Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Paris Never Leaves You

A story with Paris, a book shop, a publishing house and set in the past and present sounds like a great idea.

Charlotte was a difficult character to know. I didn’t feel as if I knew any more of her story than what we knew at the beginning.

What was her sin? We know people who did whatever they had to do to survive the Nazi regime. They lied, they took food from the enemy, some even informed on their own people. But Charlotte wasn’t one of them. And where this war is concerned, people aren’t so forgiving of those who did what she did.

The entire thing felt disjointed and shallow. Not my cup of tea.

NetGalley/ June 2nd, 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin

 

 

The Second Home by Christina Clancy

The Second Home

Living in Wisconsin and summering on Cape Cod, the Gordon family has one more member this summer. Michael, a boy the same age as Ann, has been adopted by the family and while he has nothing but sisterly feelings for sister Poppy, his feelings about Ann are much more complicated.

Cape Cod is a world away from anything Michael has ever known and he is in love with the old cabin and the island. Ann is taking a babysitting job for one of the wealthy summer residents, watching their two sons means driving them to their many activities and spending time chatting with their mother. The father is a horrible man which is something Ann sees only much too late.

This summer will change all of their lives forever. Leaving them angry, hurt, and in the dark.

When their parents are killed in a car accident, they all must come together to make decisions about the cabin. But first, they all need to tell the truth. Maybe then they can begin to heal and love again.

I loved each and every flawed character in this book. Except for Anthony. Nope. The book emphasized the stereotypical caste system between the summer people and the islanders. But it also scraped a bit of luster off and showed us the everyday seediness inside.

On this island, no one is who they seem and nothing is what it looks like.

NetGalley/  June 2nd, 2020 by St. Martin’s

 

 

THE RED RED SNOW by CARO RAMSAY

The Red, Red Snow (Anderson & Costello #11)

Anderson and Costello #11

Called to investigate the bloodstained aftermath of an eventful Christmas party, detectives Anderson & Costello discover that the holiday season can be anything but merry.

The good detectives are back! Everything is crowded during the Christmas Ice Show. And when a seemingly random husband and father is stabbed in a crowded food court, there are no witnesses, no clues, and no idea who would do such a thing.

When a week later they are called out to a holiday cottage in a fairly remote glen in the highlands, they find two bodies. One inside and one outside. Whoever the killer was, there is no evidence of them. Not even a snowprint.

Anderson is glad enough to jump in as he has more problems than a man should have at home. And his partner has her own issues.

Full of superstition and family squabbles, the characters are really well done and the old tale of greed, superstitious nonsense, and stone-cold murder was very well done!

NetGalley/ June 2nd, 2020 by Severn House Publishers

BREAKFAST AT THE HONEY CREEK CAFE’ by JODI THOMAS

Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café

From New York Times and the USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas, a romantic, heartwarming contemporary novel set in Honey Creek, Texas–a little town nestled in the rolling hills bordering the Brazos River, where family bonds and legends run deep, and friendship and love are always close to hand . . .

A Romance and a Mystery? Why yes, please! Jodi Thomas has us in Wayward Bend, Texas. A very small town founded after the fall of the Alamo. The bonds of friendship, family, and those pesky feuds are all here. These are good people. 

Meet the Mayor, Piper McKenzie, carrying on the family tradition. While she is the main character we hear the voices of Colby, Sam, and Pecos Smith, who all tell their side of the story and are all hoping for a happy ending.

I think Mr. Winston was my favorite character. All of the characters were well done and fully developed. I laughed, I cried, and it was a book I needed to read in this time of uncertainty.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ May 26th 2020 by Zebra Books Kensington

 

 

 

MARSHMALLOW MALICE by AMANDA FLOWER

Marshmallow Malice (Amish Candy Shop Mystery #5)

An Amish Candy Shop Mystery #5

Things are hectic in Ohio’s Amish Country and as usual Bailey King is right smack in the middle of things.

Juliet and Reverend Brook are finally getting married. Everyone is excited and Bailey is doing double duty as the bridesmaid and the cake baker. And of course, it has to be an outside summer wedding. And of course, Bailey can whip up a marshmallow covered cake! But will they both meltdown before the ceremony begins?

