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

Friday, December 29, 2023

11th Annual... First Book of the Year!

  It's that time of year again! Time to figure out what book you'll start your reading with for 2024! 

Every year, Sheila at Book Journey Reading Blog hosts the First Book of the Year event where book lovers and bloggers from all over submit a photo of themselves with the book they've chosen for their First Book of the Year. It's so much fun to see what everyone picks.

Want to join in on the fun? You can read all about it at Book Journey. And on January 1st I'll announce what my First Book of the Year for 2024 will be right here!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023


A Giveway from Penguin Random House! Ends November 15th.  Enter HERE. Good Luck!

Monday, November 6, 2023

Berkley Giveaway!

Berkley Giveaway! 

Ends November 10th!

 Here's the LINK to learn all about it! Good luck! 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

The Sunday Salon... and Storytellers

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the place where Book Bloggers from around the world share 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 . 

All books tell stories. Some better than others. When we look to fiction we generally want to be entertained, so this week I'm sharing three books I picked up to entertain me, from 3 great storytellers..

Absolution by Alice McDermott...

You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women, I mean. The wives.American women—

American wives—have been mostly minor characters in the literature of the Vietnam War, but in Absolution they take center stage. Tricia is a shy newlywed, married to a rising attorney on loan to navy intelligence. Charlene is a practiced corporate spouse and mother of three, a beauty and a bully. In Saigon in 1963, the two women form a wary alliance as they balance the era’s mandate to be “helpmeets” to their ambitious husbands with their own inchoate impulse to “do good” for the people of Vietnam.

Sixty years later, Charlene’s daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam vet, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they look back at their time in Saigon, taking wry account of that pivotal year and of Charlene’s altruistic machinations, and discovering how their own lives as women on the periphery—of politics, of history, of war, of their husbands’ convictions—have been shaped and burdened by the same sort of unintended consequences that followed America’s tragic interference in Southeast Asia.

A virtuosic new novel from Alice McDermott, one of our most observant, most affecting writers, about folly and grace, obligation, sacrifice, and, finally, the quest for absolution in a broken world.

With that simple line, "You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women..." I was hooked.  Alice McDermott is a storyteller and I'm looking forward to reading her latest novel, Absolution. 


These Precious Days by Ann Patchett...

At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both. 

A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be. 

From the enchantments of Kate DiCamillo’s children’s books (author of The Beatryce Prophecy) to youthful memories of Paris; the cherished life gifts given by her three fathers to the unexpected influence of Charles Schultz’s Snoopy; the expansive vision of Eudora Welty to the importance of knitting, Patchett connects life and art as she illuminates what matters most. Infused with the author’s grace, wit, and warmth, the pieces in These Precious Days resonate deep in the soul, leaving an indelible mark—and demonstrate why Ann Patchett is one of the most celebrated writers of our time.

Ann Patchett is another great storyteller and even though this is not a book of fiction, these are stories. Her writing is wonderful and after reading just the one story in this collection, I wanted to read more. 

Published by Harper in 2021, and "if you've never read it, it's new to you", which is a favorite Ann Patchettism during her Instagram posts for Parnassus Books every week. 


Making It So by Patrick Stewart...

From his acclaimed stage triumphs to his legendary onscreen work in the Star Trek and X-Men franchises, Sir Patrick Stewart has captivated audiences around the world and across multiple generations with his indelible command of stage and screen. Now, he presents his long-awaited memoir, Making It So, a revealing portrait of an artist whose astonishing life—from his humble beginnings in Yorkshire, England, to the heights of Hollywood and worldwide acclaim—proves a story as exuberant, definitive, and enduring as the author himself

I enjoy reading biographies & memoirs, but I do get tired seeing every celebrity publish a memoir. Patrick Stewart is one of my exceptions. I just loved him on Star Trek NG, I loved seeing him in The Caretaker on Broadway a few years back, and I am so looking forward to reading his book, Making It So. I am rethinking that though. I heard him read an excerpt from his book and found his voice so soothing, I think I am going to listen to the audio book first. Another storyteller, like listening to your Father, Uncle, or Grandfather tell stories from a lifetime ago.

