Monday, October 31, 2022

The Year of the Projects - Prose and Cons + The Invisible Library

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:  Prose and Cons (Magical Bookshop Mystery #2) by Amanda Flower

Project: Series:  

Blurb:  October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe on the shop’s front porch to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.
Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead in the shop moments before the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore...

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed the second book in this series.  The first book had a lot of the Will she stay/Won't she stay dilemma going on as well as getting to know the bookstore and the characters in Cascade Springs.  In this book we are able to just focus on the mystery and right from the start I was caught up.  I loved the Poe connection and loved getting to know Daisy a bit better and seeing more of Emmerson and Faulkner.  The mystery was entertaining and kept me guessing and I'm already looking forward to the next book.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars) 

Goodreads:  The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Project:  Clear Off My Shelves

Blurb: Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.

My Thoughts:  This isn't a genre that I usually read so it took me a little bit to get through all the world building and the supernatural creatures.  However, once I did I was truly hooked and really enjoyed this read.  Irene is a good character who reminded me a bit of Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell with her confidence and capableness.  I really enjoyed seeing her and Kai learn to work together as the story unfolded.  While I did find the first 30% or so a bit slow due to all the setup once I got past all that I was thoroughly hooked and really enjoyed this read.  I'm curious to see how the series progresses.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading - October 30

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 need to concentrate on the books I have so it's nice to have an empty shelf every once in awhile.  


Reading:  An Unforgiving Place by Claire Kells and Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks by John Curran

Listening:  Nightshade for Warning by Bailey Cattrell

This week was pretty nice and normal.  Will's numbers are a bit lower but are still holding steady and he's feeling pretty good.  We have 13 weeks left until the end of treatment which is hard to believe.  It's a bit scary to think of not having weekly check ins but it will be fantastic to be done.  He'll still have physical therapy and a few other things as well as month check ins at clinic for awhile but in 13 weeks no more chemo!  Now we just have to figure out what "normal" is again.

I've been obsessively playing Disney Dreamlight Valley on the Switch.  I don't really get caught up in video games very often but this has nice low stakes and doesn't involve fast reflexes - plus it has Disney characters! - so it's perfect for me.  I've been having a lot of fun with it though my reading has taken a hit.  

That's about it.  Other then video game playing and doctor visits it's been mostly dog classes and classes for Will and that's about it.

Have a great week and happy reading!

The Haunted Lady - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:   The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Rating:   Really Liked It!
Source:   Purchased

Description:  It’s enough to stop Eliza Fairbanks’s heart. At least that’s what the elderly widow claims is being done to her. First, someone unleashes a cloud of bats in her locked bedroom. When that doesn’t do the trick, next comes a pack of rats to claw at her toes. Special duty nurse Hilda Adams, aka “Miss Pinkerton” to the Homicide Bureau, believes Eliza’s every rattled fear is true. She may be frail—but she’s not batty.

What Eliza is, is very, very rich. Out of the shady and oddball assortment of relatives swarming the mansion, someone clearly has an eye on the Fairbanks fortune. Now it’s Hilda’s job to keep an eye on Eliza before a potential killer resorts to more definitive means. And considering all the bad blood running through the heart of the Fairbanks family, it might already be too late to save her charge.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been trying to read more classic mystery stories and have really enjoyed the books I've read from Mary Roberts Rinehart

My Impression: This is my first time meeting Hilda Adams but I'm so glad I did!  She's a bit of an American version of Miss Silver or Miss Marple but younger and much more street smart.  She still has the knack of looking like the perfect person to confide in as well as being able to infiltrate private lives in the way a police investigation couldn't.  

In this case Hilda gets sent in because clearly someone is up to no good in the Fairbanks mansion but no one is quite sure just what exactly that no good is.  As well everyone connected with the elderly Eliza Fairbanks is a potential suspect.  As I read I really had no idea of the who or the why but I very much enjoyed following along behind Hilda figuring it out.

