Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Murderous Type - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: The Murderous Type (The Bookstore Mystery #2) by Sue Minix

Rating:  Not For Me
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Crime writer turned amateur sleuth Jen has taken over the running of the local bookstore in her hometown of Riddleton.

But balancing the books at Ravenous Readers is nothing compared to meeting the deadline for her new novel.

Dodging phone calls from her editor takes a back seat, however, when the local police chief is poisoned. Jen must dust off her detective hat once more to solve the murder.

With everyone in town seemingly a suspect, and evidence planted to incriminate local police officer and close friend Eric, Jen is working against the clock. Can she find the killer and beat her own writer’s block before it’s too late?

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I can never resist a bookish cozy and there was a dog on the cover.

My Impression:  I read a lot of cozy mysteries and unfortunately not every one is going to work for me.  Unfortunately, this is one of them.  I did not read the first book in the series so that may have negatively impacted my opinion of this book but I don't think it would have substantially changed it.

I do love the setup of having an author who also runs a bookstore and I loved that she has a doggy companion.  Unfortunately this was never a book I was able to get into and it never really made that much of impression on me.  There are a lot of characters and even more detail about each character and everything else around them which ended up with me accidentally skimming and then having to go back and reread whole paragraphs.

This writing style didn't work well with me and I never really connected with any of the characters at all.  This wasn't a bad book but it just wasn't one that worked for me.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Probably not.  I don't think this writing style works for me. 

Would I Recommend this Book?  If the premise interests you I recommend starting with the beginning of the series.

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Things That Instantly Make Me NOT Want to Read a Book

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 Things that Instantly Make Me NOT Want to Read a Book.  I had a good time thinking of things I avoid in books especially after last weeks' topic which got me thinking of things that make me WANT to read a book.

1.  Love triangles -  I don't mind a bit of a love triangle if it is resolved within the book but if it continues for multiple books into the series and both relationships are developing.

2.  Secret babies - I can't stand a secret baby plot - especially in a romance.  Every once in awhile I've seen this work but for the most part I don't even give it a chance.

3.  Children in peril - If there's even a mention of children in peril or worse in the blurb I'm probably going to skip the book.

4.  Animal cruelty - Ditto above.

5.  Heavy angst/drama - I'm pretty nonconfrontational in non-bookish life and lots of drama tends to give me a headache and that seems to carryover to fictional angsty drama.

6.  An Illogical Nemesis - I don't mind if the main character isn't besties with everyone (I usually prefer it) but when the main character is an adult and has a nemesis who acts like a supervillain I'm not a fan.

7.  Covers Controversial topics - This may be a bit of an unpopular opinion but I'm an escapist reader and if a book is covering a topic (either nonfiction or in fictional way) that tends to ruin holiday dinners I'm usually out.

8.  Lots of Violence and Gore - There's a reason I gravitate to cozy mysteries or Agatha Christie style stories.  While I do enjoy a murder mystery I'm not a big fan of in-depth gruesome scenes. 

9.  A Series Where I've Already Disliked a Book - Or an author where the last book I read didn't work for me.  While I'm a big believer in second chances there are too many books out there begging to be read to force myself to read books that aren't working for me.

10.  Super High Page Count - A high page count isn't a deal breaker but I do tend to hesitate before picking up a super long book.  

What things keep you from wanting to read a book?

Monday, May 29, 2023

Murder Off the Books - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Murder Off the Books (By the Books Mystery #3) by Tamara Berry

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

Description:  Author Tess Harrow and her daughter, Gertrude, are starting to get a bad reputation due to their involvement in recent murder cases, so Tess has come up with the perfect plan to drum up some positive press. She'll combine her new book release and her bookstore opening into one big event, giving her a chance to wine and dine the locals and some big press contacts. But the night before the party, Tess is greeted by a surprise: her mother has come for a visit, with her much-younger new boyfriend in tow...a boyfriend Gertrude recognizes as the notorious Levi Parker, a man recently connected to the deaths of three elderly widows.

Tess immediately alerts Sheriff Boyd about the visitor, but it's already too late. Levi Parker is found dead and Tess's mother is starting to look like the prime suspect. Bernadette swears she didn't murder Levi, and Tess is doing her best to maintain her mother's innocence, but too many coincidences keep stacking up. With the whole town seemingly against her family, it's up to Tess to get to the bottom of the story before it's too late.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous two books in this series so I couldn't wait to see what kind of trouble Tess got into next.  

My Impression:  If I had only one word to review this book I'd use the word chaotic.  For the most part that is in the best possible way.  Tess Harrow is smart, creative, funny, and could not do a load of laundry without turning everything into complete and total chaos which makes for a very entertaining story.  Gertrude is her usual delightful precocious self and the addition of Tess's mother definitely added to the chaos and drama - especially considering her latest fling is suspected of murdering his last few love interests (all older women with money).  Throw in Tess trying to open her bookstore and a fame driven podcaster and this was a fun mystery from beginning to end.

I love that Tess is a bit of chaos and definitely quirky but it doesn't feel forced or over the top.  Tess is quirky and impulsive and fabulous at jumping to the wildest of conclusions but it is so 100% her that it doesn't bother me the way it might in a character less well drawn.  The mystery had lots of ins and outs and things going on with fish money, autographed books, and bunches of other things that did come together in the end to make a satisfying conclusion.  That said some of the chaos did bleed off onto the end of the book making things feel a tiny bit confusing at first and there were a few points that I would have liked addressed more (especially an old picture Tess finds in an ill advised searching activity).  

All of  that said, this is a fun read from beginning to end with an entertaining and unpredictable main character and I can't wait to see what she's going to do next!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have really enjoyed every book I've read by this author and can't wait to read more.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies with interesting characters and fun plotlines this is the series for you!

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

Sunday, May 28, 2023

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:

Summer's Gift by Jennifer Ryan - Any book that involves DNA discovered family is a book I can't resist.  (Publisher)

Scaredy Cat by Sofia Ryan - I love this series and was so excited to see this book. (Publisher)

Nine Lives and Alibis by Cate Conte - This is a series I've been wanting to read for ages and while I usually prefer to start at the beginning of the series this one looks like lots of fun.  (Publisher)

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord by Celeste Connelly - I love the sound of this one and am so looking forward to reading it! (Publisher)


Reading:  The Murderous Type by Sue Minx and The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts

Listening:  Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullet

It is allergy season with a vengeance here and I think I'm about 95% Benadryl at this point.  This happens every year around this time and it gets better pretty quickly but right now I'm going to bed!  I hope every has a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Into the Darkness - Keeper Shelf Review

Goodreads:  Into the Darkness by Barbara Michaels

Rating: Loved It (5 Stars)
Source:   Purchased

Description:  Meg Venturi never expected the windfall she inherits when her grandfather dies. For some unknown reason the eccentric old millionaire has left her his profitable antique jewelry business. But there is a catch. Meg must share the business with an aloof, mysterious, and somewhat sinister young man called A. L. Riley. The town is whispering about her enigmatic new partner. Rumors spread about unspoken secrets, a dark and disturbing legacy . . . and murder. Soon a series of troubling events has Meg looking uncomfortably over her shoulder. The longer she stays in this tiny New England village the clearer two very troubling truths that all that glitters is definitely not gold . . . and that someone will stop at nothing to drive her away.

Genre: Mystery - Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm slowly rereading all the books on my Keeper Shelf to make sure they deserve their place on the shelf!

My Impression: If you had asked me what my favorite Barbara Michaels book was before I reread this one this book would have definitely been in the running.  Going in with high expectations always makes me a bit nervous but this book did not disappoint!  Not only did this definitely re-earn it's Keeper Shelf placement but it also confirmed that it is definitely in the running for favorite Barbara Michaels book - really it's between this book and Shattered Silk.  

Meg has resisted being pushed into the family business - that is until her beloved if complicated grandfather dies and Meg finds herself back at the family estate and pulled into not just the business but a possible mystery.  I was pulled into this book from the very beginning.  Not only did I find Meg an interesting lead character I was also intrigued by her family and their complicated relationships.  But if I'm being honest the real star of this book is the jewels.  My main complaint is that there aren't pictures!  The variety of jewelry covered is fascinating - from famous historic jewels, to mourning jewelry, to small regard rings with their hidden messages, and even new pieces.  I also like that the small town setting is not all unicorns and rainbows like small towns so frequently are in fiction.

Even knowing how this ended I still felt myself pulled into this story and couldn't read it fast enough.  Barbara Michaels' writing style never misses and I can't help but be pulled in and completely caught up in the story from beginning to end.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I only have a couple of more books in this reread and I'll be sad to come to the end of the list!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like suspense with a touch of romance this is a fun read!

Friday, May 26, 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.  The Library Book by Susan Orlean - This is a nonfiction book loosely about the Los Angeles Library fire in the late 1980s.  Along with looking into the devastating fire the author discusses the institution of the library itself, its origins and how libraries are changing with the times, and a huge collection of other subjects.  At first I wanted more of a true crime novel regarding the fire and it definitely isn't that but I ended up really enjoying this look at libraries and the people who run them.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

2.  The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling - This was a cute witchy fiction about what happens when you mix a broken heart, vodka and a curse.  What seems like an immature ill thought out blip when Vivi is 19 ends up going horribly wrong when Rhys (the object of the drunken curse) shows back up after 10 years.  Mayhem and hijinks ensue with some laugh out loud moments and some frantic problem solving.  There are a number of spicy scenes which I could have done without as I really enjoyed other aspects of Vivi and Rhys's relationship much more.  Overall though this was a fun light and fluffy read.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

3.  The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander - Well this was just lovely.  Jess has had a bit of a hard time.  She lost her beloved grandmother, Mimi, who was mother, father and best friend all in one and she's just lost her job as a librarian.  Taking a chance both in memory of Mimi and with the encouragement over Zoom from her friend Hannah, Jess ends up in a little English village buying a cottage that just happens to involve turning the red phone box in front of her house into something.  I loved watching Jess become part of the village as she slowly finds her place and her new family.  The book mentions are delightful and Jess's enthusiasm for reading radiates from the page.  This was a wonderful read from beginning to end.  My Rating: Loved It (5 Stars)

4.  On Spine of Death by Tamara Berry - I loved the first book in this series about thriller writer Tess and her teenage daughter Gertie and couldn't wait to see what they were up to in the second book.  And wow were they busy!  Bodies are found under the floor of Tess's grandfather's old hardware store that she is turning into a bookstore which opens up multiple cold cases including one that hits close to home for the Police Chief.  The book starts off with quite a bang and the pace keeps going with mystery progress and other hijinks which kept me pulled in and entertained.  I can't wait to read the next book in the series!  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

5.  The Lady Has a Past by Amanda Quick - I love this series!  We met Lyra in the previous book as the younger sister of the main character and in this book the focus is on her.  Lyra is a fun character.   She has recently come to a turning point where she realized that what she thought she wanted her whole life may not be what she wants.  As well, she is working as an apprentice Private Investigator to Raina Kirk.  Raina has long been a side character in this series and I really enjoyed seeing a more vulnerable side to her in this story.   The plot was fast paced and entertaining and kept me holding my breath and wondering just what was going on.  It was definitely fun to see how everything played out.  While this book is technically part of a series it is really only loosely connected to previous books and can easily be read as a stand alone.  I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Books from the Backlog - The Paris Key

Today I'm linking up with Carole from Carole's Random Life of Books for Books from the Backlog.  I really enjoy the chance to feature a book that's been hiding in the piles of books for far too long!

Blurb:  An American in Paris navigates her family's secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.

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

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  It sounds amazing and I've really enjoyed other books by this author.  This would be a great read to end my birthday month on!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Identity - Romantic Suspense Review

Goodreads:  Identity by Nora Roberts

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

Description:  Former Army brat Morgan Albright has finally planted roots in a friendly neighborhood near Baltimore. Her friend and roommate Nina helps her make the mortgage payments, as does Morgan's job as a bartender. But after she and Nina host their first dinner party—attended by Luke, the flirtatious IT guy who'd been chatting her up at the bar—her carefully built world is shattered. The back door glass is broken, cash and jewelry are missing, her car is gone, and Nina lies dead on the floor.

Soon, a horrific truth emerges: It was Morgan who let the monster in. "Luke” is actually a cold-hearted con artist named Gavin who targets a particular type of woman, steals her assets and identity, and then commits his ultimate goal: murder.

What the FBI tells Morgan is beyond chilling. Nina wasn't his type. Morgan is. Nina was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Morgan's nightmare is just beginning. Soon she has no choice but to flee to her mother's home in Vermont. While she struggles to build something new, she meets another man, Miles Jameson. He isn't flashy or flirtatious, and his family business has deep roots in town. But Gavin is still out there hunting new victims, and he hasn't forgotten the one who got away.

