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26 June 2022

I'll Sleep When I've Read... The Girl Who Survived by Lisa Jackson


Title: The Girl Who Survived
Author: Lisa Jackson
Publication: 28 June 2022
FormatKindle eArc via NetGalley & Kensington

Amazon Description

In this deviously volatile, deliciously creepy thriller from the #1 New York Times bestseller, the lone survivor of a brutal family massacre must uncover the awful truth about the fateful night that left her forever marked…

Has she already had her last chance to be the final girl?

All her life, she’s been the girl who survived. Orphaned at age seven after a horrific killing spree at her family’s Oregon cabin, Kara McIntyre is still searching for some kind of normal. But now, twenty years later, the past has come thundering back. Her brother, Jonas, who was convicted of the murders has unexpectedly been released from prison. The press is in a frenzy again. And suddenly, Kara is receiving cryptic messages from her big sister, Marlie—who hasn’t been seen or heard from since that deadly Christmas Eve when she hid little Kara in a closet with a haunting, life-saving command: Don’t make a sound.

As people close to her start to die horrible deaths, Kara, who is slowly and surely unraveling, believes she is the killer’s ultimate target.
Kara survived once. But will she survive again? How many times can she be the girl who survived?

Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff

Mid-day Saturday I got notification via NetGalley that Kensington had made Lisa Jackson's The Girl Who Survived available to me.

I started reading about 2:30pm. I went to bed, book finished, about 1am. I did make dinner, watch some tv, and snooze a little on the couch between times, but all in all this was most definitely an "I'll Sleep When I've Read..." kind of book!

It wasn't as "on the edge of the seat" as some suspense/thriller, and I felt like I could have probably edited out at least a quarter of it from repetition without missing a beat, but I still couldn't bring myself to put it down for more than a few minutes -- and not because I wanted to have something to post this morning. I needed to know what happened twenty years ago when the book began. Towards the end there were several audible "holy heck" moments which got me some strange looks from the 16 year old sitting across the room from me (I think he was waiting to sleep until I'd read, also). 

These were the moments that jumped my rating from 3 stars to 4 ... and will make me look for more Lisa Jackson books to read as this was my first.

If you want to share whatever has kept you up past your bedtime because you just needed one more chapter ... or the entire book ... please comment! My TBR pile is already toppling, but I can always add more.

24 June 2022

Longbourn by Jo Baker (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)


Title: Longbourn
Author: Jo Baker
Publication: 8 October 2013
FormatVintage Books

Amazon Description

A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NOTABLE BOOK • The servants take center stage in this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice.

While Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters fuss over balls and husbands, Sarah, their orphaned housemaid, is beginning to chafe against the boundaries of her class. When a new footman arrives at Longbourn under mysterious circumstances, the carefully choreographed world she has known all her life threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended. Mentioned only fleetingly in Jane Austen’s classic, here Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Regency England and, in doing so, uncovers the real world of the novel that has captivated readers’ hearts around the world for generations.


Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff

There was quite a long time that I shied away from any sort of Jane Austen "reimagining." Those days are quite obviously over and I am quite thrilled that at least one of my regular hotel guests knows me (and likes me) well enough to know that if they see something that has anything at all to do with Jane, it's worth at least mentioning to me. It comes in handy that his wife is also quite the prolific Austenite. She recently read Jo Baker's Longbourn ... and made sure that the husband in question not only mentioned it, but brought me her copy to read. 

This is definitely worth reading and savoring and, probably, not loaning out to anyone else so it can sit in my collection to be read and re-read (which is okay with the wife in question as she bought herself a hardcover as soon as he agreed to bring me the paperback).

Longbourn is a behind-the-scenes take on Pride & Prejudice -- or, more accurately, a below-the-stairs take. The Bennets et al from P & P are there, but they aren't the focus. Instead their housemaid Sarah is the heroine of the tale and she is well on her way to becoming one of my favorites and I'm not even half-way through.
(This week's "56" is from page 156 of the paperback.)


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

21 June 2022

The Last Dress from Paris by Jade Beer (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)


 Title: The Last Dress from Paris
Author: Jade Beer
Publication: 21 June 2022
FormatKindle eARC via NetGalley & Berkley

Amazon Description
The secret is hidden within a collection of Dior dresses...

