Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Stats

First time doing this - saw the idea on other blogs and on Facebook.

I read all of these books in January.

Review for these and other books will be in February and March.

My FAVORITE book of January was THE RECIPE BOX.

Have you read any of these books?

Do you want to read any?  😀

Next Year In Havana - Sneak Peek

All information in this post is courtesy of Roxanne Jones of Penguin Random House.
The big day for Chanel Cleeton’s historical fiction debut is quickly approaching! (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; February 6, 2018)!

See the info below as well as a short excerpt from the book.

Both should "hook" you once you have read it.
About Next Year in Havana:

In 1958, nineteen-year-old Elisa is the daughter of a sugar baron and member of Cuba’s high society where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest—until she finds herself involved in a clandestine affair with an impassioned revolutionary that changes the course of her life.

More than fifty years later, her granddaughter, Marisol, returns to the country to fulfill Elisa’s last wish to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth. Once in Havana, Marisol soon follows in her grandmother’s footsteps when she finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own.

An Excerpt:

Chapter One

Havana, 1959
“How long will we be gone?” my sister Maria asks.

“Awhile,” I answer.

“Two months? Six months? A year? Two?”

“Quiet.” I nudge her forward, my gaze darting around the departure area of Rancho-Boyeros Airport to see if anyone has overheard her question.We stand in a row, the famous—or infamous, depending on who you ask—Perez sisters. Isabel leads the way, the eldest of the group. 

She doesn’t speak, her gaze trained on her fiancé, Alberto.His face is pale as he watches us, as we march out of the city we once brought to its knees. Beatriz is next. When she walks, the hem of her finest dress swinging against her calves, the pale blue fabric adorned with lace, it’s as though the entire airport holds its collective breath. She’s the beauty in the family and she knows it. I trail behind her, the knees beneath my skirts quivering, each step a weighty effort.

And then there’s Maria, the last of the sugar queens. At thirteen, Maria’s too young to understand the need to keep her voice low, is able to disregard the soldiers standing in green uniforms, guns slung over their shoulders and perched in their eager hands.

She knows the danger those uniforms bring, but not as well as the rest of us do. We haven’t been able to remove the grief that has swept our family in its unrelenting curl, but we’ve done our best to shield her from the barbarity we’ve endured.

She hasn’t heard the cries of the prisoners held in cages like animals in La Cabaña, the prison now run by that Argentine monster.

She hasn’t watched Cuban blood spill on the ground.

But our father has.

January 2017

When I was younger, I begged my grandmother to tell me about Cuba. It was a mythical island, contained in my heart, entirely drawn from the version of Cuba she created in exile in Miami and the stories she shared with me. I was caught between two lands—two iterations of myself—the one I inhabited in my body and the one I lived in my dreams.

We’d sit in the living room of my grandparents’ sprawling house in Coral Gables, and she’d show me old photos that had been smuggled out of the country by intrepid family members, weaving tales about her life in Havana, the adventures of her siblings, painting a portrait of a land that existed in my imagination. 

Her stories smelled of gardenias and jasmine, tasted of plantains and mamey, and always, the sound of her old record player. Each time she’d finish her tale she’d smile and promise I would see it myself one day, that we’d return in grand style, reopening her family’s seaside estate in Varadero and the elegant home that took up nearly the entire block of a tree-lined street in Havana.
When Fidel dies, we’ll return. You’ll see.

And finally, after nearly sixty years of keeping Cubans in suspense, of false alarms and hoaxes, he did die, outlasting my grandmother by mere months. The night he died, my family opened a bottle of champagne my great-grandfather had bought nearly sixty years ago for such an occasion, toasting Castro’s demise in our inimitable fashion. 

The champagne, sadly, like Fidel himself, was past its prime, but we partied on Calle Ocho in Miami until the sun rose, and still—Still we remain.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Celebration of the Paperback Release of THE MOTHER'S PROMISE by Sally Hepworth

Photo Source
To celebrate the release of the paperback copy of:


Katie Bassel of St. Martin's has asked that I re-post my review so you can see that you will want to read this touching book by Sally Hepworth.
And...don't forget about Ms. Hepworth's newest release: THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR - publication date is March 6, 2018, and my blog review will be on March 13.


A mother's love is constant no matter what, and Alice definitely has a mother's never-ending love for her daughter Zoe.

Alice and Zoe are close and even closer than a mother and daughter normally are because Alice does not have a husband or any family, and obviously Zoe has no father.

