Friday, December 7, 2018

Review: Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing: A Collection of 16 Cozy Mystery Novellas Featuring Female Sleuths

Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing: A Collection of 16 Cozy Mystery Novellas Featuring Female Sleuths Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing: A Collection of 16 Cozy Mystery Novellas Featuring Female Sleuths by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this Christmas collection! It has stories from some of my favorite authors and a few from new to me authors. With 16 stories there is something for everyone to enjoy. The fact that proceeds go to charity sweetens the deal. I’m happy with it. I can share the collection with younger teen readers in my family making this a wonderful addition to our Christmas cheer notebook. *Our Christmas cheer notebook is a small book that list the Christmas books we feel are good anytime of the year.*

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Review: The Trouble with Turkeys

The Trouble with Turkeys The Trouble with Turkeys by Kathi Daley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this cozy mystery. I like the turkey farm. It had a fall reading feel for me. There are a number of people in this story. I had to stop and remember who two of them were. It made for a bigger suspects pool though. I had no idea there where different types of turkeys. I learned something new!

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Review: Christmas at Blue Hydrangeas

Christmas at Blue Hydrangeas Christmas at Blue Hydrangeas by Marianne Sciucco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I needed a book to give me the warm fuzzy feeling of the spirit of Christmas. This one gave me that. The owner of The Blue Hydrangeas B&B waits for her husband and son to come home for Christmas. It is Christmas Eve, a snowstorm has blown in and she hasn’t heard from them. Will they make it in time for Christmas?
This story will pull on your heart. Have Kleenex nearby. There will be a couple areas where you may tear up. I want to read more of this B&B. My understanding is that the female lead in this story develops Alzheimer’s. This book is a prequel to that story. My mom is going through that now. Judging by this story, I will need to buy the multipack of Kleenex.

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Review: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever CD

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever CD The Best Christmas Pageant Ever CD by Barbara Robinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book. I truly enjoyed listening to narrator, Elaine Stritch. She was awesome! It was like tumbling back into childhood, sitting crisscrossed applesauce on the library floor enchanted by the children’s librarian. I highly recommend this version. If you have a reluctant reader, this story may be one that breathes a whisper of comedic magic into their ears. It makes me wish I had a carful of children, cocoa in the cup holders, listening while we drive around looking at Christmas lights.

I listened to my librarian back in 1973. I read the book various times after in the 1970’s. I read it again in the 1980’s to my oldest children and again in the 1990’s to my youngest. In 2008 I read it to my grandson. I read it again in 2015. Discovering this Audible version was a delight! I plan to listen to it again, this Christmas season, with more grandchildren and my great grandson. Instead of being in a car, we will meet by video call. The magic will still be there..as will our cups of cocoa and Christmas lights.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Review: Candy Canes & Corpses

Candy Canes & Corpses Candy Canes & Corpses by Abby L. Vandiver
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I purchased this as a box set. I received one story. There was a lot of mix up regarding it. I received word the best thing to do was to request a refund. I did. Amazon promptly refunded it. The following morning I received a message from the main author in the set. I was assured it was fixed and complete. Believing this person, and wanting to support some of my favorite authors, I once again purchased the box set. I once again only received one book. Surprise, surprise it was a book from the main author. It had nothing to do with Christmas and wasn’t, in my opinion, very good. It most certainly was not what I was promised. The author of the “boxset” had, by this time, informed me that another author who was to be in the set was lying to me. This author has not once, in the few years that I have read her books, ever lied to me. I was shocked and realized who was lying to me. This alleged box set has one story in it. I would be very careful in the future of box sets that have the main author in them. Personally I feel that Abby Vandiver lied to me. I am not likely to purchase anything from her again. I don’t appreciate feeling that I was lied to and being told that it was another, (innocent), author who lied. Not cool. I did not attempt to get my money back the second time. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I hope it was worth the sixty cents the author received.
I did wait a few days before writing this review to give the author time to contact me. I was hoping for an apology, an explanation, a question of, “how can I make this right?” Anything. I got silence. Nothing was said to me even as the box set was quietly pulled from Amazon. I don’t want any response now.
Three of the authors who were, in my opinion, duped into this box set, have released their stories in an authorized boxed set called, Cozy Christmas Crimes. I would recommend buying the authorized box set.

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Review: A Killing in the Hills

A Killing in the Hills A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that you will either really like or really hate. I think it will depend on what type of story you enjoy. My advice is to read the book to decide. Borrow it from your library if you aren’t sure you want to invest.
I was invested in this book. It was an emotional book for me to read. My family has lived in Appalachia for centuries. My body is in Alaska now but my heart, my soul, my blood remain rooted there. In my opinion the author did an excellent job creating a realistic portrait of the people, the area, the poverty and the complicated drug problem. The characters might not all be readily likable. Sometimes people are flawed. Sometimes the way they were raised plays a big part in their public personality and things they do. You don’t know this about them when you first meet them. Most people don’t jump at the opportunity to tell acquaintances their deepest secrets.
The story broke my heart but I could not stop reading. I think one of the scariest things I took from this story was the knowledge that this story isn’t just playing out in Appalachia. I came to this small town ten years ago. The town reminded me of where my roots are but did not have the problem. Sadly, a few years ago, I stopped being able to say that. Drugs had arrived and it didn’t take long for my town to match my heart’s home. If you have an interest in drugs, crime, small towns and mysteries that take an unexpected turn, try this book.
This book is the first in a series. It ends complete yet has a cliffhanger. I know, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. But it is accurate. The mystery is complete yet, in my opinion, there is a cliffhanger.

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Review: Cozy Christmas Crimes - A Cozy Christmas Box Set

Cozy Christmas Crimes - A Cozy Christmas Box Set Cozy Christmas Crimes - A Cozy Christmas Box Set by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was blown away by this box set. I was familiar with all the authors but had only read books by two of the authors, Tonya Kappes and Jenna St James. Mona Marple and Summer Prescott were new to me in the sense that I had not yet read their books.
The first story is Christmas Parties Are Murder by Jenna St James. This was a hilarious cozy. If you need to read a quick story that will lift your spirits, choose this one. It was super fun and will quickly hook you into wanting more from Nan and Amanda. You might even find yourself looking forward to your holiday office party.
The second story is The Candy Cane Killer by Mona Marple. The entire time I read this story, I honestly felt like I was back in my teen years reading Nancy Drew! If you are a Nancy Drew fan and are feeling nostalgic for her, choose this story. The sleuths are teen sisters making this an excellent story to share with the pre-teen and up in your life. I am looking into her books to see about a Christmas gift for the special pre-teen in my life.
The third book is A Charming Blend by Tonya Kappes. The characters in this story are from her Killer Coffee series and her Magical Cures series. If you are hoping to put a little paranormal magic into your holiday, choose this one. If you aren’t familiar with the two series you will become interested in them, I’m sure. If you are familiar, you might want to catch up a bit with the Killer Coffee series. This blend has a spoiler for it if you are not caught up.
The fourth book is A Lime to Kill by Summer Prescott. If you are feeling the need to completely get lost in a somewhat complicated relationship cozy and forget the hustle bustle going on, choose this story. I love the relationship between mom and daughter. It is a very realistic portrait of real relationships, the deep love yet growing up complexity that happens when your child is suddenly an adult. This was a carefully crafted mystery that builds slow then springs on you, leading to non-stop reading. This is a, ‘just one more chapter, oh my I’m done book.’
This holiday set will have you de-stressed in no time. Definitely add this one to your Christmas reading list, (it will work for Christmas in July too!).

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Review: Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing: A Collection of 16 Cozy Mystery Novellas Featuring Female Sleuths

Sleigh Bells and Sleuthing: A Collection of 16 Cozy Mystery Novellas Featuring Female Sleuths by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson ...