Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving


Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy, and Happy Thanksgiving.  

Friday, November 20, 2020

On my telly…What I’ve Been Watching



It was nice to be able to sit down in the evenings, work on my stitching or planner, and watch a bit of telly. I’m generally not someone who watches a lot of telly, I generally stick to a few shows a or maybe a movie on Tuesday night but I found it rather relaxing. 

Here’s what I’ve been watching.

 


-The Spanish Princess, Season Two (Starz)—while I enjoyed the first season, I’ve been struggling to get into this season. The characters are just so far from the person they’re portraying it’s almost laughable. I’m not expecting this to stick true to history, even though that would be nice, but I am expecting it to stay true to the books and, sadly, that’s not happening. I will finish this series with hopes of it getting better.

 


-The Good Lord Bird, Season One (Showtime)—I found this by mistake and ended up enjoying it. This is based on the novel by James McBride and tells the story Henry "Little Onion" Shackleford, a newly freed teenager, who joins abolitionist John Brown on a crusade to end slavery. While this does have some serious moments, there’s a lot humor in this one and I’ve really been enjoying it.

 


-Discovery of Witches, Season One (Acorn)—I borrowed this on DVD from my Mum and I’ve really been enjoying it. If you’ve not heard of this or the book trilogy (All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness) it’s about a witch, Diana, who accidentally discovers a missing magical manuscript and a vampire, Matthew. There’s love, romance, magic, mystery, and danger as they race to learn more about the manuscript while trying to keep it hidden away from those wanting to use it to destroy other creatures. I’ve really enjoyed this one an I’m looking forward to the start of Season Two next year.

 

I have this trilogy and I’m hoping to get to read it in the near future. 


What have you been watching? 


 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

#HoHoHoRAT Book Bingo Challenge 2020

Hello Lovelies,

 

I’m so excited to be an elf for the Eight Annual #HoHoHoRAT. If you don’t know what the HoHoHoRAT is let me introduce you to this Wintery readathon hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer.

 

#HoHoHoRAT will begin at 12:01 am Thursday, November 19th and end Monday, November 30th at 11:59 pm in your time zone.

 The goal is to read/listen to as many Winter and/or Holiday themed books as you can in any genre.

  

When sharing your progress on Twitter or Instagram, don’t forget to use the #HoHoHoRAT hashtag.
 
Now…on to #HoHoHoRAT Book Bingo Challenge

 

It’s time to scour your shelves, e-readers, and audiobook collections for titles that coordinate with the bingo prompts.  Any type of bingo counts: horizontal, diagonal, vertical, or postage stamp. Or go wild and fill the entire card! The choice is yours.
 



Christmas Wrapping— a Holiday/Winter read that's been on your TBR list for a year or more

Sleigh Ride—Snowy cover or ‘Snow’ mentioned in the title

All I Want for Christmas is You—a Christmas/holiday romance

Blue Christmas—a book with a blue cover

Let It Snow—Snowed in/Snowstorm

Free Space—book of your choice

Santa Baby—book with a Christmas tree on the cover

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch—character is a reformed Grinch/Scrooge type

A Holly Jolly Christmas—book with a Christmassy cover


To enter, you must be signed up for the HoHoHo Readathon. Please leave your answers to the bingo prompts in either the comment section below or post a link to your own post in the comment section below. Please leave your linky # (you can find it HERE) from the sign-up post. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway




I thought that I’d make this challenge a bit more cozy and make each prompt a song title! Below you will find YouTube links to each song!

Sleigh Ride

Blue Christmas

All I Want for Christmas is You

Let it Snow

Free Space

Santa Baby

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

A Holly Jolly Christmas




Terms and conditions: One lucky winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter to win a $10 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open international and runs from November 19, 2020 to December 2, 2020. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. Must be 13 or older to enter or have your parents/guardians permission. More information can be found in my Terms and Conditions.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Snapped in Cornwall by Janie Bolitho


Rose Trevelyan had only met Gabrielle Milton once, but felt they might become good friends. She was delighted, therefore, to receive an invitation to the Milton's party where the wine flowed freely and a good time was being had by all - that is, until Gabrielle's crumpled, lifeless body was found underneath a balcony.

 Series: Cornish Mysteries #1 | Publisher: A&B Crime | Genre: Cozy Mystery Series | Source: Gift | Rating: 3.5 Cup




I received this book last Christmas Eve and finally decided to give it a go and it was a bit different but different in a good way.

Here’s what’s going on. When Rose takes on a commission from Gabrielle Milton, she never imagined it would end with Gabrielle’s death. Unable to get the events out of her mind, Rose soon discovers that she may have captured the killer in the background of a blurry photograph. Now Rose finds herself in the killer’s sights. Will she be able to help the frustrating—and attractive—detective catch the killer or will the killer catch her?

Rose was such an easy character to like. She’s an outsider but the villagers are slowly welcoming her into their community. There’s a lot she’s dealing with, including the death of her husband, yet she’s open to letting people in.

The mystery wasn’t as complicated as the plot wanted me to believe. There was an attempt at some red herrings but it missed the mark a bit. It was fairly obvious from the start what was going on but I still enjoyed the process.

Like most cozy mysteries, there is the start of a romance in this one and, I have a feeling, it’s going to be a bit rocky as the series plays out.

While the characters and the mystery have that cozy mystery feel, what really stood out to me in this book was the way it brought Cornwall to life. It really evoked the Cornish lifestyle to the point it became a character.

I have a feeling this book isn’t going to be for everyone. While I truly enjoyed this one, the book was a bit on the slower side as it portrayed the laidback Cornish lifestyle. This book was also originally published in 1997, so there’s a slightly dated feeling.

Overall, this one was a bit predictable but I enjoyed experiencing laidback Cornish lifestyle and the setting. 

Cornish Mysteries Series

Snapped in Cornwall #1

Framed in Cornwall #2

Buried in Cornwall #3

Betrayed in Cornwall #4

Plotted in Cornwall #5

Killed in Cornwall #6

Caught out in Cornwall #7


 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Sidebarred by Emma Chase


There was a time when Jake Becker had it all together. He was controlled, driven, ruthless—in and out of the courtroom.

Then, six irresistible orphans and their heartbreakingly beautiful aunt crashed into his perfectly ordered life. They changed everything. They changed him. Now he’s a husband, an upstanding member of society, a father figure—a family man. And he’s pretty damn good at it.

Sure, he has to referee sibling smackdowns, re-learn algebra, ensure his clients stay out of jail, and keep his wife happy—but it finally feels like he’s got it together again....

So, of course something has to screw it all up. It’s huge. Life-changing. Kind of terrifying.


And it will be the most amazing, perfect thing he’ll ever do.
Series: Legal Briefs #3.5 | Publisher: Emma Chase | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Purchased | Rating: 4.5 Cups
  
So, I’ve had this one sitting on my shelf since…2016 (I can’t believe it’s been that long) and decided to read it during Bout of Books 29 and I had so much fun with it.
 
This is a novella—and the final book—in the Legal Briefs series. While it does touch base with all the characters from the series, this focuses on Jake and Chelsea. They’re married now, raising her brother’s brood of orphans, and getting ready to add one of their own to the mix.
 
Hands down, Jake and Chelsea were my favorite couple from the series so it was nice catching up with them and watching their family bloom and grow. While the book starts two years after they have married, it ends seventeen years later so we get to see what happened with the six kids (Chelsea’s nieces and nephews).
 
If you’re a fan of this series or simply fell in love with Jake Becker like I did, I think this is a must read. It was hot and steamy yet sweet and adorable.
 
Overall, this was fun, quick, and he perfect way to end a series.
 
If anyone is wondering, Stanton still makes me surly. He will go down in history as the character I absolutely despised.




Legal Briefs Series
Appealed #3
Sidebarred #3.5

 

Monday, November 16, 2020

On Borrowed Crime by Kate Young

Lyla Moody loves her sleepy little town of Sweet Mountain, Georgia. She likes her job as receptionist for her uncle's private investigative firm, her fellow true crime obsessed Jane Doe members are the friends she's always wanted, and her parents just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. But recently, with her best friend Melanie on vacation, and her ex-boyfriend and horrible cousin becoming an item and moving in next door to her, her idyllic life is on the fritz. The cherry on top of it all is finding Carol, a member of the club, dead and shoved into a suitcase, left at Lyla's front door.

Unusual circumstances notwithstanding, with Carol's heart condition, the coroner rules Carol's death undetermined. But when they discover the suitcase belongs to Melanie, who had returned from her vacation the following morning, Sweet Mountain police begin to suspect Lyla's best friend. Determined that police are following the wrong trail, to clear her friend's name, and to not allow Carol become one of the club's studied cold cases, Lyla begins to seek out the real killer. That is, until she becomes the one sought after. Now, finding the truth could turn her into the killer's next plot twist, unless she wins the game of cat and mouse.

 

Series: Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #1 | Publisher: Crooked Lane Books | Genre: Cozy Mystery, Contemporary | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3.5 Cups

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery that borders on thriller/mystery then this is the book for you.

Here’s what’s going on. When one of the members of her Jane Doe book club discovers a connection to a cold case then ends up murdered, Lyla uses her job as receptionist at her Uncle’s P.I. firm to do some digging of her own. As her suspect list starts to include those around her, Lyla begins to wonder if there’s a killer in her midst. When the killer starts sending her taunting text messages, she knows she must find them before she becomes their next victim.

