Friday Reads | June 22, 2018

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Happy Friday!

What a week it has been! In addition to (attempting) to keep up with my ever-growing TBR, this past week marked my graduation with a Masters in Library & Information Science degree. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in library school–yes, right up to the teeth-grinding and hair-pulling bitter end–and I am excited to continue to learn and grow in the profession.

What I am currently reading:

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Title: Murder on Memory Lake

Author: J.D. Griffo

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Release Date: July 31, 2018

Format: E-book (~304 pp.)

Genre: cozy mystery

I received an e-galley edition of Griffo’s Murder on Memory Lake via Netgalley in exchange for sharing honest feedback with the publisher. I am coming up on the end of this engrossing mystery, which I will certainly be reviewing closer to its’ release date!

I was initially drawn to Murder on Memory Lake because the protagonist, Alberta Scaglione, is a widowed Italian woman in her “golden years.” The cozy genre is chalk-filled with twenty-somethings and women experiencing significant mid-life change, but curiously devoid of older women sleuths. 

Alberta inherits a beautiful house poised on Memory Lake in Tranquility, New Jersey upon the death of her fiesty–and secretly ,seriously wealthy–aunt. Unfortunately, Tranquility is anything but! Alberta’s lifelong frenemy surfaces (literally!) one morning and Alberta is pulled into a murder investigation by her grandaughter, Jinx, who is an early-career journalist eager to prove her worth on a more serious beat.

Alberta’s motivation for investigating the death of her former competitor is fueled by a desire to grow closer to her granddaughter, whom she has not seen in years due to a familial falling out with her own daughter. Murder on Memory Lake contains a cast of quirky characters including a former Wall street employee with her ear to the ground and an ex-nun–who just happens to be Alberta’s sister.

So far, Griffo’s Murder on Memory Lake is an enticing puzzle featuring a cast of lovable characters with strong female relationships…and gluten-free “pasta.” This is such a fun read, and I hope to be completing it today!


What are you reading this #FridayReads?


 

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Review: Mayhem at the Orient Express

“At a local Chinese restaurant, it’s the owner who gets taken out…”

 

15810915Title: Mayhem at the Orient Express

Series: A League of Literary Ladies Mystery #1

Author: Kylie Logan

Publication: Berkley, 2013

Pages:  304 (Mass Market Paperback)

 

 

 

In the first installment of the League of Literary Ladies mysteries, ex-Manhattanite Bea Cartwright moves to a small town on South Bass Island, Ohio with the hopes of running a successful bed and breakfast in a “monstrosity” of a Victorian mansion. Unfortunately, not all locals are as excited about the venture as Bea, and the band of squabbling ladies are judge-ordered to form a book club to secure funding for the struggling library.

 

In the first installment of the League of Literary Ladies mysteries, ex-Manhattanite Bea Cartwright moves to a small town on South Bass Island, Ohio with the hopes of running a successful bed and breakfast in a “monstrosity” of a Victorian mansion. Unfortunately, not all locals are as excited about the venture as Bea, and the band of squabbling ladies are judge-ordered to form a book club to secure funding for the struggling library.

 

Soon after, the ladies discover a local restaurateur murdered in his shop. An unexpected snow storm isolates island residents from the mainland, and Bea begins to suspect that one of her guests may very well be the killer! Using their combined little grey cells, the ladies are determined to unveil the killer–before anyone else checks out…


An intriguing, locked-room mystery that will keep even the most avid Agatha Christie fans guessing. The multi-layered mystery and cast of quirky characters make Mayhem at the Orient Express a stand-out cozy mystery.

Library Lovers Book Tag

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It certainly isn’t a secret around here that I am a true and blue library lover! I saw this tag (and lovely header photo!) over at Book Stacks Amber and feel that it is not only accurate, but perfectly timed!

