Sunday, May 31, 2020

Orphan Monster Spy

This Historical Fiction book by Matt Killeen is set in Germany as WWII is starting is a very powerful novel.  It covers a large amount of atrocities and perspectives. It was a very different take on a novel about this time period unlike any others I have read about that era.  It is a fast paced book that I finished in a day.  I could not put it down.  The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because it was a bit outlandish at times, but I did enjoy it thoroughly.

 I think the story itself is intense without the extra drama weaved in from when Sara/Ursula attended the National Socialist school outside Berlin.  There was much of the drama experienced at boarding schools but with an elevated intensity as these young women were being raised to believe they were the future caretakers of the "superior" race.  The story brings a whole new level to bullying and abuse.

One of the aspects I appreciated was Sarah's reflections several times during the books shed some clarity on how easily people can get caught up in what seems to be right when it is at its core evil.  She also flashes back to her life in Germany and Vienna before meeting up with Captain Floyd.  These provide glimpses at the suffering and atrocities the Jewish people underwent from the Nazis and the National Socialist movement, including the Kristallnact (Night of Broken Glass).  

The author does an interesting job of intertwining the story of the race for nuclear weaponry as a part of the war and even involves real characters from the development of nuclear fusion and reactions.  While the story feels a bit too conveniently coincidental and neatly tied together, it was still an enjoyable read and I plan to read the next in the series.



Orphan Monster Spy (Orphan Monster Spy, #1)Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book really surprised me. It was often times difficult to remember it was a YA book. The story was a bit outlandish at times but still very engaging. It took a different approach to WWII and centered around a teenage Jewish girl who is able to fit in at ta National Socialist school because her father was a German of the "pure" race. The book is full of high intensity situations and relationships that you wish to see succeed. There are characters that are very easy to hate and there are ones that make it easy to see why the Nazis were able to succeed in their spread of hate for so long. The main character, Sarah, even reflects upon this aspect of the schooling and the National Socialism message and how easy it is to be caught up in the positive spin and to miss the horrors being inflicted upon the Jewish, the Polish and other European nations and peoples.

I found the book engaging and the characters empathetic and I want to read more about their endeavors in the followup story.


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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: 

Possible prompts

I will decide as the year goes along which prompts I use it for on several challenges since it meets multiple criteria within the challenge.
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #51
  2.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #39
  3. Literary Escapes-  Germany
  4. Around the Year in 52 Books- #42 was nominated for one of the ‘10 Most Coveted Literary Prizes in the World-  Costa for Children's 2018
  5. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #32 A spy novel
  6. Wizarding World Tour  
    • Durmstrang:  featuring a major combat
  7. Historic Fiction  #2020HFReadingChallenge (Book #4)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Ninth House

I generally do not read fantasy novels but this one may be responsible for changing my mind about them.  I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  The only reason I didn't give it a 5 star review is because I struggled to get into the story at first.  I put the book aside and kept prioritizing other books but with the library reopening I had to finish it to return it soon.  I am glad I did. 

Alex is an engaging character, not necessarily likeable but you definitely find yourself rooting for her to succeed in her mission and to fit in better at Yale.  There are several mysteries underlying the storyline including solving 2 murders and the disappearance of her mentor, Darlington.  

Once I was engaged in the book, I couldn't read it fast enough.  The book jumped between different story lines but they all seemed to tie together at the end.  There is an unresolved portion that leads me to hope there is a sequel to the book.  Either way, I plan to read more by Leigh Bardugo.  

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While I took a little while to become fully engaged in the story, I ended up thoroughly enjoying this novel. I do not generally read the fantasy genre but I am very intrigued to read more by Leigh Bardugo and I truly hope this book is the first in a series. I found the characters to be complex and to grow to like them as the story went along. I appreciated that they all seemed to have good and not so great sides to them. Alex is someone that it takes a long time to get to know and I am not sure if you ever truly see the real Alex. Her relationships with her room mates and other Lethe members is a fascinating evolution and it is wonderful to watch as she struggles to open herself up to relationships and to find ways to trust others. She may not always be a likeable person but you cannot help but root for her to succeed in her mission. Dawes is also a complex character and I liked how Bardugo slowly reveals her character and evolves her working and personal relationship with Alex.

The story is very complex and at times required me to flip back to truly remember who was who and belonged to which society. The secret societies of Yale make a fascinating backdrop to the story and you can envision how the Yale campus and New Haven look through Ms Bardugo's descriptions.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by the author




Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: 
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book  #50
  2.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal-  Book  #38
  3. Around the Year in 52 Books- #10  A book that is between 400-600 pages
  4. Book List Queen #2 Goodreads winner in 2019
  5. Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020 #9 a genre you don't normally read
  6. 2020 TBR  #2020TBRReadingChallenge #12 Goodreads winner
  7. TBR Book #31  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
  8. Wizarding World Tour  
    • Koldovstoretz: book involving magic
  9. Mystery Bingo
    • Clues:  Dying message
    • Red Herring : Map



Friday, May 29, 2020

The Masterpiece

This was a fun novel to read about the 1920s in NYC.  Fiona Davis has written another fabulous historic fiction piece that centers around an iconic NY building, Grand Central Station.  This book is a dual time frame novel that is set in the late 20s and the early 1970s.  The former is immersed in the art scene of NYC pre-market crash and into the depression.  The story centers around the Grand Central art school and the illustrator Clara Darden.  She is struggling to make it in a male dominated art world and to establish herself as an illustrator which is in turn deemed as inferior art by classical artists.  Her relationships with a struggling but affluent poet and a struggling artist are at the center of the story as her career and artistic success take off.  Those relationships are at the center of the mystery in the novel.

