Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Fingerprint - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Fingerprint by Patricia Wentworth

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

Description:  When she found the body of her beloved Uncle Jonathan, Georgina's mind went blank. Instinctively, she stooped to pick up the revolver, thus becoming the prime suspect. For Georgina stood to inherit a large fortune when her uncle died. But Uncle Jonathan had a second secret will and the beneficiary is the wide-eyed, seemingly innocent Mirrie Fields.

But there was also the puzzle of the missing fingerprint. It was the showpiece of Uncle Jonathan's collection and he enjoyed telling the story of how he had acquired it from a self-confessed murderer, who was still at large. When the old man was shot, the print had been torn from its album.

Was the missing fingerprint the clue to the murderer's identity? Maud Silver is determined to find out.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

My Impression: I really think the later Miss Silver books are the strongest and this is a great example of that.  This isn't my favorite of the last few but it is still an incredibly and readable mystery with an interesting mix of lead characters.

Georgina is a character I've seen several times in previous Miss Silver books.  She is classy and composed.  She feels things deeply but has a hard time expressing it and tends to go very pale.  Mirrie is a bit different.  She's manipulative and grasping but I took me awhile to decide if she was mean on top of it all.  There are two love interests and it's hard to tell how things are going to work out until the very end.

Miss Silver is pulled in when she visits Monica Abbott who is not only a cousin of Detective Inspector Frank Abbott but also a dear friend to Georgina.  The mystery of the fingerprint as well as the mystery of who shot Jonathan Field was well explained and though bits are a bit obvious it was still an entertaining read from beginning to end.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I'm almost done with the Miss Silver books and will be sad when I'm finished with them all though luckily I still have more Patricia Wentworth to read.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy Miss Marple books I think you would enjoy this one though I think The Listening Eye or Poison in the Pen might be a bit better.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Friday Fives - Five Quick 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.  The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell - I really enjoyed The Family Upstairs so I was so excited to dive into the sequel.  While I did enjoy it I don't think this book quite lived up to the previous book.  I think this is because one of the primary POVs was Henry who just constantly makes me cringe.  I did enjoy Lucy's son Marco taking an active narration role and I liked hearing the story of Lucy's ex-husband's new wife Rachel.  This is a story of people at their absolute worse and the good people around them.  It wrapped up several of the still loose threads from the previous book  and, as always with a Lisa Jewell book, kept me hooked.  This isn't as strong as the previous book but if you read and enjoyed the first book this is a must read.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

2.  The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse - This was okay.  The setting is brilliantly creepy and I like Elin as an investigator even though she drove me absolutely crazy as a character with her constant handwringing and second guessing of herself.  I could have done without her issues with her brother and her focus on her younger brother's death years ago.  It detracted from the main mystery and just added to her angsty-ness.  I listened to the audio and I'm not entirely sure I would have made it through if I was reading the print version.  Elin did become more confident as the book went on and when the plot finally gained some traction I did enjoy it.  I will probably listen to the 2nd book but this isn't super high on my must read list.  My Rating: Okay (2.5 Stars)

3.   Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas - This is the first book in Kleypas's Ravenel series but the 2nd that I've read.  Kathleen and Devin are a good match.  Kathleen comes across a bit strong in the next book so seeing her story and getting to know her better was really nice.  What really sold this book for me was the side characters.  I love Pandora, Cassandra, and Helen and I really loved Devin's brother West.  His change as the book progresses was really wonderful to watch as well as his relationship growth with the rest of the characters.  He kind of stole the show for me!  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

4.  The Janes by Louisa Luna - I have both books in the Alice Vega series but this one appealed to me more so even though it was the 2nd book I jumped in here.  While there are mentions of the first book I had no issue starting here.  Vega has been called in to assist the San Diego police when a Jane Doe is found clutching a piece of paper with Vega's name and she promptly pulls in Max Caplan (Cap) to assist.  They plunge into the world of human trafficking and corrupt systems and all the dark twistiness that goes with that.  This was quite a ride and just when I thought things were wrapping up it took another turn or two.  This was a lot darker then my usual read and while I'm not always in the mood for it when I'm wanting something grittier I will pick up more from this author.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

