Sunday, March 31, 2024

This Week in Reading - March 31

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

What I Got:

People in Glass Houses by Jayne Castle - I've been wanting to read more from this author (or rather this author under this name) so when I saw this book I couldn't resist picking it up.  It looks really good.  (Publisher)

The Ghost Cat by Alex Howard - This one looks interesting if a bit different but I really liked the books it was compared to so I'm excited to give it a try.  (Publisher)

The Paris Widow by Kimberly Belle - I've heard good things about this author and this sounds like an interesting read.  (Publisher)

Made for You by Jenna Satterthwaite - I got this one by accident.  It looks interesting though very different from my usual reading so fingers crossed!  (Publisher)

Shady Hollow by Juneau Black - I read a later book in this series last year and enjoyed it but was definitely feeling like I was missing context so I decided to pick up the first book in the series.  (Purchased)

Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas - I've been wanting to reread this one and since I've reread it several times I decided it was time to purchases for the Keeper Shelf.  (Purchased)

Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas - Ditto above (Purchased)

The Chocolate Castle Clue by JoAnna Carl - I've been slowly collecting books from this series so when I saw this one at the used bookstore I couldn't resist it.  (Purchased)

Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton - This is a series I've been wanting to read for years and so when I saw the first book at the used bookstore I had to pick it up. (Purchased)

Deck the Hallways by Kate Carlisle - This was the only book in the home renovation series that I didn't own and that my library didn't have so another one I couldn't leave at the used bookstore.  (Purchased.


Reading:  The Clock Struck Murder by Betty Web and Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

Listening:  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This week I kind of accidentally did some bookshopping.  The first was when I picked up a few things for Will for Easter at a store that has lots of Funko Pops and what not but also has a large used book section.  Then while J and I were waiting for our dinner reservation we went into the bookstore nextdoor and I bought a couple of books.  It was just a week that called for books I guess!

We are almost done with this season of Drive to Survive on Netflix and since there's no F1 race this weekend I think we are going to start the newest season of The Great British Bake-Off.  

Have a great week and happy reading!  And a happy Easter to those that celebrate.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Rhythm and Clues - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Rhythm and Clues (Record Shop Mystery #3) by Olivia Blacke

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

Description:  It’s been five whole months since the last murder in Cedar River, Texas, and Juni Jessup and her sisters Tansy and Maggie have been humming along when disaster strikes again.

Their struggling vinyl records shop/coffee nook, Sip & Spin Records, is under pressure from predatory investors, though the Jessup sisters aren’t ready to face the music and admit defeat. But the night after their meeting, the sketchy financier is killed outside their shop during a torrential Texas thunderstorm that washes out all the roads in and out of town. Now the sisters find themselves trapped in Cedar River with a killer, and Juni is determined to solve the case.

When the river spits out an unexpected surprise, Detective Beau Russell asks for Juni’s help, never predicting her investigation will spin her into danger. Up until now, the Jessup sisters have been playing it by ear, but with
the whole town watching, can they catch a killer before he strikes again?

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've read the previous two books in the series and enjoyed them.

My Impression: So far I've enjoyed this series about three sisters running a record store in a little town in Texas.  The sisters are still struggling to keep their head above water running a small business in a small town and always feel like they are teetering on the edge of disaster.  I really like that the record store isn't immediately doing amazing and the sisters are having to come up with different marketing ideas and other things to keep the business running.  This includes spending time with a potential investor who happens to be an irritating man child that Juni briefly knew in college.  Things of course come to a rather catastrophic ending with a power outage, a terrible storm and the irritating man child being found dead in front of the record store.  

I like Juni's relationship with her sisters and watching them run the business.  Things aren't always sunshine and rainbows but (other than random murders of course) the level of drama is fairly realistic.  As well, the mystery kept me interested and I enjoyed getting to the big reveal.  Juni can be a bit immature sometimes but mostly with her sisters which fits with her being the youngest sister.  The two things that keep this series from being a winner for me is a love triangle between two good guys who I'm really starting to feel deserve better than being "casually dated" by someone they both want to seriously date.  The other is probably a just me thing but Juni rides around town on an adult trike which is fine but it just gets mentioned SO many times throughout the book that it gets a bit eye rolly.

Overall, this is a fun mystery series with a bit of music and a bit of coffee and a lot of small town quirky.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would!  While the series isn't perfect, overall, I really enjoy it and will be keeping an eye out for the next one.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun series to start and it's one you could jump in  here without having to go to the beginning.  

