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30 December 2016

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

Just ... wow.
I love this book so fanatically that if I ever lost my mind and decided to give birth to another child and that child ended up being a girl her first name would end up being Hawthorn. Heck, her middle name may very well be Creely just so I could call her "Little Creely" once in a while.
Read this book.
It's rare that I get so caught up in a "YA" book. Middle grade? Sure. Full-blown "adult" books? Not a problem. Unless there's some sort of mystical magical otherworldly freakiness going on, though, "YA" just really isn't my thing.
And then I met Hawthorn. And I got her. And she got me.
She's awkward. She's nerdy. She tries to hide more than she tries to stand out. She could count the number of friends she has on one hand. Actually, she could do it on one finger.
When super popular Lizzie Lovett disappears, Hawthorn starts to appear.
It's painful and beautiful and .... everything.
Read. This. Book.
This is absolutely one of the best books I have read all year. I guess sometimes it actually happens that we "save the best for last" even when we don't mean to. It's official release is next week on January 3rd and I already intend on picking up a gorgeous hardcover "forever" copy for my shelves to replace the digital e-ARC I received from Sourcebooks through NetGalley.
Maybe I can convince my son to name a future granddaughter Hawthorn .... hmmmmm .....

Friday 56 (share from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice (today 56%) 
& Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

Hawthorn wasn't trying to insert herself into a missing person's investigation. Or maybe she was. But that's only because Lizzie Lovett's disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don't happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she'll turn up at any moment-which means the time for speculation is now.
So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie's disappearance.  A theory way too absurd to take seriously...at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie's life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie's boyfriend. After all, it's not as if he killed her-or did he?

27 December 2016

Fat Fridays by Judith Keim (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesdays)

Judith Keim's Fat Fridays is a pleasant and easy read about a group of five women who get together for weekly lunches. They share their highs and lows and lots of delicious sounding meals along the way (well, except for Tiffany who eats mostly salads). The chapters alternate between the stories of the five with most of the bulk of the book focusing on Sukie. Personally, I think I would have rather had more about Lynn because her life is far more dramatic and compelling, but I have a feeling that it wouldn't come across as pleasant and easy had that been the case! There's a second book, Sassy Saturdays, that I'll definitely be picking up. I've spent so many Fridays with these five that I need to know what they get up to on Saturdays!

"First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros" is from the first paragraph or two of a book being read now (or in the future) and is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. "Teaser Tuesday" at The Purple Booker asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.

23 December 2016

Lizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

Friday 56 (share from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice (today 56%) 
& Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …
So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?


"A sparkling, feel-good Christmas romance" is the claim on the cover. I was excited about it & put kt off until right before Christmas for the proper warm fuzzy feelings. What did I get? I got misery and heartache and cheating and, call me crazy, but those aren't typically things that make me feel good. It's not necessarily a bad book, just not at all what I was expecting or hoping for.

21 December 2016

Locking Up Santa by Nikki LeClair (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

Locking Up Santa is the second book in Nikki LeClair's Haunting Me series and since I absolutely loved the first one, I knew that this one would be great, too -- and it definitely didn't disappoint! I don't want to give away too much of the story since you should read the first one first (they're only $1.99 each in the US on Amazon for Kindle and totally worth it), but there's a ton of humor and snark and the mystery had me scratching my head. I thought that I had it all figured out pretty early but was totally off the mark -- and happily so! Hopefully LeClair is busy writing more adventures for Phoebe and Edie and their friends ... especially since she left this one with a mega-cliffhanger!

"First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros" is from the first paragraph or two of a book being read now (or in the future) and is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. "Teaser Tuesday" at The Purple Booker asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.

16 December 2016

In The Market for Murder by T E Kinsey (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

I'm only at the 20% mark in In The Market For Murder -- T E Kinsey's follow-up to A Quiet Life In The Country. I'm already loving it, though, with Flo and Emily just as much fun and snarky as they were the first time around. I'm assuming that there's a seance going on at the 56% mark but I have no idea who the three characters mentioned are. I have no actual plans for the weekend ahead so I'm guessing I'll just curl up and read and I can't wait!
Friday 56 (share from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice (today 56%) 
& Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

13 December 2016

Buried Bones by Carolyn Haines (Teaser Tuesday)

I read the first of Carolyn Haines' Sarah Booth Delaney books back in May and so much of what I loved about that one has carried over. Sarah Booth is still a spitfire and still lovingly tormented by Jitty -- the ghost of her great-great grandmother's nanny. Jitty is mostly concerned about Sarah Booth's potential spinsterhood, while Sarah Booth (I guess the constant use of both names instead of just 'Sarah' is a Southern Daddy's Girl thing) is mostly concerned with the suspicious death of local legend, Lawrence Ambrose. Of course, it's not as if she isn't also interested in her own complicated love life, but that doesn't pay the bills and figuring out what happened to Ambrose might. We get to learn more about her neighbors in Zinnia, she gets a pretty whack dog as a Christmas present, and she gets an assistant in her PI business. It's another fun trip to the Mississippi Delta and I've already lined up the next three books on my 2017 Reading Thing. You could probably read this without having read Them Bones first without feeling too lost, but I wouldn't recommend it. There are relationships that overlap that it really helps to know about. (Besides, you should know by now that I would never recommend reading a series out of order!)
"Teaser Tuesday" is hosted by The Purple Booker and asks for a
random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.

Private investigation isn't on the list of a southern belle's most desirable accomplishments--but it's saved Sarah Booth Delaney's Delta homestead. Now all she has to cope with is its bossy antebellum ghost who is determined to save Sarah--from spinsterhood. Then comes the perfect social occasion: Lawrence Ambrose's dinner party...
Buried Bones
Ambrose, once a famous man of southern letters, is planning a comeback: a delicious tell-all with a bitchy ex-model as his "biographer." As he taunts his dinner guests with the news that his book will blow the lid off Zinnia's darkest secrets, it becomes plain that each and every guest has a secret--and wants Ambrose to keep it. When the morning-after mess includes a bloody corpse and the manuscript of the biography disappears, Sarah Booth goes digging for answers. But many who hold them are six feet under--or soon will be--and if she doesn't tread carefully, she could join them any day now...

Alphabet Fun 2017

Once again I'll be tackling the alphabet with authors and titles in 2017. The title challenge, Alphabet Soup, is sponsored by Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book. The author challenge I haven't linked up anywhere yet, but it's one that I like to do all on my own just for kicks.

Titles: (subject to change)
Billionaire Blend - Cleo Coyle
The Companion - Ann Granger
Demon Hunting in Dixie - Lexi George
Every Trick in the Book - Lucy Arlington
If Fried Chicken Could Fly - Paige Shelton
A Killer Plot - Ellery Adams
A Meditation on Murder - Robert Thorogood
Never the Bride - Charlotte Fallowfield
On Borrowed Time - Jenn McKinlay
Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
Soulless - Gail Carriger
The Vintage Cinema Club - Jane Linfoot

Authors: (subject to change)
Winnie Archer
Conor Brady
Victoria Cooke
Vicki Delany
Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Juliet Gauvin
Erin Hart
Tracy Kiely
Annie Lyons
Susan Elia Macneal
Carlene O'Connor
Robin Stevens
Patricia C Wrede

(Yes -- I'll likely be using the same X author as 2016. I adore her and she fits and she's written a LOT.)

12 December 2016

Rambling About.. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin PLUS Alphabet Challenges

Opting not to do back-to-back holiday books, I started reading Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere Sunday morning and pretty much flew through it. Not so much because I loved it ... but because it was there and I've heard that Zevin is amazing and I had slots to fill in my alphabet challenges.
Elsewhere is the story of 15 year old Liz who was killed when her bicycle was hit by a taxi. She ends up in Elsewhere -- where everyone ages in reverse until they're babies again and ready to be reborn on Earth again. She lives with the grandmother she had never met who is now in her mid-thirties although she died at fifty before Liz was born.
It's a lot to take in.
Liz is ... a fifteen year old. No offense to fifteen year olds, but she drove me a little nuts sometimes like so many fifteen year olds before her (even when I was one myself I wasn't awfully fond of them!). She's a bit of a selfish brat complete with the eye rolls and tantrums and the one word "conversations." She became a little less annoying in the company of the dogs (who talk, by the way), but before long she ended up back on my "want to slap" list.
Still, though, I couldn't seem to stop reading. Maybe in hopes that I would get to see more of anyone other than Liz.
As for the reverse aging bit, it's an interesting premise and makes for some interesting quotes, but I'm more in the Mitch Albom The Five People You Meet in Heaven camp as far as what I'm hoping for in whatever afterlife there may be ... if I had to pick one from a book. With my mom having died 12 1/2 years ago at the age of 54 and with me turning 41 this past weekend ... well, I would have to kick it pretty soon in order to get any time with her again in Elsewhere unless I want her to be younger than me when we see each other. No thanks!

