Saturday, February 28, 2015

This Week in Reading - March 1

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:

Be Afraid by Mary Burton - I've been in a serious romantic suspense (heavy on the suspense) mood since I read Heather Graham's The Hexed.  This is an author I've been wanting to try and the whole secrets from the past premise always grabs me. (NetGalley)

Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries by Martin Edwards - This is a collection of short stories that involve murder mysteries taking place at resort locations. (NetGalley)

The James Beard Cookbook - I love cookbooks and since the James Beard Award is kind of like the Oscars of cooking I figure this has to be a good cookbook! (NetGalley)

Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons - I've followed Brittany's blog (Brittany, Herself) for quite awhile and always find it interesting.  When I heard she had a book coming out I knew I was going to read it so it was a happy day when the request approval came through! (Edelweiss)


Reading: Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach and Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Listening: Yes Please by Amy Poehler 

Watching: Mostly the news to see if there are weather related delays but I'm looking forward to the CSI: Cyber that's starting this week!

Off the Blog:

We actually had snow that stuck to the ground!  We got 7 1/2 inches in just a few hours.  It didn't start until around 3 in the afternoon and whoever decides that it's going to wait to snow until that late in the afternoon is not very nice.  The Tornado was glued to the windows all day and driving me crazy.  We had about a day to play in it but now it's back in the 40s and 50s so the now has just about melted.
On the weird side Emma got hit by a deer while driving home from work the other night.  It basically ran right into the side of her car.  Other than putting a pretty serious dent in the side of her car everything's fine though it scared her half to death.  She was driving down the road and then heard a huge bang and when she turned her head the deer was basically looking in the window at her!  

Has anyone ever heard of barre3?  They have studios but they also have an online service I'm thinking about signing up for.  They have tons of workouts and there's apparently recipes and fitness plans and stuff.  I love barre workouts but the only place that does them here is really pricey.  I'm thinking about trying it.

On the Blog:

It's time for the TBR Challenge hosted over by Kimberly over at Caffeinated Book Reviewer!  I'm so excited!  My goal for the month of March is 10 books off my TBR shelf.  I have no idea if that will happen but I'm definitely going to try!

What Happened:

Monday: Behind Every Great Man - Nonfiction Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday -My Ten Favorite Heroines
Wednesday: Under a Silent Moon - Mystery Review
Thursday: Sinful Deception - Historical Romance Review + a Look at Historical Fashion
Friday: Friday Linkups featuring excerpts from Death in a Dacron Sail
Saturday: Whose Body? - Mystery Review

What's Coming Up:

Monday: Ex Libris Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - My Top Ten All Time Favorites From the Last 3 Years
Wednesday: Death in a Dacron Sail - Review
Thursday: Novel Interiors - Review
Friday: Friday linkups featuring whatever book I'm reading
Saturday: Cook It Up! Cookbook Challenge

Have a great week and happy reading!

Whose Body?

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Library
Description:  A stranger is found in the bathtub of a friend of Lord Peter Whimsey's mother and the stranger is very much dead.  The disappearance of a wealthy financier is making headlines all over England.  Is there a connection?

Genre: Mystery
Why I Picked This Book: I love Agatha Christie, I love Patricia Wentworth and I love Ngaio Marsh.  However, my knowledge of Sayers and the famous Lord Peter Whimsey is sadly lacking.

My Impression:
Pretty much for as long as I can remember I've been a fan of any and all British mysteries.  I've gobbled up Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh.  I've read Patricia Moyes and am still trying to find all of Patricia Wentworth's books.  But somehow I never managed to read Dorothy Sayers.  I don't really know why.  Maybe my library didn't have a huge collection of her books?  I don't know.  All I know with the exception of Gaudy Night I never read any Sayers which is why when I made my Reading Assignment Challenge list I decided it was time to get to know Lord Peter Whimsey a bit better.

And now I do and I kind of love him.  It wasn't love at first page.  I didn't immediately want to spill out all my troubles and let him fix them like I want to do with Maude Silver.  I didn't want to gossip endlessly like I'd love to do with Jane Marple.  In fact for the first few chapters I thought he was kind of silly.  But then slowly he started to grow on me and when he admitted that while he was all about the initial excitement of the beginning of the investigation he wasn't sold on the legwork in the middle I was pretty well hooked.  And then right and the end of chapter 8 we saw the grand flippant Whimsey vulnerable and I basically went on and ordered the rest of Sayer's books.

 Sayers' writing style was a bit on the dry side and took some getting used too.  This wasn't a good book to read right before bed as I really had to pay attention to follow all the bits of dialogue and who was who and what was what.  That being said, the mystery itself was interesting.  The twists and turns were well plotted and when I finally figured out who the killer was and what had happened it was definitely a gasp out loud kind of moment. This isn't a book that hooks you from the start and takes you for a wild ride.  This is a cup of tea (and a scone if you're lucky) while you read the unraveling of lies and deceptions.

While Sayers probably won't usurp Agatha's position on the throne I will definitely be looking for more of her books.  I'm really looking forward to getting to know Lord Peter Whimsey better!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, definitely!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you like all things British and classic mysteries I think you'd enjoy this!

Challenges Met? Library Challenge, The Reading Assignment Challenge (February book), Alphabet Soup Challenge (W)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Linkups: Death in a Dacron Sail

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:
Do you like blog headers that are bookish or blog headers that are simply attractive?

My Answer:
Blog headers don't influence me too much but I know I would like mine to be more bookish.  I do know that I love when a header suits the tone of the blog and the interests of the blogger.

This week's book is Death in a Dacron Sail by N.A. Granger.  I love mysteries, I love Maine settings and so far this has definitely been a fun read.  I'm hoping to have the review up Monday.

The Beginning:
"The lobster boat rocked violently against the pier as I backed down the ladder and extended my foot onto its heaving deck.  It was a typical February day on the Maine coast, bitter cold, biting wind and spitting snow, the type of day only a hardy lobsterman could love."

My thoughts:
Since a typical February day in Alabama makes me want to hide under a blanket I don't think I could handle a day like this in Maine!  Especially not anything that involves a lobster boat.

The 56:
"He looked from Sam to me and said quietly, "I guess you think I blew this assignment.""

My thoughts:
I'm not quite this far yet so I'm not quite sure what's going.  It does sound like something got seriously messed up so I'm really curious to find out more!

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  And are you one of those crazy people who likes cold or are you like me and are just holding on until summer?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Sinful Deception - Review + a Look at the Fashion of the Time with the Author

A Sinful Deception: The Breconridge Brothers #2 by Isabella Bradford

The Blurb:

(from Goodreads)
For fans of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries: the seductively charming second historical romance in Isabella Bradford's Breconridge Brothers trilogy. 

Lord Geoffrey Fitzroy leads a charmed existence. As the second son of the Duke of Breconridge, he has none of the responsibilities of his older brother and all of the advantages, leaving handsome Geoffrey free to enjoy his rakish pursuits. And pursue them he does, leaving hearts fluttering all over London. But one night, at a ball teeming with high society's most sought-after beauties, only one truly intrigues him: the regal, aloof, and mysterious Miss Serena Palmer.

Magnificently dressed and wearing jewels befitting a queen, the lady is considered the prize of the season, a noble-born heiress raised in India. But even as Geoffrey's fascination grows, Serena deftly deflects his curiosity—and with good reason: Serena's exotic past contains a perilous secret that could destroy her. Yet her plan to live in safe solitude is thwarted by her hungry heart, and soon Geoffrey's passionate seduction finds her blissfully bed—and wed. Will her deception destroy her chance at happiness as Geoffrey's wife? Or will the devotion of her new husband reveal the only truth worth embracing: her undying love?

My Review:

I'm running a little low on historical romance authors right now so when I see a new to me author it's hard to resist - especially when the cover is gorgeous (and the heroine is wearing a dress that actually appears in the book!) and the blurb compares the book to Julia Quinn, Sabrina Jeffires, and Eloisa James.  

This wasn't the fun romp that I normally associate with Quinn but I found the comparison to Jeffries and James to be spot on.  Serena is a serious young woman who has been through some incredibly traumatic events and has the weight of a very dangerous secret on her shoulders.  The attraction between Geoffrey and Serena feels real.  They share a common love of India as well as a deep connection to the country.  It feels natural that they would feel an immediate connection to each other because of that common ground.  Serena herself comes off as very real.  She's very conflicted between her growing affection and attraction to Geoffrey and knowing that she must keep away from him in order to keep her secret.

Now I'm not a big fan of secrets generally but Bradford does a good job with Serena's secret.  For one thing her secret is a serious secret.  This isn't one where you want to reach into the book, give the heroine a good shaking, and yell "Just tell him already!".  This is a real secret and even better a secret that you can understand her getting in the middle of and a secret that she really must keep. Also, the reader discovers what it is within the first 15% of the book.  

Geoffrey is a more typical character.  He's somewhat misunderstood by his father who sees him as irresponsible and selfish.  He has no intention of getting married even though he finds himself spending more and more time with Serena.  I really liked that his thoughts weren't just about bedding her.  There's a scene where he imagines her receiving roses he had sent her that is really sweet.  

Overall: This is an interesting romance with more heft to it than I usually expect and unusual characters.  If you enjoy Sabrina Jeffries I think you really must read Isabella Bradford.  
Rating: 4 Stars

Guest blog for
By Isabella Bradford

Creating a Proper English Lady

I’m so excited for the release this week of my newest historical romance, A SINFUL DECEPTION. This is a story that’s been in my head for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to write a book that includes not just Georgian England, but the farthest corners of the British Empire. My heroine, Serena Carew, was born in India, the daughter of a English nobleman stationed there. While Society considers Serena to be English, her Indian heritage is impossible for her to forget – and it’s also one of the things that Lord Geoffrey Fitzroy comes to love most about her.

Orphaned as an adolescent, Serena was brought back to England to live with her grandfather, the Marquis of Allwyn. As heiress to her father’s considerable fortune, Serena needs to attract a suitable husband, and her aunt must conduct the ultimate makeover: transforming Serena into a proper English lady so a proper English gentleman will consider her as a wife.

It wouldn’t have been easy. Because Serena’s father had completely embraced Indian culture, she had been raised in a luxurious household with many servants and few rules. She had lived in women’s quarters, apart from any men beyond her father. She had had no governesses or tutors, and Hindi was her preferred language.

But perhaps her most difficult adjustment would have been to English fashion. The Indian clothing she had always worn was light-weight and wrapped gracefully around the body, freely accommodating a woman’s natural movements - much like most modern clothing.

An English lady in 1770, however, was bound by her clothing into a rigidly upright posture. Her motions were limited by tight sleeves, full skirts worn over cane hoops, and heeled shoes. Her most important garment would have been her stays (corset), an unyielding construction of whalebone and buckram that forced her body into the fashionable conical shape, like the stays shown here. 

Fortunately for Serena, while Lord Geoffrey admires her elegantly dressed, it’s the more natural, sensuous Serena that he desires – and ultimately loves.

I hope you’ll enjoy A SINFUL DECEPTION. For more about what inspires me, check out my website and on my Isabella Bradford Facebook page, plus my blog (written with writer BFF Loretta Chase), Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls, and Pinterest: TwoNerdyHistoryGirls.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Under a Silent Moon - Blog Tour Review

Under a Silent MoonAbout Under a Silent Moon

Paperback: 400 pages Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 24, 2015) Two women share a grisly fate in the first entry of this exciting new British crime series—a blend of literary suspense and page-turning thriller that introduces the formidable Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Smith—from the New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes, "the most exciting thing to happen to crime fiction in a long time" (Sophie Hannah, author of Kind of Cruel). In the crisp, early hours of an autumn morning, the police are called to investigate two deaths. The first is a suspected murder at a farm on the outskirts of a small village. A beautiful young woman has been found dead, her cottage drenched with blood. The second is a reported suicide at a nearby quarry. A car with a woman's body inside has been found at the bottom of the pit. As DCI Louisa Smith and her team gather evidence over the course of the next six days, they discover a shocking link between the two cases and the two deaths—a bond that sealed these women's terrible fates one cold night, under a silent moon. In this compelling new detective series, Elizabeth Haynes interweaves fictional primary source materials—police reports, phone messages, interviews—and multiple character viewpoints to create a sexy, edgy, and compulsively readable tale of murder, mystery, and unsettling suspense. Add to Goodreads badge
Purchase Links

My Review:

This was my first book by Elizabeth Haynes but it definitely won't be my last.  From the first page I was pulled in and the pacing didn't let up.  I loved DCI Louisa "Lou" Smith.  She was tough but compassionate and capable but also very human.  Plus, anyone who exists primarily on KitKat bars and coffee is pretty great!  The mystery itself is intriguing and it was very easy to keep the large cast and all the different threads straight.  Haynes mixes in transcripts of reports and witness statements in the story itself which I hadn't come across before.  It took me a chapter or two to get used to it but once I did I really enjoyed it.  It was a quick way to get the information to the reader without having to have characters discuss it.  I also enjoyed that the chapters were divided by day and that the breaks within the chapter were headed with a time code.  It gave a sense of urgency to the reading and I really felt caught up within the investigation.  I didn't care for Andy Hamilton but I don't think I really was supposed too.  I didn't love the sex or romantic relationships between some of the characters where it wasn't related to the murder but that's purely personal.  This is the first in a new series and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of Lou.

About Elizabeth HaynesElizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth Haynes is a police intelligence analyst, a civilian role that involves determining patterns in offending and criminal behavior. Dark Tide is her second novel; rights to her first, Into the Darkest Corner, have been sold in twenty-five territories. Haynes lives in England in a village near Maidstone, Kent, with her husband and son. Visit her at, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Favorite Heroines

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is my Top Ten Favorite Heroines.

1.  Nancy Drew - Nancy is the best heroine ever.  She's always brave, she's always perfectly polite and her pumps always go with her dress.  Not to mention the fact that the girl is a walking encyclopedia and knows everything about everything.  She's also willing to go investigate despite that she or one of her friends gets kidnapped every time.  And despite  all the obstacles against her she always figures it out in the end.  I think Nancy was my first experience with binge reading!  Also, the covers are fantastic!

2. Rue from The Hunger Games - So Rue isn't technically the heroine of The Hunger Games but I loved her.  She had the most against her coming in - she was the smallest, the youngest and the most vulnerable - but she managed to keep a good attitude.  She was nice to Katniss when she sensed she needed a friend and tried to help her even knowing all the odds against them both.

3. Gemma James from Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mysteries - We meet Gemma when she's just starting out as a Sergeant and through the next 15 books (and hopefully many more) we watch her career and her relationship with Duncan grow.  But even from the beginning, Gemma is smart, logical, not afraid to speak up and with just the right amount of kindness and compassion.

4. Kate from The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn - This is one of my very favorite Bridgerton books and Kate is one of my favorite Quinn heroines.  She's smart and sarcastic and incredibly loyal both to her family and to her friends.

5.  Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables Books by L.M.  Montgomery - We meet Anne as a little girl who makes the best of some pretty horrible circumstances, and we are by her side as she grows into the young woman who is pursuing her BA and then to the mother who sends her sons off to war.  She's tough enough to go through all that and still see the beauty in life.

6.  Lucy Pevensie from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - It's hard not to like Lucy! From the moment she steps through the wardrobe and into Narnia she pretty much rolls with it.  Not only is she okay with the whole other world in the wardrobe but she fights without hesitation to fix injustice.

7. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Scout is one of the few children in a book - particularly one considered a classic - that really comes off as a child.  She's nice and funny and brave but through it all she's a child seeing it all through a child's eyes.

8. Mary from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - I adore watching Mary grow up a bit in this book.  She goes from whiny little brat to interested and interesting.

9. Vera from And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - Vera's past doesn't really make her a typical heroine but the fact that she doesn't have a complete and total breakdown by the 3rd murder while stuck on the island is truly impressive!

10. Evie from Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleyaps - I can't leave off Evie!  The shyest of the Wallflowers in the Kleypas series, Evie is smart enough to realize the situation that Sebastian is in and how they can help each other.  Not only that but she actually faces him and ignores his pretty obnoxious behavior to get what she wants.

So those are my top ten!  Who am I missing?  Who should I go check out ASAP?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Behind Every Great Man - Review

Behind Every Great Man: Women in the Shadows of History's Alpha Males by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Rating: 4 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Behind every great man there is a woman is the saying but unfortunately these women get lost in history.  In Behind Every Man, Marlene Wagman-Geller shines the light on these women and shows the personal sacrifice, patience, work and other qualities of these women.

Genre: NonFiction

Why I Picked This Book: Biographies always interest me and I love biographies about lesser know historical figures.

My Impression:
Pro: The length of the chapters was really perfect.  It was just long enough to give us a good understanding of where each woman came from, how she met her famous (or infamous) husband, and what her life was like as a married woman.  There was enough to get a sense of the woman without getting overly bogged down in detail.  I thought her choices of women was terrific as they were all the wives of people I was familiar with but almost all the names were new to me.  I know nothing about Einstein's first wife, or General MacArthur's wife and even less about Ghandi's wife.  And poor poor Mrs. Oscar Wilde.  The mix of women is fascinating.  Some are tragic, some are heartbreaking-ly patient, some are crazy (Gala Dali comes to mind), but they are all passionate women who sacrificed so much to support their husband.  Wagman-Geller's voice comes through and you get touches of her opinion on some of the men and dashes of humor which keep the book interesting but still a light read.

  If you're looking for an in-depth look on any of these women this isn't the book to go too.  Also, if you're expecting to read about more famous Women behind the Men (like Abigail Adams or Marie Antoinette) this isn't the book for that.  This is a book of women that truly were lost to history.  Neither of these were negatives for me at all though.

Overall:  The chapters in the book were addicting.  Each time I came to a new chapter I thought "well I want to learn about her.  I'll just read one more." I thoroughly enjoyed getting a look at the women behind (or propping up) the famous men!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I'll be looking for future books from her.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Actually, I've already recommended it to several people and I keep telling my husband little tidbits I picked up!

Challenges Met? Alphabet Soup (B), 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

This Week in Reading - February 22

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:

A quieter week than the last two but not exactly silent!

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman - This is a middle grade book involving 2 12 year olds and involves a game that centers around hidden books.  I'm very excited! Plus how could I pass up that cover? (NetGalley)

The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio by Andrea Mays - The title prety much explains what the book is about and this one I'm very much looking forward too.  I love historical treasure hunts. (NetGalley)

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah - While I liked Hannah's interpretation of Hercule Poirot in The Monogram Murders I'm really looking forward to seeing what she does with her own characters and in her own style. (Edelweiss)

Housekeeping vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby - I read and enjoyed The Polysyllabic Spree a few years ago so I'm looking forward to seeing his thoughts on the books he's reading continue in this one (


Reading: A Sinful Deception by Isabella Bradford and Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers

Listening:  Nothing.  We've been iced in on and off all week so I haven't had a chance to really listen to anything.

Watching: J and I watched The Mexican with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt and that was pretty funny.  Other than I haven't been watching too much TV other than streaming Friends still.

Off the Blog:

North Alabama basically decided to turn into a block of ice this week especially on Friday.  The South gets a lot of flack because we shut down when it we get snow or ice but I don't think people realize how unprepared we are because we have no need to be prepared.  We don't have salt trucks or snow plows or anything like that and most county budgets don't stretch to have more than 1 or 2 per county if that.  We really only get snow/ice only once every few years so we have no experience driving in snow and only the major roads get cleared off.  Not to mention the fact that we really don't have the heating systems or clothing to deal with really low temperatures because we only need them for maybe a couple of days a year at most.  All this week the temperatures were in the 20s but by Saturday the high was 54 and for the most part the temperatures will stay in the 40s for the rest of the week and those are really the regular temperatures for us.  So rant over :)

All the bad weather has kept us inside this week and the Tornado has a serious case of cabin fever.  Luckily we had a birthday party this Saturday where he got a chance to get some energy out and play with his friends.  Which is good because I was going crazy!

I also got a nice lesson about walking on ice.  Turns out you can't - especially not in slippers.  Tuesday morning I hadn't realized the deck had turned into a slab of ice until I stepped on it and ended up on my back.  Luckily I came down at an angle and didn't break my tailbone but the bruising is spectacular and I'm not moving real fast right now.  I forget how important the whole back is until it's all bruised up!

On the Blog:

Reading Challenges:

For more information on my Reading Challenges this year go visit my Challenges Page
Since the last Sunday in January this is the progress I've made on my challenges -
1 new Foodie Reads which brings me up to 5/14
DHILMU, and V with the Alphabet Soup Challenge
I've visited CaliforniaMassachusettsMissouriNew York and Vermont for the Reading Road Trip
1 book for Library Challenge which brings me to 2/12
1 Historical Romance which brings me up to 1/12
I've also read 5 New to Me authors for the New to You! Challenge

What Happened:

Wednesday: Death and the Redheaded Woman - Review
Thursday: Ladle to the Grave - Review + Giveaway

What's Coming Up:

Monday: Behind Every Great Man - Nonfiction Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Heroines
Wednesday: Under a Silent Moon - Mystery Review
Thursday: A Sinful Deception - Historical Romance Review
Friday: Friday linkups with excerpt from current read
Saturday: Whose Body? Review

Have a great week and happy reading!

I Mustache You a Question Tag

I was excited to see that Ashley over at Chronicles had tagged me in this fun post!  I'm in a big Poirot reading phase right now so I'm loving the mustache plus mustache puns make me giggle.  I originally meant to have this up on Tuesday but somehow that turned into Saturday!

Four names people call me other than my real name
1. Mom
2. Mrs. P
3. X's Mom (depending on which kid's friend it is)
4. Coach (I coached Emma's soccer team for years.  I'm not good at soccer but I'm seriously competitive)

Four Jobs I've Had
1. Gift Shop Worker at a local museum
2. Bookkeeper at the same museum
3. Runner for a legal firm
4. Systems Analyst for a defense contractor

Four Movies I Would/Have Watched More Than Once
1. Grosse Pointe Blank
2. Princess Bride
3. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
4. Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (This was a Disney movie that came out in 91 about a girl who wanted to dive horses in a travelling act.  I watched this so many times that even though I haven't seen it in 20 years I can still quote it!)

Four Books I'd Recommend
1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
2. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
3. The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs
4. The Tastemakers by David Sax

Four Places I've Been
1. New Orleans
2. New York
3. Key West
4. Washington, D.C.

Four Places I'd Rather Be
1. Ireland (anywhere)
2. England (anywhere)
3. Key West (I'm cold)
4. The Chattanooga Aquarium where we've been meaning to take The Tornado.  I think he'd love it!

Four Things I Don't Eat
1.Goat Cheese (because I'm allergic and got badly allergic about 4 years ago.  I love the stuff but can't eat it)
2. Shrimp (ditto goat cheese)
3. Mushrooms (because they're squishy though I don't mind the actual flavor)
4. Olives (because they're yucky to borrow my 5 year old's terminology)

Four of my Favorite Foods:
1. Cheeseburgers
2. Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
3. Butternut Squash Ravioli
4. Creme Brulee

Four TV Shows That I Watch
1. NCIS and all the off-shoots
2. Doctor Who
3. Stalker
4. The Big Bang Theory

Four Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year (2015)
1. Emma's graduation (though that makes me a little sad too)
2. Paul getting his driver's license so I'm officially done driving the older group around
3. Going to The Sing Off concert next month because I love the show and can't wait to see some of the acts in person
4. Switching bedrooms around which I think may give me more room for books!

Four Things I'm Always Saying
1. "Are you serious?"  Between the teenagers and the Tornado this comes up a lot!
2. "You don't have to say everything that comes into your head."  Ditto above
3.  "No part of me wants to know." This is normally said to teenagers
4.  "Text when you get there and be careful" pretty much anytime any of the teenagers leave the house.

Four People I Tag:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Linkups: Under a Silent Moon

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

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Is there anything that makes you not return to a blog or not want to look at it even for the first time?

My Answer:
I can't really think of anything.  Maybe if I don't love the style of a review on GoodReads I'm not motivated to go check out the blog but I can't think of anything that's made me want to avoid a blog.

