Saturday, March 2, 2024

March 3rd's Sunday/Monday Post

Hi all!  Welcome to this week's Sunday/Monday post where I will be linking up to:

Sunday Post
Sunday Salon
Stacking the Shelves
Mailbox Monday
It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Quarter end close started at work this week, and it's crazy as usual.  But it hasn't help by the fact that I got sick.  I know, I know, what was I thinking?

I just had a sore throat on Wednesday, but it turned into congestion and a bit of a cough with a fever by Friday.  The downside of working from home is that there is little excuse to call in sick if you can work.  I wanted to call in sick, but it was day 1 of close.  I had work I had to do.  Hopefully, I will be feeling well enough by Monday that it won't be an issue, but I am taking it easy all weekend.

It helps that it is raining off and on.  Lots of incentive to curl up with a book, read, and doze for a while.

In other news, I completely cleared off my DVR Friday after work.  First time it's had nothing on it since the beginning of February 2022.  You have no idea how happy that makes me.

This Past Week on the Blog:


This Coming Week on the Blog:


Sunday - Sunday/Monday Post
Monday - Movie Review: A Prince in Paradise
Tuesday - Book Review: Black List, White Death by Steve Hockensmith
Wednesday - TV Show Review: Superman and Lois - Season 3
Thursday - Book Review: Knot Ready for Murder by Mary Marks
Friday - Friday Post
Saturday - Weekly TV Thoughts

Book Haul:

Of course, getting sick and being busy at work didn't keep me from getting three new books.

Dennis Shock, the author of Murder on Liberty Bay, lowered the Kindle edition to free for a few days last week.  How could I pass that up?  It's a culinary cozy mystery set in the Pacific Northwest.  I'd heard of it before, so I could hardly pass up free.

The timing on this was just perfect, as well.  The Blingsters by Andrea C. Neil had just crossed my radar when it's Kindle edition went on sale a few days later.  Of course, I had to grab it.  This one sounds like fun.  It's set in Florida, and I'm expecting lots of hijinks from it.

I don't have Amazon Prime.  I was looking to buy a game, so I had to do something to get my total high enough for free shipping.  You understand how it is.  (Granted, I just needed about $5, not a hardback, even if it was a little cheaper than normal.)  I bought Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead.  I've heard lots of great things about it, including from an author who writes a similarly themed series.  The main character is a magician and he gets involved in a locked room mystery.  Sounds good, right?

What I'm Currently Reading:

Friday after work, I finished up In Sunshine and in Shadow, the newest Molly Murphy Mystery from Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles.  In fact, it's book 20, which I find hard to believe.  Molly gets involved in murder in the Catskills just as the time of resorts is about to begin.  I really enjoyed it.  I'll have my full review up on release day, which is March 12th.  (Assuming I get it written, that is.)

So now, I'm reading Lone Wolf, the latest Orphan X thriller from Gregg Hurwitz.  Quite obviously, this is a departure for me since it is not a cozy mystery.  But I do enjoy it and like seeing what the characters are up to now.  I'm about a quarter of the way into the book, and it took a bit to get going, but I just finished a great extended action scene.

That's it for me.  Have a great week!

March 2nd's Weekly TV Thoughts

Tracker – I kind of suspected where that one was going early on, but I still liked how it played out.  And I didn’t see the ultimate ending coming.  Definitely better than the second episode.

Wild Card – It was very nice to see more of Max’s dad.  I still think she’s after a long con to get him free.  Anyway, fun episode overall.  And I’m really glad that JJ stood up for himself at the end.  After the way he was used, he would have been stupid to go back.  At least right then.

The Challenge – Yes, I gave in and watched the reunion.  I’m not happy with myself.  And I’ll probably watch next week’s, too.  So much drama over so little.  Really, I hope next week is it.

Survivor – The tribe made the right decision.  I feel like they finally listened to me.  That’s exactly the call they should have made.  Yes, there is an obvious one to vote out next time, but come on, the guy is nothing but a quitter.  I get being tired, but at least you try to push through until the time runs out.  I’m bad at lying, so I get that one.  We will see if they can get it together going forward.

