Books Read so Far in 2020 Part 3

Hey hey, it’s MJ.

            I’m doing this one a little different, I am writing this in September and I have no idea when this is actually going to be posted but I realized after doing my last book update that I forgot some of the things that I wanted to say about the books and doing it this way I think will make my life a little easier and that is just progressively writing this as I finish a book because it means that I have a better memory of what I read as I go. So this post might seem a little disjointed and there is for sure a reason for that; I am not writing it all in one day I am writing it when I finish a book and I think that might be a better format. I don’t know so you’ll have to let me know your thoughts on it. 

            So what have I read since the last post? 

A High End Finish by Kate Carlisle.

            So this was for sure the first book I have read since June so bear with me on a review. Overall I really enjoyed it, it had me guessing who the killer was until about 25 pages until the end so that is the mark of a good mystery novel, keep the reader guessing. It did take me a while to get into it, the chapters are long which can both be amazing and terrible when you want to finish a chapter and it’s another twenty pages. I am one of those people who prefers to stop at the end of a chapter than in the middle so that was a little frustrating. It had a slow start and a shocking attempted sexual assault in the first chapter which was a cozy mystery was a lot for me and I had to put the book down for a while before I was even sure if I was going to continue reading it. It took a while to pick up but when it really got into the meat of the story I couldn’t put it down. I love the girl power in this novel as someone who helped build a house it’s cool seeing ladies building things as cool. Like most cozy mysteries the names are ridiculous and the town is cute but I really enjoyed this novel overall. Can’t wait to get the second in the series and read it to find out about more of the hijinks that Shannon gets up to. 

Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

            So this is a Hannah Swensen mystery but it happens several years before the first book which is Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, it was interesting to see the characters before you meet them in the first novel. This one didn’t per say have a real murder in it which was interesting because I am so used to Hannah finding a body. This one was different it was about the whole community coming together to put on a Christmas Ball for one of their residents. It also involved a book with in a book which again is interesting and I read a book earlier in the year that had the same thing. This one in the context of the novel was more autobiographical to the character that the story focused on outside of the characters that I have come to know and love that are in this series. It was interesting to see how different some of the characters were though in this, like Delores; Hannah’s mother. It was overall a really good book and I blasted through it in two days, also having recipes in it never hurts which is  one thing that this series is known for and I want to try about 98% of them, cook and bake my way through Hannah’s recipes but that is a job for another day. 

If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell

            Clearly I am on a mystery kick, maybe because I can read through them rather quickly, I love a good cozy mystery and I really like the ones with nods to the supernatural like this one. I have another series that I love and that is the Witch City Mysteries by Carol J. Perry so having another one to read will never be a problem for me. Though like a lot of cozy mysteries Barnes and Noble has the first one and then like the eighth one so if you start the series late good luck finding them in a store. Beyond that though, I really enjoyed this one like I said about A High End Finish, normalize ladies in construction and carpentry. It was good and kept me guessing who was behind it until like 50 pages before the end which was great. This one kept me guessing and making me want to keep reading, I want a book that sucks me in and doesn’t let go, it makes for a great read. The characters are well built and dynamic which makes for a good story overall and I feel like I am repeating myself but because it’s the first book there is a lot of world building and exposition on relationships of the characters and I can’t wait to see how the series progresses. 

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G.S. Denning 

            So I like Sherlock Holmes in most iterations that you find that character in, I recently rewatched the BBC version because quarantine. So this one with a twist of magic was a fun retelling or rather a fun reworking of the classic Conen Doyle tale of A Study in Scarlet. There were also a few other cases in this and I enjoyed reading through them as well. It took characters that were so familiar and flipped them on their heads. There is a second novel and probably a third but I have had this book for quite some time and I think actually I bought the second one first. Overall I enjoyed it there were funny bits and bits that were surprising so good on you for keeping me turning the pages on an old classic. I am looking forward to reading the other four that I have found on the internet but I think I am going to take a break between them because this book was a little heavy, not a super quick read but worth it. 

Supernatural: Bone Key by Keith R.A. DeCandido

            Yes this is a TV tie in like the Doctor Who ones that I love, I used to watch Supernatural a lot, I was late to the game of course because I didn’t watch it until it was on Netflix and then I stopped because it was just a lot for me but I have been watching it again recently because I am a completionist when it comes to TV shows that I like, I mean really. It’s a good show and I love it but with it ending I wanted to catch up with it. I pulled this one out of my bookcase a week or so ago and decided just to finish it. This book was written over a decade ago and it’s kind of obvious because of the technology references but it reads like an episode but with such a vivid storyline. Stuff at the time that might not have been possible with special effects on TV. It took place in Key West and lots of ghosts with some twists and turns so if you like the show you will probably enjoy the read. I love all of the show tie in novels mostly because they give you extra stories with these characters that you love and sometimes all you want is one more story. 

