Sunday, April 30, 2023

This Week in Reading - April 30

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

What I Got:

A Fatal Groove by Olivia Blacke - I really enjoyed the first book in this cozy mystery series involving a family owned record store and can't wait to read the second book.  (Publisher)


Reading:  The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patti Callahan Henry and Born in Shame by Nora Roberts

Listening:  The Ghost and Mrs. Jeffries by Emily Brightwell

I'm still very slowly recovering from an upper respiratory infection which is driving me slightly crazy.  My energy level is still on the low side and I still sound like I could cough up a lung at any moment but I'm slowly feeling better.  I was able to get back to my dog classes this week which was lots of fun.  I did skip agility because that involves running and I just didn't quite feel up to it but this week I'm going to give it a try.

Tomorrow is the beginning of my birthday month which has kind of snuck up on me.  I normally celebrate the entire month but I haven't made any plans so far!  I need to figure out what to buy and things to do!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Spider's Web - Classic Mystery Review

 Goodreads:  Spider's Web by Agatha Christie and Adapted by Charles Osborne

Rating:  Liked It (3.5 Stars)
Source:   Purchased

Description:  Clarissa, the wife of a Foreign Office diplomat, is given to daydreaming. ‘Supposing I were to come down one morning and find a dead body in the library, what should I do?’ she muses. Clarissa has her chance to find out when she discovers a body in the drawing-room of her house in Kent.

Desperate to dispose of the body before her husband comes home with an important foreign politician, Clarissa persuades her three house guests to become accessories and accomplices. It seems that the murdered man was not unknown to certain members of the house party (but which ones?), and the search begins for the murderer and the motive, while at the same time trying to persuade a police inspector that there has been no murder at all.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

My Impression: This is the last of the 3 plays written by Agatha Christie adapted into novel form by Charles Osborne.  As usual while it is very readable and has a good flow I could definitely tell it had originally been in play form.  This is both good and bad as there are times it felt like I was reading stage directions but it also made it very easily to visualize how the action plays out.  

Clarissa is an entertaining main character  She loves jokes and pranks but at the core is a kind and loving woman.  I loved her relationship with her stepdaughter Pippa and I loved her frustration over when she told the truth she couldn't get anyone to believe her.  

The mystery is interesting but definitely not as well done and detailed as her actual novels.  This is a fun treat for Christie fans but maybe not the best choice for someone new to Christie's mysteries.  It does make me want to see more Agatha Christie plays!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes.  While this wasn't my favorite I would definitely read more of this combination of authors.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you are a Christie fan this is a fun way to get another Christie story but if you are new to her mysteries start with one of her many excellent novels.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Friday Fives - Five Things I Think About When I Think About Spring

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.  Spring has fully arrived here where I live with temperatures well into the 80s but the humidity is fairly low so it feels like spring here.  Here are 5 things that I think about when I think about spring.

1.  Flowers!  Especially daffodils and tulips.  They're my favorite.  I love when everything starts getting green again and start blooming.

2.  Allergies - Because of everything getting green again and starting to bloom it means my allergies to outside stuff makes my regular allergies much much worse.

3.  Stormy weather - Season change here means lots of storms and the occasional tornado.  So far this year has been pretty mild weather wise with just lots of rain so hopefully it'll stay that way.

4.  Easter candy - I have a weakness for caramel Cadbury eggs.  I like the other kinds but the caramel is by far my favorite.  And the Reeses eggs are pretty good too.  I get so excited when I see Easter candy starting to show up on store shelves.

5.  Sleepiness - Between allergies, allergy medicine, and the whole Daylight Savings spring forward nonsense where we lose an hour of sleep I am a zombie for the bulk of spring.  Daylight Savings really kills me.  I love when we gain an hour in fall but this losing an hour thing is not my favorite.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Books from the Backlog - The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

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 Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid

Blurb:  Anne of Green Gables is a worldwide phenomenon that has sold over fifty million copies and inspired numerous films, plays, musicals, and television series. It has turned Prince Edward Island into a multimillion-dollar tourist destination visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year. In The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, Catherine Reid reveals how Lucy Maud Montgomery’s deep connection to the landscape inspired her to write Anne of Green Gables. From the Lake of Shining Waters and the Haunted Wood to Lover’s Lane, readers will be immersed in the real places immortalized in the novel. Using Montgomery’s journals, archives, and scrapbooks, Reid explores the many similarities between Montgomery and her unforgettable heroine, Anne Shirley. The lush package includes Montgomery’s hand-colorized photographs, the illustrations originally used in Anne of Green Gables, and contemporary and historical photography.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  Anne is one of my favorite books and this will be a pleasure to read thru but for some reason I haven't even opened it and I've had it for a ridiculous amount of time.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Murder on Bedford Street - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads: Murder on Bedford Street (Gaslight Mystery #26) by Victoria Thompson

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

Description:  Hugh Breedlove is far from the most agreeable client private investigator Frank Malloy has ever had, but his case is impossible to refuse: his young niece, Julia, has been wrongfully committed to an insane asylum by her cruel and unfaithful husband, Chet Longly. Though Breedlove and his wife seem more interested in protecting the family reputation than their niece’s safety, Frank and Sarah agree to help for the sake of Julia and the young son she left behind.

Frank and Sarah’s investigation reveals a dark secret—a maid at the Longly home died suspiciously under Chet’s watch, and now it seems Julia’s son might also be in danger. The Malloys fear they are dealing with a man more dangerous than they had anticipated, one who will do anything to defame his wife. But all is not as it seems in the Longly family, and perhaps another monster is hiding in plain sight....

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoy this series so of course I had to pick this one up!

My Impression:  This is one of my favorite series for a very good reason.  Right from the start I was pulled in and the scene where Sarah explains how a sane woman could end up incarcerated into an asylum gave me absolute chills.   

The mystery in this book isn't so much a whodunnit but more of a digging into secrets and motivations and separating fact from rumor.  Maeve takes a starring role here and definitely proves herself  as being able to take care of herself and a capable investigator.  I changed my mind about a dozen times as to just what was going on and couldn't wait to watch Frank, Sarah, Gino, and Maeve get it all sorted out.

I love seeing Sarah's parents.   Not only are they incredibly helpful in investigations but I love how much their grandchildren.  As well I also enjoyed seeing Sarah step into her midwife profession again.  While that is a huge aspect of who Sarah is it frequently falls by the wayside of murder investigations.  

This is a solid read with characters you can't help but connect with and an interesting mystery involving sorting truth from lies and good from evil.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I will always grab the next book in the series and am looking forward to going back to the start and reading the earlier books I've missed.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical mysteries this is a series you shouldn't miss!

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Favorite Audiobook Narrators

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 Favorite Audiobook Narrators.  I love audiobooks and the narrator can make or break a book.  Here are some of my favorite narrators!

1.  David Tennant - I'm a big David Tennant fan in general but I will listen to anything the man reads.  It's normally a good sign when any actor is narrating an audiobook but Tennant is my favorite.

2.  Lorelei King - I love her narration of the Sunshine Vicram series

3.  Mary Jane Wells - She is probably my favorite narrator for historical romance

4.  Heather Wilds - I love the Verity Kent series by Anna Lee Huber and Wilds' narration made it even better.

5.  January LaVoy - I love Nora Roberts books and if LaVoy is narrating them I know I'm going to love them even more.

6.  Fiona Hardingham - This was one of my favorite books of 2021 and Hardingham's narration really added to my enjoyment.

7.  Saskia Maarleveld - She was the narrator of both The Alice Network and Last Bookshop in London which were two books I absolutely loved and her narration was fantastic!

8.  C.S.E. Cooney - She narrated the Witch City Mystery series by Carol J. Perry and made a thoroughly enjoyable series even more fun!

9.  Kate Reading - Reading has narrated so many of my favorite books and I always know I will an audiobook if she is reading it!

10. Luke Daniels - Daniels is so great with romantic suspense titles.  He doesn't get to over the top with his emotions but is never monotone.  I love all the Heather Graham books he has narrated.

Who are some of your favorite audiobook narrators?

Monday, April 24, 2023

Cinnamon Twisted - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Cinnamon Twisted (Deputy Donut Mystery #7) by Ginger Bolton

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

Description:  Weeks before summer begins, Deputy Donut Café owner Emily Westhill has it all—a tabby cat by her side, cinnamon twists powdered to perfection, and a murderer on her case . . .

An ordinary late-spring afternoon for Deputy Donut Cafe owner Emily Westhill becomes one that will remain baked into her memory from the moment a customer gives Emily’s cat a toy donut and then flees Deputy Donut, dropping an earring in her panic. Concerned about the customer, Emily attempts to return the earring . . . only this time the customer doesn’t have a pulse. Things get more complicated when an ambitious police detective finds the earring and an unsealed envelope addressed to Emily at the murder scene. The envelope contains a cryptic letter and a fading photograph of a woman standing in front of Emily’s house.

