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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Friday, November 9, 2018

Review: Dracul

Dracul Dracul by Dacre Stoker
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Dracula was the first horror story I read as a teenager. It scared me but I loved the story. The way it sucked you in and left you shivering in a drafty castle, though whether you shivered from the chill or from fear you could not say. It remains a favorite of mine. When I came across Dracul and learned it was written by a descending relative of Bram Stoker, I was so excited to read it. It did not disappoint me at all. I loved going back to the atmosphere of terror yet a longing to know the story completely. I was enchanted once again. The book travels through time, location and journal entries. There is more than one POV. I was afraid I would get lost but it all came together beautifully. I was spellbound each time I picked it up to read further. Bram’s childhood had gripped me from the start and I kept wondering what he was. Matilda, I loved this brave, loyal sister. Nanna Ellen intrigued and frightened me. Their story will not be forgotten. For me, it has its place next to Dracula.
Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker did a phenomenal job with this book. It took a long time to read and this was with me picking it up as often as I could, reading way into the night. It was worth the lost sleep.

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Review: Asking for Truffle

Asking for Truffle Asking for Truffle by Dorothy St. James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I fell in love with the cover of this book the very first time I saw it. I adored the pup pictured. Finally, I got the book! It was everything I hoped for. Every bit of entertaining as the cover promised me. I love Stella, the cover dog, even more! There are a few things going on with the story’s main character, Penn. I like Penn a lot. I think her and Stella are a great match. I also liked the other characters to various degrees. I love that the author gave everyone good and bad parts. It made choosing the villain hard but also kept things real. How many people do you know who are totally either good or evil? That’s right. Most people are a mix of good and bad. I really enjoyed this story. I love chocolate so reading all about it was no hardship at all. If you are thinking about choosing this book, my recommendation is to go for it. I got caught up in the story fairly quickly. I hope you will, too.

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Review: Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery

Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery by Jamie Rutland Gillespie My rating: 5 of 5 stars ...