises to be anything but festive. She’ll just deliver her proposal to his family home and then leave. After all, she wouldn’t want to intrude on the Miller family’s perfect Christmas.

A Christmas to remember

When Lucy appears on the Miller family’s snow-covered Highland doorstep, she's mistaken for Ross’s girlfriend. By the time the confusion is cleared up, they're snowed in—she can’t leave, even if she wants to! But does she want to? As secrets spill out like presents from an overstuffed stocking and the chemistry between her and Ross ignites, this is going to be either Lucy's worst Christmas ever or the best mistake of her life.

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoy holiday romances and this looked like a good one - plus it's in Scotland!

My Impression: This is my favorite kind of Christmas-y read!  A bit light on the actual romance but full of family dynamics, humor, an outspoken grandmother and all the Christmas coziness one can cram into a book.  

It did take me a little bit to get fully invested in the story as we change POVs from Lucy, to Alice and Clemmie, and their mother with each chapter.  While this is a romance the romance takes a back seat for quite a lot of the book as the characters face their own challenges and interact with each other.  I did love that while none of these characters is perfect (far from it) they're all fairly realistic.  These are all people I can imagine meeting and wanting to spend time with.  Not to say there isn't more than a bit of chaos but none of it feels over the top.

It's been awhile since I've read anything by Sarah Morgan and I'm not wondering why as I very much enjoyed this one!  It was so winter-y and Christmas-y and cozy that I forgot it was 100 degrees outside and got  pulled in.  This was lovely and a great book to kick off my Christmas reading.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would!  I'm looking forward to reading more of her backlog and will be looking for future books.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you like fiction with lots of family dynamics and a bit of romance this is a great holiday read!

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A Death in Door County - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Death in Door County (A Monster Hunter Mystery #1) by Annelise Ryan

Rating:  Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Morgan Carter, owner of the Odds and Ends bookstore in Door County, Wisconsin, has a hobby. When she's not tending the store, she's hunting cryptids--creatures whose existence is rumored, but never proven to be real. It's a hobby that cost her parents their lives, but one she'll never give up on.

So when a number of bodies turn up on the shores of Lake Michigan with injuries that look like bites from a giant unknown animal, police chief Jon Flanders turns to Morgan for help. A skeptic at heart, Morgan can't turn down the opportunity to find proof of an entity whose existence she can't definitively rule out. She and her beloved rescue dog, Newt, journey to the Death's Door strait to hunt for a homicidal monster in the lake--but if they're not careful, they just might be its next victims.

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been wanting to read this author for awhile and I can never resist the first book in a cozy series.

My Impression:  I'm pretty straight forward when it comes to my cozies.  I don't mind an occasional ghost or two but much more than that an I'm usually out.  Because of that I almost passed on this one.  I'm so glad I didn't because it was an absolute delight!  

I love Morgan as a main character and Newt is a delight as a doggy side kick.   The Odds and Ends store is incredibly intriguing and her back story is both incredibly sad but also leaves space for a mystery to resurface later.  Devon and Rita are her two store employees and make a great team both as investigative and personal support.  I also liked Jon.  While he and Morgan have very different professions they are both open minded and logical investigators and I enjoyed how they worked together.

I flew through this mystery and enjoyed every moment of it.  I loved the characters, was completely wrapped in the plot and was sorry to get to the last page.  I'm already looking forward to the next book!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really enjoyed this one and want to read more from this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?   Definitely!  Even if you're not a big fan of monsters I think you'll enjoy this cozy as much as I did.

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Fall 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 my Fall TBR.  The seasonal TBRs are always my favorite Top Ten Tuesdays.  I very rarely read even most of the books on these lists but I love making them!

1.  An Unforgiving Place by Claire Kells - This mystery series set in the National Parks sounds like such a good read and I can't resist the setting.

2.  High Spirits by Carol J. Perry - The first book in this series was one of my favorite reads of 2021 and I can't wait to get to this one.

3.  Dashing Through the Snowbirds by Donna Andrews - I love this series by Donna Andrews and the Christmas mysteries are usually the best.

4.  The Plot and the Pendulum by Jenn McKinlay - This is the next book in one of my favorite cozy mystery series and this one sounds fantastic!