Why did the customer grab her cinnamon twists and flee Deputy Donut? With the detective eying Emily as a prime suspect, Emily is determined to find out. But once a donut-shaped murder weapon is discovered in her own backyard, Emily has no time to lose as she pulls apart the connection between the victim and the strange history of her property—while stopping the real culprit from ensuring her fate is done and sugar-dusted . . .

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This sounded like a fun series to try and I was intrigued by the premise involving the fading photograph.

My Impression: I've become a big fan of reading a series in order and if the premise for this one hadn't hooked me I probably would have passed.  I'm so glad I didn't!  For starters, I was able to jump in with absolutely no issue and felt connected to Emily right away.  Emily is a nice person with a quick mind.  While not in law enforcement herself, she is surrounded by people who are and is aware of how things work.

The mystery is a good one.  Emily's attention is caught by a woman at her shop who seems very unhappy and then scared.  She is shocked and saddened when she later finds the woman dead and is pulled into the investigation only by the strange actions of the new Police Chief.  When odd things start happening around Emily's home and things may connect back to the murdered woman Emily is pulled even farther in.  

This was a fast read with likable characters.  I loved the community the author created - especially Emily's strong group of friends - and can easily see this being a favorite series just so I can revisit these characters.  The mystery was woven into Emily's day to day life so that while she is investigating it doesn't come off as over the top nosiness.  I really wasn't quite sure what was going on until Emily herself figured it out.  If you're looking for an interesting mystery with a great community this is a fantastic choice.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I haven't read anything by this author before but will be going back to read the earlier books in the series.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy cozies I think you'd like this one!  It's a fun read though it did make me want donuts a time or two!

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

Sunday, April 23, 2023

This Week in Reading - April 23

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

What I Got:

Overdue or Die by Allison Brook - I really enjoy this series and can't wait for this book! (Publisher)

Shadow of Death by Heather Graham - I really liked the first book in this series involving cults, an FDLE agent and an FBI agent but was a bit meh on the 2nd book so I have my fingers crossed on this one.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Murder on Bedford Street by Victoria Thompson and Pall in the Family by Dawn Eastman

Listening:  The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

I spent last weekend and most of this week not feeling well and am just now starting to feel back on my feet.  I have a tendency towards upper respiratory infections that if I'm not careful seem to turn into pneumonia and apparently this week was the week for one to show up.  Luckily, I caught it pretty early and after a round of meds am starting to feel back to normal.  Because of that I didn't do much other than the bare minimum and try to get as much rest in as possible.

I did manage to get Will to his physical therapy appointment where he got a glowing report.  While he still does have a bit of foot pain he's not showing any sign of drop foot anymore.  We will go one more time but than will probably be done unless some other problem shows up.  He's been in a good mood and has been obsessed with Star Wars and Legos lately.  It's really good to see him be able to really focus on interests and have fun without worrying about pain or fatigue or nausea.  

Have a great week and happy reading! 

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Sunken Sailor - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Sunken Sailor (Inspector Henry Tibbett #2) by Patricia Moyes

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

Description:  Poor Inspector Tibbett! Once again, he is attempting to have a nice vacation. And once again, Crime has a different idea. This time, Tibbett and his cheerful wife, Emmy, are lazing on a friend’s yacht, tacking from one little English sea-town to the next, and it should all be delicious indolence…except that Henry can’t stop thinking about death. Well, one death in particular. The death of a local sailor. And he especially can’t stop thinking about it when it starts looking as though the drowned sailor is somehow connected to the robbery at a nearby manor-house. As with so many of the books in this series, much of the pleasure lies in the setting’s timelessness: It’s officially 1961 for The Sunken Sailor, but in Berrybridge Haven, and on England’s peaceful waterways, it is time out of mind.
Genre:  Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I read a few of Patricia Moyes' books years ago and enjoyed them so I decided I wanted to read all the Inspector Tibbett books in order.

My Impression:   I really enjoyed this mystery!  I liked the first Henry Tibbett book but found it a bit slower paced and harder to get into.  This book was faster off the mark with the action and pulled me in a bit faster.  Henry is on a sailing holiday with his wife, Emmy, and friends who are trying to teach them the joys of sailing.  In between all the wind and water and learning Henry hears of two incidents that catch his attention.  The first in the theft of family jewels belonging to the noble family of the coastal village and the second is the death of a fellow sailor that no one is quite easy about.  

The investigation itself slowly unfolds as Henry and Emmy get to know the sailing community a bit better and people start to open up (or lie) to him.  But a series of events brings the cold cases very much to the present leaving Henry, Emmy and their friends scrambling to figure out the details before it's too late.  

