Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Garden Tour - Part One

 I stepped away from this blog for almost two years.  My goal is to get back to regularly sharing life from my spot in the world.  I thought I would start with a garden tour.

Let's start on the back deck with raspberries.   We dug these up as tiny plants when we moved the raspberry bed.  Adding in these should almost finish filling the raspberry area.

Boysenberries are a new addition.  These were small plants from Baker Creek that I am growing out on the deck.  I have never eaten a boysenberry so I am excited to add these to the yard.

I am curious to see how this tarragon handles the heat this summer.  It looks lovely now although I think I may need to plant it in the ground. 

Passionfruit and figs - I lost my passionfruit to the very cold winter two years ago.  I am starting from scratch.  The fig came from the watermelon picking crew last year.  I have no idea what variety it is.

Avocado trees that I purchased from a yard sale.  I also have one that grew on its own from a discarded pit.

Our lime tree, Eloise, has had a rough start as she does not love the winters here.  She looks a bit sad but does have some limes.

I have two banana trees also from Baker Creek that I am growing out on the deck.   Our neighbor has banana trees and actually harvests bananas so I am hopeful these will produce. 

I have three olive trees purchased on clearance from a big box store last year.  I was very surprised to see a few olives this year.  There is actually an olive farm in my part of the state so these should thrive here.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Weekend Book Reviews

 Slashing through the Snow by Jacqueline Frost is the third book in the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series.  Holly is excited to be the innkeeper at the Christmas tree farm and is hard at work with some helpers wrapping gifts for the toy drive.  She also welcomes B&B critic Karen to the inn with hopes of a good review.  Unfortunately Karen is true to her name with cranky added as a descriptor.  When she is found dead by way of a nutcracker Holly gave to her friend Cookie, it is up to Holly to hep save Christmas and her inn's reputation.  The setting was wonderful, but some of the side stories were a bit distracting. Overall it was a nice addition to the series and a great Christmas themed read.

The seventh book in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series by Lauren Elliot is To the Tome of Murder.  Thanks to a Civil War era cooking and baking contest vintage books are flying off the shelves of Addie's bookstore.  Thanksgiving may be just around the corner but Addie is not thankful to be dealing with another murder when her cousin's boyfriend is found dead. For me the cousin is just as irritating as in previous books, and I am tiring of the love triangle.  The mystery is not as strong in this book, but I do love the setting and most of the characters.  I would not suggest starting the series with this book however.

Strangers on a Skein by Anne Canadeo is the twelfth book in the Black Sheep Knitters Mystery series.  Phoebe, assistant manager at the Black Sheep, is venturing out on her with a booth at the farmers' market to sell her handmade socks.  She learns she only got the booth as the previous tenant committed suicide.  When the suicide is changed to murder, Phoebe is even less excited.  Add in the fact that people at the market are not as friendly as she first thought. The setting and characters are wonderful, but the actual mystery was less than mysterious.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own!

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Weekend Book Reviews

Mistletoe Cake Murder by Lena Gregory is the fifth book in the All Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery series.   The All Day Breakfast Cafe series is one of my very favorites, and this book did not disappoint.  Gia and Savannah are in the final preparations of Savannah's wedding.  The tasting with the caterer is interrupted by an arguing trio - a bride, her son, and her husband to be.  When the fussy bride is found murdered, they add "solve a mystery" to their to do list.  The suspects are many, and time is running out to solve the mystery or be out a caterer for the wedding.  It is a fun, slightly romantic holiday themed book.

Ellie Alexander's Bake, Borrow, and Steal is the fourteenth book in the Bakeshop Mystery series.   Juliet and the staff at Torte are challenged with creating all of the food for a gala unveiling a lost work by William Shakespeare.  As if that were not enough she also has to create a working desk made entirely of chocolate.  Against all odds everything comes together except the unveiling of the manuscript which has been swapped for a forgery.  That discovery is quickly followed by an attempted murder and an actual murder.  The best parts of this book were the descriptions of the food and the town.  The identity of the murderer was a bit too obvious in this particular book.  Still I love a good visit to Torte and will be back for the next book.

Strawberries and Crime by Elle Brooke White is the second book in the Finn Family Farm Mystery series.  This is a very lighthearted, laid back, cozy mystery.  For me with this book and these characters, it works just fine.  Charlotte is settling in as the owner of Finn Family Farm.  She has her hands full with strawberry season which is about to be ruined by a blight.  Worse than that is a murder of the only farmer not affected by the blight.  There is a fair amount of silliness which I appreciate.  I do read to escape after all, and Finn Family Farm is the perfect escape.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Weekend Book Reviews

 A Tale of Two Cookies by Eve Calder is the third book in the Cookie House Mystery series.  Kate is
enjoying her new life at the Cookie House in Coral Cay, Florida.  When an old friend arrives in town with news of her impromptu wedding, Kate is thrilled to help.  When the groom vanishes, everyone begins to question if the bride was only having a wedding in her own mind as no one heard the groom say he was going to be a groom.  Kate also wonders what his connection was to the reality tv show being filmed on the island.  I love the setting of this series.  The plot twists in this particular book kept me guessing until the end.

The tenth book in the Cookbook Nook Mystery series by Daryl Wood Gerber is Wining and Dying.  Jenna is showing one of her paintings at Crystal Cove's Art and Wine Festival.  When one of her fellow artists is murdered, Jenna's friend is the main suspect.  Obviously Jenna must investigate.  Jenna uncovers a few secrets while trying to solve the mystery and not become the next victim.  Reading this book felt like visiting old friends.  The setting and mystery are the stars!

