Wrap Up!| January 2019

Video!

 

1A Murder for the Books
A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Book 1
By: Victoria Gilbert

https://amzn.to/2TjFg6M

*****

This was the book for the Cozy Mystery Bookclub for the month of January! It is the first in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series by Victoria Gilbert.

This was such a fun book and I have FALLEN in love with the series. I might have read the second book and already pre-ordered the third book in the series! Ha!

Here we follow Amy the Director of the Library in Taylorford. After a pretty nasty breakup she is forced to move from one job into another and to head to her family’s homestead to help her Aunt Lydia recover from a nasty fall.

She is bound and determined to make her life in Taylorford something to be proud of while mending her broken heart. She has vowed to herself to not date men for the time being.

This is new Amy is thrown off course when a handsome new neighbor, Richard, shows up at the library wanting to do some research on an old murder case. However this is sort of paused as they stumble onto a body of an elderly woman in the archives building.

Somehow the Past and Present intermingle in this cozy and I am living for it. There were so many different mysteries within this book that the author successfully combined into the main mystery of the murder.

I loved the heat between Amy and Richard. I love the relationship between Amy and her Aunt Lydia. I loved learning about the history of the family, the town, and the mysterious deaths that happened throughout the book and time.

This is a newer Cozy Mystery series started in 2017 and I have already purchased book two that was released last summer. I am eager to dive into this series and follow it as it goes.

 

2Shelved Under Murder
A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
Book 2
By: Victoria Gilbert

https://amzn.to/2RUzNXo

****

Alright, so I threw my TBR into the wind when I read the first book for the bookclub and decided that since I was already in the world of Amy that I needed to continue. I mean it is only right, right?!

This book starts during my FAVORITE part of the year, October. The leaves are changing colors. The air is becoming more crisp. And it is PERFECT snuggle weather.

However for Amy, she is having to put together a booth for the town’s annual Heritage Festival. This is supposed to celebrate the towns local history and arts and crafts.  Amy isn’t excited about it, she doesn’t want to have to set up the booth or spend two of her days running it with a rather bristley women that her Aunt Lydia seems to hate. But she has to best friend and assistant Amy to help run it, that is until Amy finds a dead body.

The body belonged to a renowned artist who was going to donate some of her paintings to Amy’s booth to sell. However it seems like she was murdered with her own pallet knife. Amy called the police who quickly find forged paintings. The local police ask for Amy’s help in the investigation due to her knowledge in art history.

We dive into more town history, learn more about Amy’s deceased Uncle, and find some hidden skeleton’s in Amy’s prestigious family. I am living for this series and have ALREADY pre-ordered the third book in the series!

 

3Golden Son
Red Rising Saga
Book 2
By: Pierce Brown
https://amzn.to/2MGjJCT
*****

So, like with the last book I kind of threw my TBR for January out of the door when I fell into the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. I had actually purchased the first book in the series on Cyber Monday for $2.99. It was something that I couldn’t pass up! I knew that this was a really popular series but I knew that it was also a genre that I didn’t normally read so I didn’t want to purchase it at full price.

This series has now become one of MY FAVORITE series that I have ever read. It’s like Game of Thrones in space. Except, I really don’t like Game of Thrones. I don’t like how gory it is or the sexual-ness. But that is just me.

This is the second book in the Red Rising Saga. Darrow has now moved out of the training school and has been taken into the Augustus family. He is a Red turned into a Gold to take down the establishment and create anarchy for society. To figure out how to make it to where Red and other colors aren’t looked down upon, starved, beaten, or worse.

He is trying to rebuild the galaxy into something that his children would be proud of and live in. This book is really intense and something that I don’t want to go into too much detail with. But it kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time and I MIGHT have cried a couple of times. I highly recommend this series!
4
Morning Star
Red Rising Saga
Book 3
By: Pierce Brown
https://amzn.to/2WpyfU5
*****

From what I know this was supposed to be the last book in the Red Rising Saga. And it was a HELL OF A BOOK!

Darrow was happy to live in his Red world of ignorance. Believing that Mars was not yet cultivated for human life. He would have been happy to spend the rest of his live in the tunnels and loving his wife and family. Never striving to much more than the laurel.

However the Gold overlords took the laurel away that was rightfully his, hung his wife Eo, and also enslaved his people below. They knew that Mars was liveable. They had been there for hundreds of years already.

Darrow tries to take his own life but he is given another one. He is given the choice of becoming what he hates in order to get justice for Eo and his people. He is the chosen one to bring justice not just for Reds but for all colors. Taking down the Gold from the inside.

The time has come. This is the final book in the original trilogy and Darrow has to make some really tough decisions. He can’t do it alone but with the help from his friends and by helping other colors break their chains Darrow does what others have never dreamed of doing.

This book was by far the best book in the series. There were so many twists and turns and I couldn’t keep up with all of the back stabbing, friends lost, and relationships gained. I loved this book so much. There are more to the series but it takes place 10 years afterwards, I can’t wait!