Friday, March 1, 2024

March 1st's Friday Post

 Welcome to March!  Time for this week's Friday Post.  As usual, I will be linking up to:

Book Beginnings
First Line Friday
Friday 56
Book Blogger Hop

My teasers for the first three will be coming from Black List, White Death by Steve Hockensmith.


This is a book that features two novellas with his Holmes on the Range characters.  The series takes place in the American West in the 1890's.  The two main characters are former cowboys who have turned detectives inspired by the tales of Sherlock Holmes that they've read.

Thanks to the eARC of this book, we will have a teaser from both stories.

The book begins with Black List.  And here's how it starts:

Dear Mr. Smythe: 
In the spring, they say, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts  of love…
Well, I’m hoping you know who “they” are, because I’d like a  word with them. I don’t think they know much about young men.  Or old men. Or in-between men.
Your typical man has his fancy turned to love—or women  anyway—year-round.

Yes, these are mysteries, but they have a nice sense of humor to them.

Meanwhile, at 56% we get this quote from White Death.

The trail wasn’t long. Perhaps fifty curving yards at the most.  After I’d been on it half a minute, I could see where it ended—  and why it existed at all.  

Why did it exist?  I'll leave it for you to figure out.

I have fun with these stories, which is no surprise since I enjoy the series.  I'll be back on Tuesday with my review.

Time to turn to this week's Book Blogger Hop.  This question is:

What was your gateway book—the book that made you want to read more—into reading or into a specific genre?

I honestly can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy reading.  I do remember in early elementary school, I got hooked on Little Pilgrim's Progress, a retelling of the classic Pilgrim's Progress but with the main characters being kids.  I would read that back to back multiple times.

In third grade, I got hooked on The Chronicles of Narnia.  Which is ironic since I set aside a Hardy Boys book to read them.  It wasn't until a few years later that I got hooked on mysteries, although even though I would read a wider spectrum of books than I do today.

These days?  As I like to say, I've fallen into mystery and I can't seem to get out.  Not that I'm trying that hard.  There are other books in other genres that do catch my eye, but I have so many mysteries I want to read, I just don't seem to have the time.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 29, 2024

February 2024's Reading Summary

Happy Leap Day!  It's always fun to celebrate the 29th of February, right?  This year, I'm doing it with a look back at what I read in February.

And I got the index updated as well.

All ratings are on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell (Gilded Newport Mysteries #1) – 5

Emma Cross is attending the social event of the year at The Breakers.  While she is distantly related to the hosts, the Vanderbilts, she is also covering it as the society reporter.  The night ends in tragedy when a man falls to his death in front of Emma.  With all the evidence pointing to her brother, Brady, who was up to something that night, Emma starts investigating.  Can she find the truth?

This book does a great job balancing the beginning of the plot with the introduction of Emma and her world.  The plot was great, and I appreciated that Emma fell for some red herrings before she reached the logical conclusion.  The characters are also strong; it was hard to tell if some of them were going to be series regulars or were just suspects for this book.  This book is a tad gray and falls closer to traditional than cozy for me, but that’s a minor issue.  I also appreciated how the time and place came to life and were used by the author.  It’s easy to tell why this series is so popular.  I’m looking forward to reading more soon.

 

Spy School Goes North by Stuart Gibbs (Spy School #11) – 3

Ben and the rest of the gang are in Alaska, training in secret after the events of the previous book.  But they aren’t as secret as they thought they were when someone kidnaps Cyrus.  Naturally, they spring into action to save him, but even if they do, what plot might they uncover?

I’ve been a fan of the series since the beginning, but it is beginning to feel a little too familiar.  It would be nice if we could defeat some recurring characters and move on to some new stories.  Additionally, there are a couple of lectures that threw me out of the book, even when I agreed with the characters.  There’s also a relationship that bothered me on multiple levels.  From a story standpoint, this relationship felt completely forced and the plot relied on it too much.  It just wasn’t earned.  On the other hand, I did enjoy spending time with the characters as always, and the action and laughs kept me turning pages.  Here’s hoping that the next will take things in a fresh direction.

