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!
HAPPY NEW YEAR book lovers! I hope you had a great holiday I certainly did! It helps that my department was closed for the entire week so yesterday was my first day back at work and it wasn’t easy to get back in the grove of things LOL.
I have to say 2022 was a great reading year for me I exceeded my Goodreads goal by 48 books!
Well it’s a new year and with a new year comes new reading goals! My reading goals for 2023 is to read books that have been on my TBR for over a year. Since it is the first month of the new year I decided that I would kick off January reading the first book in series that are on my TBR. While I know I want be able to read ALL the books on my reading pile I have set an ambitious goal of 10.
What are your reading goals this year? Are you planning to binge a series you’ve been wanting to read forever?
Whatever your goals are I hope all your reads this year are 5 star reads!
There are five books in this series and I am really enjoying this first book in Debra Sennefelder’s Food Blogger mystery series.
My January TBR (these are all the first book of the series):
Happy Wednesday and Happy Hanukah book lovers! Well Christmas is almost here and 2023 is coming fast I mean where did 2022 go?! For me it has been a really good reading year all around. I’ve been seeing a lot of my favorite books of the year list and I don’t want to be left out (smile).
First I met my Goodreads reading goal this year and exceeded it by 30+ books so yeah me. Second I joined two additional online book clubs which has really expanded my TBR and at the same time help me try and make a dent in my TBR. The two book clubs I joined are on Facebook and I feel like I’ve discovered even more cozy mystery lovers while still a part of the Cozy Mystery Book Club that is on YouTube I look so forward to the end of every month. Third this is in no way a conclusive list because I read so many great books this year!
This will be my last post of 2022 so I want to wish y’all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope your books were all 5 star reads and your adventures were exciting, magical, and wonderful.
What are some of your favorite books you read this year please share.
With that being said here are some my favorites of 2022
The Beacon Bakeshop Mystery Series by Darci Hannah: Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop, Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off, and Murder at the Blueberry Festival
I discovered this series and it is definitely takes the #1 spot of my favorite books of 2022. I literally read all three books in the month of July and each one was better than the last. Darci Hannah knows how to write a mystery that will keep your attention and cause you to loose sleep. I’ve been stalking her website to see when the next book in this delightful series will be out.
Peg and Rose Solve a Murder by Laurien Berenson this is a spinoff from the very popular Melanie Travis series and it doesn’t disappoint. I love a book that features seniors who are active and living life and Melanie’s aunts Peg and Rose are that and so much more. This was a great first book and I ‘ve already pre-ordered the next book
Meet Your Baker (A Bakeshop Mystery #1) by Ellie Alexander I now have to binge this series!
Trouble in Paradise Series by Carrie Doyle: It Takes to Mango (Book 1), Something’s Guava Give (Book 2). Book 3 will be out in 2023
Bayou Book Thief (Vintage Cookbook Mystery #1) by Ellen Byron this was such a great debut series and it will make you want to immediately get on a plane or in your car and head to NOLA
A Christmas Candy Killing (A Killer Chocolate Mystery #1) by Christina Romeril
Mountain Town Murder (Jackson Holes Moose’s Bakery Mystery #1) by Sue Pepper
Crime & Punctuation (A Deadly Edits Mystery #1) by Kaitlyn Dunnett
Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery #1) by Emmeline Duncan
Twelve Slays of Christmas (Christmas Tree Farmy Mystery #1) by Jacqueline Frost
Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider House Mystery #1) Julie Anne Lindsey
Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala
A Deadly Inside Scoop (Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #1) & Body and Soul Food (A Books & Biscuits Mystery #1) by Abby Collette
Happy Wednesday book lovers! Wow Christmas is getting closer and closer and for those of you who celebrate Hanukkah it’s even closer than Christmas!
My December kicked off with a bang with Cozy Mystery Club’s 12 Days of Cozy which is always fun. It’s a time to interact with my favorite authors, get the chance to win a book or two, and discover new authors and I absolutely love it! It’s also a chance to get in a lot of reading during the reading sprints and I’ve gotten in a lot of great reads.
I hope you are taking the time amongst all the shopping, holiday gatherings, and busyness of the Christmas seasons to kick back with a cozy hot beverage of your choice and a good book to unwind, relax, and lose yourself in a another world.
Since it is the holiday season I’m sure it will come as no surprise that the majority of the books I’ve read, am currently reading, and will be read are Christmas themed.
Until next time Happy Holiday and Happy Reading!
