Saturday, December 29, 2018

Bookish Highlights of 2018...

Favorite Read:

The Runners-Up:

The suspenseful thrillers:                                       The Ghostly Suspense:
Color Blind by Colby Marshal                               Ellie Jordan: Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan
Blood Mist by Mark Roberts                                  Craven Manor by Darcy Coates

Urban Fantasy Fun:                                               Last but not least:

Favorite Nonfiction reads:

The nonfiction runners-up:

Favorite New (To Me) Series:

The Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka

Favorite Bookish Moment:

Reading Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile while 
actually traveling down the Nile during my trip to Egypt last April.

The Nile River

Favorite Picture Book:                                                              Funniest Read of 2018:

Check it out! It's Awesome!

I loved this one, too!

Favorite Posts:
My Haiku Reviews which you can view hereherehere, or here.

Last "new" bird that I spotted this year (#192 on my list):

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Farewell, 2018!

I had a lot of fun this year visiting all of your blogs, reading your reviews, doing buddy reads with Bettina and Melody, and talking books with everyone. Hope to see you all next year!

And Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A bookish gem...

Title & Author:  The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland
Setting: York, England

First paragraph: A book is a match in the smoking second between strike and flame. Archie says books are our best lovers and our most provoking friends. He's right, but I'm right, too. Books can really hurt you.

Main Character:  Loveday Cardew--an introvert who "isn't very social" but who loves books and has the first lines from several of her favorite novels tattooed on her body. She's also a poet who's guarded, fiercely independent ...and a bit fragile, too, especially when it comes to opening up and trusting others.

My thoughts:  I love Butland's writing and how she weaves together the pieces of Loveday's past and present into one magical, unputdownable story. Nathan, the magician/poet Loveday meets at the bookshop is one of my favorite characters; I love how he interacts with Loveday, and how their relationship slowly grows over time. There's a bit of an intriguing mystery, too, regarding Loveday and how books from her past keep showing up at the Lost For Words Bookshop. It was unexpected and added to the fun. All in all, I really loved this book. It's one I could happily read again....and again.

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

May your Christmas be full of peace, love, and light.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2018

The White Christmas Inn

Christmas in Vermont at the Evergreen Inn. Sounds perfect, doesn't it? Only things aren't as perfect as they seem:  Jeanne and Tim, the owners of the inn, are struggling to make ends meet and might have to close; Hannah, who's there for her picturesque winter wedding, just got a call from her fiancee ending their relationship; and Molly can't seem to overcome her writer's block no matter how hard she tries. Add in a snowstorm that strands them all at the inn along with several other unexpected guests and you get Colleen Wright's charming Christmas novel.

I was really in the mood for a story with humor and heart and a happily-ever-after ending, and this book hit the spot on all three counts. The writing is good, and I liked all the characters...especially Hannah's childhood friend, Luke. Geoffrey, the grumpy Brit, also made me smile. And I thought the setting was great. I mean, who doesn't love snowed-in stories? And while the plot is completely's also completely enjoyable. So if you're looking for a fun light-hearted Christmas read, give this one a try.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Haiku Reviews...

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews

Ex-army captain
seeks wife. A lady answers
his ad. Romance ensues.

Victorian period romance .... 378 pages ..... 3.5/5 stars. ('Cause sometimes I'm in the mood for a happily ever after kind of story...even a completely predictable one.)

Left For Dead: My Journey Home From Everest by Beck Weathers

Frozen and presumed
dead on Everest, he got a
second chance at life.

True story .... 287 pages .... 3.5/5 stars.
(A perfect companion read to Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air.)

A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo (Kate Burkholder mystery #10)

One Amish teen murdered--
Sheriff Kate means to find out
the real reason why.

Mystery ---- 308 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(I really enjoy this mystery series!)

Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

December's Bookish Art...

Carl Christian Hansen -- The Artist's Sisters

"There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully
as those we spent with a favorite book."
--Marcel Proust

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass

"The small, fragile bone I held in my hand not only proved that a murder had been committed, it also told us how it happened. A rush of excitement surged through me. I liked to think of it as the wholesome satisfaction of a fruitful scientific inquiry. The truth was, though, it was more like a drug. Other people were hooked on cocaine or cigarettes or runner's high; I was addicted to forensic discovery."

Dr. Bill Brockton is one of those genuine characters that I instantly liked. He's a forensic anthropologist and head of the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and he's a bit of a bone geek. Death and decay are his life. He searches for the truth that's written on the bones of the dead, and he's very good at his job. (Though not as good at telling jokes.) He's also a character with a lot of depth and authenticity.

His latest case involves the corpse of a young woman found in a remote cave in the mountains of Appalachia. The secrets he uncovers about her life, and her death, "reopens old wounds and rekindles an old feud" that started decades ago. Carved in Bone is a compelling mystery, with good suspense and a lot of forensic science. (Some might not like the detailed explanations about Brockton's work and how he examines the bones of the dead, but I found all those science-y details fascinating.) And the pace really picks up towards the end. This turned out to be a 4-star read for me.  I'm really looking forward to checking out the next book in this series.

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 10, 2018

A few of my favorite Christmas-y things...

Favorite cartoon character from a Christmas special:


Favorite last-minute gift suggestions from John Atkinson:

Second favorite character from a Christmas special:

Snow Miser:  "He's Mr. White Christmas...He's Mr. Snow!"

Favorite rendition of a Christmas carol:

Third favorite character from a Christmas special:

The Abominable...who really needs no introduction!

Favorite Christmas chocolate:

Favorite childhood Christmas book:

Happy Reading...and All things Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Dover Demon

As teens, Sam Brogna and three of his friends encountered the Dover Demon on a deserted country road--something they never talked about later, not even with each other. Was it a cryptid, an alien, or something else? Now, thirty years later, they're about to find out.

This book doesn't have the big in-your-face monsters like some of Hunter Shea's other novels (think They Rise and Megalodon in Paradise to name just a few), but I liked the subtler sense of horror and suspense in this one. And I loved the characters, especially Sam and his 17-year-old son, Nicky. They have such a great relationship, from working together in their comic book store to binge-watching horror movies. They were my favorite part. The non-stop action in the last half of the book is pretty good, too. But what the "Dover Demon" turned out to be in actuality wasn't very surprising or unexpected. And I have to say, I didn't love the ending. Not that it was unwarranted, it just wasn't very satisfying to me. But I can totally see why Shea ended it the way he did! (I'd be more specific, but I don't want to give anything away.) So, while this particular book will never be my favorite Hunter Shea novel, I do think it's a pretty fun and entertaining horror story. (If you like that kind of thing.)  😊

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


It's the perfect time of year for some chilling suspense. And, as luck would have it, the Top Ten Tuesday theme for this week is Wintry Reads.

(Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.)

So, here are ten chilling titles that will keep you in suspense this winter season:

1. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

2. The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

3. Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

4. The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza
5. The Girl in the Ice by Lotte and Soren Hammer

6. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

7. Snow Angels by James Thompson

8. Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman

9. Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason

10. Winter Prey by T.M. Simmons

So, grab a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket and ... Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Classic British Mystery...

"Publicity was Miss Cordell's bugbear. Respectable publicity was bad enough.... but shameful publicity! A death mystery! This was terrible!

Four Freshman at Persephone College--Sally Watson, Daphne Loveridge, Gwyneth Pane and Nina Harson--are intent upon forming their own secret society when they spot a canoe floating past them on the Cherwell with a dead body lying inside. It's their college bursar, Myra Denning. Now Sally and her friends are intent on protecting their college and figuring out how and why Myra Denning died. Of course, the local police and Scotland Yard have their own ideas.
"Undergraduates, especially those in their first year, are not, of course, quite sane or quite adult."
A British Library Crime Classic, Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay was first published in 1935 and recently reprinted in 2016. And I'm glad it was because it's an entertaining mystery. The four amateur sleuths reminded me a little of Nancy Drew and her friends. And I liked the 1930s references and the college setting a lot. And it's funny, too. The actual police, though, do the bulk of the mystery solving ... with a little help from the four girls.

While Death on the Cherwell isn't quite as good as an Agatha Christie, this lighthearted mystery is a lot of fun. I, for one, would love to read Hay's other two detective novels, especially if they're as enjoyable as this one.

Happy Reading!