Unfortunately, the cake may not escape unscathed and neither will the person dropping dead at the wedding.

Turns out there may have been some dirty dealings going on and Bailey isn’t about to sit on the sidelines while Juliet becomes a jailhouse bride! But things are looking grim for the Reverend.

I have never laughed as much as I do at this series. Amish Candy Shop and fun? Turns out they go together quite well when done by Ms. Flower!

I can’t wait for the next delicious book.

NetGalley/ May 26th, 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

 

 

 

Memorial Day in the USA

Monday, Memorial Day.

I am proud to say that I come from a long line of men and women who fought to get this country and keep it. From the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan, they have served their country. My Father, Uncles, brother, cousins, son, and daughter. Some came home mentally and physically damaged.

Today in the place that I currently am, they cancelled all celebrations because of bad weather. It’s Oklahoma y’all, it’s always bad weather. You know what isn’t cancelled? The Mall, the beach, the lakes, the parks, the stores and the Covid-19 Virus. Yeah!

I have to admit I didn’t realize it was a holiday weekend. Since OU Boy and I had the virus in February ( Thank you to the Chinese couple staying at our hotel) and it took 6 solid weeks for us to feel human. OU Boy did go to the hospital but his doctor filled him with fluids and sent him home. Since we both are immune-compromised we were able to get tests very fast. Now we have antibodies. Still, beginning in April we would drive to a lake with no one around and just be. No news, no negativity, no stupidity. Just peace. But then…

We had reservations at Ft. Cobb State Park and Lake. We love this area because it has a marina and a golf course. Plus it’s where the boat is. Due to the sickness OU Boy is only working 2 days a week. We have never had so much time together and I have to say he was about a day away from getting himself voted off this island! So regular hiking, swimming and communing with nature was vital, as I don’t want to go to jail.

 Why yes that is a buzzard eating an armadillo on a golf course.

So Thursday was great. Thursday night someone unleashed hell on us in the form of 45 mph winds, rain and hail. The living room portion of the tent collapsed in on itself and I just slept on. Friday we met up with the grandparents and went fishing on the lake, while also picking up burnt knees. Grandpa is not doing well so it is important to us that he squeezes every bit of fishing fun in that he can.

  

We said goodbye to them and went to our campsite. Turns out while we were gone every single site had at least 3 tents/boats/campers on it. It was insane. No boating etiquette at all and after the cops came, jetskis collided leaving one boy with an obvious compound fracture of the leg. Alcohol was involved. The music was a mixture of country, rap, and old rock. Then I managed to almost cut my finger off with a knife. The finger I need to unlock my phone! I turned around and looked at my hubby who immediately saw blood pouring down on the ground and he said, “Let’s go! Get that bleeding stopped and I’ll break camp!”. I’m just looking at the blood and thinking How am I going to use my phone? By the time he had everything packed, I had stopped the bleeding. Yes, I could have used a few stitches but what I had was Neosporin, Gorilla Glue and Duct Tape. My daddy brought up four daughters. We may act prissy but we are always prepared. So by 9 p.m., we were home and a huge storm hit the lake.

It was ridiculous everywhere we went. No masks, no social distancing, no precautions at all. So we decided we are Monday through Wednesday campers. Alone. Yesterday we just floated in the pool all day and now I have a burnt body. Yep, the entire thing. Today it is storming so I’m going to read. I hope you all have a safe day.

xx P

THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY by NATALIE JENNER

Chawton, England was the final home of the great Jane Austen. It’s little more than a bump in the road, but tourists come from all over the world in hopes of finding something of Jane there.

What is left is the great house, the grounds, and the cottage where Jane wrote. In the great house, Frances Knight lives with her ailing and horribly mean father. The house and her father are falling apart and Frances seems unable to anything but wait. With the cook, Josephine, and 16-year-old Evie Stone, she makes do.

Evie is scary smart. And for the past two years, she has been staying up all night to catalog the over two thousand books in the library, where she has found quite a few serious treasures and secrets!

In a series of events we end up with an odd group of people, brought together by their love of Jane Austen. An American movie star, a young widow, the village doctor, and a local laborer. There are wonderful supporting characters here as well. While this group at first has only one thing in common, their passion to preserve the legacy of Jane Austen. Ah, literature, the great equalizer of humanity!

Each of them has suffered horrible losses and unimaginable hardships and as they get to know each other in their pursuit of a common goal, they find they aren’t so different after all. And I did not see that ending coming! Well Done!

I absolutely adored this mix of fact and fiction! I can’t believe this is the author’s first published work. The characters were perfection and I will definitely read this one again!

NetGalley/ May 26th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

 

In the LION’S DEN by BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD

 

In the Lion's Den (House of Falconer #2)

 

The House of Falconer #2

James and his Uncle are back in the second House of Falconer book. While his uncle is busy with the newspaper, James has gone from working in the shop of Henry Malvern to being Malverns managing director.

From 1889 to 1892 we watch as James goes through the good, the bad, and the jaw-dropping with all of the poise we love him for, as his feelings toward Alexis go from disapproval to romance. But James has recently been in touch with Georgina Ward and she has a secret to share.

All at once his carefully plotted life plan is turned upside down. The question is will he be the better for it or not.

I would recommend reading book one first, so you know the backstory.  Has there ever been a bad BTB book? NO.

I hope we will see more of this character!

Well Done!

NetGalley/October 6th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe

On Ocean Boulevard

We are back with Cara and the Rutledge family in Charleston, South Carolina.

Cara returned to her roots sixteen years ago. Since then she’s married, been widowed and has a baby! She has been through some of life’s cruelest situations. Now, she is still working at the aquarium and turtle rescue as well as planning her own wedding! Yes, Cara is getting married again.

Now it’s time for her niece to come home. Linnea went to California with big dreams of a career and hopefully a husband. Neither has happened and now she is back on Sullivan’s Island living with her parents and feeling discombobulated. Her parents are holding up well after they lost everything and moved to the island. Palmer seems to be doing well building a house on Cara’s lot and Julia is finding herself as well.

Just when it seems as if they all may come out all right, a major illness strikes and everything comes to an abrupt halt. But we know these people. Together they can move mountains. And just like the turtles that return every year to their beach, they too will find strength in their love for one another and their family.

I adore this series. My momma is a Charleston girl and when I read Monroe’s books I actually know most of these names! Personally, we are Pinckney’s. There is so much family love and tradition in these stories that now is the perfect time to read this!

Thanks so much Ms. Monroe!

NetGalley/ May 19th, 2020 by Gallery Books

 

 

YOU SUIT ME TO A TEA AND BOREDOM

It’s been a minute since we’ve talked. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

The amount of tea that has been consumed in my house is ridiculous! And for some reason, we are really loving any Peach Ginger combinations. My favorite is Harney and Sons but Bigelow and Tazo have some nice ones as well. Baking seems to be a popular activity now that people have time at home. I went to the open-air farmer’s market last weekend and brought home such nice vegetables and fruits. Plus my baking lady had finally perfected her Snickerdoodle Bread. It’s a quick bread, like banana bread and such and it was good. After making some Chai to go with it I had a lightbulb moment and decided to do a Chai Bread. Brilliant.

I have a freezer full of baked goods and premade meals. My house is spotless, my car is clean, the refrigerator even got a scrub! From ceiling to floor, it’s been disinfected. I planted my garden and all of my herbs are doing great. Especially the mints.

We have been going camping every week. Leaving Thursday afternoon and returning on Sunday. We plan to visit every lake and state park. So far we have done Lake Murray, which is amazing. Shawnee Twin Lakes, Arbuckle Mountains and we have reservations for Ft. Cobb State Park for tomorrow through Sunday. We will meet up with the grands and do some boating and fishing. The SUV is packed and ready to go. All I need to do is pack the cooler and we are out of here.

The gym opened yesterday and we were the only ones there and it felt wonderful!

A sweet treat that is better than the one at Tropical Smoothie Cafe’. I tossed watermelon, mint from my garden and ice. Boom! Watermelon Smoothie.Full of Vitamin C and it is so good! We have made quite a few smoothies with strawberries we are getting now from Bootstrap Farm.

Today we are off to ride bikes. Stay safe and Be well!

xx P