London, 2017. There’s no one Lucille adores more than her grandmother. So when her beloved Granny Sylvie asks for Lucille’s assistance with a small matter, she’s happy to help. The next thing she knows, Lucille is on a train to Paris, tasked with retrieving a priceless Dior dress. But not everything is as it seems, and what Lucille finds in a small Parisian apartment will have her scouring the city for answers to a question that could change her entire life.

Paris, 1952. Postwar France is full of glamour and privilege, and Alice Ainsley is in the middle of it all. As the wife to the British ambassador to France, Alice’s job is to see and be seen—even if that wasn’t quite what she signed up for. Her husband showers her with jewels, banquets, and couture Dior dresses, but his affection has become distressingly elusive. As the strain on her marriage grows, Alice’s only comfort is her bond with her trusted lady’s maid, Marianne. But when a new face appears in her drawing room, Alice finds herself yearning to follow her heart...no matter the consequences.

The City of Light comes alive in this lush, evocative tale that explores the ties that bind us together, the truths we hold tha
t make us who we are, and the true meaning of what makes someone family.

Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff

I decided to take a little break from Anansi Boys until I have more time and energy to focus on it and jumped on the next book on my NetGalley shelf -- which happens to be getting released today! The time and energy is still sorely lacking, so I figured I would just do the "Intros" segment of Tuesday since I could use the Prologue and Chapter One and have a good little tease to post from those with the description from Amazon.

Dual timeline books don't always click with me, but Beer wrote both stories which such passion and detail that I was instantly hooked. I'm just over half-way through now and what I thought would be a simple story about the search for a dress has become so much more -- and not just because there is more than the one dress. It has been a heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking adventure full of mystery and romance and self-discovery and when I hit 60% I saw what I knew had to be the 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 Socrates' Book Reviews. 

"Teaser Tuesday" at The Purple Booker asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.


17 June 2022

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)


Title: Anansi Boys
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication: 20 September 2005
FormatKindle ebook & paperback

Amazon Description

In this #1 New York Times bestseller, Neil Gaiman returns to the territory of his masterpiece, American Gods, to once again probe the dark recesses of the soul.

God is dead. Meet the kids.

Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider is on his doorstep—about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting ... and a lot more dangerous.

Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff
I absolutely loved American Gods once life settled down enough for me to actually devote the time and energy that it took. That's the thing ... one of many things ... about Gaiman. You really can't just half-ass reading his stuff because it will become all-consuming. Anansi Boys is definitely no exception. Work was crazier than expected this week so I haven't made as much progress as I had been expecting to by now, but I grabbed the blips and blurbs before really diving in so I would have something to post today and I have the next two nights off so hopefully I'll get in some quality time with Fat Charlie ... and, I suppose, Spider.


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

14 June 2022

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (Tuesday Intro & Teaser Tuesday)

 Title: The Dead Romantics
Author: Ashley Poston
Publication: 28 June 2022
FormatKindle eARC via NetGalley & Jove/Berkley

Amazon Description
A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.
When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won't give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.
For ten years, she's run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.
Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.
Romance is most certainly dead . . . but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff

Oh my heck.
This book.
I mean ... really ... this book.
From the very beginning I fell in love with poor disillusioned Florence and I felt her feelings from deep within my very soul. By the time I hit 19% I had already filled two pages of my reading journal with quotes and began to question if I would ever be able to come close to doing it justice with just the beginning and one other blurb. I started debating said blurbs as early as 6%.
It'd been a year since The Breakup -- everyone has at least one in their lives. You know the one, right? The kind of breakup from a love you thought would last your entire lifetime, only to find your heart ripped out with a spork by your former lover and placed on a silver platter with FUCK YOU written in ketchup.

I was so tempted to use that. But, really, I was only 6% in and there was still 94% of options left to go. So I kept going. And going. And almost didn't sleep. And definitely didn't eat. And even thought about calling in for a mental health night at work ... especially after the 12% option almost killed me.  

Love was a high for a moment that left you hollow when it left, and you spent the rest of your life chasing that feeling. A false memory, too good to be true, and I'd been fooling myself for far too long, believing in Grand Romantic Gestures and Happily Ever Afters.

Still too early and probably too depressing and still 88% left. And, really, it isn't a depressing book at all. Well, not entirely. I could blurb some of the moments that made me snort my coffee. I could fill an entire collage box with puns or gallows humor or Elvis or the multi-term mayor, Fetch, who just happens to be a golden retriever. I could go on for days about the multitudes of moments that ended up feeling like a rib-cracking hug from her dad. Her entirely family, really. Or her ghost. 

I'm opting for the ghost and one not-so-short blurb from 43%. 

The rest you'll have to just read for yourself.



"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 Socrates' Book Reviews. 

"Teaser Tuesday" at The Purple Booker asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.


12 June 2022

I'll Sleep When I've Read... Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry


Title: Buried in a Good Book
Author: Tamara Berry
Publication: 24 May 2022
FormatKindle eArc via NetGalley & Poisoned Pen Press

Amazon Description

"A mystery writer finds solace and murder in rural Oregon...Whimsy meets woodsy"— Kirkus Reviews

Don't miss the first book in a brand-new gripping and hilarious bookish cozy mystery series by author Tamara Berry!

Bestselling thriller writer Tess Harrow is almost at the end of her rope when she arrives with her teenage daughter at her grandfather's rustic cabin in the woods. She hopes this will be a time for them to heal and bond after Tess's recent divorce, but they've barely made it through the door when an explosion shakes the cabin. Suddenly it's raining fish guts and...is that a human arm?

Tess was hardly convincing Gertie that a summer without Wi-Fi and running water would be an adventure. Now she's thrust into a murder investigation, neighbors are saying they've spotted Bigfoot in the woods near her cabin, and the local sheriff is the spitting image of her character Detective Gabriel Gonzales—something he's less than thrilled about. With so much more than her daughter's summer plans at stake, it's up to Tess to solve this case before anyone else gets hurt.

Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff

This was an unexpected joy and the great beginning to what I am certain will be a great series. I have heard of Tamara Berry (aka Tamara Morgan ... aka Lucy Gilmore), but this is the first of hers that I have read and it certainly won't be the last. It features newly divorced crime thriller novelist Tess Harrow and her fourteen year old daughter, Gertrude (Gertie to her friends). They've left Seattle to spend a month reconnecting with each other at the cabin Tess inherited from her grandfather -- while disconnecting from modern conveniences like wifi and running water. They also connect, literally, with a real life murder mystery. There were so many twists and turns and laugh out loud moments and I absolutely did not see the ending coming the way that it did. It was well worth sleepless hours and I cannot wait until the next one comes out. It looks like November, but I'll be looking for it on NetGalley for sure. I need more Tess and Gertie!

If you want to share whatever has kept you up past your bedtime because you just needed one more chapter ... or the entire book ... please comment! My TBR pile is already toppling, but I can always add more.

10 June 2022

A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)


Title: A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons
Author: Kate Khavari
Publication: 7 June 2022
FormatKindle eArc via NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books

Amazon Description
Debut author Kate Khavari deftly entwines a pulse-pounding mystery with the struggles of a woman in a male-dominated field in 1923 London.

Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh is determined to blaze a new trail at the University College London, but with her colleagues’ beliefs about women’s academic inabilities and not so subtle hints that her deceased father’s reputation paved her way into the botany department, she feels stymied at every turn.
When she attends a dinner party for the school, she expects to engage in conversations about the university's large expedition to the Amazon. What she doesn’t expect is for Mrs. Henry, one of the professors’ wives, to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin. 

Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect and evidence quickly mounts. Joined by fellow researcher -- and potential romantic interest -- Alexander Ashton, Saffron uses her knowledge of botany as she explores steamy greenhouses, dark gardens, and deadly poisons to clear Maxwell's name.
Will she be able to uncover the truth or will her investigation land her on the murderer’s list, in this entertaining examination of society’s expectations.
Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff
This was absolutely a cover/title grab when I first requested it on NetGalley oh so many months ago. I love a good cover ... and a good poison. Parties? I'm more the wallflower type after the planning of the party is all said and done. Heck, I'm not even really the wallflower type. I'm more the "just let me know how it went after the fact" type ... but I still had high hopes for the book. I was most definitely not disappointed. 
All of the basics, of course, are covered in the description. What it fails to mention is how enthralling Saffron is. The girl definitely has chutzpah -- much to the delight of some and the dismay of many. No one expects her to be as, well, "balls to the wall" as she is. Even her flatmate, Elizabeth, whom has known her pretty much forever is taken aback by the lengths Saff is willing to go to in order to solve the mystery at hand when the police seem determined to believe that it's as clear cut as the poisonous plant they believe was used by her mentor to do the dastardly deed. She even goes so far as to poison herself with the same plant! Minor minor spoiler ... but it's just too cool not to mention and what happens is something you'll want to read for yourself ... and then thank me for later.


