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31 May 2016

Teaser Tuesday & A Ramble : Them Bones by Carolyn Haines


Title: Them Bones
Author: Carolyn Haines
Publication: 1999 - Bantam
First Lines: Women in my family have a penchant for madness and mysterious "womb" disorders. It's never been clear to me whether one if the result of the other, or if both maladies are a curse upon the Delaney women for acts of desperation, usually associated with a man more deeply involved with either a bottle or a gun than a female.

Faves on 4s:
4%: The Garretts were notorious for all of the Faulknerian vices -- drinking, killing, barn-burning, insanity, morbidity, raging jealousies, incest, and other dangerous passions. They were no different than any other family in our circle, but they had been caught out.
24%: "Tell me about Mr. Guy and Mrs. Veronica," I said, forking another bite of pie. I was having an excellent time. Being a private investigator was great work.
34%: Daddy never denied me the freedom to listen to the criminal trials, though Mama did her best to discourage it. She felt exposure to the baser human acts would warp me. Perhaps she was right.
74%: Forrest Gump had it wrong. Life is not a box of chocolates; it's a kaleidoscope. In the flip of a wrist, realities are shredded and the world takes on a totally new shape.
94%: The clang of metal on skull was totally satisfying.

Ramble: Years ago I randomly picked up several books by Carolyn Haines without realizing that there were several books before them in the series. I finally acquired the missing books and then, of course, got distracted for another year or two. The sixteenth book in the series was just released couple of weeks ago. I thought when I first grabbed it that maybe I wouldn't bother since I've already got so many series in progress. Well, now I have one more.

Sarah Booth Delaney is technically a "Daddy's Girl" -- brought up well-off in the South where the girls typically all end  up going to the right college primarily to join the right sorority and marry the right man with the right bank account. Sarah's nothing like that. She did go to the right college, but soon after went to New York to become an actress.When that didn't happen she ended up back at the family plantation at 33 years old with no job, no money, no love life, and no real prospects at changing any of those. What she has is Jitty -- the ghost of her great-great-grandmother's nanny living with her and offering advice (often unsolicited) at every turn.

Oh, and she also has spunk. Lots of it. And, of course, I love a character with a lot of spunk.

Thanks to a scheme cooked up by Jitty, Sarah becomes wrapped up in a decades-old mystery that threatens lives, friendships, sanity and, yes, even womb. Maybe the Delaney women are cursed after all? Of course, since this is the first book of sixteen (so far) you already know that Sarah survives at least the life-threatening ordeals ... but it's so much fun seeing how it all happens! I loved getting to know her and Jitty and her friends and neighbors. No one is entirely what they first appear to be which results in twists and turns and surprises along the way. And humor. Oh so much humor! One second I was holding my breath in suspense and the next I was losing it from laughter. I'm looking forward to seeing what Sarah and Jitty get up to next!

30 May 2016

20 (or so) Books of Summer 2016

I loved doing the 20 Books of Summer challenge at 746 Books last year ... so much so that I ended up reading 30 books! This year it's running from June 1st - September 5th which is just shy of 14 weeks. I can typically knock out two or three books each week which would put me right around (or over) 30 again this summer. These are, of course, subject to change and change again and again.

Go sign up for yourself HERE!

Assuming I knock out 2 books per week:
(italicized books are from NetGalley)