A Christmas Candy Killing (Killer Chocolate Mystery) by Christina Romeril was a huge 4 stars for me! I really enjoyed this debut cozy mystery. Alex and Hannah are identical twins (thank you for name that don’t rhyme) and own Murder and Mayhem a mystery bookstore that sells poison themed chocolates (um yes please). When Alex finds her friend and fellow book club member Jane murdered and the weapon of choice is the chocolates from Murder and Mayhem which put her in the eye sight of the sheriff she is determined to clear her name, save her business, and find justice for her friend all before Christmas. This is my first cozy set in Montana and as I read the book I absolutely felt like I was there in Harriston. I couldn’t put this book down which lead to a lot of late nights because I just had to know what was happening. There were heaps of suspects and plenty of red herrings and I felt at time there were too many but I did get the killer right and I loved the reveal. I can’t wait to the second book in this series.
Mistletoe Murder (Lucy Stone Mystery #1) by Leslie Meier is a cozy mystery series that has been on my to buy list forever so I was super excited when this book was selected as the December buddy read for Cozy Mystery Book Club’s 12 Days of Cozies. This is a very popular series there are 20 plus books in the Lucy Stone series. As I read I had to remind myself that this first book came out in 1991 before cell phones were owned by everyone and the internet was a thing. Lucy discovers the body of the owner of Country Cousins (think Cracker Barrell) when she was taking a break she works as a customer service representative in the call center. She finds herself investigating his death mostly out of a sense of justice and she just can’t let it go. Overall I enjoyed reading the mystery and I liked that Lucy carried out her investigation around her life as a working mother and wife. I didn’t realize who the killer was until almost the end of the book and I was completely surprised. Now there were some not cozy elements in this book: there cat was killed by someone (never solved) and there was suicide so be warned which is why I gave this book 3 stars.
The Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost (aka Julie Anne Lindsey) is the first book in Christmas Tree Farm series and it is so good. I gave it 4 BIG stars. Holly White is back home in Mistletoe, Maine after her fiancé calls off their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go helping out her parents on their Christmas tree farm during the busiest time of the year for them and the whole town. When Holly comes across the body of Margaret Fenwick head of the Historical Preservation Society on the farm and the handsome Sheriff Gray closes the farm down Holly springs into action and decides to do her own investigation. As I read this book I couldn’t help but think of this author’s other series The Sea Side Café series she writes as Bree Baker. Holly reminded me so much of Everly Swan and I found myself smiling a lot as I read. This is another book I couldn’t put down and found myself reading way, way past my bedtime. At times I felt there were too many suspects since Margaret Fenwick seems to have upset just about everybody in Mistletoe and when the killer was revealed I was blindsided by the revelation because they were such a minor character. Having said that I can’t wait to read Twas the Knife Before Christmas.
I really love this series! I really enjoyed the first book A Side of Murder and the third book Murder is No Picnic (which I thought was the second book). I highly recommend reading these books in order as this book is referenced though out Murder is No Picnic.
I’ve just started reading but Samantha Barnes is just as funny as ever and I can’t wait to join her and her friends on her sleuthing journey and she if she survives her parent’s visit for the holidays.
I am excited to read books 2 and 3 of Jacqueline Frost’s Christmas Tree Farm mysteries:
Happy Wednesday book lovers! Well we are seven days into December and I hope you are getting lots of reading holiday or other wise accomplished. I am off to a slow start but I’m hoping to ramp up my reading as the month goes along.
I am having nothing but fun participating in the Cozy Mystery Club’s 12 Days of Cozies and all the fun Instagram and Twitter challenges and engaging with the cozy mystery community on a different level. Discovering new authors and love all the interaction with the authors who are participating.
Until Next Time! Happy Reading, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
I started readingOn Skein of Death at the end of November but didn’t really finish it until December so I didn’t include it in my November wrap up since I had just started reading this first book in Allie Pleiter’s Riverside Knitting Mystery series. Libby Beckett is excited to host her first event at Y.A.R.N the main attraction is Perle Langager a celebrity knitter and everything is going great until Libby discovers Perle’s body. Perle has been strangled to death with a skein of read yarn. Libby didn’t know the young Perle very well but she feels obligated to find out who murdered Perle at her event. Overall I enjoyed this it was a well written mystery with great character development and just enough information about Libby but (you knew there was one) I knew who the killer was as soon as the body was discovered. The author tried to give red herrings but there were really only three suspects but it was obvious who the murderer of Perle was. There were really no tension as I read the book and since I already knew who the killer was it was hard for me to continue to read this book and I almost DNF’d (did not finish) it all.
A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril came out in October and I am so glad it is finally December so I could start reading this debut series and I have not been disappointed as I read this book. The amateur sleuths are Alex and Hannah identical twin sisters who own a mystery bookstore called Murder and Mayhem (love) and they sell poison themed chocolates (double love)! When Jane there elderly neighbor, member of their book club Sleuth (triple love) and friend of Alex is murdered and the murder weapon is the Veronal Chocolate from Murder and Mayhem. Alex and Hannah along with a few friends start sleuthing to clear Alex and handy man Zach from suspicion and find the actual killer. Jane had a habit of accusing various members of Harriston, MT of being a fugitive from justice after she watches a true crime show that she loves. I can’t wait for the killer to be revealed but I hope I can figure it out before then.
Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier is next on my Christmas cozy TBR and it is the buddy read for my book club. This is a long running cozy mystery series and one I’ve been wanting to read forever so I am really excited to read this first book.
MAIL-ORDER MURDER As if baking holiday cookies, knitting a sweater for her husband’s gift, and making her daughter’s angel costume for the church pageant weren’t enough things for Lucy Stone’s busy Christmas schedule, she’s also working nights at the famous mail-order company Country Cousins. But when she discovers Sam Miller, its very wealthy founder, dead in his car from an apparent suicide, the sleuth in her knows something just doesn’t smell right.
Taking time out from her hectic holiday life to find out what really happened, her investigation leads to a backlog of secrets as long as Santa’s Christmas Eve route. Lucy is convinced that someone murdered Sam Miller. But who and why? With each harrowing twist she uncovers in this bizarre case, another shocking revelation is exposed. Now, as Christmas draws near and Lucy gets dangerously closer to the truth, she’s about to receive a present from Santa she didn’t ask for — a killer who won’t be satisfied until everyone on his shopping list is dead, including Lucy herself
Christmas has come to Fair Harbor, but when the town’s Santa is murdered, it will be up to Sam Barnes to find a killer in this newest installment of the Cape Cod Foodie Mysteries.
It’s Santa Claus, she says tonelessly. Santa Claus is dead.
Food writer Sam Barnes wants a lot of things: a quiet Christmas at home with her dog and the town’s handsome harbormaster, to never be in a viral video again, and to stop finding dead bodies. Unfortunately for Sam, her parents are coming to visit, she’s often around cameras for work, and she just found the town Santa dead in the storage room of the cocktail bar she was profiling.
Although she was only interviewing the owners of the Ginger Jar in hopes of getting the recipe for their Coquito Eggnog cocktail for the friends and family Christmas Eve dinner she’s hosting, Sam quickly finds herself taking on the role of investigator once again. She needs to find out who slayed this Santa — but with holiday stress already building, will Sam be able to pull off a perfect feast and nab a killer?
Happy 1st day of December Southernistas! Let the festivities begin! It is time to sparkle and shine! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Bring on all the Christmas music, holiday specials, Holiday baking shows on the Food Network, The Great Christmas Light Fight, baked goods, eggnog, parties, Hallmark /Lifetime/UP and other channels that will be showing a ton of Christmas movies and Christmas cozy mysteries because murder never sleeps! Of course….SHOPPING! SHOPPING! SHOPPING!
I am here for everything the month of December brings and so much more particularly the shopping. This is the month where everything is just over the top in every way and I love it! I also love the fact that I get to celebrate the birth of Jesus who brought light into this world. While there is much debate about weather Jesus was born in December or not doesn’t matter to me but what does matter is that “unto a child is born.” Because He lives I live and more abundantly!
This is a time unfortunately where there is a rise in suicides while the holiday season is full of joy it’s not so joyful for those who are suffering from loneliness due to separation from family, death of a loved one, mental illness. It can be hard to see all the joy and laughter and feel so left out so make sure you reach out especially to college students if you live in a city with a college or university. Not every student is able to go home for the holidays. Visit a nursing home or your elderly neighbor and stay connected with them even after the holidays have come and gone. In fact check on all your neighbors and think about sponsoring a child, a family, or a senior citizen if your finances will allow. Spread joy!
So here’s to December and all the joy and blessings of the season to y’all!
Hello Book Lovers! I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving! If you were traveling I pray you had safe travels and that none of your flights were cancelled and were on time! Please forgive the lateness of this post!
I set up for myself a very ambitious November TBR and I am really happy that I am making progress but there were some books I read that were not on my reading radar but I was introduced to via KU (Amazon Kindle Unlimited) hey I’m easily lead astray when it comes to books…what can I say. Overall though I’ve tried to stick to my reading pile:) and with that being said I thought it would be great to share with you what I’ve read so far.
I’m going to kick it off with my favorite (so far) A Sprinkle in Time (Shake Shop Mystery #2) by Dana MentinkI really enjoyed this second book in what will hopefully be a series with a long life. I found myself connecting even more with Trinidad and was so glad her grandfather, Papa Luis, was in this book also and hopefully he has arrived in Upper Sprocket, OR to stay and her ex’s first wife and daughter Bonnie & Felice and in this second book too. The mystery which not only included a murder but a cold case too and the author did a great job of connecting everything together so it didn’t feel like there were two completely separate plot happening.