 

The Secrets We Keep by Liz Milliron (Homefront Mysteries #5) – 5

Betty Ahern has just gotten her PI license, and she has a new case, as well.  Private Christopher Lake was raised as an orphan, but he’s started to wonder what really happened to his parents.  With only a St. Christopher medal as a clue, Betty sets out to see what she can learn.  She’s just making progress when someone connected with the case dies.  Can she figure out what is happening before Christopher ships out again?

I’ve enjoyed this series set in Buffalo during World War II, and this was another great entry.  Even before the murder happened, I was hooked by what Betty was learning.  Things only got more interesting the further I got into the book, until I reached the great climax.  There are some timeline issues, but they are mostly annoying and don’t impact the story itself.  Betty is really growing as an investigator, and it was nice to watch her follow some small clues in this book.  The suspects are sharp, and I enjoyed seeing the returning characters again.  There is a sub-plot that flows from the previous book in the series, and a few references to past stories, but nothing that is truly a spoiler.  If you are interested in this time period, you’ll enjoy these books.  If you are already a fan, you’ll enjoy this latest entry.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

 


DM Me for Murder by Sarah E. Burr (Trending Topics Mysteries #3) – 5

Murder is the farthest thing from Coco Cline’s mind that Monday morning.  Instead, she is thrilled that mega-influencer LaTage wants to use Coco’s company, Center of Attention Consulting, to launch her rebranding.  Then Coco arrives at their meeting to find LaTage dead.  With the police asking Coco for help understanding the online world that LaTage inhabited, she can’t help but dig just a little deeper.  Will she be able to uncover a clue that will lead to the killer?

I was really looking forward to this book, and it didn’t disappoint.  Coco and her friends are in top form, and I loved watching their relationships develop.  The plot was fantastic with a couple of great twists and many suspects that Coco had to sort through to reach the logical solution.  If you’re looking for a warm beach getaway, the setting with definitely appeal to you as well.  I love seeing cozy mysteries expanding their themes.  However, if you aren’t super into social media, you’ll still understand everything that happens here, and there’s plenty of talking to suspects face to face.  Fans will be delighted with this book.  If you want a fun, modern cozy, you’ll be glad this series trended to the top of your to be read pile.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

 

Fatal First Edition by Jenn McKinlay (Library Lover’s Mysteries #14) – 4

This book starts out in Chicago, where Lindsey Norris and her husband, Sully, are attending the annual archivist convention.  Lindsey is having a fantastic time, and that includes the train trip back home to Connecticut.  Quite a few of the attendees are also on the train.  However, when Lindsey wakes up the next morning, someone is dead in the compartment next to her and Sully.  Does it have anything to do with the valuable first edition that Lindsey stumbled upon during the keynote address?

One thing I love about cozy mysteries are the familiar locations and characters, so I was happy to see this book found an excuse to spend a lot of time at home while continuing the plot.  The series regulars gave us some great laughs.  Meanwhile, the plot zigs in a different direction part way through, and I was hooked as a result.  Unfortunately, it did make the climax a bit rushed, although it was still logical.  Fans will be pleased with this entry in the series.  If you haven’t started these books yet, you’ll be happy you changed that.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

 

A Scaly Tail of Murder by Jacqueline Vick (Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic Mysteries #5) – 4

Just as Frankie Chandler is trying to adjust to being engaged to Detective Martin Bowers, her ex, Jeff, comes to town.  Rather surprising since she hasn’t seen him since she moved to Arizona from Wisconsin.  He came to town following Charity, a woman he’s just met.  The problem?  Charity turns Jeff down, but she has his keys.  So Frankie agrees to go to the spa where Charity works to retrieve them.  When she arrives, she finds Charity dead with Charity’s pet iguana the only witness.  Can Frankie figure out what is going on?

