Thursday, April 9, 2020

Hitting the Books

This was the ninth installment in the Library Lover's series by Jenn McKinlay.   The local librarian has a knack at becoming involved in criminal cases.   Unlike many of the books, this one does not center around a murder, but rather around the hit and run of one of the town's more famous residents.  There is a bit of murder that does occur during the case, but it is not the center of the story.  This book has several plot twists and turns.  

This story centered more on the relationship between Lindsey and Sully.  I enjoyed reading along as we watched their new living arrangements created some interesting moments.   While the supporting characters- the library staff and Crafternoon participants were still present, this story mainly focused on Lindsey  and Sully as well as police chief Emma Plowecki and Robbie Vine.  This story was a bit more elaborate and harder to believe than many of the other books in the series but was still an enjoyable storyline.


A fun cozy read for those who enjoy the genre.


Hitting the Books (Library Lover's Mystery, #9)Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was the ninth installment in the Library Lover's series by Jenn McKinlay. This story centered more on the relationship between Lindsey and Sully. I enjoyed reading along as we watched their new living arrangements created some interesting moments. This story was a bit more elaborate than many of the other books in the series but was still and enjoyable storyline.

A fun cozy read for those who enjoy the genre.



View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #33
  2. AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge- "H"
  3. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   up on the series as of Apr 2020
  4. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #27
  5. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #5
  6. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
  7. Six Shooter-  3rd shot for Jenn McKinlay
  8. Around the Year in 52 Books- #51 A book with an "-ing" word in the title
  9. TBR Book #23 #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Private Games


This is the 3rd book in James Patterson and Mark Sullivan's Private series.  Private is described as the modern day Pinkerton and is involved in all sorts of corporate and personal investigations and security globally.  This is not the first book in the series I have read, and it isn't the first time I read one centered around the London office. 

In this installment the London office is heavily involved in the London Olympic Games as are many of the employees from other offices around the globe.  Peter Knight is the protagonist with personal and professional stakes in the actions.   There is plenty of drama and mystery in this thriller that keeps you reading more.  Peter works with a sport reporter from the London Sun, Karen Pope to try to solve the crimes that are casting a pall shadow over the Games.   Karen is the unfortunate journalist to receive letters from Cronus.  He wishes to rid the modern Olympics of the corruption and lack of allegiance with the intent of the ancient games as he sees it. 

The book has plenty of twists and turns and red herrings to keep you guessing til the bitter end.  Overall a good and quick read.




Private Games (Private, #3)Private Games by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a engaging thriller that keeps you guessing the whole way on who the guilty party is in the mayhem that is being directed at the London Olympic Games. While it is full of action and disaster, there is a nice balance of character interaction. We learn a lot about the main characters of the novel, including a visit from some recurring characters in the series. Peter Knight, the single father of 3 yr old twins, is caught in the middle of all the chaos, both professionally and personally. As the story goes along we learn more about his personal story and his extended family. It gives the drama an even more intense buildup for the conclusion.

Overall this is a really good book even if some of it is a bit far-fetched at times


View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #32
  2. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   10th series, working through Private Series
  3.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #25
  4. Medical Examiner-  11 Toe Tags 
  5. Six Shooter-  1 shot for James Patterson
  6. Mystery Bingo
    • Weapons card :  insect bite and Axe/hatchet
    • Clues:  matchbook, Blood on object; seen by moonlight
    • Red Herring :  secret passage; twins; missing money
    • Crime Scenes: Basement
  7. Around the Year in 52 Books- #32. A book related to the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Japan
  8. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #13 written by a woman
  9. Book List Queen #42. With a Hideous Cover
  10. 20 in 20 #Read20in2020 #16. A book that has something to do with sports
  11. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #2 a non fiction book
  12. TBR Book #1  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
  13. Wizarding World Tour  
    • Mahoutokoro- where the dust jacket and cover are different colors

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Mar Reading Recap

Mar Reading Progress

General Tracking

AtoZ  and  Alphabet Soup #AlphabetSoupChallenge  - March letters: B, W
completed previously - A, D, E, F, G, K, L, M, N, O, P, S, T, U

Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge- March letters: E
completed previously A, B, C, D, F, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, V, W

Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2020  Tracked Here  completed 6/5 in total
Library Lover's Series;  New Orleans Scrapbooking Series; Hat Shop Mystery Series, Stone Barrington

Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Tracked Here 30 /36 books read  (21 previously)

Literary Escapes  (Destination)  Visited:  OR, TX, VT and Israel in Mar
visited previously CA, CT, FL. MA, MO, NY, OH, TN, WA  plus Australia, England, France, Ireland, Yugoslavia

Specific Criteria


PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge  completed in Mar #2 (by trans or non binary author), #5 (set in a city that has hosted the olympics), #22 (with a robot, cyborg, AI character), #30 (has a book on the cover), #34 (you picked up because the title caught your attention)
completed previously # 1, 6, 8,12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, 27, 35, 38,40, 41, 43,  46, 47, 49, 50

Around the Year in 52 Books  completed in Mar #5 (The first book in a series that you have not started), #10 (A book that is between 400-600 pages ), #23 (featuring an LGBTQIA+ character or by an LGBTQIA+ author), #24 (Book with an emotion in the title)
completed previously # 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,  22, 26, 28, 33, 34, 40, 41, 45, 48, 49, 50

52 Books in 52 Weeks completed in Mar # 2 (hardcover), #6 (Written in first person), #24 (Title beginning with B). #25 (Title beginning with C), #29  (An award-winning novel) #43 (Set in a country you’ve never visited before- Israel)
completed previously  #1, 4, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 26, 28, 30, 34, 35, 37, 39, 42, 46, 47, 48 

BooklistQueen completed in Mar #12(More Than 400 Pages), #23(A Beach Read), # 28(By an Indie Author), #37 (That Will Make You Smarter)
completed previously #3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 21, 31, 32, 36, 39, 40, 43, 46, 49

20 in 20 #Read20in2020 completed in Mar  # 2 NF (set in the country where you are currently residing); #5 Fict (LGBTQ related book); #7 (Book about mental health/dealing with mental illness )
completed previously #1F, 2 NF, 7, 8 F/NF, 9F, 10F, 13F, 17F, 18F,

NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2020 5 completed in Mar:  #3 (self published book),    #10 (over 500 pages), #17(with LGBTQIA Rep), #23(with an animal in the title), #24(with a season in the title)
completed previously#1,2, 4, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 25

Wizarding World Tour
  • Beauxbatons: 0 new prompts in Mar
    • 4/7 prompts completed previously
  • Castelobruxo-3 prompts in Mar- with a green dust jacket; book related to plants; with gold on it
    • 4/7 prompts completed previously
  • Durmstrang:  2 prompts in Mar- set outdoors; includes a boat
    • 3/7 prompts completed previously
  • Hogwarts:  0 new prompts in Mar
    •  5/7 prompts completed previously
  • Ilvermorny- 2 prompts in Mar- body part on the cover; own voices book
    • 3/7 prompts completed previously
  • Koldovstoretz-  1 prompt in Mar- tied to your roots (heritage)-  Scottish
    • 0/7 prompts completed previously
  • Mahoutokoro-  0 new prompts in Mar
    • 1/7 prompts completed previously
  • Uagadou-  1 prompt in Mar- book over 450 pages
    • 2/7 prompts completed previously


While I was Reading  in Mar  #1 Book with an emotion in the title;  #2 A young adult novel
completed previously- Centered around a holiday; a romance novel

What's in a Name 1 new prompt in Mar- #2  An Antonym
completed previously- Given/First Name; reference to children; one of 4 natural elements

Color Coded  3 prompts in Mar- Green, Brown, Yellow
completed previously Blue, Black, Red, White, Beige, and Orange

Monthly Motif #MonthlyMotifGXO Subgenre-  Cozy Mystery
Monthly Keyword #MonthlyKeyWordGXO-    Keyword "Dream, Day, In, House, Luck, Friend"


    Monthly Book Awards #GXOAwardReadingChallenge - Audie 2016



      TBR Based Challenges


      2020TBR #2020TBRReadingChallenge: #15 completed in Mar
      completed previously  # 1, 5, 7, 9, 14, 16 (n america, australia, europe) 20, 21


      Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020  completed 2  books in Mar;  1 new bingo square:
      #23 written before 2010
      completed previously 13  bingo squares:  #1, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21


      Back List Reader  #Backlistreader Tracked Here  20/24 read  (16 read previously)

      Start on Your Shelfathon  #StartOnYourShelfathon Tracked Here  20/5  thru Apr 2020

      Mount TBR  #MountTBR2020 Tracked Here 20 /24 read  (16 read previously)

      Genre Specific


      Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2020  a prompt in 2 new months- Jan, Feb
      previously a prompt in 10 months-Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul,  Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec

      Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal - Mysteries Tracked Here  23/25 total comp (15 prev)

      Craving for Cozies  Tracked Here 11 /26 total completed  (7 completed previously)

      Cruisin thru Cozies  completed #5(outside US), #12/13 (free choice) 10 /20  total completed;   (7 completed previously)
      previously read the culinary, holiday, career, animal, craft,  and 2 freebie

      Historical Fiction  #2020HFReadingChallenge  Tracked Here  1/5

      Memoir  total completed 3/5  Read Mental Health/Illness
      previously read memoir for the Food memoir category; Lab Girl fits multiple prompts



      Aloha Betrayed

      I read a quick read this week while we were taking a virtual Spring Break cruise.  We were fortunate that the weather got a bit nicer in the Chicago area and we took the time to sit on "the deck" and read.  I picked the JB Fletcher/Donald Bain Murder She Wrote book from my library stash I had from before the shutdown. 

      Aloha Betrayed is a typical Jessica Fletcher mystery.   Where she innocently gets wrapped up in a murder case while going about her daily life.  In this instance she was in Maui on a paid teaching assignment.  She was co-teaching new police recruits techniques for using the community around them to assist in their job.  Her teaching partner, Mike Kane, ended up being her detecting partner as well.  Mike is a well revered, retired police detective from the Maui Police force. 

      Together the two investigate the death of a new acquaintance of Jessica's, Mala Kapule.  Mala was the niece of a medical school classmate of Jessica's friend, Seth Hazlett, whom Jessica looked up upon her arrival to Maui.   Mala had suffered a seemingly tragic slip off a coastal cliff but to Mike and Jessica it didn't seem to be as it appeared. 

      While looking into the tragic death,  we follow Jessica around the island of Maui.  We venture with her on her sightseeing trips to Haleakala, a luau and more.  The story of course wraps up with Jessica solving the case before she needed to return to the mainland.  Although a typical formulaic Murder She Wrote mystery, it is still a fun and enjoyable read. 


      Aloha Betrayed (Murder She Wrote, #41)Aloha Betrayed by Jessica Fletcher
      My rating: 4 of 5 stars

      Aloha Betrayed is a typical Jessica Fletcher mystery. Where she innocently gets wrapped up in a murder case while going about her daily life. In this instance she was in Maui on a paid teaching assignment. She was co-teaching new police recruits techniques for using the community around them to assist in their job. Her teaching partner, Mike Kane, ended up being her detecting partner as well. Mike is a well revered, retired police detective from the Maui Police force.

      Together the two investigate the death of a new acquaintance of Jessica's, Mala Kapule. Mala was the niece of a medical school classmate of Jessica's friend, Seth Hazlett, whom Jessica looked up upon her arrival to Maui. Mala had suffered a seemingly tragic slip off a coastal cliff but to Mike and Jessica it didn't seem to be as it appeared.