Zoe ​along with the absence of family and friends ​has a social anxiety disorder​ that causes more worry for Alice and deeply affects Zoe.  When Alice finds out she has ovarian cancer, the exact cancer that caused her mother's death, her worry about Zoe is even more stressful.

We follow Alice and Zoe as they strugglethrough the battle of cancer treatments and resolving Zoe's anxiety issues. 

During the treatment of her cancer, A​lice makes friends with her social worker, Sonja, and with her nurse, Kate, who also have problems of their own.

The subject matter of THE MOTHER'S PROMISE was a bit of a downer because of the cancer as well as other social problems, but it also was wonderful because of the development of friendships and the concern the characters had for each other.

Alice, Zoe, Kate, and Sonja were warm characters that worked well together, supported each other, and were perfectly portrayed.

THE MOTHER’S PROMISE was beautifully written and pulled you into the story and the lives of the characters as the difficult situations and life issues were addressed.  You can't help but become attached to Zoe and all the characters and cry along with them as the situations escalate.

Ms. Hepworth will again take women’s fiction fans on an emotional ride of real life situations and real emotions.  

Get out the tissue box as you deal with the characters’ feelings and make them your own.

ENJOY!!  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Book Quote

I first found it on Sherry's blog,

Then I went to this page for the actual quote.  

What's Your Number So Far This Year?

I enjoy the challenge on Goodreads.  

It isn't too stressful for me because I don't have to have certain categories to complete.

I am surprised how many books I have read already this year.  I am normally a slow reader.

Do you care to share YOUR number?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

National Compliment Day


But I'm going to celebrate today!!  :)

My blogging friends and visitors to my blog are AWESOME.

We can celebrate every day - being kind and complimentary is always in style.  :)

Thanks for always commenting and visiting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery

Two sisters, two different life styles, but the same mother that always was perfect and critical.

Harper was the sister who made everything from scratch and owned a virtual assistant business that she tried to do all alone.  She struggled with her finances since her husband left her for a younger woman, left her with a teenage daughter, and left her with no financial help.

Stacey was the sister who was a brilliant, successful scientist who never thought she would be pregnant and keeps denying the fact that she is to be a mother soon.  The worst thing was that she still hadn't told her overbearing mother she is expecting.....that definitely won't go well.

SISTERS LIKE US was a light read that addressed everyday situations with spouses and teenagers and some actual family situations that could happen even though they were stretched to the limit a bit.

I enjoyed SISTERS LIKE US and enjoyed most of the characters including Bunny the overbearing, critical mother.   There were some laugh-out-loud moments as well as some what-are-you doing moments.  Some parenting advice as well as some romance was included. A book always needs a little romance.

If you need a fun, heartfelt read, give SISTERS LIKE US a try.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mini Bloggiesta - February 3-4

Winter 2017 Mini Bloggiesta is next weekend (February 3-4)

It's time to write up a To Do List, post it on your blog , then come back to the Bloggiesta Page and link it up!

Are you joining in the fun?

See the official website above for details.
I copied these from the A Bloggiesta Master To Do List  and adapted the list to what I needed.
❏  write two reviews - I write reviews whenever the publication date of the book has arrived - they actually are done way ahead of time

❏  update Goodreads reviews - I update these when I add my reviews to my blog
❏  change or fix one thing on your sidebar - I did this already.  :)
❏  back up my blog - done - thanks to directions from Stephanie of Cover-to-Cover THANK YOU.
❏  clean up my Google files and photos - I did this already and have tons more room now
❏  comment on other Bloggiesta partipants’ blogs - I always do this

❏  participate in at least one Twitter Chat - I LOVE the Twitter Chats

Had an amazing TWITTER CHAT...thanks to the hosts and all the participants.  :)


See you then everyone.

Some Snapchat Fun

I went to my Snapchat App yesterday and the filter at the bottom appeared.  So cute...I was surprised to see it.

Snapchat definitely knows reading randomly appeared.  :)

I added me with the stack of books...not sure why I am not smiling, but maybe they are heavy or not something I want to read.  :)

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Giveaway and Spotlight of A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn

All information in this post is courtesy of Loren Jaggers of Penguin Random House.

"Well-behaved women rarely solve mysteries" - A TREACHEROUS CURSE by Deanna Raybourn, on sale January 2018! 


I have read a few Deanna Raybourn novels and enjoyed them.

Giveaway link at the bottom of the post.  Good Luck!!
About the Book:

Though a lepidopterist by trade, Veronica Speedwell has been up to much more than chasing after rare specimens of butterflies. Continuing on after the exhilarating adventures of A Curious Beginning and A Perilous Undertaking, it’s difficult to imagine how the spunky and spirited Victorian-era sleuth could find herself caught up in even more thrilling and dangerous exploits. But young Miss Speedwell does not disappoint in A TREACHEROUS CURSE (Berkley Hardcover; January 2018), Deanna Raybourn’s the highly anticipated third installment of the Veronica Speedwell mystery series.

After chasing down clues leading to her mysterious past, having quite literally run off to join a traveling circus, and solving a murder mystery at a ladies-only social club. However, she always goes back to her true love:  the butterflies.

As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Veronica can't resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic, frequently uncouth, yet ruggedly handsome colleague Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly-discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. The disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed.

Soon Veronica has to contend with sordid details and malevolent enemies that have emerged from Stoker's past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats, Veronica must unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything.

With Raybourn’s clever plot construction and provocative storytelling, A TREACHEROUS CURSE is sure to appeal to fans of Alan Bradley, Jacqueline Winspear, Ann Perry and anyone on the hunt for a stimulating frolic across the pages.
About the Author: 

Deanna Raybourn is the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Lady Julia Grey series, the Veronica Speedwell series and several standalone novels. She lives in Virginia with her family.

I am partnering with Penguin Random House for this giveaway. 




January 16 - 23
Enter here

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

A voyage of a life time for Lily?  Did it turn out that way?

Lily was leaving England and heading to Australia in order to secure work as a domestic, which she vowed she never wanted to do again.

The ship was huge, exciting, filled with many classes of passengers, and always danger in the air.  There were a lot of festivities Lily enjoyed. She also enjoyed a handful of the passengers but some were not pleasant.  There always has to be someone to ruin the day or event, right?

Lily never knew who she could really befriend, but she gave it a try.  She kept thinking are people always who they seem to be?

She knew Ida wasn't going to be someone she would want to be friends with.  Ida was too negative and critical.

Eliza and Max were a bit on the sneaky side if you ask me even though they were very friendly.

George was always grumpy and mean and only wanted to talk about the war that was imminent.

Edward was attentive, but was he really sincere? 

Helena seemed to be a good person.

Maria seemed sincere, and shared the love of books with Lily.  Her comment seemed to sum up most of the passengers on the ship...everyone seems to be running away from something.

Running away did seem a common theme for the passengers, but Lily couldn't figure out what they were running from, but she knew what she was running from.

DANGEROUS CROSSING had me hooked from the opening sentence.  Knowing something was going to happen on the ship that had someone arrested when they docked, kept the mystery and intrigue high
as you waited for the event to happen.

There seemed to be a hint of something not right even though the ship was filled with seemingly happy passengers.

DANGEROUS CROSSING was a study of people, their secrets, their lives, and their observations.

I love this era, the clothes, and the must-be-proper etiquette.

Ms. Rhys' marvelous writing and the pull-you-in story line made the book difficult to put down. 

Historical fiction fans as well as mystery lovers definitely will want to read DANGEROUS CROSSING.  

I completely enjoyed this book from the opening sentence to the last.  The story behind how the book became this book is marvelous.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict

Clara Kelley needed to help her family financially since their 20-acre farm in Ireland was slowly being sold to pay their bills.

The best place her father thought she could be of help was in America.  Since she was educated and not really suited to be a farmer's wife, off to America she went in search of work, but she was not sure why it was to be in servitude.

Clara made it across the ocean and into the household of the Carnegie family in Pittsburgh.  She became the lady's maid for Mrs. Carnegie.

While there, Mrs. Carnegie's son, Andrew, became enamored with Clara because of her intelligence and love of reading.  They always talked about books and having a library that is free to the public and the working man.

CARNEGIE'S MAID takes us through the everyday life of Andrew Carnegie, his brother, Tom, and their mother as they build their fortune.  Andrew Carnegie was very philanthropic in his latter years.

This was the first book I have read by Ms. Benedict.  Ms. Benedict has a beautiful, pull-you-in writing style.  
I enjoyed her prologue explaining why she wanted to write about the Carnegies.

CARNEGIE'S MAID flowed smoothly and had perfect detail.  I live in Pittsburgh and enjoyed hearing the names of towns and streets.

CARNEGIE'S MAID kept me interested and engaged in the story line.   It was an excellent read even though the maid Andrew fell in love with and the woman who influenced him is fictitious.

A thoroughly enjoyable book for historical fiction fans and those who want to learn about Andrew Carnegie. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The English Wife by Lauren Willig

A murder in an aristocratic household?  Unheard of and especially during a ball with hundreds of guests in attendance.

