Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme:  Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book.

If any of these words or phrases show up in the blurb of a book, there's a 98% chance I'm NOT going to read that particular book. 

1. Revenge plots (they're usually so dark and depressing!)
2. Drugs and drug trafficking
3. BDSM (so not my cup of tea)
4. Politics (there's already too much of it on the news)
5. Mafia/Mob
6. Multi-generational sagas
7. Billionaire boyfriends (really? they have to be billionaires now?)
8. Unpunctuated dialogue (quote marks! they're there for a reason..use them.)
9. Novels that are labeled Fables
10. Graphic gore or violence

Happy Reading...or NOT in this case! 😉

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Quick Book Recommendations...

Begin Again 
by Emma Lord

See You Yesterday
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
(warning: explicit language)

Things these two entertaining YA novels have in common:

Amusing mishaps
College setting
Humorous banter
Relatable characters
Unexpected friendships
Compelling plots
Happy endings

I haven't been reading too many YA novels lately because so many of them have been sadly disappointing...but I thought both of these books were a lot of fun. The stories were well written, the plots clever, and the endings of both made me smile. Check them out!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme? Things that instantly make me want to read a book. 

I've done posts similar to this one before with Favorite Settings and Irresistible Premises & Plots. So I decided to tweak this week's TTT a tiny bit and go with...

Words and phrases in a blurb that always make me want to read the book:

Lost Treasure

Archaeological Quests

Rare Books (or manuscripts)

Search-and-Rescue Dogs


Remote Island

Wilderness Survival


Crumbling Ancestral Estate

Artists/Stolen Art

Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Quick book recommendations....


In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni

This is the third Tracy Crosswhite mystery, and the second one that I've read, but it won't be my last. I'm really liking Tracy. In this one, she investigates a cold case from 40 years ago that turns out to be murder. I loved how all the separate threads wove together as Tracy patiently figures out the truth. It's a compelling mystery. 

How to Find Your Way Home by Katy Regan

There's so much I loved about this book I don't even know where to begin! Emily's search for her homeless brother, Stephen, who was taken away when she was 12;  his vow, as her big brother, to love and protect her forever; and their subsequent struggle to reconnect after twenty years was all so poignant. Regan's writing is excellent, especially the way she interweaves the past and the present. And, of course, I loved all the birds and birding in this one. It's an unexpected and lovely novel.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Haiku Reviews...


My Phony Valentine by Courtney Walsh

She's a struggling chef;
He's a hockey player with a bad rep.
Dating just might save them both.

Romantic comedy .... 363 pages .... 5/5 stars.
(Poppy's and Dallas's fake romance was funny, sweet & swoony.)

Sit, Stay, Love by Debbie Burns

Dogs needing rescue 
unite a gruff ex-marine and
sweet shelter worker.

Contemporary romance .... 371 pages .... 4.5/5 stars.
(The appealing romance between Kurt and Kelsey, and all those dogs, totally made me smile.)

The Love Wager by Lynn Painter

Their bet on who will
find true love leads to bad dates, 
tacos, friendship...and love.

Romantic comedy .... 289 pages .... 4/5 stars.
(I loved the fun texts and banter between Jake and Hallie!)

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

 "Strange noises, bad vibes, your mom and dad recently passed--Your house is haunted and I'm not selling it until you deal with that."

The plot in brief:  Louise and her brother, Mark, don't get along. They haven't even spoken in years. But when their parents die, Louise flies back home to Charleston to help with the funeral. Only it's not just Mark she has to deal with, or getting their childhood home ready to sell, it's also the haunting memories from her past that she's been repressing. Oh, and all of her mother's dolls and puppets...the ones that always seem to be watching...and waiting. 

My thoughts:  I struggled with this one...partly because of my mood and mental state, and the fact that I've been running tired and stressed lately. It's been hard to enjoy any book that's not super light or fluffy. And this book is neither. But I thought the premise of this one sounded ghostly and fun...and I like the way Hendrix writes. Usually. 

Only I found it difficult to connect with the main characters in this one; Louise and Mark are both pretty unlikable at the beginning, though by the end I did like them a little more. And for a horror story, I thought the book's pacing was pretty slow. All the internal dialogue and flashbacks made it drag, especially at the start, although it does pick up about halfway through. And the ending does have some good moments of suspense. Then there's Pupkin, their mom's favorite puppet; he was truly creepy! So there are good things about this one. I just didn't love it as much as I hoped I would. But maybe you will.

Happy Reading!

The Hendrix novel I loved:

This one is fabulous!

Friday, May 12, 2023

May's Bookish Art...

Wilhelm Amberg -- Women in White Reading Outdoors

"I'm old-fashioned and think that reading books is the most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised."
--Wistawa Szymbarska

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick

 "Not many forty-two-year-old mums, wearing bleach-specked jeans and an ancient Rolling Stone T-shirt, ever appeared in fairy tales."

