Sunday, June 30, 2019

This Week in Reading - June 30

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:


Booking the Crook by Laurie Cass (Publisher)

Bewitched and Betrothed by Juliet Blackwell (Publisher)

Currently:

Reading: A Beach Wish by Shelley Noble and Layover by David Bell

Listening: I finished A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Dyle (narrated by Stephen Fry) and enjoyed it though it wasn't quite what I was expecting.   I just started Suddenly One Summer by Julie James which I'm enjoying but haven't had much of a chance to listen to it.

Watching:  Not much but I'm hoping to get some binge watching in next week.  I don't know what I'm going to binge watch though - any suggestions?  

Off the Blog:

I'm not sure how this week went as I'm writing this on Monday right before I head out of town.  I'm picking up Emma and the two of us plus the Tornado are going to get the venue set up for her wedding.  Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly as we're going to do a lot of winging and last minute scrambling!  Emma has had a big couple of months.  She got her degree at the beginning of May and just found out she has her first official job.  She'll be an 8th grade World History teacher in a little town south of where she'll be living.  She loved the feel of the school and is really excited.  Throw in the wedding and it's been quite the summer so far!

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday:  Beach Wish - Fiction Review
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday - Childhood Favorites
Wednesday: TBD
Thursday: Layover - Thriller Review
Friday: Friday Fives
Saturday: Reading Wrapup 2019 - 2nd Quarter

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Big Little Lies - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Rating: Very Good
Source: Library (Audio)

Description: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  Because it seemed like everyone had read it and everyone loved it so when I saw my library had it in audio I figured that was a sign.

My Impression:  This is one of those books that has been on my radar for quite some time and lots of people who recommended it.  Then my library got it in audio so I figured that was the sign I needed to actually read it.  And I'm so glad I did!

I identified with this book quite a bit which made it an easy read at times and a hard read at other times.  I really understood a lot of Jane's struggles with fitting in at the school as well as Madeline's struggles when her daughter moved in with Madeline's ex-husband.  As well all the school yard politics rang so true (though it's exaggerated quite a bit here of course) and there were plenty of times I was nodding my head, laughing or cringing.

The story gains traction fairly quickly as Madeline twists her ankle in front of Jane.  Both are driving their children to kindergarten orientation at the same place.  Jane is new and Madeline likes nothing more than taking people under her wing and Jane is the perfect candidate.  The friendship between the two women is really sweet and felt genuine.  As did all the relationships.  I loved Madeline and Ed especially.  There marriage was so wonderfully ordinary and sweet.  As well I really enjoy the excerpts of interviews at the beginning of each chapter - Harper always made me cringe and Stu and Samantha always made me laugh.  It added a bit of interest to see just what all the rumors were as well as getting different POVs.

There's a lot of little details in the novel so it's impossible to go over all the things I enjoyed but it's safe to say it was pretty much all the interaction between the characters.  I loved how everything was resolved and these were characters that I really rooted for.

Audio Note: Caroline Lee did a wonderful job on the audio.  I thought she did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have another of hers on hold at the library though it may be forever before I get it.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  This was a good read with characters that seemed a little too real sometimes!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Friday Fives - Books That Take Me on Vacation

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  Summer always makes me want to travel and unfortunately with everything going on it looks like we'll be staying put for a bit.  But here are 5 books that make me feel like I'm going on vacation!


1.  Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery - Or really any of the Anne books.  Not only is this one of my absolute favorite books but I love how clearly Montgomery's love for Prince Edward Island shines through.

2.  The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan - I love all of Jenny Colgan's books but this one particularly had the setting front and center.  The cold barrenness of the Isle of Muir sounds pretty great right now compared to the billion degrees and high humidity we've got here.


3.  The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher - I want to go wander around the beaches of Cornwall then climb on of the winding stone staircases and then go home and have cauliflower cheese for dinner.  I'm not 100% sure what that is but they ate it a lot in this book.

4.  The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen - I don't think I want to go back to the 1940s storyline of the book but I"m happily wander among the ruins and villages in Tuscany and then go home and have an older Italian woman teach me how to cook.

5.  Ghost Moon by Heather Graham - It's been a long time since I've been to Key West but this one really brought back the feel of the island though I will go when there isn't a crazed serial killer running around. 

So I'm going to Prince Edward Island, Cornwall, the Isle of Muir, Tuscany, and Key West.  Where are your books taking you this summer?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Book Supremacy - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Book Supremacy (Bibliophile Mysteries #13) by Kate Carlisle

Rating:  Very Good
Source:  Publisher

Description:  Newlyweds Brooklyn and Derek are enjoying the final days of their honeymoon in Paris. As they're browsing the book stalls along the Seine, Brooklyn finds the perfect gift for Derek, a first edition James Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me. When they bump into Ned, an old friend from Derek’s spy days, Brooklyn shows him her latest treasure.
Once they're back home in San Francisco, they visit a spy shop Ned mentioned. The owner begs them to let him display the book Brooklyn found in Paris as part of the shop's first anniversary celebration. Before they agree, Derek makes sure the security is up to snuff—turns out, the unassuming book is worth a great deal more than sentimental value.

