Monday, January 14, 2019

Two Down, Bun to Go by H.Y. Hanna

A sinister phone call in the middle of the night throws tearoom owner, Gemma Rose, straight into the heart of a new murder mystery - this time with her friend, Seth, arrested as the key suspect! The mysterious killing in the cloisters of an old Oxford college points to a bitter feud within the University - but Gemma finds unexpected clues popping up in her tiny Cotswolds village.

Meanwhile, her love life is in turmoil as Gemma struggles to decide between eminent doctor, Lincoln Green, and sexy CID detective, Devlin O'Connor...whilst her quaint English tearoom is in hot water as she struggles to find a new baking chef.

With her exasperating mother and her mischievous little tabby cat, Muesli, driving her nutty as a fruitcake - and the nosy Old Biddies at her heels - Gemma must crack her toughest case yet if she is to save her friend from a life behind bars.

Series: Oxford Tearoom Mysteries #3 | Publisher: H.Y. Hanna | Narrator: Pearl Hewitt | Length: 7 hours, 40 minutes | Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery | Source: Author | Rating: 3 Cups
Challenges Read For:  Blogger Shame - Cruisin' Thru The Cozies - Freebie
When Gemma receives a late night call from her dear friend, Seth, she never imagined it was going to lead her to the center of a murder investigation with Seth as the prime suspect and now she will stop at nothing to clear his name and find the real killer. Although that’s not the only plate Gemma has in the air; it’s time for her to finally choose which man has her heart—the dashing doctor, Lincoln Green, or the sexy CID detective, Devlin O’Connor. Then there’s the little matter of her tearoom having no baker.
While it was fun to be back in the tearoom, this one wasn’t my favorite and I struggled to finish it.
I didn’t care for Gemma’s attitude. She was demanding, demeaning, and just plain rude for most of the book. Sure, she had a lot on her but that’s no excuse for treating people that way. She eventually figures out she’s being a cow but it was too late to save this book for me.
The mystery was actually decent and there were a few red herrings thrown in here and there, which made things interesting. While I was pretty sure I knew who the killer was early on, I found myself guessing until the end because I couldn’t work out the motive.
The love triangle finally comes to an end in this one. Gemma makes her choice and I was rather pleased by the man she chose. I’m hoping that things go well but I have a feeling her choice is going to cause some rocky roads in the books to come.
This one wasn’t as light as the previous books in the series as it focused on the homeless crisis. While I think it was a worthy cause, I feel like there was so much focus on the cause that it took away from plot. I would have much rather seen the cause blended into the plot so it gave the book a smoother feel.
While I do enjoy Pearl Hewitt’s narration, I still feel that the voice she lends to Gemma is just a bit too old.
Overall, not my favorite in the series. I feel like the author tried to change the direction of the characters and plot and fell flat. Hopefully the next book will set everything to rights.

Oxford Tearoom Mystery Series
All-Butter ShortDead 0.5
Two Down, Bun to Go #3 
Till Death Do Us Tart  #4 
Muffins and Mourning Tea  #5 
Four Puddings and a Funeral  #6 
Another One Bites the Crust  #7  
The Dough Must Go On #8

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Trouble with Christmas by Debbie Mason

Resort developer Madison Lane is about to lose the one thing she loves most in the world—her job. Dubbed "The Grinch Who Killed Christmas," Madison spoiled a deal that would turn quaint Christmas, Colorado, into a tourist's winter wonderland. Now the citizens want her fired but the company gives her one last chance, sending Madison to the small town to restore the holiday cheer.

For Sheriff Gage McBride, no hotshot executive from New York City is going to destroy the dreams of the people he loves. But one look at this beautiful woman and it's his heart that may be broken. In just a few days, Madison causes more trouble than he's had to deal with all year. He can't decide if she's naughty or nice, but one thing is for certain—Christmas will never be the same again...
Series: Christmas, Colorado #1 | Publisher: Forever |  Genre:  Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4.5 Cups

Challenges Read For: - Literary Pickers: Monitor/Screen
I requested this book and the third book (It Happened at Christmas) when Forever re-released them and they never arrived. I assumed they ran out of copies or missed my request. Then, a few days ago, the UPS driver was knocking on my door apologizing because a package had somehow managed to get stuck under his seat and he’s been driving around with it for quite some time. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I opened the package and found my two missing books. So, I fixed a nice pot of Winter Spice tea and joined the loveable residents of Christmas, Colorado.
I loved this book Madison and Gage were perfect together, even if they needed a little convincing to get there.
Here’s what’s going on. Determined to keep her job, Madison Lane is determined to prove to the citizens of Christmas that their town isn’t the right choice to build a winter resort. She intended for it to be a quick business trip, but when she crashes her car into the town’s sign, her plans get extended. And now that the local sheriff has caught her eye, she’s wondering if maybe she should extend her trip a little longer. As a single father with a meddling Aunt, Gage has enough on his plate but there’s something about Madison that calls to him, even when she’s unintentionally causing trouble.
Gage and Madison were great together and often found themselves in interesting situations seeing as Madison causes trouble wherever she goes and Gage is the sheriff.
While there was an attraction between Gage and Madison, they took things slow and I enjoyed that. They’ve both been hurt before so they’re both a bit cautious figuring out where they stood and how to proceed.
The only thing that put me a bit off was the odd relationship between Gage and his ex-wife. I know they have kids and he was trying to stay on friendly terms for them but he really needed to get a handle on things and set things straight.
Having read a few of the latter books in the series, I knew I liked the zany citizens of Christmas, especially Nell and her meddling ways—she always makes things interesting and I’m never sure what she’ll come up with next. It was nice have a proper introduction to the town and seeing it for the first time.
Overall, this book just made me love the series even more and now I’m even more eager to catch up on the parts I missed.

