Friday, May 31, 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.  Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica - Well this was a bit of a roller coaster!  I read another book by this author several months ago and really enjoyed it and just had to try another one.  This starts off like it's going to be a simple story - a man goes missing after an argument with his wife and a run in with a one of her friends.  However, nothing is how it seems.  I changed my mind about 10 times about where the story was going and still ended up surprised.  The start is a bit slow but this is a fun ride and the audio is very well done.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

2.  Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen - Oh I loved this one.  Zoey has been an unwanted guest in her father and stepmother's home since her mother died so she is anxious to get to the condo her mother left her on a little island outside of Charleston, South Carolina.  She's looking for some kind of connection to her late mother but what she finds might be even better.  I loved all the characters and storylines and was fully captivated by the entire story and I was sad to leave The Dellawisp when I got to the last page.  I've enjoyed all of this author's books and found this one to lean a bit more heavily into magical realism then the books of hers that I had read in the past.  My Rating: Loved It (5 Stars)

3.  The Reaper Follows by Heather Graham - This is the final book in the Amy Larson/Hunter Forrest quartet.  The pair have been hunting a mastermind controlling a cult that is convinced the apocalypse is coming and is doing what it can to help it get there.  I really enjoy Heather Graham's books - they're a bit like a candy bar - not a huge amout of substance but oh so yummy!  I have found that she doesn't do well when she used the same characters in a series of books and this is a bit of the case here.  A good chunk of the book kind of read like a ballad to how great Amy was.  I guessed the bad guy pretty early but overall I enjoyed seeing it all unravel and just how Amy, Hunter, and Aidan saved the day.  This wasn't a stand out book but it was a fun end to a short series and I'll be reading more from Graham.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

4.  Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas - This was a reread for me but it has been awhile since I've read it.  Sam and Lucy are a nice couple with some realistic baggage that they manage to work through in ways that feel authentic.  I loved the end and how Sam handled it and I really loved that they communicated.  There is a situation that occurs early in the book that would usually be a cause for The Misunderstanding but it wasn't because the two characters talked about the situation.  That alone would make me love the book. The magic feels a bit odd at times and Lucy's gift seems seriously inconvenient at times - especially given that she works with glass.   That said, I really enjoyed this one and am glad I finally bought a copy because it's a delighful comfort reread.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

5.  Forget What You Know by Christina Dodd - This book was absolutely bonkers - especially the end - in the most fun way.  There are secret identities, past secrets, treasure hunters, serial killers, stalkers, all set into the background of a small Northern California town hosting a garden festival.  Oh and there's also a bit of magic which really with everything else going on makes total sense.   I liked the characters and enjoyed seeing their journey.  It was a fun roller coaster with a bit of suspense and a bit of romance.  It's completely unbelievable but it was fun enough that I didn't really care.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Books from the Backlog - The Body Under the Piano

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 Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn

Blurb:  Aggie Morton lives in a small town on the coast of England in 1902. Adventurous and imaginative but deeply shy, Aggie hasn't got much to do since the death of her beloved father . . . until the fateful day when she crosses paths with twelve-year-old Belgian immigrant Hector Perot and discovers a dead body on the floor of the Mermaid Dance Room! As the number of suspects grows and the murder threatens to tear the town apart, Aggie and her new friend will need every tool at their disposal -- including their insatiable curiosity, deductive skills and not a little help from their friends -- to solve the case before Aggie's beloved dance instructor is charged with a crime Aggie is sure she didn't commit.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I just finished another middle grade that I absolutely adored so I'm kind of wanting to keep that going - plus this one has an Agatha Christie connection.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Year of Having Fun with Reading - Blood Red + The Grace of Wild Things


Goodreads:  Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Staub

Blurb:  From New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub comes the first in a terrifying new series set in a small town with a sinister secret The razor's gleaming blade slices effortlessly through skin and tendon, and he relishes the final anguished moments of his prey. There's only one thing he prizes their long, silken strands of red hair. But these women are merely stand-ins . . . a prelude to his ultimate victim. Nestled in New York's Hudson Valley, Mundy's Landing is famous for its picturesque setting—and for a century-old string of gruesome unsolved murders. Rowan returned to her hometown years ago, fleeing a momentary mistake that could have destroyed her family. Life is good here. Peaceful. Until an anonymous gift brings Rowan's fears to life again. The town's violent history was just the beginning. Soon everyone in Mundy's Landing will know that the past cannot be forgotten or forgiven—not until every sin has been paid for, in blood.