Soon after, Derek is dismayed when he receives a mysterious letter from Paris announcing Ned’s death. Then late one night, someone is killed inside the spy shop. Are the murders connected to Brooklyn's rare, pricey book? Is there something even more sinister afoot? Brooklyn and the spy who loves her will have to delve into the darkest parts of Derek's past to unmask an enemy who's been waiting for the chance to destroy everything they hold dear.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed this series in the past and this one involves book shopping in Paris!

My Impression:  One of my favorite things about this series is how the characters talk about books.  Brooklyn is a reader which I always enjoy but even better is that she describes books with as much detail and affection as the most die hard foodie might describe a meal cooked by an amazing chef.  Not only do I want to read the books but I want to study every detail of the gorgeous binding and exquisite illustrations.

The mystery is good too and I loved that we got to dive into Derek’s past for a change.  It was fun have having him a bit more front and center than the likable side character that he usually plays.  The pacing was good and it was a lovely escape book that I just fell into as soon as I opened it.  This is a cozier cozy with a big community which can make it a bit difficult for readers starting here with the series.  It’s not so much that the characters are hard to keep straight but more that you just might not care as much about the neighbor’s life if you aren’t already a little invested.

If you’re looking for a fun escapist mystery series that makes you want to go on a book buying spree hoping for a rare and valuable book than this is a must read!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really enjoy this series and will be looking for anything Kate Carlisle writes.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would definitely recommend this series but if you’re new to this series you might want to start on an earlier book for the reasons I mentioned above.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Jackson - Contemporary Romance Review


Goodreads:  Jackson (Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas Triology #1) by Emily March


Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Sometimes it takes a new beginning 
Caroline Carruthers thinks she buried her dreams along with the love of her life…until a stranger named Celeste dares her to chase a dream all on her own. Moving to Redemption, Texas, is chapter one in Caroline’s new life story. Opening a bookstore is the next. Finding love is the last thing on her mind as she settles into this new place called home. But when she meets a handsome, soulful man who’s also starting over, all bets are off.


to reach a happily-ever-after
Jackson McBride came to Redemption looking only to find himself, not someone to love. Ever since his marriage ended, he’s been bitter. Sure, he used to believe in love—he even has the old song lyrics to prove it—but the Jackson of today is all business. That is, until a beautiful young widow who’s moved to town inspires a change of heart. Could it be that the myth of Redemption’s healing magic is true…and Jackson and Caroline can find a second chance at a happy ending after all?

Genre: Romance - Contemporary 

Why I Picked This Book:  I really enjoy March's Eternity Springs series so I had to try this newest one.

My Impression:  I was so pleased to see Celeste in the beginning of this one!  Even outside of Eternity Springs Celeste has a way to make things happen.  It was nice to get out of Eternity Springs and focus on the McBride cousins.  I've seen a bit of Boone in previous books and really enjoyed getting to know him a bit better (and I'm really looking forward to his book). 

This book however isn't about Boone but about Jackson and Caroline.  Both have some seriously tragic backstories that are still in play in their day to day lives.  I really liked both.  Caroline is a strong woman dealing with an unimaginable situation and trying to make the best of it.  Jackson just had his world ripped away from him and is trying to find the music he lost some time ago.  It was nice to watch them find a way to have some happiness back in their lives and form a connection with each other.  The romance is slow to make an appearance as much of the book is them finding their footing and forming a connection with each other.  For this I was a bit glad.  While I really liked them both and wanted them to have an HEA I'm not sure I bought it by the end.  It isn't that I don't think they could be happy together it's more that I just wasn't quite sure I bought how it wrapped up.  That being said I still enjoyed reading this and will definitely be reading the rest of the trilogy! 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  March is a favorite and I always enjoy her books.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like a good slow moving romance and don't mind suspending belief a bit than definitely.  And I'll always recommend March as an author.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Summer TBR

Today I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which is all about lists.  This week is about Summer TBRs.  Now I'm not fantastic about actually reading all the books on my TBR but I like to pretend that it can happen.


1.  The Summoning by Heather Graham - I preordered this one but have I read it yet?  Nope.  Graham makes for perfect summer reading and I'm looking forward to relaxing with this one.

2.  Layover by David Bell - I read a book by Bell last year which I really enjoyed and this one appealed to me.  Plus, I won't be traveling for the next few months so this will hopefully help me keep the travel bug at bay!

3.  The Duke is But a Dream by Anna Bennett - My historical romance reading has taken a hit lately so I want to mix one or two in.  This looks fun and is by an author I've been wanting to read for awhile.

4.  Terns of Endearment by Donna Andrews - I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two books in the this series so I'm looking forward to reading this one.

5.  The Long Call by Ann Cleeves - I've been wanting to read Cleeves for awhile and this is the first in a new series so it seems like a good place to start.


