Saturday, October 13, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews

The Dogfather by Sparkle Abbey is the tenth book in the Pampered Pets Mystery series.  I had not read any of the previous books in the series, but I had no trouble following the characters and storyline.  Melinda owns Bow Wow Boutique and has her hands full with her spunky employee and ex-boyfriend.  With local businesses being vandalized, everyone is on edge.  That becomes more true after the owner of a designer handbag shop is found dead.  Melinda is determined to find the murderer before things get completely out of hand.  This was a fast paced book and a quick read.

Joanne Fluke's latest book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery series, Christmas Cake Murder, is actually a prequel to the entire series.  It is meant to explain how Hannah got started with her bakery.  The dialogue in this book felt forced and very unnatural.  The mystery was almost non-existent, and too much time is spent on very mundane things.  This particular book would have worked much better as a short story rather than a full book.  I did find a couple of interesting recipes but not much else.

Silver Anniversary Murder by Leslie Meier is the twenty-fifth book in the Lucy Stone Mystery series.  The book started off well with Lucy working on an article for a couple's 25th anniversary celebration in Tinker's Cove, Maine.  This gets shoved to the side for a murder mystery in New York City.  Lucy runs off on her own to investigate leading to a great deal of rambling and filler.  The solution to the mystery is rushed together at the very end.  I was disappointed that the first story line was cast aside for another less believable story.  I expect that every person has political views, but I read for enjoyment and was not thrilled to see them mentioned over and over in the book.  It does not matter if I agree with the views or not.  Politics should not invade every single aspect of life.  I hope the series returns to its roots for future books. 

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Frugal Friday: After Michael

Hurricane aftermath first... Michael came by my area as a category one hurricane.  We had gusty winds and a bit of rain but no real damage.  A few neighbors did suffer some damage, but overall my area is in good shape.  Our power went out as expected.  It was back on in about 17 hours compared to 18 hours after Irma last year.  We will be cleaning up piles of limbs/branches, but I am thankful to be safe.

Frugal doings for this week -

  1. We did not need to buy many supplies to weather the storm.  We had containers on hand to store water as opposed to buying water.  We had plenty of rechargeable batteries.  We had non-perishable foods to eat.  Not opening the refrigerators or freezers allowed them to stay cold while the power was out.
  2. W dropped me off at an appointment and went to the grocery store to buy pumpkins.  After he picked me up, I realized he was overcharged.  We went back to the store where I argued for a refund.  That included pointing out that even though the sale ad ended on a particular date the prices were still good on that same date. 
  3. The rabbits ate extra produce from my parents' garden. 
  4. I used a gift card earned through MyPoints to cut the price on some Command strips for putting up pictures in the bedroom and craft room. 
  5. W found a prop for us to use for our trunk or treat decorations later this month.  I will share more about that later.  It is frugal since it is something we already had on hand.  I am making most of the other decorations. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


The latest forecast has a tropical storm warning for my area with the brunt of the storm arriving overnight.  We had a good dinner and will eat a homemade freezer meal for supper so there are very few dishes.  The wind is picking up just a bit so we will be heading out to feed the outside animals soon.  It is just dreary now but definitely cooler temperature wise. 

I have spent the morning working on a crochet parrot.  I cannot finish until after the safety eyes arrive from Amazon - supposedly Friday, but it could be Monday. 

This is my first amigurumi piece, but I think it is coming along nicely.  Next up two pirate hats...

Toby saw me get the camera out, and I asked if he wanted his picture taken.  He immediately sat and posed.   What a ham!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Hurricane Michael

We have spent the past two days doing some preparations for Hurricane Michael.  I do hope he will just be a tropical storm by the time he reaches my area, but I am planning for worse.  We have water caught for drinking, the animals, and for flushing toilets.  I have plenty of easy no cook foods on hand. We have also charged up everything we could.  Now it is just a matter of watching and waiting. 

Our area is under a curfew for 24 hours beginning tomorrow evening.  We did have to run a few errands earlier today, but I have no intention of going very far at all for the next two days.  At most we will check on some neighbors. 

I have books to read, crochet projects to work on, and some letters to answer.  If I can just handle being stuck inside with puppy Toby, two cats, and W for the next two days all will be well.

I will check in tomorrow if we still have power.  Prayers for everyone in the path of the storm!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Weekly Goals Update: Week 40

1.  Disaster Preparedness
Week 40 was cold weather preparedness.  I think many of the items in this section are just smart winter items. Insulating pipes and making sure weather striping are just smart things to do before cold weather arrives.  It is hard to think about cold weather when summer temperatures are still hanging around here.

2.  Makeover the Garden
It is still hot but rain is on the way later this week.  I am hesitant to plant many seeds as some of the rain will be heavy.  Instead I will wait until the end of the week to plant the seeds and get started on the fall garden.  Cooler weather should be on the way as well which will help the fall plants.

3.  Organize Recipes
I did print off some recipes for things I kept having to look up online.  Winter will arrive eventually, and I will tackle this one.

4.  Have 13 No Spend Grocery Weeks
I am holding steady at 12 on this one.  I will need to pick up just a few things this week but plan to skip shopping after that for a week at least. 

5.  Focus on Saving
I have been sticking to necessary purchases so far this month although we do have some items to buy later in the month.  It is all about seeking out the best deal possible on all of the purchases.

6.  Etsy Store
I finished up a big item this week but will not list it until the end of the month.  Hopefully I can get several more items added to my shop later this week. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Weekend Book Reviews in Time by Suzanne Trauth is the fourth book in the Dodie O'Dell Mystery series.  Dodie, manager of the Windjammer restaurant, is looking forward to the local theater's production of Bye, Bye Birdie since her boyfriend has a small part.  The theater is combining forces with a theater group from a nearby town.  When the visiting pianist, Ruby,  is found dead in her car, Dodie finds herself in the middle of another investigation.  Ruby has more secrets than anyone imagined.  The characters work well together, and I loved the addition of the restaurant sous chef.  This book easily stands on its own, but I recommend the others.  The theater tie in with the restaurant makes for an interesting series.

The second book in the Wine Trail Mystery series by J.C. Eaton is Chardonnayed to Rest.  Norrie is still at her family's winery, Two Witches, while her sister and brother-in-law are in Costa Rica.  At the monthly wine owners' meeting, a neighbor, Rosalee, lets everyone know about her problems with a new land owner.  When the land owner is found murdered, Rosalee is suspected of being an accomplice at the very least.  Norrie jumps in to help solve the mystery.  I enjoy the setting and the characters of this series.  My problem with this particular book is that the guilty party was very obvious early on.  It was a little frustrating that Norrie could not put the pieces together.  I am looking forward to a stronger mystery in the next book. 

A Killing by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge is the second book in the By the Sea Mystery series.  Liz has settled into life at the Indialantic by the Sea.  The peacefulness is broken by the discovery of the body of a fisherman who went overboard.  I enjoy the series although I wish less time were spent on Liz's aunt's former tv and film career.  I also find Liz's love interest to exhibit some red flags in his behavior.  He tends to run off and pout like a two year old if Liz does not act exactly like he wants.  The series has promise with the growth of a few characters.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for these reviews.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Weekend Book Review and Giveaway

Haunted Hayride with Murder by Auralee Wallace is the sixth book in the Otter Lake Mystery series.  Erica and Freddie of Otter Lake Security are hired to provide security for a local apple orchard during their October Halloween events.  When some teenagers roaming in the woods searching for the Apple Witch uncover a body, Erica and Freddie initially refuse to be drawn into another mystery.  Despite Freddie's reluctance, they are soon deep in a mystery.  This cozy series has a humorous element that has me laughing out loud at times.  The characters are quirky and maybe a bit immature at times, but for this series it works.  The Halloween theme was well done, and I am already looking forward to the next book.

Want to give this series a try?  I am giving away one paperback copy of Haunted Hayride with Murder.  To enter please leave a comment on this blog post telling me your favorite thing about October.  The contest is open to US residents and ends on Monday, October 15. 

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