Meanwhile we get a glimpse at the life of Virginia , a recent divorcee and her struggles to find a job outside her home.  She has quickly gone from being a well kept lawyer's wife to a struggling working woman.  She lands an unexpected job at Grand Central, which in the 1970s was not the glamorous Terminal it was in the 1920s.   Through some missteps she finds herself in the Grand Central Art School area and begins to research the school and the artist, Clara Darden.

The story weaves back and forth between the 1970s and the 1920s.  True to the style of her previous book I read, The Address, Davis weaves a great mystery and manages to have a shocking twist near the ending.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan to read the rest of her works as well.  I can highly encourage anyone who is interested in Historic Fiction, particularly about art and strong female characters to read this novel.

The MasterpieceThe Masterpiece by Fiona  Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the 2nd book by Fiona Davis that I have read and I enjoyed this one as much as I did The Address. Ms Davis is very good at writing books that run in 2 timeframes. Her characters are engaging and make us want to learn more about them. She has developed strong female characters in this book who rise above challenges to survive and succeed.

There is a bit of a mystery to this story just as there was in the Address. I enjoyed reading about the Grand Central Terminal in both the 20s and 1970s. Having lived in NYC and traveled through the station numerous times it was a unique experience to see how the terminal has changed over the years. The book provides a fascinating look into the world of art back in the 1920s and a bit of a glimpse at the Equal Rights movement as well.

I recommend this book for anyone who like historic fiction and especially if you like a bit of a mystery.


View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: 
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book  #49
  2. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #45 set in the 1920s
  3. Around the Year in 52 Books- #8 A book 2 word title with "the"
  4. Book List Queen #7 History Book
  5. TBR Book #30  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
  6. Historic Fiction  #2020HFReadingChallenge (Book #3)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Wed, Read & Dead

This installment in V.M. Burns' Mystery Bookshop series is centered around the Christmas holidays and family.  This book that focuses around the wedding of Sam's mother, Grace, as the name implies.  This book picks up where the last left off with a rush to plan the wedding in just 3 weeks.  Enter an overbearing Wedding Planner and some pretentious relatives.  The death of one of these annoying interlopers to the North Harbor group is not too heartbreaking but leads to Harold, the groom to be, being a prime suspect.

Of course Sam, Nana Jo and the ladies from Shady Acres have their hands full investigating this in addition to planning the wedding.  It ends up being an all hands on deck and we get to catch up with Sam's nephews, Dawson, the MISU girls as well as meet some new characters who tug at your heart strings.  The book definitively examines the concept that family is not only about blood and DNA.
There are plenty of comical moments to help offset the sad ones.

The series continues to be a fun read and I look forward to reading the next installment in the series.

Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop, #4)Wed, Read & Dead by V.M. Burns


This installment in the Mystery Bookshop series is centered around the Christmas holidays and family. This book picks up where the last left off with a rush to plan the wedding in just 3 weeks. Enter an overbearing Wedding Planner and some pretentious relatives. The death of one of these annoying interlopers to the North Harbor group is not too heartbreaking. Of course Sam, Nana Jo and the ladies from Shady Acres have their hands full investigating this in addition to planning the wedding. The plot involves many comical moments and the reader cannot help but laugh at the way family members interact. All in all a fun story that introduces us to some new characters with secrets to keep.


View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: 
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book  #48
  2. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #26 by a WOC
  3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #37
  4. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #11
  5. Calendar of Crime-  #CalendarOfCrime2020  June # 8 ( wedding cake on cover) & 9 (wedding figures prominently
  6. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
  7. Six Shooter-  4th shot for VM Burns
  8. Wizarding World Tour  
    • Uagadou:  book with a symbol on the cover
  9. What's in a Name #1 an Ampersand

Novel Art of Murder

This 3rd installment of the VM Burns Mystery Bookshop series continues to be engaging reads.  This book finds Sam and the Senior Sleuthers investigating to clear one of their own again.  It is always enjoyable to read about their antics and see if I can solve the murder before Sam does.  This book gives us a look at more of Nona Jo's character and her stubbornness and tenacity.  The ladies continue to have fun adventures while trying to solve the crime.  This book is full of  people with secrets to keep and that keeps Sam and the ladies guessing as to who is behind the murder.  Secrets have a way of coming out in the end and they do here as well.  Sam's relationship with Frank continues to develop and you cannot help but root for them to stay together.

All in all an enjoyable book and I look forward to finish catching up on the series.


The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #3)The Novel Art of Murder by V.M. Burns
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another fun installment in the Mystery Bookshop series. I am growing to feel as though I am part of Sam's family and friend group. This book finds Sam and her family dragged into yet another murder, this time a bit close to home. The comical relationships between Nona Jo and her friends are front and center in this book and there are plenty of surprises, not just related to the murder.

Overall a good cozy mystery and I always enjoy the mysteries about Lady Elizabeth and family as well.


View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: 
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book  #47
  2. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book #36 
  3. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #10
  4. Calendar of Crime-  #CalendarOfCrime2020  December #3 Primary action takes place in this month
  5. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
  6. Six Shooter-  3rd shot for VM Burns
  7. Mystery Bingo
    • Red Herring :  key copied
  8. Book List Queen #5 by an author of color
  9. Color Coded:  # 9 implies color-  "Art"

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Lost Letters of William Woolf

Apparently I have been on a bit of a roll with books that I need to persevere to complete.  This book by Helen Cullen is one I started about a month ago and couldn't get past the first few chapters.  It was coming due at the library and I needed to give it another try or just return it.  I'm glad I ended up trying to read The Lost Letters of William Wolfe again.

