Saturday, February 25, 2017

This Week in Reading - February 26

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:

Dying Breath by Heather Graham - It's the new Krewe of Hunters book and I'm powerless to resist! Plus this one comes out at the end of May which is about the time I'm really loving romantic suspense or other creepy books (NetGalley)

To the Stars Through Difficulties by Romalyn Tilghman - I'm really excited about this one!  Inspired by their foremothers who built fifty-nine Carnegie libraries a century ago four women band together to build a cultural center against opposition.  This one comes out just in time for National Library week and it looks gorgeous!  (Publicist)

Death at First Sight by Lena Gregory - I'm super excited about this one one!  I'm reading the 2nd book for a blog tour next month or so and the form asked if I would want a copy of the first book if available.  I checked yes but wasn't really expecting to get it.  Well it showed up in the mail just a week later!  Really looking forward to starting this series!  (Author)


Reading:  Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs, Key of Light by Nora Roberts, and One Two Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie

Listening:  Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty.  I'm on the fence about this one.  There's a lot I like but there's a few things that just aren't quite working for me.

Watching:  I kind of fell into a true crime rabbit hole this week and have been watching mostly Investigation Discovery shows.  My favorite is Web of Lies about internet related crimes of A Crime to Remember which is about historic-ish crimes.

Off the Blog:

We had a busy weekend and then the Tornado was out of school Monday and Tuesday.  I was really hoping for a catch up week and then a relaxing weekend.  All was going as planned until the school nurse called me Thursday afternoon to say he had a fever of 102!  Well I flew up to school excepting him to be sad and droopy and miserable and while he definitely wasn't feeling well he was also seriously annoyed because he had to leave school and couldn't go back on Friday!  I did finally get him settled and past the fact that he wasn't going to school Friday but he's still not fully on board with the resting concept.  I'm hoping that by Sunday night he's back to his regular self or we'll be heading to the doctor which will mess up his no sick visit ever streak!

Next weekend the local theater here is doing Miss Nelson is Missing and I'm so excited I can barely stand it!  This was one of my absolute favorite books as a child.  I'm torn between reading it to the Tornado before we go so he knows the story or waiting so the story will be a surprise.

I'm so thrilled with the new re-read feature on Goodreads!  I have been wanting one for ages and just finally used it and it worked!  It was so exciting!  As well I'm mixing it up some next week genre-wise.  I've been super cozy mystery heavy lately and I'm glad to have some fiction and romance reviews in with the cozies!  It's been nice mixing up the genres because I've been feeling myself start to slide into a slump and different genres seems to have put the brakes on.  Huge relief!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

Monday: Ramblings from the Stacks: They'll all get read right?
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I Loved More/Less Than I Thought I Would
Wednesday:  A Cast of Vultures - Cozy Mystery Review
Thursday:  Facials Can Be Fatal - A Cozy Mystery Review

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Roanoke Girls and Hearth Stone - Fiction Short Reviews
Tuesday: What the Tornado is Reading Now
Wednesday: Fatality by Firelight - Cozy Mystery Blog Tour Review + Giveaway
Thursday:  One Wild Night - Contemporary Romance Review
Friday: Friday Linkups with current book
Saturday: Pekoe Most Poison - Cozy Mystery Review + Recipe

Have a great week and happy reading!

52 Pins in 52 Weeks - February Edition

I absolutely love Pinterest! My current pin count is just under 10,500 and I have dozens of boards. I alternate between pinning from the tons of food and craft blogs (I have a different system for book blogs!) and pinning after mindlessly scrolling through the "Everything" option where I can see all the pins that have been pinned and repinned recently.
 In 2015 I realized that while I relied on Pinterest for all kinds of things a lot of my boards were being seriously neglected and even in the boards I did use regularly there were still plenty of pins collecting dust. And that's where 52 Pins in 52 Weeks came from. At the first of the year I make a board called 52 Pins in 52 Weeks and fill it with 52 pins that I want to do over the course of the year. I've tried to include a good mix of food, holiday, and craft pins and push myself to step a little out of my comfort zone. I pin my results on my 52 Pins in 52 Weeks Results board. Some pins are wins and some are most definitely fails but it's always interesting to attempt them! 
 This year I hope you'll share your Pin Wins and Fails with me and link up below! The format is totally up to you. Just post about the pins you've tried over the month (it can be multiple posts) and link up here! The link up will the the last Saturday of every month and I can't wait to see what everyone is doing!
Not quite as decorative as I would have liked!

Week 5:

The Basic Idea:This is a selection of kid friendly Valentine's day recipes.  I used the calzones

My Results:  This was fun and pretty tasty.  My only problem is that it was a little harder to make them shaped unless I had a really big cookie cutter.  All of my regular cutters were to small to put filling in the dough and then crimp the edges  Next time I'd roll out the dough a little more carefully and then maybe cut a design into the top of the dough.  Other than that it was tasty and super easy to customize for picky eaters.
Chocolate Cream Pie Perfection!

Week 6: 

The Pin:Chocolate Cream Pie from Something Swanky

The Basic Idea: A rich creamy chocolate pie with a whipped cream topping

My Results: I cheated and used a purchased pie crust but other than that and using Special Dark cocoa powder I followed the recipe exactly.  Other than some stirring it was super easy and the results were amazing.  I'm thinking about making another one this weekend because it was so good!

Week 7:

The PinDisney's Baked Ravioli from Plain Chicken

The Basic Idea: Baked ravioli in a hearty meat sauce

My Results: I'm not sure how much this tastes like the one from the restaurant at Disney World but it was pretty tasty!  It was a little more complicated than my usual baked ravioli recipe because you make the red sauce from scratch but it was delicious

Week 8:

The Pin:How to clean the gunk around the sink drain from Ask Anna Moseley

The Basic Idea: Drop a denture cleaning table into the sink to clean the drain.

My Results: This was simple and the supplies were cheap.  I have a marble countertop/sink and there are tiny cracks right around the drain that get a little bit of grunge in them.  I thought this might be an easy way to fix it.  I think this might work great for soap scum for for cracks or small dents I didn't notice any difference.
Not photogenic but it sure was tasty!

Week 9:

The PinTwo Minute Thai Peanut Noodles from Favorite Family Recipes

The Basic Idea: Dressing up regular Ramen noodles with peanut butter and Sriracha

My Results: These were unexpectedly good.  I've never really eaten Ramen noodles before so I don't know how they taste normally (I lived off Snickers bars in college) so I was very suspicious of these but I was pretty pleased with the results.  This definitely isn't a serve to company dish but it's a pretty good late night snack or guilty pleasure meal!

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Linkups - Key of Light

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:
How do you feel about books with multiple narrators?

My Answer:
It depends on how it's done.  Some of my favorite books have involved multiple narrators but if the different voices aren't clear and easy to keep track of I'll most likely DNF it.

This week's book is a spur of the moment library pickup as I'm trying to keep myself from sliding into a reading slump.  I've been reading a lot of cozy mysteries lately and while they've all been good books there's a certain repetitiveness that happens when I read too many of one genre.  I thought I'd mix it up a little and grab an old favorite from a trilogy I've been thinking about rereading - Key of Light by Nora Roberts.

The Beginning:
The storm ripped over the mountains, gushing torrents of rain that struck the ground with the sharp ring of metal on stone.  Lightning strikes spat down, angry artillery fire that slammed against the cannon roar of thunder.

My Thoughts:
I love a good thunderstorm as long as I don't have to be out in it but this one sounds a little to strong even for me!

The 56:
Moe immediately dropped his heavy head on her knee.  "Could you call off your dog?"
       "Not as long as you've got cookies."

My Thoughts:
I had forgotten about Moe and I just about squealed with delight when he showed up on the page.  He's such a great dog who regularly forgets how big he is.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  What books do you reach for when you feel yourself sliding into a slump?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Facials Can Be Fatal - Cozy Mystery Review

Facials Can Be Fatal (A Bad Hair Day Mystery) by Nancy J. Cohen

Rating: Good
Source: Author

Description: During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, was a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans. Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the suspects. As she learns more about Val, she realizes the benefactress might have stumbled onto secrets others would kill to keep. She’d better prepare for a body count that has nothing to do with hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book: I really enjoyed the previous book in the series and really wanted to see Marla on her home turf.

