The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton

agatha-raisin-and-the-quiche-of-death-by-m.c.-beatonThe Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
Narrated by Penelope Keith
Series: Agatha Raisin #1
Genre: Contemporary Mystery (Cozy)
Setting: The Cotswolds in England
Published by Blackstone Audio, 2012 (originally published 1992)
Audiobook, purchased
272 pages
6 hours, 26 minutes
Grade: B+
Narrator grade: B+
Synopsis:  Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry–but falls over dead! After her quiche’s secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…

Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner’s tag on her toe…

Initial impressions

  • This was a delight! Especially fun to listen to.

Cheers

  • I like the narrator. Easy to understand and does the different voices very well.
  • Agatha–who takes an early retirement and has lived and worked in London–starts out having little in the way of social skills as the book begins. She’s a prickly and a not very likable person. By the end of the book she begins to slowly gain some social skills and look at things from other people’s point of view–sometimes!
  • She decides to retire in the Cotswolds, because she spent a vacation there years before when she was a child. She’s never lived in a village before and has no idea what she’s doing!
  • After she moves she decides to enter a village quiche baking contest, because she’s sure she will win (even though she doesn’t cook!) and that will make everyone like her. (As I said above–she doesn’t have many people skills!)
  • The fact she doesn’t cook doesn’t phase her a bit–she goes to London and buys a quiche from her favorite shop. She doesn’t really think she’s cheating!
  • Thus, she’s shocked when she doesn’t win. Later she learns the judge has favorites in the various villages where he judges local contests.
  • She’s surprised when the judge is murdered and her quiche is apparently what poisoned him. Then she’s embarrassed when the police question her and ask her to make the quiche again. !he has to admit she didn’t make the original quiche!
  • She’s convinced she will never be able to show her face in the village again. And some people in the village don’t like her, but others are more forgiving and even find the incident funny. They assure her she never had a chance of winning.
  • The police finally decide the quiche’s poison (a plant) was added by mistake and the death was an accident.
  • Agatha isn’t so sure and she begins to ask questions.
  • There’s lots of humor in the book.
  • She becomes friends with one of the young policemen who keeps an eye on her. He gently suggests she might change some of her attitudes and she might like village life.
  • There’s an old-fashioned quality to the book (perhaps because it was written over 20 years ago?) I think it’s more than that. Agatha is an old-fashioned character.
  • The mystery is engaging, but really the book is as much about Agatha’s journey. And I suspect that journey will continue in future books!

Jeers

  • It’s hard to believe Agatha would reach the age she is and still be so socially inept.

And a few other thoughts . . .

  • There are a lot of books in this series and I hope to read some more of them.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • M.C.Beaton was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1936. She worked at several papers including one where she reported mostly on crime. She finally moves to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter.
  • After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles they moved to the United States. She wanted to spend more time at home with her small son so she started to write Regency romances.
  • She wrote over 100 regency romances under her maiden name–Marion Chesney–but she got tired of that and began to write detectives stories.
  • On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house in Sutherland. Eventually, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.
  • Marion Chesney is known primarily for the more than 100 historical romance novels she has published under her own name and under several pseudonyms: Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward. But M.C. Beaton is the pseudonym she reserves for her crime fiction and mystery novels.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

magic-shifts-by-Ilona-AndrewsMagic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Setting: post-Shift Atlanta, Georgia
Published by Ace, 2015
Library book
342 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…

“Where were you? What happened?” I carved a chunk out of another lizard’s face.

“I just took the kids to fight some ghouls,” Curran said.

Oh, so it was fine, then . . . Wait. “You did what?”

He kicked a lizard. It flew into the others like a cannonball. “I called Jim before we left the house to talk about ghouls, and he said they found some in the MARTA tunnels. So I grabbed the kids and did a little hunting.”

I would kill him. “Just so I get it right, Jim calls you and says, ‘Hey, we found a horde of ghouls in the MARTA tunnels,’ and your first thought was, ‘Great, I’ll take the kids’?”