Genre: Romance - Romantic Suspense

Why I Picked This Book:  I really like this author's books so of course I had to pick this one up.

My Impression:  I was really excited to start reading this book.  I really enjoy Roberts' romantic suspense titles but last year's book hadn't been my favorite so I was really looking into this one and wow did it deliver!  Morgan is a good main character.  She's smart and independent.  She likes people and learning about them.  She's good at her job and good at working towards her goal.  She's self aware enough to admit when she needs help or when she's in the wrong.  I loved her relationship with her grandmother and her mother and the family they are working on rebuilding.

The Jameson family is also an interesting group.  They're very well off but ambitious and fair.  They've created a successful and well run business and are close as a family.  But lurking in the shadows of all this perfection and happiness is Gavin - serial killer and identity thief.  I found Gavin one of the most unnerving bad guys Roberts has created and not even because of how violent he was.  Identity theft is a concern for most of it and reading about the level of damage Gavin was able to do made going fully off the grid pretty tempting.  

As I expect from Nora Roberts' books this pulled me in right from the very beginning and I didn't want to put it down to the very end.  This definitely has some dark elements and some somewhat detailed descriptions of Gavin's violent attacks.  It was definitely the most soothing read but I enjoyed it from beginning to end!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I always enjoy Nora Roberts' books and this was no exception!  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy romantic suspense than I think you would really enjoy this book!

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Things That Instantly Make Me Want to Read a Book

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by 
That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is about Ten Things That Instantly Make Me Want to Read a Book.

1.  An Old House - especially one that's inherited and even better if it's full of trunks and secrets and whatnot.

2.  The main character is an antiques dealer, researcher, genealogist, or really anything that involves digging into the past for whatever reason.

3.  A 1920s or 30s setting - This can be in about every genre.  There's something about the between the wars time period that just grabs me

4.  Found Families - This has been my most recent favorite thing.  I love a good lonely person finding their place.

5.  A Missing Person investigation - There's something about a missing person case that pulls me in way more than a regular murder does.

6.  Dogs (as long as they're not in any kind of peril) - I love books involving dog training, working dogs or even books where a dog is the main character's side kick.

7.  Ghosts - I love a good ghost story or a haunted house or a ghost side character.

8.  A main character that is connected to books - If the main character is an author, a librarian, a bookstore owner or anything else that is connected to books I will most likely pick up the book.

9.  Family Secrets - Especially if paired with an old house!  If you throw in a main character who is a researcher, loves to read and has a dog and add a ghost or two to the house and you pretty much have my perfect book.  

10.  My favorite authors - I have a few authors that are auto-buy authors (Nora Roberts, Hazel Gaynor, Ellie Alexander, and a few others) so I will normally pick up their books without even reading the blurb.  

History and digging into old secrets seems to be my main themes.  What makes you instantly want to read a book?

Monday, May 22, 2023

Hard Dough Homicide - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Hard Dough Homicide (A Spice Isle Mystery #2) by Olivia Matthews

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

Description:  Someone in Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean neighborhood has an appetite for murder in Olivia Matthews' Hard Dough Homicide .

Spice Isle Bakery owner Lyndsay Murray is always looking for new ways to grow her family’s business. But she already regrets agreeing to host the retirement dinner for local high school principal Emily Smith. The tyrant used to be her mother's boss and they did not get along. Six guests arrive for the celebration, but only five survive. Emily starts convulsing―right after eating the curry chicken―and dies soon after. It’s not long before the police are knocking on Spice Isle’s door, bringing the Murray family back into the heart of another murder investigation―driving away customers in the process. Lyndsay can't help but wonder if this is the end of the bakery, even though it's just begun. She must put aside her reservations about investigating another crime, because the Murrays refuse to go down without a fight.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  The premise of this book sounded interesting so I decided to read it on a whim.

My Impression:  Well this was a delight!  I read a lot of cozy mysteries but this is one of the few I've read that take place in a large city and definitely the first I've read that focuses on Caribbean culture and food.  