6.  Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews - This is an older one but has been sitting on my desk giving me some serious side eye for a month or two now.  I had planned this as kind of a pre-summer read but I think now we're going to go with a middle of summer read.

7.  Mrs. McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie - Because this is the next one up in my read all of Agatha Christie's books in chronological order project.

8.  Suddenly One Summer by Julie James - Summer is in the title and romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres when it's super hot outside.  I need something that catches my attention and pulls me in and makes me forget about the heat!

9.  One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood - I've had this on my list since it came out even though the blurb concerns me.  I normally avoid any book where a child dies but I've seen so many positive reviews that I decided to risk it.

10.  The Storm Sister by Lucinda Riley - I read the first one last year and enjoyed it though it felt a bit long so I thought I'd try the audio for book 2 and it seems like it'd be a good summer listen.

What do you want to read this summer?

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Islanders - Fiction Review

About The Islanders

• Hardcover: 432 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (June 11, 2019)

 "One of my own favorite writers." --Elin Hilderbrand

 J. Courtney Sullivan’s Maine meets the works of Elin Hilderbrand in this delicious summer read involving three strangers, one island, and a season packed with unexpected romance, well-meaning lies, and damaging secrets. Anthony Puckett was a rising literary star. The son of an uber-famous thriller writer, Anthony’s debut novel spent two years on the bestseller list and won the adoration of critics. But something went very wrong with his second work. Now Anthony’s borrowing an old college’s friend’s crumbling beach house on Block Island in the hopes that solitude will help him get back to the person he used to be. Joy Sousa owns and runs Block Island’s beloved whoopie pie cafĂ©. She came to this quiet space eleven years ago, newly divorced and with a young daughter, and built a life for them here. To her customers and friends, Joy is a model of independence, hard-working and happy. And mostly she is. But this summer she’s thrown off balance. A food truck from a famous New York City brand is roving around the island, selling goodies—and threatening her business. Lu Trusdale is spending the summer on her in-laws’ dime, living on Block Island with her two young sons while her surgeon husband commutes to the mainland hospital. When Lu’s second son was born, she and her husband made a deal: he’d work and she’d quit her corporate law job to stay home with the boys. But a few years ago, Lu quietly began working on a private project that has becoming increasingly demanding on her time. Torn between her work and home, she’s beginning to question that deal she made. Over the twelve short weeks of summer, these three strangers will meet and grow close, will share secrets and bury lies. And as the promise of June turns into the chilly nights of August, the truth will come out, forcing each of them to decide what they value most, and what they are willing to give up to keep it.

My Thoughts:  This was a fast read - one of those "Oh whoops I just read 100 pages but only meant to read a chapter" kinds of reads.  There are 3 main characters and each chapter is from one of their perspectives but the voices and experiences are distinct enough that it was never hard to keep up with.    Each is kind of at a pivotal moment of their life.  Anthony's life has crashed down around him and he's having to figure out what to do next - or do anything at all.  Lou has a secret but is also trying to figure out how to be happy in a box she never really wanted to be in and Joy is struggling with her ex being back in the picture, her daughter leaping into full fledged teenagerhood and a challenge in her business.  While each character had attributes that annoyed me at times they all felt fully fleshed out and real.  I wanted the best for them even when I wanted them to take more action or speak up.  This is my first book by this author but I really enjoyed the world she created and the characters she brought to life.  I'm looking forward to reading more from her.  Rating: Good

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Meg Mitchell Moore

Meg Mitchell Moore works as a non-fiction writer in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and three young daughters. Find out more about Meg at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

This Week in Reading - June 23

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:


Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell - I've been reading The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell and she mentioned The Bookshop and Shaun himself so when I saw this one on NetGalley I couldn't resist! (NetGalley)

Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne - This is the story I've been waiting for since it was teased a book or two ago.  Plus I love Thayne's Christmas books! (NetGalley)

Manor of Dying by Kathleen Bridges - I've been wanting to read this series for awhile and this one caught my eye.  And I was feeling a bit week so I couldn't resist. (NetGalley)

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis - This is a mystery series involving the Bronte sisters and this one involves a missing bride.  Need I say more?  (Publisher)

And Then There Were Crumbs by Eve Calder - I'm not familiar with the author but I love the title and I love a cozy with a food tie in. (Publisher)

Terns of Endearment by Donna Andrews - At some point Andrews will run out of bird names to make cozy title puns with but until then I will be picking up her books.  (Publisher)

Currently:


Reading:  Jackson by Emily March and The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle

Listening:  A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Watching:
  Not much - there just hasn't been time.

