Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Sunday Salon and ...Sisters in Trouble

 Welcome to The Sunday Salon! What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine Some university library’s vast reading room. It’s filled with people — students and faculty and strangers who’ve wandered in. They’re seated at great oaken dests, books piled all around them, and they’re all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they’ll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon’s literary intake. That is the Sunday Salon, but all virtually. Book Bloggers from around the world sharing their bookish finds with one another in a virtual place called The Sunday Salon. Thank you to Deb at ReaderBuzz for keeping us all together on Sundays and hosting The Sunday Salon now! I also visited with Kim at The Caffeinated Reader, another Sunday gathering place for us bookish people called The Sunday Post and the ladies at Mailbox Monday.

This week I thought I'd share books that revolve around Sisters, either sisters by blood or by fate. Stories with Sisters go way back. Cinderella is a great example of a story with Sisters. How about Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen? Here are some soon to be released "Sister books" and one that was recently published this year. Plus Honorable Mentions of 2 older books with "Sisters" that if you haven't read YOU SHOULD! Here we go...

The Princess of Las Vegas by Chris Bohjalian... THE PRINCESS IS FAKE. THE MURDERS ARE
REAL • a Princess Diana impersonator and her estranged sister find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of money and murder in this twisting tale of organized crime, cryptocurrency, and family secrets on the Las Vegas strip.

Crissy Dowling has created a world that suits her perfectly. She passes her days by the pool in a private cabana, she splurges on ice cream but never gains an ounce, and each evening she transforms into a Princess, performing her musical cabaret inspired by the life of the late Diana Spencer. Some might find her strange or even delusional, an American speaking with a British accent, hair feathered into a style thirty years old, living and working in a casino that has become a dated trash heap. On top of that, Crissy’s daily diet of Adderall and Valium leaves her more than a little tipsy, her Senator boyfriend has gone back to his wife, and her entire career rests on resembling a dead woman. And yet, fans see her for the gifted chameleon she is, showering her with gifts, letters, and standing ovations night after night. But when Crissy’s sister, Betsy, arrives in town with a new boyfriend and a teenage daughter, and when Richie Morley, the owner of the Buckingham Palace Casino, is savagely murdered, Crissy’s carefully constructed kingdom comes crashing down all around her. A riveting tale of identity, obsession, fintech, and high-tech mobsters, The Princess of Las Vegas is an addictive, wildly original thriller from one of our most extraordinary storytellers.

I have enjoyed author Chris Bohjalian's writing in The Flight Attendant and The Guest Room to name just a couple. And I am always excited when an author I enjoy is coming out with a new book! And Chris Bohjalain is coming out with a NEW BOOK! It sounds like a page turned too! The sisters here are Crissy the main character, and Diana impersonator, and Betsy. They aren't their best friends. Crissy is 18 months older. They can't be twins, but people have thought that just from looking at them. So, how is Betsy part of the story and what is going to happen? We'll have to read the book to find out... and that's exactly what I'm doing! I received an eGalley from Doubleday Books and am so excited to read this! So far, Princess of Las Vegas has captured me and kept me turning those pages. I'll have a review soon... In the meantime, Mark your calendars...

Princess of Las Vegas by Chris Bohjalian will be released by Doubleday Books on 
March 19, 2024.


 All We Were Promised by Ashton Lattimore... The paths of three young Black women in pre-Civil War Philadelphia unexpectedly—and dangerously—collide in this debut novel inspired by the explosive history of a divided city.

Philadelphia, 1837. After Charlotte escaped from the crumbling White Oaks plantation down South, she’d expected freedom to feel different from her former life as an enslaved housemaid. After all, Philadelphia is supposed to be the birthplace of American liberty. Instead, she’s locked away playing servant to her white-passing father, as they both attempt to hide their identities from slavecatchers who would destroy their new lives.

Longing to break away, Charlotte befriends Nell, a budding abolitionist from one of Philadelphia’s wealthiest Black families. Just as Charlotte starts to envision a future, a familiar face from her past reappears: Evie, her friend from White Oaks, has been brought to the city by the plantation mistress, and she’s desperate to escape. But as Charlotte and Nell conspire to rescue her, in a city engulfed by race riots and attacks on abolitionists, they soon discover that fighting for Evie’s freedom may cost them their own.