  1. Centaur Aisle (Xanth 4)- Piers Anthony TEASER
  2. Book, Line & Sinker - Jenn McKinlay TEASER & RAMBLE
  3. Don't You Forget About Me - Liz Tipping TEASER & RAMBLE
  4. The Good, The Bad & The Witchy - Heather Blake TEASER
  5. Ogre, Ogre (Xanth 5) - Piers Anthony  RAMBLE
  6. Royal Flush - Rhys Bowen TEASER (& MINI-RAMBLE)
  7. Summer of Love - Katie Fforde TEASER & RAMBLE
  8. Would Like To Meet - Polly James  TEASER & RAMBLE
  9. What Happens at the Beach - T.A. Williams RAMBLE
  10. The Dream Protocol - Adara Flynn Quick RAMBLE
  11. Milkshakes & Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner - Helen Cox TEASER & RAMBLE
  12. Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency - Kitty French TEASER & RAMBLE
  13. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet - Charlie N. Holmberg RAMBLE
  14. Showtime - Suzanne Trauth RAMBLE
  15. How to Stuff Up Christmas - Rosie Blake TEASER & RAMBLE
  16. A Gingerbread Café Christmas - Rebecca Raisin RAMBLE
  17. The Bookshop on the Corner - Rebecca Raisin  RAMBLE
  18. Snowflakes on Silver Cove - Holly Martin TEASER
  19. Sunshine and Secrets - Bella Osborne RAMBLE
  20. The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane - Ellen Berry TEASER & RAMBLE
  21. Dragon on a Pedestal (Xanth 7) - Piers Anthony TEASER
  22. Cloudy With A Chance of Love - Fiona Collins TEASER & RAMBLE
  23. An Untimely Frost - Penny Richards TEASER & RAMBLE
  24. New Corpse in Town - Lucy Quinn RAMBLE
  25. Breakfast Under A Cornish Sun - Samantha Tonge TEASER & RAMBLE
  26. When Only Cupcakes Will Do - Daisy James TEASER & RAMBLE
  27. The Secrets of Wishtide - Kate Saunders RAMBLE
  28. Murder in the Secret Garden - Ellery Adams TEASER & RAMBLE
  29. The Good, The Bad and the Dumped - Jenny Colgan RAMBLE
  30. The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club - Lynsey James TEASER & RAMBLE
  31. From The Sideline - Amy Avanzino RAMBLE
  32. Of Dubious and Questionable Memory - Rachel McMillan RAMBLE
  33. Dopey Women - Laura Barnard TEASER & RAMBLE
  34. A Summer at Sea - Katie Fforde RAMBLE
  35. Goodbye Ruby Tuesday - A.L. Michael TEASER & RAMBLE
  36. Return to the Little French Guesthouse - Helen Pollard TEASER & RAMBLE
  37. Nice Day for a White Wedding - A. L. Michael TEASER
  38. Until We Collide - Charlotte Fallowfield RAMBLE
  39. The Secret Ingredient of Wishes - Susan Bishop Crispell TEASER & RAMBLE
  40. A Lesson in Love & Murder - Rachel McMillan RAMBLE
  41. Come Hell or Highball - Maia Chance TEASER & RAMBLE
  42. The Gentleman - Forrest Leo TEASER
  43. Christmas at the Little Village Bakery - Tilly Tennant TEASER

27 May 2016

Book Beginnings, Friday 56 & A Ramble - Charlotte MacLeod's The Curse of the Giant Hogweed

As always, Friday 56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader
Keep reading after the image for a brief ramble and my "faves of 4s." I know, I already teased this once on Tuesday and then today with two more snippets from the beginning and the 56% mark .... but MacLeod's books are just so dang teasable! 
The Curse of the Giant Hogweed is the fifth book in Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy series and totally unlike anything I have read from MacLeod before -- and I loved it!
Peter is in England with his friends and colleagues, Dan Stott and Tim Ames. They're attending a conference to work on combatting the problem of the giant hogweed which had been overthrowing the countryside and endangering other plants -- and people. While searching for a good drink and a specimen of hogweed the three stop off at an old pub on the Welsh side of the border and ....
Well, now this is where things get a little iffy. Did Peter fall asleep and dream the rest? Did the three actually somehow cross into some portal that landed them in a fairytale-ish medieval Wales? Does the answer really matter? (My answer = nope. Not at all.)
So there are hags and princes and princesses and griffins and magic and hordes of treasure and murder and mayhem and oh-so-much humor. MacLeod is always good for a belly chuckle. At first I thought that I would be miserable with the absence of my beloved viking hunk, President Thorkjeld Svenson. Alas! In the alternate reality that takes up the vast majority of the tale we get young strapping Sir Torchyld who just happens to be the nephew of King Sfyn and madly in love with the beautiful Syglinde (President Svenson's wife in the "real" world is Sieglinde). You really need to read the previous books to really understand what makes this one so delightful as far as character similarities (and differences) go.

