Wednesday Reads — April 12th

Hello to all my cozy mystery lovers and fellow book lovers! I hope this second week of April is going well for everyone. It looks like April is going to be a great reading month for me and possibly better than March.

I must admit I was struggling at the beginning of the month trying to figure out what I wanted to read for the month of April. While many of my favorite book bloggers, Book Tubers, Bookstagrammers, and those I follow on Facebook were creating Spring/Easter TBRs I just wasn’t feeling this particular TBR. Then inspiration struck and I decided to create a TBR in honor of the upcoming coronation of King Charles III so for this month and next month my TBR will be full of cozy mysteries set in the United Kingdom and I have plenty of cozy mysteries that are set in England but I plan to add some set in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Wales and Northern Ireland is going to be a little tricky because I am not familiar with any cozies set in these countries so if you have any suggestions please drop them in the comments.

Until Next Time!

Finished Reading:

So I kicked off the month reading Buried in a Bog (A County Cork Mystery #1)by Shelia Connolly which was a wrap up my St. Patrick’s Day TBR for March, a great way to kick off April and the inspiration for my new TBR for April and May! I gave this book 4 huge stars! Maura Donovan is in Ireland after the death of her beloved grandmother who made her promise to visit her hometown of Leap, Ireland. I found this cozy with little mystery. There was a murder but I felt it was secondary to the story and the real story was about Maura trying to find her place in the world after the death of her grandmother. Maura is pretty much an orphan with the death of her grandmother her father died when she was a child and her mother abandoned her. In Ireland Maura connects with one of her grand’s childhood friend and starts to learn about her grandmother’s life in Ireland. She finds family and she inherits a pub and home! This was such a great book!

The next book I read was The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club Mystery #1) by Richard Osman. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this first book in this series and it will be coming to a movie theater near you soon but I think it would work better as a television series. This was the first mystery I’ve read with multiple points of view from each person in the book. Trigger warning there is a suicide the book. The Thursday Murder Club is made up of 4 retirees in there 70s set in a luxury retirement village. It took me a while to really get into the story I was about quarter into the book before the story grabbed me and I was able to connect with Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, Ibrahim and the police officers but once I got into the plot I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. I liked that they weren’t just sitting in a nursing home waiting to die but were very active and alert seniors who were still forces to be reckoned with. If you are a fan of Midsommer Murders and other British mysteries you are going to love The Thursday Murder Club.

Currently Reading:

I am finally reading Her Royal Spyness (A Royal Spyness Mystery #1) by Rhys Bowen this is a very popular cozy mystery series and it has been on my to buy list forever! There are currently 17 books in this very popular series and I can understand why! This book is set in the 1930s and our amateur sleuth is Lady Georgiana (Georgie to friends) 34th in line to the British throne and completely broke! So far I am hooked and it is hard to put this book down! I was up until almost 1:00AM and again if not for work I would have probably read into the wee hours. Georgie is so much fun and while trying to make her way as a penniless aristocrat by trying to find a job that will not bring scandal to the family especially making sure Her Majesty doesn’t find out and trying to avoid being married off to a dull Romanian prince she is now being called on my the Queen to spy on her son the Prince of Wales. A murder hasn’t happened yet but when it does I can’t wait to see how Georgie finds the murderer.

I’ve put Murder Takes a Selfie by Shannon Symonds on the back burner but I do plan to go back to it and hopefully finish reading it this month.

Up Next:

Looking forward to reading the first book in Agatha Frost’s Peridale Cafe cozy mystery series Pancakes and Corpses and the second book in her Clare’s Candle Cozy mystery series Black Cherry Betrayal although if I’m honest I really want to read the second books in Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series and Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series but I am still under the illusion that I can shrink my TBR and not add to it.


Take the Compliment!

Hello Southernistas! I know it has been a while since I posted anything fashion related! To be honest I’ve been a litte stumped about what I wanted to talk about. There is so much happening in fashion and I can’t really narrow down what I want to talk about or what brand I want to talk about so for this post I want to encourage and empower you.

