Readers' Favorite

July 9, 2020

Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette de Bodard ~ a Review

by MK French

Dragon Prince Thuan brings home his husband Asmodeus to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Instead of family gatherings, they're greeted by a body on their doorstep. Asmodeus is delighted to investigate a murder, while Thuan is pulled into the political arena he wanted to give up. At the same time, they still have to navigate their way through their relationship.

July 8, 2020

Big Book Summer Read: Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews

by Donna Huber

Do you love big books? I cannot lie; I loved this big book. Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews is a wonderful summer mystery read. If you didn't add it to your list when Susan review it, you need to put it on your summer reading list now.

July 7, 2020

The Good Luck Stone by Heather Bell Adams ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Wearing the brooch was a risk, but surely no one would recognize it. Audrey Thorpe lingered by the wall in the lobby of Savannah's Jepson Center for the Arts. Waiters circulated with trays of champagne and bite-sized crab cakes while the museum's donors mingled and congratulated themselves on another fine exhibition. (p. 3)

July 6, 2020

The Book of Dragons by Jonathan Strahan ~ a Review

by MK French

The Book of Dragons is a collection of stories and poems involving dragons, including the current masters of fantasy writing. It is also illustrated by award-nominated artist Rovina Cai, who has black and white line drawings accompanying each entry into this collection.

No One Saw by Beverly Long ~ a Review

by MK French

Five-year-old Emma Whitman disappears from her daycare without a trace, and A.L. McKittridge and his partner Rena Morgan think someone is lying. In a missing persons case, every second counts. The Whitman family has secrets, and the two detectives have to sift through them to find the girl.

July 5, 2020

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"You can't follow any else's path, like I tried to do with Daddy - like Daddy thought he had to do with Granddaddy.  Somewhere along the way, you gotta draw your own map." (p 282)

July 4, 2020

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power ~ a Review

by MK French

It's always been Margot and her mother, with no mention of family or whatever came before their rundown apartment. When she finds a photo pointing her to the town of Phalene, Margot rushes there to discover what home is like. There are secrets in the town, and now she feels like she might never escape.

July 3, 2020

The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson ~ a Review

by MK French

Thia, her allies, and her crow Res plan to defeat Queen Razel with the aid of neighboring kingdoms, if she can convince them to join the fight. There are obstacles in the way, including Res' unstable magic and Thia being pursued by the crown prince of Illucia.

July 2, 2020

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Susan reviewed Becoming Mrs. Lewis when it first came out in October 2018, and I thought it sounded good, but never got around to reading it. With the release of an expanded edition in March 2020, I was offered a review copy and I'm so glad that I got the chance to read it.

July 1, 2020

The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

1853 Mogo Creek, NSW

Della Atterton, bereft at the loss of her parents, is holed up in the place she loves best: the beautiful Hawkesbury in New South Wales. Happiest following the trade her father taught her, taxidermy, Della has no wish to return to Sydney. But the unexpected arrival of Captain Stefan von Richter on a quest to retrieve what could be Australia's first opal, precipitates Della's return to Sydney and her Curio Shop of Wonders, where she discovers her enigmatic aunt, Cordelia, is selling more than curiosities to collectors. Strange things are afoot and Della, a fly in a spider's web, is caught up in events with unimaginable consequences...

June 30, 2020

Best Books of June

Did you find great books to read this month? We read some really terrific books and we wanted to give an extra shoutout to our favorites and encourage you one more time to get the book. Because real friends share great reads with their friends.

To Catch an Earl by Kate Bateman ~ a Review

by MK French

London, 1816
"That blasted Nightjar has done it again!"
Alexander Harland, Earl of Melton, glances up from his morning paper. Sir Nathaniel Conant, Chief Magistrate of Bow Street, dropped a sheaf of papers onto the table beside him and lowered himself into a vacant armchair with an irritated exhalation. "That devil - whoever he is - is a menace to society." (p. 9)

June 29, 2020

4 Summer Reads for Fans of Women's Fiction

by Susan Roberts

 Women's fiction makes great summer reading. So many beach reads come out in May, June, and July, you may have missed these 4 books, but they need to be on your vacation reading list.

June 28, 2020

A Look Back at June

by Donna Huber

I'm getting ready to start my 16th week working solely from home. I'm still loving it. And the best part is that I'm over my reading slump and had one of my best reading months.

June 27, 2020

Hard Cash Valley by Brian Panowich ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Arnie was barely aware of the question. All he knew was that everything he'd done was in vain.  The whole year.  All the practice.  The escape route to the airport. Mailing himself a gun.  It was all for nothing.  Iit always was. This was never going to end up any other way than this.  Just like everything else he'd done in his whole miserable life.  He should've known better." (p17)

June 26, 2020

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

 "Letting herself sink would be so easy, just like falling asleep.  She could cover herself in grief like a blanket and never get up again.  But all day something had been prodding her, way at the back of her mind, like a dream she'd mostly forgotten.  Whatever it was, it was the thing that kept her from sinking.  From letting go."  (loc 106)

June 25, 2020

How will the pandemic be reflected in literature?

by Donna Huber

Library archives and history centers across the country have been asking for people to submit their pandemic stories - photos, essays, diary entries, even grocery lists - in an effort to record this historic moment in time. In a recent news report with an archivist at the Atlanta History Center, I learned that there isn't much in the record about the day to day lives of those who lived through the 1917-1919 Influenza epidemic. The person being interviewed said that it was probably due to people not wanting to remember or be reminded of that horrific time in their lives. I have been wondering how the pandemic will affect plotlines of contemporary novels.

June 24, 2020

Rock-a-bye Bones by Carolyn Haines ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I'm always on the lookout for another great cozy mystery series. I haven't read other books in this series, but I decided to give it a try as I like series that can be read in any order.

June 23, 2020

Carolina Breeze by Denise Hunter ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Before she even opened her eyes Mia Emerson knew it was going to be the worst day of her life. But just like all other days, Saturday, May 30, would only last twenty-four hours. She could do this. (chapter 1)

June 22, 2020

The Reflecting Pool by Otho Eskin ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I don't read a lot of crime fiction because they usually veer towards police procedurals and less suspense/thriller. The Reflecting Pool was one of the rare crime novels that kept closer to a suspense novel and I really enjoyed it.

June 21, 2020

The Girl and the Witch's Garden by Erin Bowman ~ a Review

by MK French

Piper Peavey didn't want to spend her summer at the Mallory Estate. It's cold, the garden is dead, random children are around, and the owner is purported to be a witch. The owner is Piper's grandmother, and Piper has to go to the estate when her father is too ill from cancer. Piper will have to try to unlock the secrets of the estate to try to save her father.

June 20, 2020

It's Summer! Time for the Beach Reads

by Donna Huber

Today is officially the first day of summer. You may be skipping the trip to the beach, pool, or lake this summer, but it doesn't mean you have to skip the beach reads. Find a cozy spot in your yard or on your porch and relax for a few hours with one of these books.

June 19, 2020

5 Tips for Authors to Promote during COVID-19

COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while and it might get worse before it gets better. How is an author suppose to promote their work during these uncertain times? PR by the Book offers 5 tips to help you get the word out about your book.

June 18, 2020

Cracking the Bookstagram Code

by Donna Huber

Instagram is probably my favorite social media platform. It's filled with pretty pictures and very little negativity. But it is also the social media platform that has me most stumped as to leverage it to promote books and reading. I just can't seem to crack the bookstagram code.

June 17, 2020

Master Class by Christina Dalcher ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"You know the old story about boiling the frog.  If you put the frog in a pot of boiling water, he'll jump out. ... If, on the other hand, you put the frog in a pot of cold water and turn the heat one degree at a time, well, before long you'll have a boiled frog and he'll never know what's coming....Our parents saw the frog boil in Germany,  One degree at a time. " (p 75)

June 16, 2020

The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

The box sat at the foot of the porch steps, in a small clearing of direct where grass still refused to grow. Cardboard sides left exposed to the elements, my full name written in black marker, the edge of my address just starting to bleed. It fit on my hip, like a child. (p. 3)

June 15, 2020

The Talking Drum by Lisa Braxton ~ a Review

by MK French

In 1971 Bellport, Massachusetts, an urban development project is put together to transform the dying downtown area. Many people decide to step away from stressful jobs to try opening shops in this new downtown. Petite Africa is a tightknit and lively neighborhood across the river, and it starts to go up in flames. Residents are at odds over the arsonists, the upcoming demolition date, gentrification of the neighborhoods, and the feeling that politics are reaching too far into their lives.

Tangled in Ivy by Ashley Farley ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"I've devoted the last three months to taking care of my father.  How do I move on from here?... Do I return to my job at the art gallery?  Move back into my studio apartment above said gallery? (loc 93)

June 14, 2020

Burning Justice by Marti Green ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I loved the thrilling rollercoaster ride of The Good Twin so when I was offered Marti Green's newest novel Burning Justice I had to say yes. And I'm so glad I did.

June 13, 2020

Tea by the Sea by Donna Hemans ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Perhaps it was also a woman's lot in life - get up and carry on, no matter what.  Plum had suffered, was still suffering,  Yet, her mother's only focus was that Plum make something of herself, be someone who mattered." (loc 431)

June 12, 2020

Where the Road Bends by David Rawlings ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

How did I get here?

This is not a normal genre for me which will probably impact my review.  I enjoyed Where the Road Bends and the setting in Australia but didn't connect well with any of the characters.  But no matter what we read or who we are, we all come to a point in our lives when we wonder how we got to where we are in life.

A Royal Kiss & Tell by Julia London ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French

Lady Caroline Hawke is insulted when Prince Leopold doesn't remember her name, so she starts spreading rumors about him even as she plans to marry him herself. But the prince is investigating the British government and needs access to high society. He needs Lady Caroline's help to get back into the ton's good graces, and it is definitely higher stakes than either thought.

June 11, 2020

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Grandma Myrtle would take her pruners and point around her gardens. 'Just look around, Iris.  The daisies remind you to be happy.  The hydrangeas inspire us to be colorful.  The lilacs urge us to breathe deeply.  The pansies reflect our own images back at us.  The hollyhocks show us how to stand tall in this world.  And the roses - oh the roses! - they prove that beauty is always present even amongst the thorns.'" (p 19)

June 10, 2020

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland ~ a Review

by Alison DeLuca

Weeks into quarantine I hit a reading slump. Our Chemical Hearts was loaded on my Kindle, but I felt like cooking/cleaning/disinfecting had taken over and left no energy for books.

June 9, 2020

You Brought Me the Ocean by Alex Sanchez ~ a Review

by MK French

Jake Hyde doesn't swim because his father had drowned. Living in New Mexico has few opportunities for swimming, though he yearns for the ocean on some level and applied for college in Florida despite his mother's urging to stay safe. He's also very attracted to Kenny Liu, the swim team captain. The markings on his skin glow blue in contact with water and is an oddity he can't explain. Does he hide all of this, or does he embrace all of himself?

June 8, 2020

Murder on a Mississippi Steamboat by Leighann Dobbs ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I loved everything about Murder on a Mississippi Steamboat by Leighann Dobbs. It was the perfect summer cozy mystery.

June 7, 2020

Stranger In the Lake by Kimberly Belle ~ a Review

by MK French

Charlotte had a humble past when she married the widower Paul, leading to a lot of gossip in town. Her life with him starts to unravel when a woman is found drowned in the lake in the same spot his first wife was found. He denied ever seeing her before, but Charlotte had seen the two talking in town. The lie makes her begin to doubt him, and wonder what other secrets he hides.

June 6, 2020

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson ~ a Review

by MK French

Sixteen-year-old Diana sees a raft of refugees offshore from Themyscira and tries to rescue them. Unfortunately, she is swept away by the sea and is now a refugee as well. She has to navigate through the outside world and is witness to danger and injustice.

