Welcome September!

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Image: Design Board

I love this time a year…it means we are closer to sweaters, scarves and Halloween.  It is also my birthday month.  I know, you are thinking, “a month?” It’s a day not a month.  I believe that for weddings there should be one day, but birthdays, there should be a month.  I am not a “throw-a-big-party” kind of gal.  I like one on one things, and for an introvert like me I have a lot of people to hang out with so a day is not a enough.  It’s not like I am saying I need gifts every day (which would be so cool) or to be acknowledged how special I am (which would also be really neat).  But that’s not what this post is about.

I haven’t really been motivated with writing the past several months.  I have been doubting myself a lot.  “What makes me special that anyone wants to read what I have to say, think or feel?” “What if I am not smart enough to do this?”  “What if my dreams are ridiculous?”  Then I thought of the Kardashians and gang.  Enough said.

I am in the middle of reading, Girl Up by Laura Bates (of Everyday Sexism) and hope to share a review with you tomorrow along with a few others if time permits.

P.S. I am not writing anymore today because it is 19 years later today and to celebrate I am reading the whole Harry Potter series again (well, not today, even I am not that good!).

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New Release: Mariah Stewart’s Chesapeake Bride

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THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (The Chesapeake Diaries: #11) written by Mariah Stewart

AUGUST 29, 2017; 384 Pages (Pocket Books)

Genre: contemporary, fiction, romance, small town, series

chesapeake bride

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to the cherished Maryland shores of St. Dennis with THE CHESAPEAKE BRIDE (Pocket Books; August 29, 2017; $7.99), the charming story of a jaded architect who meets the one man who could finally melt her heart—if she’s willing to let him in.

Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers, having just divorced the one she’d married. Now working with her father’s construction company to build ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay, she’s designing them for Cannonball Island. Knowing there’s been no new construction on the island in almost one hundred years, Cass is sensitive to the heritage and history of the sparsely populated island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy one for herself to live in. Even the fact that Owen Parker—whom she dismisses as a lightweight and a player— seems to be everywhere she goes isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as the girls in St. Dennis. He’s also a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska to working on a cattle ranch in Australia and a shrimp boat in Louisiana, to surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship in the Chesapeake, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it’s about time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. He’s totally smitten with the pretty architect, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.

EXCERPT FROM CHESAPEAKE BRIDE:

Diary~
I love the changing of the seasons—and I think summer into fall might be a favorite, being as how I relate to the whole “autumn of my years” thing. That’s how I see myself, anyway. If sixty is the new forty, I believe seventy must be the new fifty, eighty the new sixty, and so on. Therefore, I fall into that third quadrant. Don’t try to change my mind or
confuse me with facts. One of the reasons I love this time of the year: the steady influx of tourists into St. Dennis begins to wane. Not that I don’t love our visitors. Why, without them, St. Dennis would have continued to languish and would never have become the
Eastern Shore mecca it now is. But there’s something sweet about having your hometown belong to you and yours again, even if it’s just for a while. I know soon enough the holidays will be upon us and many will flock to town for all the beautiful festivities—the Christmas House Tour, the weekend of caroling, the tree lighting at the square on Old St. Mary’s Church Road, Christmas at the Inn (a favorite of mine), and, oh, yes, the shopping! But this little respite between the beginning of September, when the families leave to return their offspring to school, and the holiday madness belongs to us, we old St. Dennis folk who like a little downtime. Not to say there’s nothing going on here! There are new babies to celebrate and a special wedding on the horizon, one that makes me especially weepy. My dear nephew, Alec, will be marrying his lovely Lisbeth in an event that will be the talk of both St. Dennis and Cannonball Island for a long time to come. I’m not privy to all the details, mind you, but since my daughter, Lucy, is planning the wedding, I’ve heard bits and squeaks of what she has in mind, and it will, no doubt, be perfectly wonderful.

When we were children, Mama told us that when good folks passed, they earned a star in the heavens where they could sit and shine down on all the goings-on here on earth. Our brothers scoffed, but we girls believed her, and so it is that I know my beloved sister, Carole, will be watching happily from her star as her son marries his bride out on the point in just a few more weeks. Thinking about the point makes me think of all the changes that are coming to Cannonball Island soon. So much, it could make your head spin! For the first time in roughly two  hundred years, new dwellings will be going up on what had once been barren land. I heard from one in the know that some of the older homesteads—mostly those that have fallen into ruin or have been abandoned—will be replaced with new versions more suitable to modern living. Some are up in arms about this, but frankly, it’s about time. Those dilapidated old shells offer no shelter and, if anything, detract from the beauty of the island. My good friend Ruby Carter—the island’s matriarch—has given her blessing, and that’s good enough for me. Besides, Alec will be serving as the environmental consultant, so I feel confident that all will be well. The new homes are being designed with the island’s history in mind, so the legacy of those early settlers will be well protected. The architect is a lovely young woman who is serious about this project, so I know, eventually, all will be well. Of course I do. I know, too, that a certain islander with a “rolling stone” reputation will be finding his rolling days coming to a halt before too long. It will be amusing, to say the least, to see him meet his match. Will he be bested?

