I Didn’t Do It

By Jaime Lynn Hendricks

I couldn’t wait to read this book. I had such high hopes.


A story about writers at a thriller writer’s conference and there is a murder. What’s not to love?

I loved the premise. One of the nominees is found stabbed to death the day before the big ceremony announcing the winner.

Four authors are targeted by someone on Twitter. It looks as if one of them is guilty of murdering Kristen Bailey.

One is a narcissistic rising star, one is a fellow nominee for the award, one is a big author whose star is fading out, and one is a newbie that no one really knows anything about.

Clues slowly emerge. The newbie has been stalking Kristen. It was so bad Kristen had a restraining order.

The fellow nominee’s boyfriend is sleeping with Kristen.

The fading star collaborated on a book with Kristen that would have been his comeback and the newbie attempted to make it look like she had a one-night stand with the fading star.

The Tweets start making the four authors question each other. One by one, they begin to think each of them could be the killer. They start becoming paranoid but for their own reasons, mainly publicity, they refuse to go to the authorities. They think they can figure it out. Why not, they are all thriller writers.

It all builds up to a climax at the end that wasn’t totally expected.


Usually, the first thing that attracts me to a book is the cover. I didn’t like this cover, but I did like the premise.

It was well written. The plot was interesting.

It did feel like I was attending a writer’s conference. They do have that clique atmosphere. I have attended many writer’s conferences over the years, mainly for the writer’s workshops and it is exciting to be sitting in a workshop and have an author you love presenting. Most authors are friendly but some you know not to approach. I can see where the wrong personalities could clash, and this book did portray that aspect of conferences convincingly.

I couldn’t get myself to like any of the characters. They were all pretty much a hot mess, except Mike Brooks. He seemed to be the most believable.

I am not sure why this book didn’t satisfy me. I think the climax was a little underwhelming. We find out what really happened and then at the end is another little surprise. (I can’t say more without spoilers.)

This book was written with moments of humor. I like that but I wonder if the humor sometimes dampened the suspense. It sometimes felt like the author was really working to get that laugh. I got the humor, but I never had a laugh out loud moment.

Because most of the story was told through social media, it felt like there wasn’t that much action. Instead of following the characters through the story, I felt like I was a voyeur looking over their shoulders as they read what was happening on their phones. I think that is what made me not enjoy this read so much.

It is an interesting concept, and I would advise anyone who likes thrillers, stories about writers, and murder to read it. It wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t as much fun as I had hoped it would be.

I rated this book 3 stars.

This is rare for a three-star review for me, but I plan to keep it and read it again someday. Maybe it was more when I read it than what I read. I will also look for other books by this new-to-me author.

Title: I Didn’t Do It

Author: Jaime Lynn Hendricks

Year Published: May 23, 2023

Category: Mystery

Pages: 312 hardcover

Rating: Goodreads 3.93

Setting: A hotel in New York City

I did see that there is an interview with this author on a YouTube channel. I plan to watch it. I am not sure about my rating, and I am thinking if I hear more about how she came about writing this book, it might make more sense to me. I am thinking most of my writer friends would enjoy this book. Even though I couldn’t give it a 4- or 5-star rating, I did enjoy reading it. It is worth a read, and I think it might make you feel better about missing out on writers’ conferences in the past few years.

Do you write? Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? Did you enjoy it? Could you see a murder there?

Now off in search of my next read,


K is for Killer

“Kinsey is one of the most persuasive of the new female operatives…She’s refreshingly free of gender cliches. Grafton, who is a very witty writer, has also given her sleuth a nice sense of humor – and a set of Wonder Woman sheets to prove it.” Boston Herald

by Sue Grafton

This is an older series. This book was written in 1994 but I loved it from the beginning. I just never finished reading all of them.

Since I am a mood reader and I do want to finish this series, I have been attempting to read one a month from A-Y. Sadly Sue Grafton passed away before she could finish the last book in the series. I felt sad with her passing and I felt sad because she came so close to finishing the series.


K is for Killer is the story of Lorna Kepler’s death. Her body had been discovered weeks after her death and the medical examiner wasn’t able to determine how she died. Lorna’s mother, Janice, believed it was murder.

Janice knocks on Kinsey’s office door one night and assumes Kinsey is the receptionist. Janice doesn’t know that Kinsey is a one-woman detective agency. Kinsey reluctantly agrees to do a little investigating before she commits to working on the case.

Kinsey discovers that there were several people who might benefit by Lorna’s death. She also finds out that Lorna is involved in some illegal and dangerous activity. The more Kinsey learns about Lorna, the more she wants answers too.

As Kinsey gets closer to solving the case, she stirs up some interest from people she’d rather not get involved with. A couple of thugs grabbed her and dragged her into the back seat of a limousine. The guy tells her he is an attorney representing someone else and explains why they need to know what happened to Lorna. Kinsey isn’t sure the attorney isn’t the guy Lorna was involved with.

Kinsey gets some help from Danielle, a friend of Lorna’s and Cheney a cop. She eventually puts all the pieces together and solves the case at the end.


This wasn’t my favorite Sue Grafton book. Most of them grab my interest and drag me through the alleys and old motel rooms along with Kinsey as she investigates. This one wore me out. Kinsey spent most of the book working through the night. She’d make appointments with people at maybe 1:00 or 2:00 o’clock in the morning. I found that hard to believe sometimes. Then she would drag her butt home at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning and sleep all day. She kept talking about her body adjusting to the time change. Mine struggled with it. I sometimes felt tired for her.

Henry and Will were out East and Kinsey didn’t spend much time at the Hungarian lady’s restaurant. I missed some of those characters. She did meet a DJ, Hector, and his dog that I thought were interesting characters. Also, she made friends with one of Lorna’s hooker friends Danielle who sat Kinsey down and gave her a good haircut. At first, I thought Danielle was obnoxious when she showed up at Kinsey’s place and started looking through her kitchen cupboards and drawers. I had a hard time picturing Kinsey letting her do that.

There were times, I felt like someone else wrote this book. It felt off compared to Grafton’s previous books. I guess if I read through a memoir or biography, something may pop up to explain why the writing didn’t feel the same. I do have a couple books about Sue Grafton. I guess this gives me a good reason to move them up in my to be read pile.

With that said, it was a slow read in the beginning but as I got further into the story, I did finally get hooked. It usually happens sooner for me in her books. By the time I was hooked I did need to know what happened and the remainder of the book flew by.

This was an enjoyable read. I did give it 3 stars only because I felt the beginning was slow but I would recommend it to anyone who has been reading the series. I feel committed to completing the series. I do love the characters, the setting, and her story lines. I would love to go to visit, see her mini-home, and eat some of Henry’s fresh baked cinnamon rolls.

Title: K is for Killer

Author: Sue Grafton

Year Published: 1994

Category: Mystery

Pages: 292

Rating: Goodreads 3.98

Setting: Santa Teresa, CA

Coming Soon: What Did I Read in May?

I hope you’re enjoying the Spring/Summer like weather. I have been moving more and it feels good. I hope to get out to visit more bookstores soon. A friend invited me to join her to visit a newer bookstore in Ames, IA and then visit Reiman Gardens in Ames also. I have never been to Reiman but from what I can tell it has plants and butterflies and some art work? My friend is a volunteer there and we talked about doing this before. Now I just need to do it.

Have you made plans this summer to get out more? Are you reading or are you in a slump? Do you have any suggestions for books I should read? I did win another Goodreads book. Lisa Jackson’s The Last Sinner. I haven’t received it yet but I plan to read it fairly soon so I can review it.

The book I plan to read next is about a writer who goes to a Thriller writer’s conference and there is a murder. Writers, books, conference, murder, what’s not to like?