My Thoughts:  I was expecting something light and fluffy with murders and that is not exactly what I got.  There are definitely murders but it's not the light fluffy romantic suspense that I expected but I enjoyed it.  Rowan is a happily married mother of 3 with one teenager still in the house.  The community she lives in has quite a lot of history including a historic unsolved crime that happened more than 100 years ago.  But while the current threat has roots in the past - but it is not nearly so long ago and connects to something that Rowan has inteneded to keep secret.  I did guess the who but I fully enjoyed the ride getting from beginning to reveal.  It's a bit darker and a bit slower paced than I expected but I've already ordered the next book in this series because the teaser fully caught me.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

Blurb:  Grace has never been good at anything except magic—not that anyone believes her. While other children are adopted from the orphanage, nobody wants Grace. So she decides to make a home for herself by running away and offering herself as an apprentice to the witch in the nearby woods. After all, who better to teach Grace to use her magic? Surely the witch can’t be that bad.
But the witch is that bad—she steals souls for spells and gobbles up hearts. So Grace offers a deal: If she can learn all 100½ spells in the witch’s grimoire, the witch will make Grace her apprentice. But if Grace fails, the witch can take her magic. The witch agrees, and soon an unexpected bond develops between them. But the spells are much harder than Grace expected, and when a monster from the witch’s past threatens the home Grace has built, she may have to sacrifice more than her magic to save it.

Inspired by Anne of Green Gables, this is a magical story of found family, loss, and the power of a girl’s imagination.

My Thoughts:  I really loved this book.  I'm a big Anne of Green Gables fan and was a little concerned when I saw the inspired part of the blurb but this was inspired in the best possible of ways.  Grace IS Anne with her love of poetry and her sense of wonder and her desire to love and be loved.  There's also a number of little Easter eggs sprinkled about that aren't distracting if you're not an Anne fan but add an extra little bit of glitter for you if you are.  I don't want to say too much about I don't want to spoil anything but if you are a fan of found families than this is a must read.  It will probably be on my favorite books of the year list.  My Rating: Loved It! (5 Stars)

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I Was Super Excited to Get My Hands On But Still Haven't Read

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 Was Super Excited to Get My Hands On But Still Haven't Read.  This happens all the time and there are so many books that I just had to have but have never read.  Here are 10 off that list.

1.  To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey - I loved the previous book I read by this author so of course I had to pick this one up right away.  

2.  The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey - All of this author's books look fantastic and my method to read her seems to be just to buy all of her books until I finally pick one up.  I don't know why I'm stalling as all the books look really good.  

3.  The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah - I've been wanting to read something by this author for years and I was so excited to see this book come up on an Audible sale - especially since I had heard great things abou tthe narrator.  

4.  You Can Run by Rebecca Zanetti - I love suspense and I've heard great things about this author so I was so excited to pick this one up.

5.  The Family You Make by Jill Shalvis - I love this author's books and was so excited to pick this one up.  Same old story...

6.  The Address by Fiona Davis - I've loved every book I've read by this author and this looks wonderful so of course I had to buy it!

7.  The Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner - I've had this one on my TBR for ages and was so excited when it came up on an Audible sale.

8.  Let Me Like by Clare Mackintosh - Ditto above!

9.  Nothing Venture by Patricia Wentworth - I was so excited when I found a copy of this mystery as Wentworth books can be hard to find - especially in paperback.  Still haven't read it.

