Sunday, December 10, 2017

What I Read This Week: December 10, 2017

The Husband and I hosted our annual holiday party last night. We only serve apps and zerts, so I had a blast making spinach balls, crab balls, oreo truffles... really anything that can be eaten in round form with a toothpick. Plus a cheese plate. There will always be room for a cheese plate on our table. (Dibs on the goat cheese.)

I love hosting this event because it's so much fun to see everyone around the holidays. It's been harder and harder to get everyone together at one time (even our party had fewer guests than normal), but I know that I will at least get to see a majority of my friends, in one place, at the same time. It's my kind of holiday cheer.

The reading list is short this week because I was too busy prepping for the party and getting holiday cards out the door. Snail mail for everyone!

  • Books
    • I finished reading Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass. It's a collection of stories that serves as a companion piece to her Selection series. Some of the stories gave new insights to the original books. 
    • I am now reading The Heir by Kiera Cass... because I am addicted to this world and I am going to read all the books before 2018 gosh darnit.

Friday, December 08, 2017

The Friday Find: Aroma

Do you need a stocking stuffer for the bibliophile in your life... or yourself for that matter? Head on over to Etsy, they always have great little gifts to help during the holiday season. I very much enjoy this candle. It mixes two things I love: coffee and books.

You can find this in the PinkCloudCandles shop.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Links and Stuff: December 7, 2017


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Why I Love... Taking a Break

It's the end of the year. The stack of books on my nightstand is large. I have a lot of projects to wrap up in the office. The Husband and I are hosting Christmas for our families again. My brain just cannot think of anything new to add to this feature.

I've got a bunch of new ideas for other features floating around in my head. In an effort to get a handle on all of these loose ends, I'll be taking a break from this feature post. Hopefully, I'll get my plans together and have some fun, new things ready to go in the new year.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

What I Read This Week: December 3, 2017

How in the heck is it December already? Oh well. The Husband and I decorated our apartment and I love how it shines. Nothing makes me happy like holiday sparkle.

You know what else makes me happy? Feeling incredibly accomplished in my reading. It was a sort of crazy week at work, those first days back from a holiday always are, but I still managed to get a lot of reading done. (*ignores massive backlog in Feedly*)

  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, October 2017 - I've managed to catch up to most of my magazine backlog... except for the issues of Washingtonian. Hopefully I'll get there before the end of the year. This issue had a nice look at the Shenandoah area. I love leaf peeping there but perhaps I'll try a few more of the sights they highlight. There was also an article on the downfall of Gifford's ice cream. Apparently, it's hugely nostalgic for a lot of people but the story behind it something more dramatic. Finally, I liked the article on Ed Gillespie, I just wish I had read it before the VA election. Still good, but spoiler alert!
    • HGTV Magazine, December 2017 - I thought this would be a straight up catalog issues for gift ideas and holiday decor. I
      was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed two articles. The first was on how to care for live Christmas trees and the second offered ideas about what to hang above a sofa. Useful tips!
    • Food Network, December 2017 - This was the catalog issue! There were tons of gift ideas for foodies, but I mainly enjoyed the list of cookies. I do so love seeing new options for cooking baking and making.
    • National Geographic, December 2017 - The cover story about the quest for the real Jesus brought me back to a class I took in college. The main news in the story was not novel to me, but it was cool to see how archaeology can back up biblical stories. My favorite article in this issue was another
      dispatch from the walk out of Africa. This one focused on the silk road. It was very interesting to read how what we tend to think the silk road is (a single path full of camels, silk, and spices) is more a network of roads through desserts and mountains. Also, there might be jinn. Finally, the article on jaguars was okay, but the pictures were delightful.
  • Books
    • I finished up The Hate U Give early in the week. It might be the best book I've read all year. I was with the characters and their story from the start and you better believe I'll be seeing the movie when it comes out. This book is the perfect example for why we need diverse books. Read it!
    • I started reading Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass. It's a series of short stories set in the world of her Selection series. This anthology includes art and that makes me giddy. I got the two other books related to this world and I am so happy I get to finish out the year with these books.

Friday, December 01, 2017

The Friday Find: Seasonal Shine

The Husband and I put up Christmas in our apartment last Sunday. Our home is now full of holiday sparkle and I love it. If you want to add a bit of literary shine to your tree, the Library of Congress has this lovely ornament.

You can buy this bauble online here.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Variations on a Theme: Cozy

It's the season of coziness! I, myself, turn in to a hermit in the winter. I love to snuggle under a blanket with a good book and hot beverage. Winter is a great time of the year to get a lot of reading done. Who wants to go outside when it's cold? This month's variations on a theme is dedicated to the cozy mystery.

Death by Eggnog
Alex Erickson

Krissy Hancock is staying in her adopted hometown of Pine Hills, Ohio, for Christmas this year—and she even has a whole week off from her combination bookstore-cafĂ©. But a killer is about to dampen her spirits. Unfortunately, Krissy’s been roped into filling in for a sick elf in the local holiday musical extravaganza. With a demanding director, backstage gossip, and two men in fierce competition for the starring role, it isn’t all sweetness and Christmas lights. Then a murder puts a stop to the production, and Krissy is faced with a pageant of suspects. Could her ex-boyfriend, a fellow elf, really be the culprit as the police are claiming? Or will the actor playing Santa be trading his red suit for an orange jumpsuit? When her behind-the-scenes investigation starts getting dangerous, the only thing Krissy really wants is to make it to Christmas dinner alive. But first she’ll have to finish wrapping up this case.

M.C. Beaton

Gentle by name, gentle by nature. Everyone in the sleepy Scottish town of Lochdubh adores elderly Mrs. Gentle - everyone but Hamish Macbeth, that is. Hamish thinks the gentle lady is quite sly and vicious, and the citizens of Lochdubh think he is overly cranky. Perhaps it's time for him to get married, they say.But who has time for marriage when there's a murder to be solved? When Mrs. Gentle dies under mysterious circumstances, the town is shocked and outraged. Chief Detective Inspector Blair suspects members of her family, but Hamish Macbeth thinks there's more to the story, and begins investigating the truth behind this lady's gentle exterior.

Emily Brightwell

Christopher Gilhaney isn’t a popular man, and he proves why once again when he insults every guest at Abigail Chase’s Guy Fawkes Night dinner party. When Gilhaney is shot dead under the cover of the night’s fireworks, his murder is deemed a robbery gone wrong. But when the case hasn’t been solved six weeks later, Inspector Witherspoon is called upon to find the killer—and quickly! With Christmas almost here, Inspector Witherspoon and everyone in his household is upset at the possibility of having to cancel their holiday plans—all to solve a case that seems impossible. Only Luty Belle, Ruth, and Mrs. Goodge refuse to give up and let the crime become a cold case. In fact, the American heiress, the charming next-door neighbor, and the formidable cook use all of their persuasive powers to get the others on board, because these three wise women know justice doesn’t take time off for Christmas.

Jessica Elliott

As friends, the boisterous and brash American Beryl couldn’t be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they’re the perfect match . 1920: Flying in the face of convention, legendary American adventuress Beryl Helliwell never fails to surprise and shock. The last thing her adoring public would expect is that she craves some peace and quiet. The humdrum hamlet of Walmsley Parva in the English countryside seems just the ticket. And, honestly, until America comes to its senses and repeals Prohibition, Beryl has no intention of returning stateside and subjecting herself to bathtub gin. For over three decades, Edwina Davenport has lived comfortably in Walmsley Parva, but the post–World War I bust has left her in dire financial straits and forced her to advertise for a lodger. When her long-lost school chum Beryl arrives on her doorstep—actually crashes into it in her red motorcar—Edwina welcomes her old friend as her new roommate. But her idyllic hometown has a hidden sinister side, and when the two friends are drawn in, they decide to set up shop as private inquiry agents, helping Edwina to make ends meet and satisfying Beryl’s thirst for adventure. Now this odd couple will need to put their heads together to catch a killer—before this sleepy English village becomes their final resting place.

Lorna Barrett

The streets of Stoneham, New Hampsire are lined with bookstores...and paved with murder. When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased-and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries-and hunt down someone who isn't killing by the book.

Joanne Fluke

This summer has been warmer than usual in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and Hannah Swensen is trying to beat the heat both in and out of her bakery kitchen. But she's about to find out the hard way that nothing cools off a hot summer day like a cold-blooded murder... Features over Ten Cookie and Dessert Recipes from The Cookie Jar, including Red Velvet Surprise Cupcakes and Chocolate Covered Peanut Cookies!

More Cozy Mystery Titles
The Cat Who Saw Stars - Lillian Jackson Braun
Christmas Caramel Murder - Joanne Fluke
Death Comes to the Fair - Catherine Lloyd
Death of a Kitchen Diva - Lee Hollis
Death of a Maid - M.C. Beaton
Death of a Valentine - M.C. Beaton
Glazed Murder - Jessica Beck
Homicide in Hardcover - Kate Carlisle
On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service - Rhys Bowen
Murder at Brightwell - Ashley Weaver
Sprinkle with Murder - Jenn McKinlay

Links and Stuff: November 30, 2017