Happy Reading,


Silence for the Dead – Book Review

Imagine you’re a young nurse in an old mansion turned into a mental hospital. It’s the middle of the night. All lights out except your small lamp. It’s June and the room is freezing. You can see your breath and out of the corner of your eye you see someone rush past you to the bottom of the stairwell. You can hear them waiting for you to come down the stairs to them…

By Simone St. James

“Portis House emerged from the fog as we approached, showing itself slowly as a long, low shadow…”

I am a Simone St James fan girl. I love her books. The first of her books I read was Sunset Motel. I then read The Book of Cold Cases. After I finished those, I looked for everything she had published and discovered her older historical books. I have slowly been reading through them, not because they take me a long time to read but because I want to savor them.

If you like a good ghost story, you need to read her books. Each book is about someone trying to solve a mystery that involves a haunting. She is skilled at making it creepy. Her characters are well developed and I did care about what happened to them. Her plot pulls me in.


Silence for the Dead is the story of Kitty Weekes. She is pretty, smart, homeless, and a liar. From the beginning we know she is on the run but not exactly why.

Kitty loses her job. She desperately needs a job. She has a roommate who is a nurse and she finds out about an opening for a nurse at a mental hospital in an isolated location. It is the kind of place where if the weather turns bad, you are unable to get there because the bridge from the mainland floods.

Portis House is dark and full of secrets. It is not a happy place for anyone. The patients want help and to be able to see their families. The staff is overworked and no matter what they do, they don’t feel like it is enough. The Matron is harsh and makes life unbearable for everyone with her strict rules.

Kitty gets the job and soon finds out that they are desperate for help. The staff is stretched to the limit. The matron discovers that Kitty may not be who she says she is. She knows Kitty is not a nurse, but Matron doesn’t say anything because Kitty was hired by the owner. Matron does test Kitty by giving her disgusting jobs and pushes her, in a way that feels like torture.

Kitty had thought this would be an easy job. Soldiers from the war, recuperating. How difficult could that be? She quickly learns that the men have varying degrees of madness. Some are almost catatonic while others are violent and are not her friends.

She gets to know them but is afraid to always trust them, and she learns that they all have similar nightmares. Like her own. After she has been there a while and experienced the night shift, in a mental hospital, in total darkness except for a small lamp she carries. Kitty starts seeing things she can’t explain. She wants to help the patients and she knows she needs to find out what exactly is happening to be able to do so.

Kitty, with the help of a handful of patients and staff that she can trust, makes it her duty to find out exactly what is going on. Are the patients insane, is she insane, are there ghosts?


I gave this book 4 stars. It is definitely a keeper. Another book I stayed up late to finish.

St. James feeds us the information slowly, a little at a time. She hooks you and doesn’t let you go.

I loved the story line. I collect haunted house books, so these are perfect for me.

Each of her stories are stand alone and she is adept at spooky. All of her stories have scared me but I need to know what is going on so I suck it up and keep reading. Her books are not gory. They create a psychological fear.

Nominee for Best Horror 2014.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery with a ghost storyline.

Title: Silence for the Dead

Author: Simone St. James

Year Published: April 1, 2014

Category: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal

Pages: 374

Rating: Goodreads 3.92

Setting: Portis House – a mental hospital in England in 1919

About the Author:

Award Winning author Simone St James worked in Canadian television for many years before turning to writing full-time. She lives in Toronto with her husband.

I often find it difficult to give a good summary and review without telling too much information. There is a fine line between telling just enough and too much. I hope you enjoyed this review and if you’ve never read this author’s work, you will give it a try.

I hope you’re managing to enjoy a good book now and then. Let me know what you are reading.

Happy Reading,


The Lost Women of Lost Lake

By Ellen Hart

I like to read new genres and sometimes it is intentional. This time it was by accident, but I am glad that I did.

I have never read gay fiction. This is a gay mystery. Part of me wondered why it needed to be a separate genre. Isn’t a mystery, a mystery. So, I guess it is considered a sub-genre, like paranormal mystery or historical mystery and makes it easier for readers to find what they are looking for.


The Lost Women of Lost Lake is part of the Jane Lawless mystery series. Jane owns a couple of restaurants, and she is also a part-time P.I. She often helps friends in need.

A friend Tessa has sprained her ankle and Jane and another friend Cordelia decide to go help Tessa and her partner Jill out while Tessa is convalescing.

Tessa is a playwright and involved in a local play. Because Cordelia has acted and directed plays, she decides to go along with Jane to help Tessa while Jane helps Jill by cooking. Jill also owns the premier resort in the area.

When a journalist arrives in town with a photograph and asking questions about a bombing in the past that killed a Chicago police officer, a local woman and the journalist turn up dead.

Jonah, the teenage nephew of Jill and Tessa hitch hikes from St Louis to Lost Lake after running away from home. His parents had moved him away from Lost Lake and he missed his girlfriend and wanted to finish high school in Lost Lake. Jonah begs his aunts to let him stay with them. Within a couple days, he breaks his curfew and gets grounded.

Jane sees a strange man looking into Jill’s study window. Tessa has a strange paranoid reaction and Jane uses her investigative skills to help solve what is going on.


I purchased this book at a Library book sale so wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never heard of this author but the description on the jacket seemed intriguing.

I enjoyed this read immensely. The plot was interesting, and it hooked me with the strange man looking in the window. (I guess that is a personal fear of mine.)

The characters were interesting and most felt three dimensional. I loved the setting. Love small towns and a home on a lake. (A dream of mine.) The author made me care about the characters enough that I needed to know what happened to them.

The threat seemed realistic and that pulled me through to the end. The sub-plots were also well written and tied into the main story nicely.

Sometimes it’s good to browse for new-to-you books and authors. The cover attracted me originally. A chair on a deck overlooking a lake with a full moon reflecting on the water. What’s not to like? All I needed to know was that it was a mystery. I read so many series that I can’t promise to read the whole series until I finish some already on my radar but if I see more from this author, I will check them out.

I gave this book 3.5 stars and would recommend to anyone who loves mysteries set in a small town with strong female leads.

Title: The Lost Women of Lost Lake

Author: Ellen Hart

Year Published: September 27, 2011

Category: Mystery, Gay Mystery

Pages: 336

Rating: Goodreads 3.70

Setting: Lost Lake MN

About the Author:

According to Entertainment Weekly, Ellen Hart is a novelist in the cultishly popular gay mystery genre. She is also a Lambda and Minnesota Book Award winner. Three-time winner of the Golden Crown Award. A recipient of the Alice B Medal. Official GLBT Literary Saints and Sinners Festival in New Orleans. Has a GCLS Trailblazer award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of Lesbian literature. Was named a Grand Master for the Mystery Writers of America. The author of over 30 crime novels in two different series. Ellen Hart has taught an Introduction to Writing the Modern Mystery through the Loft Literary Center. Ellen lives with her partner Kathleen Kruger in Eden Prairie, MN.

I have been finding ways to buy books without overspending my budget. This is the first I have reviewed from a library book sale. I was surprised what books were available. One from an author I had hoped to read. I’ve shopped in a few thrift stores recently too. I will continue to buy new books as often as possible, and I do plan on using the library more. This was a good find. I look forward to reading more of my newfound treasures.

Where do you get your books? Do you have a favorite bookshop? I do love the library and I do like to support the authors, but I think buying used can help me find new authors without breaking the bank.

Coming soon:

A tour of Wall of Books, a bookstore I frequent in Ankeny, IA.

I hope you enjoyed this review and hopefully I have introduced you to a new to you author.

Happy Reading,


The Shop on Royal Street

By Karen White

Year Published : 2022

Category: Mystery

Pages: 384

“Atmospheric and rich, White’s writing is an indulgent pleasure to read.” – Shelf Awareness


The story takes place in New Orleans. Nola Trenholm a twenty something lyric writer has moved from Charleston and is looking at houses with her Realtor stepmom, Melanie Trenholm. It would be difficult if she only had to worry about Melanie’s little eccentricities. Melanie has a little OCD and a thing about spreadsheets. To make things even more difficult, Melanie sees dead people.

Melanie has agreed to not say anything about anything that she sees to Nola who doesn’t want to know. Considering she grew up in her family home in Charleston that had several resident spirits.

Nola has found a Creole cottage that probably should have been torn down but she believes she can re-build it.

