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February 25, 2019

Reading Wrap up ~ February 2019

by Donna Huber


Image by Devanath on Pixabay

We have made to the end of February. It was an exhausting month for me. I volunteer with a children's basketball program and we had our last Game Day on Saturday followed by the End of Season Celebration on Sunday. I was in charge of gathering door prizes. I didn't want to go the gift card route so I put together a movie night family pack with movies, popcorn, and candy; family game night with a bunch of games and a few snacks; and a make your own ice cream sundae kit. It was a lot of work to gather all the stuff together but I think they turned out well.

Reading life slowed a bit because I was just plain tired. I'm actually pretty pleased that I've read as much as I did this month - thank you audiobooks. Let's take a closer look at what happened at Girl Who Reads and in my reading life.

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Posts you may have missed

As predicted, the number of my discussion posts declined this month with the increased number of books reviewed. But I did get in 2 discussion posts along with one from Susan and one from Alison. MK did an interview with Diane May.

Interview with Diane May, author of Evo (MK)
A Local Classic: Cold Sassy Tree (Donna)
Book to TV: Vanity Fair (Donna)
Game of Thrones and The Woman in White (Alison)
Remembering Rosamunde Pilcher 1924 - 2019 (Susan)
Best Reads of February 2019 (staff)

Of course, Susan and MK shared a ton of book reviews. Click on their names to see their recommendations.

Books I Read

I wasn't as careful as I should have been when requesting ARCs from Netgalley (6 plus 1 from Edelweiss); but in my defense, a bunch of great books published this month, many of them from my favorite authors. So I read a good number of ebooks. However, many evenings, particularly this past week I was too tired to read, so I relied on audiobooks to get my reading fix every day. I finished 10 books - 5 ebooks and 5 audiobooks. All 5 ebooks were for review.


How to Experience Death for Beginners
How to Experience Death for Beginners by Jessica Branton
I really liked the premise of this book, but I was disappointed that it was more about teen drama and angst than about the murder mystery. I received a free egalley from Edelweiss. Read my full review.

Casey Darling can enter the minds of people when they die. After receiving romantic advances from the enigmatic new guy at school, a serial killer invades her small town. Local police grow suspicious as she appears at crime scenes, but an FBI agent believes in her psychic powers. Will Casey fall in love or help take down a psychopath? Maybe both.

Buy How to Experience Death for Beginners at Amazon


The Thirteenth Chance
The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo
Fans of sport romance novels will probably enjoy this one. I liked Olivia, but Will grated on my nerves. It's a clean romance which I appreciated since I listened to the audiobook at work. It was a free ebook with free Audible narration for Prime members.

Baseball star Will Vandergriff knows any number of women who would happily pretend to be his girlfriend. In a last-ditch effort to restore his good standing with his team’s higher-ups, he enlists the help of his neurotic, goody-goody neighbor. Schoolteacher Olivia Pratt might be a bit quirky and a bit of a loner, but she’s a lot more inviting than she knows. Will hopes that bringing her to his next game might revamp his reckless reputation and help get his career back on track. The only problem? The plan works a little too well. Not only do the higher-ups love Olivia, but Will plays his best game yet. Suddenly his losing streak is a thing of the past, and Olivia is his new good-luck charm. Will feels anything but lucky.

After years of keeping the world at bay, Olivia Pratt is pulling off the ultimate performance—not only reluctantly posing as Will’s girlfriend but also insisting that she’s oblivious to his major-league appeal. But she can only lie to herself for so long. Being by Will’s side feels good. Really good. Maybe it’s finally time to make a pitch for everything she really wants—and to find out just how exhilarating love can be.

Buy The Thirteenth Chance at Amazon


Past Due for Murder
Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
This was a new-to-me cozy mystery series and author. I really enjoyed it. It was fun and I loved the characters, so much so that I can't wait to read the previous books in the series. I received a free galley from Netgalley. Read my full review.

Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first―but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.

The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished―or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.

When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events―and a dead body lying nearby―an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth.