Next The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery #2) by Ellie Alexander was so much better than the first book in this series and there are currently six books in this series. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read the second book in this series but then I had to take my own advice. I always tell other bookworms don’t dismiss this first book in the series and I am glad I took my won advice! This second book was so much better than I thought it would be Sloan is finding her groove as she is adjusting to life as an almost devoiced woman and deal with her soon to be ex as best she can while working alongside Garrett at Nitro. When a murder happens Sloan finds herself investigating and the ending was much more satisifying this time around.
The first book in Sue Pepper’sJackson Hole’s Moose’s Bakery Not So Cozy Mystery Mountain Town Murder gets a huge thumbs up! Although I must admit I found the book very cozy it had all the cozy troupes: cozy companion (dog name Tyrone), murder but not gory, small town, and in this case culinary but I think the author classified it as not so cozy because there is profanity and one slightly steamy love scene (I guess). I love Sadie Moose and the employees of her bakery and some other characters. I read this mystery pretty quickly it was just that good. There were several suspects and I definitely had no clue who the killer was but I was glued to the story and just had to find out!
Musseled Out (A Maine Clambake Mystery #3) by Barbara Ross finds Julia Snowden trying to keep her BIL, Sonny, out of prison when he is suspected of murdering David Thwing “the Mussel King” who was planning to open up his own clambake business in direct competition to the Snowden Family Clambake. The problem is Sonny is not being completely truthful with the police or Julia’s sister regarding his alibi. Plus Julia has to decide if she’s going back to her old job in New York or staying put in Busman’s Harbor. This was very entertaining and can’t wait to read book 4!
Happy Thursday Southernistas! Well the holiday season is upon us and brands are rolling out their holiday collections and believe me after the past three years of no holiday get togethers or socially distanced ones I am ready for the holiday celebrations to begin! Which means it is time to FINALLY get glammed up or as I like to say sparkle and shine.
So over the next few posts I will be sharing with y’all some outfits for every get together weather it be a formal party where you will need to get glammed up which this first post will be about or a more laid back celebration there is something for everybody and at every price level.
I myself am very much a sparkle and shine girl so you know I am all about the sequins and everything that goes with an all out formal look and it makes me so happy that more and more brands are offering glam looks for different body types.
Here are some glam looks that I am loving and I hope will help you find your next glam party look and I promise there are looks for every budget.
Happy Thursday Southernistas! Halloween is 11 days away and while this is not one of my favorite holidays I know for many Halloween is right up there with Christmas. I love to see those who go all out with over the top Halloween decorations just like their Christmas counterparts. Please don’t get me wrong and think I am anti Halloween! For me Halloween marks the beginning of all the Charlie Brown specials with It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown kicking off the specials and it’s also when The Food Network’s baking competition season gets started and I am here for all of it.
I heard an author describe this season as the start of eating season and she is so right! I mean the best thing about Halloween is the candy! But as far as dressing up, scary movies, haunted houses and all the other things it is just not me but one of my goddaughters begins planning her Halloween costume the day after Halloween.
So for my plus size sisters who love Halloween and you’re looking for something besides a sheet with two (or more) holes in as your costume let me point you to Ashley Stewart. They are one of the brands that roll out sexy plus size costumes for us covering just about every theme you can think of. Plus they are very affordable and will make you the talk of the Halloween parties you’ll be attending.
Hello Southernistas! Well the cooler has arrived and while I thought summer would linger fall had other plans. My past posts have been all about fall fashion and I would be remiss if I didn’t include hosiery. With the temps dropping bare legs are no longer possible for yours truly so it is time to break out the tights. My problem with tights is that they are made for amazons! So while I own several pairs of tights from different brands they don’t fit my 5’3 frame and by that I mean when I put them on I can literally pull them up to my chin. They never fit me so I spend a lot of time dealing with excess material…UGH!
But that is no longer the case since I discovered Snag Tights about two years ago. The first time I saw this brands ad on Facebook I decided to check out this UK based brand. I followed their size chart and ordered a short F and I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I was when I received them and they….FIT me to perfection. I am talking no excess material so no bunching and winkles and they hit at my waist like hosiery is suppose to and they are durable. My first order lasted forever.
Plus Snag offers some great deals and their shipping has improved and they are size inclusive bonus points! I love this brand and they don’t just offer tights but they now offer clothing as well. They offer sheer pantyhose, opaque, semi opaque, super opaque, duo tights (dual color), novelty/holiday tights, wool tights, and chub rub shorts plus they come in a lot of fun colors.
So if you’re looking to stock up or replace your hosiery give this brand a try especially if you’re looking for holiday themed hosiery you can’t go wrong plus the more you order you get an incredible discount.