Library-A-Thon, a week-long read-a-thon that encourages readers to borrow from their local library, is currently running from June 3-9. This read-a-thon is chalk-full of fun challenges and Twitter sprints are underway. More information about the hosts and event can be found over on Twitter, @libraryathon.


Library Lovers Book Tag

How often do you visit your local library?

I physically visit my closest branch about once per week to pick up hold items. This branch is situated within a strip mall, so it is usually very busy and bustling–which is great! However, I don’t tend to stay very long for this reason. If I need to ‘buckle down,’ then I venture to the main branch in the downtown core approximately once a month.

That being said, I visit my local library’s online presence–blogs, catalogue, and more–daily. Sometimes I scour the discussion posts or staff picks, whereas some days I simply need to check due dates.

 

Are you the type of person who checks out more books than you know you can read or are you someone who only checks out the exact amount of books you intend on reading before they are due?

My habits fall under a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B. I always intend to read the books that I sign out, but I am a mood reader who frequently changes course sporadically.

Sometimes–or, more often than I care to admit–I will have maxed out the number of renewals on an item and it will become due before I ever get around to picking it up!

 

How old were you when you got your first library card?

I believe that I was either 5 or 7-ish years old when I got my first library card. I was at the public library with my mom and ever-so-shyly asked her if I could get my own library card–to my surprise, the answer was yes! I was so excited to be able to sign out “my own” books; it felt like I had even more autonomy over my own reading.

Thank you, Mom ❤

 

Do you go to your library looking for a particular book or do you check out anything that peaks your interest?

I don’t usually go to the library to browse the collection because there are simply too many options! I typically know what I’m looking for before I walk in. I’ll peruse book reviews, watch BookTube videos, scour the catalogue and add more items to my Goodreads account before I actually make it to the library. Once the process has been completed, I more often than not will place a hold and pick it up on a later date.

 

Do you use your library to check out just books or do you also check out dvds, audiobooks etc.?.

I used to be a religiously print-only reader. Once I forayed into the world of e-reading, I grew to appreciate digital formats. I borrow print materials, e-books, audiobooks, DVDs, and access numerous library databases.

 

From what section of your library do you check out a majority of your books? ( YA, middle grade, adult, nonfiction.)

I tend to gravitate towards adult fiction, but I do still enjoy reading select YA titles to add variety–and to remain “in the loop.”

 

What is your favorite part of using your local library?

My favourite part about using my local public library is being a part of a thriving community space. Public libraries are one of the last remaining public commons, which provides resources and opportunities for all members of the local community.

Also, I love that my library provides patrons access to NoveList, a (wicked) readers advisory database that provides information about read-alikes, genres, reviews, and much more.

The librarian nerd in my geeks out every time.

 


Have you completed the Library Lovers Book Tag?

If so, share a link to your post, video, etc. in the comments below! I would love to meet fellow library lovers! If not, consider yourself tagged!


 

Happy reading!

Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2018

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Looking back on this past–unseasonably hot–month, I was never without reading material. Between print, eBooks, and audiobooks I managed to chalk up a total of eight books read. Considering that I started a new job this month, I think eight is a respectable amount of reading.

I am not the world’s fastest reader, so I like to divide my reading among a variety of formats. For example, audiobooks allow me to sneak in reading while completing chores and commuting, while eBooks are portable and easy to read while lying in bed.

Below are all of the books that I read this past month. You can check out my 2018 Goodreads challenge if you are interested in learning more about these titles.

 

Books I Read in May:

Borrowed Crime, Laurie Cass (Bookmobile Cat Mystery #3)

Dot Journalling: A Practical Guide, Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Prose and Cons, Amanda Flower (A Magical Bookshop Mystery #2)

Carnegie’s Maid, Marie Benedict

Eclair and Present Danger, Laura Bradford (Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery #1)

Pouncing on Murder, Laurie Cass (Bookmobile Cat Mystery #4)

Going Down, Elsie Sax (Five Wishes Series #1)

Bran New Death, Victoria Hamilton (Merry Muffin Mysteries #1)

 

Well, that’s a short and sweet wrap up!