The very beginning seems to be a bit unnecessary other than providing background on William's childhood which really didn't seem to have any bearing on the book and in the end.  The book centers around the struggles William and his wife, Claire, are having in their marriage.  It really does seem to be a matter of perspective on much of what they struggle with but definitely relatable to anyone who has been married more than a few years.  The story goes back and forth between the 2 of them as the narrators so we see things from both of their perspectives and their individual struggles.

We are treated with the tales that come from William's work at the Dead Letter Depot in East London which provide some pleasant distractions from the drama within their household and the emotions and difficulties they struggle with in their lives.   The author does a great job at providing description to allow the reader to visualize the setting without being too descriptive.

This is an enjoyable read and is worth sticking through the first portion of the book until the story line gains momentum.


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I ended up enjoying this book but it definitely took me a while to get into it. The beginning of the book just didn't capture my attention. This may have been due to the fact there was little going on in the beginning and it was more about setting the story up and the internal musings of William Wolfe. The story does a good job at highlighting how easily couples slip into complacency and slowly find themselves pulling apart. This book definitely highlights the soul searching William and his wife are faced with. The reader finds themselves following along as they struggle to find themselves, their dreams and their passions for things and relationships lost. All in all the book was good and I am glad I stuck it out when I was struggling at the beginning.




Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are: 
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #46
  2. Around the Year in 52 Books- #29 An underrated book, a hidden gem or a lesser known book
  3. TBR Book #29  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Twice in a Blue Moon

Another quick read this week,  Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren.  This was an enjoyable read that I had originally picked up from the library to complete a prompt for a book with the moon on its cover.  The book is about Tate Jones,  a young women about to embark on her young adulthood at college.   She is from a small town in Northern Ca but we meet her during a 2 week vacation with her grandma, Nan, in London.  There she meets 21 year old Sam and his grandfather, Luther  who are in London for a 3 week trip of their own. The 4 end up touring together and Tate & Sam become close.  Then the trip is over and reality sets in.

The book then moves forward 14 years and we catch up with Tate as she is working on a movie set in Ca.  We learn a bit about what her life has been like for the past 14 years.  Her history with relationships has been unusual to say the least.   Her history and secrets have lead her to have a trust and commitment issue.  This film set reunites her with Sam and we watch as her relationship with him and her father are revealed to us.  We cannot help but hope she finds happiness.

If you are looking for a good read be sure to check out this book.



Twice in a Blue MoonTwice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this to be an enjoyable quick read. It's a chick lit book focusing on overcoming betrayal by those you considered to be reliable and trustworthy. We first meet Tate Jones while on a dream trip to London after high school Her Nan has taken her from her small town in Northern California for 2 weeks to celebrate before leaving for college in the fall. Things don't go quite as planned but they have a wonderful trip and meet some male friends to enjoy the city with. Sam and his grandpa, Luther, have traveled to London for a 3 week trip from their farm in Vermont. Turns out though everyone has some secrets they are keeping.

The book quickly jumps forward 14 years and we meet up with Tate as she is working on a feature film on location on a farm in California. We get a glimpse at the behind the scenes world of Hollywood including the ugly side of being in the public eye. Through the book we watch Tate grow and learn to trust her heart. She must overcome the disappointment she feels when some relationships prove to be less than they seem on the surface.

Overall this was a good book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #45
  2. Wizading World Tour 
    • Uagadou: Read a book with a moon on the cover
  3. Monthly Keyword-  #MonthlyKeyWordChallenge  "Blue"

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Sarah Dove is not your typical librarian.  A a member of the founding family of Dove Pond, NC, she and her sisters seem to have special abilities.  These abilities seem to be able to help the residents of Dove Pond whether they know it or not.  Sarah knows when Grace moves to the small town with her niece, Daisy, and Miss G, that Grace is meant to help the town.  Problem is Grace doesn't intend to stay long and wants no part of saving the town. 

The story evolves around their growing relationship and those of the other members of the Dove Pond Social Club.  The story is centered around the planning of the town's annual Apple Festival.  It quickly becomes much more than that.  As the committee plans and Grace grows to accept her role in the town of Dove Pond, the characters and their relationships do too.  As the reader, I felt I got to know the characters and was really rooting for them.

 Each chapter of the book is written from a different character's perspective.  The storyline it told from their point of view for a chapter and then moves on to another character.  The story continues in a chronological fashion and doesn't tell the same event from different characters' perspectives unless it is through dialogue with another character reflecting on something that happened previously.  I found this an enjoyable approach to narration that developed the characters into likeable well rounded individuals.

The story is one about growth and learning to let go and trust others.  There are some comical moments and a bit of underlying romantic tensions, but it is not all rainbows and unicorns.  The book deals with some sad and poignant issues but is not a tear-jerker. 

When I started the book it began slowly and I initially put it aside to read another book.  I am glad I pushed through and read the book.  It is real joy and one of the more enjoyable books I have read thus far this year.


The Book CharmerThe Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was an unexpected winner for me. It started out slowly- I put it down and then retried a week or so later. As I got past the beginning the storyline seemed to pickup pace and interest. This is a story about people who are "lost" and find their ways. There are plenty of unexpected challenges and successes presented in the book. Most of all though, you come to know and enjoy the characters of the town of Dove Pond, NC. You cannot help but find your self rooting for them and hoping everything will work out for them. Karen Hawkins, writes in the style where each chapter is from a different character's perspective. The story flows in a chronological order but the different scenes and plot points are shown from one character's perspective, it is just a rotating perspective. I don't mind the style as I think it adds to the development of the characters and our relationships with them.

Note, this is not a book full of only happy scenarios, there are many sad and thought provoking moments in the book and we watch the characters struggle with life's hardships. There is a little bit of unexplained magic that helps them along the way but nothing that isn't a beautiful way of expressing faith in oneself, others and the power of people working together.

This is a great read and I am glad I pushed through my initial reluctance to give the book is well deserved effort.


View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #44
  2. Literary Escapes-  NC
  3. Around the Year in 52 Books- #35 A book with a geometric pattern or element on the cover
  4. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #22 a spec-fic book
  5. Wizading World Tour  possible categories
    • Koldovstoretz: Read a book involving potions
  6. Monthly Keyword-  #MonthlyKeyWordChallenge-   "Book"

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

I just finished listening to Amy Poehler's memoir on a self narrated audiobook.  I found it to be an enjoyable listen with plenty of guest narrators such as Patrick Stewart and Seth Myers.  Amy writes as though she is telling you a story over a glass of wine.  She presents her stories in a tangential manner and jumps around in different periods of her life while talking about a specific theme or idea.  It definitely would be a difficult book to read if you like orderly and organized writing.

I found it enjoyable and it showed her personality in her writing.  It is definitely not a polished and formal novel.  She definitely uses colorful language that reflects her upbringing in suburban Boston.  She is a non-filtered personality that believes strongly in empowering women and aspiring comedians.  Her political feelings are apparent but not so in your face that they are the focus of the story.  They arise as a part of the story she is relaying or about explaining her actions/feelings.

There are definitely stories that required self analysis.  She doesn't paint Hollywood and her life as all roses but it is clear she is happy with her life and how she has chosen to live.  I appreciated that she did not use her story as a means to bash her ex, Will Arnett, and she is civil about him.  She keeps her stories about her boys at an enjoyable level and not as such that they would be overly embarrassed to read them down the road.

I did listen to the book and I wonder if it makes it a bit more enjoyable than it would have been if I had been trying to follow along in a printed format.  If you are looking for a fun read that provides an honest insight into the process of becoming a comedian, writer and successful actress this a a perfect book for you.



Yes PleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a fun memoir that I enjoyed listening to as an audiobook. Amy Poehler is a great storyteller and she included multiple guest narrators that added to the reading. The book is a fun read relaying stories from her childhood all the way up until her final season on Parks and Recreation. It is a great look at all the steps it takes to become a successful writer and actress. There are glimpses of her life outside Hollywood, including her 2 sons and her relationships with friends and family.

It is an enjoyable read but if you prefer books that are chronological and organized this is not the book for you. I enjoyed the format of the rambling like story telling that jumps from topic to topic but if this isn't your style you won't enjoy the book in my opinion. If you are looking for a fun read with a glimpse behind the scenes of the Hollywood life then you will enjoy the book.


View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #42
  2. Audiobook challenge  #7
  3. AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge- "Y"
  4. Book List Queen #17 Celebrity Memoir
  5. Memoirs-  #21 Humorous memoir

Monday, May 11, 2020

Death Al Dente Food Lover's Village #1



This was a new cozy mystery series by Leslie Budewitz that I selected to meet a challenge prompt for the year.  This book won the Agatha Award for best first novel in May 2013.  I selected it for my GirlXOXO Award book for May.  I now have a new series I would like to get caught up on reading. 

The book introduces us to Erin Morgan as she is preparing to play hostess to her brainchild, the Festa in Pasta celebration, in her hometown of Jewel Bay, Montana.  She has recently returned to manage the family store, the Glacier Mercantile (the Merc), which has been in her family for generations.  Her return assists her mom with management assistance when her previous manager, and friend,  Claudette suddenly departed for Vegas with her philandering boyfriend, Dean.  Dean abandons his estranged wife and twin daughters and headed to Vegas to pursuing his Elvis impersonation dreams. 

Their sudden return to Jewel Bay is met with high emotions and swirling rumors. Erin encounters Claudette while running a last minute errand and invites her to the dinner to kick off the festival.  Claudette agrees but never makes it to the party. 

The book centers around a murder and the attention of the police focused on Erin's mother as the primary suspect.  To complicate things even more, the chief investigator is Erin's bff growing up, Kim.  They had grown apart at the end of High School but the relationship with the family was a part of their childhood.  This made the suspicion even more painful for Erin. 

Much of the beginning of the book focuses on Erin's internal thoughts and emotions.  The real action begins toward the middle of the book.  Budewitz has twisted many plot lines and false leads together to create a fun mystery.  The relationships of all the characters is complicated by the small town and all that comes with small town living.  The characters relationships are accurately depicted and represent what many individuals experience when returning to where they grew up. 

I look forward to reading the rest of the series (there are 5 in total) and to try Leslie Budewitz's other series, the Spice Shop mysteries, as well. 



Up next 















Death Al Dente (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery, #1)Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We meet Erin Murphy, the manager of her family’s business, the Glacier Mercantile, as she is preparing for the Festa. This is a town wide festival she has spearheaded up return to Jewel Bay from Seattle. The party offers the opportunity for the reader to be introduced to a large number of characters quickly, who also quickly become suspects. The festival quickly has a damper placed on it when a guest is murdered as they enter the party

The long time friend of her mother, Fresca, returns to town after a short stint in Vegas. Claudette had abruptly left MT 6 months prior with her Elvis impersonator, philandering boyfriend, Dean. Her return is swirling with rumors about her departure from the Merc and her relationship with the Murphy family. On top of that, her love triangle is crazy gossip fodder in a small town.

The book is full of characters and the dynamics of family and small town life. Erin finds herself defending her mother in the eyes of the law, who happens to be he ex best friend from HS, Kim.

During the course of the investigation the reader gets a glimpse at the thoughts and ideas as they course through Erin’s mind. There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot line and lots of red herrings thrown in to keep the reader and Erin guessing. In the end the guilty party is caught.

The book started a bit slow but really got rolling as it progressed. Budewitz does a good job balancing description of the Montana landscape with the storyline and characters. I look forward to reading more of the Food Lovers Village mysteries and visiting with the Murphy clan and their neighbors in Jewel Bay


View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #43
  2. Literary Escapes-  MT
  3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #36
  4. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #9
  5. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
  6. Six Shooter-  1st shot for Leslie Budewitz
  7. Mystery Bingo
    • Red Herring :  Ex Spouse
    • Crime Scenes: Alley
  8. TBR Book #28  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon
  9. Monthly Book Award-   #GXOAwardReadingChallenge  

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Pool of Life by Pete Trewin

I stumbled onto this book accidentally, literally.  I was trying to click to my reader dashboard in my Hidden Gems ARC account and inadvertently clicked the "Add me as a reader" button.  I was accepted for the copy and decided I couldn't just not read it even though it wasn't necessarily something I would have chosen.   I don't generally select PI books from the crime fiction genre.

This mystery was set in Liverpool and in Wales.   The author keeps the storyline and the details true to the region as far as I can tell.  Many of the terms and geography was unfamiliar to me.  This just made it read a little less smoothly than I think it would have had I been more familiar.  I appreciate the authenticity and wouldn't want the dialogue and rhetoric to be Americanized, it would detract from the story.

The plot was good and Trewin does a very good job of tying up all the pieces.  Although it did feel a bit rushed at the end- almost like he was told he had to keep the book under a certain length. 

I think another thing that kept me from loving the book and making it a 4 star read was the fact I didn't really  like the characters.  I found them to be rough around the edges and not necessarily nice people.  I do think that is by design to give them depth, I just didn't like the edge to them. 

All in all it wasn't a bad book,  just wasn't something in my usual bag of reading.  I guess that is the point of trying to do challenges though so I did try something new and it didn't kill me and was entertaining and kept me engaged for the day. 

Pool Of LifePool Of Life by Pete Trewin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book but didn't love it. I found the story to be intriguing but a bit difficult to follow at times due to the jumping between characters. I had trouble following who was who at times. I also think the fact it was set in Liverpool and Wales and used local terms and language probably added to my struggle. This isn't a bad thing, I appreciate the author giving it authenticity for the setting it just made it flow a little less smoothly for me.

The story seemed to wrap up quickly after the setup of the storyline and it is possible the author could have taken a bit longer to write the culminating scenes. I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to readers, especially those who like the gritty PI genre.

Disclosure- I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review of the work.


View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Literary Escapes-  Wales
  2. AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge- P
  3. Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #35
  4. Medical Examiner-  5 Toe Tag 
  5. Mystery Bingo
    • Clues:  item in newspaper
    • Crime Scenes: beach/shoreline

Friday, May 8, 2020

Sweet Saboteur #1 Cozy Cafe Series



This book was one I received through the Hidden Gems ARC program I am participating in.  This was a new author to me in the cozy genre, C.A. Phipps.  It was a fun read about 3 sisters who inherit a family bakery, The Cozy Cafe.

Scarlett is more keen on keeping it running in her mother's, honor.  Baking is her passion and makes her happy.  Her 2 sisters on the other hand would prefer to move on and pursue other passions in life.  Ruby has completed her degree and would really like to pursue something more than running the cafe with her sisters.

The cafe is located in Cozy Hollow which is a very typical small town where everyone knows everyone's business and gossip abounds.  This gossip is causing them extreme issues when the mayor begins spreading rumors that they were responsible for the poisoning of the recently deceased town resident. 

During the course of them finding their way and getting to the bottom of an apparent grudge against them by the mayor, they determine they need to solve the mystery behind the death or the shadow of doubt will not go away.  They work with their Aunt Olivia, and Sam, the paramedic, and Nate, the police officer to get to the bottom of the situation and determine who the killer is who's trying to frame them for.  I did figure out the guilty party about 3/4 of the way through the book but it didn't ruin the story for me as the "why" is explained as well.

The story line is a pleasant read and we get to know the sisters and their interactions a bit.  Scarlett, Violet and Ruby Finch are typical sisters, tight and supportive of one another but also bicker and poke at each other.  Their relationship is strong and an important part of the story and character development. Meanwhile there is a bit of romance in the air between the sisters and some handsome young bachelors. 

You will enjoy this read if you like cozy mysteries with a happy outcome. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Candy Corruption, due out next week. 


Sweet Saboteur (The Cozy Cafe Mysteries #1)Sweet Saboteur by C.A.   Phipps
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun cozy read about 3 sisters who inherit a family bakery. The one sister is more keen on keeping it running in her mother's honor. Baking is her passion and makes her happy. Her 2 sisters on the other hand would prefer to move on and pursue other passions in life. During the course of them finding their way and getting to the bottom of an apparent grudge against them by the Mayor, they end up solving a mystery around a mysterious death that the killer is trying to frame them for. I did figure out the guilty party about 3/4 of the way through the book but it didn't ruin the story for me as the "why" is explained as well.

The story line is a pleasant read and we get to know the sisters and their interactions a bit. Meanwhile there is a bit of romance in the air between the sisters and some handsome young bachelors.
You will enjoy this read if you like cozy mysteries with a happy outcome.