“They had fun.” A careful note crept into his voice. Curran saw the shark fin in the water but wasn’t sure where the bite would be coming from.

“You even took the dog.”

Grendel chose that moment to try to shove past me. I shoved him back into the Guild and he began running back and forth behind us, growling.

“He had fun, too. Look at him. He’s still excited.”

Initial impressions

  • It’s so good to get back to post-Shift Atlanta and Kate and Curran. I love this series. One of my favorite parts of summer–knowing a new book in this series is coming out.

Cheers

  • It’s interesting to see Curran and Kate now that Curran is no longer the Beast Lord.
  • I like the interchanges between Kate and her father. He’s a scary character and it’s hard to figure out his motives.
  • As always the humor is lots of fun–especially between Curran and Kate.
  • There’s lots of fighting in this book with lots of different and odd creatures. Curran and Kate also are involved with the Mercenary Guild in this book. I’m looking forward to more about the Guild in future books.
  • The characters still grow and change even though this is book 8. Kate and Curran have left the Pack, Kate has interacted with her father and lived and Kate claimed Atlanta as hers.
  • Have I mentioned I love the relationship between Curran and Kate?
  • We learn more about Mahon (who is a Kodiak bear shapeshifter) and Curran’s relationship. Mahon found Curran after his family was killed. He became a surrogate father to Curran and pushed him to become the Beast Lord. They have a complex relationship!

Jeers

  • As I mention below this book feels like a middle book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • In a way, this book is a little like a middle book. The last book was the culmination of a long arc that had continued for a number of the books before–Kate preparing for and finally meeting her father in Magic Breaks.
  • This book shows the aftermath of the events in book 7. The overall story moves ahead a little, but a lot of the book shows Kate and Curran settling into their new lives.
  • I get the idea the next book (perhaps books) may have many important actions and changes. I can’t wait!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)
  • Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.
  • They have co-authored two NYT and USAT bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge and working on the next volumes for both.

Reading Challenges

Waiting on Wednesday: Oct 28

I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m Waiting-on-Wednesdaylooking forward to coming out in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

 

 

 

Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow by Loretta Ross

Series: The Auction Block Mysteries #2

Publication Date: February 8, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Mystery

Synopsis (from Goodreads): They call it “the Brewmaster’s Widow”; the abandoned brewery where Death Bogart’s brother died in an arson fire.

With his girlfriend, Wren Morgan, Death goes home to St. Louis to take on a deeply personal mystery. When Randy Bogart went into the Einstadt Brewery, he left his broken badge behind at the firehouse. So why did the coroner find one on his body? Every answer leads to more questions. Why did the phony badge have the wrong number? Who set the brewery fire? What is the connection between Randy’s death and the mysterious Cherokee Caves, where the opulent playground of 19th century beer barons falls into slow decay?

Not understanding how and why he lost his brother is breaking the ex-Marine’s heart. But the Brewmaster’s Widow is jealous of her secrets. Prising them loose could cost Death and Wren both their lives.

……………………………..

Why I want this book

  • I’ve read the first book and loved it.
  • The series has great covers.
  • One of the main characters is named–Death (rhymes teeth) Bogart. What a great name for a private investigator.

Halloween cozy mysteries

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted at the Broke and the Bookish blog. Each week a different topic is introduced and it is fun to see what everyone writes each week. Check out their blog for more information.

This week we have a Halloween themed freebie. I’ve chosen to spotlight Halloween themed cozy mysteries. I’ve only read one of these books since I don’t read too many cozy mysteries. When I read Trick or Treat Murder it made me wonder how many other mysteries are Halloween themed. I was surprised to find out how many there are!

