Sunday, July 23, 2017

This Week in Reading - July 23

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha - I just couldn't resist the title!  This memoir about a couple in financial disaster who end up in a 100 year old mice infested snake ridden cabin sounded interesting.  (NetGalley)

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny by Donna Alward - It's been awhile since I read a romance with royalty and I love Donna Alward so this sounded like a fun light read I couldn't resist.  (Publisher)

Trace by Archer Mayor - I used to love this very un-cozy mystery series about a detective in Vermont so I'm really looking forward to continuing it. (NetGalley)

The Witches' Tree by M.C. Beaton - I can't resist an Agatha Raisin book so of course I had to request this one!  (NetGalley)

Need You Now by Emma Douglas - The daughter of a rock star, a famous tennis player looking to retire, and a music festival sounded like a fun read.  (Publisher)


Reading:  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and Dark Rites by Heather Graham

Listening:  Podcasts - especially The Vanished and Again With This but looking to starting an audio book in the next week or two.  I have a pretty long wish list so it'll depend what's available at the library.

Watching:  I watched several movies with my Grandfather while I was visiting them.  We watched several silent movies which were really fun.  I don't think I've ever seen a whole silent film so I'm glad I did.  Hot Water with Harold Lloyd was my favorite I think.

Off the Blog:

I had a great visit with my grandparents this week.  The Tornado had a great time too and our trip coincided with a visit from my Aunt who lives in Pennsylvania which was a nice treat.  I'm glad to be home and getting to sleep in my own bed though!

This is the Tornado's last week of summer as he will start school the week after.  We've had a good summer but wow it went by fast!  We found out the name of his teacher and I'm very excited.  If I could have picked a teacher for him it would have been this one so I'm hoping for a great year.

This week will be all about catching up on pretty much all fronts - home, blog, and reading - and getting in some last minute relaxing.  I'm not looking forward to getting back to early morning wakeups!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Howards End is on the Landing - Bookish Nonfiction Review
Tuesday:  TBD
Wednesday:  TBD
Thursday:  TBD
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  52 Pins in 52 Weeks - July Edition

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hospitality and Homicide + Killer Party

Description:  A visit to the serene coastal town of South Cove, California, could make anybody feel refreshed and inspired. But as Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—discovers, some folks won’t live to tell about it . . .

Mystery author Nathan Pike checked into South Cove Bed & Breakfast to compose a compelling novel, not commit murder. But things get real when a rival B&B owner ends up exactly like the victim in his draft—undeniably dead. As Nathan prepares to complete his magnum opus behind bars, Jill’s the only one who can prove his innocence and deconstruct the plot of a twisted killer!

My Thoughts:  I always enjoy visiting Jill, Greg and the rest of the group in South Cove.  It was fun to see how things were progressing for Amy, Toby, Josh and all the other characters I really feel like I've come to know during the previous books.  While the mystery itself was interesting and the wrap up made since the investigation itself was pretty passive.  Jill wasn't really involved until the last third and prior to that most of her involvement was getting updates from Toby or Greg as to what was going on.  I was much more interested in what was happening with Esmeralda and the missing boy.  What really had me the most interested is the character development that made up such a large part of the book.  Big changes are coming to Jill and Greg's relationship as well as at Coffee, Books, and More and I can't wait to see what happens next.  While this was a great read for fans of the series it's probably not a great one to start with.  Rating:  Good

Blurb:  For a gang of old college buddies, the quaint resort town of South Cove, California, is the perfect spot for a no-holds-barred bachelor party. But for Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books and More—this stag party is going to be murder . . 
After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating facedown in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more

My Thoughts:  Jill has always been the main character in this series so I really enjoyed getting to know Greg a little better through his college friends.  Jill is definitely an active participant in the investigation and with Greg sidelined it's fun to see her take a more active role in the investigation.  The mystery is fun and I enjoyed seeing a new group of people in addition to the South Cove regulars.  I enjoyed seeing more of Derek who arrived last book and am hoping he becomes a series regular.  This is a delightful cozy series with entertaining mysteries and a real community feel.  Each new book feels like visiting friends.  Now I just have to wait for the next book to find out just what is going on with Aunr Jackie.  Rating: Very Good

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Linkups: Garden Spells

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question
Have you ever read a book or books you would consider "toxic" because of the effect it had on you?  If so which one?

My Answer:
I can't think of a specific book but I have stopped reading books where children are abused or killed especially when it is told from the POV of the parent or the killer.  There are a lot of really well reviewed books that center around this but I've finally realized it's just not something I want in my head.

This week's book is Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen.  I read Peach Keeper 2 summers ago and absolutely loved it and have been wanting to go back and read this one for quite some time so I made it my assigned reading for July.  Allen's books are just perfect summer reading.  They're interesting and light reading but you can just feel the North Carolina summers seeping through the pages.

The Beginning:
Every smiley moon, without fail, Claire dreamed of her childhood.

My Thoughts:
This beginning could really go other way.  Either she loved her childhood and misses it or it was terrible and gives her nightmares.  It could go either way.

The 56:
Sydney's heart lodged in her throat, and she stumbled to the kitchen table and sat?  She'd left her daughter alone for twenty-six hours?

My Thoughts:
This is another one that I don't really know what to make of.  How did she not know she'd left her daughter alone for that long?  She seems horrified by the thought so I have some questions.  Can't wait to get to this point.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Room for Doubt - Cozy Mystery Review

Room for Doubt (A Carol Childs Mystery) by Nancy Cole Silverman

Rating:  Good
Source:  Author

Description:  When radio reporter Carol Childs is called to a crime scene in the Hollywood Hills at five thirty in the morning, she’s convinced it must be a publicity stunt to promote a new movie. That is, until she sees the body hanging from the center of the Hollywood sign. The police are quick to rule it a suicide, but something doesn’t add up for Carol. Particularly after a mysterious caller named Mustang Sally confesses to the murder on the air and threatens to kill again.

With the help of an incorrigible PI, her best friend, and a kooky psychic, Carol is drawn into the world of contract killers and women scorned. As she races to find the real killer, she finds herself faced with a decision that will challenge everything she thought she knew.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I read the previous book in the series and really enjoyed it so I couldn't resist this one!  Especially since it involves a body hanging on the Hollywood sign.

My Impression:  This is the 2nd book in the Carol Childs series I've read and reading this one really made me wonder why I haven't gone back and read the first two.  This is a solid mystery series with an interesting main character and exciting mysteries.  Book 3 was all about a jewel theft ring and in the first few pages in Room for Doubt we find a body hanging from the Hollywood sign. Discovering how it got there is quite the journey with lots of twists and turns to keep Carol on her toes and it all wraps up with a satisfying conclusion.

What really makes this series special is Carol herself.  She's just such a grown up and is so easy to identify with it's impossible not to like her.  She's a single mother to a teenage boy and the challenges of that come through in a very real way without taking center stage.  She's also trying to adapt to her job in the constantly changing world of journalism where she has to juggle her professionalism with the demands of her boss - the very young Tyler who doesn't quite buy into work-life balance.  Carol feels like such a real person and a person I could be friends with.

Silverman really makes use of the Los Angeles setting.  This is not a book that feels like it could be taking place in anywhere USA.  The landmark mentions are frequent without seeming unnecessary and just The Who,e pacing feels very LA.  If you are looking for a fun mystery series with a likable real main character, a slew of entertaining side characters, and a well thought out and fast paced plot this is a series not to miss!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I've really enjoyed the 2 books I've read and look forward to reading more.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you enjoy mysteries that are cozy but not cutesy this is a great series.  I think fans of Julie Mulhern and Susan M. Boyer would enjoy this series.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dark Saturday - Blog Tour Mystery Review

About Dark Saturday

• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (July 11, 2017)
  LOUISE PENNY says Nicci French's books are "fabulous." JOSEPH FINDER says they're "in the rich vein of Kate Atkinson." And TAMI HOAG calls them "truly unique."

