Readers' Favorite

September 19, 2019

Highland Jewel by May McGoldrick ~ a Review

by MK French

Maisie Murray was used to being overlooked due to her sister's brilliance in medicine and surgery, and she used that to her advantage. She helped to found a women's suffrage group in Edinburgh, modeled after those in other parts of England. The problem was, the Prince Regent and his advisers saw any and all reform groups as traitors to the crown.

September 18, 2019

A Purrfect Alibi by Leighann Dobbs ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

This summer when I read A Whisker in the Dark (read my review) I wasn't sure if I would continue with this series. Yet, when I saw book 3 A Purrfect Alibi available at Netgalley I decided I would give the series a second look. I'm glad I did.

September 17, 2019

Lies in White Dresses by Sofia Grant ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"This is how it all began, then, the transformation she had never asked for.  In six weeks she would return a divorcee."  (p5)

September 16, 2019

Farewell My Life: Buona Notte Vita Mia by Cynthia Sally Haggard ~ an Excerpt

Wonderland: An Anthology edited by Marie O'Regan & Paul Kane ~ a Review

by MK French

There are eighteen brand new stories by well-known authors, including M.R. Carey, Genevieve Cogman and Catriona Ward. Poems by the wonderful Jane Yolen also bookend this volume. These are all different approaches to the Alice in Wonderland mythos, including horror renderings. Horror style Wonderland is actually very fascinating because most people think of only Jabberwocky as it's written. Here, we can have a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, alien and changing constantly every time you look at it. This is a little more like the American McGee Alice games, just off of normal to be eerie and bizarre.

September 15, 2019

The Girl Who Loved Ghosts by K. C. Tansley ~ a Review

by MK French

Kat is in her senior year at McTernan Academy, but her magical training means abandoning her best friend.  In the meantime, Evan is struggling with all of his real-world responsibilities as well as being the Kingsley heir and new owner of Ravenhurst manor. He and Kat have to travel into the past again, but completing their quest not only puts Kat in mortal danger but will require changing the past. Protecting everyone she loves means that Kat must risk destroying every relationship that matters to her.

September 14, 2019

5 Books to Read This Fall

by Susan Roberts

The kids are back in school and the hot muggy days are a thing of the past so it must be FALL - my favorite time of the year.  I have reviews of an eclectic group of new books - from non-fiction to suspense with some women's fiction in the mix.  I enjoyed all of them and want to share them with you.

September 13, 2019

A Hero Born by Jin Yong, translated by Anna Holmwood ~ a Review

by MK French

Guo Jing and his mother had to flee China for the northern steppes of Mongolia when his father was killed. He grew up there and eventually was under the tutelage of the Khan Temujin, the man that would become Genghis Khan, as well as the fabled Seven Heroes of the South. The plan is to get stronger and more skilled so that he could return to China and avenge his father's death.

September 12, 2019

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox ~ a Review

by MK French

In 1846, Gabriel Stone leaves Massachusetts after the death of his wife and moves to Maine. He becomes the minister for the town of Pale Harbor, and there are a number of odd occurrences within the sleepy little town. The townsfolk claim they're all caused by Sophronia Carver, who lives in the eerie Castle Carver with her maid. They claim she's a witch and had killed her husband, but it's soon clear that the incidents are inspired by Edgar Allan Poe tales. If Gabriel doesn't discover the truth, Pale Harbor might become one of Poe's stories.

September 11, 2019

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

by Alison DeLuca

I went on a month-long Young Adult book binge in August. Prompted by Time's 100 Best Young Adult Books list, I worked my way through some amazing fiction.

September 10, 2019

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I was intrigued about the premise of the book and since I love cozy mysteries, I had to give it a try. The Brontë siblings are amateur sleuths in The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis, the first book in the Brontë Sisters Mystery series. Ellis is the pen name of Rowan Coleman.