Christmas, Colorado Series
The Trouble with Christmas
Christmas in July
It Happened at Christmas
Snowbound at Christmas
Kiss Me in Christmas
Happy Ever After in Christmas
7.5- Miracle at Christmas

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Deck the Hallways by Kate Carlisle

Even during the holidays, Shannon is more spackle than sparkle, which is why she leaps at the chance to transform a grand old Victorian mansion into 10 charming apartments for homeless families. Filled with the spirit of the season, all of Lighthouse Cove turns out to help - including her best friends, a troupe of far-from-angelic Santa Claus impersonators, and her father, Jack.

But their merriment is soon dashed by a heated scuffle between Jack and the miserly president of the bank who's backing the project. When the man is murdered, all eyes are on Jack, and visions of prison time dance in Shannon's head. Now she needs to pull off a crime-solving miracle before her father's Christmas goose is cooked....

Series: Fixer Upper #4 | Publisher: Audible | Narrator: Alex Barrett | Length: 7 hours 59 minutes | Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5 Cups
Challenge Read for: Cruisin’ Thru the Cozies—Holiday Themed

When Shannon’s father finds himself as the lead suspect in a murder case, she will stop at nothing to clear his name and catch the killer. Although when she stumbles upon something unexpected in the back of her truck, things take an odd turn leaving Shannon with two mysteries to solve and very little time to solve them.
Okay, so this one wasn’t my favorite. Some of the events that happened were way out there—I really have no clue who would act like that in real life. And some things were just way too obvious, even for a cozy mystery.
Shannon’s insecurity regarding Mac is starting to become a bit grating. I want to see a bit more maturity from her rather than her clinging to her high school days. Seeing as we are on book four, I really thought the whole ‘mean girls’ thing would dissipate but instead it just seems to be taking up more and more page time.
While things are a bit up in the air with Shannon and Mac, they’re still attempting a relationship, which seems a bit forced. Shannon’s still a bit flirty with Eric, the police chief, and I can’t help but to feel they’d be a better fit.
The main mystery was rather predictable and I found myself losing a bit of interest in the book. I had it worked out from the start and there really wasn’t any surprises that came along. The second mystery was just a bit out there in left field but, again, it was predictable from the start.
I wasn’t thrilled with the narration. Rather than sticking with the narrator that started the series, they picked a new narrator and while Alex Barrett wasn’t bad she just seemed a bit detached from the story. There were also several editing errors. Rather than cutting out the messed up lines, they were left in and the correct lines added after. So, this one could really benefit from a spot of editing.
Overall, I’m really hoping that this one was just a fluke and the next one in the series will have improved. I’m still eager to see how it plays out with the love triangle between Shannon, Mac, and Eric. I’m just hoping the mystery will be a bit more valid and not so obvious.

Fixer Upper Series
Eaves of Destruction (Fixer-Upper Mystery #5) 
A Wrench in the Works (Fixer-Upper Mystery #6)

Monday, January 7, 2019

My Goals For 2019

2018 was not my year in both my personal life and my blog life and I sort of found myself getting lost in the amount of things I had to do and the mountain of stress that came along with everything. My free time was pretty much nonexistent, which meant my reading/blogging time dwindled down to next to nothing.
As I was searching for my theme of the year and figuring out my 2019 goals, I realized that I wasn’t looking for a reinvention. I don’t want to change I just want to get back to who I was before. So I’m turning to the brilliant mind of Oscar Wilde for my theme of the year.

My Goals
-Meet My Challenges
-Update Goodreads
-Clean Up NetGalley
-Get my commenting groove back (the struggle was real in 2018)
-Read at least 150 books, hopefully more
-Update a few blog features
-Participate in memes
-Add discussions to the blog
-Schedule posts better
-Stop waiting to the last minute to write reviews
-Read more non-fiction
-Declutter (I’ll never be a minimalist because, let’s face it, I like pretty things but I do need to purge a bit)
-Tackle my closets (I need to figure out an organization system that actually works for my clothes, handbags, and shoes)
-Tackle the dreaded craft storage area
-Find a new tree for out front
-Find a new book club (and actually attend)
-Take ‘Me’ Time
-Finish *all* the craft projects I’ve started
-Go back to eating healthy (curb my sweets and takeout)
-Curb my spending (Oh, Ulta, you’re my addiction)
-Explore more
-Say No (and don’t feel sorry about it)
-Keep to a schedule
-Participate more
-Escape every once in a while
-Write more
-Do more yoga
-Attempt mediation
-Keep a better sleep schedule
-Unplug now and again
-Take more pictures

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge Goal Post

I’m going to attempt this challenge again this year and hope I actually remember this year. I completely zonked out with this one last year.

Challenge: 2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Renaissance Reader - 10 books

Books Read











Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Try Something New Challenge Goal Post

I’ve been wanting to expand a bit in my reading so this challenge is a perfect way to branch out a bit in my reading.
Challenge: Try something new to read such as a New-to-You authors, Debut books, First in series, New trope, New genre, New type of character, New format, etc.
Goal: 50 New Bookish Things

Books Read

Books Read