10. A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong - So I haven't had this one for that long but I was so excited to get it after I read the first Casey Duncan book.  

What books were you excited to get but haven't read yet?

Monday, May 27, 2024

TBR Tarot Reviews - Of Literature and Lattes

At the end of 2022 Wendy over at Literary Feline posted about these fantastic TBR Tarot Cards she had picked up on Etsy and that sounded too good to resist so I immediately ordered my own set.  So when I'm not feeling strongly about what to read next I pull out my cards and pick a book based on the prompt.  Here is a book the fates chose for me recently.

Goodreads:  Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay

TBR Tarot Prompt:  Pick a Book with And in the Title

Blurb: After fleeing her hometown three years earlier, Alyssa Harrison never planned to return. Then the Silicon Valley start-up she worked for collapsed and turned her world upside down. She is broke, under FBI investigation, and without a place to go. Having exhausted every option, she comes home to Winsome, Illinois, to regroup then move on as quickly as possible. Yet, as friends and family welcome her back, Alyssa begins to see a place for herself in this small Midwestern community.

Jeremy Mitchell moved from Seattle to Winsome to be near his daughter and to open the coffee shop he’s been dreaming of for years. Problem is, the business is bleeding money—and he’s not quite sure why. When he meets Alyssa, he senses an immediate connection, but what he needs most is someone to help him save his floundering business. After asking for her help, he wonders if something might grow between them—but forces beyond their control soon complicate their already complex lives, and the future they both hoped for is not at all what they anticipated.

My Thoughts:  The Printed Letter Bookshop was one of my favorite books of 2019 and I meant to read more from this author immediately.  But of course I didn't so I was thrilled when I realized this book fit into the prompt.  Overall, I really enjoyed it.  It took a bit to warm up to Alyssa and Jeremy as they both have some baggage that makes them prickly and has them making questionable decisions.  The community of Winsome is so warm and interesting and I really enjoyed spending time with these characters.  There were times that Jeremy especially drove me bonkers but by the end I was smiling and sad to see the last of these characters. My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Saturday, May 25, 2024

TBR Tarot Reviews - Run!


At the end of 2022 Wendy over at Literary Feline posted about these fantastic TBR Tarot Cards she had picked up on Etsy and that sounded too good to resist so I immediately ordered my own set.  So when I'm not feeling strongly about what to read next I pull out my cards and pick a book based on the prompt.  Here is a book the fates chose for me recently.

Goodreads:  Run! by Patricia Wentworth

TBR Tarot Prompt:  Pick a book with a one word title

Blurb:  Lost on a foggy country road, James enters an old, dark house to get help—but finds trouble. First comes a frightened woman, urging him to flee. Next, someone starts shooting at them. Later, Miss Aspidistra Aspinall says she is after her late aunt’s diamonds, and “ruthless relations” are after her. James is rattled. If Aspidistra knows the assailant, why does she refuse to call the police?
Suspicion mounts when James runs into Aspidistra again, at his cousin Daphne’s of all places! Only now “Aspidistra” is Sally. And now James’ associate, Jackson, has been mistaken for James...and murdered. James wants answers. Who is Sally? What was she really doing in the house? And why, for all the fibs and danger, is he in love with her? James means to find out, even if it’s the death of him.

My Thoughts:  This was a fun read!  Completely bonkers but fun.  James stumbles upon a dangerous situation and in the small world of Patricia Wentworth novels, the woman who was also in the situation just happens to be friends with one of James' cousins.  James is very blunt and there were a couple of times where I couldn't help but laugh.  He gets accused of being a Scot with various adjectives throughout the book.  The premise is a bit far fetched and the romance is also pretty far fetched though they do work well together.  This was a fun read that I enjoyed from begining to end.  It's not the most believable but it was a good time.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Friday, May 24, 2024

Friday Fives - Books Set in Summer I'd Like To Read This Summer

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 it's starting to feel like summer so I'm picking 5 books that are set in summer that I want to read this summer.

1.  Just for the Summber by Abby Jimmenez - I've ehard great things about this book and this author and this looks like such a fun read!

2.  Dying for Strawberries by Sharon Farrow - This series looks like a fun cozy read though I need to buy fresh strawberries before they go out of season before I read this!

3.   A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams - I always enjoy this author and I love historical fiction - and I think a historical fiction set at the beach in summer will make me incredibly grateful for air condition.

4.  Clammed Up by Barbara Ross - I read a later book in this series and really enjoyed it so I need to read this one since it takes place during the summer.

5.  The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis - Could there be a cover more summer-y?

Do you have any books set in summer on your TBR that you'd like to read this summer?

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Books from the Backlog - The Ghost Map

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 Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Blurb:  From Steven Johnson, the dynamic thinker routinely compared to James Gleick, Dava Sobel, and Malcolm Gladwell, The Ghost Map is a riveting page-turner about a real-life historical hero, Dr. John Snow. 

It's the summer of 1854, and London is just emerging as one of the first modern cities in the world. But lacking the infrastructure—garbage removal, clean water, sewers—necessary to support its rapidly expanding population, the city has become the perfect breeding ground for a terrifying disease no one knows how to cure. As the cholera outbreak takes hold, a physician and a local curate are spurred to action—and ultimately solve the most pressing medical riddle of their time. In a triumph of multidisciplinary thinking, Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories and inter-connectedness of the spread of disease, contagion theory, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world we live in.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  This one had really good reviews when it came out so I bought it and then of course have been letting it just hang out on my shelf.  I just finished a book on medical history and found it fascinating so this one jumped up the TBR.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Death Behind Every Door - Romantic Suspense Review

Goodreads:  Death Behind Every Door (The Blackbird Files #1) by Heather Graham

Rating: Liked It (3 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  In the shadows of a Scottish castle, something deadly is lurking in every corner…

When FBI special agent Luke Kendrick discovers chilling evidence of dozens of victims at a crime scene in London, he recognizes the calling card of the notorious H.H. Holmes Society. Named for the nineteenth-century monster regarded as America’s first serial killer, the society is comprised of a twisted web of killers, working to carry out heinous murders in Holmes’s memory. And now the group’s been linked to a Scottish castle turned B and B—where guests check in but never check out.

Arriving at the sinister Graystone Castle posed as a tourist, Luke is joined by Special Agent Carly MacDonald, and the pair is immediately confronted by dangers hidden in the castle’s depths. With guests disappearing and a network of killers closing in, Luke and Carly have only each other to rely on—and they’ll have to race to cut off the head of the snake before the blood trail of the past can culminate in a very real and deadly present.

Genre: Romance - Romantic Suspense     

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoy this author and I really enjoyed the three books in the Blackbird Trilogy last year.

My Impression: While overall I enjoyed this book, it did fall a bit flat for me and I didn't enjoy it as much as I usually enjoy Graham's books.  The history of the H.H. Holmes and Scotland itself are interesting but it was a bit heavy handed - especially at the beginning.  As well, there were so many references to a previous event that I ended up going and checking that this was in fact the first book in the series and that I wasn't missing anything.  While the action got started pretty quickly it took me a bit to get involved in the story and to feel at all connected to Carly and Luke.  

This book did have all the aspects I enjoy in Graham's books - a suspenseful mystery, a fantastic creepy setting, and two capable and tough main characters.  Once I got into the story it proved to be a quick read that I did enjoy but getting there was just took a bit longer than expected.  I will read the next Blackbird Files book as I do love the international setting but this was definitely a weaker start.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? I would but it is more based on how much I have enjoyed her other books than my experience with this book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you're a longtime Graham fan than I would recommend picking up this book but this is not the book I would recommend for starting this author.  

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Authors I'd Love Another Book From


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 Authors I'd Love Another Book From

1.  Agatha Christie - And not just any Agatha Christie but more 1930s,40s, and 50s level Agatha Christie - and especially more Miss Marple.  

2.  Kate Morton - I'm sure I'll get another book from Kate Morton but I'd really like her to write faster so I don't have to wait as long!

3.  Brynn Bonner - This author wrote a 4 book series involving family history and solving mysteries from the past.  It's probably my favorite cozy mystery series of all time but I only got 4 books and I want more!

4.  L.M. Montgomery - I would happily trade the Emily books and the Pat of Silver Bush books for more books like Jane of Lantern Hill and anything Anne related.

5.  Patricia Wentworth - Especially more 1940s more Miss Silver books.  Her early books are good but no where near as entertaining as her later books and especially her later books involving Miss Silver.

6.  Elizabeth Enright - I love this author and I would love more books about the Melendy family or Gone-Away Lake.

7.  Dorothy Gilman - I haven't read many of her stand alone books but I love her Mrs. Pollifax series.  In fact, I've stalled on finishing the series because I've only got a couple of books left and I don't want to say goodbye to that world.

8.  Lucinda Riley - I still think about the characters from the Seven Sisters series and I wish there were more books from her and that she would have had the opportunity to write more stories.

9.  Barbara Michaels - This is one of my go-to slump busting reread authors.  I love her Gothic-y suspense books and have reread most of them countless times.  I haven't read many of her Elizabeth Peters books so I'm going to treat myself to a bing read of those books soon.

10. Diana Biller - Hotel of Secrets was one of my favorite books of 2023 and she hasn't released a new book since then.  I think she's still writing but like Kate Morton I want her to write faster!

What authors would you love another book from?

Monday, May 20, 2024

Mind Games - Romantic Suspense Review

Goodreads: Mind Games by Nora Roberts

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

Description:  As they do each June, the Foxes have driven the winding roads of Appalachia to drop off their children for a two-week stay at their grandmother’s. Here, twelve-year-old Thea can run free and breathe in the smells of pine and fresh bread and Grammie’s handmade candles. But as her parents head back to suburban Virginia, they have no idea they’re about to cross paths with a ticking time bomb.

Back in Kentucky, Thea and her grandmother Lucy both awaken from the same nightmare. And though the two have never discussed the special kind of sight they share, they know as soon as their tearful eyes meet that something terrible has happened.

The kids will be staying with Grammie now in Redbud Hollow, and thanks to Thea’s vision, their parents’ killer will spend his life in supermax. Over time, Thea will make friends, build a career, find love. But that ability to see into minds and souls still lurks within her, and though Grammie calls it a gift, it feels more like a curse―because the inmate who shattered her childhood has the same ability. Thea can hear his twisted thoughts and witness his evil acts from miles away. He knows it, and hungers for vengeance. A long, silent battle will be waged between them―and eventually bring them face to face, and head to head…

Genre: Romance - Suspense

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

My Impression: Roberts' romantic supsense books are always an intense read and this might be one of the darker ones I've read yet.  I really liked Thea as a main character and her relationship with her family - epseically her grandmother.  Their bond was special and only made more so by the gift/curse they both share.  The connection between Thea and the killer was tough to read and definitely emphasized the curse part.

Roberts' books are addictive and this was no different.  When I picked this one up I fell into Thea's world and was hooked until I finally had to reluctantly put the book down to get some sleep.  If you're a fan of Nora Roberts' romantic suspense books you want be disappointed.  If you're looking for a fast paced read with likable main characters, solid family and friend relationships, a solid romantic relationship,and a hefty helping of suspense you can't go wrong with this one.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  I frequently reread my favorite Nora Roberts books and I always pick up her newest books.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy romantic suspense this is a must read!

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

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Murder at the Vicarage - Classic Mystery Read

Goodreads: Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

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

Description:  Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,’ declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, ‘would be doing the world at large a favour!’ It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later – when the colonel was found shot dead in the clergyman’s study. But as Miss Marple soon discovers, the whole village seems to have had a motive to kill Colonel Protheroe.