All We Were Promised is the story of three women in vastly different circumstances—the rebel, the socialite, and the fugitive—risking everything for one another in an American city straining to live up to its loftiest ideals.

The story captured my attention. The story of three women coming together against all odds to better their lives. And for them it seems like life or death circumstances. These 3 women, Charlotte, Nell and Evie aren't sisters by blood, but sisters by circumstance, sisters in spirit. I received an eBook from RandomHouse Publishing, Ballentine and can't wait to start reading this! Mark your calendars,

All We Were Promised by Ashton Lattimore will be released by RandomHouse, Ballentine on 
April 2, 2024


Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano...
 William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him—so when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable: Sylvie, the family’s dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.

But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?

An exquisite homage to Louisa May Alcott’s timeless classic, Little Women, Hello Beautiful is a profoundly moving portrait of what is possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it.

This book had gotten a lot of positive buzz when it was released back in March of this year by The Dial Press. It's characterized as a family saga. And I enjoy that type of story, so I bought this and it is in my TBR pile. It was also an Oprah Book Club Book for March, although I don't purchase books based on Oprah. For the longest time I found the stories of her selections to be so sad I stopped reading anything she recommended. Even though this story may be sad, (geez it's a homage to Little Women and I balled my eyes out in parts of that book) I like the idea of a story starring 3 sisters, how they sounded individually and how they might interact bringing a good story to the pages. We will see. This is available at your favorite bookstore.

Honorable "Sisters Books" Mention... there are 2 books that I've read and loved that involve friends that are like sisters. They are both older books, but both are worth a read if you've never read one or both of them. And in particular the Lisa See book...


Summer Sisters by Judy Blume... Published in 1999, Summer Sisters is such a moving story of two young teenage girls, one the popular girl everyone wants to be friends with and the other "nobody" girl that the popular girl chooses to be her summer sister. This is the start of their lifelong friendship. It is an amazing story that still stirs up feelings in me just thinking about it. It's the kind story every woman should read.

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See... Published in 2006 Snowflower and the Secret Fan starts in the Chinese Era of foot binding and dutiful arranged marriages, somewhere in the 19th century. Two girls are paired together as tradititional "old soles" or lao-tongs, who become lifelong friends and confidants helping the isolation that these women endured. They correspond in Nu shu, a secret language and the story follows their friendship, the ups and downs they experience over the long years. Amazing story. I thought it was the kind of book you should buy every girlfriend you have. Of course the story of these two girls would... oh I'm not going to say any more. This was the first Lisa See book I read and I've loved her books ever since.

Weekly Wrap-Up (it's been a busy week...)

Monday, 9/18... Memoir Monday I highlighted a Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day by Kate Bowler. Not really a memoir as it a book of daily affirmations or blessings to start our days with or to help us deal with what life has to throw at us. Go to Memoir Monday to read all about it.

Tuesday, 9/19... Giveaway Time! The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson has sold over a million copies and to celebrate the publisher has a great bookish giveaway! Follow The Giveaway to read more about it and enter! 

Wednesday, 9/20... In My Mailbox. I got a surprise in my mailbox from one of my favorite authors, Sheila Roberts! Follow In My Mailbox to find out what came!

Thursday, 9/21... #TBT. Throwback Thursday and the year was 2009! What were you reading? Go to   Throwback Thurdsay to find out what I was reading and read my review too! 

Friday, 9/22... First Lines Friday, we put the spotlight on an epic adventure with a determined young lady. Follow First Lines Friday to find out what book it was and read the first lines!

Friday, September 22, 2023

First Lines Friday... an epic adventure!

The bottom of the lake tasted like mud, salt, and regret. The water was so thick it was agony keeping my eyes open, but thank the great gods I did. Otherwise, I would have missed the dragon.

He was smaller than I’d imagined one to be. About the size of a rowboat, with glittering ruby eyes and scales green as the purest jade. Not at all like the village-sized beasts the legends claimed dragons to be, large enough to swallow entire ships.

He swam nearer until hi round red eyes were so close they reflected my own. 

He was watching me drown…

                                ...Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Don't you love that cover?!? I keep saying I'm not a fantasy reader and yet the past few weeks I've picked up quite a few of these types of novels. Six Crimson Cranes incorporates elements of folklore and epic adventure. I found Elizabeth Lim reading about special edition books from Waterstones, an amazing bookstore in the UK. Waterstones has some wonderful special edition books that have beautiful alternate covers, beautiful end papers and/or special sprayed edges, either colors or designs. I'm going to make a post about these because some of these editions are amazingly beautiful. In the meantime though, I have Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim on my Kindle! Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers in 2021.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Another Book Giveaway! This time for Stephen King books..