Bay, Annabelle's husband and Janie's brother, could not have killed his wife and then killed himself.  Janie was determined to find out who the real killer was.

We follow the family as the book goes back and forth in time making the connections for us about who was who and what the circumstances were.

And what marvelous connections and secrets this family has.

The biggest bomb shell came right after Bay and Annabelle were killed.

A family member of Annabelle arrived at the house to give his condolences, but also gave some unsettling information about Annabelle.

THE ENGLISH WIFE was very proper, and the characters were portrayed as very proper as was expected in the 1800's, but were some who they said they were?

THE ENGLISH WIFE was difficult to connect with at first, but then the book became difficult to put down.

The ending revelations will be "burning" in your thoughts and have you wanting to talk about the book with everyone.

If you enjoy the 1800's, drama of privileged families, mystery, and secrets, THE ENGLISH WIFE will be a late-into-the-night read.   4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher, NetGalley, and Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Don't marry don't know what you are getting yourself into.

Vanessa was Richard's first wife and wanted to warn her replacement to not marry Richard. Vanessa also had some mental issues or maybe she didn’t and was made to think she did.

The entire book was a guess what or guess who and then it all became changed with a new guess what or guess who.

THE WIFE BETWEEN US switches back and forth in time with all the characters.  The book gives hints about the main issue, the husband, and his possessiveness, but it is very subtle.

THE WIFE BETWEEN US was confusing but a good confusing because the authors wanted it that way….brilliant tactic!!

The ending had me saying HMMMMM, but the only way to experience the book is to make sure you read it yourself and form your own opinion.  I don't think anyone can tell you what to think or surmise.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sunday Silence by Nicci French

A body under the floorboards, a body in a freezer, a drugged niece in a graveyard. Those things were the start of it.

Frieda Kline, a noted psychologist, now turned herself into a detective as well so she could find why Dean Reeve was after her and her family again.

Incidents and murders were coming too close to home for Frieda.  She couldn’t figure out the message Dean was trying to get to Frieda, but Frieda knew it was a message of evil, sadness, and death. But was it really Dean?   Was he really still alive as Frieda and only Frieda believed or could there be a copycat added to the mix?

When another incident happened, Frieda and the police knew something definitely was not right.

SUNDAY SILENCE had ordinary characters with ordinary jobs as well as characters who may not be as ordinary as they seemed or who they are.

This was my first Nicci French book.  The mystery, marvelous writing, and intrigue kept me turning the pages.

I loved how the engaging, amazing, creative story line evolved and smoothly drew me in.

SUNDAY SILENCE will definitely appeal to psychological thriller fans and repeat readers of Nicci French’s books.

My first Nicci French was an amazingly addicting read. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

I downloaded this from OverDrive/Libby and am really enjoying listening to it.

Have you read it?

The main character is definitely evil.  More evil characters as the book continued.

Coming in 2018

I have read each one of these books and am looking forward to seeing the reviews and comments about them!!

Have you read any of these yet?
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW was reviewed on January 2.

THE WIFE BETWEEN US was reviewed on January 9.

CARNEGIE'S MAID will be reviewed on January 11.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Separated from her husband and daughter, agoraphobic, psychiatrist, neighbor watcher, photo taker. 

Anna Fox was all of those, but mostly agoraphobic. Anna hadn’t left her home for ten months and even rented her basement to a young man who could do errands for her so she wouldn't have to leave the house.

To pass the time, Anna would sleep, drink wine, take her meds that were not to be taken with alcohol, spy on the neighbors, wonder what they did, and pray that no one ever saw her looking at them through her camera lens. 
You do have to feel sorry for her because agoraphobia is a crippling disease.

Anna saw things she shouldn’t see and heard things she shouldn’t hear, but she said it isn’t any of my business so she left it.  One night, though, she saw something she shouldn’t have seen and reported it to the police anyway.

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW dragged on talking about Anna’s days and her chats with people on the computer about their shared disease.

The dragging immediately ceased and the tension immediately mounted when Anna saw her neighbor get stabbed, when she called 911, when no one believed her, when she started to investigate, and when she became more paranoid when out-of-the-ordinary things started happening to her. 

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW kept my interest, but it wasn’t edge-of-your-seat or gripping until the last half of the book. The ending had enough gripping action to make up for the slow start.  

I think the oddity of Anna and her situation kept things going in the first half of the book along with the wondering about the reason for the separation from her family.  

All in all, if you can get past the beginning, you are in for a marvelous psychological thriller and lots of surprises. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and Edelweiss in return for an honest review.