5.  Secrets in the Stacks by Lynn Cahoon - I read the first book in the series earlier this year and really enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to see how the series progresses.

6.  The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart - This is the next book on my shelf from Rinehart and it looks perfect for some spooky reading.

7.  Playing to the Gods: Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse and the Rivalry That Changed Acting Forever by Peter Radar - I know nothing about this book but I picked it at random on my TBR list I keep of library books and it sounds interesting.

8.  The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and America's Royalty in the Nation's Largest Home by Denise Kiernan - I'm fascinated by the Biltmore and am so curious to learn more about the people who built it and lived there.

9.  The Great Pearl Heist: London's Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard's Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby - I love heist books and this sounds intriguing.

10.  This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle - This is the next book in a long running series.  I read the first book recently and have read the most recent books but am trying to get caught up on the middle books.

What books are on your TBR?

Monday, September 19, 2022

A Vacation to Die For - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: A Vacation to Die For (A Tourist Trap Mystery #14) by Lynn Cahoon

Rating: Liked It (3.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:   Hustling her fiancĂ© off to a neighboring tourist town might be the only way Jill Gardner can plan her nuptials to South Cove’s in-demand police detective. But when a mystery man turns up dead at South Cove’s PD, Greg is hightailing it back home to investigate, leaving Jill to finish the vacation solo.

Jill can barely get in a spa day before her own respite is spoiled by a greedy hotel guest and unexpected revelations about Max Winter, the developer conniving to buy her home out from under her. Then there’s the staffing issues at the store, the strange men seen lurking about town, and an aggressive and obnoxious family member harassing Jill’s beloved employee. It’s enough to make the bride-to-be full of jitters . . . especially when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer . . .

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoy this series and of course I had to pick up the next one.

My Impression:  I really love this series.  I love Jill and the town of South Cove and the atmosphere of the bookstore.  I will, however, be really glad when all the weddings are over and done with.  Amy was a bridezilla before her wedding and she hasn't quite calmed down yet.  I'm glad Jill and Greg are finally talking about things but I do wish Jill would get out of her head a bit about the wedding and marriage in general.  

The mystery was interesting and there were a few different things going on in the book and Jill's new employee is having family issues and Greg is trying to determine just who the victim and and who could have killed him.  This was a well plotted and interesting read that kept me reading and pulled into the story.  When I pick up a book in this series I expect an entertaining read and this book definitely delivered!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I have enjoyed all the books I've read by Cahoon.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like bookish cozies this is a great series to pick up and while you can start anywhere in the series it's even better if started at the beginning.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading

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

What I Got:

Nothing!  I did just buy a book but it isn't here yet so it doesn't count.  Rover did get a pup cup though and he said it was delicious.


Reading:  Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan and The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Listening:  Vanishing Edge by Claire Kells

It's been a fairly quiet week.  Will's numbers came back lower at clinic and he's been feeling a bit rundown so we've mostly stayed home and relaxed.  Or Will and I relaxed Jason (husband) isn't good at relaxing so he's been painting the shed and tackling new projects.  

Rover is feeling like a teenager and has been acting a bit crazy though we worked a lot on heeling and are finally at a place where he will sit consistently in a heel.  We start scent work class this week and I'm excited to see how it goes.  We were on a walk in the neighborhood and for the first time one of the horses was close enough to the fence that he could see it and he was absolutely fascinated.  He could have sat there for an hour just watching it.  

I had some kind of allergy situation or cold or something and ended up going to bed early a few days this week which cut into my blog visiting and reading.  I did take a Covid test but luckily that came back negative and I'm feeling a bit better and I'm hoping it will continue to go away.  I have too much stuff I want to do to get sick!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Madam, Will You Talk? - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart

Rating: Really Liked It! (4 Stars)
Source:   Purchased - Audio

Description:  Widowed Charity Selborne had been greatly looking forward to her driving holiday through France with her old friend Louise - long, leisurely days under the hot sun, enjoying the beauty of the parched Provencal landscape. But when Charity arrived at their hotel in the picturesque French town of Avignon, she had no way of knowing that she was to become the principal player in the last act of a strange and brutal tragedy. Most of it had already been played. There had been love--and lust--and revenge and fear and murder.

Very soon her dreams turn into a nightmare, when by befriending a terrified boy and catching the attention of his enigmatic, possibly murderous father, Charity has inadvertently placed herself center stage. She becomes enmeshed in the schemes of a gang of murderers. And now the killer, with blood enough on his hands, is waiting in the wings.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm trying to read through all of Mary Stewart's books and this was next on my list.

My Impression: This was definitely my favorite Mary Stewart book so far!  This is the first book on audio so I'm not sure how much the fantastic job narrator Emilia Fox did influenced me but I think this was just the strongest story I've read yet.  Charity Selborne is visiting France with a friend when you meets a young boy and gets involved in a tangle of lies and danger.

I did guess how it was going to play out (with a few exceptions) though that didn't keep me from being engaged with the story from beginning to end.  Charity is a likable main character who is competent and intelligent but not experienced with dangerous situations so she doesn't always do the right thing.  She's still coming to terms with the loss of her husband and is looking for peace and distraction as she tours Roman ruins in France.  I was caught up in the story and felt like I was holding my breath through the last few chapters as everything played out.

What kept this book from being a 5 star for me was the romance.  I can deal with some insta-love but this was so over the top and seemed ridiculous.   Other than that this was a interesting and suspenseful read and in my opinion one of Stewart's best.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I'm trying to decide what my next book by her will be.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you like atmospheric mysteries and can overlook some over the top insta-love then I think you'll enjoy this one just as much as I did!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Friday Fives - Five Favorite Classic Movies

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 is a not so much as I'm thinking about 5 of my favorite classic movies.   I love classic movies and used to watch them all the time when I was visiting my grandfather.  When he died in 2019 that kind of paused my watching and then when Will was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2020 and it's like my attention span just completely left and I haven't been able to watch a movie since then!  I've been starting to miss movie watching which has gotten me thinking about 5 of my favorite classic movies.

1.  Mrs. Miniver - Words cannot express how much I love this movie.  Walter Pidgeon is perfection and Greer Garson just glows.  This is a regular family living during World War II in England and there are so many scenes that just hit home so much for me.  This movie makes me laugh and cry and hold my breath and go on desperate online searches for a stunning Wedgwood Jasperware coffee pot that appears early on in the movie (and I still haven't found it!).  

2.  Rear Window - I'm not always the biggest Hitchcock fan but this one featuring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly is one of my favorites.  Grace Kelly is a bit different from her usual icy sophisticated character which I love and Jimmy Stewart does such a fantastic job portraying his frustration and helplessness.  

3.  Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House - Cary Grant is one of my all time favorite actors.  He's genius at both comedic and suspenseful roles.  This is a comedy and if you have ever built a house or done any kind of renovation you absolutely must watch this movie!

4.  Casablanca - Every time I watch this movie a different scene sticks with me and the scene in the nightclub where they are signing the French anthem never fails to make me tear up.

5. Arsenic and Old Lace - Other Cary Grant comedy and one that I always enjoy.  Watching Grant go from the suave polished gentleman to completely disheveled and out of his depth is genius and the rest of the movie is darkly hysterical.

What are some of your favorite classic movies?

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Murder at Beechwood

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:  Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell

Blurb: For Newport, Rhode Island’s high society, the summer of 1896 brings lawn parties, sailboat races…and murder. Having turned down the proposal of Derrick Andrews, Emma Cross has no imminent plans for matrimony—let alone motherhood. But when she discovers an infant left on her doorstep, she naturally takes the child into her care. Using her influence as a cousin to the Vanderbilts and a society page reporter for the Newport Observer , Emma launches a discreet search for the baby’s mother.
One of her first stops is a lawn party at Mrs. Caroline Astor’s Beechwood estate. But an idyllic summer’s day is soon clouded by tragedy. During a sailboat race, textile magnate Virgil Monroe falls overboard. There are prompt accusations of foul play—and even Derrick Andrews falls under suspicion. Deepening the intrigue, a telltale slip of lace may link the abandoned child to the drowned man. But as Emma navigates dark undercurrents of scandalous indiscretions and violent passions, she’ll need to watch her step to ensure that no one lowers the boom on her…

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I've read one book in this series and really enjoyed it and this one sounds great!