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Let’s talk about books. What type of book do you like to read? Do you stick to the same authors or are you willing to take a chance on something radically different from your norm? I have a cluster of authors that I gobble up the new books they put out like a binge eater…all in one sitting. And in between waiting for said authors to put out the next book, I have a group of “fill in” authors. And then there are the ones I read because I am so very curious about everything. It has been pointed out to me that my reading list is probably linked to Homeland Security but how can you have an opinion on anything if you haven’t fully researched it?

On my bookshelf you will find every James Patterson novel, every Laurell K. Hamilton, every Stuart Woods, Harlan Coben, Catherine Coulter, Iris Johansen, Anne Rice, Laura Childs, Tom Clancy, George R.R.Martin, Kim Harrison, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, Lisa Scottoline, Lisa Unger, Karin Slaughter, Don Winslow, Sara Blaedel along with all the classics. I don’t do romance books, no heaving bosoms or glistening abs for me.

Reading is a magical thing that can take you places you would never have access to in the living world. I love everything about books. The cover, the feel, and smell of the paper, it all has to come together for me.  Books are like a good friend who stays around.

So here we are going to be talking about books. What we’ve read, what we are reading and what we hope to read. I find it so interesting that two people can read the same book and have totally different takes on it. But that is the fun of books and imagination. Everyone is different and I am intrigued by those different opinions.

Stick around for some really good, new authors I have found and feel free to make suggestions and comments!   On Twitter, @GaPirate  Email me at piratepatty@hotmail.com. Have your Marketing people or Publisher contact me for reviews. Top 1000 Reviewer for Amazon. Vine Voice on Amazon. Follow along on Instagram @PatriciaFairweatherRomero

the santa suit by mary kay andrews

The Santa Suit

From May Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.

Ivy Perkins is moving on from Atlanta, her ex and her half of the business. Looking for a fresh start away from everything. She has pretty specific wants. A white farmhouse with land. So sight unseen, she purchases what looks like an adorable farmhouse in North Carolina.

Four Roses Farm must have used photoshop, because the house is going to need a lot of work. It looks as if the former owners just up and left everything behind.

As Ivy is clearing out, she finds a beautiful Santa suit. It’s old and well-made and in the pocket she finds a note from a little girl, written long ago. This little gem becomes a mission for Ivy. Who is this little girl? And why all the Christmas stuff?

The former owners, the Roses, were the town Santa and Mrs. for a long time. They did a lot to help the community and even though Ivy isn’t really a Christmas person, the town may change her mind.

With some help from a hot realtor and a new friend, she may find not only her purpose but love again.

A lovely Novella of the magic of Christmas and the enduring love of family. This really lifted my spirits at a time when we all need a little of that.

NetGalley/September 28th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

It is officially Autumn…somewhere

Hell yeah we are ready for a little cool down. With Autumn officially here it is still 90 degrees.

I have seen so much pumpkin spice crap I want to throw up. Popcorn, Oreos (seriously leave Oreos alone). Personally I’d like to see more cider donuts. Buckle up y’all, things are about to get weirder.

I haven’t been able to type for a bit. I had second degree burns and blisters on my left hand. I would love to say it was a welding accident or I rescued a puppy from a fire, but no if you are a crafter you already know. The dreaded hot glue gun. And while I’m running to the faucet screaming I ran into the wall. A picture fell down and broke two of my toes. I knew they were broken because one looked like the letter C and they turned black. Days later OU Boy rolled his ankle. So we’re just gonna sit on the sofa and not move for a bit.

Obviously we are trying to do too much. OU Boy got a huge promotion which also means different schedules and fixing up his office. I stopped by and he has two loungers, a 70 inch flat screen on the wall, an air fryer, and a fridge. That is the outer office. His new schedule is 8 to 4 and Monday through Friday. I don’t remember when we didn’t work Saturdays. So we are adjusting to each other’s schedules and I am trying hard to be a wife. So far it’s just having dinner ready. I’ve made it twice this week.

I realized that I have no idea what a wife does. Iron? I work full time myself. We sat down and talked about my lack of wifery skills. He is fine with just carrying on as we are with me being understanding of his odd hours at first. And sex. The good thing is he is a garbage eater. Meat, potatoes,pasta, casseroles and the good old sandwich with Kraft cheese. I can make dinner of two olives and a triscuit. I’m great at taking things out for dinner but by the time it rolls around I just don’t care.

It’s still hot here so we have been kayaking and visiting the Grands. Grandpa is in hospital now. If you are on the fence about this Covid thing, well, get off. My Grandpa had pleurisy and a mini-stroke. There were no hospital beds at all. Nowhere. We were told a bed may open up at Yukon Community and it did after 8 hours. We are sending folks to other states now and still these idiots refuse to get a shot. If you have to be hospitalized you wait for someone else to die. That’s brutal.

I am grateful for a never ending stack of books and a tea supply that will never run out. So, how are things in your neck of the woods?

I’m gonna go take something out for dinner. “And she laughed and laughed”.

P

THE STOWAWAY by JAMES S. MURRAY and DARREN WEARMOUTH

The Stowaway

The Stowaway, a suspenseful masterpiece that leaves a cruise ship stranded at sea with a serial killer hiding aboard…

Sounds like a good premise. Stranded in the middle of the Atlantic with a serial killer. What better place? Like a buffet for serial killers.

This story begins with Maria Fontana. A single mother of two. Maria is on the jury of a sensational trial of alleged serial killer, Wyatt Butler, who reeks of guilt and disdain. As the final day of deliberations arrives, she is still torn over the evidence. Will she vote guilty?

Jump to a couple of years later and the media frenzy has died down, Maria has met a good man and they are going on a two week cruise across the Atlantic. Maria can’t help but look over her shoulder and hold her kids tight. And when people start dying, she is hypervigilant. Especially when there are children being killed in horrific ways and then posed with the next victims clothing. Everywhere she looks she sees Wyatt Butler.

While the Security Chief thinks she may be seeing things that aren’t there, Maria knows. A mother knows. Her children are not safe and neither is she.

It’s hard not to give anything away here. This was a fast-paced, well written thriller. I’m sure my heart rate was elevated the entire time. And that ending. Very nice.

NetGalley/ September 21st ,2021 by St. Martin’s Press

In the Shadow of the Empress by Nancy Goldstone

In the Shadow of the Empress: The Defiant Lives of Maria Theresa, Mother of Marie Antoinette, and Her Daughters

The vibrant, sprawling saga of Empress Maria Theresa—one of the most renowned women rulers in history—and three of her extraordinary daughters, including Marie Antoinette, the doomed queen of France.

That is the blurb on this very interesting look at this Empress and her daughters. And with Nancy Goldstone as the author I knew this would be good. She has such a way of making Non-Fiction read like the best story you can imagine. Never dull or dry. I adored this book.

This is the story of eighteenth century Maria Theresa, a strong woman who ruled the entire Habsburg Empire. We also learn about her daughters, who were also strong rulers in their own right. The Governor-General of the Austrian Netherlands, Maria Christina. Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples and of course, Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and the one you have probably heard the most about.

But all of them were extraordinary. The imagery of the royal courts is well done. The research put into this book is astounding. Reading this was a history lesson inside a story. A story of hope, desire, betrayal and every hardship one could imagine.

This is one I shall keep and share for a long time.

NetGalley/ September 21st, 2021 by Little, Brown and Company

When SPARKS Fly by Helena Hunting

We all know I am not a romance fan. But a Rom-Com? Yes, I’m in. And this author does a great job with balancing.

Avery Spark and her sisters run Spark House, an event hotel. It keeps them all super busy and Avery is the most passionate about the business and sports. She still lives with her best friend, Declan, who is a great friend and a player with the ladies.

Nobody has time for relationships and nobody is looking for one. For some reason Declan will never settle down. But their little group of three guy friends and Avery enjoy playing soccer and hanging out. Just one of the boys.

And things are going great until Declan lets her down and she ends up in a bad car accident. Since Declan can work from and needs to assuage his guilt over not being there for her, he decides to take care of her every need. Medical and emotional.

The more time they spend together the more the relationship evolves into something that may end their friendship or turn them into a couple. But it’s all so new and they are both so scared of loss, we just don’t know how it will end!

This was funny and sad and sexy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

NetGalley/ St.Martin’s Griffin September 21,2021

IRON WIDOW by KIRAN JAY ZHAO

While this draws on a few real characters in history, make no mistake, it is a Sci-Fy, Fantasy, Futuristic tale that touches on the place women still have in society. Second. Disposable.

And then it just dives right in to giant fighting machines called Chrysalises, transforming robots that battle with mecha aliens that have almost destroyed everything. The pilots are boys. The girls or concubine pilots give of their life force and no one seems to care that they lose their lives.

Except 18 -year-old Zetian. She has plans of revenge after her sister died during one of these fights. She doesn’t use normal weapons. She takes on her pilot with her mind and is the only one returning. With a nickname. Iron Widow.

She has turned the tables on the boys and will now use them as ‘fuel’. They are afraid of her and what she can do. They try pairing her with the strongest male pilot in Huaxia. But Zetian has tasted the power and she likes it. Now her mission is to find out why only girls are being used and disposed of.

She is one of the strongest characters I have seen. She has had enough and is not taking it anymore. This is not my usual genre but I am very glad I read it. I felt empowered and ready to fight.

Well Done.

NetGalley/September 21st, 2021 by Penguin Teen

HARLEM Shuffle by COLSON WHITEHEAD

Harlem Shuffle

Harlem Between 1959 and 1961.

“Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked…”

Carney sells furniture at a good price at his store on 125th Street. He’s married to Elizabeth and they are having their second baby. Times are tight but they are happy.

People like him. They have no idea that he comes from a line of crooks. He may act normal and talk normal, but that seedy side is still inside of him. He isn’t making big bucks so when his cousin sometimes drops off an item, he doesn’t ask where he got it.