The one weakness of this book and all of Rinehart's books that I've read is the ending.  She has beautifully plotted mysteries and she does come up with satisfying logical endings but something about the balance for the reveal is never quite right.  Some factors are really focused on while several aspects I really wanted to know more about just never get fully fleshed out.  That said this is still an entertaining mystery with a good classic feel.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I'm looking forward to reading more from this author already.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy classic mysteries this is definitely an author to try.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Friday Five - Five Short Reviews for Nora Roberts Books

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 5 books by Nora Roberts' that I've read recently.

1.  The Becoming by Nora Roberts - Honestly, I'm not a big fantasy reader and I'm not a big continuing story arc fan.  That said if Nora Roberts writes it I'm willing to give it a chance and in the case of this story I'm so glad I did.  I absolutely loved the first book and was fully caught up in this book.  It had none of the placeholder issues that can often happen in the second book of a trilogy.  I am so glad that Marco made the leap with Breen and that we got to see his personality develop as well as his friendship with Breen and see that he gets his own romance.  I did see the secondary villain coming from about a mile away but that didn't make it any less compelling.  I absolutely cannot wait for the third book coming out later this year.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

2.  Vision in White by Nora Roberts - Roberts excels at writing a toxic character and MacKenzie's mother Linda may just be her most narcissistic character yet.  Roberts also excels at writing friendship and I loved the friendship between Mac, Laurel, Emma, and Parker as well as how they used their own strengths and talents to run a flourishing wedding business.  Carter is the perfect counterpart to Mac's relationship issues and seeing them come to understand each other was really quite lovely.  This is a delightful quick read and just the kind of book I expect from Roberts.  My Rating: Really Liked It!

3.  Born in Ice by Nora Roberts -
The second book in the Born in trilogy focuses on younger daughter Brianna.  As calm and controlled as her sister Maggie is fiery and unpredictable Brianna loves taking care of people and truly enjoys running the small Bed and Breakfast and taking care of her guests.  Long term guest, writer Grayson Thane doesn't like any emotional attachments and runs from even the smallest whiff of family feeling.  I really liked Brianna.  I liked how she learns to stand up for herself as the book goes on and that she doesn't expect anything from anyone except herself.  She's kind and caring and frequently puts herself last.  I didn't like Grayson nearly as much.  I get his issues with family and commitment but there were times where he had almost a cruel edge that.  I still enjoyed this and will read the final book in the trilogy but it wasn't my favorite.  My Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)

4.  Nightwork by Nora Roberts - To be honest I have very mixed feelings about this book.  I really loved the last half when Miranda comes back into Booth's life and the revenge element came into play.  I loved the scenes that took place in New Orleans and the scenes when Booth was at UNC.  However, the in between when he was on the run got a bit tedious.  I could have used way less of that and would have loved to see way more of the conclusion.  After all the hiding and whatnot we follow Booth through it didn't feel quite fair to the reader that the HEA was kind of glossed over.  My Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)

5.  Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts - This is the third book in the quartet that started with Vision in White.  I skipped the second book because that couple annoys me and went right to book three.  This is the story of professionally trained baker Laurel and older brother of Parker - Delaney.  I love a friends turned more romance and I especially adored all the baking mentions in this book.  This is another entertaining romance with strong friendships and interesting main characters.  Just what I expect in the best possible way from Roberts!  My Rating: Really Liked It

Thursday, October 27, 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!

Blurb:  Angie first meets Daniel Monet at a local mission, where she and her chef-in-training, Hope, are serving barbeque chicken poutine to the homeless. Monet is one of Hope’s teachers—but Angie’s boyfriend knows him from his youthful days in England, and he went by a different name back then. After Sheriff Brown shows up the next morning to report that the pseudo-French gourmet has been dead on top of a pool table, the victim of poisoned wine, it seems his real name might not have been the only secret he was hiding. The bon vivant is no longer vivant, and with Hope’s prints on the glass, it’ll be Angie who has to sauce out the real killer . . .

