Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Linkups: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

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:
If you are at a particularly good point in a book and the phone rings or the doorbell rings, do you stop reading or let the phone or doorbell go unanswered?

My Answer:
I do most of my reading at night so if the phone or doorbell is ringing at 11PM it's typically not something that can be ignored.  I have been known to get so wrapped up in my book that I don't hear the phone or anything else around me but for the most part if I hear it it'll eat at me until I know what's going on!  That said, I ignore a sensible time to go to sleep pretty much every night because I'm reading!

This week's book is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.  This is another take 2 as I meant to read it last summer but somehow never managed it.  Now is the time!  My husband really enjoyed this book and we watched the BBC show that was based off this book and I loved it.  Well except for the last 5 minutes which I like to pretend didn't happen.  While there were a lot of changes between the show and the book the feel is pretty similar (apparently - I haven't read it but J swears this is the case) and the show did a pretty good job of capturing Adams' offbeat sense of humor.

The Beginning:
This time there would be no witnesses."

My Thoughts:
Well that sounds ominous!

The 56:
This was the evening of the last day of Gordon Way's life, and he was wondering if the rain would hold off for the weekend.

My Thoughts:
I have no idea why this is Gordon Way's life but it doesn't sound like it's expected.  I suspect most people are thinking inconsequential things most of the time.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Serenity Harbor - Contemporary Romance Review

Serenity Harbor (Haven Point) by RaeAnne Thayne

Rating:  Good
Source:  Publicist

Description: Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he's arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there's more to sexy, wary Bo than she'd ever realized.
Bo never imagined he'd be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn't know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he's ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there's room in it for him, too…

Genre:  Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  Thayne is one of my absolute favorite contemporary romance authors so I can never resist her books!

My Impression:  I love RaeAnne Thayne's stories and her ability to make picking up a new Haven Point novel just like visiting old friends.  I love checking in on old friends but at the same time it never gets overwhelming or makes me feel like I need to remember all the details of something that happened 5 books ago.

This book was no different.  I loved catching up with the Haven Point residents and getting to know the youngest Bailey who seemed so different from her older siblings.  Katrina took awhile for me to warm up to.  While I sympathized with her struggle to figure out how her new priorities fits in with the Katrina that Haven Point has always known, she came off a little one note.  Her affinity for children - especially Milo is so sweet and feels genuine.  Bowie is also an interesting character.  He's brilliant, successful, and has made close friends but his past is horrible and he's spent most of life trying to forget it.  When he suddenly finds himself guardian of his six year old half brother he didn't know existed.  Milo has autism and is unable to communicate and Bowie is desperately trying to do his best.  Katrina comes along at the perfect time.

The story pulled me in from the beginning. Both Katrina and Bowie's relationship with Milo was really special and felt authentic.  However, the chemistry between the two took along time to click for me.  I just didn't feel this relationship even though I liked them.  These are very minor issues and didn't keep me from enjoying the book.  Thayne never fails to create a world I enjoy visiting.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author:  Absolutely!  I have the next book and am really looking forward to diving in!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy contemporary romances that focus more on an emotional connection than heat than Thayne is an author you must not miss!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rather Be the Devil - Mystery Review

Rather be the Devil (An Inspector Rebus Mystery) by Ian Rankin

Rating: Very Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Some cases never leave you.

For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria's killer has never been found.

Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book: I'd been wanting to try Ian Rankin for awhile and since this sounded like it centered on a cold case I hoped I could jump in here without any problem since I'm not going to go back 21 books anytime soon.

My Impression: I didn't realize how much I missed police procedurals until I started listening to this one.  This is set in Edinburgh so it's a little different than my usual reads that typically take place in London but that made it all the more interesting.  This is definitely not a cozy.  The atmosphere is very heavy and there is some violence though never to the point of it feeling gory.  The bad guys are seriously bad and sometimes it's hard to tell who is really a good guy.  There are some police politics as well though while they added realism to the mystery they never took over the story.

There's a lot of mystery here.  There's a cold case, a recent assault, a missing person or two, and a couple of murders.  As well there's several different organized crime factions and it's hard to tell just who really is involved. At first I struggled with keeping track of what was going on but fairly early on I got my footing and was fully pulled into the story.

While the mystery was very good and at times gripping what I enjoyed the most was the characters.  There's John Rebus, finally retired and in iffy health, who is trying to figure out just what being retired means to him.  As well are Malcom Fox and Siobhan Clark, both Detective Inspectors, whose friendship has been strained by Fox's promotion.  I loved watching them deal with their relationships with each other, bicker,and work together.

I'm so glad I finally tried this series!  I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the characters,and the world Rankin creates.  I think you could jump into the series here and pretty quickly figure out what is going on though if you're like me you'll be wanting to go back to the beginning of the series as soon as you finish this one!

Audio Note:  James Macpherson did a good job with the audio.  His Scottish accent rang true and I finally feel like I know how to correctly pronounce Siobhan.  However, because his accent was so strung I think that it was had me dragging my feet at the very beginning.  Once I got used to it though I was off and running and thoroughly caught up in the mystery.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  I'm looking forward to spending more time with the characters and reading new mysteries in this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Absolutely!  If you enjoy procedurals like Deborah Crombie I think you'd enjoy this series.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start.  One of the things I've been really trying to do this year is read the books that I've been meaning to read but there are just so many it's hard not to get overwhelmed.  While I have made some progress this year it's still not hard to come up with a list of 10 series I want to read!

1.  Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French - This is one of those series that I've been wanting to start since I discovered it when I started blogging.  I love police procedurals and I love books set in Ireland.  I actually have the first book scheduled for later in the year and I'm really looking forward to it!

2.  The Beach House series by Mary Alice Monroe - Every summer there's a new book in this series with a gorgeously beachy cover and every summer I think "I really need to read that".  I think I actually own one or two of these!

3.  The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley - Something about this series has put it on my radar since the very first one came out.  The covers are gorgeous and there's some magic elements.  Honestly, I don't know that much about the series other than each one centers on a sister trying to find out her past but I know I want to read it!

4.  Frieda Klein series by Nicci French - Another police procedural though this one centers around a psychotherapist which sounds interesting.

5.  Lady Darby mysteries by Anna Lee Huber - I love historical mysteries and this series has high reviews from some of my favorite bloggers.  I'm really looking forward to this one.

6.  Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax - This is another series that I mean to start every time a new book comes out.  The covers are gorgeous and really sound like something I'd enjoy.

7.  Tradd Street series by Karen White - I discovered this one years ago and it's really perfect for me.  It's set in Savannah which is a city I love.  There's ghosts and old house renovations and secrets from the past and all kinds of fun things.  The first one is actually on my shelf and I'm hoping to read it this year.

8.  Spilling CID by Sophie Hannah - I've really enjoyed Hannah's Poirot mysteries (2nd was better than the first) but would really love to see something by her using her own characters.

9.  Billionaire Builders by Jennifer Probst - I'm not really a fan of the whole billionaire thing in romances but this has a strong HGTV feel which I'm definitely a big fan of.  Plus, it just sounds like a fun series.

10. Rhymes with Love by Elizabeth Boyd - I took a long break from historical romances but have recently gotten back into them.  I really haven't heard much about this series or author but all the titles have nursery rhyme pun names which totally cracks me up so I feel like I should give them a try.

What series have you been wanting to start?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ramblings from the Stacks: The Dreaded DNF

I struggle with DNFing a book.  I mean in theory I know there's nothing wrong with it.  If a book isn't working then I should just put it down instead of forcing myself to continue with something I'm not really enjoying.  When I start a book I feel like I should finish it even though the times I've slogged my way through a book I wasn't interested in usually has me hating the book, the author, the books near it on the bookshelf and just in the middle of a big reading slump.  This year I'm trying to get better about just putting a book down and calling it a day.  This year one of the things I wanted to focus on was not forcing myself to finish books that I just wasn't clicking with and here are a couple of my DNF experiences so far.

Because You're Mine by Colleen Coble was highly rated on Goodreads and the cover definitely caught my eye.  So into the library bag it went.  There were crumbling mansions, Irish people, and all kinds of Gothic elements so I figured it was my kind of book.  17 pages in I started to have doubts and by page 59 I just didn't care anymore.  This is the kind of book I wrestle with when it comes to DNFing.  I don't hate it.  I found the writing style very readable but when it came to the story line and the characters I just didn't care.  So do I read the remaining 250 pages and finish up a book that at best was going to be just okay or do I call it done - no harm no foul, no more time wasted?  Actually when I put it like that it seems pretty obvious but in the heat of the moment it just doesn't seem that easy.  I did make myself read 50 pages and by that point the villain is so patently obvious and exaggeratedly villainous (there's mentions that he hates all animals and there's some kittens who I don't think come to a good end but I wasn't sticking around to find out) that I just couldn't take it anymore.  So back into my library book it went and I felt immediate relief!

Then came Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson.  This was a review book from back in 2014 that I really wanted to read.  It was dual time line with family mysteries and an old chateau in France.  It sounded like my kind of book.  I was really looking forward to it but it was one of those books I just felt like I was skimming along the surface of the words.  I was never pulled in.  I never believed these characters were real.  I didn't hate it.  There was no eye rolling moments but I just didn't care. When I voluntarily called my cell phone provider to discuss my plan instead of reading this book I figured it was time to call it done.

How do you feel about DNFs?  What was the final straw with your last DNF?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

This Week in Read - June 18

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:

After Many Years: Twenty-One "Long Lost" Stories by L.M. Montgomery, Carolyn Strom and Christy Woster - I'm a huge Montgomery fan and I love her short stories.  Coming across this collection of unknown stories made my day and the approval notice made my week!  (NetGalley)

Tiny House on the Hill by Celia Bonaduce - I love tiny houses!  No part of me wants to live in a tiny house or has any plan to download to a smaller house but I'm all about some Tiny House Hunters on HGTV so this contemporary romance/women's fiction about a tiny house was something I couldn't resist!  (NetGalley)

Eight is Enough by Tom Braden - This a memoir from the father of the family the show was based on.  I had no idea the show was based on a real family but Braden sounds like a fascinating guy!  Plus since I just read Cheaper by the Dozen I'm curious to see the differences in how they raise their large families (Publisher)


Reading:  Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts, Booked 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton and A Stardance Summer by Emily March

Listening:  I'm still listening to podcasts trying to catch up and I've really been enjoying True Crime Garage.  If you enjoy true crime this is a really great one to listen too.  They tackle all kinds of cases and I love their discussions.

Watching:  I've been watching Nowhere to Hide on the Investigation Discover Go App which is a show that focuses on different cases by this one private investigator.  It's a pretty good range of cases from murder to finding adoptive parents.  There were only 2 seasons though so I'm almost done.  J and I have been watching Fortitude on Amazon Prime and we've really been enjoying it.  It's kind of a dark British murder show with a touch of the X Files.  The scenery is gorgeous but no part of me wants to go visit a place that high up in the Arctic circle.

Off the Blog:

My view this weekend
We survived our camping trip and had so much fun!  The campground was right on a lake and one day we rented a paddle boat and the next day a canoe.  I hadn't put sunscreen on my legs the first day and they were lobster-like by the time we got back to the shore.  I forgot about how quickly you burn when you're out on the water.  This time we used our motorhome for regular camping but in a few weeks we're going to try the mobile hotel use.  We're going to go up to Chattanooga and visit the aquarium and the children's museum they have there and whatever else they have.  I think we're going to do a lot more traveling with this addition though for awhile we'll probably be sticking to destinations about 4 hours away or less for quick weekend trips though we do have a big trip planned for October.  The one thing I have to learn is how to pack everything up to minimize noise.  I did pretty good on the way to the campground but it was a little loud coming home!

This week was pretty quiet.  The Tornado and I went to the Botanical Gardens to see the dinosaur exhibit.  I was expecting smaller art project type things but these were HUGE animatronic type dinosaurs.  The Tyrannosaurus Rex was a little too real but the Triceratops was pretty great!  Next week the Tornado and I are heading down to south Mississippi to visit my grandparents for the week.  It's hot enough here but it'll be boiling there!  I'm very grateful for very efficient A/C!  We're leaving J here on his own since he has to work but will be back by the weekend.  I did make him promise not to watch season 2 of Fortitude until I get back!  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Ramblings from the Stacks:  DNF Report
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start
Wednesday:  Rather Be the Devil - Mystery Review
Thursday:  Serenity Harbor - Contemporary Romance Review
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  52 Pins in 52 Weeks - June Edition

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Miraculous Mysteries - Classic Mystery Review

Miraculous Mysteries: Locked Room Mysteries and Impossible Crimes edited by Martin Edwards

Rating:  Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Impossible crime stories have been relished by puzzle-lovers ever since the invention of detective fiction. Fiendishly intricate cases were particularly well suited to the cerebral type of detective story that became so popular during the ‘golden age of murder’ between the two world wars. But the tradition goes back to the days of Edgar Allan Poe and Wilkie Collins, and impossible crime stories have been written by such luminaries as Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham.
This anthology celebrates their work, alongside long-hidden gems by less familiar writers. Together these stories demonstrate the range and high accomplishment of the classic British impossible crime story over more than half a century.

Genre: Mystery - Classic, Short Stories

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoy these collections edited by Edwards and I love a good locked room mystery!

My Impression:  I love the job that Edwards does editing these short story collections.  Before each story is a very short biography of the author so I know who they are and what they are known for and for me this context really adds to the enjoyment of reading.  I love a locked door mystery and this collection really takes those mysteries to the next level as not only do most of the murders occur in a locked room but they are seemingly impossible.  Some I could figure out but others I was clueless until the reveal.

A number of the authors I was familiar with but several were completely new to me.  I think my favorite new discovery was Sax Rhomer who created the master-criminal Dr. Fu Manchu.  While he wasn't in the short story collection included in this book the detective Moris Klaw was and I very much enjoyed watching him solve what seemed to be an impossible locked door mystery.  My favorite story over all was probably Dorothy Sayers'  The Haunted Policeman.  It is not difficult to see why she has so wonderfully stood the test of time while so many of the other authors in this book have faded more in obscurity.  While all the mysteries were entertaining brain twisters some were on the dry side.  This isn't a book I'd want to dive into and read in one setting but it was a complete delight to read a story or two each night - a delicious twisty little treat at the end of the day.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author:  Absolutely!  I love these classic collections and am always on the lookout for them.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I think anyone who enjoys classic mysteries would enjoy these.