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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

March 25, 2019

March Reading & Blog Wrap-up

by Donna Huber

Can you believe we are already on the last Monday of March? I know there is another full week left of the month, but I like doing my wrap-ups on the last Monday. But I will be updating the post as the week progresses. So if you are reading this as part of It's Monday! What are your reading? it may be a little different if you stop back for the Monthly Wrap Up meme.

A little note about the picture above... I have been looking for a vanity since I moved into my house nearly 16 years ago. I also need more bookshelves. I haven't located a vanity that I like enough at a price I'm willing to pay so I decided to make my own. I spent Sunday afternoon painting, assembling, and installing my new vanity/bookcase combo. I love it!

Now onto the reading and all things blogging.

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Books in the Mail

I won these.

Discussion, Interviews, and More


I'm continuing to keep up with my discussion posts as part of Feed Your Fiction Addiction Discussion Challenge.

The Art of Power Reading
Watches, Clocks, and Time in Steampunk
Susan talked about a book event she attended: Movable Feast 2019
We name our Best Reads of March


An Interview with Kelly Curto
Meet Ana from Unexpected Escapade by Kandi J. Wyatt


Be sure to enter to win a $100 gift certificate to JORD Watches (all other entrants will receive a 10% off coupon). You can learn more about the watch I chose in the post The Perfect Watch for Steampunk Fans.

Books Read:

I haven't read as many books this month, but the books I did read were longer. 2 books were more than 500 pages (and I did read them as opposed to listening to them on audio). Most of the time the books I read are in the 200 - 380 page range. I read 9 books: 4 audiobooks, 5 ebooks. 4 of the ebooks were ARCs and 1 ebook was for my book club.

A Testament to Murder by Vivian Conroy

A testament to Murder
A fun cozy mystery. The plot isn't all that original but the cast of characters are interesting and the story is well written. Fans of Agatha Christie will really enjoy it. Read my full review. I received a free ARC from Netgalley.

A dying billionaire. Nine would-be heirs. But only one will take the prize...

At the lush Villa Calypso on the French Riviera, a dying billionaire launches a devious plan: at midnight each day he appoints a new heir to his vast fortune. If he dies within 24 hours, that person takes it all. If not, their chance is gone forever.

Yet these are no ordinary beneficiaries, these men who crossed him, women who deceived him, and distant relations intent on reclaiming the family fortune. All are determined to lend death a hand and outwit their rivals in pursuit of the prize.

As tensions mount with every passing second, retired Scotland Yard investigator Jasper must stay two steps ahead of every player if he hopes to prevent the billionaire’s devious game from becoming a testament to murder.

Buy A Testament to Murder at Amazon

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

Riddley Walker
I'm not sure I totally understand what I just read. The dialect used made it difficult to get into the story but once I got used to it, the book read pretty fast. It's a phonetic dialect but some of the words were difficult to decipher given that it is based on how the English pronounce words. Adding to the difficulting is the issue of the meaning of some words is not the same as the meaning today. The use of this dialect definitely shaped my understanding of this future, post-apocalyptic world. I checked this out from the library for my book club.

In the far distant future, the country laid waste by nuclear holocaust, twelve-year-old Riddley Walker tells his story in a language as fractured as the world in which he lives. As Riddley steps outside the confines of his small world, he finds himself caught up in intrigue and a frantic quest for power, desperately trying to make sense of things.

Buy Riddley Walker at Amazon

The Off Season by Colleen Thompson

The Off Season
Sometimes I have trouble following the twist and turns of a suspense novel when listening to the audiobook, but this story was so well laid out that I didn't have any issue. I really enjoyed the characters and the plot. It is a Prme Free Read.

Winter winds off the Atlantic have turned the tourist mecca of Seaside Creek, New Jersey, into a ghost town. Dr. Christina Paxton, however, is growing accustomed to living with ghosts. Recently widowed, the emergency room physician has returned to the shore with her young daughter, house-sitting a sprawling beachside Victorian home. One night, her two-year-old calls her by a name that makes Christina’s blood run cold and sends her thoughts spiraling back thirty years.

Deeply unnerved, and certain someone else is in the house, she flees with her child into the cold night, only to come face-to-face with Chief Harris Bowers, a former classmate with whom Christina has a complicated history. Now divorced, Harris hopes to mend their past, but Christina is wary of being played for a fool again. As threats emerge, Christina and her small family find themselves in grave danger. It seems there is no one she can put her trust in—least of all herself.

