*** Please note that various posts will contain affiliate links for Amazon. Purchases from these links will make me a small percentage in store credit. ***

25 April 2017

The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate by Eric Bower (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

Once I finished Rachel McMillan's The White Feather Murders (Tuesday's teaser post has been updated with my ramble), I needed something a bit more lighthearted and decided that Eric Bower's middle grade historical fantasy/adventure/western/steampunk/mystery/whatever would be it. I initially nabbed The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate off of NetGalley for John, but since he's currently wrapped up in something else he's been reading, I decided to hop on it first. It sounded too good to pass up! Happily, it was just the comic relief I was in need of. It's clever and funny and I'm fairly certain that my son is going to adore it ... and then he'll likely recommend it to his friends (boys and girls as it's got something for everyone ... at least for the younger "everyone"s). It's not as ageless as some "middle grade" books are (*cough*Robin Stevens*cough*), but it has been a bit of fun to almost take my mind off of the heartbreak of finishing one of my favorite 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" at The Purple Booker asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.





21 April 2017

The White Feather Murders by Rachel McMillan (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

My son has been on Spring Break all week and I've still had to work my usual full-time overnight gig so, as you can imagine, I'm oh-so-very thankful that my work week is coming to a close. My plan for the next 2 1/2 days? Pajamas, blanket, and The White Feather Murders by Rachel McMillan! I absolutely adore Rachel and the dynamic duo of Merinda and Jem (and, of course, Ray and my dear sweet lovable Jasper). I already know that I'm going to love it, but I'll be sure to verify as much once the weekend lovefest comes to a close! 

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

From Amazon:


*** UPDATE -- 24 April 2017 ***

It took me a bit longer than usual to really sink my teeth into this one but I'm blaming that largely on the lack of sleep & focus thanks to my son being on break from school this whole past week. Once I was rested up some, though, I started again and couldn't put it down willingly until it was finished.

The world is changing rapidly around our wonderful quartet of Merinda, Jem, Ray and Jasper (my dear, beloved Jasper). It's the summer of 1914 and World War I has begun in Europe. Toronto's large immigrant population (Ray included) is under constant scrutiny and harrassment from those who fear they may side with the enemy. (Gee, sound familiar?) There is a group, known as the Cartier Club, that is trying to fight for the rights of the immigrants. When the members start getting murdered (with white feathers left behind -- used to symbolize cowardice), our foursome gets shaken to the core.

While the mystery part of this outing was gripping and kept me guessing, the real treasure here is the interaction and introspection of our main characters. Each of them struggles with who they've been, who they are, and who they want to be in the world. It's simultanteously heartbreaking and uplifting.

18 April 2017

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

There are so many things you could dislike about Anna Blanc. She's a spoiled rich girl who's more than a bit flippant, rarely thinks things through, and when she does think things through those thoughts are often only of herself. She's a right pain in the rear .... and I love her to bits.

Anna Blanc doesn't really mean to be a spoiled rich girl. It's not as though she could have chosen which family she born into, right? In fact, she tries really hard to break free from it -- including following her passion for crime novels (which she brilliantly hides from disapproving eyes in the covers of "more suitable" books) and secretly getting a job as an assistant police matron. (It's rather hilarious watching her and her "chaperone" manipulate each other in order to get this to work!)

She uses an alias, Anna Holmes, to secure the position ... and also lies about her background, her familiarity with places that aren't her upper-crust norm, and even her typing skills (of which she has none). When prostitutes start disappearing and/or turning up dead, though, she decides to investigate because no one else will.

I'm so immensely glad that Jennifer Kincheloe somehow started to follow me on Twitter early in March which, in return, made me follow her and buy The Secret Life of Anna Blanc. In her description on Twitter, Kincheloe refers to herself as a "serious Miss Fisher and Amelia Peabody fan" and that shines through Anna Blanc. There's humor galore, characters I both love to love and love to hate, and a mystery that has kept me turning the pages to find out what's going to happen next.


"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.