Off the Blog:

I'm flat out exhausted.  I mentioned last week that we have a rental house that the tenants have recently vacated and we're scrambling to get it back to rentable.  This week has been very much a case of 1 step forward 2 (or 20) steps back.  The people didn't leave it in great condition and it's just mind boggling what has to be done.   We got everything painted last weekend and are now waiting for the flooring and the rest of the stuff.  Except some of the materials for the flooring hasn't come in which pushed that back, the counter guy apparently has disappeared, and now the general contractor is sick.  So I've been days on the phone lining up people to give me estimates and making lists and going back and forth with our property manager.  I'm in physical therapy 3 times a week for my neck which is leaving me feeling drained and taking some meds for that which are making me really sleepy.

And in wonderful but also incredibly time consuming/stressful news - Emma is getting married.  Next weekend.  Out of state.  She chose a location so that my grandparents will be able to attend which was really lovely but it's a super small town and it's been a bit of a challenge.  It's a small wedding and she's done a lot of the planning (and is seriously low key about the whole thing) but now that we're getting really close I"m realizing just how much is left to do.  I think after next weekend I'm going to go to bed and sleep for a week.

On the Blog:

What Happened:



What's Coming Up:

Monday:  The Islanders - Fiction Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Summer TBR
Wednesday: Jackson - Contemporary Romance Review
Thursday: The Book Supremacy - Cozy Mystery Review
Friday: Friday Fives - Books That Are Like a Vacation
Saturday: 2019 Wrap Up - Halfway Done

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

What I'm Loving Right Now - Spring 2019 Edition


At the end of every season I like to do a look back at things I've really been loving over the past season.  This time it's just a couple of things and a request!

1.  Chik fil a Chicken Biscuits - I don't know what kind of sorcery is in these biscuits but they are delicious and my very favorite things.

2.  Sodas in glass bottles - My absolute favorite is Abita Root Beer but I can't get that locally (it's a Louisiana brand but I always pick up a 6 pack or 20 when I'm in South Mississippi) but in a  pinch Diet Coke in a glass bottle will work.  Glass bottles are the best.

3.  Sun Chips in Garden Salsa - I don't really love chips but I adore these.  They're just the right amount of spicy and are the best with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Now here's my request - what are you loving right now?  This spring has been super stressful and I'm feeling exhausted and frazzled and I could use some fun stuff to try. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Friday Fives - Reese Witherspoon's Book Club Choices That I Want to Read

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.   The start of the second season of Big Little Lies got me thinking about Reese Witherspoon and her book club choices.  I love Reese Witherspoon and I love how she's gotten involved in the book world but I've never really followed her choices.  So I thought it might be fun to look over her lists and pick 5 I want to read.


1.  The Library Book by Susan Orlean - I feel like I've seen some underwhelmed reviews for this one but Reese describes it as a love letter to libraries so I can't pass that up!


2.  Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton - So this one was on my TBR before I knew it was a Reese pick but I love the sound of the blurb and the cover is gorgeous.


3.  Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman - Reese describes this one as a thriller that pulled her in from page 1 and I could use some escapist reading at the moment.


4.  The Alice Network by Kate Quinn - Another one that was already on my TBR but it sounds so good and I love historical fiction.


5.  The Night Tiger by Yangze Choo - This is a bit different for me but I love the idea of a mysterious tiger that is haunting villages.  Plus, as usual the cover is stunning.

Do you follow Reese Witherspoon's Book Club picks?  What do you think of them?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Summer By the Tides - Contemporary Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe's love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram's maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.
As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven--nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy's heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they've become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  So many reasons!  The cover, the sisters, the grandmother, the beach setting, the having everything apart and trying to reconnect, so many of my favorite things.

My Impression:  This is my first book by Denise Hunter but it won't be my last.  I really enjoyed getting to know Maddy and her sisters and Connor and his sisters.  The setup that got Maddy and her sisters to Belle Island was entertaining and made for a bit of a realistic conflict right at the beginning.  I loved the contrast of the sibling relationships.  While Connor's sisters drive him crazy there's a lot of affection and good intentions while for Maddy there's a lot of resentment and anger and bitterness.  Poor Maddy gets stuck in the middle of her two older sisters and tries to make peace in a situation she had nothing to do with. 

The word that keeps running through my head to describe this book is "nice" which sounds a bit lackluster but it really isn't.  This was a nice read that had me invested in the characters and enjoying the plot without being overly dramatic or angsty.  I enjoyed getting to know Maddy and Connor and seeing the relationship between the two of them was sweet without being saccharine.   I really appreciated their honesty with each other both in their own first impressions of each other (some wrong, some right) and in dealing with old baggage.  After reading so many books where the characters never actually talk to each other this was a delightful change.  This was a book I enjoyed reading after I got snuggled into bed and it was nice in the nicest sense of the word.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really liked how she handled all the relationships between the characters and I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy women's fiction with a sweet romance I think you'd enjoy this one. 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Denise

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Pieces of Her - Thriller Blog Tour Review

About Pieces of Her

• Paperback: 496 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 21, 2019)

COMING TO NETFLIX! Mother. Hero. Liar. Killer. How can you tell when all you have is... PIECES OF HER

  What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ? Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She’s knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Gullaway Island; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we? But all that changes when a Saturday afternoon trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one will ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again. Twenty-four hours later Laura is in the hospital, shot by an intruder who’s spent thirty years trying to track her down and discover what she knows. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumbs of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . . .

My Thoughts:  Karin Slaughter has been on my radar for years and years but for some reason I never got around to reading her until this book.  The only reason I'm not kicking myself (besides my general lack of coordination) is because I now have a pretty big back list to read through.  I've been a bit meh about reading lately but this book was a "maybe I can sneak in one more chapter" with a little bit of a "whoops I meant to only read a chapter and ended up reading a 100 pages" thrown in.  There was a bit of dual timeline and and lots of fast moving twists and I absolutely flew through it.  I didn't really care for Andy a lot of the time but I was just invested as she was to put all the pieces together.  This is a bit darker than my usual read and while there is some violence it never felt gratuitous or overly gory.  I thoroughly enjoyed this visit to the darker side of the mystery genre and will be looking for more of Slaughter's books on my next bookstore visit!  Rating:  Very Good

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

]

About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her standalone novels The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television. Find out more about Karin at her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Releases Part 2

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun linkup hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that's all about Top Ten lists.  Today's topic is Your Most Anticipated Releases for the 2nd Half of 2019.  I always struggle a bit with this topic because I'm not great about keeping up with releases but here are some I'm really looking forward to trying!


1.  The Seekers by Heather Graham - I love Heather Graham's Krewe series and this one is all about ghosts and a haunted hotel.

2.  And Then They Were Doomed by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - I've enjoyed the previous books in this quirky cozy series and when I saw this book's title was a play on an Agatha Christie title I knew I had to read it. 

3.  Buried in the Stacks by Allison Brook - This is the third in a cozy series that I've really been enjoying.  There's lots of librarian stuff, a good mystery and a haunted library!

4.  Heiress Gone Wild by Laura Lee Gurhke - Historical romance is a genre I've been seriously neglecting but I did read an earlier book in this series and loved it so I'm super excited about this one.

5.  A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie - I love this series and am slowly rereading it from the beginning but I love the newer ones as well!


6.  The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan - I've been on a huge Colgan kick lately and this one looks absolutely wonderful. 

7.  The Duke is But a Dream by Anna Bennett - I haven't read Bennett before but I've been wanting to for ages and this sounds wonderful. 

8.  The House on Hallowed Ground by Nancy Cole Silverman - I've really enjoyed the Carol Childs series by Silverman so I'm excited to read this one that features a reoccurring character who just happens to be a psychic. 

9.  Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - I love Hazel Gaynor and this one has Grace Kelly so of course I have to read it!

10. Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne - We were teased about this storyline a few books ago and I'm dying to see how it plays out.  Plus Thayne's Christmas books are my favorites!

What releases are you looking forward to this year?

Monday, June 17, 2019

One Minute Later - Fiction Review


About One Minute Later

• Paperback: 512 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 11, 2019)

International bestselling author Susan Lewis’ riveting, unforgettable novel of a woman whose life changes in an instant and the handsome young man with whom she shares a secret history—perfect for readers of Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult and Susan Wiggs.
 How well do you know the people you love? For one young woman returning to the past, the answer could be heart-shattering... Vivi Shager is living her dream. Raised with drive and ambition by a resolutely single mother, Vivi has a thriving law career, a gorgeous apartment in London, and a full calendar that keeps her busy at work and at play. Then on the day of her twenty-seventh birthday, an undiagnosed heart condition sends Vivi’s prospects for the future into a tailspin. After escaping her roots nearly a decade ago, she’s forced to return to her childhood home to be cared for by her devoted and enigmatic mother. Vivi has always known the woman is hiding something and now she’s determined to find out what it is. Though her condition makes her fragile and vulnerable and she’s afraid of what may happen, her spirit remains strong. Then comes an unexpected ray of light. Josh Raynor, a local veterinarian who his sisters claim is too handsome for his own good, brings a forbidden love to Vivi’s world. Josh and Vivi are soon inseparable, unaware of the past their families share. All Vivi knows is that Josh is wrestling with a demon of his own… Then quite suddenly the awful truth is staring Vivi in the face



My Thoughts:   Somehow I've never read a Susan Lewis book until just now so going in I really had no idea what to expect.  I will say that while this won't be on a favorites lists I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking for more from Susan Lewis in the future.  It took me a few chapters to fully get into this one.  While I was instantly pulled into Vivi's story it took me longer to connect with Shelley's POV.  I actually liked Shelley better but they just seemed so far apart at first that I didn't get how they were connected at the beginning.  Vivi wasn't the easiest character to like.  I sympathized with her from the beginning but she could be prickly and defensive I wanted to shake her.  Overall, I really enjoyed this read.  Lewis pulled me in right from the start in Vivi's story and soon I was fully wrapped up in Shelley's as well.  This was a bit more bittersweet than I usually go for but I feel like Lewis' almost casually chatty writing style made this a fast read despite the sad elements.  I'm looking forward to reading more from Susan Lewis!  Rating: Good

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of more than forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense, and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, James; stepsons, Michael and Luke; and mischievous dogs, Coco and Lulu. Find out more at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

This Week in Reading - June 16

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:


Another week of nothing!  Or at least I think it's nothing.  This week has been both super short and a million years long so my memory is kind of fuzzy.  I do feel a bit of a binge coming on though.

Currently:

Reading:  Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter and Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter

Listening:  I finished Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan (loved it) and Doom With a View by Kate Kingsbury (an enjoyable mystery but not a favorite) and am now listening to A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Watching:  Pretty much nothing.  I don't think I sat down long enough to watch more than 5 minutes of anything.

Off the Blog:

I don't think I've ever mentioned that we have a rental house.  Back in 2009, right before the Tornado was born, this house we had driven by hundreds of times and absolutely loved went on the market and we jumped at it.  Unfortunately 2009 wasn't the best time to sell a house so we decided to turn the house we were living in into a rental.  We still haven't decided if that was a good idea!  Most of the time it's out of sight out of mind but our long term tenants moved out at the beginning of the month and we've been scrambling to get it ready to be rented out.  Right now we are drowning in to do lists, contractor quotes and paint.  So much paint.  The whole house has to be repainted and the original color I picked which looked like a nice cream with a little bit of coffee ended up going on mauve.  Luckily we were able to pull the plug on that pretty quickly and picked out a not so pink cream with a little coffee before we lost too much work time.  But between all the house stuff, regular stuff, physical therapy, and the meds I'm taking for my neck I'm flat out exhausted!  My reading has definitely taken a hit but I'm making up a bit for it in audio books. 

On the Blog:

What Happened:

What's Coming Up:

Monday: One Minute Later - Fiction Review
Tuesday:  Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Part of 2019
Wednesday:  Pieces of Her - Mystery Review
Thursday:  Summer by the Tides - Fiction Review
Friday:  Friday Fives
Saturday:  Spring Favorites

Have a great week and happy reading!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Cloaked in Malice - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Cloaked in Malice (A Vintage Magic Mystery #5) by Annette Blair

Rating:  Good
Source:  Purchased

Description:  There’s nothing Maddie loves more than fabulous vintage clothes, but the visions she gets while touching them are starting to wear her down. Even so, when a beautifully dressed girl comes to Vintage Magic in search of her past, Maddie isn’t about to turn her away, especially since she bears a striking resemblance to her good friend Dolly Sweet.

When Maddie touches Paisley Skye’s exquisitely crafted child’s cloak, the vision she receives is of the ugliest sort: a decades-old case of kidnapping and murder. To give herself more time to investigate, Maddie enlists the help of her FBI Agent boyfriend Nick and takes Paisley into her own home. But when Dolly suddenly skips town, Maddie realizes that uncovering the folds of Paisley’s past will reveal more than one vintage crime…

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've enjoyed this series and I love books about vintage clothes

My Impression:  Is this the most realistic book I've ever read?  Nope - not even close.  Was it enjoyable?  Thoroughly! My only complaint was that we didn't spend nearly enough time in the shop  with all the gorgeous vintage clothes and Dante the ghost.  I loved figuring out just who Paisley was and what she was hiding and how she was connected to Paisley's friend Dolly.  I love a missing persons case and this was kind of like a missing persons case in reverse.  In this case we had the person but didn't know who she was.  And of course Maddie's ability to read clothes is giving us some very ominous clues.  So what was unrealistic?  There's Maddie's psychic abilities to get visions from old clothes of course but that's not really what I'm talking about here.  The main issue was that Paisley just didn't quite ring true.  For someone who had been isolated on an island with 2 people for her entire memory she's very comfortable around people and quick to pick up mannerisms.  As well the plot unravels in a bit of a crazy over the top way with conspiracies galore.  I'd been reading a lot of psychological suspense before I picked this one up so this lighter over the top cozy full of old clothes and a few ghosts was exactly what I wanted.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Yes.  I have book 6 and am looking forward to it but I think it's the last of the series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies with a paranormal element - and love one about a vintage clothes - than this is a fun read.  You can jump in here but the relationship stuff (very small part of the book) would probably make more sense if you started at the beginning.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Fives - The Five Most Recent Goodreads Giveaways I've Entered

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much.  I go through phases with the giveaways on Goodreads.  Sometimes I'm entering like it's my job and other times I go for months without even thinking about it.  I'm in an entering kind of mood and here are the most recent 5 that grabbed my attention.


1.  Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris - I was surprised to see this because it's been out for a bit.  Maybe it's about to release in paperback?  I wanted to read it when it first came out and nothing I've read about it has changed my mind.


2.  Finding Zsa Zsa: The Gabors Behind the Legend by Sam Staggs - I know nothing about this one other than who Zsa Zsa and Eva are but it sounded like it could be interesting.


3.  One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski - I feel like I've seen a review or two for this one that was good but I don't remember more than that.  The cover caught my eye and there's a mystery involving a 30 year old disappearance which I can never resist. 


4.  The Christmas Keeper by Jenn McKinlay - I love McKinlay's mysteries and enjoyed the one romance by her that I read.  This is the 2nd in a new romance series and it involves a bookstore so how could I pass that up?


5.  Ice Cold Heart by P.J. Tracy - I can't really explain this one other than I've heard of PJ Tracy and own a couple of books in this series which I've never read any of them. 

Do you enter Goodreads giveaways? 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Death in Kew Gardens - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway Mysteries #3) by Jennifer Ashley

Rating:  Loved It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  In return for a random act of kindness, scholar Li Bai Chang presents young cook Kat Holloway with a rare and precious gift—a box of tea. Kat thinks no more of her unusual visitor until two days later when the kitchen erupts with the news that Lady Cynthia's next-door neighbor has been murdered.

Known about London as an "Old China Hand," the victim claimed to be an expert in the language and customs of China, acting as intermediary for merchants and government officials. But Sir Jacob's dealings were not what they seemed, and when the authorities accuse Mr. Li of the crime, Kat and Daniel find themselves embroiled in a world of deadly secrets that reach from the gilded homes of Mayfair to the beautiful wonder of Kew Gardens

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  The main reason is because I have loved the first two books in the series and couldn't wait to dive into this one but if that hadn't been the case I couldn't have resisted that cover!

My Impression:   This series is the book version of a cozy blanket and a nice cup of tea.  Things have been crazy in real life but the second I opened this book the world faded away and I was swept up into Kat's world both in the kitchen and out of it.  I loved seeing Kat, Tess, Daniel, Cynthia, and Thanos again and thoroughly enjoyed the mystery.

I thought the Chinese angle was a little unusual and really fascinating.  I can't think of the last time I've seen China discussed in a historical mystery so the information and the attitudes of the characters were both really interesting.  It also made a good excuse to pull Mr. Thanos in and some other researchers.  Thanos is one of my favorite characters and Thanos plus research is pretty much all of my favorite things in one.    The mystery was a delight with a regular increase in information and an unraveling that kept me turning pages.

As always, I loved the below stairs part of the mystery and it was interesting seeing Kat with an adversary.  The new housekeeper makes Mr. Davis look like Mr. Rogers.  While this is the third in the series you could jump in right here without any problem though you really should go back and read the first two because they're fantastic!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Of course!  I'm already counting the days until the next book comes out.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Absolutely!  Even if you aren't a regular mystery reader if you're interested in upstairs/downstairs stories or historical fiction in general I think you'll love this series!

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Summer on Mirror Lake - Contemporary Romance Review

Goodreads: Summer on Mirror Lake (Honeymoon Harbor #3) by JoAnn Ross

Rating:  A Good Read
Source: Publisher

Description:  Summertime is the best time to lose yourself in the romance of Honeymoon Harbor…
When he lands in the emergency room after collapsing at the funeral of a colleague and friend, Wall Street hotshot Gabriel Mannion initially rejects the diagnosis of an anxiety attack. But when warned that if he doesn’t change his adrenaline-fueled, workaholic lifestyle he could end up like his friend, Gabe reluctantly returns to his hometown of Honeymoon Harbor to regroup.

As he adjusts to the sight of mountains instead of skyscrapers, Gabe discovers advantages to this small Pacific Northwest town he once couldn’t wait to escape. But it’s irresistible librarian Chelsea Prescott who, along with the two foster children she’s taken under her wing, makes slowing down seem like the best prescription ever.

Over the course of their summer romance, Gabe gets a taste of the life he might have had if he’d taken a different path. But with his return to New York City looming on the horizon, he’ll have to choose between the success he’s worked tirelessly for and a ready-made family who offers a very different, richly rewarding future…if he’ll only take the risk.

Genre:  Romance - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  I've read the first two books in this series and I'm always willing to read about one of the Mannions finding their HEA whether they want to or not.

My Impression:  I do love a small town romance and this one set in the cutesy named (but there's a reason for it!) Honeymoon Harbor is becoming one of my favorites.  It's not all unicorns and rainbows.  People have their struggles, down times, and relatable worries but it never gets over-angsty or overly dark. 

Chelsea is a great character.  She's a librarian not only because she loves books but also because she loves the community of the library itself and wants it to as much of a haven for those around her as it was to her during her turbulent childhood.  She's optimistic and upbeat and tries to see the best in situations.  She has her demons and sorrows but she doesn't let those define her.

Gabe was a little harder to like.  He's spent most of his adult life not connecting to the people around him.  He's a workaholic and even a pretty big wake up call doesn't really wake him up.  He sees no real issue with the way he's living even though he's taking a doctor ordered break.  He's so focused on work and succeeding that his personality gets a bit lost and replaced with sheer intensity.  Right from the start we know he has a softer side (he's invested in several businesses around town mostly for altruistic purposes) but not only does he not want to talk about it, he really doesn't seem to want to admit to himself that it exists.

