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.


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 – 

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. 


March 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW 
March 2 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW 
March 3 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW 
March 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 
March 4 – My Journey Back – REVIEW 
March 5 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST 
March 5 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW 
March 6 – I'm All About Books-SPOTLIGHT 
March 6 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT 
March 7 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW 
March 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW 
March 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW 
March 10 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW 
March 10 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLGHT 
March 11 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT 
March 12 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
March 13 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT 
March 13 – The Book Diva's Reads – GUEST POST
March 14 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW 
March 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
March 15 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW 
March 16 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST 
March 16 – This Is My Truth Now – SPOTLIGHT 
March 17 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
March 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW 
March 18 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
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

Author Links
Website –
Facebook –
Instagram –
GoodReads –
BookBub –
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.

February 24 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
February 24 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
February 24 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW
February 25 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 25 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
February 25 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 26 – TBR Book Blog - REVIEW
February 26 – Christy's Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
February 26 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews - REVIEW
February 27 – eBook addicts – REVIEW
February 27 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 27 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
February 28 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
February 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
February 28 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
February 29 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 29 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW
March 1 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews - REVIEW, CANDLE TIPS PAGE
March 1 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
March 1 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 1 – The Book's the Thing - REVIEW
March 2 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW
March 2 – Socrates Book Reviews - REVIEW
March 2 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
March 3 – Sneaky the Library Cat's Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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