I picked this book up for review expecting it to be a lighter read like most cozy mysteries are but this one reads a bit darker in the mystery aspect. Unlike a cozy mystery, this one contains a lot of graphic details about the murder on the page. The mystery itself was more like something you see in a thriller yet I found it very easy to pick up on the killer and the reasoning from the start.

While the mystery and murder aspects are on the darker side, the characters, especially Lyla, have a cozy mystery feel. Lyla’s a little annoying at times but I’m hoping these are just teething problems as this was the start of a new series.

Overall, I enjoyed this one and look forward to reading the next in the series. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Pustules, Pestilence and Pain: Tudor Treatments and Ailments of Henry VIII by Seamus O'Caellaigh

Henry VIII lived for 55 years and had many health issues, particularly towards the end of his reign.

In Pustules, Pestilence, and Pain, historian Seamus O'Caellaigh has delved deep into the documents of Henry's reign to select some authentic treatments that Henry's physicians compounded and prescribed to one suffering from those ailments.

Packed with glorious full-colour photos of the illnesses and treatments Henry VIII used, alongside primary source documents, this book is a treat for the eyes and is full of information for those with a love of all things Tudor. Each illness and accident has been given its own section in chronological order, including first-hand accounts, descriptions of the treatments and photographic recreations of the treatment and ingredients.

Publisher: Made Global Publishing | Genre: Nonfiction | Source: Gifted | Rating: 4 Cups 

 

It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a Tudor nonfiction book, so when this arrived, I knew I had to give it a go.

This book focuses on the treatments Henry VIII received for nine of his well-known injuries and ailments. The dates of the treatments range from 1514-1539 and all treatments are taken from the historical text of Henry’s personal physicians.

There’s a lot that you learn from this book, such as the type ingredients used (some recipes also include the measurements) and the way the treatment was administered. It also offers a slight glimpse into the injuries and aliments Henry was suffering at the time.

While this was a very interesting read with gorgeous pictures, I’m a little upset with the repetition in this book. For each treatment, the original text is shared in Old English, then the treatment is shared in modern English, and lastly we see the author’s take on the treatment. I do understand that some people struggle with reading Old English and a modern version is necessary but I don’t think it needed to be translated again by the author. I think he should have talked about the treatment without repeating the treatment itself.

Overall, I did enjoy this one and felt like it offered something new to the world of Tudor nonfiction. If there would have been less repetition, there could have been more added about the ailments/injuries, the treatment itself, the way the treatments worked, or included more treatments. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox


In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall. The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

 Publisher: Graydon House | Genre: Historical, Gothic Romance | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 3.5 Cups 

If you’re looking for a historical gothic romance that will chill and thrill, then this is the book for you.

Here’s what’s going on. Fleeing scandal, the Montrose family left their Boston home for their country home in New Oldbury. Although there’s a darkness in Willow Hall that’s calling to Lydia and her younger sister, Emeline, and soon they find themselves caught in its grip. When a tragic accident befalls the family, Lydia soon realizes she must channel the power she possesses to protect herself and her family.

I have some thoughts on this one. Was it chilling, thrilling, and filled with gothic goodness? Yes, yes it was. Did it take a funny turn in the middle and turn into a standard romance? Yes, yes it did.

When I started The Witch of Willow Hall I was hooked. There was mystery, paranormal spookiness, a possible romance, and this amazing atmospheric, gothic vibe that’s been lacking in some of the more recent gothic novels. Lydia and Emeline were getting in touch with their witchy powers that had been suppressed/newly discovered and there was definitely something going on in Willow Hall and the surrounding land.

There was also the strained relationship between Lydia and her older sister, Catherine who was unbearably horrid. Catherine’s selfishness got old fast, as did Lydia’s actions to given in to Catherine’s demands. I wanted to see Lydia take a more assertive role in her life and the things going on around her. The parents were rather useless and I was hoping there would be more of an explanation on why the mother acted the way she did but that never came about.

While this book started as a solid gothic novel, it turned into more of a romance about a third of the way in and it lost that spark that first fueled the plot. I do love a gothic romance but I feel like the drama that came along with the romance took a front seat and drowned the gothic vibe out. There was just so much going on with Lydia and her feelings for John, who was her father’s business partner. Then Catherine flinging herself at every man, John included, while Lydia just let it happen. Then there was the mess with Lydia’s former suitor. It bogged the plot down too much.

There were also a lot of odd actions toward the end and I don’t want to spoil the book so I won’t go into further detail. Although it left me questioning why certain characters didn’t question things before believing them to be true.

I really enjoyed the author’s style of writing but I wish the tone of the book would have stayed that nice gothic tone that was so prevalent in the beginning.  I also wish the ‘witchy’ vibe of this book had developed into something more than what it was. Given the title of the book, I was expecting to see more come about regarding Lydia’s powers. There was also something regarding John that was unexplained.

Overall, this was still a good read and I do recommend it, especially if you’re looking for a spooky romance. I wanted more from this book but I am excited to read more from Hester Fox. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Scandalous Scotsman by MJ Fields


One trip down the stairs, caused by a lone Lego, while wrapped in a towel, spewing a plethora of profanities, and my cell phone went flying.

I landed on my ass, and then the ER.

Between those two occurrences was a FaceTime call, placed by a bouncing phone, to the number of a man I didn’t even truly look at, who had now seen more of my body than anyone had since my Tinder days, over a year ago.

Three declined calls later, I limped out the door to get myself to the ER before starting my hectic day.

The ER was packed, but when I saw Nurse Bridget, one of my students’ mothers, I pleaded my case and she hurried me into an examination room.

An hour later, I left on crutches with a bruised ass, a fractured ankle, and an appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon at four p.m.

Arriving fifteen minutes late for that appointment, I heard the sexy yet very brash accent of a man who clearly had an obsession with punctuality and, apparently, no bedside manner.

Dr. Ethan Stewart, tall, copper-haired, sinfully sexy … was a total ass.

After a tongue-lashing about how irresponsible I was to, first, leave the ER with such an injury, and second, be late, I put him in his place … or so I thought.

Turned off by his arrogant attitude, turned on by the roguish glint in his green eyes and the way he spoke, I left his office a hot … and wet mess.

Upon exiting, my phone rang again. It was the same number from before, and I couldn’t help answering to give the caller a piece of my mind.

Once in my car, I hung up, tossed my phone on the passenger seat, and then looked out the window to see him with his phone to his ear and a grin spread across his far too handsome face.

It couldn’t be …

Could it?

 Series: Cocky Hero Club #2 | Publisher: Audible  | Narrators:
Grace Grant, Will Watt  | Length: 5 hours 39 minutes | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Publisher | Rating: 4 Cups

If you’re a Jamie Fraser fan Dr. Ethan Stewart will have you swooning. He’s a little cocky, completely sexy, and thoroughly Scottish.  

When a misplaced Lego causes Elizabeth to tumble down the stairs and her mobile to place a random FaceTime call causing the recipient to see Elizabeth in all her glory, she never imagines the voice would belong to the sexy orthopedic surgeon she’s scheduled to see. While Ethan was a total arse, there’s no denying the attraction between the two of them and things take an interesting turn when Ethan and his young daughter move in down the street from Elizabeth.

I had fun with this book. Elizabeth and Ethan was such a feisty couple and to top it all off, she’s an Outlander fan, which makes her first few encounters with Ethan awkward and hilarious.

Both of them are dealing with things in their own lives. Elizabeth is dealing with the loss of her father, the end of her marriage, and trying to sort out her life. Ethan is fighting for his daughter. Not only fighting for her voice (she has select mutism) but fighting her maternal grandparents for full custody. They both have a lot going on but rather than being closed off, they learned to trust each other and let each other in.

The romance in this one is hot and steamy, and while there’s a bit of insta-lust, I do think this one had a nice pacing with the development given it was on the shorter side.

While I enjoyed most of this one, there was something at the end of the book that had me lowering the rating a bit. Other than that, this was a solid read.

I have listened to Grace Grant before and I still do enjoy her narration even if she did cause Elizabeth to come across slightly older sounding. Will Watt was a new-to-me narrator and I absolutely loved his Scottish accent. He gave Ethan this strong Highland burr and, not only did it work, it sounded natural. I could have listened to him all day.

Overall, I highly recommend this one. Ethan is going to charm the socks off you and you’ll want to be Elizabeth’s friend. I’m interested in checking out the other books in this series as well as more from this author. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

The Sunday Post-1st Edition



Hey Lovelies,

 

Happy Sunday!  I hope this finds you all happy and healthy. 

 

Ohio has officially moved into that odd weather period that combines all four seasons into one day. On the first, we had our first snow of the season in the morning (it was just a few flakes that melted once they hit the ground) and it was in the 70s by the afternoon. The rest of the week consisted of cold, foggy mornings that put me in mind of a Gothic novel, warm afternoons, and then cool rainy nights. More than likely that will be the weather pattern for the next few weeks. While I don’t mind the weather, it makes it difficult to figure out when to swap out the Summer clothes and bedding for the Winter clothes and bedding.

 

On the blog front, I’ve spent the last two weeks catching up on reviews and scheduling content—I’m happy to report that, for the first time in ages, I actually have posts scheduled months in advance. Today I will be working on the bingo card for HoHoHoRat Bingo Challenge I will be hosting for the HoHoHoRat. The HoHoHo Readathon is hosted by Kimberly @ The Caffeinated Reviewer, so don’t forget to stop by her blog and sign up.

 

Some of the advent calendars (some I ordered and some I received in PR) have started arriving and I’m really looking forward to digging into them come December. If you want a sneak peek at this year’s Glossy Box Advent Calendar, keep an eye on my Instagram starting Monday, November 9th as I will be sharing a few of the items over the next few weeks.

 

 

On the blog this week

Little Country Christmas (Christmas anthology)—book review

Coloring and Classics Subscription Box Review (October’sbox)

Walmart Beauty Box Review (Autumn box)

Ghosts of Scotland—book review

A Dark & Stormy Knit—book review

Something To Stitch About Update

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Something to Stitch About: Dragonflies & Roses Table Runner Stamped Embroidery

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted a stitching update so I wanted to share what I’m currently working. Back in May when I was flying through my stitching projects (more about my Lockdown stitching in a few weeks) I purchased the Dragonflies & Roses Table Runner Stamped Embroidery from Herrschners.

 

When I first spotted this embroidery kit, the lovely jewel-toned roses stood out on the black background beautifully and I instantly fell in love. I had been looking for something different and this fit the bill.



So far, this has been a fun—and gorgeous—embroidery to work on. While there is a lot of hoop moving on this one, the stiches are simple (long and short for the flowers and leaves then satin stitch for the stem) and easy to work. Within a week, I finished 4 flowers and started working on the fifth, which will probably be finished by the time this posts.

 


While I have been having fun with this one, I’ve encountered a few problems. The first one is the yellow and orange embroidery floss keeps breaking. It took me about 4 hours to finish the yellow and orange flower due to the thread breaking and fraying. I ended up having to test each strand before re-stitching and securing the broken floss. The second problem is the floss is precut and I’m not sure I’m going to have enough to finish the project.

 


Normally these types of kits have the brand of floss listed as well as the number/color so it’s easy to find the skein of floss or one that’s compatible. Because this kit is an imported Duftin kit, the colors are Duftin’s own specially dyed floss. Thankfully, the company I purchased this kit from is trying to get me replacements for the orange and yellow. As for the others, I’m hoping the floss count evens out. If not, I’m going to be working this table runner on one end, then flipping it over and working on the other so the flowers will match and I can add new colors to the middle. 




Friday, November 6, 2020

A Dark and Stormy Knit by Anne Canadeo


Knitting graffiti, in Plum Harbor? Maggie Messina doubts it could ever happen in her quiet village. Until the new parking meters on Main Street are found covered with cat-faced cozies. In the dark of night, the mysterious Knit Kats have struck again! The infamous gang of stitching graffiti artists are totally harmless, and their pranks all in good fun. Or so Maggie and her friends think. Until a yarn-covered corpse is discovered a few days later—the tangles identical to Knit Kat handiwork.

These threads of evidence should be easy to follow. But the clever Knit Kats hide behind a website and secret identities. The murderer could be anyone. A familiar face in town, even a copy Kat. But when Maggie’s assistant, Phoebe, becomes the prime suspect, the knitting friends know the police have dropped a few stitches. With no time to rest on their needles, the Black Sheep set out to unmask the crafty killer. No simple task, when all Knit Kats look the same in the dark.


Series: Black Sheep Knitting Mystery #6 | Publisher: Gallery Books | Genre: Cozy Mystery | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3 Cups

It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a book in the Black Sheep Knitting Mystery series (and when I do pick one up, it’s rarely in order). This one’s been sitting on my shelf for nearly six years, so I decided to dust it off and give it a read.

Here’s what’s happening in Plum Harbor. When Maggie opens her kitting shop, she notices the newly installed parking meters have been vandalized with cat-face knitting graffiti crafted by a group known as the Knit Kats. While the knitting graffiti—and the group—seem harmless, alarm bells are raised when a dead body is discovered wrapped in yarn. With Maggie and her friends curious, they start to wonder if this was the work of the seemingly harmless Knit Kats. When it comes to the attention of the police that Maggie’s assistant, Phoebe, could be one of mystery knitters, Maggie and her friends decide to pull their resources and hunt down the killer before Phoebe’s arrested.

This series has always been hit or miss with me and this one falls somewhere in the middle.

Like the previous books, this one reads like a women’s fiction that meets a cozy mystery. Maggie and her friends are a tight group who often share their personal problems and their daily lives while sitting around the table knitting. I do like that we see the personal lives of the characters but I feel like this one leaned a little too far into the women’s fiction category and had very little of the cozy mystery aspect.