The romance is a bit of a slow burn as at the beginning of the book the Chelsea and Gabe don't know each other at all and really only have one conversation.  But that doesn't mean it was a slow read.  I loved seeing Chelsea in the library and developing her relationship with library patrons (2 in particular) as well as seeing Gabe and Chelsea get to know each other.  I think this is my favorite kind of romance as these two have very different personalities and it was so fun watching a bond develop.

While this book is a romance there is a lot of other things going on.  It's more of a segment of time in Honeymoon Harbor that just happens to focus on Chelsea and Gabe for a bit.   I really love visiting Honeymoon Harbor again but don't feel like this is a series that has to be read in order.  I think you could jump in here with no issue though I bet you'll be wanting to go dive into the previous two books as soon as you finish this one!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I noticed there were a few novellas I missed that I'm adding to my wishlist now!

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would!  If you enjoy small town romance with a real community feel and likable and sympathetic characters I think you'd love this one.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun linkup hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl that's all about Top Ten lists.  Today's topic is about unpopular bookish opinions!  I'm not sure how unpopular these are but these are just a few things I've seen people object to or like that I'm a bit on the opposite side of.


1.  I like a trite or overly wrapped up ending - Is every plot tied up with a bow?  Does everything magically work out?  I'm so in for that!

2.  I liked Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - I think this book suffered from a bad marketing campaign.  It in no way is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird which is kind of how the book was sold.  What it is is a rejected manuscript that she used as inspiration for To Kill a Mockingbird.  It's not particularly great book but  found it interesting to see what Lee started with and I could definitely see why she focused on Scout's childhood.  The flashbacks were actually brilliant.

3.  I dislike Little Women with the hot intensity of a thousand suns - I enjoy several of Alcott's other books but I despised Little Women.  The only character I liked was Meg because she got married early in the book and left.  Also, Amy is a psychopath.

4.  A book that is going to cause me to ugly cry is a book that I will most likely skip - It seems so many people like books that bring up a lot of emotions or are really sad but I've never been a fan.  I'm an escapist reader and I like what I"m escaping to to be fun!

5.  I don't keep books - Unless it's a book I know I'm going to reread or it has some kind of sentimental value I'm either giving it away or selling it at the local used bookstore.


6.  I don't mind a broken spine - Now I don't want pages falling out but as long as the binding okay I don't mind if the spine is broken to the point I can't even read the title.

7.  It doesn't bother me if all the covers in a series don't match - I don't know why publishers change it up as so many people do collect series they love and do want them to look the same but it doesn't really bother me.

8.  I didn't mind assigned reading in school - I've seen a lot of people say that assigned reading put them off of reading classics or even off of reading at all for awhile but it never bothered me.  Not even when I was in school.  Now I didn't love everything I read - I still get twitchy when James Joyce or Dostoyevsky gets mentioned - but it didn't affect my overall opinion on reading in general or specific genres.

9.  I hate clinch covers of any kind - I love the romance genre but so often I hate their covers.  They've gotten a little better over the last ten years or so but there are so many with a couple busting out of their clothes in an impossible pose.  Now to be fair I don't know anyone who really loves those covers but enough people must because they still exist.

10. I don't take notes, highlight or collect quotes - I know so many people love quotes but for some reason they never really stick with me and I can never remember any of them.  I'm also not a big note taker or highlighter. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Murder in the City of Liberty - Historical Fiction

Goodreads:  Murder in the City of Liberty (Van Buren and DeLuca #2) by Rachel McMillan

Rating: Just Okay
Source:  Blog Tour

Description:  Determined to make a life for herself, Regina "Reggie" Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.
Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he's afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish's hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Rachel

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Genre: Mystery - Historical 

Why I Picked This Book:  I've been loving historical mysteries lately and this sounded fun.

My Impression:  I'm not sure what happened here.  I mean I wanted to love it.  I've been loving historical mysteries lately and this really seemed perfect.  Unfortunately, for me, it just fell a bit flat.   I never connected to Hamish or Reggie or the mystery itself in general.  I also had a lot of difficulty keeping all the characters straight.  Now this is the second book in the series and I haven't read the first book  so a lot of my issues could stem from that so I'm trying not to judge it too harshly.

The setting is a lot of fun and I love the premise. The pairing of the former socialite, Reggie, and the shyer bookish, Hamish, has the makings for a lot of fun.  This also started off with a bit of action and the plot progressed fairly quickly but it just never really gained traction for me.  The main characters were just a bit too flat and the mystery, while interesting, felt a bit disjointed. 

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I like the premise enough that I'll probably pick up the first book in the series to see if that will help me make sense of everything and hopefully that one will have the connection that I couldn't find with this one.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Probably not this one - especially if you haven't read the first book. 

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *