Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Echo of Old Books by Barbara Davis

Finding books that have no author had Ashlyn on a mission to find out who had written these treasures about a love story gone wrong.

Ashlyn owns a bookstore called THE UNLIKELY STORY filled with rare books.

She also has a rare but special feeling about books.  When she touches certain books, she can feel what the person who last held the book was feeling.  She wasn’t sure if it was a detriment or a blessing.

We follow Ashlyn as she reads these book and tries to find out who these people are/were. 

At first I was very confused as to what was going on, but when I figured it out, I couldn't put the book down.

I enjoyed the present-day chapters as Ashlyn was unraveling the mystery and enjoyed the past stories as we learn how the books told actual stories of real people's lives.
THE ECHO OF OLD BOOKS has the imaginative, descriptive, pull-you-in writing style Ms. Davis excels at.

You will be in for a treat...don't miss it.

It is marvelous as always. 

And look at that GORGEOUS cover!!  5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Hang The Moon by Jeannette Walls

Duke Kincaid was someone you didn't want to cross.  He always had to have his way.

Well...his second wife had him not getting his way and having him send away his daughter, Sallie, because his wife said she caused her son to have a terrible accident.

Sallie went to live with her Aunt for nine years…yes, nine years...he never allowed her to come back until his wife died because he needed her to take care of the child who had no mother.

It was an ok return, but not until Sallie asked to be part of the business did her father think she was good for something other than being a man's wife.

Then Eddie died, and things changed.

HANG THE MOON was well written as all of Ms. Wall’s books are.

You will love Sallie for her strength and how she grew as the story unfolded.

It got a bit slow at times, but the story line still held my interest with all its drama.  

This book will be enjoyed by those who like books about prohibition, family, and Ms. Wall’s books. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Spotlight of Curds of Prey by Korina Moss




Korina Moss's third book in the Cheese Shop Mystery series, CURDS OF PREY


St. Martin’s Paperbacks
March 28, 202


“A series that readers will be eager to revisit.” First Clue

“Readers will love the cheese shop employees, Mrs. Schultz and Archie, as well as Willa’s neighbor, Baz.”    Kings River Life

“A highly likable character and a good sleuth.”  Fresh Fiction

“Riveting.”  Military Press

“Aside from the insane amount of cheese, the characters in this series are the main reason why it’s fast becoming a favorite.” Book Frolic

“Willa is just a realistic character, one you can see as your friend, but also one with relationship and business concerns. I highly recommend this series to fans of culinary mysteries.” Novels Alive

“Prepare to be charmed.”  Carolyn Haines

“Deliciously addictive." —Bree Baker

“A fabulous heroine." —Cate Conte

“Winning.”  Maddie Day

“Willa charmed me to the core.” —Linda Reilly



In Korina Moss's Curds of Prey, murder again comes to Yarrow Glen, and cheesemonger Willa Bauer must be the predator… before she becomes the prey.

Yarrow Glen's favorite cheese shop, Curds & Whey, gets to be a part of the social event of the season: Summer Harrington’s wedding. Cheesemonger Willa Bauer is going all out for the wedding shower’s cheese bar. 

But the eagle-eyed Harrington family is proving to be a pain in her asiago

A last-minute tasting ends in disaster when one of Willa’s potential beaux, Roman, gets in a fight with the groom. 

Then the shower arrives, and while there’s anything but love in the air, there is plenty of cheese. Oh, and Roman... again. 

The day officially ends in disaster when Willa finds the groom—who also happens to be the mayor’s nephew—in the stable, dead as a dodo. 

At the mayor’s request, Willa must follow the trail of cheese curds to find a killer while continuing to walk a tightrope between two of Sonoma Valley’s most powerful families.



Photo Credit: Harrison Moss

KORINA MOSS is the author of the Agatha Award nominated Cheese Shop cozy mystery series (St. Martin’s Paperbacks) set in the Sonoma Valley, beginning with Cheddar Off Dead
Korina is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and blogs on Writers Who Kill. 
Visit her website to learn more and sign up for her free newsletter.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Spotlight of The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi


From the author of Reese's Book Club Pick The Henna Artist, the final chapter in Alka Joshi’s New York Times bestselling Jaipur trilogy takes readers to 1970s Paris, where Radha’s budding career as a perfumer must compete with the demands of her family and the secrets of her past.


March 28, 2023

MIRA Books



Paris, 1974. Radha is now living in Paris with her husband, Pierre, and their two daughters. 

She still grieves for the baby boy she gave up years ago, when she was only a child herself, but she loves being a mother to her daughters, and she’s finally found her passion—the treasure trove of scents.

She has an exciting and challenging position working for a master perfumer, helping to design completely new fragrances for clients and building her career one scent at a time. 

She only wishes Pierre could understand her need to work. 

She feels his frustration, but she can’t give up this thing that drives her.

Tasked with her first major project, Radha travels to India, where she enlists the help of her sister, Lakshmi, and the courtesans of Agra—women who use the power of fragrance to seduce, tease and entice. 

She’s on the cusp of a breakthrough when she finds out the son she never told her husband about is heading to Paris to find her—upending her carefully managed world and threatening to destroy a vulnerable marriage.

The Jaipur Trilogy

Book 1: The Henna Artist
Book 2: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
Book 3: The Perfumist of Paris




September 2, 1974

I pick up on the first ring; I know it’s going to be her. She always calls on his birthday. Not to remind me of the day he came into this world but to let me know I’m not alone in my remembrance.

“Jiji?” I keep my voice low. I don’t want to wake Pierre and the girls.

“Kaisa ho, choti behen?” my sister says. I hear the smile in her voice, and I respond with my own. It’s lovely to hear Lakshmi’s gentle Hindi here in my Paris apartment four thousand miles away. I’d always called her Jiji—big sister—but she hadn’t always called me choti behen. It was Malik who addressed me as little sister when I first met him in Jaipur eighteen years ago, and he wasn’t even related to Jiji and me by blood. He was simply her apprentice. My sister started calling me choti behen later, after everything in Jaipur turned topsy-turvy, forcing us to make a new home in Shimla.

Today, my sister will talk about everything except the reason she’s calling. It’s the only way she’s found to make sure I get out of bed on this particular date, to prevent me from spiraling into darkness every year on the second of September, the day my son, Niki, was born.

She started the tradition the first year I was separated from him, in 1957. I was just fourteen. Jiji arrived at my boarding school with a picnic, having arranged for the headmistress to excuse me from classes. We had recently moved from Jaipur to Shimla, and I was still getting used to our new home. I think Malik was the only one of us who adjusted easily to the cooler temperatures and thinner air of the Himalayan mountains, but I saw less of him now that he was busy with activities at his own school, Bishop Cotton.

I was in history class when Jiji appeared at the door and beckoned me with a smile. As I stepped outside the room, she said, “It’s such a beautiful day, Radha. Shall we take a hike?” I looked down at my wool blazer and skirt, my stiff patent leather shoes, and wondered what had gotten into her. She laughed and told me I could change into the clothes I wore for nature camp, the one our athletics teacher scheduled every month. I’d woken with a heaviness in my chest, and I wanted to say no, but one look at her eager face told me I couldn’t deny her. She’d cooked my favorite foods for the picnic. Makki ki roti dripping with ghee. Palak paneer so creamy I always had to take a second helping. Vegetable korma. And chole, the garbanzo bean curry with plenty of fresh cilantro.

That day, we hiked Jakhu Hill. I told her how I hated math but loved my sweet old teacher. How my roommate, Mathilde, whistled in her sleep. Jiji told me that Madho Singh, Malik’s talking parakeet, was starting to learn Punjabi words. She’d begun taking him to the Community Clinic to amuse the patients while they waited to be seen by her and Dr. Jay. “The hill people have been teaching him the words they use to herd their sheep, and he’s using those same words now to corral patients in the waiting area!” She laughed, and it made me feel lighter. I’ve always loved her laugh; it’s like the temple bells that worshippers ring to receive blessings from Bhagwan.

When we reached the temple at the top of the trail, we stopped to eat and watched the monkeys frolicking in the trees. A few of the bolder macaques eyed our lunch from just a few feet away. As I started to tell her a story about the Shakespeare play we were rehearsing after school, I stopped abruptly, remembering the plays Ravi and I used to rehearse together, the prelude to our lovemaking. When I froze, she knew it was time to steer the conversation into less dangerous territory, and she smoothly transitioned to how many times she’d beat Dr. Jay at backgammon.

“I let Jay think he’s winning until he realizes he isn’t,” Lakshmi grinned.

I liked Dr. Kumar (Dr. Jay to Malik and me), the doctor who looked after me when I was pregnant with Niki—here in Shimla. I’d been the first to notice that he couldn’t take his eyes off Lakshmi, but she’d dismissed it; she merely considered the two of them to be good friends. And here he and my sister have been married now for ten years! He’s been good for her—better than her ex-husband was. He taught her to ride horses. In the beginning, she was scared to be high off the ground (secretly, I think she was afraid of losing control), but now she can’t imagine her life without her favorite gelding, Chandra.

So lost am I in memories of the sharp scents of Shimla’s pines, the fresh hay Chandra enjoys, the fragrance of lime aftershave and antiseptic coming off Dr. Jay’s coat, that I don’t hear Lakshmi’s question. She asks again. My sister knows how to exercise infinite patience—she had to do it often enough with those society ladies in Jaipur whose bodies she spent hours decorating with henna paste.

I look at the clock on my living room wall. “Well, in another hour, I’ll get the girls up and make their breakfast.” I move to the balcony windows to draw back the drapes. It’s overcast today, but a little warmer than yesterday. Down below, a moped winds its way among parked cars on our street. An older gentleman, keys jingling in his palm, unlocks his shop door a few feet from the entrance to our apartment building. “The girls and I may walk a ways before we get on the M├ętro.”

“Won’t the nanny be taking them to school?”

Turning from the window, I explain to Jiji that we had to let our nanny go quite suddenly and the task of taking my daughters to the International School has fallen to me.

“What happened?”

It’s a good thing Jiji can’t see the color rise in my cheeks. It’s embarrassing to admit that Shanti, my nine-year-old daughter, struck her nanny on the arm, and Yasmin did what she would have done to one of her children back in Algeria: she slapped Shanti. Even as I say it, I feel pinpricks of guilt stab the tender skin just under my belly button. What kind of mother raises a child who attacks others? Have I not taught her right from wrong? Is it because I’m neglecting her, preferring the comfort of work to raising a girl who is presenting challenges I’m not sure I can handle? Isn’t that what Pierre has been insinuating? I can almost hear him say, “This is what happens when a mother puts her work before family.” I put a hand on my forehead. Oh, why did he fire Yasmin before talking to me? I didn’t even have a chance to understand what transpired, and now my husband expects me to find a replacement. Why am I the one who must find the solution to a problem I didn’t cause?

My sister asks how my work is going. This is safer ground. My discomfort gives way to excitement. “I’ve been working on a formula for Delphine that she thinks is going to be next season’s favorite fragrance. I’m on round three of the iteration. The way she just knows how to pull back on one ingredient and add barely a drop of another to make the fragrance a success is remarkable, Jiji.”

I can talk forever about fragrances. When I’m mixing a formula, hours can pass before I stop to look around, stretch my neck or step outside the lab for a glass of water and a chat with Celeste, Delphine’s secretary. It’s Celeste who often reminds me that it’s time for me to pick up the girls from school when I’m between nannies. And when I do have someone to look after the girls, Celeste casually asks what I’m serving for dinner, reminding me that I need to stop work and get home in time to feed them. On the days Pierre cooks, I’m only too happy to stay an extra hour before finishing work for the day. It’s peaceful in the lab. And quiet. And the scents—honey and clove and vetiver and jasmine and cedar and myrrh and gardenia and musk—are such comforting companions. They ask nothing of me except the freedom to envelop another world with their essence. My sister understands. She told me once that when she skated a reed dipped in henna paste across the palm, thigh or belly of a client to draw a Turkish fig or a boteh leaf or a sleeping baby, everything fell away—time, responsibilities, worries.

My daughter Asha’s birthday is coming up. She’s turning seven, but I know Jiji won’t bring it up. Today, my sister will refrain from any mention of birthdays, babies or pregnancies because she knows these subjects will inflame my bruised memories. Lakshmi knows how hard I’ve worked to block out the existence of my firstborn, the baby I had to give up for adoption. I’d barely finished grade eight when Jiji told me why my breasts were tender, why I felt vaguely nauseous. I wanted to share the good news with Ravi: we were going to have a baby! I’d been so sure he would marry me when he found out he was going to be a father. But before I could tell him, his parents whisked him away to England to finish high school. I haven’t laid eyes on him since. Did he know we’d had a son? Or that our baby’s name is Nikhil?

I wanted so much to keep my baby, but Jiji said I needed to finish school. At thirteen, I was too young to be a mother. What a relief it was when my sister’s closest friends, Kanta and Manu, agreed to raise the baby as their own and then offered to keep me as his nanny, his ayah. They had the means, the desire and an empty nursery. I could be with Niki all day, rock him, sing him to sleep, kiss his peppercorn toes, pretend he was all mine. It took me only four months to realize that I was doing more harm than good, hurting Kanta and Manu by wanting Niki to love only me.

When I was first separated from my son, I thought about him every hour of every day. The curl on one side of his head that refused to settle down. The way his belly button stuck out. How eagerly his fat fingers grasped the milk bottle I wasn’t supposed to give him. Having lost her own baby, Kanta was happy to feed Niki from her own breast. And that made me jealous—and furious. Why did she get to nurse my baby and pretend he was hers? I knew it was better for him to accept her as his new mother, but still. I hated her for it.

I knew that as long as I stayed in Kanta’s house, I would keep Niki from loving the woman who wanted to nurture him and was capable of caring for him in the long run. Lakshmi saw it, too. But she left the decision to me. So I made the only choice I could. I left him. And I tried my best to pretend he never existed. If I could convince myself that the hours Ravi Singh and I spent rehearsing Shakespeare—coiling our bodies around each other as Othello and Desdemona, devouring each other into exhaustion—had been a dream, surely I could convince myself our baby had been a dream, too.

And it worked. On every day but the second of September.

Ever since I left Jaipur, Kanta has been sending envelopes so thick I know what they contain without opening them: photos of Niki the baby, the toddler, the boy. I return each one, unopened, safe in the knowledge that the past can’t touch me, can’t splice my heart, can’t leave me bleeding.

The last time I saw Jiji in Shimla, she showed me a similar envelope addressed to her. I recognized the blue paper, Kanta’s elegant handwriting—letters like g and y looping gracefully—and shook my head. “When you’re ready, we can look at the photos together,” Jiji said.

But I knew I never would.

Today, I’ll make it through Niki’s seventeenth birthday in a haze, as I always do. I know tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to do what I couldn’t today. I’ll seal that memory of my firstborn as tightly as if I were securing the lid of a steel tiffin for my lunch, making sure that not a drop of the masala dal can escape.


Excerpted from The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi © 2023 by Alka Joshi, used with permission from HarperCollins/MIRA Books.



PHOTO CREDIT:  Garry Bailey

Born in India and raised in the U.S. since she was nine, Alka Joshi has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts. Joshi's debut novel, The Henna Artist,  immediately became a NYT bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Bookclub pick, was Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, & is in development as a TV series. 


Her second novel, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur (2021), is followed by The Perfumist of Paris (2023). 


Find her online at



Author Website:

Twitter: @alkajoshi


Facebook: @alkajoshi2019


Instagram: @thealkajoshi









Barnes & Noble 








Mailbox Monday - 3/27/2023


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.


Warning:  Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.
Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at  MAILBOX MONDAY.
Here is a shout out to the administrators:

Emma @ Word and Peace

Serena @ Savvy Verse and Wit

Martha @ Reviews By Martha’s Bookshelf

THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive.
I hope you had a good mailbox.

On Wednesday, March 22, I received:

1.  AT THE COFFEE SHOP OF CURIOSITIES by Heather Webber, courtesy of Tor Publishing and NetGalley.

On Friday, March 24, I received:
1.  THE LITTLE ITALIAN HOTEL by Phaedra Patrick, courtesy of Harper Collins, Park Row Books, and Book Browse.

It's Monday!! What Are YOU Reading? - 3/27/2023

I hope you had a great reading week.
This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at BOOK DATE!

Post the books completed, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish at some point.
Books Completed:
SECRETS OF THE ITALIAN ISLAND by Barbara Josselsohn - review will be on May 15.
LOVED this book...Italy, a story from WWII that leads to finding a secret her grandmother kept.

THE LAST WORD by Taylor Adams - review will be on April 30.
Clever but intense.
THE WISHING GAME by Meg Shaffer - review will be on May 30, 2023.
A lovely, different read with lovable characters.
THE REVENGE LIST by Hannah Mary McKinnon - review will be on May 24. 
A twisty, chilling thriller that fans won't want to miss.
THE SENATOR'S WIFE by Liv Constantine - review will be on May 23.
Another good one - twists you won't see coming.
BETWEEN TWO STRANGERS by Kate White - review will be on May 16.
Another good one by Kate White!!
NO LIFE FOR A LADY Hannah Dolby - review will be on May 11.
A delightful read with a lovable main character.
THE PARIS MAID by Ella Carey - review will be on April 8.
A FAB read - a bit of mystery and WWII.
THE GREEDY THREE by Karen Katchur - review is in the book's title.
Very graphic, but very good.

THE COLLECTED REGRETS OF CLOVER by Mikki Brammer - review will be on May 9, 2023.
Truly enjoyed this book.  
MY GRANDMOTHER'S INN by Kristin Harper - review will be on April 3.
LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book!!

A family secret and much more.

WITH MY LITTLE EYE by Joshilyn Jackson - review will be on April 27.
Very disappointing read - confusing, and I was not anxious to get back to the book.  2/5
FIFTH AVENUE GLAMOUR GIRL by Renee Rosen - review will be on April 25, 2023.
Another entertaining, well-researched read by Ms. Rosen.

Fans of Ms. Rosen, cosmetic lines, this era, women succeeding, and name dropping will enjoy this book. 5/5
THE DUTCH ORPHAN by Ellen Keith - review will be on April 20, 2023.
A very emotional read - historical fiction and women's fiction fans will enjoy this book.
ONLY THE BEAUTIFUL by Susan Meissner - review will be on April 19, 2023.
Oh my...this book is FABULOUS!!
Do not miss it if you are a won't be able to put it down....I didn't want to.  ❤️
WHERE COYOTES HOWL by Sandra Dallas - review will be on April 18, 2023.
WHERE COYOTES HOWL was a sweet but tragic, sad read.
If you need something different with genuine characters and would like to learn of the difficult life on the prairies of Wyoming, give WHERE THE COYOTES HOWL a try. 
THE CUBAN HEIRESS by Chanel Cleeton - review will be on April 11.
LOVED it!!  
Great characters and story line, and I learned about the SS Morro Castle - a ship that caught on fire at sea.  
I had never heard of that ship.
THE GOOD LUCK CAFE by Annie Rains - review is in the book's title.
A very sweet read with an adorable main character.   
You won’t want to stop reading or want the book to end.
THE SOULMATE by Sally Hepworth - review will be on April 4, 2023.
WOW!!  This is a good one....hope you get to read it!!
THE ECHO OF OLD BOOKS by Barbara Davis - review will be on March 29.
FABULOUS READ!!  Do NOT miss this one!!  Her BEST one yet!!
HANG THE MOON BY JEANNETTE WALLS - review will be on March 28, 2023.
Pretty good!!
THE LONDON SEANCE SOCIETY by Sarah Penner - review is in the book's title.
Very disappointed in this book.  
THE LOST ENGLISH GIRL by Julia Kelly - review is in the book's title.
LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book...I hope you get to read it.
THE LAST CAROLINA GIRL by Meagan Church - review will be on April 1, 2023.
LOVED it - well researched, but it is heartbreaking.
ONCE WE WERE HOME by Jennifer Rosner - review is in the book's title.
Another beautiful, but heartbreaking read by Jennifer Rosner.  Don't miss it!!
Book Currently Reading: 
THE LITTLE ITALIAN HOTEL by Phaedra Patrick - review will be on June 9.

Books Up Next:

THE NEW MOTHER by Nora Murphy - review will be on June 1.
THE PARIS DAUGHTER by Kristin Harmel - review will be on June 6, 2023.
THE BOOKSHOP BY THE BAY by Pamela Kelley - review will be on June 7, 2023.

WHAT REMAINS by Wendy Walker - review will be on June 13, 2023.
THE LAST LIFE BOAT by Hazel Gaynor - review will be on June 14.

WELCOME TO BEACH TOWN by Susan Wiggs - review will be on June 20.
WHAT THE NEIGHBORS SAW by Melissa Adelman - review will be on June 21.

A MOST AGREEABLE MURDER by Julia Seales - review will be on June 27, 2023.

TRY NOT TO BREATHE by David Bell - review will be on June 28.
THICKER THAN WATER by Megan Collins - review will be on July 11.
THE BLOCK PARTY by Jamie Day - review will be on July 18.
GONE TONIGHT by Sarah Pekkanen - review will be on August 1.
AT THE COFFEE SHOP OF CURIOSITIES by Heather Webber - review will be on August 2.
DARK CORNERS by Megan Goldin - review will be on August 8, 2023.
THESE STILL BLACK WATERS by Christina McDonald - review will be on August 9.
DEAD AND GONE by Joanna Schaffhausen - review will be on August 10.
A TRAITOR IN WHITEHALL by Julia Kelly - review will be on October 3.