The smart money’s on the new girl. That’s all I have to say about that. And so much excitement over all the goings-on at the mouth of the river on the other side of Cannonball Island! Who knew such mysteries lay beneath the water, waiting to be discovered—and now that they have been, well, the flurry of activity these days has my poor old head spinning like an old-fashioned top. I cannot wait to see what they find, and I’m more than happy that one of the principal players is staying at the inn. Not that I’d pry, but if one overhears a snippet of conversation now and then . . . well, let’s just say it’s good to keep informed. Now, how all this is going to affect the construction that was slated to begin in November, well, I suppose everyone will have to wait and see. Could be
there will be delays, which will keep the new girl around for a while longer and will keep the rolling stone on his toes.

My, what fun this will be~

Grace

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.  Visit her website at mariahstewart.com, like her on Facebook at AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram at mariah_stewart_books.

 

NOTE FOR THE NEW YEAR:

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Earlier this year I read and reviewed The Last Chance Matinee and loved it! If you did too, please stay tuned….Look for Gallery Books’ second installment in Mariah Stewart’s all-new trade original women’s fiction series, The Hudson Sisters, following a trio of reluctant sisters as they set out to fulfill their father’s dying wish—and discover themselves in the process. Book 2, The Sugarhouse Blues, will publish March 2018!

END OF SUMMER GIVEAWAY:

We’re celebrating The Chesapeake Bride and Summer 2017 with one giveaway for Driftwood Point, 10th  in The Chesapeake Diaries Series by Mariah Stewart! The last day for entries will be Friday, September 22nd (the official last day of summer!) The winner will receive one copy of Driftwood Point. U.S. only, please. You can enter at the participating blogs listed below – but you can only win once!

To enter for My Novelesque Life please leave a comment below.  A winner will be chosen randomly and announced on September 23, 2017.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

 AUGUST 28

USA TODAY’S HAPPY EVER AFTER

 AUGUST 29

A MIDLIFE WIFE

ROMANCING THE READERS

AUGUST 30

THE LIBRARIAN TALKS

BOOK BITCH

ABIGAIL BOOKS ADDICTION

MY NOVELESQUE LIFE

AUGUST 31

DIRTY AND THIRTY

BOOK MAMA BLOG

SUZY APPROVED BOOK REVIEWS

COLLECTORS OF BOOK BOYFRIENDS

SEPTEMBER 1

SOS ALOHA

MARGIE’S MUST READS

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BOOKWORM

 SEPTEMBER 4

READING BETWEEN THE WINES

 SEPTEMBER 5

FRESH FICTION

SVETLANA’S READS AND VIEWS

BIBLIOTICA

MRS LEIF’S TWO FANGS ABOUT IT

SEPTEMBER 6

READ YOUR WRITES

REVIEWS BY CRYSTAL

BRAINFARTS AND BOOKS

SEPTEMBER 7

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC

LORI’S READING CORNER

HAPPYMOMBLOGGER’S BLOG

HARDLY A GODDESS

SEPTEMBER 8

READING FRENZY BLOG

THOUGHTS IN PROGRESS

DIVATUDE

 

 SEPTEMBER 12

SATISFACTION FOR INSATIABLE READERS

LINDA’S BOOK OBSESSION

SEPTEMBER 13

KATHERINE’S BOOK UNIVERSE

BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN

REVIEWS FROM THE HEART

KT BOOK REVIEWS

SHANNON’S BOOK BLOG

BIGREADERSITE’S BLOG

GRANNY LOVES TO READ!

SEPTEMBER 14

SCANDALICIOUS BOOK REVIEWS

ITCHING FOR BOOKS

COMMUNITY BOOKSTOP

SEPTEMBER 15

ROMANTIC READS AND SUCH

SUSIEQLAW’S BLOG

DEVILISHLY DELICIOUS BOOK REVIEWS

BOOKFAN

 

* As I loved Stewart’s romantic suspense novels and her last contemporary romance, I will be reading Chesapeake Diaries over the year and will be reviewing them on here!

Summer on Firefly Lake: Blog Tour

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I am very excited to read Firefly Lake series!  This is seems to be the book you need to add to your bag when you head off to the beach or sit out on the deck/patio.   I have a few days off and am looking forward to digging into The Cottage at Firefly Lake (Book 1) followed by the sequel Summer on Firefly Lake.

SUMMER ON FIREFLY LAKE (Firefly Lake: #2) Jen Gilroy
July 25, 2017; 368 (Forever)

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Genre: romance, contemporary, fiction, series, small town

Sometimes love is better the second time around . . .
Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband’s needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she’s building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire—and the one kiss they’ve shared-has turned everything upside down . . .