My Impression:  I read Cohen's previous book in this series (Peril by Ponytail) around hair stylist and salon owner, Marla Vail, last year and while I really enjoyed reading about Marla and her new husband having adventures on their honeymoon I was really looking forward to getting a peek into their daily lives.  I loved seeing Marla at her salon dealing with clients, her stylists and the regular daily emergencies.  As well, I really enjoyed seeing Marla and Dalton settle in together and their interactions with and about Dalton's daughter Brianna were lots of fun.  I thought it was funny how resistant Dalton was to letting her drive with her newly acquired learner's permit.

We don't have to wait long for the first body to fall and the story really got rolling then.  Just who would have disliked Val enough to kill her and was it really murder in the first place?  When a question was answered it seemed to bring up more questions and it was lots of fun navigating the clues and the giant pool of suspects.  I also really enjoyed the look into the political and not always nice world of historical preservation.  This one kept me guessing and my inner history nerd was made even happier with the talks of diaries, shipwrecks and preserving old architecture.  The setting for the final showdown alone is worth giving this book a read!

If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun, light series, with a likable main characters and enjoyable side characters.  This is my 2nd book though is I think #13 in the series and while previous mysteries are mentioned not having read them didn't impact my enjoyment or comprehension of the book.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely!  I'm really looking forward to going back and reading earlier books in the series!

Would I Recommend this Book?: If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a great pick!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Cast of Vultures - Cozy Mystery Review

A Cast of Vultures (Sam Clair #3) by Judith Flanders
Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Usually sharp-witted editor Sam Clair stumbles through her post-launch-party morning with the hangover to end all hangovers. Before the Nurofen has even kicked in, she finds herself entangled in an elaborate saga of missing neighbours, suspected arson and the odd unidentified body. When the grisly news breaks that the fire has claimed a victim, Sam is already in pursuit. Never has comedy been so deadly as Sam faces down a pair from Thugs ‘R’ Us, aided by nothing more than a CID boyfriend, a stalwart Goth assistant and a seemingly endless supply of purple-sprouting broccoli.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  This was described as Bridget Jones meets Agatha Christie.  How could I pass it up?

My Impression:  While I couldn't resist an Agatha Christie/Bridget Jones mashup going in I was a little hesitant.  I mean how would this actually work?  Agatha Christie is known for her clearly plotted precisely done mysteries and Bridget Jones is known for kind of being a mess.  How it worked was delightfully!  Sam's voice is breezy, chatty, and occasionally snarky and lots of fun.  It felt like listening to a conversation with a best friend telling me all about the crazy stuff that had happened to her.  In the middle of it all is a tightly wound complex little mystery with arson and a missing persons case thrown in.

I wasn't surprised to see that the author had spent a number of years working as an editor at publishing houses just like the Sam, the main character in this series.  The scenes at Sam's work just felt so authentic that I could just feel it came from experience.  As a reader I really enjoyed the look into the not so glamorous world of publishing!  Along with the publishing house, there are a number of characters sprinkled through Sam's world from the residents of "the empty house", to her boyfried who just happens to work for CID, to her gardening neighbor who never leaves his apartment, over to Viv another gardening neighbor who plays an important role in getting her mixed up with the mystery.

If you're going for just a straight mystery this may not be the read for as there is quite a lot going on and at times the mystery is in the background.  It never felt forgotten, there were just times it was't the focus.  If you're looking for a book with a fun, intelligent if sometimes frazzled main character, love a bit of publishing house gossip, and don't mind a dead body and an additional felony or two then you can't miss with this one!  I did note that this is actually the 3rd Sam Clair book but I was actually unaware of that until I finished this book.  I don't think you'll have any problem diving right in with this one!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?:  Definitely!  I actually already own several of Flanders' nonfiction books that I'm looking forward to reading and I'd like to go back and start from the beginning with the Sam Clair mysteries.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Absolutely!  Just be prepared that it isn't a straight up mystery.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would.  It's always such an amazing feeling to go into a book expecting to like it okay and end up being blown away and on the opposite end it is such a disappointment to expect to love a book and end up feeling meh at best about it.  Here are five books that blew me away and 5 that were pretty epic disappointments.


1.  Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Everyone I knew had raved about this book - even people who typically didn't read YA or sci-fi type reads.  I absolutely loved the cover so I decided to give it a try and I absolutely loved it!  I read Scarlet right after and then took a break but I'm dying to pick up Cinder.

2.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - I'm a big Doctor Who fan but I'd been hesitant to read any of Gaiman's books because his episodes of Doctor Who were frequently my least favorite.  I found a gorgeous copy of this at a bookstore and couldn't pass it up and I'm so glad I didn't!  It was so weirdly wonderful!

3. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley - I really had no plans to read this book.  I don't like disaster books, I don't like books where children are in peril, and I don't enjoy books about media frenzy.  BUT when I was offered a copy by someone who had read and really enjoyed it I just couldn't turn it down and I ended up really enjoying it.  It was so cleverly done that I was mad with curiosity to see how everything played out.

4. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - I expected to like this book - it has the world bookstore in the title so how could I not.  But instead of the book about books that I expected this ended up being a fast paced treasure hunt that was just so fun to read!  The audio is awesome!

5.  The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown - I almost passed on this book when I was offered it for a blog tour.  It seemed high on the angst-y scale but I decided to give it a chance since one of the story lines takes place in 1920s Paris.  I'm so glad I took the risk because I loved this book.  I loved the characters, I loved both story lines, and I just didn't want to put it down.  One of my favorite reads of 2016.


1. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll - I wanted to love this one!  I love middle grade fiction and I really like the Disney movie.  I was prepared for there to be lots of nonsense but it kind of felt like it was ALL nonsense - especially Through the Looking Glass.

2.  Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey - You know when a book sounds so you that you absolutely must have it right that minute?  This was one of those.  Ghosts?  History?  Traveling around and full of random trivia?  Sold, sold and more sold.  I was so sold I bought this new in hardback and bumped it to the top of my TBR.  I just knew I would love it.  Except I didn't.  I really really didn't.  I made it about 100 pages before I DNF'd it.

3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - This was a really good story with interesting characters and it was totally not for me.  I could see the value in the book itself I'm just not a fan of YA romance.

4.  Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris - I've always been hit and miss with David Sedaris but I had listened to When You Are Engulfed in Flames and laughed until I cried so I figured I couldn't lose with another audio book from him.  The best I can say about this one is that some of it was kind of funny.

5.  Good Mourning by Elizabeth Meyer - I wanted to like this.  I've read several books about the death industry so I was intrigued by this one that focused on a funeral home in New York.  I ended up being mostly irritated.  The author comes from an extremely wealthy family and she never let the reader forget how privileged she was.  She was getting up to go to work at *gasp* 8AM when her friends were just getting home from a night out.  The horror!  The sacrifice!  Who goes to work at 8AM on a Tuesday?  Oh wait - pretty much everyone.  As well she spent a lot of time complaining that people thought about money when planning a funeral.  She was appalled by how cheap they were.  Now I don't know about you but I have participated in planning a couple of funerals and while no one wants to think about money the reality is most of us do not have an unlimited budget.  I read this at least 2 years ago and I'm still getting mad about it!

So what books have you loved more or less than you thought you would?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ramblings from the Stacks - They'll all get read right?

My To-Read list on Goodreads is 1,923 books.  My Wish list on my library's digital site (for ebooks and audio books) is 1,396 books.  My To-Be-Checked-Out list on my library's website is 251 books.  My Wish List on is 345 books.  I don't even know how many books I actually own but it's a lot.  There's some overlap on these lists but not as much as their should be and there are some books that aren't on it at all either because I bought it before it made it on a list or it's an author whose back list I want to read and just haven't added all the books. For measurement;s sake I'm going with just these actual numbers and assuming the overlap balances out the ones that are left out all together.

All together there are 3,915 books that I really want to read at this specific moment in time.  Now on average I read about 130 books a year.  So if I keep my reading speed constant and don't add any books to my TBR and don't do any rereads then it will take me just over 30 years to read them all.

That's totally doable right?  I mean in 30 years I'll only be in my mid-60s and my reading time will probably increase as my dealings with small children decrease.  In fact I have decades worth of wiggle room to add books!

Every once in awhile I'll hear someone say casually that they "know they'll never get all the books to want to read read" and it's just shocking to me.  I mean how can you think that? I can feel my pulse increase when I even think about not getting to all those books I want to read.

Though if I'm being completely honest - I probably won't.

How many books are on your various TBR lists?  Do you expect to read them all?