Another reason I chose cozy mysteries is that I don’t like scary books which are what a lot of people enjoy at Halloween. Not me! Cozy mysteries tend toward non-scary settings.

trick-or-treat-murderTrick or Treat Murder

  • by Leslie Meier
  • Lucy Stone #3
  • The only one of these books I’ve read and reviewed!
  • Haunted-house parties and ghostly galas…grinning pumpkins, mayhem and murder. It’s going to be one heck of a Halloween for Lucy Stone and Tinker’s Cove…It’s October in Maine, and everyone in Tinker’s Cove is preparing for the annual Halloween festival. While Lucy Stone is whipping up orange-frosted cupcakes, recycling tutus for her daughters’ Halloween costumes, helping her son with his pre-teen rebellion, and breast-feeding her brand-new baby, an arsonist is loose in Tinker’s Cove. When the latest fire claims the life of the owner of the town’s oldest house, arson turns into murder…

A Catered Halloweena-catered-halloween

  • by Isis Crawford
  • A Mystery with Recipes #5
  • Sisters Bernadette and Libby Simmons are thrilled they’ve been asked to cater a haunted house fundraiser. But they soon discover that ghosts aren’t the only unwanted guests when a murderer strikes…With the promise of a hefty commission and some valuable word-of-mouth for their catering business, A Little Taste of Heaven, Bernadette and Libby Simmons agree to cater the charity haunted house being staged at the old Peabody School. The gothic building-complete with towers and turrets-is the perfect setting for a haunted house fundraiser. But what makes the setting even more eerie are the rumors milling about town that the school is haunted by the ghost of Bessie Osgood, a girl who died in an “accident” years before. Bernie and Libby don’t believe in ghosts although they both agree there’s something creepy about the Peabody School. And when wealthy socialite Amethyst Applegate is found dead in the haunted house, the sisters wonder if a murderer might also be lurking about Peabody’s gloomy halls.In life, Amethyst Applegate earned herself a reputation as a notorious home wrecker. The vicious vixen had so many enemies it’s a surprise she stayed alive as long as she did. From Inez Colley, whose husband had a steamy fling with Amethyst one night, to Bob Small who went to jail for grand larceny because of Amethyst, and Zach Timberland who blames Amethyst for ruining his daughter’s life. And that’s just the beginning of the long list of suspects.While almost everyone Amethyst ever met might have a motive for killing her, not everyone had access to the Peabody School. All Bernie and Libby know is that it’s time for them to crack this case wide open. But when they keephitting one dead end after another, they realize the key to solving Amethyst’s death lies in discovering what really caused Bessie’s death all those years ago. And if Bernie and Libby don’t solve this mystery soon, they might become the next stars in a real-life horror flick.
    inked-up

Inked Up

  • by Terri Thayer
  • Stamping Sisters #2
  • Halloween is scarier than ever in Aldenville, Pennsylvania, when professional rubber stamper April Buchert discovers a dead body in a “haunted” corn maze. The police suspect the victim’s husband murdered her, but April knew the couple, and she and the Stamping Sisters are determined to find the real killer before he catches another in his murderous motif.

 

Fiber and Brimstone fiber-and-brimstone

  • by Laura Childs
  • A Scrapbook Mystery #8
  • It’s Halloween in New Orleans-and the festivities are going to be killer.With the help of her best friend Ava, Carmela Bertrand is building a giant monster puppet for the Halloween Monsters & Mayhem parade. Things get terrifying earlier than expected when they overhear an argument between Jekyl Hardy and Brett Fowler- and just minutes later they find Fowler’s dead body.Carmela has known Jekyl for years and can’t believe he’d ever resort to murder, despite the fact that Fowler owed him money. But when another victim is discovered-who also had an unfriendly relationship with Jekyl-Carmela is convinced someone is framing her friend and now must find a way to unmask the real killer.

Town in a Pumpkin Bash

  • by B.B. Haywardtown-in-a-pumpkin-bash
  • A Candy Holliday Mystery #4
  • In the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has a mostly idyllic life, tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father and occasionally stepping in to solve a murder or two…Halloween is fast approaching, and preparations for the Pumpkin Bash, Cape Willington’s annual autumn festival, are well underway. Candy is running this year’s haunted hayride, in the hopes of making some extra cash. But when she discovers a real dead body near some fake tombstones, Candy’s side job becomes a full-blown investigation to find out who turned a holiday attraction into a real horror show. Will Candy’s keen eye for detail unearth buried town secrets? As her search leads her through old graveyards and a haunted house, Candy will discover that not all of the skeletons hidden in this small town’s closets are Halloween decorations… INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!

A Killer Maizea-killer-maize

  • by Paige Shelton
  • Farmers’ Market #4
  • Becca Robbins is selling her farm-made jams and preserves at a county fair where business is not the only thing that’s dead…The last person Becca expects to run into at the Swayton County Fall Festival is her ex-husband, Scott Triplett, who’s operating a shooting gallery. Honesty was not always Scott’s policy, and their unexpected reunion is further complicated when the festival becomes a crime scene. On Becca’s second day there, Ferris wheel operator Virgil Morrison is found hanging from his rickety ride, dead from a gunshot. As Becca starts to notice Scott suspiciously sneaking around the fairgrounds, she begins to worry her ex may be involved in the murder. Then there’s the shadow she sees in the creepy corn maze and rumors of a gypsy curse–not to mention Virgil’s mysterious spider tattoo. Now Becca must search through a labyrinth of lies, secrets, and superstition to find a kernel of truth…before the killer starts stalking her.the-pumpkin-thief

The Pumpkin Thief

  • by Melanie Jackson
  • A Chloe Boston Mystery #2
  • Chloe Boston, meter maid and unofficial sleuth of the Hope Falls Police Department, is on the trail of the Halloween Killer and a second troublesome criminal, the Pumpkin Thief, who has robbed every pumpkin patch in town. Aided by her dog and new boyfriend, Chloe is closing in on Hope Falls public enemies 1 and 2.

ghastly-glass

Ghastly Glass

  • by Joyce Lavene
  • At her glass-blowing apprenticeship, Renaissance reveler Jessie Morton’s crabby boss and his creepy nephew are causing her problems. But when the man playing the Grim Reaper is killed, Jess has to find the lady, lord or serf whodunit.

 

murder-of-a-royal-pain

 

Murder of a Royal Pain 

  • by Denise Swanson
  • A Scumble River Mystery #11
  • When school psychologist Skye Denison stumbles over the body of pushy “Promfest” chairperson Annette Paine during a Halloween fundraiser, it looks like a clear-cut case of promicide. Annette was not the only prom mom desperate to see her daughter crowned queen. But she was also wearing the same witch costume as Skye, so which witch was the intended victim?

What are your favorite Halloween book themes? Do you like the scary books or are you like me–non-scary only!!?

 

 

Sunday Post: Oct 25

Sunday-PostThe Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week–home and blog

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Maine coast and greeting cards

We stayed at the Maine coast–in a small town called Ogunquit–last weekend and had a wonderful time. The weather was beautiful–cool, but lots of sun. We had a great hotel room–at high tide the water came so close it looked like we could step right into the water! A river runs into the ocean at Ogunquit (and in front of our hotel). At low tide it was easy to see the river, but not so easy at high tide. We could have stayed on our balcony the whole time and watched the ocean, but we helped the economy by shopping, eating and sightseeing!

Once again it felt like a very short week. I did get some cards made. I have a number of birthdays plus autumn cards I want to send. I hope to make and send a few Halloween cards early in the week, too.

What we’re watching

Nothing new this week!

Blog

I made a little progress with Bog Ahead, but at the expense of visiting other blogs so next week I need to do both plus keep reading!

Blog posts

Books

What I’m reading

Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

The Martian by Andy Weir (Audiobook)

What I read last week

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

None!