June 5, 2020

Reading Suspense Novels in a Pandemic

by Susan Roberts

My life has been fairly boring the last couple of months while I have self quarantined with only a few trips to the grocery store.  What better time to read something exciting and suspenseful.  Here are two of the books that made life more exciting for me.

June 4, 2020

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

After reading Susan's review of one of Jill Shalvis's books, I've wanted to try them. I decided to start with her newest beach read The Summer Deal. While it leaned more towards chick-lit than I was expecting, I did enjoy the book. 

June 3, 2020

The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant ~ a Review

by MK French

In a world where the French Revolution failed, 1828 Paris is ruled by the royalty and the Court of Miracles, heads of nine underworld guilds. Nina is part of the Thieves Guild, and is adept at stealing and avoiding her father. She has to protect her adopted younger sister Ettie, especially after Ettie attracts the attention of the Tiger, the leader of the Flesh Guild. Saving Ettie might set off a war between all of the guilds, but the alternative is to lose her to the Tiger.

June 2, 2020

All of Us by A.F. Carter ~ a Review

by MK French

Carolyn Grant had been subjected to extreme and horrible sexual and physical abuse from her biological father, then by the foster family, she was sent to. Even after she aged out of the system, she continued to be exploited by others around her. She had fractured into several different people all sharing the same body, all with the goal of surviving one day at a time. This is challenged when Eleni, the promiscuous personality propositions an undercover police officer and then is sent to a psychiatric facility and is under protective custody. It’s complicated further when her father is released from prison, and then when he’s found dead. Are any of the six personalities capable of murder?

June 1, 2020

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Sometimes, I tried to figure out how I was so lucky to end up marrying into such an incredible family. Most of the time I realized it hadn't been luck at all.
It was nothing short of a gift."  (p18)

May 31, 2020

May: a Month of Reading and Gardening

by Donna Huber

Here we are at the end of another month. I'm starting my 12th week working solely from home. I have so enjoyed working from home, but there is talk about slowly bringing people back to campus but I think I will still work mostly from home through the summer. Life has definitely settled into a routine and I'm back to my pre-pandemic reading level - actually I read a couple more books than usual.

May 30, 2020

Favorite Reads of May

It looks like Donna, Susan, and MK all got their reading grooves back this month and have been tearing through their TBR piles. In addition, there were a ton of new releases this month. Having all of these books can make it difficult to know which one to pick up first. Susan, Donna, and MK are here to help by naming their favorite reads of May.

May 29, 2020

The Hitwoman and the Exorcism by JB Lynn ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Maggie and the gang are back with a new installment in the Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman series. If you are looking for something fun to read, then you need to get this book.

4 Books for Fans of Romance

by MK French

Are you looking for a summer romance? If so, try one of these four novels.

May 28, 2020

Little Tea by Claire Fullerton ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"There’s a damp, verdant feel to Olive Branch, Mississippi, in the summertime. From the side of the road, everything is a chiaroscuro of overgrown, tangled green. Moss drips sultry from kudzu-covered oaks, shading twists of the road in canopies of diamond-dappled sunlight. The world there is flat, expansive, and quiet, evoking a mood both eerie and somber. One step outside Ava’s car and I knew I was out of sync with the environment. I figured I’d need to slow down, ease into the heat, try it on for a spell."  (p 16)

May 27, 2020

How I Got My Reading Groove Back

by Donna Huber

When the pandemic took hold in March, my reading went out the window. I know that happened to a lot of people. Too much uncertainty and information coming a mile a minute left me without the concentration for reading a book. But slowly I've gotten my reading groove back. If you are still struggling, perhaps these tips will help.

May 26, 2020

Murder with Clotted Cream by Karen Rose Smith ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

"'But what if Margaret doesn't like the apple gingerbread with clotted cream?' Aunt Iris asked Daisy as they stood at the sales counter of Daisy's Tea Garden." (p. 1)


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