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

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Banned Book Week is coming Oct. 1st! Win a Banned Book...

Banned Book Week is October 1 - October 7! 

Penguin Random House is having a giveaway to bring awareness to books that are banned in the US! 

Follow THIS LINK to enter to win one of the banned books above! Good luck! 

Friday, September 29, 2023

First Lines Friday... A Controversial Romance

 I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into Cafe Rev, but it sure as hell wasn’t a picture of myself behind the register under the cheery headline “Do Not Serve.” A yellow frown face magnet held the photo in place.

First of all, I’d never set foot in Knockemout, Virginia, let alone done anything to warrant a punishment as egregious as withholding caffeine. Secondly, just what dd a person have to do in their dusty little town to have a mugshot hanging in the local cafe?

Ha. Mug shot. Because I was in a cafe. Gosh, I was funny when I was too tired to blink.

                                ... Things we Never Got Over by Lucy Score

I got an email last friday from Fairyloot announcing that this book, Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score, was available to order. Now if you're not familiar with Fairyloot (and I am definitely going to have a post about them and a few other businesses like them), it's a company that has a book box subscription service for mostly fantasy books. But what makes them different from say The Book of the Month club are the covers that these books (and the sprayed edges)have. OMG, these covers are beautiful. And some of the designs that are sprayed on the paper edges are gorgeous. Okay, that's for another post, but we really need to talk about them soon (come back Sunday... hint, hint)!

What I wanted to say about this book was that after I saw that Fairyloot was going to have one of their exclusive editions made, I went to google it and read what the story was about and find out who the author was. Amazon had a 4.5 star rating, which usually says a lot, but I wanted to look at what the 1 star ratings were that I noticed was part of the rating scale. Well, those 1 star ratings really had intense feelings about this book. Basically, everyone, even the lower ratings, liked the main character Naomi, but the love interest created a big rift in how women felt about the book. And "bad boy" and "jerk" were the nicer comments. It seems that the love interest, according to the bad ratings, was domineering and controlling. A red flag for a real relationship. The high ratings loved the romance in the story. Calling the love interest a grumpy bad boy, but that Naomi stood up for herself and eventually love found a way. The beginning of the book, and this First Lines Friday post, I thought was really interesting. I liked Naomi's voice and I liked the writing, with that little bit of snarky humor. 

The question is, which reviews do you trust?

I think reviews are good to read for the most part, but really, we all have our own tastes and what someone else likes or doesn't like isn't necessarily how I'm going to feel about it. So, I read a bit of the story if I can, which tells me if I like the authors writing. And even before reading a sample, I read what the book is about. If it sounds like a story I might enjoy and if I'm able to read a sample of the authors writing and I like it, then I'll give any book a fair chance. There is one thing that is an absolutely no go for me is violence against animals. I can't watch a movie with it and I can't tolerate a book that has it. 

Do you have any absolutes in your reading?

Happy reading... Suzanne

Thursday, September 28, 2023

#TBT, What was I reading in... 2018?

The Year is... 2018
For our February book club selection in 2018 we read The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. Originally published in 2016, this book was a page turner. Gill Paul is a wonderful historical fiction writer, taking her female subjects, historical figures from the past, and imbuing them such heart and feelings that they come alive off the page. Recently The Secret Wife was available on Kindle for .99cents. I bought a copy just so I'd have it on Kindle even though I have a paperback copy. If you haven't read this book and you enjoy historical fiction, PICK UP A COPY and READ IT! Here's my post from 2018 recommending the book...

Friday, February 2, 2018

Great Book Club Selection...

Great book club get together last night! Great friends, great food... AND a GREAT BOOK! It's not very often that we all love a book so much that we all give it a 5 out of 5, but that's what we gave The Secret Wife by Gill Paul last night! Historical fiction at its best! Here's the Goodreads blurb:

A Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries... 
Love. Guilt. Heartbreak. 
1914: Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance—and their lives—in danger...
2016: Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret... 
Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

Thanks author Gill Paul, for a great read! Look for my review coming soon... and in the meantime, check out what Gill Paul shares with her readers about The Secret Wife on Harper Reach.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Giveaway from Hachette Book Group... Books You Autumn Read Sweepstakes

 Giveaway Time! Would you like to Fall for a little Romance? On the Hachette Book Group Website... Ends October 22, 2023.

Enter Giveaway Here

Monday, September 25, 2023

Memoir Monday

Kasher  in The Rye by Moshe Kasher... Rising young comedian Moshe Kasher is lucky to be alive. He started using drugs when he was just 12. At that point, he had already been in psychoanlysis for 8 years. By the time he was 15, he had been in and out of several mental institutions, drifting from therapy to rehab to arrest get the picture. But Kasher in the Rye is not an "eye opener" to the horrors of addiction. It's a hilarious memoir about the absurdity of it all. When he was a young boy, Kasher's mother took him on a vacation to the West Coast. Well it was more like an abduction. Only not officially. She stole them away from their father and they moved to Oakland , California. That's where the real fun begins, in the war zone of Oakland Public Schools. He was more than just out of control-his mother walked him around on a leash, which he chewed through and ran away.

I read a blurb about this book somewhere that said it was life changing. I'm not sure this really qualifies as life changing, because I haven't actually read it mysefl, and can there really be humor when it comes to drug addiction? But Kasher in the Rye had gotten a lot of positive buzz for it's honest take on the authors addiction and the way he has written about it. Published by Grand Central Publishing back in 2012, it's available at your local bookstore. 

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

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Favorite Books Bracketing... to find your Favorite Book of the Year!

 They bracket all sorts of sports. Why not the sport of book reading? 

Have you bracketed your book reading? I had never and just saw in one of my FB reading groups and found out that this was a thing! I'm jumping right on board because I think it's a fun way to find the best book you've read all year. You pick one book for each month to pit against each other. For example... the first quarter of the year you have a favorite book for January, February and March. Which two books did you like best? Those two books you keep as favorites get put in the next brackets. Then you have to decide which of those two books is your favorite... That is the winner for that quarter of the year! You do this for each 3 month period. Then you choose between those winners to get down to 2 choices. From those 2 choices you pick which one you enjoyed more AND THAT IS YOUR FAVORITE book of the year! Here's an example of how the first quarter would look...

You can download my bracket or create one for yourself (I did mine in Canva) or google book reading brackets and you can find a few out there to download that way. These little rectangles are made this way so you can download your book covers and then using a program like Canva you can put your book covers right over the square. Or you can just put the names of your books in the rectangles and keep track that way. Just another fun bookish thing to do! Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, September 15, 2023

First Lines Friday...

HIS GAZE OVER the majestic panorama of Manhattan, 218 feet below, was interrupted by the alarm.

He had never before heard the urgent electronic pulsing on the job.

He was familiar with the sound from training, while getting his Fall Protection Certificate, but never on shift. His level of skill and the sophistication of the million-dollar contraption beneath him were such that there had never been a reason for the high-pitched sound to fill the cab in which he sat.                        

                 ... The Watchmakers Hand by Jeffery Deaver

Welcome back Lincoln Rhyme! I originally met Lincoln Rhyme, quadriplegic detective, in The Bone Collector (I think a lot of people did). It was a great book and a great movie starring Denzel Washington as the man himself. This is a murder thriller set in New York City. This will be published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on November 28, 2023! So mark your calendars! I received an eBook Galley from G.P. Putnam's Sons to review and I am in the middle of The Watchmaker's Hand and really enjoying it! Watch for my review coming soon...

Thursday, September 14, 2023

#TBT... What was I reading back in 2014?

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? 

February 7th, 2014. The book was Under The Wide And Starry Sky by Nancy Horan, about Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fanny Van De Grift Osbourne, and I loved it! Here is the original review of Under The Wide and Starry Sky. The book I was reading back in 2014!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Under The Wide And Starry Sky with Robert Louis Stevenson and Author Nancy Horan… A Review 

I am in love. Not with Under The Wide And Starry Sky by Nancy Horan, but with Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Van De Grift Osbourne. But if not for Nancy Horan's book, I would not have known Louis Stevenson or his feisty American wife, Fanny, so I must admit that I did love Under The Wide And Starry Sky too. How to put into words how good this book is… Just like one of Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure books, Under The Wide And Starry Sky took me to far away places, let me live and breath the South Pacific, and let me peek into the door of the souls of Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny, two passionate individuals who did not want an ordinary life. This book was everything I had anticipated and so much more. It was an amazing love story, an adventure story, a story filled with passion, an artistic journey, a travel journal, a story filled with pain and tragedy, jealousy and unending love. It is one of the few books that I devoured the postscript, afterward and acknowledgements as well as the book itself. The research for this book, along with the keen writing abilities of Nancy Horan, makes this book so beautiful, so full of life. These are not 2 dimensional characters on the page, but living, breathing people, sharing their lives with the reader.

Under The Wide and Starry Sky is the love story between Robert Louis Stevenson, the author who gave us such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Fanny Van De Grift Osbourne, who flees the United States and her first husband to find artistic fulfillment in Belgium. The story develops in such a way that we experience both Louis and Fanny as individuals first. Fanny, full of artistic passion, running away from her philandering husband in America, young children in tow, first to Belgium and then to France. Tragedy follows Fanny to Europe, where she finally settles into a quiet life in France to recuperate. That quiet life erupts as the boarding house she settles in explodes with a colony of artists. This is where she meets the gregarious & passionate man named Robert Louis who falls madly in love with Fanny and wants desperately to be with her. Even though Fanny is 10 years his senior, Fanny succumbs to Louis' passionate, vivacious personality, but is that enough to sustain her and her young children? Torn between practicality and passion, the love story unfolds before your eyes in such an honest heartfelt way, that you are drawn in immediately to their lives and the passion between them. It is a passionate love story that will span decades and continents, and have you blindly turning those pages as you walk through the chapters of their lives.

Nancy Horan has done such a wonderful job of researching the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fanny. And it's because of the wealth of correspondence, relationships and recorded adventures that this is possible. But making sense of it all, and shaping the story, their story, in such a way as to truly let the reader experience their lives is a remarkable talent. We are lucky that Nancy Horan possesses that talent, because the result is Under The Wide And Starry Sky, a love story, painted with the artists eye for beauty, that may have been lost in the pages of a dull biography just filled with places and dates in the hands of a lesser talent.

The Low Down… I was so wrapped up in the romance between Louis and Fanny. There were so many complications with Fanny being married for one, but also overcoming the prejudice of her being 10 years older. It was such an honest portrayal of a couple who loved each other through the test of time. But I also discovered a lot more about Robert Louis Stevenson than I had known before. I didn't realize he was a lawyer by education, or that he was so sickly throughout his childhood and adulthood. I never realized how much of an adventurer he really was, he really saw the world he wrote about. And the author really gives you the feel for an artist passionate about his art. I would say if you enjoy love stories, historical fiction, and if you are a reader and want to learn more about Robert Louis Stevenson's life, read this book! I learned so much. Though this is a work of fiction, there is so much truth behind the words. You will not be disappointed. Wonderful writing, and equally wonderful story.


Do You Remember What Book You Were Reading in 2014?

Nancy Horan is a fantastic writer, who went on to write another great book called Loving Frank, about the love affair of Mamah Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright. OMG, that book was also fantastic! And Nancy Horan came out with a NEW book this year called The House of Lincoln "which tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's ascendance from rumpled lawyer to U.S. president to the Great Emancipator through the eyes of a young asylum-seeker, fourteen-year-old Ana Ferreira, who arrives in Lincoln's home of Springfield from Madeira, Portugal." And the publishers, Sourcebooks Landmark, sent an eBook to my Kindle so that I could review it! I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth into another Nancy Horan book! Look for my review coming soon...

Monday, September 11, 2023

Memoir Monday and I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee... From Kirkus ReviewsTteokbokki is a popular Korean dish of bland rice cakes immersed in a spicy pepper sauce. The duality is a good metaphor for this book, a bestseller in South Korea. Baek has dysthymia, a low-level but persistent depression. The narrative is primarily a collection of the author’s discussions with her therapist, punctuated with short essays leavened by the poignancy of self-reflection and occasional flashes of humor. Though issues involving mental health continue to be stigmatized, Baek is clear in her belief that her story could help those in similar circumstances. “I wonder about those like me, who seem totally fine on the outside but are rotting on the inside,” she writes, “where the rot is this vague state of being not-fine and not-devastated at the same time.” While the author realizes that many of her problems stem from a painful family background, she also examines the pressure on Korean women to conform to an idealized image. She worries constantly about her appearance and what other people think about her, a mindset that plagues many Korean women. Some of the author’s discussions relate directly to Korean culture, but much of it transcends borders and will resonate with readers around the world. As she gradually worked through the therapy process, Baek learned how to avoid the emotional roller coaster that comes with dysthymia and how to avoid constantly judging herself and others. Though the act of living always comes with ups and downs, it’s important to keep them in context and seek an appropriate balance. Baek acknowledges that she might never be entirely free of her dysthymia, but she can manage it, live with it, and understand it as part of her being.

This is a smash hit in Korea. Words like "compelling", "honest", "heartfelt" kept popping up as I read more and more about this book. 

Baek Sehee herself has said: "I wanted those that are feeling and living as I do to read the book and find relief that they are not alone."

Originally published in 2 parts in Korea, it is now translated to English and published by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2022. It is a slim 208 pages and available at your local bookstore.( Right now though, the hardcover edition is on sale at Amazon for 45% off!) I want to thank Bloomsbury Publishing for an eBook copy of I Want to Die but I want to Eat Tteokbokki to review! Look for my review coming soon...



Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Sunday Salon and There's a Buzz in the air, but not from the bees... it's from people talking about these 3 books...

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.

It has been a HOT, and I mean in the high 90's all week hot, in South Carolina this week. And then of course we get the thunderstorms to go along with that. So I spent some time outside because even though it's been hotter than, well you know, because it hasn't really been humid. But I have been able to escape into Central Air, which is a godsend (remind me to tell you about the hottest week in history last year and how our Central Air died). But whether I was in or out this week, I have found some great books! What kind of bookish finds do I have this week? Well, if you haven't had the opportunity to be in a  library, bookstore or other bookish place, let's talk about Zadie Smith...

Zadie Smith's newest book, The Fraud, came out this week. There has been so much buzz about this book! The Author is known for her stories to shine a light on religion, race, and cultures in a way that keeps us entertained but aware. They have a bit of humor added. And her writing just pulls you into whatever story she has written. Her newest addition to her long list of published works is winning readers over. Published by Penguin Press, coming in at 464 pages, and released this past tuesday. Here is what the publisher shares about the story...

It is 1873. Mrs. Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper—and cousin by marriage—of a once-famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years.

Mrs. Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her cousin, his wives, this life and the next. But she is also skeptical. She suspects her cousin of having no talent; his successful friend, Mr. Charles Dickens, of being a bully and a moralist; and England of being a land of facades, in which nothing is quite what it seems.

Andrew Bogle, meanwhile, grew up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica. He knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. That the rich deceive the poor. And that people are more easily manipulated than they realize. When Bogle finds himself in London, star witness in a celebrated case of imposture, he knows his future depends on telling the right story.

The “Tichborne Trial”—wherein a lower-class butcher from Australia claimed he was in fact the rightful heir of a sizable estate and title—captivates Mrs. Touchet and all of England. Is Sir Roger Tichborne really who he says he is? Or is he a fraud? Mrs. Touchet is a woman of the world. Mr. Bogle is no fool. But in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what is real proves a complicated task. . . .

Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britain, fraudulence and authenticity and the mystery of “other people.”

This is definitely on my wishlist! I can't wait to read it and see how all these characters come together to make another amazing story by Zadie Smith. You can read an excerpt on Penguin Press.


Next on my list of "You HAVE" to put this on your TBR list, even if you are NOT a fantasy reader, is Rebecca Yarro's Fourth Wing. I am not usually a fantasy reader, but I think I need to rethink that. I picked this book up after hearing some buzz about it and opened the pages to find myself unable to tear myself away! OMG, I was enjoying this story so much and Rebecca's writing. Was it because the main character, Violet, is a girl with a lot of spunk, but quietly vulnerable trying to hide her weaknesses away so she can survive and I can empathize with her?  This book has gotten tons of love from Tiktok and just about everywhere. Here's the publisher's description...

Welcome to the brutal and elite world of Basgiath War College, where everyone has an agenda, and every night could be your last...

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general - also known as her tough-as-talons mother - has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you're smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away... because dragons don't bond to 'fragile' humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother's daughter - like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant. She'll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Alliances will be forged. Lives will be lost. Traitors will become allies... or even lovers. But sleep with one eye open because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

There was a lot of nail biting when I got to the part where Violet was entering the school to start her training. And it's not all dragons and swords... there is also some romance. But I'm not finished yet and I shouldn't say anymore. I think if you enjoyed The Hunger Games, this would be a no brainer, but if you aren't into fantasy, dragon rider reads, I would say, you should give this a try I don't think you'd be disappointed. I haven't been... 

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarrow published by Entangled Publishing this past May, has a 514 page count. You'll want to read this soon because the sequel Iron Flame will be released November 7, 2023! 


Finally this week, a book that has gotten an equal amount of buzz and has been called "A wrenching love story” by author Chris Bohjalian in his review in The Washington Post. It is based on the true love story of Anne Lister and Eliza Raines, two young girls who meet at their English boarding school. Here's what the publisher shares...

Adding to the already moving, richly told and gripping collection of historical fiction from Emma Donoghue, Learned By Heart is the breathtaking story of two young girls on the margins of life, forging a connection that will last forever.

Eliza and Lister have never been this wide-awake in their lives, and the Slope, with its curtains drawn wide, is bright with starlight. They talk in whispers, not to disturb the maids who lie sleeping on the other side of the box room. The question Eliza's been needing to ask swells like a great berry in her mouth, and all at once she's not scared to let it out, not scared at all, not scared of anything...

In 1805 fourteen-year-old Eliza Raine is a school girl at the Manor School for Young Ladies in York. The daughter of an Indian mother and a British father, Eliza was banished to this unfamiliar country as a little girl. When she first stepped off the King George in Kent, Eliza was accompanied by her older sister, Jane, but now she boards alone at the Manor, with no one left to claim her. She spends her days avoiding the attention of her fellow pupils until, one day, a fearless and charismatic new student arrives at the school. The two girls are immediately thrown together and soon Eliza's life is turned inside out by this strange and curious young woman.

Learned by Heart, Emma Donoghue's mesmerising new novel, tells the heartbreaking story of the tangled lives of two women whose intense, and unlikely, relationship will change them for ever.

I know author Emma Donoghue by her book (which was also a good movie adaptation), Room. But she has written many more books than that one. As I was diving more into the story behind Learned by Heart, I discovered many historical references to Anne Lister, books written solely about her and her diary, and that there is actually an HBO Max series based on the life of Anne Lister. She seems like a very interesting woman. If you'd like to hear just a small bit of Anne's diary, Here is a clip from the reading of her diary by Sarah Waters of the group Historic England.

Published by Little,Brown , running 336 pages, Learned By Heart by Emma Donoghue was released on August 29th and should be available at your favorite bookstore!

This Week in Review...

Thursday... Pick Me, Pick Me, September book club selections from 2 of my favorite online book clubs.

Friday... First Lines Friday, They say the first lines of a book can make it or break it, and here are the first lines of a little book called  Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood

Also Friday... NEW Look for Chick with Books! It's been almost 25 years (next Feb will be 25years) and I thought it was time to update the look and feel of the blog. Tell me what you think!

Do you read fantasy books?

I hope you found something here that piqued your interest! These are a few of the books on my nightstand, in my Kindle, on my wishlist... I'll be sharing some more exciting finds during the week, so stop by soon...

Happy Reading... Suzanne

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