March 31, 2020

Sourdough by Robin Sloan


Book details
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (September 18, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250192757
ISBN-13: 978-1250192752

Book description
Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread.

Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive. Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer's market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show.

When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?

Meet the author - Robin Sloan
Robin Sloan is the author of the novels Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and Sourdough, published in the U.S. by MCD. He grew up near Detroit and now split his time between the Bay Area and the internet.

My thoughts
My book club chose this book as this months selection to read. While I did enjoy this book, I have to be honest that I would not have picked this book up on my own. I am ashamed to say that the cover did not appeal to me and that is one thing that first draws me to books. I liked the brothers that Lois was getting her supper from every night and that they entrusted her with the sourdough when they had to leave.  Some of the things about Lois' day job confused me a little. My favorite part of the story the sourdough. I liked how things ended for Lois in the end, but at the same time would have liked to hear just a little more about her adventure. 

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate - Review

The Book of Lost Friends
I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

Book details
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 7, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1984819887
ISBN-13: 978-1984819888

Book description
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours comes a new historical novel: the dramatic story of three young women searching for family amid the destruction of the post–Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who learns of their story and its vital connection to her students’ lives.

Bestselling author Lisa Wingate brings to life startling stories from actual “Lost Friends” advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as newly freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold away.

Louisiana, 1875: In the tumultuous era of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Hannie, a freed slave; Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now destitute plantation; and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s Creole half sister. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following roads rife with vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of stolen inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage west reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.

Louisiana, 1987: For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt—until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, is suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lie the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.

Meet the author - Lisa Wingate
Selected among BOOKLIST'S Top 10 for two years running, Lisa Wingate writes novels that Publisher's Weekly calls "Masterful" and ForeWord Magazine refers to as "Filled with lyrical prose, hope, and healing.” Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of a host of literary works. Her novels have garnered or been short-listed for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Utah Library Award, the LORIES Best Fiction Award, The Carol Award, the Christy Award, Family Fiction's Top 10, RT Booklover's Reviewer's Choice Award, and others. The group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with six others for the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who promote greater kindness and civility in American life. She’s been a writer since Mrs. Krackhardt’s first-grade class and still believes that stories have the power to change the world.

IN THE WRITER'S OWN WORDS: A special first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, made a writer out of me. That may sound unlikely, but it's true. It's possible to find a calling when you're still in pigtails and Mary Jane shoes, and to know it's your calling. I was halfway through the first grade when I landed in Mrs. Krackhardt's classroom. I was fairly convinced there wasn't anything all that special about me... and then, Mrs. Krackhardt stood over my desk and read a story I was writing. She said things like, "This is a great story! I wonder what happens next?"

It isn't every day a shy new kid gets that kind of attention. I rushed to finish the story, and when I wrote the last word, the teacher took the pages, straightened them on the desk, looked at me over the top, and said, "You are a wonderful writer!"

A dream was born. Over the years, other dreams bloomed and died tragic, untimely deaths. I planned to become an Olympic gymnast or win the National Finals Rodeo, but there was this matter of back flips on the balance beam and these parents who stubbornly refused to buy me a pony. Yet the writer dream remained. I always believed I could do it because... well... my first grade teacher told me so, and first grade teachers don't lie.

So, that is my story, and if you are a teacher, or know a teacher, or ever loved a special teacher, I salute you from afar and wish you days be filled with stories worth telling and stories worth reading.

My thoughts
I don't know if there is a book of Lisa's that I have not liked. I really liked Benny and enjoyed reading about her trying to get through to the kids she was teaching and what she did to make that happen. I also liked Hennie and cheered her on through her journey. I liked the symbol of the three blue beads and what they stood for. I thought the ending was appropriate although I would have loved to know just a little more about what happened with Benny and Nathan. Of course I loved the historical part of this book as well. History is my favorite thing. It is nice that Lisa brings these little now historical tidbits to life in her fiction stories that people may not have heard about otherwise. There is something about Lisa's books that you connect with the characters on a deeper level than most book. They always seem to bring some memory of your life to the surface and make you think. A great storyteller.

March 5, 2020

Finding Charity's Folk by Jessica Millward - Review


Book details
Series: Race in the Atlantic World, 1700-1900 Ser.
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: University of Georgia Press (December 15, 2015)
ISBN-10: 9780820348780

Book description
Finding Charity’s Folk highlights the experiences of enslaved Maryland women who negotiated for their own freedom, many of whom have been largely lost to historical records. Based on more than fifteen hundred manumission records and numerous manuscript documents from a diversity of archives, Jessica Millward skillfully brings together African American social and gender history to provide a new means of using biography as a historical genre.