  Enter the world of NICCI FRENCH with Dark Saturday, an electrifying, sophisticated psychological thriller about past crimes and present dangers, featuring an unforgettable protagonist...

 A decade ago, 18-year-old Hannah Docherty was arrested for the shocking murder of her family. It was an open-and-shut case, and Hannah has been incarcerated in a secure psychiatric hospital ever since. When psychotherapist Frieda Klein is asked to meet Hannah and give her assessment, she reluctantly agrees. But what she finds horrifies her. Hannah has become a tragic figure, old before her time. And Frieda is haunted by the idea that Hannah might be as much of a victim as her family — that she might, in fact, be innocent. As Hannah's case takes hold of her, Frieda begins to realize that she's up against someone who will go to any lengths to keep the truth from surfacing — even kill again. Utterly compelling and enthralling, Dark Saturday speeds readers down a twisting trail of secrets, suspense, and murder.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Thoughts:  Nicci French has been an author I've been wanting to read for years but just never managed to make happen.  I was a little worried starting this one that I wouldn't understand what was going on since this is such an established series.  It ended up not being an issue at all.  While it's clear that quite a lot has happened in previous books I was immediately pulled into this one both with the investigation and Frieda's personal life.  The chapters are short and the pace is intense as the investigation into what really happened to Hannah Docherty's family really begins to take shape.  This is a dark story with some pretty dysfunctional characters (including Frieda herself) but at the same time I never felt that it became unbearably grim or unnecessarily violent.  I liked the glimpses into Frieda's psychotherapist work and her own therapy.  It humanized her in a way that I think the book really needed.  I really enjoyed this though I did have to read a chapter of something light and happy before going to bed!  I will be searching for the earlier books in this series and looking forward to the next Dr. Frieda Klein book!  Rating:  Very Good

About Nicci French

Nicci French is the pseudonym of English wife-and-husband team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Their acclaimed novels of psychological suspense have sold more than 8 million copies around the world. Connect with the authors on their Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Favorite TV Shows

I love television!  I'm not sure if it's a reaction to my childhood where I was very rarely allowed to watch TV or if it's just my thing but whatever the reason I'm a big TV fan.  My taste is fairly broad.  I love documentaries and sitcoms and crime shows.  My main rule is that the show not have too big of a story arc or too much character development or you get what I like to call ER syndrome which is basically when fairly normal characters end up being completely insane by the end of the 10th season.  I never quite forgave that show for what it did to perfectly nice Dr. Green.  But that's another story.  So in no particular order here are some of my favorite shows:

1.  The Great British Bake-Off - For some reason PBS in the states calls it The Great British Baking Show but they're the same.  I love the scenery and how nice everyone is.  I love when they come out with some baked creation that I've never even heard of.  I also want to become Mary Berry and be BFFs with Mel and Sue.  I got to know Sue in a show called Supersizers Go (that's on Hulu if you want to watch it - you should it's great) which mixes history and food and is in equal parts fascinating and hilarious.  And I don't want to talk about the fact that the show is getting all changed up to have a more "modern" tone. I'm staying in complete denial.

2.  Antiques Roadshow - I love antiques and history and seeing how much random people are willing to pay for stuff.  Plus, it's always fun to see the reactions when something they didn't think was very important ends up with a big appraisal.

3.  Doctor Who - Back in the 80s PBS showed some of the episodes of the Tom Baker Doctor Who and my Dad loved them so I of course watched it with him.  I wasn't very old and mostly thought it was just weird.  This wasn't helped by the fact that most of the props and special effects seemed to have been put together with things the production crew found lying around.  But my overwhelming opinion was positive and so when I heard the series had been rebooted and discovered that it was on Netflix I thought I'd give it a try and am hooked!  I'm really loving the season that just ended and hate that Capaldi is leaving.  He really seems to have found his version of the Doctor and I love his relationship with Bill.