The story shows the reader a little history of New Orleans and that probably most houses are haunted.

Melanie eventually goes back home to Charleston leaving Nola to deal with Beau Ryan, a former love interest of Nola’s who happens to own the property. He tries to discourage Nola from purchasing it but Nola talks him into selling it to her.

There is a little glimpse of a possible romance between Nola and Beau but she doesn’t want to get between him and his current girlfriend.

Nola meets Jolene, who works for Ryan. When she finds out that Jolene needs a place to stay, she invites her to be a room mate and eventually move into the house with her.

Jolene takes on some of the characteristics of Melanie. She is very conscious about her appearance, she tries to make everything perfect in the home, she tries to take care of Nola but the one difference is that Jolene is a really good cook. Jolene also uses southern phrases that her grandmother always says. Jolene is a good source of humor in this story.

If you have read any of Karen White’s other books in The Tradd Street series, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Nola’s house is haunted.

The rest of the book shows how Nola and Ryan make the home habitable in more ways than one.


I do love the Tradd Street series and this is a spin off of that series of books. It has a lot of similarities to that series even though the main characters are different. The one thing I miss in this series was the angst and suffering between Melanie and Jack. They were so much in love but when it all seemed to be working for them something would happen and they would split up, leaving me and them broken hearted.

I saw a little bit of the love interest with Nola and Beau but it didn’t go deep enough to make me really feel sad for them. I plan to read the next one in this series and hope the romance will be as memorable as Melanie and Jack’s.

I enjoyed this book, Karen White’s writing style is easy to read and she always sucks me in. With that said though, this wasn’t my favorite. It was still good but I felt some of the Tradd Street series were better. Because of that, I gave this one 3 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books about things that go bump in the night but don’t necessarily leave you too scared to fall asleep.

I would also recommend reading The Tradd Street series first.

This book marks my 20th book read so far this year. I am now half way to my goal of 40 books for Goodreads.

I have been working on my blog to update it. I hope you like the new look. I wanted something a little cleaner and less busy. You can now find my book reviews by category, author interviews, and a few author events, I will have some posts about books stores coming soon. If you also write, I have older posts under uncategorized about the writing process. Just check out the category section on the side bar to navigate through my posts.

May you always have a good book handy,


Sinister Spring/Explosive Eighteen

I am one of those people who really likes to finish a book before I start another one. I will DNF (Did not finish) a book if I really am not enjoying it or if it feels like too much work. But I do enjoy listening to an audio book once in a while.

This week I finished two books. Sinister Spring by Agatha Christie and Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. Both mysteries but that is probably the only thing they had in common. Sinister Spring is a hard cover while Explosive Eighteen is an audio book. In fact it is a re-listen. I love this series. That is my secret but I don’t always finish the audio book the same week I start it. I listen while driving and walking. It is what helps me get out and move.

Sinister Spring is a series of books that are hard covers with short stories. Each book is for a different season. So far, I own Sinister Spring, Midwinter Murders, and Midsummer Mysteries. I plan to buy the Fall edition as soon as it is available.

Sinister Spring was filled with warm cozy stories told by a handful of Christie protagonists. Poirot, Miss Marple, Parker Pyne, and the Tommy and Tuppence stories, I enjoyed most of them. I don’t remember Parker Pyne though I had heard of his character in a recent biography of Christie.

The cover and end pages are beautiful in this edition and were the main reason I wanted them for my collection. The cover has a lot of shiny gold on it. I liked the way the covers looked so much that I bought the Midwinter Murders in hard cover even though I already owned a paperback.

I think my favorite of the stories was Greenshaw’s Folly. Like most of her stories, it was set in a small town. This involved an older woman who lived in a large home. She was the last of her family line. Her will is witnessed and soon she is found dead. Was it her housekeeper, her gardener, her nephew, or a stranger?

As usual, she sprinkles enough clues that I usually guess who the murderer is but she always spins a nice tale explaining everything. All these stories had been published in a multitude of magazines beginning in the twenties, but this is the first time they have been included in a book together. I enjoyed them and do plan to read them again next spring. I gave it 4 stars while Goodreads gave it 3.86.

Explosive Eighteen is a re-read for me. I listened to it in an audio book. If you have not tried audio books, I highly recommend this series. All the voices are different for each of the quirky characters. I love Lulu and Grandma, but I am guessing those are everyone’s favorites.

Stephanie Plum is the main character. She picks up people who were bonded out by her cousin Vinnie. Stephanie lives in New Jersey. She is single but has an on-going relationship with two lovers. Morelli, the cop and Ranger, who hunts the really bad criminals out on bond. He also runs a security company. He often supplies Stephanie with vehicles because she has a bad habit of getting them blown up.

If you ever go to one of Janet Evanovich’s book signings, which I did at a conference in Nashville several years ago, called Killer Nashville. She has pins at her table for you to pick up and vote for either Morelli, or Ranger. Personally, I think Stephanie’s only chance for marriage is with Morelli.

Lulu is her assistant. Lulu is a former Prostitute. She is a larger than life woman who wears her clothes three sizes smaller than she should. She has a Firebird that she drives, and she carries a handgun, not that she really knows what to do with either one of them. Lulu helps get Stephanie into trouble. Again, not that Stephanie needs much help doing that.

Grandma Mazur lives with Stephanie’s parents. Her long-suffering father who tries not to get too involved with anything and her mother who often takes a nip of her cooking sherry.

Most of the people Stephanie gets involved with are so strange and quirky but somehow the author makes you believe it and by the end of the book, you really want more. I haven’t read all of them, but I plan to eventually catch up.

This story involved Stephanie’s return from Hawaii and her left ring finger having a tan line. We don’t learn that much about what that was all about, but I am guessing the next book will tell more. While on her flight back, someone sticks a large envelope into her messenger bag. When she gets home and opens it, it is a picture of a strange man. She tosses the envelope into the garbage.

Immediately she becomes the target of lots of people looking for that envelope. In this story we meet Buggie, a big stupid oaf that Stephanie needs to capture. Before she can get him to the police station, he keeps stealing her car.

Lulu accidentally drinks a supposed love potion and becomes enamored of Buggie. No one understands that but that situation leads to more problems for Stephanie.

These stories are always a great ride, and they are easy to listen to and I often find myself laughing a lot. I gave this one 4 stars while Goodreads gave it 3.96.

With 19 books read so far this year, I am feeling good about my Goodreads yearly goal of 40. Do you use Goodreads and have you ever participated in the yearly challenge?

I have just started reading another Karen White novel but I will tell more about that as soon as I finish reading it. I do love her series so don’t expect any surprises but maybe I will be able to introduce you to a new series.

Happy Reading,


The Lost Apothecary

How Many Books Have I Read This Year?

Are any of them your favorites?

The Lost Apothecary is the last book I read for March and I do look forward to reading more from this author. This novel is set in London with a duel timeline. Caroline, in the present time, arrives in London to celebrate her tenth wedding anniversary alone. We learn early on that she recently found out that her husband had cheated on her. She had received the trip as a gift from her parents so without explaining anything to them decided she needed some time alone. Caroline had a degree in history that her husband had discouraged her from taking advantage of. She’d found herself stuck in an unfulfilling book keeping job for her family. As soon as she arrives in London she is approached by someone who asks if she would like to go mudlarking with a group. Mudlarking is where you sift among the mud alongside the Thames River looking for historical treasures. While doing so, she finds an old Apothecary jar. She starts to research the jar and discovers there had been an Apothecary Shop owner accused of murder in the 1700’s.

The second timeline takes us to the Apothecary shop in the past and we learn that the shop started out dispensing homeopathic medicines for women. We soon learn more about life for women in that time period and how some came to the shop for remedies for abusive, cheating husbands, lovers, and other family members.

The characters are well developed and I did come to care about them both in the past and in current time. The author expertly weaved the timelines together to show how Caroline becomes a suspect for a crime in the present time much like Nellie, the character from the past, but needs to know what exactly happened in the past to help prove her own innocence.

I gave this book a 4 star rating while Goodreads currently shows it at 3.76 stars. I have already purchased the second book by this author – The London Séance Society and I look forward to reading it.

Now onto my stats for the quarter:

I have read seven books in March, six books in February, and 3 books in January, with sixteen books so far for the year. All were books I own and one was an audio book. They were in the following genres:

Romance 2

Mystery 9

Memoir -1

Biography -1

Horror -3

My 5 star ratings for the first quarter are:

The Stolen Book of Evelyn Aubrey – Serena Burdick

Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman – Lucy Worsley

Risky Biscuits (Sugar and Spice, # 2) – Mary Lee Ashford

Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie

J is for Judgment – Sue Grafton

Finlay Donovan is Killing it – Elle Cosimano

The Moving Finger – Agatha Christie

I had a great first quarter for reading – Seven out of sixteen books I rated 5 star. These are my ratings and I may have rated some books lower than you but that is fine. Everyone has their own tastes about reading. I also think it has to do with what my mood is at the time. I might read the same book at a later date and give it a different star rating. I have rated some books by adding a half star. Going forward, I think I will either round them up or down, depending on how much I actually enjoyed them.

I continue to read mostly mystery but I plan to add a few classics this year as well as maybe a sci-fi or fantasy. There is an author coming to talk at an Avid event this month who has a pretty popular book out that I might not have chosen on my own to read. I will let you know more when I make up my mind about either reading it or attending that event, since I really have not been a fan of that genre.

It has been kind of eye opening to review my reading so far. I plan to do this again at the end of June. I am having a hard time deciding what my most favorite book has been so far. I think it is a tie between Finlay Donovan is Killing it and The Stolen Book of Evelyn Aubrey. Guess we will see what it is next quarter.

Hope this post finds you all well and safe from this wild ride spring has hit us with, so far. It will soon even out with more warmer days than cool. On those less comfortable days it gives me pleasure to curl up with another good book.

Happy Saturday and until next time,


A Beginner’s Guide to Murder

March Mystery #6

This is the first book by Rosalind Stopps for me. I was pulled in by the first line – “We had known him for two days when we decided to kill him.” Then when I realized the main characters are older women, I had to read it. It you like watching British mysteries/detective shows, I think you will enjoy this story.

Grace, Meg, and Daphne are just getting to know each other in a coffee shop when a young woman obviously distressed runs into the shop asking for help. They send her off to the restroom as an intimidating male enters the shop looking for her. They decide unanimously to help Nina, the young woman.

As the women work together for the same cause, we slowly learn more about their personal stories.

They find out the Nina is a victim of human trafficking but before they can do much about it, she is pulled out of a vehicle and taken away. The three women along with an ex-con, a couple who will kill for hire and some homeless people work together to get Nina back.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and would read more from this author. Goodreads gave 3.47 stars while I gave it 4.

Do you enjoy British television? If so, what shows do you watch? I can’t put my finger on why this book reminds me of British television, can’t think of a show that it reminds me of but it is set in London and though I can’t hear the accents, I seemed to know they were speaking with an accent while reading it. Obviously, I watch too much British television, or maybe not.

Other book related news:

I will be attending a local Book Festival Saturday by working the Sisters in Crime booth for an hour and then I hope to go see the Sarah Penner talk. Sarah is the author of my current read, The Lost Apothecary. So far, it is a great read. I will share more when I review this book soon. I am hopeful that I will score her latest book at the festival. Sarah is also the opening author for the Des Moines Public Library Avid event for this year. More to come about that in a future post.

Just found out that a few indie bookstores are having a cookie crawl today. So off to check out books and get cookies.

Hope your day is joyful and you are able to relax with a good read.

Until next time,


The Writing Retreat/The Moving Finger

March Mystery #4 was a book I couldn’t wait to read. I ended up listening to it on audible. It took me a little longer to finish because most of my listening time was while driving. I had high hopes that this book would be about the struggles of writing a novel. It was, in a way. I can’t go into too much detail without spoiling the story so I am sorry for being vague.