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Stout flakes softened the view out the train window: a snow-covered castle on a snow-covered hill ghosting up through the snowy air, the conductor calling, "Bad Bentheim; this is Bad Bentheim, Germany. Passengers continuing to the Netherlands must provide documents." Geertruida Wijsmuller - a Dutchwoman with a strong chin and nose and brow, a wide mouth, cashmere-gray eyes - kissed the baby on her lap. She kissed him a second time, her lips lingering on this smooth forehead. She handed him to his sister then, and pulled the skullcap off their toddler brother. "Es ist in Ordnung. Es wird nicht lange dauern. Dein Gott wird dir dieses eine Mal vergeben," Truus responded to the children's objections, in their own language. It's all right. It will be only for a few moments. Your God will forgive us this once. (p. 3)

September 9, 2019

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal ~ a Review

by MK French

As the Great Exhibition is built in 1850's London, Iris hopes to escape working in a doll shop and become a painter as she had always dreamed. Becoming the model for Louis Frost opens her world to all kinds of opportunities. The chance encounter with Silas, a curiosity collector that articulated skeletons or butterflies for the morbid tastes of artists and the gentry, is a forgotten moment for Iris. For Silas, it was a moment that sparked an obsession that would never relent.

September 7, 2019

Mirador by James A. Jennings ~ a Review

by MK French

Sarah Hunter is a nurse hoping to help people in need. When Pastor Tom looks for volunteers for a mission trip to Mirador in Chiapas, Mexico, Sarah immediately seizes the chance. Her husband Nate won’t let her go alone, and neither are aware of the unrest brewing in the country. Sarah tangles with the leader of a paramilitary group, and Nate is led deeper into the jungle of a secret rebel camp. Their two-week trip becomes rife with unforgiving tests and challenges.

September 6, 2019

3 New Books for September Reading

by Susan Roberts

I know that I'll be reading more books that publish in September but I wanted to bring you an early look at three that I really enjoyed.

September 5, 2019

An Unexpected Exploit by Kandi J. Wyatt ~ a Review

by MK French

Franklin follows a Sasquatch through a portal from Myrtle Beach, Oregon to the realm of Shinwano. There, he discovers a world full of mythical creatures and vows to protect the land. He doesn't realize how difficult it is to keep that promise, especially when a poacher, an NSA agent, and his friends are interested in the portal for different reasons. The poacher threatens his family, forcing Franklin to reconsider that promise and still try to keep his family safe. The consequences of that decision is more than a rift in the space-time continuum.

September 4, 2019

The House by the Cypress Trees by Elena Mikalsen @WF_writerEM ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

The House by the Cypress Trees is a beautiful romance novel but it is so much more. It's not only the love story of two people but also an armchair tour of Italy. The author describes the various places in Italy so that you feel like you're there. She also writes a lot about the delicious Italian food and wine and it all makes you want to call your travel agent and book a trip. I have been lucky enough to have visited all of the locations that she mentions in this book and it was wonderful to be reminded of how beautiful Italy is and how much we enjoyed visiting it.

September 3, 2019

A Dangerous Engagement by Ashley Weaver ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I have trouble passing up a cozy mystery when I see it. It doesn't matter if it is book 1 or book 20 in a series, I must read it. A Dangerous Engagement is book 6 in the Amory Ames series. I haven't read this series or anything by Ashley Weaver as this is her debut series. But I don't think it will be my last.

September 2, 2019

The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier ~ a Review

by MK French

Liobhan and her brother Brocc are on Swan Island, candidates in training to be part of the elite forces on the island. Because of their musical talent, they are selected to be part of an undercover mission as traveling minstrels. They have to find the missing harp that was used in the crowning of kings; without it, the people would never accept the coronation as valid. Prince Rodan is hardly the kind of man that would place the concern for his people at the forefront and is afraid of the uncanny. Unfortunately for him, the uncanny is involved in this, as well as court intrigue, a storyteller that acts as a gatekeeper to the Otherworld, and a difficult decision that Liobhan has to make.

September 1, 2019

Word to the Wise by @JennMcKinlay ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I discovered this series this summer when I read A Likely Story. That is book 6 in McKinlay's Library Lovers' Mystery series. Since enjoyed that book I looked at NetGalley to see if McKinlay had any books coming out and discovered book 10 - Word to the Wise. Though I haven't had time to catch up on this series I decide to go ahead and read. And I'm glad I did - it's so enjoyable.

August 31, 2019

Our Favorite Reads of August

Here we are again at the end of the month and facing the difficult naming our favorite read of the month. It is the official last weekend of summer for those in the U.S. as we celebrate with a long weekend. As the heat from the dog days of summer dissipates and there is a hint of fall in the crispness of the morning air, we start to transition from summer "beach" reads to autumn books perfect to read under the covers with a hot beverage. Regardless if you are wanting to hang onto summer or are ready for the fall these are books you will want to read.

August 30, 2019

The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"In the darkest hour before the breaking dawn, Caroline Shelby rolled into Oysterville, a town perched at the farthest corner of Washington State. The tiny hamlet hung at the very tip of a narrow peninsula, crooked like a beckoning finger between the placid bay and the raging Pacific. She was home,"  (p1)

August 29, 2019

The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"They were going to shoot her father. Maria crossed herself and out of the corner of her eye saw her mother and sisters doing the same. And then it all happened fast. Yurovsky pulled out a gun, the other men did the same, and there were flashes of light and deafening sound that ricocheted around the room, Nicholas staggered and fell heavily to the floor, but still guns were firing and that was when Maria realized they were shooting them all. They couldn't be. It made no sense. But they were."  (p 46)

How To Love A Duke In Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne ~ a Review & Interview

by MK French

Alexandra Lane had suffered a horrible trauma, but at least had her two best friends to help her through it. Now she is being blackmailed for it, one of her closest friends is betrothed when all three never wanted to marry, and the Duke of Redmayne is known as the Terror of Torcliff because of the visible scars he has. Alex is aware that marriage to the duke would help her financially and perhaps protect her from the blackmailer, and Piers feels fiercely protective of her and drawn to her intelligence.

August 28, 2019

Rash: A Memoir by @LisaKusel12 ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Have you dreamed of living abroad? While I love to travel, I've never wanted to live in a foreign country for longer than a few weeks. I'm always a little impressed with people who do which is one of the reasons I wanted to read Lisa Kusel's memoir Rash.

August 27, 2019

Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table by Carole Bumpus ~ a Review

by MK French

A retired family therapist, Carole and her husband traveled to France with P, a friend and translator. They went through the countryside with the intention of learning about cuisine pauvre, the everyday peasant-style cooking that the people use, as well as the stories and traditions of the families there.

August 26, 2019

August Reading & Blogging Wrap Up

by Donna Huber

August has been over the top hot, but we finally got a tiny break in the heat yesterday. While I prefer the heat to the cold, I'm looking forward to Fall. For those who have been following my summer wrap up posts you know work has been stressful. Thankfully, I've reached the light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to get back to doing my own job instead of filling in for the vacant positions. The start of a new semester also means that I'm back at my spin class. I took the summer off because I had strained a muscle in my hip. It's amazing how much energy I get from going just a few days a week. This weekend I celebrated the end of the dog days of summer by purchasing a couple of plants for the garden I created earlier this summer (they're perennials so they come back next summer) and a couple of books.

August 25, 2019

7 Women's Fiction Novels to Wrap Up Summer

by Susan Roberts

Women's fiction is an umbrella term for women-centered books that focus on women's life experience that are marketed to female readers.  I have seven women's fiction books today that show how varied the novels are that fall into the genre of women's fiction-- one is family life humor, one is a suspense novel, the third is a novel about an extremely dysfunctional family, two books about older women at pivotal points in their lives, and two books about women who have to make a decision whether to accept and forgive their past and start overlooking towards a happier life in the future. All of them are great books to wrap up the summer and head into fall with.

August 24, 2019

The Last Cleric by Layton Green ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

The upside of my ebook disorganization is that sometimes I find a great surprise. While I felt bad that The Last Cleric was lost in my virtual pile, I was happy to have this book to read.

August 23, 2019

You've Been Volunteered by @LauriemGelman ~ a Review

by MK French

Jen Dixon had previously been the class mom for her youngest child, who is now in third grade. There is a lot to juggle between those duties, her two older daughters' lives, her husband trying to curry favor with a potential business partner, and additional duties for the school. She remains irreverent and down to earth even as she tries to handle everything.

August 22, 2019

Man vs Durian by Jackie Lau ~ a Review

by MK French

Durian is a fruit with a rather noxious odor that people either adore or loathe. Peter So is one of those that loathe it, but Valerie Chow adores it. They meet when she spills durian ice cream on him, and the encounter leads to Peter agreeing to play fake boyfriend to her family. Perhaps it could even become more.

August 21, 2019

Everything You Are by Kerry Anne King ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

This beautifully written, lyrical novel is about music and family and forgiveness with a touch of magical realism.  It's one of those books that you want to get to the end to see how it ends but you find yourself reading slower because you don't want it to end and you don't want to say goodbye to the characters.

August 20, 2019

My Ex-Best Friend's Wedding by Wendy Wax ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"What can I say about the wedding dress?  I can tell you it's been in my family for generations.  That after all these years, it's still beautiful...It's one of a kind.  Ivory satin with a scooped neck, flange collar and a cleverly fitted bodice.  It's clean lined and elegant.  With its Chantilly lace mantilla it's the kind of dress meant for a showy, yet tasteful, fairy-tale wedding to a handsome prince.  And while happily-ever-after is never guaranteed, it's implied...After Lindy, my grandmother and her other cousins wore it.  So did their daughters and those of us who followed.  Every single Jameson bride looked beautiful in it." (p1-2)

August 19, 2019

The Warehouse by Rob Hart ~ a Review

by MK French

The Cloud is the biggest employer in the United States, with large complexes of housing, warehouses, and areas for entertainment for the employees. Paxton applied to work and live in one MotherCloud campus when his business failed due to Cloud's cheaper pricing, and Zinnia is there as a corporate spy. Cloud's creator is sure he can make the world a better place, but at what cost?

August 18, 2019

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service by Gary Sinise ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

“When I thought about that, I remembered something I have heard in church. We each have a purpose in life, and if we’re serving God, following him, living out God’s calling and purposes for our life, then we can have faith that God is leading us, and even difficult times can turn out all right. God can cause all things to work together for good.” 

August 17, 2019

Wishful Thinking by Helen Harper ~ a Review

by MK French

Saffron Sawyer is a dope fairy, creating illusions and guidance for the addicts in London. She's applied for other departments and finally was accepted to be a Faery Godmother. However, they are biting and bullying, and refuse to tell her the truth of her hiring: five fairies had gone missing and they're backlogged. In addition, she's essentially bait to try to find the kidnapper. She's determined to not only prove she has every right to be in that department but will try to solve the mystery of who is kidnapping the fairies... before she's next.

August 16, 2019

The Accidentals by Minrose Gwin ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Adjective:  Happening by chance or unexpectedly.
Noun:  A bird found outside its normal geographic range, migration pattern or season: vagrant

August 15, 2019

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ~ a Review

by MK French

Casiopeia Tun lives with her extended family in a small town in the Yucatán peninsula in 1927. She is treated little better than a servant, so she opens a box her grandfather had hidden away. This unwittingly opens the prison for Hun-Kamé, the former ruler of Xibalba, the underworld. Now Casiopeia is drawn into his plans to regain his throne as ruler of the Black City of Xibalba, even as his twin brother tries to thwart them to remain on the throne. Her life is on the line, but this is also the grandest adventure she would ever hope to be on.

