Saturday, December 30, 2023

This Week in Reading - December 31

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!  No new books!  


  The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

Listening: Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros

I'll be scrambling to finish these by the end of the day.  I can't stand to have a book run over to the beginning of the new year.

This has been an interesting reading year where I focused on reading books I've been meaning to read or books I was excited to read.  I did discover that I was pretty good at reading books from the library but once a book landed on my shelf it was a bit like it fell into a black hole and I would forget about it.

I'm looking forward to getting a fresh start with new reading lists and goals on New Year's Day!

Happy New Year's and have a wonderful week!

How I Did With My Reading Goals in 2023


1.  Read 200 Books - Smashed it!  I hit 200 books with weeks to spare!  

2.  Finish 2022 ARCs - I think I ended up only having 1 2022 review book and I did get that finished.  I ended up DNFing it which feels a little like cheating but I was really not enjoying the book so it is what it is.

3.  Finish 2023 ARCs - Done!  With more than a week to spare!

4.  Finish My Classic Mystery List - I finished the last book right after Christmas.  While I do enjoy reading more classic mysteries I'm not sure I'm going to bring this goal into 2024 as there are so many other books I want to read.

5.  Finish or Catch Up on 10 Series - Finished by the skin of my teeth.  The good news is that over the last few years I've caught up on a LOT of series.  But because of this I think I've gotten rid of all the series where I just had a few to read.  I'm going to keep some kind of series project going but I'm definitely going to change the goal.

6.  Finish My Priority List - At the beginning of the year I made a list of 5 books I own and 5 books at the library that I really wanted to read and they were my priority.  I really enjoyed this and got all 10 read pretty quickly.  This is definitely something I'd like to do again and would like to figure out a way to expand this without going overboard.  

7.  Read 10 Overdue Review Books - I got this done and plan on keeping this going into 2024 so I can keep making progress on the NetGalley backlog!

8.  Finish the 3 Agatha Christie Play Adaptations - Done and I enjoyed them more than I expected.  I definitely want to get back to reading Agatha Christie in 2024.  

9.  Read 5 Nonfiction Books - Did this and really enjoyed mixing in nonfiction as it isn't a genre I gravitate to on my own.  I may up the goal for 2024.  

10.  Read 2 Random Book Choices - I ended up using TBR Tarot cards that I got off Etsy for this and had the best time and read two books I really enjoyed.  I'm definitely working this in for 2024 because it was a lot of fun.

How did you do with your reading goals in 2023?

Friday, December 29, 2023

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 Unseen by Heather Graham - I love this series and this was a fun one with lots of Texas history - especially connected to the Alamo.  I liked Logan and Kelsey quite a bit and the fact they were able to admit their various "gifts" fairly early on.  The addition of the birds added a bit of creepiness which I enjoyed.  A new team of Krewe members has been put together in this book and I'm really looking forward to reading more of their books as each member was interesting with unique specialties.  This was a quick read that kept me hooked and the end was not quite what I expected which was fun.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

2.  Zero Days by Ruth Ware -
It's been awhile since I read something by Ruth Ware.  After loving her first two books I was meh on the next one and DNF'd another one.  However, I decided to give her another try and I'm so glad I did.  Jack and her husband, Gabe, specialize in breaking into businesses and testing security systems - that is until everything goes terribly wrong and Gabe is murdered.  I really enjoyed the audio of this read by Imogen Church.  I appreciated that Jack and Gabe have a solid relationship and Jack's heart break is palpable throughout the story and both hinders and helps her find the truth of what happened.  I figured out the reveal a bit quicker than Jack but was still caught up with how all the moving parts came together for the end.  I'm so glad I gave Ware's thriller's another chance.  They're compelling and page turning without being quite as unsettling as others I've read - a bit of a cozier thriller I guess?  Regardless, I'm looking forward to catching up on Ware's books that I have missed.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

3.  Devil's Daughter by Lisa Kleypas - Devil in Winter
is probably my favorite historical romance and since the main characters in that book feature fairly prominently in this book I might be a trifle biased but I absolutely loved this one.  West has been one of my favorite characters since he first appeared in the Ravenel series and he shone as a lead character in this book.  His issues felt authentic and his humor had me laughing out loud several times.  Phoebe is a delight - intelligent and stubborn but also willing to listen and not hard headed to a fault.  I loved their story and watching them overcome the obstacles.  And as I loved the part that Sebastian from Devil in Winter played in this book.  As soon as I finished listening to this I immediately purchased a copy as I know I will want to reread it soon.  My Rating: Loved It (5 Stars)

4.  A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchey -
This is a lovely collection of short stories that reminded me of just how much I enjoyed the one book by Maeve Binchey I've read and that I really need to read more of her novels.  The short stories cover all kinds of situations focusing on all kinds of relationships - from family, to romantic, to friendships, and most importantly with ones self.  I enjoyed this and the audio is beautifully done with a fantastic group of narrations.  That said I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had read it as it is the perfect book to pick up and read a story at a time like sampling a box of chocolates.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

5.  Deadly Gift by Heather Graham -
This is the third book about the three Flynn brothers who own their own private investigative business.  This book is about Zach Flynn.  He's called to Rhode Island to help protect a family friend who became ill under mysterious circumstances after the mysterious disappearance of his business partner.  This was a bit darker than the others with more than the usual paranormal elements.  This was a fun read and I enjoyed that it was a bit unexpected.  There were even a couple of things that caught me by surprise.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Coconut Drop Dead - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Coconut Drop Dead (A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery #3) by Olivia Matthews

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

Description:  Brooklyn’s annual Caribbean American Heritage Festival is finally here, and Spice Isle Bakery is thrilled to be one of the event’s food vendors. After all, the Murrays have been attending the festival for years. Co-owner Lyndsay Murray hopes their West Indian pastries and finger foods draw people back to the bakery in Little Caribbean. She’s looking forward to having fun, connecting with customers, and celebrating with her family.

The day's festivities are cut short when Camille, lead singer of an up-and-coming reggae band, dies. The police think it may be a tragic accident. But Lyndsay’s cousin Manny was close to Camille, and he believes someone cut her life short. Now Manny needs Lyndsay’s help to make sure a killer faces the music.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed the previous book in the series and couldn't wait to hang out with the crew at the Spice Isle Bakery again!

My Impression:  The book opens right as the Caribbean Heritage Festival is getting started and Lyndsay and her family at Spice Isle Bakery are super busy preparing and keeping up with demand.  There's a new band that is taking the festival and the community by storm and Lyndsay's cousin Manny just happens to be their producer and possible love interest of the lead singer Camille.  The festival ends on a sour note when Camille is found dead and Lyndsay and her family are once again trying to figure out the who in the whodunnit.

This was a really entertaining and interesting read. I liked the conflict and hesitation her family felt about getting involved in the mystery and there was some thought about potentially ending up in a dangerous situation.  As well, I loved Lyndsay's drive for finding the truth as she had been wrongly suspected of murder and didn't want it to happen to anyone else.  I love all the food mentions and wish we had better Caribbean restaurants and bakeries here as I would love to try so much of the food that Lyndsay talks about.

Small negative - I didn't love how Lyndsay treats Bryce.  I like both characters separately but together it just doesn't feel like Lyndsay has much respect for Bryce as a person and I kind of wonder why he puts up with her.  Otherwise, this is a fun cozy mystery with fantastic characters and an entertaining community.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have really enjoyed the two books I've read by this author and am really looking forward to reading more.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you like cozy mysteries this series is a must read.  Great food, fantastic family, and entertaining mysteries - you can't go wrong!

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Public Anchovy #1 - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Public Anchovy #1 (A Deep Dish Mystery #3) by Mindy Quigley

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

Description:  While Geneva Bay’s upper crust gets ready to party down at a Prohibition-themed fundraiser, pizza chef Delilah O’Leary is focused on seeing her struggling restaurant through the winter slow season. The temperature outside is plummeting, but Delilah’s love life might finally be heating up, as hunky police detective Calvin Capone seems poised to (finally) make a move.

But Delilah’s hopes of perfecting a new “free-from” pizza recipe for a charity bash are dashed when a dead body crashes the party. Soon, Capone, Delilah, and her entire staff are trapped in an isolated mansion and embroiled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

To catch an increasingly-desperate killer, Delilah will have to top all of her previous crime-solving accomplishments, and a few pizzas, too.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've heard great things about this series so I couldn't resist this one!

My Impression: This is a cute mystery with a fantastic locked room premise and a couple of cats for comic relief.  Delilah is on her way to a catering job with her best friend and business partner Sonya when she gets a phone call that sends things off the rails.  Before everything is over Delilah has had to come up with a deep dish pizza free from gluten, dairy, and tomatoes on the fly, a very annoyed, very large feline, and an evening that starts with a fatal fall and keeps getting worse.

The group of suspects is small on number but heavy on potential motives and most of them were rather awful.  As the night goes on the stakes get higher and that makes for a fast paced read.  I loved the restaurant crew and while the premise for Butterball's (which is a fantastic name for a cat!) presence is a bit ridiculous I couldn't help but love him.  I enjoyed the writing style and the food references and now want some garlic knots and a deep dish pizza!

Delilah wasn't my favorite main character but I'm assuming the more books I read in the series the more I'll like her.  The ending especially runs a bit towards the farce side side of things which isn't necessarily my favorite type of cozy.  That said, this was a fun read and a series I'm looking forward to reading more from.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes!  I'm looking forward to reading the first two books in the series and will look for the next book in the series.

Would I Recommend this Book?   If you enjoy quirky cozies with a feline sidekick this is a fun series to try.  This reads nicely as a standalone if you don't want to start with book 1.  

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten New 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 Ten New Additions to My TBR.  I normally don't get books for Christmas but do a bit of shopping in January/February once everything has calmed down and here are 10 books that have just landed on my TBR list.

1.  Housebroke by Jaci Burton - This sounds completely unrealistic but like so much fun!

2.  Forgotten Trail by Claire Kells - I really enjoyed the first two books in this series and am looking forward to the next adventure.

3.  A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers - I've heard wonderful things about this one and I really like the cover.

4.  The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins - I enjoyed another book by this author and the premise really intrigues me.

5.  The Friendship Club by Robyn Carr - I typically enjoy this author's books so I'm curious about this one.

6.  Everyone on this Train is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson - I knew nothing about this book other than I liked the title but I just realized that this is the next book in the Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone series so I'm thinking I should probably read that one first.

7.  The Manor House by Gilly Macmillon - This is an author I've been wanting to read and this sounds fantastic!

8.  Owls Well That Ends Well by Donna Andrews - I actually just bought this one though I haven't read it yet.  I love the title!

9.  In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund - I've heard good things about this one and I love that it's a Clue based mystery.

10. Long Gone by Denise Grover Swank - I've read and really enjoyed several romances by this author but this mystery sounds fantastic.

Have you read any of these?  What books are new additions to your TBR?

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas!


A very Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and a happy day with relaxation and hopefully some reading to everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

This Week in Reading - December 24

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

What I Got:

A Collection of Lies by Connie Berry - I very much enjoy this series and this looks fantastic!  (Publisher)

Rhythm and Clues by Olivia Blacke - I've really enjoyed the previous two books so I'm curious to see what happens in book 3. (Publisher)

The Stranger in the Library by Eva Gates - I've been reading through this series and only have a few left.  This comes out in June so I'm hoping this will encourage me to get caught up so I can read this in order.  (Publisher)

Fatal First Editions by Jenn McKinlay - This is the next book in the Library Lover's cozy mystery series and I'm so looking forward to seeing what trouble Lindsey gets into next! (Publisher)

Fur Love or Money by Sofie Ryan - This is another favorite cozy series with some of my absolute favorite characters.  (Publisher)

The Summer Swap by Sarah Morgan - I've really enjoyed this author's books and this one looks wonderful. (Publisher)

Love at First Book by Jenn McKinlay - I really love this author's cozy mysteries so I'm looking forward to reading one of her romantic fictions.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Coconut Drop Dead by Olivia Matthews and Angel's Rest by Emily March

Listening:  Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros

The last few months have been a bit crazy and the last few weeks have been full of frantically trying to get ready for Christmas at the last minute.  I'm so looking forward to today and tomorrow now that everything is done and I can just relax and spend time with family (and eat!).  

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, a wonderful day and the happiest of reads!

Christmas at the Shelter Inn - Christmas Romance Review

Goodreads: Christmas at the Shelter Inn by RaeAnne Thayne

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

Description:  Come home to Shelter Springs this Christmas, where hearts are warm and hopes are bright…

Growing up at the Shelter Inn hotel, Natalie Shepherd envied guests who could come and go as they pleased. So when it was time to finally leave for college and put the lush green mountains around Shelter Springs—along with the cloud of loss that seemed to follow her family—behind her, she swore she’d never come back. But now her sister McKenna needs a favor. On pregnancy bed rest at doctor’s orders, McKenna needs a helping hand with her two young daughters and someone to take over the inn during the hectic holiday season, and Nat can’t refuse. And just when things can’t get worse, she runs into her late brother’s best friend, Griffin Taylor…

Griff has mixed feelings about Natalie’s return. She’s just as beautiful and full of life as he remembered, but there’s a secret he’s carried for years about her brother—and the guilt is eating away at him. Still, Christmas in this small town is filled with treasured traditions and new adventures that hold the promise of something sweet and lasting. From matchmaking seniors to rambunctious nieces, it seems everyone is hoping Nat and Griff will put loss behind them and find a happy new beginning…

Genre: Romance - Contemporary 

Why I Picked This Book:   RaeAnne Thayne's Christmas books are always winners so of course I had to try and get this one in before Christmas!

My Impression:  Well this was lovely!  Natalie is home for the first time in years because her sister, McKenna, is put on bedrest right around the holidays.  Natalie has some serious baggage and has been running from loss since she was a teenager.  She loves her sister and her sister's kids but these issues have kept her from spending much time in her hometown and she's not exactly looking forward to starting now.

I loved the relationship between Natalie and McKenna.  They suffered through the same trauma but have handled it in different ways and have been able to forge a close bond despite that.  I also really enjoyed Natalie's growing connection with her nieces as well as watching her reconnect with her hometown and old friends.  The developing relationship with Griffin was super sweet.  Neither were really interested in pursuing a serious relationship and watching them both come to terms with the relationship was lovely.  This is not necessarily a slow burn romance as the connection and attraction do appear early on but the spice level is definitely on the PG side of things.

The Christmas-y goodness really shown through here with gatherings and festivities and I love that Hanukkah and Kwanza were mentioned in ways that highlighted other traditions.  This was a nice quick read with lovely characters and a wonderful festive spirit.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I always enjoy RaeAnne Thayne's books.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you're looking for a nice Christmas book that has likable characters and a beautiful setting this is a perfect cozy read.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Friday Five - Five Books I Hope to Read in 2024

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  I'm taking some time to figure out my reading goals for next year and one thing I think I'm going to do is make a list of 24 books that I've been wanting to read and try and read all 24 in 2024.  I've got some other projects I want to attempt so I'm not sure which ones will actually make the To Do list but if I end up reading 24 in 2024 here are 5 books on that list.

1.  Homecoming to Kate Morton - I've really enjoyed all the Kate Morton books I've read but this one looks especially fantastic.

2.  Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen - I love this author and this book looks wonderful.

3.  Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay - I read a book by this author a few years ago and absolutely adored it.  I've been meaning to read this one since before it even came out but somehow never managed it.  

4.  You Can Run by Rebecca Zanetti - I love suspense and everything by this author looks like can't put down type reads.  

5.  Murder at the Mill by M.B. Shaw - I don't know much about this author and I don't think I've read many reviews on this book but the premise looks like a mystery I would love.

What books would be on your 24 in 2024 list?

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Books from the Backlog - Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge

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:  Freelance writer Jaine Austen is feeling festive about spending Christmas house-sitting at a posh Bel Air mansion, accompanied by her friend Lance and her cat, Prozac. But when a grumpy neighbor gets himself iced, she'll have to find the culprit or she may spend the New Year in jail . . .
Scotty Parker is a former child star who once played Tiny Tim, but now he's grown up into the role of neighborhood Scrooge. He cuts the wires on his neighbors' Christmas lights and tells local kids that Santa had a stroke. And his miserly, bah-humbug attitude lasts year-round--a fact known all too well by his current wife, his ex-wife, his maid, and many more.