Published by Gallery Books this past October 3rd. 

Do YOU have a favorite storyteller?

Week in Review...

Friday, Nov. 3rd... Author Sheila Roberts makes a stop at Chick with Books during her Virtual Book Tour in November! Check out the post all about Sheila and her newest Holiday story, The Twelve Months of Christmas!

I hope you found something interesting here today. And please feel free to share your interesting finds this week here too!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, November 3, 2023

Sheila Roberts and The Twelve Months of Christmas Virtual Book Tour!

From USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts comes a story of family, second chances and holiday do-overs, brimming with warmth and Christmas charm.

Sheila Roberts is on a Virtual Book Tour with The Twelve Months of Christmas and today the tour is stopping at Chick with Books! Let's welcome her and hear more about her book...

Title: The Twelve Months of Christmas

Author: Sheila Roberts

Publication Date: October 3, 2023

Pages: 400

Genre: Women's Fiction/Romance

goodreads add to

About the Book... Sunny, Arianna and Molly are having three different but equally terrible Christmases. Sunny is a newlywed with two new stepkids who want nothing to do with her; Arianna is newly divorced and hates having to send her daughter off to spend the holiday with her dad; for Molly, nothing is new, but her job at the post office is getting very, very old. The whole Christmas season has been a bust all around. 

But Sunny and Arianna have a wild idea: What if they had a Christmas do-over in January? February? On Saint Patrick’s Day? Christmas all year long – what could that look like?    As these three determined women chase the perfect holiday through twelve months of cooking disasters, over-the-top festivity, and lots of laughter and tears, they’ll discover perfection is way overrated.

What did I think about the book?

My Review... Ho Ho Humbug-that's what Christmas was for Sunny, Arianna and Molly. Sunny, newly married and her stepkids basically hate her; Arianna, newly divorced and sharing her young daughter with a jerk of an ex, and that means him having her for Christmas too! And Molly, who is tired of the snarky customers she has at the Post Office.  So, what's a girl to do after Christmas wasn't very Christmasy? Well, a Christmas do-over of course! And that's exactly what these 3 friends choose to do, together! These ladies decide to keep the spirit of Christmas all year long and celebrate "Christmas" every month (ever hear of the Christmas Easter Bunny?!). At first the celebrations were just the 3 of them, but then more and more of their family and friends joined in ultimately becoming the Christmas they all wanted and needed thru-out the whole year.

Along the way, we get to know Sunny, Arianna, Molly, their families, and their lives. You can't help but step into the story and feel like you are walking along side these wonderful characters, dealing with their struggles, but also their celebrations. I have to admit I did shed a tear or two along the way, but in the end it was nice to see these women choose to lift each other up when times are tough and show us what true friendship is. 

Sheila Roberts is a wonderful writer. Her books are heartfelt, sprinkled with romance and just a touch of humor. The Twelve Months of Christmas is all of that and more. A great Christmas read or anytime read when you want to satisfy that need for sitting down with a good book. I really enjoyed spending time with Sunny, Arianna, Molly and their families. The story kept me engaged, and I was sorry to turn that last page and say goodbye. Thank you, Sheila Roberts, for another great read!

P.S. Sheila always has some great recipes in the back of her books, and this one includes Dirt Cake which sounds deelish!

Want to read a little of The Twelve Months of Christmas? 

Here's a Book Excerpt...  

Sunny Hollowell had planned a perfect day for her first Christmas as a wife and stepmom and it was a fail. Who was it that said something about the best-laid plans getting screwed up? Whoever it was, her mom liked to quote him a lot. 

“The best-laid plans of mice and men,” her mom had begun when Sunny told her about the latest development as she and Dad walked in the door, presents in tow. 

“And women,” Sunny had added before Mom could finish. Women who were trying their best to be a good wife and mother, women who only wanted to bring two families together for a memorable day. 

The day was memorable all right, but not in the way Sunny had intended. 