The mystery itself was a bit different and slightly dated. I remember about ten years ago, Yarn Bombing (yarn graffiti) was all over the news, and if I would have read this book in 2014, it still would have been a popular thing. It was still an interesting concept to use in a cozy mystery,

I do feel like this book fell short on the actual investigating aspect of the novel. Very little sleuthing took place and I was rather disappointed. It was only towards the last third of the book, when they were starting to piece things together, that the characters became invested in solving the crime.

While this was a quick read, I’m not sure if this particular series is one of my favorites anymore. I wasn’t really invested in this one and when I would put it down, I would have to force myself to pick it back up. I have one or two of these left on my shelf and I’ll probably read them and not pick any more of these up.

If you’re a knitter (something I will never be because me and knitting needles do not get along) this book does contain links to all the knitting projects mentioned in the book. There’s also a few recipes as well.

Overall, the balance between the character’s personal life and mystery just didn’t work in this one. It was still an okay read but I feel as though, sadly, I’ve outgrown this series. 


BLACK SHEEP KNITTING MYSTERY Series:

 While My Pretty One Knits

Knit, Purl, Die 

A Stitch Before Dying

Till Death Do Us Purl 

The Silence of the Llamas

A Dark and Stormy Knit  

The Postman Always Purls Twice

A Murder in Mohair  

Knit to Kill  

Purls and Poison 

Hounds of the Basket Stitch  

 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

The Ghosts of Scotland: A Collection of Ghost Stories by Sean McLachlan


Not everything in Scotland is as it appears, however. Some Scots say this is a land haunted by spirits, a place of strange disappearances and unexplained phenomena. There is no shortage when it comes to the strange stories Scotland has to offer, and the legends and lore have compelled many to dig a little deeper and even explore this wonderful land for themselves.

Some of those tales are downright grisly. Scotland has always been a rival to its southern neighbor, and the rivalry extends to the number of hauntings in its medieval castles, stately homes, and old cobblestone streets. While many Englishmen claim that their country is the most haunted, the Scots can point to their own stories of ghosts as evidence they may beat the English in this dubious distinction. 

 Series: | Publisher: Charles River Editors |  Genre: Ghost Tales | Source: Unknown | Rating: 2.5 Cups 

To be honest, this book was a bit disappointing. I was thinking this would be more about historical ‘hauntings’ or clan lore—and there were a few events included—but it’s mostly a lot of rambling about commonly known hauntings and events.

While the book does contain some interesting things (Hare and Burke, the legend of Lachlan MacLachlan, 17th chief of Clan MacLachlan, and Bloody Mackenzie) there’s very little that’s actually told and most of that was common knowledge. I would have liked this to contain lesser-known facts or historical details of the hauntings.

This book also suffers from editing issues, small font, and new sections starting before the title headers. Basically, one story runs into the next with the title appearing a few paragraphs into the new story.

Overall, there’s a little lore and little history but the print price of this one is $9.99 and I just can’t say this is an amazing book worth the price considering the size of the book (under 50 pages), the editing issues, the black and white photographs, and lack of information. If you’re someone familiar with Scotland’s ghost stories you probably know everything in this book.

If you are interested in checking this one out, opt for the $2.99 kindle version or borrow it on Kindle Unlimited.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Walmart Beauty Box: Autumn Edition


Hey Lovelies, today I’m going to be sharing with you my Autumn Walmart Beauty Box.

Let me tell you a little about this box. It’s a quarterly beauty box containing 5 beauty items from beauty brands sold at Walmart. These boxes are $5 (plus tax)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of this box. I keep saying I’m going to cancel but I was intrigued when I received an email letting subscribers know they’ve revamped the boxes and they would be better than ever.

Walmart Beauty Box Website

Let’s see if these boxes are ‘New and Improved’…


The first difference I spotted was the Product Card. It’s the first time the boxes have included a card. The card lists 7 products (you receive 5 in the box) and out of the 5 products in my box only 4 are listed on the card.

The product card does contain a bit of information along with the MASRP and size of the full-size product. Unfortunately, there’s no price listed for the sample/travel sizes.

Now, on to the products I received…

Here’s what was in my Autumn Walmart Beauty Box



-Gold Bond Ultimate Strength & Resilience Lotion (travel size)—this size of lotion is perfect to put in your car or carry with you. As I’m allergic to Gold Bond’s formula, I’ll be giving this to a friend.  I have received this in a previous box.

-Biore Rose Quartz + Charcoal Daily Purifying Cleanser (travel size)—again, this is a decent travel size but it’s for oily skin (mine is dry), so I will be passing this on to a friend. I have also received this product several times in these boxes.

-Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops (one, one-time use sample)—I have used this product before during allergy season and it seemed to work. The last time I received this item in my Wal-Mart box I received the full size.

-Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Lotion (full size, $6.97)—I’m actually excited to use this product. I have naturally curly hair that can get rather frizzy so I’m always looking for drugstore products to try out.

-NYX Butter Gloss in Apple Crisp (full size, $4.97)—I do love the Butter Gloss formula and this shade is lovely and perfect for Autumn. I do have a tube of this (I received it in a previous Walmart Beauty Box) so I’m passing this one to my Mom as she’s a fan of their formula as well.

My thoughts on my Autumn Walmart Beauty Box: this is supposed to be a ‘re-vamped’ version containing ‘the latest and greatest products from the buzziest beauty brands’, ‘Autumn beauty staples’, and ‘beauty brands and products you won’t find anywhere else’. The notification email stated there would be no repeat products in the ‘re-vamped’ boxes but I’ve received 4 out of 5 of the products in previous Walmart Beauty Boxes.

I do like that I did receive 2 full-size products in the box (the Butter Gloss and the Curl Lotion) and the MSRP total for those two items came to $11.49. I also liked that this wasn’t loaded down with foil packets (I dislike getting foil packets in subscription boxes) and advert cards.

Overall, I’m a little bummed that this is basically the same box with a product card added but at $5 per quarter, I can’t complain too much. Even though I don’t like or can’t use some of these products, I can pass these on to a friend or family member.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Coloring and Classics Subscription Box Review (October 2020)


Hello Lovelies,

 

I’m back again with October’s Coloring and Classics Box. It arrived on October 29, so it was a little late getting to me (apparently, there was some kind of shipping delay). Adult coloring books and activity books are great stress relievers as well as great items to use while carving out a little ‘me time’. Because I’m such a fan of adult coloring books and activity books, I was eager to give this box a go.

 

Before I tell you what I received in October’s Coloring and Classics Box, let me tell you more about the box. 



What is Coloring and Classics? It’s a monthly subscription box that contains one hardcover book in your chosen genre, an adult coloring book, and an adult activity book.

There are two options: a Coffee option, which will contain 12oz of premium hand roasted coffee in your choice of ground or whole bean and a No Coffee option.

There are seven genres to choose from: Acclaimed Fiction, Acclaimed Nonfiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Romance, or Sci-Fi.

Your first box will contain a pack of colored pencils. Each box is 2 to 3 times the value of what you pay.

Cost: No Coffee Option: $18.99 (shipping included) Coffee Option: $30.99 (shipping included)


How it is packaged: The box is a sturdy cardboard (there’s no outer packaging) and on the inside. The items were wrapped in lime green tissue paper.

Is a product card included? There was no product card included but most of the items did have prices listed on them. 

Website: Coloring and Classics or Amazon (not affiliate links)

What I received in October’s Coloring and Classics

(I selected the No Coffee option and Romance Genre)



-Merciless by Diana Palmer (hardback, no price)—this is a 2011 release and, while the cover looks familiar, I don’t think I’ve read it. The size of the book and the fact the book has no price on it makes me think that this was a book club feature. I’m not mad that I received this, especially since it’s a hardback and an author I enjoy.

-Holiday Hacks by Keith Bradford ($14.99)—this is a book filled with tips and tricks that could be useful during the holidays. I’m not thrilled that this book was included in this month’s box. It’s not something that I’d reach for and most of the tips are items that are common knowledge. I don’t consider this an activity book.

-Kaleidoscope Coloring Magnificent Creatures and More (no price)—the coloring book was a little banged up when it arrived and that had to have happened before it was packaged because the box arrived in perfect condition. The cover was bent and the spine was pealing apart. The paper is a nice heavy quality although the pictures are printed on both sides. This is a nice adult coloring book but it’s slightly disappointing that some of the images in this book are the same ones in the last coloring book they sent. 

I also receive a chupa chups lollipop in the strawberry and cream.



Total value of October’s Coloring and Classics box:  The only price listed was for the book, which was $14.99

My Overall ThoughtsI’m not as happy with October’s box as I was with September’s. The coloring book was damaged, and every image from the one I received last month was in this month’s coloring book. I was disappointed that I received Holiday Hacks rather than an actual activity book. With this arriving late due to ‘shipping issues’ I’m wondering if the company had to send me another box and I received the leftovers.

Overall, I will read the Diana Palmer book but I’m just not as happy with this box. I hope that next month’s box will be better.  

What I would like to see in future boxes:

-I would like to see a tea option for us non-coffee drinkers.

-It would be nice to have a subgenre offer

-I would like to see additional coloring implements included in each box (such as sharpeners, pencil cases/pouches, blenders, burnishers, and such)

-I would like to see an array of coloring books rather than just the same images repeating each month. 

 

Monday, November 2, 2020

A Little Country Christmas by Carolyn Brown, Hope Ramsay Rochelle Alers, A.J. Pine


If you’re looking for a collection of short Christmas romances, then you’ll want to pick up A Little Country Christmas. Not only is it filled with heartwarming holiday romances, they’re perfectly paced, well-developed, and a delightful addition to your holiday reading.

Publisher: Forever  | Genre: Contemporary (Christmas) Romances  | Source: | Publisher 



The Perfect Christmas by Carolyn Brown

Rating: 4.5 Cups

Rugged cowboy Landon Griffin can't help being smitten by single mom Dixie Boudreaux and her baby girl. To help win their hearts, he wants to give them both the perfect holiday at Longhorn Ranch -- baking cookies, trimming the tree, building snowmen, and the whole works. But when nothing seems to go right, he might need a Christmas miracle to help him out of the mess.

This is the last installment in the Longhorn Canyon series and, while it was a lovely conclusion, I’m so sad to see this series end as it was one of my favorites.

Landon and Dixie have formed this amazing friendship but with Landon’s future plans up in the air, they’ve been fighting their feelings. As the two embark on creating the perfect Christmas for Dixie’s baby girl they realize you can only fight your feelings for so long.

This was such a fun and flirty Christmas romance. Dixie and Landon was such a fun, lovely couple you couldn’t help but to root for them as they encountered one Christmas caper after the other. While this was a short story, with the friendship established from the start, it had a nice and unrushed pace.

Cowboy Christmas at Heart by A.J. Pine

Rating: 4 Cups

For Deputy Sheriff Daniela Garcia, no hometown tradition makes her happier than the Meadow Valley Holiday Light Parade. This year she's planning for the sheriff's office to have the most dazzling lights. But when the new mayor -- and certified grinch -- threatens to cancel the event, Dani will have to show him the true meaning of Christmas.

If you love a redeemed Grinch, this is the short romance is for you.

Peyton’s returned to his hometown as mayor and he’s already rubbing people the wrong way with the changes he’s making to their holiday light parade. Dani’s not thrilled to be working under Peyton, she’s even less thrilled that he’s ruining the magic of Christmas. When the two are thrown together, there’s more than Christmas magic in the air. Will the two of them be able to work out a high school misunderstanding to have a chance at romance?

I really enjoyed this one. The problems with Dani and Peyton stemmed from an event in high school then trickled over into their adult lives. Now that they’re working together, they finally have a chance to clear the air but there’s still some issues looming over them. Both of them have valid and rather heavy reasons for their feeling towards Christmas and it was interesting watching them work through their issues.

If you’re looking for a second chance type of Christmas romance, I think you’ll enjoy watching Dani redeem Christmas for Peyton.

Home for the Holidays by Rochelle Alers

Rating: 4 Cups

Pastry chef Iris Nelson is looking forward to spending Christmas on Cavanaugh Island with her best friend's family. But she wasn't expecting to celebrate with their very handsome visitor on leave from Afghanistan. Is their attraction just the glow of the season or a gift to enjoy forever?

This one was a little heavy but so rewarding.

When Iris picks up a man in a bar, she doesn’t expect to see him again but imagine her surprise when her mystery man turns out to be her best friend’s brother. It’s obvious that Collier and Iris have a connection but there’s some issues Collier must address if he wants a relationship with Iris.

I wasn’t expecting this book to be as heavy as it was. Iris is recovering from an abusive marriage and Collier’s dealing with PTSD. While they’re good together, he knows he has to try to get his PTSD under control to be with Iris.

Not only was this a romance filled with family, friendship, and healing, it has some yummy looking recipes as well.

Joy to the World by Hope Ramsay

4 Cups

Retired music teacher Brenda McMillan has lost her holiday spirit, but reluctantly agrees to fill in for the director of the Magnolia Harbor Christmas Chorale -- even though Dr. James Killough, the town's biggest Christmas enthusiast, is the group's accompanist. Will he have enough Christmas magic to mend her broken heart?

This one is a little slow at the start but give it chance because it does pick up and you’ll be glad you did. 

When James tries to recruit Brenda as the accompanist for their Christmas Chorale, he’s determined not to let her status as the town’s Grinch get in the way. Brenda’s determined to have nothing to do with Christmas but when James refuses to give up, she starts to realize she might just be missing something and the handsome doctor is getting a little hard to refuse.

This was such a sweet story. Brenda and James was such a lovely couple and I was rooting for them from the start. She does have some things that she needs to work on but James realizes that she also needs to get her out of her own head. Little by little, he finds a way to work Christmas into her life and by doing so, she slowly lets him into her heart.