August 14, 2019

Summer Date Nights with my Husband

by Alison DeLuca

Raising children takes a lot of energy. Just the logistics of getting the kid to practice, to school, and to the dinner table is exhausting.

August 13, 2019

Death Comes to Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy @VivWrites ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

"'What on earth are you so busy with, Merula?'
Merula Merriweather shocked upright, her pencil scratching across the paper she had been completely engrossed in. She blinked as she stared at the dark chiseled features of Lord Raven Royston sitting opposite her in the coach that rattled its way along a country dirt road."

August 12, 2019

Stars of Alabama by Sean Dietrich ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

This beautiful, well-written book is about hope during the darkest times. Even though the main characters face what seem like insurmountable problems, they are always working and hoping for a better life. They could face their problems because of the families they created out of the people they loved and who loved them -- not families by blood but families out of love.

August 11, 2019

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"He is struck with the thought of how long it takes the light to reach him.  How much has changed in the universe since that light left its star and traveled through the darkness, illuminating everything. It saddens him to think that some of those stars, perhaps many of them, no longer exist but their light goes on shining as if nothing at all has happened, as if nothing is wrong." (p 214)

August 10, 2019

Goodbye Paris by Mike Bond ~ a Review

by MK French

Pono Hawkins was planning to surf and smoke joints in Tahiti, but his old Special Forces buddy calls him for help. The terrorist that had tortured them in Afghanistan seems to be alive after all, and is in Paris with a backpack bomb, heading for the Eiffel Tower. When Pono arrives in Paris, however, they can't meet; his friend was abducted, and then his friend's wife the next day. He knows that they're on the clock, and his efforts are stymied at almost every turn by intelligence agencies and politics.

August 9, 2019

The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator by Timothy C. Winegard ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Some of you know that for my day job I work for a research center that studies tropical diseases so when I saw Timothy Winegard's new book on Netgalley I thought this might be an interesting read and give me a nice overview of a vector species for my job.

August 8, 2019

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

An escape room, also known as an "escape game", is a live‐action team‐based game where players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time.  Many companies use the escape room challenge as a team-building exercise to help build trust between employees on the same team.

August 7, 2019

When We Believed in Mermaids by @BarbaraONeal ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

I am always interested in books about sisters and the bond between them because of the bond that I have with my sisters. When I read the first line of this book, I knew that it was going to be an emotional story about the two sisters and the relationship between them.

"My sister has been dead for nearly fifteen years when I see her on the TV news." (p1)

August 6, 2019

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French

If you are here for First Chapter First Paragraph hosted by I'd Rather Be at the Beach, the excerpt is at the end of the post.

In the cutthroat world of Wall Street is one of appearances and greed, and Sara Hall was caught up in it as a junior member of one such finance team. The rest of the team, headed by Victor, was comprised of Sylvie, Jules, Sam, and Lucy. Her story is intercut with that of Sylvie, Jules, Sam and Victor in an escape room team-building exercise. The escape room clues were categorically cryptic but feel far more personal... and potentially deadly.

August 5, 2019

America for Beginners by @LeahFranqui ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

This beautiful debut novel was very emotional for me. After reading the reviews, it looks like it's either a 'love it or hate it' book with very little middle ground. For me it was a book that I loved with characters I won't soon forget.

August 4, 2019

The Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton ~ a Review

by MK French

ST is a domesticated crow living with Dennis the dog and Big Jim, his human. It's a good and simple life, but that changes when Big Jim's eyeball falls out of his head and he no longer is able to take care of himself. The other humans in their Seattle suburb neighborhood are also acting oddly, including devouring each other or their beloved pets. There are rumors among the animals of new predators in Seattle, and that the humans are no longer in charge.


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