The London House

November 2, 2021


The London House
By: Katherine Reay
Genre: Historical Fiction

Caroline Payne's old college friend, Mat Hammond calls her to get a comment for a story he's writing- about her family. Mainly her Great Aunt Caro. She was always told her Great Aunt died as a child of polio, but Mat's research says otherwise. Was she a spy? Did she run away with a German lover? And why is her father so against her looking into her family's history to get answers. What if Mar's right? What if he's wrong? What if they're both wrong? 

World War II stories have long been a historical fiction staple. I mean, there's so many stories to be told! However, this one stood out to me because it was different than most of what I've read involving this war. I loved the idea of uncovering family secrets and histories. And let me tell you, Katherine Reay told an incredible story. I was gripped from the start. She's a gifted storyteller who unraveled a plot I didn't want to end.

After Mat drops the bombshell of Aunt Caro's past, it doesn't take long for the plot to thicken. Nor does it take Caroline long to get to London where she begins going through letters and journals from her Grandmother and her Grandmother's twin sister. Through their words, you get glimpses of their bond and life growing up. You see their worlds take a dramatic 180 degree turn when grave illness comes into their lives- and the way it changes them. 

I loved reading the letters and journals. I loved seeing everything unfold. Just when I thought I knew how the story was going to go, I'd be wrong. Reay kept me guessing and eager to see what would happen next. 

There were numerous layers to the story: what Aunt Caro's true story was, the family dynamic between Caroline's immediate family, the tense friendship between old college friends. As the stories unfolded, the tension began to, as well. You watched the characters grow and change as the truth is uncovered. 

If you're looking for a book to curl into, look no further than The London House. I was under the weather for several days, so I curled up with a cozy blanket and warm hot chocolate as I got lost in the latest story Katherine Reay had to tell us. It was so good. I was glad to see how it ended, but sad to leave the characters. This book will be on by bookshelf soon and had become one of my favorite historical fiction books. I hope you keep it in mind during your next library or bookstore trip. You won't be disappointed!

A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale

October 5, 2021


A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale
By: Karen Schaler


A charming Christmas village, a storybook castle, a royal ball, and a gorgeous prince are the last things New York City reporter Kaylie Karlyle expects to find on her holiday freelance assignment to Europe. But when the family she's interviewing turns out to be the royal family of Tolvania, Kaylie has a meltdown when the quirky queen wants her to write a Christmas fairy tale for the spunky, young princess. Kaylie must battle the princess's father, who doesn't trust the media, and her own insecurities about writing anything beyond the news.

The latest Christmas has arrived and it's got Princess Diaries at Christmas vibes. While I don't think this year's book is as good as previous years offerings have been, you will still want to crawl into the story. If not just to live amongst Tolvania during Christmas, you'll love the characters.

Kaylie Karlyle's career looked like it was going in the direction of a major promotion- until it doesn't and she gets let go instead. With his hands tied, her boss, Bob, informs her of a freelance assignment she could take while she looks for another permanent job. With no other prospects, Kaylie agrees to write do a feature on a family's Christmas traditions. However, there were a few things he left out: the family is a royal family and the feature is more of a fairy tale the Queen wants written for her Granddaughter. But those details come to light once she lands at a remote area of Eastern Europe.

Kaylie's holiday is about to take a turn she couldn't possibly see coming when she meets said royal family and quickly likes them. Although, the Queen's son may have gotten the wrong impression when Kaylie fell into his lap. (It was an accidental falling when the wind pushed her into the wrong car. I swear.) As things get to a bumpy start everyone learns more about each other as the Queen has said Prince Alexander walk Kaylie through a list of family Christmas traditions.

I loved the characters more than the story. I have to say, I wasn't a big fan of Prince Alexander. Queen Isabella was my favorite. She was so sharp, discerning and loving all in one. The Prince's daughter, Anna was adorable, too. I loved reading the descriptions of Tolvania! I just wanted to climb into the book every time they went around the town. I wanted to be there with the characters.

Like I said, this wasn't my favorite of Karen's Christmas books, but i enjoyed it. She has a gift with creating a Christmas scene! She makes the Christmas season come to life on the pages of whatever story she's created.

The Bookseller's Secret

August 17, 2021


The Bookseller's Secret
By: Michelle Gable
Genre: Historical Fiction

In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.

Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay.

Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an even more surprising link between the past and present… --

Once again, Michelle Gable has crafted an engrossing story that you love watching unfold. She gives you two lead characters, Nancy and Katie, who area as different as they are similar. Both are having to pick up the pieces when life took a detour. Both are learning to navigate their lives on their own terms, all while learning what those terms are. Michelle created Katie with her own distinctive personality, and she captures Nancy just as she was described by people who knew her. 

I loved Nancy!! She was spunky, sassy and marched to the beat of her own drum. She wasn't afraid to live life according to her rules- not society's. From her extra-marital relationships to the friends she surrounded herself with. I loved her! She was the breath of fresh air her world needed. I loved reading about her friends and family. Her sisters were flawed, but fun to read about. Nancy's group of close friends were a blast to get to know!! 

Katie's story has her picking herself up after her life seemingly falls apart. Her relationship is over and she's caused a big scene at the family Thanksgiving. Accepting her best friend, JoJo's, invitation to stay with her in London is just what she needs. I warn you: Katie's has a rather foul mouth. She's very familiar with curse words and not afraid to use them. But, that aside, I enjoyed reading her discover more about her beloved author. A chance trip to the G. Heywood Hill Bookshop brings more than just future friends to her life- it gives her a treasure to help hunt for. Could there be an unpublished memoir left by her beloved author?! She joins forces with Simon, the grandson of someone who was connected to Nancy, to find it. Not only do they navigate the past, but they get to know one another as they look for the memoir.

While The Bookseller's Secret isn't a keep you on the edge of your seat novel, it's one you enjoy reading. This book was like a pile of puzzle pieces that slowly revealed the picture with each chapter. It was like a cozy blanket and hot chocolate on a rainy day. You just loved spending time getting to know the characters- main as well as supportive. You just loved seeing what each chapter revealed. You were sad to leave the group when you read the last line, but you were so glad you met them. 

Thank you, Michelle, for another great read. Thank you for creating an inviting world for the reader to crawl into. Thank you for being the gifted writer you are to bring all these characters to life. I look forward to our next adventure!

Stories to Tell

August 1, 2021


Stories to Tell
by: Richard Marx

For most of the people who knew and loved singer, songwriter & performer, Richard Marx, he showed up on our radar in the late 1980s. What we wouldn't know was that he had already made a name for himself in the music industry before that. In his book, Stories to Tell, Richard tells you how his career came to be. You'll get to hear about the successes he had before he ever had a record deal. He gives you a front row seat to him unpacking his professional life- with a little of his personal life thrown in. You won't believe the career he's had!!

I was one of the many listeners of the radio that heard Richard Marx's tunes play. While I wasn't a die hard fan who bought all the albums or went to the concerts, I did enjoy listening to his music whenever I heard it on the radio. I was among the many who watched his videos on MTV. In fact, my first broken heart had his song "Right Here Waiting" in the background. He was a big part of the music scene in the late 80s. But, like many others, I had no clue just how talented he was. I had no clue that he had a career in the music industry before we ever heard a word from him. Stories to Tell was such an eye opening read  that showed just how widespread his talent was and is.

Did you know he was nominated for a Grammy before he ever had a record deal? I didn't?! Did you know that he's worked with some of the biggest names in music- long before he had a record deal? (think Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Madonna- just to name a few.) I didn't! You will learn who got him started, who all he worked with before and after his own record deal, and the career achievements he garnered before the mass majority knew who he was.

Richard Marx will tell you stories of life on the road, stories behind his biggest hits, and why you should never EVER let the Chinese Mafia have anything to do with financing a part of your tour. And you will love every story he has to tell you. He takes you behind the curtain on his career and it's a fascinating read. I couldn't put it down.

A Deadly Deletion

July 27, 2021


A Deadly Deletion
By: Lorna Barrett
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery

 Tricia Miles has just received a second marriage proposal within fifteen minutes. The first was from her friend with benefits, Marshall Chambers, and the second from her ex-lover, police chief Grant Baker. Tricia's got some serious thinking to do.

She's still weighing her options when she hears the sound of an engine roaring down Main Street. It's a big white pickup truck that aims for and hits Marshall as he's walking back to his apartment. Tragically, he's killed, leaving Tricia feeling bereft and guilty. She retreats to her sister, Angelica's, apartment to wait for Baker to update her on what happened. While there, Tricia takes Angelica's dog out for a comfort call behind the building, and the same white pickup roars up the alley and just misses hitting Tricia.

Still shaken by that news, Tricia returns to Haven't Got a Clue and is met by federal marshal Kirby, who tells her that Marshall had been in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Everything Marshall told Tricia was a lie—in particular, that he was a widower. Was his death an act of revenge?

Tricia's on the hunt for a killer, and it seems like she might be next on the list.

I hope you're ready, because A Deadly Deletion has a lot going on within it's pages. For starters, it literally picks up where it's predecessor, handbook For Homicide leaves off. So, right off the bat Tricia gives her answers for the two marriage proposals she's just received. As this story unfolds, people Tricia thought she knew turn out to be the opposite. By the time you read the last word, secrets are uncovered and a long standing character from the series dies. All of this leaves Tricia dazed and confused. 

Marshall's death leaves her emotions raw. She was very confident in the answer she gave him and knew it was the right one. But that was all before he died and secrets from his past- and present- come to life. As it turns out. she didn't know Marshall at all. It doesn't take long for those secrets to unravel in the form of government officials and people from his past to show up with answers to the questions she never knew she needed to ask. 

But all those revelations still don't explain who killed him and why? was it even connected to his past, or could it just be an accident? Turns out that answer comes with it's own mind blowing revelations. Ones with deadly ends. By the time the climax of the story arrives, Tricia has no clue who she can trust. Family was always her safe place, but a falling out takes that away from her.

This was a great story, but a heavy one. A Deadly Deletion isn't a light hearted addition to the series. The ending was not what I thought it would be. The "bad guy" wasn't who I thought it was going to be. I was shocked to see the ending play out. It didn't leave me warm and fuzzy, but it did what a mystery is meant to do: keep me guessing and turning the pages. 

Little Black Book

June 29, 2021


Little Black Book
By: Kate Carlisle
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery


When Brooklyn and her husband, Derek, are sent a mysterious package they have no idea they're about to be involved with a missing persons case with a few murders thrown in the mix. Their crime fighting skills even take them to Scotland. And all of this involves the beloved gothic classic, Rebecca. 

Book restoration expert Brooklyn and her husband, Derek, no sooner walk through the door of their San Francisco apartment then discover Derek's been sent a mysterious package. A mysterious book package, nonetheless. A black covered first edition, signed by the author herself, of Rebecca not only has been mailed to him, but becomes the source of much confusion. It doesn't take long for the plot to thicken with the arrival of Claire Quinn on their doorstep. Her beloved Aunt Gwyneth is missing and a mailing receipt shows the Stones' address. She's searching for information to her whereabouts. 

And thus begins the latest mystery in the well loved Bibliophile mystery series by Kate Carlisle. This newest adventure not only brings Claire into the mix of characters, but also the several bad guys on her heels. Nicknamed Mr. peppermint and Fish Face, they're trying to retrieve the book and shut Claire up at the same time. Now, Brooklyn and Derek are trying to figure out how Rebecca plays into everything, but also are trying to keep Claire safe. Turns out Derek and Gwyneth worked together for M16, so dots begin to connect. But where is she? Why are people trying to kill Claire? And what does all of this have to do with the Rebecca book sent to Derek?

I enjoyed this book! More often than not, books in a long running book series start to suffer in content. Mysteries become thin and a smaller part of the story. I can honestly tell you, this isn't the case with the Bibliophile series. The action started right off the bat and continued to the end. I loved getting to know the new characters and was questioning if they were the bad guys throughout. I loved the connection between Derek and Gwyneth. The Scotland parts of the story was fascinating. Kate not only takes you there, but also brings it to life by giving you some of the history. I was glued and didn't want it to end. 

Long standing fans of the series will thoroughly enjoy book 15. New readers of the book will enjoy it, as well. While there are a few references to past things, a first time series reader won't be confused by them. A great summer read for cozy mystery lovers. 

Live Your Life

June 15, 2021


Live Your Life
By: Amanda & Anna Kloots
Genre: Memoirs

When COVID came to the U.S. life as we knew it changed. The virus spread faster than the facts we needed to know about it. Amanda Kloots was forced to face this nightmare when it hit her husband. Facing the unknowns all while on lockdown and bringing up her infant son was nothing short of a nightmare. Here she shares the story of their life, his illness and the battle they desperately fought to the bitter, heartbreaking end.

2020 was a nightmare year. Life turned upside down with 5 letters: COVID. Life came to a scary, screeching halt as we watched hundreds of thousands get hit. While many recovered, many did not. And as the virus spread like the wildfire, the facts and information about it weren't as quick in coming. Fear reigned. Nick Cordero's case was one of the first that took early theories and threw them by the wayside. He was young- in his 40s- and had no pre-existing conditions. He was healthy. There was no reason to think he would get the virus and fully recover, if he did get it. Until he caught it and never recovered. What Amanda thought was  going to be an hour, or so, visit to the ER became the last time she ever talked to him again.

Amanda takes you on her emotional journey as they admitted him into the ICU- and he never left. 90+ days of him showing signs of improvement one minute only to take a turn for the worse the next. Times of doctors saying his numbers looking good and having hope of getting him off the machines. Times of medicines that helped other patients not helping him. Times of being told to get to the hospital as soon as possible because they didn't think Nick would survive a few more hours. The fight to get into the hospital to see him. The phone calls in the middle of the night. Amanda puts you right there with her. 

While she's in the fight for her husband's life, she also has a baby boy, Elvis, to take care of. You'll read how her family dropped their lives to come help her. You'll read how a neighborhood steeped up to help in any way they could. You'll read how celebrities got involved. These were my favorite parts to read. Her fight didn't stay just hers. A whole community of fighters was created in a time when it was needed. 

 Live Your Life is an emotional book. You'll be touched by strangers' generosity, you'll cry at the heartbreaking reality of this virus. You'll think he's going to get better. You'll be sad when he doesn't.  
You'll be shocked when you learn of the damage this virus did to his body. By the time you read the last word, you will have been all over the emotional map and have kept Kleenex in business. 

As devastating as Nick's story is, it's remarkably heartwarming, too. I smiled and cried my way through the pages. I thank Amanda and Anna for sharing their story as openly as they did. May every reader be blessed by it in some way.

April 27, 2021

How Y'All Doing?
By: Leslie Jordan
Humor, Memoirs

During the COVID quarantine, many in the world discovered Mr. Leslie Jordan. he became a familiar, funny face on Instagram. Well, recognizing how 2020 brought him a new audience, Mr. Jordan takes this opportunity to introduce himself and tell you a little about himself.

While I wasn't of the many who became familiar with Leslie Jordan through Instagram, I was of the many who wanted to get to know his story. I had watched a few of his videos and you couldn't help but chuckle at his musings. He has this sweet southern charm that oozes from him. That sweet southern charm that had to navigate being gay in the South amidst a religious family. So, I jumped at the opportunity to read his story. This is his second book, so he may not go into as much detail as his previous one, but I enjoyed myself just the same.

Leslie's humor is what gravitated me to him. He has a funny way of telling the stories he tells. I loved reading how Debbie Reynolds came to his rescue with his mom. he reminisces about his days on American Horror Story. He gets vulnerable with a career challenge that had him walking away from a project he wanted to do, but couldn't. He tells you about his first baby shower experience.

When you pick up this book, be prepared for a quick fun read. You will chuckle and smile. By the time you finish, you've fallen in love Jordan's humor and wit. 


Maggie Finds Her Muse

April 20, 2021


Maggie Finds Her Muse
By: Dee Ernst

Maggie Bliss is a successful romance writer.- with a problem. Her book is due in 6 weeks and she has nothing. Will a change of scenery be just what she needs? Or will a change of scenery be the setting for a whole new set of problems?

As the book opens, Maggie's life is in a bit of chaos. She has a live-in boyfriend who thinks more of himself than he does of her. Her first draft is due on her publisher's desk in 6 weeks and she's got the worst case of writer's block. So, her agent recommends her traveling to Paris with him and his husband. Seems like paradise since she can write anywhere and she's kicked the selfish boyfriend out. The people waiting for her there are nothing like she thought of. Solange, Lee's (Maggie's agent), is quick to make herself sparse so sparks can hopefully ignite between her son, Max, and Maggie. 

As Maggie gets to know the neighborhood and the people, her writer juices start to flow. However, even Paris can bring complications to your café table. Maggie's daughter has decided that since both her parents get along and are currently single, it's the perfect time to get back together. Will their old flame spark up again? Maggie also can't quite make sense of her growing attachment to Max. He takes her under his wing as he gets her a makeover and shows her the neighborhood. Will feelings develop?

If you're looking for a light, fluffy and charming romance- consider Maggie Finds Her Muse. I loved the story. I was engrossed right from the get go. I loved all the characters and how they interacted. I loved how Dee Ernst made Paris feel so magical through the pages. I loved seeing all the possibilities and watching the story unfold. She even made a farting dog become a cute comical character. 

I do need to warn you that if you like your romance books to be steamy, you won't find that with Maggie. There are plenty of references to steamy things she's written for characters and a couple of beginnings, but very little steam. But what it lacks in that department it makes up for with charm. I didn't want to put the book down and I didn't want it to end. 

Maggie Finds Her Muse could be a great summer read. 

Picture Perfect Frame

March 16, 2021


Picture Perfect Frame
By: Lynn Cahoon
Genre: Mystery/ Cozy Mystery

South Cove has a new business in town, a little paint and sip store. And what better welcome can South Cove give this new venture than to have it be the site of the latest murder?! This time around, the prime suspect is none other than resident fortune teller/police secretary/Jill's neighbor. But, did she do it? If not her, than who? 

The 12th installment of this beloved cozy mystery series finds South Cove a whirl of activity. Not only is the town gearing up for St. Patrick's Day, but Amy's wedding is right around the corner. So, a new murder isn't really on anyone's agenda. A night of fun & friendship definitely is. Everyone gathers at the town's newest paint and sip store. Some bring their painting talent, some don't. One attendee, Nan, stands out, though. Mostly because she's drunk. Of course, the locals don't take long on getting whatever info they can about Nan and her husband. As it turns out, they're regular visitors to the town- mainly for the guidance of the local fortune teller/psychic. 

Nan makes the conversations change when she's found dead in the paint and sip the following morning. The hunt is on for the who, what, why. All fingers, clues, start pointing to Jill's neighbor, the fortune teller/police secretary. Knowing her friend didn't do it, Jill refuses to sit back and let her get railroaded. So, off she goes looking for clues. It isn't long before you uncover the reason behind the couple's frequent trips to South Cove. 

As if trying to solve a mystery isn't enough, Jill's best friend, Amy, is the bridezilla turned emotional wreck bride. Due to walk down the aisle in mere weeks, Amy is anything but calm. She's one hysterical mess after another. It only makes matters worse when her fiancĂ© goes missing on her. Unable to get in contact with him, and having very little coming in from his end, Amy wastes no time jumping from one conclusion to another, leaving Jill to deal with the fall out. 

I love this series. I've been with this series from book 1 to now. I always love visiting South Cove and seeing what Lynn has all the residents up to. This book didn't disappoint. It was a fun read that I devoured, as I've done with each installment of this series. Some books have the mystery aspects more front and center than others, but I always get pulled into the plot right away. While Picture Perfect Frame wasn't as action packed as some of the previous books, you still loved finding out Nan's story. I enjoyed learning the back story and how it connected to the present happenings. The ending was anti-climatic for the mystery- there was no fighting confrontation between the killer and anyone, but there didn't need to be. 

I'm looking forward to the next installment. There may be another wedding in the not too distant future for South Cove. Lynn always has me coming back for more!!

The Rose Code

March 9, 2021


The Rose Code
By: Kate Quinn
656 Pages
Historical Fiction/Fiction


1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter—the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger—and their true enemy—closer...

Has Kate Quinn have a story for you!! Once again, she takes you to World War II. This time. you're cracking secret codes in a secret location. You're intercepting war messages from the Germans along with Osla Kendall, Mab Churt and Beth Finch. Osla is the socialite who wants to prove there's more to her than just being a debutante. Mab is the girl from the poor part of town who wants better for herself and her family. And Beth is the one who's Mom bullies her and has no back bone. Through war circumstances, these three come together. 

As the war rages on, each of these girls grows into women they wanted to be, but never thought they would. One will turn her back on her family to forge her own life on her terms. One will lose the most important people in her life. One will sacrifice her heart for love's sack. And you will not want to stop reading as these ladies do the impossible. But all is not as easy as broken hearts. Devastation, betrayal and despair loom large. 

My favorite character was Osla. She's the spitfire of the group. She's stronger than she gave herself credit for in the beginning. Beth was the growth you loved the most. She went from shy and timid to a powerhouse in the war effort. Mab's secrets were ones that I didn't predict. As these women became part of the backbone for defeating the Germans, you couldn't wait to see what would happen next.

Kate Quinn has brought you another masterpiece. I couldn't put this book down. Once again, it's based off real people and places. She told another gripping story that you pulled you in from the first page. Kate has become one of my favorite historical fiction writers because she's unbelievably gifted at telling her stories. All I wanted to do was see what each page had in store for the story and the girls I've been rooting for. You are in for an amazing, unforgettable adventure. One you will not likely forget after you read the last word and turn the final page. 

If you're like me, your house will become a mess while you're lost in the story, but you won't care, It'll be totally worth it. Thank you, Kate, for another awesome book. It was a true pleasure to read it. 

The Affair

March 2, 2021


The Affair
By: Danielle Steel
288 Pages

When Rose McCarthy’s staff at Mode magazine pitches a cover shoot with Hollywood’s hottest young actress, the actress’s sizzling affair with a bestselling French author is exposed. The author happens to be Rose’s son-in-law, which creates a painful dilemma for her. Her daughter Nadia, a talented interior designer, has been struggling to hold her marriage together, and conceal the truth from their young daughters, her family, and the world. But Nicolas, her straying husband, is blinded by passion for a younger woman—and not only that, she is pregnant with his child. 

Nadia’s three sisters close ranks around her, flying to Paris from Los Angeles and New York to lend support and offer their widely divergent advice. Athena, a jovial celebrity chef with her own TV show in Los Angeles, is leery of marriage. Olivia, a stern conservative New York superior court judge, is haunted by a shocking secret of her own. Venetia, a zany fashion designer, happily married with three kids, has the gentlest, most realistic point of view. Despite their well-meaning advice, Nadia needs to figure out what she herself thinks, and what to do next.

Danielle's back, but not packing the punch I enjoyed in he previous release. I enjoyed the first half of this book more than I did the second half. The main issue I had was with the husband character, Nicolas. The reasons he gave as his explanation for the affair infuriated me and never did anything to remove that anger. As the story unfolds, it takes far longer than is should for him to grasp the pain he caused. How he wanted things to play out where beyond selfish and completely unrelatable. As the reader, I never felt he truly understood the impact of his selfish actions. His character was meant to be disliked, but I was never able to change my opinion of him as the story continued to unfold.

Danielle told a great, moving story, Her fans will enjoy this latest story, but I never got passed Nicolas from the first half. He was never able to really redeem himself with me. I had a hard time with his stand after his affair was revealed. I felt like he was a child who couldn't understand why things weren't going his way. Maybe it was the culture differences.

I did love the interaction with the sisters. Watching those relationships grow and impact one another was fun to read. The way they came together for each other, in more than one crisis, was awesome. They stood beside one another- no matter what. That was my favorite aspect of the book. I could've read about the sisters and mother relationship all day. They were all so different, but at the end of the day, they were family. Come hell or high water. 

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder

February 23, 2021



Lake Eden's Mayor is found dead. Andrea, Hannah's sister is the one to find him- and also have a fight with him earlier that day- so she becomes suspect #1. Hannah is now on a mission to find out who really did the killing, all while her busy bakery is prepping for Easter.

I found this to be on ok read. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't amazing, either. It was pretty much in the middle. For me, this book seemed to struggle with something a lot of cozy mystery series do- after numerous books the focus becomes more on the characters with the mystery becoming a secondary character. I felt this book focused the majority of it's time with Hannah and the other characters. It started off with a bang, but cooled quickly. 

A little heads up: if you aren't keeping up with the series, you may find questions with no answers. For example, in the book prior to this one, something happens involving Hannah's husband and her home. You're told she finds his murdered body, but that's all. You don't know what happened or why. You have no clue why her sister is now living there. There is no revisiting it for the reader. I've only read the first 3 books in the series, so I wasn't sure if I could just pick up at the current book and be filled in about recent events, but I wasn't. That's not a deal breaker for me, but it's something I think you should know. Some series don't have to be read in order, but I don't think this is one of them.

There were several things that I had a hard time with. One, the character names were constantly repeated within conversations. To the point that the conversations didn't seem realistic to me. Secondly, the inner dialogue in Hannah's head got pretty distracting and annoying quickly. Once or twice, is no big deal, but when they're happening often, it tends to take away from the story. Thirdly, I just felt the mystery investigation part was almost non existent. There was very little tracking down suspects and weeding out the possibilities. In fact, people stated several times that there were so many people who had a motive for killing the mayor, but only a few were mentioned. The only real investigating happened toward the end and it led to the killer. I guess I was expecting more of the process to be there.

Overall, the 27th Hannah Swensen series installment was ok. I was hoping for more and was disappointed not to see more of the investigation unfold, but I did have a good time catching up with the characters. Andrea is still one of my favorites. Despite the issues I had, I liked the book. I plan on reading more of the series in the future, so I'll have to start catching up.


January 5, 2021


By: Danielle Steel

When an 8.2 earthquake rocks San Francisco, the residents of one particular street come together. Lives are forever changed- in both good and bad ways. Mostly, people who once were strangers come to form a little family.

I LOVED this book!! Danielle Steel has tended to be a little hit and miss for me over the last several years. This one I read in a matter of 2 days. I loved all the characters she meant for the reader to love, and the same with the characters she wanted you to dislike. Instead of going light on the whatever subject she wrote about at the time, I felt like Danielle really did justice to the characters and the plot she wove with them.