Scotty thinks he can stage a comeback with the screenplay he's working on (The Return of Tiny Tim: Vengeance Is Mine!), and Jaine's been reluctantly helping him edit it. So when Scotty is bludgeoned with a frozen chocolate yule log and the police start making a list of suspects and checking it twice, Jaine's name is unfortunately included. True, she's been under some stress, with Lance trying to set her up on dates and her fickle feline taking a sudden liking to someone else--but she's not guilty of murder. Now she just has to prove it, by using her gift for detection and figuring out who committed this holiday homicide.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I've heard good things about this series and this one looks fun - plus it's been sitting on my shelf for years!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Ghosts of Greenglass House - Christmas Middle Grade Review

Goodreads:  Ghosts of Greenglass House (Greenglass House #2) by Kate Milford

Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)
Source:   Library

Description:  Welcome back to the irresistible world of Greenglass House where thirteen-year-old Milo is, once again, spending the winter holidays stuck in a house full of strange guests who are not what they seem. There are fresh clues to uncover as friends old and new join in his search for a mysterious map and a famous smuggler’s lost haul.

Genre: Middle Grade

Why I Picked This Book:   I thoroughly enjoyed Greenglass House so I was curious about the second book.

My Impression:  I really loved the whimsical fantasy atmosphere the author created in the first book set at Greenglass House - an out of the way inn with stunning and mysterious stained glass windows, a shady past, and at times an even shadier clientele.  In the first book I was pulled into the weird and wonderous world with secrets in every corner and two interesting children in the midst of a big adventure. I loved the mention of ancient holiday traditions and think this could be great to discuss all kinds of different winter and holiday traditions as they have evolved through the ages.  

Unfortunately, this one fell a bit flat for me.  There's a huge focus on a group of visitors that suddenly show up at Greenglass House, the traditions around them and the traditions around the fictional place that the characters reside in and it all started feeling a bit disjointed.  There was so much going on that it got a bit challenging to really connect to any character or any plotline which kept me from feeling really hooked into the story.  I think my primary issues was that 452 pages this book just felt too long and it felt like the author was cramming so many extra details in to fill all the pages that the story lost a bit of its punch.

That said, there was a lot I liked about this story.  Even though I didn't really feel connected to the story I still enjoyed the writing style and it was never a difficult book to read.  I also really loved how communications is encouraged between Milo and his parents and other adults.  I also really liked how Milo's anxiety is addressed and how he is learning (and sometimes struggling) to deal with it.  Most of the characters are smugglers or connected to smugglers but this is handled in such a way that it feels like folklore and not like a gray morality is encouraged.  As a parent I would have no issue with my child reading this from about age 8+ depending on reading ability.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would!  Even though this wasn't a total winner for me I do really enjoy this author's writing style.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would recommend Greenglass House by this author and if you really love it then you many want to continue with this one but this is definitely not the one to start with!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

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 Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings.

1.  Murder on the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict - If Santa leaves this book under the tree I'm grabbing a blanket and a cup of coffee and spending the rest of the day on the couch reading this.  Or that's what I would like to do!

2.  Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa - One of my favorite books this year was What You're Looking for is in the Library and this looks similar so I'm hoping to enjoy this as much.

3.  Dark Corners by Megan Goldin - This sounds like a spooky thriller and I've read good things about this author's books.

4.  In the Hall with the Knife by Diane Peterfreund - This is a Clue themed mystery series and it sounds really fun.  

5.  The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan - The Chillbury Ladies Choir is one of my absolute favorite books and this one sounds really wonderful as well.

6.  Homecoming by Kate Morton - I love Morton's books and this premise of this one really caught my attention.  

7.  A Late Phoenix by Catherine Aird - I've been reading Catherine Aird's Inspector Sloan series and this is the next book in the series.  

8.  At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber - I have loved every book I've read by this author and this is her most recent book.  

9.  Miss Pinkerton by Mary Roberts Rinehart - I'm reading through this author's books and this is one I haven't read.  

10. The Grace of Wild Things by Heather Fawcett - This book looks wonderful and whimsical and like another book I want to snuggle up with and recover from all the holiday craziness.

What books would you like Santa to leave?  

Monday, December 18, 2023

Stalking Around the Christmas Tree - Christmas Mystery Review

Goodreads: Stalking Around the Christmas Tree (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #4) by Jacqueline Frost

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

Description:  For inn keeper Holly White, Christmas time in Mistletoe, Maine, is the ultimate holiday gift. Business at the Reindeer Games Inn is booming, her wedding to Sheriff Evan Gray is nearly here, and the annual parade is about to begin. The town is lucky to have another gift this year with the state’s ballet company staying for several performances of The Nutcracker. But disaster strikes when Tiffany, the lead ballerina, shows up dead on a float during the parade, the Rat King’s mask nearby. Holly will have to spruce up her sleuthing skills if she wants to catch the killer before Christmas—and her wedding day.

Immediately, Holly discovers that Tiffany had more than a few secrets. She finds out that the star of the show had a super fan that no one knows anything about. And the show’s understudy slips some other intriguing information Holly’s way: not only was Tiffany secretly seeing someone romantically, but there seems to be more than one rat in this company. When Holly discovers a secret passage leading to Tiffany’s dressing room, with footprints leading out; she wonders if this is evidence of a secret lover—or a stalking killer.

With an impending snowstorm and the ballet company on the way out of town, Holly must act quickly if she wants to find the person responsible for this terrible murder. Will she be able to save Christmas—or will her investigation turn cold like the weather?

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  How could I resist this Christmas-y mystery?  Plus, I've really enjoyed the other books in this series.  

My Impression: I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and this one lived up to the other 3 books in the series.  Holly is in the usual whirlwind of Reindeer Games and holiday festivities but this time with a dash of wedding plans, a serving of ballet, and a sprinkle of vengeful stalker.

A year has passed since the events of the previous book.  Dealing with a company of ballerinas who are performing the Nutcracker has been keeping Holly too busy to really get her friend Libby to admit just what is bothering her.  All that comes to a head when the ballerina playing Clara dies suddenly during the annual Mistletoe Christmas parade.

Holly tries to keep out of the investigation and leave it up to her soon-to-be husband and sheriff, Evan.  But Holly being Holly can't help but ask just a few questions.  She quickly gets pulled into the investigation with a few detours into Libby's mystery.  Both investigations kept me invested and I was couldn't wait to see just how everything worked out.  That said what really makes this book and this series special is the characters.  I loved seeing the community of Mistletoe and all the Christmas merriment.  And the ending... was just all the sweet Christmas-y cozy cheer one could imagine complete with a snowstorm and horse drawn sleigh.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I've really enjoyed this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries and are looking for a good holiday read this series and this book are great choices!

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Books I'm Excited To Read - Lions of Fifth Avenue


Goodreads:  Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

Blurb:  It's 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn't ask for more out of life--her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she finds herself drawn to Greenwich Village's new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club--a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women's rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she's forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.

Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she's wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie's running begin disappearing from the library's famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage--truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library's history.

My Thoughts:  I have been looking forward to reading this one since it came out.  A dual timeline story with a family mystery all talking place in a library!  How could I resist it?  Yet somehow this book sat on my shelf for years until I decided to focus my 2023 reading on getting those books I really wanted to read actually read.  This book was one of the main ones that I immediately thought of when I decided to go with that focus.  And I really enjoyed it.  I very much enjoy Fiona Davis's writing style and this book immediately pulled me in.  I especially enjoyed the 1993 storyline with Sadie as she tries to figure out just what is going on in the library's collection and figure out just what happened in her family a generation before.  Initially, I really liked Laura and was interesting in the storyline but as it progressed I found I wanted more from it.  I was more interested in life in the library than Laura's journey of self-discovery but that was what that timeline focused on.  I loved how the ending tied everything together and despite wanting more from the earlier timeline I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.  I can't wait to read more from this author!  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars) 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Friday Fives - Five Cozy Christmas Books on My TBR

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 picking out five cozy Christmas reads that would be the on the top of my list if I got to have my ideal holiday season of cuddling up under blankets and reading.

1.  Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan - Colgan's books are always so fun and cozy.  Plus, the main character in this series had a puffin as a pet which I very much enjoyed in the previous book.  

2.  Lark! The Herald Angels Sing by Donna Andrews - I love this cozy mystery series and the Christmas books are always extra fun.

3.  Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire - I love the Nutcraker ballet and I'm fascinated by the idea of a retelling of the story.  

4.  Wrapped Up In You by Jill Shalvis - I really enjoy this author's books and I just read a book that I really enjoyed in the Heartbreaker Bay series.  

5.  Christmas at Holiday House by RaeAnne Thayne - This may just be the coziest Christmas-iest cover ever and when I think cozy Christmas-y reads I immediately think of Thayne's books.

What cozy Christmas-y reads are on your TBR?

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Books from the Backlog - The Santa Suit

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 Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

Blurb: When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love―but Ivy didn't bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it's a full-time job sorting through all of it.
At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit―beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish it's from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy's quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  An old farmhouse and a Christmas-y mystery!  It seems like perfect reading for this time of year.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Death in the Dark Woods - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Death in the Dark Woods (A Monster Hunter Mystery #2) by Annelise Ryan

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

Description:  A potential Bigfoot sighting is linked to a vicious murder, but skeptical cryptozoologist Morgan Carter is on the case in this new Monster Hunter Mystery by USA Today bestselling author Annelise Ryan.

Business has been booming since Morgan Carter solved the case of the monster living in Lake Michigan. The Odds and Ends bookstore is thriving, of course, but Morgan is most excited by the doors that were opened for her as a cryptid hunter.

Recently, there have been numerous sightings of a Bigfoot-type creature in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest area of Bayfield County, Wisconsin. After a man is found dead from a vicious throat injury in the forest, the conservation warden asks Morgan to investigate.

When Morgan and her dog, Newt, go there to investigate, they uncover a trail of lies, deception, and murder. It seems a mysterious creature is indeed living in the forest, and Morgan might be its next target.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy    

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoyed the first book in the series so of course I had to read the second book!

My Impression:  I really loved the first book in this somewhat grittier cozy mystery series with an added twist of monster hunting.  In this book Morgan is looking for Bigfoot in an isolated area in Wisconsin where two violent deaths have already occurred.  Morgan is away from her usual hunting grounds and away from her support system.  Charlie, the conservation warden, that got Morgan pulled into this has her own motivations and Morgan isn't quite sure just how far she can trust her.  The townspeople are of two minds on the existence of Bigfoot and even the believers aren't quite sure that Morgan isn't a fraud.  Add in an actual fraud inserting himself into the investigation and Morgan has an uphill battle in front of her when it comes to figuring out the truth.

I really like Morgan.  She's not exactly a believer but isn't an unbeliever either.  She's had an incredibly difficult past that she is still struggling to heal from and get past.  She's building her found family and has a fantastic dog which I can't help but appreciate.  

That said the pacing on this book felt a bit slower than the first book.  There's more setup and the investigation feels like it is in the early stages well into halfway through the book.   I really enjoy the author's writing style so it never felt like a slow read but it definitely isn't a blinding pace.  The mystery is really intriguing and I really had no idea how everything was going to wrap up until right before it did.

This is an entertaining read with a unique premise and a likable main character.  Definitely a great read if you're looking for something different but still want a cozy-ish read!  There is some rather gruesome descriptions but they aren't too graphic and for the most part are kept to a minimum.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I really enjoy this series and this author's writing style.  I'd like to read more from her.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like mysteries and are looking for something a bit different this is a great series!

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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 Winter TBR.  I love making these lists every season.  I'm not fantastic about sticking to them but I do enjoy making the list!  I haven't really figured out my reading goals for 2024 so I'm winging this one a little bit more than I usually do!

1.  The Night Island by Jayne Ann Krentz - I enjoyed the first book in this series so I'm looking forward to reading this one!

2.  The Lantern's Dance by Laurie R. King - I've read the other books in this series and always enjoy it!

3.  The Smoking Bun by Ellie Alexander - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I always enjoy seeing what the Torte crew is up to.

4.  The Murder Club by Alexandra Ivy - This sounds nice and creepy and is a new author to me. 

5.  Deadly to the Core by Joyce Tremel - This is a cozy mystery author I've been wanting to read for ages so I was excited to pick up this first book in a new series.

6.  Sisters of Fortune by Anne Lee Huber - I've really enjoyed this author's historical mysteries so I'm super curious to see this novel is.

7.  Winter's End by Paige Shelton - I enjoy this not so cozy mystery series and it's perfect winter reading.

8.  The Only One Left by Riley Sager - Winter seems like a good time to read thrillers and I've heard great things about this one!

9.  Old World Murder by Kathleen Ernst - I love mysteries that involve history and this one involving a living history museum looks really interesting!

10. The Family You Make by Jill Shalvis - And so I'm not reading all mysteries I threw in a romance that starts on a ski lift during a blizzard!

What is on your TBR this winter?