This is the story of a famous author who invites five unpublished authors to a private retreat in her mansion in a secluded area in northern New York state. It is in the winter and they do become stranded. They are expected to write a completed novel within thirty days and she will choose one that she will help get a six figure contract to get published.

The twenty something aged writers are all women and they are all competitive. They have a grueling writing schedule of 3000 words a day. They have to turn the pages in by midnight each day or be eliminated.

That storyline in itself, I could have handled but the story took off in a sick and twisted direction and lost me. I probably wouldn’t have minded so much but this title gave no clue that this was a horror novel. I did finish it but it wasn’t really scary in the sense of horror novels for me but it did become embedded in gore and sex that I didn’t think added to this particular story. They lost me.

Goodreads gave this book 3.53 stars so there are readers who loved it more than me. I ended up giving this book a 2 star review on Goodreads because it just didn’t do it for me. Some people will love it and that is fine. I finished it out of curiosity, not because I really cared enough about the characters because all of them were pretty unlikeable. This was a debut novel so I may see what this author does next and if other reviews sound good, I may give her another chance but I was truly disappointed by this one.

March Mystery # 5

Agatha Christie doesn’t disappoint. I have read her novels for years and for me they stand up to time. Do I think she is the greatest novelist of all time? No but she does know how to tell a good story. This one was a Miss Marple novel and I was surprised to see how far into the novel we were before Miss Marple was introduced. It felt as though the two main characters, Jerry and Joanna Burton would be the only sleuths but later in the book Miss Marple did show up. The story is set in a small town and while Jerry is recuperating from an accident, they rent a small home from a Miss Barton. I thought it was odd that Agatha used two names that were so similar but that did become a clue down the road.

When several people within the village start receiving poison pen letters, most of the residents don’t take them seriously until someone commits suicide. Afterwards, the police become involved and start investigating the letters.

The story is filled with quirky characters that I always love who add a bit of humor to all of her stories. There is a bit of romance and always a good mystery. By the end we know more about this sleepy picturesque village than we ever thought we would know. Jerry and Joanna had assumed their time there would be boring until they become involved in catching a killer.

If you love mysteries, I don’t think you can go wrong with a good Agatha Christie novel. I hope to read one each month and I do look forward to the next one. Goodreads gave this one a 3.86 stars and I gave it 5.

I am currently reading – A Beginner’s Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps. So far I am enjoying it. Will tell you more in a few days after I have finished it.

I have read 14 books toward my Goodreads goal of 40 for the year. Looks like I will meet my goal. Of course I will keep reading after I meet my goal and reassess for next year.

I hope you are having a great reading year too so far.

Until next time,


Finlay Donovan is Killing It

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, I think I have found my favorite book so far for 2023. This was hilarious. LOVE it when I find a new author I love. Finlay Donovan is a hoot. When a young divorcee mom suddenly has to worry about her cheating ex-husband trying to get custody of her kids and she is a struggling novelist who is finding it hard to pay her bills and keep afloat, what should she do? Of course, become a hit mom. A miscommunication in a Panera with her agent leads a Panera customer to think she is a hit man and leaves her a note asking her to kill her husband for a substantial sum of money. Finlay is not a killer but everything she does to get out of the mess causes her to dig deeper into a bad situation. If you like cozy mysteries that make you lol, you will love this series. I can’t wait to read the next one.

View all my reviews

I shared my Goodreads review above but I wanted to add a little more for my own followers.

I have watched several booktubers talking about how great different books are and had been disappointed, until now. None of the other suggestions had panned out so far, until now.

This truly is a new favorite. The writing flows well as she spins her ridiculously funny story. She makes the unbelievable believable. The characters are well rounded and you get to know them so you care about what happens to them. Finlay gets herself into such awful situations, it actually made me nervous worrying about her. It is a story and I know it isn’t real but as far out there as the situations were, I believed it was possible.

If you love cozy mysteries that are not gory but are hilarious, I hope you take my suggestion and read this one. Let me know what you think.

Also, if you are on Goodreads, follow me for all of my reviews. I would love to follow you as well. If you have read this series, what are your thoughts?

Until next time,


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