Yes, this is one of the rare paranormal series I read since Frankie has discovered she really can communicate with animals.  Since the last couple of books have found Frankie out of town, I enjoyed seeing all the regular haunts this time around.  The characters are also fun, although I did have some issues with how Frankie treated Jeff in this book.  Likewise, a couple of times, Frankie seemed to know something we hadn’t seen her learn.  But both are minor overall.  The plot had plenty of viable suspects and some nice surprises before we reached the logical end.  Meanwhile, the characters provided plenty of smiles and laughs.  If you are looking for a light paranormal cozy, you’ll be glad you picked this book up.

 


Yankee Doodle Dead by Carolyn Hart (Death on Demand #10) – 4

Annie Darling is getting ready for the festival that Broward’s Rock is hosting for the fourth of July.  Not only is her bookstore selling at a booth, but she’s on the library board, which is putting everything on, and is the benefit of the proceeds.  Unfortunately, a newcomer to the island is also on the board, and making waves there and all over the island.  So when someone shoots him during the fireworks, the only real question is who didn’t have a motive.  Can Annie and her husband, Max, figure out what happened?

I struggled a bit with the first half of the book.  It was obvious early on who the victim would be.  While we were setting up suspects and motives, his antics were such an over the top cliché, it wasn’t always fun.  Fortunately, things get better once Annie and Max start investigating.  We get a somber yet logical climax, but we still have fun with all the series regulars along the way.  I hope the victims get a little less predictable in future books, but series fans will still enjoy this one.

 

Mission Manhattan by James Ponti (City Spies #5) – 5

As this book opens, the team is in Venice.  MI6 has intercepted a threat against a climate change rally that is featuring Beatriz Santos, a teen who has gained quite a following with her outspokenness on the topic.  Since she is from Brazil, Rio has been tasked with getting close to her.  It’s a good thing they are there, since things don’t go according to plan.

But Venice was just the beginning.  As the team looks into what happened there, they realize that the danger isn’t over yet.  Can they figure out what is happening in time to stop it?

I was anxious to dive into this book after the cliffhanger from the last book, and it did not disappoint.  It did take a while to get back to cliffhanger, and the answers only lead to more questions.  While I could have done without the climate change theme, I was happy to see those mini-lectures never lasted too long.  Instead, we get plenty of surprises and fun as the City Spies try to figure out exactly what is going on so they can stop it.  Meanwhile, I still love these characters and their relationship.  Fans of all ages will love their latest adventure and be left wanting to find out what happens next.

 

Once Upon a Murder by Samantha Larsen (Lady Librarian Mysteries #2) – 4

It’s 1784, and spinster Tiffany Woodall is hoping to put the chaos and intrigue of the last few months behind her.  However, when she finds a dead body on her way to work at the castle one morning, she knows that isn’t going to happen.  When the local bookseller, the man Tiffany loves, is accused of the crime, she can’t help but get involved.  Can she figure out what happened?

The first book in this series was one of my favorites of last year.  This book wasn’t as good, but it was still enjoyable.  As with the first book, the mystery takes a backseat at times.  However, here the other storylines weren’t as compelling.  This is especially true of the romance.  I was glad it wasn’t dragged out too much and I bought it in a way I wouldn’t in other series, but I wasn’t as invested in it.  When the murder really kicks in during the second half, I was more fully on board, and I love how that was resolved.  Likewise, I still loved all the characters and did enjoy seeing what happened to them.  Fans of the first will want to pick this up.  If you missed the first, you’ll definitely want to start there.

 NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


Ashes to Ashes, Crust to Crust by Mindy Quigley (Deep Dish Mysteries #2) – 3

Summer is winding down soon, which means that the crowds will be disappearing from Geneva Bay, Wisconsin.  Unfortunately for Delilah O’Leary, she hasn’t earned quite as much as she needs during her deep dish pizza restaurant’s first season opened to survive the coming winter season comfortably.  Which means she needs to win the upcoming “Taste of Wisconsin” contest held during the annual Labor Day festival.  She’s been trying to prefect her recipe for weeks.  However, she is less than thrilled when she learns who the judge is going to be.

All that takes a back seat when someone drops dead in the new juice bar in town.  Delilah happens to be on hand, and she can’t help but get involved in the investigation.  But can she figure out what happened?

I enjoyed the first book in the series, and was looking forward to returning to the great characters and setting.  Unfortunately, the plot tries to do too much.  Early on, I was enjoying trying to figure out what was part of the mystery and what was part of any subplots, but when we reached the climax, things were just too rushed because of everything else going on.  In fact, it felt like the mystery was undercooked overall, and I was left with a major question about why a character did what they did.  Which is a shame because the characters and setting were great once again.  I love Delilah and the rest of the crew, and I’d love to visit the town.  There are some fun laughs, including in the recipes.  Seriously, they are written by some of the characters, and they are great.  I already have book three, so hopefully, the plot is stronger in that one.

 

Murder Out of Character by Olivia Matthews (Peach Coast Library Mysteries #2) – 3

The summer fun raising campaign for the library is kicking off with a cocktail reception, and Marvey Harris is in the thick of things thanks to her job.  The event goes well, but as the staff is cleaning up, Marvey finds a list of names left behind by someone.  She’s intrigued since her good friend Spence is on it as is a man who has just died.

Two days later, another person on the list has died.  Marvey can’t help but think she’s found a list that someone is targeting, but she is having a hard time getting anyone to take her seriously.  Especially since no one seems to be able to figure out a solid connection between the four people on the list.  Can Marvey discover what is going on before a killer strikes again?

I’d intended to get back and finish this series, and I was happy to see the main characters again.  While the supporting players could have been a bit better developed, I love Marvey and her friends.  They are just wonderful.  I was intrigued by the plot, but it didn’t quite work for me.  The pacing was off, with some repetitive scenes.  While the killer and motive did make sense, there was still a major part of the plot that was never explained.  If you are a plot first person, I’d recommend you skip this book.  But if you enjoy reading about strong bonds between characters, you will want to check this one out.

 

Take the Honey and Run by Jennie Marts (Bee Keeping Mysteries #1) – 4

Bailey Biggs has returned to her small town in Colorado to help her grandmother, who has recently broken her foot.  But when she arrives, she finds Granny Bee yelling at the town’s founder.  The next morning, she finds the man dead from his honey allergy, a jar of Granny Bee’s signature Hot Spiced Honey on his table.  With the sheriff questioning Granny Bee, Bailey jumps in to figure out what really happened.  Can she find a sweet killer?

I’d heard lots of good things when this book came out, and I’m glad I finally got a chance to read it.  The book jumps right in, and we met a group of characters at once.  It took me a while to separate them all, but I was able to.  The main characters are strong, and the suspects are good.  The plot also started quickly, and it kept me buzzing from one suspect to the next until we reached the logical solution that wrapped everything well.  The book was funny, although I do feel it got a little too zany at times.  If this book finds you craving honey, you’ll be delighted in the six recipes at the end.  If you enjoy cozies on the comedic side, you’ll be glad you picked up this book.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Book Review: Take the Honey and Run by Jennie Marts (Bee Keeping Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Main characters and a strong mystery
Cons: A bit too zany at times for me
The Bottom Line:
Honey allergy
But who would kill so sweetly?
A tasty debut




Is Granny Bee a Killer Bee?

I know they say don’t judge a book by the cover, but I’ve got to admit, a wonderfully punny title will catch my attention.  I love a good pun; I can’t help it.  So, it was only an already full reading schedule that kept me from reading Take the Honey and Run when it first came out last summer.  I heard so much positive buzz about the book that I had to pick it up, and I’m glad I did.

Mystery author Bailey Biggs returns home to Humble Hills, Colorado, to help her grandmother since she broke her foot.  Her grandmother is affectionately known as Granny Bee since she is a bee keeper, and her honey is sold all over the town.