Buy Past Due for Murder at Amazon


The Victory Garden
The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
Rhys Bowen has become a favorite author since I picked up her cozy mystery series Her Royal Spyness. And for how much I enjoy that series, I love her stand-alone historical novels. I picked this up at Netgalley. Read my full review.

As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.

As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny.

Buy The Victory Garden at Amazon


Once an Heiress
Once an Heiress by Renee Ryan
At first, I thought this would be a Regency Romance type novel, but it isn't. It is very much a coming-of-age story that touches on themes of forgiveness and grace. There is a bit of romance but it is all very clean and proper for the time period depicted. It was a free ebook with Audible narration for Prime members.

Boston society darling Gigi Wentworth leaves behind everything she holds dear for the sake of love—only to learn that the man with whom she’d planned to elope is nothing but a thieving scoundrel. Abandoned in New York City and saddled with debt, Gigi must sell a prized family heirloom, but even that sacrifice isn't enough to get her home. Her determination drives her to take on work as a lady’s maid, keeping her identity a secret…until she’s discovered by a former friend with a hidden agenda.

Although dealing with his own serious family issue, Christopher “Fitz” Fitzpatrick sets out to return the missing heiress to her rightful place in society. But the more he interacts with this new Gigi, the more shocked he is to find her so changed. Gone is the frivolous beauty in expensive gowns. In her place is a woman he could grow to love. When secrets are revealed, will Gigi and Fitz find the trust they need to confront the past and open their hearts?

Buy Once an Heiress at Amazon


Silent Approach
Silent Approach by Bobby Cole
This was a pretty good crime. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been reading a similar book at the same time. I wonder if it is the start of a series. It definitely has potential. It was a free ebook with Audible narration for Prime members.

One year after witnessing the tragic traffic accident that claimed his beloved wife and unborn child, accountant John Allen Harper seeks to remake his life. When he accepts a position with the Mississippi Choctaw Nation as their cultural liaison, he is tasked with one job: to track down and reclaim the tribe’s stolen artifacts dug up from sacred ground and sold on the black market.

John Allen’s investigation leads him to crooked publisher Winston Walker, who’s using these priceless antiquities to prop himself up after a wealth-wasting divorce. Racing against time, John Allen finds a cache of treasures stolen thirty years ago that may hold the key to an unsolved murder and mysterious disappearance. Along the way, he teams up with FBI agent Emma Haden, who is also investigating Walker and who stirs unexpected feelings in John Allen.

But the desperate Walker won’t go quietly, and the closer John Allen gets to the truth and the proof that will put Walker away, the closer he may come to being buried himself.

Buy Silent Approach at Amazon


A Deadly Divide
A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan
While this is the fifth book in the Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak series, it is the first one I read. It has great characters and the story is interesting. I chose it at Netgalley because it sounded like it could be a great thriller and it had the bonus of adding diversity to my reading. The story is set in Quebec and is focused on a shooting at a local mosque and the tension in town with immigrant community. Read my full review.

In the aftermath of a mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec, the local police apprehend Amadou Duchon—a young Muslim man at the scene helping the wounded—but release Etienne Roy, the local priest who was found with a weapon in his hands.

The shooting looks like a hate crime, but detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty sense there is more to the story. Sent to liaise with a community in the grip of fear, they find themselves in fraught new territory, fueled by the panic and suspicion exploited by a right-wing radio host.

As Rachel and Esa grapple to stop tensions shutting the case down entirely, all the time, someone is pointing Esa in another direction, a shadowy presence who anticipates his every move.

Buy A Deadly Divide at Amazon


The Low Bird
The Low Bird by David L. Robbins
I don't know much about the Vietnam War (though I watched Ken Burns's documentary which is really good), so I wanted to read this book. I read a lot of WWII books, and I kind of thought it would read kind of like them. But it was different. Definitely not as romanticized as many WWII stories are. A lot of action in this book. I liked the historical notes at the end. It was a free ebook with Audible narration for Prime members.

On his first combat mission of the Vietnam War, US Air Force pilot Sol Rall is shot down over the jungles of Laos. Stranded in a valley teeming with enemy troops, Sol scrambles to survive and evade capture. Pararescueman Bo Bolick has been given just twenty-four hours to find Sol before a US carpet bombing destroys every living thing in the valley, friend or foe.

As Bo’s search intensifies, Minh, a young Hanoi woman who entertains the fighters and travelers along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, becomes inextricably caught up in the raging battle between her North Vietnamese troops and the American forces sent to rescue Sol. In the midst of heavy combat, Minh tries to find and understand love for the first time in her life.

But the clock is ticking. A curtain of fire is going to descend. The desperate realities of jungle warfare are about to collide with a warrior’s code that says no man will be left behind.

Buy The Low Bird at Amazon


Chocolate Cream Pie Murder
Chocolate Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
I discovered this series not too long ago, though I've only read a couple of books in the series. It is a fun foodie cozy mystery. It is a quick read. I started in Saturday after I got home from the basketball games and running a couple of errands. I picked it up whenever I found a free moment on Sunday and finished it Sunday night. I got it from Netgalley and my review will post on Wednesday.

When The Cookie Jar becomes the setting of a star-studded TV special about movies filmed in Minnesota, Hannah hopes to shine the spotlight on her bakery—not the unsavory scandal swirling around her personal life. But that’s practically impossible with a disturbing visit from the shifty character she once believed was her one and only love, a group of bodyguards following her every move, and a murder victim in her bedroom. Now, swapping the crime scene in her condo for her mother Delores’s penthouse, Hannah and an old flame team up to solve a case that’s messier than an upended chocolate cream pie. As suspects emerge and secrets hit close to home, Hannah must serve a hefty helping of justice to an unnamed killer prowling around Lake Eden . . . before someone takes a slice out of her!

Buy Chocolate Cream Pie Murder at Amazon


The Mutual Admiration Society
The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen
I find it interesting that this isn't considered middle grades or young adult as it features an 11-year-old as the main character. I found Tessie funny - she is solving crimes now so she will know how to be a criminal when she grows up. Though I also felt sorry for her as she has had to take on a lot of the responsibility of caring for her sister and herself. Set in an era when children could run wild in the neighborhood (and still be good kids), this was a fun mystery. It is a free ebook with Audible narration for Prime members.

FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, she’s in over her head.

PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.

Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society—as if dealing with her “sad madness” over the tragic drowning of her beloved father; showering tender loving care on her “sweet but weird” younger sister, Birdie; and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to “homes.” And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.


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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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14 comments:

  1. Very cute leggings! You did a lot of reading for being so busy. Happy March reading!

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    1. Thanks! I can't wait to wear my St. Patrick Day ones. I didn't think I had read so much until I started putting together this post.

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  2. As busy as you were, you still read a lot. I like the variety of books. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  3. Enjoyed the post and like your leggings.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  4. I can't believe I've read none of those - so many look interesting and I will check them out. Great reviews!

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  5. You did have a busy month and the basketball kept you engaged and creative. But you did get quite a bit of reading done as well and I totally agree about audiobooks being great for when you're tired. Yes I do love the Rhys Bowen series on audio and have enjoyed some of her historical stand alones too.

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  6. Awesome wrap-up!! I love your leggings!! And oh my gosh, aren't the Joanne Fluke books so funny!?

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  7. good to know that the first book was disappointed, I was tempted by it. My post is here: https://wordsandpeace.com/2019/03/01/2019-february-wrap-up/

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  8. I love the books on your list and the leggings too!

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  9. How To Experience Death For Beginners has such a great concept and sounds so interesting. It totally sucks that it didn't live up to your expectations.

    I love your leggings! Yay for basketball season finishing! I hope you are able to have some time to yourself this month.

    Happy March!

    Tina @ As Told By Tina

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  10. I've seen photos of Victory Garden and I would love to have that book! Great reading month you had!

    Here’s my Monthly Wrap Up!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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  11. Congrats on the end of your basketball season. Sounds like a fun way to spend your time!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  12. Victory Garden is on my TBR and the other books you read are new to me. Hope your March is going well and I'm looking forward to seeing your St. Patrick's Day leggings too.

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