I did figure out the who fairly early but there were enough red herrings and other possibilities to keep me not quite sure of myself.  As well, the sailing bits might get a bit clunky from time to time and I did find myself skimming some of the longer sequences.  Overall, I did really enjoy this mystery and the blurb was actually right calling it timeless.  For the most part this book could have taken place at just about any time which made it a bit refreshing.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would!  I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers I think you would also enjoy Patricia Moyes.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Friday Fives - Five Short 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.  A Hard Day for a Hangover (Sunshine Vicram #3) by Darynda Jones - This is the 3rd book about Sheriff Sunshine Vicram and it was by far my favorite.  One plot point from the 1st 2 books is tied up and there is now communication between all the major players which is super nice.  I've liked the 1st 2 books but the pacing was so fast in this one and there were some crazy scenes that I found myself coming up with extra chores so I could get some extra listening in which is the sign of a really enjoyable book!  This is a series that is best read in order which won't be a hardship!  My Rating:  Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

2.  The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood - I really loved the premise of this book.  I love that the characters were graduate students and up.  It has all the fun of a school setting but the characters are adults and not teenagers.  I loved Olive's friends and how supportive they all were of each other.  As well, I loved the relationship that formed between Olive and Adam.  Adam has the reputation of being harsh and exacting and while he stays true to character I found him easy to like and connect with.  I loved Olive.  She's smart and pretty and such a good friend but I wanted to reach into the book and shake her for the majority of it.  She has no confidence in herself and misses all the signs that were so screamingly obvious that the pumpkin spice latte she was drinking could see them.  I think I would have gotten less impatient with her if there had been more progress slowly through the book.  I really liked that protocols of dating in a school/workplace were addressed and they took care to never be in a situation where Olive was beholden to Adam in some way.  I really loved the last quarter of the book (though there is a spicy scene that is decidedly NOT fade to black) and will be reading more from the author.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

3.  Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman -
I've had this book on my TBR for years and finally picked it up.  My primary experience with magical realism up to this point is Sarah Addison Allen's books but have read enough Alice Hoffman to know this isn't going to have the same feel as those books.  For the most part I liked this.  The characters were interesting and complicated with ever changing bonds with each other.  I liked how the theme of sisters reoccurs with the aunts, then Sally and Gillian, and then Antonia and Kylie.  All of that said I didn't fall in love with this book nor did I ever feel connected to the characters or the world they lived in.  I think I would have enjoyed this book much better if had either been shorter or had more depth to it.  If I had felt connected to the world the sisters lived in I wouldn't have found the pacing to be almost stagnant at times.  If it had been faster paced I wouldn't have missed the depth of the story.  My Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)

4.  Close Up by Amanda Quick -
I love this series and this one did not disappoint!  Vivian was an interesting main character.  She was a passionate photographer and dedicated to her career as an artist as well as paying the bills a freelance crime scene photographer.  There is quite a lot about the different sides of the argument about photography being an artform as well as the politics in the art world.  Nick is a private investigator with an ability to read people and have incredibly vivid dreams that tell the future.  It has complicated his relationship with most of the people in his life leaving him leading a mostly solitary existence.  Together Vivian and Nick make a great pair.  They work well together and are able to communicate clearly and understand each other.  The mystery of who is out to kill Vivian kept me pulled into the story and it was quite a roller coaster ride!  I was very glad to see that Vivian's sister is in the next book and I'm looking forward to getting to know her a bit better and spend more time in Burning Cove.  If you enjoy romantic suspense with a touch of paranormal and a old Hollywood setting this book and this series are a good choice.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

5.  The Hollow by Nora Roberts -
This is the second book in the Sign of Seven trilogy and focuses on Fox and Layla.  All six characters have met and realized they needed to join forces and they know what they're fighting and why.  The how is still a bit shady but they're working on it.  In a lot of ways Layla is the weakest link in the six.  She doesn't have long running close friendships with anyone else of the six and she's struggling to wrap her head around what's happening and the fact that within her history is both light and dark.  Fox is a great character.  He comes from a large artistic family and is practical but with a genuine desire to really help people.  It's hard not to love him.  The six are in the middle of research and desperately trying to figure out just what to next.  There is enough progress in the story - both in the battle and character development - to keep me engaged in the story.  I can't wait to read the next book and find out just how the story comes to an end.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Books from the Backlog - Orchard House

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:  Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow by Tara Austen Weaver

Blurb:  Peeling paint, stained floors, vined-over windows, a neglected and wild garden—Tara Austen Weaver can’t get the Seattle real estate listing out of her head. Any sane person would have seen the abandoned property for what it was: a ramshackle half-acre filled with dead grass, blackberry vines, and trouble. But Tara sees potential and promise—not only for the edible bounty the garden could yield for her family, but for the personal renewal she and her mother might reap along the way.
So begins Orchard House, a story of rehabilitation and cultivation—of land and soul. Through bleak winters, springs that sputter with rain and cold, golden days of summer, and autumns full of apples, pears, and pumpkins, this evocative memoir recounts the Weavers’ trials and triumphs, detailing what grew and what didn’t, the obstacles overcome and the lessons learned. Inexorably, as mother and daughter tend this wild patch and the fruits of their labor begin to flourish, green shoots of hope emerge from the darkness of their past.

For everyone who has ever planted something that they wished would survive—or tried to mend something that seemed forever broken—Orchard House is a tale of healing and growth set in a most unlikely place.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This is the kind of book that I either love or hate.  I need to pick it up and see if it'll be a quick DNF or one of my favorite books of the year.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Life in Five Senses - Nonfiction Review

Goodreads:  Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me Out of My Head and Into the World by Gretchen Rubin

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

Description:  For more than a decade, Gretchen Rubin had been studying happiness and human nature. Then, one day, a visit to her eye doctor made her realize that she’d been overlooking a key element of happiness: her five senses. She’d spent so much time stuck in her head that she’d allowed the vital sensations of life to slip away, unnoticed. This epiphany lifted her from a state of foggy preoccupation into a world rediscovered by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.

In this journey of self-experimentation, Rubin explores the mysteries and joys of the five senses as a path to a happier, more mindful life. Drawing on cutting-edge science, philosophy, literature, and her own efforts to practice what she learns, she investigates the profound power of tuning in to the physical world.

From the simple pleasures of appreciating the magic of ketchup and adding favorite songs to a playlist, to more adventurous efforts like creating a daily ritual of visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and attending Flavor University, Rubin show us how to experience each day with depth, delight, and connection. In the rush of daily life, she finds, our five senses offer us an immediate, sustainable way to cheer up, calm down, and engage the world around us—as well as a way to glimpse the soul and touch the transcendent.

Life in Five Senses is an absorbing, layered story of discovery filled with profound insights and practical suggestions about how to heighten our senses and use our powers of perception to live fuller, richer lives—and, ultimately, how to move through the world with more vitality and love.

Genre: Nonfiction  

Why I Picked This Book:  I really loved Rubin's The Happiness Project and it's been a long time since I've read anything by her.

My Impression:  While I had really enjoyed a previous book of Rubin's I wasn't sure what to expect from this book.  What could possibly be said about the five senses that would be interesting enough for a full book.  Turns out quite a lot!  

After becoming aware that she is more at risk for retinal detachment because of her very poor eye sight (I fall into this camp as well so this really caught my attention!) Rubin becomes aware of how little she's really been paying attention to the world around her and all the sensations that flow past her with little to no acknowledgement. She develops a plan to tackle each sense at a time and isolate and fully experience each sense over a period of time.  Her primary framework is to visit one place every day for a year and experience it through the lens of all her different senses.  

I really love how the author tackles her challenges.  All of her projects are something that anyone could implement (with some alterations - I can't visit the Met everyday but I could visit the library or some place local to myself for example) and I usually find myself eager to implement them myself.  For sight she begins to collect items of a particular color and for taste she and her husband and friends have blind taste tests of single ingredients to truly isolate what they're tasting.  I suddenly want to start going on shopping quests for single color items (my color would be peridot) and buying 6 different types of mustards to truly taste them.  I'm not sure I will do either of these things but it is fun to think about.

This is an interesting read about how our senses allow us to experience the world around us and how they interact with each other.  I found myself thinking about how I interact with the world as Rubin goes through each sense and I enjoyed this book from start to finish.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  She has published several books that I've yet to read and after how much I enjoyed this one I will definitely be looking for future books by her.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would!  This was an interesting look at how we experience the world around us.  

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - My Ten Favorite Movies

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by 
That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is a non-bookish freebie so I'm picking my Ten Favorite Movies.  Most of the movies I've watched in the last few years have been classic.  Not only are these genuinely my favorite movies but most of these I watched with my grandfather who I miss dearly so that gives them extra points.  

1.  Casablanca - Every time I see this movie another aspect or scene catches my attention and reminds me just why I love it.  We were lucky enough to see it in the theater a couple of weeks ago and seeing it on the big screen was magical.  The scene where they defiantly sing the French anthem at Rick's gave me literal chills.  

2.  Apollo 13 - I've spent most of my life in a town where the primary business is space and I'm married to an Aerospace Engineer but even without that connection to space this is still a great movie.  I couldn't even begin to guess how many times I watched it and yet I still hold my breath while they wait for communication to kick back in.

3.  Mrs. Miniver - This movie takes place in England during the start of World War II and is another movie I could watch over and over.  I love the characters and there are so many wonderful or heartbreaking moments throughout the movie and I am still on the hunt for the Wedgwood Jasperware coffee pot that they use in an early scene.

4.  Rear Window - This is probably my favorite Grace Kelly movie.  It's so refreshing to see her as a character other than the icy socialite she tends to play.  And Jimmy Stewart's pretty great too.

5.  Princess Bride - I'm pretty sure this is on most people's top ten movie list and if it isn't it should be!  

6.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - All of the main characters are gorgeous and charming.  The script is perfection and the scenery is gorgeous.  This is another movie that never gets old.

7.  Inside Out  - So this is a bit different than the rest of the movies on this list but it' is one of my favorite Disney movies and I think it's a great movie for kids to help them deal with their emotions.  And it's just entertaining!

8.  Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House - Cary Grant is hands down my favorite author and this comedy involving and advertising exec falling down the rabbit hole of ownership is fantastic and proves just how amazing Grant is an a comedy actor.

9.  His Girl Friday - Another Cary Grant movie and another comedy but couldn't be more different than the previous movie.  Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell are absolutely fantastic as fast talking newspapermen.  

10. Anne of Green Gables - the Kevin Sullivan 1980s version - and its sequel - There's a third movie in this series but I refuse to admit it exists but the first two are my absolute comfort watch and flat out wonderful.  The movies (especially the sequel) aren't very true to the series but the casting is such perfection that I can't help but love it.

What are some of your favorite movies?  Have you seen any of these?

Monday, April 17, 2023

Who Cries For the Lost - Historical Mystery

Goodreads: Who Cries for the Lost (A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery #18) by C.S. Harris

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

Description:  June 1815. The people of London wait, breathlessly, for news as Napoleon and the forces united against him hurtle toward their final reckoning at Waterloo. Among them is Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, frustrated to find himself sidelined while recovering from a dangerous wound he recently received in Paris. When the mutilated corpse of Major Miles Sedgewick surfaces from the murky waters of the Thames, Sebastian is drawn into the investigation of a murder that threatens one of his oldest and dearest friends, Irish surgeon Paul Gibson.

Gibson’s lover, Alexi Sauvage, was tricked into a bigamous marriage with the victim. But there are other women who may have wanted the cruel, faithless Major dead. His mistress, his neglected wife, and their young governess who he seduced all make for compelling suspects. Even more interesting to Sebastian is one of Sedgewick’s fellow officers, a man who shared Sedgewick’s macabre interest in both old English folklore and the occult. And then there’s a valuable list of Londoners who once spied for Napoleon that Sedgewick was said to be transporting to Charles, Lord Jarvis, the Regent’s powerful cousin who also happens to be Sebastian’s own father-in-law.

The deeper Sebastian delves into Sedgewick’s life, the more he learns about the Major’s many secrets and the list of people who could have wanted him dead grows even longer. Soon others connected to Sedgewick begin to die strange, brutal deaths and more evidence emerges that links Alexi to the crimes. Certain that Gibson will be implicated alongside his lover, Sebastian finds himself in a desperate race against time to stop the killings and save his friends from the terror of the gallows.

Genre:  Mystery - Historical 

Why I Picked This Book:   I've read the last few books in this series and enjoyed them - especially the previous book so I couldn't resist this book.

My Impression: This may be my favorite book in the series so far.  While I haven't read the entire series I've read the last five or so.  I've always enjoyed them and found them well plotted with interesting and complex characters but never thought they were the fastest reads.  However, not only does this book have all the intriguing twisting plot points and complex characters - including a more vulnerable side of Sebastian and his hilarious if cruel aunt - but the pace was lightening fast.  From pretty much the first page I was hooked and didn't want to put the book down.

The first victim, Miles Sedgewick is definitely one of those people where it's not so shocking that he was murdered but more surprising that it took someone so long to finally do him in.  The question is which of his bad behaviors is what got him killed.  With fingers pointing squarely at the woman Sebastian's dear friend Gibson is in love with Sebastian must dig around in bad behavior and the world of the occult to find out what really happened.  And to find out if Sedgewick's killer is also the one responsible for the deaths of the other bodies being pulled up from the bottom of the river.

Along the way Sebastian finds himself being threatened and attacked.  Is it because of his previous actions in France or his current investigation?  Not only did the mystery itself hook me but I was fascinated by the French history that is the background of the story.  The politics and brutality was fascinating and has me wanting to learn more abut French history in general.

Before reading this book you really need to read at least the previous book as the actions in that book do connect with some of the events in this book.  This was a fast paced, interesting, and entertaining mystery that kept me guessing from beginning to end.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to the next book in the author and want to go back to read the earlier books in this series that I missed.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would definitely recommend this series but this book might be best if you've read a few books in the series first just so you understand who everyone is and how they're connected.

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

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Rolling Stone - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Rolling Stone by Patricia Wentworth

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

Description:  A con man named Spike Reilly was dying an agonizing death in a Brussels hotel. Next door, the erstwhile sleuth and wanderer, Peter Talbot, was very much alive. And in a moment of brilliance and madness, Peter knew that he could adopt the dying man's identity and use it as his passport into a dangerous ring of thieves.

Reborn Spike Reilly, Peter followed a trail of coded messages that led first to a well-appointed English manor, a house full of well-appointed guests, and then to the true identity of Spike's employer: Maud Millicent Simpson, England's most deadly woman. After steering him through the theft of a priceless painting, Maud then had a second job for "Spike": kidnap and kill a beautiful young lady. For Spike Reilly it might have been all in a day's work. But for Peter Talbot it meant playing a role within a role within a role - and somehow coming out alive!

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:   I'm reading through my non-Miss Silver books and this is one I haven't read.

My Impression: This is one of Wentworth's spy books and while I don't enjoy those quite as much as the typical English country house type mysteries this was still a lot of fun.  Peter Talbot is a likable guy with no real connections other than an aunt who ends up taking the identity of  a criminal in order to figure out just what kind of con the criminal is running.  

A fun bit of mayhem ensues as Peter follows orders without being quite sure just what he's getting himself into.  But things quickly turn serious when Maud Millicent arrives on the scene and Peter has to think fast and make sure he's keeping his poker face up while trying how to get out of a situation alive - and with Terry alive too.

I enjoyed this read quite a lot.  It's not the most the most realistic but it's fast paced enough and entertaining enough that I didn't mind.  If you're looking for a bit of escapist fun with a classic mystery touch of espionage this is a great choice.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  Wentworth is one of my favorite authors and I'm looking forward to reading more of her non-Miss Silver books.

Would I Recommend this Book? Absolutely!  If you like classic mysteries this is a fun read.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Friday Fives - Five Books on My TBR with Flowers in the Title

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 month my theme is gardening and flowers so I'm looking at books on my TBR with flowers in the title.

1.  A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor - I have loved every book by this author and this one looks just as wonderful.

2.  Morning Glory by Sarah Jio - I have enjoyed other books by this author and always mean to read more but somehow haven't.  This sounds like a fantastic read.

3.  Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman - I haven't heard much about this author or this book but it sounds like a story I would enjoy with a woman inheriting a property in Australia after an injury ends her career in ballet.

4.  The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley - I've heard wonderful things about this author and this one sounds fantastic.

5.  Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly- I love historical fiction and this looks wonderful.

Do you have any books with flowery titles on your TBR?

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Books from the Backlog - Death and Daisies

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:  Death and Daisies by Amanda Flower

Blurb:  Fiona Knox thought she was pulling her life back together when she inherited her godfather’s cottage in Duncreigan, Scotland—complete with a magical walled garden. But the erstwhile Tennessee flower shop owner promptly found herself puddle boot-deep in danger when she found a dead body among the glimmering blossoms. One police investigation later (made a trifle less unpleasant by the presence of handsome Chief Inspector Neil Craig), and Fiona’s life is getting back on a steady, though bewitched, track. Her sister Isla has just moved in with her, and the grand opening of her new spellbound venture, the Climbing Rose Flower Shop in Aberdeenshire, is imminent.

But dark, ensorcelled clouds are gathering to douse Fiona’s newly sunny outlook. First, imperious parish minister Quaid MacCullen makes it undeniably clear that he would be happy to send Fiona back to Tennessee. Then, a horrific lightning storm, rife with terribly omen, threatens to tear apart the elderly cottage and sends Fi and Isla cowering under their beds. The storm passes, but then, Fi is called away from the Climbing Rose’s opening soiree when Kipling, the tiny village’s weak-kneed volunteer police chief, finds a dead body on the beach.

The body proves difficult to identify, but Kipling is certain it’s that of the parish minister. Which makes Fiona, MacCullen’s new nemesis, a suspect. And what’s worse, Isla has seemed bewitched as of late…did she do something unspeakable to protect her sister? The last thing Fiona wanted to do was play detective again. But now, the rosy future she’d envisioned is going to seed, and if she and Craig can’t clear her name, her idyllic life will wilt away in Death and Daisies, national bestselling author Amanda Flower’s second enchanting Magic Garden mystery.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This has been gathering dust on my NetGalley shelf for way too long and it looks like such a great read!  Plus, I've really enjoyed every book I've read by this author.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Overdue Reviews - Scheduled to Death + First Degree Mudder


Goodreads:  Scheduled to Death (A Maggie McDonald Mystery #2) by Mary Feliz

Blurb:   Professional organizer Maggie McDonald has a knack for cleaning up other people’s messes. So when the fiancée of her latest client turns up dead, it’s up to her to sort through the untidy list of suspects and identify the real killer. 

Maggie McDonald is hoping to raise the profile of her new Orchard View organizing business via her first high-profile client. Professor Lincoln Sinclair may be up for a Nobel Prize, but he’s hopeless when it comes to organizing anything other than his thoughts. For an academic, he’s also amassed more than his share of enemies. When Sinclair’s fiancée is found dead on the floor of his home laboratory — electrocuted in a puddle of water—Maggie takes on the added task of finding the woman’s murderer. To do so, she’ll have to outmaneuver the suspicious, obnoxious police investigator she’s nicknamed “Detective Awful” before a shadowy figure can check off the first item on their personal to-do list — Kill Maggie McDonald.

My Thoughts: It's been years since I read the first book so I was a bit afraid that I wouldn't know what was going on in this book but had no problem jumping in, picking up on who was who, and getting caught up in the mystery.  Each chapter starts with an organizing tip from Maggie's business which I really enjoyed.  As well, Maggie is frequently at work or tackling some project so that it feels believable that she is actually a professional organizer but it isn't so detailed that I feel like I'm reading a book on home organization.  One of my pet peeves with cozies is when it feels like the main character's career is just window dressing and that wasn't the case here.  The mystery hooked me.  Even though the victim is dead at the very beginning of the book I did feel like I got to know her and really enjoyed meeting Linc and the rest of the community and I loved to hate Detective Awful.  Maggie's a great lead character.   Her reasons for getting involved in the investigation do make sense and she's not so nosy and forceful with her questions that it seems over the top.  The story is well paced with likable characters and a bit of suspense.  Plus, there's a golden retriever and that's a really hard story element to beat! My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Goodreads:  First Degree Mudder (Pacific Northwest Mystery #4) by Kate Dyer-Seeley

Blurb: Back home in Portland, Oregon, Meg is ready to take her career as an outdoor writer for Extreme magazine to the next level. Lesser journalists sling mud—Meg plans to run through it. To train hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, she’s signed on with the Mind Over Mudder team, run by ten-time mud marathon champ—and former drill sergeant—Billy the Tank. But when Meg finds her tenacious trainer dead in the locker room, she has a sinking feeling someone may have been pushed too far. Digging through the hidden secrets at Mind Over Mudder is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Meg will have to tread carefully, though—or she may soon be running for her life . . .

My Thoughts:  Poor Meg is in over her head once again with the Mind Over Mudder team preparing for her first mud run.  Honestly, I've had a few friends do mud runs and they sound really awful but it was fun watching Meg get ready for the run with full enthusiasm even if her body wasn't quite as enthusiastic as her mind.  Meg's also going through of a tough time in her personal life with her best friend possibly leaving the country, a dating situation that is as clear as the mud she has to run through, and being forced to see that her late father may not be quite the saint she thought he was.  Meg just seems so young and her struggles seemed very real.  With everything going on the mystery got pushed to the side a bit.  Meg suspected everyone and no one and was a bit all over the place with her investigating.  Despite that I did enjoy the read and enjoyed spending my time with Meg.  If you enjoy cozy mysteries with an outdoorsy feel this is a fun series to try though it is best to start with an earlier book.  My Rating: Liked It! (3 Stars)

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Books with Animals on the Cover

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 with Animals on the Cover.  I love books with animals in them and so I always look for animals on the cover.

1.  A Skeleton in the Family by Leigh Perry

2.  A Wee Murder in My Shop by Fran Stewart

3.  The Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson

4.  The Lion in the Living Room by Abigail Tucker

5.  Arsenic with Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde

6.  The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks

7.  Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower

8.  Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece by Rose Pressey

9.  Fixing to Die by Miranda James

10. The Secrets of Bones by Kylie Logan

What books with animal covers are on your TBR?