It all began at eight in the morning. Sunny had found a recipe online for a crescent roll breakfast pastry with a cherry filling shaped like a candy cane and, to her surprise and glee, it had actually turned out like the picture, ready for the kids to be dropped off by their mom at nine o’clock. She was laying it out on the family room coffee table for everyone to enjoy while they opened presents when the Weed called Travis to let him know that she wasn’t going to bring the kids over for the big day. 

“What do you mean you’re still stuck in Spokane?” Travis had growled into his cell phone. 

Sunny had watched the anger roll over his features like a breaking storm. Scratch two kids from the guest list. Tansy strikes again. 

“You did this on purpose,” he’d accused. 

Of course, Tansy would deny it. That was how she rolled. Mess with the ex and his new wife as much as possible but never let it look like you meant to. Was Tansy’s mother psychic when she named her daughter after a noxious weed? 

“Well, thanks a lot,” Travis had growled. “Way to screw up Christmas for the kids.” 

“Okay, what happened?” Sunny had asked after he ended the call and dumped his phone on the coffee table. 

“She did it again, managed to screw us over,” he’d said, and slumped on the sofa. “She and Jared accidentally—” he held up exaggerated air quotes “—missed their flight home last night and are stuck at his parents’ place.” 

“Can’t they get another flight out? There has to be something going out today.” Of course, by the time they got to Bremerton, Washington, breakfast and Christmas dinner would long be over. 

“Not until tomorrow.” 

Sunny had made a superhuman effort to blink back tears. Poor Travis was already upset about not getting to be with his kids. She didn’t need to make things worse by having a holiday meltdown. But darn, she’d sure wanted to. 

Buy Links

Amazon | B&N HarperCollins | Target | Harlequin | Walmart

And More!

About the Author 

USA Today and Publishers Weekly best-selling author Sheila Roberts has written over fifty books under various names, ranging from romance to self-improvement. Over three million copies of her novels have been sold to date. Her humor and heart have won her a legion of fans and her holiday novels have been turned into movies for the Lifetime and Hallmark and Great American Family channels. When she’s not out dancing with her husband or hanging out with her girlfriends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends and chocolate.  

Author Links 

Website | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub | Goodreads

Sheila's Virtual Book Tour is going on the whole month of November! 
Sponsored by Pump Up Your Book

Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Sunday Salon.... It's Sunday, Call Your Mom!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the place where Book Bloggers from around the world share 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 . 

I am fortunate that I am still able to hang out with my Mom. All my life (and that happens to be 60+ years) I have had my Mother to talk to, walk the mall with, do pizza & movie nights, game nights, do crafts with, share books with, basically anything Mothers & Daughters do. She's always been like a BFF. Not that I didn't have her pulling her hair out once in a while, especially during those wonderful teenage years, but in the end we have overcome all that stuff to arrive at two mature women enjoying a special kind of bond. A few years ago, I moved 800 miles away. So, our hangout days turned into video chats and once a year visits. This is week two of Mom flying down South to spend time with me in the Sunny Carolinas. 

I've put most of my blogging on hold while she's been here, but I did get to thinking about what books there were about Mother/Daughters relationships. SO, in honor of our Mother Daughter visit, here are some books about that unique bond Mothers share with their Daughters...

Gone Tonight by Sarah Pekkanen... 
Catherine Sterling thinks she knows her mother. Ruth Sterling is quiet, hardworking, and lives for her daughter. All their lives, it's been just the two of them against the world. But now, Catherine is ready to spread her wings, move from home, and begin a new career. And Ruth will do anything to prevent that from happening.

Ruth Sterling thinks she knows her daughter. Catherine would never rebel, never question anything about her mother's past or background. But when Ruth's desperate quest to keep her daughter by her side begins to reveal crack's in Ruth's carefully-constructed world, both mother and daughter begin a dance of deception.

No one can know Ruth's history. There is a reason why Ruth kept them moving every few years and why she was ready - in a moment's notice - to be gone in the night.  

But danger is coming. Is it coming from outside, from Ruth's past? Is Ruth reaching a breaking point? Or is the danger coming from the darkness that may live in Catherine, herself?

