Thursday, December 26, 2019

Review: Address For Murder

Address For Murder Address For Murder by Tonya Kappes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in Tonya Kappes new mail carrier series. I like Bernie a lot. She is 50, a single parent to an adult son and works as a mail carrier in a small town. Her husband is deceased. He cheated on her throughout the marriage. I think that alone complicates things for Bernie. She has a male friend but it has been hard for her to move on. If your thinking this is a cozy, right? Yes, it is. But it does have a romance storyline that has been as strong, in my opinion, as the mysteries. For me, it works well. Bernie is like a lot of women who find themselves single at 50 after being a couple for many years. You are dealing with a variety of feelings while navigating your new role in life. You’re still a mom, you still feel married but neither child nor husband is in the home and well meaning friends are ready for you to date. I enjoy this part of the ongoing storyline and it is this storyline that makes me recommend starting with the first book and going in order. The mystery is interesting with several obvious suspects. The trouble is, none of them seem to be the right one. I kept changing my mind! There were also some surprises. I’m not going further with that as then you wouldn’t need to read the book.
You can read it as a stand-alone if you insist. I recommend in order with Tonya Kappes books. She tends to build worlds with interesting characters, fun pets and quaint towns. You are easily invested from the start and you don’t want to miss anything. Once you open a book, you will find yourself transported, a member of her small towns. Get comfortable and enjoy the people, gossip and mystery. There is ice tea, coffee and plenty of good food. Pet the dogs and mind the cats. Life is going to be good for a few hours.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Review: Christmas Spells: Witch Cozy Mystery

Christmas Spells: Witch Cozy Mystery Christmas Spells: Witch Cozy Mystery by Morgana Best
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Kitchen Witch Series is one of my favorite series. The books in it never fail to lift my spirits. Christmas Spells did exactly that. I have been sick for awhile with it just worsening, which at holiday time can be so depressing. Amelia, Camino and her onesies, Alder and everyone, plus a Christmas theme, was just what I needed. The book is a quick read though, maybe it’s in part that, time flies when you’re having fun. This book has a visit from a ghost of Christmas Past needing help before the scary ghost of Christmas Future catches up. Christmas Spells is one Christmas cozy you don’t want to miss!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Review: Snowfall at Moonglow

Snowfall at Moonglow Snowfall at Moonglow by Deborah Garner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I look forward to reading the new Moonglow Christmas book every year. This is the fifth book. Each book does have a theme to it. So while you don’t have to read them in order, or even read all of them, I highly suggest you do. The staff at Timberton Hotel is the same year to year. The guest list has regulars and new people. They feel like family, especially if you choose to read the series. It is hard to imagine a Christmas missing any of the regulars, though it has happened. In this book we are waiting for snow..just as I am waiting for snow in real life. I am wishing hard, you have no idea. The activities, the cookie exchange, the feast, Christmas morning..everything is included to give you the Christmas you dream of. I miss Christmas with my family. The last time I was able to be home for it was six years ago. I read these books each year, adding on the new one, because while I’m reading, I’m part of it. If you just want to feel Christmas, without a bunch of commercialism, get these books and be swept away to the Christmas of your dreams.
I think I forget to mention in my reviews that cookie recipes are included in each book. I’m always amazed at all the different cookies. The recipes have a range to them from easy to complicated, (but not so complicated that you can’t do them. Just a bit more difficult for non bakers). The author has also released a wonderful cookbook this year, Sweet Treats, that also has the recipes.
I don’t usually put this in a review but if you need a gift for someone who enjoys reading, Christmas and baking, a fabulous gift would be the collection along with the recipe book. I have the books on my Kindle and I would still swoon to have them all gifted in print. Give the gift to yourself or to a reading loved one. They are truly Christmas Magic.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Review: Possession

Possession Possession by Gillian Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.
Possession tells the story of a marriage gone bad. It starts out a bit slow. I was okay with that as I got to know and understand Anna, her family and her motivation. Once she meets Karl, the pace picks up but it becomes a difficult read due to the violence that is being done.
It is easy to be an armchair judge. I imagine a few who read this will do that. It can hard to believe that someone would chase after a spouse as Anna tells us Karl did. I imagine a few will think she is exaggerating or is paranoid. I’ve been in this situation. The one thing you can say about domestic violence is that it isn’t the same for everyone. Every situation is different in my experience. I’ve been in shelters and in therapy groups. No one exactly matched my story..or anyone else’s. I live an eight hour plane ride from my family. I’ve had people say oh enough time has passed or you live far enough away. I don’t answer. They won’t understand because they have their notion of what domestic violence is. I stayed until my youngest went to college. Judge me if you want. You weren’t the one who had divorce and protection orders thrown at them while a loaded gun was being shoved in the faces of their children finally being held to yours. You can’t say what Anna did or didn’t do was wrong or right. You weren’t there. You don’t know how crazy it can get. I hold a lot of what happened to us inside. The worst of it. I’m ashamed. I feel guilty. I suspect the same is true for Anna. The story for me, rang with honesty. If the author did not live it, she knows enough about it. If you are interested in domestic violence, read this book.
If you are in a domestic violence situation, plan carefully and do your best to get out. Seek assistance at thehotline.org, it has an emergency exit that will close the window quickly. The phone number in the States is 1−800−799−7233.

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Review: Dogs n Dracula: A Road Trip Through Romania

Dogs n Dracula: A Road Trip Through Romania Dogs n Dracula: A Road Trip Through Romania by Jacqueline Lambert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the first caravanning travel book I have read. Actually other “travel” type books I read were walking trips on mountain trails. I haven’t been to Europe and certainly not to Romania. This book made me want to go. I love the writing style Ms Lambert has. It is almost as if you are sitting, enjoying coffee, while you listen to her vacation stories. It was interesting and fun. She didn’t just tell the fun parts though. She told everything. The scary roads. The trouble finding a place to stay. Even the issue of getting decent sandals in a foreign country. You could imagine it all unfolding while you read. I would definitely recommend this book if you are planning a road trip to Romania. There are plenty of tips in it. I would also recommend it to armchair travelers like me. I think I would actually enjoy this more on audio.
*I received an ecopy of this book, through BookSprout, for review consideration. I voluntarily reviewed it.*

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Review: Sweet Treats: Recipes from the Moonglow Christmas Series

Sweet Treats: Recipes from the Moonglow Christmas Series Sweet Treats: Recipes from the Moonglow Christmas Series by Deborah Garner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This dessert cookbook if taken from the Moonglow Christmas Series. I love this series so much. I make it a part of my Christmas traditions to read this series every December. I have made some of the recipes in it. I’m not heavy on sweets but my guy is. The recipes range from easy to complicated but doable. I love that the other chose to group them with the book that they appear in. Each section opens with excepts from the books. I make the glazed cinnamon nuts often. I did make them without the cinnamon and they were very tasty glazed nuts. The Lemon Bars are a favorite. Potato chip cookies were a surprise and a hit when I made them, (super easy, too). The Dutch Sour Cream Cookies are tasty and have found there way to being Easter cookies as well. I have made many others but these stick out in my mind as being tasty and easy. There is a wide variety of cookies here. Enough to host your own cookie exchange. There are a few recipes for gluten free, a vegan recipe, fudge recipes, homemade eggnog, (so delicious!), brownies, butter rolls and candy. Disclaimer: I do have a cookie recipe included in here. I did not review it though I make them every year. All opinions expressed are based on my experience with the recipes. The review is voluntary.

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Review: The Callie's Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook

The Callie's Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook The Callie's Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook by Jenny Kales
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This cookbook is from the cozy mystery series Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries. Each book contains recipes. Those recipes and new ones are compiled in this cookbook.
I love Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries. I was hooked on it from the first book. I tried recipes from each book as I read them. I found them delicious and easy. Many have become family favorites. When the author announced this cookbook I could not contain my excitement. I had been dying for it. Now I am dying for a print version.
For the ebook there is a content list that will take you directly to the recipe. I note that because I have come across cookbooks that do not do this. I love that the author has the recipes marked with “new” or the book title. While there are a number of Greek recipes Midwest comfort food is included. The cookbook isn’t intended to be one type of food. It is food that a character in the authors series cooks, eats and serves. Callie is of Greek heritage and lives in Wisconsin. The recipes reflect that. There are excerpts from the books and some new bonus scenes that fans of the series will not want to miss.
Now on to the recipes. Most are easy. All that I have tried have been delicious. I am not Greek and had limited exposure to Greek food, (mainly from a restaurant in downtown Chicago close to DePaul University). I now live in Alaska and sorely missed spanakopita. I really got into Greek food through this series. So I’m no authority on Greek food. I am with tasty food and comfort food though. This book meets those expectations. The recipes I tried that are now made frequently are Avgolemono, (if anyone is ill, please make them this soup. They will love you for it), Lazy Spanakopita, Kota Kapama, Stifado and Rizogalo.
New recipes I made and loved are Feta Cheese Bites, (so good while reading), Tzatziki, (not going to lie, I will eat this like sandwich filling. I love this), Skordalia, (another thing to make when someone is ill. The first time I made this my other half thought I had made soup and added broth because it was thick. I had to explain to him, as I started over, insert eye roll. The extra broth just turned it into a tasty soup but it wasn’t what I was going for, haha), Spring Spanaorizo, (rice!), and Pastitsio. There are a number of dessert recipes, too. My favorite remains Melopita, it’s easy peasey and holy moley tasty.
My recommendations on this cookbook is a big, “order it now.” I’m planning on getting a print copy too. If you are new to Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries, give the series a whirl. They are cozy mysteries, meaning anyone from your teen to your granny can enjoy it.

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Review: The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold My rating: 5 of 5 stars ...