One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly

            I love mysteries and that is no secret because there are like three just on this list and that means that I read three mysteries in September which is not a record for me but is an interesting note. I liked this book, it was really good and I honestly didn’t see the murderer coming, like I had no idea who it was going to be until it was suddenly happening and that is both a great thing and a weird thing, usually I at least have an idea as to you did it and there was a lot of subterfuge with who did it and how the case was going to be solved. I like the characters and I am excited to, when I can find it, read the next one. 

The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen

            I read this whole book in one day, it was such a good book and I had the time on my hands. It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down and I really want visit the gardens mentioned in this book because they sound absolutely breathtaking. It was one of those stories that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. I just needed to finish it because I needed to see how the story ended. I couldn’t believe that I read it all in one day but I could not put it down and it was beautifully written with such vivid imagery and it was amazing. I thought about this after I finished writing this little blurb but the book for sure gave me Pushing Daisies vibes and maybe that’s why I liked it so much, it had some really great elements and characters that you rooted for and it was just one of those pieces of fiction that sweeps you up and doesn’t put you down until the very last word.

Everything is Awful and Other Observations by Matt Bellassai

            I love reading books by funny people and this one had me laughing silently to myself as to not look like a crazy person. I watched Whine About It when it was still on the internet, I think it came out on Wednesday’s and I would come home from work and watch it because it was so funny. I saw this book in Barnes and Noble right after it came out and I had to get it, it’s taken me a lot time to actually read it but I did it and I found it so funny. I also like reading books from people on the internet if that hasn’t become clear yet. So having another book from a person of the internet who is also funny is always a win in my book. 

Girl Online: On Tour by Zoe Sugg

            I watched a lot of YouTube, I still do and a few years ago I watched a lot more than I do now, I still subscribe to a bunch of people but I just don’t watch as much as I used to. I bought this book twice, I have a signed copy as well because at the time Zoe was one of my favorite YouTubers, I still enjoy her content but I am in a different headspace now. It took me some time to get into this book because I am in that different headspace but it was a good book and because it’s been so long since I have read the first one I had to remember everything that happened in the first one. I have been dealing with anxiety since I was in middle school without knowing what it was until late in high school and I still deal with it on the daily, every time I post a blog every time I have to talk to someone, every time there are too many people I feel like the world is closing in on me so being able to read about a character like that would have been something I needed in high school but finding it in my early 20’s was still okay. It’s a good book, YA and the middle in a series of three so I will read the third one eventually, hopefully not four years from now like I did with the first one and this one. 

Murder, Take Two by Carol J. Perry

            This is part of the Witch City mysteries, the first is called Caught Dead Handed and I have been reading the series for almost two if not three years now because I wanted a Halloween mystery to read and I love every single one. This one took me a while to get into just because I was in a reading funk but it didn’t take me all that long to read and I really enjoyed it. This one was a little different than novels in this series in the past and it had me guessing who the killer was until the last few chapters, I was really thrown off on who it actually was which is still one of the marks of a good mystery novel. As someone who was behind the scenes in TV in college this is one of those series that I love because the main character is a reporter as well as a whole host of other things and I just really like cozy mysteries if that isn’t hard to tell but if you like cozy mysteries I would suggest this series over all. 

This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle 

            This is the second in the series that started with A High End Finish and I read it in like three days, I want to start off and say it was great. It had me thinking one person was the murderer, changing my mind, and then making me realize I was right in the first place. I can’t wait to see how the story progresses through the rest of the series; I have the third one on deck to read soon but I need a mystery break because I have a Once Upon A Book Club box coming in the mail (by the time this post goes up I hope to already have it) so I will be reading that sooner rather than later because I did it last year too with the House Witch and I didn’t finish it until December and I don’t want to do that again this year. But back to the book at hand! I am loving meeting and getting to know these characters like you do with a cozy mystery series and I cannot wait to read the third one. A side note: I really dislike Whitney and I know I’m supposed to but I don’t really just don’t like her. 

            I read a lot of books in two months and I am now down to ten books to hit my goal by the end of the year and I really hope that I can hit my goal for the first time in three years so that is something that I am looking forward to. 

            Long kind of disjointed post but here it is eleven books that I have read in the last few months and there will be another post before the end of the year. 

            I will see y’all later in the week with another post, hoe you have a good rest of the week!

            -MJ 

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