When Bailey arrives, she witnesses Granny Bee threatening the town founder and mayor.  Unfortunately, the next day, Bailey finds the man dead in his house.  The victim was very vocal about his honey allergy, and it appears he died from an allergic reaction.  In fact, there’s a jar of Granny Bee’s signature Hot Spiced Honey on his table.  Naturally, the sheriff wants to question Granny Bee, but Bailey doesn’t think her grandmother is a killer.  Can she figure out who the sweet killer is?

The book doesn’t waste any time.  It quickly introduces us to the characters, and then gets right to the murder.  In fact, I wish the book had spent just a tad more time introducing us to the characters.  We meet a group of supporting characters at once, and it took me a while to sort out who all of them were.  But I was able to do that as the book progressed.  It helps that the main cast are strong, and the suspects were good.

The plot didn’t lag at all.  We had several viable suspects, and the clues and red herrings kept me buzzing until we reached the end of the book.  When we did reach the end, all the clues and red herrings were explained.

One thing I’d heard about the book was how funny it was.  There were some great scenes, but some of the madcap adventures went a little too far for me.  A couple of times, I thought that Bailey and her side kick and best friend, Evie, went a little far, even for a cozy, in their investigation.  But those scenes also provided some great laughs.

There’s plenty of talk about food, especially honey, in this book.  So you’ll be happy to find six recipes at the end.  I’m not a fan of spicy food, so I’ll let someone else enjoy the Hot Spiced Honey recipe, but the Honey Banana Bread does sound good.

I’m glad I finally took time to read Take the Honey and Run.  I will definitely be back to visit the characters again in book two.  Fans of cozies on the comedic side will be glad they picked up this book.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Movie Review: CrimeTime - Freefall

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Plenty of fun moments with good characters
Cons: Mystery could have been stronger; too many over the top characters
The Bottom Line:
Actress detective
Mystery could be stronger
But plenty of fun

“Seeing as How it Seems I Volunteered to Play Detective, I’m Going to the Last Place Sam was Seen Alive.  I Am Not Doing It in Heels.”

Hallmark is busy pumping out new mystery movies again.  Who knows which will turn into franchises for them.  (I’ve given up on getting new installments on a couple of the ones they introduced in recent years.)  CrimeTime is the newest potential franchise, and it got off to a fun start with Freefall.

Actress Hadley Warner (Lyndie Greenwood) has spent the last ten years playing a detective on the TV show CrimeTime.  But audience tastes have changed, and her show has been canceled.  With no immediate job prospects, she packs up her two teenage kids and moves to a small town in Colorado to be close to her mom.

They haven’t even moved in yet when Hadley learns about a local missing man.  However, she doesn’t expect to find his body in her new backyard one morning.  His body is in a tree, attached to a parachute.  But he’s been shot.  When the man’s distraught mother asks Hadley to find out what happened, she can’t say no.  While her investigation annoys Detective Shawn Caden (Luke Macfarlane), she begins to pick up clues.  Can she figure out what really happened?

Even with all the mysteries I read and watch, I am still often fooled.  I’m actually better at spotting the victim early on than I am the killer.  (Let’s not discuss what that says about me.)  In this case, I spotting the killer fairly early on.  Don’t get me wrong, all the suspects were good, and I definitely didn’t have motive until the end.  But I would have liked a little stronger mystery.

The characters were fun, but they were also a bit much.  While some of them were grounded, most noticeably the police, several of them were over the top.  Individually, that can be fun.  But if they were in the same scene together, it was too much.  Hadley is one of the over the top characters, and I enjoyed her when she was off on her own.

And this isn’t a reflection on the actors.  They were all great at bringing the characters to life.  It was the choices with the direction and writing.

All of this said, I did like the team Hadley built to help with the investigation.  There were some great lines, and the two leads have great chemistry.  And I loved the comparisons between real life and TV cop life.

There’s certainly potential in the CrimeTime franchise.  I enjoyed Freefall enough that I will be back if they make another one.  If you enjoy Hallmark mystery movies, I think you’ll enjoy this one, too.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Book Review: Murder Out of Character by Olivia Matthews (Peach Coast Library Mysteries #2)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: The main characters are great
Cons: The plot should have been stronger
The Bottom Line:
A list of victims
The main characters shine here
But plot needed work




Has Marvey Found a Hit List?

I’d always intended to come back and read the second Peach Coast Library Mystery from Olivia Matthews.  When I won a copy of Murder Out of Character, I decided now was the perfect time to do just that.

As this book opens, it’s just been a few weeks since we first met Marvey Harris, who has moved to Peach Coast, Georgia, to become the community outreach librarian.  Part of her job is planning the fundraising for the year, and the summer campaign is kicking off with a cocktail reception.  The event goes well, but as the staff is cleaning up, Marvey finds a list of names left behind by someone.  She’s intrigued since her good friend Spence is on it as is a man who has just died.

Two days later, another person on the list has died.  Marvey can’t help but think she’s found a list that someone is targeting, but she is having a hard time getting anyone to take her seriously.  Especially since no one seems to be able to figure out a solid connection between the four people on the list.  Can Marvey discover what is going on before a killer strikes again?

I appreciated the skepticism that so many of the other characters gave Marvey about the list.  I would have been right there with them questioning the list.  However, I felt like some of those conversations got to be repetitive.  In fact, that was a big frustration with the book, I felt like we were going in circles at times, having similar conversations over and over again.  As a result, the pacing was uneven.  We definitely got some development, but it wasn’t as steady as I normally like.  When Marvey does piece things together at the end, the identity of the killer and the motive make sense, but there is still a major plot point that isn’t explained.

There is a core cast of characters, and quite a few supporting players.  The supporting cast doesn’t get that much development, but they are still fun.  The core characters?  I love them, and I loved spending time around them.  They are wonderful and very supportive of each other.  They were easily the highlight of the book.  And that includes Marvey’s cat.

While not a culinary cozy, there is a recipe for pralines at the end.

This series was published by Hallmark when they were venturing into publishing.  Sadly, they decided it wasn’t for them, so this series is ending with just two books.

If you enjoy spending time with great characters, you’ll be glad you picked up Murder Out of Character.  If you are looking more for a strong plot, you’ll want to skip this book.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

February 25th's Sunday/Monday Post

Hi, and welcome to this week's Sunday/Monday Post.  I will be linking up to:

Sunday Post
Sunday Salon
Stacking the Shelves
Mailbox Monday
It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

I had Monday off work.  This is the only job I've had where I get a holiday between New Year's Day and Memorial Day.  And how did I spend this day?  I did my taxes.  So exciting, right?  Normally, I try to do them early since I get refunds, or at least a net refund.  Not this year.  I wound up with a net payment owed.  Oh well, such is life.

We had rain on Monday and Tuesday, but it's warmed up since then.  It was in the 70's Saturday, in fact.  But it will be cooling off and giving us rain again soon.

Other than that, just worked and read this week.  Exciting, right?

This Past Week on the Blog:


This Coming Week on the Blog:


Sunday - Sunday/Monday Post
Monday - Book Review: Murder Out of Character by Olivia Matthews
Tuesday - Movie Review: CrimeTime - Freefall
Wednesday - Book Review: Take the Honey and Run by Jennie Marts
Thursday - February Reading Summary
Friday - Friday Post
Saturday - Weekly TV Thoughts

Book Haul:

Do I have shocking news for you - I only have two books to talk about in this week's book haul.  I know, I'm surprised, too.

The first is a novella - The Corpse Wore Cashmere by MJ O'Neil.  It's only available to her newsletter subscribers.  Not quite sure how I wound up on that list, but it looks like it could be a fun series, so I decided to snag it.  I mean, it is a cozy mystery, and we know how I feel about those.

The other book was free to me.  Diane Vallere is doing giveaways on Facebook leading up to her 40th book, which comes out Tuesday.  And I won one day!  I got to pick my prize, and I picked Please Don't Push Up the Daisies, which was the only one of her backlist I didn't already own.  I've still got one more book in that series to read before I get there, but maybe I'll get caught up by the end of the year?  It would be nice.

What I'm Currently Reading:

As I type this, I still have a little more to go in Black List, White Death by Steve Hockensmith.  This is a collection of two novellas in his Holmes on the Range series, which features two cowboys investigating mysteries after reading about Sherlock Holmes.  It's a fun series, and this book is fun as well.

Up next is the ninth and final Quilting Mystery from Mary Marks - Knot Ready for Murder.  There is a part of me that will be sad to see the series end, but another part of me is looking forward to ending a series I've been behind on.  That mixed bag that readers have, right?

That's it for me.  Have a great week.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

February 24th's Weekly TV Thoughts

Tracker – Somehow, I feel like the pilot actually had more twists than this episode did.  I guess there are only so many ways you can go with a cult.  Still, it was fun overall, and I’m certainly curious where they are going with his backstory.

Night Court – Fun to see Ryan Hansen in something again.  Been a while.  Again, I found this amusing, but it was missing the humor I was really hoping for.  Just let things breath for a bit.  I felt like it was on high speed to get everything in during the time allotted.

Extended Family – Rather bland episode.  You knew exactly where the A story was going to wind up.  The B story was kind of cute, but overall, a very forgettable episode.

Quantum Leap – What a ride!  I really was on the edge of my seat for both of the episodes.  I figured out some of the twists a few minutes early, but it was still great to see them play out.  And see how they really did build this season.  It is clear that everything was carefully planned out in advance.  While I was worried for Hannah, I wasn’t worried for Jenn.  I knew what Ben was going to do in the second episode long before he started to do it.  I think the ending is about all I wasn’t expecting, although I should have been.  I hope we get a season 3 so we can see where things go from here.

Wild Cards – I’ve mostly missed the Vampire crazes, but I can still guess what show they were sort of using as their inspiration there.  It was rather fun since Vampire Diaries was a CW show for so long.  But the solution?  It was I Know What You Did Last Summer.  I thought that was so cool.

The Challenge – Nurys came so close.  I would have really liked to see her win after everything they put her through.  Still, that was a pretty solid second place finish.  Corey shouldn’t have helped her at the second check point, obviously.  Not sure if I will bother to watch the reunion next week.  That’s how little I care, especially since I’m sure the previews didn’t exaggerate how much yelling there will be at each other.  We’ll see if I watch another season on MTV or just stick with it if it comes back to CBS.

Friday, February 23, 2024

February 23rd's Friday Post

Welcome to Friday, and this week's Friday Post.  As usual, I will be linking up to:

Book Beginnings
First Line Friday
Friday 56
Book Blogger Hop

This week, I'll be pulling my teasers for the first three from Take the Honey and Run by Jennie Marts.


This is the first book in the Bee Keeping Mysteries.  And isn't that such a great punny title?

The book gets off to a great start:

The speedometer ticked up another notch, matching Bailey Briggs’s pulse as she and her daughter drove down the two-lane highway heading toward her hometown of Humble Hills, Colorado.

I was immediately interested to learn why she was in such a hurry to get there.

Meanwhile, 56% into the ebook finds Bailey in a bit of a situation.  She's trying to get out of a house she's broken into looking for clues before she's caught.

Her stupid wet shoe foiled her again, the sole slipping on the slick rim, and her foot landed back in the toilet with a splash.
She pressed her lips together to hold back the squeal as the cold water seeped through her already damp sock.
Then she heard a noise behind her as the bathroom door swung open and Sawyer’s stern voice commanded, “Hold it right there.”

Oops!

This is a fun book.  I hope you'll come back for my full review on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, here is this week's Book Blogger Hop:

How do you organize your bookshelves?

HAHAHAHAHA!

When I figure moved into my condo, 20 years ago, I was very deliberate in how I set things up.  I put certain authors on certain shelves.  There wasn't a certain pattern to it, but I knew where stuff was.

That's all out the window.  Most of those authors have burst well beyond their bookshelves and are all over the place.  To even have a hope of organizing my shelves, I'd need more of them.  And I have no idea where I would put them if I bought them.

Besides, I'd much rather be reading.

On that note, I hope your weekend plans include some reading time.  Mine do.  Have a great one.