5Live and Let Pie
A Bakeshop Mystery
Book 9
By: Ellie Alexander
https://amzn.to/2MI6Yrg
*****

As you all know Ellie Alexander aka Kate Dyer-Seeley is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE authors as well as a friend of mine. Anytime her new books come out I can’t help but snatch them up and devour them!

This is the 9th book in the Bakeshop Mystery series. Torte’s construction is finally ending and Jules’ dream is finally coming to fruition. Business is booming and she couldn’t be happier.

Business is booming so much that she is having to hire more people to help run the shop. Jules is a little hesitant to mess up the wonderful family that her and her mom have created at Torte but in order to keep up with the supply and demand she is going to have to find others to help.

This book immediately follows Helen and The Professor’s marriage! They are trying to find their forever home. Jules goes with her mom to check out a house by the lake and finds two children playing in the lake. However their screams following aren’t screams of joy. They have found a skull in the depths of the water where a town was flooded.

This installment of A Bakeshop Mystery has the reader diving into the past of Ashland, a sunken town, and something weird with a parcel of land that is going up for sale. The owner is also found killed and Jules thinks it’s connected to the skeleton found in the lake.

This was another wonderful addition to the series. I loved learning more about Ashland’s past, the people in the town, and one of my favorite characters Andy has more of a role. I don’t want to give away too much though! So you’ll have to check it out!
6Crimes Against a Book Club
Debut Novel
By: Kathy Cooperman
https://amzn.to/2ToqUSS
*****
I totally went against ALL of my TBR for the month of January and I am SO happy that I did! Ha! I have had A WONDERFUL reading month! It has been a great start to 2019!

This is a book that I don’t quite remember how it got on my Kindle but I am SO happy that it did! This has to be one of the funniest and easiest reads I have had in a long while. I would put the genre as Chick-Lit and I am living for it!

This is the debut novel for Kathy Cooperman and I can’t wait to read more of what she has to come out. She might be an insta-buy from now on!

This book is all about best friend Annie and Sarah. They are living life like they always have. Sarah is a high powered lawyer while Annie is a stay-at-home mom with a PHD in Chemistry. Sarah is trying for kids but it seems that she put her career ahead of her life wants for too long and is going through the arduous process of EXPENSIVE IVF while still working 80 hour weeks. Annie has given her career a brief pause so that she can raise her three kids. She finds out from her middle child’s teacher that he has autism and need expensive therapy that they just can’t afford.  

These two women are desperate to make quick cash to help afford the things that they need in order to start a family and to keep a family. With Sarah’s drop dead looks and Annie’s brains and knowledge of chemistry they decide to sell a “luxury” face cream to the wealthy and aging beauties in Annie’s bookclub. This seems like a win-win in Sarah and Annie’s books until Annie tries to mess with the innocent formula and adds a not-so-legal ingredient to the cream to give it a little oompf.

This book had me laughing, tearing up, and loving my best friend even more. I know that we would do anything for each other. This is a must read!

 

October 2018| Wrap Up!

October Wrap Up!

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A Potion to Die For
Magic Potion Mystery #1
By: Heathe Blake
*****
This was the Cozy Mystery Bookclub book for the month of October. I really did love it. I loved getting to know Carly Bell Hartwell and her Little Shop of Potions.  She is known as the potion maker who creates potions to help all sorts of ailments. Though the one ailment she can’t fix is death. When she walks into her shop one morning she finds a local lawyer killed on her floor. Of course he has a bottle in his hand that is the specially made potion bottles Carly has made for her shop. She has to figure out who did this. She has the ability to be empathic and feel what others are feeling. She uses this, the towns knack for gossip, and good old intuition to figure out how this man ended up in her cafe. I loved this book, though there were other characters like her cousin that I wish had more of a role, maybe even their own book series!

61L5gcYezDLCupcakes & Casualties
Peridale Cafe Mystery #11
By: Agatha Frost
****
This is one of my most favorite Kindle Unlimited Cozies. If you haven’t signed up for Kindle Unlimited but you love ebooks and finding indie authors you should look into it. I only pay $9.99 a month to read TONS of books! You can cancel anytime and sign up again when you want!

This is the 11th book in the Peridale Cafe Mystery series. The people of Peridale do not like change. But when a famous washed out actress decides to build a very modern house where Barker’s cottage used to be a lot of people are upset about it changing the feel of the town.

Of course this is a Cozy Mystery and it wouldn’t be right if Julia didn’t have a murder to solve before the local police. A body is found at the construction site and Julia may have been one of the last people to see him alive. Not only does she have that on her plate but she also finds one of the construction crew eerily familiar!

517G6OLNUzLBlueberry Muffins & Misfortune
Peridale Cafe Mystery #12
By: Agatha Frost
****
I really was on a Peridale Cafe Mystery kick this month! It really helps that these are short and sweet cozies. I don’t think many of them are over 35,000-50,000 words. Which is really nice for me. Sometimes I want to be able to sit down in one sitting and get through a whole entire story!

This is the 12th book in the Peridale series and we start getting more into Dot,Julia’s Grandmother’s past. Barker has a huge premier for his new book coming out at the Peridale local library. Everyone from near and far have come to see the good-looking retired cop/new author.
Julia is running late because he oven broke and she was supposed to make Blueberry Muffins, Jess however is there for the rescue with store-bought muffins. Julia doesn’t feel quite right about this but there isn’t much they can do.

They arrive at the book event only to walk in and a body fall from the ceiling. It ends up being Dot’s best friend who ran away to Mexico 10 years before. Julia has to figure out who has done this for her Grandmother, she also has to keep Barker’s publicist off of him, and try to make Jess realize that it’s not okay to pass store-bought off as homemade, but that’s hard when everyone loved them so much!

 

51kfCTlUBMLIce Cream & Incidents
Peridale Cafe Mystery Series #13
By: Agatha Frost
*****
This is probably one of my absolute favorite of the Peridale Cafe Mystery series. Julia, Barker, Jess, and her brother all have tickets to spend the weekend in Blackpool! They are excited to spend time together as a family when they realize that the inn they are staying in for the weekend is actually a drag in! This was probably one of my most favorite parts of the story.

There is a drag show one night and Barker is dragged up to the stage and dressed up. I couldn’t stop laughing. However, the laughter turned into mystery when a very flamboyant drag star is up on stage doing her famous number and a huge lighting element falls from the ceiling almost killing her. Julia tries to ignore the urge of finding out the ‘whodunit’, but is pulled by her budding friendship with the owner. Who tried to kill the dramatic drag queen? Why? And is it worth trying to figure out?

 

51XxYd1OIZLChampagne & Catastrophes
Peridale Cafe Mystery #14
By: Agatha Frost
*****

This is the newest of the Peridale Cafe Mystery series and I loved it! Julia and Barker have finally set a date for their wedding. They are a little overwhelmed by the whole process of planning it out, paying for everything, and trying to figure out what is right for them.

Thankfully a new neighbor moves in across the way. She happens to be not only a wedding planner but an old high school of Julia’s! This is super exciting for Julia because now all of her friends have moved back to Peridale. She called Roxy and Johnny up excited about Leah’s return but is faced with anger and bitterness from both people.

Not understanding what is going on but too polite to ask Julia decides that they will come around to what ever happened 20 years ago and still hires Leah to do her wedding. They walk into a local dress shop and Leah is attacked by the owner.

Not knowing what to do Julia decides that night to confront Leah about what happened but her a Barker find the door open , the living room a mess, and Leah missing. Julia makes it her mission to figure out what happened to Julia. Her mission digs up some open wounds, a shady past of a trusted citizen, and maybe brings some friendships back together.

This was my favorite book of the whole series so far. I really loved getting to know all of the characters more. I also loved that Julia didn’t know everything and that we had to learn along with her.

 

81VcRVeUX0LBook Love
By: Debbie Tung 
Releases: January 1, 2019
ARC from NetGalley
*****

If you are a book lover this is the comic for you. I don’t know how many times I laughed, groaned, and nodded my head as Debbie Tung went through all of the different scenarios, events, and thoughts us book lovers have. The drawings are quirky and fun and I love the fact that they are all in black, white, and grey. Some of the aspects really hit home as what it means to have books change your life and the way you view the world after joining the world of readers! I highly recommend this book!

61g+JwqLpfLLoading Penguin Hugs: Heart Warming Comics from Chibird
By: Jacqueline Chen 
Releases: November 13, 2018
*****

This was the cutest book in the whole entire world of cute. This would be a perfect book to put in the restroom, the doctors office, or in your classroom. Sometimes we need to know that we aren’t perfect, but that its okay. I couldn’t have smiled more or been more happy after reading this book. Oh my goodness. Cuteness alert!

 

Reading Wrap Up!| June 2018

Copy of Copy of June Cozy Myster Releases

Video Now Available 

Happy Wednesday and Happy 4th of July everyone! What an amazing year so far, am I right? I can’t believe that we are already halfway through 2018. It seems like yesterday that it was the beginning of the New Year and now we are already almost done with Summer break and I’ll be heading back to work later this month!
I had a pretty decent reading month! I was super exited to find new authors, new characters to fall in love with, and a new genre to read. Sometimes you have to get outside of your comfort zone to really spread your horizons and fall in head over heels with something different. This month, I would say that I stepped outside of my comfort zone! So, without further ado lets get into this!

32495444Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab was the second book in the series and I really enjoyed it. Normally with Young Adult novels you expect everything to end happy and that the main character will get what they want or are looking for.

I did not expect that this book would be so dark! Even though the title most certainly did warn me! Haha! I loved getting to know Kate and August more. Watching them evolve and become the young adults that they were meant to become was something that I really enjoyed.
I will admit, I did tear up in this book. I was more attached to these characters then I thought I would be and I am super happy that I decided to finish this duology. It was most certainly worth the read.

15810915Mayhen at The Orient Express was the first book in A League of Literary Ladies Cozy Mystery Series. It was also the Cozy Mystery Bookclub book of the month for June.

I rated this book a 4/5 Stars. I really enjoyed the different characters and the fact that it gave a nod to the Mystery Queen Agatha Christie. I loved that there wasn’t just one main character. I enjoyed getting to know the four ladies who ended up being the League of Literary Ladies.

I do anticipate reading more from this series because I am eager to see how their friendships blossom and I also want to know more about Bea Cartwright’s life from before she moved onto the island.

While I was joining in for the Library-A-Thon I picked up the Court of Thorns and Roses series. As my blog post for the readathon stated, I was originally going to be listening to Cinder on audiobook. However, once I started the audiobook I realized that I couldn’t stand the woman’s voice who was narrating it and that I needed to pick up something else in that genre and read it for myself.

Thus started an addiction to a brand new series that was totally outside of my comfort zone. I have fallen in love with the Fae world in this series. The characters are so well developed. The flaws, the strengths, the weakness, the falls, and the way they bring each other up.

I can’t explain what this series really means to me. I loved it so much that I brought my best friend Bre into reading the series and she is as in love with the series as I am, maybe even more if I’m being honest. All I know is that I will be reading everything written by Sarah J. Maas soon. If she writes this way in all of her books, then I am already in love.

51vzujA3AAL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_As always Ellie Alexander has left my heart fluttering and my mouth watering! This was the 8th book in The Bakeshop Mystery series featuring the amazing baker Jules Capshaw. She has a lot on her plate during this book! A wedding to plan, an expansion of her bakeshop Torte, her feelings for her estranged husband, and trying to be there for her friends. To top it off someone has a grudge towards Jules herself and tries to poison her!

This book had me laughing, it had me tearing up, and falling in love with the characters over and over again. Ellie has a way with her characters, she brings them alive. She is able to weave words of meaning, feeling, and scrumptiousness like The Bard himself!

I recommend this series to anyone who loves coffee, friends, family, and a good mystery! You will find yourself lost in the world of the characters trying to figure out the ‘whodunit’. This book had me on my toes the whole time guessing and I loved every second of it!

I have always been wary of reading poetry. I have never really been able to get into it. Even in high school when I took a Creative Writing course and we were required to do a whole unit on Poetry and write our own I always felt silly. I don’t know why.

It didn’t help that all of the poetry that was required reading during school was the old and classical poetry. I know that as a history major I should appreciate and love the classics, but I personally don’t. At least not a lot of them.

So when Bre and I hung out last week and went to Books-A-Million we stopped by the poetry section. Bre is an English Major and is getting her Bachelors in English. She was talking to me about poetry and mentioned this author and her poetry books. I opened the first one up and immediately knew that I was hooked.

I bought both books on Thursday and read both of them while laying in bed on Friday. I loved this set of poetry. I could relate to all of it. Some of it broke my heart. Other parts made me laugh. I loved all of the different aspects.

download Fawkes is one of those books that surprised me. I went into it believing that this was going to be a Young Adult Fantasy novels, which is the reason why I picked it up! I have been on a Fantasy kick lately. This book was so much more than that.

This is technically a Historical Fiction novel with a fantastical twist. It was a wonderful rendition of 1600s England. An outcast of people who live by the pure way of magic called the Keepers versus the Igniters a group of people who talk to the White Light, the original color who created all other color powers. There is a war between them with the Keepers being exiled, killed, tortured, and worse.

This story is based on true events with fantastical characteristics. I loved the characters. The elements of magic were really intricate and fun. I loved the idea of having a mask that helps with their magic.

Our main character is Thomas Fawkes. He is a teenager who is readying himself for his last year in school where he will get his mask from his famous father Guy Fawkes and he will finally be able to cure himself from the Stone Plague that has swept through the country since the Igniters have taken the White Light.

Thomas’ father fails to show up to the ceremony where he is supposed to be getting his mask. Thomas is bound and determined to find his father and demand his mask. He finds himself in London and scary place for Keepers and Plague. He is drawn into a plot, trying to find his feelings for his father, whether or not he is a Keeper or an Igniter.

This was a fun, magical, and well written book about finding yourself, accepting others for their differences, and learning a little bit about history. I highly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley, Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Fawkes Review|by Nadine Brandes

downloadFawkes
By: Nadine Brandes
Releases: July 10th
https://amzn.to/2KzBtOw

Fawkes is one of those books that surprised me. I went into it believing that this was going to be a Young Adult Fantasy novels, which is the reason why I picked it up! I have been on a Fantasy kick lately. This book was so much more than that.

