Alexa Hartfield. Author, local celebrity, fashion connoisseur. She chose Fairbury for its close proximity to Rockland, its small town atmosphere, and its low crime rate.
Then someone made her life a literary cliché. A mysterious accident with a light bulb sparked an interesting idea for her latest novel—and for Fairbury’s new serial killer. The first replication infuriated her. The second left an even worse taste in her mouth. The third blasted more than her self-confidence, and the fourth beat her down so far she’s considering giving up writing completely.
Who is killing Fairbury’s citizens, and furthermore, why and how are they using her novels to do it? (from Goodreads)
My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Is there a way to sue for sleep loss? This book was too good, too suspenseful, and too intriguing for me to stop reading, and I must protest by reading the rest of the series. 😤😉
Only Chautona Havig could take a quirky, unique character living every author’s secret dream and imbue it with such deep themes while making it still quite fun. My heart broke as each new layer of Alexa’s backstory and complicated relationships was revealed. I enjoyed the detailed fashion and writing moments, everything about Joe, and how open-hearted Alexa was despite people’s opinions of her.
The mystery was both haunting and fascinating (hence the stolen sleep), and there was one moment that really, really shocked me.
I’m not usually one for series, but I’m hoping to try the other books in this one. 😉
CW: stalking, child neglect, chronic illness, negative family interactions, infertility and a hard backstory to it. Murders happen throughout the book in various ways, including an explosion, but with no graphic details.
There’s a serial killer on the loose, working his way through the alphabet and the whole country is in a state of panic.
A is for Mrs. Ascher in Andover, B is for Betty Barnard in Bexhill, C is for Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. With each murder, the killer is getting more confident — but leaving a trail of deliberate clues to taunt the proud Hercule Poirot might just prove to be the first, and fatal, mistake. (from Goodreads)
My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is only my second Agatha Christie read, and it’s made me a forever fan. I can’t believe I went so long without reading her work.
First, a couple things that make her stand out in the genre. I highly appreciate the respect for life in a genre centered around death. The way side characters interact around it, we have a chance to care about the victims personally, and Poirot himself is filled with dread for the inevitable next murder… these were all especially evident in this book. I also enjoy the collaboration with other detectives/officers, and I appreciate the author’s (if somewhat flawed) attempts to speak differently regarding race, prejudice, and stereotypes of all kinds than many works of the time period.
This book was an absolute delight. I tried and failed a few times to solve the mystery myself, but was rewarded with something much more twisty and satisfying than I could have guessed. (I even fell for the accomplice storyline…) Poirot shone, and his team of amateurs was equally interesting.
I finished reading this in the middle of a stormy night which was the most deliciously spooky and cozy thing. 🧡 I’m ready for autumn and more Agatha Christie books now.
Happy Day 3 of Five Fall Favorites! I’m having so much fun adding books to my TBR that I fear it’s going to be happily unattainable. 😉
Today is a very mysterious one… a.k.a. we’re talking about the genre Mystery! *dons mysterious thinking cap and looks thoughtful when my mind is actually full of pastries* Whodunnit, was it stolen or misplaced? Is this a case of a mistaken identity or a secret one?
Today we’re sharing our top 5 mystery books… (With some bloggers choosing an alternate genre. 😉 )
I can only mention the first book here, but the entire series is brilliant and you should definitely check it out and be warned you may become a shipper and a diehard fan and there is no coming back from this. 😁 I love me a good amateur detective book, but this one is especially amazing for its clean content, humor, and satisfying mystery. (Read my review.)
Another classic I experienced as an adult (and I’m glad because child me would have been too spooked), and while I absolutely loved the twisty mystery, I was also exceedingly impressed with how well the author handled such a huge cast of characters. I’m kinda nerd like that. 😉 (Read my review.)
(Can we appreciate how if you read that wrong it looks like Agatha Christie did the murders?) I have been on an Agatha Christie mystery kick this year, and this second one I’ve ever read. It was absolutely fantastic, a little creepy, and still managed to place a high value on human life. (Read my review.)
I knew nothing about this book except that it was spooky and Victorian but no one told me that the characters were Jewish and it’s absolutely amazing?!! I’m a more sensitive reader, so one aspect of the special powers did gross me out, but it was mostly fine and definitely worth it. 😉 (Read my review.)
Amateur detectives for the win! This series is really quite fun (though not without its serious justice moments). My favorite aspect is how Madeline picks up detective skills as the series progresses instead of automatically being good at everything. 😉 Also, Russell. (Read my review.)
Grand Prize giveaway!
Most books are contributions by participating authors. Ships to contiguous US only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond after being contacted.
