Back from Traveling

Finally home again after an exhausting, storm ridden drive from Savannah, Georgia home to New Jersey. Savannah was beautiful, really nice walking city. Stopped in a Shoney’s in Dillon, South Carolina to wait out some of the worst of the storm.  Really nice staff there and great coffee!

Anyway back to books – I took my Kindle and one paperback on  my trip.  Didn’t squeeze in too much reading but I did read:

Laced with Poison by Meg London

Cute, fun cozy mystery. Loved the lingerie theme.  Better plot than the first book in the series.  I am enjoying the development of the characters and their relationships. 4 out of 5 stars

Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw

I will say I am not usually big on the abducted child mysteries but I like the character of Sloan Monroe and have read one other book in this series.  Well written mystery with good character development makes for an enjoyable read.  New possible romantic interest for Sloane is introduced in this book.  3 out of 5 stars

A Body in the Backyard by Elizabeth Spann Craig

Another entry in the Myrtle Clover mystery series.  Very light fun cozy mystery reading.  Perfect travel read.  This is the fourth book in the series but only the second that I have read.  I got it for my Kindle and read it out of order.  I love the quirky protagonist, who is the bane of her son’s existence.  I really enjoy this type of sleuth.  The sidekick in the form of neighbor, Miles, who seems equally appalled as excited by Myrtle’s investigative antics is perfect. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Stirred with Love by Marcie Steele

This was a free download for my Kindle.  It is a romance/chick lit type story.  Although I am all for light reads at times, especially when traveling or just looking to unwind, this was a little too light.  Perhaps I am not the intended target market for this book, but I found it overly simplistic and quick. 2 out of 5 stars

Her Dear and Loving Husband by Meredity Allard

This was a free Kindle paranormal romance download.  Deals with witches, Salem, reincarnation, and vampires, but I just found it lacking.  Not really any tension building and it seems like it should have been that type of romance.  I didn’t really connect to the characters.  Two out of five stars.

Tell No Lies by Julie Compton

Yet another free kindle download.  This one is a legal/thriller/mystery one and is actually quite good.   An interesting twist in the end.  The character of Jack is well developed and the story is well written.  The relationships between the characters are realistic.  I will read another one, if this is a series.  3.5 out of 5 stars.

Hide and Snoop by Sue Ann Jaffarian

The 7th outing in the Odelia Grey series.  I really enjoy this series and Odelia as a sleuth.  Although this was not my favorite in the series, it was still well written and enjoyable.  I would recommend reading this series in order to make sense of the character development over time.  4 out of 5 stars.

Away For a Few Days

Traveling and exhausted so not much reading going on 🙂  So far, have seen beautiful Knoxville, Tennessee. Great city, loved Market Square and the World’s Fair Park.  Now at Hattiesburg, dropping daughter off at University.  Heading off to New Orleans next, then home.

Killer in Crinolines by Duffy Brown

This is the second book in the Consignment Shop Mystery series by Duffy Brown.  I am really enjoying this series so far.  I love the sleuth Reagan Summerside and her sidekick/aunt KiKi.  This is a mystery with a lot of humor.  Aunt Kiki quotes Cher when confronted with a variety of circumstances.  Reagan comes up against Walker Boone, her ex-husband’s divorce attorney throughout her attempts to clear the name of her friend Chantilly, who has been accused of murder.  The romantic tension between Boone and Reagan is very well done.  The mystery takes you all around Savannah, Georgia visiting eateries and colorful characters, including a baker who bakes “interesting” cookies, an alligator, and a gangster named Pillsbury.  The only criticism I would have is that the dialog involving the gang members doesn’t feel realistic, but that was a minor flaw in an otherwise enjoyable, fun  mystery.

A to Z Bookish Survey

This is a meme hosted by Perpetualpageturner found here.  I thought it looked fun and wanted to participate.  Here are my entries:

Author you’ve read the most books from:

M.C. Beaton aka Marion Chesney must be it for most books from a single author.