When said cousin falls in with a really bad crowd. They are making plans to rob the Hotel Theresa. Fancy for Harlem. A lot of the book is about them planning crimes that go badly.

Unfortunately for Carney, his cousin has volunteered him for the job. His associates believe he is a fence. These are guys you don’t say no to. And things go bad. So badly that Carney has a lot of new associates. And none of them is the good kind.

Now he has to decide. The businessman or the crook. Can he avoid getting killed? Will he finally have some money? Will he still be able to sell his furniture?

This was less violent than the other books. But the racism and crookedness are all there. It’s painful to read but Ray Carney is a character who has a story worth telling.

NetGalley/September 14th, 2021 by Doubleday

No New Frontier stretched before him, endless and bountiful—that was for white folks—but this new land was a few blocks at least and in Harlem a few blocks was everything. A few blocks was the difference between strivers and crooks, between opportunity and the hard scrabble.’

HER PERFECT LIFE by HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN

Her Perfect Life

Meet Lily Atwood. Famous television reporter with everything going for her. Money, awards, a producer who does her every bidding and a seven-year-old daughter who is adorable! Her life is perfect. Maybe. But secrets have a way of coming out at the most inconvenient of times. And Lily is keeping some big ones.

Lily now has an anonymous source feeding her stories. The stories pan out but the source becomes questionable when he begins feeding Lily information about herself. Who is this person and what do they know about her?

It becomes clear that someone is playing with her life. Does it have anything to do with the disappearance of her sister years ago? Or maybe her child’s father come to haunt her? With literally no one to trust she will have to trust her gut and maybe one other person. Maybe.

This was a twisty one. A total mind screw. With Ryan, it’s always a thrill ride as you try and untangle the knots of intrigue!

NetGalley/September 14th, 2021 by Forge Books



SCANDAL IN BABYLON by BARBARA HAMBLY

Scandal in Babylon

The year is 1924. Emma Blackstone was barely married to her husband when he was shipped off to war and was killed. Followed by her brother and more tragedy with her parents deaths. So young for so much death.

Emma is a curious and scholarly sort. She cringes at the inaccuracies in the Roman piece they are filming.

While Emma is getting an education in America and Hollywood in particular, she has nothing to go back to in England. And things could be worse.

Such as Kitty’s first husband, Rex showing up unexpectedly in her dressing room with a bullet through the head. Kitty may be flighty and naughty but a killer she is not.

This being the twenties in Hollywood, there are gangsters, slick movie producers, shady cops and insane competition for the title of IT girl. Is that what this is about? A frame? Or has Kitty dallied with the wrong man?

I loved all of the old Hollywood gossip and petty jealousy. These women were so young and vulnerable. They worked hard hours and partied the rest of the time.

I enjoy Hollywood Historical Fiction. I liked Emma, although there was a bit too much quoting of Latin phrases. And I just didn’t feel we really knew her. I am sure she will grow and entertain us as the series goes on.

NetGalley/ September 7th, 2021 by Severn House Publishers

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THE CHILDREN’S SECRET by NINA MONROE

The Children's Secret

“Nothing ever happens in a sleepy town like Middlebrook. Until the residents are shaken to their core, when one hot Saturday afternoon, at a back-to-school party, nine children sneak into a barn…and only eight come out unharmed.

The press immediately starts asking questions. What type of parents let their children play unsupervised in a house with guns? What kind of child pulls the trigger on their friend? And most importantly: of the nine children who were present in that barn, which one actually pulled the trigger, and why are the others staying silen
t?”

Just reading the synopsis of this book had me hooked. In today’s polarizing views on gun control, this was one I wanted to read.

Six families living in a small neighborhood. Eva and her husband and daughter recently moved here from England. Eva is hoping with school almost ready to start up, that her daughter, Lily, will make friends.

She encourages one of the other families to host a party so the kids can get to know each other. Kaitlin Wright and her husband aren’t thrilled with the idea. Their son is introverted and prefers being alone. He had a good friend, but no more.

We have a family with twins, from Pakistan, whose father is building a mosque in town. We have the single mom and former attorney whose daughter is a mystery to everyone. We have the off the grid single father who is raising three kids alone and the Rev. Avery, who is fostering two kids.

Priscilla, the mother of Astrid has forbidden her daughter to go to the party, but we all know kids. Especially in a small town where they all know each other. She’s going to go.

While the parents socialize, the kids are in the barn with the dog and horses. Until there is a scream and a gunshot. And not everyone is coming out of there on their own two feet.

But where is the gun? And so begins the battle among the families and the press. There were a lot of extremes in this tale. NO GUNS EVER! GUNS ARE FINE. Everyone has an agenda and the children aren’t talking at all.

I enjoyed the story. Although all the parents pretty much seemed the same. The children were great little characters and acted more like adults than the adults did.

NetGalley/ September 7th, 2021 by Crooked Lane Books