View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:

  1. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book #34 
  2. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice
  3. Medical Examiner-  1 Toe Tag 
  4. Six Shooter-  1st shot for CA Phipps
  5. Mystery Bingo
    • Weapons card :  Heart Attack
    • Red Herring :  someone faints
  6. Monthly Motif   #MonthlyMotifGXO-  author you've never read 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Money Shot

Another Stuart Woods  book based in the world of Stone Barrington. written with Parnell Hall  In this case, the story centers around Teddy Fay aka Billy Barnett and his role as a Hollywood producer and stuntman, Marc Weldon.   I had missed this book in the series previously and went back to read it.  It stands alone even after reading further books in the series. 

We find ourselves caught up in the world of the Centurion movie studios and a catch a glimpse at some of the background activities involved in producing a movie.  Dino Bachetti's son, Ben, and his wife, Tessa, play a role in this book as does Stone's son, Peter.  Stone and Mike Freeman make cursory appearances. 

Billy is acting in the new movie being produced by Peter and is helping Tessa out with a mysterious threat  from her past that appears unexpectedly.   His multiple identities leads to some confusion as to who is trying to kill him and for what reason. The story, as are many of the books in the series, is a bit unbelievable but I still find them enjoyable.  Their is plenty of action and danger with some clever manipulation by Teddy to wrap the problem up neatly with non legal backlash. 

If you want to read a book that bounces between the glitter of Hollywood and Vegas then this is a fun read for you.   Overall the book is an enjoyable and quick read.  Do not select this book if you are looking for a serious thought provoking book. 

The Money ShotThe Money Shot by Stuart Woods
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another Stuart Woods book based in the world of Stone Barrington. In this case though, the story centers around Teddy Fay aka Billy Barnett and his role as a Hollywood producer and stuntman. We find ourselves caught up in the world of the Centurion movie studios. Dino Bachetti's son, Ben, and his wife, Tessa, play a role in this book as does Stone's son, Peter. Stone and Mike Freeman make cameo appearances as well.

Billy is acting in the new movie being produced by Peter under the pseudonym of Marc Weldon. His multiple identities leads to some confusion as to who is trying to kill him and for what reason. The story, as are many of the books in the series, is a bit unbelievable but I still find them enjoyable. Overall the book is an enjoyable and quick read but not something to fire the mental synapses.


View all my reviews


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #41
  2. Literary Escapes-  NV
  3. Finishing the Series-  #FinishingTheSeries2020   Teddy Fay #2
  4.  Cloak and  Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #33
  5. Medical Examiner-  5 Toe Tag 
  6. Six Shooter-  4th shot for Stuart Woods
  7. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #28 book you meant to read in 2019
  8. TBR Book #27  #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Opium Lord's Daughter

I received this novel written by Robert Wang, as an ARC through Hidden Gems.   I found it a fascinating read about a period in time I was completely unaware of prior to reading this novel.   The author's notes made it clear his is a student of this era of Chinese/British history and based his novel on factual information.

The story begins in Canton with us meeting Su Mei,  Shao Lin's 6 year old daughter on the day he is attempting to have her feet bound.  The novel then explains the process and the justification for it in the eyes of the noble in 19th Century China.  The story behind this cruel tradition was the tiny dancer's feet of a favorite concubine of the Emperor in the 1400s.   Suddenly father's of daughters sought to have their feet be tiny so they were desirable wives.  There were gold and silver standards, the smaller the better, regardless of whether the woman was able to walk.

Su Mei was stubborn and managed to remove the restraints with the assistance of the lady's maid sent by Concubine #1.  After repeated attempts to bind her feet failed, her father finally gave up.  Mainly because he was now absorbed with the arrival of Number One son, Da Ping.  Da Ping and Su Mei are very close and basically play alone, ignoring the other children of the household and the noble children whom they interact.  Their carefree happiness comes to a halt when Da Ping turns 13 and his studies begin in order to groom him for his noble birthright.  Even still, Su Mei pledges her loyalty and love to him.

Su Mei is brought to Macau with her father on a business trip, and placed in a convent to try and set her straight in her stubborn ways which have continued into young adulthood- refusal to marry the selected groom.  This turns out to be a fortuitous and life changing experience for Su Mei.

Shao Lin, while being a guan in Canton has been building his family's wealth by hiding his opium trade behind the business of tea and silk.  His father, a high standing official close with the Emperor has no idea of the truth behind his business success.   Once the emperor decides to rid his country of the opium that is destroying it's people, Sue Mei's family gets caught up in this. As the world around her collapses she comes to depend on her new friends in a way she could never have expected.  Her brother, Da Ping is also awoken to the realities of his new existence.   The experience is life changing for them all.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was quite interesting to learn about some of the cultural traditions of 19th century China and the relationship with the British.  I have not traveled to mainland China but have been to Hong Kong and this book adds a bit of an explanation and background for that city and its history between Britain and China. 


The Opium Lord's DaughterThe Opium Lord's Daughter by Robert  Wang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Opium Lord's Daughter by Robert Wang is a fabulous read with lots of drama and suspense wrapped in a historical novel. This is a fascinating historical novel set during the 1st Opium War between China and Britain in late 1830s/ early 1840s. This is a time I was completely unfamiliar with prior to reading this book. The author's note at the beginning was very helpful in filling in the facts behind the story. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review of the novel.