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have really enjoyed other books by this author but for some reason have never really read much of this series.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A Trip With Trouble - Cozy Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  A Trip with Trouble (Mountain Lodge Mystery #2) by Diane Kelly

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

Description:  When the ladies of the Dangerous Curves Motorcycle Club take over the Mountaintop Lodge for their annual autumn ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Misty Murphy couldn’t be more thrilled. Every room is full and the adventurous women even invite Misty and her assistant Brynn to join them on a ride to admire the colorful fall foliage. Hotel handyman Rocky Crowder is happy to keep an eye on the lodge for the day, and the ladies set out for a fun ride on the scenic road.

The skies are clear, the air is crisp, and the leaves are gorgeous. But what starts as a perfect ride turns worrisome when the tail gunner – the last rider in their group – fails to show up at the Craggy Gardens overlook. Cell phone service is spotty in the remote, mountainous area, and the group is unable to connect with their friend. Might the missing woman have simply run out of gas? Or is something far more sinister afoot?

The ladies are determined to locate their ride or die, and Misty is equally determined to help them. But will they be able to solve the mystery when the scenic route seems intent on hiding its secrets?

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoyed the first book in this series and was really looking forward to seeing what Misty and her cat Yeti were up to next.

My Impression: Misty is getting used to running her inn.  While she's not quite a veteran innkeeper she has her routines nailed down and some solid people to rely on.  When the motorcycle club books the whole inn she's excited but knows it will be a lot of work and it definitely made for a good read!

The motorcycle club makes for a very interesting group of potential suspects.  Each member has their own secrets and possible motives and figuring out the dynamics of the group itself is a lot of fun and that's not even counting the non-club members who make their appearance.  It really kept me guessing until the very end.

I really like this group of characters.  Misty is nice and not afraid to rely on her friends/staff Brynn and Rocky.  I really appreciate that Misty is honest with herself and with Rocky about their potential relationship.  It always drives me crazy when characters don't just talk to each other and that is not an issue here.  As well the sprinkling of chapters in from Misty's cat Yeti are lots of fun and add a different perspective.  This is a fun series with a setting I love and endless possibilities for interesting mysteries.  I'm really looking forward to seeing more from this author!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I have a few books in another series by this author that I want to read and I'm looking forward to the next book in this series.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies I think you'd like this series.  While you could jump right in with this book the first book is also a great read!

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I'd Put on a Halloween Read-a-thon List

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 Halloween freebie so I'm imagining what books I'd put on my list if I was participating in a Halloween Read-a-Thon.

1.  The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St James - I just read a mystery where the character was reading this and it sounded fun and creepy.

2.  The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick - I read this book years and years ago and remember loving it.  I've really been wanting to read it again.

3.  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving - Somehow despite seeing numerous adaptation and reading books that mention this story I've never read the actual book.

4.  The Witches by Roald Dahl - I love the Dahl books that I've read since I somehow missed them all as a child and haven't gotten to this one yet.  

5.  Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman - This has been on my TBR FOREVER and a Halloween read-a-thon would be a good time to get to it.

6.  The Evil Inside by Heather Graham - I'm not sure if this takes place during Halloween but it's set in Salem and involves ghosts and a potential Jack the Ripper copycat so it seems appropriate. 

7.  The Turn of the Screw by Henry James - This is another book that has been on my TBR for ages and I've heard it's great on audio.

8.  City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong - This is an author I've been wanting to read forever and this is the first book in the Casey Daniels series so it sounds like a good place to start.

9.  Murder, She Wrote: Trick or Treachery by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain - Every Halloween reading binge needs some mysteries and a cozy Murder, She Wrote book set during Halloween souns perfect.

10. Be Careful What You Witch For by Dawn Eastman - And if the book above doesn't work this one set during the fall involving a family of witches sounds perfect.

What would you put on your reading list for a Halloween Read-a-Thon?

Monday, October 24, 2022

High Spirits - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: High Spirits (A Haunted Haven Mystery #2) by Carol J. Perry

Rating: Really Liked It! (3.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Set during the Christmas season, the latest novel in this exciting new supernatural cozy series from the author of the Witch City Mysteries features a New Englander transplanted to a Florida town along the scenic Gulf of Mexico when she inherits a charming, century-old—and very haunted—inn from a mysterious benefactor. Fans of Amanda Flower and Heather Blake will delight in murder, ghosts, and the heroine’s golden retriever, Finn.