It’s been raining a bit more here lately, and autumn decorations are coming into stores, so I’m beginning to feel a little extra bookish. 😉
I’ve recently been getting into Agatha Christie novels, and I finished my second (and a new favorite!!) late last night/early this morning. It was so mind-blowingly good!
Even before I finished it, I snagged another of her mysteries on our vacation thrifting because I’m now officially a fan. 😂
Yes, I also got a DW novel. (TenRose are life. 😍😍)
Speaking of vacation, I toted my books around in the most adorable red polka book sleeves The Very Awesome Mikayla made for me. I love how safe it kept them, and it was really, really cute. I’ll definitely have to share a picture sometime.
My notebooks weren’t *quite* as fortunate, getting a little bent out of shape, so when a favorite small business had a sale, I decided to splurge and get a big book sleeve that will hopefully fit a notebook or two. 😎
(prepare yourself for infite fangirl mode) (are you ready?) (I love this series)
This series fits the perfect balance of clean fiction, hard topics, intense action, Christian themes, and entirely lovable-to-the-max characters. I read the first few in a row, and then have been reading the others as they come out. My siblings helped me complete the series in paperback, just in time for the new release. 😉
(Can we appreciate the gorgeous colors of this cover??!) This one is set in my home state, which was absolutely fabulous and made me connect to the high stakes of this one a lot more. Some tougher life topics are handled in this one, but with so much grace.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, yessssss. Also some scenes that made me declare this probably a favorite of the series, though I probably say that about each one at some point in time, so my fangirlness cannot be trusted. 😛
Another gorgeous cover, and they look absolutely adorable, arrrghhh. (Sorry, the shipping just gets worse.) This one was a gamechanger, for better or worse, depending on what you think of some bold story choices. It was so tragic but so healing, and I’m happy to have read it.
Better come soon!!! *does fangirl grabby hands*
Have you read this series? Which book is your favorite?
I pre-ordered this book and gobbled it up just days after it released. It was definitely worth waiting for. 😍
Kate and the team head to Maine to assess the possibility of a terrorist cell operating near a college campus. She has to help decide whom to trust, who’s a danger, and who’s just spouting empty threats. Of course, things are never as easy as they look, including the battles she’s facing in her own heart.
Struggling to untangle the threads of this case, Patrick finds his personal feelings clouding his judgment. With the stakes so high, he can’t get it wrong. But when the case takes a sudden turn, he knows he and the team will never be the same. (from Goodreads)
My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
It’s been a bit since the last book, so I was over the moon excited for this one! I just completed my collection of the first five in paperback, and I can’t wait to add this one to the shelves. ❤️
I slipped back in easily to this world and the characters, and any important details I forgot were included seamlessly. The team was quite lovable, as always. I enjoyed the further character development of Brian and Logan especially, and my boys Thomas and Patrick have some big things to work through. I’m looking forward to seeing what shakes out with Kim too.
Kate was so great undercover in this one! She’s getting to be quite the natural. 👏👏 I’ve heard there’s ten books confirmed for the series in all, so I’m very excited to see where the story continues to take her.
This book had even more gravity and emotional depth than I’ve previously seen from the author, and I could feel that she poured her heart into it. I especially loved how the characters and readers were given space to feel the impact of some pretty big changes. Definitely good writing there. 😭👏
Best quotes: Thomas cleared his throat. “Brian, you’re going to play the part of a college dropout, a bum, a purposeless nobody who has just arrived to Orono.” “And with cutting words like that,” Brian said, putting a hand to his head, “I’ll have very low self-esteem when I get there.”
Maybe, this time, evil had won.
CW: terrorism, injuries (some descriptions of blood, not detailed), death. A nuanced discussion of Islamophobia.
Altogether, I will be reading book 7 the very second it comes out, because #cliffhanger 😳
UPDATE: Congratulations to Amelia S. for winning the giveaway! Thank you everyone who entered.
Today we get to catch up with one of my absolute favorite indie authors, Sarah Holman, and I couldn’t be more excited. 💛
Welcome back, Sarah! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi Kate! It’s so fun to be back here!
Nine months ago, I married my best friend and moved to the big city. I’m loving married life more than words can say. It’s pretty amazing to be married to Scott, who’s been my best friend for years. It’s worth it even if I do miss living in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve been an avid reader from a young age and started writing down my own stories around eleven. I love writing and sharing the truths God teaches me in a story form. I’m passionate about encouraging my fellow believers, especially my sisters in Christ, through stories and in my life.
When not reading or writing. I can often be found hiking at Texas State Parks with my husband, hanging out with my awesome family (both the one I was born into and the one I married into), or working on some sort of craft project.