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

Friday, March 29, 2024

Friday Fives - Five Short Reviews for Books I've Read Recently

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 Soulmate by Sally Hepworth - This was my first Sally Hepworth and it definitely won't be the last!  This was a twisty turny story and I was never quite sure what would be revealed next.  I found both different POVs fascinating and compelling.   I was hooked and couldn't wait to find out just what all had led up to that final moment but I wouldn't necessarily call this a thriller.   The pacing was fast and once I got settled on one theory something would happen to change my mind but I never felt that claustrophobic feeling that really scary thrillers give me.  I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.  My Rating:  Really Liked It (4 Stars)

2.  The Obsession by Nora Roberts -
This is one of Roberts' romantic suspense stand alone titles and one I remember enjoying right after it came out but not much other than that.  This was an intense listen that starts out when Naomi is just 11 years old and discovers her father is a serial killer.  Fast forward to present day where she is a photographer who has focused on keeping the past in the past and not putting down roots - until she finds a house with a view she can't resist and a town where she can't help but want to stay.   Roberts never disappoints with pacing and this one kept me hooked from beginning to end.  I loved all the characters - especially Tag the dog.  The suspense is definitely creepy and I enjoyed the unraveling.  My only wish is that we could have gotten a book about Naomi's brother Mason as I loved his character.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

3.  Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick -
I always enjoy Quick/Krentz's romantic suspense and this was a fun one with legends and rumors and misdirection.  Slater Rockton has quite the reputation after essentially rising from the dead and surviving on a thought to be deserted island.  Ursula Kern has made a reputation as running one of the best secretarial firms in London with high standards and exceptional results but she's not who exactly who she says she is.  I enjoyed their meeting as well as watching them get more and more involved in the mystery surrounding Ursula's employee's death.  This was a good quick entertaining read. Nothing that will really stick with me but it was lots of fun from beginning to end.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

4.  Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas -
This is the first book in the Hathaway family series that involves oldest sister Amelia and Cam who is the manager at Jenner's - the club featured in The Devil in Winter.  Cam's heritage is a mix of Romany and Irish which makes him feel like he fits in neither world and he's perpetually restless - that is until he comes into contact with the Hathaways.  The family, to put it nicely, is a mess.  The brother, Leo, has recently inherited a title that is supposed to be cursed, very little money, and a falling down manor house.  Leo is on a path of self-destruction after the loss of his fiancĂ© and things in general are just not going well.  I loved getting to know the family.  The sisters were entertaining, Leo was maddening, and Amelia was frustrating though I heavily sympathized with her.  Cam is an interesting character trying to figure out exactly who he is and what he wants.  The romance wasn't my favorite.  It was very physical attraction forward and Amelia never really seemed to settle on what she wanted.  That said I enjoy Kleypas's books and I'm looking forward to seeing more of the family - and how Leo gets redeemed.   My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

5.  Murder in the First Edition by Lauren Elliott -
I read the first two books in this cozy series about a bookstore owner a year or two ago and then never continued.  After picking up the third book I remember why.  The mystery looks interesting.  Addie, the main character, owns a bookstore and inherited a rambling old house from her aunt.  The town, Greybourn Harbor is cute and cozy and has everything that makes for a good cozy series.   The main problem is I really don't like Addie.  She has To Stupid To Live syndrome in spades and never seems to learn.  The mystery was an interesting one and the the reveal was solid but I was so annoyed by Addie's refusal to listen or believe anything anyone else tells her (including the police chief, Mark).  As well, there's one of my least favorite things in a book - the dreaded love triangle.  To be honest both Mark and Simon could do much better than Addie.  My Rating: Not For Me (2 Stars)

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Books from the Backlog - And Only to Deceive

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:  And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

Blurb: For Emily, accepting the proposal of Philip, the Viscount Ashton, was an easy way to escape her overbearing mother, who was set on a grand society match. So when Emily's dashing husband died on safari soon after their wedding, she felt little grief. After all, she barely knew him. Now, nearly two years later, she discovers that Philip was a far different man from the one she had married so cavalierly. His journals reveal him to have been a gentleman scholar and antiquities collector who, to her surprise, was deeply in love with his wife. Emily becomes fascinated with this new image of her dead husband and she immerses herself in all things ancient and begins to study Greek.

Emily's intellectual pursuits and her desire to learn more about Philip take her to the quiet corridors of the British Museum, one of her husband's favorite places. There, amid priceless ancient statues, she uncovers a dark, dangerous secret involving stolen artifacts from the Greco-Roman galleries. And to complicate matters, she's juggling two very prominent and wealthy suitors, one of whose intentions may go beyond the marrying kind. As she sets out to solve the crime, her search leads to more surprises about Philip and causes her to question the role in Victorian society to which she, as a woman, is relegated.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I've been buying multiple books in this series and have yet to read even the first book.  I need to read it before I buy any more books!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Overdue Reviews -The Pleasures of Passion + The Beekeeper's Daughter


Goodreads:  The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries

Blurb:  When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancĂ© brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with....But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?

My Thoughts:  I have mixed feelings about this book.  I enjoy second chance romances typically and I really liked the way Bri and Niall communicated.  There was some hesitation that made sense but for the most part they were able to talk and listen to each other.  I really liked Bri.  She's been through some really tough times and has come through it all with resilience.  I was not as fond of Niall.  His reasons for getting involved in the duel and for leaving England are honorable and even his loss of faith in Brilliana makes sense.  That said his attitude was a bit too imperious at times and I just never fully connected with him.  As well, I didn't love how fast the physical aspect of their relationship developed and how much it seemed to control Bri especially.  Overall, while I didn't love this one I did enjoy it and will read more from this author in the future though she won't be an auto-buy for me.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

Goodreads:  The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore

Blurb: Dorset, 1933: Grace Hamblin is growing up on a beautiful rural estate. The only child of the beekeeper, she knows her place and her future - until her father dies unexpectedly and leaves her bereft and alone. Alone, that is, except for the man she loves, whom she knows she can never have.

Massachusetts, 1973: Grace's beautiful, impetuous daughter Trixie Valentine is in love. Jasper is wild and romantic, a singer in a band on the brink of stardom. Then tragedy strikes and he must return to his home in England, promising to come back to Trixie one day, if only she will wait for him…

Weighed down by memories, unaware of the secrets that bind them, both mother and daughter are searching for lost love. To find what they are longing for they must confront the past, and unravel the lies told long ago…

My Thoughts:  This author has a gift for making her settings and characters come to life. I felt like I could see the gardens in Dorset and then coastal Massachusetts and I could see Grace with her bees and Trixie listening to music on the beach.  The story grabbed my attention and kept me pulled in though at times I didn't really like any of the characters.  There are definitely several plotlines involving affairs which is a fingernails on a chalkboard plotline for me but I enjoyed the author's writing style so much that I was able to get past it.  This is an author that I would definitely read more from.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Ten Series on My Radar

 I do love a good series and there are so many I want to read so I kind of keep a running list of series that are on my radar.  That way when I finish one up or get caught up on one I have another one to add to the list!

1.  The Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto - A stand alone book by this author was in my top ten favorites for 2023 so I really want to try this series. It sounds like chaos mixed with mystery.

2.  Molly Murphy by Rhys Bowen - I really enjoy other books by Bowen but for some reason have never read this historical mystery series set around Irish immigrant, Molly Murphy.

3.  The Hathaways by Lisa Kleypas - I read this historical romance series ages ago but I've really been wanting to reread it lately.

4.  An American in Paris by Colleen Cambridge - This mystery series about a woman connected to Julia Childs sounds like a lot of fun.

5.  Krewe of Hunters by Heather Graham - I love all the books in the series that I've read but there are so many that I've missed that I want to read.

6.  Charles Lennox Mysteries by Charles Finch - I read the first book forever ago and even though I really enjoyed it I haven't continued with the series.

7.  Sunrise Cove by Jill Shalvis - I took an unintended break from Shalvis' books and I really want to read all the books in this series so I can get to know Sunrise Cove.

8.  Noodle Shop Mysteries by Vivien Chien - I read and loved the first book last year and am now a bit afraid this series is going to get lost in the shuffle.

9.  Vera Stanhope by Ann Cleeves  - So many people love this series and this author and I have yet to read any of her books.  I really need to try to get to know Vera.

10. Lady Emily Mysteries by Tasha Alexander - This series is heading into dangerous territory where I am collecting the books but haven't read any of the series.  I do this regularly and there have been several times when I don't end up liking the books.  I need to start the series so I can decide if I need to stop collecting the books or not!

Have you read any of these series?  What are some of your favorite series?

Monday, March 25, 2024

The Other Side of Disappearing - Romance Review

Goodreads: The Other Side of Disappearing by Kate Clayborn

Rating: Just Okay (2 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Hairstylist Jess Greene has spent the last decade raising her younger half-sister, Tegan—and keeping a shocking secret. Ever since their reckless mother ran off with a boyfriend she’d known only a few months, Jess has been aware that he’s the same accomplished con man who was the subject of a wildly popular podcast, The Last Con of Lynton Baltimore.

Now thirty-one, Jess didn’t bargain on Tegan eventually piecing together the connection for herself. But Tegan plans to do exactly what Jess has always feared—leave their safe, stable home to search for their mother—and she’ll be accompanied by the prying podcast host and her watchful, handsome producer, Adam Hawkins. Unwilling to let the sister she’s spent so much of her life protecting go it alone, Jess reluctantly joins them.

Together, the four make their way across the country, unraveling the mystery of where the couple disappeared to and why. But soon Jess is discovering other things too. Like a renewed sense of vulnerability and curiosity, and a willingness to expand beyond the walls she’s so carefully built. And in Adam, she finds an unexpected connection she didn’t even know was missing, if only she can let go and let him in . . .

Genre: Romance - Contemporary    

Why I Picked This Book:  Podcasts and family secrets are always plotlines that appeal to me.

My Impression: Oh I wanted to love this one - and there was quite a bit I liked.  I really liked the podcast angle and the investigation into Jess and Teagan's mother's whereabouts.  I thought Adam was a total sweetheart and liked how he dealt with everyone involved in the story.  He's intelligent and thoughtful though often gets dismissed because of his size.  Tegan is definitely a typical teenager - overly confident and super vulnerable at the same time.  I liked the writing style.  The author is fantastic at creating a world and complicated situations.  

But, unfortunately, there was quite a bit I didn't like.  Jess was difficult to warm up to.  Given her history I completely understand her reserve but her need to control everything and her single mindedness was frustrating and I felt like it took too long to see any cracks in her defenses.  As well, I felt like there was a lot of repetitiveness.  I liked the fact that the author alternated between Jess's and Adam's POVs as this gives the reader insight for both the subject and the investigator but the mutual longing and Adam worrying about Jess and Jess being angry got a bit much after awhile.  

It did resolve nicely and I did enjoy being along for the investigative ride but this wasn't a book I looked forward to picking up.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Probably.  I did enjoy the writing for the most part so if the blurb caught my eye I'd probably give it a try.   

Would I Recommend this Book? If you've had good luck with this author before or have more patience with a prickly main character than I do I would definitely give this book a try.

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

Sunday, March 24, 2024

This Week in Reading - March 24

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

What I Got:

Death Behind Every Door by Heather Graham - I really enjoyed last years Blackbird Files Trilogy which is essentially the Krewe of Hunters series goes international.  This one has ties to H.H. Holmes and looks like creepy fun.  (Publisher)

Between a Flock and a Hard Place by Donna Andrews - This is the next book in one of my favorite series so of course I couldn't resist! (Publisher)


Reading:  Murder, She Wrote: Murder Backstage by Jessica Fletcher and Terrie Farley Moran and Peril in Paperback by Kate Carlisle

Listening:  Charms and Chocolate Chips by Bailey Cates

This week I finally finished Homecoming by Kate Morton.  I really enjoyed it but it's been a long time since I read anything that hefty!  I'm going to go for a smaller page count for awhile but it was a good reminder to mix in some chunky books now and again.

J and I have been watching Drive to Survive on Netflix and I've become absolutely fascinated with Formula 1.  There's a lot to watch so it's interferering with my reading a bit!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

A Deadly Affair - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: A Deadly Affair by Agatha Christie

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

Description:  Love can propel us to our greatest heights . . . and darkest depths. In this new collection of Agatha Christie short stories, witness the dark side of love—crimes of passion, games of the heart, and deadly affairs. This pulse-pounding compendium features beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, master of charades Parker Pyne, the enigmatic Harley Quin, and the adventurous Tommy and Tuppence, all on the ready to solve a tantalizing mystery.

In “The Face of Helen,” a night at the Royal Opera could reach a deadly crescendo for a woman caught in a dicey love triangle; “Finessing the King” delivers a curious ad in the personals that could mask sinister intentions; who’s in danger of getting stung in “Wasp’s Nest” depends on rounding up suspects and solving a murder—before it even happens; and more tales that make for essential reading that Christie fans old and new will simply love to death.

Genre:  Mystery - Classic 

Why I Picked This Book:  It's an Agatha Christie short story collection - I couldn't resist!  

My Impression: Even though I have all of these stories in other collections I couldn't resist picking this one up.  This is a collection of short stories all focused on romantic relationships.  Several of these involve Christie's main detectives - Marple and Poirot - and others involve her lesser known detectives who are no less entertaining - Mr. Sattherwaite and Mr. Parker Pyne as well as Tommy and Tuppence.  There are also a few stand alones.  

This is a good mix of stories involving different types of mysteries and Christie's writing experiments.  In addition to the usual murder mysteries some stories involve an paranormal element or studies in human nature.  All make for good reading - especially if you're new to Christie and don't already have these stories on your shelves in other collections.  My very favorite thing in this book was a personal essay at the end where Christie talked about two youthful suiters.  It was a fun peek at the personal life of one of my personal authors.

This was a great book to read while reading a few heavier books.  I could take a short story break with a Christie story when I had had just a bit too much heaviness and it was perfect.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I am basically continuously rereading Agatha Christie's books.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you love Christie or if you want to read more of her this is a great collection.

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

Friday, March 22, 2024

Friday Fives - Five Books Set in Ireland on My TBR

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. Ireland is one of my favorite places to have as a book setting so here are five books on my TBR set in Ireland.

1.  Tara Road by Maeve Binchy - I can't have a list about books set in Ireland without including something by Maeve Binchy!

2.  No Strangers Here by Carlene O'Connor - This series looks really interesting and the blurb for the first book really caught my eye.

3.  The Guest List by Lucy Foley - I've read a few books by this author and have enjoyed them for the most part and this one looks good.

4.  The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods - This book with touches of book related magic sounds like one I will either really love or really not so I need to try it!

5.  The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy - Libraries and Ireland and characters finding themselves make this sound like the perfect book for me.

What books set in Ireland do you have on your TBR?

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Books from the Backlog - Summer Reading

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:  Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay

Blurb:  For Samantha Gale, a summer on Martha's Vineyard at her family's tiny cottage was supposed to be about resurrecting her career as a chef, until she's tasked with chaperoning her half-brother, Tyler. The teenage brainiac is spending his summer at the local library in a robotics competition, and there's no place Sam, who's dyslexic, likes less than the library. And because the universe hates her, the library's interim director turns out to be the hot-reader guy whose book she accidentally destroyed on the ferry ride to the island.
Bennett Reynolds is on a quest to find his father, whose identity he's never known. He's taken the temporary job on the island to research the summer his mother spent there when she got pregnant with him. Ben tells himself he isn't interested in a relationship right now. Yet as soon as Sam knocks his book into the ocean, he can't stop thinking about her.

An irresistible attraction blossoms when Ben inspires Sam to create the cookbook she's always dreamed about and she jumps all in on helping him find his father, and soon they realize their summer fling may heat up into a happily ever after.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  Even though McKinlay is one of my favorite coy authors I haven't read any of her romances.  This one sounds fantastic and just like my kind of book!

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Lost Book of Bonn - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Lost Book of Bonn by Brianna Labuskes

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

Description:  1946: Emmy Clarke is a librarian not a soldier. But that doesn’t stop the Library of Congress from sending her overseas to Germany to help the Monuments Men retrieve and catalog precious literature that was plundered by the Nazis. The Offenbach Archival Depot and its work may get less attention than returning art to its rightful owners, but for Emmy, who sees the personalized messages on the inside of the books and the notes in margins of pages, it feels just as important. On Emmy’s first day at work, she finds a poetry collection by Rainer Maria Rilke, and on the title page is a handwritten “To Annelise, my brave Edelweiss Pirate.” Emmy is instantly intrigued by the story behind the dedication and becomes determined to figure out what happened. The hunt for the rightful owner of the book leads Emmy to two sisters, a horrific betrayal, and an extraordinary protest against the Nazis that was held in Berlin at the height of the war. Nearly a decade earlier, hundreds of brave women gathered in the streets after their Jewish husbands were detained by the Gestapo. Through freezing rain and RAF bombings, the women faced down certain death and did what so few others dared to do under the Third Reich. They said no. Emmy grapples with her own ghosts as she begins to wonder if she’s just chasing two more. What she finds instead is a powerful story of love, forgiveness, and courage that brings light to even the darkest of postwar days.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I can't resist World War II historical fiction and books are involved.

My Impression:  I've read a lot of historical fiction set during this time period but none set in Germany pre-,during and post-war.  Emmy Christina, and Annelise are all very different people with different perspectives to what is happening around them but each storyline was incredibly compelling.  All three broke my heart in different ways.

For me, Annelise was the hardest to read as I knew nothing good was going to happen for the characters but I couldn't help but admire them.    We meet Christina in Annelise's story and I was both looking forward to and dreading see how their storylines met.  I found Emmy especially interesting.  She, like many other women of the time, is a war widow and finds herself in a land she hated and getting to know the people who she had thought of as the enemy and blamed for the death of her husband.  She is also a librarian and her love of books and insatiable curiosity can't be dampened.  I was captivated by all three stories and learned a bit from each one.

This was a wonderful fascinating heartbreaking book that is a very different take on the usual World War II homefront historical fiction and I will be looking forward to reading more from this author.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I really enjoyed this one.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  Especially if you are a fan of historical fiction.

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday - Spring TBR

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  Since lists are one of my favorite things this is one of my favorite linkups!  Today's topic is Spring TBR.  I'm not fantastic about reading all the books on my seasonal TBRs but I love making the lists!  

1.  Murder in Rose Hill by Victoria Thompson - I love this historical mystery series and am so looking forward to this one!

2.  Mind Games by Nora Roberts - I always enjoy Nora Roberts' romantic suspense and this looks like a good one.

3.  Love at First Book by Jenn McKinlay - I love McKinlay's coy mysteries so I'm really looking forward to read one of her fiction titles.

4.  The Summer Swap by Sarah Morgan - I have really enjoyed previous books by this author so I'm really looking forward to this one.

5.  The Clock Struck Murder by Betty Webb - I don't know anything about this author but the blurb of this mystery sounds really fantastic.  

6.  Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire - I've had this series on my radar since the first book came out and spring looks the time time to try this one!

7.  Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Staub - This is one of the books on my shelf that I'm hoping to get read this year and a suspense title is always a good choice!

8.  Nothing Venture by Patricia Wentworth - I love Wentworth's mysteries and this one off my classic mystery list looks like a fun read.  

9.  The Grace of Wild Things by Heather Fawcett - This looks gorgeous and I love that it's a very loose take off Anne of Green Gables.

10.  Death by Beach Read by Eva Gates - Not only is this the next book in a series I'm really enjoying but it also takes place during the spring so perfect timing!

What are you hoping to read this spring?

Monday, March 18, 2024

A Midnight Puzzle - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  A Midnight Puzzle (A Secret Staircase Mystery #3) by Gigi Pandian

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

Description:  Secret Staircase Construction is under attack, and Tempest Raj feels helpless. After former client Julian Rhodes tried to kill his wife, he blamed her "accident" on the home renovation company’s craftsmanship. Now the family business—known for bringing magic into homes through hidden doors, floating staircases, and architectural puzzle walls—is at a breaking point. No amount of Scottish and Indian meals from her grandfather can distract Tempest from the they’re being framed.

When Tempest receives an urgent midnight phone call from Julian, she decides to meet him at the historic Whispering Creek Theater—only to find his dead body, a sword through his chest. After a blade appears from thin air to claim another victim, Tempest is certain they’re dealing with a booby trap… something Secret Staircase Construction could easily build. Tempest refuses to wait for the investigation to turn to her or her loved ones. She knows the pieces of the puzzle are right in front of her, she just has to put them together correctly before more disaster strikes.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed the previous books in this series and other books by this author.  

My Impression: I've really enjoyed this series with its magical elements and dramatic characters.  Tempest is starting to enjoy her new life off stage and working with her family's construction business that focuses on architectural misdirection.  Unfortunately for her though, Tempest is Tempest and nothing can stay peaceful for long.  The family business becomes involved in a nasty lawsuit followed quickly by murder with a side of rumors and a dash of ghost.  Tempest with her mentor Nicky (aka Nicodemius the Necromancer) are pulled into a murder investigation that reaches into the past.

Tempest's home at Fiddler's Folly is a place I wish was real as I would love to explore all the secret passages and hidden nooks.  As well, I wish the construction company really did exist as I would love to have one of their creations.  This was quite the entertaining mystery with legends and stories and magic.  It kept me guessing as to how things would unravel and what was connected to what - and of course was anything like it seemed.  

My only complaint was the story went into the weeds a bit during the reveal as Tempest's performance got a bit long winded and a little confusing.  Things did get ironed out in a satisfying manner but it just seemed like I could have done with less performance.  Overall, this is a fun and unique mystery series with interesting characters and a bit of showmanship.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  This author has a unique voice and I've enjoyed every book I've read by this author.  

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy mysteries this is a fun series though one best read in order.

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

Sunday, March 17, 2024

This Week in Reading - March 17

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:

Murder, She Wrote: Murder Backstage by Jessica Fletcher and Terrie Farley Moran - I always enjoy the books in this series and this one involves Jessica's British cousin who was always chaos in the show so it should be extra fun! (Publisher)

Murder in Rose Hill by Victoria Thompson - This is one of my favorite historical mystery series so I'm really looking forward to getting into this one. (Publisher)


Reading:  The Lost Book of Bonn by Brianna Labuskes and A Deadly Affair by Agatha Christie

Listening:  Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

The time change is killing me!  More daylight is great but I feel like I'm desperately trying to catch up on sleep which I'm not a fan of.  Dog classes start back up this week and I'm looking forward to a new group of puppies and beginning obedience dogs!

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Authors I've Been Wanting to Read - Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

At the beginning of the year I made a list of authors that I've been saying I need to read and commit to reading at least one book by each of the authors in 2024.  Here's my thoughts on one of those books/authors.

Goodreads:  Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Blurb:  Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had...

Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…

Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.

My Thoughts:  This author is a bit different from the others on my list as I have read her books.  She used to be one of my favorite historical romance authors but for whatever reason I got distracted by newer shinier books and stopped picking up books by her.

I didn't love the blurb of this one but thought I would go on and give it a try and I'm so glad I did.  I really ended up loving this one.  Anna is a truly nice person who is suddenly thrown into a world that she is completely unprepared for.  While overwhelmed she still manages to hold on to her own identity and stays true to herself - much to her family's horror when it comes to her wardrobe.  Avery is very different from the typical romance hero.  He's a small man who was bullied as a child for being delicate and frail.  He had to find his own confidence and found an unusual outlet for it.

I liked both the main characters quite a bit and really liked that they stayed true to themselves and really got to know each other.  I'm looking forward to reading more from this series and seeing more of the Westcott family.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Friday, March 15, 2024

Friday Fives - Five Non-Bookish Things I'm Loving

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  Since spring is upon us I'm picking out 5 things I'm really loving right now.

1.  Daffodils - Daffodils are one of my absolute favorite flowers and I love seeing them come up everywhere.  We used to have a ton but for whatever reason only a fraction of them are coming up now but they still make me happy.

2.  Benadryl - While I love seeing the daffodils and other things blooming lots of things that I'm allergic too are also starting to show up and Benadryl is absolutely saving my life right now.  

3.  Finch App - I used this self-care app a few years ago and enjoyed but then kind of forgot about it.  For the last couple of months I've been using it as a mix of a self-care app and a to do list and am loving it.  I add goals (ie things I need to get done) every day and get rewards for doing them and get to send my little bird different places.  It makes me very happy - plus the self-care aspect of the app is also really great.

4.  Scamanda Podcast - I've been mixing in podcasts between audio books and got completely hooked on the Scamanda podcast.  The story was absolutely fascinating and it was really well done.  Plus it was a limited number of episodes so it's easy to binge.

5.  Gabulosis on YouTube - I enjoy true crime content but Gabulosis's channel is my absolute favorite.  She focuses on vintage crime and talks about cases that are solved and unsolved.  Her research is excellent and she does a good job bring attention to little known cases.

What non-bookish things are you loving?

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Books from the Backlog - No One Needs to Know

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:  No One Needs to Know by Kevin O'Brien


In July 1970, actress Elaina Styles was slain in her rented Seattle mansion along with her husband and their son’s nanny. When the baby’s remains were found buried in a shallow grave close to a hippie commune, police moved in—only to find all its members already dead in a grisly mass suicide.

Now, decades later, a film about the murders is shooting at the mansion. On-set caterer Laurie Trotter ignores gossip that the production is cursed. But then people start dying…

As Laurie digs deep into what happened all those years ago, the truth emerges more twisted than any whispered rumor, as a legacy of brutal vengeance reaches its terrifying climax…

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This sounds really good though really creepy and we aren't even going to count the number of years it has been sitting on my NetGalley shelf.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

The Year of Having Fun with My Reading - Dark Corners + The Bookish Life of Nina Hill


Goodreads:  Dark Corners by Megan Goldin

Blurb:  Terence Bailey is about to be released from prison for breaking and entering, though investigators have long suspected him in the murders of six women. As his freedom approaches, Bailey gets a surprise visit from Maddison Logan, a hot, young influencer with a huge social media following. Hours later, Maddison disappears, and police suspect she’s been kidnapped—or worse. Is Maddison’s disappearance connected to her visit to Bailey? Why was she visiting him in the first place?
When they hit a wall in the investigation, the FBI reluctantly asks for Rachel’s help in finding the missing influencer. Maddison seems only to exist on social media; she has no family, no friends, and other than in her posts, most people have never seen her. Who is she, really? Using a fake Instagram account, Rachel Krall goes undercover to BuzzCon, a popular influencer conference, where she discovers a world of fierce rivalry that may have turned lethal.

When police find the body of a woman with a tattoo of a snake eating its tail, the FBI must consider a chilling possibility: Bailey has an accomplice on the outside and a dangerous obsession with influencers, including Rachel Krell herself. Suddenly a target of a monster hiding in plain sight, Rachel is forced to confront the very real dangers that lurk in the dark corners of the internet.

Rachel Krall, the true crime podcaster star of Megan Goldin’s acclaimed Night Swim returns to search for a popular social media influencer who disappeared after visiting a suspected serial killer.

My Thoughts:  I saw a glowing review for this mystery on and couldn't resist picking this one up.  I love the podcaster element and this looked so intriguing.  It did not disappoint.  Rachel is an interesting character and the mystery pulled me in from the very beginning.  There is a bit of a race against time as Rachel and the FBI try and figure out what Terence Bailey is really capable of before he is released from prison as well as a current investigation as the FBI searches for influencer Maddison Logan.  I loved the mix of podcasts and real time investigations.  The pacing of this kept me interested from beginning to end.  While this is definitely not a cozy I didn't find it too over the top graphic and creepy.  I didn't want to put the book down but I wasn't having to get up and check the locks!  This is the 2nd book in the Rachel Krall series but I had no problem starting here and it reads very much as a stand alone.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Goodreads:  The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Blurb:   The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

My Thoughts:  Well this was just a bit of cozy delightfulness that was a joy from beginning to end.  Nina works in a bookstore, has a cat named Phil, and a perfectly planned out life with no room for anything else.  And as often happens in fiction (and in real life come to think of it) just as Nina has decided her life is exactly the way she wants it things start going off the rails.  Work falls apart, the family she didn't know she has has become something she can't (and mostly doesn't want to) ignore and she seems to have kind of acquired a boyfriend.  I loved all the chaos from Phil's insights (provided by Nina), to her heart to hearts with her new family, to the occasional bursts of bad judgement, and everything in between.  It's not the most unpredictable of books but the journey to the expected end was lovely and funny and cozy.  I can't wait to read more by this author.  My Rating:  Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Series/Authors I've Stalled Out On 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 Books I'm Worried I Might Not Love the Second Time Around but I'm not a much of a re-reader so instead I'm looking at series/or authors I've stalled out on because I'm afraid they might not live up to my expectations.

1.  Mary Kubica - I read and loved Local Woman Missing but have hesitated to read more by this author because what if the next book doesn't work as well for me.  I am hoping to read Just the Nicest Couple soon so fingers crossed.

2.  A Haunted Vintage Mystery by Rose Pressey - and really this author in general as she has a couple of series.  I have several books by her and I enjoyed the first book but keep hesitating on picking up another book by her.

3.  Jesse Q. Sutanto - Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murders was one of my favorite books in 2023 and I have several other books by her that I've heard good things about but I keep stalling!  

4.  The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries by Vicki Delany - I've read a lot by this author and I read the first book in this series a couple of years ago and really liked the premise and have fully meant to go back to it.  

5.  Mimi Matthews - I've been getting back into historical romances and I really liked to book I read by her a few years ago.  

6.  Pages & Co. by Anna James - I read the first book in this middle grade series and really loved it but haven't picked up the next book in several years.

7.  The Secret, Book, & Scone Society by Ellery James - Another first book in a series I loved but for some reason have yet to go back to.

8.  Kate Quinn - After years of having The Alice Network on my TBR I read it and loved it and then haven't read another book by her in 3 years.  I really need to fix that.

9.  The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters - Barbara Michaels is one of my most reread authors but for some reason I've only read the first book in her mystery series about an Egyptologist under another of her pseudonyms.  

10.  Elly Griffiths - I've read the first books in two of Elly Griffiths series.  I enjoyed both and have not read any more in years.  

What series or authors have you stalled out on reading even though you enjoy what you've read?