Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A Cross-Country Christmas by Courtney Walsh


The plot:  From the time she was 12, Lauren Richmond had a big crush on her older brother's best friend, Will Sinclair. Then, when they were in college, Will did something that really hurt her, and she promised herself she'd never fall in love like that again. She's all grown up now, but when she ends up driving home to Illinois for Christmas with Will on a weeklong road trip, her heart is in danger of falling for him all over again. Because Will is attractive, funny, kind, and has no idea he once broke her heart.

My thoughts:  Courtney Walsh is one of my favorite authors and this Christmas romance is entertaining, clean, light-hearted, humorous and sweet. I'm a sucker for roadtrip books, and I totally wanted to be on that roadtrip with Will as he stopped at every quirky diner and vintage gas station along the historic highway from Los Angelos to Chicago. And his cheerfully persistent attempts to reconnect with Lauren and help her feel the Christmas spirit made me smile. If you're looking for a cute and joyful holiday romance, I recommend this one!

Happy Reading!

Other favorite reads:

My Phony Valentine

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme is Books Set in X leaving it up to you to decide what X should be. After much consideration--and clicking through lots of other possibilities online--I decided to go with:  Books Set in Lighthouses. (Mostly because I've always wanted to live in one and I think they're a very fun setting to read about.) 

1. Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

2. The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

3. Lighthouse Beach by Shelley Noble

4. The Lighthouse by P.D. James

5. The Lighthouse by Christopher Parker

6. The Last Lighthouse Keeper by John Cook

7. 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber

8. The Lighthouse Keeper by James Michael Pratt

9.  A Lighthouse Christmas by Jenny Hale

10.  The Lighthouse Sisters by Gill Thompson

Have you read any of these? They all look good to me.
Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Quick book recommendations...


Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Now I get why so many people love this book. It's smart, fast-paced, and humorous. Plus there are some good twists. The whole premise of a romantic suspense writer being mistaken for a hit woman makes me laugh. And I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series. 

Havoc by Ronie Kendig

This book has action, suspense and a little romance. I liked that the female protagonist was an MMA fighter and stunt double; she had some serious fighting skills. And all the military moments with Crew Gatlin, along with his issues with his prosthetic leg and hisdog handling skills felt authentic. And, of course, I loved his Belgian Malinois, Havoc. This is an entertaining read. (A big thanks to Ashley @ The Rustic Reading Gal for recommending this one.)

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Watch Her Disappear by Lisa Regan

 "In all the years she had been on the Denton police force, Josie had never encountered a dead body on prom night."

The plot:  Gemma Farmer, a fifteen-year-old girl who went missing in January is found dead on her sixteenth birthday wearing a brand new prom dress. The way she was killed is eerily similar to another missing girl's murder two decades ago. That girl, who was also found on her sixteenth birthday, was Chief Bob Chitwood's younger sister. How are the two girls connected? Who helped lure them away from their homes in the middle of the night? And can Detective Josie Quinn and the other members of Denton's small police force find the murderer before he kills another teenage girl?

My thoughts:  This is the fourteenth book in one of my favorite mystery series. Lisa Regan writes a taut crime thriller. I've come to really like Josie Quinn, Noah Fraley, and her other characters. And the mysteries themselves are sometimes dark, always puzzling and often unexpected. Normally I recommend starting with the first book in this series, Vanishing Girls, but I think you could easily jump into this series with this book because the mystery is not tied to Josie's personal history and past like so many of the other books in this series are. Watch Her Disappear is well-written, fast-paced, suspenseful and compelling. Another solid 4-star read. 

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 19, 2023

November's Bookish Art...

Gotthardt Kuehl -- Lubecker Waisenhaus, 1894

"Reading takes us away from home, but more important, 
it finds homes for us everywhere."
--Hazel Rochman

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

From the blurb:  

"In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously at Dyatlov Pass. Eerie aspects of the incident--unexplained injuries, signs the hikers cut open and fled their tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of them, and radiation readings on some of their clothes--have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. 

"This gripping work of literary nonfiction delves into the mystery through unprecedented access to the hikers' own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author's own retracing of the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian for the first time is the real story of what happened that night on Dead Mountain." 

My thoughts:  I saw a documentary about Dyatlov Pass and the baffling deaths of those nine young Russian hikers several years ago and have wondered about what really happened to them ever since. So I found this book riveting. I loved how Eichar weaves together the hikers' own words and photos with the ensuing search for their bodies, and investigation into their deaths. His more recent trips to Russia to interview friends and family, as well as his own hike up to Dyatlov Pass, was equally interesting. And in the end he figures out a very plausible reason for why those hikers fled their tent that cold and windy night, finally bringing a resolution to this decades-old mystery. For me, this was a 5-star read. 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme is Mainstream Popular Authors That I Still Have Not Read.

(Don't judge me, but it was embarrassingly easy to put together a list of 10 authors for this post that I haven't yet read. And they're all such popular authors, too. Many have been on my To Read list for years. And yet I still haven't read any of their books. 😔 )

Anne Cleeves

Mary Lawson

Elizabeth Strout

Fredrick Backman 

T. Kingfisher

Martha Wells

John Sandford

Jane Harper

Brandon Sanderson

Blake Crouch

Colleen Hoover

(Oops! I think that's eleven names. And I could go on, but I won't.
Hopefully next year, these same authors won't be on this list any more.)

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa

Blurb from Goodreads:  Hidden in Jimbocho, Tokyo, is a booklover's paradise. On a quiet corner in an old wooden building lies a shop filled with hundreds of second-hand books.

Twenty-five-year-old Takako has never liked reading, although the Morisaki bookshop has been in her family for three generations. It is the pride and joy of her uncle Satoru, who has devoted his life to the bookshop since his wife Momoko left him five years earlier.

When Takako's boyfriend reveals he's marrying someone else, she reluctantly accepts her eccentric uncle's offer to live rent-free in the tiny room above the shop. Hoping to nurse her broken heart in peace, Takako is surprised to encounter new worlds within the stacks of books lining the Morisaki bookshop.

My thoughts:  This novel is quietly enchanting, especially the first half. I loved Takako's time at the bookshop with her uncle, and how books and reading became so important in helping her find her way out of her depression. I also loved reading about Jimbocho, Tokyo's famous book district. What a cool neighborhood! In the second half, Takako leaves the bookshop and her aunt, Momoko, who has been gone for five years, comes back. I didn't like Momoko very much, and Takako doesn't spend much time in Jimbocho or at the bookshop in this part of the book, so I didn't enjoy the last half nearly as much as I did the first half.  

Here are two of my favorite quotes from this book...the first one is Takako's Uncle speaking of his adventurous youth traveling the world, and the second one is Takako talking about her newfound love of reading.  
"I wanted to see the whole world for myself. I wanted to see the whole range of possibilities. Your life is yours. It doesn't belong to anyone else. I wanted to know what it would mean to live life on my own terms."


 "It was as if, without realizing it, I had opened a door I had never known existed. That's exactly what it felt like. From that moment on, I read relentlessly, one book after another. It was as if a love of reading had been sleeping somewhere deep inside me all this time, and then it suddenly sprang to life. ... I'd never experienced anything like this before. It made me feel like I had been wasting my life until this moment."

Happy Reading!

P.S. This book counts towards Susan's Bookish Books Reading Challenge. 


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Spring Girls by Karen Katchur


First line: 
Drowning is a quiet death.
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Setting:  Minsi Lake, Pennsylvania
Rating:  3.5/5 stars

Main characters:  Detective Geena Brassard, who is part of the team investigating the three Spring Girls murders, and her new partner, Detective Parker Reed. And Janey Montgomery, a single mom who has already survived one nightmare and who is about to become embroiled in another. Because Geena just found out that Janey was the Spring Strangler's first victim, and she needs Janey's help to catch him...only Janey doesn't remember anything about her attacker.

My thoughts:  This mysery is very readable and the two main characters are interesting, though I didn't really warm up to either one of them. Geena's very dogged in her investigatioon; Janey is fragile and struggling not only with her own fear but with her six-year-old son's behavioral issues. I liked Detective Reed the best, and he's more of a side character in this one. As with any thriller, there are several twists, but I felt like I saw most of them coming. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. This one reads fast and has a good ending. 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week's theme is Book Titles That Would Make Great Newspaper Headlines. 

I thought this one was a lot of fun. Here are my picks:

1.  The Cat Who Saved Books
(by Sosuke Natsukawa)

2.  Murder at Haven's Rock
(by Kelley Armstrong)

3.  A Fire in the Night
(by Christoper Swann)

4.  Kit McBride Gets a Wife
(by Amy Barry)

5.  Lockdown on London Lane
(by Beth Reekles)

6.  How the Penguins Saved Veronica
(by Hazel Prior)

7.  The Man  Burned By Winter
(by Pete Zacharias)

8. Snowed in for Christmas
(by Sarah Morgan)

9.  Local Girl Missing
(by Lisa Regan)

10. Nora Goes Off Script
(by Annabel Monaghan)

Don't these titles make for some great headlines? 
And they are all great reads. I recommend each and every one.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Quick Movie Question...

Now that it's November and Thanksgiving is on the horizon, it got me thinking about holiday movies. There are an overabundance of scary and/or Halloween-oriented movies to watch in the month of October. And plenty of Christmas movies to watch in December. But what about November? What movies are there for Thanksgiving? I could only think of two:  Planes, Trains and Automobiles with Steve Martin and John Candy, and the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special. (Because who doesn't love seeing Snoopy dishing up toast, pretzels, popcorn and jelly beans for Thanksgiving dinner?) 

But there's got to be a few other Thanksgiving movies, doesn't there? Can you think of any? I was just wondering. 

Thursday, November 2, 2023


Just finished reading Night Will Find You by Julia Heaberlin, and I enjoyed it. If you're curious as to why, check out Rachel's awesome review of it, which is the reason I decided to read this one in the first place.  

Here are the books I checked out of the library and am hoping to read in November:
(I also have several Christmas-y romances on hold, but who knows when they'll all come in.)

Battle For the Big Top by Les Standiford
Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar
Watch Her Disappear by Lisa Regan
Spring Girls by Karen Katchur
Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa
Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon
NPCs by Drew Hayes
Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Ellie Cosimano
All Shall Be Well by Deborah Crombie
Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller by Oliver Darkshire

I've also been binge-watching the first season of Grimm and watching The Amazing Race!
(Both shows are favorites of mine.)  

And here's my quote for the month: 

Happy Reading!