13 April 2017

Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

Friday 56 (today is page 156 from the paperback) is hosted at Freda's Voice
Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

I have a confession to make : I stopped reading the ebook I received from NetGalley of this on Thursday morning. (Well, except for the bus-ride in to work Thursday night. I just couldn't NOT read a little bit more.... Anstey is positively addictive!) BUT I did so because I knew that on Friday I'll be receiving the actual book in the mail from Amazon and it's so flipping good that I know I'll want to finish it up with it actually in my hands flipping the pages in the comfort of my recliner and pajamas.

That's a good reason, right?

(The page 156 above is thanks to the "Surprise Me!" preview pages on Amazon. I can't wait to find out what's going on!!! But, of course, I can ... because I need that book in my hands!)

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's a standalone novel. It has the same general feel and era as Love, Lies and Spies, but it isn't necessary to read one before the other. You know that I'm a bit obsessive about reading things in the proper order and here it's really okay if you don't!

***UPDATE -- 16 APRIL 2017***
I was spot-on over needing this book as an actual book. I even took it to Easter lunch at my sister-in-law's to read and had a good chuckle over the amazement that I had my head in an actual book instead of just my phone or tablet.

This book is needed on my shelves and will, without a doubt, be re-read over the years just as my Jane Austens have been and will be. Anstey, once again, has penned a delicious Regency romance with a tinge of intrigue -- this time around Miss Lydia Whitfield. Her father had passed on years earlier and she has been managing her family estate with the assistance (or lack thereof) of her mother's brother. When a disagreement about the management forced the involvement of her solicitor to get involved, the solicitor's clerk (and soon-to-be apprentice) Mr Robert Newton entered the picture.  

Oh, Robert. 

My adoration of this man so far surpasses my previous longings for a Mr Darcy or a Colonel Brandon. From this day forward, all of my Regency daydreams will be his... at least, until Anstey's next book is released.

12 April 2017

WWW Wednesday -- 12 April 2017

WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking On A World Of Words

What I'm Currently Reading
Cindy Anstey
Love, Lies & Spies

This BOOK. It's such an absolute joy to read. I used it for this week's Teaser Tuesday & Tuesday Intro post and have been recommending it in practically every conversation I've had with people. Store cashier? "Oh, by the way ... do you like to read? Let me tell you about this book ...." Random person on the bus? "Oh my gosh ... this book is SO good! Let me tell you ...." Heck, even the poor guy who just delivered the food I ordered at work after he apologized for being late! "Oh, it's okay .... I've been reading this book ...." I have just over one hundred pages left and it's definitely a ten stars .... out of five .


What I Recently Finished

I finished these three since last week's WWW Wednesday post and enjoyed them all. 
Click on the covers for their rambles.



What I Think I'll Read Next
Cindy Anstey
Duels & Deception

There is no "I think I'll read" about this one as it's already queued up in my Kindle app thanks to getting an advanced copy from Swoon via NetGalley! (It was released on Tuesday, but I don't think I can wait for the paperback I ordered to arrive before I start. Yeah ... Love, Lies and Spies has been so incredible that Anstey is now on my "If she writes it, I'll buy it" list.

11 April 2017

Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

No, I am not spending my entire work shift reading Cindy Anstey's ever-so-amazing Love, Lies and Spies. It's actually only going to end up being about half of my shift ... plus the bus ride in ... and a good amount of time when I should have been sleeping before coming in to work ... and a whole lot of Tuesday. Suffice it to say, I'm loving this book. In fact, as soon as I had read the first paragraph of the digital copy, I hopped on to Amazon and ordered the paperback so I could have it on my shelves and in my hands.


From the back cover:
"In this hilarious homage to Jane Austen, a lady with a penchant for trouble finds a handsome spy much more than merely tolerable."
I keep thinking it's like Elizabeth Bennet still falls for Colin Firth ... but this time he's playing Harry Hart from Kingsman instead of Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. (Although, Taron Egerton is more accurate age-wise by about 30 years ... but you understand where I'm coming from, right?)


Okay. Now I'm going to obsess about a Love, Lies and Spies movie being made and Egerton being cast as Spencer... and Sophie Cookson would be a most excellent Juliana... and now I want to watch Kingsman again as soon as I finish this (and before I begin Anstey's next book -- Duels & Deception!).