Attorney Nick McGuire wasn’t meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus and after taking time out to help his mother, he’s ready to get back to the city . . . until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn’t take long to realize being “just friends” will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he’s always wanted . . .
and the woman he can’t live without.

Firefly Lake

 

THE FIREFLY LAKE SERIES
THE COTTAGE AT FIREFLY LAKE, #1
SUMMER ON FIREFLY LAKE, #2
BACK HOME AT FIREFLY LAKE, #3

Jen Gilroy CREDIT Robin SpencerABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jen Gilroy grew up under the big sky of western Canada. After many years in England, she now lives in a small town in eastern Ontario where her Irish ancestors settled in the nineteenth century. She’s worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write contemporary romance to bring readers’ hearts home. A small-town girl at heart, Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband, Tech
Guy, is her real-life romance hero, and her daughter, English Rose, teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.

Classics Book List from 2016

*originally published on 06/17/2016

CLASSICS – Modern:

879067.jpg1. BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA by Dorothy Allison

I read this in a Women’s Studies course and the story has always stayed with me.  I remember after I finished reading the book I sat there just thinking about it all.  It’s a moving novel.

2. A JEST OF GOD by Margaret Laurence

Technically, ALL of Margaret Laurence’s novels are modern classics BUT if I had to pick one it would be this one.  I saw this movie Rachel, Rachel starring Joanne Woodward and directed by Paul Newman and learned it was based on a novel written by a Canadian.  It is an amazing novel because it is so realistic and powerful.

3. THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker

I saw this movie and I was outraged on Celie’s behalf and then I read the book and I was just heartbroken. It is a difficult book to get through because it is so intense in emotions but I swear it is WELL WORTH the effort.

4. SHE’S COME UNDONE by Wally Lamb

I read this book when I just turned 18, and had started college.  I read it again 5 years later and it always gets me how great this novel is written and how well a man can write a female character.

5. CLARA CALLAN by Richard B. Wright

Another book written by a Canadian in Canada.  This is a historical fiction written in the early 2000s but I think will be a classic some day.

 

CLASSICS:

18490.jpg1. FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

It blew my mind when I read this book and realized that Frankenstein was the scientist NOT the creature! I really enjoyed this creepy novel.

2. JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre was an interesting book in that she is not like many heroines at that time – or at least as I read it. And, who doesn’t like the drama of a mad woman in the attic?

3. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton

Wharton captures her era so well in her writings I think it was be read for historical purposes as well as entertainment.  I just finished her novella, Summer which I enjoyed as well.

4. SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen

While most people love the Bennets, Bingleys and Darcys…I enjoy the Dashwoods! One of favourite Austen books – so far. I think this novel would have been a beach read even back then.

5. MRS. DALLOWAY by Virginity Woolf

I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone as it takes awhile to get used to Woolf’s style. It is a slower pace writing style, with lyrical observations.

 

CLASSICS – Plays:

6076091. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde

A romantic comedy with tons of wit and snarkyness!

2. A DOLL’S HOUSE by Henrik Ibsen

A moving and haunting play about roles of men and women – I want to see a live version of this some day.

3. PYGMALION by George Bernard Shaw

The original play is genius!

4. MACBETH by William Shakespeare

A play with Scots, history, true crime, murder, love, passion, insanity…

 

CLASSICS – I want to read this summer (2016):

503981. NORTHANGER ABBEY by Jane Austen

I am always afraid I will run of Jane Austen so I am taking forever to read them all.  This summer it’s time to read her novella.

2. THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL by Anne Bronte

I am reading this one for a group on Goodreads and will try and finish this month.  I am enjoying Charlotte and Anne’s writing.

3. THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins

As a fan of mysteries I really need to read some Collins

4. THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark

This has been on my list FOREVER and I really do want to read it so am making this in writing, lol.

5. THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde

1. it’s written by Oscar Wilde! 2. This character is portrayed in Penny Dreadful and I want to get all the inside details 3. It’s been on the list since high school.

Historical Fiction Book List from 2016

*originally published on 06/17/2016

HISTORICAL FICTION:

728541. INTO THE WILDERNESS (#1) Sara Donati

Set in late 18th century America – the historical research is great and the story is even better.  Donati borrows a little from James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. The hero in Into the Wilderness story is the son of Hawkeye (the main character from The Last of the Mohicans). I have read the first novel several times and is a favourite.

2. COLD MOUNTAIN by Charles Frazier

Set in the South during the Civil War – it is a love story but also about quests and getting through the worst of times. I really liked the movie as well.

3. FALLING ANGELS by Tracy Chevalier

Set in Britain, early twentieth century – a look at women and equality – a great book that takes you into the suffragette movement.