Propulsive, brilliant, layered and provocative, GONE TONIGHT is a thriller that showcases Sarah Pekkanen at the top of her game. 

Published August 2023 by Macmillan Publishers


Things I Wish I Told My Mother by Susan Patterson, Susan Dilallo and  James Patterson... 
A mother and daughter on vacation in Paris unpack a lifetime of secrets and hopes—with a giant Pattersonian twist at the end!Every daughter has her own distinctive voice, her inimitable style, and her secrets.

Laurie is an artist, a collector of experiences. She travels the world with a worn beige duffel bag.Every mother has her own distinctive voice, her inimitable style, and her secrets.

“Dr. Liz,” Laurie’s mother, is an elegant perfectionist who travels the world with a matched set of suitcases.When Laurie surprises her mother with a dream vacation, it brings an unexpected sparkle to her eyes. So begins Things I Wish I Told My Mother. You will wish this novel never ends.

Susan Patterson is James Patterson's wife and this is their first collaboration. Susan Patterson and Susan DiLallo "were inspired to write their moving novel by the shared experience of beloved mothers who lived into their nineties then died in the same year."

Published April 20223 by Little, Brown & Co.


Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage... 
A mute, diabolical 7-year-old wages war against her mother in this chilling debut. Hanna Jensen has never spoken aloud in front of another human being. Her parents, Alex and Suzette, have subjected her to scores of tests, fearing a physical disability, but in truth, Hanna simply finds words to be an ugly means of expression and chooses not to use them. Hanna also knows that her silence anguishes her mother, which is an added bonus; although Hanna adores her father, who believes she can do no wrong, she despises Suzette and torments her at every turn. Hanna has been expelled from three preschools and two kindergartens for bad behavior, forcing Suzette to home-school her—an arrangement that further strains their fraught relationship. The constant stress is wreaking havoc on Suzette’s health, so she redoubles her efforts to locate a school that will accept her troubled child. But as Suzette dreams of child-free days, Hanna is making plans of her own. This tightly plotted, expertly choreographed tale unfolds in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Hanna and Suzette. Author Stage palpably conveys Suzette’s fear, anger, frustration, and desperation while exploring the deleterious effects that motherhood can have on one’s marriage and self-worth. Hanna’s chapters are calm and upbeat by comparison, but they offer no respite from the book’s mounting tension; naïve observations and whimsical fantasies share the page with twisted musings and nefarious schemes, the jarring juxtaposition only compounding the reader's sense of unease.

This book got a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, and that made me take a look at this one. Sounds creepy good. Published in 2018 by St. Martins Press


Happy reading, have a wonderful rest of the week. I'll be back blogging full time next Sunday... Suzanne

Friday, October 27, 2023

First Line Friday...

An old familiar dread was waiting for me this morning. I couldn't tell where it came from. It hadn't followed me out of a dream--at least not one I could remember--but when I got up, there it was in everything. The airless heat of the motel room. The halo of sunlight around the window shades. The vacant smile of the girl at the front desk when she took the key from my hand. 

I thought it might stay behind when I left the motel, but it hitched a ride through the desert with me. Just sitting there. Tightening the world. It knew me so well.

                                                                         ....... The Morningside by Téa Obreht


Thursday, October 26, 2023

#TBT... The Year is 2015


It's Thursday and another "Throw Back Thursday"
What was I reading back in... June 2015?

Have your reading habits ever changed? Have you stopped reading a particular kind of book because you were just too tired of the same old story, same kind of detective, same kind of love story? Or did you just fall in love with a different kind of read and put what you normally read aside? Have you even noticed? It's fun to look back and see what you were reading years ago. Sometimes it's fun to imagine reading that favorite book for the first time and the thrill it gave you as you turned the pages. Here's what I was reading in 2015. I had forgotten how long ago it was that I read Natchez Burning. I still remember how much I loved reading it though... Here is my review from 2015...