Congrats on your latest release, Kate’s Informant! May we have a brief introduction?
Of course! In this story, the team members are trying to determine if the threat of terrorism is real or just talk. As in real life, they struggle with sorting who is telling the truth and who is telling lies – who’s a friend and who’s a foe.
As a loyal fan of the Kate’s Case Files series, I’m always excited to hear more about the series. What is your inspiration for it, and what are your long-term plans?
The original inspiration was Sue Thomas FBEye, which was a pretty cool show based on a true story of a deaf woman who went to work for the FBI. I also wanted to write a series that delved into how complicated friendships and relationships can be, but still be good.
My long-term plans are to get the next book out ASAP (I’m working on a rewrite at the moment). I have a total of 10 books planned in the series and my hope is to have the last book come out in late 2023 sometime. We shall see if life cooperates with that goal.
What other projects, writing or otherwise can you share about right now?
I have a lot of fun projects in the works. I’m currently editing my epistolary novella I wrote for my newsletter readers and plan to put it on Kindle Vella. I’m also hoping to release my 4th of July story that was part of A Very Bookish 4th of July last year on its own in the next couple of weeks. Also in the works is the next A Very Bookish collection and a new story for my newsletter subscribers.
How long have you been an author? What advice would you give to newer/breakout authors?
I started writing when I was 11 which was twenty-one years ago. I published my first book in 2011. Time flies!
Here are my best pieces of advice for writers:
Read all the time – both fiction and non-fiction
Be willing to see some of your work as unpublishable stepping stones. You probably won’t write an amazing story on the first try (or maybe even the 5th time). Keep writing and improving.
Find people who will be encouraging and honest with you about your stories. You want people to both build you up, but also help you improve.
Most of all, stay connected to The Author. God is writing your life story. You want to make sure you are listening to Him.
What is your favorite way you’ve seen God work in a seemingly ordinary moment?
Ooo, what an awesome question, but a hard one. It happens so often. I think maybe it’s when someone finishes one of my stories and then tells me how God used it in their life. Or maybe it’s when I share something God has been working on in my life and it impacts someone else. Or maybe it’s the conversations I’ve been able to have with others just because of a simple act of kindness.
I love this answer. Thank you so much for coming!
Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun!
In honor of her newest release, Sarah is giving away two (2) signed paperback copies from her Kate’s Case Files series! Winner gets to choose from books 1 – 5. (Alternate international prize is audiobook codes.)
My boyfriend is a major film nerd, and one of our favorite long-distance dates is a movie + video call. 😁
We get to see each other’s reactions real time and discuss the movie a little afterwards. Most of the time, it’s us filling each other in on favorite movies the other missed (he’s a veritable movie tour guide 😁), but we recently found a film we both hadn’t seen yet, which proved quite fun. 😉
Instead of a book review, I thought today I’d share a movie review.
As a certified aficionado of all things Sherlock Holmes, I was quite excited to watch this movie with my boyfriend.
I very much enjoyed the unique storytelling style. The scrapbooked scenes accompanying narration were delightfully Victorian and fresh.
Speaking of narration… There is no longer a fourth wall. For me, this aspect of the movie was delightful, though a little misplaced in an action scene.
Millie Bobby Brown was FANTASTIC. I look forward to seeing her in more roles, for sure. Henry Cavill wasn’t quite believable as Sherlock, but I enjoyed his brotherliness and the air that he definitely was picking up on more than others. 😉 Louis Partridge was delightful.
The mystery was slightly guessable for me, but intensely fun. I did find the storyline with Eudoria a disappointment though after reflection I understand it more. Enola choosing her own path was fabulous. Some of the themes were both too on the nose and too subtle for me which was my main dislike about the movie.
A+ for utterly feminine costuming during fight scenes. And the soundtrack = 😍
Where’s my sequel?
• • •
Content warning for intense male anger directed toward a young girl, near death experiences, sudden shocking death, waterboarding, garrotte choking, and blasphemy.
• • •
There you go!
Have you seen EnolaHolmes yet? Don’t you just love the trailer aesthetic? 😍
The best books and movies are ones I think about days (or months, looking at you, Avengers: Endgame) afterward. Usually it’s noticing something new about the themes, a line of dialogue, or something as simple as a costume choice. Some of this is due to the communities I run in (nerdy Facebook groups, nerdy Goodreads friends, nerdy, nerdy lovely family), but it also has to do with how deeply I enjoy stories. I am a writer after all. 😉 It is my job to notice, to love, and to set those things I love before others.
