2016 Crafty Cozy Challenge!! Sign up!


Welcome to the 2016 Crafty Cozy Challenge!!

After book blogging and participating in reading challenges for a couple of years now, I have decided to host my very first reading challenge . . . so welcome to the 2016 Crafty Cozy Challenge!   I of course love to read and always like to start looking for unique, fun reading challenges about this time of year – something to expand my reading, a challenge to most importantly have fun with!  So here we go . . . I hope you will join me and most importantly have tons of fun along the way!!

You may be asking yourself “what is a crafty cozy?”  A crafty cozy is any cozy mystery that is centered around the theme of crafts and crafting – i.e., stitching, knitting, crocheting, papercrafting, scrapbooking, painting, glassblowing, . . . if its any type of craft, it counts for this challenge.

Here is how the challenge works:

  1. The challenge runs from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.
  2. Sign up for the challenge using the link below. Please help spread the word about this challenge by writing a post on your blog.  Please write and publish a post on your blog stating your intent to participate.  In your post please somewhere include the challenge graphic and a link back directly to this post.
  3. Come back to the blog starting in January to post your reviews via a link in the post.  At the end of every month I will randomly choose 1 entry/review for a $5 Amazon gift voucher sent by email to the recipient.  There will be a new link for reviews posted every month.
  4. Crossovers from other challenges are absolutely alright!!
  5. Don’t stress . . . and have fun reading!

What if I don’t have a blog to post reviews on?

No problem at all.  You do not need to have a blog to participate in this challenge.  I want it open to all.  Simply post a comment on this post stating your intent to participate and come back to post your review or mini-reviews of the books you have read.

Please, please have fun along the way.  Ask me any questions you may have . . .

Ready . . . set . . read . . .

And remember,

Books are life,




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Filed under book challenges, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Fiction

Book Review: “A Cookbook Conspiracy” by Kate Carlisle (Bibliophile Mystery #7)



Title:  A Cookbook Conspiracy

Author:  Kate Carlisle

Series:  Bibliophile Mystery #7

Synopsis (from bn.com):  It’s a recipe for disaster when bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is asked to restore an antique cookbook….

Brooklyn’s sister Savannah and her former culinary school classmates all became successful chefs, especially Savannah’s ex-boyfriend Baxter Cromwell, who went on to culinary superstardom. When he invites the old gang to the gala opening of his new restaurant in San Francisco, Savannah asks Brooklyn to restore a rare antique cookbook as a present for him.

The night they all gather, Baxter is found dead, the cookbook has disappeared, and Savannah becomes the suspect du jour. But Brooklyn knows her sister is innocent, and there are plenty of old grudges simmering among this backstabbing bunch. Now she’ll have to turn up the heat on the investigation before Chef Savannah finds herself slinging hash in a prison cafeteria.


My thoughts:  I took a break from cozies for a while to get back into some mysteries . . . and after my break it is so nice to be home!

I really enjoy this series. . . I mean a book about someone who likes to fix books and surrounded by a cozy food theme as well, sign me up.

I devoured this book in a day, tucked in under my favorite blankie, with a warm cup of coffee after the first snowstorm of the season, perfect book for a perfect day.

I truly enjoyed this book.  It was fun yet a good story at the same time . . . and the overall plot was not cheesy as we all know some cozy stories can be.  The characters are great, fun, engaging . . . and after you read all the books in the series truly feel like family!

Overall, a great series and a great addition to the series!

And remember,

Books Are Life,



Filed under Book Reviews, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Fiction, Mystery

Book Review: “Your Next Breath” by Iris Johansen (Catherine Ling #4)


Title:  Your Next Breath

Author:  Iris Johansen

Series:  Catherine Ling (#4)

Synopsis (bn.com):  SHE CAN RUN FROM THE PAST.
Catherine Ling created a brand-new life for herself, far from her rough beginnings on the streets of Hong Kong. But someone has followed her trail…and is playing a deadly game with her, striking closer to her heart with each blow. First, there’s the death of the former prostitute who helped Catherine when she was still a child. Next, the CIA operative who had known her ever since she was pulled into the agency at the age of fourteen. And now Luke is in the killer’s sights.

Luke is Catherine’s only son. Kidnapped when he was only two years old, Catherine devoted nine years of her life to finding him-and she will not lose him again. Can Catherine, who has made countless enemies throughout her life, protect the ones she loves the most-including Eve Duncan, whose forensic skills were instrumental in freeing Luke-without putting her own life at risk? All she knows is that she will die trying…if the killer doesn’t get to her first.


My thoughts:  We met Catherine Ling in one of Johansen’s Eve Duncan books . . . and I immediately fell in love with her.  I loved her strength, her story, her life, her job .. . I just loved her character.  Now as we enter book 4 I must say that the Catherine Ling books and character are getting a bit formulaic and stale for me.  It feels a bit like the same story line over and over . . . Catherine Ling is haunted and hunted by a character from her past . . . that person and his goons come after her . . . her CIA friends save her  . . . and all is well with the world.   I just don’t feel like Catherine Ling is growing as a character at all.  I find her relationship with her son Luke and Hu Change increasingly odd over time and I just need to see some growth in these characters.

On a positive note, I did like that this book included quite a bit of action from characters we know from Johansen’s Eve Duncan series such as Eve, Joe, and Jane . . . it seemed to add a little bit more excitement to the series (but again, for the love of God please let Bonnie and all things having to do with Bonnie go, no more!!!)

Another thing that needs to be let go in the Johansen series is the . . . and I don’t even know how to characterize this . . . supernatural characters with odd powers . . . it’s just not my thing and I fail to see what it does for the book.

Of course, being a hardcore reader who doesn’t like to give up on my authors I will go back in for more from Johansen.

Overall, just an ok book for me . . . a bit slow and formulaic.

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Filed under Book Reviews, Detective/Police, Fiction, Iris Johansen

Book Review: “Unlucky 13” by James Patterson (Women’s Murder Club #13)



Title:  Unlucky 13

Author:  James Patterson

Series:  Women’s Murder Club #13

Synopsis (from bn.com):

The Women’s Murder Club is stalked by a killer with nothing to lose.

San Francisco Detective Lindsay Boxer is loving her life as a new mother. With an attentive husband, a job she loves, plus best friends who can talk about anything from sex to murder, things couldn’t be better.

Then the FBI sends Lindsay a photo of a killer from her past, and her happy world is shattered. The picture captures a beautiful woman at a stoplight. But all Lindsay sees is the psychopath behind those seductive eyes: Mackie Morales, the most deranged and dangerous mind the Women’s Murder Club has ever encountered.

In this pulse-racing, emotionally charged novel by James Patterson, the Women’s Murder Club must find a killer—before she finds them first.


My thoughts:  Well, perhaps I am in a reading slump, but I normally love, love this series, but this one just didn’t it for me.  Here’s why.  During this particular series, the author always sets up a series of three separate plot lines and normally weaves them together in some connected way or at least adds some excitement to the reading.  Not this time.  The three separate plot lines – Yuki’s cruise experience, the Morales returns plot, and then the random belly bomber storyline – were all seemingly disparate and had absolutely no connection with one another.  The belly bomber story line didn’t even really end and had absolutely no purpose in the book at all.

Overall a disappointing fail for this one . . . ugh, I hate when books fail me.

But there are always a thousand more books just waiting to be read,

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Filed under Book Reviews, Detective/Police, Fiction, James Patterson, Mystery

Book Review: “White Plague” by James Abel (Joe Rush #1)


Title:  White Plague

Author:  James Abel

Series:  Joe Rush #1

Synopsis (from bn.com):

In the remote waters of the Arctic Ocean, the technologically advanced submarine USS Montana is adrift and in flames. The mission that falls to Marine doctor and bioterror expert Joe Rush and his team: Rescue the crew of the Montana and keep the vessel out of enemy hands.

But the surviving crew are not alone on the submarine. A deadly plague from the past is trapped with them. And the crew of the Montana has unknowingly set it free.


My thoughts:  I enjoyed this novel but not as fully as I expected to (if that makes any sense)!  In general, it is a fast-paced, thriller set in the waters of the Antarctic.  Overall, the plot and the characters are strong, but there were some abrupt plot line changes and pauses that just didn’t make sense to me.

I must say that I enjoyed the parts of the book that portrayed the location of the Antarctic and the landscape, more than I ended up liking the plot!

I did like the main character, Joe Rush, enough to be excited to see that there is a second novel featuring him entitled “Protocol Zero”, also set in the Antarctic (yes I already have it  . . . ahhhhh I have no control, stay tuned for a review)!!!

Overall, if you are a lover of thrillers set in exotic locations – I think you should give this a go!

And remember,

Books are life,



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Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Book Blast: “A Stitch to Die For” by Lois Winston (Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery #5)


Hear ye!!  Hear ye!  The latest installment of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery has arrived!

I am so excited to read this book!  I absolutely love this series.  The main characters are hilarious, the plot lines fun, and in general just a great, great, great series!!!

If you haven’t read any books in this series, get your hands on them, grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and get reading!


Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.



Visit the following link for a Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.escapewithdollycas.com/great-escapes-virtual-book-tours/books-currently-on-tour/a-stitch-to-die-for-by-lois-winston/




And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Filed under Blog Tour, Cozy, Cozy Mystery, Lois Winston

Book Review: “Meet Me at the Cupcake Café” by Jenny Colgan (At the Cupcake Café #1)



Title:  Meet me at the Cupcake Café

Author:  Jenny Colgan

Series:  At the Cupcake Café #1

Synopsis (from bn.com):

A sweet and satisfying novel of how delicious it is to discover your dreams

Issy Randall can bake. No, Issy can create stunning, mouthwateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. She’s much better at baking than she is a filing so when she’s laid off from her desk job, Issy decides to open her own little café. But she soon learns that her piece-of-cake plan will take all of her courage and confectionary talent to avert disaster.

Funny and sharp, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café is about how life might not always taste like you expect, but there’s always room for dessert!


My thoughts:  This book was very much outside of my normal reading choice . . . I don’t read much chick lit, and I don’t normally read British authors.  All that being said, this was a cute, nice, warm-hearted read.  The characters were engaging, fun, and quirky.

The overall story was a nice, simple story of following ones dreams, growth, learning from mistakes, and redemption!

I will say that the end of the book felt a bit abrupt and blah to me, kind of that type of ending where you keep turning the pages and find yourself wondering … is that it. .. really?

Overall, a nice simple read . . . not a fabulous book by any means . . . but good enough for a nice read,

And remember,

Books Are Life,


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Filed under Book Reviews, Chick Lit, Fiction