4. WE ARE ALL WELCOME HERE by Elizabeth Berg

This one is set in Mississippi, 1964 – and the story of three women trying to live in a time of change. One of my favourite novels by Berg – who is a must read for me.

5. ALIAS GRACE by Margaret Atwood

Set in the 1840 in Upper Canada, this is based on true events. What I found intriguing about this novel was trying to figure out if Grace was a victim or the mastermind.

 

HISTORICAL MYSTERIES (SERIES):

561933.jpg1. THE WAR AGAINST MISS. WINTER (#1) Kathryn Miller Haines (Rosie Winter Mysteries)

Set in 1943, New York City – in the thick of WWII, a struggling actress finds herself solving murders. It reminds me of the movie Stage Door and I enjoy Rosie’s humour.

2. COCAINE BLUES (#1) Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher Mysteries)

1920s, Melbourne, Australia – a wealthy woman becomes involved in solving murders – I love this series as it witty and entertaining. The cast of secondary characters really make this series a favourite for me.

3. AND ONLY TO DECEIVE (#1) Tasha Alexander (Lady Emily Mysteries)

Set in Victorian, England where the newly widowed, Emily is ready to shed societal norms and stand on her own. As soon as I open one of the books in this series I get transported right into the novel.

4. MAISIE DOBBS (#1) Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries)

Set in post-WWI, England – a young nurse turned psychological detective is trying to get on with her life after all she experienced in the Great War.

5. RULES OF MURDER (#1) Julianna Deering (Drew Farthering Mysteries)

Set in 1930s, England – a mystery series that reminds me of Agatha Christie meets Dashiell Hammett.

 

HISTORICAL FICTION I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO READING THIS SUMMER:

262139951. THE DARKNESS KNOWS (#1) Cheryl Honigford (Viv and Charlie Mystery)

Takes place in Chicago, 1938 – a new historical mystery series!

2. A DEADLY AFFECTION (#1) by Cuyler Overholt (Dr. Genevieve Summerford Mystery)

Takes place in New York, 1907 – first book by Overholt and is a historical mystery – unsure if it will a series.

3. THE ATOMIC WEIGHT OF LOVE by Elizabeth J. Church

Set from WWII to 1970s, United States – a historical fiction novel about the roles of women

4. THE KITCHEN HOUSE (#1) Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House)

Set in the South in the late 1700s – a bit of an older book but have been hearing great things about it from friends and the sequel has just been released this year (Glory Over Everything Else)

5. MARLENE by C.W. Gortner

Set in the 20th century, Europe and USA – a fictionalize look at Marlene Dietrich – I love books that reimagine a person’s life.

Romance Book List from 2016

*originally published 06/16/2016

For ROMANCE  we have historical, paranormal, contemporary and my absolute favourite, suspense.

1141621. THE WALLFLOWER Series by Lisa Kleypas

This series is the main reason I gave historical romance a shot (not historical fiction with romance but straight up historical romance). This series is a throwback to Jane Austen’s wit and humour. I loved the characters and plots in each book. There are 4 books and 2 novellas in this series.

2. MCCABE Trilogy by Maya Banks

A historical romance in the highlands? Sign me up! A great mix of steamy romance with Scottish history.  PLEASE NOTE: do not start the other Highland trilogy by Banks as it is still incomplete years later.

3. JAMES FAMILY Trilogy by Jennifer Haymore

Steamy romance, wit and great realistic storylines – a must read! I read the first books for two other series by Haymore, and they are just as great – I have collected all her books.

4. WYLDER SISTERS Trilogy by Isabella Bradford

A fun trilogy much like Kleypas and Haymore’s writing – balanced between romance, history and wit.

5. HONEYCOTE Series by Anne Barton

This series so far has 4 books and one novella. I was hooked from the first book as it is like Klepas’s writing.

 

HISTORICAL ROMANCE STANDALONE:

18887341. TUMBLING THROUGH TIME by Gwyn Cready

Cready’s debut novel is a fun time traveling romance – more emphasis on humour and romance than historical background.

2. SUDDENLY YOU by Lisa Kleypas

Kleypas is the queen of historical romance, in my opinion! I love her writing and with this standalone novel I totally related to the main character.

3. THE BRIDE SALE by Candice Hearn

Bride Sale is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast story (but loosely) which is one of my favourite “fairytales”.

 

PARANORMAL HISTORICAL ROMANCE:

121046861. DARKEST LONDON Series by Kristen Callihan

Darkest London has everything…romance, history, gothic, paranormal, suspense and mystery.  The first book just takes a hold of you and takes you back to your first reading experience.  The moment you discover what reading can do for you.  PLEASE NOTE: I highly suggest you read the novella, Ember (the prequel) after Firelight(as there is spoilers).

2. SCANDALS WITH BITE Series by Brooklyn Ann

LOVE this series! I like how Ann uses history and historical characters to blend a richer story with Vampires and suspense!