      While looking into the tragic death, we follow Jessica around the island of Maui. We venture with her on her sightseeing trips to Haleakala, a luau and more. The story of course wraps up with Jessica solving the case before she needed to return to the mainland. Although a typical formulaic Murder She Wrote mystery, it is still a fun and enjoyable read.


      View all my reviews


      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
      1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #31
      2. Literary Escapes-  HI
      3. Finishing the Series- series  #9 Murder She Wrote #41 #FinishingTheSeries2020   
      4. Calendar of Crime-  #CalendarOfCrime2020  
      5.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book #24 
      6. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
      7. Six Shooter-  1 shot for Jessica Fletcher
      8. TBR Book #21  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon

      Friday, April 3, 2020

      Furiously Happy is a fun read

      While the underlying topic and message of the book is a very poignant one,  Jenny Lawson's stories in her memoir really make this book a joy to read.  She is quite frank and open in discussing how her depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses affect her life on a daily basis.  However, her funny stories really do make it an enjoyable read while still pointing out the struggles she and others experience in daily life. At times they are gut wrenching laugh out loud funny.    I appreciate she is doing her best to help take the stigma out of talking about mental illness and pointing out how it is not any different than having any other health ailment that afflicts our bodies. 
      Plus how can you not like a book with a smiling raccoon on the cover

      I can highly recommend this book




      Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible ThingsFuriously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny  Lawson
      My rating: 5 of 5 stars

      This book is awesome. If you are looking for a book to make you laugh then I highly recommend this book. While the subject of mental illness can still be a hush hush topic among some circles, Jenny Lawson is doing her best to remove that stigma. Her stories are real and point out the struggles she and others like her go through with debilitating depression and anxiety but they are presented in a fun way that gets the message across without being melancholy. There were many times I was laughing out loud and reading funny excerpts to my husband. All in all this is a great book I can highly recommend. Plus who can't smile while looking at a smiling racoon.


      View all my reviews


      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
      1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #30
      2. Literary Escapes-  TX
      3. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge  #34 you picked up because the title caught your attention
      4. Around the Year in 52 Books- #24 Book with an emotion in the title
      5. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #29  An award-winning novel
      6. 20 in 20 #Read20in2020 #7 Book about mental health/dealing with mental illness 
      7. Wizarding World Tour  
        • Castelobruxo: Read a book with Gold on it
      8. While I was Reading  #1 Book with an emotion in the title
      9. Color Coded:  #3  Yellow
      10. What's in a Name #2  An Antonym
      11. Monthly Book Award-   #GXOAwardReadingChallenge  Audie award in 2016
      12. Memoirs-  #1 Mental Illness

      Sunday, March 29, 2020

      The Secret History


      My book club just read The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  This is the second novel by her that we have read.  The previous being Goldfinch.  While I enjoyed both books they didn't wow me and they are very long.  This book is over 500 pages so it will take a while to read.  They were both a bit long winded for me and the story seemed to drag on for too long.  In both stories there are many drug and alcohol references so be aware if this is an issue for you.

      The Secret History was an interesting concept focusing on a small insular group of Classical scholars  at a Vermont Liberal arts college, Hampden.  Tartt does a wonderful job of developing her characters and you feel as though you know them well. We really get to know Richard, Bunny, Francis, Henry, Charles and Camilla as well as the supporting characters who appear throughout the story.  They are definitely an interesting group with atypical interests and social skills.

      The underlying story is a disturbing one and it makes you ponder whether this could really occur.  Without giving any spoilers let's just say it is a big example of group think.  The majority of the story occurs during one school year but the ending of the book provides a bit of a recap of where the characters stand in the future.

      All in all it is a good read but if you don't like books with descriptive prose and are a bit slow paced, this may not be the book for you.


      The Secret HistoryThe Secret History by Donna Tartt
      My rating: 3 of 5 stars

      While I enjoyed this book I didn't love it. In many ways it reminded me of John Knowles A Separate Peace. Similar premise of an event at a school with a flashback story telling style. While Tartt's writing is good, it feels like it is too long at times. I had a similar reaction to Goldfinch when I read it a few years ago. Basically, I neither love nor hate the book. I'm just somewhat indifferent to it.

      Be aware the book is full of drug and alcohol references so if this is not appropriate for the intended reader this may not be the best selection for them.


      View all my reviews


      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
      1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #29
      2. Literary Escapes-  VT
      3.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #23
      4. Medical Examiner-  3 Toe Tag 
      5. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #48 published in the 20th century
      6. Around the Year in 52 Books- #10 A book that is between 400-600 pages
      7. Book List Queen #12 More Than 400 Pages
      8. 20 in 20 #Read20in2020  #15 book over 500 pages
      9. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #10 book over 500 pages
      10. Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020 #23 written before 2010
      11. 2020 TBR  #2020TBRReadingChallenge  #15 book over 500 pages
      12. TBR  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon  Book #20
      13. Wizarding World Tour  
        • Uagadou-  a book over 450 pages

      Saturday, March 28, 2020

      Dogs Don't Lie

      A cute dog, a cat and a llama what's not to love.  Add in a bit of a mystery, a veterinarian, Kallie,  who can communicate with animals and a budding romance.  Oh yeah, don't forget the meddling mother who keeps trying to set Kallie up with her 'friends" family members.  This of course provides for some comedic relief.  Kallie has a great group of female friends who lend their support both emotionally and in following clues.  All in all it was a very enjoyable read that I was able to finish this morning in one sitting.

      I read this new cozy series by Lisa Shay for a Hidden Gems ARC.  This was my second ARC book that I read, the other being False Flags earlier in the week.  I am enjoying the opportunity to read books in exchange for giving a review on Amazon.  The only tricky part is finding the time to make sure you finish in the short window they give you to complete your review.


      Dogs Don't LieDogs Don't Lie by Lisa Shay
      My rating: 4 of 5 stars

      Dogs Don't Lie is a cozy mystery by Lisa Shay that I was given an advanced copy for free in return for this honest review I am providing.

      The story centers around the main character of Kallie Collins, a recently graduated veterinarian who is living in Medford, Oregon. We first meet Kallie as she is arriving at a BBQ that her mother has failed to tell her is a large gathering with a blind introduction to a nephew of a "dear" friend of her mother's. This turns out to be one of several ambushes her mother pulls trying to fix her up, leading to some comedic moments in the book. While at the BBQ she's gets a call to meet the County Sheriff for an assist at a scene.

      Here she meets Ben and the events that transpire lead to her involvement in his case. Her ability to communicate with animals leads the authorities to some clues and information about the victim of a crime. Kallie, ends up fostering a corgi/terrier mix named Ariel and a calico cat, Ella. She wrangles her best friends, Sam and Gracie to help her in her side investigation. Together they uncover more suspicious and apparently unlawful activities going on in Medford.

      There are several escapades traipsing through the woods and on the back roads that eventually lead to Kallie helping the authorities solve the case. They even acknowledge her involvement provided valuable information that helped them close the case. Shay does a nice job of wrapping up the story and providing the missing pieces at the end. All in all the book was a very good, fast read. I look forward to seeing if there are more installments in the series and to see if Kallie and Ben become a couple.


      View all my reviews




      Challenge Prompts

      The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
      1. Literary Escapes-  OR
      2. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  22
      3. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #4
      4. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
      5. Mystery Bingo
        • Crime Scenes: Garden/Gazebo
      6. Around the Year in 52 Books- #5 The first book in a series that you have not started
      7. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #36  Written in first person
      8. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #23 a book with an animal in the title