For a long time I couldn’t accept a compliment I mean I literally couldn’t say thank you when someone complimented me and I’m not just talking about fashion related compliments. I was bullied all through my youth and whenever someone would give me a compliment it was always a back handed compliment you know the type where it’s really an insult and not a compliment. I got a lot of that’s cute what you wearing but it would look better fill in the blank and don’t get me started on the ones about my overall looks and hair. I had gotten so used to all the “compliments” really being a way to insult me and tear down my already fragile self esteem until I had absolutely no self esteem. Trust me when I say southern women are masters of the backhand compliment I think it’s in our DNA.

So it goes without saying that I took all the negativity and internalized it and believed it and it became impossible for me to take a compliment without looking for insult embedded inside the compliment. When I begin this wonderful journey of self confidence, self esteem, self worth, and self love almost ten years ago the one thing I had to learn was how to take a genuine compliment from people. One of the ways I learned was from a romance novel I read in which the hero said to the heroine “when someone gives you a compliment just smile and say thank you and don’t put yourself down” basically he was saying take the compliment! I decided to apply that little piece of advice to myself and smile and say thank you. I also got thick skinned!

I find it is much easier to give compliments then receive them and I believe that is the case for many of us and especially for plus size people who are constantly dealing with backhand compliments. Accepting a compliment or complimenting yourself doesn’t mean you’re arrogant or a narcissist. There is nothing wrong with giving or receiving a compliment and don’t let anyone say there is because when you refuse a compliment you insult the person who is genuinely complimenting you.

What I realized is that the majority of people are being genuine when they compliment my clothes, hair, or the job I do and for those who are not I still turn them smile and say thank you and it is amazing how just doing that will disarm someone. I also know that for every genuine compliment you are still going to get those backhanded ones and while you can’t control what people say you do how power over how you receive it. I’ve had my share of those that were meant to dull my sparkle and my response to them is usually “thank you I love this outfit too I felt so fierce when I walked out the house this morning!” I’ve literally seen them deflate in front of me and walk away looking so confused.

If you are struggling to receive compliments do this simple exercise every day: every morning before you leave the house look at yourself in the mirror preferably a full length mirror and give yourself one compliment doesn’t matter what you compliment maybe your hair is looking like it should be on a shampoo commercial, or those shoes are fierce, our make up is perfect, that smile is gorgeous whatever it is smile at yourself in the mirror and compliment you! Keep doing it until you get comfortable complimenting you and then when you leave the house and someone stops you and say I love fill in the blank you will just smile and say thank you!

Just this week a man was driving by and stopped to compliment me on this dress I was wearing and I smiled, said thank you and then kept it moving!

So I want to encourage you to take the compliment and don’t let anyone dull your sparkle!

Until next time! Take the compliment!

Wednesday Reads — April 5th

Happy Wednesday cozy mystery & other book genre lovers! Well we are five days into April and so much has happened already this month! But this little piece of Medium is not to discuss what is going in the news but what is going on in my book world.

I thought about doing my March reading wrap up but I’ve decided to do that on Friday instead and share what my reading week has been like.

What are you reading?

Until next time!

Currently Reading:

I’ve just started reading The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club #1) by Richard Osman which has been on my TBR for a year (maybe more). Every review I’ve read has been four or five star reviews and it has already been optioned to be made into a movie. This is my first time reading a mystery that has multiple points of views and I am for the most part enjoying the book but it has taking me some time to connect with the characters. I am loving that the Thursday Murder Club is made up of 70 & 80 something year old sleuths who are still sharp as tacks and funny as all get out! I can see this as a television series.

Still reading Murder Takes a Selfie (By the Sea #1) by Shannon Symonds and enjoying it but I tend to take my time reading ebooks because I read them at work on my tablet just to pass time.

Finished Reading:

So I entered April reading Buried in a Bog (County Cork Mystery #1)by Sheila Connolly. I did enjoy this first book in this series and it was a great way to wrap up my “trip” through Ireland. I enjoyed Maura’s journey more than the mystery which to me seemed to be the subplot of the book. Maura Donovan finds herself in the Irish village of Leap to honor her grandmother’s dying request. I felt Maura’s disconnection and self containment and really enjoyed seeing her grow as a person. I think what I loved most about this book is that when Maura came to Ireland she had just lost her grandmother and her father was dead and her mother had abandoned her a long time ago so it was just her but then she discovers that is not as alone in this world as she thought she was but she had family!