The plot in brief:  42-year-old Liv Green is a wife and mother who dreams of becoming a writer one day, but right now she cleans houses to help make ends meet. One of her clients is reclusive best-selling author, Essie Starling. Liv loves working for her, but when Essie dies unexpectedly, Liv is surprised to discover that one of Essie's last wishes is for Liv to complete her final Georgia Rory novel. Only Liv can't tell anyone what she's doing, not even her husband; and she only has until November 1st to finish the book. Liv doesn't know if she can write a suitable ending to this beloved series. And as she begins to look into Essie's past for inspiration, she not only discovers several secrets about Essie, but a very startling connection. 

My thoughts: Liv is an interesting character. I liked how zen she was about cleaning, and how she tries to be brave like the fictional Georgia Rory. I disagreed with some of the choices she makes and found her frustrating at times. Her relationship struggles with her husband, Jake, felt very real, but I wasn't sure why she was so focused on investigating all of Essie's past loves. Happily, it all comes together at the end in a satisfying way. This is a quick, light read, with both humor and heart. I'd give it 3.5 stars. (And it's another good one for Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge.)

Happy Reading!

Similar read (but one I liked a lot more):

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan


How it begins:  "The call came in the deepest part of the night, the telephone's lusty urgency shattering the basement silence. Persis paused, pen poised above the blank white page of the duty log she had been attempting to complete for the past hour. There was little to report."

Genre:  Historical crime fiction
Setting:  Bombay, India. 1950.
Mystery:  Sir James Herriot's murder...at his own New Year's Eve party.

The main character: Inspector Persis Wadia, India's first...and only...female police officer. An idealist, she joined the police force because she believes in truth and justice. She's determined, serious, headstrong, and has a quick temper. She also has no sense of humor. And flirting with men? Not in her vocabulary.

My thoughts:  Set in a turbulent India two years after Partition, this book is rich in historical detail. I found it all very fascinating. And Persis's studied investigation into Herriot's murder reminded me of some of my favorite Agatha Christie novels. I liked her, flaws and all. And I like Scotland Yard criminalist, Archie Blackfinch, who aided in the investigation; he has some endearing quirks of his own. Interesting settings and plot-lines often make me want to read a mystery, but it's well-layered and complex (and likable) characters like Persis who keep me coming back for more. And I'm definitely looking forward to checking out the next book in this series. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 4, 2023


Recently finished reading:

I loved this one! Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan is a funny, captivating, heartwarming and clever romance. I adored the interactions between single mom, Nora, and her two kids, and sexy actor Leo Vance. And the fact that Nora writes "happy and dumb" TV romance movie scripts just added to the fun. If you haven't read this one, I highly recommend it.  

I keep finding my own blog comments in the spam folder. And some are from posts written back in 2019 that are only turning up as spam now. Why?! It's so frustrating...and also a bit time-consuming having to okay them all one by one to take them out of the spam folder. Someone please tell me why Blogger keeps categorizing my own comments published on my own blog as spam! Or at least how to fix it so it doesn't keep happening. 

(There was one funny spam comment in the mix that totally made me laugh: "with exactly what went via your head: Uhh.")  

These are the library books I checked out over the weekend that I plan hope to read this month: 

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix
Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan
Hatchet Island by Paul Doiron
The Love Wager by Lynn Painter
Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman
The Messy Lives of Book People byPhaedra Patrick
The Killing Kind by John Connolly
In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni
The Only Game in Town by Lacie Walden
A Perfect Amish Romance by Shelley Shepherd Gray
Flirting With the Beast by Jane Porter

And here's my favorite quote for the week:

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday...

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's theme:  The First 10 Books I Randomly Grabbed From My Shelves.

I wanted to make this list truly random, so I numbered the shelves in my bedroom and pulled out my 12-sided and 20-sided dice...then rolled for what shelf and what book. (Yes, I own a set of Dungeons and Dragons dice; I'm more than just a book nerd. 🐉 ) Anyway, here are 10 Random Books from my Shelves.

The Rose Revived by Katie Fforde
(I love Fforde's romances and own several of them, but this was the first one I ever read.)

Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham
(He's one of my favorite classic authors...and this is my second favorite book by him.)

Nightlife by Rob Thurman
(This is the compelling first book in a very action-packed urban fantasy series that I love with brothers Cal and Nikos Leandros.)

Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi
(This is a fantastic nonfiction read about a girl who sails around the world alone. 
I love travel memoirs and have read this one many times.)

The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts
(This is another excellent nonfiction book...and one I actually bought in hardback when it came out.)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
(Another favorite classic novel! I love the way this mystery unfolds.)

The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher
(Pilcher's romances are so magical; I especially love this one.)

Well Met by Jen DeLuca
(Who doesn't love a sweet and swoony romance set at a Renaissance Faire?)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
(This was my introduction to Scandinavian thrillers and I loved it!)

The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte
(His books are amazing!)

Though randomly chosen, these 10 books are a good representation of the kinds of books I love to read: thrillers, romances, urban fantasy, classics, mystery, and nonfiction. 

Happy Reading!