 Another great book giveaway! This time by Simon & Schuster. Not only The Bill Hodges Trilogy boxed set, but 3 other books plus an audiobook download! Hurry, ends 10/5. 

Follow this link to enter!

Book Giveaway!


This giveaway announcement just popped in my email from Kirkus Reviews. Looks like some great books! Giveaways ends October 1st. 

Here's the link so you can enter. Good luck!

#TBT, What was I reading in... 2009

 It's fun to look back and see what books you've read a long time ago. Almost like reading a book you loved for the first time again, reflecting back to a book read a long time ago also sends us back to another time in our lives. What was going on in our lives when we were reading that book? 

Let's go back to the very first review I ever did on Chick with Books... the year is 2009


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome to my blog about books and the things we love about them! We'll start simple here- have you read??

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
? Well if you haven't that is my first recommendation! A wonderful story with all the elements! Adventure, treachery, art, love, sex and superstition. What starts as a story of Tom Builder and his love of family & craft, grows into the tale of the assasination and sainthood of Thomas Becket. The characters are so real they almost walk out of the pages! So, get ready to experience the building of a magnificent cathedral, the world of 12th-century England and a cast of characters you simply will not forget. You will not be able to put this book down once you open it. You'll wish there were 900 more pages! Enjoy

This book is still one of my favorite reads. I never hesitate to recommend it anytime someone is looking for a good book. Funny thing about the date of this review... 4 years later, I'll marry my hubby, Jim. 

What were YOU reading in 2009?

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

A Special Surprise in my mailbox... The Twelve Months of Christmas by Sheila Roberts

I'm so excited to share what arrived in my mailbox this week! A review copy of The NEW Christmas novel by Sheila Roberts (and some other goodies)! It's such a treat because I just love her writing. If you love a heartwarming story, sprinkled with a bit of humor, you will love her writing too. The Twelve Months of Christmas comes out on October 3rd, so mark your calendars! P.S. Sheila always includes a recipe or two in her books... Look for my review on Chick with Books coming soon... 

p.s. you can read the first chapter at Sheila's Place!

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Book and Gift Basket Giveaway!!

 Have you read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson yet?? 

I loved it and so did my reading group! 

And to celebrate celling over ONE MILLION COPIES, the publisher is having an amazing giveaway! A Kentucky themed gift basket and a signed first edition of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek!

  Here is the link to ENTER and read more about it. Good luck!

Monday, September 18, 2023

Memoir Monday... with a Kate Bowler kind of Twist


Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day by Kate Bowler...

Witty, honest, and wise spiritual reflections that invite readers to embrace the bad, not just the good— from the three-time New York Times bestselling author of Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved)

Kate Bowler believes that the cultural pressure to be cheerful and optimistic at all times has taken a toll on our faith. But what if we could find better language than forced positivity to express our hopes and our anxieties? 

Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day! is packed with bite-size reflections and action-oriented steps to help you get through the day, be it good, bad, or totally mediocre. This is a devotional for the rest of us—which is to say, the people who don’t have magical lives that always work out for the best. As she composed these meditations during a season of chronic pain, Bowler understands how every day can be an obstacle course. She encourages us to develop our capacity to feel the breadth of our experiences. The better we are at identifying our highs and lows, the more resilient we become.

Like modern-day psalms, Bowler’s spiritual reflections look for the ways we can expand our capacity for courage, love, and honesty—while discovering divine moments with God. With bonus sections to use during the seasons of Advent and Lent, this is an easy book to read along with other people too. 

If you want to build your daily habit of spiritual attentiveness, this book is here to say: May all your days be lovely. But for those that aren’t, have a beautiful, terrible day!

I first heard about Kate Bowler when someone I knew reviewed her book Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I've Loved. At the time of writing that book, Kate was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and wasn't expected to live. It was a book "tells her story, offering up her irreverent, hard-won observations on dying and the ways it has taught her to live". Kate went on to survive and is now cancer free. This book, Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day!, is a book of daily meditations, "small reflections and blessings" that Kate hopes will help in our daily struggles. The table of contents is broken down with descriptive labels so we can flip to a specific reflection that hopefully targets what the day is bringing to us. She meant this book to be flipped through as needed. I look forward to flipping through and starting my day or ending my day or just living the day with words that can put what may be going on in perspective. 

Have a Beautiful, Terrible Day! by Kate Bowler will be published January 23, 2024 by Convergent Books, an imprint of Random House. And I was lucky to be sent a eBook for review by the publishers! Look for my review coming soon...

Sunday, September 17, 2023

The Sunday Salon and Catch me if you can... Murder, Mystery, Thrillers and the Detectives who solve them

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine Some university library’s vast reading room. It’s filled with people — students and faculty and strangers who’ve wandered in. They’re seated at great oaken dests, books piled all around them, and they’re all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they’ll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon’s literary intake. That is the Sunday Salon, but all virtually. Book Bloggers from around the world sharing their bookish finds with one another in a virtual place called The Sunday Salon. Thank you to Deb at ReaderBuzz for keeping us all together on Sundays and hosting The Sunday Salon now! I also visited with Kim at The Caffeinated Reader, another Sunday gathering place for us bookish people called The Sunday Post and the ladies at Mailbox Monday

Before I started my Book Club I only read mysteries and thrillers. It all started with Nancy Drew, those books I totally absorbed and loved so much! I moved onto Agatha Christie then Mary Higgins Clark and on from there.  So today we're coming back to my "roots" and looking at some great who dunits from 3 familiar faces and a new face! 

Out of Nowhere by Sandra Brown... Author Sandra Brown returns with a fast-paced, emotional
thriller where the lives of a young mother and a high-rolling consultant collide under devastating circumstances—culminating in a desperate manhunt that will change their futures forever.   
At a Texas county fair, amidst carousels and a bustling midway, children’s book author Elle Portman is enjoying a rare night out with her favorite cowboy: her two-year-old son, Charlie. But just as they’re about to head home, the unthinkable happens: a shooter opens fire into the crowd, causing widespread panic to erupt all around them. 
Also caught in the melee was corporate consultant Calder Hudson. Arrogant, self-centered, and high off his latest career win, he’s frustrated and confused when he wakes up in the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery on his arm.  The doctor tells him that he was lucky—that as far as gunshot wounds go, he pulled through remarkably well.  Others weren’t so lucky, which instills in Calder a furious determination to get justice . . . a goal shared by Elle. Their chance encounter at the police station leads to a surprising and inexplicable gravitation to one another, but even as the attraction grows, Elle and Calder can’t help but wonder if the unimaginable tragedy that brought them together is too painful and too complicated to sustain—especially while the shooter remains at large.

My Mother introduced me to Sandra Brown many years ago. This author writes both romance and thrillers. Out of Nowhere, Sandra Brown's newest book, is one of her thrillers. Published August 1st 2023 by Grand Central Publishing, I have a copy of this on my Kindle to review thanks to the generosity of the publisher. And I look forward to diving into this one next week. Be on the lookout for my review to follow!

The Watchmaker's Hand by Jeffery Deaver... The "most clever plotter on the planet"(Publishers Weekly) Jeffery Deaver returns in this twisty new thriller, as forensic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme and detective Amelia Sachs track a criminal with a bizarre and catastrophic m.o.—toppling the construction cranes in New York City.  
When a New York City construction crane mysteriously collapses, causing mass destruction and injury, Rhyme and Sachs are on the case. A political group claims responsibility for the sabotage and threatens another attack in twenty-four hours, unless its demands are met. The clock is ticking. 
Then a clue reveals to Rhyme that his nemesis, known as the Watchmaker, has come to town to fulfill his promise of murdering the criminalist. Now Rhyme and Sachs have to dodge his brilliant scheme to destroy them both,  while racing against time to stop the construction site terrorists. With New York in a panic, Rhyme and his team must unravel a handful of plots as tightly wound as a timepiece—before more cranes fall, raining down death and destruction from above.

Psychologist Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis confront a baffling, vicious double homicide that leads them to long-buried secrets worth killing for in this riveting thriller... LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis sees it all the time: Reinvention’s a way of life in a city fueled by fantasy. But try as you might to erase the person you once were, there are those who will never forget the past . . . and who can still find you.