June 13, 2015

Natchez Burning by Greg Iles.. a Review

I read this book so fast that it wasn't just Natchez Burning, it was the pages of the book burning!

When I was checking out the new books coming out at the end of April, I stumbled upon The Bone Tree by Greg Iles. It sounded like just the thing I was in the mood for at the time… kind of a murder/police procedural with a gung ho ex-procecutor in the heart of the deep south. BUT, then I read that this was part of a trilogy and this was book 2. It's not always a sin to read books out of order, and The Bone Tree seemed as though it was dealing with new circumstances with the same characters, but ultimately I decided to read what was considered the first book in the trilogy, Natchez Burning. And I am so glad I did!… But first let's talk about Natchez Burning by Greg Iles…

The setting for Natchez Burning is Natchez, Mississippi. The book opens in the 1960's, the era of the Ku Klux Klan, where 3 unsolved murders of black men, will remain in the mind of a young white man who grows up to be a journalist and spends his adult life trying to find justice for them.

Greg Iles delves deep to make this an incredible read. Not just for the way he writes about the historical time period, but for the way this book comes alive with such amazing characters that truly breath life into the story. As the pieces of the 50 year puzzle came together, I was literally on the edge of my seat and flipping those pages as fast as I could. It was exciting, frightening, and heart stopping. Good cops, bad cops, surprising twists, bad guys looking for redemption, a swamp you never want to be taken to… and a great start to a planned 3 book trilogy… my only "not so glowing" part of this review is that the ending was a bit monotonous. There are quite a few characters and as the story hit that pivotal moment when all hell breaks loose, it got a bit crowded with too many characters having major parts. But up until that point the book was superbly written. And just because it got a bit muddy at the end does not mean I would steer you away from reading this. READ THIS!

And now, why you need to read this book first and the trilogy in order… Because when I started book 2, The Bone Tree, it started off exactly where book one ended. And for the next 80 pages (give or take a few) the story rehashed the ending of book 1. Now if I had read book 2 first, I would have known what happened and how everything worked out without the thrill of the surprise. It almost seemed as though the first 2 books were really just a huge tome that the publishers had to cut off somewhere because who's going to read a 1700 page book, right?! The first book is about 875 pages and book 2 is about 800 pages. I am on page 89 of The Bone Tree (yes, I had to immediately start book 2 because I am hooked) and waiting for things to heat up again.

If you love murder mysteries, Natchez Burning is right up your alley. It is a kind of police procedural, but not as stringent as you would normally expect. The murders are ultimately revealed and solved as each character reveals their part it either the act or the hunting down of the people responsible.

What Were You Reading in 2015?

Monday, October 23, 2023

Memoir Monday... a Special Vet and his Companion


Keira & Me by Noel Fitzpatrick... 
'With you by my side, just doing my best was the best thing to do.'

Keira is an extraordinary dog. She held the key to Noel's heart from the moment he first met her.

That's because Keira doesn't judge. When Noel struggles, Keira is there to remind him he need only do his best. When he sees only darkness, Keira is ready to lift him back into the light.

Keira & Me is the real-life story of Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick, his companion Keira and their life together. It captures the incredible bond of unconditional love between us and our canine friends. Inspiring and healing in equal measure, this beautifully illustrated and deeply heartfelt story of Noel and Keira's journey together teaches us all how to embrace the ups with the downs, the joy and the sorrow, the darkness and the light, that make up a life.

Noel Fitzpatrick is known as the Supervet from his TV program in the UK called Supervet. Originally from Ireland and moving to the UK in 1993, his veterinary practice includes 2 hospitals specializing in orthopedics, neurology and oncology. He's won numerous awards, done amazing surgical procedures and has written numerous books. This book is a special story about a pup that stole his heart and took the journey beside his side for many many years. It is suppose to be a beautifully looking as well as a very heartfelt story. For anyone who has a special animal in their lives or was fortunate to have had a special furbaby in their lives. I look forward to owning a copy of this special story. 

