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Nothing better than a good book...

If it's good, I'll read it! Instagram:  @crystenasbooks

Currently reading

Body on Baker Street
Vicki Delany
Progress: 5 %
The Sunne in Splendour
Sharon Kay Penman
Progress: 321/936 pages
How the Light Gets In
Louise Penny
Progress: 57/405 pages
Challenge Participant Professional Reader 80%

Slow going...

This Side of Murder - Anna Lee Huber

... but it may be my mood, putting it aside just in case it is. 


I just really want to read other books on my pile other than this one. Maybe if I eliminate the competition this one will have a chance. 



Friday Reads 8.18.2017

By Sharon Kay Penman The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III (1st) - Sharon Kay Penman This Side of Murder - Anna Lee Huber How the Light Gets In - Louise Penny Dial Meow for Murder (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery) - Bethany Blake

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore has left a book hangover since I found it disturbing. Guess I won't be re- reading that. So I didn't read much this week. 


Still working on The Sunne in Splendour. Its 900 pages long so it'll be with me for some time I think. Need to dive back in...


I'm torn between three books right now- 


This Side of Murder  - Love this author. I started the first chapter. 


How the Light Gets In - Need to catch up on this series.


Dial Meow for Murder- The first book in this series pleasantly surprised me with how good it was so I'm looking forward to this one.


No big plans for the weekend for once. I'm going to enjoy the down time.


Happy reading! 



Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

Author: Matthew Sullivan

Rating: 3.5 stars


I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.


Book Blurb:  When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu and will keep you guessing until the very last page.‚Äč


Whilst I was surprised at the turns this book took and am impressed with how well Sullivan took characters that you would expect to find in cozy mysteries - bookstore owners and workers, librarians, doughnut shop owners, quirky townspeople - and put them into a fully realized violent mystery/thriller, I normally do not like books this dark.  


The book left me with an overall unsettled and queasy feeling. Not something I look for in my reading. 


It's different, I will give you that. 


I guessed the murderer through pure process of elimination about half way through - but was clueless as to motive and kept reading for the clues that would satisfy my curiosity. The book is definitely a page turner. But again, dark.


Would I recommend it? If you like that sort of thing.




Reading progress update: I've read 309 out of 936 pages.

The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman

Ok, had to explain to my fiancee why, when he came back from swimming, I am sitting there at the beach visibly upset over the fate of people that lived how long ago? 


Poor Johnny. 


I got so emotional. 



Friday Reads 8.11.2017

The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan This Side of Murder - Anna Lee Huber

Busy weekend. Just wedding planning and reading basically. 


The Sunne in Splendour is so good. I have to read all this woman's books.


Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore surprised the heck out of me. It's the quite the page turner. I keep reading it every chance I get. Looking forward to reviewing this one.


If I get done with Midnight, I am definitely starting This Side of Murder. Anna Lee Huber of the Lady Darby series is starting a new series! I did not know this! When I saw it on Netgalley I screamed like a 4 year old, requested it and then was distracted til the approval came in.  This needs to be read ASAP.


I hope you all enjoy your weekend and Happy reading!!!!




Reading progress update: I've read 19%.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

Solid read so far.


It's weird, it's like reading a thriller where all your characters are librarians or book people. 


The mystery is engaging, the changing points of view - Enjoying it. 

Reading progress update: I've read 9%.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

So this book is making me want to cancel my plans and just read it. 


I thought it was a cozy mystery... it's not. It's a mystery though. Well more of a thriller- actually I don't know how to classify it. Probably why it's so interesting.

Reading progress update: I've read 281 out of 936 pages.

The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman

Again, amazing. 


So sorry I kept putting this off.

Friday Reads!!! 7.28.2017

By Sharon Kay Penman The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III (1st) - Sharon Kay Penman The Clockwork Dynasty: A Novel - Daniel H. Wilson

Happy Friday!


These are my reads for the upcoming weekend. 


I am about 100 pages into The Sunne in Splendour. Penman hits the ground running and hooks  you. I was holding my breath during Sandal Castle and thought, why do I not read more of this woman's books? So good.


The Clockwork Dynasty is a Netgalley read about mechanical beings that exist undetected among us... but actually takes place in 1725 Russia - I'm botching the blurb but it's different enough to be intriguing.


Getting dressers for post- wedding apartment and saying goodbye to my little brother who will be moving across the country on Monday. So emotional weekend ahead.


What are your weekend plans?


Happy reading!



The Blue Castle

The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery

Rating: 5 stars


Book Blurb: Valancy lives a drab life with her overbearing mother and prying aunt. Then a shocking diagnosis from Dr. Trent prompts her to make a fresh start. For the first time, she does and says exactly what she feels. As she expands her limited horizons, Valancy undergoes a transformation, discovering a new world of love and happiness. One of Lucy Maud Montgomery's only novels intended for an adult audience, The Blue Castle is filled with humour and romance.


What a gem!


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A great commentary on the bitterness that comes with never standing up for yourself and living your life in fear of displeasing everyone. Not that any of this novel wasn't predictable,  but the story and it's lessons are worth thinking about.  The humor is solid, making me laugh out loud on more than one occasion.  I want to reread the book to fully appreciate the craziness that is Valancy's colorful family. And frankly just to appreciate Montgomery's wit. 


Highly recommend. 



Friday Reads!! 7.21.2017

The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery David Copperfield (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Charles Dickens, Radhika Jones Barchester Towers - Anthony Trollope, Edward Mendelson A Study in Scarlet -  Arthur Conan Doyle

Happy Friday everyone!


It's hot here. We are in the midst of a heatwave, which makes me want to just drink cold things and read. 


Saturday I will doing a mother/daughter day with my mom. Sunday I will be at the beach with my fiancee, he also wants to do a bike ride - so not a bad weekend planned.


I hope to finish The Blue Castle this weekend. What a great book! My friend couldn't help herself and finished it up. She loved it. I'm already recommending it to people. It makes me want to read all of Montgomery's works -  I've already picked up the Emily books. 


Still working through David Copperfield . I'm doing mostly audio for this and I highly recommend it. 


I am halfway through A Study in Scarlet and hope to finish it in the coming week. I realized how much of Sherlock Holmes I haven't read so I've resolved to make my way through the novels/stories.


If I finish Castle, I think I'm going to start another classic - Bartchester Towers. I liked the blurb and enjoyed reading the first chapter. 


What are your plans?


Have a great weekend and happy reading! 



Reading progress update: I've read 27%.

The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery

I'm doing a buddy read of this book with a friend of mine and we've been texting each other our favorite lines all day.


Why have I never heard of this book? She hadn't either. I mean I know the Anne books... 


This book is hysterical. What a nice surprise.


Has anyone read it? I hadn't even heard of it before we stumbled onto it yesterday.

Kale to the Queen

Kale to the Queen - Nell Hampton

I really enjoyed this!


This was a light read, and a good start to the series. The main character was likeable and the writing moved along at a good pace. I wouldn't mind reading the next in the series. It's not the White House Mysteries by Julie Hyzy  but it does remind you of it being it takes place in Kensington Palace. The mystery was good and the culprit caught me off guard, so well done. 


Overall, recommend. 


I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. 



His Majesty's Dragon

His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik

Very enjoyable start to this series.


I loved the relationship between Temeraire and Laurence. It was interesting to see how Novik weaves the idea of dragons and the Napoleonic Wars together. The battles were well written.  The descriptions of the dragons and  English society were also well done. I got all kinds of emotional about how certain dragons were treated and their fate, so I was definitely emotionally invested. 


I would definitely recommend this book and will be continuing with the series. 

Friday Reads!

His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik David Copperfield (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Charles Dickens, Radhika Jones

Haven't done one of these in a while!


So I'm sticking with His Majesty's Dragon.  I can't resist Jane Austen with dragons - from a male point of view. It's different enough to keep me engaged. 


My audio is David Copperfield. I've been listening to it in the car during my commute for a while now. Richard Armitage does the narration and does an excellent job. Loved him in Robin Hood the TV series.  He was also in North and South - the Gaskell adaptation.  


Wedding planning has occupied so much of my time! It's demanding.  Meeting with photographer this weekend and picking the cake are on the agenda.


I miss reading, so I've just had to make it a priority, even if it's a little bit each day. It makes a difference in my mental health. 


Happy reading everyone!

Reading progress update: I've read 8%.

His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik

Started reading this book to see what all the hype is about and have decided to stick with it for now.  It's been in my TBR ever since I bought it on a whim. 


Curious as to where the story will go and how it will be sustained for such a long series.