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  This was the April Read Christie Challenge pick.

My Impression:  I have read this book a number of times but somehow always forget just how much I enjoy it - or how the mystery ends  up unraveling.  This is the first book where we meet Miss Marple and the village of St Mary Mead.  A rather unpleasant man has been murdered in the Vicar's study and everyone is up in arms with scandal and intrigue.

This is a fun mystery with lots of secrets and lies.  It is cleverly plotted and full of well-meaning characters.  Everytime I pick this one up it is an enjoyable surprise and is Miss Marple at her finest complete with village gossip and astute observations.  

Next Month's Read Christie Challenge Pick is The ABC Murder so back to Poirot with a fun twisty not so village-y murder.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Of course!  Christie is one of my top ten favorite authors and I am constantly rereading her books.

Would I Recommend this Book? Absolutely!  This is a fantastic way to meet Miss Marple and read an enjoyable mystery.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Friday Fives - Five Upcoming Releases I'm Looking Forward to Reading

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 looking through the upcoming releases and I've picked out 5 I'm really looking forward to reading.

1.  One Perfect Couple by Ruth Ware - I had taken a break from this author but loved the book I picked up randomly earlier this year so am ready to try something else by her.  This one looks fantastic!

2.  The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley - Apparently I'm in a bit of a thriller mood!  I've liked the other books I've read by this author and I'm curious about this one.

3.  Husbands and Lovers by Beatriz Williams - This is an author I've really been neglecting even though I love her books and I love the sound of this one.

4.  A Talent for Murder by Peter Swanson - While I've heard of this author for ages but finally read one of his books earlier this year and loved it.  This one sounds especially good and definitely like one I'd enjoy.

5.  Apprentice to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer - I absolutely loved the first book to the point where I preordered this one and cannot wait until this one arrives!

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Books from the Backlog - The Bookshop at Water's End

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 Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry

Blurb: Bonny Blankenship's most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey's mother disappeared.
Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.

Why It Needs to Come Off the Shelf:  I love this author and this looks like a wonderful summer read.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

What Cannot Be Said - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  What Cannot Be Said (A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery #19) by C.S. Harris

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

Description:  July 1815: The Prince Regent’s grandiose plans to celebrate NapolĂ©on’s recent defeat at Waterloo are thrown into turmoil when Lady McInnis and her daughter Emma are found brutally murdered in Richmond Park, their bodies posed in a chilling imitation of the stone effigies once found atop medieval tombs. Bow Street magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy immediately turns to his friend Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for help with the investigation. For as Devlin discovers, Lovejoy’s own wife and daughter were also murdered in Richmond Park, their bodies posed in the same bizarre postures. A traumatized ex-soldier was hanged for their killings. So is London now confronting a malicious copyist? Or did Lovejoy help send an innocent man to the gallows?

Aided by his wife, Hero, who knew Lady McInnis from her work with poor orphans, Devlin finds himself exploring a host of unsavory characters from a vicious chimney sweep to a smiling but decidedly lethal baby farmer. Also coming under increasing scrutiny is Sir Ivo McInnis himself, along with a wounded Waterloo veteran—who may or may not have been Laura McInnis’s lover—and a charismatic young violinist who moonlights as a fencing master and may have formed a dangerous relationship with Emma. But when Sebastian’s investigation turns toward man about town Basil Rhodes, he quickly draws the fury of the Palace, for Rhodes is well known as the Regent’s favorite illegitimate son.

Then Lady McInnis’s young niece and nephew are targeted by the killer, and two more women are discovered murdered and arranged in similar postures. With his own life increasingly in danger, Sebastian finds himself drawn inexorably toward a conclusion far darker and more horrific than anything he could have imagined.

Genre: Mystery - Historical    

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed the previous books in the series so of course I had to pick this one up.