The story is based on the trade of opium by the British into China. Basically, the British wanted the Chinese silk and tea but the Chinese didn't want anything from the British. The British began providing opium the Chinese paid for in silver which was then used to buy the tea and silk to take back to Britain. The Chinese people became addicted to the opium and the Emperor decided to put an end to the illegal trade. This story is set around that event in history and is filled with many details pertaining to the cultural history of China including foot binding, daughter's obedience/secondary existence and the possession of Hong Kong by Britain.

The main character, Su Mei, and her brother, Da Ping, are raised as privileged members of the noble class in Canton. The idyllic life changes suddenly when their father's involvement in the opium trade is made known. The siblings lives are changed forever over the course of a short period of time.

The only drawback to the novel and the reason I didn't give it a 5 star review is the timeline is a bit difficult to follow at times. I found myself repeatedly flipping to different chapters to see when the action was taking place. The author does a good job of blending a flashback with the story in the "present" time setting but it could be hard to know when the action was taking place. Additionally, there were a few times when the book was switching between characters/scenes within a chapter and it was hard to follow. It took a sentence or two to realize the transition was taking place. It wasn't a major issue, but it did force a reread of portions to get my bearing and hence slowed the pace a bit.

I really enjoyed this book. What's not to like, the book is filled with naval battles, illegal drug trade and unlikely allies. It was quite interesting to learn about some of the cultural traditions of 19th century China and the relationship with the British. If you have any interest in learning about history of other cultures or are interested in a historical novel not based around WWII, I can highly recommend this book.


View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
  1. Literary Escapes-  China
  2. Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #33 set in a country beginning with "C"
  3. Around the Year in 52 Books- #27  A history or historical fiction
  4. 52 Books in 52 weeks  # 45 A book that cost you less than $5
  5. Book List Queen #15 Set in Asia
  6. NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020  #3 a self published book
  7. Historic Fiction  #2020HFReadingChallenge (Book #2)

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Apr Reading Recap

April Reading Progress

General Tracking

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

Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge- April letters: none
completed previously A, B, C, D, E, F, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, V, W

Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2020  Tracked Here  completed 6/5 in total
New series in Apr  Murder She Wrote;  Under Suspicion; Private; Library Lover's; Hannah Swensen

Previously read:  Library Lover's Series;  New Orleans Scrapbooking Series; Hat Shop Mystery Series, Stone Barrington

Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Tracked Here 39 /36 books read  (30 previously)

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

Specific Criteria


PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge  completed in Apr #9 (with a map), #13 (same title as a tv show or movie but is unrelated to it), #18 (on a subject you know nothing about)
completed previously # 1, 2, 5, 6, 8,12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 30, 34, 35, 38,40, 41, 43,  46, 47, 49, 50

Around the Year in 52 Books  completed in Apr #2 ( an author whose last name is one syllable),    #21 (related to Maximilian Hell, the noted astronomer and Jesuit Priest), #25 ( related to the arts), #32 (related to the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Japan), #43 (related to one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse), #44 (related to witches)  #51(with an "-ing" word in the title)
completed previously # 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,  22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 33, 34, 40, 41, 45, 48, 49, 50

52 Books in 52 Weeks completed in Apr# #5(A character who is a senior), #23 (Title beginning with A), #52 (book with a Foreword)
completed previously  #1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 34, 35, 37, 39, 42, 43, 46, 47, 48 

BooklistQueen completed in Apr#20 (Genre You Don’t Usually Read), #27 ( About a Controversial Topic), #34 ( Middle Grade Fiction), #42 (With a Hideous Cover)
completed previously #3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 21, 23, 28, 31, 32, 36, 37, 39, 40, 43, 46, 49

20 in 20 #Read20in2020 completed in Apr# 13 F (you read in your childhood days), #16 F (has something to do with sports)

completed previously #1F, 2 NF, #5 F/NF, 7 F/NF, 8 F/NF, 9F, 10F, 13F, 17F, 18F,

NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2020  0 completed in Apr:
completed previously#1,2, 3,  4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23,  24, 25

Wizarding World Tour
  • Beauxbatons: 0 new prompts in Apr
    • 5/7 prompts completed previously
  • Castelobruxo- 0 prompts in Apr- 
    • 6/7 prompts completed previously
  • Durmstrang:  1 prompt in Apr-  Read a book that includes a villain
    • 5/7 prompts completed previously
  • Hogwarts:  0 new prompts in Apr
    •  5/7 prompts completed previously
  • Ilvermorny- 1 prompt in Apr- Read a book with food on the cover
    • 5/7 prompts completed previously
  • Koldovstoretz-  1 prompt in Apr- Read a book related to a serpent
    • 1/7 prompts completed previously
  • Mahoutokoro-  2 new prompts in Apr- where the dust jacket and cover are different colors; Read a middle grade novel 
    • 1/7 prompts completed previously
  • Uagadou-  1 prompt in Apr- Read a book with a hand on the cover
    • 3/7 prompts completed previously


While I was Reading  in Apr- # 11 A book set in the state you live in
completed previously- #1, 2, 4

What's in a Name 0 new prompts in Apr-
completed previously- An Antonym, Given/First Name; reference to children; one of 4 natural elements

Color Coded  0 prompts in Apr-
completed previously Beige, Blue, Black, Brown, Green, Orange, Red,  White and Yellow

Monthly Motif #MonthlyMotifGXO  Classics or Currents
Monthly Keyword #MonthlyKeyWordGXO-    Keyword "Lost, Below, City, Jewel, Night, My"



    Monthly Book Awards #GXOAwardReadingChallenge - Edgar 2019


    TBR Based Challenges


    2020TBR #2020TBRReadingChallenge: completed in Apr - # 17 ()
    completed previously  # 1, 5, 7, 9, 14, 16 (n america, australia, europe) 20, 21


    Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020  completed 7  books in Apr;   new bingo square:

    completed previously 13  bingo squares:  #1, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23


    Back List Reader  #Backlistreader Tracked Here  26/24 read  (20 read previously)

    Start on Your Shelfathon  #StartOnYourShelfathon Tracked Here  26/5  thru Apr 2020

    Mount TBR  #MountTBR2020 Tracked Here 26 /24 read  (20 read previously)

    Genre Specific


    Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2020  a prompt in 1 a month -  Feb (3)
    previously a prompt in 10 months-Jan, Feb 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  #15/16/17 (free choice) 14 /20  total completed;   (11 completed previously)
    previously read the culinary, animal, craft, outside US, career, holiday and 4 freebie

    Historical Fiction  #2020HFReadingChallenge  Tracked Here  1/5

    Memoir  total completed 4/5  Read   #10 (Written by a person who identifies as LGBTQIA)
    previously read memoir for the Food memoir category; Mental Health/Illness,  Lab Girl fits multiple prompts using for under 300 pages



    Saturday, May 2, 2020

    Read Herring Hunt

    This is the next installment in the Mystery Bookshop series by VM Hunt.   I enjoyed this book and reading about Sam and her friends and family again.  This time her renter/employee, Dawson, gets himself mixed up in a murder investigation.  Sam has come to feel as though Dawson is an adopted son to her and she is willing to do everything, including risking her life, to help prove his innocence.

    This story further develops the characters and their relationships.  I really came to like the characters and to find myself disliking the protagonists.   There are few bits to the story that are a bit far fetched but all in all the main story is an enjoyable read.

    Burns continues to have the parallel English pre war mystery set on the estate of Lord William.  There is a shooting party hosted there that is more than it seems as war is looming with Germany.  This storyline continues to have intrigue and romance.  A fun addition to the main storyline.

    I will be reading the next installment as soon as I read some other books I need to finish prior to the library reopening in June.


    Read Herring Hunt (Mystery Bookshop, #2)Read Herring Hunt by V.M. Burns
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    I enjoyed this second installment in the cozy series. Burns continues to write 2 mysteries within each book- the "live" action one and the character's novel one. This story is able to be read stand alone from the first but it is enjoyable to see the storyline progress. The characters are the same as in the first book and Burns continues to develop them and their relationships with one another. In this books she adds several new characters who are enjoyable to meet.

    All in all a fun cozy mystery.


    View all my reviews


    Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:

    Possible prompts

    I will decide as the year goes along which prompts I use it for on several challenges since it meets multiple criteria within the challenge.
    1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #40
    2. AtoZ and Alphabet soup challenge #AlphabetSoupChallenge-  R
    3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #32
    4. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #8
    5. Medical Examiner-  2 Toe Tag 
    6. Six Shooter-  2nd shot for VM Burns
    7. 52 Books in 52 weeks  #31 A book featuring royalty

    Friday, May 1, 2020

    The Plot is Murder

    This was a new series and author for me.  VM Burns introduced the Murder Bookshop series with this title.  We meet the main character, Samantha Washington, and her group of friends and family in this first installment.  They are quite a lively and diverse group that you cannot help but be drawn to.  Samantha is just about to open the mystery bookstore of her dreams when we first meet her.  She is newly widowed in her 30s and is pursuing the dream she had planned with her late husband, Leon.  His death provided her with the financial means to pursue their plans.  Although she is happy to be opening her dream store, it is without him and that leaves hole in her heart.

    Well she wasn't alone, her Nana Jo- her octogenarian co sleuth, her sister Jenna, her nephews and her new employee are all active characters in the story.   When she found the realtor, Clayton Parker,  dead in her back garden, the local police suspected her of the crime.  She and Nana Jo worked with the other ladies from Nana's retirement village to suss out clues and solve the crime.   Pretty good story all by itself, but there is a great twist to this cozy mystery. 

    Sam is an aspiring novelist.  As part of the main story, we read her manuscript for a cozy mystery set in England in the late 1930s.  This was a fun side story about 2 sisters and their Aunt and Uncle, all members of the Royal peerage.   They solve a murder that occurs during a weekend Ball at their country estate.

    I look forward to continuing this series, which I fortunately had checked out of my library before the shelter at home was announced.   Look for the reviews on the future installments in the series soon.




    The Plot Is Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #1)The Plot Is Murder by V.M. Burns
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    I really enjoyed this first installment in a new series by VM Burns. Samantha, a recent young widow, is introduced to us as she is about to open her new bookshop on the shores of Lake Michigan in North Harbor, MI. Opening a mystery bookstore was a lifelong dream she had intended to pursue with her husband, Leon. Unfortunately his young death left her to pursue it alone.

    Well she wasn't alone, her Nana Jo- the octogenarian co sleuth, her sister Jenna, her nephews and her new employee are all active characters in the story. They work to solve a crime in which Sam has become embroiled in. The fun twist to this cozy is Sam is also an aspiring writer herself. We are treated to reading her manuscript as a part of the larger story. This was a fun twist and I look forward to reading the other mysteries in the series as I catch up.


    View all my reviews


    Challenge Prompts

    The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
    1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge -  Book #39
    2. Literary Escapes-  MI
    3. Cravings for a Cozy and Cloak and  Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book  #31
    4. Cruising through cozies -  Free choice #7
    5. Medical Examiner-  3 Toe Tag 
    6. Six Shooter-  1st shot for VM Burns
    7. Mystery Bingo
      • Clues:  something burned in fireplace