 

Happy reading!

Which format(s) do you prefer to read?

Cozies for Cat Lovers | Booklist

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Alright, I may very well (unintentionally) perpetuate librarian stereotypes. A self-proclaimed cat lady who loves to read and just happens to wear glasses…I promise these aren’t prerequisites for librarianship.

Regardless, these ten cozy mystery series are the puurrrrrrrrfect companion for any fan of our feline friends.


 

Series: Bookmobile Cat Mysteries

Author: Laurie Cass

First Installment: Lending a Paw

Latest Installment: A Bookmobile Cat Mystery #6 (2017)

Librarian Minnie Hamilton is in for a bumpy ride when her rescue cat, Eddie, leads her to the body of a murdered local resident of Chilson, MI during the maiden voyage of the public library’s new bookmobile. An amusing and engaging story featuring small-town gossip with a strong, plucky female lead.

 

Series: A Magical Cats Mystery

Author: Sofie Kelly

First Installment: Curiosity Thrilled the Cat

Latest Installment: A Magical Cats Mystery #9 (2017)

Small-town librarian Kathleen Paulson discovers that the two stray cats she has taken in–Owen and Hercules–are truly special when she, the prime suspect in a murder, gets some unexpected feline help in solving the crime and clearing her name.–Novelist

 

*NEW SERIES*

Series: Deputy Donut Mysteries

Author: Ginger Bolton

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.–Novelist

 

 

Series: Bad Luck Cat Mysteries

Author: Kay Finch

First Installment: Black Cat Crossing  (2015)

Latest Installment: Bad Luck Cat Mysteries #3 (2017)

Moving to Lavender, Texas, to write her first novel and help her Aunt Rowe manage her vacation-rental business, aspiring mystery author Sabrina Tate finds herself faced with a real-life mystery when her aunt’s awful cousin is found dead with a local black cat, believed to be a jinx, by her side.–Novelist

 

Series: Cat in the Stacks Mysteries

Author: Miranda James

First Installment: Murder Past Due (2010)

Latest Installment: Cat in the Stacks Mystery #9 (Feb. 2018, forthcoming)

Librarian Charlie Harris and his cat, Diesel, investigate to find the killer of a celebrity author who made more enemies than friends upon arrival–before wrong person is arrested for the crime!

 

Series: The Haunted Library Mysteries

Author: Allison Brook

First Installment: Death Overdue (2017)

Latest Installment: Dead and Gone (Haunted Library Mystery #9) (forthcoming)

Carrie Singleton is the new head of programming and events at the local spooky library (a.k.a. my dream job…minus the ghosts!) when retired homicide detective Al Buckley is poisoned right before he is about to reveal a murderer from a cold case. With the help of a friendly ghost-librarian, Carrie is determined to solve the case.

 

Series: Cat Groomer Mysteries

Author: Miranda James

First Installment: The Persian Always Meows Twice (2017)

Latest Installment: The Bengal Identity (March 2018, forthcoming)

Cat lovers are thrilled to welcome an expert groomer to the picturesque town of Chadwick. But scratch below the surface, and unmasking a killer becomes a game of cat and mouse . . .–Novelist

 

Series: A Magical Bookshop Mystery

Author: Amanda Flower

First Installment: Crime and Poetry (2016)

Latest Installment: Prose and Cons (2016)

Returning home to Cascade Springs, NY to help her Grandmother Daisy run her magical shop, Charming Books, Violet Waverly must clear Daisy’s name when the body of a local carriage driver is found clutching a book from Charming Books. The books literally fly off the shelves and seem to have a way of knowing exactly for which reader they are intended.

