Paris Is Always A Good Idea

Hello Friends! I’m back! Like I think, a lot of readers, I went through a crazy long reading slump. Really, it was about two weeks, but it felt like forever for me. It put such a damper on things but I am back reading, closing up loose ends and ready to binge write some reviews. A book I am excited to chat about today is Paris Is Always A Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay.

Paris Is Always A Good Idea

By Jenn McKinlay

Released July 21, 2020

Published by Berkley

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Goodreads Summary:

It’s been seven years since Chelsea Martin embarked on her yearlong post-college European adventure. Since then, she’s lost her mother to cancer and watched her sister marry twice, while Chelsea’s thrown herself into work, becoming one of the most talented fundraisers for the American Cancer Coalition, and with the exception of one annoyingly competent coworker, Jason Knightley, her status as most talented fundraiser is unquestioned.

When her introverted mathematician father announces he’s getting remarried, Chelsea is forced to acknowledge that her life stopped after her mother died, and that the last time she can remember being happy, in love, or enjoying her life was on her gap year. Inspired to retrace her steps–to find Colin in Ireland, Jean Claude in France, and Marcelino in Italy–Chelsea hopes that one of these three men who stole her heart so many years ago, can help her find it again.

From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love in the very last place she expected.

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This was my first experience of being familiar with an author but due to their writing in another genre. I was super excited when I saw Paris Is Always A Good Idea was authored by Jenn McKinlay because I am a total fan of her cozy mysteries.

I tend to forget to mention trigger warnings: death of a parent; death of a sibling; cancer; brief mention of self harm

I really liked Chelsea though it does take some time to warm up to her a little, but before I knew it, I was completely invested in her and her story. Now, more than ever when everyone is in self-isolation, Chelsea’s story is the kind of story we need. I will never get tired of self-discovery and I think regardless of age or where you are in life, Chelsea’s story is a reminder that we are constantly discovering and becoming who we are meant to be. I love the travel aspect to this book. We tag along with Chelsea as she travels to a small town in Ireland, the big city of Paris in France and a dreamy vineyard in Italy to reconnect with the three men she fell in love with seven years ago before the death of her mother. There is also a rivalry with a handsome co-worker of hers. All tropes I am a huge fan of! The different locations were so fun and the will they-won’t they had me on the edge of my seat in regards to will she link up with these old flames?

I thought the familial aspect was done really well. Chelsea’s father comes to her one day with the news that he is getting remarried to a woman he only met two weeks ago and Chelsea is, understandably upset.

2020 has been ridiculously stressful, a complete dumpster fire. Paris Is Always A Good Idea is a well written, amazingly structured story of self-discovery, finding love along the way and honoring those we’ve loved and lost while moving on with life with them always in our hearts. Jenn McKinlay did a phenomenal job at capturing Chelsea’s loss and grief and determination to find herself again. I am so excited for more than just her cozy mysteries now, she can do no wrong at this point!

 

First 2: Hat Shop Mystery Series

Hello Friends! I hope all is well with you. I have been in such the mood lately for cozy mysteries. Over the past six or so months, I have been hauling them like crazy with the intentions of binge reading them this fall. So far, I have made my way through the first two books in three different series. Sounds crazy, I know! Why not just binge read an entire series? Well, although I have the physical copies, I have also been listening to them on audiobook thanks to my library, but with that, I do have to wait for holds to come in. So that is why I have sort of jumped around with them. I am here though to recommend the first two in my first three cozy mystery series to you all. In this post, I will focus on The Hat Shop Mystery series by Jenn Mckinlay.

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The first book in The Hat Shop Mysteries is Cloche and Dagger which I really enjoyed. In Cloche and Dagger you meet Scarlett who lives in Florida and has recently went through a very public, humiliating break up (finding out your boyfriend of two years is ENGAGED kind of humiliating!) To add fuel to the fire, there is a video circulating the internet of Scarlett throwing cake at him as she crashes his engagement party! Her cousin Vivian lives in London and phones Scarlett saying she should fly over and help her with the hat shop, Mim’s Whims,  both girls inherited from their grandmother. Scarlett decides to take Viv up on her offer but upon her arrival, Viv is nowhere to be found. A few chapters later, a very important woman with a special made hat by Viv is found dead, naked wearing nothing but the hat.

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Book two amped things up with some family drama that I lived for every minute of! In Death of a Mad Hatter Scarlett and Viv are hard at work creating hats for an upcoming Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea which is a fundraiser for a local children’s hospital.  The hosts of the tea are the Grisby family and the girls are delighted to fit the family who are hoping to raise enough money to name a wing of the hospital after their patriarch. When the heir to the Grisby estate is found dead with traces of poison on the hat created by Scarlett and Viv, the police become curious about their involvement.  The girls have to put their thinking caps on to figure out who the killer is.

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I am absolutely enjoying this series so far. My favorite aspect to this series is the diverse cast of characters and the friendship between them. I love the moments where Scarlett is having dinner with Andre the photographer or his life partner. There is also a gradually building romance between Scarlett and Harrison, a gentleman the girls grew up with and Scarlett turned down when they were young.

There are cozy mysteries of all sorts, but when I saw that this series follows hat shop owners I had to get it, because I hadn’t seen anything else like it. If you enjoy stories that take place in London and are looking for a fun series with a strong friendship holding the characters together, I highly recommend giving this series a try!

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Sunday Coffee

Happy Sunday Friends, I hope all is well with you. It is September!! I can’t believe it. I live for this time of year. Even though the weather doesn’t change much, I try and squeeze as much as I can out of every moment possible from September 1st until the beginning of January. I am aiming to make these last few months of 2018 amazing.

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To kick off this week, I sprained my ankle. It was about 4 in the morning and I was carrying all my Life (it felt like) to the car to head to work. I had my gear bag, gym bag, water jug and a chair in case I was posted somewhere outside and needed it for my back. Next thing I know, I am face down on the ground and my ankle is throbbing. I called my husband and he came outside to help me up and into the car. Luckily after going to the base hospital,  I learned it was just a sprain but pretty swollen so they gave me quarters for the day and sent me home. This is so easier said than done, but I really need to slow down. If I have to take 2 or 3 trips back into the house then that’s just what I need to do. I am always rushing and trying to knock everything out as quickly as possible that sometimes I just don’t even realize what I’m doing..then stuff like the fall happens. It sucked, my ankle is still a bit sore, but it reminded me to give myself time. I need to start waking up a few minutes earlier, which means going to bed a little bit earlier so I have time if I need to make multiple trips in and out prior to leaving. Seriously, give yourself time Friends.

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I got up early to make my way to the coffee shop and sit outside on their patio area to get some reading done. I got there right when it opened and the sun was slowly peeking through the clouds. The cool breeze felt amazing, my latte tasted delicious and the cozy mystery I had in tow was getting to the good parts. It was so nice to just be in the moment, to appreciate the moment for what it was.  I have been hauling cozy mysteries like crazy over the past few months.  Most of the series I own give off such fall vibes so I’ve saved them with the goal to start making my way through them at the beginning of September.  The one I started with is The Hat Shop Mystery series by Jenn McKinlay. The first book is Cloche and Dagger and it is so much fun.

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The main character is Scarlett, and at the beginning of the book she has just went through a very public break up. She learned that her boyfriend of two years was actually engaged and there is a video circulating the internet of her crashing his engagement party. Her cousin Viv recommends she fly to London and help her with their Grandmother’s hat shop they inherited. Scarlett decides to go but upon her arrival she is shocked to learn that Viv hasn’t been seen and only days after her arrival in London, a client of Viv’s is found dead, naked, wearing only the hat Viv made for her. It is getting really good. I seriously have no idea who it could’ve been at this point.

We took the kids to a birthday party and they had so much fun. I was nervous because it was a pool party, and to be honest, my kids haven’t had much experience swimming. They did great though! I am so proud of them.  My daughter stayed close to the side but she still managed to play and have a good time. My son Jase got to play and keep up with the other boys and my 2 year old jumped into the 3 ft end a few times on his own. I was a nervous wreck the first time but after that, I just stood there ready to pull him up and he loved it. I seriously think that kid is fearless sometimes. I wish I could be more like him.

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I truly hope you all had a wonderful week this week. Make this next one a great one. I have been on Pinterest like crazy saving different fall soups and recipes to try, and I came across a quote I want to share with you.

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Have a good day Friends, be Kind to yourself and until next time, xx

 

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