Christmas lights on palm trees and Santa hats on plastic pink flamingoes are far from the snowy landscape Maureen and her beloved golden retriever, Finn, are used to. But Maureen is determined to make this a holiday to remember—which means finding a way to promote Haven House on a shoestring. Fortunately, Haven’s vintage movie theater, the Paramount, has come up with a great “Twelve Days of Christmas” idea. They’ll feature an impressive list of the best classic Christmas movies ever made—shown by one-time movie actor-turned-projectionist Decklin Monroe . . .

But nobody bothered to tell Maureen that the Paramount is haunted by the ghost of a man who was murdered a few years back. Haven’s top cop Frank Hubbard doesn’t believe in ghosts but, believing that Decklin Monroe was somehow involved, he wants a reluctant Maureen’s help.

That plan is derailed when, on the first day of the festival, a fresh murder victim is found at the theater. Now Maureen has to defend her staff and guests, while trying to keep her high-spirited resident ghosts out of the picture—before they have company for the holidays . . .

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I absolutely loved the first book in the series and couldn't resist this book!  

My Impression:   While I enjoyed this book I didn't find it to be quite as strong as the first book.  The pacing was a bit slow and there was just a bit too much going on with restoring the inn, Maureen's personal relationships, and solving the mystery all while dealing with other guests and running a pretty sizable holiday event for the hotel.  While I did enjoy all of these it did slow the pacing and at times felt a bit disjointed.

I think this suffered a bit from second book syndrome.  The foundations for the series and the characters were well explained in the first book and there is clearly going to be a deeper dive investigation into the history of the inn in later books which I am so excited about.  Unfortunately, that left this book feeling a bit influx so several future plot points were hinted at that I'm really looking forward to seeing come to fruition.

I enjoyed the mystery.  How did the murder of an elderly victim connect to the murder of a low level criminal 50 years before in the same theater?  I liked that the relationship between Detective Hubbard and Maureen is less contentious and borders on working towards a partnerships but doesn't magically flip to all unicorns and rainbows.   There's a strong cast of side characters from the other employees of the inn, to the resident ghosts, and most especially Maureen's Golden Retriever Finn.  

While I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first one I did enjoy the read and am super excited for the third book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I've really enjoyed everything I've read by this author and am excited to see what happens in the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book? I would recommend the first book if you enjoy cozy mysteries with a hefty dash of ghosts.  

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

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading - October 23


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:

Muffin But the Truth by Ellie Alexander - This is one of my favorite series and of course I couldn't resist the newest book.  (Publisher)


Reading:  A Trip with Trouble by Diane Kelly and The Listening Eye by Patricia Wentworth

Listening:  The Office BFFs: Tales of the Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey

Rover is officially 1 years old!  He's got a lot of growing up and calming down to do but he is turning into a really great dog.  We are sticking to two classes for now though I do want to try training with one of the local search and rescue groups.  

Will had a pretty good week.  His numbers have stayed pretty steady and we were able to go out to breakfast this weekend which was fun.  School is going pretty well though I think we will both be glad to be done with long division.

It's been a fairly crazy few weeks.  My grandmother has been living in a memory care facility for the past year or so.  She had started out in assisted living but the isolation and inability to have visitors sped up her decline into dementia.  I understand the assisted living's reasoning for this but she declined so quickly during that time and was so miserable it is so frustrating.  Unfortunately, she had a fall recently that means she can no longer stay in memory care and so we have had to move her into more of a nursing home.  This meant clearing out her memory care apartment as quickly as possible and there were just a lot of practicalities to deal with that.  Once things calmed down from that I got hit with a migraine that lasted Thursday through Saturday.  I've spent this week trying to catch up on everything that got dropped in the last two weeks as well as getting back into the routine for the dog classes I'm working with this cycle.  I've been reading some books I'm really enjoying lately and really enjoyed having a normal week!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories by Agatha Christie

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

Description:  The title story in this mystery collection revolves around the case of a man charged with the murder of a wealthy elderly woman. It is a gripping tale of courtroom suspense with a dazzling double climax, perfectly suited to the audio format. Other stories range from the strange tale of a French peasant girl with four personalities, to the letters "SOS" scrawled in dust on a nightstand, to the mystery of a blue Chinese jar and its connection to a murdered woman. Each suspenseful, each different, the tales are of brutal murder, brilliant criminals and detectives, and love in the face of death. Together they showcase the versatility and genius of Dame Agatha Christie.

Genre: Mystery - Classic, Short Stories

My Impression:  The title story is the best known in this collection and also the strongest story.  I've read this story several times and it always surprises me a bit.  I also really liked Accident which has an interesting twist and is a bit different from the typical Christie short story.  The Fourth Man is probably my least favorite and is a supernatural story.  While I do love seeing Christie try out different styles I typically don't love her stories with a more supernatural flare.  This is an interesting short story that involves mostly standalone stories but does have a few Poirot stories sprinkled in.  

I always enjoy Christie's short story collections and I did enjoy this one very much.  It's a mix of styles and settings and a must read for Agatha Christie fans.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  Christie is one of my favorite authors and I could reread her books pretty much nonstop.  

Would I Recommend this Book? I would!  This is a good example of Christie's later style and a good mix of stories.  

Friday, October 21, 2022

Friday Fives - Five Cozies Set During Halloween

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.  Since Halloween is quickly approaching I'm looking at 5 cozy mysteries that take place during Halloween.

1.  The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan - Ghostly bootleggers and ghost hunters just seem like the combination for a perfect Halloween cozy.

2.  The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer by Krista Davis - I just read the most recent book in this series and really enjoyed it and I absolutely love the pun in this title.

3.  The Skeleton Haunts a House by Leigh Perry - This series has been on my TBR for ages and this one that takes place during Halloween looks especially fun.

4.  No Parm, No Foul by Linda Reilly - This series features a grilled cheese shop owner which sounds amazing and this second book takes place during Halloween!

5.  Reading Between the Crimes by Kate Young - This cozy series involving a book club has been on my TBR since the first book came out but this second book which not only takes place during Halloween but also features one of my favorite Agatha Christie books.

Do you have any books set during Halloween on your TBR?

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Elementary, She Read

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:  Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany

Blurb: Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop--located at 222 Baker Street-specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Holmes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body. The highly perceptive Gemma is the police's first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare-books expert, the dead woman's suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it's a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have really enjoyed every book that I've read by this author and I've heard good things about this series.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

From the Overdue Shelf - The Bluebonnet Betrayal + Broken Bonds


Goodreads:  The Bluebonnet Betrayal (Potting Shed Mystery #5) by Marty Wingate

Blurb:  Pru’s life in England is coming full circle. A Texas transplant, she’s married to the love of her life, thriving in the plum gardening position she shares with her long-lost brother, and prepping a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit featuring the beloved bluebonnets of the Texas hill country. Technically, Twyla Woodford, the president of a gardening club in the Lone Star State, is in charge of the London event, but Pru seems to be the one getting her hands dirty. When they finally do meet, Pru senses a kindred spirit—until Twyla turns up dead.
Although Twyla’s body was half buried under a wall in their display, Pru remains determined to mount a spectacular show. Twyla would have insisted. So Pru recruits her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, to go undercover and do a bit of unofficial digging into Twyla’s final hours. If Pru has anything to say about it, this killer is going to learn the hard way not to mess with Texas.

My Thoughts:  I've seen a number of pictures and mentions about the Chelsea Flower Show but never fully realized what it was.  I very much enjoyed this behind the scenes look and was stunned by just how much goes into it.  Of course, I imagine in real life there's not a murder investigation going on right in the middle of everything.  It was an interesting twist that the murder happens in Pru's husband Christopher's old turf and the lead detective is someone he mentored but at the same time he doesn't have access to the inside information that he usually has.  It made for an interesting dynamic for the characters.  I enjoyed this one.  I like that the characters are a bit older and the mix of law enforcement and gardening.  This is a nice series and this was a nice read that kept me entertained even if it's not necessarily the most memorable.  Definitely a great choice for a series if you love gardening!  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

Goodreads: Broken Bonds by Karen Harper

Blurb:  Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad—even deadly—memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.
Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.

Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.

My Thoughts:  I love romantic suspense so I was looking forward to this one.  It is the 3rd book in the Cold Creek series but it can easily be read as a stand alone.  That said it didn't quite live up to my expectations.  For starters there's a lot going on.  It starts out with a bang with Matt being run off the road and Char rescuing him but from there the pacing slows down dramatically.  Is the cause connected to fracking? and if so is the pro-fracking or the against fracking camp?  If not could it be the local cult? Could it have just been random?  The list goes on.  What also doesn't help is it felt like the characters spoke in great speeches at each other.  If Char could bring her passion for working with children and their families into a conversation (which is a noble passion) she did and a bit melodramatically.  It got to be a bit much.  By the last 3/4 or so the pace picked up and I did really want to see how the book ended but that said I wasn't sorry to see the book end.  I don't think this author's writing style is for me.  My Rating: Just Okay (2 Stars)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Words

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 favorite words.

1.  Persnickety - Placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy

2.  Hijinks -Boisterous fun

3.  Bamboozled  - fool or cheat

4.  Discombobulated - Confused and disconcerted

5.  Curmudgeon - A bad tempered person

6.  Hodgepodge - A confused mixture

7.  Shenanigans - Silly or high-spirited behavior; mischief

8.  Bonkers- Madd; crazy

9. Gobbledygook - Language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms; nonsense

10.  Cantankerous - Bad tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative

What are some of your favorite words?

Monday, October 17, 2022

The Year of the Projects: Peach Pies and Alibis + Antiques to Die For

 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:  Ella Mae LeFaye's Charmed Pie Shoppe is wildly popular in Havenwood, Georgia--which is not surprising since Ella Mae can lace her baked goods with enchantments. The shop's extraordinary success seems destined to continue when Ella Mae meets an engaged couple who hire her to handle the dessert buffet at their wedding.But Ella Mae has a lot on her plate. She is also searching for the origin of her magical powers--and hoping to determine if the spark of attraction she feels for the handsome Hugh Dylan is authentic or just her new abilities gone awry.

Then Ella Mae discovers a high-standing member of the community dead, and a wedding guest becomes seriously ill at the event she's catering. Now she'll have to use all her sleuthing skills and culinary talents to prove her pies don't contain a killer ingredient . . .

My Thoughts:  This is the second book in the series and while the first book had bits of magic this one leaned hard into the world of magic.  There was a lot of setup of how the magic in this particular world works and the politics and rules of it all.  I wasn't quite expecting that level of world building in a second book in a series - especially not in a cozy mystery.  This slowed down the pace a bit and was a bit more information then I was really looking for.  I did enjoy the mystery and while I don't love all the feuds and detailed rules I do like the author's writing style and will continue the series.  While the focus wasn't on it too much the mystery was an interesting one and I did want to find out what happened.  My Rating: It Was Okay (2.5 Stars)

Project: Series
Blurb:  Since Josie Prescott left a high-paying job in New York to set up shop as an antiques appraiser on the rugged New Hampshire coast, her life has not gone exactly according to plan. In many ways, it’s gone better: She has a booming business, good friends and neighbors, and even a promising romance.
But dead bodies do seem to keep crossing her path. And now her friend Rosalie has been killed just hours after confiding a secret to Josie, leaving a bereaved twelve-year-old sister, Paige, who reminds Josie of herself when her mother died. It turns out that Rosalie had other secrets too: a mysterious treasure she told her sister she was leaving behind—and a secret admirer who now seems to be turning his creepy attention to Josie!

As Josie races to solve the crime while helping Paige and trying to keep her business afloat, Jane K. Cleland brings us an irresistible new blend of coziness, crime, and collectibles.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book.  Josie gets pulled into the investigation of the death of a friend and finds there was far more to the woman then Josie really knew.  Josie also gets involved with Rosalie's sister, Paige, when she asks Josie for help.  Josie can relate to what the girl is going through after losing her mother at a similar age and it led to several really sweet scenes.  The search for the treasure Rosalie has hinted to Paige about and the search for the killer make for an entertaining well paced mystery that I very much enjoyed.  I do really love antiques so I think this helps my enjoyment of the series as well.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading - October 16

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:

Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke (Publisher)

Grilled 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton (Publisher)

Frozen Detective by Amanda Flower (Publisher)


Reading:  The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart and The Wife's Promise by Kate Hewitt

Listening:  Nightwork by Nora Roberts 

Will has had a great few weeks.  His numbers have been steady and he's feeling pretty good.  St. Jude had a family night at a local pumpkin patch.  He ran around and had a good time and got candy and a pumpkin.  He was a bit sore the next few days but it's been good to see bits of normalcy starting to come back.

Dog classes are starting back up and Rover did amazing in his last scent works class.  Today we have our first Rally class (it's a type of obedience training) and I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm assisting in a few classes and am really looking forward to working with the dogs.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Shattered Silk - Keeper Shelf Review

Goodreads:  Shattered Silk by Barbara Michaels

Rating: Loved It! (5 Stars)
Source:   Purchased

Description: A Killer Lurks In her quaint vintage clothing boutique in picturesque Georgetown, Karen Nevitt' s laces and white linens seem so innocent. Her aunt' s aged friends have even ransacked their attics to help the novice entrepreneur launch her business. The dresses they produce are exquisite--valuable designer originals from decades past--but unwittingly Karen has discovered something far more lethal than fashion trends. Concealed by the delicate fabrics is the hidden clue to a forgotten mystery, and someone is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Genre:  Mystery - Romantic Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm reading through all the books on my keeper shelf to see if they still deserve their place.

My Impression:  I love this book!  If you asked me what is my favorite Barbara Michaels book is this would be either first or second (the other favorite is coming up in a few books and I can't wait!).  I adore vintage clothes and history and this book has both with an intriguing mystery, hidden agendas, and likable characters.  

At the beginning of the book Karen is pretty much at her lowest point.  Newly separated from her dismissive jerk of a husband she feels frumpy, unattractive and unwanted.  She just wants to hide from everything and everyone.  As the book goes on, Karen finds her voice, her purpose and her passion as well as making new friends and renewing relationships with old friends.  And I haven't even mentioned the clothes yet!  The clothes are amazing - especially Mrs. Mac's dresses.  My only complaint about this book is that there aren't illustrations or photographs of the dresses that are mentioned.  Granted, this is a fictional story but a lot of the clothing and designers mentioned are not and you can go down quite the rabbit hole looking up all the designers mentioned.  

This is a delightful bit of escapism with an entertaining plot and main characters you can't help but like.  If you've read Michaels' previous book, Ammie, Come Home, then many of the characters will be old friends that you will be excited to see again.  If you haven't read it yet no worries!  You'll enjoy meeting them and will probably want to go back and read the earlier book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I absolutely love her books and this was a delightful treat of a read.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you need a bit of escape then this is a perfect read!

Friday, October 14, 2022

Friday Fives - Five Cozies With Ghostly Characters

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.  Since Halloween is quickly approaching I'm looking at 5 cozy mysteries that have ghosts as characters.  I do love a ghostly mystery!

1.  A Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry - This series features not only a ghost but a ghost skeleton and sounds like such a fun read.

2.  The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly/Cleo Coyle - I've read the later books in the series but have never read the early books.

3.  If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey - This involves vintage clothes and a ghost - what's not to love!

4.  Last Wool and Testament by Molly McRae - I own the first couple of books in this series about a haunted yarn shop and it sounds really great.

5.  Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell -  This is involves a home renovator who sees ghosts which makes the whole home renovation thing complicated at times!

What ghostly books are on your TBR this October?

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Books from the Backlog - The Paris Key

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 Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell

Blurb:  As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle's side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle's shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have really enjoyed Blackwell's fiction and this sounds exactly like the kind of book I'm in the mood for.  Now I just have to dust it off and read it!