3. WESTFIELD WOLVES & GENTLEMEN VAMPYRE Series by Lydia Dare

A fun historical romance with Sottish and English folklore, oh and werewolves, vampires and witches! PLEASE NOTE: Westfield Wolves and Gentlemen Vampyre are really one series in my opinion.  The characters from all the books are reoccurring characters in other books.  I would suggest you read the first 4 books from WW then the 3 books in GV and then the last 2 WW books.

 

PARANORMAL SUSPENSE ROMANCE:

119181. WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD Series by Kelley Armstrong

I really enjoy this paranormal suspense with a little romance series.  PLEASE NOTE: This series is different than the TV show. Also, the first book, Bitten is not really representative of the series so if it is not your cup of tea please give book 2 a try.

2. MERCY THOMPSON Series & ALPHA AND OMEGA Series by Patricia Briggs

I cannot choose between these two series AND they are connected in the same world so I would say read both! Both series have kick-ass heroines with supportive men.

3. WARRIORS OF THE RIFT Series by Cynthia Garner

I blindly picked up this series and just enjoyed it! It starts off more like a romantic suspense but the crimes are more paranormal…and slowly Garner introduces you to a new world you don’t want to leave.

 

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE SERIES:

622581. LAKESHORE CHRONICLES Series by Susan Wiggs

For me this series is summer reading! It is set in a small town that sounds lovely to vacation in – all year around. Each book has a different heroine and hero but it is best to read in order as characters will pop up in different books (many are related in some fashion). There may be spoilers if you decide to read out of order 😉

2. CHESAPEAKE BAY Series by Nora Roberts

I enjoyed this series for it’s simplicity and predictability. You get exactly what you hope for and this series was perfect for when I needed a break from the gruesome murder mysteries. The characters are lovely and the stories are sweet.

3. LUCKY HARBOR Series by Jill Shalvis

Based on the first three books, in this series, I am hooked on Jill Shalvis’ novels. They have the realistic sassy heroines and heroes that can keep up with them!

4. FRIDAY HARBOR Series by Lisa Kleypas

Looks like Kleypas can also write contemporary romance! It is as if her HR characters have been transplanted in modern times with a modern storyline. The writing is great and entertaining – much like Nora Roberts contemporary romances – sweet.

5. WHISKEY CREEK Series by Brenda Novak

I started reading Novak as a romantic suspense novel (Last Stand series) but Novak started off writing contemporary romances.  While some novels have been a miss with me, on the whole, I enjoy this series.

 

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE STANDALONE:

73087.jpg1. LAKESIDE COTTAGE by Susan Wiggs

A perfect beach read! A sweet romance – a single mother and her son are both intrigued by their new neighbour.

2. A SUMMER IN SONOMA by Robyn Carr

This novel is a five star book for me. There was nothing I did not like about this story or characters. This is when I knew I would be a Carr fan for life.

3. TRUE BLUE by Luanne Rice

I used to watch TV movies with my mom (and would still watch them if they aired them as they used to) and saw True Blue was based on a book (by the same name). Rice is more contemporary fiction with some romance.

4. P.S. I LOVE YOU by Cecelia Ahern

Another five star novel for me…I read the book before I saw the movie and love both versions as the movie caught the spirit of the book. Warning: have tissues handy!

5. CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? by Sophie Kinsella

A romantic comedy to the tee. I am not a huge fan of the Shopaholic series (as Becky’s spending gives me high anxiety) but love this book…I think it is time for a re-read!

 

And now my favourite…
 
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE SERIES:

2480861. ROMANTIC SUSPENSE Series by Karen Rose

Rose is so great at making the “killer(s)” chilling. The suspense is always at the high end that I usually have to finish the book in one sitting. And to balance it all out there is a realistic love story that makes the world okay again.

2. F.B.I. Series by Allison Brennan

Brennan’s series all have different names but there are some connections with each one so I am calling it as F.B.I. for our purposes. Like Rose, Brennan is great at creating villains and heroes!

3. JOHN MANCINI Series by Mariah Stewart

I binge read this series and loved each book. I really enjoy this series.

4. ROGUE Series by Melinda Leigh and Kendra Elliot

If you are looking for a shorter read this is the series for you. The first part of the series has 4 novellas (all one story) and the second part has 2 novellas. Leigh and Elliot write romantic suspense on their own and this is their joint project.

5. WILDFIRE Trilogy by Ella Grace

Ella Grace is the pseudonym for Christy Reece – I really liked this trilogy as it was more than just the standard romantic suspense as it is about three sisters reconnecting.

6. FOR ME Trilogy by Cynthia Eden

Cynthia Eden writes many types of romances and this one is more romance than suspense…I mean in the steamy sense as there still is enough suspense to keep a mystery fan reading.