Whole Latte Murder by Lena Gregory is the fifth book in the All Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery series.  Gia's best friend Savannah is getting married so Gia and she are going in search of the perfect wedding dress.  First Savannah has to show a mansion to a wealthy client.  Savannah ends up missing, and her client is found dead.  Gia and most of the town are frantic to find her.  Unfortunately Savannah's sudden return leaves more questions than answers.  This is an action packed book with plenty of twists and turns.  I love the suprise-ish ending!

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Weekend Book Reviews

 Laid Out in Lavender by Gin Jones is the third book in the Garlic Farm Mystery series.  Mabel continues to try to save her aunt's farm by branching out into weddings.  The first one seems doomed from the start.  The bride's and groom's adult children are against the wedding.  The wedding planner keeps disappearing.  The worst thing is when the best man is found murdered.  In order to save the farm, the wedding, and her neighbor, Mabel must begin her own investigation.  Mabel has definitely grown as a character, and the police detective is less annoying by the end of of the book.  This series is growing on me!

The fifth book in the By the Sea Mystery series by Kathleen Bridge is Buried by the Sea.  A group of archaeologists is staying at the Indialantic by the Sea while digging for artifacts left by Spanish explorers.  One claims to find the discovery of a lifetime only to wind up dead.  When the police focus on a reclusive resident, Liz, her boyfriend, and friends set out to prove his innocence.  The mystery kept me waffling back and forth on suspects.  I always enjoy the setting and quirky characters.  This book is a great addition to the series. 

Mint Condition Murder by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs is the ninth book in the Antiques & Collectibles Mystery series.  When Molly and her mother go to interview the owner of a recently opened antique shop, they discover her dead body instead.  That mystery lead to more as Molly discovers old coins and an antique pistol.  As if that is not enough, her father shows up abruptly and wants to be part of Molly's life.  While the books does have several story lines, everything ties together well.  The mystery is interesting, and the antique focus adds to the book.

disclosure:  I received these books through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.  No other compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Weekend Book Reviews

 Murder with a View by Diane Kelly is the third book in the House Flipper Mystery series.  Book three finds Whitney and her cousin Buck flipping an old motel with the help of a silent partner.  The motel has more than they bargained for including a squatter and a dead country musician.  Readers should not question how quickly the whole flip comes together with a three person crew and should ignore the realities of permits and inspections.  Those points aside I enjoy the characters and the setting for this book.  While I did solve the mystery ahead of time, several factors kept me second guessing myself for a bit.  This is a nice light cozy if you are not one to get caught up in the details.

The first book in the Beacon Bakeshop series by Darci Hanna is Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop.  Lindsey flees her life in New York for a fresh start after finding her fiance cheating with his pastry chef.  Her former financial career allows her to transform an old lighthouse into a bakery.  During her grand opening she is horrified when protesters seem set on destroying her dream.  Among them are her ex fiance and his girlfriend, Mia.  When Mia suddenly dies at the bakeshop after apparently eating something poisoned, Lindsey is the main suspect.  This small tourist town has several quirky and mysterious characters which add to the book's charm.  My issue is the fact that the police only suspect Lindsey even though Mia ate food stolen off several customers' plates.  A twist at the end surprised me.  I am already looking forward to the second book.

Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien is the seventh book in the Noodle Shop Mystery series.  Lana is doing well as manager of her family's noodle shop.  Cooking is the one area that alludes her.  She decides to take an Asian cooking course and surprise her family.  On the first night while returning to get her ingredient list, she finds the body of her cooking instructor instead.  Even worse she becomes the main suspect in the case.  I have read this series from the beginning, and it is one of my favorites.  This book would not be as good without the previous ones.  The mystery kept me going back and forth between suspects.  I do adore Lana and her friend Kimmy.  I look forward to the next book.

disclosure:  I received these e-books through NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.  No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Weekend Book Reviews

 A Room with a Roux by Sarah Fox is the seventh book in the Pancake House Mystery series.  Marley and her husband Brett get a quick getaway to nearby Holly Lodge.  It seems to be the perfect break until they stumble upon a body buried in the snow.  Books that venture away from the normal setting can be problematic.  This is not my favorite in the series for that reason.  I did find it to be a nice light read with an enjoyable mystery.  I will be back for book number eight!

The fourth book in the Abby McCree Mystery series by Alexis Morgan is Death by Intermission.  Abby and Tripp are having date night at the town's Movies in the Park event, but Abby cannot keep her thoughts away from her mom and her mom's new boyfriend.  Thoughts of everything are wiped out when Abby and her mom discover a body while cleaning up after the event.  With her mom's boyfriend as the main suspect, Abby launches her own investigation.  This could be my favorite book in the series.  The only drawback for me is Abby's mom Phoebe.  Phoebe is the very definition of a spoiled brat, and Abby is less likable with Phoebe around.  Aside from that I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next.

Killer Comfort Food by Lynn Cahoon is the fifth book in the Farm to Fork Mystery series.  Angie is worried she is going to lose her farm to a big processing plant.  There are several intertwined plotlines in this book.  Among them are a missing woman tied to a lawyer for the plant, criminal activity, and an employee being stalked by her ex.  Even though this book has quite a bit going on, everything ties together nicely and kept me enthralled until the end.

disclosure:  I received these e-books from NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.  All opinions are my own