I definitely plan to read all the books in this series.


I have a huge TBR but I am literally stumped regarding what I will be reading next! There are so many who are creating Spring/Easter TBR list but I am not and I’m leaning towards creating a British TBR since I’m reading The Thursday Murder Club which is set in England and in honor of King Charles III coronation which is happening next month so I got options people :)!

Possible next reads:

Wednesday Reads — March 22nd

Hello cozy mystery and book lovers and HAPPY SPRING! Spring has finally sprung and while the temps haven’t been spring like they will be this weekend and I am all like yeah! Also I thought it was time I introduced y’all to my cozy companion (and granddog) Miss Pumpkin who is my reading buddy and personal trainer. She is a new addition to our family and we love her to pieces even if she can be a little diva and has chewed up a few of my flats!

My Cozy Companion Miss Pumpkin

Hope everyone had an awesome St. Patrick’s day weekend. March has been a really great reading month. I’ve really enjoyed reading mysteries set in Ireland or during St. Patrick’s Day plus a few non Irish mysteries.

Until Next Time!

Currently Reading:

Murder at an Irish Castle (An Irish Castle Mystery) by Ellie Brannigan I just started reading this book today which is also my Facebook book club pick this month. So far the pacing is great and it has been hard for me to put it down and get back to work I am hoping that the story just keeps getting better.

Book 1

Murder in a Scottish Shire (A Scottish Shire Mystery) by Traci Hall (ebook) is another book I just started and is the March pick for The Cozy Mystery Book Club (YouTube) but to be honest this is another book that has been on my radar for a while. Again so far I am enjoying the book and hoping it keeps getting better.

Book 1

Finished Reading:

I stayed up till almost one o’clock this morning to finish reading Dead in Dublin (A Dublin Driver Mystery) by Catie Murphy and it was so worth the sleep I lost. I gave this first book in this series a huge 4 stars. I love that the book opens with the murder victim and sleuthing along with American transplant Megan as she keeps insisting she is not sleuthing. I’ve never thought of Dublin as a small town (it isn’t) but the author makes Dublin feel like a small Irish village instead of the city that it is. I found the pace of the story moved fairly quickly and it never dragged or got dull. Megan and her friends were so much fun and there is obviously chemistry between her and the detective. I really hope for more background on Megan as I read the other books in this great series.

Book 1

I also read Hostile Taco-ver (A Street Food Cozy Mystery) by Gretchen Allen who is a new author to me and I discovered when she did an author takeover on a Facebook cozy mystery group I follow. She was doing a giveaway and I was one the winners and one the e-book of this first book in her series (full disclosure). I gave this book 2 stars but I plan to read the next book in the series. The main character Billie Hallifax arrives in Sea Glass Island, FL to claim the inheritance her grandmother left her: 12 food trucks. My problem with this first book is there is talk of a murder that takes place at the local culinary school but no sleuthing and then a second murder happens at almost the end of the book and the killer is revealed. It didn’t feel like a mystery at all but I’m hoping the second book will be better.

Next Read:

I am really excited to read Dial P for Poison (A Movie Club Mystery) by Zara Keane as a movie buff myself I am excited to read this first book that is set in Ireland and I am really excited for this one.

Irish Castle Murder (Castle Tour of Ireland) by Penny Brooke

Book 1

Wednesday Reads — March 8th

Hello book lovers especially mystery lovers everywhere! I hope y’all’s week has been a really great week so far. I just want to take a moment to recognize International Women’s Day and celebrate the women all over the world who are having an impact in this world in every area of life especially those fighting for women’s rights.

So I thought instead of my usual round up of what cozy mysteries I’m reading I thought I would recommend some great biographies and autobiographies of some pretty awesome women!

Until Next Time!

Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History by Karen Blumenthal

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth & Olive Gilbert

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by Penny Colman

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up For Education and was Shot by the Talaban

First: Sandra Day O’Connor by Evan Thomas

Mother Teresa: In My Own Words by Mother Teresa & Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado

Angels in Africa: Profiles of Seven Extraordinary Women by Beth O’Donnell

The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience by Hillary Rodham Clinton & Chelsea Clinton

Hello March!

Hello Southernistas! Well we made it through February and March has arrived! For many of your March has indeed come in like a lion and a very angry lion at that but here in North Carolina the month like a lama…ahhhh!

When February rolls in I start to eagerly anticipate March which to me means Spring! Spring! Spring! Which I’ve mentioned many, many times is my favorite season. I look forward to seeing the trees bud, the flowers bloom and really just seeing the Earth wake up from her long winter’s nap. The longer days lift my spirits and then there’s the Spring fashion that puts a little pep in my step. It means sitting outside with a great book and soaking up sunshine and getting out the rain boots. It is dealing with those blustery days and loving it because in the right dress or skirt you get to have a “Marilyn” moment without standing over a subway grate…LOL.

This is the month Daylight Saving Time begins which is my only quibble because after getting an extra hour of sleep you now loose it! March is also Women’s History month with March 6th being International Women’s Day and who can forget Saint Patrick’s Day in which we all wear a little green, dance an Irish jig, drink a Guinness or whatever for those who drink and celebrate being Irish! This month in a nod to St. Patrick’s Day I’ve created a reading list of mysteries that are set in Ireland.

So weather you celebrate March like I do or bemoan the start of pollen season aka hay fever season here is hoping to a totally awesome, amazing, blessed and fashionable March!

Until Next Time Southernistas!

Wednesday Reads — February Wrap Up

Happy March 1st booklovers! I am looking forward to reading lots of cozy mysteries set in Ireland this month in honor of St. Patrick’s Day! I mean aren’t we all Irish when March rolls in…LOL? I am always excited when March comes which means Spring is getting closer and closer although the signs of Spring are appearing early this year due to the warm winter we had in North Carolina this year.

February was a great reading month! I read ten great cozy mysteries and with the exception of two I gave 4 or 5 stars. Most of the books I read were new to me authors which is always fun to discover a new mystery along with some of my favorite authors. Read some Valentine’s Day themed mysteries too.

Plus my mom’s birthday is in February and it was so much fun to celebrate her birthday the entire weekend and she was tickled beyond pink.

How was your February? What great books did you read?

I kicked off the month with Six Feet Deep Dish by Mindy Quigley this is the first book in the Deep Dish mystery series and I can’t wait to read the second book. Delilah O’Leary has relocated to Geneva Bay, WI to open her gourmet pizza restaurant after years of working in some of Chicago’s best restaurants. What she didn’t foresee was breaking up with her fiancée & business partner and a murder happening at the soft opening. When her aunt’s live in nurse is shot and killed at the soft opening and her aunt is the prime suspect Delilah knows she has to do everything she can to prove her aunt’s innocence. I really enjoyed this first book and while there were times I felt it dragged overall I felt there were plenty of suspects, a decent amount of red herrings, and the author did a great job overall. My one con is there was a lot of body shaming but my hope is that there will be less of that as the series progresses.

I followed up with Killer Cupid by Laurien Berenson the 29th Melanie Travis mystery and by the title you can guess it set during Valentine’s Day and outside of Connecticut. This was a novella and as far as I’m concerned you can never go wrong with this series. I couldn’t put the book down!

My other Valentine theme mystery I read was Mulled to Death by Kate Lansing the 3rd book in the Colorado Wine mystery series. When Parker Valentine is whisked away on a romantic weekend with her hunky chef boyfriend and her brother and his girlfriend who is Parker’s best friend. All she is looking forward to is lots of skiing until murder happens. Great plot and pacing and I was totally blown away when the killer was revealed! Can’t wait for book 4.

Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Amanda Flowers this is the first book in the Emily Dickinson mystery series and I read this book in 24 hours! I just couldn’t put it down! Amanda Flowers is an amazing author and she doesn’t disappoint with this newest cozy mystery series that features the poet Emily Dickinson as a sleuth helping her maid Willa Noble find out who killed Willa’s brother. My hats off to Amanda who did an amazing job with all the historical facts! Can’t wait for book 2.

Against the Currant by Olivia Matthews I absolutely loved this first book in the Spice Isle Bakery mystery series and this is a new to me author. This was another page turner and I really enjoyed seeing Lindsay Murray grow and become confident. Loved her family especially her grandmother and cousin and looking forward to seeing how these characters grow. It is so great when you can connect with the characters and become involved in the story as you read

I am a huge fan of V.M. Burns and it is my goal to read all of her cozy mystery series. I discovered this author two years ago after hearing her on a bookish podcast and immediately ordered the first book in her Dog Club series and her Mystery Bookshop series. I finally read The Plot is Murder the first book in her Mystery Bookshop series and OMG it was so good! In fact I’ve already reviewed this book. You can click on the link to read my review if you haven’t already.

Book Review — The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns

Hello book lovers and especially cozy mystery lovers! I was going to post this Wednesday but decided to do a separate…

I loved the second book in Abby Collette’s Ice Cream Parlor series A Game of Cones which was even better than her first book. This is another book I read in 24 hours. I am always happy when the second book is even better than the debut novel of an author. The plot, pacing, suspects, and red herrings were perfect. Loved Win’s family especially her Grandfather. My one problem is I didn’t really like the portrayal of her Aunt Jack (Jacqueline) and if possible her best friend Maisie was even more immature than she was in the first book. so far there are three books in the series but I am really hoping there are more books coming.

Wine and Punishment by Sara Fox is the first book in her Literary Pub mystery series and has set on my TBR for well over a year and I am kicking myself! I’ve heard and read so many great reviews about this series and I now understand why. The main character, Sadie Coleman, is starting over in the little town of Shady Creek, VT but when her ex shows up looking for another chance but ends up murdered Sadie puts on her sleuthing hat. The book started off a little slow for me and at first I didn’t know if I would even finish but the story picked up momentum and before I knew it I was staying up late to read just one more page.

With Midnight Spells Murder by Mary Angela I did something I rarely do and that is read the second book of a series but in this instance it happened because this was my Facebook book club pick for February but I do plan to read the first book in the Happy Camper series. This is a new to me author and I am always excited to discover a new author. I enjoyed the book and I was all for the secondary mystery that is running through the book too as Zo begins the search for her birth mother.

Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry is the first book in her By the Book mystery series that features Tess Harrow who is a best selling mystery author. I was really excited to read this first book in this series (there are 3 so far) especially after reading and hearing all the rave reviews about this series so imagine how excited I was this was the Cozy Mystery Book Club February pick. Sadly I didn’t like this book at all! I didn’t like Tess I found her beyond obnoxious and there were not too many likeable characters I could connect with. Tess seemed to think she was more knowledgeable than the police and I found her incredibly arrogant and entitled and she kept comparing her fictional detective to the Sheriff and found the fictional dectective so much better than acutal law enforcement. I know I always advise to never dismiss a series based on one book but I just don’t see myself reading the 2nd book in this series unless it is offered through Kindle Unlimited (free).

I ended this month with the first book in Jessica Thompson’s A Caterer’s Guide to Love & Murder book 1 in her Caterer’s Guide mystery series. I actually downloaded this book when it was offered on Kindle Unlimited and actually started reading it last month but it just didn’t hold my attention. Finally finished it yesterday only because I didn’t want to start a new paperback book until today. The murder happened several chapters in and I loved that Violet worked with the police but I just had trouble connecting with any of the characters plus there were just some parts of the book I felt could have been cut out all together.

Author Spotlight — African American Mystery Authors

Happy Friday fellow cozy mystery & book lovers! I hope you’ve had a great week! For me it was a long and stressful week but it was still overall a really great week and now Friday is here and I am looking forward to a great weekend:).

For this author spotlight I thought instead of highlighting one author in honor of Black History Month I would turn the spotlight on few of my favorite African American cozy & not so cozy mystery authors.

