Billionaire Blend – Cleo Coyle

4/5 Blue Roses

On The Back:

When a car bomb nearly kills tech whiz Eric Thorner, Clare comes to his aid and receives a priceless thank you. Not only does the billionaire buy her a barista’s dream espresso machine, he hires her for an extraordinary project: creating the world’s most expensive coffee blend.

The police quickly arrest Eric’s alleged attacker, yet death continues to surround the unlucky mogul, leading Clare to question whether a fatal fall and another lethal mishap are premeditated murders or merely freak accidents. Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn, has a theory of his own—one Clare refuses to believe.

Meanwhile, Eric jets Clare around the world on a head-spinning search for the very best coffee, and Clare gets to know his world—a mesmerizing circle of money with rivalries that could easily have turned deadly. But is this charming young CEO truly marked for termination? Or is he the one making a killing?

My Thoughts:

Overall a good book, however this book wasn’t as good as the ones leading up to it, in my opinions.

All of the characters were great except Mike. He alone probably made this book lose a star. In the last books he was caring and loving, but in this book he just seems almost condescending, at times, and he became really flat. I really hope he moves back to NYC soon because this angst that the author is building up with him really does nothing for the book.

The setting was great. The mystery was simply mediocre, it lacked a real wow-factor that I look for in a book, though the car bomb was cool, and unique.

Overall a decent book, but not one of my favorites.

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February Reading Review

Wow, this month has flown past! I’ve read tons of good books, and I doubt I’ll finish the book I’m currently reading by tomorrow night, so I’m going to post this now. I read 23 books this month.

Yearly Challenge:

40/100 books

ABC Author Challenge:

17/26 books

Mount TBR Challenge:

12/24 books

Nonfiction Challenge:

9/12 books

YA/Children’s Challenge:

6/12 books

Favorite Mystery Reads in February:

  1. Holiday Buzz – Cleo Coyle
  2. By Book or By Crook – Eva Gates
  3. Killer Librarian – Mary Lou Kirwin
  4. A Slaying In Savannah – Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain
  5. A Tale of Two Biddies – Kylie Logan

Favorite Nonfiction/YA Reads in February:

  1. Bon Appetempt – Amelia Morris
  2. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  3. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods – Rick Riordan

Overall a great month!

In other news a review for Billionaire Blend by Cleo Coyle is coming soon!

UPDATE: I finished Billionaire’s Blend and the challenge info on this post has been updated.

Killer Librarian – Mary Lou Kirwin

5/5 English Holidays

On The Back:

Champion of the mystery section at a small-town Minnesota library, Karen Nash is about to embark on a dream trip to London, a literary tour inspired by every murderous intrigue, wily suspect, and ingenious crime found in the pages of the British mysteries that she devours. But she’s clueless why the love of her mid-life, Dave, would dump her hours before takeoff, until she spies him at the airport with a young honey on his arm! She decides the best revenge (for now) is to get on that plane anyway . . . and entertain schemes for Dave’s untimely demise while crossing the pond.
After touching ground in the hallowed homeland of Christie, Sayers, and Peters, she checks into a cozy B & B run by charming bibliophile Caldwell Perkins. Soon she’s spilling tears in her pint at the corner pub, sharing her heartbreak saga with a stranger. That night, a B & B guest drops out of circulation permanently. And when Dave and his cutie turn up in London, Karen realizes they are an assassin’s target. With the meticulous attention to detail that makes her a killer librarian, Karen sleuths her way through her own real-life mystery in which library science meets the art of murder.

My Thoughts:

Wow, this was a refreshing take on a cozy mystery.

Unlike most mysteries this story wasn’t really centered around finding the killer, it was more about Karen enjoying her trip, and if she found clues along the way, then that’s a bonus.

Overall great characters, great setting, well written, there’s really not anything bad about this book, besides the fact that there’s only one other book after it. Definitely this will join my favorites.

Classified as Murder – Miranda James

4/5 Antebellum Mansions

On The Back:

Aging eccentric James Delacorte asks Charlie the librarian to do an inventory of his rare book collection-but the job goes from tedious to terrifying when James turns up dead. Relying on his cat Diesel to paw around for clues, Charlie has to catch the killer before another victim checks out.

My Thoughts:

I had heard such good things about this series when I picked up the first book, however, I felt I was left down. But that wasn’t the case with this book.

This book was marvelous, the characters were great, especially the new ones, I really hope they come back in the next books. The setting was also good, especially the mansion.

The mystery was mediocre, the killer didn’t really surprise me, but it was solid.

Overall a good book. I’ll look for more in this series.

Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

2/5 Wilderness Journeys

Originally posted on Goodreads on January 8, 2015.

On The Back:

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a party of moose hunters. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

My Thoughts:

Not one of my favorite books. This book is the story of Chris McCandless and his journey into the wild. I don’t know if it was because I was reading this book for a class, if it was because I would read it off and on or if it was simply because I didn’t like Chris, but this book was quite lacking for me. However, it was well-written and I liked how the author made parallels with other people in history.

By Book or By Crook – Eva Gates

5/5 Lighthouse Libraries

On The Back:

Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery!

For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite.

Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.

Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending….

My Thoughts:

Usually I like to keep up with new series in the “cozy mystery” genre, but I was running low, so at my last trip to Barnes and Noble I picked this up because I liked the premise and cover. I’m glad to say that this book lived up to my expectations and even more!

The characters were great! Some were likeable, some not so much, but they were all realistic. There were no absolutely perfect characters in this book. However, by the end of this book the author seems to setting up a love triangle. I sincerely hope she doesn’t go through with it. Love triangle seem to muddle up mysteries.

The mystery was good, plenty of suspects and clues, and the ending left me pleasantly surprised. The setting was also nice, it was very similar to Ellery Adams’ Books by the Bay Series.

Overall a pleasant series that will b added to a favorites shelf. I hope the next book lived up to this one.

Bon Appetempt – Amelia Morris

5/5 Failed Recipe Attempts

On The Back:

When Amelia Morris saw a towering, beautiful chocolate cake in Bon Appétit and took the recipe home to recreate it for a Christmas day brunch she was hosting, it resulted in a terrible (but tasty) mess that had to be served in an oversize bowl. It was also a revelation. Both delicious and damaged, it seemed a physical metaphor for the many curious and unexpected situations she’s found herself in throughout her life, from her brief career as a six-year-old wrestler to her Brady Bunch-style family (minus the housekeeper and the familial harmony) to her ill-fated twenty-something job at the School of Rock in Los Angeles.
As a way to bring order to chaos and in search of a more meaningful lifestyle, she finds herself more and more at home in the kitchen, where she begins to learn that even if the results of her culinary efforts fall well short of the standard set by glossy food magazines, they can still bring satisfaction (and sustenance) to her and her family and friends.
Full of hilarious observations about food, family, unemployment, romance, and the extremes of modern L.A., and featuring recipes as basic as Toasted Cheerios and as advanced as gâteau de crêpes, BON APPÉTEMPT is sure to resonate with anyone who has tried and failed, and been all the better for it.

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley*

Wow, this was the type of book that leaves you with a good feeling of contentment all over. I loved this book from chapter 1 to the epilogue and I found myself immersed in Amelia’s life. I loved the fact that despite everyone saying different Amy and Matt stayed true to their hearts. This book was an amazing memoir that I think would make a great gift or addition to any library, and I think my grandmother would fall in love with it, so it’ll go in her birthday box this year. Overall an amazing book that I’d recommend. Now off to explore her blog: Bon Appetempt!

A Killer Collection – Ellery Adams

3/5 Kiln Openings

On The Back:

In the world of antiques and collectibles, it helps to have a sharp eye for quality, a good ear for gossip, and a nose for murder.

Molly Appleby is a young writer for Collector’s Weekly, and when the attractive reporter isn’t covering auctions and antique shows all over the South, she’s trying to get her new relationship with a coworker off the ground. When her latest assignment takes her to North Carolina pottery country to cover an exclusive kiln opening, she’s certain the show promises surprising offerings and rare finds. What she doesn’t expect to find is a dead body.

