THE CURIOUS HEART OF AILSA RAE by Stephanie Butland *BLOG TOUR*

CHAR Cover Image

When we first meet Ailsa Rae, she is dying. She has lived with a heart condition since her birth and is waiting for a transplant. She has a blog and has blogged about her experience as a patient on the organ registry. She has also had a best friend, boyfriend and a fellow patient in Lennox.

Just as Lennox dies, a heart becomes available for Ailsa. And this is the story of how she learned to live instead of existing.

Months later, she is doing well physically but not so much emotionally. It is going to take a bit of time to stop feeling fragile and stretch her limits. She has ups and downs and uses her blog to ask her followers advice in poll form. She’s missed out on so much and now she needs to learn to be healthy and alive.

I loved her mum. What a woman she is! And she has always been there for her only child. Now they both have to figure out what their new roles and lives will be.

Her new heart is strong and thumping along and it makes itself at home in her chest, she must learn to not only protect it but to listen to it and claim it as her own.

A good story. There were a few discrepancies, but all in all a good story.

NetGalley/ St. Martin’s Press  October 29th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin

EXCERPT:

6 October 2017
Hard to Bear
It’s 3 a.m. here in cardio-thoracic.
All I can do for now is doze, and think, and doze
again. My heart is getting weaker, my body bluer. People
I haven’t seen for a while are starting to drop in. (Good to
see you, Emily, Jacob, Christa. I’m looking forward to the
Martinis.) We all pretend we’re not getting ready to say
goodbye. It seems easiest. But my mother cries when
she thinks I’m sleeping, so maybe here, now, is time to
admit that I might really be on the way out.
I should be grateful. A baby born with Hypoplastic Left
Heart Syndrome a few years before I was would have
died within days. I’ve had twenty-eight years and I’ve
managed to do quite a lot of living in them. (Also, I’ve had
WAY more operations than you everyday folk. I totally win
on that.) OK, so I still live at home and I’ve never had a
job and I’m blue around the edges because there’s never
quite enough oxygen in my system. But –
Actually, but nothing. If you’re here tonight for the
usual BlueHeart cheerfulness-in-the-teeth-of-disaster,
you need to nd another blogger.
My heart is failing. I imagine I can feel it floundering
in my chest. Sometimes it’s as though I’m holding my
breath, waiting to see if another beat will come. I’ve been

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in hospital for four months, almost non-stop, because
it’s no longer tenable for me to be at home. I’m on a drip
pumping electrolytes into my blood and I have an oxygen
tube taped to my face. I’m constantly cared for by peo-
ple who are trying to keep me well enough to receive
a transplanted heart if one shows up. I monitor every
icker and echo of pain or tiredness in my body and try
to work out if it means that things are getting worse. And
yes, I’m alive, and yes, I could still be saved, but tonight
it’s a struggle to think that being saved is possible.
Or even likely. And I’m not sure I have the energy to
keep waiting.
And I should be angrier, but there’s no room for anger
(remember, my heart is a chamber smaller than yours)
because, tonight, I’m scared.
It’s only a question of time until I get too weak to sur-
vive a transplant, and then it’s a waste of a heart to give
it to me. Someone a bit better, and who would get more
use from it, will bump me from the top of the list and
I’m into the Palliative Care Zone. (It’s not actually called
that. And it’s a good, kind, caring place, but it’s not where
I want to be. Maybe when I’m ninety-eight. To be honest,
tonight, I’d take forty-eight. Anything but twenty-eight.)
I hope I feel more optimistic when the sun comes
up. If it does. It’s Edinburgh. It’s October. The odds are
about the same as me getting a new heart.
My mother doesn’t worry about odds. She says, ‘We
only need one heart. Just the one.’ She says it in a
way that makes me think that when she leaves the ward
she’s away to carve one out of some poor stranger’s

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body herself. And anyway, odds feel strange, because
even if my survival chances are, say, 20 percent, what-
ever happens to me will happen 100 percent. As in,
I could be 100 percent dead this time next week.
Night night,
BlueHeart xxx
P.S. I would really, really like for one of you to get your-
self a couple of goldsh, or kittens, or puppies, or even
horses, and call them Cardio and Thoracic. My prefer-
ence would be for puppies. Because I love the thought
that, if I don’t make it to Christmas, somewhere there
will be someone walking in the winter countryside, let-
ting their enthusiastic wee spaniels off the lead, and
then howling ‘Cardio! Thoracic!’ as they disappear over
the brow of a hill intent on catching some poor terried
sheep. That’s what I call a legacy.

From The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by
Stephanie Butland. Copyright © 2019 by
the author and reprinted by permission
of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

 

The BAKESHOP at PUMPKIN and SPICE by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, Allyson Charles

The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice

Every autumn, Moonbright, Maine, is the picture of charm with its piles of crisp leaves, flickering jack-o’-lanterns … and a touch of the sweetest kind of enchantment.

This was such a magical read. All happening in one town, Moonbright, Maine, affectionately known as Halloweentown! They pull out all the stops for the parade and festivals. Everyone is involved and at the center is Bellaluna’s Bakeshop. A magical bakeshop passed down from mother to daughter for generations, now being run by Bree and her Grandmother.

Three stories set in the same town at the same time. One starring Bree herself, who is beginning to think the magic gene has skipped her, along with two other ladies who thought they knew what they wanted until a bit of magic snuck into their lives.

This was a charming collaboration from three very talented women and it works so well. It is one of those curl up with a Pumpkin Spice Latte’ and a sugar cookie and feel all the warm feels!

Well Done!

NetGalley/  August 27th, 2019 by Kensington

The Ingredients of Us by Jennifer Gold

The Ingredients of Us

There is no recipe for life.

Elle, owner, and baker extraordinaire is thinking seriously about opening a second bakery.

She has put her heart and soul into her business leaving her husband in second place and looking elsewhere for comfort. He cheats. She doesn’t understand why and turns to what she knows best. Baking.

All of Elles’ recipes bring memories. Some more comforting than others. Confused, and not sure what to do she has her own little fling and may lose her husband in the end.

The story is told in the present, the months and years before she knew about the fling and the time afterward. That was a bit confusing, but not much. The recipes were to die for in this book. Elle wasn’t a very likable character for me.

To be honest, if I were her husband, I would have left too. She had a one-track mind and it was only on one thing. Her bakery. The marriage didn’t come with a recipe and Elle has no idea what the ingredients of one are. But can she find them? Or will it be too little too late?

I anxiously await her next book! Seriously Elle may have been clueless about marriage, but the woman knows how to bake!

NetGalley/ July 1st, 2019 by Lake Union Publishing

 

 

 

Dear Katherine Arden, Thank You

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1) The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2) The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy, #3)

I have been trying to get my husband to read the first one of this series for a long time! He was always too busy until now. As most of the world knows now, the doctors have discovered a large mass on his pelvis. As we wait for surgery he has time.

Yesterday I walked in the den and he was half-way in to the first book. I quietly backed out of the room.  When he was almost to the end last night he looked over at me and said, ” This is great! Do we have the next one?”  Why yes we do! “And what about the third one?” Well, honey I have it in an ARC on my tablet but it’s from Netgalley and I don’t think I am supposed to share it. ” But, what am I supposed to do?” You wait dear, just like the rest of the world we wait and hope that there is more!

After a few of long and frightening weeks we went an entire day without tears or anxiety. So Ms. Arden, thank you from this frazzled reviewer and wife.

 

xx P

 

What Are You Reading This Week End?

A Spark of Light The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

The Library Book Susan Orlean, hailed as a “national treasure” by The Washington Post and the acclaimed bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—our libraries.

Be Our Ghost: A Merry Ghost Inn Mystery If bed-and-breakfast owners Melanie and Liza, along with their laughing ghost tenant, can’t find a real estate developer’s killer, their own estate will end up with their next of kin.

The Little Shop of Found Things (The Little Shop of Found Things #1) A new series about a young woman whose connection to antiques takes her on a magical adventure, reminiscent of Outlander

These all look so good. I just finished one that was excellent. Chariot on the Mountain by Jack Ford. Based on real events this one was a History lover’s dream!

I’ll be headed back for another eye surgery on Monday, so excuse me if I’m a bit slow next week!

Enjoy and let me know if you have a good book I should read!

What’s On Your TBR This Week?

The Little Shop of Found Things: A Novel by [Brackston, Paula] A new series about a young woman whose connection to antiques takes her on a magical adventure.

New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance to launch a new series guaranteed to enchant her audience even more.

The Hour of Death: A Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery by [Jane Willan] Jane Willan’s The Hour of Death will be a Christmas delight for fans of G. M. Malliet, set on an island in Wales.

Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn make sleuthing a work of art. But will they paint themselves into a corner when they investigate the Village Art Society president’s death?

 Beautifully designed, intimate and illuminating, this is the story of American icon Ernest Hemingway’s life through the documents, photographs, and miscellany he kept, compiled by the steward of the Hemingway estate and featuring contributions by his son and grandson.

The Clockmaker's Daughter: A Novel by [Morton, Kate] A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House–the story of a love affair and a mysterious murder that cast their shadows across generations, set in England from the 1860s until the present day.

All of these books release in October, so if you see something you like jump on it now!

Happy Wednesday Reading!

 

 

ISLAND of the MAD By LAURIE R. KING

Island of the Mad (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #15)

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are back in the New York Times bestselling series that Lee Child called “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”

A June summer’s evening, on the Sussex Downs, in 1925. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are strolling across their orchard when the telephone rings: an old friend’s beloved aunt has failed to return following a supervised outing from Bedlam. After the previous few weeks–with a bloody murder, a terrible loss, and startling revelations about Holmes–Russell is feeling a bit unbalanced herself. The last thing she wants is to deal with the mad, and yet, she can’t say no.

The Lady Vivian Beaconsfield has spent most of her adult life in one asylum after another, yet he seemed to be improving–or at least, finding a point of balance in her madness. So why did she disappear? Did she take the family’s jewels with her, or did someone else? The Bedlam nurse, perhaps?

The trail leads Russell and Holmes through Bedlam’s stony halls to the warm Venice lagoon, where ethereal beauty is jarred by Mussolini’s Blackshirts, where the gilded Lido set may be tempting a madwoman, and where Cole Porter sits at a piano, playing with ideas..

It didn’t take much to have a woman parked in an insane asylum back in 1925. Standing up for yourself, would be called hysteria. Being gay or wanting to be independent or a million other reasons that showed just how few rights women had.

When Vivian, the aunt of Mary’s friend, goes missing after a week-end at her half-brother and guardian’s home, it becomes a race to find Vivian before her greedy and mean brother can.

From the dark gloominess of Bedlam to the beauty and freedom of Venice, they follow their clues. Sherlock and Russell are so good because they have entirely different ways of investigation and those two ways gel quite nicely.

With a lot of help from some famous and even not so famous people they may have come up with a plan that will protect Vivian and let other women live their lives on their own terms.

Very well Done!

Netgalley/ Bantam  June 12, 2018