Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Kilt Dead

 I had read a previous installment of the Liss MacCrimmon series by Kaitlyn Dunnett last year.  I had selected that book because it fulfilled the "X" requirement in my alphabet challenge.  I usually try to read series from the beginning but this was an exception.  I did feel the fact I had read a future book did not ruin this book although it would have been better to read them in order as certain facts about the central characters make it a bit predictable since I had read a future book.  If you like cozy mysteries with strong young and older women in the primary detective role then you will like this book.  Additionally, anyone interested in Scottish heritage and goods will find this book a fun read.


Kilt DeadKilt Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first in the series set in a small town in Maine. Liss is a great character coming back to her hometown after a min unexpected end to her career. The book centers around her Scottish heritage and her Aunt’s Emporium. The story has many likeable and unlikeable characters. The mystery unravels and an unexpected suspect is revealed. The book does a great job of balancing the mystery with character and relationships developing as Liss reacquainted herself with HS friends as she tries to solve the mystery

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #112
  2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021  Liss MacCrimmon #1
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #119
  4. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book # 133
  5. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #78
  6. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #114
  7. Craving for Cozies  Book #96
  8. Pick your Poison #7-3 A book with a plaid cover
  9. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
  10. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 3
        • Bar, store, restaurant
    • Weapons
      • Row 4
        • Push or fall
    • Detectives- Liss
    • Victims- Ms. Norton
  11. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #75  Shot #1


Fish Out of Water

 This was a fun new cozy mystery by Marc Jedel.  I came across this book in Kindle Unlimited and decided to give it a go.  I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the mystery.   In a genre filled with single women as the central amateur detectives, this book veers on a different course.  Jedel, created a married couple as the center of the story.  He takes it one step further by alternating voices as the narrator; switching between the husband and wife. This made for a very enjoyable book since the 2 characters are very different personalities so the different perspectives where generally very obvious.  Occasionally, I would forget who the "I" was in the storyline and have to check for the heading at the beginning of the chapter but usually it was unnecessary.   

The mystery itself was well developed and the criminal was not revealed until the end as the story intended.  I look forward to reading more in the series as well as trying the Silicon Valley based series by the author as well.  

Fish Out of WaterFish Out of Water by Marc Jedel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this cozy. The mystery structure was well written and complex with multiple layers. Plenty of disagreeable characters that lead to many suspects. I think the thing I liked most though was the characters. Instead of a single woman recovering from some relationship tragedy this book is about Elizabeth and Josh, a married couple. The point of view alternates between the two and makes a unique take on the cozy mystery genre. I really look forward to reading more in the series

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  AR
  2. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #
  3. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  4. Cozy Mysteries   #3 male author
  5. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #77
  6. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #113
  7. Craving for Cozies  Book #95
  8. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
  9. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 4
        • Street or sidewalk
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Rock, brick, blunt object
    • Detectives- Elizabeth/Josh
    • Victims- Duncan
  10. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #74  Shot #1


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Murder at Marble House

 This cozy by Alyssa Maxwell is the 2nd installment in her Gilded Newport series.  This story centers around a woman, Emma, who is a bit of an rebel for her time.  She is a cousin of the Vanderbilt family and finds herself at the center of an investigation into the murder of a medium at her Aunt's home.  She must delicately investigate the murder and its relationship to the disappearance of her cousin, Constance, from Marble House.  The cozy gives the reader a glimpse into the past and the wealth of the Vanderbilt's and their peers in Newport, RI in the 1900s.   The mystery is well written and it is interesting to read about a woman who is challenging the norm or her era; all the while experiencing many of the same struggles woman face in the modern era.  


Murder at Marble HouseMurder at Marble House by Alyssa Maxwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyable historic cozy featuring the Vanderbilts and their cousin Emma Cross. Set in Newport in the gilded age this is a charming series with a strong female lead who has a firm resilience. She is strong willed and independent in an era when women were to be proper and run a household. She is inspiring in her determination and her desire to do as she believes is right not just what others think she should do. The mystery itself is well structured and compelling including the motivations for the crimes.

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #111
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  Rhode Island
  3. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021  
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #118
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #132
  6. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  7. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #76
  8. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #112
  9. Craving for Cozies  Book #94
  10. Historic Fiction  #histficreadingchallenge   Book #14
  11. Medical Examiner Challenge  2 Toe Tags
  12. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 5
        • Garden, park, gazebo
        • Beach or shoreline
    • Weapons
      • Row 5
        • Hands or fists
    • Detectives- Emma/Derrick/Jesse
    • Victims- Ellen Deveraux/ Lady Alexa
  13. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #38  Shot #2

Monday, October 25, 2021

Steampunk Poe

 This is the first book I have ever truly DNF'd.   There have been other books I lost interest in and set aside to never have picked up again yet, but this one I made a conscience decision to stop reading.  I had selected this book to meet a prompt regarding steampunk.  I am still glad I did so as I thoroughly enjoyed looking through the book at all the illustrations.  I just could not adjust to Poe's reading style.  I tried several of the stories- Tell Tale Heart (reread),  The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher and the poem the Raven.   I just struggled to read the language and finally decided to stop instead of forcing myself through the book just because it's a classic author and a book I picked up at the library.  Boy did it feel good to make that decision.




Steampunk: PoeSteampunk: Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I must admit I ended up DNF thins book. I just could not get past the formal old style of writing. I tried reading 3 stories and several poems but just found myself not enjoying the reading. I gave this a 3 star because the steampunk illustrations were wonderful. I found myself lingering over the drawings and really seeing them relate to the stories Poe wrote. If you enjoy the classics and Poe this is a book worth checking out

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #110
  2. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #49 written in verse
  3. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge #  9 a classic 
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #117
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #131
  6. Historic Fiction  #histficreadingchallenge   Book #13
  7. BooklistQueen   #9 Poetry
  8. Monthly Motif #MonthlyMotifGXO  - Shadow/ black cover
  9. 52 books in 52 weeks  #3-4 steampunk


Sunday, October 24, 2021

A Flock of an Alibi

 This was an anthology that I discovered through one of the author newsletters I receive.  Since it was free on Kindle Unlimited I decided to give it a try.  Each of the stories is a short novella cozy.   Some involve murder, others alternate types of crimes.  They all had the common theme of a flamingo as a central part of the story.   The short stories were a quick and enjoyable read and I will certainly try more books by the various authors.



A Flock of an AlibiA Flock of an Alibi by Verena DeLuca
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fun flamingo featured anthology

Great variety of cozy novellas. Some funnier others more intentional in their mysteries. Hard not to end up with a smile while reading these stories all centered around the beautiful pink bird

View all my reviews


  

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #43 anthology
  2. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #75
  3. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #111
  4. Craving for Cozies  Book #93
  5. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #9. AN ANTHOLOGY
  6. Medical Examiner Challenge  3 Toe Tags
  7. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 4
        • Hotel room
        • Swimming pool, spa, jacuzzi
    • Weapons
      • Row 4
        • Push or fall
      • Row 5
        • Medicine or drugs


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Murder in Season

 This is book 52 in the Murder She Wrote series penned by Jessica Fletcher and co authors.  This is the first I have read with the new author Jon Land and I must say he gave a bit of a refreshing feel to the series.  The storyline was a bit less predictable while still including the mainstay of characters in Cabot Cove.  Jessica has just returned to her home after a major renovation due to fire and her nephew Grady and his family come for the holidays.  There is a bit of a nostalgic feel as Jessica realizes how much she misses have family to celebrate the holidays with and life in general.  The mystery is well structured and spans centuries in the discovery of the guilty parties.  

The founders of Cabot Cove had secrets and they are unearthed in this book along with some of the descendants' secrets as well.  I appreciated the handling of the discovery of a connection to past behaviors that are not acceptable in today's world.  The presentation of the situation and then the commenting by characters that you cannot view historical events through filters of society today was a welcome change from many books that try to sermonize to readers.  The authors do a wonderful job of condemning the acts as something that shouldn't be repeated today but also provide the framework of the historic time to explain how it fit into that era.  

I look forward to reading more in this series if this new author continues to co-write with Jessica.


Murder in SeasonMurder in Season by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has a new co author and I feel it has given new originality to the series. Set in the ever charming Cabot Cove at the holiday season, it is enjoyable to experience small town holiday traditions. Unfortunately crime has other plans for a smooth Christmas with family and friends for Jessica Fletcher. She and Sheriff Metzger find themselves investigating multiple murders related to the founding families of the town. I appreciate they addressed the problem with applying current social standards to history. You don’t have to condone the actions of the past but also they need to be viewed with a perspective of the times not the modern norms. The mystery is well constructed and keeps the reader wondering until the end. The twist on the missing treasure is a wonderful aspect too. I look forward to reading more by this new author duo

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #109
  2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021  27-2
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #116
  4. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #130
  5. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  6. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #74
  7. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #110
  8. Craving for Cozies  Book #92
  9. Medical Examiner Challenge  4 Toe Tags
  10. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 1
        • Pathway or forest
      • Row 2
        • Lawn
      • Row 5
        • Home or business office
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Rock, brick, blunt object
        • Axe or hatchet
      • Row 5
        • Medicine or drugs
        • Hands or fists
    • Detectives- Jessica/Mort
  11. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #12  Shot #5


The Trivia Lover's Guide to the World

 This is a fun take on a non fiction book about geography of the world.  It is not just the map locale and where countries are on the globe, but rather the human geography, political geography and much more.  Gary Fuller does a great job of keeping a potentially boring topic very interesting.  Each chapter corresponds to a sub area of geography.  He introduces the chapter with several trivia questions and answers them as he writes the chapter.  The reader with a wonderful memory could clean up on Jeopardy or their next cruise trivia session if they are able to remember all the information he bestows.  There is quite a variety of information in the book including topographical information, history of different nations and peoples among other details.  

If you enjoy reading non fiction that covers a breadth of information without being too serious you may enjoy this book;  I certainly did.  


The Trivia Lover's Guide to the World: Geography for the Lost and FoundThe Trivia Lover's Guide to the World: Geography for the Lost and Found by Gary Fuller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting read especially if you like trivia. The format of the book is a nice one for picking up and reading for a bit and then setting aside. Each chapter talks about geography centered around trivia questions. Fuller discusses geography as more than just location but rather the expanded meaning of the field including political, human, topographical etc. It is an interesting book if you like to expand your knowledge about the world around us

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #108
  2. Non Fiction Reader  #2021ReadNonFic  Travel


Friday, October 22, 2021

Shadow of the Wind

 This is a translated work by Carlos Ruiz Zafron.  It is a bit historical mystery, a bit magical realism with some romance thrown in.  This book was selected for my book club and I wasn't too sure about the selection but I ended up really enjoying the book.  It is a bit of a slow read at the beginning, not in the sense that you feel as though you are trudging through chapters.  Rather, it is just a slow methodical read that is quite enjoyable.  As the book progresses the pace definitely picks up and I was hard pressed to put the book down.  The mystery unravels as you learn about the characters and their intertwining stories.  There are lots of characters that can be a bit difficult to keep straight initially, but as the story progresses the familiarity grows as well. The book spans a period of 9 years in Daniel's life and reveals his growth and obsession with Julian Carax, the author he has become enamored with after selecting his work from the Cemetery of Lost Books

Zafron writes characters that draw emotion from the reader.  Some you cannot help but root for as an underdog type character, others are down right despicable and unlikeable.  The story definitely draws the reader in and it would be impossible not to feel emotion for the characters and their plights.  He is also a masterful story teller who weaves different character storylines together masterfully.  Each section reveals someone else's connection to the narrator, Daniel, and Julian Carax.  I thought the stories were well connected and made sense.  There are other works in the series and I look forward to seeing if they are separate storylines about books selected from the Cemetery of it there will be stories told from others' perspectives.   Time will tell but I do intend to try the next book for sure.  


The Shadow of the WindThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book starts out at a slow steady pace but gradually picks up to a fast paced Nobel you don’t want to put down. Ruiz creates characters and a storyline that weave together in amazing intricacies but are still quite plausible. The whole novel is set amid the lure and mystery of Barcelona and is set in the era of turmoil surrounding the civil war. The implicit lack of trust of Barcelona citizens helps fuel the story more. I look forward to reading more in this series

View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #107
  2. Alphabet Soup Author Edition #AlphabetSoupAuthorChallenge  "Z"
  3. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge # 9 a classic 
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #115
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #129
  6. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #109
  7. Historic Fiction  #histficreadingchallenge   Book #12
  8. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #21  A genre hybrid 
  9. Around the Year in 52 Books #37. A book from the Are You Well Read in World Literature list  


Friday, September 10, 2021

Dead Bath and Beyond

 This is the 4th book in the Victoria Square series by Lorraine Bartlett.  This series is a fun mix of crafts/antiques with mysteries mixed in.  Katie is a great character with ample ability to manage a business but still having a realistic dose of insecurity and uncertainty in her social and business life.  The series feels a bit different than many cozy mysteries as Katie doesn't have a central female BFF whom she confides and colludes with.  In this case many of the supporting and recurring characters are male although Katie does interact with Rose quite a bit at Artisan Alley, it's not a central sounding board or co-conspiring relationship.   Instead, the main characters she bounces her investigations off are male- her boyfriend and her friend, Ray Davenport, are the 2 main characters filling that role but at times her friend Seth in a central character as well.  

This book will especially be appealing to readers who like to boat as it centers around the end of the boating season on Lake Ontario. There are quite a few sailing related scenes and conversations.  As always the book is full of false suspicions and the ending is a bit surprising but does tie up all the pieces of the story that had been presented as unexplained situations.  I will admit though I did lose track of all the different characters in this book and was a bit uncertain who was the guilty party in the overall scheme of the story.  I think this may have been correlated to the fact that I listened to this on audiobook rather than read it and that caused me to lose track of the large cast of characters introduced in this story.

All in all a good book in a great series.   


Dead, Bath, and Beyond (Victoria Square, #4)Dead, Bath, and Beyond (Victoria Square, #4) by Lorraine Bartlett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the audio book version of this cozy. There are some good plot angles and the development of relationships both personal and professional are well written. They are realistically up and down with struggles that feel probable. The mystery itself is well written and the story wrapped up well at the ending.

View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #106
  2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021 Book 4 in series 31
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #114
  4. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #128
  5. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   sept
  6. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #73
  7. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #108
  8. Craving for Cozies  Book #91
  9. Medical Examiner Challenge 1 Toe Tags
  10. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 2
        • Lake or ocean
      • Row 5
        • Bathtub, shower, bathroom
    • Weapons
      • Row 3
        • Drowning, water, ice
    • Detectives- Katie/Ray
    • Victims- Jake
  11. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #67a  Shot #3
  12. Audiobook  #2021AudiobookChallenge  Book#11


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

One of Us in Next

 The sequel to One of Us is Lying proved to be another wonderful read by Karen McManus.  This is the 3rd book I have read by her this year and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all.  She captures the angst and drama of the teen life very well.  These books truly make me glad I didn't grow up in the age of social media with all the drama it brings with it.  I also appreciate that my son is not that interested in broadcasting his life and feelings on the internet.  

McManus wrote another thrilling drama that keeps the reader guessing until the end and continues to show the dangers of gossip and social media when manipulated by those with unhealthy needs to toy with others, emotionally and physically.  This book is a wonderful sequel in that it has the same essence of a hidden puppeteer manipulating the teens of Bayview HS once again.  The characters at the center of the story were involved in the original thriller but were not the central characters in that novel.  Those characters from One of Us is Lying are included in this entry, but are more peripheral in general. 

 All in all these are well written YA books that keep the reader engaged while pointing out the all too realistic opportunities for abuse of social media.


One of Us Is NextOne of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

high school continues to be a terrifying setting in this second book in the series. I sure am glad I didn't have social media when i went through high school . the mystery behind the new rumor driven truth or dare challenge is well constructed and keeps the reader in suspense until the end. There are plenty of good twists and turns and the life of a teen/young adult is depicted well in this book

View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #105
  2. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #36 second book in a duology 
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #113
  4. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #127
  5. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #107
  6. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #52 Re-Do One Of The Previous 51 Categories From This 2021 Challenge-  #1 set in a school
  7. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #14 The Web: with a puppeteer figure
  8. Monthly Motif #MonthlyMotifGXO  Back to School
  9. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
  10. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 

      • Row 3
        • Cliff, roof, high place
    • Weapons
      • Row 4
        • Push or fall
    • Detectives- Maeve/Knox
    • Victims- Brandon Weber
  11. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #72  Shot #3


Death on the Green

 This second Dublin Driver mystery by Catie Murphy is set mainly on the golf courses of Bull Island while Megan Malone is driving the pro golfer, Martin Walsh, and his wife.  The sport of golf is central to the story as the victim is Martin's old friend and co-competitor Lou MacDonald.  The plot has plenty of twists and turns and the motive is quite well concealed til the end.  The story mixes some glamourous living in with a bit of romance but all in all it is a well written cozy mystery.  The Irish colloquialisms are well presented and quite amusing to see Megan, an American transplant, stumble over word choices at times.  All in all this is a lighthearted cozy series that is entertaining and easy to read.  


 

Death on the GreenDeath on the Green by Catie Murphy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This second installment of the Dublin Driver series. Megan finds herself caught up in another murder while driving for a professional golfer. This cozy has a great mix of foreign intrigue and a well written mystery. The characters are both charming and abhorrent. The ones you are to like are quite appealing and tug at your heartstrings the ones who are antagonistic are easy to dislike. The outcome of the story is quite surprising and keeps the reader on edge til the very end

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #104
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  Ireland
  3. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021 Dublin Driver #2
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #112
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #126
  6. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  7. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #72
  8. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #106
  9. Craving for Cozies  Book #90
  10. Diversify your reading #DYRC21  Crime
  11. Medical Examiner Challenge  2 Toe Tags
  12. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 5
        • Beach or shoreline
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Rock, brick, blunt object

      • Row 5t
        • Hands or fists
    • Detectives- Megan Malone
    • Victims- Lou MacDonald/ Nick Collins
  13. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #73  Shot #2


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Binti

 I selected this book by Nnedi Okorafor as a read for an Afrofuturist book.  This book was definitely one that took me outside my normal genre/comfort zone.  I was pleasantly surprised by the book as I am not generally a sci fi/fantasy reader.  This book did a wonderful job of combining Earth and space species in the story.   Binti is a smart, strong willed young women who has grown up in the Namib desert.  I have had the pleasure of visiting this desert so it made it a bit easier to visualize and imagine the setting I think.  

Binti is from a people who are considered outsiders within her own country/region but are accepted as they play a large role in the functioning of the planet and the species.  Her people, the Himba, are the makers of the astrolabes which are a vital part of the society.  She is  even more special as she is further gifted in math and harmonizing.  

The story has a central theme of a war raging between two cultures as well as one of a coming of age element.  Binti wants to pursue her passion, not follow according to her family's plan for her to takeover her father's successful business.  Her boldness drops her into a community of like minded scholars but also places herself in a precarious position of belonging to neither of 2 races who are at war with each other.  

The story was an adventure and shows the compassion of living beings and how friendships can overcome differences when people give each other a chance.   There is a series of books in this tale and I may pursue reading more of them in the future since I did enjoy this one and it was a nice quick read.  



BintiBinti by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not my normal genre but I really enjoyed this sci fi/ fantasy novel. The description is wonderful and brings out the ability to visualize the scenes. The characters are a mix of both human and extra terrestrial. This is the first in a series and it sets up an interesting premise and characters with an intriguing relationship that will be interesting to see if it develops as the series progresses. Binti is a strong willed and determined young woman who is very intelligent and a role model in her bravery.

View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #103
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  Namibia
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #111
  4. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #125
  5. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #2 An Afrofuturist book  
  6. Around the Year in 52 Books #41. A book by a new-to-you BIPOC author  
  7. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #3 The Dark: about/set in space
  8. Nerd Daily  #NERDREADING2021 #38. SET IN THE FUTURE
  9. Bookworm  #43.) Read a Science Fiction
  10. Spells and Spaceships #3 Space Opera Badge: Book set in space or on other planets
  11. Monthly Motif #MonthlyMotifGXO  Back to School
  12. Monthly Book Awards #AwardReadingChallenge  Hugo 2016
  13. 52 books in 52 weeks  #4-6 out of this world


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Murder in the Cookbook Nook

 This latest installment in the Book Retreat mysteries kept me engaged in the story and continues on a wonderful series.  Storyton Hall  is the setting for this series by Ellery Adams.  This wonderful high end hotel is set in the Virginia mountains and focuses around a book themed hotel.  There are many wonderful characters in the series and the reader gets to know them as the series has progressed through 7 books.   

This particular book centers around a cooking competition so fans of Chopped and Hell's Kitchen will enjoy the central plot.  Another interesting aspect to this story is a cross over of the characters from the Books by the Bay series written by Ms. Adams.  Olivia Limoges visits Storyton Hall when her friend and chef, Michel enters into the competition being hosted there. The book shows some of the behind the scenes drama on a cooking reality show and also some of the machinations behind Instagram Influencers as well.  It makes for a modern twist on the cozy mystery.  

The mystery itself is well written and keeps the reader guessing throughout the story.  All in all I really enjoyed the book


Murder in the Cookbook NookMurder in the Cookbook Nook by Ellery Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is always a joy to read this cozy series as Adams makes many references to other works of literature. This story continued to develop the characters in Jane's family and close knit circle of friends. The characters and their relationships are so realistic as a reader you feel as though you are right there amongst them. I enjoyed the cross over with Adams' other series by having Olivia Limoges appear with Chef Michel in this book. Anyone who loves mysteries and who loves cooking competition shows will enjoy this book

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #102
  2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021 Book Retreat #7
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #110
  4. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #124
  5. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #71
  6. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #105
  7. Craving for Cozies  Book #89
  8. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
  9. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 1
        • Kitchen or bakery
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Pointy object

    • Detectives- Jane/Sinlair/Lachlan/Butterfield
    • Victims- Chef Pierce
  10. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #46  Shot #2


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Farm to Trouble

 This is a new series by Amanda Flower.  Unlike her other series set in Amish country, this is a farming community in northern Michigan.  (if you are a Kid Rock fan and now have that "All Summer Long" line stuck in your head- my apologies )   

In this series Shiloh Bellamy has returned how from LA after 15 years.  She intended to come home to help revitalize and convert her family farm to an organic farm.  Unfortunately for her, financial troubles are the least of her concerns when she comes home. 

She discovers she is an outsider in the town she grew up in and has a lot of past demons to contend with upon her return.  The characters are well written and complex- they are certainly not all tea and roses but rather have some real issues with real disagreements.  As the story progresses we learn more of Shiloh's past and she discovers secrets about her neighbors and family.  

The mystery is well written and has multiple layers to the storyline.  The clues are well constructed and the guilty party is not at all the expected individual nor is the motive what the reader would expect. 

 All in all this is a great start to a new series and I look forward to reading more.

Farm to TroubleFarm to Trouble by Amanda Flower
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this debut in the new series by Amanda Flower. While still set in a rural Midwest farming community this is different from her others which are set in Amish country. This book still has the outsider who is thrown into the role of the detective while trying to help someone she cares about. Unlike the Amish cozies this features Shiloh Bellamy who has returned to help her father resurrect the family farm. Unfortunately things are worse than she expected, not just with the farm but also with her choice of investors. Shiloh quickly learns that Althusser grew up in this northern Michigan town, the locals view her as no soggy from a fudgie and trust her the same. The story is a good mix of plots, drama- family and small town history varieties, and characters. The relationships are layered and full of simmering tensions similar to real life. The mystery keeps the reader guessing and has a great twist or two at the end. Cannot wait to read more in the series

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Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #101
  2. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #109
  3. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #123
  4. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  5. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #70
  6. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #104
  7. Craving for Cozies  Book #88
  8. Medical Examiner Challenge 1 Toe Tags
  9. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 5
        • Garden, park, gazebo
    • Weapons
      • Row 5
        • Rifle or shotgun
    • Detectives- Shiloh Bellamy
    • Victims-Jefferson Crocker
  10. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #6  Shot #5



Class Act

This is the 58th installment in the Stuart Woods series about Stone Barrington.  At this point the series is definitely a bit predictable in certain aspects, dinner with Dino; Stone as a playboy;  people wanting to kill people.  All of this was present but I did find the plot a little better than the recent installments in the series.  I also found some of Stone's decisions to be a deviation from his normal behavior with a bit of a more edgy and questionable slant.  The plots are enough to keep my attention and will keep me returning for more but if you are looking for highly thought provoking or intricate details this is not the series for you. 


Class ActClass Act by Stuart Woods
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On one hand this is a typical Stone Barrington story. Rotating trysts and people wanting to kill him amidst fancy dinners at PJ Clarke’s and Patroon. This installment was a bit more gritty and showed a side of Stone that isn’t often seen. He is faced with some moral and ethical choices that he deals with himself rather than passing off to Herbie or other associates. This book will full of action, deceit and double crossing highlights the fact that people are not always what they seem and their pasts may surprise you

View all my reviews


Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #100
  2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021  Stone Barrington #58
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #108
  4. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #122
  5. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  6. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #103
  7. Around the Year in 52 Books #31. A book by an author whose career spanned more than 21 years  
  8. Medical Examiner Challenge 6 Toe Tags
  9. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 1
        • Kitchen or bakery
      • Row 4
        • Street or sidewalk
      • Row 5
        • Bedroom
        • Bathtub, shower, bathroom
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Hand gun x3 
        • Pointy object x2 
      • Row 3
        • Bomb or explosion
      • Row 4
        • Dagger 
      • Row 5
        • Hands or fists
    • Detectives- Stone/Dino
    • Victims- Manny/Hilda/Sal/Cora/the Don/Michael 
  10. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #5b  Shot #1


Death Gone A Rye

 The 6th book in the Bread Shop mysteries did not disappoint.  I actually think this might be the best one so far.  The dynamics of the investigation and the character developments and relationships were very well done.  I can highly recommend this book but would advise caution if you are trying to eat low carb as Winnie Archer includes many yummy descriptions of breads that may make your mouth water.  


Death Gone A-RyeDeath Gone A-Rye by Winnie Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this latest book in the series. Ivy was a strong detective and this book has her working with Miguel Baptista to determine what happened to school board member Nessa Renchrick. This mystery brings up people from both their past. The book introduces real life relationship and trust issues that felt realistic and unstaged. The animosity with the detective in charge was well written and a change for this series; giving it a more urgent and tension filled tone.
I look forward to reading more and building a greater sense of depth of the characters that recur in the series

View all my reviews



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #99
  2. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021  Bread Shop #6
  3. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book # 107
  4. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book # 121
  5. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  6. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice # 69
  7. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #102
  8. Craving for Cozies  Book #87
  9. Pick your Poison #2-3 A book with a pun in the title
  10. Monthly Keyword #MonthlyKeyWordGXO  "Gone"
  11. Medical Examiner Challenge  1 Toe Tags
  12. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 5
        • Home or business office
    • Weapons
      • Row 5
        • Household object
    • Detectives- Ivy Culpepper
    • Victims- Nessa Renchrick
  13. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #36  Shot #3


Friday, August 20, 2021

Pulp Friction

 This second book in the Cider Shop mystery series by Julie Anne Lindsey is an enjoyable read.  I discovered that the 3 cozies I was reading at the same time were all based around weddings which I found to be a funny coincidence.  This one is a rural barn setting for a country wedding while the previous book I finished was the Beach setting.  The cake in the beach one sounded absolutely beautiful but in this book it was easy to envision the twinkling lights hanging from the barn rafters.  The old fashioned truck as the just married vehicle sounds charming as well.

As for the actual mystery it is well written and we find the main character getting into lots of trouble- both from the investigation and her ex.  The characters are well developed and the reader can readily relate to their good and bad characteristics.  There are some stereotypical nefarious activities that cause a bit of an eye roll when they come up in the story as a possible explanation for the murder, but not so outrageous to be unbelievable or detract from the story.

The cider recipes that are included sound wonderful and I am tempted to try the champagne cider used at the wedding reception- it sounds elegant and yummy.   The book definitely makes me hope for crisp fall weather and possible trips to the apple orchard/pumpkin farm.


Pulp FrictionPulp Friction by Julie Anne Lindsey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this next book in the cider shop series. I appreciate how it depicts the struggles with owning a small business and the creativity and decisions that are needed to run it. Often times stories just portray running a business as an easy task outside of the long hours. They don't tend to talk about the financial struggles and the ever demanding need to evolve and stay current. This series feels realistic about that.
The mystery in the book is well written as well and a good balance of creativity and an honest reflection of small town The setting in the orchard makes me look forward to the fall and hopefully some apple picking or pumpkin patch activities.

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #98
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes West Virginia
  3. Finishing the Series   #FinishingTheSeries2021 Cider Shop #2
  4. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #106
  5. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #120
  6. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  7. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #68
  8. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #101
  9. Craving for Cozies  Book #86
  10. Medical Examiner Challenge 2 Toe Tags
  11. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 1
        • Pathway or forest
      • Row 5
        • Garden, park, gazebo
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Hand gun

      • Row 3
        • Motor vehicle (struck by)
    • Detectives- Winnie
    • Victims- Jack Warren & Chad Denton
  12. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #70  Shot #2

Thursday, August 19, 2021

A Beach Wedding to Die For

 This second installment in the Murder to Die for series by Judy Moore was a fun read.   The details about the beach town of Manatee Beach, FL really had me wanting to go on vacation and just sink my toes in the sand.  The victim in this story is quite the Bridezilla and the mystery Winnie finds herself embroiled in is quite well done.  The bride was so irritating and self centered it was hard to figure out who amongst the players is guilty-  believe me the ending is quite shocking. 

Meanwhile Winnie and her Great Dane, Coaquina are both attracting lots of attention in this book;  some of it unsolicited and unwelcome.  The characters are growing on me as I read the series and I look forward to reading more about Winnie, Lizzie and Grammy. I know the next book is about another favorite pastime of mine- tennis so it should be interesting as well.  


A Beach Wedding To Die ForA Beach Wedding To Die For by Judy Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bridezilla meets her match

The 2nd book in the series is full of the. Unique characters with Winnie being the main character along with her Grammy and sister, Lizzie. Of course there’s the dashing detective that provides the romantic tension. The cozy is full of realistic characters who react in truly normal was. Their behavior is not perfect but they feel authentic. There’s a great twist to the story that really was quite unexpected

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #105
  2. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #119
  3. Calendar of Crime  #CalendarOfCrime2021   
  4. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #67
  5. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #100
  6. Craving for Cozies  Book #85
  7. Medical Examiner Challenge  2 Toe Tags
  8. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 2
        • Lake or ocean
      • Row 4
        • Hotel room
    • Weapons
      • Row 2 
        • Knife
      • Row 3
        • Drowning, water, ice
    • Detectives- Beck
    • Victims-Amelia/Alfred
  9. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #51  Shot #2

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Reserved for Murder

 This is the 2nd Booklover's B & B mystery set in North Carolina.   I enjoy the characters in this series quite a bit.  There are 2 female leads who partner up and they are a great balance to each other.  Both strong women with diverse backgrounds. Ellen, who's in her 70s just happens to have a mysterious past which we learn about in the first book.   This book has a person from her past appear with unclear intentions while a murder is being unraveled that centers around the B & B guests that Charlotte (Charlie) is hosting as part of an author meet and greet awarded to fans.  

The 2 stories intertwine quite well and you cannot help but have strong emotions towards the characters.  The feelings are both positive and negative and are well developed.  The mystery itself is well constructed and really does have a surprise outcome.  


Reserved for MurderReserved for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyable cozy with murder and some espionage

Charlotte is a wonderful lead character and together with her quirky elderly neighbor she has wolves 2 mysteries now. The extended core character cast comes from their book club as well as the 2 employees of her B&B The rotating characters that a few central to this mystery are all guests of her B & B who are there for a visit with a famous author. Readers who like books and a diverse group of characters will enjoy this book and the series

View all my reviews   



Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  


  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #97
  2. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #104
  3. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #118
  4. Cruisin thru Cozies  Free choice #66
  5. Cloak & Dagger  #CloakDaggerChal  Book #99
  6. Craving for Cozies  Book #84
  7. Medical Examiner Challenge 1 Toe Tags
  8. Beachcomber Challenge  
    • Crime Scenes 
      • Row 5
        • Beach or shoreline
    • Weapons
      • Row 4
        • Push or fall
    • Detectives- Charlotte
    • Victims- Lisette
  9. Six Shooter Challenge  Target #52  Shot #2