NetGalley

Library books

E-books

Audiobooks

Internet

  • Julia Spencer-Fleming (author of Through the Evil Days and other mysteries in the Claire Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne series) one of the writers of the Jungle Red Writers blog wrote a post “Three Ingredients, Seven Hours” about crock pot recipes with just three ingredients. Crock pot meals always seem like a great fall dinner.

Next Week–home & blog

Halloween is on Saturday and I want to send a few cards to friends and family so I hope to get those finished and mailed on Monday.

I want to finish up with Blog Ahead by getting a few posts ready since this is the last week. And I want to visit a few more blogs. And I want to read plenty of books. And . . . .

Blog posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
  • Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

Sideswiped by Kim Harrison

sideswiped-by-kim-harrison“Sideswiped” by Kim Harrison
Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles #.5
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Pocket Star, 2015
E-book, purchased
80 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Don’t miss this thrilling first look into the elite world of Peri Reed, government agency operative extraordinaire, and catch more of her character in The Drafter, the first book in the all-new suspense trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison, out September 1.

Every hero, even the accidental ones, have a beginning.

Silas’s radical theory that drafters are not replaying time as much as they are temporarily sliding into an alternate universe has never been well-received, but frankly, the darling of Opti’s research has enough clout not to care, until a professor with a grudge tries to put a permanent end to it. Love can’t alter time, and sometimes, even being able to rub out a single mistake isn’t enough…

Initial Impressions

  • This short story–even though confusing–makes me want to read The Drafter, book 1 in this series.

Cheers

  • Excited to see a new series by Kim Harrison. I read a few of The Hollows series and liked them. I just couldn’t keep up with them!
  • With this new series I have a chance to get in at the beginning so I like that.
  • The story confused me, but the world Ms. Harrison wrote sounds really interesting and original so I’m willing to take the little bit I learned here and read the first book.
  • The world building is complex and looks like it has strict rules which is important. People pay the price for breaking the rules.
  • This story takes place in a school where students are learning to manipulate time–going back a short time to change something which has happened.

Jeers

  • The story is confusing. I know the series is about Peri Reed, but she isn’t the main character of this story. (Silas is–I’m interested to see if he’s in the first book). I think I just need to read The Drafter and see what happens there.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • Published about a month before the first book in the series was published.
  • I’m hoping to read The Drafter soon.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • “I’m Kim Harrison, best known for penning the Hollows series though I’ve tried my hand at YA, traditional fantasy, graphic novels, and a one-of-a-kind world book. I grew up reading science fiction and fairytales, which means my fairy garden has Daleks in it. Recently, I’ve moved back to my home state of Michigan after a ten year stint down in South Carolina, and it feels good to be home–even with the snow and cold. I’ve been traditionally published for almost twenty years, and a good day is still one where there is nothing to distract me from my keyboard.”

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge

Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier

trick-or-treat-murderTrick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier
Series: Lucy Stone #3
Genre: Mystery (Cozy)
Setting: Tinker’s Cover, Maine
Published by Kensington, 1996
E-book, purchased
276 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Haunted-house parties and ghostly galas…grinning pumpkins, mayhem and murder. It’s going to be one heck of a Halloween for Lucy Stone and Tinker’s Cove…

It’s October in Maine, and everyone in Tinker’s Cove is preparing for the annual Halloween festival. While Lucy Stone is whipping up orange-frosted cupcakes, recycling tutus for her daughters’ Halloween costumes, helping her son with his pre-teen rebellion, and breast-feeding her brand-new baby, an arsonist is loose in Tinker’s Cove. When the latest fire claims the life of the owner of the town’s oldest house, arson turns into murder…

While the townsfolk work to transform a dilapidated mansion into a haunted house for the All-Ghouls festival, the hunt for the culprit heats up. Trick-or-treat turns deadly as a little digging in all the wrong places puts Lucy too close to a shocking discovery that could send all her best-laid plans up in smoke…

“My dear, I hope you’ll take a little bit of advice from an old friend. Even a spinster like myself knows you’ll never keep a man interested if you let yourself go the way you have.”

Lucy ran a hand through her hair, suddenly self-conscious.

Miss Tilley rose. “You’re really quite attractive when you make an effort, my dear. Now, I must be off.”

and

“So, what kind of eyes are you going to give it?”

“Two triangles,” said Sara.

“You don’t have to makes triangles. You can be creative. How about big, spooky circles?”

“Triangles,” Toby said.

“Triangles,” Elizabeth agreed.

Lucy sighed. “Okay, make triangles.” Sometimes Lucy wondered about her children. They were so conservative. They never wanted to try anything new.”

Initial impressions

  • I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.

Cheers

  • Even though this is the third book in the series this is the first book I’ve read by this author. I was able to pick up the book and read without missing a beat!
  • I like all the family dynamics and the friendships in the village. Things aren’t perfect which makes the book a little more realistic.
  • I like that the book is set in Maine since my husband’s sister and family live there and I love to visit. The next best thing to visiting is to read about Maine!
  • I like all the Halloween details in the book.
  • I like the humor the author adds to the book. For example, Lucy is distracted when her friend asks her to make cupcakes for a Halloween party. She thinks she has agreed to make 2 dozen cupcakes for a Halloween party, but actually she promised to make 12 dozen. So she spends a lot of time making cupcakes!
  • Lucy has a six-week old baby named Zoe. Zoe takes up much of her time. That’s certainly realistic and something I like.
  • I like the fact that other things happen in the book besides just the mystery. Lucy And Bill have four children aged from about 12 years to six weeks. That keeps them very busy and they are getting some rebellion from the two oldest. Also Lucy is worried about an elderly friend. And it’s nice to see Lucy and Bill’s relationship.
  • I think I like all the family and village dynamics as much or more than the mystery! But I recognize others may not like those aspects as much.

Jeers

  • It was fun to read a book set during Halloween, but it didn’t really matter for the mystery what time of the year it was.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is my TBR book for October. The TBR challenge is hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. The theme for October is paranormal or romantic suspense. The book I read is a cozy mystery and has a husband and wife so a bit of romance…so kind of romantic suspense.
  • When I discovered this book I bought six or more months ago I thought it would be perfect for an October read and review!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Leslie Meier lives in Harwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is the creator of ‘Lucy Stone’, a reporter and amateur sleuth in New England.

Reading Challenges

Wishes for the book genie

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I take part in when I can think up answers! It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week they suggest a new book-related topic. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week I’m talking about the wishes I would ask the book genie to grant to me!

My number 1 personal wish is that I could read faster. I have so many books I want to read and that number grows every year. I feel like I used to read faster, but maybe not. I tend to average 100 books a year. I set my goal for 110 books this year and I’m nine books behind now. Unless I read really short books I don’t know if I will reach my goal!  😦

However, I do like to enjoy the books as I read them and I think if I start just wanting to read fast and stress myself out about it I will lose something valuable. So I need to sit back and still enjoy my books while maybe reading just a little faster…lol.

The rest of my book wishes for the book genie to grant me are for particular authors to write more books:

A sequel to The Silvered by Tanya HuffTheSilveredbyTanyaHuff

I love this book and think a sequel would be wonderful and if not a sequel a book set in the same world. The world building in this book is so interesting and I feel like only the surface was scratched in The Silvered.

through-the-evil-daysA new book in the Rev. Claire Fergusson & Russ Van Allstyne Mystery series by Julia Spencer-Fleming

This is one of my favorite mystery series. I’ve read all eight books written so far, but it has been two years since the last book–Through the Evil Days–was published. I’m pretty sure she’s working on another book, but I haven’t seen anything about it–no title or publication date.

Another Pegasus book by Robin McKinley

I read Pegasus in 2010 when it came out. Another book was planned by Robin McKinley and at various times I’ve seen a publication date for Pegasus II, but it never happens.

Another book in the Generation V series by M.L. Brennandark-ascension

Four books were written in this series. The last book–Dark Ascension–came out this summer and Ms. Brennan did a Q&A on her blog in September. Someone asked when book 5 would come out and she had to say Roc (her publisher) has decided not to continue with the series. Apparently, they haven’t sold enough copies which is really sad. I love this urban fantasy series. It was a different take on vampires and on the hero.

I am relieved to hear she’s at least working on a new series. She’s an auto-buy author for me.

bloodshiftedAnother book in the Edie Spencer series by Cassie Alexander

This is another series which isn’t continuing. I read book 5 in 2014–Bloodshifted–and then discovered there won’t be another. I like Edie Spencer. She started out as a nurse working in a supernatural hospital ward several floors under the regular hospital. She grew and changed throughout this series and I thought it was an imaginative and interesting series. Sad to see it go. She says maybe there will be some more books in the future. I hope so.

A new space opera from Elizabeth Moon

I’ve read many of Elizabeth Moon’s books through the years. I especially love the several science fiction space opera series she’s written–Vatta’s War and The Serrano Legacy series. Right now she’s writing books set in the same world as her fantasy Paksennarion trilogy which came out in the 1990’s. I read that trilogy and really liked it, but I want more space opera! I admit I haven’t read the new books–the Paladin’s Legacy series. There are already five books so I really should read some of them, but again I want her space opera. I may have to re-read some of her older books.

Another Jennifer Crusie book

I think the last book she’s written (Maybe This Time) came out in 2010. She was very prolific during the 1990’s and 2000’s and I’ve read most of her books. She writes really good contemporary romance with lots of humor in them. She’s also written some books with other authors and I’ve liked some of those. I think she got burned out writing and I don’t know if she’ll do any more. I think she teaches some writing classes now. She’s a really good author so it’s too bad if she doesn’t write more books, but I’ll re-read some of her older books.

Another Rachel Bach book set in the Paradox universeheavens-queen

I read the three science fiction books–Fortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen–she published in 2013 and 2014 in the Paradox Trilogy and it’s a very rich world she created. After the last book came out she talked about writing some more books in this universe and I hope she does! Right now she’s writing an urban fantasy series–The Heartstriker series–under a different name (Rachel Aaron). I love the Heartstriker series, but I also think the Paradox universe has a lot more to tell us!

no-mark-upon-her-kindleA new book in the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series from Deborah Crombie

The last book I read in this series is book 14–No Mark Upon Her–and I’m ready to read book 15–The Sound of Broken Glass–which I already own. There are only 16 books in the series so far and the last one was published in 2014. There is good news, however. When I checked on Ms. Crombie’s website she has announced the next book should get published in August 2016. However, there is no title or cover yet. At least I know another book is on its way. I will have to space out books 15 and 16 so I don’t go into withdrawal!

What wishes do you have for the book genie?

Sunday Post: Oct 18

Sunday-PostThe Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!

Last Week–home and blog

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Eastern Shore, Maryland  and on to Maine

This week was really short for us. We went to the Eastern Shore in Maryland on Sunday and Monday–got home Monday evening. And we’re leaving Thursday evening to go to the airport since we have an early flight Friday morning to Maine. We’re visiting my husband’s sister and brother-in-law. We’re meeting them on the coast south of Portland so we have another weekend at the beach! This weekend it’s going to be colder with temps in the 50’s and lows in the 30’s. And maybe some rain. It will still be a fun weekend.

What we’re watching

Not too much time for watching TV this week!

Blog

I managed to get posts done and some reading done this week. I finally answered my comments, but haven’t had a chance to visit any other blogs. We aren’t getting home from Maine until Sunday evening so I’m hoping to have my Sunday Post scheduled to post, but won’t get a chance to connect to Kimba’s blog.

Blog posts

Books

What I’m reading

 Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

What I read last week

The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, et al.

Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier

New–Books, E-books, NetGalley, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library

NetGalley

None

Library books

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

E-books

Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff

The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagain

Audiobooks

The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick

Next Week–home & blog

We arrive home from Maine on Sunday evening. We’ve had two busy weekends and a short week so I’m sure I’ll spend quite a bit of time trying to catch up with everything.

Blog posts

  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier
  • Review
  • Sunday Post

What did you do last week? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Putney, Beverley, Bourne, Rice, Cornick, Elliott, Gracie & King

the-last-chance-christmas-ball-by-Mary-Jo-Putney, et al.The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, Susan King
Series: None
Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: Great Britain, 1815
Published by Kensington
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Sep 29, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
320 pages
Grade: C+
Synopsis: Christmas 1815. Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Hall is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year’s most festive—and romantic—holiday. For at the top of each guest’s wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year…

A chance meeting beneath the mistletoe, a stolen glance across the dance floor—amid the sumptuous delicacies, glittering decorations, and swell of the orchestra, every duchess and debutante, lord and lackey has a hopeful heart. There’s the headstrong heiress who must win back her beloved by midnight—or be wed to another….the spinster whose fateful choice to relinquish love may hold one more surprise for her…a widow yearning to glimpse her long-lost love for even one sweet, fleeting interlude …a charming rake who finds far more than he bargained for. And many other dazzling, romantic tales in this star-studded collection that will fill your heart and spice up your holidays…

Initial impressions

  • The Last Chance Christmas Ball is a ball held every year for the last 50 years. Of course, this is just the name the bachelors who come give the ball, because Lady Holly is something of a matchmaker.
  • Most of the stories are second-chance romances where the main characters already know each other and for one reason or another separated. Many of the men were soldiers and fought Napoleon and the French. That war is now over.
  • As is often the case with an anthology I like some stories better than others.

The stories:

  • “My True Love Hath My Heart” by Joanna Bourne–C+
  • “A Scottish Carol” by Susan King–C
  • “Christmas Larks” by Patricia Rice–C+
  • “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Mary Jo Putney–B
  • “Flames Dance” by Cara Elliott–C
  • “A Season for Marriage” by Nicola Cornick–C
  • “Miss Finch and the Angel” by Jo Beverley–B
  • “Mistletoe Kisses” by Anne Gracie–B-

Cheers

  • As I state below I didn’t connect with most of the characters in these stories. However, a few of the stories had characters I like and remember:
    • Roxanne (Roxie) from Mary Jo Putney’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” is a memorable character. She’s self-confident, owns and runs her own property and a colorful character.
    • Lady Holly is a character in all the stories and the reason the Last Chance Christmas Ball happens. She’s an out-spoken old lady, has many godsons and goddaughters and is liked by all of them.
    • Clio Finch is Lady Holly’s companion. There’s mystery about her so that makes her interesting. Her story is “Miss Finch and the Angel” by Jo Beverley. The angel in the story is Lord Gabriel Quinfoy. He’s an interesting character and I like their story.

Jeers

  • Most of these stories just didn’t capture my attention. Perhaps because of the length of the stories I didn’t connect with most of the characters.
  • The ball takes place after Christmas and there really isn’t a lot about Christmas. In a few of the stories the characters gather holly and mistletoe to decorate houses and sometimes they sing some Christmas carols. However, I didn’t feel immersed in these stories as I want to when I read Christmas stories.
  • Also even though the characters are invited to the Ball many of them don’t actually get to the Ball or if they do that happens days after they meet and fall in love.

And a few thoughts . . .

  •  I chose this book because I usually enjoy short stories set at Christmas and I’ve read and enjoyed books by Jo Beverley, Anne Gracie, Mary Jo Putney and Joanna Bourne.
  • I don’t read very much romance these days so part of my reaction to these stories may very well be me not enjoying romances very much anymore. Others may enjoy these stories more than I did.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge