Saturday, September 30, 2023

September 30th's Weekly TV Thoughts

The TV season, just as it is this fall, is upon us.  Can you tell by how big this got?  Actually, I can't believe with the strikes how large this is.  I'm going to be busy the next few weeks.  Although I've got to say that I can tell I've got too much reality.  By the end of Thursday night, I was dramaed out.

Ahsoka - The ambush happened slowly enough they saw it coming.  Honestly, I'm so relieved.  I was afraid Ezra was going to die right away.  Granted, that could still happen in the final episode.  Speaking of which, we have a lot to do.  Like get back to the regular galaxy and defeat Thrawn.  I don't see how they are going to pull it off in one episode.

Dancing with the Stars - It's been a while since we've seen scores this low at the premier.  Yes, that gives the stars lots of room to grow, but I feel like we've had more stars in the 20's the last couple of seasons.  Hopefully, they can develop quickly.  I don't feel like the judges were being overly harsh (they definitely found things to praise for every dancer, which was great), and I wouldn't be booing them.  Maybe they were just afraid of being accused of being too generous with Len gone?  Speaking of which I was expecting a tribute at the beginning, and it was very nicely done.

Survivor - I would not want to be on the Yellow team right now.  Two people who don't really want to be there (one of whom left, fortunately), and one person trying to get out their only hopes of winning challenges.  I know I say this every year, but why would you try to get out the strong players when it is a team game?  The more you win, the more of a chance you'll have when it comes to the individual portion because you'll have a strong alliance of former teammates.  They just makes no sense to me.  But, as they pointed out, being there is different from playing at home on your couch.  There must be something I am missing.

The Amazing Race - The real race is back.  Not sure how I feel about voting on U-Turns since I feel like this will play into alliances, and I hate alliances, but we'll see.  I would not have been eating those bugs for the express pass.  And I wouldn't have done well at the road block since I hate heights and am not that good at word scrambles.  Also a Thai massage is out because I'm a very light weight when it comes to those.  So basically, I wouldn't have made it beyond this first leg if I were trying this in real life.

Buddy Games - Wow!  Just wow.  I really don't know what to say.  Devi got blamed for something that wasn't her fault.  Yes, she wasn't reacting well, but no one in the team was really behaving well.  I think I have my first team I want to see totally eliminated.

Lego Masters - Most of the teams are off to a fantastic start.  Not surprised to see the first team out.  It was hard watching them struggle so much.  I'm impressed with what they came up with, but given what the rest of the teams had, it really wasn't a close call.

The Challenge USA - At some point, they are going to have to stop targeting Chris.  And the alliances are really to the point they are going to have to turn on each other because there isn't anyone else left.  I am wondering how close we are to the end.  I'm guessing one regular episode and then the finale?  But we'll see.

Friday, September 29, 2023

September 29th's Friday Post

Can you believe it?  This is the final Friday post of September.  Hard to believe it's moving so quickly, isn't it?  As usual, I will be listing up to:

Book Beginnings
First Line Friday
Friday 56 (on hiatus)
Book Blogger Hop

Two weeks ago, I featured a book set at Christmas.  Last week, it was a book set at Thanksgiving (but with a strong Christmas element to it).  This week, it's time to feature a book set at Halloween.  This week's book is Nine Live and Alibis by Cate Conte.

This is the seventh book in the Cat Cafe Mysteries.  And, given that it is set at Halloween, this opening makes a lot of sense.

"What do you mean the psychic can't stay at the haunted inn?  That's kind of the whole point of bringing him here."

Meanwhile, on page 56 of the book, we find Maddie, the main character, out to dinner with her boyfriend, Lucas.  Unfortunately, Maddie has been spotted by fellow committee members who are helping put on the big Halloween events in the area.  Maddie is less than thrilled to see them, as she explains to Lucas:

"I really don't want to have an impromptu committee meeting right now," I muttered to Lucas.

And just what might these committee members have on their minds?  I'll leave it to you to find out.

I really enjoyed this entry in the series.  My full review will be up on Tuesday.

Now, let's switch gears to the Book Blogger Hop question of the week:

Never judge a book by its film adaptation. Do you concur?

I absolutely concur.  While there are film adaptations I've enjoyed, they are always different animals since it is a different medium than a novel.  Plus, the authors have no real control over what happens when Hollywood gets involved.  Honestly, it's one reason why I don't get super excited about a movie version of a book or series I love.  I watch it, but it's rarely something I can't wait to see.

Book Review: Hanging by a Thread by Dorothy Howell (Sewing Studio Mysteries #2)

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Characters, all the baking
Cons: Plot needed serious work
The Bottom Line:
Rival baker dead
Plot that needed editing
Characters still good

Book Was Threadbare

When I read the first book in the Sewing Studio Mysteries, I liked the characters and the setting, but I found the plot a little lacking.  I had hoped it was because the first book was setting things up, and the second book would be better.  Sadly, Hanging by a Thread was worse.

The first book introduced us to Abbey Chandlier, who had moved to Hideaway Grove, California, where she spent summers with her aunt Sarah.  She wound up setting up a sewing studio in the storage room connected to her aunt’s bakery and getting involved in a charity project.  And she solved a murder.  This is a cozy mystery after all.

This book finds trouble in the form of a rival bakery opening soon.  Blaine Hutchinson isn’t popular in town, and the fact that she’s opening this bakery is making her even less so, especially to Sarah and Abbey.  Then, one night, Blaine is murdered in her bakery.  Who did it?

Meanwhile, Abbey has also been asked by the owner of the toy store in town to find out who is taking collectible dolls from her backroom.  She suspects her new employee – who happens to be the sheriff’s niece.

Both of these plots are set up in the first chapter, and the murder happens by the end of chapter two.  In my mind, that’s usually a good sign that the book is going to be a great read.  That wasn’t the case here.  The main mystery would have worked well as a novella.  Instead, it is a novel, so we get lots of passages with Abbey going over the few clues she has and worrying that nothing seems to be happening.  With the stolen dolls, Abbey does a little investigating and feels guilty that she isn’t doing more.  The solution to both of these storylines works, although one is pretty rushed.  They just weren’t strong enough to really carry the book.

To help fill in the page count, we get some repetition, but we also get lots of other things that Abbey has taken on.  I actually wanted to tell her to slow down and not take on anything else.  Plus there were some other complications that seemed to come out of nowhere.  I can see how they were playing into other aspects of the book, but they felt forced more than an organic story point.  There was little follow up on several things until late in the book.  A couple of the sub-plots just get dropped.  I expect they will come up in the next book, but I still feel like there was really no resolution to them here.

I did still like the characters overall.  Abbey is a sympathetic lead character.  There are a lot of supporting players, and they can get a bit lost in group scenes, but I did like the sense of community.

Having said that, there is an early sub-plot with the love interest that bugged me.  I fully support what Abbey was going for, but the way she handled it wasn’t the best.  It was played for laughs, but I didn’t see the humor in it.

Since the sewing studio is attached to Sarah’s bakery, we get lots of mouthwatering dessert descriptions.  No, there are no extras at the end of the book, but it makes me wish we got some of these recipes.

What we got here was a decent first draft, but it needed some more work before it was ready to be published.  I think Hanging by a Thread will be the last in the series I read.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Book Review: The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair (Sparks and Bainbridge Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, humor, good mystery
Cons: Took a while for things to gel and the book really get going
The Bottom Line:
Set up with murder
Can duo clear their client?
Slow start, but gets good

Match Made for Murder

There are a lot of historical mysteries set during World War II, but one thing that attracted me to the Sparks & Bainbridge Mysteries is that they are set in London right after the war.  I thought that different setting, plus the premise of the series, would make for an interesting read.  Overall, I enjoyed The Right Sort of Man, the first in this series.

The book takes us to London in 1946 and introduces us to Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwen Bainbridge, two women looking for fresh starts in the after math of the war.  Even though they are little more than acquaintances, they join together to form The Right Sort Marriage Bureau to help those who are looking to move forward and find some happiness now that the war is over.  Essentially, they are working as professional match makers.  They’ve only been opened a few months, but they have made several successful matches.

They think they are off to a good start for their latest client until she is found murdered and her potential match is arrested for the crime.  When word gets out, their reputations take a hit, both professionally and personally, something they can’t afford to have happen.  Can they clear their client of the crime and restore their reputations in the bargain?

I will admit, it took me a while to get into the book.  While it is nice that we don’t get a lot of exposition at the beginning, I still didn’t quite feel like I knew who Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge were until I was a little ways in.  Meanwhile, it seemed to take a bit for the mystery to truly get going.  I also didn’t care for Miss Sparks at first.

However, once I got into the book, I was hooked.  The mystery was great, with some twists that surprised me and a suspenseful yet logical climax.

As we get to know the main characters, we also get some strong sub-plots involving them.  By the time those truly kicked into high gear, I had grown to really care for both of them, so I was fully invested, with these sub-plots keeping me just as invested as I was in the main mystery.

The further we got into the book, the more Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge became solid characters, helped by those sub-plots.  I could also feel their friendship solidifying and watch them growing.  I’m anxious to see where things will go for them next.

I was expecting to feel like I was back in 1946, and I wasn’t disappointed.  With my American view of the war and it’s after math, I hadn’t really thought about the picture this book painted of that year for those who lived in London.  I appreciated being able to get a glimpse of it.

But what I wasn’t expecting was the humor.  The further into the book I got, the more I was laughing at the character interactions and the situations they were facing.  This makes the more serious moments hit that much harder.

For me, this book was more in the traditional camp based on some mild content.  As long as you keep that in mind going in, you’ll be fine.

I will be back to find out what happens to these characters next.  Anyone looking for a fun mystery set in the after math of World War II will be glad they picked up The Right Sort of Man.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Movie Review: Truth or Dare

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting and entertaining horror movie
Cons: I get the ending, but I didn’t like it
The Bottom Line:
Deadly teenage game
How long can they keep playing?
I did not like end

“How About We Play a Game?”

I was intrigued the first time I heard about Truth or Dare when it came out in 2018.  It helped that I was a fan of the female leads.  I’d heard mixed reviews of the movie, but when I found it on TV, I decided to give it a try.

The story follows Olivia (Lucy Hale) who is coerced by her best friend Markie (Violett Beane) into joining their group of friends on a Spring Break trip to Mexico.  On their last night, Olivia starts talking to a guy at the bar.  When they aren’t ready to go back to their rooms, he suggests a place where they can go hang out.  Then he suggests a game of truth or dare.

It’s when they have returned to their college in Southern California that they realize it wasn’t an ordinary game.  The game has followed them home, and they are now playing a life-or-death version.  If they refuse to play, they die.  If they lie, they die.  If they don’t complete the dare, they die.  Can they stop it before they are all dead?

I knew the basic premise going in, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to be executed.  I was actually impressed with how they did it, with the game taking place mostly back on the college campus.  It allows for some very interesting and suspenseful sequences.  Yes, the film was rated PG-13, so keep that in mind as far as violence you go to watch it.  Having said that, the sexual content was higher than I was expecting, and I watched it on TV.  I can see why they didn’t get an R rating, but it had to be very close.

Honestly, as the story really got going, I couldn’t help compare the film to Final Destination.  I only saw the first in the series, but it had the same feeling with a malevolent force stalking a group of characters in a certain order, and you never quite knew when it was going to strike next.

Unfortunately, I felt the ending was weak.  Or at least weak for what I wanted in the film.  I get what they were doing with the ending.  And, I know, it’s horror, so the ending works.  But it isn’t my kind of ending.

While I’m familiar with Lucy Hale and was glad to see her in something again, I’m actually more familiar with Violett Beane.  I enjoyed seeing her here.  I didn’t recognize anyone else in the cast, but they did a great job.

I’m glad I watched Truth or Dare, and I mostly enjoyed it.  I just wish I liked the ending better.  If the premise interests you and you are willing to watch a horror movie, give it a try.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Book Review: Mrs. Claus and the Trouble with Turkeys by Liz Ireland (Mrs. Claus Mysteries #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun murder and mayhem in Santaland
Cons: Thankfully, there are none
The Bottom Line:
A missing turkey
And then a potluck murder
Delightful again

Will Santaland's First Thanksgiving Be a Turkey?

I say this every year, but I just love the Mrs. Claus Mysteries.  Author Liz Ireland has found the perfect blend of light fantasy mixed with very cozy mystery and sprinkled with a dash of humor that makes these books a pure delight.  Mrs. Claus and the Trouble with Turkeys is the fourth in the series, and it didn't disappoint.

To set the scene, the series features April Claus, who moved to Santaland two years ago after marrying Nick Claus, the current Santa.  They met at the bed and breakfast that April still runs during the summer months in Oregon.  April has had quite an adjustment living not only somewhere that is constantly cold, but also somewhere populated mostly with elves, talking reindeer, and snowmen.  Yes, snowmen are alive, too.

If you read the novella in the Halloween Cupcake Murder collection that was released last month, that story sets up this book with a fun subplot.  However, if you've missed that story, no need to panic.  This book works under the assumption that you haven't read that novella and explains everything you need to know.

As you can guess from the title, Santaland is about to celebrate its first Thanksgiving thanks for April.  While Nick worries about taking a day off so close to Christmas (a legitimate concern when you are Santa), April assures him that it's just one day.  Well, two since the elves can't do anything without going all out.

Castle Kringle has imported a live turkey for the holiday.  However, the weekend before Thanksgiving, Gobbles vanishes.  There's no trace, no note.  Nothing.  Naturally, April jumps in to see if she can figure out what is going on.

However, things take a deadly turn when Nick's cousin, Elspeth, falls face first into her mashed potatoes at the Sunday potluck to kick off Thanksgiving week.  This quickly takes precedence over a missing turkey, and April can't help but try to figure out what really happened, especially since she finds herself a prime suspect.  Can she solve the murder and find Gobbles in time for Thanksgiving?

As I said before, this book was a pure delight, and I never wanted to put it down.  The book did take a little time setting things up, but once we got all the pieces into place, we were off like a sleigh pulled by the nine best reindeer, and we never looked back.

Part of that is because there are quite a few threads in this story.  Some of the subplots intersect the main story, and some don't.  With all of that, it takes a bit to get everything going, but once all those balls are in motion, the pace never lags.  Even then, I was having fun as the story got moving.  Yes, I did figure a few pieces out before I reached the end, but there were still several pieces I missed.

And the characters are fantastic and charming as always.  Everyone is relatable whether human, elf, or some other creature.  I enjoyed seeing growth in some of the relationships here, and I can't wait to see what that means for future books.

Which brings us to the humor.  The world of Santaland is familiar, but just different enough that April is a fish out of water.  This allows us to see the charm and the humor in their world, but it also allows some humor as April doesn't quite get everything.  Meanwhile, we also get some fun situations and a climax that is as funny as it is suspenseful.  And it packs just the right wallop.

There are a lot of cozies set during Christmas, and we are getting more set around Halloween.  We don't have that many set at Thanksgiving.  I appreciated this book using this holiday, especially since this book has an obvious overall Christmas theme.  That does mean you’ll be in the Christmas spirit no matter when you read this book.  That’s a plus for me.

As an added incentive, there’s a recipe at the end for a non-traditional pie that sounds delicious.

I know I've mentioned fantasy a couple of times.  This really is a light fantasy series.  It is very much a cozy mystery series first and foremost.  If you want something a little different but lots of fun, you really need to pick up these books.

And if you are already a fan, you'll be thankful for Mrs. Claus and the Trouble with Turkeys.

Need more of this series?  Here are the rest of the Mrs. Claus Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Book Review: Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delany (Year-Round Christmas Mysteries #6)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful to be back with these characters, good mystery
Cons: Some pacing issues
The Bottom Line:
Christmas mystery
With murder in a play’s cast
Glad series is back

Deadly Christmas Play

It’s been three years since we last got to visit Merry Wilkinson and the town of Rudolph, New York.  Not that author Vicki Delany has slowed down in her output, but she’s been working on other series.  Fortunately, Crooked Lane decided to pick up the charming Year-Round Christmas Mysteries, and we get to visit again in Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas.

If you’ve missed this series, when the town of Rudolph had to reinvent itself, it decided to capitalize on its name and become a year-round Christmas destination.  They go all out twice a year – December, obviously, but also July when Santa (as played by Merry’s dad) arrives for his summer vacation.  Merry herself runs Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, an upscale gift and decor shop.  While the town celebrates Christmas all year long, we tend to visit during December, not that I’m complaining.

This December, Merry’s mother, opera singer Aline Steiner, has agreed to come out of retirement to join the local theater company’s musical version of A Christmas Carol.  Since this is an amateur production, the talent level is about what you’d expect, but after last year’s play flopped, there is added pressure on this year’s production to succeed.

And that pressure is coming through during rehearsals.  Merry is on hand to witness some of the drama, including actors trying to take on bigger roles.  Then someone associated with the play is killed in Merry’s shop, and the police look at Merry’s assistant, who is in the play, as a potential killer.  Can Merry figure out what really happened?

Since it had been three years since our last visit to Rudolph, I was afraid I wouldn’t remember the characters and their relationships.  I needn’t have worried.  As soon as I started reading, I felt right at home again.  If you are new to the series, this means you could easily jump in here, although you’ll definitely want to go back and solve the other festive murders in this series.

The book does a good job of setting up the situation and the suspect before the murder happens.  We got some fun twists and red herrings along the way.  However, I felt like the pacing was uneven, especially in the second half.  Still, we do get a great climax that explains everything to us.

And the characters are still wonderful.  As I said a minute ago, I was quickly back at home with them and enjoying the town of Rudolph.  There are some interesting developments with a couple of the characters, and I’m curious to see where things go in any future books.

Those looking for Christmas spirit will also love this book.  As you’d expect there is plenty of it here.  It made me want to break out my Christmas music and decorations even though it’s mid-September.

It is so wonderful to have this series back.  Whether you are a longtime fan or new to the series, if you enjoy a Christmas cozy mystery, you need to pick up Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas.

Here are the rest of the Year-Round Christmas Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

September 24th's Sunday/Monday Post

Hope your weekend is going well.  Time for a 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?

It's been quite a week.

As I've been talking about on the blog, I had a computer malfunction last Sunday morning.  After being on for a couple minutes, my computer shut down and wouldn't turn back on.  I started using my last computer, which is slow (which is why I replaced it).  But I hadn't scheduled my reviews for the week yet; they were on my current laptop.

So, for the first time in the 10+ years I've been blogging, I actually had days when I didn't post anything.  I've even posted when I've been on vacation (thanks to scheduling ahead).

A friend took a look at it Monday, and he came back over Thursday to open it up and see if he could figure out what was going on.  Meanwhile, we'd bought a cable so we could at least get stuff off my hard drive.  As soon as he opened the back of my computer, it started to work again.  I guess it just needed a couple of days off?  I'm very paranoid with it, but it is working still, knock on wood.

Friday, I only worked half a day.  We had a finance department picnic for work.  I wound up winning several of the games, which was cool.  And it was nice to get to meet some of my co-workers in person.  That includes someone I've been working closely with for a year now.  Some of them I'd met before, including when we all worked in the office.

Joke of the Week:

The penny-making machine at the mint suddenly stopped working for no reason.  It just doesn’t make any cents!

This Past Week on the Blog:

Sunday: Sunday/Monday Post
Monday: We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties.... (about the computer crash)
Friday: Friday Post featuring Mrs. Claus and the Trouble with Turkeys
Saturday: Weekly TV Thoughts

This Coming Week on the Blog:

For the record, these reviews are all already scheduled, so they will happen for sure this week.

Sunday: Sunday/Monday Post
Monday: Book Review: Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delaney
Tuesday: Book Review: Mrs. Claus and the Trouble with Turkeys by Liz Ireland
Wednesday: Movie Review: Truth or Dare
Thursday: Book Review: The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Friday: Book Review: Hanging by a Thread by Dorothy Howell
Saturday: Weekly TV Thoughts

Book Haul:

Yep, I still have quite a few books to tell you about.  So let's get started catching up.

First up is Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano.  I've been hearing about this series for a while, and I've been curious about it.  When it went on sale for Kindle this past week, I snagged it.  I'm mention it now because it looks like it is still on sale, at least as of Saturday night when I'm typing this.  So if you are curious, go snag it now.

Let's flash back to the end of August now.  The next two books were on sale back then, so I snagged Kindle copies.

Up for is Death on Cozumel Island by Cindy Quayle.  Scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico and a murder?  What's not to like.  This one definitely sounds like something I will enjoy.

Code Name Edelweiss by Stephanie Landsem has been on my wish list for a while.  It was on sale all of August and I finally snagged it right before it went back up to regular price.  A historical spy story, it sounds like it could be great.

Next up are a couple of ARCs I've gotten recently.  Both for October releases.  I've mentioned how full the month is, right?  Look at the upper left hand corner of my blog if you don't think I'm serious.

The first of these is Brush Up on Murder by Sybil Johnson.  It's been several years since we got a release in her Aurora Anderson series, so I'm looking forward to visiting her again.  Of all the books on this list, this is the one I'll be reading first since I'm due to review it as part of a blog tour on release day of October 10th.

Coming out at the end of October is A Parfait Crime, the ninth Five-Ingredient Mystery from Maya Corrigan.  This book will involve an Agatha Christie play and a death in a fire.  Should be fun.

Finally (for this week), my pre-order of Malibu Burning by Lee Goldberg showed up.  The first in a new series from him.  Honestly, I don't know much more than that.  He's pretty much an auto buy for me.  Not sure when I will get to it, but should be good.

What I'm Currently Reading:

I have not gotten as much reading done as I would have liked, so I'm still about 100 pages from the end of Nine Lives and Alibis by Cate Conte.  This is a Halloween entry in her Cat Cafe series.  I'm enjoying it, and I'm still hoping to at least make a dent in what I have left to read if I don't finish it completely by the end of Saturday.  This is my only non-ARC book for October.  I would have preferred to read it closer to Halloween, but if I wanted to review it before Halloween, this is when I had to read it.

Up next, I'll be switching to Christmas with Sugar Plum Poisoned by Jenn McKinlay.  This is book fifteen in her Cupcake Bakery series.  I always enjoy them, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Mel and the gang are up to this time.  And maybe a Christmas cupcake recipe or two.

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 23, 2023

September 23rd's Weekly TV Thoughts

American Ninja Warrior - I feel like this was originally planned for last February.  A couple of these couples were missing at least one half during the season we just finished.  And I'm surprised they didn't have any of the Berkstrans.  I was expecting Chris and Jessie to run away with it, but I'm happy for the couple that won.  I hope they do this kind of thing again in the future.

Ahsoka - The title character really just had a cameo this time around.  But I get it.  This week's episode was what was going on while last week's episode was unfolding.  I am glad we found the guy they were hoping to find.  But I really don't like waiting a week knowing that danger is coming for them.  I have a feeling they are going to be ambushed.  And did anyone else get Frozen vibes from the scene with those creates that led us to him?  The only Star Wars books I read involved Thrawn, so I find it interesting that he is showing up now.  Granted, it's been about 25 years since I read them, so I don't remember anything about them.

Buddy Games – I think a team having to lose one member is the worst part of the whole thing.  I’d rather the entire team go than just one.  And it seems like the sabotage is pretty brutal.  I’m hoping that some team overcomes it at some point.  Not surprised that OK was targeted.  I would have done the same had I been there.

The Challenge USA – About time that vets had to play again.  Kind of glad to see Wes go.  He was so arrogant.  And, as I say, I liked the fact that vets were at risk again.  Cassidy, on the other hand, was a bit over the top.  But the fall out next week could be interesting.

Friday, September 22, 2023

September 22nd's Friday Post

As I posted Monday, I had a computer crash Sunday morning, taking my reviews for the week with it.  A friend was helping me with it, and he came over Thursday to open up the back - and that made it work again.  I've saved copies of reviews so at least next week is covered.  Hopefully, this means things are back to normal, but I haven't posted anything all week.  Next week will be all books as I catch up.

But the joy of a Friday post is that didn't need any files, so this post could still happen as planned no matter what.

As usual, I will be linking up to:

Book Beginnings
First Line Friday
Friday 56 (on hiatus)
Book Blogger Hop

This week, I'll be pulling quotes from Mrs. Claus and the Trouble with Turkeys by Liz Ireland.

This is the fourth book in the Mrs. Claus Mystery series.  It was pure delight as it always is.  If you are new to the series, yes, the main character is Mrs. Claus, and the series is set at the North Pole.  Our Mrs. Claus has only been married to Santa for a couple of years after they met in Oregon, so she has been introducing some new traditions to the North Pole, like Thanksgiving in this book.

Here's how the book begins:

Gobbles had vanished.
When I looked inside the fancy turkey cage Salty the groundskeeper had built outside Castle Kringle, the wrong bird stared back at me.

And yes, Gobbles is the turkey that was supposed to be their Thanksgiving dinner.  Nothing like jumping right into part of the mystery, right?

Meanwhile, on page 56, the Clauses are heading to a pre-Thanksgiving potluck.  April has prepared some festive deviled eggs.  Pamela is her mother-in-law, who doesn't seem to always get what April is doing:

With ingredients available in the kitchen, I was able to do a fair approximation of the recipe I'd found to fashion deviled eggs that looked like little turkeys.
Now, like a proud artist giving a preview of a painting, I pulled the foil covering back to reveal one of the eggs on the platter. Pamela's eyes widened in surprise. "Oh my goodness."
I frowned. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing - I just wasn't expecting an egg to stare back at me."

The book's official release date is Tuesday, and the plan is to have a release day review.

Time to move on to the Book Blogger Hop.  This week's question is:

Has reading helped you become a better person?

I'd like to think so.  Although, since I read so many mysteries, it's not the same as if I were reading non-fiction.  If nothing else, I have some added trivia in my mind from all the books I've read.

Monday, September 18, 2023

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties....

 My review for this week are written.  And edited.  (Yes, I do edit my reviews, and errors still slip in.)

However, when I booted up my laptop Sunday morning, it crashed within a couple of minutes and I can't get it to start up again.  And my last back up was last Sunday, before I wrote those reviews (and at least three others).

At the moment, I have a friend who is going to come take a look Monday night.  I have another friend who may be able to help.  But who knows when I will have access to that stuff again.  And I might be buying a new laptop, too.  (I got my last one up and running again thinking it would be better than nothing, but it's so slow it's just barely better than nothing.)

All this to say that my review schedule for the week is going to be...flexible.  (If only I had scheduled them Saturday night.)  The reviews will show up eventually.  Please be patient.


Sunday, September 17, 2023

September 17th's Sunday/Monday Post

Welcome to this week's Sunday/Monday Post.  As usual, I will be linking up to:

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

Not too much of excitement happens around here this week.  The weather is definitely cooling off, unfortunately.  We are in the low 80's or upper 70's for the highs.  I'm not ready to say goodbye to summer!  Although it was nice to open up my condo several days this week.

I've met my deadlines at work for quarter end close, which is fantastic and a weight off my mind.  I'm just vegging this weekend.

Blog Spam Comment of the Week:

Time for another fun/funny blog spam comment.  This one was on an old book review from about 4 years ago.  Maybe by leaving the comment on one that old they thought it would slip by and show up?  As always, all spelling and punctuation is theirs, although I did edit the is between the < >'s.

keep up the great work, just shared this with my friend <unrelated product link removed> . Good luck with your future endeavours.Nice post mate

I think I liked this one since it randomly put the product link right in the middle, which isn't usually what happens.

This Past Week on the Blog:

This Coming Week on the Blog:

Sunday - Sunday/Monday Post
Monday - Ornament Review: Oliver and Dodger
Tuesday - Book Review: Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delany
Wednesday - Movie Review: Truth or Dare
Thursday - Book Review: The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Friday - Friday Post featuring Mrs. Claus and the Trouble with Turkeys
Saturday - Weekly TV Thoughts

Book Haul:

I bought quite a few books that were on sale for Kindle during the last week of August I haven't talked about yet.  Add to that the other random books I've gotten and I have quite a few books I haven't confessed to getting yet.  I think I'm going to cover half of my list this week and then talk about more next week.  For some reason, I worry that I won't have books to talk about some week in this section.  I know, I know, I'm a comedian.

The first book I want to talk about is The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly.  Really, I should have included it last week when I was talking about Bouchercon - not because I bought it there but because I got the audio version to listen to on my way down and back.  This was actually a relisten, the last I'll have to do with Michael Connelly's books since I started at the beginning and decided to listen to all of them in order, and I'm anxious to move forward and find out what happens next for these characters.  It had been long enough since the first time I'd read this book that I'd forgotten most of the plot points, so it was fantastic to see what happened all over again.

Meanwhile, Saturday morning, I snagged my ARC of Sugar Plum Poisoned, the fifteenth Cupcake Bakery Mystery from Jenn McKinlay.  It's a good thing I got it since I am planning to start it about a week from now.  This is obviously a Christmas entry in the series.  I love the series, so I'm anxious to see what happens next to the characters.

So let's get to some of these sale books.  Sadly, the sales are over at this point.  Sorry.

The first is the Silicon Valley Mysteries Boxed Set.  This is the first three books by Marc Jedel.  I actually have a Kindle version of the first book already, and I haven't read it yet.  But this was such a good deal I couldn't pass it up.  Now, hopefully I like it when I get to it.  I just need to figure out when that might be.

At the start of the year, I was going to make a point of reading a book I have by Ann Claire under one of her earlier pen names.  All of her series have sounded good, but I haven't had a chance to read them yet.  Then Dead and Gondola, the first in her newest series, went on sale.  Another author I hope I enjoy, but I need to figure out when I will get a chance to read.  This series features an enchanting sounding bookstore.

Let's make it three in a row.  I know I have the first in author Colleen Cambridge's series featuring Agatha Christie's maid as a main character.  But I was also interested in Mastering the Art of French Murder, the first in a series that stars a friend of Julia Child.  And then it went on sale, so I snagged it.  I've got to admit, I'll probably prioritize this one over the author's other series since it's the only book in the series so far.  It's nice not to be behind.

Finally, for this week, we have another October ARC.  Hunters of the Dead features the return of Steven Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range series.  I've been a fan of this series since it was originally in print, and it's gone through several different publishers over the years.  The series stars two brothers who are cowboys in the American west in the late 1800's.  They've also found some of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and the older brother has taken to Holmes' "detectifying" methods, which has helped them solve some fun and interesting cases.  I don't know what this book is about yet, and I don't care.  I'm just looking forward to spending more time with the characters.

What I'm Currently Reading:

As I'm typing this on Saturday, I've just started Mrs. Claus and the Trouble with Turkeys, the fourth Mrs. Claus Mystery by Liz Ireland.  I love this series, so I'm looking forward to getting more than 25 pages into the book.  (Told you I'd just started it.)  As you probably guessed, this one involves the first time that Santaland decides to celebrate Thanksgiving.  So far, we have a missing turkey.  And I know murder is coming.  How they tie together, I have yet to figure out.

This is my final September book.  Kind of crazy that I am thinking of finishing up September books already.  But I have lots of October ARCs lined up, so I won't complain about getting a jump on my October reading.

That's it for me this.  Hope you have a great week!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

September 16th's Weekly TV Thoughts

American Ninja Warrior – Obviously, I root for Joe.  But right behind him is Daniel Gil.  I was thrilled when he made it to the top of the rope, but then he lost to Vance Walker.  If he had to lose to anyone, I’m glad it was Vance.  I really do like him, and his story is so inspiring.  Congrats to him!

Ahsoka – I think I would have enjoyed this one better if I had the background on these characters.  The flashbacks weren’t that interesting to me.  I am interested to see where they go next week, however.

Buddy Games – I love the games.  I think I like the concept, as long as the teams don’t start annoying me.  How would you pick one member of your team to go home?  My hat is off to the guy who stepped down.  I’d have such a hard time doing that since I would want to play all the games.

The Challenge USA – I get being upset when you are sent into the arena.  But don’t flail all around.  Seriously, that’s the worst thing you could do.  Also, why are the vets suddenly safe again?  They were smart targeting them early on.  Why did they stop doing that?  I mean, when everyone is doing an individual vote, they could target them.  I know that, unless no vets win, targeting them at that part is a non-starter.  But everyone else could aim for them later.

Friday, September 15, 2023

September 15th's Friday Post

We made it through another week!  That calls for celebration with this week's Friday post, where I will be linking up to:

Book Beginnings
First Line Friday
Friday 56
Book Blogger Hop

NOTE: Friday 56 is currently on hiatus.  Hopefully, it's a short one.  I'm going to keep doing it (and linking to the host, Freda's Voice), at least for the time being.

Having said that, my teasers for the first three are coming from Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delany.

This is the sixth in the Year-Round Christmas Mysteries, and it is the first in several years and the first with a new publisher.  As a fan, I was happy to have it back.

Here's how this new book begins:

There are two types of people in the world: those who love picnics and those who hate them. The picnic-loving camp can then be divided once again into two further types: those who love winter picnics and those who do not.

You can count me among the picnic lovers who hate winter picnics.  Granted, I don't like to do much outside when it is cold, period.  And I realize that what I consider cold in Southern California is warm compared to much of the world.

Moving along to 56% of the eARC I read, we find this:

His eyes narrowed and he turned to look at her. I wasn’t sure if he was getting suspicious at the direction her chatter was taking, or if he was simply not interested in standing in the cold engaging in said chatter.

I know the book is currently out on a blog tour, but it's official release date is this coming Tuesday.  That's when I will have my review.

Now it's time to turn to this week's Book Blogger Hop.  The question is:

How long does it usually take you to finish a book?

Naturally, this does depend on how long the book is.  The books I read typically average 300 pages.  I plan to read 100 pages a day on week days, so that's three days.  Sometimes, I'll get into a book or it will be shorter, and I'll finish it off in two days.  A longer book will take me longer to finish, obviously.  Depending on what else is going on over a weekend, I don't always read as much.  Backwards, I know since I don't have to work.  I try to get at least 100 pages in between the two days, so I can keep on pace with two books a week.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Book Review: Murder Off the Books by Tamara Berry (By the Book Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters, story, laughs
Cons: Some laughs didn’t quite work; needless political comments
The Bottom Line:
Serial killer
Who in the village killed him?
More laughs and fun here

Grand Opening, Book Launch, and Murder

I’ve enjoyed the absurd mysteries in the By the Book Mysteries from Tamara Berry.  The things that her character finds in this small Eastern Washington town are crazy in a fun way.  So I was happy when I had the chance to pick up Murder Off the Books, the third in the series.

This series features bestselling author Tess Harrow who relocated from Seattle after she inherited a cabin and hardware store from her grandfather.  She’s turned the hardware store into a bookstore, and it is ready to open just in time for the launch of her newest thriller, based on what happened while they were renovating the store.  Tess is planning to celebrate the two events at the same time, and her teen daughter, Gertrude, is helping with the catering.

The last thing Tess expected was her mother to show up in town.  Close on Bee’s heels is her new, much younger boyfriend, Levi, who just happens to be an accused serial killer preying on older women who has been let out on a technicality.  Tess goes into panic mode, naturally, but the next morning Levi is the one who is dead.  With the podcaster who made her name on Levi’s case in town and pointing fingers at Tess and Bee, she has no choice but to jump in and solve things.  Can she figure out what is really happening?

I know what you’re thinking.  I promised something wacky, and this doesn’t sound that wacky.  I’ll admit, this wasn’t quite as out there as the first two books, but this does have a few unusual twists that make for a fun and different story.  But, in the context of the book, everything works and makes perfectly logical sense.  That includes the climax, which wraps everything up nicely but teases what could be a wild next adventure for the gang.

Speaking of the characters, we have quite an assortment of them, and they add to the fun.  Tess’s mother makes a great addition to the cast here, and all the regulars are up to their usual antics.  Likewise, the suspects kept me guessing.

I do have to point out the inclusion a few times of some needless political comments in the narration.  If they had been left out, we would have had the exact same book.  I feel like they were put in so the author could show she was attuned to the current movements.  I’m talking about only a handful of lines, but they threw me out of the story and made me roll my eyes.

As with previous books in the series, the book had plenty of humor, and I found myself laughing at the characters, their interactions, and the situations they found themselves in.  Maybe I’m getting used to their antics or it was my mood, but I didn’t find the book quite as funny as the first two.  Part of that was because I found some of the character interactions that are supposed to be funny a little annoying at times.  Again, this could just be me, and it is minor.

The first couple of books have had some pretty dramatic implications for the characters.  The author does a great job of mentioning where the characters are now without outright spoiling the plots of the earlier books.  Still, by necessity, some spoilers are teased here.  Keep that in mind if you decide to jump in here.

Overall, I enjoyed visiting Tess and the rest in Murder Off the Books.  If you are looking for a light, fun series, you’ll be glad you picked up these books.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Movie Review: Rampage (2018)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Effects, laughs, nods to the video game
Cons: Thin characters and plot
The Bottom Line:
Giant animals
Causing lots of destruction
Forgettable film

“You Do Know There Are Other Ways of Dealing with People, Right?”  “That’s No Fun.”

I probably would have skipped Rampage except for two things.  First, it starred Dwanye Johnson, and I'm finding that I really enjoy his movies.  Second, I really enjoyed the video game the movie is based on (and I use the term loosely).  Okay, so I never played it much, and I was never that good at it, but it was still fun.  Granted, that still wasn't enough to get me to see the movie in the theater, so I checked it out on Blu-Ray.

The movie focuses on Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), an expert on primates, who is currently working with the primates in San Diego.  He has a special bond with George, an albino gorilla, who he saved from poachers.

However, one day, he comes into work to find that something strange his happening to George.  He's escaped from his enclosure and attacked other animals.  And he's growing.  Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) might have the answer.  But even if she is right, is there a cure?  And what about the rumors of a wolf also growing?

Now, I will give the movie this, it had an extremely thin premise to build a full-length movie from.  (Then again, maybe that is a sign that it wouldn't work as a movie.)  While it ignored some things from the game, like the monsters being mutated humans, it kept many things, like the monsters’ names.  It even provided a plausible reason for the monsters to be in Chicago wreaking havoc.

But plausible doesn't translate to compelling for a movie.  Let's face it, this is just an excuse to provide some thrills from a monster movie and over the top action.  It's meant to be a mindless movie, and it pretty much succeeds at being mindless.  The problem is it is a little too mindless for me.  Yes, the action was fun, but I expect something compelling between the action to keep me invested.

The real flaw of the movie is the lack of character development.  They are all paper thin, just there to give us some dialogue so we can understand the monsters going on a rampage.  Having said that, I did love the twist they gave us with Harvey Russell, Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character.  Of course, that twist served the plot best.  And I'm not blaming the actors for any of this.  The monsters are the star; they are doing the best they can.

Since the monsters are the star, it is imperative that the effects be top notch, and they are.  That's not surprising these days, of course.

Everything I've said so far makes it sound like I hated it.  That's not completely true.  There are some fun moments, like the many winks to the video game.  As a fan, I enjoyed those.  Some of the lines will make you laugh, as well.  It's just that this film is instantly forgettable.  It's not good; it's not bad.  It just is.

I don't regret seeing the movie, but I also don't regret skipping it in the theater.  If you can catch it cheaply sometime, you might enjoy it, but there's no need to Rampage out to see it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Book Review: Fahrenheit 501 by Diane Vallere (Samantha Kidd #12)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun plot, strong characters, great laughs
Cons: One aspect of the plot is needlessly confusing early on
The Bottom Line:
Samantha and jeans
A fashion society
A fun mystery

Are Jeans a Motive for Murder?

Despite the fact that I’ve never been into fashion (I’m a guy, what can I say?), I’ve enjoyed the Samantha Kidd Mysteries.  The heroine of Diane Vallere’s series has made a career out of fashion.  Since I at least know a little about jeans, I was looking forward to seeing how they fit into Samantha’s world in Fahrenheit 501.  The result, as always, was fun.

Samantha Kidd is both thrilled, anxious, and surprised when she is invited to join a secret fashion society in her town of Ribbon, Pennsylvania.  She wants to make a good impression, but that is a little hard to do when she knows absolutely nothing about them.  She hadn’t even heard of them before.

Samantha’s interview ends when she finds an elderly member of the group lying dead under a pile of jeans.  Unfortunately, the police think it was murder.  Despite not being a full member yet, Samantha’s pending membership means she can snoop around the group, but will she turn up a killer?  And what do the jeans on the victim mean?

I’ll admit, the purpose of the group, to preserve fashion by memorizing it and passing it down to the next generation, stretched plausibility a little, at least for me.  Oh yes, I get the connection with the title, but still.  Then again, I do some things others consider wacky, so I just rolled with it.  Besides, it’s not that much worse than other things that Samantha has found herself involved in.

Plus it did set up a fantastic plot.  I was very interested in what Samantha was going to uncover, and the twists kept me confused until she stitched all the pieces together at the end.  One aspect of the plot seemed to keep changing details, which is a common complaint of mine with this author.  But it was kept to that one part of the plot, and the further into the book we got, the more consistent it got.

Since this is book twelve in the series, we know Samantha and the other series regulars well.  We got to see the core characters again, and I loved their interactions.  I was also happy to see a couple of characters we haven’t seen for several books pop back up.  The new characters do their job of keeping us guessing, meanwhile, we see more growth for Samantha.

As always, there are plenty of laughs.  I love Samantha’s sense of humor, which comes through in her first-person narration and the dialogue with the other characters.

And jeans?  Well, I’m not going to spoil anything, but we did get a bit of history on the garment.  Not surprisingly, I learned a lot about it.  But at least I recognized some of the company names mentioned here for a change.

Overall, Fahrenheit 501 is another fun case for Samantha Kidd to solve.  No matter your relationship with fashion, you’ll find yourself turning pages quickly to find out just how things turn out.

Here are the rest of the Samantha Kidd Mysteries in order.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Ornament Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 2023 Hallmark Ornament

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great recreation of the sixth book cover
Cons: Their faces look a little off.
The Bottom Line:
The sixth book cover
More Harry Potter magic
Now as ornament

The Sixth Harry Potter Book Cover is Certainly Memorable

We are now up to the sixth ornament in the Harry Potter books ornament series.  That means, the ornament is based on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  And it means, fans will be green with envy if they don’t get it.

Yeah, I’m only partially sorry about that pun.  For those not familiar with the books, this cover was mostly green with a little purple thrown in as well.  That’s because it reflects the light coming from the pensieve that Harry and Professor Dumbledore are standing in front of.  And that is that you ask?  It’s a devise for holding memories so you can view them and look for patterns.  You can also use it to share those memories with others, which is what Dumbledore does in the story multiple times, giving Harry the backstory he needs to understand how to completely destroy Voldemort once and for all.

And that is the picture on the cover of the book, therefore it’s what we have on the ornament.  We can see Dumbledore and Harry looking into the pensieve.  Harry is holding a wand.  Dumbledore has his hand over the pensieve.

What makes these ornaments fun is that they covers are partially 3D.  In this case, both of the characters and the pensieve are partially coming out of the cover of the ornament.  Dumbledore’s hand is really sticking out.  While I would have liked these ornaments even if they were just the covers, I found I liked this aspect even more.

Unfortunately, both of the characters look a little odd in this ornament.  Harry looks only slightly odd, but Dumbledore really looks off.  I think it is trying to capture how the characters should look with the light shining on them.  Overall, this is a minor complaint, but I wish they looked better.

These aren’t faithful recreations of the Harry Potter book covers.  Most noticeably, J. K. Rowling’s name is missing.  But since that part of the cover is now 3D, it would make it hard to include it.  It’s a nice tribute to the cover in another medium, however.  In a fun touch, the back of the book’s cover is on the back of the ornament.

The key thing for me is that this ornament makes me smile thinking of the books.  And wishing I had time to read them again.  If only.

Being a recreation of a book, the ornament does stand on its own.  I wouldn’t want it out where it would be hit or bumped easily, however.

The ornament does tip forward ever so slightly, but it is only noticeable if you are looking for it, and by the time you get tree branches around it, you won’t really notice.

Speaking of trees, this ornament might blend in a little with a green tree.  (I haven’t put this one on my tree yet since it just came out two months ago.)  However, this isn’t the ornament’s fault.  They had to stick with the colors of the book jacket.

I mentioned at the start that this is part of a series.  Actually, it’s an unofficial series, which means that Hallmark doesn’t include their series marker on it.  But at this point, I will be very shocked if we don’t get the final book next year.

Fans of Harry Potter have been enjoying these book ornaments.  I know I have.  As such, I expect that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will be another popular ornament this year.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

September 10th's Sunday/Monday Post

It's the weekend, so that must mean it is time for another Sunday/Monday Post.  I'll be linking up to:

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

I took last week off from this post, and I have a good reason.  A good bookish reason, in fact.  Last weekend was Bouchercon, an international mystery convention.  And it happened to be in San Diego, which is within driving distance for me.  Unfortunately, I couldn't go down for the entire thing.  It was killing me that I couldn't.  But it was the start of quarter end close, and I couldn't miss work.  Yes, I did ask, and my boss and I did talk about ways it might have worked.  But I just had too much to do.

I did take off early afternoon on Friday, however.  I'm assuming I missed the worst of the traffic doing that, although it still took me longer than it should have.  I was there all day Saturday.  I went to a few panels and got to meet some new to me authors.  I got to meet some authors for the first time, which was fantastic.  And I got to catch up with other authors I I haven't seen for a years.  Would I have liked to be down there for the full time?  Absolutely.  Was this better than nothing?  Absolutely!

Plus, I got to stop at the Pit Stop Diner on my way home for lunch.  If you are ever in Oceanside, go find it.  It's fun.

I did have last Monday off, and I slept in.  Actually woke up in time to play some ultimate Frisbee in the morning, which meant I got to see a friend who was in town and hang out with another friend I don't spend that much time with any more.  Both of those were great things.

Other than that, it's been work.  I even worked a couple of hours Saturday to get something off my plate that I wasn't sure I'd be able to get done.  I think I can handled the rest of my deadlines now, so I am feeling more relaxed about the next week and a half.  But I do resent having to work today.

Of course, the reason I was able to do that is because game day was cancelled.  The hosts couldn't be in town, so we are skipping this month.

I did go down to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong in downtown Los Angeles Friday night.  While it's been playing here in LA, they've brought in some big name actors to be the narrator, and this weekend is the last with Daniel Dae Kim guest narrating.  I was a fan of Lost (until it ended), but I also knew him from the short lived Babylon 5 spin off Crusade.  There were some things I could have done without, but overall, it was funny.  I'm glad I went.

Pun of the Week:

The best golfers always wear two pairs of pants just in case they get a hole in one.

This Past Week on the Blog:

Sunday - Movie Review: Napa Ever After
Monday - Book Review: Pink Lemonade Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Tuesday - Ornament Review: Ariel Miniature Ornament
Wednesday - Book Review: Bring the Light by J. R. Sanders
Thursday - TV Show Review: The Flash - Season 9
Friday - Friday Post Featuring Murder Off the Books
Saturday - Weekly TV Thoughts

This Coming Week on the Blog:

Sunday - Sunday/Monday Post
Monday - Ornament Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Tuesday - Book Review: Fahrenheit 501 by Diane Vallere
Wednesday - Movie Review: Rampage
Thursday - Book Review: Murder Off the Books by Tamara Berry
Friday - Friday Post
Saturday - Weekly TV Thoughts

Book Haul - Bouchercon Edition

I went on a book buying spree before Bouchercon.  Lots of digital deals that are now old.  So I'll talk about them in coming weeks.  This week, I'm just going to talk abut the four books I got at Bouchercon.

That's right, I only got four.  But considering only one of them was on my radar to buy that weekend before I arrived, that's three spontaneous purchases.  If I'd been there the entire time?  I'm sure it would have been much worse.

The one book I definitely planned to buy?  Killin' Time in San Diego, the short story anthology released at the convention.  I missed the signing event for it, but I was still happy to get it.  Do I ever read these anthologies?  No.  Did I want to get it?  Absolutely.

Two of the books I got despite not seeing the authors or getting them autographed.  They were there somewhere in the 1700 attendees.  And I missed their panels since I wasn't there the entire time.  But both were on my radar before the convention, just not to buy that weekend.

And Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Oliver was on sale.  You know how I can't pass up a sale on a book I'm interested in.  This is a historical that takes us to 1917 New York City, and I've been eyeing it for a while.

Tragedy in Tahoe by Rachele Baker just came out a few weeks ago.  A cozy set around Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border?  I'm definitely interested.

The last book I bought as a result of a panel.  Lawrence Allan was on a humorous mysteries panel, and I enjoyed listening to him.  Actually, it was a fun panel all the way around (which isn't always the case with a humorous panel, I've found).  The main character is a former child star turned PI in Los Angeles.  I'll admit, the title gives me pause, Big Fat F@!K-Up.  But I bought it anyway.  We'll see if I can get past the language when I read it, right?

What I'm Currently Reading:

I had hoped to finish up Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delany by Saturday night.  I'm enjoying it, but I thought I had read enough I'd be able to finish it.  Instead, I've been fairly lazy and haven't gotten to it yet.  There's still time to finish it tonight, right?

Whether I finish that book Saturday or not, the next book up will be The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair.  I've been intrigued by these books since I first heard of them, so I'm anxious to finally be able to read one.  They feature two women who set up a match making agency in post World War II London.  Of course, they are mysteries, but I want to see what the author does with the premise.

Have a good week.