Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday Linkups - The Hollow

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
Do you remember the first book you read by yourself?

My Answer: 
I think I learned to read without realizing I knew how to read.  I do remember the day in first grade when we got to bring home our readers to show our parents what we were learning.  And I remember being so excited that I could read it and I wanted to read the whole thing.  That was really the first book I remember sitting down and reading and being aware that I knew how to read it.

I'm going back to an old favorite - The Hollow by Agatha Christie - today.  Agatha had some mixed feelings about this book and always said she regretted putting Poirot in it.  I have seen it in play form which does not feature Poirot and I have to admit that it does work just fine without his little grey cells.  However, I always enjoy seeing him so the addition in the book is not a hardship.  This is one of the few where he's really a background character (until the final reveal of course)

The Beginning:
At 6:13AM on a Friday morning Lucy Angkatell's big blue eyes opened upon another day, and as always, she was at once wide awake and began immediately to deal with the problems conjured up by her incredibly active mind.

My Thoughts:
While I can't form coherent thoughts at 6:13AM I can definitely relate to Lucy's ability to come up with problems!

The 56:
Gerda set her jaw.  Not very much farther now.  Not that she wanted to get there.

My Thoughts:
Poor Gerda.  Coming up on a very unwanted destination is never much fun.

So what do you think?  Keep reading?  Do you remember the first book you read to yourself?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Books from the Backlog - The House on Tradd Street

I'm linking up with Carole's Random Life in Books for Books from the Backlog.  This is a fun meme that spotlights books that have been hiding in our massive stacks of books for far too long!

This week's book The House on Tradd Street by Karen White.  It has ghost, history, home repair, a Charleston setting, a bit of romance and a mystery.  It might as well be written for me!

What book is hiding in your backlog?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Howl of Wolves - Mystery Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Sam Clair figures she’ll be a good sport and spend a night out at the theater in support of her upstairs neighbors, who have small parts in a play in the West End. Boyfriend (a Scotland Yard detective) and all-round good sport Jake Field agrees to tag along to what is apparently an extra-bloody play filled with dramatic, gory deaths galore. So Sam expects an evening filled with faux fatalities. Until, that is, the curtain opens to the second act, revealing a dummy hanging from the rafters, who’s been made up to look suspiciously like Campbell Davison, the director of the production.

When Sam sees the horrified faces of the actors onstage, she realizes that this is indeed not a dummy, but Davison himself—and this death is not part of the show. Now everyone wants to know: who killed Campbell Davison? As Sam learns more about the murdered man, she discovers that he wasn’t all that well-liked amongst the cast and crew, so the suspect list grows. The show must go on—but Sam knows a murderer must be apprehended, so she sets out to find out what happened, and why.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:
  I had enjoyed a previous book in this series and couldn't resist this one!

My Impression:
  This was a fun one!  This is one of those mysteries where the day to day life of the main characters takes up almost as much page time as the mystery itself.  Sometimes this can get tedious but luckily in this book Sam, Jake, Kay and the rest of their world is entertaining and engaging.  I also loved the behind the scenes look at life on stage and at life behind the desk at a publishing office.

This is not one of those books where the main character has a cool job and mentions it occasionally but never ever goes to it.  We go to work with Sam a pretty good bit and between all the book talk and the selling books talk and the meeting authors talk I could have had an entire book of nothing but that.  I love that Sam is good at her job and driven but also has a fairly balanced personal life.  Her relationship with her mother, Helena, was entertaining and felt authentic as well as her relationship with Jake.  Jake is CID and is usually involved in the official investigation of whatever Sam is sticking her nose into.  I liked that he clearly didn't want to talk about the case with her but she was so interested and asked such good questions that he would forget he felt that way from time to time.

The mystery itself is fascinating with lots of behind the scenes peeks at rehearsals.  I loved seeing how it all ran and just what everyone did.  While I did have a guess at the killer I wasn't convinced I was correct until the very end.  Between trying to figure out just who had killed the director in such a brutal way and wanting to spend more time with Sam this made for a can't put down read!  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  I'm already looking forward to the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  I would.  This is a fun mystery with an interesting look into the publishing world.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - My Favorite Character Names in Agatha Christie Mysteries

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is all about character names.  I don't think I really have favorites when it comes to names and just thinking about all the names I like out of all the books I've read seems a bit mind boggling.  So I decided to narrow it down to my favorite names in books by my favorite author - Agatha Christie.  There's no real reason I like the names other than I think the first and last work nicely together or that they fit exactly the kind of personality the character has.

1.  Beryl Gilliat (The Harlequin Tea Set)

2.  Gwenda Reed (The Sleeping Murder)

3.  Elsa Greer (Five Little Pigs)

4.  Verity Hunt (Nemesis)

5.  Captain Philip Lombard (And Then There Were None)

6.  Linnet Doyle (Death on the Nile)

7.  Emily Arundell (Dumb Witness)

8  Ariadne Oliver (Hallowe'en Party and several others)

9.  Jane Finn (The Secret Adversaries)

10. Anne Meredith (Cards on the Table)

What are some of your favorite character names?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Ramblings from the Stacks - Library Wanderings

This is a bit of an embarrassing confession for a book worm but I tend to freeze up in a bookstore.  It's not that I don't want to buy books it's just that I have soooooo many and there are soooo many that I want to buy that I end up caught between feeling like I shouldn't buy anything and feeling like I should buy everything.

Luckily I don't have the problem at the library!  I love my local library branch.  It's a small facility but they have a great collection and it's easy to have books transferred from other branches.  The staff is super nice and always helpful.  When the Tornado was little we went to story time pretty regularly and the children's librarian is fabulous.

I normally stay on a fairly strict reading schedule but when I'm stressed or heading towards a reading rut I enjoy a good wander through the shelves and pick up anything that catches my eye.  Not only is it very relaxing but it tends to show me what genre I'm in the mood for at the moment.

Here are a few books I picked up in my last wandering:

Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron - This is for my Middle Grade review in June.  I actually had another book scheduled but when I saw this on an end cap in the kids' section when I was looking for books for the Tornado and couldn't resist.

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen - When the weather gets warmer Sarah Addison Allen's books always call to me and this year Lost Lake pretty much jumped in my library bag.

The Craving Cure by Julia Ross - I've had some low blood sugar issues lately and know I need to cut down on how sugar I eat but my giant sweet tooth doesn't always agree.  When I saw this one on an endcap I had to pick it up.

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis - I had gotten the novella and the 2nd book in this series and knew that it was time to read the first so I couldn't resist it when I saw it.  It ended up being the perfect book for my mood.

Rock City by Tim Hollis - I love Rock City in Chattanooga, TN.  It's cheesy and touristy but so pretty and I always enjoy a visit.  I found this small little book in the nonfiction shelves and enjoyed reading about how the place started.

What books have you picked up on a whim?  Are you a library user?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

This Week in Readng - May 20

It's Sunday Post time!  This is hosted by the awesome Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.

What I Got:

Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton - This an author I've seen around for ages and always meant to try.  When I was offered this historical fiction about the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and journalist Martha Gellhorn.  I'm really looking forward to it!  (Publicist)

Selling Dead People's Things by Duane Scott Cerney - The cover of this one is a bit disturbing but the book itself is a nonfiction about estate sales and appraisers and antique stores.  I spend a decent amount of time going to antique stores and have spent some time at estate sales so I'm curious about the behind the scenes look. (NetGalley)


Reading:  A Howl of Wolves by Judith Flanders and Ghost Night by Heather Graham

Listening:  Nothing right now.  I'm next in line for an audio book at the library and until then I'm listening to podcasts.  Luckily my backlist is HUGE so there's no shortage of things to listen to!

Watching:  Not much really.  I'm not loving this season of Dancing with the Stars which is my favorite indulgence.  The shortened season which means constant double eliminations which I don't enjoy and I feel like I don't get to know the celebrities which is kind of the whole point along with lots of sparkles.  I think we're going to go back to watching the original Star Trek movies soon because despite Shatner's dubious acting they are a lot of fun.

Off the Blog:

We are in end of the school year madness which means the Tornado and I are both exhausted and sunburned.  It was Field Day Friday and I volunteered to help run a station which meant I had to project instructions over the voices of lots of kids of various ages for about 4 hours.  I may get my voice back in the next few days we'll see.  The Tornado had a blast and while I did try and swipe sunscreen on him every time I saw him I didn't get his face very well.  I'm slightly scorched which surprised me.  The whole school was outside all day playing games and running around and playing water games and eating snowcones.  It was fun but that followed by a very loud chaotic birthday party Saturday makes me want a nap!

I'm signing the Tornado up for tennis lessons so we're going to meet the instructor today and the Little Passports subscription box shipped so it should be here this week.  I'm super excited to start getting the boxes from different countries and think it'll be a fun addition to summer.  Other than that we've got a few weekend trips and I think we're going to get a few lazy days in early on.

This coming week is Eleanor's birthday but we celebrated with her Friday.  It's been quite a big year for her with the wedding right after last birthday and the birth of the little one just a few weeks ago.  We brought dinner and cupcakes and presents to her house and I got lots of baby snuggles so it was a fun night.  He's 6 weeks old and is so expressive and adorable!  I've gotten to babysit some which is always fun.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: Ramblings from the Stacks - Library Wanderings
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Favorite Character Names
Wednesday: A Howl of Wolves - Mystery Review
Thursday:  Books from the Backlog
Friday:  Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday:  Spring Favorites

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Garden Spells - Fiction Review

Rating: Loved It!
Source: Library

The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories.

Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

Genre: Fiction - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:
  I had read another book by this author that I really loved and had heard raves about this one.

My Impression: 
So it appears I like magical realism.  Or at least magical realism as written by Sarah Addison Allen.  This is the 2nd book by this author and I've thoroughly enjoyed both.  This one just might be my favorite.
This is a book that's kind of  hard to write a review for because not much happens but at the same time there's a lot going on.  For starters we meet Claire Waverly.  She's a solitary character that easily could have come off as prickly but stops just shy of that.  She doesn't want to let anyone in to her life and strives to keep things just the way her beloved Grandmother left them.  Into town blows her sister Sydney and her 6 year old daughter Bay.  The history between the two is tense and full of misunderstandings and childhood grudges.  Bay immediately fits into the town and into Claire's life but the relationship between Claire and Sydney takes longer to develop and to heal.

While the relationship between the Waverly sisters is probably the biggest focus of the book there are lots of other townspeople about and we get little peeks into their lives.  Like Hunter John and Emma whose past with Sydney complicates their lives.  Fred who is desperately trying to repair his relationship with his long time partner James but doesn't quite know what the problem is to begin with.  Evanelle is a Waverly cousin frequently hit with the urge to give someone something they'll need for reasons she can't explain.

There's so much in this book.  There's family bonds and healing, there's small town community with all the good and all the bad, there's little bits of romance and hope, and there's just a touch of magic.  I really love how the magic is done here.  Many of the characters have their own gift which they're not always aware of or understand.  Claire is able to use certain flowers and herbs to influence events, reactions, or feelings and it's really a lot of fun to watch her work.  It makes me want to dash into the kitchen and start preparing herb-y floral creations.  Lavender bread anyone?

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Yes!  Her books always have a summery feel to them so I do tend to pick them up at the start of summertime.  I read this one last year and just got another one by her from the library.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  Absolutely!  In fact I've even given it as a gift several times!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday Linkups - Ghost Night

It's Friday linkup time!  I'm linking up with the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer, Book Beginnings of Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, and the Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice

This Week's Book Blogger Hop Question:
What were your worst movies based off of books?

My Answer:
I wasn't a fan of the movie Coraline.  I enjoyed the book quite a bit but thought the movie was trying to be weird so hard that it lost the story itself.  The movie Moonraker (James Bond) was fun in a it's so bad it's good campy way but it really doesn't do justice to the book which is fantastic.

This week's book is the 2nd in a romantic suspense trilogy that takes place in Key West, Florida.  I read the first one last year and really enjoyed but was never able to get around to reading the 2nd book.  Summer always makes romantic suspense more appealing for some reason so I decided to make time to read Ghost Night by Heather Graham.  So far it's nice and spooky!

The Beginning:
The sound of the bloodcurdling scream was as startling as the roar of thunder on a cloudless day.

My Thoughts:
I do love when a suspense novel starts out with a scream!  

The 56: 
"Other things have happened.  Bad things.  Not involved with filming, but with other boaters who disappeared near Haunt Island."

My Thoughts:
I think Haunt Island sounds like a place to avoid!

So what do you think?  What genre do you start craving when the temperature starts rising?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Books from the Backlog - Untraceable

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the stacks of books staring at me and how long it seems to take me to get to them.  When I saw this meme over at Carole's Random Life of Books I knew I needed to participate!  Hopefully it'll help me focus on that massive TBR stack and get a few read.

This weeks' book is Untraceable by Laura Griffin.  I discovered Laura Griffin through a few other bloggers back when I first started blogging and fell in love with her Tracers romantic suspense series.  I've only read a few of the more recent books and really hoped to get this first book in the series read. We're not going to talk about how long it's been sitting on my shelf!  With summer coming romantic suspense always appeals to me a bit more and this one looks really fun.

What book has been sitting on your TBR for far too long?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sugarhouse Blues - Contemporary Fiction Review

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Allie, Des, and Cara, each having her own reasons for wanting a share of their father's estate, meet in the grand Victorian home in which he grew up, only to be greeted by another secret he purposely hid from them: his sister Bonnie. The women reluctantly band together to take on Fritz's challenge, working with a local contractor to begin the renovations financed by an account Fritz had set up for the task. While the restoration appears to go smoothly at first, it soon becomes apparent that the work will be more extensive than originally thought, and Des, elected to handle the money, needs to find ways to stretch out the remaining savings while searching for new sources of funding.

As strangers linked only by their DNA try to become a family, the Hudson sisters also try to come to terms with the father they only thought they knew. In the process, each woman discovers her own capacity for understanding, forgiveness, love, and the true meaning of family.

Genre: Fiction - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:
  The first book in this series was in my top ten favorite reads for 2017.  I couldn't wait for Des's story.

My Impression:
  One of the reasons I loved the first book so much was because it was exactly what I was looking at the time I read it.  It also really focused on the complicated relationships between three sisters as well as the same three sisters discovering their family history for the first time all of which are in my favorites things list.  My mood lately has been a bit on the meh side.  I'm not so much in a reading slump but more in kind of a reading slump lately.  I was worried that my mood would seriously impact my enjoyment of this second story.  While I didn't love it and connect with it quite as much as I did Last Chance Matinee it was a read that pulled me and knocked me out of my grumpiness for a bit.

This book focuses on the middle sister, Des.  She was a very reluctant child star which damaged her relationship with her sister Allie and caused her to avoid people as much as possible.  She focuses her time, attention, and affection on animal shelters and misses the one that she was involved with in Montana.  She's also in charge of the money aspect of the theater restoration.  The theater restoration has made significant progress since we last saw it though it is now being plagued by what always plagues projects like this - setbacks, catastrophes and annoyances, all with the intention of pushing the budget beyond its breaking point.  I enjoyed seeing the bits of bookkeeping and how Des tried to figure out not only how to stretch the budget but bring in money to increase it.  She's smart and creative but not an accountant or marketing professional by trade.  As well I love the relationship between Des and Cara.  It's fun seeing the genuine affection grow as they get to know each other.  Allie is a bit tougher both to like from the POV of the reader and to relax in the world that Stewart has created.  She has a lot of challenges - some of her own doing and others not so much.  Her sharpness got on my nerves sometimes even though I did feel sorry for her.  Her book is next and it'll be interesting to see how Stewart handles her rather strident personality.

I love seeing more of the sisters and their aunt Barney.  As well the community of Hudson Falls is always entertaining.  I enjoyed the focus on Seth in this book.  He's an interesting character with a somewhat troubled backstory but without a whole lot of baggage.  He's got just enough flaws that he feels like a real guy but not so many that it overtakes the goodness.  The research into the history of the theater and the involvement of the local college added a bit of enjoyment to the story and developed a broader picture of the town.

This was an enjoyable read with a strong family connection.  The only things that kept it from being a perfect read for me was Des's insistence that she was going back to Montana and her lack of awareness about the effects if her statements on those around her as well as Allie's hostility at times.  However, my delight with the relationships that are developed throughout the rest of the book far outweighs any negatives.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  I'm already anxiously awaiting the third book in this series but have had less consistent results with books in her Chesapeake Bay Diaries series.

Would I Recommend this Book? 
I would recommend this series if you enjoy books about family relationships though they are best read in order.  I've found her other series a little less consistent.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

My Classic Movie Essentials - Casablance (1942)

Casablanca (1942)

Setting: wartime Casablanca

Rick Blaine - Humphrey Bogart
Sam - Dooley Wilson
Ilsa Lund - Ingrid Bergman
Victor Laszlo - Paul Henreid
Captain Louis Renault - Claude Rains
Major Heinrich Strasser - Conrad Veidt

Premise: Rick's CafĂ© Americain attracts a wide mix of clientele from refugees desperately trying to escape to the US, to corrupt bystanders hoping to cash in on the desperation, and Vichy France and German government officials.  Rick manages to remain neutral and stay out of it (at least publicly) until the day that Czech Resistance leader Victor Laszlo and Isla Lund arrive in Casablanca.

My Thoughts:  I almost didn't add this one because Casablanca is such an obvious Classic Movie Essential it kind of went without saying.  However, this is one of those movies that I have watched probably dozens of times and each time I notice something new or the impact of a particular scene resonates just a little bit stronger so I really couldn't resist talking about it.

This is a classic Humphrey Bogart role.  He's cynical and keeping himself distant from the human drama that surrounds him but only on the surface.  There's a scene that I just love where he blatantly helps a young couple who need money to escape to US all the while declaring that he stays out of it all.  This is a character he plays over and over with different levels of intensity and yet always makes it feel fresh, unique and totally novel.  The cast is so incredible and so absolutely perfect.  No one could have played Sam but Dooley Wilson and he adds so much emotion and loyalty and personality into a role that honestly is pretty small.  Ingrid Bergman is stunning and Paul Henreid is wonderful but my absolute favorite is Claude Rains.  His version of Captain Louis Renault is funny and crooked and unpredictable and I adore him even when he's being terrible.  

One thing I didn't realize about the movie was just how many of the cast were refugees. From actors who were playing refugees, to the bartender, even the actor playing the head German officer had all fled their homes to escape the Nazis - a few had even spent time in concentration camps.  This makes the famous "dueling anthem" scene all the more emotional and it is a scene that never failed to bring tears to my eyes.

What Makes This Movie Essential:  This may just be the most quotable movie ever made.  From "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world.  She walks into mine" to "We'll always have Paris" and "Louie this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." it's crammed full of memorable lines and the scenes that contain the lines have all the promised impact.

Read Alike?  Honestly, I can't quite think of one.  The closest I can come up with is the World War II storyline in the dual timeline book Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas.  It has a similar feel though is very different. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Better Off Read - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland.

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I love librarians as main characters in mysteries and love the Bookmobile twist!

My Impression:  
What I Liked:  
I always enjoy a bookish setting and a bookish setting on wheels was even more fun.

I liked that Cleo was a bit older (75) than the standard cozy mystery sleuth.  She is also smart and really uses her research skills to her advantage

I always enjoy a small town setting and this one was very well done.   I felt like the south Georgia/Florida panhandle area was well represented.  I also like that there are the usual small town financial problems.

The mystery itself was enjoyable with a logical and well wrapped up ending.

What I Didn't Like:
This definitely felt like the first book in the series pacing-wise.  The beginning felt a little slow as there was so much to be introduced and I didn't feel really hooked until at least a third of the way in.

There were a lot of characters dumped in and at times it was a little challenging to keep them all straight.

This was a good mystery with a likable main character and a great premise.  While I did have a few issues with this book I feel like most were first book problems and the flow will be better in the 2nd book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Yes I would.  I enjoyed this book  and look forward to seeing more Bookmobile hijinks.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is definitely a series with a lot of promise.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

This Week in Reading - May 13

It's Sunday Post time Caffeinated Book Reviewer and gives us all a chance to recap our week.
me!  This is hosted by the awesome

What I Got:

Somebody's Daughter by David Bell - I've been wanting to read David Bell's thrillers for awhile so I was thrilled when I was offered a copy for review.  (Publisher)

Only With You by Nicole McLaughlin - I've been reading a lot of mysteries and this contemporary romance looked a little bit out of the ordinary.  I'm looking for a good summer read.  (Publisher)

Cooper's Charm by Lori Foster - This is another blog tour.  It has the combination of an author I've been wanting to read, a woman who takes a job at a lakeside resort AND a puppy on the cover.  I couldn't resist.  (Blog Tour)


Reading:  Better Off Read by Nora Page and The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig

Listening:  I finished The Blackbird Season by Kate Morretti and am trying to decide what to do next.  
Watching:  NCIS made me ugly cry this week and I'm not loving this multiple elimination on Dancing with the Stars though I do enjoy the all athletes season.

Off the Blog:

Today I'm heading home after a weekend spent in south Mississippi.  Here in north Alabama we're having somewhat spring weather with highs in the low 80s and most importantly - low humidity.  South Mississippi has skipped the spring part and gone straight to highs in the 90s.  I'm not quite ready to be wearing shorts just yet!  This week is the last full week of school for the Tornado and we are looking forward to summer.  We're not morning people and taking a break from the groggy frantic rush out the door Monday through Friday sounds fantastic.  I'm also trying to get a few weekend trips planned.

I'm continuing my birthday month celebration with some Amazon book shopping and reading books that have been on my TBR for far too long.  I'm thinking about throwing in some rereads as well for some extra indulgence!

This week I've got my 2nd Movie Essential review coming up Tuesday and this one is such an essential that I almost skipped it!  I've really been enjoying watching and rewatching classic movies and am excited to be talking about my favorites.

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Better Off Read - Cozy Mystery Review
Tuesday:  Movie Essentials 
Wednesday:  Sugarhouse Blues - Contemporary Fiction Review
Thursday:  TBD
Friday: Friday Linkups with Current Book
Saturday: TBD

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

First Time in Forever - Contemporary Romance Review

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

It's been a summer of firsts for Emily Donovan. From becoming a stand-in mom to her niece Lizzie to arriving on Puffin Island, her life has become virtually unrecognizable. Between desperately safeguarding Lizzie and her overwhelming fear of the ocean—which surrounds her everywhere she goes!—Emily has lost count of the number of "just breathe" pep talks she's given herself. And that's before charismatic local yacht club owner Ryan Cooper kisses her…

Ryan knows all about secrets. And it's clear that newcomer Emily—with her haunted eyes and the little girl she won't let out of her sight—is hiding from something besides the crazy chemistry between them. So Ryan decides he's going to make it his personal mission to help her unwind and enjoy the sparks! But can Puffin Island work its magic on Emily and get her to take the biggest leap of trust of all—putting her heart in someone else's hands?

Genre: Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:
I've been in a cozy mystery phase lately and I've found I'm really missing romance.  It's been awhile since I read Sarah Morgan so I thought I'd give it a try.

My Impression : This was a sweet romance with a gorgeous setting and a great friends group.  I normally am not a huge fan of children in romance but Lizzie was a darling and yet a believable 6 year old.  I love the Puffin Island community and Emily and her two friends have romance trilogy written all over them.  I loved that this little house on Puffin Island was their bit of peace and they’re still very c,one but not constantly together.

Ryan was a good hero.  He’s incredibly kind and patient and not judge-y in the slightest.  He’s sympathetic to Emily’s issues and while he’s supportive and offers suggestions he doesn’t become overbearing.  I thought his anti-kids baggage was a little over the top.  Yes, he had to become essentially a parent at a very young age he clearly enjoys being around children.

Emily was a bit harder to warm up to.  She’s so tightly controlled and worried and hard on herself that it took a long time before I really felt like I got to know her.  Her baggage felt a bit over the top too.  Yes there are a few traumatic experiences but she also has a great group of friends and has put more than a little space between her present day self and her childhood.

Because of my annoyance with the issues I’m not sure how much I really rooted for them as a couple.  When it came down to it I was mostly rooting for a HEA for Lizzie!  However, despite that I did enjoy the visit to Puffin Island and this read.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Maybe.  While I didn’t love this I did enjoy quite a bit of it and I’d like to see Emily’s friends get their stories.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy contemporary romance I’d recommend her earlier O’Neil brothers series over this one though this is a good summer read.