4.  Catfish - I love this show a ridiculous amount even though the commercials on MTV make me feel very old (I'm very grateful I can fast forward through them).  I love seeing if they are who they say they are and following the investigation as Nev and Max track down who the person has really been talking too.

5.  Dancing with the Stars - This is kind of a guilty pleasure but I love it.  The pretty costumes, the themes, getting to know the celebrities.  There's nothing I don't like.

6.  Elementary -  I really like Sherlock too but the fact they do 3 episodes every 2 years makes me kind of sulky about them so I'm sticking with Elementary.  I love Joan and Sherlock's relationship and I love Detective Bell..  The mysteries are always so twisty and intriguing so it makes me a happy watcher.

7.  NCIS - NCIS is an example of GOOD character development.  McGee has changed so much since he first started on the show but it's more that he's grown up and then gone crazy which gets this show big points.  Plus, there's Gibbs.  How can anyone not love Gibbs?

8.  The Middle - This show is almost a little too true to real life sometimes which makes it all the funnier!

9.  Who Do You Think You Are? - This is my genealogy geek out show.  They've had some really big names and I love finding out the history of regular people all over the world.

10. The Big Bang Theory - I'm always a little nervous when they add characters to a show but Bernadette and Amy have been fantastic additions - especially in the last 2 seasons.  Plus, Bernadette is just amazing.

11. Top Chef - This is probably my favorite cooking show.  I love Padma and Tom and most seasons I really love most of the contestants though every once in awhile the villain does win.  It's fun to see them go through all the different challenges.

12.  Disappeared - This show is on Investigation Discovery and it's one of my favorites.  It focuses on missing people sometimes with a resolution and sometimes without.

I'm linking up with Binge Watchers hosted by Stormi at Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My and Michelle at Because Reading

Monday, July 17, 2017

Ramblings from the Stacks - Book Clubs

Back when the Tornado was little I joined a local mom's group to help him hang out with other toddlers and give me someone to talk to during the day who could actually talk back in full sentences.  It was fun and I made friends with a good number of the other moms.  So when the subject of a Mom's Night Out book club came up I was immediately on board!  People I could talk about books with!  Yes please - sign me up!

The book club started out pretty well.  It was mostly the same 6 or so women with the occasional straggler.  We talked about books some and other stuff and ate and all in all had a good time.  Then the split came.  50 Shades of Grey was picked and there was much outrage amongst the members of the club.  Some of the core members refused to read the book and formed their own club while other members of the group who hadn't joined the book club came to the meeting.  The discussion on 50 Shades was actually pretty entertaining though it wasn't a book I particularly cared for but the split was disastrous to the book club.  It turned out that 2 book clubs could not exist and they both just kind of fizzled away.

Then a year or two later another one started up.  Once again I was all in.  At first it was great.  We read Gone Girl, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and several other books I really enjoyed.  But this because this was a book club that was associated with a mom's group the people who showed up were different each time and as the months went on less and less people read the book which meant we talked about the book less and less.  Then finally we had an influx of women who only read important books and when someone suggested a romantic suspense as the next month's title and they were horrified and made it very clear that that book was below them.  After that I was pretty much done.  I basically just wanted to go build a fort out of my Nora Roberts' books and binge read.  I decided I was done with book clubs or at least the kind that were made of people who weren't connected by books.

But I realized that I MISSED talking about books.  After I read something I wanted to tell someone what I thought about it and to talk about it.  That's one of the things that led me to book blogging.  I love talking about books.  I love seeing what other people think of books I've loved, or hated, or haven't read yet.

Awhile ago I noticed a flier at the library for 2 book clubs.  One a general fiction club and one a romance club.  I've been keeping an eye on the fliers and each month the books listed are books that interest me.  I'm considering giving book clubs another try.

What do you think?  Have you ever gone to a book club through the library or a bookstore?  Have you ever been in a book club?  What kind and how did it go?