Best Sequel Ever:

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Currently Reading:

Killer in Crinoline by Duffy Brown


Drink of Choice While Reading:

Tea – I have blend I make from Teavana:  2 ounces Dragonwell Green & 2 ounces Monkey Picked Oolong & 4 ounces of English Breakfast.  Love it.  I also drink lots of Williamson Teas – their English Breakfast & their Afternoon teas are both excellent!

E-reader or Physical Book?

I borrow a lot from the library so I will have to say Physical book.  I do have a Kindle and a Nook that I like for travel.


Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Sorry – high school is just a dim blur in the recesses of my mind.  Today I would date Hamish Macbeth in a heartbeat!

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

Hidden Gem Book:

True Grit by Charles Portis…. A western, who knew?


Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Discovering the on-line community of book bloggers/readers.  I don’t know many readers in real life; it is awesome to connect with others who love to read.


Just Finished:

Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam by M.C. Beaton


Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I am not really into Urban Fantasy or most YA (not really my demographic for more years than I have fingers and toes)


Longest Book You’ve Read:

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – I think or maybe it was Under the Dome by Stephen King


Major book hangover because of:

Probably one of Rowan Coleman’s books or Elizabeth Buchan

Number of Bookcases You Own:

5 – 2 are tall and 3 are short + piles in my bedroom


One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame


Preferred Place To Read:

In bed! (a close second is the recliner in my living room)


Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” 
― Julia Child

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” 
— A.A. Milne

Reading Regret:

I regret not marrying someone who loved to read or at least valued the written word!


Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters – She died at age 85 just this week.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Watership Down

Wind in the Willows

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Ben H. Winters


Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Book 3 in The Last Policeman series by Ben H. Winters


Worst Bookish Habit:

Over “booking” myself – buying too many, checking too many out of the library at once


X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Laced with Poison by Meg London


Your latest book purchase:

Sue Ann Jaffarian’s  Hide and Snoop


ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Blackhouse by Peter May

Weekend Cooking

19389-wkendcookingThis is a meme hosted by BethFishReads to be found here.   I don’t regularly participate but often look at the posts that do.

This weekend is my oldest daughter’s last weekend at home before going back to college and so we are having some of her favorites.

– Ham glazed in ginger jam with some Coleman’s mustard powder mixed in and then  cooked on the grill in ginger ale.

– Mashed potatoes with country gravy

– Saveur cookbooks Green Bean casserole – I know, I know – green bean casserole.  However Saveur’s is made with all fresh ingredients (no cream of mystery ingredient soup surprise) and it is actually very good.  Both of my kids love it.   The recipe can be found on Saveur’s site here.

– Buttermilk biscuits  for mopping up gravy

– Couple bottles Jersey White wine to wash it all down

So, what is everyone else having for dinner?


M.C. Beaton: Death of a Kingfisher & Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam

I am working on getting up-to-date on two of my favorite mystery series, Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth, coincidentally or not by the same author, M.C. Beaton.  I picked these two up from the library and read them last night.    What I found interesting is that somehow both of them had strong references to fairies, just seems funny that I am in two different places in the series and happened to read books from both of them that had to do with fairies, in some respect back to back.

Agatha Raisin is one of my very favorite sleuths.  I love that you can’t keep her down.  She is always trying to solve her problems, even though sometimes in very ill advised ways.  In this book, she is trying to get over James, still, yet again and so decides to move away from her little cottage and move to a village, Fryfam, in Norfolk.  Of course, being Agatha once she arrives there is a murder in the sleepy little village which she has to solve.  Her loyal sidekick, Sir Charles Fraith assists again in the investigation.  Mrs. Bloxby is also regularly consulted about the  “James” situation and village goings on in Carsely.  The mystery is neatly resolved, although the good folks of Fryfam are not so happy with the resolution.  There is also another twist in the Agatha and James romance but you’ll have to read it to see.  In my opinion, you do need to read this series in order to appreciate the references to past events and the relationshp between Agatha and the other recurring characters, Mrs. Bloxby, Charles and James.