George-Bradley Staunton is known throughout the antiques world as a very wealthy and very ruthless collector, and when he drops dead just after the opening, there are all too few mourners and a seemingly endless list of suspects. When the local police are stumped, Molly steps in to put her journalist’s nose to work sniffing out the culprit. But no sooner does she start collecting clues than another dead body falls into her lap.

As Molly digs beneath the genteel surface of antiques and collectibles, she finds a world filled with backstabbing and competition, and what started as a story about rare collections might leave Molly with nothing more than a collection of corpses.

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley*

Though I really liked this book I thought it failed to live up to Ms. Adams’ standards after reading other books she has published.

I liked the characters, but I felt like there wasn’t much time taken in the book to fully explore them. For instance, Molly just wants to jump right into investigating, which I normally don’t like in a MC. Also, Matt, the love interest in this book is very vague at the beginning, and then he all of a sudden professes his love for her. I felt like it hindered the book.

The mystery was good, but it was rushed. There were no really clues to speak of before about 20 pages ahead of when the killer is exposed. The ending also let me down, I felt that it was all rushed.

I simply loved the history and research that obviously went into building a realistic setting of the North Carolina pottery world,and the pottery world in general. It really made me want to look into pottery more as a hobby.

Overall a good book, I’ll probably read more in the series, but yet I felt that it was simply rushed. However, I’d probably recommend this to a friend.

The Blazing Star – Erin Hunter

2/5 New Group Members

Originally posted on January 30, 2015 on Goodreads.

On The Back:

A deadly disease threatens every cat in the forest in this fourth book in the Dawn of the Clans prequel arc from mega-bestselling author Erin Hunter.

In the aftermath of the first great battle, the grounds of the four trees have been stained with blood and every cat has lost denmates and kin. Each group has sworn to a truce, but simply keeping the peace may not guarantee the cats’ survival. A mysterious, deadly disease threatens to strike deep into the heart of both camps. Only one thing can save them: they must seek the Blazing Star….

Discover the origins of the warrior Clans in this thrilling and richly developed prequel arc. Featuring a new cast of characters and a never-before-seen look at the history of the warrior cats, the Dawn of the Clans arc is perfect for existing fans and for those new to the Warriors world. With more than fourteen million copies sold and each new title hitting the New York Times bestseller list, the Warriors series has been flying off the shelves for ten years and counting.

My Thoughts:

I’ve been reading this series for awhile now, and I loved it, but I’ve found that the series is starting to go downhill. I actually pre-ordered this book, expecting great things because the last book, The First Battle was phenomenal, but I really didn’t like this book. It was exceedingly flat and very annoying.

To start with the characters. Cherith (one of the authors who writes under the pen name Erin Hunter) is not my favorite Erin. I think it’s the way she writes her characters. For instance, in the last book Kate (another of the Erins) actually made me start to look forward to Thunder’s parts in the story. I had despised his character before the last book, but in The First Battle I grew to kinda like him, but this book reestablished my hate for this character. He was arrogant and it really made me angry when he became one of the leaders. But enough about him.

Honestly, the writing was really flat, I felt that if some of the dialogue could have been improved this entire book would have improved, unfortunately that didn’t happen.

However there were some redeeming qualities in this book. I loved Star Flower’s character for the simple fact that she was different. I think she was the first antagonist to use seduction for her (father’s) gain. I also adored the bonus story at the end. I’m really excited to see what happens when they come to the rest of the former mountain cats.

This book was flat, and some points were annoying, but I love the characters. However, I can feel my interest waning in this series, so after the final two books in this arc I’ll probably quit reading it. Unless, of course, a novella or Super Edition comes out with my favorite characters in it.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

5/5 Books of Dares

Originally posted on February 08, 2015 on Goodreads.

On The Back:

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors ofNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

My Thoughts:

Wow, this was a superb book. I loved the characters, they were extremely relatable and I could of easily pictured people I know fitting into either of them. The setting was amazing, I really want a red Moleskine notebook left for me at my favorite bookstore. The Christmas setting was great. Overall a fabulous book that I’d recommend.