Saturday, October 31, 2020

Books Read in October

Do you see any YOU have read?

Do you see any YOU would like to read?

Happy November Reading to all!!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

SECRET In The Title

All were very good and are reviewed on my blog.

Which ones have YOU read?

Wednesday, October 28, 2020


Gambling debts, robbery rings, high society,​ and​​ ​thugs​ blending together​ for a marvelous read.   


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tell Me My Name by Erin Ruddy

A vacation that was long overdue and needed for Neil and Ellie turned into a nightmare.

They were on their second honeymoon in their newly bought home when their neighbor Clive appeared, tied up Ellie, tortured Neil, and then kidnapped Ellie.

Clive had thought about Ellie since he had seen her twenty-five years ago, and now that he was out of prison he wanted to play a game to see if she would remember him.  It wasn’t a child’s game, though, but a deadly game.

TELL ME MY NAME continues with a police search for Clive and gruesome, upsetting and sometimes crude scenes and comments.

The brutal things the criminal did as the book continued were hard to imagine and difficult to read.   

Because of the gruesome scenes I almost stopped reading, but I’m glad I didn’t. 

This book for me is classified as a psychological thriller.

All in all despite the squeamish scenes, it is a good read with a surprise ending.  4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an. honest review.

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Night Portrait by Laura Morelli

THE NIGHT PORTRAIT is set in a dual timeline ranging from 1492, Milan, to Munich during WWII.

We meet Cecilia Gallerani who is the woman in Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous portrait Lady with An Ermine. We follow her life as the mistress of Ludovico il Moro. It isn’t a life I would have wanted to live.

We then meet American soldiers who are helping the Monuments Men retrieve stolen paintings and Edith Becker a German art expert ordered by the Reich to find the most valuable paintings that were hidden by families that were forced to evacuate.

These stolen paintings were to become part of a private collection of German officers.

Edith wanted to protect the art at all costs, but she also had to protect herself.

This book is an extremely well written history lesson and interesting to me because of the art as well as WWII.

Ms. Morelli’s marvelous research and telling of the events in both timelines had me looking up more information on Leonardo Da Vinci, the German officers, the Monuments Men, and Cecilia Gallerani.

Ms. Morelli’s writing style and descriptions brought the characters and situations to life.

Historical fiction fans and art connoisseurs will not want to miss this book.

THE NIGHT PORTRAIT is superb and a work of art in itself.

It is a beautiful tribute to artists of the world and to those who fought to preserve it.

You will be shedding tears of joy as well as sadness as you read this phenomenal book. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Today's Prompt: FRANCE


Thank you to eggs of Litsy:


Today’s Prompt:  FRANCE

I rounded up books I have read and reviewed that were set in France. about all of those gorgeous covers?

Have you read any of these?


Friday, October 23, 2020

Books With Widow In The Title

What books can you name with WIDOW in the title?

Have you read any of these books?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Grandma’s Sugar Cookie


Can this board book be any cuter?

Grandma will be treated to reading ten adorable poems to her sweet ones.

A perfect gift!!

THANK YOU @Sourcebooks



A little black dress with plans?   

Interesting......but don't we all have a little black dress somewhere? 

It was a fun, clever read.  The ending and especially the very last line are SUPERB.   5/5


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Review Repost of The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James




"USA Today and New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Simone St. James writes the kind of unnerving stories that keep you looking over your shoulder and leaving all the lights on while (and after) you read. THE SUN DOWN MOTEL (Berkley Trade Paperback Reprint; October 20, 2020) is no exception, and it’s available in trade paperback October 20th..

An instant New York Times bestseller, THE SUN DOWN MOTEL is eerie and emotionally compelling with a unique setting."


In celebration of the paperback release of The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James, Tara O'Connor of Penguin Random House is hosting a blog tour and I am re-posting my review.



Carly left college for a "few" days so she could head to Fell, New York, to see if she could find anything out about how her Aunt Viv died or where she might be.