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

07 June 2022

Mint Chocolate Murder by Meri Allen (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)


Title: Mint Chocolate Murder
Author: Meri Allen
Publication: 26 July 2022
FormatKindle eARC via NetGalley & St Martin's Press

Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff

I did not read the description for this before I requested it on NetGalley, or before I started to read it, beyond finding out that it was the second in a series, following The Rocky Road to Ruin (which I teased on Friday). I'm opting to not include the usual Amazon Description because I discovered that I kind of liked not knowing ahead of time who the victim was going to be. I wasn't surprised but, really, it could have gone in a number of ways and I kept thinking to myself "ooooh maybe it's going to be her/him/whomever."  If you really want that bit spoiled, go ahead and read the description by clicking on the cover or the teaser collage and going to Amazon ... but I'm not going to be the one to spill the beans.

This story still takes place in Riley's hometown of Penniman, Connecticut, but we see very little of the ice cream shop and farmstead and spend most of our time at Moy Mull -- the castle-turned-artist colony. It's a reproduction Scottish castle with all sorts of history and outbuildings and a dungeon-turned-conference room and I have loved reading about all of it (especially the potential hauntings). It does kind of make me sad because I'm at 60% right now and we have yet to see two of the side characters from Rocky Road who had been staying there, but there's enough going on that I'm only kind of sad -- not completely devastated. Besides, there's still 40% left for them to suddenly appear and there's still a little matter of who killed ....... someone.


"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 Socrates' Book Reviews. 

"Teaser Tuesday" at The Purple Booker asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.

03 June 2022

The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen (Book Beginnings & Friday56)

Title: The Rocky Road to Ruin
Author: Meri Allen
Publication: 27 August 2021
FormatKindle ebook

Amazon Description

Riley Rhodes, travel food blogger and librarian at the CIA, makes a bittersweet return to her childhood home of Penniman, Connecticut – land of dairy farms and covered bridges - for a funeral. Despite the circumstances, Riley’s trip home is sprinkled with reunions with old friends, visits to her father’s cozy bookshop on the town green, and joyful hours behind the counter at the beloved Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. It feels like a time to help her friend Caroline rebuild after her mother’s death, and for Riley to do a bit of her own reflecting after a botched undercover mission in Italy. After all, it’s always good to be home.

But Caroline and her brother Mike have to decide what to do with the assets they’ve inherited – the ice cream shop as well as the farm they grew up on – and they’ve never seen eye to eye. Trouble begins to swirl as Riley is spooked by reports of a stranger camping behind the farm and by the odd behavior of the shop’s mascot, Caroline’s snooty Persian, Sprinkles. When Mike turns up dead in the barn the morning after the funeral, the peace and quiet of Penniman seems upended for good. Can Riley find the killer before another body gets scooped?

Ramble-y Teaserish Stuff
The second book in this series is due out next month and has been sitting on my NetGalley shelf for a while now so I figured now would be a good time to finally read the first. I am so ridiculously behind on my NetGalley reads and I hate that ... but I'm working on it and will eventually catch up. Or not. Whatever.

When I first read the description for this and saw that the main character, Riley, was a librarian for the CIA, my brain immediately went to Culinary Institute of America. Nope. Not that CIA. The other CIA. It gives an added oomph of suspiciousness and paranoia and angst to the character that made this cozy a bit less predictable than I was originally expecting. 

It's full of delightful (and not so delightful) characters and descriptions and sooooo much food ... and ice cream! It has kept me guessing from the get-go which is a rare treat from a cozy. Almost as rare as sunflower ice cream (which I really really would like to get my hands on).

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