Saturday, March 6, 2021

The Comeback Cruise

 This is the 4th in the Lizzie Josephson series set aboard the cruise ships of Cosmos Cruise Lines.  This installment finds Adrianne and Keith aboard one of the newly refitted ships acquired just prior to the Covid shutdown of the industry.  This is the first cruise back and they decide to set sail for San Andres an island north of Colombia set in a beautiful reef preserve. 

Their is of course a mystery that comes up and like the others in the series it is not based on a murder.  This book is less about solving a mystery and more about enjoying the interactions of the characters and the descriptions of the beautiful tropical surroundings.  If  you are looking for a fun tropical escape from winter then this is a perfect quick read for you


The Comeback Cruise: Book Four: The Cozy Cruise MysteriesThe Comeback Cruise: Book Four: The Cozy Cruise Mysteries by Lizzie Josephson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Enjoyable mystery with a great virtual trip to the Islands

This series continues to be entertaining and there are a few new charming characters introduced in this book. There’s another mystery afoot when Cosmos Cruises sets sail after Covid restricted travel for a year. There are plenty of tempting scenes set in the reef area surrounding San Andres ( an island belonging to Colombia).
This is a great read if you are looking for a non murder mystery with a bit of escapism to a warmer climate

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  San Andres (Colombia)
  2. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "J"
  3. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021 book book 4 in series
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #31
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #34
  6. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  7. Cruisin thru Cozies  Freebie #7
  8. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #23
  9. Craving for Cozies  Book #20
  10. Bookworm  #60 free space level 5
  11. Beachcomber Challenge  
      • Row 2
        • Lake or ocean
    • Detectives- Adrianne/Keith
  12. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #43  Shot #4


Friday, March 5, 2021

Booked for Death

 This is the first cozy in the new Booklover B&B mysteries by Victoria Gilbert.  I enjoyed the fact the story had the main murder plot but also some other side mysteries regarding the different characters backgrounds.  This of course leads to different false suspicions and some misunderstandings.

The interesting aspect of this character list to me was the fact Charlotte, the MC, suspects her friends and employees along with the guests of her B&B.   The reactions were as expected but I did feel their would have been more resentment that others suspected you although the book portrayed them as taking it in stride as objective investigators.  I think there would have been a bit more emotion and hard feelings involved though.   

The book has many references to other works of mysteries as the central event in the story is a literary theme week and there are many book club members as characters.  All the characters are avid mystery readers.

I enjoyed the series debut and look forward to reading more as the series expands.


Booked for DeathBooked for Death by Victoria Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great first book in a new cozy series

This cozy has some great characters and lots of descriptions. This book felt like there was more detail about environment, food, locations and people than a typical cozy. I liked that the lead, Charlotte, suspected friends as well as strangers. The awkward encounters were. Included and seemed mostly realistic although I’d think there would be a few hard feelings if your friend thought you might have committed murder. There were lots of twists and the ending was a bit of a surprise although I had begun to suspect that character was the guilty party

I look forward to reading more of the Booklover B&B series

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #21
  2. AtoZ   #2021AtoZReadingChallenge  #AlphabetSoupChallenge "B"
  3. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "G"
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #30
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #33
  6. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  7. Cozy Mysteries   #4 set in hotel or b&b
  8. Cruisin thru Cozies  Freebie #6
  9. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #22
  10. Craving for Cozies  Book #19
  11. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #48. A book from your TBR list chosen at random
  12. Bookworm  #48 free space level 4
  13. Magic in the Books  Book 7 #3 first in a series
  14. Pick your Poison #24-3 TBR Burners anything you want
  15. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags (stabbed)
  16. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Knife
    • Detectives- Charlotte/Ellen
    • Victims- Lincoln Delamont
  17. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #52  Shot #1 


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Finished off in Fondant

 This is the 2nd book in the Courtney Archer series by Rosemarie Ross.  This book is also set at the Poconos resort where they are filming the Great American Bake Off.   Courtney finds herself embroiled in controversy and murder in this installment.  Once again a cast member of the cooking show is suspected of murder.  Courtney cannot help her curiosity and gets in the middle of it despite warnings from head of security, Drake and Eric, her manager.  As if this isn't enough to keep her busy she is in the middle of revealing some info about her own cooking show that could ruin her career.

The series is especially enjoyable if you like watching cooking competitions but even if you don't the characters interact well and the  mystery keeps the reader on their toes.


Finished Off in FondantFinished Off in Fondant by Rosemarie Ross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this second installment in the Bake off series set in the Poconos. Again during a taping one of the cast members comes under suspicion for murder. Fortunately all the pieces work out and the killer is caught with a few twists and turns along the way. It's a fun series that is especially engaging if you are a big watcher of the reality tv food shows.

View all my reviews


  

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #20
  2. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "R"
  3. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021 book 2 caught up in series
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #29
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #32
  6. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  7. Cruisin thru Cozies   Freebie #5
  8. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #21
  9. Craving for Cozies  Book #18
  10. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #46 a pink cover
  11. Bookworm  #36 free space level 3
  12. Magic in the Books Book 5 #2  with a pink cover
  13. Pick your Poison #10-1 paperback book
  14. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
  15. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 4
        • Hotel room
      • Weapons
        • Row 2 
          • Knife
      • Detectives- Courtney/Drake
      • Victims- Lisa
    • 52 books in 52 weeks  #44  flufferton
    • Unruly Reader Bingo  sugar


    A Book Signing to Die For

     This is the first in a new series for me, Cozy Mysteries to Die for, by Judy Moore.  Coincidentally after I selected this book from Kindle Unlimited, I realized I had another book selected for the year by this author, Murder in Vail.  I certainly hope I enjoy that book as much as I did this cozy. 

    The book centers around 3 strong female leads.  The O'Rourke ladies live in FL where they run a book shop with a cafe attached.  Beck and Grammy run the store, while Lizzie, the younger sister, lifeguards at the beach.  The relationship between the 3 women is developed nicely in the story, with the sisters getting on each other's nerves but also being supportive without question when necessary.

    The mystery itself is an intriguing puzzle with a twist at the end that was certainly unexpected.  After reviewing the outcome the clues were presented subtlety but not in such an obvious way that the guilty party was revealed too early in the story.   I look forward to reading more in the series


    A Book Signing To Die ForA Book Signing To Die For by Judy Moore
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Enjoyable beach cozy

    A fun cozy with a great twist. The O’Rouke women are great characters with strong family ties and strong personalities. Looking forward to reading more about Beck, Lizzie and their Grammy

    View all my reviews


    Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

    1. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "M"
    2. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #28
    3. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #31
    4. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
    5. Cruisin thru Cozies   Freebie #4
    6. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #20
    7. Craving for Cozies  Book #17
    8. Bookworm  #24 free space level 2
    9. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
    10. Beachcomber Challenge  
      • Crime Scenes 
        • Row 2
          • Alley or mews
      • Weapons
        • Row 2 
          • Rock, brick, blunt object
      • Detectives- Beck/Grammy/Lizzie
    11. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #51  Shot #1


    Sunday, February 28, 2021

    The Afterlife of Holly Chase

     I really had no idea what to expect in this retelling of A Christmas Carol by Cynthia Hand.  I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging and unique it was.  It had all the elements of a Scrooge finding their way to reform but it also had some fun twists and turns.   The book had some science fiction elements to it including the explanations for how the ghosts travel with Scrooge.  There are elements of time paradoxes and alternate realities in the story as well.  It seems to be common in many of the books I have selected this year and is not a norm for my go to reading.   I have not read many retellings and found this enjoyable.  

    The book definitely had its moments that caused the reader to stop and reflect on life and priorities.  As a parent there were moments when you realize it would be better to stop and slow down rather than get caught up in life- be in the moment.  There is a romance piece to the story as is often found in YA books but it was relevant to the story.  The ending definitely leaves you thinking about who knew what and when.  Also, there is definitely a bit of a chicken and the egg as well.   


    It's funny because as I read it at times I kept finding myself visualizing the movie Scrooged with Bill Murray.  There are very few similarities but for some reason the production aspect of the story made me keep thinking of it and specifically Bill Murray.  I guess it's my year to read books that remind me of movies Murray stars in -  Groundhog day (In a Holidaze) 


    The book is both enjoyable and thought provoking and I am glad I spotted it and checked it out from the library.


    The Afterlife of Holly ChaseThe Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    A book about chances

    This was a wonderful surprise. I really had no idea about this book when I borrowed it from the library. I found myself cheering for Holly and Ethan to find their respective happiness. The book has some intrigue and a wonderful sense of what if that keeps the reader engaged. Anyone looking to lose themselves in a fantastic retelling of A Christmas Carol or just read a book about the potential to find one’s better self should read this book

    View all my reviews


    Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


    1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #19
    2. AtoZ   #2021AtoZReadingChallenge  #AlphabetSoupChallenge
    3. Color Coded #6 Black
    4. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #37 non-fairytale re-telling 
    5. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #27
    6. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #30
    7. Around the Year in 52 Books #20  3 books related to "Past, Present, Future" - Book 3
    8. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #34 A Book You'd Rate 5 Stars
    9. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #18. Mr. Pitch: with an immortal character
    10. BooklistQueen   # 40. Fantasy
    11. A Pretty Mess Challenge # 15. Genre you don't usually read
    12. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #43. A RETELLING
    13. Bookworm  #33.) Read a book where the main character is a magic user
    14. Magic in the Books  Book 7 #4 A Retelling
    15. Pick your Poison #25-2 A fairytale or myth retelling in a modern setting
    16. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf #4 story about witches or magic 
    17. 52 books in 52 weeks  #4 illusion
    18. Unruly Reader Bingo  #17 restoration



    Saturday, February 27, 2021

    Shakeup

     This is the 55th Stone Barrington novel by Stuart Woods  These books are always good for a bit of escapism reading.  They usually have a bit of travel thrown in and this book is no exception.   In this installment Stone finds himself caught up in a murder that literally lands at his feet.  Fortunately he is not a suspect for long but the mystery continues to unravel and involve him.   There are a series of coincidences that intertwine different threads of the book which are good for the plot but not so good if you are looking for a practical/ realistic read.  This book returns to the bedroom escapades of Stone and you practically need a chart to keep track of his revolving companions but the details are minimal so those looking for a cleaner book would be ok reading this since it is easy to skip over the parts that are not of interest.   

    All in all a decent book to lose yourself in for an afternoon or 2


    ShakeupShakeup by Stuart Woods
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This is the 55th book in the series and the ideas for crimes continue to be unique even if the plots are a bit formulaic. This one has a bit more twists and turning with intertwining plot lines. You are back to needing a map to keep Stone's bedroom trysts and companions straight though. The story manages to involve most of the recurring main characters even if in very cursory roles in the plot.
    Always a fun escape read especially if you're willing to believe in small worlds intersecting

    Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

    1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #18
    2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021  Stone Barrington series #55
    3. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #5 set in a major city
    4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #26
    5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #29
    6. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
    7. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #19
    8. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #8. The Hunt: a murder mystery
    9. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #40 released in 2020
    10. Bookworm  #12.) Free Space! Pick any book!
    11. Pick your Poison #16-3 A rollicking adventure story
    12. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf #11 one word title 
    13. Medical Examiner Challenge  3 Toe Tags
    14. Beachcomber Challenge  
      • Crime Scenes 
        • Row 4
          • Hotel room
          • Street or sidewalk
          • Row 5
            • Bedroom
        • Weapons
          • Row 1 
            • Poison, poisoned food
          • Row 2 
            • Hand gun x 2
        • Detectives- Stone/Dino
      • Six Shooter Challenge  Target #5b  Shot #1







      View all my reviews

      Dry

       Wow, this is an impactful memoir by Augusten Burroughs.  He manages to write a memoir as though it is a novel.   As the reader, I felt like I was right there going through all his experiences with rehab and sobriety.  He is very honest about the process and his feelings as he goes through this experience. it is not a light read.   This is a very emotional book that has levity interspersed that keeps the book from being too depressing or emotionally wrought.  I found myself rooting for his success and stressing as he was faced with tough life moments.   

       If you have anyone in your circle who has experienced addiction this is a brutally honest insight into what it feels like.  I would imagine if you are an addict or a recovering addict this book will hit upon feelings/emotions you have experienced.  According to his forward it has touched many lives in positive ways and continues to inspire those struggling through this awful affliction.  


      DryDry by Augusten Burroughs
      My rating: 4 of 5 stars

      Poignant memoir

      A brutally honest memoir about an alcoholic going through rehab and approaching sobriety. Burroughs journaled while in recovery and he shares his experiences forthrightly in this book. Anyone who has a family member or friend who has or does struggle with addiction should read this to gain insight into the honest struggle it takes to push the beast down. There are plenty of emotions in this memoir so be prepared for a roller coaster of a read

      View all my reviews


      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


      1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #17
      2. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "A"
      3. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #17 cover features your favorite color prominently
      4. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge #7  about mental health
      5. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #25
      6. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #28
      7. Memoir  #10. _ Written by a person who identifies as LGBTQIA
      8. Around the Year in 52 Books #4. A book with a monochromatic cover
      9. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #37 An Educational Read
      10. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #17. WRITTEN BY A QUEER AUTHOR
      11. Bookworm  #57.) Read a book without a picture on the cover
      12. Magic in the Books Book 7 #6 Been on your TBR forever
      13. Pick your Poison #21-4  A nonfiction book about alcohol
      14. Diversify your reading #DYRC21  Memoir
      15. 52 books in 52 weeks  #3 12 things