Meredith is the former movie star who turned her back on the outside world after enduring several heartbreaks in a close period of time. No  longer drawn to movies, she spent the next 15 years within the walls of her property- which is no small piece of real estate. Her only confidantes are the married couple she employs, Jack and Debbie Speck, to help protect her from the world and manage her estate. What she doesn't know is that they never had genuine intentions when it came to her. Although, they genuinely loved the perks of their jobs and the money. Not to mention the valuables they were quietly sneak into their apartment.

Andrew Johnson is a prominent Orthopedic surgeon. His wife was once an OR nurse, but left her career to raise the 2 children they have. He's all about appearance and letting her know how lucky she is. 

Peter Stern is a writer with dreams of publishing his novel. During the day he works in advertising, but writes at night. He had a stroke of luck when Arthur Harriman, a famous concert pianist who is blind, asks Peter to live with him and be a sometime caretaker during the evening hours. 

Joel Fine is a multimillionaire from several start ups he founded. He's local playboy who loves a good time with little, to no strings attached. His current It girl is Ava who was a tradeshow model. She's starting to see beyond the fun of the moment and wanting a future for herself, but she knows it won't include Joel.

Everyone comes together one night when the earthquake hits. Meredith opens rarely used gates and offers everyone to stay with her until their own homes are safe to move back into. Within the month everyone is under her roof, secrets become uncovered and lives begin to change. Not everyone who entered Meredith's house together leaves together. 

**** TRIGGER WARNING!!! ****
There are domestic violence scenes in this book. If that is something you would rather not read , or will be an issue, you may not want to read this book. While they don't occur from start to finish, they do play throughout the majority of the book- especially he last 1/2 of the book.

Like I said, I enjoyed this book. I was gripped from the start. I loved watching the different storylines unfold. Some things weren't surprising, while others were. This was a great book to just curl up with and have a cozy time with. It wasn't fluffy, but nor was it overly heavy. I felt Danielle did a great job of growing her characters after a traumatic experience. You did feel removed from the complete earthquake experience simply because everyone stays at Meredith's mansion. However, as the story progresses, your experience to the event is widened. 

Christmas Books of 2020!!

January 1, 2021

 Merry Christmas Book Reading For 2020!!!

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season are the books! The festive stories of old that I reread annually and the new ones I discover with each new year. Once December1st arrives, I'm a nonstop Christmas reading machine. Any, and every, book I pick up will be Christmas themed until the 31st comes. I get excited to curl up with a comfy blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. I can't wait to discover a new story, or revisit one I've loved for years. I have some favorites that I read every year. It's just a magical time of year for me reading wise. 

However, let's be real. Some books are better than others. Some are amazing. Some are awful. It happens. This year's batch of books wasn't a year where I loved everything. In fact, this year won't go down as the best seasonal reads year. Still, I thought I'd share what I read this December with you. You're going to meet my annual reads and ones I read for the first time. Here we go.....

The Christmas Box
By: Richard Paul Evans

This is a book I pretty much read every year. I has all the feels. The story centers around a married couple who moves into a huge house, with their daughter, to help care for an elderly woman. I'm trying not to give much away, but this book never gets old for me. I still shed a tear at a few places in the story- even though I know they're coming. I'm still touched as I learn about the elderly woman's story. My heart still breaks in the same places it did when I first read it. And, it still overflows with love and joy in other places. Through the course of the story (which is short at less than 200 pages) these strangers form a bond that is unforgettable. This woman blesses the little family just as much as they bless her. Despite having read this book yearly for almost 5 years, the wonder is never lost on me.

The Christmas Sisters
By: Sarah Morgan

I've had this book on my shelf for a year,  or two. I wanted to read it last year, but never did. For some reason, I had a feeling this book was going to be one I read, but wasn't touched by. That proved to be the case. It wasn't a bad book. It just wasn't one that I think I would ever reread. 
This story centers around 3 sisters. You learn fairly early in the book that the people who they call Mom and Dad aren't the biological parents. As the story unfolds, you learn why and how they were connected. Each sister is at a different place in their lives- and at different stages in dealing with the aftermath of a childhood trauma. While the parents live in Scotland full time, only one of the sisters stayed there. All three sisters are going to be spending Christmas in Scotland- and one of them is really dreading it. Each brings their troubles and rocky relationship to the holiday. As the pages turn, walls slowly come down and healing finally begins.

A Christmas Carol
By: Charles Dickens

This is another annual read for me. I look forward to curling up and spending the day with Scrooge and his ghosts. Some of the lines have becomes favorites and I smile as I come to them. I love the ghostly visits and seeing how they melt Scrooge's cold heart. I never tire of the story. We all know how it ends, but I love it. It's like watching your favorite movies. You know the story well, but the magic is still never lost on you. My favorite parts are still leading up to the ghosts and Scrooge's transformation. I eagerly wait in wonder as the journey ensues. My smile is never missing when Scrooge wakes up Christmas morning a changed man. Christmas magic!!

The Nutcracker of Nuremberg
By: Alexander Dumas

This year was the first time I'd read this. I was immediately intrigued when I read that Tchaikovsky's ballet was based on this book. I was hoping I would love it more than I did. This book focus's on the back story between the nutcracker and the mouse king. You learn why they're at odds with one another and everything that led up to the famous battle in the battle. 
It was fascinating to read, but I don't know that I'd read it every year. 

Booked For Christmas
By: Lily Menon

This was a novella I found on Amazon. She's a writer who's works is constantly being trashed by one reviewer. The tension gets thick quickly when said reviewer shows up at her cabin. 

Being snowed in forces them to interact and see each other outside of their usual dynamic. It's a holiday themed hate-love romance trope. It was a cute story that moved quickly. It was overly memorable, but that could just be because it's hard to effectively tell a romantic story the reader can invest in with 89 pages. 

Christmas In Evergreen: Letters to Santa
By: Nancy Naigle

This your Hallmark movie in book form. I'm not sure which came first: the book or the movie, but both are available. The female lead comes back to the town she loved (and moved away from) as a child. She learns that the general store that was a prominent part of the town has closed down and fallen into disrepair. She also learns that it's for sale. She puts her design talent to good use to help get it more enticeable for perspective buyers. The mission gets some of the town's locals involved and a labor of love is begun. Romance comes to more than one of the characters. Everything is wrapped up with a lovely bow at the end, as only Hallmark can do.

This was an enjoyable story to read. I know it's a series of movies, and books. I'd be interested in reading more of the books. The story was fun. The characters were enjoyable. You were routing for the happy ending and weren't disappointed when it came. And even though you knew everything was going to end well, you still loved every minute of the story.

Christmas In Paris
By: Anita Hughes

Okay, as a reviewer, I'm good at finding the positive in pretty much everything I read. I may not like a book, but it rarely doesn't have some redeeming factors. I've got 2 things for this book: the cover (gorgeous) and I finished it (not an easy feet).

There is not enough space for me to tell you all the issues I had with this book. The plot was unbelievable and unlikely- at best. Two people are nursing broken hearts when their weddings are both cancelled days before the events. They find themselves at the same luxury Paris hotel. A meeting with a fortune teller has our female lead convinced she's going to meet her future husband while she's there. So, our wayward female lead sets out on a mission to meet, fall in love and marry her future husband. All within a week. A week right after cancelling her wedding!

This particular book infuriated me to no end. I didn't like the characters. I couldn't relate to them- any of them. I wanted to scream at all of them. The plot was ridiculous and I couldn't get invested in it. It made no sense- at all. I'm amazed I finished the book. I was relieved I didn't have to review this novel. But, like I said, gorgeous cover.

The Christmas Collection
By: Victoria Connelly

This is a grouping of her three Christmas themed novellas: Christmas at the Cove, Christmas at the Castle & Christmas at the Cottage. Three separate stories of characters beginning their romances amidst a wintery backdrop. They were cute and fun, but nothing that really grabbed you and gripped ahold of your heart. They were fun, cozy reads that I read over the course of a rainy day. I loved the description of winter in each of them. Where I live, I don't get snow, so that was a favorite aspect that I loved. It was fun to meet each of the characters, but I didn't get invested in any of the couples. 

The Christmas Candle
By: Max Lucado

This my first year of reading this book, but it won't be my last. I LOVED this book. From start to finish, I devoured this story. I was gripped. I couldn't put it down. Once I started, there was no stopping until I read the last word. 

In this story, a candle maker and his wife are visited by a fiery Angel. The one candle the Angel touches goes on to bless the person it's given to. A tradition, and legend is born. The Angel visits the candle maker every 25 years- always touching one candle that goes on to bless and answer the prayers of it's receiver. One year, the batch of candles are disrupted and spilled. The candle maker and his wife have no idea which one the Angel touches. But that doesn't stop the blessings from happening. 

I'm not doing this book justice in my description, but it was nothing short of phenomenal. I loved every minute of the book! It was the highlight of my Christmas reading and made it to my annual reading list. 

There you have it! My hits, and misses, from this year's batch of Christmas book reads. I hope you read wonderful stories this year. I hope they blessed you, in some way. A lot of this list has been on my TBR for a year, or more. I'm glad I was finally able to read them. I'm already forming my list for next year. See ya this time next year with my new findings.


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