Millward opens with a striking discussion about how researching the life of a single enslaved woman, Charity Folks, transforms our understanding of slavery and freedom in Revolutionary America. For African American women such as Folks, freedom, like enslavement, was tied to a bondwoman’s reproductive capacities. Their offspring were used to perpetuate the slave economy. Finding loopholes in the law meant that enslaved women could give birth to and raise free children. For Millward, Folks demonstrates the fluidity of the boundaries between slavery and freedom, which was due largely to the gendered space occupied by enslaved women. The gendering of freedom influenced notions of liberty, equality, and race in what became the new nation and had profound implications for African American women’s future interactions with the state.

Meet the author - Jessica Millward
JESSICA MILLWARD is an associate professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.

My thoughts
I listened to this author talk about this book on a podcast which peaked my interest.  It was an interesting subject to read about. To me it was sad that they had to buy their freedom and sometimes right when they had the money the price would be raised. At the same time I though it was amazing that some were able to buy the freedom for so many of their family. I enjoyed reading the personal history the most. 

Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Chids - Review and Giveaway


Book details
Cozy Mystery 21th in Series 
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2020) 
Hardcover: 336 pages 
ISBN-10: 0451489667 
ISBN-13: 978-0451489661 
Digital ASIN: B07SSQ1X4R
  

Book description
Tea-Maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton Conneley are guests at a bird hunt styled in the precise manner of an English shooting party. Which means elevenses (sloe gin fizzes), gun loaders, the drawing of pegs, fine looking bird dogs, and shooting costumes of tweed, herringbone, and suede.

But as gunshots explode like a riff of Black Cat firecrackers, another shot sounds too close for comfort to Theodosia and Drayton. Intrigued but worried, Theodosia wanders into the neighbor's lavender field where she discovers their host, Reginald Doyle, bleeding to death.

His wife, Meredith, is beside herself with grief and begs Theodosia and Drayton to stay the night. But Theodosia awakens at 2:00A.M. to find smoke in her room and the house on fire. As the fire department screams in and the investigating sheriff returns, Meredith again pleads with Theodosia for help.

As Theodosia investigates, fingers are pointed, secrets are uncovered, Reginald's daughter-in-law goes missing presumed drowned, and Meredith is determined to find answers via a séance. All the while Theodosia worries if she's made a mistake in inviting a prime suspect to her upscale Lavender Lady Tea.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Meet the author Laura Childs
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs. Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are: The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston. The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here! The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality. 
Laura’s Links: Website – http://www.laurachilds.com/ 

My thoughts
There are many things in this installment of the tea shop series that I liked. I love lavender and would have loved to walk the field with Theo. I also liked the bird hunt theme, getting to see Drayton again, a seance and of course a Gone with the Wind tea. There were many things that happened to keep you interested in this story, the murder and then the same night a fire.  As always Laura does a good job of making you feel a part of the story. She also likes to put in just enough twists to keep you guessing until the end. This is one of my favorite series and I always look forward to the next one. 

Giveaway


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March 19 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW 
March 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT 
March 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 2, 2020

Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher - Review and Giveaway


Book details
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020) 
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages 
ISBN-10: 1496721411 
ISBN-13: 978-1496721419 
Digital ASIN: B07R6P9Z8M
  

Book description
Stella Wright loves creating candles at her Nantucket store—and she also has a burning passion for justice. Now, after visiting a perfume conference, she must solve a vial crime . . .

Stella and her globe-trotting mom, Millie, have come home from a perfume industry conference in Paris, where their trip was marred by witnessing the stabbing death of a young man. It’s a relief for Stella to be back on her picturesque island, with the comforting company of her cat, Tinker. But lingering danger may have followed them back across the ocean.

After someone breaks into her candle store, the Wick & Flame, Stella starts feeling spooked. And just as things threaten to ignite, Millie suffers a blow to the head. Stella receives an anonymous note claiming that her mother smuggled a secret formula out of France—and threatening her life if it isn’t returned. Now Stella’s picked up the scent of a cold-hearted criminal and an intriguing puzzle, and things are about to get wicked . . .
Meet the author Christin Brecher
Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.

Author Links
Website – http://christinbrecher.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/christinbrecherbooks/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/christinbrecherbooks/
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18483379.Christin_Brecher
BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/christin-brecher
Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboBAM
IndieBoundHudson BooksellersGoogle Play 

My thoughts
I loved that this book started in Paris then followed Stella and her mom home to Nantucket.  It is nice to watch Parker and Stella's relationship progress and that Andy and her are staying close friends.  This book was packed with even more adventure than the first one.  I had a hard time putting this book down.  I did not see the ending of who the killer was. I would not have thought it was that person so the author did a good job of throwing me off. I know he was a suspect of Stella's but not mine.  I look forward to the next book in this series.
Giveaway



TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 24 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
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March 1 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
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March 2 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW
March 2 – Socrates Book Reviews - REVIEW
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March 3 – The Book Diva's Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 4 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
March 4 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 4 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

February 29, 2020

Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico - Review and Giveaway


Book details
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020) 
Mass Market Paperback: 304 page 
ISBN-10: 1496725344 
ISBN-13: 978-1496725349 
Digital ASIN: B07R8WYLSC
  

Book description
After her philandering husband’s boat went down, newly single Mia Carina went back to Astoria, the bustling Queens neighborhood of her youth. Living with her Nonna and her oversized cat, Doorstop, she’s got a whole new life—including some amateur sleuthing . . .

Mia is starting work at Belle View, her father’s catering hall, a popular spot for weddings, office parties, and more—despite the planes that occasionally roar overhead on their way to LaGuardia and rattle the crystal chandelier. Soon she’s planning a bachelor party for a less-than-gentlemanly groom. But it goes awry when the gigantic cake is wheeled in and a deadly surprise is revealed . . . Since some of her family’s associates are on the shady side, the NYPD wastes no time in casting suspicion on Mia’s father. Now, Mia’s going to have to use all her street smarts to keep him out of Rikers Island . . . Italian recipes included!

Meet the author Maria DiRico
Maria DiRico was born in Queens, New York, and raised in Queens and Westchester County. She is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side. On her father’s side, her grandfather was a low-level Jewish mobster who disappeared in 1933 under mysterious circumstances. She also writes the award-winning, bestselling Cajun Country Mystery series under the name Ellen Byron.

Website - https://www.ellenbyron.com/catering-hall-mysteries 
Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Google Play - IndieBound

My thoughts
I enjoyed this book and think this is going to be a good series. One of my favorite things is the mafia/mob connection as I love reading and watching things about connected families. Nonna is one of my favorite characters and I can just see her pinching Mia's cheeks and having delicious food for her to eat. The family connection with Mia and her dad and Nonna is nice but I hope to see Nonna and dad have a little more connection in future books. I am looking forward to see if the Belle View will be a prospering business and if Mia finds a partner

Giveaway


TOUR PARTICIPANTS
 February 24 – The Avid Reader - REVIEW, EXCERPT 
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February 25 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST 
February 25 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW 
February 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW 
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January 22, 2020

Dead in Dublin by Catie Murphy - Review

Book details
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Publisher: Kensington (December 31, 2019) 
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages 
ISBN-10: 1496724186 
ISBN-13: 978-1496724182 
Digital ASIN: B07Q3NPNFB
  

Book description
In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, murder occurs at the feet of sweet Molly Malone . . .
Ferrying tourists around Dublin for the Leprechaun Limo Service makes quite a change after years in the military. Still, Megan Malone is enjoying her life in Ireland. She likes the scenery, the easy pace, the quirky, quick-witted locals. Everything—except having one of her clients drop dead at the statue of fabled fishmonger, Molly Malone.

Most restaurant critics notch up their share of enemies. Elizabeth Darr, however, was a well-loved international star. She and her husband, Simon, had just had dinner when Elizabeth collapsed, and spoiled seafood is the first suspect. The restaurant’s owner, worried her business is doomed, begs Megan to look into it. Between her irate boss and a handsome Garda who’s both amused and annoyed by her persistence, Megan has her hands full even before she’s cajoled into taking care of two adorable Jack Russell puppies (which she is almost definitely not keeping). But if cockles and mussels aren’t to blame, can Megan find the real culprit . . .before another fishy death occurs?

Meet the author - Catie Murphy
Catie Murphy, who has written numerous award-winning fantasy and Sci-fi books under the pseudonym C. E. Murphy, began writing around age six, when she submitted three poems to a school publication. The teacher producing the magazine selected (inevitably) the one she thought was by far the worst, but also told her—a six-year-old kid—to keep writing, which she has. She has also held the usual grab-bag of jobs often seen in an authorial biography, including public library volunteer (at ages 9 and 10; it’s clear she was doomed to a career involving books), archival assistant, cannery worker, and web designer. Writing books is better. She was born and raised in Alaska, and now lives with her family in her ancestral homeland of Ireland.

Author Link - Website Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Kensington 

My thoughts
I enjoyed reading this first installment of a new cozy series. I enjoyed that it was set in Ireland which is a place I would love to visit. It was nice to follow along with Megan while she tried to figure out who murdered a client of hers. Another part I liked was that the author wrote parts of conversations with an Irish accent just like you would hear it if you were talking to the characters. I love an Irish accent. It was nice of Megan to take in the stray doggie mom and her new babies.  This was a nice book and I am interested to see where this series takes us. 

Giveaway


TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
January 13 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW 
January 13 – The Power of Words – REVIEW 
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January 18 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT 
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