Beautifully illustrated by Laura McKendry, who illustrated the book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, and actually done in the same style as that book, Keira & Me will be Published by Orion Publishing Group, October 26, 2023. I had a difficult time finding it anywhere in the US, so look to bookstores such as Waterstones or Blackwells to purchase. And Waterstones has signed copies available right now. 

Friday, October 20, 2023

First Lines Friday...

"Back in 1961, when women wore shirtwaist dresses and joined garden clubs and drove legions of children around in seatbelt-less cars without giving it a second thought; back before anyone knew there'd even be a sixties movement, much less one that its participants would spend the next sixty years chronicling; back when the big wars were over and the secret wars had just begun and people were starting to think fresh and believe everything was possible, the thirty-year-old mother of Madeline Zott rose before dawn every morning and felt certain of just one thing: her life was over."

                                                                    ... Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Sunday, October 15, 2023

The Sunday Salon and let's get cozy... with a ball of yarn!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the place where Book Bloggers from around the world share 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. 

It's been a hectic week in South Carolina! Some of you may know that I am also a crafts person. I have a little business called Shawl Y'all and make pretty things with my weapon of choice: a crochet hook! I work all year long creating and my big once a year festival was yesterday. Getting everything ready, packed, loaded and unloaded is always a challenge. I have a very nice husband who helps with all of it, but I still get stressed out. When everything is finally set up and the festival is open, it's always fun. I always meet so many nice people and I get to share my other love besides reading. I always think it's fun to find mysteries that have a craftsy theme, and I always have to pick them up. This week I'm sharing 2 that I just received from publishers and one that I've got on my TBR list. So, let's get cozy...

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

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!

Wow, Betty Hechtman is a crochet girl mystery readers dream! She has over 2 dozen published crochet mysteries and that's not including all the rest she's written. What caught my eye with this mystery was that it has a bookstore in it and includes a crochet project and recipe! But from all the 4.5 stars she has received on almost all her books from readers, I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy her writing too! Would you like to read an excerpt? Here's a link to her webpage and Excerpt of chapter one. Published by Beyond the Page Publishing Sept. 26th, 2023, and available now from your favorite bookstore! I received a copy of Killer Hooks from Beyond the Page Publishing to review. 


A Twisted Skein by Sally Goldenbaum...
Summer is on the wane in the charmingly picturesque coastal village of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, but an upcoming fashion show benefit ensures there’s still plenty of excitement in store for the Seaside Knitters…

Like every coastal town, Sea Harbor needs tourists and their dollars. But there’s something special about that time of year when summer people return to their normal lives, and the wide sandy beaches welcome back locals with their dogs and strollers. And this year, even as the season cools down, Izzy Perry’s Sea Harbor Yarn Studio is heating up, thanks to an upcoming fashion benefit . . .

The show will feature hand-knit garments, and enthusiastic knitters flock to the shop for supplies to create runway-worthy pieces. Yet Seaside Knitter Birdie is enjoying flocks of a different kind, thanks to a rekindled interest in birdwatching, a hobby she enjoyed with her late husband. Along with a small group of passionate birders, she often spends weekend mornings looking for warblers, or keeping watch for gannets and grebes. The group members themselves are almost as fascinating as the birds. It’s a lovely, special time—until Birdie makes her way through a tangle of vines and stumbles upon a fellow birder’s body.

At first, it appears to be an accidental fall, but an autopsy soon reveals that the victim died before hitting a granite boulder. When police discover a clue linking the victim to one of the Seaside Knitters, the web of suspicion grows. Before the woods are ablaze in autumn glory and the knitters have cast off the final rows on their runway projects, they’ll have to unravel secrets and ties strong enough to bind friends and neighbors together—and some that may press a killer to take another life.

Sally Goldenbaum is also a prolific writer with 16 books in her ​Seaside Knitters Society Mysteries, all with 4.5 out of 5 stars from readers. Looking forward to reading Sally for the first time and nice to know there are plenty of mysteries to read after A Twisted Skein. Would you like to read a few chapters of A Twisted Skein? Follow this link! Published by Kensington Publishing, A Twisted Skein will be released November 28, 2023! Mark your calendars! I received a copy of the eBook from Kensington Publishing to review, so look for that coming soon! 


