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March 27, 2017

What I Read This Month #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber


Now that basketball season is over and my time isn't being taken up with the children's basketball program I volunteer with, I've been reading through books as if they are water and I've been wandering in the desert for days. To celebrate my return to the written word I went to the library book sale and got a few "new" books (pictured above). It is great to be back in the pages of my books. Here's what I've read this month.

WHAT I'VE READ

Audiobooks:

A Most Curious Murder
A Most Curious Murder (A Little Library Mystery #1) by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

I picked up this audiobook with the free credit I got for trying out eStories.com. It was everything that a cozy mystery should be. A very satisfying read to be sure. If you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland you will be extra tickled with the continual references to the story as characters work lines into everyday conversations.

Jenny Weston moves home to Bear Falls, Michigan, to nurse her bruised ego back to health after a bitter divorce. But the idyllic vision of her charming hometown crumbles when her mother's little library is destroyed.The next-door neighbor, Zoe Zola, a little person and Lewis Carroll enthusiast, suspects local curmudgeon Adam Cane. But when he's suddenly found dead in Zoe's fairy garden, all roads lead back to her. Jenny, however, believes Zoe is innocent, so the two women team up to find the true culprit, investigating the richest family in Bear Falls, interrogating a few odd townspeople, and delving into old, hidden transgressions until another body turns up.Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli's quaint and compelling series debut will delight cozy mystery fans new and old.

Buy A Most Curious Murder at Amazon


Twelve Days of Christmas
Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

I put a hold on this book back in November, but my number didn't come up until the beginning of March. It was a cute Christmas novella, and though, I would have enjoyed it at Christmas time it was fun listening to it now. I gorge myself on Christmasy fun stories in December so maybe I actually enjoyed it more after having a little break.

Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that s the last straw. She s going to break through Cain s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won't even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain s gruff facade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love.

Buy Twelve Days of Christmas at Amazon


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) by Ransom Riggs

This is one of those books that I kept meaning to read, but just never could find the time to do so. While looking for my audiobook at my digital library, I saw it was available and decided now was the time to read it (well, listen). It was interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I want to see the movie.

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Buy Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children at Amazon


The Lost Gate
The Lost Gate (Mither Mages #1) by Orson Scott Card

I keep trying to like fantasy and sometimes I find a great one that I do love (like Harry Potter). And other times I find okay ones that make me think that the fantasy genre just isn't my thing. The Lost Gate falls into the latter category for me.

Growing up in a family compound in Virginia, Dan North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that the differences were secrets that could never be told. He believed that he alone of his family had no magical power. But he was wrong. Kidnapped from his high school by a rival family, he learns that he has the power to reopen the gates between Earth and the world of Westil. This contemporary urban fantasy introduces the North family, a clan of mages in exile in our world, and their enemies who will do anything to keep them locked here.

Buy The Lost Gate at Amazon


eBooks:

Like a Closed Fist by E.H. Nolan

This book was a struggle for me. You can read my full review here.

It was harmless enough: her best friend's wedding. But for California girl Phoebe, forty-eight hours in North Carolina changed her life.

No one is more surprised than Phoebe when she falls hopelessly in love with her dad’s much older, very married friend. Although she wants nothing more than to jump headfirst into an affair with Mitch, he refrains, telling her she’s just a kid.

Determined to prove him wrong, young Phoebe learns the irony of best laid plans. She travels to North Carolina for a wedding and accidentally falls head-over-heels for two very different men: Mason, the hotel concierge, and Frankie, a captain in the Merchant Marines. Throw in two old flames and a hunky masseur and you’ve got a most complicated love hexagon in this cautionary tale of love, sex, grief, and growing up.

Buy Like a Closed Fist at Amazon


Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

I LOVE Chevy Stevens's thrillers. I've had the egalley forever but I wanted to wait until closer to the release date to read it because I knew I couldn't keep quiet after I finished. It was such a treat to read it after laboring through Like a Closed Fist. I will post my full review later this week, but for now I'll just say you MUST read it.

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Buy Never Let You Go at Amazon


Paperback:


The Beauty of the Fall
The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello

I won this in December from a Goodreads.com giveaway and if you read my monthly reading posts you know I started this book back in February. It was difficult to get into the story, but once I did it was wonderful. It reminded me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. While I found of the technology details tedious the insight into Dan's grief was interesting and poignant. If you are feeling philosophical about life (or want to feel so), I recommend reading this book.

Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss, Olivia Whitmore, fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.

Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. When Dan returns home with a fully formed vision, he recruits the help of three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.

Guided by Dan’s generative leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed by his grief?

Buy The Beauty of the Fall at Amazon


WHAT I'M READING

Audiobook:

The Lilac Girls
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

I've been seeing this book everywhere and I love WWII stories. Particularly books that tell the little-known stories of the era - stories of women on the homefront or life as a German. So when I saw my digital library had a copy and there was no waiting I knew I had to act fast. I'm loving it. If you need to go an extra mile on the treadmill, then this is the book you want to me listening to. I don't want to stop listening, but I also don't want it to be over too soon.

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

Buy Lilac Girls at Amazon


eBook:


Good Clean Murder
Good, Clean, Murder byTraci Tyne Hilton

This is free ebook I picked up in December (it's still free) when I was wanting cozy mysteries but having trouble finding any in my TBR pile or at the digital library. After reading two books that took me months to get through, I'm treating myself with a quick, fun read.

Living on her own for the first time, Bible school student Jane cleans houses to make ends meet. But being independent brings big trials, like falling for a handsome professor, dealing with an obnoxious roommate, and then there's the dead bodies...

Who knew being housekeeper to wealthy owners of a Roly Burger franchise would mean sweeping up clues to their death, while ministering to the needs of their heirs?

This is one big mess that Jane is intent on cleaning up before things get even worse.

Buy Good, Clean, Murder at Amazon


Paperback:


The Women in the Castle
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

I've just started this ARC that I won from a Goodreads.com giveaway. The book is beautiful with its rough cut pages and interior cover flaps. It hits the shelves on Tuesday.

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First, Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naïve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Buy The Women in the Castle at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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11 comments:

  1. Donna - another WWII book to add to your list is The Baker's Secret by Stephen Kiernan. It publishes in May and is about a small town in France during the occupation and a brave (female) baker who helps her town. I just finished it this weekend and it's fantastic.

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  2. Never Let You Go Sounds great in a spooky way. I'll be adding it to my wishlist. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  3. These sound really good! Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has been on my TBR for ages.

    Happy reading!

    ~Marie @ Ramblings of a Daydreamer
    Here’s my Monday post

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  4. A Most Curious Murder looks like a great cozy! Here's my reading list for the week: http://bit.ly/2ntgCD7

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  5. Great variety of books and nice to get back into those pages. I have Lilac Girls in my wish list on Audible. One day!

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  6. Your books look great, especially A Most Curious Murder. Have a great week!

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  7. I want to reread Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, technically it'll be the first time reading since I listened to the audio; I just bought the second and really need to refresh.

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  8. So many good ones here that are on my Wishlist! I am a Chevy Stevens fan as well, and I bought Never Let You Go on Audible. I borrowed the library CDs for The Twelve Days of Christmas and have them loaded on my iPod (maybe I'll wait until Fall for that one). The Women in the Castle is on my Wishlist, and I think I'd enjoy A Most Curious Murder. I love cozies! You had a great month!!

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  9. I love the library book sales! They always have great books and you feel good about supporting your library.

    I haven't read Miss Peregrine yet, but I know so many readers really loved it!

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