Faves on 4s:
4%: Great balls of fire, where was Peter Shandy? Gradually, without his knowing when or how, Peter's feet had moved from ancient oak planking to forest floor.
14%: "...Matilda's penchant was for British authors who wrote about children falling down rabbit holes or stepping into wardrobes and finding themselves henceforth involved with adventures of a nature which at the time seemed to be fantastical. I therefore assumed these to be works of fiction. Now I realize they must have been mere vignettes of local history."
34%: He couldn't help believing in enchantments because he knew they happened. Therefore, he might well be conditioned to believe in enchantments that hadn't really happened at all. The young fellow simply hadn't yet learned to separate the abra from the cadabra.
54%: Torchyld flung his arms around the griffin's neck and wept until the beast began to utter plaintive sqwawks at getting its head soaked.
84%: Daniel Stott, who could make even a page of hog statistics sound impressive, recited several of the more affecting verses from sympathy cards received at the time of his first wife Elizabeth's demise.... The eulogy was well constructed, eloquently delivered, and probably not more inanely inappropriate than most.

24 May 2016

Teaser Tuesday - Charlotte MacLeod's Curse of the Giant Hogweed

Amazon Description
Professor Shandy, propagator of the world's most renowned rutabaga and Balaclava College's best amateur sleuth, takes on the case of the Giant Hogweed - a garden pest about to wipe out Britain's lovely hedgerows. With colleagues Dan Stott and Timothy Ames at his side, he leaves the groves of academe for some fancy fieldwork deep in the heart of Wales. But never in their wildest dreams did the three professors expect the bizarre events that awaited them.... Where Miss Hilda Horsefall's recipe for homemade lye soap becomes as valuable as Dan Stott's knowledge of The Chronicles of Narnia...and where pursuing the wild asparagus...or rather the Giant Hogweed...becomes a dangerous expedition indeed.

20 May 2016

Book Beginnings & Friday 56 -- Piers Anthony's Castle Roogna (Xanth # 3)

Although I'm not QUITE finished with The Source of Magic yet I likely will be by mid-afternoon so decided to jump ahead and use the third book in the Xanth series for today's Book Beginnings and Friday 56. I am SO enjoying diving back in and will actually be sad to take a little break from them after Castle Roogna in order to get some of the other things I've got piling up marked off my never-ending TBR.

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

17 May 2016

Teaser Tuesday - The Source of Magic by Piers Anthony (Xanth # 2)

I loved these in middle school and high school and love them even more now. It's like reading them for the very first time in so many ways. In fact, I can't help but wonder what the heck I was doing reading them so young. WAY more mature at times than I likely really understood. 
Maturity can be fun.
I stayed up well into my normal pre-work nap time Monday night in order to finish A Spell for Chameleon and, even though I said I was shooting to do every-other book a non-Xanth, immediately loaded The Source of Magic onto my phone. The first three books of the series definitely go together so I'll be reading them together. (I don't have another ARC with a May release so I may as well, right?)

13 May 2016

Book Beginnings & Friday 56 -- Piers Anthony's A Spell for Chameleon

A million or so years ago I became enthralled with Piers Anthony and, especially, his Xanth novels. Of course, then college happened and I stopped reading as voraciously in favor of things like frat parties and trips across the border. I believe I left off my original reads with book 14 or 15. In October (or OctOgre for Xanthians) the 40th book in the series will be released. I originally thought I would just pick up where I had left off and go from there in order to get caught up but .... did I mention it was a million or so years ago?

I'm starting from the very beginning, with A Spell for Chameleon. The thing I have going on in my head plans to have every other book I read be something non-Xanthy ... but that may or may not work out. It was, after all, my favorite place to escape to once upon a time and once I get there I may not want to leave right away.
As always, Friday 56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

12 May 2016

Rambling About.. Dee Ernst's Stealing Jason Wilde

Title: Stealing Jason Wilde
Author: Dee Ernst
Publication Info: 17 May 2016 -- Lake Union
Amazon Description:
After her divorce, librarian Annie Reynolds thought she’d closed the book on love for good—it just wasn’t part of her safe, comfortable routine. But if there’s anyplace she can relax and have a little fun, it’s Dune Road, where she and her closest girlfriends return for their annual getaway in the Hamptons. She knows it’s just what she needs to escape her empty nest (and empty bed).
A chance encounter with a ruggedly handsome local promises Annie just that. But when one of her friends turns a simple flirtation with B-list movie star Jason Wilde into seduction—and Jason accidentally mixes a few drinks and his back-pain medicine—the ladies end up with a very high-profile houseguest. The media calls it a kidnapping, and before long, the FBI is on the hunt.
Soon the ladies’ tame little trip has turned into the adventure of a lifetime. But will this case of mistaken misdoing sabotage Annie’s second chance at love, or will she have the confidence to take matters into her own hands to find her happily ever after?

First Lines:
You know that famous saying "What happens on Dune Road stays on Dune Road"?
Wait -- maybe it's really not famous. The famous version is about Las Vegas. But are you familiar with the concept?
Faves on 4s:
14% -- "But I don't know how to talk to men anymore. I just talk to eight-year-old boys. About Greek gods and Transformers."
44% -- "The press is all over this. I'm trending on Twitter. This could be a giant break for me."
54% -- "Just because he was willing to share his stash with you does not automatically make him a good guy. I know plenty of assholes who smoke pot."
74% -- Today I followed Kelly into a miserable dive bar and watched as she put on a performance worthy of Masterpiece Theatre, even though the final act resulted in a little old man being taken to the hospital. Oh, and I was now officially identified as the possibly lesbian kidnapper.
94% -- "This could be dangerous."
            "You can't protect me?"
            "Are you always this difficult?"

What an absolute joy it has been to read a book with well-written characters past their 40s but definitely not past their "prime." Typically the only time this happens is in something dreary or a mystery with an aging knitting-bag-wielding amateur sleuth (yes, Jane Marple, I'm looking at you). 

Annie, Kelly and Deb are in their early 50s and have been friends since their children were little. For the past six years they've taken a week every spring and rented a beach house in the Hamptons with other friends. Most of the others had other things to do the week in question so it's just the three of them and Tina, who's ten years younger and a bit, well, off. 

Tina is mainly interested in going because she's more or less obsessed with an actor who's filming nearby -- Jason Wilde. When they cross paths with him one thing leads to another which leads to him being passed out in their beach house and them being suspected kidnappers. 

So much for a relaxing weekend of eating, window shopping and wine tasting!

I cracked up several times and couldn't help but imagine my friends and I being thrown into a similar situation. Granted, it's been a long time since I've had a group of friends that tight but once upon a time there was the "Sexy Librarian Book Club" and we even rented a lake house one weekend. (the most exciting things that happened were a loss of power and the purchase of a blow-up monkey)

I'm hoping that Ernst decides to write more about the Hopewell Ladies. If she does, I'll definitely be one of the first to pre-order!

(book received for free from NetGalley and Lake Union in exchange for an honest review)

10 May 2016

Teaser Tuesday & A Ramble - If The Dress Fits by Daisy James

I am so very glad that I requested If The Dress Fits on NetGalley and that Carina UK approved! It's being released this coming Thursday, May 12th.

Callie is going through stuff. Three years ago she basically ran away from her Yorkshire home, friends, family and childhood sweetheart and threw herself into designing and making couture wedding gowns. A famous actress is set to marry a rock star and has put out a call for dress submissions. Callie has toiled for months over her creation for the contest and just as the dress is about to be picked up to be taken to the final judging she receives a call to rush back home for a family medical emergency.  She's almost immediately faced with everything that she's been hiding from and her life gets turned upside down and inside out.

It's a story of love, of course, but not just the romantic kind. It's love of community, of what you do, and of who you are ... with a good smattering of craftiness, fashion and delectable pastries thrown in for good measure. I wanted to visit the little town. I wanted to attack and devour the cupcake pyramid. I wanted to learn how to knit.  I also wanted to shake Callie at times and tell her to snap out of it ... but seeing as how most of her friends did the same I guess it wasn't just me being overly snippy.

Highly recommended to chick lit lovers and I sincerely hope that Daisy James decides to revisit some of the secondary characters from this tale again. I would love to know what happens with them!

06 May 2016

Book Beginnings & Friday 56 - Tilly Tennant's The Little Village Bakery

I'm sorry. Truly, madly and deeply.
I'm sorry that you have to wait until June 15th for Tilly Tennant's The Little Village Bakery to be released! 
I am very grateful to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me the chance to fall in love with it early, but it makes me feel a little guilty to ooh and aah about it now when the best you can do is pre-order it.
I can, at the very least, give you snippets of the beginning and 56% mark. It's very likely that I'll have it finished before Teaser Tuesday rolls around again. Heck, it's very likely that I'll have it finished by the time I leave work in five and a half hours. Perhaps you'll luck out and I'll do a ramble with thee ol' "Faves on 4s." 
As always, Friday 56 (share a blurb from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice & Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

Amazon Description
Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles. 

Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention. 

But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan. 

03 May 2016

Teaser Tuesday - Jane Linfoot's Cupcakes & Confetti

Jane Linfoot went onto my "find and read" list shortly after I re-discovered the wonderful world of UK Chick Lit in December. When she offered to send me the first in her new series, Cupcakes & Confetti, of course I jumped all over the chance... and I've loved it so much that I just pre-ordered the second book even though it's not due out until September.

I had planned to fly through Cupcakes & Confetti over the weekend but life got in the way as is often the case ... and rather than feel like I was rushing through it I decided to ease off and savor it much in the same way one would savor a decadent cupcake, you could say.

There were so many quotable/teasable bits that it was hard to choose the perfect one so I went to the first blurb I highlighted in my ereader from the 4%ish mark. It sums up Poppy so well .... at least in her own head:

"Give me a sponge and some icing and I can work wonders. Whether it's fairy castles, dumper trucks for birthdays, or the multi-tiered wedding cakes I make so many of now, they come easily. Sadly, if icing isn't involved, I have a great talent for stuffing up."
Speaking of her own head, I'm not always a fan of first person narratives because so often I walk away wishing I knew what the character was really thinking. No such worry with Poppy! She rarely holds back her thoughts and even apologizes for TMI moments. I love her. I love her friends and co-workers. I even love Henrietta the Chicken.

Amazon Description
Brides by the Sea, the cutest little wedding shop in all of Cornwall, has it all, including cake baker Poppy who lives upstairs. But wedding planning is not the piece of cake Poppy thought it would be, and when her best friend Cate’s wedding planner walks out, Poppy has to tie up the loose ends so her bestie can tie the knot.

Double-booked venues, ‘rustic’ locations and gorgeous but grumpy farmer Rafe have this wedding pro feeling like she could be Cate’s ‘something blue.’

Will the wedding, the shop and the cake all come crashing down on her? Or will Poppy pull it off to give Cate – and herself – the happy ever afters they deserve?

This is the first full-length novel in a brand new series set in Cornwall. Look out for the next books in The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea series,

Sequins & Snowflakes
Bunting & Bouquets

The perfect romance to take on your summer holidays! For fans of Milly Johnson, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond.