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Crystena77

Nothing better than a good book...

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

Currently reading

A Hope Divided (The Loyal League)
Alyssa Cole
Progress: 26 %
The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes: A Mystery (The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries)
Leonard Goldberg
Progress: 73/303 pages
And Then There Were Nuns
Kylie Logan
Progress: 115/276 pages
The Fourth Horseman
Sarah Woodbury
Progress: 158/352 pages
The Sunne in Splendour
Sharon Kay Penman
Progress: 55 %
Challenge Participant Professional Reader 80%

Friday Reads 10.20.2017

The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes: A Mystery (The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries) - Leonard Goldberg And Then There Were Nuns: League of Literary Ladies - Kylie Logan The Fourth Horseman - Sarah Woodbury A Hope Divided (The Loyal League) - Alyssa Cole By Sharon Kay Penman The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III (1st) - Sharon Kay Penman Murder in the Mystery Suite - Ellery Adams

Happy Friday!

 

Here are the books I am nursing over the next week.  I'm enjoying all of them - shout out of cover love for A Hope Divided - and listening to Murder in the Mystery Suite on audio via Scribd.

 

On the schedule is baseball and hiking this weekend.

 

Enjoy your weekend and happy reading! 

Invictus

Invictus - Ryan Graudin

Rating: 3 stars

 

I have mixed feelings about this book.

 

It was well written and I can't say much was wrong with it but I still feel that it wasn't my cup of tea. I say this because I had to force myself to read it. 

 

But I liked the writing. 

 

So I recommend for people who like time traveling teens with a Firefly feel. 

 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

To Fudge or Not to Fudge

To Fudge or Not to Fudge - Nancy CoCo

Author: Nancy Coco

Series: A Candy Coated Mystery #2

Rating 4.5

 

Book Blurb: Life is sweet for Allie McMurphy, proud owner of Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop on Mackinac Island--until murder and deception leave a bitter taste. . .

Mulch Ado About Murder

With summer in bloom and tourists afoot, Allie is out walking her pup, Mal, when the curious canine digs up a bone from under a flowering lilac bush. The bone leads to a toe that's missing a body. For the successful confectionaire it's only the first in a series of sour events in the middle of the island's Lilac Fest. When her stint on a cooking reality show swirls up a trail of foul play, Allie will have to outwit a cunning killer if she wants to continue living la dolce vida. ,..

 

This is shaping up to be a solid series. It gets an extra half star for being a mystery that left me with no clue as to what was going on until the author revealed the killer. 

 

What did I like? I liked the writing. It was engaging and easy.  I liked Allie, she's a humorous, family oriented MC who loves her dog Mal. I  absolutely loved Mal! He is an adorable character who kept the mystery plot moving with his digging discoveries. I also enjoyed the feel of Mackinac Island. It is a fictional place I will enjoy returning to in future installments. And this book had me craving fudge something fierce.

 

My one ding is that the story had a love triangle and the romantic scenes,  which I assumed are supposed to have me rooting for one guy or the other, are written with about as much emotion as reading paint cans. 

 

But other than that... this was an enjoyable read. 

Friday Reads 10.13.2017

To Fudge or Not to Fudge - Nancy CoCo Invictus - Ryan Graudin And Then There Were Nuns: League of Literary Ladies - Kylie Logan Cheddar Off Dead (An Undercover Dish Mystery) - Julia Buckley

Happy Friday!

 

I am almost done with To Fudge or Not to Fudge and it's very, very good. 

 

After that, I am going to attempt to read some sci-fi with Invictus

 

After then it'll probably be back to a cozy.

 

No huge weekend plans- which is ok by me. The hubby and I will get some laundry done and cleaning. Always cleaning. And we need to catch up on Dr. Who. Oh yeah and baseball- how can I forget baseball?

 

Finally we are getting some fall weather - but it's going to be 80s on Sunday. I think the earth is confused. 

 

Happy Reading! 

 

The Quiche and the Dead

The Quiche and the Dead (A Pie Town Mystery) - Kirsten Weiss

Author: Kirsten Weiss

Series: Pie Town Mystery #1

 

Where to begin with this one...

 

Let's see - there's a narcoleptic cat, a quirky older sidekick, a corrupt town and a likable MC. The mystery was engaging and there was some good humor.

 

There's plenty to recommend, and I like where the series is going- giving it its own unique spin.

 

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

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change - Stephen R. Covey

This was a re read and it was a good one. I love this book. I always recommend it to people. 

The Big Chili

The Big Chili - Julia Buckley

Author: Julia Buckley

Rating:  4 stars

 

Book Blurb:  After dreaming for years of owning her own catering company, Lilah has made a start into the food world through her Covered Dish business, covertly cooking for her neighbors who don’t have the time or skill to do so themselves, and allowing them to claim her culinary creations as their own. While her clientele is strong, their continued happiness depends on no one finding out who’s really behind the apron.

So when someone drops dead at a church Bingo night moments after eating chili that Lilah made for a client, the anonymous chef finds herself getting stirred into a cauldron of secrets, lies, and murder—and going toe to toe with a very determined and very attractive detective. To keep her clients coming back and her business under wraps, Lilah will have to chop down the list of suspects fast, because this spicy killer has acquired a taste for homicide…

 

I really enjoyed this first in a series. Lilah is a quirky MC. She always has a song stuck in her head and loves to sing, though apparently not well. I liked her.  The premise is unusual and I wasn't sure it would work - a woman who clandestinely cooks for others and allows them to pass the food off as their own.  My opinion is it does and Ms. Buckley doesn't shy away from the problems this can and did cause for our MC. 

 

The mystery takes a back seat to the characters, which was ok by me as the town was full of people I enjoyed getting to know. 

 

I already have the next two on request at the library.

 

Definitely recommend. 

Death In Dark Blue

Death in Dark Blue - Julia Buckley

Author: Julia Buckley

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

Book Blurb: It had spoilers from the first book so I removed it. 

 

This was a pretty good follow up to the first book. The overall mystery arc is being expanded and really is the thrust of this series so far, though there are secondary murder mysteries to be solved apparently. The hero worship between the MC and her mentor has died down so that was a definite plus. 

 

A warning if you don't like cliffhanger endings and want to wait until the next book comes out  - you will want to do that here. And what a cliff hanger it was- pretty weighty mystery for a cozy, but I will play along. You have my attention.

 

Overall a nice beach read on my honeymoon,  with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. I will admit, I do like Ms. Buckley's Undercover Dish series a bit better. 

Murder Past Due

Murder Past Due - Miranda James

Couldn't use the computers for hours at work this morning. Waiting for the situation to resolve itself I had to kill time ... and used it to finish off this cozy mystery.

 

Not bad. A bit slow moving. The MC is male, a librarian named Charlie.  Unusual and refreshing. He owns a Maine Coon cat which is basically a HUGE cat according to the author. They mention the cat's size over and over again in case you missed the cat's name which is Diesel.  Though that got annoying, it did make me want to see one IRL. 

 

The mystery in which a celebrity from Charlie's town is killed, wasn't terribly hard to figure out. But being that everyone hated him - and I mean EVERYONE - there were plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. 

 

I wasn't thrilled by this book but I do want to read the next one. The series has a lot of potential and a depth to its characters that I enjoyed. If Ms. James continues to flesh out her characters, this series could be a keeper for me.

 

 

A Dark and Stormy Murder

A Dark and Stormy Murder - Julia Buckley

This was a good cozy mystery. Not giving too much away but I felt like the the culprit was hidden in plain sight. I actually laughed when the denouement came. 

 

The positives to this book are the atmosphere is rich and makes you want to go to there. And the characters are likable. A definite negative is the hero worship that goes on between the MC and her mentor is a bit much... BUT I can't see that lasting past the first book or so. Or it shouldn't. 

 

The strength of this book is the overall mystery arc. Wanting to see how that plays out made me buy the next one immediately upon finishing this one. 

 

Overall recommend. 

Friday Reads 9.15.2017

A Dark and Stormy Murder - Julia Buckley Murder Past Due - Miranda James The Big Chili (An Undercover Dish Mystery) - Julia Buckley Suede to Rest - Diane Vallere

So this is the last weekend before the wedding.

 

I've been reading like crazy. It's helping calm me. My fiance is used to it  at least. lol

 

So these are some of the books I plan on reading in between last minute craziness and on the plane to the honeymoon. I like cozies. They're light, quick reading and I don't feel pressured to read or not read them. Pure escapism.

 

In the middle of A Dark and Stormy Murder  and I'm really enjoying it. 

 

Happy reading everyone! :)

The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco

The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco - Laura DiSilverio

I did not like this book. 

 

There were periods, commas and intelligible sentences so I gave it two stars. 

 

But dear me I didn't like the MC, there were too many characters (some of which had similar names),  and the ending angered me in that it was a colossal TSTL moment on the part of the MC. The mystery was meh. 

 

Normally I would've DNF'd this, but I needed to read it for a challenge. 

 

NEXT! 

Assaulted Caramel

Assaulted Caramel (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery) - Amanda Flower

Author: Amanda Flower

Series:  An Amish Candy Shop Mystery #1

Rating: A solid 4 stars

 

Book Blurb: Bailey King is living the sweet life as assistant chocolatier at world-famous JP Chocolates in New York City. But just when Bailey’s up for a life-changing promotion, her grandmother calls with news that her grandfather’s heart condition has worsened. Bailey rushes to Harvest, Ohio, where her grandparents still run Swissmen Sweets, the Amish candy shop where she was first introduced to delicious fudge, truffles, and other assorted delights.

She finds her grandfather is doing better than she feared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a local Englisch developer, whom Bailey finds dead in the candy shop kitchen—with Jebediah King’s chocolate knife buried in his chest. Now the police are sweet on her grandfather as the prime suspect. Despite the sincere efforts of a yummy deputy with chocolate-brown eyes, Bailey takes it on herself to clear Jebediah. But as a cunning killer tries to fudge the truth, Bailey may be headed straight into a whole batch of trouble . . .

 

This was a great read.  Bailey is a likable MC who has come to a crossroads in her life. What I liked about this start to a cozy series is usually the series start with the death of a family member or a divorce in the MC's recent past and our journey begins as she tries to pick up the pieces. Here, Flower decided to start her story as the catalyst for change is happening. Unusual, at least in the cozies I have read. It paid off. You know what's coming, but it was a welcome switch to be on the emotional ride that caused the MC to seek drastic change. 

 

Of course, the risk is that you then become attached to people that the MC has to inevitably say goodbye to. Rarely do cozies get me  as emotional as this one did. But it also meant I was invested, so when Bailey decides hey - I'm gonna upend my life to change, you get it.

 

The mystery in this book was great. Yes I suspected the murderer at some point, but there was enough red herrings to keep me guessing at least. There was a point towards then end I was thinking WHAT IS GOING ON? which is a good sign when I'm reading a mystery. Also the twists lead to other questions you know will be explored in future books, not all loose ends are tied up.

 

The minor characters, which are key for me to continue on with series like these, were likable. Aside from Nutmeg the cat, my favorite is questionable as to if they will be a part of future books - we were left on a cliffhanger as to their status. Won't elaborate cuz spoilers. Which guarantees I will be reading the next book when it comes out in February.

 

Would I recommend it? Without hesitation if you are a fan of cozy mysteries.

Reading progress update: I've read 46%.

Assaulted Caramel (An Amish Candy Shop Mystery) - Amanda Flower

The cat's name in this book is Nutmeg.

 

I LOVE THAT NAME.

 

You see him on the cover? Isn't he cute? I want a cat named Nutmeg!

 

About halfway through and this is a solid first-in-a-series so far. No awkward world building slowness. Held my attention from page one. I'm reading it for a Goodreads  challenge and had meh feelings about reading it, but I am pleasantly surprised. 

 

 

Dial Meow for Murder

Dial Meow for Murder (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery) - Bethany Blake

This was an ok read.

 

Not as good as the first. I found the MC more annoying in this book. Her flightiness was more pronounced and not as endearing. I may give the next one in the series a chance, but my excitement for this series has waned a bit.

 

On a positive note the mystery was not bad and kept me guessing.

 

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

The book that tried to give me a heart attack...

How the Light Gets In - Louise Penny

Out of respect for the many reading this series, no spoilers. 

 

There is a mystery in this book, but make no mistake- this book is mainly about all the drama that has been building since...well... the series started. Penny ties ends together in unexpected ways.  To me this book had a bit of a slow build but the last 20% - oh my google - made me late for an appointment yesterday.  

 

Such a great series. Bury Your Dead is still the best so far for me- but this one comes a close second.