Anyway, back to the book...

"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.

10 April 2017

Rambling About.. Stuck With You by Carla Burgess

I adored Carla Burgess' first book, Marry Me Tomorrow, and when I saw that she had a new one coming out I rearranged my planned reading in order to lose myself in it as soon as NetGalley said it was on my shelf. To be honest, I didn't think it would be possible for Burgess to come up with another couple that I would love half as much as I loved Emily and Sam, but then I met Elena and Daniel.

Burgess has another absolute winner with Stuck With You. Elena has pined for years over Daniel and has been replaying one perfect memory the whole time (in spite of living with her boyfriend, Alex, for the past two years). They were teeneagers. He was about to go traveling, she was heading off to university and, amazingly, he asked her to dance, kissed her, and they never saw eachother after that.  

Until, several years later when they're 25, the elevator breaks down at the supermarket with the two inside.

I don't know if you have an "if only" in your past but if you don't you'll just have to take my word for the fact that all of Elena's pinings even years later? Yep. They can most definitely happen. I'm 41 with a long-term partner and child and I still "if only" and "what if" about one particular "almost" from my awkward teens! That may be one of the reasons why Elena and Daniel have joined Emily and Sam on my list of "favorite book couples" -- they're so relatable and hopeful and put a big ol' goofy grin on my face (and prompted me to listen to quite a lot of The Doors and think of my particular "almost.").

Now ... for the next book could we find out what happens with Rachel? Maybe a Zach update? And, of course, more of Sam, Emily, Elena & Daniel!


Amazon Description

One lift. Two strangers. Anything could happen!

Elena thought that today would be just like any other day…until the supermarket lift jams and she realises she’s stuck.
And not just stuck in the lift. Stuck with her childhood crush, Daniel Moore, who unfortunately seems to be just as gorgeous as she remembered…

07 April 2017

Sebastian's Castle by Lisa DeVore (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

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


Being married to a cop is hard, being the widow of one is harder. After Brynn Austin’s husband, Nate, was murdered in an undercover operation, there wasn’t enough evidence to convict the gang leader who killed him. Brynn refuses to let him kill their dream to renovate an old Connecticut castle. But her plan is hampered by a ghost who’s not ready to give up his home.
Contractor Jaxson Maddox signs on to renovate the old castle that’s sat empty for years. He didn’t believe the rumors about the place being haunted. But that was before he met the resident ghost. What Jax didn’t sign on for was trouble in the form of falling for the beautiful widow, dealing with a pesky ghost, and risking his life when a threat from Brynn’s past surfaces. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, even if it means becoming a ghost himself.
Ramble
It's highly unusual for me to be contacted by an author previously unknown to me asking if I would be interested in reviewing something for them. It's even more unusual for me to say yes. When I got a message from Lisa DeVore, though, I immediately said yes and suggested (my inner voice was begging a bit) her March 2017 release, Sebastian's Castle

It's got a castle... and mystery... and a ghost. Was there really any chance of me not wanting to read it?

Brynn Austin is moving from Brooklyn to Mystic, Connecticut in order to work on renovating a castle into a bed & breakfast. It was a dream for her and her husband, Nate, before he was killed while undercover for the NYPD just over a year prior. Now she's trying to move on and see their dreams become a reality ... but aside from changing location the whole "moving on" bit is proving difficult. They were never able to prove who killed her husband and it's been eating away at her.

Also unable to "move on" is Sebastian Morgan -- the man who had originally built the castle for his wife, Helena, in 1898. She mysteriously disappeared and he died in 1936 under a cloud of suspicion that perhaps he had killed her.

When Brynn and her contractors start working on the house, Sebastian tries to scare them off but is a bit intrigued by Brynn (and the fact that she can see him) and, well, the place could use some repair work so he lets them stick around.

I know that most people who read this will probably be more wrapped up between the "will they/won't they" romance that starts between Brynn and contractor Jax, but for me that paled in comparison to her relationship with Sebastian. They formed such a wonderful bond and she insisted on helping him with his moving on -- and he was determined to help her do the same. 

It's a wonderful story and, at just shy of 200 pages, was perfect reading for a couple of rainy days curled up under a blanket!


05 April 2017

Rambling About.. Holly Martin's Spring at Blueberry Bay


This is my 6th Holly Martin book and each one of them has been given five stars .... but only because that's as high as Goodreads and Amazon goes. If I could give more I would because Holly has certainly earned it! Once again I've been blessed by the fabulous folks at bookouture with an advanced copy of her latest, Spring at Blueberry Bay. Of course, this has had no influence on how much I've adored this book.

I've found that each time I open a Holly Martin book my heart grows a little bit bigger and my faith in happily-ever-after gets renewed a little bit more. In fact, that faith in happily-ever-after is really behind this book.

from Amazon:

Of course, the description doesn't do it justice ... nor will my little rambling thoughts. It's being released on Friday (April 7th), though, so you don't have long to wait to fall in love yourself! Since, though, this is supposed to be a "proper review" (as if any of my reviews are ever proper), here are some of my thoughts, jotted down along the way:
  • Bella has so much baggage I suspect there's a birthmark shaped like Louis Vuitton's monogram somewhere on her bum.
  • Isaac has everything a lit-crush should. His own baggage (duffle bag size in comparison to Bella's full travel set), strength, tenderness, a wicked sense of humor, and even a tinge of geek (he does, after all, excel in gaming).
  • Hope Island is the newest Holly Martin locale that makes me want to pack my bags and move yesterday. The details were so vivid, I feel like I could step foot off the ferry tomorrow and not get lost.
  • Be aware of speakerphones! They can be hilariously dangerous things.
  • Thou shalt not read Holly Martin books when thou art supposed to be sleeping. Before you know it you'll be howling with laughter and the jig will be up and everyone will know that you're up, too.
  • Thou shalt not read Holly Martin books at work when others may be around. The possibility of being asked a hundred times "are you sure you're okay?" because tears can unexpectedly stream down your face is very real.
  • I need more Bella & Isaac ... and Rocket and Alfie and Rome and Eden and Dougie and Freya and even Claudia. (Claudia must have some kind of backstory, right?) Oh! And Elsie and Roger! (They're so stinking cute!)
Bascially, summer can't get here soon enough. The next Hope Island book is supposed to be out then and I can't wait to revisit this glorious location and its wonderful residents!

WWW Wednesday - 5 April 2017

WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking On A World Of Words

What I'm Currently Reading
Holly Martin
Spring at Blueberry Bay

I started this delightful story Tuesday morning before leaving work and will likely have it finished by the time I leave work this morning. Holly Martin is so ridiculously gifted and every time I read one of her books I feel like my heart grows a little bit bigger and my faith in happily-ever-after gets a little bit of a boost. 


What I Recently Finished
Amy M. Reade
Secrets of Hallstead House

A bit gothic and a bit cozy, I loved this book! The setting is near and dear to my heart which might have helped to sway my opinion, but I'm pretty sure I would have loved it even if I knew nothing of the area. I teased and rambled about it here.


What I Think I'll Read Next
Lisa DeVore
Sebastian's Castle

OR


Cindy Anstey
Love, Lies and Spies

It's a toss-up, but I think I'll Sebastian's Castle and then Love, Lies and Spies and follow that up immediately with Anstey's Duels & Deceptions which I just got my NetGalley approval for and is due to be released next week. Sebastian's Castle is just shy of 200 pages long so I'm thinking I can squeeze them all in ...


04 April 2017

Rambling About.. Secrets of Hallstead House by Amy M Reade


I wasn't able to really devote time to this gem until Sunday morning and once I really started I found that I couldn't/wouldn't put it down willingly! Secrets of Hallstead House is a beautiful tale set in one of the most beautiful places there is -- the Thousand Islands. I was born at the eastern end of the Thousand Islands region and while we moved from the area before I was old enough to really know anything of it, it's still near and dear to my heart.


Credit: New York Times
It's the story of Macy Stoddard who has accepted a job as the personal nurse to an elderly woman recovering from hip surgery. It's a bit of a dreary place and several of the inhabitants and frequest visitors make it known that they don't want Macy there, but she has a job to do and intends to do it. She does bond with her patient, though, as well as with the keeper of the boathouse and falls in love with the locale (as well she should!). 

Before long everything Macy thought that she had known about everything gets turned upside-down. It's part gothic, part cozy mystery, and all wonderful. Well, almost all. 

The only nit-picky thing I had with it was Macy's age. She's supposed to be 20 years old but seems older and that boathouse guy? She figured him to be in his mid-30s (I can't recall if we ever did get an exact age on him). Call me horribly old-fashioned, but she isn't even able to legally drink unless she crosses the border! If she had been, say, 25 and him mid-thirties I likely wouldn't have been as skeeved about it. Much. Maybe. Still, it's only a mild irritant in an otherwise wonderful book full of secrets and mystery and twists that I totally didn't see coming.


31 March 2017

A Life Without You by Shari Low (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

If you're in need of a good cry mixed with some good laughs, this is a book you'll want to get your hands on. It's sad and hopeful and angry and beautiful and .... well, it runs the whole gamut of emotions. I've really come to care about the characters and already know that I would love to see them again in another book. 

(A Life Without You is being released by Aria on April 1st 2017. I received a review copy via NetGalley.)


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

Touching, funny, and bittersweet, this is a story that will make you laugh, cry, and call your best friend to tell her you love her.Dee and Jen have been best friends since their days of teenage crushes, bad 90's make-up and huge hair.
They’ve passed every milestone of their lives together and now in their thirties own a successful boutique, sharing a bond that is as strong as the closest of sisters.
Until one day everything changes.
Dee is gone, killed by a reckless driver, leaving Jen to face the harsh reality of a world without her.
Jen vows to honour Dee’s dreams and take care of everything and everyone she loved.
Until she realises that sometimes the only way forward is to let go of the past.

28 March 2017

You Suck by Christopher Moore (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

If you have any issues with "questionable" language 
and/or vampires and/or absurdity ...
click on out of here now and go on your 
merry little way back to wherever it is you
came from. This is your warning.

Really.

There are "bad words" in Christopher Moore's books.
And vampires (in some of them, anyway).
And absurdity galore.

Therefore, the teasers in this post will also have those things.

I will delete any comment that complains.
(I will then pity the complainers for missing out as
Moore is likely my favorite male author. Ever.)

You've been warned.

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Being undead sucks. Literally.
Just ask C. Thomas Flood. Waking up after a fantastic night unlike anything he's ever experienced, he discovers that his girlfriend, Jody, is a vampire. And surprise! Now he's one, too. For some couples, the whole biting-and-blood thing would have been a deal breaker. But Tommy and Jody are in love, and they vow to work through their issues.
But word has it that the vampire who initially nibbled on Jody wasn't supposed to be recruiting. Even worse, Tommy's erstwhile turkey-bowling pals are out to get him, at the urging of a blue-dyed Las Vegas call girl named (duh) Blue.
And that really sucks.

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This is your final warning.

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"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.

24 March 2017

The Choir on Hope Street by Annie Lyons (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

Annie Lyons has been on my "to read" list for a while now so I was thrilled when her upcoming The Choir on Hope Street appeared on NetGalley (and, soon after, my NetGalley shelf!).  It's set to be released on April 6th and if you're a fan of chick lit, romantic comedies (although the romance is light), singing and/or really good stories about community spirit, I highly recommend giving this one a shot.

Natalie and Caroline are the two main characters and, seemingly, all they have in common are their children who are in the same school and the fact that they both live on Hope Street. The chapters alternate between the two of them and their issues. Natalie is having trouble with her husband; Caroline is having trouble with her mother. They're brought together in an effort to help save the local community center (after, that is, one of them kind of hits the other with their car), and a beautifully unexpected friendship forms.

Lyons has created a wonderful community here and I found myself caring about all of the members of the choir. From Jim the mailman (with the surprising musical past), to shy songbird Doly, to Pamela and her amazing cakes -- these are all people I would want to know and have in my corner. I'm hoping that Lyons will decide to revisit them all again!

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

The best things in life happen when you least expect them
Nat’s husband has just said the six words no one wants to hear – ‘I don’t love you any more’.
Caroline’s estranged mother has to move into her house turning her perfectly ordered world upside down.
Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the beloved local community centre is threatened with closure. And when the only way to save it is to form a community choir – none of the Hope Street residents, least of all Nat and Caroline, expect the results…
This spring, hope is coming!

21 March 2017

A June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady - #readireland2017 #begorrathon2017 (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

A June of Ordinary Murders is the first book in Conor Brady's series featuring Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow. The story begins 17 June 1887 -- just a few days before Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. (At this point in history Ireland was still under British rule.) Swallow is called in to investigate after a man and child have been found murdered in a park and, while puzzling, he feels it to be just an "ordinary crime." Of course, the further he digs the less ordinary it is.

I started reading this Sunday night at work after accidentally leaving Black Rabbit Hall at home.  Right now I'm about a third of the way through and I'm enjoying it immensely. Brady has a very similar style as Charles Finch (in fact, Finch wrote a blurb for the book which almost never happens), and since I was just thinking to myself last week that I need to dive back into the Charles Lenox series this came as great timing to scratch that itch (which, you probably know, only makes it itch more). I've read and loved quite a lot of books based in and around London during this time period, but I believe this is my first set in Ireland (thanks, Begorrathon!). It definitely won't be my last.

"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.


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See more Begorrathon posts HERE.

20 March 2017

Blog Tour! Mystery at Maplemead Castle by Kitty French


I have made absolutely no secret as to how much I adore Melody Bittersweet so when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for the second Chapelwick Mysteries book I jumped at the chance. The whole gang from the first book is back for another hauntingly hilarious tale that, once again, is as full of heartfelt "awwws" as it is belly laughs. It's always a joy to find a book that can make me laugh until I cry and then turn right around and break my heart. I honestly didn't think it would be possible to love this as much as I loved the first one. Truth of the matter is, I may have even loved it more!

Too many times a series can go on without much in the way of character development. Here, though, everyone has had a bit of a boost. (Well, except for Leo's maniacal fembots. I don't think they can get a boost without plastic surgery or Victoria's Secret being involved!) Artie is truly coming into his own even though he's still living at home with his mum; Marina is even more terrifying when she's in her defend-the-bestie mode; even the one-eared pug, Lestat, is becoming an actual part of the team! 
 
And then there's Melody. 
 
Dear, sweet, slightly messed up Melody. 

Melody Bittersweet, of course, is my BBGBFFL (best book ghostbusting friend for life). She's a geektastic spitfire full of spunk ... and pancakes ... and biscuits ... and cake ... and she has rather interesting taste in clothing and men. Of course, both her ex-boyfriend Leo AND her ... ummm ... well ... Fletch are back for this latest adventure. Her relationships with both go through quite a lot and it's really no surprise at all (to me, anyway) that a biscuit tin is almost at the ready. 

This time the three of them (plus respective teams) are at Maplemead Castle in order to assist the new owners with their not-so-little ghost problem that includes an all-too-lifelike (for those who can see it) lion. Yes, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages .... the circus is in town! 

There are twists and turns galore -- of both the physical and metaphorical variety. It took a while to know what the real issue being investigated was and I totally did not guess the outcome until it was right in front of my face in all of its glory. I think maybe I was too delighted to just lose myself in the story to bother trying to get a step or two ahead of it. Or, maybe I was distracted by the latest love polygon to have put all of pieces together in the right spots. Or, just maybe, I was too busy expanding my vocabulary (I found myself calling someone a "hippocrocotwunt" the other day with great delight!).

Whatever. 

I am ever-so-grateful to Kitty French for writing such phenomenal stories, to Bookouture for being brilliant enough to publish them, and to NetGalley for existing so folks like me have an easier time getting our grubby little mitts on the awesomeness in advance. 

The world needs more awesomeness like all of them and, most of all, more Bittersweet! 

More books... 
A TV series... 
A t-shirt line... 
Action figures... 
Cartoon knickers... ???

All of it!


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Buy from Amazon UK  http://amzn.to/2kQqows
Buy from Amazon US  http://amzn.to/2kd2Qjp
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Welcome to Chapelwick, a leafy English town in the hills of Shropshire, where chocolate pecan cookies come with a helping of sabotage.
Maplemead Castle is crawling with ghosts, and the new owners need them gone. When Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency arrive on scene, they quickly identify the troublemakers swinging from the chandeliers… literally.
A century ago, stunning trapeze artist Britannia Lovell plunged to her death, and has done every night since. But did she really just fall, or was there something more to her demise?
Forced to work with Leo Dark, her scoundrel ex, and infuriating, irresistible reporter Fletcher Gunn, Melody’s investigative powers are under strain (i.e. lost in a pink mist of lust and confusion). She needs her team on top form, but best friend Marina’s cake pipeline goes AWOL, assistant Artie’s distracted by a giant sausage roll, and the pug is scared witless by a lion.
Somewhere, hidden in the castle, is a heart-breaking secret, but what will it take to find it? And is there a chance it could set Britannia free, or is she doomed to repeat her last fateful act forever?
An utterly hilarious, gripping, spooktastic read for fans of HY Hanna, MC Beaton, Gina LaManna and Jana DeLeon.
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Buy from Amazon UK  http://amzn.to/2kQqows
Buy from Amazon US  http://amzn.to/2kd2Qjp

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Be sure to visit the other tour stops, too!

17 March 2017

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

I'm finding it rather amusing that I decide to take a break from all of the Irish books .... just in time for a meme that falls on St. Patrick's Day. Then again, I did always wear orange to school on March 17th so maybe it's just that my Northern Irish Protestant ancestors wiggled into my subconscious to get me to shun the day. Or maybe I just wasn't thinking about anything besides wanting to read one of my new acquisitions ....

Eve Chase's Black Rabbit Hall was pretty much a cover-buy one day on Amazon. It was one of the "people who bought _____ also bought _____" recommendations and, so far, those people seem pretty brilliant. I almost passed on it because I kept seeing comparisons to Daphne du Maurier and, quite frankly, she always kind of freaked me out .... but then I realized that it's probably been at least 25 years since I last attempted du Maurier and I've probably matured a little since then in my reading tastes.

I'm not very far into it but hope to knock it off this weekend curled up in my pajamas with a steady flow of tea by my side. So far it definitely appears to be the type of book that will be hard to put down once I can get as distraction-free as possible! I'm loving how it alternates between Amber's story beginning in 1968 and Lorna's story 30 years later.

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Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s country estate, where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, of course, it does. 
More than three decades later, Lorna is determined to be married within the grand, ivy-covered walls of Pencraw Hall, known as Black Rabbit Hall among the locals. But as she’s drawn deeper into the overgrown grounds, half-buried memories of her mother begin to surface and Lorna soon finds herself ensnared within the manor’s labyrinthine history, overcome with an insatiable need for answers about her own past and that of the once-happy family whose memory still haunts the estate.
Stunning and atmospheric, this debut novel is a thrilling spiral into the hearts of two women separated by decades but inescapably linked by the dark and tangled secrets of Black Rabbit Hall. 
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Friday 56 (today is page 256 from the hardcover) is hosted at Freda's Voice 
& Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.


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Ramble -- Reposted from Goodreads
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4 out of 5 stars

I'm having a hard time classifying this book in my head. It's not really any one thing. Not a mystery -- although there are mysteries uncovered. It's not a romance -- although there are romances. It's ... just a book that I bought thanks to Amazon saying "people who bought ____ also bought Black Rabbit Hall" and me going "ooooh pretty cover!" And I'm glad Amazon told me and I'm glad there was a hardcover in the Marketplace for ridiculously little $ and I'm super glad that I read it even though I'm not quite sure what I actually read. I DO know that once I started I had an incredibly hard time putting it down and only did so for food, sleep, work and the 76ers. (The missing star is because I was able to put it down while basketball was on without flipping out mentally over not reading. 5* books I'll read and then half pay attention to the game in question.)

14 March 2017

The Ministry of S.U.I.T.S by Paul Gamble - #readireland2017 #begorrathon2017 (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

So, I made it all the way to Chapter 6 pf Paul Gamble's The Ministry of S.U.I.Ts before I had to stop reading the ebook, hop onto Amazon and order the hardcover. My darling boy prefers "real" books and I just know that this is one he'll love. 

Amazon Description
Memo: For Ministry of Strange, Unusual, and Impossible Things Operatives Only
A series of strange incidents have been reported in Belfast:
* Oddball kids are going missing
* There are several unconfirmed signs of pirates.
* A wild bear known to be a very sore loser at musical statues has escaped from the museum and is on the rampage.
Fortunately, our newest recruits, Jack Pearse, a curious boy skilled at logical thinking and seeing what's actually there, and Trudy Emerson, the most dangerous girl in his school, are on the case. As per Ministry policy, they are currently being trained in the use of The Speed (patent pending) and will have full access to Ministry supplies (assuming they manage to navigate the paperwork without going insane), so we are confident that they will succeed in their mission to discover and foil this villainous plot.
Please provide all assistance possible, as a) they don't know who they are actually up against, b) the world is much stranger than they realized, and c) they are only 12 and have to be in bed by 10 p.m.
P.S.-Could all Ministry operatives who have borrowed dinosaurs in the past two weeks please return them? We're running low on inventory.
Seriously. It's as much fun as it sounds (at least the first 5 chapters have been) ... and it has FOOTNOTES!!! If you've been around here for any length of time, you probably know how much I adore a good footnote. I'm even using one for this week's teaser ...

"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.

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See more Begorrathon posts HERE.

13 March 2017

Rambling About.. Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald #readireland2017 #begorrathon2017

Author: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Title: Back to Blackbrick
Publication: 1 January 2013 -- Margaret K McElderry Books

First Lines: My Granddad was pretty much the cleverest person I ever met, so it was strange in the end to see the way people treated him -- as if he was a complete moron.

Favorites on 4s:
4% : Tragedy isn't the thing that makes the world a stressful place; it's the chance of tragedy that makes it stressful, and I guess that's what tormented me. Constantly being frightened about losing the things that I needed most -- it was exhausting.
14% : My granddad used to say that the best way to make the gods laugh was to tell them your plans.
44% : I only had a couple more days before I had to get back home and give Granddad lessons about the past so that he'd pass the memory test and nobody would take him away.
74% : ...there comes a time when you've got to stop using your past as a license to do whatever you want. There comes a time when you have to get over things like that and get on with being the best person you can be. If you let the past determine your future, you're probably screwed.

Ramble:
So, I went from the snarky hilarity of Skulduggery Pleasant to the heartbreak of Back to BlackbrickNow, I did find myself chuckling from time to time ... but, overall, for every chuckle I was just waiting for next heartbreaking shoe to drop. 

The narrator of Back to Blackbrick is Cosmo. His brother died years back when he was 10 years old, his mother took off for Australia for "business," and he's been living with his grandparents ever since. He's always been close to his grandfather, especially, so it's hard for Cosmo when he develops Alzheimer's and begins to forget pretty much everything and every body. Cosmo tries to help with some tips he finds on the Internet -- i.e. labelling pictures and household objects, increasing the Omega-3s in their diet. One night, after a social worker says that it's probably time for a nursing home if he can't recall things about his past or present anymore, Cosmo is given a key for Blackbrick Abbey. Cosmo is to go and take notes to help him remember earlier memories as that's where he once lived and worked when he was 16.

So Cosmo goes and his grandfather is there. And 16.

Yep. It's a heartbreaking and sometimes funny book with time travel.

I don't want to say anything more about the plot because I'm afraid that once I start I wouldn't be able to stop. Then there would be no reason at all for you to read it! It definitely is one that I'm happy to have read and did so in the matter of an afternoon -- heartbreak and all. It's kind of like a tween/teen Mitch Albom. It has that same sort of poignancy about it. 


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See more Begorrathon posts HERE.