7. FORENSIC INSTINCTS Series by Andrea Kane

First thing I love about this series is the cases, second is the characters. Each has their own talent to lend to the agency but they also seem so realistic. I can totally see this series being turned into a TV show (hint hint). There is a bit of humour that keeps the characters sane and lovable.

8. BUCHANAN-RENARD Series by Julie Garwood

The first several novels in this series were amazing! Again this series is more romance than suspense but there are still thrilling suspense moments.

9. LAST CHANCE Series by Christy Reece

One author made two entries on this list! Last Chance series is more gritty than her Wildfire series. The cases are often heartbreaking but the steamy romances balances out the bad stuff…well, a bit, as some of the stories are still stuck in my mind.

10. IN DEATH Series by JD Robb

Just read!

 

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE STANDALONE:

3903041. ONE FALSE MOVE by Alex Kava

I like Kava’s suspense series, Maggie O’Dell, and this a perfect introduction to see if you like her writing. A standalone novel is less of a commitment. This novel is more on the suspense thriller side.

2. THE OTHER DAUGHTER by Lisa Gardner

This is one of Gardner’s few standalone novels and I really enjoyed it. I usually am not a fan of lost memories but this book had me from the beginning.

3. I’LL BE WATCHING YOU by Andrea Kane

This was my first novel by Andrea Kane, based on a friend’s recommendation. I loved this thrilling romantic suspense. It is a bit like Karen Rose just not as “chilling”.

4. MOST LIKELY TO DIE by Lisa Jackson, Wendy Corsi Staub and Beverly Barton

This is one novel written by three different authors and yet the writing is seamless. This is also the first time I read anything by these author.

5. ALL SHE EVER WANTED by Barbara Freethy

This novel is more romance than suspense…reminds me of an early Nora Roberts romantic suspense. It is a light read for the beach.

6. PLAY DIRTY by Sandra Brown

A classic Sandra Brown romantic suspense…another good read for the beach.

7. LAST SEEN ALIVE by Carlene Thompson

I enjoy most of Thompson’s books – that I have read – as I like these quick easy reads.

8. THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER by Mariah Stewart

It has been a long time since I read this book but that just means I can reread it soon!

9. DON’T SCREAM by Wendy Corsi Staub

I would say this is more of stay in your hotel and read, because there are moments you will forget the world around you and make some interesting faces as you go through the suspense.

10. CAROLINA MOON by Nora Roberts

I have to end this blog post on romance with a Nora Roberts book! It’s hard to pick the best one so I am picking one that has always been in my top 5!

 

Romance I am Looking Forward to in the Summer(2016)!

{2C71D2AD-8563-4047-BA4D-42FFDF4A8C71}Img4001. FOREVERMORE (#7) Kristen Callihan

This is the final book in the Darkest London series and I am excited and sad to finish it!

2. DAUGHTERS OF THE BRIDE by Susan Mallery

I am looking forward to this standalone by Susan Mallery.

3. FORGOTTEN SECRETS by Robin Perini

This will be my first book by Pererini but it is about the FBI so I am excited for this romantic suspense.

4. FIREFLY SUMMER by Nan Rossiter

This is another new-to-me author but I am looking forward to this contemporary romance. It seems to remind me of Susan Wiggs and Luanne Rice.

5. HIGHLAND TEMPTATION (#3) Jennifer Haymore

Historical highlands…sigh…summer read!

 

Nonfiction Book List from 2016

*originally published from 06/14/2016

RECOMMENDATIONS:

20342617.jpg1. JUST MERCY: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Part memoir and part history of “justice” system in Alabama, USA.  Stevenson is a great writer and passionate about social justice in the South.  We should not be judged by our worst moment…we all deserve redemption. (true crime; social justice; memoir)

2. DEAD MAN WALKING: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty that Sparked a National Debate by Sister Helen Prejean

This book changed my opinion on the death penalty – it gave me the stronger conviction that the death penalty is not the answer in any way. Prejean is not preachy or aggressive in her opinion but rather outlines the fact with her own experience.  I also read Forgiving the Dead Man Walking: Only One Woman Can Tell the Entire Story by Debbie Morris which tells the story about the victim.  I am glad I read it as it gives you another side of the case, but is not as well-written. (death penalty; true crime; memoir)

3. IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote

Capote takes a true crime case and spins it into literary nonfiction.  While it is based on true accounts, Capote does use drama and fiction to keep the story flowing.  Capote has inserted himself into the story and was in town while the crime was being investigated. (literary nonfiction; true crime)

4. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale

What a crazy story! I am not sure how much of the details is true and how much is used for dramatic effect but it is a good story about a con artist. (true crime; memoir)

22294061.jpg5. ROMANTIC OUTLAWS: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley  by Charlotte Gordon

I read Shelley when I was 18 and Wollstonecraft in my 20s and both women have fascinated me.  The fact that they were mother and daughter just heightened my interest.  This is my first biography on both and I loves this book.  It gives a decent look at their life and works. (writers; biography; history)

6. SISTERS IN WILDERNESS: The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill by Charlotte Gray

I have heard of Susanna Moodie all through my education but never really knew anything about her.  I knew that Margaret Atwood had written a series of poems so I was interested to know more about them.  The sisters emigrated to Canada with their husbands, and lived in the bushes – an experience very different than their childhood.  Both women were writers and wrote about their separate experiences. (history; biography; writers)

186793917. LIAR, TEMPTRESS, SOLDIER, SPY: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott

I wasn’t expecting to gallop through this book as quickly as I did.  Abbott turns facts into a great prose.  I love that we get an idea of what women did to help in the Civil War.  We usually just have the male accounts.  I also enjoyed Jennifer Chiaverini’s historical fiction novel, Spymistress. (history; civil war)

8. BY MYSELF by Lauren Bacall

Other than being gorgeous and having the love of and for Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall is the every day girl that reaches her dreams.  She is so down to earth…it will make you want to have beer or coffee with her. (memoir, hollywood)

9. BAD FAITH: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine by Paul A. Offit

When I checked this book out of the library I was just expecting to skim through it to get an idea, but after reading the introduction I could not stop reading.  Good thing I started a bit earlier in the evening as I read until I finished.  The real life accounts in this book is so heartbreaking but it is so important to read Bad Faith. (religion; science; medicine)

10. Karen Armstrong – THROUGH THE NARROW GATE: A Memoir of Spiritual DiscoveryTHE SPIRAL STAIRCASE: My Climb out of Darkness 

I read these memoirs back to back so I can’t quite decipher details between them and so am putting them as one.  I picked up an Advanced Reader Copy,The Spiral Staircase when I worked at the bookstore.  I started this book and could not stop reading.  Armstrong is a fascinating woman and her experience with spirituality is eyeopening.(religion; memoir)

 

Books I am Looking Forward to Reading in Summer:

261145081. TRUE CRIME ADDICT: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray  by James Renner

2. FORGIVING MY DAUGHTER’S KILLER: A True Story of Loss, Faith and Unexpected Grace by Kate Grosmaire

3. KICK: The True Story of JFK’S Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth

4. HOW THE POST OFFICE CREATED AMERICA: A History by Winifred Gallagher

5. A GIRL’S GOT TO BREATHE: The Life of Theresa Wright by Donald Spoto

 

Mystery Book List from 2016

*originally published in

RECOMMENDED NEW MYSTERIES:

262458531. THE LAST MILE (Book 2) David Baldacci

A fabulous follow-up to the first book – I enjoyed this book even more than the first one. Great characters, plot and twists and turns!

THE MEMORY MAN (Book 1) David Baldacci

If you are looking for a different kind of hero and a truly suspenseful story…I HIGHLY recommend this novel.

2. THE SHARK (Book 1) Mary Burton

A great romantic-suspense novel – heavier on the suspense but there is plenty of chemistry between between the hero and heroine. And, there is more to come in this series.

278526353. BLOOD DEFENSE (Book 1) Marcia Clark

I loved Clark’s Rachel Knight series and this new series has promise – this time Clark focuses on the defense side.

4. OBSESSION by Nora Roberts

This novel is a bit more romance than suspense, but I really enjoyed the beginning part of the novel which is heavy on suspense.

5. REDEMPTION by John Hart

It has been a few years since I have read a book by Hart. After reading his newest book I am eager to catch up the rest of the books I have not read. He’s great with characterization and keeping suspense high!

 

RECOMMENDED MYSTERIES FOR THE SUMMER (Series):

121141321. GREY MASK (Book 1) Patricia Wentworth

If you are looking for cozy mysteries like Agatha Christie give Wentworth’s series, Miss Silver a try. This series was written in 1920 to 1950s and are quick reads!

2.WHAT ANGELS FEAR (Book 1) C.S. Harris

I am only on book six but I love this historical mystery series already. It is set in the 19th century, England and is well-researched. I enjoy the interesting mysteries, the great unforgettable characters and the suspense.

3. BLINDSIGHTED (Book 1) Karin Slaughter

39149One of my favourite suspense authors and series. I will warn you that these are gritty mysteries. This is not for the faint of hearts. The characters are very realistic and flawed so get ready for an emotional ride.

4. DON’T TELL (Book 1) Karen Rose

Karen Rose, in my opinion, is the queen of romantic-suspense. She is able to balance the romance and suspense so well.

5. THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE (Book 1)

A very witty historical mystery series starring a young girl solving murders. I love the characters and Bradley is so brilliant with his words.

 

RECOMMENDED MYSTERIES FOR THE SUMMER (Standalone):

806161. THAT NIGHT by Chevy Stevens

One of favourite Canadian suspense authors! I enjoy this novel and the first two books she wrote as they are heavy with the suspense.