I generally read Jeffery Deaver's Horror novels, but I do like his Lincoln Rhyme novels, so in my Kindle is this book. I started reading this last week and am really enjoying it! A good sink your teeth into kind of read. Jeffery Deaver really knows how to develop "evil" characters and that's one reason these are so much fun to read. The Watchmaker's Hand will be released on November 28th, 2023 by PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sonsso make a note of that because if you like Lincoln Rhyme novels or crime novels, you're going to want to pick it up. My review coming soon. 

A pool boy enters a secluded Bel Air property and discovers two bodies floating in the bright blue water: Gio Aggiunta, the playboy heir to an Italian shoe empire, and a gorgeous, even wealthier neighbor named Meagin March. A married neighbor. An illicit affair stoking rage is a perfect motive. But a “double” in this neighborhood of gated estates isn’t something you see every day. The house is untouched. No forced entry, no forensic evidence. The case has “that feeling,” and when that happens, Milo turns to his friend, the brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. As Milo and Alex investigate both victims, they discover two troubled pasts. And as they dig deeper, Meagin March’s very identity begins to blur. Who was this glamorous but conflicted woman? Did her past catch up to her? Or did Gio’s family connections create a threat spanning two continents? Chasing down the answers leads Alex and Milo on an exploration of L.A.’s darkest side as they contend with one of the most shocking cases of their careers and learn that that some secrets are best left buried in the past.

Another mystery/thriller writer favorite, Jonathan Kellerman has many great books starring psychologist Alex Delaware and here Alex is again leading the investigation. You'll have to hold off until February 6th, 2024 to read The Ghost Orchid by Jonathan Kellerman, but should be worth it! I'll let you know because Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine sent me a copy on my Kindle to read and review recently.

Killer Hooks by by Betty Hechtman...
Molly Pink and the Tarzana Hookers have to read between the lines when a bookstore event turns fatal in the new Crochet Mystery by national bestselling author Betty Hechtman.

There’s never a dull moment for amateur sleuth Molly Pink. Without warning, her infant granddaughter has been dumped in her lap for babysitting duties, her son has reluctantly enlisted her help investigating a potential investor in his business, and now she has to manage a high-profile bookstore event for a former Hollywood columnist who’s dishing the dirt in a juicy tell-all. And when the author collapses and dies in the store just as she’s about to reveal an incriminating tidbit, the police suspect foul play and zero in on Molly as the likely culprit.  Getting herself off the hook won’t be easy, but Molly and the Tarzana Hookers are convinced that whoever did the deed wanted to silence the author before she could expose their dark secret. As the police continue to needle Molly, certain she’s trying to pull the wool over their eyes with her claims of innocence, she’s also in over her head in a mommy group run by Hollywood power couples—all of whom may have something to hide. As she finally stitches together the loose ends and figures out the killer’s identity, they decide it’s time to silence her too, and Molly has to think fast before she makes a quick trip from her granddaughter’s cradle to the grave . . .

Includes a crochet project and a scrumptious recipe!

And what better way to end the day than with a cozy killer read! Killer Hooks by Betty Hechtman will be released by Beyond the Page Publishing later this month of September 26, 2023. Betty Hechtman is a new author to me, but she has published over 2 dozen novels and Killer Hooks is #15 of her "crochet mysteries"! And if you don't know, I do a bit of crocheting with my business Shawl Y'all so a crochet mystery is right up my alley! And I like to read cozies too, so I'm looking forward to sitting down with this book! I love that the author includes a crochet project and a recipe! And Beyond the Page Publishing has generously sent along a review copy of this book to my Kindle ! Thank you so much!!

Weekly Recap...
It was a busy week at Chick with Books! If you missed anything, here are the links for this weeks posts.

Monday, 9/11... Memoir Monday was all about a smash hit memoir right out of Korea! You need to read this one!

Thursday, 9/12... #TBT , Throwback Thursday was a look back at what I was reading way back in 2014, and my review of a book that is still one of my favorite reads! If you haven't read it you should!

Friday, 9/13... First Lines Friday was the first lines of a soon to be published book that has a very familiar character (and author) if you love mysteries/thrillers. Follow the link to see who it is!

Saturday, 9/14... Book Bracketing! Have you bracketed your books this year? Read all about doing it and why. 

What kind of books do you read? Has it changed over the years?

Well that is my week in a nutshell! Some great new books, a new author to me, and a fun week on Chick with books. Hope you found something interesting today! And share any interesting books came your way this week!

Happy reading... Suzanne
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