 

Series: A Cat Rescue Mystery

Author: T.C. LoTempio

First Installment: Purr M for Murder (2017)

Latest Installment: Death by a Whisker (2018)

After the landlord of the building where they house their Friendly Paws animal shelter winds up dead, Sydney and Kat McCall are under suspicion, prompting Sydney, with the help of her orange tabby, Toby, to hunt for the real killer.–Novelist

 

Series: A Second Chance Cat Mystery

Author: Sofie Ryan

First Installment: The Whole Cat and Caboodle (2014)

Latest Installment: The Fast and the Furriest (2018)

When shop owner Sarah Grayson’s elderly friend Maddie becomes the prime suspect in a murder, it’s up to Sarah and her cat Elvis to clear the woman’s name.–Novelist

 

I Can’t Wait For…A Grave Issue by Lillian Bell (Can’t Wait Wednesday/Waiting on Wednesday)

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Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This meme shines a spotlight and provides opportunities for readers to discuss the books that they’re excited about but have yet to read. Generally, the featured titles have yet to be released.

This week’s CWW title is the first installment in a new cozy mystery series–A Funeral Parlor Mystery series. I know, I know. Funerals, death, grieving…how can an author possibly write a “cozy,” gentle read set in a funeral home? Well, I am equally as curious! Will the humour be dry and morbid? Quirky? Will the author account for the current trends in the funeral industry? Or rather, is the book geared at “industry outsiders” who are not yet comfortable with the topic?

Having been raised by two parents who both happen to work in the funeral industry, I am comfortable with notions of death and the funeral home setting. After all, how many people can say that their “Take Your Child to Work Day” experience included polishing caskets and a tour of the embalming room? I also share in my family’s dry, witty, and occasionally morbid sense of humour…occupational hazzard, I suppose!

Generally speaking, I am new(ish) to the cozy mystery genre. I picked up my first cozy with the intent of broadening my reading repertoire in late October, and haven’t looked back since! The unique setting and career featured in A Funeral Parlor Mystery is precisely what drew my attention! Fortunately,  Bell’s A Grave Issue is to be released in a mere two days!

**Note: It is possible that this book may have been released earlier this month in other geographic areas, February 23 is the earliest date on which I can access the book in Canadian retailers. Regardless, I can hardly wait. **


graveissue_bell_feb_23_18A Grave Issue

Series: (A Funeral Parlor Mystery #1)

Author: Lillian Bell

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Crooked Lane books [February 2018]

Summary:

Journalist Desiree Turner returns home to Verbena, California following an embarrassing, career-threatening on-air blunder. Desiree begins working at her great-grandfather’s funeral parlor, where the action is more lively than anticipated!

Soon after, Desiree finds herself in the thick of a murder investigation. Working to clear the name of her “second father,” Kyle Hansen, Desiree uncovers unsavory habits and scandal surrounding the recently deceased.

Can Desiree catch the real killer before they come for her?


 

Will you be reading this one? Leave a comment or read-alike suggestion below!

Welcome!

Welcome to the blog of A Mad-Hatted Reader, where an avid reader, proud Hufflepuff, and (soon-to-be) librarian shares and discusses all bookish things! I wear many different hats as a reader ranging from analytical academic to relaxed reader—and many in between. This blog will be a place where I feature a variety of bookish posts across (most) genres.

Updated weekly, A Mad-Hatted Reader will curate posts about all things fiction and reading including:

  • Book reviews
  • Discussion posts
  • TAGs
  • Book lists
  • And more!

I make a conscious effort to read widely across many genres, though I do demonstrate an affinity for historical fiction, “Classics” (loosely defined), and mystery. I am a Masters of Library and Information Science candidate with a background in music, which are typically betrayed when looking at the historical fiction titles that I gravitate towards…but more on that another day.

Also, I am interested in reading practices in and of themselves. For example, how do people go about acquiring new reading materials? It is for this reason (among many others) that I have chosen to kick-start this blog and dive into a community that is open to sharing and discussing reading and the books they read.

If you’re interested, click “follow.”

I am always interested to hear about the titles that people choose to read! Comment below and tell me about a book that you’ve recently read and enjoyed.

 

Happy Reading!