2. DARK PASSAGE by David Goodis

This noir mystery was written in the 1950s (and was made into a movie with Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart). I enjoyed the psychological story as much as the suspense.

3. THE THIN MAN by Dashiell Hammett

Another mystery from the golden age but this one is a bit lighter with the witty Nick and Nora Charles.

184042484. TELL NO ONE & GONE FOR GOOD by Harlan Coben

I could not choose between these two standalone novels. They are both high octane suspense. I dare you to not stay up to finish it!

5. WHISPERS AND LIES by Joy Fielding

This novel reminds me of a modern noir with plenty of psychological suspense.

 

MYSTERIES I CAN’T WAIT TO READ FOR THE SUMMER: (2016)*

271916921. COLLECTING THE DEAD by Spencer Kope (JUNE 28, 2016)

2. MISSING, PRESUMED by Susie Steiner (JUNE 28, 2016)

3. ALL THE MISSING GIRLS by Megan Miranda (JUNE 28, 2016)

4. AMONG THE WICKED (Book 8) by Linda Castillo (JULY 12, 2016)

5. FREE FALL (Book 4) Rick Mofina (July 26)

 

 

 

Feature: All About the Book Boyfriends

*originally published 06/05/2016

Book boyfriends – while this term is new, the practice has been around, I am guessing, since heroes have been written. Not many people discussed it. Since the start of online book communities readers have been opening up more as they discuss ideas.

The first boy I crushed over was probably Encyclopedia Brown – I thought we would make a great team solving mysteries. Then there was Gilbert Blythe and Laurie. I may be loyal to my in flesh boyfriends, but when it comes to the boys in books I have a little less will power.

While I think Jamie Fraser and Colin Hargreaves are amazingly…perfect, I find it hardest to not fall in love with mystery solvers. There is something so utterly flawed about them but there is this sense of truth and getting justice. It probably goes back to my first crush Encyclopedia Brown. Some of fictional fantasies are Will Trent, Jake Brigance, Harry Bosch, Nick Charles, Jeffrey Tolliver and Rudy Baylor. (I will let you Google some of these or please message me and I will be happy to share what book they appear in)..

Some take these book boyfriends seriously, alas I am a bit more fickle. While I read the book I am interested in everything the character is doing and finding out more about them. And, then another book happens…and so on. What are your thoughts on book boyfriends?

Flashback Friday: Top Ten for Mother’s Day Reading

*originally published 05/08/2016

1. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood written by Rebecca Wells

I have read this book a few times now and love the way Wells portrays a realistic and raw relationship between Sidda and her mother, Vivi. We also see Vivi’s relationship with her mother and the relationship between women young and old.

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2. We Are All Welcome Here written by Elizabeth Berg

In this novel Paige, who has challenges due to contracting Polio in the last months of her pregnancy, is trying to raise a a 14 year old girl, Diana, while living in 1964, Mississippi. For extra care they have hired Peacie, a “tough-talking black woman.” Between the two women in her life, Diana learns there is more to life than just fitting in. Like the previous novel we see from both the mother and daughter’s perspective of how they see each other.

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3. The Good Mother written by Sue Miller

Anna Dunlap is a recently divorced single mother to a four year old who is her whole life. When she meets Leo, her new lover, she begins to feel like she is more than a mother but also a beautiful woman. I liked that this novel explores this woman’s journey as both a mother and as a woman wanting more in her life.

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4. Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen

Never mind Darcy, in Pride and Prejudice the most memorable character is Mrs. Bennet! The way she strives to get her daughters married off and the banter between her and Mr. Bennet.

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5. One True Thing written by Anna Quindlen

Ellen drops everything to be by her mother’s side through her illness. As they spend more time together they have gotten closer. When her mother dies, Ellen is seen as the prime suspect for a mercy killing. As a daughter you wonder what you would do, and as a mother what you would ask.

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6. Black and Blue written by Anna Quindlen

After years of abuse, at the hands of her police officer husband, Fran takes her son and vanishes into the night. It is for her son she decides to leave and for him she will keep running and hiding.

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7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Oh, Marmie! One of my favourite mothers in literature. She is this strong woman that is raising four daughters on her own while her husband is away fighting in the Civil War. And, she is helping the community in any way she can. I love that she encourages her daughters in being creative and marrying for love.

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8. Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary 

Another one of my favourite mothers. Any woman raising a Ramona and being accepting of her quirkiness deserves “Mother of the Year”.

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9. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret? written by Judy Blume

While this is not really a novel of a mother and daughter, I still love the relationship that Margaret has with her mother and paternal grandmother. It is not the focus of this book but for me I found it to be a great part of the novel.

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10. My Mother Got Married (And Other Disasters) Written by Barbara Park

Charlie is just getting used to his parents divorcing when his world is turned upside down again with his mother getting remarried. This novel focuses more on Charlie and his new siblings, but losing his mother’s attention is a big theme in the book.

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