This is technically a Historical Fiction novel with a fantastical twist. It was a wonderful rendition of 1600s England. An outcast of people who live by the pure way of magic called the Keepers versus the Igniters a group of people who talk to the White Light, the original color who created all other color powers. There is a war between them with the Keepers being exiled, killed, tortured, and worse.

This story is based on true events with fantastical characteristics. I loved the characters. The elements of magic were really intricate and fun. I loved the idea of having a mask that helps with their magic.

Our main character is Thomas Fawkes. He is a teenager who is readying himself for his last year in school where he will get his mask from his famous father Guy Fawkes and he will finally be able to cure himself from the Stone Plague that has swept through the country since the Igniters have taken the White Light.

Thomas’ father fails to show up to the ceremony where he is supposed to be getting his mask. Thomas is bound and determined to find his father and demand his mask. He finds himself in London and scary place for Keepers and Plague. He is drawn into a plot, trying to find his feelings for his father, whether or not he is a Keeper or an Igniter.

This was a fun, magical, and well written book about finding yourself, accepting others for their differences, and learning a little bit about history. I highly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley, Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.by Nadine Brandes

April Wrap Up!

Copy of Camp NaNoWriMo & Wordsonthepageathon (1)

Hey hey my Cozy Companions! I hope that you are having an AMAZING day! I am super glad that April is over. I don’t know about you guys, but April was an extremely hard month for me. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t get motivated, I just needed May to start so that I felt like the slate was clean! I read a whopping four books this month! Three of which were WONDERFUL! Let me know what you read this month down below or if you’ve read these books and what you thought of them!

Cozy Mystery Review (1)

9761947

A Piece of Cake Mystery Series
Book 1
https://amzn.to/2HIJHCh

The first book that I read this month was a buddy read with Kayla from @literatureads! She is one of the sweetest people I have met from Booktube and Twitter. It was her idea to start this series together!

This book follows Rita Lucero. She is trying to start her life over, but there is one little thing holding her back. Her soon-to-be ex-husband refuses to sign the divorce papers even though he is the one that left her.

Rita hops on a plan from Arizona and flies to New Orleans willing to camp out in his reception area of his bakery until he signs the papers. This quick trip leaves Rita with the dead body of her ex-husband, a black lined bakery, and maybe becoming the next murder victim.

This was a really fun book to read. I loved the characters, the plot ran smoothly, and the whodunit was very well done. Overall this book has made me want to continue the series!

Cozy Mystery Review (2)

22668730

A Spice Shop Mystery Series
Book 1
https://amzn.to/2JJRLUa

This book was April’s Cozy Mystery Bookclub Pick! This was such a fun series to start! If you want the complete book talk with the bookclub click here!

Pepper Reece is finally happy with her life. She left her cheating husband, left a well-paying job, and bought up the local Spice Shop in the heart of Seattle’s Pike Place Market!

The only thing Pepper has to worry about is getting her newest designs done for the shop. Should she stick with the old design that is true and loved? Or should she strike out on her own and put more of herself into the design of her new shop?

These thoughts are being put on hold however when a presumed homeless man is found dead in the front of Pepper’s shop with a paper cup with her logo on it near the body. The police show up, including her bike riding cop ex-husband.

Chaos ensues when one of Pepper’s employees is arrested for the murder of the unknown man. Will Pepper be able to keep her store afloat, find out who the mysterious man is, and save her coworker from prison? You’ll just have to read to find out!


34806691

The next book that I read in April was “Then She War Gone” by Lisa Jewell. I really thought that this book was going to be like The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James.

Boy was I wrong. This book was not to my taste at all. I rated it a 2/5 stars on Goodreads. I actually can’t wait until I unhaul this book.

I really thought that this was going to have a better mystery, a better plot, and more character development.

Ellie Mack is the perfect child. Perfect grades. Gorgeous. Everything was coming her way. Until she goes missing. The police believe that she has runaway.

This story is broken up into multiple points of view, which is very confusing as you are reading. You follow Laurel, Ellie’s mother, Ellie, and others. I don’t want to give away too much information or it will spoil the book for you.

There are many parts in this book that were triggers for me and made me feel really uncomfortable. I got this book through my Book of The Month Club pick. This is something that I will not be re-reading again.


15843166

The final book that I read in April was You Are A Badass! How to Stop Doubting You Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero.

As I stated at the beginning of this blog, I had a pretty rough month in April. I live in Oklahoma and am a teacher. There was a walkout for two weeks due to the fight for more funding in our classrooms and into education. I won’t get into politics with anyone, just know that children are my heart and I want the best for them!

You would think that with two weeks off that I would have devoured as many books as possible. I would have thought so too. That however wasn’t the case. I was broken-hearted, I believe. I couldn’t find the energy to read or to do much of anything.

I went and protested quite a few times during the walkout, twice in Oklahoma City. But I couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything. I needed to get out of this funk. I wanted to read a book that would help bounce me back!

This is when I saw this bright yellow cover that made me smile. Especially with its quirky and out of the norm title! I laughed and couldn’t stop smiling, so I put the book in the Amazon cart with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**K, which I am currently reading.

This book really helped me see everything going on in the world in a different way. I needed to let myself become better. I needed to stop holding myself back. If you really want to see my reaction on this mind-blowing book watch this video!


So, that was my reading month for April. It wasn’t as extensive as the first three months of 2018, but I am still proud of everything that I read. All of them, good or bad, helped shape me into my thoughts of today.

I hope that you have an amazing reading month in May! What are you planning on reading in May? I’m horrible at TBRs! Haha!

March Wrap Up!

March

Holy cow! I can’t believe it! March is BASICALLY over…seriously! How did this happen? We are a QUARTER of the way complete with 2018. This is pretty scary and fun all at the same time. I have been loving growing my channel, my blog, and my group of friends. It has been an absolute blessing and so humbling.

I thought that I would share this collage of pictures I took during March. This has been one of my favorite months. Being asked to be a host for March Mystery Madness has been super amazing and so much fun. Creating all different kinds of designs and for the Instagram Challenges and the Twitter page has been great!

I know you normally stop by my blog to read up on what I’ve read, what I suggest, and even just to get more in-depth on what I put on my Youtube channel, but I thought that I would give you a quick update on what’s going on in the world of me!

I have been loving creating templates, thumbnails, pictures, and videos so much that I have been wanting to learn more! I have applied and been accepted into a Graphic Design Certification program at a local college where I live. I am going to be starting classes this summer and I can’t wait. I am going to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and so much more. I have always been known as a person who is addicted to school! I finished my Masters in December of 2016, so it didn’t take long for me to want to start something new!

This year has been a whirl wind of reading for me. I can’t believe how much I’ve read the past three months. This month I read 9 books! I think that is pretty amazing considering how busy this month was with March Mystery Madness, Twitter Sprints, Spring Break, and family time.

Silenced in the Surf

fullsizeoutput_2e42

So, I basically sped read through the whole entire Pacific Northwest Mystery series by Kate Dyer-Seeley aka Ellie Alexander. As most of you know, she is one of my most favorite authors.
Of course, I fell in love with this series as well. This is the third in the series and we are following Meg into another adventure. This time she is following a competition for water sports.

Justin Cruise, an extremely popular and cocky surfer, is found killed after showing off to Meg’s surfboard lesson. Of course, the person who found him was Meg, she seems to have a knack for it.

While, trying to stay away from the investigation, she is trying to figure out her relationship with Matt and helping her best friend Jill open herself to the person that she is. They have joined her on this work-cation and have even jumped on the band wagon on trying to find out what happened to Justin.

This newest book also dives deeper into the mystery of what happened to Meg’s dad. I can’t say it enough about how much I love the fact that there is a mystery within a mystery in this series.

Silenced in the Surf (1)

29429250This is the fourth installment of the Pacific Northwest Mystery series. I told you, I was having a HUGE READING BINGE for this series.This time we are running along with Meg in planning for the 5K Mud, Sweat & Beers! She has decided that she is going to get some real outdoor training for Northwest Extreme!!!! Finally, something she doesn’t have to be too scared about. And hey! She is trying to get outside of her comfort zone and take the audience of the paper with her on her fitness journey! Plus, beer. Yep. Enough said.

I love the name of the training business, Mind over Mudder. Ya get it?! Mudder?! Because it is a MUD RUN! *I’m dying*

Of course, training isn’t going to be easy. The two men that own the 5K camp are two very opposite gentlemen. One is very zen, while the other is a former drill sergeant. Meg doesn’t quite know what to make of them, but she does make a good friend in the camp who seems to be losing weight very quickly.

The macho ex drill sergeant suddenly kills over during a drill in what looks like a heart attack, but Meg doesn’t believe that was the case because of how healthy he was and how persistent he was about being good to your body. Meg decides that she is going to figure out what happened to him. This was such a fun book! I highly recommend it!
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This was such a fun book! I read this for March Mystery Madness for the New Challenge. This was not only a new series for me but also a new author.

This series follows baker Hannah Swenson and her hectic life back at home with her business, her snotty sister, and pushy mother.
Hannah starts her day like normal. Getting up, drinking coffee, cuddling with her kitty, and getting ready for work. She starts to drive to work and sees the delivery man who normally comes to her shop every morning for rounds.
Hannah thinks that the most pertinent and pressing matter is making her mother realize that she doesn’t need a man to make her life any better. She does not want to be set up on a blind date. However, her mother is very persistent and tries to set her up with a dentist.

Hannah is in for a rude awakening when she finds the delivery man she just waved at killed in the alley at the back of her shop and is thrown into an investigation that shakes her whole entire world. Her brother-in-law is the cop on the scene and asks for her help in solving the case.

I really liked this book as a start of a series, there were somethings that I feel needed to be better in the set up. For example, Hannah and her brother-in-law’s relationship seemed kind of weird. That he asked her to help solve the case seemed unprofessional and almost unbelievable. It didn’t stop me from wanting to finish the book or keep going with the series, but I hope it becomes more believable as the series goes on.

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This book is fantastically wonderful. I chose this book for March Mystery Madness. This was for the Opposite Challenge. As you know the main sub-genre that I read in Mystery is the Cozy Mystery genre. So reading a Thriller was outside of my comfort zone, but this was a 4 Cleo Read for me. Or a 5 star on Goodreads.
As you see above, Series and Punniness are Not Applicable. This is a standalone series and it doesn’t have punniness as a rule.

This follows two different time periods in Vermont. 1950 and 2014. Technically this follows five different points of view. In 1950 it follows four girls at the Idlewild Girl’s School for troublemakers, illegitimate, and too smart for their own good girls. The school is said to haunted by Mary Hand who makes girls go a little bit crazy. In the past one of the students goes missing and is presumed a runaway.

Fast forward to 2014, you are following Fiona Sheridan a journalist who is stuck in the past of 20 years ago. Her sister was found brutally murdered in the field of the shut down and decrepit Idlewild School. Fiona is trying to get over the death of her older sister when someone purchases Idlewild and is intending to open it back up as a girls school.

Fiona starts interview people about the past 20 years ago when her sister was killed and then stumbles upon the mystery of the missing girl from 1950. She uncovers police corruption and a sleepy town’s buried secrets.

This was such an amazing book to read. I loved the characters, the mystery, and the relationships within the story. I wish there would be more in world but I love the way it ended. I actually made a reading Vlog for this book, if you want to watch it click here.

Silenced in the Surf (4)

IMG_9567This is the first in the Firefly Junction Cozy Mystery series by London Lovett. She also writes one of my absolute favorite series The Port Danby series as well.
I had really really high hopes for this series because I love Pink and all of the people in Port Danby. I am not saying that this wasn’t a great start to a series because it most definitely was!

This is series is about Sunni Taylor with her social life and writing career in tatters at the ripe old age of thirty-five, she decides to pack up her things and join her sisters, Lana and Emily, in the small town of Firefly Junction.

She has gotten a journalist job at the local newspaper for the town to keep money coming in while she renovates the rundown Cider Ridge Inn. She is wanting to turn it into a bed and breakfast for the town.

Her very first assignment is SUPER interesting, she is interview people about the High School janitor’s early retirement. This is the biggest story in the town until the janitor is found killed in the town’s park. A dull human interest piece becomes incredibly interesting to Sunni when she rushes to the crime scene. Unfortunately the newspaper’s editor takes Sunni off of the story and gives it to the inept senior journalist.
This of course does not stop Sunni from investigation.

So while investigating the murder, trying to avoid the irritating, pushy, and cocky Dectective Jackson, and wondering if her Inn is haunted, Sunni is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life.

This was a good start to a new series by London Lovett. I really did enjoy it! I am looking forward to the next book in the series and seeing how the story grows.

Silenced in the Surf (5)

34488843Again, I told you that I binge read this whole entire series. This was, I believe, the finale to the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series. That is what I gathered from Kate. I think that, if it is the last, it perfectly wraps up the mystery within the mystery of what happened with Meg’s dad and the whole drug ring that was going on within Oregon.

During this adventure Meg is asked by Matt to pitch a story to Northwest Extreme to do a piece on the Bend, Oregon’s Caves and the new legislation that is being considered to allow the public into the caves and the public lands surrounding it.

Little did Meg know that she was going to be pulled into another murder of a local ranger and a drug ring happening right under the noses of politicians and police within the state.

This was such a fun and quick read. I loved watching Meg grow and mature as the books continued. Her relationship with Matt was left hanging, I want to know if she decided to move to the Bend with Matt or stay with Northwest Extreme. I could do with one more book in this world and with these characters. Even if Kate doesn’t write another one, I am perfectly content with the way it has ended!

Silenced in the Surf (6)

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This was the Cozy Mystery Bookclub book of the month for March. We actually just had the Live Stream last night, here is the link if you wanted to go watch it! Kate Carlisle herself even stopped by and said Hi! How cool is that?!?

This was one of my most favorite books that I read this morning. I loved it as a first book in the series. Getting to know the fiery Irish Contractor Shannon was so much fun! I loved her whole attitude the relationships that were being built between her and her best friend, and her and her father.

Shannon is finally ready to open herself back up to a potential relationship when one of her friends sets her up on a blind date. It was going extremely well during dinner that when Jerry, the date, asked her to walk on the beach after dinner she was more than willing. However, he decided to make a pass at her and when she denied him he went into a rage. He tore her shirt, bruised her, and tried to force himself on her all while people were watching from the pier. Shannon, not to be forced to do anything and was taught by the men on the construction crew to protect herself, got in quite a few jabs and kicks! She threatened to kill him if he came around her again.

Little did she know that she would find his body in a house that she was refurbishing. She immediately becomes a suspect and finds herself fighting to clear her name. After her date she swears off men and yet two unexpectedly fall into her lap.

This was such a marvelous beginning to a new series! I am so excited to dive more into this series to see what other adventures Shannon and her friends get into in the next book!

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Aaron and I started Ready Player One on our drive down to Texas to get on our cruise. I love that it seems to be a tradition for long road trips. We have been picking books that we want to read together. Since we both read at different speeds and this is the best was to do it via Audiobook.

Aaron and I are actually seeing the movie this weekend and I will be do a chat with The Lawn Gnome on Youtube comparing the book and the movie. I can already see many differences between both of them, but I am going to try to enjoy both of them as they are.

This book follows a kid named Wade Watts. It is the year 2045 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The world has become impoverished in many areas. People are no longer living life outside in the real world. The new world that most people live in is the Oasis.

“Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.”

Aaron and I really enjoyed this book. It was one of his favorites before I even knew about it and he was really excited that I was willing to read it. I loved all of the 80s fun facts with the movies, music, and pop culture! It was so much fun to remember all of those. Aaron and I have even been watching movies now that we are home that were talked about in the book and I have loved it! I love that a book has brought us closer when I didn’t know that we could get any closer. It was just such a fun book to read! I highly recommend it!

Cozy Mystery Review

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This is one of my favorite Cozy Mystery series that I started at the beginning of me finding this series. It is the Booktown Mystery Series by Lorna Barrett. It follows Trish and her sister Angelica and their amazing friends on the main street that is themed after different types of genres of books.

Tricia’s shop is called Haven’t Got A Clue and she sells antique mysteries as well as new releases. Angelica started a cookbook shop but also has her hands in different businesses throughout the town.

This time around the booksellers of Booktown are going on vacation, a cruise. Not just any cruise though. This is a themed cruise, a book themed cruise! Famous authors, editors, and different types of goodies are all on the cruise. This is a time where everyone can make new business contacts, get some reading in, and relax a little before the tourist season starts again!

However, the town jinx Tricia, seems to have brought the bad luck with her, or so others from Booktown believe. When a hateful and self involved thriller writer turns up dead and Tricia is the one who finds the body. Tricia has promised her sister that she will try and stay out of the investigation, but the security on board are trying to pass off her death as a suicide. Trish disagrees.

It was great to be back into the world of Booktown. I loved getting more involved with Trish and Angelica’s past. Understanding why they are the way they are. Seeing their relationship grow even more warmed my heart, which is why relationship got four Cleo’s. This was a pretty good book over all!

A Cozy Rating System

I have recently revamped my Cozy Mystery Rating System. There are just some things that are required when there is a Cozy being read. I have created this Rating System, if you will. It consists of five main categories: Characters, The Whodunit, Relationships, Series, and Punniness. Each of these are rated with 1-4 Cleo The Cat’s, as shown below, and then the total is averaged!

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Why did I choose Cleo The Cat, you ask? Well, for one, I do have a cat named Cleo. She is extremely feisty, curious, and highly photogenic. It helps that A LOT of Cozies have fur children in the series. I thought that it would be fun to use Cleo as the mascot.

I mean look at how cute that kitty cat is!!! How can you not want to rate with her?! The only thing that would make her cuter is if she had a bow!

 

Characters is the first category that I rate. If the main protagonist isn’t likable I don’t care how much potential the story has, I can’t get into it. I have to feel close to the characters, like they can be my friends.

The Whodunit is the next category. Was the author actually able to fool me to a reasonable degree on who the antagonist/killer was? If they were they would get 4 Cleo’s. For how many mysteries  have read it is sometimes hard for an author to trick me or lead me astray. I love it when they can!

Relationships is the third category that I rate. This is the relationship or romance that is within the story line. I love the secondary characters just as much or sometimes more than the main character. If there are not well written and drawn out relationships within the series then it is not worth reading to me.

Series is the fourth category. There are two different ways that I rate with this. If it is the first book in the series than I would rate this as whether or not I am going to want to continue with the series. If I am in the middle of the series I will rate it to the degree in which the series is progressing. Is it getting better? Are the characters growing?

Punniness is the last category. I know, I know, Punniness technically isn’t a word. BUT it is a word to me. One of the reasons why I picked up Cozies in the first place are the amazing titles. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat?! Meet Your Baker?! A Killer Read?!? Yes, this is amazing. I am buying a book by its cover and title. You do too. Don’t tell me you don’t. I want to see how fun and funny a series is.

Look below at a visual for the Cozy Mystery Rating System!

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