One of the things I love most in a story is a great romantic relationship. I don’t read/watch much in the romance genre because my favorites are often a side plot to something greater. A happily ever after after the hard won battle, a friendship in tough times turned quite sweet, a duo against the world and rarely against each other. Friendship, loyalty, banter, and teamwork are recurring themes with my favorite fictional couples. 😉
This post was inspired by Katie Hanna’s blog post about her OTPs. (You can find it here. I don’t agree with a couple ships, but what else is new with shippers? XD 😉 ) I love what she says here about why we collect OTPs, and I couldn’t agree more.
“But for all its excesses, I firmly believe OTP discourse (if I may coin a term) serves a vital purpose: allowing young people, particularly girls, a safe space to thrash out what we believe romance is supposed to look like, using concrete examples.”
So basically, I can hereby say this post is “for science”. 😉 Here are my OTPs (One True Pairings), my ships to end all ships, ranked with a couple honorable mentions. 😉
Beware, spoilers ahead, and I don’t endorse every aspect of these relationships and their stories. If you’re interested in one specifically, I’d be happy to give you a content advisory. 😉
1. Aethelbald and Una, Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
This ship destroys me, and it has one advantage above the others that automatically rockets it to number one. It’s allegorical. The book is dark, shows the darkness of our sin, and how broken we are and how broken we make things, and the storyline of rescuing and redeeming Christlike love is the spot of light. It is amazing and helped me feel more deeply than ever how much we are loved by God.
2. Dawsey and Juliet, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie
I’m not sure I would have always ranked this fictional couple as first, but I just rewatched this movie (long-distance with the amazing Kaitlyn!) and was struck by its beauty again. Two people whose hearts and minds seem to know each other even before they met, who share the same goals, and deep, deep respect for each other. I loved their honest, down-to-earth interactions, and their honorable handling of the situation they found themselves in. For me, this movie is about finding home, and it brought tears to my eyes when they discovered home in each other’s hearts.
3. The Doctor and Rose, Doctor Who reboot, series 1-4 and a special
It takes literally one picture on Pinterest to send me spiraling into missing these two. He’s the broken, haphazard adventurer who needs to save everyone, she’s the ordinary girl with the big laugh and even bigger heart who wants to save him. Every time they almost lost each other, every word unspoken, every time they saved the world, all bound together into a strong friendship and a deep love they almost didn’t realize. I love them so much. ❤ Also, they are really flirty, and it’s hilarious to watch. XD
3 (Also). Mr. Knightley and Emma, BBC Emma 2009
I really don’t know how to properly describe this one. They definitely have the banter down since they’re fiercely witty Austen characters, after all, but the things that stands out to me is how they are always there for each other, how they forgive and forget, how Knightley is not afraid to point something out to Emma and how she is eventually willing to take his advice. They are also one of the slowest of slow burns and I adore those, so… 😉 Also, kudos to the actors and makers of the show for making them feel like real people.
If you’ve read any of the books in this series, you probably agree with me, they’re that fantastic. A super smart and clever team that always has each other backs and always makes each other laugh. Seriously, I could read an entire story about just the two of them serving coffee and talking for hours on end, no adventures needed, though I love those dearly too.
(If you haven’t read the latest book, yeet yourself to Amazon. It just gets cuter.)
4. Fitzsimmons, Agents of Shield TV show
From the moment these two came on screen, complete with a prepackaged ship name—a smashing of their last names Fitz and Simmons—I knew. I knew they were the reason I was watching the show, and I knew that even if I didn’t want to finish the show (I didn’t, for reasons), I still wanted to find out what happened to them. These two have been so close since they were geniuses in college together (hence the name smashing), they basically share a brain. They also happen to be the only two British team members, so they share that little world too. I love the loyalty between them, the inevitable growth to realizing that they love each other, and how their relationship makes it through anything.
5. Reese and Carter, Person of Interest TV show
Don’t touch me, I’m emotional. Since I finished this show about a year ago, every three months I want to rewatch it for several huge reasons (it’s my favorite sci-fi, splits my brain, has a huge value on life, Jim Caviezel plays the main character, etc.) but also for this one. Every vigilante (Reese) has a police officer (Carter) hunting/studying them, and these two did that for a while before teaming up in the team up to end all team ups. Seriously epic. I love their trust and respect. ❤ If you’ve seen this show, you know just how tragic it is, but it’s absolutely worth it.
I love it when characters complete each other so much it’s just like, yes, YES. These two spend a lot of time in the cute, shy stage of friendship, and they’re literally always there for each other or at least inspiring each other when they can’t be. The ending of the trilogy makes me sob for 100 reasons, and these two are 80 of them.
7. Steve (Captain America) and Peggy (Agent Carter), Marvel Cinematic Universe
I will never get over how much these two built each other up and inspired each other, even when their storylines diverged. Peggy saw beyond his overly skinny, unhealthy frame to the heroic heart inside and loved him even before he was “suped up”. When he wasn’t sure of his place, she encouraged him to go on his first mission, and even later (I just watched Civil War) her memory reminded him to always stick to what he believed in and be the man she knew he was. He in turn respected her at a time when she usually had to fight for it, and she named SHIELD after his famous symbol. I get emotional every time I think about the end of their story, and I don’t believe it could be any more perfect. ❤
8. T’Challa (Black Panther) and Nakia, Marvel Cinematic Universe
Can we just appreciate how everyone on the royal staff and in the royal family has a joke about how much of a crush The Black Panther has on Nakia? It’s really quite heartwarming how a man so magnificent and in control of his emotions loves her so much. I especially love their honest conversations and the deep respect they have for each other’s opinions. They’d probably be even higher on this list if I had more content on them, so here’s hoping Black Panther 2 is fabulous. ❤
And folks, I’ve got Funko Pops of them. 😉
Aaaaannnd, honorable mentions. These are ones even less canonical but I couldn’t skip for obvious reasons.
Sherlock and Molly, BBC Sherlock 2010-2017
I hesitate (for mere seconds 😛 ) with this one since it starts out a bit toxic and she’s not even a character from the original books, but I love where it ends up. At the beginning, Molly is irrevocably in love with Sherlock and he either barely notices her or uses that affection to get her to do things for him. As the show progresses, this aspect begins to mend, and while Molly is still fiercely loyal, she’s not afraid to stand up for herself or give him what for when he hurts himself and others, and I honestly think Sherlock begins to truly value her in return, at least as a friend. (It’s all part of his brilliant character arc.) I’ll be forever grateful for that one episode where they solve crimes together. It’s adorable. 😉
Scott and Kayo, Thunderbirds Are Go
(It’s a screenshot, hence the mouse and thing in the bottom corner…)
Yes, I know it’s a children’s show, but it’s a very good one, and I’m highly invested, okay? XD This one I don’t ship very hard, they’re perfectly fine platonic (again, kids’ show), but they also have a very great dynamic and similar goals and are always looking out for each other especially. Also, no one said they had to stand thatttt close together.
So, there you go, those are my OTPs that inspire me and my writing and give me something to occasionally happily sob over. XD This list is subject to expansion, and I hope you enjoyed Kate’s brain. ‘Tis a silly place. 😛 😉
Brent Peterson is back in town after chasing operatives of the group knownas The 10,000– and he’s much worsefor wear.
Emily is delighted to see him, but she’s worried: Agent Nighthawk never fails at a mission, but if she doesn’t help him he just might fail this one and let a mysterious 10,000 criminal slip through his fingers.
Not to mention worsen the barely-healed gunshot wound in his shoulder…” (from Goodreads)
FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
New HQ? Check. Callbacks to the previous books and short story? Check. If it’s even possible, higher stakes? Also, check. Basically the perfect beginning to season two. 😀 ❤
I seriously had no idea how much I missed these, and I’m so happy right now. This installment started off with a bang and ended with one too. Brent and Emily were still a brilliant, adorable team despite Brent being a little out of commission, and he definitely managed to pull some CRAZZYYY stunts. XD Emily is always fun undercover, but I think this one takes the cake. She was so clever and her internal dialogue this time was especially funny. XD (Also, I need Derrick in charge of my wardrobe, because that dress = perfection.) While I’d take an entire book just of them bantering and *ahem* flirting at the coffee shop, it’s always fun to see them in the field, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Santa was surprisingly epic in this one, and the new character (who shall remain nameless) was a fun addition. O.o. Also, why can’t new HQ be real and have job openings?!! I won’t spoil anything, but it’s about as epic as you can get. XD
And could an epilogue be any more perfect?! ❤
Just a note, there were some mentions and brief descriptions of blood in relation to a gunshot wound. There was also some peril including kidnapping.
Best quotes: She stood and shook her head. “I must be glad to see you. I’m talking to you even while you’re unconscious.”
Brent snorted with laughter, squeezing his eyes shut and shaking his head. “Don’t make me laugh and fall off this chair.”
Altogether, I can’t wait for the next book. 😉
(And that random tech who Googled “how to kill wasabi burn” is my personal hero. 😛 )
Season stats so far… Codenames: one (from the short story) + another near-miss Car crashes: surprisingly, none Awesomeness level: 107%