Crochet and Cauldrons (Vampire Knitting Club) by Nancy Warren
Every family has annoying relatives; mine just happen to be undead.

My Grandmother, Agnes Bartlett, used to own Cardinal Woolsey’s knitting shop in Oxford then died and left her shop to me, without informing me that she wasn’t actually dead. She’s a vampire and part of the world’s strangest craft circle – the Vampire Knitting Club.

As you might imagine, this means she’s free to interfere in how I run the business that used to be hers. She’s trying to teach me to knit and it’s not going well. She’s also trying to teach me how to be a witch, since it turns out I’m from a long line of witches. Another tiny detail about my family that no one ever told me, along with the long-lost witch cousins I recently discovered.

But I’m learning. I’ve got my family spell book, my black cat familiar, some powers that sometimes scare me, and an interesting new group of friends. My archaeologist parents are coming to visit and bringing me a gift I could do without.

So, to recap, I run a knitting shop and I can’t knit. I’m a beginning witch who can’t always control her cat, never mind her magic, and my love life is as tangled as the last sock I tried to knit. Oh, and for some reason, I keep getting involved in murder investigations. Good thing I have my vampire knitters to help sniff out clues.

At least I’ve finally hired the perfect assistant, a real demon with the crochet hook. Or is she too perfect?

Here's a bit of crochet and a bit of vampire/undead in a cozy mystery by Nancy Warren, who has a few different series. She has a Witch Baking series and a flower shop series too. She also has gotten rave reviews from her readers, so I am looking forward to reading this book. Published by Ambleside Publishing, this is an older book published in 2019, but still available from your favorite bookstore.

Weekly Update...

Monday, Memoir Monday was a Graphic Memoir for an important woman, who captured the hearts of Cambodia.

Tuesday was about my sneak peek at the new Apple TV series, Lessons in Chemistry, based on the book by Bonnie Garmus. 

Wednesday, we played a game of This or That, comparing the UK and US covers of a book I was purchasing. Which do you prefer?

Friday on First Lines Friday, we put on our lipstick and read a little about... 

Do you read cozy mysteries?

Do you have a hobby besides reading?

Hope you found something interesting to read today! Let me know what other books your loving this week! 

Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, October 13, 2023

First Lines Friday...


After the funeral. I'm hiding in Mother's bathroom watching a skincare video about necks. Cheap black dress that chafes. Illicit cigarette. Sitting on the toilet amid her decorative baskets, her red jellyfish soaps, her black towel sets. Smoke comes tumbling out of my mouth in amorphous gray clouds. I blow it out the window where the palm trees still sway and the alien sun still shines and the sky is a blue that hurts my eyes.                                                          ....Rouge by Mona Awad

 I love that second sentence. I don't know why, but watching a video about necks just seems so funny to me. This has gotten a lot of great buzz and it's on my TBR list. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

This or That...

 This or That?

We talked about book covers recently. And I had mentioned that I usually like the UK covers more than the US covers, but there are exceptions. I've noticed lately that there are many US covers I like more than the UK version. Here's an example of a big difference in the covers of Starter Villain by John Scalzi. 

I was looking to buy a copy of this book, it's gotten lots of great reviews and sounds like a fun book (in a science fiction, you better be able to embrace an alternate world, kind of way). Way different concepts on how to illustrate the cover. 

Which do you like better? This one or That one? 
Which do you think is the UK cover? 


Do you need to know more about the book to choose? Here's the blurb from the publisher...

Starter Villain by John Scalzi...
Inheriting your uncle's supervillain business is more complicated than you might think. Particularly when you discover who's running the place.

Charlie's life is going nowhere fast. A divorced substitute teacher living with his cat in a house his siblings want to sell, all he wants is to open a pub downtown, if only the bank will approve his loan.

Then his long-lost uncle Jake dies and leaves his supervillain business (complete with island volcano lair) to Charlie.

But becoming a supervillain isn't all giant laser death rays and lava pits. Jake had enemies, and now they're coming after Charlie. His uncle might have been a stand-up, old-fashioned kind of villain, but these are the real thing: rich, soulless predators backed by multinational corporations and venture capital.

It's up to Charlie to win the war his uncle started against a league of supervillains. But with unionized dolphins, hyper-intelligent talking spy cats, and a terrifying henchperson at his side, going bad is starting to look pretty good.

In a dog-eat-dog a cat.

At first I really didn't like the Cat in the suit cover. But it started to grow on me. And I do like cats. The left cover is a nice graphic design. This One or That One? Have you guessed which cover is which yet? Okay, let's see if you're right... The UK cover is on the left, US cover is on the right! 

Let me know which cover you like better in the comments below!

There actually is a great special edition of the one on the left with beautiful sprayed edged from Inkstone Books, an online bookstore that specializes in Science fiction and fantasy books. Here's their special edition of Starter Villain...

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Lessons in Chemistry... Streaming to a TV near you

I received an invitation to an online screening of Apple TV's Lessons in Chemistry this past weekend. The series is based on Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. The book, Lessons in Chemistry, was published in 2022 and was a major hit with readers , even being named Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Oprah Daily, and Entertainment Weekly to name a few. I'm reading this right now... I like reading the book before seeing the movie... and that means finishing the book too, but I haven't yet... so what's a girl going to do with the invite?....... Accept it of course! 

The Series premiers this Friday, Oct. 13th on Apple TV. The series will run 8 episodes. The pilot and first episode will be released on Oct. 13th, then a new episode every week until episode 8. 


Need to know what the book is about? Here's the synopsis from the publisher, Penguin Random House:

Lessons in Chemisty by Bonnie Garmus...Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it's the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel Prize–nominated grudge holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 

Like science, though, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Eizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother but also the reluctant star of America's most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth's unusual approach to cooking ("combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride") proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because, as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn't just teaching women how to cook. She's daring them to change the status quo.  


What did I think of it? I really enjoyed it! The TV series changed the order of some things. I don't want to ruin it for you, so suffice it to say, they changed some of the circumstances, but kept the flavor. Not unusual for a book to movie, or in this case TV, adaptation. First of all the cinematography is wonderful. They have captured the 1950's/60's perfectly! (Don't you just love the fashions of the day!) They also capture the sexism that existed and the frustration any woman in the workforce would feel. Especially in a male dominated environment that Elizabeth Zot, our lead heroine, works in. I liked the way Elizabeth Zot bucked the conventions of the times. The acting was very good, good chemistry (no pun intended) between our lead actors, Brie Larson and Lewis Pullman( he plays Calvin Evans). But I suspect the series will shift to Elizabeth being a cooking show goddess after the pilot. There are some flashbacks in the pilot that help flesh out Elizabeth, but because of some of these flashbacks there are trigger warnings. (Anyone who thinks this is a comedy may be surprised, because this deals with some very serious issues.) 

What is a trigger warning? Here is the definition as per the Cambridge Dictionary:

a statement at the beginning of a piece of writing, before the start of a film, etc., warning people that they may find the content very upsetting, especially if they have experienced something similar: Trigger warnings are supposed to protect people from post-traumatic flashbacks.

What are some of the triggers in Lessons in Chemistry? rape, sexism, and suicide to name three. The pilot alluded to some sort of sexual abuse that happened to Elizabeth towards the end of the pilot. Towards the beginning of the book, there are no allusions, the abuse is in black & white on the page and it is brutal. But maybe that will be revealed in total in a later TV episode?

The pilot ends with a cliff hanger. Of course. But the first episode is right after, and I look forward to watching it. 

I am enjoying the book so far. The "brutal" scene at the beginning does not take away from the rest of the story. It explains Elizabeth's actions. But as I move along in the story, I am really enjoying the writing of Bonnie Garmus. And I'm all there rooting Elizabeth on...

So now, I need to finish the book before the weekend so I can watch the series without ruining the reading experience.

Have you read Lessons in Chemistry?

Do you like to read the book before you see the movie?

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