5.  The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James -
This is my second book by Simone St James this year (and in total) and I think I enjoyed this one even more than the first book I read.   The story is told in two timelines - the first being Carly in 2017 and the second is her aunt Viv in 1982.  Viv disappeared from her job as a night clerk in 1982 and Carly has come to this small New York town to find out what happened.  There are couple of crazy coincidences that occur but I enjoyed this read so much that it didn't really matter.  I loved Carly's roommate and the kind of security guy at The Sun Down and The Sun Down itself is practically a character with its intensely creepy atmosphere.  I found myself absolutely hooked as both Carly and Viv got caught up into the events happening around them all centering around The Sun Down.  I'm looking forward to reading more by this author! My Rating:  Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Dying in the Wool

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:  Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody

Blurb:  Take one quiet Yorkshire village, Bridgestead is a peaceful spot: a babbling brook, rolling hills and a working mill at its heart. Pretty and remote, nothing exceptional happens.
Add a measure of mystery ...

Until the day that Master of the Mill Joshua Braithwaite goes missing in dramatic circumstances, never to be heard of again.

A sprinkling of scandal ...

Now Joshua's daughter is getting married and wants one last attempt at finding her father. Has he run off with his mistress, or was he murdered for his mounting coffers?

And Kate Shackleton, amateur sleuth extraordinaire!

Kate Shackleton has always loved solving puzzles. So who better to get to the bottom of Joshua's mysterious disappearance? But as Kate taps into the lives of the Bridgestead dwellers, she opens cracks that some would kill to keep closed.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I love historical mysteries and despite owning a few in this series I haven't read it!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Muffin But the Truth - Cozy Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  Muffin But the Truth (A Bakeshop Mystery #16) by Ellie Alexander

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

Description:  Ashland is known for its Elizabethan charm and touches of Shakespeare around every corner, but the surrounding Rogue Valley draws adventure enthusiasts to its outdoor wonderland of high alpine lakes, mountain ranges, and pristine rivers. Jules Capshaw and the team at Torte have been hired to cater a weekend getaway on the mighty Rogue River. Jules is going to have to put her culinary skills to the test while baking gooey chocolate chip skillet cookies over an open flame and preparing extravagant feasts under a canopy of stars. The executive team at a big city firm will be rafting the Rogue’s rapids and gathering around the campfire for spooky stories, but their dysfunction quickly begins to show. Between constant bickering and heavy drinking, Jules wonders how the team can accomplish anything. She’s happy for a brief reprieve when they zip up their lifejackets and head out in their boats, but the serenity of the scene quickly vanishes when Jules discovers one of the execs floating face down in the water. She’s going to have to uncover the truth before she gets pulled under.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and one of my favorite authors so of course I had to pick up the newest book in the series!

My Impression: Torte is one of the fictional places I wish was a real place.  The descriptions of all the meals and coffee creations that come out of Torte's kitchens are just amazing sounding and if it was real I would already be planning a cross-country trip to Ashland.  That said, despite the delicious sounding food and the added treat of listening to Lance's storytelling, absolutely no part of me would want to go on the corporate retreat that occurs at the beginning of the book.  Even before the dead body turns up in the river this retreat is toxic - mostly due to the direction of the leader - Josie.  

I really loved seeing Ashland and the surrounding area through Jules' eyes as she's helping her stepson get settled in to stay for a year.  The author's love for the area shines brightly as well as the absolutely delightful fictional world she has created in Ashland.

What kept this book from being an absolute winner for me was that the mystery itself.  While I like that Jules wasn't leading the charge in the investigation I wanted a bit more information about the suspects and just what was going on with the company.  While I was happy with how the solution was done I felt like I was missing part of the picture as to how things got to be the way they were.

While this wasn't my absolute favorite in the series it was still an enjoyable read with a delightful group of characters that I thoroughly enjoy catching up with.  I can't to see what happens next with the staff at Torte.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I'm already looking forward to the next book in this series and am thoroughly enjoying her Sloan Kraus series.  

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy cozy mysteries you really should try this series!  It has such a great cast of characters and an interesting array of mysteries.  

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Most Recent Additions to My 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 Most Recent Additions to My TBR.

1.  The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang - I've seen several reviews of this book and it looks so intriguing.

2.  Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World's Greatest Forger by Tony Tetro - I believe I saw a review for this on Carole's Random Life and it definitely looked like a book I would enjoy.

3.  On Spine of Death by Tamara Berry - I really enjoyed the first book in this series and am looking forward to the next book.  

4.  The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh - I've only read one book by this author but I really enjoyed it and this one looks great.

5.  The Sandcastle Hurricane by Carolyn Brown - I've seen this book in so many places lately and it looks like one I'd enjoy.

6.  Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay by Ali McNamara - I don't remember where I saw this one but the blurb does look like something I'd enjoy.

7.  Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin - I have read several books by this author and usually enjoy them and this looks like a page turner.

8.  The Postcript Murders by Elly Griffiths - I liked the first book and am curious to read this one.

9.  The Curse of Beauty: The Scandalous and Tragic Life of Audrey Munson, America's First Supermodel by James Bone - I read The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis which had a character based on Audrey Munson and she referenced this book.  I'm curious to see what happened to the real woman.

10. Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson - I've seen a ton of great sounding reviews for this one and the title is just too good to pass up.

What books have you recently added to your TBR?

Monday, December 26, 2022

Vinyl Resting Place - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Vinyl Resting Place (Record Shop Mystery #1) by Olivia Blacke

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

Description:  When Juni Jessup and her sisters Tansy and Maggie put all their beans in one basket to open Sip & Spin Records, a record-slash-coffee shop in Cedar River, Texas, they knew there could be some scratches on the track, but no one was expecting to find a body deader than disco in the supply closet.

Family is everything to the Jessups, so when their uncle is arrested by Juni’s heartbreaking ex on suspicion of murder, the sisters don’t skip a beat putting Sip & Spin up for bail collateral. But their tune changes abruptly when Uncle Calvin disappears, leaving them in a grind. With their uncle’s freedom and the future of their small business on the line, it’s up to Juni and her sisters to get in the groove and figure out whodunit before the killer’s trail—and the coffee—goes cold.

Music and mocha seem like a blend that should be “Knockin' On Heaven's Door,” but caught up in a murder investigation with her family and their life savings on the line, Juni wonders if she might be on the "Highway to Hell" instead.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I can never resist the first book in a cozy series and I love the idea of a record store as the setting.

My Impression: Well this was a fun read!  This is the first book in a new cozy series featuring Juni (short for Juniper) Jessup and her two sisters who are reopening the family record store.  The grand opening ends on a bit of a sour note when Juni discovers a dead body in a supply closet and the sisters' Uncle Calvin is the prime suspect.

Juni is still adjusting to being back in her hometown, running her own business, and working with her sisters.  Now she's thrown into regular contact with her ex-boyfriend who happens to be the detective in charge of the investigation and desperately trying to save the store.

The mystery and the characters kept me engaged from start to finish.  The author did good a job of balancing character development with plot advancement as well as having a convincing reason to bring Juni and her sisters into the investigation.  

I'm looking forward to seeing how this series develops and to seeing Juni getting a bit more comfortable in her new life.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  This is my first book by this author and won't be the last.  

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun series to start and bonus points because it's the first book in  a new series!

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

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Poison in the Pen - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Poison in the Pen by Patricia Wentworth

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

Description:  Tilling Green was a charming little village nestling in the Ledshire countryside. Not at all the sort of place you would expect to find an anonymous letter writer. And when one of the recipients, a young woman, was found drowned in the lake belonging to the Manor House, Miss Silver was persuaded to go and investigate. Valentine Grey, the pretty young heiress from the Manor House, was marrying one Gilbert Earle, but on the night of Valentine's pre-wedding party Jason Leigh, Valentine's former love, returned after months without a word. Valentine discovered Gilbert in a compromising situation with her guardian's wife. And several people received extremely nasty letters. Connie Brooks knew who had written those letters. But on the same night, she was murdered ...

Genre: Mystery - Classic

My Impression: Poison pen letters are one of my very favorite things in a classic mystery.  Agatha Christie has a Miss Marple with poison pen letters and it was one of my favorite Miss Marple books.  And this is one of my favorite Miss Silver books!

This was such a fun mystery and I loved that Miss Silver was front and center in her official capacity.  There's a whole host of characters from the much younger second wife, to a distant cousin who also happens to be the town busybody, to the returned lover, to the mysterious man next door who hates women and takes evening walks with his seven cats and each is interesting with a possible motive.  

I was completely pulled into the book as the story unfolded..  I did guess who was the killer but I questioned that about 10 times before the big reveal - and that reveal kept me turning pages!  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I have 3 more Miss Silver books to read before the end of the year and am looking forward to each one of them!

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy cozy mysteries and Miss Marple books Miss Silver is a must read and this is a great one to start with.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Friday Fives - Five Overdue Review Books I Hope to Read in 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.  Since 2022 is racing to a close I'm looking at books I want to read in 2023.  Here are 5 overdue review books that I'm thinking of putting on my list.

1.  If You've Got It, Haunt It by Rose Pressey - This has ghosts and vintage clothes which are two of my favorite things and this author has another series that I really want to read too.

2.  Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn - I love this author and this looks wonderful.

3.  The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore - I've read an earlier book from this author and really enjoyed it.  This one looks fantastic.

4.  The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan - I've liked previous books I've read by this author and this has dogs which I can never resist.

5.  The Vanishing Season by Joanne Schaffhausen - I've heard great things about this author and this has been sitting on my NetGalley shelf for years but somehow I still haven't read it.

Do you have any overdue review books on your shelf?

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Morning Glory

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:  Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

Blurb:  New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle’s Lake Union—home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959.
Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  It's been on my shelf for ages and it sounds like it could be fantastic.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Year of the Projects: Bought the Farm + Marigolds for Malice

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:  Bought the Farm (Farmer's Daughter Mysteries #3) by Peg Cochran

Project: Finishing Up Series

Blurb: Wedding preparations are in full swing at Love Blossom Farm as food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald transforms the property for her friend Kelly's down-home country-style reception. But when the lead singer of the wedding band turns up dead--drowned in a trough full of rainwater and strung up like a scarecrow--the police round themselves up a barnful of suspects.

It seems that Travis sowed the seeds of discord wherever he went, and when it becomes clear that everyone from the groom to Shelby's own staff has motive, tracking down Travis' killer is going to be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. As Shelby finds herself drawn deeper into the investigation, she'll have to move quickly before the killer decides to put her out to pasture...

My Thoughts:  This is the final book in this 3 book series and I did enjoy it.  I liked the weaving in of Shelby's blog entries as well as the all the farming and cooking bits.  As well there is a good community feel with multiple generations of characters.  The mystery was interesting and while not entirely a surprise did keep me involved in the story.  My only real issue with the series is that every man in Shelby's life is in love with her and it just got a bit much.  My Rating: Liked It (3.5 Stars)

Goodreads:  Marigolds for Malice (Enchanted Garden Mystery #3) by Bailey Cattrell

Project: Finishing Up Series

Blurb:  Elliana Allbright is happy running her perfume shop, Scents & Nonsense, in the charming town of Poppyville, California. And she's even happier when she can use her inherited abilities to infuse her perfumes with an extra special something that eases woes or solves problems for her customers. But she'll need those abilities and more when murder comes to town.

Ellie and her women's business group, the Greenstockings, are helping to open a new museum about local history, and while sorting through the collection of artifacts they discover a time capsule from the days of the Gold Rush. Among the contents is a strange botanical manuscript, recognized by local history professor Eureka Sanford as extremely rare and valuable. When the professor is found dead in the museum, Ellie has no choice but to sniff out the murderer... but this one may have roots that are as old as Poppyville.

My Thoughts:  I read this book several weeks ago and honestly, the bulk of the mystery has pretty much disappeared from my memory.  However, that doesn't mean the book is forgettable.  I absolutely love the world of flowers and scents and hints of magic that Cattrell creates in this series.  I wish the Enchanted Garden was a real place as it would definitely end up on my places to visit list and I love learning the different meanings and uses for flowers.  I would love for Ellie to create a fragrance just for me as all of her scent combinations sound wonderful.  I did enjoy the mystery in this book and I liked that the tie in to the past mystery does make sense.  I'm sorry to see the end of this series but did enjoy all 3 books in this series. My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by 
That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is Books I Hope Santa Brings.

1.  Love in the Time of Serial Killers by Alicia Thompson - I love true crime and to have a character who is true crime obsessed sounds fun.

2.  The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs - I've really enjoyed all the books I've read by Susan Wiggs and this looks wonderful.

3.  Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan - I've seen a number of great reviews for this one and it sounds so good.

4.  You Can Run by Rebecca Zanetti - This author has been on my TBR for ages and this is the first in a series so it seems like a good place to start.

5.  Missing in Wales by Jenny O'Brien - I'm always looking for more procedural type mysteries and this looks really good.

6.  The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman - I have been wanting to read this author since the first book came out and this book appeals to me most.

7.  The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid - Anne of Green Gables is one of my very favorite books and this sounds like a wonderful book to flip through.

8.  The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - This is one of the few Morton books that I haven't read and I've really enjoyed all of her books.

9.  The Lion in the Living Room: How Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World by Abigail Tucker - I loved the documentary of the same title and this looks like an interesting book I could read with my son.

10. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen - Garden Spells was one of my favorite books of the year I read it but for some reason I have neglected to pick this one up.

What books do you hope Santa leaves under the tree this year?

Monday, December 19, 2022

The Choice - Fiction/Fantasy Review

Goodreads: The Choice (The Dragon Heart Legacy Book 3) by Nora Roberts

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

Description:  Breen Siobhan Kelly grew up in the world of Man and was once unaware of her true nature. Now she is in Talamh, trying to heal after a terrible battle and heartbreaking losses. Her grandfather, the dark god Odran, has been defeated in his attempt to rule over Talamh, and over Breen--for now.

With the enemy cast out and the portal sealed, this is a time to rest and to prepare. Breen spreads her wings and realizes a power she's never experienced before. It's also a time for celebrations--of her first Christmas in both Talamh and Ireland, of solstice and weddings and births--and daring to find joy again in the wake of sorrow. She rededicates herself to writing her stories, and when his duties as taoiseach permit, she is together with Keegan, who has trained her as a warrior and whom she has grown to love.

It's Keegan who's at her side when the enemy's witches, traitorous and power-mad, appear to her in her sleep, practicing black magick, sacrificing the innocent, and plotting a brutal destruction for Breen. And soon, united with him and with all of Talamh, she will seek out those in desperate need of rescue, and confront the darkness with every weapon she has: her sword, her magicks--and her courage...
Genre: Fiction - Fantasy 

Why I Picked This Book:   I really loved the previous two books so of course I had to finish up the trilogy.

My Impression:  Even though I'm not much of a fantasy reader I really enjoyed the previous two books in the trilogy.  I love the world and the friendships that Roberts creates.  While there are two romances they tend to be a bit more of a background with the real focus being on preparing for battle, Breen finding who she really is and dealing with her demons (real and metaphorical), and just the daily goings on in Talamh.  There are some fairly spicy scenes but only a few.

What kept this book from being the absolute cherry on top of a thoroughly enjoyable trilogy was the order of events in the book.  There is a LOT of before scenes with prep work and training and cooking and more training and writing, etc.  There are a few battles sprinkled here and there but they are very few and far between.  The big battle that the whole trilogy has been leading up to doesn't come until almost the very end and there is very little after.  Because the bulk of the book occurs during the before it tends to drag a bit and left me wanting more when the book ended.  I've spent 3 books with these characters and would have loved to see more of the after - especially some events that are talked about frequently in the before.  

This is a solid enjoyable trilogy that does wrap up well.  I did enjoy this read even though it wasn't exactly how I wanted it to be.  I did feel like it was the weakest in the trilogy though it does answer all the questions I had in the previous book.  If you enjoy Roberts' other books I think you'll like this trilogy even if you aren't much of a fantasy reader.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I really enjoy Roberts' work and this trilogy was one of my favorites.  

Would I Recommend this Book? Definitely!  Though I recommend starting from the beginning.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Life with Leukemia, a Puppy, and Some Reading - December 18

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:

Cinnamon Twisted by Ginger Bolton - I hate jumping in this late in the series but the premise of this sounds great and I love the cover.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Muffin But the Truth by Ellie Alexander and The Alington Inheritance by Patricia Wentworth

Listening:  Murder at the Book Group by Maggie King

Will has had a really great week.  For the first time in a long time he's really starting to look and act like himself.  It's really made it hit home just how sick he's been for so long but it's amazing to be coming towards the end.  And even better we get two weeks off of going to clinic!  He'll still get his weekly chemo dose but orally instead of through IV and his daily doses but it'll be nice having two weeks where we don't lose two entire days to sitting in the hospital.  He's really excited to have the time off.

We're also getting a break from dog training classes though Rover and I are still doing a few minutes of training a day at home.  We aren't working on anything impressive but it's good for both of us to work on that bond and it helps tire him out a little mentally.  

I can't believe it's only a week till Christmas!  I think we're basically ready though I still have a few last minute gifts to get.  We're having a pretty low key celebration but it'll be fun and relaxing.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

The Listening Eye - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Listening Eye by Patricia Wentworth

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

Description:  Paulina Paine was buried under her house during the Blitz. She spent twenty-four hours trapped underneath the rubble, where the silence was absolute as the grave, and only after she escaped did she realize that the bomb that spared her life had taken her hearing. With difficulty, she learned to read lips—an invaluable skill that may soon get her killed.
She is at an art gallery when, quite by chance, she spies an interesting conversation across the room. Without meaning to, she eavesdrops, and learns of a shocking plan to commit a most fearsome robbery. She doesn’t know what to do until she learns that, after she left, the two men asked after her, and learned about her special talent. Now only the demure detective Maud Silver can halt the robbery and save Paulina’s life.

Genre:  Mystery - Classic

My Impression:  Sometimes I wonder if people who write the blurb have actually read the book.  In this case if they did they didn't get very far as the last bit is completely off base.  

That said this is a delight of a mystery with a unique premise.  A woman who lost her hearing during the Blitz happens to read the lips of a man from across the room discussing a nefarious plan.  She's not sure what to do until she remembers meeting a friend of a friend - who just happens to be private detective Maude Silver.

When a robbery and a murder occur just as Pauline predicted Miss Silver is drawn in to figure out just who was behind the scenes.  I loved seeing Miss Silver in her official capacity and working closely with Detective Inspector Frank Abbott.  I loved the pacing, the characters, and the setting.  The mystery kept me pulled in and this was an enjoyable cozy read.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I'm already reading the next Miss Silver book!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy Agatha Christie's Miss Marple you should try Miss Silver and this is a great read.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Friday Fives - Five Non-Bookish Things On My Christmas List

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 we are coming up on Christmas I'm looking at 5 non-bookish things on my Christmas list.

1.  Jamby's Chilluxe Crew and Joggers - I love Jambys and while they're on the pricey side I adore every piece I have from them.  Everything is super soft and the perfect weight.  And both the long Jambys and the joggers have fantastic pockets.  

2.  A Bearaby Weighted Blanket - I love my weighted blanket and it helps me sleep especially when I have a migraine or when the nerve pain in my legs flares up.  These are supposed to be absolutely amazing but I'm not sure I can justify the price - especially since I'm not sure how much better it could be from the one I have.  

3.  A Headache Hat - This year I've been really working on getting some control over my migraines and these headache hats look amazing.  I love that it has hot and cold options and it won't slide around in any position.  This one may magically end up in my husband's Amazon cart!

4.  Linen Pillowcases - I love flannel sheets (Land's End has the best and they're always on sale!) but have discovered I like a lighter material on the pillow.  I love the feel of linen and have seen a few linen pillowcases so I think that would be the perfect gift to me from me!

5.  A good hand mixer - I go through hand mixers at a pretty good clip and have just killed my most recent one.  I love to bake and I'm leaning towards buying myself a really good hand mixer as a pre-Christmas present to myself!

What non-bookish items are on your Christmas?  Do you buy yourself presents from yourself to yourself?  Honestly - those are always kind of my favorite!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Books from the Backlog - Go to My Grave

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:  Go to My Grave by Catriona McPherson

Blurb:  Donna Weaver has put everything into The Breakers, a Bed and Breakfast that she and her mother are opening on a remote stretch of beach. Now it waits - freshly painted, richly furnished, filled with flowers.
But as the guests arrive, they feel like they've been here before. Amid home-baked scones, gorgeous guest rooms, and lavish dinners fit for a king, the feeling of menace grows.

Someone has broken their vow. Someone is playing games. And then the games turn deadly...

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This has been gathering dust on my NetGalley shelf for quite some time.  I've seen some mixed reviews on it but it does look wonderfully creepy and could be a fun read.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Year of the Projects - Too Bad to Die + Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks


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:  Too Bad to Die by Francine Mathews

Project:  Clearing Off My Shelves

Blurb:  November, 1943. Weary of his deskbound status in the Royal Navy, intelligence officer Ian Fleming spends his spare time spinning stories in his head that are much more exciting than his own life...until the critical Tehran Conference, when Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Josef Stalin meet to finalize the D-Day invasion.
With the Big Three in one place, Fleming is tipped off that Hitler's top assassin has infiltrated the conference. Seizing his chance to play a part in a real-life action story, Fleming goes undercover to stop the Nazi killer. Between martinis with beautiful women, he survives brutal attacks and meets a seductive Soviet spy who may know more than Fleming realizes. As he works to uncover the truth and unmask the assassin, Fleming is forced to accept that betrayal sometimes comes from the most unexpected quarters--and that one's literary creations may prove eerily close to one's own life.

My Thoughts:  I'm a big fan of Ian Fleming's books and I loved the idea of a historical mystery with Fleming at the center.  I really enjoyed seeing the dynamics between Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill as well as their inner circles.  However, I did find this to be a bit drawn out and a number of issues that seem like they should be major (like Roosevelt being poisoned at a dinner)  completely dismissed.  As well, the identity of the assassin stuck out from early on.  I did find a number of the characters interesting and the setting was fascinating but this was a bit flat for me.  My Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)

Goodreads:  Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks by John Curran

Project:  Clear Off My Shelves

Blurb:  Agatha Christie died in 1976 at 85, the world's most popular author. After the death of her only child, 73 handwritten notebooks came to light, from single jots to lists, to full outlines of memorable plots and characters, plus grocery and schedule memos from a bountiful creative mind - a complex web of connections to unravel and link. Actual notebook page reproductions. 2 unpublished Hercule Poirot short stories: "The Capture of Cerebrus", and "The Incident of the Dog's Ball".

My Thoughts:  This was a fascinating look at Agatha Christie's writing process.  Over 50 years she wrote dozens of books, plays, and short stories all intricately plotted and all distinctly unique even when she borrowed small plot aspects or concepts from previous books.  Seeing all her notebooks and her jumbled stream of conscious way of keeping track of everything was fascinating and seeing it through Curran's eyes gave me a new appreciation and respect for an author I've always admired greatly.  Without a doubt Curran is a massive Christie fan and while I don't agree with some of his thoughts (his finding Sleeping Murder mediocre for example) it was a delight to read his thoughts and insights.  I don't think those who aren't a fan of Agatha Christie's books would enjoy this one but if you are a fan you will find yourself wanting to do a big Christie reread and thoroughly enjoying this read.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4.5 Stars)

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - Winter 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 Winter TBR.  I'm not fantastic about actually reading all the books on my seasonal TBR lists but I absolutely love making them!

1. The Backup Plan by Jill Shalvis - It's been too long since I've read anything by Jill Shalvis and this looks like a wintery delight.  I'm looking forward to snuggling up and reading this one once all the holiday craziness has calmed down.

2.  The Raven King by Gigi Pandian - I liked the first book in this series but there was a lot going on.  I have really high hopes that the second one will be just as intriguing but with a less cluttered plot now that the premise is setup.

3.  Sleep No More by Jayne Ann Krentz - This is another book I'm really looking forward to getting cozy and reading after holiday madness. I love Krentz's books.

4.  A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn - I really enjoy this series and the last book ended on a bit of a watershed moment for the main characters.  I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop.

5.  Six Sweets Under by Sarah Fox - This is an author I've been wanting to read for ages so when I saw this first book in a new series I couldn't resist.  

6.  The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan - This is next up on my project reading and I'm hoping to get to this soon.

7. This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle - This is next on my series list and I really liked the most recent books and want to get caught up on the early and middle parts of the series.

8.  An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor - I know nothing about this book or the books that follow it but it looks absolutely lovely.

9.  Black Coffee by Agatha Christie - I finished Christie's short stories this year so all I have left are the plays that have turned into novels and this is first on the list.

10. Mrs. Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish by Dorothy Gilman - Mrs. Pollifax is in my top 5 fictional characters and this is the next book in the series.

What books do you have on your Winter TBR?

Monday, December 12, 2022

A Streetcar Named Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: A Streetcar Named Murder (A New Orleans Mystery #1) by T.G. Herren

Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  When the mysterious letter arrives by courier, Valerie Cooper doesn’t know what to make of it. She’s become the beneficiary of her late husband’s estranged uncle’s will—a man she never knew—and inherited a majority partnership in the family’s company, New Orleans Fine Antiques. Valerie knows nothing about antiques, but she decides to learn the business and become an active partner. She’s also got her hands full fending off Collette, a woman who wants to sell the huge old house in the Irish Channel neighborhood Valerie and her husband painstakingly renovated.

Valerie isn’t interested in selling—but when her best friend Lauren, drags her to a costume party for the women’s Mardi Gras club, the Krewe of Athena, she stumbles over Collette’s body, a jeweled dagger sticking out of her chest. In a rush of panic, Valerie recognizes the dagger from her shop—and before she knows it, she’s become murder suspect number one.

Egged on by Lauren, she starts digging into Collette’s business dealings, and the deeper she digs, the dirtier it gets. Now all fingers are pointing at Valerie. In a desperate bid to clear her name, Valerie frantically tries to find who could have gotten hold of the dagger. But among a cadre of guests in full costume, it could be impossible to find the thief—and unmask the real killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love antiques, cozy mysteries, and New Orleans so how could I resist!

My Impression: I've been missing New Orleans a lot lately and I really loved that this book felt like an armchair visit with all my familiar places and street names mentioned.  The New Orleans setting isn't just window dressing.  The author is clearly very familiar with the city and has had the joy of trying to find street parking in the CBD!  The setting was so well done that this biased my opinion of the story itself a bit.

I liked Valerie and could identify with her struggle to tentatively start finding her identity after years of being a mom and school volunteer.  I liked that she had healthy relationships with her boys, her friends and her in-laws as well as being a capable adult - and a bit older then the usual cozy mystery heroine.

What kept this book from being a complete winner was the pacing and the repetition.  At first the pacing was great and I was pulled into the book but it definitely lagged a bit about halfway through and took a bit to get going again - even after the murder occurred.  As well, there is a lot of repetition.  I can definitely understand Valerie's hurt and confusion about Tony never sharing his relationship with his uncle with her but that being regularly repeated with no real answer took up more page time then I would have preferred.  This also happened with Valerie's friend use of her British accent and several other small issues.  Since this is the first in the series and these are relatively small issues I'm hoping the second book is stronger but still keeps all the New Orleans feels!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would!  I enjoyed the author's ability to really make the setting come to life and I'm excited to see how the series develops.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Maybe?  If you love and are familiar with New Orleans I think you'll enjoy this as much as I did.  However, if you aren't I can see this feeling a bit tedious.

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

Saturday, December 10, 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:


Reading:  Poison in the Pen by Patricia Wentworth and Vinyl Resting by Olivia Blacke

Listening: The Choice by Nora Roberts

This was a pretty boring week.  We got some school in (still working through long division) and a clinic visit.  Will was feeling pretty good and his numbers were steady.  The local St. Jude affiliate had their Christmas party and we had a good time.  Will played one round of laser tag and some games and we hung out with some of our favorite nurses and other staff off hours.

All the classes that I'm assisting in have ended and Rover has one class left before we're done for the rest of the year.  It'll be nice to have a month off and to focus on Rover's training but I'll miss hanging out with the friends I've made and working with other dogs.  Luckily a new puppy class starts up in January and there's nothing better than puppies!

This week we got most of our Christmas shopping done and while I keep seeing things about this being last minute I'm feeling pretty ahead of the game.  Normally we are finishing up by Christmas Eve!  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Elementary, She Read - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Elementary, She Read (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1) by Vicki Delany

Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  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.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've read other books by Vicki Delany and really enjoyed them so of course I had to try this series.  

My Impression:  I love the setup for this series.  Gemma is from London and running her Uncle's Sherlock themed bookstore in Cape Cod.  Attached to the bookstore is Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room which is run by her best friend Jane.  Things are going pretty smoothly until a valuable item is left in Gemma's store which leads them into stumbling over a dead body and becoming front and center in a murder investigation.  The bookstore itself sounds like such a fun place to visit and I love Gemma's deductive reasoning skills.  I especially liked that Jayne called Gemma on getting too involved in the investigation and dropping the ball on a number of business matters.

While I do really enjoy Gemma's deductive reasoning at times she comes across as annoying and her sureness that she is smarter then everyone else has her making some To Stupid to Live decisions.  Given that her relationship with the police is pretty contentious - as her ex-boyfriend is one of the primary detectives - it makes a bit of sense but I did periodically want to scream at her.  I'm hoping this is just some setup pains as this is the first book in a series.  I did enjoy the setting and premise and while Gemma did make me roll my eyes a time or two (or five) I feel like there's enough positive about this story to keep me reading the series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  Vicky Delany is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors so I will always pick up her newest books.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would definitely recommend this author's other books but I think I want to read another book in this series before I recommend this book.

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