First of all...

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Well I did finish the Marathon.. and Cozy Mystery Review #NetGalley #MurderAtTheLobstahShack

My poor toes have let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they think I should switch to running half-marathons.  I have to agree with them.  Oh my goodness what a long day! I am glad I can say I finished, that's about all I can say. I looked like I was auditioning for a part as a zombie in the Walking Dead for about the last five miles! 

Here I am before the race started as we stood around waiting to move up to the starting line. I don't know how accurate my FitBit is, but it said I had over 69,000 steps. I was so done at the end of the race, I didn't take advantage of the Mimosa Bar! 

My poor big toes are super sore, I'm not ready for regular shoes, but we have a  wedding to go to on Saturday so hopefully by Saturday I can wear a pair of flats with my dress! 

Now on to a Cozy Mystery book review!

If I had to describe this cozy mystery in one word, the word would be solid.  Solid setting, solid cast, solid plot. They sure do eat a lot of seafood in Westham, MA, but that does make sense since this town is part of Cape Cod.

Mac is a likable and savvy sleuth, she runs a bicycle shop and seems to find dead bodies on the side. The relationship between Mac and law enforcement is more plausible than many other books.  Mac gives the sheriff tips and gossip and he doesn't tell her much about the case. Now, one might think well if I was up to no good in Westham, MA I would definitely steer clear of this Mac person--but that's a problem for another book. 

The book deals with social issues that plague small and large towns alike, including mental illness, addiction, and people who are without housing. Maddie Day does an excellent job talking about these issues and humanizing the characters involved. 

4 solid stars for Murder at the Lobstah Shack by Maddie Day!

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review! #MurderattheLobstahShack #NetGalley

Saturday, October 9, 2021

#TheSundayPost Marathon Day is Here! Wish me luck!


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.  See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

I'm writing this the night before the long-awaited Chicago Marathon. The weather is going to be really hot for a marathon, so I am not feeling too great about going out in the morning and running 26.2 miles. I was really hoping we could get a nice crisp October day with highs in the low 50s.  Alas, tomorrow is going to be 80ish and humid.  It will be an adventure!  I'll let you know how it turns out! 

Next week I'll be sharing reviews for these books: 

How was your week?  Read anything good? 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

When The Lights Go Out by Mary Kubrica ( there will be a spoiler)

 Not since Sally wasted her entire night, losing out on all her tricks and treats, sitting in a pumpkin patch with Linus waiting on the Great Pumpkin to show, has anyone been hoodwinked and cheated as I was by this book. 

On GoodReads the book is described like this: 

"Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined."

So this book is supposed to be a psychological thriller and I enjoy that type of book. As a reader you expect certain things from thrillers or mysteries--just like a romance isn't a romance with out a happily ever after (HEA).  

This book is not as described. As I was listening I thought that the plot and what was going to was getting to be more and more implausible and around the halfway point I thought to myself...

*here comes the spoiler, bail now if you want to read this book for yourself and don't want to know this*

**still here?**


I thought to myself, this story has become so absurd; is this all a dream the character is having?

Guess what?

It was!  The plot of the book is a dream. That's not a psychological thriller, that's just a mean trick to play on the reader.


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

A Couple of Short, Seasonal, and Slightly Spooky Listens

I love this time of year, I love the decorating, the food, and of course the ghost stories! I found a couple of short listens via audible and the Libby app from my library. 

The first is an audio play of the famous Agatha Christie book And Then There Were None. The audio play is from the BBC and crams the book into a very digestible hour and about twelve minutes.  It's a great accompaniment to walk in the woods, or while raking leaves, or baking a  pumpkin pie!  The plot of And Then There Were None is clear in the title. There is a group of people and someone is picking them off one by one.  The mystery is not that people are going to die, it's the who and the why. And if you want more Agatha Christie there is a good adaptation of Crooked House streaming right now. 

I also listened to a novella-length book called The House by Raelyn Drake.  It was listed as YA, but I think it was mislabeled The House was definitely a middle-grade story.  Again it was a short engaging listen, perfect for this time of year. The story is about a group of high school kids who spend a few hours in their town's alleged Haunted House. The kids are trying to debunk the myth.  It's fun to see how things turn out. It's a very cozy mystery-type listen, you can picture the quaint town and the kids are determined to figure out the mystery. 
4 stars for sure! 

I picked up googly eyes so I'm ready to make some fun Halloween treats this month! 
I'm going to try to make these brownies or make cupcakes with the same frosting and decorations! 

Monday, October 4, 2021

New Christmas Cozy Out Tomorrow! #MurderattheChristmasCookieBakeOff #NetGalley

 Are you like me?  Do you love cozy mysteries and cookie bake-offs? If so, get this book ASAP!  This is the second book in Darci Hannah's Beacon Bakeshop series.  The setting is a small town on Lake Michigan. Lindsey is our overwhelmed bakery owner and amateur sleuth. Already in book two she has become known as a crime solver. There are nice twists and turns and a false ending--so if you think you know who the killer is, you might be right, or you might be wrong! 

This book doesn't have an overwhelming number of characters, it's easy to follow the story without having read the first novel. There is no love triangle, wahoo!  This book has the perfect amount of Christmas coziness including a visitor from the North Pole. As the book goes on you can see the community of Beacon Harbor really embracing Lindsey as one of their own. 

The cookies themselves were described in the most mouthwatering way, I was so thrilled to see that Darci Hannah has included all the preliminary and final cookie recipes in the back of this book! Because this book does work as a stand-alone and because it has so many cookie recipes in the back, it could be a really fun book to give with a cookie tray as a Christmas gift!  

4.5 stars to Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off by Darci Hannah!  

Thanks so much #NetGalley for the ARC of this book! All the opinions are my own! #MurderattheChristmasCookieBakeOff

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

I'm in a Quandary. Not Sure if I Will Finish This Book or Rate It.

 Well, I suppose on the plus side, this wasn't a book that I received an ARC of in exchange for a review.  This is the September read for a book club, and it was part of my Kindle Unlimited program so I didn't have to pay for the book and I  don't feel an obligation to review or finish the book. Right now I'm 60% of the way through the book. have not read other books by this author, so maybe this book is a poor reflection of their overall work. 

In a nutshell, this series isn't for me and that is due to three reasons:

1.  Their is a throwaway transphobic moment at the reunion that is supposed to be funny I assume. It's so unnecessary I'm unsure why it is included in the book at all. 

2. Then their is a jailhouse scene that involves some racial and LGBT stereotypes around drug use and prostitution that seem lifted out of something from the 1970s.  This scene also utilizes a trope known as the magical negro trope.   The trope may seem innocuous, but it's insidious so I am not a fan to put it mildly. 

3. A major portion of the main character's identity is channeled through her weight.  So much centers on how fat she thinks she is, how she has always been heavy, how she can't fit in clothes and on and on and on. Then she goes to see a natrapath practitioner who prescribed a paleo diet for her. There is a long very detailed section of the appointment and then moving forward lots of talk about her and her diet.  Too many books that have first person female characters have inner monologues about how they need to lose weight or how their pants are getting tight or how they don't want to see x, y z guy because they aren't at the weight they want to be--and I'm very tired of reading over and over and over again about women feeling fat it takes away from stories at this point for me, esp when it's a mystery. 

It's a real bummer for me when I read something that I just can't enjoy.  This is only my opinion on this particular book, I do not know how other books in the series are, but given this book I won't continue on this series. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Everything I Wanted To Happen Happened! Review of Heart of Obsidian- Books Of My Heart Read Along!

The year and this read-along is rapidly coming to a close. I was very excited to read this book. Since the moment Kaleb Krychek entering the series, I've been hoping he'd get a book. And this is his book!  It was so well done, I'd give this six stars if I could. I don't even know how the next couple of books will top this one! Maybe they won't and that will be OK, but I think Nalini Singh has some additional tricks up her sleeve...looking at you Tatiana and Ming...

I loved this!  The perfect reveal! 

It's happening!  They are learning that they have to work together to avoid disaster!  I love this! 

Well, that's all I can really say about the book, I don't want to spoil anything.  I'm so glad I decided to join Books of My Heart's read-along this year! This series has been so enjoyable!  I loved this book so much I'm already a third of the way into the next book, which is building on book 12 in a great way. Again I can't say much, I don't want to spoil! 

I hope you are having a very nice Monday.  Fall is right around the corner!! 


Sunday, September 19, 2021

#TheSundayPost Fall Starts This Week - And Happy HOCO!


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.  See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

Yesterday on my long run I smelled fall. It's coming, slowly but surely the 88-degree weather will be replaced with sweater weather! I can't wait--I want it to be cool on 10/10 AKA Marathon Day! 

This weekend was Youngest Child's last Homecoming!  I can't believe it's her senior year already. At the very least it seems like she started high school five minutes ago.  I was happy that the high school was able to put on the homecoming dance this year.  It was outside under a big tent on the school grounds.  

Here she is before the festivities.  We got to go to the house where she and her friends got ready and I took a bunch of pictures.  Happily, she thought some of the pictures I took were good pictures. 

Reading-wise I was a little behind and finished Heart of Obsidian late Friday night so I am going to put together my review and post it tomorrow.  I can sum up my review for you here: 5 stars, everything I hoped for in a book featuring Kaleb! 

This week I'll be reviewing a couple of cozy mysteries as well, 
I'm reading this one for the Cozy Mystery Book Club live stream on 9/28

I rec'd a copy of #Murderatthelobstahshack from #NetGalley, this will be out in November! 

This week I'm doing my second Meals Across Miles Meal Prep Workshop.  I'll be prepping 4-5 skillet meals. I need to put together my script and plan the prep for the prep!  

What are you up to this week?  Ready for fall? 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Another Fun Cozy from Stella Bixby! Magical Mane Series Book 5!

I enjoyed this book as much as I like this cover, which is to say, a whole lot!  Since book one, I've been all-in to watch Ellie's journey from a wandering yogi to the owner of a magical farm and occupational therapy business.

In this installment, we learn more about Ellie's mysterious family and a huge expectation that awaits her.  She may be taking on a very important role in the magical world she is just now learning to navigate. I'm so excited to see what happens next.

The central mystery in this book is a good one, I was kept guessing right up until the reveal.  I liked the introduction of a witch that can communicate with animals. I would like her to come and chat with my dog! 

 My favorite scene in the book is not part of the mystery at all, it's a scene between Jake and Ellie. I don't want to spoil it, suffice it to say I love that theme of found family that winds through this series. 

I also like Xander and I hope my trust that at the end of the day he will actually be good for Ellie despite what others say, is not misplaced!

Overall, as I have said each time I read a book in this series, if you like a magical cozy, read this series! It's fun and I like that it takes place in Iowa--not a typical cozy town location!

4.25 stars. 


Also today it was 88 degrees!  I'm over it! Come on Fall!  It's the last month of marathon training and I'm at the point where I'm tired of running especially in this ding-dong heat!  


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Upcoming Cozy Mystery Release #DeathontheShelf #NetGalley

 This series is one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  I really enjoy the story arc of Carrie Singleton as she makes a life for herself in the town of Clover Ridge.  This entry in the series focuses on a murder at a wedding and weddings is a central theme in the book. It was enjoyable reading to hear Carrie's inner monologue as she questions whether she might be ready to consider such a next step with her boyfriend Dylan. 

Unlike previous books, there isn't as much of Uncle Bosco and Aunt Harriet, which makes sense as this book focuses on Carrie's best friend Angela (the bride) and her family.  It's fun to see how Carrie and  Police Chief John Mather work together. I wasn't too keen on the danger Carrie puts herself in as the book hit its climax, but the tension kept me up late into the night because I needed to know what happened next. 

Once again, our library ghost, Evelyn seems shady and secretive with her requests for help from Carrie.  A ghost of mystery.  I like that Carrie continues to remain suspicious about Evelyn and her motives. I wonder how the library expansion will affect ​Evelyn?  

Overall this was a solid entry in this Haunted Library series.  I'm looking forward to Carrie's next adventures! 

4 Stars!
#DeathontheShelf #NetGalley 

I rec'd an ARC of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  You can add this book to your TBR list on GoodReads here: Death on the Shelf by Allison Brook