So last week I thought I had an excerpt from Dorothy Sayer's Whose Body?  but it turned out that I had accidentally started Strong Poison.  This is why you shouldn't pull up books on your Kindle late at night or before coffee.  Luckily a friend caught it or I would've been monumentally confused when I started Whose Body? in print!  This week's book is a book I'm really excited about and the review will be out on Wednesday!

The Beginning:
"In years to come, Flora would remember this as the day of Before and After."
My thoughts:
I know exactly what she means and in real life Before and After can be caused by happy events I'm betting this won't be the case for Flora.

Page 56:
""This is a question for Ms. Smith.  Can I ask about your personal qualifications to lead a murder inquiry?" It was Roger Phillips, revenge for her failing to answer the break-in question."
My thoughts:
I'm not this far in the book yet but just from the little bit I read I'm guessing it's a press conference.  Since Ms. Smith is really DCI Smith the whole not using her rank seems very disrespectful.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ladle to the Grave - Blog Tour Review + Giveaway

Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer

Rating: 4 Star
Source: Blog Tour
Description:  When a woman falls dead during a spring celebration in the woods immediately after drinking a glass of an herbal concoction suspicion falls immediately on soup restaurant owner Lucky's grandfather. Lucky's sure her grandfather wasn't responsible but before she has time to learn more she stumbles on a body with her friend Sophie.  Now all of a sudden Lucky has more than she can handle with planning Sophie's wedding, solving the murders and keeping her grandfather from being suspected.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book: I've been wanting to read Connie Archer's soup series since I first stumbled across it so I couldn't request this one fast enough!

My Impression:
Pro:  I loved Lucky and her friends.  They were nice, interesting and didn't act like children.  The setting is beautiful and I really want a restaurant that specializes in soup nearby!  The little glimpses of Lucky's parents were nice and I really enjoyed her relationship with her grandfather.  They were close but not right on top of each other.  It felt very much like a real relationship.  It was nice to get a feel for Sophie and Lucky's childhood and definitely helped me connect with both characters more.  I liked that police weren't portrayed as inept and Lucky, while investigating, wasn't going against the orders of police.  There were no slow spots or places it felt like the story was dragging and the reveal was a surprise which is pretty rare for me!  While I haven't read the first 3 in the series (though I own them) I don't feel like that prevented me from enjoying the story and connecting with the characters.

Con:  No major objections.  While I enjoyed this book very much and liked Lucky I do prefer the main character to have a real reason for investigating - being a reporter or PI - but I knew going in that Lucky is an amateur detective.  Other than that my only con is that it really made me crave soup and yummy bread!

Overall:This was a cup of tea kind of mystery.  This is an interesting story, great pacing, nice characters and soup.  What more can you want!

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Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I'll be pulling the first 3 off my TBR shelf as soon as I can!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Absolutely!  This is a really nice cozy mystery!

Challenges Met? New to Me (Author), Reading Road Trip (Vermont), Alphabet Soup (L)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Death and the Redheaded Woman - Review

Death and the Redheaded Woman by Loretta Ross

Rating: 4 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Auctioneer Wren Morgan was expecting a quiet day cataloging the contents of an old house - not a dead body laying on the floor of the dusty parlor.  When she meets bounty hunter Death Bogart at the police station the two quickly become allies and then friends in the search for not 1 but 2 cases of missing jewels and maybe a murderer.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  Really all I saw was there was an old house and I couldn't resist.  Old houses are my weakness.  Hidden jewels don't hurt.

My Impression:
Pro: I don't necessarily want to be Wren but I definitely want to be friends with her.  She's so nice and kind with a good sense of humor.  She's the type of person who would not only bring you soup if you were home with the flu but clean your house and bake you some brownies.  And don't even get me started about Death (pronounced Deeth).  He's amazing.  A big burly marine who suddenly finds himself disabled and not as strong as he expects himself to be.  But he's so nice and so sweet to Wren.  Really they're just amazing together.  But this isn't a romance this is a mystery and it starts out with a dead guy.  The mystery is interesting and involves 2 sets of missing jewels.  It definitely kept me turning pages but because I absolutely loved these characters and to figure out what was going on.  While this is a cozy I didn't find it cutesy or silly.  The pacing was good, the characters were fantastic and the ending tied up all the loose ends and made sense!  Not only that but it made me laugh.

Con:  Nothing really.  Eric was a little too irritating but we saw him only 2 or 3 times so that's not a big deal.  Umm.. the name Keystone reminded me of Keystone Cops and that kind of distracted me the first time I read it.  Really that's all I got.

Overall:This was a fun an interesting mystery with great characters, an interesting premise and centering around an auction house and a bounty hunter which is both unusual and gives a logical reason for investigating.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  There's a little tiny cliffhanger at the end about what will possibly be what the next book is about.  I cannot wait!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Absolutely!  This is a fun mystery with a touch of romance.

Challenges Met? Reading Road Trip (Missouri), New to Me (Author)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Book Related Problems

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is my Top Ten Book Related Problems.  Are book problems really problems?  It's not exactly like I'm going to form a plan of attack and fix the problems.  Pretty much all bookish problems are here to stay so I need to come up with another - and happier - name for them!

1.  I can't go to bed without reading at least a chapter.  And that chapter sometimes turns into 2 or 10 or the whole book.  Luckily I like coffee.

2.  Storage Space - My love affair with my Kindle has helped a little but I still have no idea where to put the incoming books.  My bookcases are like a giant game of tetris where I try to cram them into every nook and cranny.  My husband has decreed that's not to happen to the bookcases downstairs but we'll see.

3.  I wish I could read faster- I read really fast but I really need to be able to read faster.  In Criminal Minds there's a character who can read as fast as he turns pages and I have serious reading envy.  I make much more progress on my TBR pile if I could do that!

4. So many books - I think I add at least a couple of books on my TBR a day.  Between new releases, books my blogger friends bring to my attention, GoodReads recommendations and a whole host of other possibilities I'm always seeing more books I want to read.

5.  People trying to talk to me when I'm reading - Why do people think it's acceptable to sit down and start talking when someone's sitting with a book?  It makes me feel stabby.

6.  A total lack of comprehension when people say "I don't
read." or even "I hate reading" - Every once in awhile I run into people who say the above two things.  You might as well say that you've decided to grow a 2nd head for fun.  I do not understand.  There's been periods in my life where reading definitely took a little break and I wasn't able to read much and I love TV just as much (if not more) than the next person.  But seriously you don't read?  Not I don't read as much as I'd like but just not at all?  Do not understand.

7.  Christmas lists = Giant lists of books

8.  Total lockup in bookstores - I have a hard time buying anything in bookstores because I completely lockup.  It's a combination of wanting everything and knowing I already have so many and my cheap side not wanting to spend the endless amount of money I really want to spend.  I'm okay in used bookstores but in new bookstores I fluctuate between "I want everything!" and "I don't need everything."   I can barely even have a conversation!

9.  Decorating = finding new places to put bookcases - I've been thinking what we're going to turn the older kids' rooms into when they move out and at least 2 involve wall to wall bookcases.  And have you seen all those beautifully styled bookcases on Pinterest that don't have more than 5 books on them?  How do you even do that?

10. The occasional awareness that I'll never read all the books on my TBR.  I try not to think about this too much and for the most part live in total denial.  Of course everything will get read!

So what are your bookish problems?

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Unexpected Consequences of Love - Review + Giveaway and Excerpt

The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

Rating: 4 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Sophie Wells is perfectly satisfied with growing her photography business and has no interest in finding love.  The past has put a permanent block of eyes on her heart.  Josh Strachan has recently returned to run his family hotel after a few years in the states. Immediately attracted to Sophie, he's determined to find out why even though she seems interested she refuses to act.  With a full cast of interesting characters life in this town in Cornwal is never dull!

Genre: Romance

Why I Picked This Book: Mansell is an author I've been wanting to try and the setting appealed to me.
My Impression:
Pro:  I didn't fall into this book on page one but when it hooked me I was seriously hooked.  The town Mansell sketches is so real and I could absolutely see the people.  The characters were interesting and nuanced.  Likable but not always perfect.  Marguerite, the incredibly successful novelist was a fantastic character.  Larger than life, she could have been made into a caricature but she really wasn't.  We see her public persona but also her actual self which while still arrogant is much softer and likable.  Really I could read a book just about her.  Reilly was a character I wasn't expecting to like but even when you're just seeing the unambitious somewhat shallow front you can't help but like him because he's so fundamentally nice.  Josh and Sophie are a little less flawed but don't come off as perfect. There are some secrets but they all make sense as to why they're secrets and why they're not immediately revealed. The ending - while maybe a touch contrived - was wonderful and I thought it hit the right note of open ended but resolved.

Con: When I first met Tula she seriously annoyed me.  She was immature and too impulsive and the first few scenes of her almost made me want to put the book down.  This is resolved in the first 20 pages and she doesn't play a huge part in those 20 pages.  There was also a scene fairly early on between Tula and Josh that made me cringe a bit.  Basically she has a crush on him and he's kind of unaware is mostly interested in getting information about Sophie but Tula is clueless.  This was a one time thing and happened pretty early in the book.

Overall:  The flaws were really minor and for the most part were only in the first 10% of the book.  From about that point on I really didn't want to put this one down.  I loved getting to know these people so much that I find myself missing Sophie, Josh, Dot, Riley and the rest and wondering up what they're up to now!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  I can't wait to read more from her.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes, while it's technically a romance there's so many great characters that I think even non-romance readers would enjoy this when looking for a lighter book.
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Still Not Sure?  Try this teaser!

“Nearly done… Oh, it’s you.” Turning, she glimpsed him in the doorway and straightened up. Nodding at Griff, she said, “Have you come to get him? He’s shattered now. I’ve just finished the shoot.”
“I know, I saw the family driving off. And I am sorry. Dot did warn me about the door-opening thing,” Josh admitted. “I just forgot about it. Can I blame it on the jet lag?”
She gave him a look. “Only if you’re a complete wuss. You’ve had a whole week to get over it.”
Her eyes were bright and sparkling, silver-gray with very white whites. Her well-defined eyebrows were dark but tipped with gold and there was a smudge of mud on her left temple.
It wasn’t an expression he’d ever thought of using before, but it occurred to him that she had joie de vivre.
“True.” He dipped his head in acknowledgment. “All my own fault. So how did it go in the end?”
“Come over here and I’ll show you.” Leading the way across the room, she picked up her camera and began scrolling through the shots, starting with the half dozen or so pre-Griff originals, then on through the second stage of the shoot.
“These are great.” Josh nodded at them, genuinely impressed. “So it ended up not being such a disaster after all.”
“Thanks to me being a complete genius,” she agreed happily. He liked her attitude. “What’s your name?”
“Hi, Sophie. I’m Josh.”
“I know. Haven’t you noticed everyone whispering about you since you’ve been back?”
“Not really. Well, maybe a bit. You don’t take much notice after a while.” He paused. “Do you have a business card?”
She took one from an envelope in the side pocket of her black canvas camera case and handed it over.
Sophie Wells Photography. Portraits, Weddings, Commercial was written in silver on a black background, along with her contact details. Josh noticed that as well as the bracelets on her left wrist there was a key attached to a plain silver bangle. He reached out and touched it briefly. “What’s this for?”
“It’s the key to my secret Swiss bank account.” “Amazing. I didn’t know Swiss banks used Yale locks.”
A dimple appeared in her left cheek. “I started wearing it after I locked myself out of my flat three times in one week.”
“Look,” said Josh. “I still feel terrible about the photos.” “No need. I told Emma I’d do them for free.”
“But that means you’re losing out. Which is even worse.” Sophie shook her head. “They all like what we ended up doing instead. Emma’s still happy to pay.” “But their clothes…”
“They live on a farm. She says the mud’ll come out in a boil wash.” “But when I came back here with Griff, she was in tears.”
“I know, but you weren’t actually to blame for that. Relax,” Sophie said cheerfully. “It’s your lucky day. You’re off the hook.”
Women, he’d never understand them. Still, it was a positive result. Somewhat distracted by her eyelashes—were they also gold- tipped beneath the mascara?—Josh said, “Fine then. So long as you’re sure. Can I ask you a personal question?”
“You can try.”
He was charmed by her easy smile, playful humor, and feisty can-do attitude. Okay, and her body was pretty amazing too. “Are you single at the moment? Or seeing someone?”
If she were, he would have to say with good-natured regret, “Well, that’s a real shame,” and leave it at that.
“Me? Oh no, I’m not seeing anyone.” Sophie shook her head. “Completely and utterly single, that’s me.”
Excellent. Enjoying her honesty, Josh said, “So would you like to come out for dinner with me one evening?”
“It would have to be an evening.” Sophie nodded gravely. “Otherwise it wouldn’t be dinner; it’d be breakfast or lunch.”
“Definitely evening,” he agreed. “We could do it tonight if you like.” This is going so well.
“Oh, I can’t.”
“Yes, bit short notice. Friday, then? Or Saturday? You choose, whenever suits you best.”
But even as he was saying it, Sophie was shaking her head. “Sorry, no… I mean, thanks for asking, but I can’t meet you for dinner.”
“Right.” Taken aback, Josh said, “Not at all?” “No.”
“Okay. That’s fine.” It wasn’t remotely fine. What was going on? Did she have a small baby at home, or an elderly relative who couldn’t be left unattended? “Am I allowed to ask why?”
Her eyes sparkled. “Oh dear, are you offended?” “Of course not,” lied Josh.
Sophie gave him a who-are-you-kidding look. “I think you are. Don’t be. I’m just pretty busy right now.”
“So maybe in a couple weeks?” He couldn’t quite believe he was still asking.
“Look, thanks again, but no thanks. I just don’t really want to go out to dinner with…anyone.”
Aaaand another knock-back.
“No problem.” Josh wished he’d never started it. “Sorry.”
He managed a rueful smile. “Hey, all I need is a few months for my ego to recover. I’ll be fine.”
“It’s not you.” Sophie’s mouth was twitching. “It’s me.”
Okay, now she was making fun of him.
“Well, obviously,” said Josh.

Challenges Met? New to Me (Author), Alphabet Soup (U)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

This Week in Reading - February 15

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:

Because really the only thing I was missing was more ways to get books I decided to finally figure out Edelweiss.  The website still makes my eyes cross but I've figured it out enough to make some requests and get a few books.  Because I needed them!

Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer - This is a series and an author I've been wanting to read for ages.  I'm really excited about finally getting started on it!  Plus we've been having really cold weather lately so the only thing better about having soup is reading about soup!  (NetGalley/Blog Tour)

Still the One by Jill Shalvis - I almost didn't ask for this one since I always get turned down by the publisher but I decided I didn't have anything to lose and got it!  There may have been dancing!  (NetGalley)

Get Your Bake on by Brian Emmett - I adored The Great American Bake Off last summer and while Brian wasn't who I was rooting for I can't wait to try some of these recipes. (NetGalley)

The Rhyme of the Magpie by Marty Wingate - I've read the first one in this series and have the 2nd.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what's happening next for this Texas born gardener living in England. (NetGalley)

The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore - I loved Montefiore's previous book and so even though this isn't set in Ireland I'm excited to read this one. (NetGalley)

The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page - I read a ton of Page's books about 10 years ago or so and then kind of got distracted and haven't picked up any in awhile.  I saw this on Edelweiss and couldn't pass it up (Edelweiss)

Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt - So I'm not really sure how this happened.  I got an email from Edelweiss saying I'd been granted access to this title and I thought "I don't remember requesting this" but it looked like the kind of book I'd request so I didn't think much of it until I requested the one above and realized that I'd never gone through the requesting procedure.  So I'm not sure how I got this book but I'm excited about it! (Edelweiss)

Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature by Lisa Borgnes Giramonte - It's a coffee table book full of bookish inspired rooms.  I haven't had time to really sit down with it but I see  a lot of design inspiration in my future!  (Blogging for Books)

Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers - I decided I wanted to read this in print so even though I have a copy on my Kindle I picked this one up the other day (Library)


Reading:  Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer and Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

Listening:  This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson but I'm having a hard time getting into it.  I think part of it is that I've still got a bit of an audio hangover from Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw which I really enjoyed.

Watching:  Really not much this week.  I've been reading quite a bit which is nice.  When I have been watching it's generally those true crime shows which I love.  J and I have been watching Worst Cooks in America on Food Network which ends tonight.  I look forward to it every year!  I'm also still watching Friends and while I'm enjoying it I like the earlier seasons better.  Maybe it's because of the age I was when the show was coming out?  I identify more with the earlier shows.  

Off the Blog:

We've had a nice quiet week.  Paul and Emma's school had a half day on Friday which meant the Tornado didn't have school at all.  I didn't realize it until earlier in the week but we ended up having a lovely day.  We went to the library and then stopped at the Vietnamese sub place up the street for lunch - well the Tornado got a grilled cheese but I got this amazing lemongrass chicken bahn mi sub concoction and Thai bubble tea.  I was a happy girl.  I went to coffee with a real life friend the other day and it was so fun.  We didn't have a huge amount of time but it was good to see her and get out of my house for a bit.  When it's winter I really just want to stay in sweats and not leave the house but I did enjoy getting out and the company.

We had a nice low key Valentine's Day.  Emma and Paul were both at work and then out with friends so J, the Tornado and I stayed home.  We had macaroni and cheese and milk shakes for dinner.  Can you guess who planned the menu?  

On the Blog:

What Happened:

Thursday: The Hexed - Review

What's Coming Up:

Monday: The Unexpected Consequences of Love - Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Problems
Wednesday: Death and the Red Headed Woman - Review
Thursday: Ladle to the Grave - Blog Tour Review
Friday: Friday Linkups with whatever book I'm reading
Saturday: Hopefully a review of Whose Body?

Have a great week and happy reading!

Food - Review

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Library (audio)
Description:  Jim Gaffigan's favorite thing is food and his favorite about food is eating it.  Since he spends so much time eating it he has lots of opinions about it.  In fact, he has a whole book of opinions about food from microwaving hot dogs to dinner at high end restaurants!

Genre: Non-Fiction
Why I Picked This Book:  The blurb caught my attention and sounded funny.

My Impression:
Pros: I have mixed results with books written by comedians.  Frequently it feels like they try to be weird and quirky which comes off as forced and silly.  I haven't watched a lot of Gaffigan's stand up but what I saw I liked.  His jokes are about just regular stuff and everyday life which is always my favorite.  Plus how can you go wrong with a book about food?  I love to cook but am pretty adventurous trying new foods but I also love a good cheeseburger and my family is very meat and potatoes so I could relate to a lot of Jim's stories. We will now be using his term for oysters (rock snot) pretty exclusively.  His views on fast food, Whole Foods, kids and food, vegetables and countless other things were pretty spot on and I had to stop listening to this in the car a few times because I was giggling like a crazy person and getting some odd looks.  I also liked that while Jim does talk about his kids this isn't a book that'd only be funny if you have kids yourself.  Basically if you've ever enjoyed a Big Mac or questioned how much something cost at Whole Foods or thought you'd much rather have cheesecake than green beans you'll relate to this book.

Cons: It did seem to drag on in parts.  Because Gaffigan is true to his topic this book is really just about food and eating it.  While I enjoyed it there were a few times I though "okay I get it."  Also, from some of the reviews I read if you're a big fan of Gaffigan's stand up there's a lot of repeat jokes and stories in this book.

Overall: If you're looking for an insightful book on food or a book where you'll learn something this isn't it.  This is, however, a pretty hilarious look at food it's unhealthy best from a guy with some serious eating experience!

Audio note: This book was read by the author which was great because he did his inflections and voices just the way they were supposed to be.  I think this would be a quick read so the dragging bits might not show up in the text version.  It made for a great listen though.  I actually did a far more thorough job of organizing the pantry than I had originally intended just because I wanted to keep listening.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  I'm already looking forward to reading Dad is Fat.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes!  I've already ordered my husband a copy.

Challenges Met? N/A - started this in December

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Linkups: Whose Body?

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

Book Blogger Hop Question:
Is there anything that makes you keep returning to certain blogs?

My Answer: 
Lots of things which is probably why my blog list on Bloglovin' is so long!  Clear reviews are important.  I like to know what the reviewer liked or didn't like and to learn a little more about the book than just the blurb.  That being said I also really enjoy the micro or twitter style reviews mixed in.  Discussion posts and lists are also fun to see.  Most importantly is probably the voice of the reviewer.  There's a few blogs I follow even though we don't have that many books in common just because they seem like nice people.

*So it turns out it's not a good idea to pull up a book on you Kindle before coffee.  The following are from Strong Poison NOT Whose Body?* This week's book is my Reading Assignment Challenge book for February - Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers.  While I've been a life long fan of Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Patricia Wentworth somehow Dorothy Sayers never got read. I read Gaudy Night in college maybe and loved it but never went back to read more.  I'm excited to read this first book and get to know Lord Peter Wimsey a bit better!

The Beginning:
"There were crimson roses on the bench; they looked like splashes of blood."

My thoughts: I love the descriptiveness of the beginning.  Since this is a murder mystery the correlation from roses to blood seems fitting.

The 56:
The only question that remains for you is weather, in fact, that arsenic was deliberately administered by the prisoner with intent to murder."

My thoughts: This sounds very legal so I'm guessing courtroom scene?  I'm betting the arsenic was deliberate!

So what do you think?  Have you read much Sayers or any of the other classic mysteries?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Hexed - Review

The Hexed by Heather Graham

Rating: 4 Stars
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Devin Lyle is happy living in Salem, Massachusetts in the cottage her great aunt left her and writing children's books.  The murder of a local woman makes her a little nervous but then one night she hears something outside her cottage and stumbles over a dead body and into the arms of FBI Agent Craig "Rocky" Rockwell.

Rocky's life was changed forever when he was 17 and found the body of his friend Melissa.  He went from a teenage boy interested on football and girls to one forever haunted by that sight and led into a career in law enforcement.  And now he, the Krewe, his old friends and Devin must race to solve this latest series of murders because it looks like Devin could be the next target.

Genre: Mystery/Romance

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed my previous Heather Graham books and I love ghost stories.  Throw in the Salem setting and it's hard to pass up!

My Impression:
Pro: This story drew me right in as soon as I opened it.  The setting is so wonderfully spooky, the ghosts are just enough to be interesting and Devin and Rocky are interesting and likable.  I even liked Poe, the raven Devin inherited from her Aunt Mina.  I thought the mix of history was well done and they did research! I love when they do research in books!  Rocky was a nice guy.  Smart, driven and so relieved to be with other people who could see ghosts it seeped off the pages.  The rest of the Krewe is interesting and I'm looking forward to reading their stories.  I liked that Rocky's relationships with his old friends isn't all hearts and rainbows.  There's some tension and some old resentments and while that's not present all the time they do stumble on the undercurrents sometimes.  The look into the behind the scenes of the tourist town was interesting.  I liked how the relationship progressed between Devin and Rocky.  It didn't feel unnaturally fast and they liked each other from first meeting.  It felt real and went with the flow of the book.  The pacing for this one was very good and really I just wanted to curl up with a cup of tea and read this one.  Perfect rainy day reading!

Con:  I found myself thinking "Okay well how did they reach that conclusion?" a few times.  It wasn't that it didn't make sense it was that there were some jumps in logic that were pretty big or that they would all of a sudden turn theory into fact.  Granted this is a mystery where ghosts help out so I'm not looking for 100% accuracy but it did puzzle me a few times.  Bea at Bea's Book Nook had some issues with some of the accuracy of the facts about Massachusetts and the overuse of the world "wicked".  I have never been to Massachusetts and have no connection to the state so none of this bothered me but if you're from there or are familiar with the area be prepared!

Overall: This is a fun book with just enough creep to add atmosphere but not so much to give you nightmares.  Though this is book #13 in the series in no way let that stop you from picking this one up.  These are only loosely connected and each can be read as stand alone.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  In fact reading this I can't figure out why I haven't gone a massive Heather Graham book binge already!

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Absolutely!  This is fun, interesting and sweet all at the same time.

Challenges Met?   Alphabet Soup (H), Reading Road Trip (Massachusetts)