Buy The Off Season at Amazon

Will God Still Find Me? by Vicki Walton

Will God Still Find Me
This is a cute rhyming children's book with a positive message. This book is for review but it doesn't have a publication day yet. *Update: It published in May 2019.

Children will have fun “trying on” different jobs as they journey on this fun adventure that imagines exploring the depths of the earth to soar toward the heavens. Younger children can explore careers and traveling the globe while in the safety of a parent or grandparent’s arms.

 Buy Will God Still Find Me? at Amazon

Say You're Sorry by Karen Rose

Say You're Sorry
This book kept me up way too late every night. It was so good that I kept saying "just one more chapter". I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. Read my full review. I received a free ARC from Netgalley.

Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has tried hard to put his past behind him. He escaped the violence of his cult upbringing when he was just thirteen, and since then routine and discipline have been his way of making sense of the world. But when a petite blonde woman crashes into his life, he begins to realize that a little bit of chaos might not be so bad.

Daisy Dawson has had more than her fair share of pain too—but she's done being a victim. Daisy's determined to explore every new experience she can—including getting to know the dark and serious FBI investigator she meets when she fights off a masked attacker one night.

It soon becomes clear that Daisy's attack was just the beginning. Now the bloodied bodies of young women are showing up all over California, and, as Gideon tries to find the killer, it's clear that Daisy is in more danger than they ever realised.

Buy Say You're Sorry at Amazon

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson

Grounded Hearts
Another WWII novel that is a bit different. It is set in southern Ireland which had declared itself neutral and interned any armed forces found on their soil - German and British. The war is some distance issue for the citizens, though rationing of food and petrol is occurring. So it isn't like other war stories though there is an RAF pilot who wants to get back to his unit in England. It is more of a sweet romance. The characters were likable. I really liked the narrator. The Irish accent helped remind me where the story is set without being distracting or difficult to understand. Its a Prime Free Read.

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

Buy Grounded Hearts at Amazon

RED Hotel by Ed Fuller and Gary Grossman

RED Hotel
I haven't read a spy thriller this good since Tom Clancy stopped writing Jack Ryan, Sr. in the field. I loved the character of Dan Reilly, a man whose job isn't to save the country but feels it is his duty to what he can. In a time when most spy novels are focused on cyberterrorism and financial espionage, I loved that this went back to good old spycraft. Read my full review. I received a free ARC from Netgalley.

When a bomb rips the fa├žade off the Kensington Hotel in Tokyo, dozens are killed and injured while one man walks calmly away from the wreckage, a coy smile playing on his lips. Former Army intelligence officer Dan Reilly, now an international hotel executive with high level access to the CIA, makes it his mission to track him down. He begins a jet-setting search for answers as the clock ticks down to a climactic event that threatens NATO and the very security of member nations. Reilly begins mining old contacts and resources in an effort to delve deeper into the motive behind these attacks, and fast. Through his connections he learns that the Tokyo bomber is not acting alone. But the organization behind the perpetrator is not who they expect. Facilitated by the official government from a fearsome global superpower, the implications and reasons for these attacks are well beyond anything Reilly or his sources in the CIA and State Department could have imagined, and point not to random acts of terror, but calculated acts of war. RED Hotel is an incredibly timely globe-trotting thriller that’s fiction on the edge of reality.

Buy RED Hotel at Amazon

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

The High Tide Club
I wanted to read this after Susan reviewed it for Girl Who Reads. I put in the hold at the digital library for the audiobook and then waited and waited. My number finally came up...while I was on vacation. I got about halfway through it before my loan period ended (the digital library auto-checks out when the hold comes available). So I went back to waiting and finally I got to listen to the whole book. It was worth the wait. I really enjoyed the story and the characters. I think it was good that I relistened to the part I already had as I picked up on details that I don't remember from the first time.

When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.

Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.

Buy The High Tide Club at Amazon

The Uncertain Season by Ann Howard Creel

The Uncertain Season
At first, I thought it was a dual timeline story, but it isn't. Once I figured that out, the story was easy to follow I liked the story. The accent the narrator used sounded more Charleston than Texan, but maybe coastal Texans have a different accent than the rest of Texas. It was a free Prime ebook with Audible narration.

After the Hurricane of 1900 devastates Galveston Island, the lives of three women will never be the same.

Nineteen-year-old Grace’s golden age is just beginning. She and her mother live a privileged life. Beautiful and talented, Grace is looking forward to a pleasant summer celebrating her engagement to a wealthy young gentleman.

But when her lovely, charming, and disgraced cousin Etta arrives, Grace finds her place in society—and in her mother’s heart—threatened. Etta enchants everyone as she maneuvers to secure a station in Galveston’s upper echelons. Grace, in a reckless moment, reveals Etta’s scandalous past, and as punishment, she’s sent to work in Galveston’s back alleys, helping the poor. There, a silent waif known only as Miss Girl opens Grace’s eyes to new love and purpose. She’s determined to save this girl who lost her entire family in the hurricane and now slips along the shadows of the unfinished seawall with a mysterious resolve.

Soon, the lives of the three young women will converge as betrayal, mistaken identity, and a family secret sweep them toward a future that defies all expectations.

Buy The Uncertain Season at Amazon


In case you missed my St. Patrick's Day post, I thought I would share it here. My shamrock leggings are under the books.

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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  1. I’m impressed you made your own vanity/bookshelves! Say You’re Sorry sounds good.

    Have a great reading week:)

    1. Thanks! I'm loving my vanity. Say You're Sorry was really good.

  2. Lovely vanity indeed, even more so that you made it yourself. I got my attention caught on a couple of those books too. Have to go check them out on GR. Happy April!

    1. I'm always pleased when a project I did comes out the way I envisioned. Did you add those books to your TBR pile?

  3. Oh, I love the bookcase/vanity combo. Thanks for sharing...and your books look good, too. Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

  4. Nice assortment of books. I liked Say You're Sorry too. I also liked The Gilded Wolves and Lies Sleeping. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. I loved Say You're Sorry. I'm not sure if The Gilded Wolves will be my kind of book. I love its cover, but I may give it to my niece.

  5. I think I would end up tossing Riddly Walker across the room well before I finished it. My weekly update

    1. I thought that too but it the writing kind of grew on me.

  6. What a great idea for a vanity/bookshelf! You did such a great job. I see a couple of books that I want to add to my TBR list.

    1. Thanks! I love using my new vanity. Which books caught your eye?

  7. Hi Donna,

    A great piece of D.I.Y, unique and totally original!

    I have always enjoyed Agatha Christie's writing and like a good 'classic' murder / mystery, so 'A Testament To Murder' is right up my street, even though this is a new to me author.

    The Karen Rose story also sounds interesting and 'Grounded Hearts' might be a 'wild card' addition to my shelf!

    Thanks for sharing and Happy Reading in April :)


    1. I only recently discovered Vivian Conroy but I've enjoyed everything I've read by her.

  8. Sounds like you have been busy. I like the self-made vanity/bookshelves.

    1. The nicer days has me pretty energetic. I'm looking forward to April.

  9. Wow! Love that vanity! Such a great idea! Wish I was that creative. The Gilded Wolves is one I hope to read. Looks like March was busy, hope you have a great April, and thanks for stopping by my end of the month post at Lisa Loves Literature!

    1. It was so easy to do. Much easier than most of my projects. April is shaping up to being about as busy.

  10. Sounds like a good month, Donna! You seem to read more than me even in months when you don't read as much :)

    1. It was a good month. You read a lot of non-fiction which I find takes longer to read than fiction. I would probably only read a couple of books a month if that if I was reading non-fiction.

  11. I LOVE your new vanity!! What a great idea!

    1. Thanks! I got the idea after looking at some crate projects on Pinterest.

  12. Congrats on your book giveaway wins. I hope you end up loving The Gilded Wolves as much as I did. Happy April!

    1. Thanks! I'm not sure if The Gilded Wolves is my kind of books. I love the cover, but I might give it to my niece. I hope you entered my giveaway.

  13. Niiiice on the vanity. Looks good and always a plus having extra spots for pretty books to fit :)

    1. I can always use more book shelves. I already have one filled with my signed copies.

  14. Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

  15. I like your homemade vanity! More book shelves always come in handy. Gilded Wolves sounds exciting to read--congrats on winning a hardcover of it.

    1. Thanks! I'm going to give The Gilded Wolves a try, but I think I might give it to my niece. I hope you entered my giveaway.

  16. It's so cool how you made your own vanity! It looks amazing! And reading big books is a really difficult task! I'm impressed you managed to finish 2 in one month!

  17. I did a double take at Riddley Walker, because Russell Hoban wrote some of my favorite childrens' books (the Frances books, like Bedtime for Frances). I had no idea he wrote longer books as well!

    Happy reading in April! :)

  18. I love your homemade vanity! It looks amazing. Big Books tend to scare me a bit just because I also tend to stay between 200-360 page books. I mainly listen to anything bigger on audiobook.

    Happy reading in April!

    Tina @ As Told By Tina

  19. I love your shelf, plus homemade is so much more previous than bought!