I liked Lyndsay right from the beginning and I can't blame her for keeping Detective Bryce at arms length despite his status as her childhood crush and pretty nice looking adult who is interested in her.  Lyndsay is relieved to have put the previous murder behind her and is focusing on getting her family's bakery off the ground and profitable as well as learning how to bake to her grandmother's standards.  

Against her better judgement she is pressured into catering a retirement dinner and the only surprise when the guest of honor collapses at the table is that someone waited so long to kill her.  With Lyndsay's family and bakery once again in the crosshairs of a murder investigation the family leaps into action to keep their bakery afloat and to find the true killer.  I'm a big fan of mysteries that involve collaboration investigations and while Lyndsay is definitely the lead her family pitches in and finds all kinds of ways to contribute.  Pretty much everyone had wanted to kill the victim at one time or another but who had finally been pushed to the end and why?  

The investigation was a ton of fun to read and I loved getting to know Lyndsey and her family.  While the story takes place in Brooklyn the community is so involved that it has all the charm of a small town setting.  While this is the second book in the series this is the first book I've read and I had no issue getting into the book and understanding who was who.  I will definitely be picking up the first book and will be keeping my eyes open for more books by this author.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to revisiting Spice Isle Bakery

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you enjoy cozy mysteries and love books with a strong community this is a series that shouldn't be missed.

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

Sunday, May 21, 2023

This Week in Reading - May 21


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:

Whispers at Dusk by Heather Graham - This apparently the first book in an off shoot of the Krewe of Hunters series involving an International group of crime solvers.  I'm very excited! (Publisher)

Songs of Wine and Murder by Lynn Cahoon - This is the newest book in the Tourist Trap series and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next in Jill and Greg's lives. (Publisher)

Midnight at the Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan - I adored The Christmas Bookshop and am so excited to revisit Carmen and McCredie's Bookshop.  (Publisher)


Reading Into the Darkness by Barbara Michaels and Murder off the Books by Tamara Berry

Listening:  Something Old, Something New by Amy Clipston

It's been a weird week but not a bad one.  Jason got home after being out of town for the previous 6 weeks which was fantastic but there's always some adjustment for both of us as he is very neat and I am not!  And I have to get used to cooking again.  But it's absolutely wonderful to have him home.

We are working hard getting Will caught up school-wise.  Our state requires a certain number of school days for homeschoolers between August 1 and July 31 and we will be sliding into with very little wiggle room.  I'm looking forward to next school year when cancer and side effects don't have to be considerations.  

Dog training has been going really well.  The classes I teach have started back up and it's so fun to have a new group of dogs to get to know.  Rover's classes are going really well and we are making real progress in Rally and Scent Work but still have a long way to go with Agility.  I've also started working with a friend on training together.  She has a gorgeous German Shepard who is beautifully behaved so Rover and I have a lot to learn.  That said while we were working on some commands at the park the other day a little girl came running up to him and he maintained his focus on me while only getting a little distracted so that's a HUGE win especially considering he's only 18 months old and in Golden Retriever land he's definitely still a puppy (though a big one at 70+ pounds).  

That's about it for my week.  How was yours?  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief (Mrs. Pollifax #10) by Dorothy Gilman

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

Description:  The assignment is a snap: Mrs. Pollifax just has to shoot some pictures at a quiet funeral outside Washington and take them to Sicily, where her old friend Farrell — a former CIA agent turned art dealer — anxiously awaits them.

But like all Mrs. P's assignments, so ostensibly suitable for the CIA's favorite garden club member, this one quickly turns lethal. Her welcoming committee in Palermo includes a most unlikely CIA agent and several unseen enemies. Unfriendly eyes also observe Mrs. P's rendezvous with Farrell in a secluded mountain village and weapons are soon displayed. With mysterious forces hot after them, she and Farrell scurry for safety to a fortified country villa, where the bizarre chatelaine, once a star on Madison Avenue, is almost as unnerving as the dangers she's protecting them from.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:   This was the next book in the Mrs. Pollifax series and I'm trying to read them all in order.  

My Impression:  As always Mrs. Pollifax is in an adventure that quickly spirals out of control.  She's met up with her old friend Farrell who she hasn't seen since her adventure in Zambia that spiraled out of control.  She also meets up with a new agent Kate Rossiter as they go dashing up mountains and down mountains and escaping assassins.  All the while Carstairs and Bishop are back in D.C. wringing their hands and wondering just what is happening now. 

This is all in a regular day's work for Mrs. Pollifax though I must admit this wasn't my favorite book in the series.  Mrs. Pollifax and the other agents are holed up in an Italian villa trying to figure out what is going on.  What I didn't particularly care for was Mrs. Pollifax spends a good time essentially wringing her hands and worrying.  It didn't seem quite like her practical unflappable self.  

While this wasn't my favorite in the series I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in Mrs. Pollifax's world. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I love this series and this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  This isn't the one I would necessarily recommend starting with but this series is bunches of fun if you can suspend belief a bit!

Friday, May 19, 2023

Friday Five - 5 Books on my List for a Birthday Readathon

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.  May is my birthday month and I like to celebrate the whole month.  One of the ways I do that is making sure I get a little extra reading time.   I haven't worked up to a full readathon amount of time but next year may be the year.  If I was going to do a birthday readathon here are 5 books I'd want to read.

1.  Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - I love these authors and I love the sound of this one.  Seems like a perfect choice to start off some binge reading.

2.  Birder on Berry Lane: Three Acres, Twelve Months and Thousands of Birds by Robert Tougias - After the emotional dive into the past above this book about birds and bird watching seems like the perfect soother.  

3.  The Unseen by Heather Graham - Now that I've had some quiet reflection about birds it seems like the time to dive into some fast paced romantic suspense with ghosts and other creepiness.

4.  Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen - And for a change of pace a magical realism story by one of my favorite authors.

5.  Silent Auction by Jane K. Cleland - And to wrap it up I have to include a cozy.  I like this series involving an antiques dealer and a light mystery seems like the perfect way to end my readathon.

What books would you put on your readation list?  

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Books from the Backlog - The Library of Lost and Found

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 Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Blurb:  Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people - though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she's invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend - her grandmother Zelda - who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda's past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  May is my birthday month and I'm focusing on books involving my favorite thing.  This involves a grandparent/grandchild relationship, a gift from the past, and books so how could I not enjoy this one!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies - Historical Mystery

Goodreads:  The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman

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

Description:  A high society amateur detective at the heart of Regency London uses her wits and invisibility as an ‘old maid’ to protect other women in a new and fiercely feminist historical mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman.

Lady Augusta Colebrook, “Gus,” is determinedly unmarried, bored by society life, and tired of being dismissed at the age of forty-two. She and her twin sister, Julia, who is grieving her dead betrothed, need a distraction. One soon presents to rescue their friend’s goddaughter, Caroline, from her violent husband.

The sisters set out to Caroline’s country estate with a plan, but their carriage is accosted by a highwayman. In the scuffle, Gus accidentally shoots and injures the ruffian, only to discover he is Lord Evan Belford, an acquaintance from their past who was charged with murder and exiled to Australia twenty years ago. What follows is a high adventure full of danger, clever improvisation, heart-racing near misses, and a little help from a revived and rather charming Lord Evan.

Back in London, Gus can’t stop thinking about her unlikely (not to mention handsome) comrade-in-arms. She is convinced Lord Evan was falsely accused of murder, and she is going to prove it. She persuades Julia to join her in a quest to help Lord Evan, and others in need—society be damned! And so begins the beguiling secret life and adventures of the Colebrook twins.

Genre: Mystery - Historical   

Why I Picked This Book:  The premise sounded intriguing and I love historical mysteries.  

My Impression:  I can't think of any other book I've read quite like this mystery.  For starters the book is divided into 3 different cases all involving women in serious and terrible situations.  As well, Gus and her sister Julia are both a bit older than the typical main character and financially independent.  Gus is daring and adventurous and willing to risk herself to help her friends and protect her sister.  Julia is a bit quieter and nicer.  Her edges are a bit smoother than Gus's in your face manner and she isn't quite so quick to jump without thinking.  That said she is just as smart and brave and Gus is.  As well these aren't typical mysteries.  There are no murders but the situations Gus and Julia are involved in are perhaps even more serious with everything on the line.

I enjoyed this read and really liked the format of essentially 3 short stories but in chronological order.  I enjoyed getting to know the main characters and understanding their motivations.  Also, Julia's health issues were heartbreaking and it was interesting to see how breast cancer was treated and thought of in this time period.  My main issue was that Gus's obsession with Lord Evan annoyed me a bit.  She's an adult and is supposed to be mature but she just won't even pause to listen to anyone's advice.    

This is my first experience with this author but it definitely won't be my last.  I really enjoyed the writing style, the characters and the stories.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes!  This was an interesting read and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would!  This was a compelling historical mystery with some very different aspects to the story.

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Things That Are Keeping Me From Reading

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 the Thing That Get in the Way of Reading.  I'm sure there are a number of different ways to take this but I'm taking this very literally and focusing on the things I'm doing instead of reading.

1.  Dog Training - In the past year and a half I've really gotten into dog training.  Not only is there working with my dog in classes but I also am an assistant instructor for several classes and am studying to begin getting certain training certifications.  I have absolutely loved all aspects of this but it does take a lot of time.

2.  Homeschooling - Before the pandemic and leukemia we had started homeschooling my then 9 year old.  With  2 and a half years of cancer treatment behind us homeschooling has now started focusing on getting caught up and getting re-energized about schooling.

3.  Mindless Internet Scrolling - While I love most of the things on this list this is one I really am trying to cut down on and eventually get rid of completely.  Between mindlessly scrolling social media or shopping sites I am wasting way too much time without getting any enjoyment out of it.

4.  Cooking - I really love to cook and bake.  I had gotten away with it for awhile and have been really enjoying finding my way again - especially when it comes to baking.  And of course my family does prefer to eat dinner and we are trying to eat out a lot less.

5.  YouTube Watching - I don't really watch much TV anymore but I watch a lot of YouTube.  There are so many fantastic channels covering a wide range of topics between beauty, true crime, food, history, homeschooling and anything else I randomly get interested in that I can always find something to watch.

6.  Blogging - I love blogging and visiting my blogger friends' sites but even though I'm talking and reading about books it does take up time that I could be reading.

7.  Researching Random Rabbit Holes - I do this pretty regularly.  Something will catch my attention and I'll look something up and then two hours later I've learned everything from migration patterns of a certain bird to the downfall of the Romanian monarchy.

8.  Napping -  For the last few months it has really felt like the last few years are seriously catching up with me and I've had some serious fatigue.  I've been sneaking in naps when I can.

9.  Laundry - I don't know how on earth we go through so much laundry but it feels like I'm doing something involving laundry continuously.  The good thing is I can combine sorting, folding and putting up with either YouTube watching or an audiobook.

10. Random Home Projects - This is kind of like the research rabbit holes but usually with organization projects.  I'll go to put something up and then suddenly be reorganizing the linen closet or a bookshelf or who knows what else.

What keeps you from reading?

Monday, May 15, 2023

Dressed to Drills - Cozy Mysteries

Goodreads:  Dressed to Drill (Fixer-Upper Mysteries #10) by Kate Carlisle

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

Description: While Shannon Hammer is thrilled to attend the premiere of the movie based on her boyfriend Mac’s latest book, she can’t wait to trade her killer heels for work boots and start her next renovation project in Lighthouse Cove: a quaint Victorian church that has seen better days. And will see them again—as a museum—if Shannon, her talented crew, and her sister Chloe have anything to say about it.

But on the first day of demolition, work comes to a screeching halt when they stumble on the body of a beautiful young woman in one of the chapels. Who killed the assistant art director? Suspects crawl out of the woodwork as fast as Shannon can restore it. The church is hiding a century of secrets from the days that smugglers wreaked havoc on the California coast. But it’s a more recent secret that someone killed to protect. Shannon and Mac will use every tool in their toolbox to nail down the truth before any more lives are sacrificed.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I have enjoyed all the books I've read in this series so of course I had to see what trouble Shannon and her crew get into this time.  

My Impression:  This was a fast and entertaining read involving church politics, renovation, and secrets.  Oh and a dead body or more of course!  When the book starts we are in Mac and Choloe's world at a premier of a film adaptation of one of his books.  Since we are normally in Shannon's world it was kind of fun to see what happens outside of Lighthouse Cove.  

As soon as Mac and Shannon return to Lighthouse Cove Shannon is pulled into the next renovation project - this time turning a church into an a museum.  While trying to get the project going and get the bits and pieces left behind by the previous tenants out of the building Shannon and her crew stumble over a dead body.  The young woman was well liked and had no enemies so just who could have wanted her dead.  

I really enjoyed the mystery and watching Shannon try and figure out just what is going on.  Her relationship with Mac is sweet and I enjoyed the new developments.  Shannon does suffer a bit from being a bit too perfect but I liked her and the side characters enough that it didn't detract to much from the book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I've really enjoyed everything I've read by this author.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun series to try!

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

Sunday, May 14, 2023

This Week in Reading - May 14


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 Illusion by Anna Lee Huber - I really enjoy this series and I love the cover on this book.  (Publisher)

Hiss Me Deadly by Miranda James - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series (Publisher)

Catch Me If You Candy by Ellie Alexander - Another favorite cozy mystery series! (Publisher)


Reading:  The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman and The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton

Listening:  Mrs. Pollifax and the Second Thief by Dorothy Gilman

This has been a good week.  We had a break from dog training classes but Rover and I got together with a friend and her dog to get some training in which was fun.  I've been watching Bad Vegan on Netflix about a woman who ran Pure Food and Wine Restaurant in New York and it is a bonkers story!

I've also been exploring Reddit.  I'm about 5 years late but I finally decided I needed to figure it out.  I'm not converted but have found some interesting subreddits.  Any bookish subreddits anyone can recommend?

I've been keeping my birthday resolution to read more in May and to focus on getting some reading done during the day and have been really loving it.  I've been surprised how much I've enjoyed taking 5 or 10 minutes to read instead of just flipping on my phone.

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Over the Moon - Middle Grade Review

Goodreads:  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Over the Moon by Frank Cottrell Boyce

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

Description:  The Tootings are stuck in 1966! Somebody’s stolen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and left them behind. But that’s not their biggest problem. Their biggest problem is that Little Harry’s been kidnapped by whoever stole their magical car. There’s only one solution: the Tootings must find the Potts — the family that originally built Chitty. Sharing their combined knowledge of how Chitty works, the families may stand a chance of rescuing Little Harry and finding the most brilliant car in the world. But a fiendish criminal has different plans, ones that involve flying Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to the moon and putting an explosive scheme into action.

Genre:  Middle Grade Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I have loved the previous 3 books and David Tennant reads the audio and that alone makes this worth listening to!

My Impression:  This book was absolutely bonkers.  It starts off just where the previous book left off with the Tooting family stuck in 1966 and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang disappearing into the future.  I can't begin to describe all the madness that takes place.  Queen Elizabeth II shows up, cars are crushed into cubes, Global landmarks start flying around, are shrunk, and/or disappear.  There's time travel and all the conundrums that that entails.  Oh and there's space flight but not in the traditional ways.

I loved the combination of the Tootings and the Potts family. Things are not going well but Mr. Tooting can't help but keep his upbeat attitude and Lucy Tooting can't help but predict doom and gloom for them all.   I don't want to say too much about all that happens because I did enjoy some of the unexpectedness of the story.  

I highly recommend going the audio route if you can get the audio books narrated by David Tennant.   As well, this series is best read in order as the stories build on each other.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would though I'm sad to see that this is the last book in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang series.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy middle grade adventures I'd definitely recommend this series and if you listen to audiobooks you must try David Tennant's narration.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Friday Fives - Five Books On My TBR That Dig Into the Past

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 I'm focusing on my favorite things and one of my favorite things in books are stories where a character digs into the past.  Here are 5 books on my TBR where the character does just that.

1.  The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White - I just finished a book by these three and enjoyed it.  This one involves looking into a passenger on the Lusitania so I'm looking forward to it.

2.  Morning Glory by Sarah Jio - The main character discovers a trunk belonging to a previous owner.  Plus, I've really enjoyed other books by this author.

3.  The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis - I love this author and this book not only involves a character looking into the past but takes place in a library.

4.  The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell - I love Lisa Jewell's books and this story of adult children making sense of their own past while revisiting the house they lived in as children sounds interesting.  

5.  The London House by Katherine Reay - A woman goes back to her family's home to uncover the truth about a scandal involving her great-aunt in the 1930s.  

What are your favorite books that dig into the past?

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Books from the Backlog - Pleating for Mercy

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:  Pleating for Mercy by Melissa Bourbon

Blurb:  When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's boss turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I have had this book on my shelf for years and have never read it even though it involves ghosts, an old house, and clothes which are some of my very favorite things.