And, with this crossing off "Z" for my authors and "E" for my titles, my alphabet challenges for 2016 are done! If you click on the letters you can go to a ramble or tease for each entry.
A - Arsenic For Tea by Robin Stevens
B - The Bachelor Girl's Guide To Murder by Rachel McMillan
C - Cold Florida by Phillip DePoy
D - Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton
E - Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
F - From the Sideline by Amy Avanzino
G - The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe by Jenny Oliver
H - How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake
I - The Ill-Kept Oath by C.C. Aune
J - Jimmy and Faye by Michael Mayo
K - Kitty's Countryside Dream by Christie Barlow
L - Leftovers by Stella Newman
M - Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams
N - No Regrets, Coyote by John Dufresne
O - One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin
P - A Proposal to Die For by Vivian Conroy
Q - Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson
R - Requiem for a Mezzo by Carola Dunn
S - Something the Cat Dragged In by Charlotte MacLeod
T - There's No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern
U - Until We Collide by Charlotte Fallowfield
V - The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood
W - What Happens in the Alps... by T. A. Williams
X - The XMas Factor by Annie Sanders
Y - A Yorkshire Christmas by Kate Hewitt
Z - A Zen for Murder by Leighann Dobbs

And.... my authors:
A - Ashley
B - Berry
C - Challinor
D - Dunn
E - Ernst
F - French
G - Greenwood
H - Haines
I - Isley
J - Joyce
K - Kelman
L - Linfoot
M - Michael
N - Nagel
O - Oakes
P - Prescott
Q - Quick
R - Raisin
S - Sparkes
T - Tipping
U - Ursu
V - Volland
W - Wyer
X - Xarissa
Y - Young
Z - Zevin

11 December 2016

A Little Ramble About.. A New York Love Story by Cassie Rocca

A New York Love Story is an absolutely darling read. It's a bit predictable, but I let holiday reads get a pass on that knocking a star off of the rating. For a Christmas chick lit, this checks off all of the boxes I look for -- love, humor, quirkiness, and being able to cast it in my head. It's like a Hallmark movie that you record every year and leave on the dvr to watch over and over again! Watching the relationship between Clover and Cade develop was a bit of a rollercoaster, but the highs definitely made up for the lows.
Giving a present is not always easy. Clover O'Brian knows that only too well: her job consists of helping people in the arduous task of choosing unusual gifts. Christmas is coming, New York is buzzing, and Clover, who has always loved the festive period, savours the atmosphere.
Cade Harrison already has everything in life. A Hollywood actor, he is handsome, rich, famous and popular. Success, however, has its downsides; having just emerged from a disastrous relationship with an actress, he feels a need to hide away in an area unfrequented by stars, in an apartment lent him by a friend, far from prying eyes – especially those of tabloid reporters. But as chance will have it, the apartment in question is right opposite the one occupied by Clover, who until now has seen Hollywood actors only on the big screen. Two quite different lives meet by chance, at the most exhilarating time of year...

09 December 2016

The Xmas Factor by Annie Sanders (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

Friday 56 (share from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice (today page 156) 
& Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.
Meet two women with two totally different approaches to the festive season. 
Beth: it's only September, and already she has performance anxiety. Not surprising when she has agreed to lay on the annual Christmas Eve village bash - the piece de resistance of her husband's former wife - not to mention having to host Christmas for his difficult offspring. New to this frenzied build-up to the festivities, Beth begins to lose sight of what it all means. To her the Christmas lights are looking more like the headlamps of an oncoming train. 
Carol: glamorous magazine editor, who put her aspirational Christmas issue to bed sometime in July and is so involved in finding a scoop to save her ailing magazine that she fails to notice the impending festive rush. Panicked and wracked with guilt, she is determined to make it a picture-perfect time for her little boy and, opting for convenience, books a lovely-sounding cottage in a quaint village. 
Even the best-laid plans have a habit of unravelling - and no plan at all is a recipe for disaster. So when these two Christmases collide, it looks like it's going to be anything but goodwill towards men...

The description for this book doesn't even begin to do it justice. There's so very much more than just Beth and Carol. We also get to know Holly (Beth's stepdaughter who happens to work for Carol), Tim (Carol's seven-year-old son who wants more time with mom and for her to find a boyfriend), and Nick (the musician who is quite enthralled with Carol). The point of view jumps around between them and they all end up crossing paths and stories. I especially love the different takes on things between Carol and Tim. Kids are so much fun to get into the brains of and the writing duo that makes up "Annie Sanders" nailed it. In fact, they've nailed every character beautifully -- even the sometimes bratty Holly, Beth's 'can't-be-bothered' committee "helpers," tortured pop star Anya, and uppity magazine executive Ian. This is definitely one I'll keep on my shelf and pull out to re-read for future Christmases!

06 December 2016

Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

Today I'm teasing the first in a new cozy mystery series set in Scotland. I started this and put it down again several times. It's a bit slower paced than I typically enjoy, but there are enough amusing bits (like Ian -- I adore Ian) that I kept on going back to it until I could mark it off as read on my NetGalley list. I'm still up in the air as to whether or not I'll continue the series.  
"First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros" is from the first paragraph or two of a book being read now (or in the future) and is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. "Teaser Tuesday" from Books and a Beat asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.

02 December 2016

A Yorkshire Christmas by Kate Hewitt (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

Friday 56 (share from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice (today 56%) 
& Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

So, I put together the Book Beginning & Friday 56 image before I started reading the book and the further I got into my reading, the more confused I got because of the Amazon description:

Wealthy New York City girl Claire Lindell isn’t looking for a Christmas miracle or happiness when she abruptly decides to hole up for the holiday at her godmother’s cottage in a little Yorkshire village, and lick her wounds from a near disastrous romantic decision. 
After her car skids into a snow bank, Claire may have accidently found her perfect Christmas and the family and love she’s craved when she offers Noah Bradford of Ayesgill Farm help to push the back end of one of his sheep out of the icy mud, even if she’s going to ruin a brand new pair of Prada boots during the rescue. 
What’s a little leather when love’s on the line?

Wait .... WHAT? Then who the heck is Hannah Ford from the 56% mark?
*dig dig dig ... search search search ... OH! The Table of Contents!*

Silly me ... the 56% is from another story altogether!
*dig dig dig ... search search search ...*
A ha! The second story is also sold on its own ...

Amazon Description -- Part 2
Welcome to Creighton Falls, New York… a town time forgot where miracles happen…
Glamorous city girl Hannah Ford wasn’t thinking when she walked out of a Christmas party and drove three hundred miles into a snowstorm; she just needed to escape. Thankfully local carpenter Sam Taylor comes to her rescue, and the unlikely pair are forced to spend a snowed-in Christmas together.
All Sam planned for Christmas was to get drunk alone. The holiday has always been something to be endured, until Hannah tumbles into his life, making it magical. Now Hannah and Sam have a chance to have a Christmas together… and make it the best one either of them have ever had.
But can one night out of reality turn into something that’s lasting and real?

Mysteries solved and confusion put on the back burner, I dove back in to reading and am now a huge fan of Kate Hewitt's (and, I'm assuming, will be of her alter ego,  Katharine Swartz) ... and I haven't even made it to the second story yet. The first one all on its own is just that good!

01 December 2016

A little ramble about.. A Zen for Murder by Leighann Dobbs

A Zen for Murder is the first Leighann Dobbs book that I've read and it definitely won't be the last.
Set in a small touristy town made up largely, it seems, of senior citizens, this is the first in a series featuring retired criminal psychologist Claire Watkins and retired criminal investigator Dominic Benedetti. It's definitely a "cozy" (pastries and cat included!) and a very quick read. I started it while waiting for my bus in to work and was already half-way through by the time I clocked in. Just the right thing when looking for a simple stress-free read. I had the whodunnit part figured out pretty early, but there were still questions that kept me scratching my head along the way.