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Saturday, May 15, 2021

#TheSundayPost My Belated Mother's Day!

 


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

Last Sunday we celebrated Oldest Son's birthday with his favorite pizza, so I opted to request any Mother's Day celebration for me to be moved this Sunday. Since I recently went to Love's Sweet Arrow and purchased a nice stack of books for myself, I don't really need any presents for Mother's Day.  Instead, I'm expecting my family to put up my pool. 

 I was planning to get a pool last summer to celebrate being done with cancer treatment and the momentous occasion of being alive for half a century; however, the global pandemic caused a run on pop-up pools and also ruined my plans to have old lady backyard pool parties. 

I bought a pool and all the supplies necessary for it, about five minutes after President Biden signed the stimulus bill and now tomorrow is the day my wonderful family can get that pool set up!  The forecast is calling for temperature in the 80s later this week...and I can't wait to float in my pool with a book in my hand! 

How are things by you?  I hope you had a good week! Comment below and share any fun summer plans you have coming up! 

What I'll be reviewing this week:




Friday, May 14, 2021

What's A Kitchen Witch? Magic in the Kitchen and a Cozy Review!


 What is a kitchen witch? It can be a handcrafted doll that is used as a good luck charm in Scandanavian kitchens or it can be someone who practices magic centered on the craft of cooking and all things related to food.  One can be a kitchen witch who practices in the Wiccan tradition. In my opinion, if you cook with love and talk to your plants, and have a green thumb and secret recipes for delicious cookies that you won't share- I probably think you are a kitchen witch. 

In paranormal fiction, various types of witchcraft are as popular (i.e. Harry Potter)  as vampires and werewolves.  Of course, I don't think vampires or werewolves exist, but paganism and Wiccan practices have been around for millennia and only got a bad wrap when men took over religions.  Under the cozy mystery umbrella is the subgenre of paranormal cozies.  Paranormal cozies are chock full of many different types of witches!  

One Poison Pie by Lynn Cahoon is a series featuring Mia who is a kitchen witch and is working on starting up a catering business, only to have a murder pop up right before her first catering gig! This magical cozy is light on the magic and heavy on the sleuthing and traditional cozy themes, so if you haven't read a magical cozy yet, this could be the perfect foray to see if you like it. 

I enjoyed the fresh tone of the book, Mia has common sense and a dogged determination to get her fledgling business off the ground.  She also has a terrible ex, a grandmother who holds secrets and a potential new boyfriend. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Two Wicked Desserts,  which I will be reviewing next month thanks to a copy from Net Galley. 

Solid 4 Stars!  A series I will continue!

As you know from reading my blog, I'm an aspiring cozy writer myself.  I love the idea of a kitchen witch protagonist and I have been doing research and have an idea I am working on, I also have an 80% complete rough draft for another cozy mystery series idea.  What I need to do is focus, finish one of these books and then go from there! 


This is a beautiful book filled with recipes and rituals to be more connected to the Earth. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Let's Hope This Warm Up Is Here To Stay! Plus! NEW Cozy Series Book- Farm to Trouble!


Prolific cozy mystery writer Amanda Flower is out with a new series.  I was drawn to this series by the fresh look of the cover and the fun title. I'm excited to say this is the book of the month for June's Cozy Mystery Book Club. I am reading it early because this is when I was able to borrow it from my library! 

This is the story of Shiloh Bellamy who grew up on a farm in Northwestern Michigan and then moved to California where she built a career as a television producer.  Now she is back in her hometown to help her very taciturn father save their farm which has gone fallow (i.e. weeds no crops).  First, she finds out the family home is in terrible shape and then she stumbles across a dead body.

I had trouble reconciling Shiloh's career as a television producer, a tough job that requires the ability to lead as well as sell people on ideas and meet tough deadlines, with her passivity and lack of self-confidence in the book.  Far too often people berate her, far too often she is running here and there chasing after things other people want her to do.  Her personality didn't match a successful 38-year-old television producer. 

The person who is killed is a terrible person, that is always a plus in my book when it comes to cozy mysteries. However, in this book, Shiloh has more than a couple of unpleasant friends and family.  I didn't enjoy spending time with them as the book progressed. 

Cozies are so much about plucky MCs and Community.  I love reading about protagonists who aren't afraid to ask questions or speak up for themselves and in this book Shiloh doesn't advocate for herself and is surrounded by people who are family who mistreat her and acquaintances who call her a murderer and a killer from the moment of the murder. 

This is a three-star read for me. 

*****

Can you believe it is already just about mid-May?  My oldest has finished his Junior year of college and second son is finishing his first year of college finals this week, and my youngest child is at an AP test right now.  We can taste summertime! However, the weather has been more like the Ides of March than the cusp of summer for the past week. My weather app says we should start seeing 70s by next week; but, that is what the app said last week and all we got were the mid-50s.  Not Cool Mother Nature!  --Well really, it is cool, that's the problem!  

Time files! 






Monday, May 10, 2021

Pierced Peony Silver Dagger Blog Tour Giveaway! - New Cozy!

 

 


Pierced Peony
Motts Cold Case Mystery Book 2
by Dahlia Donovan
Genre: Cozy Mystery


On a casual walk along the Cornish Coast, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley stumbles upon a body and a perilous new murder case in the second novel in the Motts Cold Case Mystery series.

As spring rolls into summer, Motts settles into her cottage. She’s enjoying a daily stroll when a body in the sea destroys her peace and quiet. It brings yet another mystery for her to solve.

How does a woman who vanished from Polperro three years prior wind up battered by waves?

Motts is drawn into the investigation despite her best attempts. She finds a family in turmoil and loads of suspects. With no easy answers, she tumbles further into chaos and ever closer to danger.

Can Motts find the killer before she’s the one put on ice?

Will she survive a bone-chilling brush with death?

***
I'm very pleased to be part of the blog tour for this book.  When I read cozies, sometimes I'm fully focused on solving the mystery, and other times I am rooting for the main character in all things.  This is one of those series where I am hoping for all the good things for Motts.  I hold my breath when she decides she needs to venture out and speak to someone new, I cheer her on when she stands up for herself, and I smile when she gives special treats to Moss and Cactus.  This series is one that I will preorder and follow the author. 

A quote from the book that I enjoyed (Motts inner monologue): 

"Why is my cat obsessed with brooding police types? Is he trying to tell me something? Do detectives smell like catnip?"

I hope that you check out this series and that you too root for Motts an unlikely amateur sleuth!





Poisoned Primrose
Motts Cold Case Mystery Book 1


"Wonderful mystery with a unique and special heroine!" - A Cozy Cup of Murder

Meet Motts and the quirky cast of characters in her world. Poisoned Primrose is a quintessential cosy British mystery and an all-round fun story to throw yourself into.

Autistic, asexual, and almost forty, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley flees London with her cat and turtle to a quaint cottage in Cornwall. She craves the peace of life in a small village. The dead body buried in her garden isn’t quite what she had in mind, though.

Unable to resist her curiosity, she falls directly into a mess of trouble and runs head-first into the attractive detective inspector, Teo Herceg. She tries to balance her business with the investigation, but as the killer focuses on her, staying alive becomes trickier than advanced origami.

Will Motts survive the onslaught of murderously bad luck?

Can she solve the mystery before it all spins out of control and off a cliff?

I enjoyed this new cozy series. The story is located in England which is a different location for me, as all the cozies I've read so far this year have taken place in the United States. Motts is easy to love, she is on her own for the first time and is working so hard in this new phase of her life. Being neurodiverse, she is unique among cozy sleuths and I am a fan of reading stories centered on unique protagonists.  Motts makes a living creating intricately designed origami floral displays. What a clever craft, flowers for those who are allergic or who want flowers that won't die.  I could picture the lovely bridal bouquets Daliah Donovan describes.  

Motts is surrounded by a kind and funny cast of friends and family that one must have to establish that cozy vibe. I look forward to continuing to read this series.   







Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.






Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$5 Amazon 



Saturday, May 8, 2021

#TheSundayPost The Second Sunday in May!

 


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

Happy Mother's Day to anyone celebrating.  Virtual hugs to anyone who is sad on this day unable to talk, or be with someone they love or dealing with complicated mother/child relationships.  

At my house, this Sunday is my oldest son's bday so we are celebrating his day today. Later on in the day, I am fortunate that I can call my mother.

This week I had my second Pfizer shot, and with that shot, everyone in the house has had all their vaccine doses and on the 18th we will reach fully vaccinated status. Hooray! 

In celebration of getting that second shot, I decided to visit a romance new and used bookstore near me.  They have online ordering so check out their website: Love's Sweet Arrow

Here is the picture of my book haul! 

Now all I need is the weather here to perk up so I can sit outside and read! 

Tomorrow on the blog I am a Blog Tour host for a new book by Dahlia Donovan called Pierced Peony.  It's the second installment in her Mott's Cold Case Mystery series.  Make sure to check it out! There's a Giveaway!!!





How was your week? Did you read, watch, or listen to anything good?  I hope you are doing well! 



Friday, May 7, 2021

The Installment in the #PsyChangeling #Readalong #COYER Challenge Book 6! And Grocery Store Monopoly Talk




 Just when you think you think a book is going to be full of pining and delayed gratification Nalini Singh comes out of the gate hot!  Sexy time right from the get-go.  I love this series because of stuff like this.  Nalini keeps the readers guessing and that keeps this reader, reading! 

Branded by Fire tells the story of Mercy from the Dark River pack and Riley from the Snow Dancer Pack. She's a leopard and he's a wolf.  Can a cat and a dog find happiness together? Let's find out!  In this story, we have two main characters that are antagonists to each other but also have wild chemistry.  Frienimies to lovers is a solid descriptor, but none of the I hate you, I love you. Their relationship is more nuanced and because they are at the top of the pack hierarchy, they have to consider how becoming mated would affect both of their packs. I know they will get there, just a matter of how fun getting there will be for me the reader!

I loved the banter! 


Nalini Singh shares more about the lives of the couples we have already met, as the packs face a new challenge when the Human Alliance emerges as a terrorist group. There are also developments in the growth of Sienna Lauren, a character that readers know will be more and more pivotal as this story continues.  Lastly, is Nalini rehabilitating Ashaya's sister Amara?  Will Amara be fit to be around the pack in the future? 

Solid advice from E-Psy Sasha to Mercy! 


4 stars to the Branded by Fire, It was fun to read Mercy and Riley's point of view and see their romance play out! 

While I've been trying to read this week, I'm also in the midst of trying to win fabulous prizes from my grocery store's monopoly game. Thanks to a friend that passed on a ton of tickets to me, I'm up to my eyeballs in chances to win major prizes!  All I need to do now that all of the tickets are opened is to scan them in my app.  So far I have won over 36 individual bottles of water, five loaves of french bread, and three bottles of ranch dressing. Wish me luck, maybe I'll win $25,000! Who knows! If I do, I'll let you know!




Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Judging A Book By Its Cover #RubyRedHerring #NetGalley

 

Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner is the first book in her new Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series.  I chose to pick up this book from NetGalley because I loved the cover. The title is also a perfectly punny cozy title! 

Our Amateur sleuth is Avery Ayers. Avery and her sister live in the family home with their Aunt following the death of their parents in a car crash a year prior to the series beginning.  We quickly begin to wonder if the car crash was an accident or if foul play was involved.  Lilac Grove is a small suburb of New York City.  So we have the small-town setting where Avery and her family live, and then we also Manhattan where the family business is located.  The family business is an appraisal business that is focused on antiquities and artifacts, we find out the business has suffered since the deaths of William and Anne.  Things are now on the upswing due to a couple of contracts Avery's partner Sir Robert has acquired. 

My only exposure to the world of appraising antiques and artifacts has been through watching Antiques Roadshow on PBS. Tracy Gardner explains the appraisal process in an interesting and easy-to-understand way. I like the variety of character ages in this book.  Avery is 25, her sister is a senior in high school, Aunt Midge is sixty, and the people who work with Avery at the museum span the decades from the late 20s to late 50s.  A nice mix of points of view.  

Tracy Gardner does a very good job highlighting Avery's struggles with mental health after the deaths of her parents.  She is seeing a therapist and working on anger issues as well as grief, I appreciated that her pain and her struggle wasn't glossed over in pursue of the mystery plot.  

4 Stars to this new cozy series, this one takes some liberties with the standard cozy tropes, and I'm always open to reading new twists on cozy mysteries! 

I received an ARC of this book, it may change some when it is in final form.  All my opinions are mine!


Monday, May 3, 2021

Food Talk and Today's Cozy Review, Spotlight Scandal by Stella Bixby

 

About every six weeks, I'll treat myself to a couple of meals from Blue Apron. This past week was that week.  We got Pork & Marinated Cucumber Steam Buns which turned out to be completely delicious and now that I have made it and have the recipe, I am going to make it on my own in the future. It was so good I forgot to take a picture. The second meal I made was Steaks & Black Bean Butter Sauce. This meal was also very yummy.  The only thing was the kale became too wilted.  Weird. 

Now on to today's book review.  This book takes place near Christmas, so if you like holiday cozies, add this to your collection when it comes out May 11th, 2021, and then read it come December!  I might re-read it too!  I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I enjoy Stella Bixby's writing style so I am a member of her 'review crew' This book is the third book in the Magical Mane Series.  The books are novella length and lend themselves to fun weekend reading. 


I was very happy that Xander the warlock from book two has returned in this installation and that we get to meet Katie's daughter the actress Melody.  Additionally, Bonnie who seemed like a cold-hearted villain in book one has become a much more complicated and sympathetic character which I am happy to read. Maybe one day she will wind up with Jake? Or will Ellie's mom return and Jake and Emily will have their HEA.  I am going to keep reading and maybe we will find out! 

The book begins with Ellie not being able to say her one line in the Christmas play. We are left to wonder, will she get over her stage fright?  Why is she stuck on this sentence?  I liked the small mystery over Ellie saying the line, it compliments Ellie's struggle to feel like she is part of a family. (biologically or found)  
I think it works well to have Ellie as an unofficial consultant to the police department.  It makes sense to have her and Jake work together than to have Jake be a foil for Ellie.  Lastly, I have to say, I want to know more about Xander!  What's his deal!  Sigh, I'm going to have to wait and keep reading.  I'm confident the payoff will be worth it! 

4.25 stars to Spotlight Scandal!  Add this book to your Goodreads or order on Amazon it's out May11th! 





Saturday, May 1, 2021

#TheSundayPost Time to Embrace Those May Flowers

 


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

This year, to me, is a time when I feel as though the days are often long but the months are short. And in retrospect, this can definitely be said about my life as a Mom. Next Sunday is Mother's Day and also my oldest's 21st birthday. How did that happen?  It seems like five minutes ago it was 1999. As Ferris Beuller says: 


So my wish for everyone reading this, whenever you read this, is that you have a chance to stop and smell the roses! I'm planing to spend some of the first Sunday of May reading outside!  

*** What I'm Reviewing This Week***
This week I'll be sharing reviews of the upcoming release Spotlight Scandal by Stella Bixby. 

An upcoming cozy I got from #NetGalley, Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner. 

And on Friday, I'll be sharing my thoughts on Branded By Fire for the Psy-Changeling Read-along Have you read this series?  It's so good! 


Hope you have a great week!  Any plans to stop and smell the roses or hop on a parade float? Comment Below! 






Friday, April 30, 2021

Have You Hugged A Tree Lately? #NationalArborDay ! Read #MenareFrogs Under a Shady Tree! #netgalley








 Happy Arbor Day! Go give a tree a hug! They do so much for us and they always look beautiful! 

If you have time go out and read a book under a shady tree, if you are looking for a book to add to your TBR pile, read on for my review of Men are Frogs  by Saranna DeWylde. This is the second book in her Fairy Godmothers, Inc. series. I received an ARC of the book from #NetGalley, all the opinions of the book are mine. 

It was great to return to the whimsical, fairytale town of Ever After, Missouri, and see the Fairy Godmothers (FGs) find new ways to meddle in the lives of mortals! 


Men Are Frogs has the level of humor and snark that I enjoyed in book one, and also some wonderful sweetness.  Zuri, our heroine, is a wedding planner, but she doesn't believe a HEA is in her future.  Phillip Charming has spent 300 years as a part-time frog.  You would think it would just be a kiss and poof all fixed, but that's not how it goes.  You don't get your HEA without putting in the work. 

In the book we learn more about the magic world and also met Zuri's twin Zena who is delightful and will be in future books--perhaps alongside Hunter in what will be a wonderfully twisted tale of Beauty and the Beast. We also spend time with Ravenna the "Evil" Queen. I can't wait to read her HEA.  Who is good enough for her? 

I'm not going to lie, maybe it was because I was tired or maybe it was just this book, but I got misty-eyed when our love interests made their leaps and had faith. *Sigh* The book's themes of what it means to truly be sorry, to having self-worth in the face of doubt, and forgiveness were a pleasure to read. 

Since it made me teary, I've got to give it 5 stars! 
#MenAreFrogs, #NetGalley

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley, some of the wording may change when this book is out in the world.