Death of a Kingfisher seems to me to be a darker outing in the Hamish Macbeth series.  There is still humor particularly in the relationship between Hamish and his constable, Dick, an incomparable game show contestant and trivia buff.  There is more than one crime occurring and many twists and turns on the way to the end.  Some truly disturbing, darker  characters are part of the cast.  Par for the course, Hamish is unlucky in love, or as Patty, the Millionaire Matchmaker, would say – “his picker is broken”.  This was not my favorite in the series but still a good read, that being perhaps Death of a Poison Pen or Death of a Cad, i can’t really choose, I really liked so many of this series.

Birdman by Mo Hayder


I picked up this book from the library because I had read about it on a book blog.  The writer had said it was a really scary book.  I don’t think I would call it scary in the sense of horror, which is what I thought they were referring to in the post.  This is a thriller police crime novel.  So understand it was not what I was expecting which of course was my fault, I should have read up about it before just picking it up on a whim.

After all that, the novel was well written and it definitely was a thriller and Detective Jack Caffery is certainly a good example of the “tragically flawed” protagonist.  He keeps making mistakes in his personal life based on a  traumatic event that occurred in his childhood and that he seems to keep reliving today.  The villain was decidedly twisted and evil.  Rebecca, as a love interest, is strong enough to fight jack Caffery’s demons and is an interesting character in her own right.  The rest of the cast is rounded out by a other police personnel, prostitutes, an obsessive girlfriend, and Jack’s personal demon, neighbor Penderecki.

I have a hard time discussing a book such as this, in which I recognize the strengths of the book, however I still did not enjoy it.  I will just have to say it was not for me, brutal depictions of torture and mutilation, I don’t really find scary just disgusting.  I’m sure that if you don’t mind your thrillers with graphic violence against women, this would be a good read.

Mrs. Pargeter’s Plot by Simon Brett

Have I said lately how much I love Simon Brett’s mysteries?  Mrs. Pargeter is a wonderful sleuth and the cast is fleshed out by a colorful, fascinating cast of characters, such as Gary the driver, Concrete Jacket  the builder and his wife Tracy, Truffler the detective, Hedge clipper Clinton, Keyhole Crabbe – lock pick extraordinaire, and Fossilface.  Mr. Brett’s trademark sly social humor is threaded throughout.  The mystery resolves quite satisfactorily through Mrs. Pargeter’s sleuthing with the help of her deceased husband’s cohorts.

In one episode from the book, Concrete Jacket is locked up in his cell awaiting trial and Keyhole comes to visit to talk some sense into him.  The only issue is that Keyhole himself is currently incarcerated in another prison:

A suspicious light came into Concrete’s eye.  “‘Ere, this isn’t an escape, is it?”

His visitor was appalled by the suggestion.  “Good Heavens, no.  Very risky business, escape.”

“Too right,” the builder agreed.  “Makes you a marked man, that does.”

Keyhole nodded.  “Oh yea.  Wouldn’t catch me doing it.  Server your time like a good boy, no fuss, get your remission for good behavior – that’s my philosophy.”


“It’s all right to nip out for kids’ birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, that kind of number – otherwise, you just got to knuckle down and do your bird.” 

Anyway – fun, well written, good mystery plot.  I highly recommend Simon Brett’s books.


The Shooting in the Shop by Simon Brett

Just finished this one in the Fethering Mystery series by Simon Brett.  A very good whodunit, I really didn’t know the culprit until the reveal came together.  In fact, I was off following another red herring for a good part of the book.  🙂 The misdirection was particularly well done in this outing of the series.

As always the intrepid team of Jude and Carole work together, relying on their disparate talents to come together to solve the crime.  The partnership of sleuths, Jude and Carole, really make these books for me.  In this book, Carole becomes more aware of her place in the community  of Fethering  and succumbs to more of Jude’s influence.  The characters of Jude and Carole are well crafted to give a humorous nod to stereotypical characters without being stereotypes themselves.  The other characters have their own quirks and personalities creating a believable community set in the backdrop of Fethering, a British coastal village.

For readers of British village mysteries, particularly if you like some sly humor thrown in the mix.