Abby L. Vandiver aka Abby Collette is the author of several cozy mystery series and she also writes women fiction under the name Cade Bentley. Abby’s books are well written and real page turners. The characters are fully developed and the mysteries are well crafted with plenty of red herrings. Her newest cozy mystery series features fraternal twins Keaton & Kolby who were separated but have reunited to open up a bookstore and soul food restaurant together. I was introduced to Abby via her Logan Dickerson mystery series which was a spinoff of her sci-fi , a early cozy mystery series, via my Facebook book club last year.

V.M. Burns aka Valerie Burns is the author of the Mystery Bookshop series, Dog Club series, RJ Franklin series and as Valerie Burns the Baker Street mystery series. If you are looking for a fun mystery series you can’t go wrong with V.M. Burns! The very first book I read by this author was In the Dog House book 1 in her Dog Club series and from the first paragraph I was hooked. I’ve since read her newest series Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder and pre-ordered the second book in this series. My TBR pile is loaded with her books.

Olivia Matthews writes the Sister Lou mysteries, Peach Coast Library mysteries (for Hallmark Publishing), and her newest series the Spice Isle Bakery series (on by tbr pile). As Patricia Sargent and Regina Hart she writes several romance novels.

Walter Moseley is considered the godfather of Mystery writers. He is also one of the founders of Crime Writers of Color. He is the author of the long running Easy Rawlins mystery series which was also a movie starring Denzel Washington. He is right up there with James Patterson, David Baldacci, and other mystery writers!

Kelly Garrett is the author of the Detective Day mystery series which is cozy adjacent so far there are two books in this award winning series. She is also one of the founders of Crime Writers of Color.

One Day is Today!

Hello Southernistas and Happy Thursday! Also Happy February to y’all! I know I haven’t posted in a while but I spent the rest of January very sick and overloaded with work. Working while sick is not fun but I was under a two week deadline and had to get it done so with plenty of cold medicine, soup, ginger lemon & honey tea and as much rest as I could get I pressed on an met the deadline. Thankfully by the end of January I started feeling better and I am feeling great now!

So while I was home sick I kept seeing this one weight loss commercial from one of the big weight loss companies and of course they were showing the before and after with the person saying one day I’m going and you can fill in the sentence from there. As I watched this commercial all I kept screaming NO NOT ONE DAY TODAY! First let me say you do what is best for you! This is not an anti diet rant but it is a don’t put your life on hold rant! I spent so much of my life saying that same thing one day I’m going to wear that swimsuit, that dress, be happy, etc. You know what? After years of hating my body and myself I finally realized I don’t have to put my life on hold until I reach a certain size and since then I’ve indulged my love of fashion, traveled, and just enjoy life.

It is so important that you don’t put your life on hold but live your life as you work towards your weight loss goals (or not). I have learned that I am not a before I am Regina and I don’t have to wait for one day to wear or do anything because I am fat. In the words of Aunti Mame “life is a buffett and most poor suckers are starving!”

Enjoy the buffett! You are allowed to be happy and to live your life at any size!

Until next time Southernistas!

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR SOUTHERNISTAS! I hope that 2022 was a good year for you. If 2022 was a tough year for you I am sorry but by God’s grace you made it to 2023 and that means saying good bye to 2022 and looking forward to a do over with 2023. If you lost a loved one I am so sorry for your loss and that you are starting this year without that love one in your life.

When a new year comes I always experience a sense of excitement and look forward to all the things a new year brings. It is like hitting the reset button and getting to start over or tackle that thing you didn’t get to last year. To heal, get healthy, drop toxic people, learn something new, change careers or whatever it may be January 1 is the reset. Or like me just be even more fabulous and fashionable.

This year I have decided to have a word for 2023 and that word for me is HOPE! I’ve entered 2023 with hope in my heart and my outlook on life. I know what it is to live with no hope and as 2022 winded down this word was whispered ever so softly to me last week while I was enjoying my Christmas break. I know that it the Holy Spirit whispering the word hope to me and I do have hope for this year.

I know what is going on in this world and in my country but I have an abundance of hope and expectation regardless of what life hands me ultimately all of my hope is in Jesus. I take comfort and joy in knowing that He is with me and He is my hope.

So Happy New Year and here is to 2023 being the year of HOPE!

Dress (this color sold out) is from Eloquii