My Impression: I have really enjoyed the previous books that I've read in the series but I think this one might be my favorite one yet.  While the last few books have involved a more international angle this one was far more domestic involving the death of a mother and child.  This sets Devlin and Hero onto a journey of looking into workhouses and the treatment of children when they are apprenticing as well as diving into the history of Devlin's friend, Sir Henry Lovejoy.

This series tends not to be the fastest paced read but instead unfolds with the perfect amount of detail and character development.  I love Devlin and Hero as well as the people that surround them.  The characters are all smiles and sunshine.  Not all their relationships are smooth and they don't handle everything perfectly at all times which is kind of refreshing.  I like how they have evolved as a family and how other relationships have evolved as well.

The mystery really kept me guessing.  I had no idea how everything was going to work out or even why things were happening until almost the end but I enjoyed every page it took to get there.  While not central to the bulk of the plot there are still mentions as to what is going on in France which provides a nice bit of context in the time period.  I really enjoyed this book and this is a series I plan on continuing with.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I missed the first few books and am looking forward to going back and reading thiose as well as continuing with any future books in this series.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical mysteries where the setting isn't just window dressing this is a must read.  

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

My Library Loves List for 2024


Every year I pull up the random number generator (I love picking things with a random number generator!) and pick 10 books off the list I've saved on my library account.  I don't make it a goal to read all 10 as I don't want to over schedule myself as I do have a lot of projects going but I use it kind of as a guide.  Here are the 10 I picked (or the random number generator picked) for this year.  I don't know a huge about any of these but the blurb or cover caught my eye enough to add them to my Library TBR.

1.  The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clarke and Alafair Burke - I read this one and enjoyed it!

2.   17 Carnations: The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-up in History by Andrew Morton

3.  Murder by the Book: The Crime that Shocked Dickens's London by Claire Harman

3.  The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove by Cathy Erway

5.  Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis - I'm pretty sure I've read this but it's not on my Goodreads and I don't remember it so I figure it can't hurt to reread it.

6.  Go Ask Fannie by Elizabeth Hyde

7.  The Daughers of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase

8.  A December to Remember by Jenny Bayliss

9.  Letal Licorice by Amanda Flower

10. With My Little Eye by Joshilyn Jackson

Have you read any of these?  Any I should skip or move to the top of the pile?

Monday, May 13, 2024

Love at First Book - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads:  Love at First Book by Jenn McKinlay

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

Description:  Emily Allen, a librarian on Martha’s Vineyard, has always dreamed of a life of travel and adventure. So when her favorite author, Siobhan Riordan, offers her a job in the Emerald Isle, Emily jumps at the opportunity. After all, Siobhan’s novels got Em through some of the darkest days of her existence.

Helping Siobhan write the final book in her acclaimed series—after a ten-year hiatus due to a scorching case of writer’s block—is a dream come true for Emily. If only she didn’t have to deal with Siobhan’s son, Kieran Murphy. He manages Siobhan’s bookstore, and the grouchy bookworm clearly doesn’t want Em around.

When Siobhan’s health takes a bad turn, she’s more determined than ever to finish her novel, while Kieran tries every trick in the book to get his mother to rest. Thrown into the role of peacemaker, Emily begins to see that Kieran's heart is in the right place. Torn between helping Siobhan find closure with her series and her own growing feelings for the mercurial Irishman, Emily will have to decide if she’s truly ready to turn a new page and figure out what lies in the next chapter.

Genre:  Romance - Contemporary    

Why I Picked This Book:  I love this author's cozy mysteries and the premise of this one caught my eye so I had to give it a try.

My Impression: This was a fun grumpy/sunshine read while also dealing with some serious issues - especially about parent/child relationships.  Em has spent the bulk of her life taking care of her mother while sacrificing her own interests and even her health.  I loved her friend Sam and she was such a good friend and I also really liked that Em talked so openly and honestly about seeing a therapist.

Kieran (or Kier or Murphy) has a challenging family life as well though his issues aren't quite so obvious at first.  While I connected with Em almost immediately it took a bit longer to warm up to Kieran.  He's a bit sharp and reserved and isn't always the most sensitive in dealing with people.  I really enjoyed how he gravitates towards Em and how they bring out different sides of each other.  Their banter was fun without feeling over the top.  I was dreading a misunderstanding situation but it ended up not being too much of an issue thankfully.

I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.  I really loved the side characters and the food mentions and frienships really added to the book.  I especially enjoyed that Em doesn't say she's a reader but she talks knowledgely about books that she has read and it is clear just how much she loves Siobhan's books.  This is the first romance I've read from this author but it definitely won't be the last.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to reading more of her mysteries and romances.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy bookish romances this is a must read!

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

Sunday, May 12, 2024

This Week in Reading - 5/12

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 New Lease on Death - I really enjoy another series by this author so I couldn't resist this one - especially since it involves ghosts!  (Publisher)

Shock and Paw by Cate Conte - I've read a book in this series and enjoyed it so I decided to pick this one up as well.  If I enjoy this one as much as the previous one it's going on my series list to finish. (Publisher)


ReadingWhat Cannot Be Said by C.S. Harris and Run! by Patricia Wentworth

Listening:  No One Needs to Know by Kevin O'Brien

We were in Williamsburg, Virginia last week and had such a good time!  We spent a day at Yorktown, 2 days at Colonial Williamsburg, a day at Jamestown and a day at the Colonial Williamsburg art musuems (we let Will stay at the hotel that day - he would not have enjoyed it!).  It was a fun vacation and Will learned a good bit so it works as a field trip too - the beauty of homeschooling!  I've already got a list of places I want to go that we werent' able to get to for our next trip to the area.  

While we had such a good time it's been so good to be home and getting back into our regular routines.  We had some crazy storms this week but thankfully no real damage.  I have a break from obedience classes next week and am so looking forward to being a bit lazy and getting some extra reading done.  

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Death on the Agenda - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads: Death on the Agenda (Henry Tibbett #3) by Patricia Moyes

Rating: Liked It (3.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Representing Britain at an international conference on drug smuggling, Inspector Henry Tibbett must investigate the fatal stabbing of an important conference official

Genre: Mystery - Classic 

Why I Picked This Book:  I read a few books in this series years ago and really enjoyed it so I've gone back and am trying to read them in order.

My Impression:  For the most part this was a really fun mystery.  I really liked seeing a few characters from the first book in the Henry Tibbett series.  I really liked the international conference element with people from all over the world but no real connection to each other.  Since no one, for the most part, has any past with any of the other people it is hard to know who to trust.  

The wrap up of the mystery was a surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed the reveal and the process of the unraveling.  This book would have been easily 4 stars for me except for one incident that happened later in the book.  It didn't seem necessary - especially as there was no ulterior motive.  It left me seriously disappointed in Henry and wondering why Emmy put up with him at all.  

Overall, this is a good mystery with a likable (until the last part) main character - I just wish Henry would have made a different decision towards the end.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes but it may be a bit.  I've really loved this series and the mystery was good.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy classic mysteries this is a good series.  

Friday, May 10, 2024

Friday Fives - Five Books Set in Virginia

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.  We just got back from a vacation in Virigina and like I did last vacation I'm listing 5 books that I'd like to read that take place in Virginia.

1.  Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams - This series has been on my TBR and on my bookshelf for ages.  It looks wonderful.

2.  Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos by Donna Andrews - This actually takes place in Yorktown, Virginia which is one of the places we visited.  It's also one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I only have one book to read before I get to this one in the series so I need to get reading!

3.  Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano -  This book sounds completely fun in a completely bonkers kind of way!

4.  Haunted by Heather Graham - I've heard mixed reviews on this book but I typically enjoy Graham's books and this one involves ghosts and a Colonial-era estate so it sounds fun.

5.  The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges - This book only partly takes place in Virginia but I say that counts and I really want to read this one.

Have you read any of these?  Any favorite books that take place in Virginia?