Viv disappeared from The Sun Down Motel where she worked in 1982 and was never found.

When Carly arrived and checked out The Sun Down Motel, she couldn't believe her aunt would even think of working there.

It was a creepy, out-of-the way place, but Carly surprised herself and took a job there on the same shift that her aunt worked. 

Carly saw strange things and knew she should leave, but she stayed. She had to find out what happened at this motel and what happens now at THE SUN DOWN MOTEL.

We follow Carly as she investigates and as Viv’s story is told back in 1982.

Besides the creepy town and motel, we meet ghosts, creaky doors, weird guests, odd sounds, and no way to contact anyone not on the hotel grounds.

We learn about the hotel and the murders that took place in the town of Fell as well as the connection to The Sun Down Motel.

Each chapter got stranger and stranger as the motel seemed to come to life and have a life of its own.

If you enjoy tense, creepy, spooky story lines that include unsolved murders from years ago, THE SUN DOWN MOTEL will be your perfect read.

Be careful with the motel you choose, and especially do not stay at a motel that has anything remotely close to the name of this motel.

The entire book and the ending are twisty and brilliant.  5/5

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Girl In the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

Summer was the first born twin and the most shy.  Iris was a surprise a few minutes later. She was not as shy as Summer.

In fact, Iris was always jealous of Summer. Summer seemed to just have everything handed to her and was prettier.  

As they grew into adults, they were friends, but Iris was still jealous.  

When their father died, his will made things between them a bit tricky because even though they didn’t discuss it, they were or at least Iris was competing to be the first to become pregnant to inherit their father’s hundred million dollar fortune.

Only one child could inherit the money and not share it with any of the other siblings that included the siblings their father had with his two other wives.

We then meet the sisters when Iris has left her husband and Summer needs Iris to help take the family yacht across the ocean.  

The two sisters take the yacht together, but what Summer tells Iris while they are on their way will change everything. What happens the next morning is even worse. 


Summer was no where to be found, and she hadn’t awakened Iris at midnight as planned. 

Where could Summer be? Of course Iris thinks the worst, and knows the worst has happened. 

But...has the worst happened?  

Iris always wanted to be Summer.  Maybe she could be Summer now that she is gone.

The decision was easily made for Iris/Summer when she made it to shore, and the deceit begins.

It was nerve wracking thinking how Iris was going to pull all of this off. She even thought twice about it herself.

Many surprises await the reader as the book continues. Does Iris/Summer get away with what she did?

The girl in the mirror will keep you guessing, and keep you turning the pages.

Those readers who enjoy nautical jargon and journeys on a yacht will also be pulled in.  4/5

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

Happy Paperback Release Day



Monday, October 19, 2020

Spotlight of On Traigh Lar Beach by Dianne Ebertt Beeaff



Information in this post is courtesy of Kaitlyn Kennedy of Smith Publicity.
Thirteen Mysterious Items Found on a Scottish Beach…Reveals Thirteen Short Stories of Their Intriguing Owners
On Sale:  October 13

“Dianne Beeaff has a keen eye for specific settings and an uncanny ability to express the unique concerns of people from a broad spectrum of humanity. On Tràigh Lar Beach deeply satisfies because its vivid descriptions pulled me into the characters’ experiences and kept me wondering until I reached each of her stories’ unexpected, but not illogical, conclusion.”
―Carol Sletten, author of Three Strong Western Women and Story of the American West: –Legends of Arizona

“On Tràigh Lar Beach is rich in lyrical prose and stunning detail and takes a poignant look at human connectedness, how unremarkable items are mirrors of lives an ocean apart, yet link us in the most human way.”
―Susan Haught, award-winning author of A Promise of Fireflies



On Tràigh Lar Beach [She Writes Press, October 13, 2020] by Dianne Ebertt Beeaff is an engaging and beautifully crafted short story collection readers of Karen Russell and Curtis Sittenfield will devour. The collection of stories centers around thirteen objects washed up on the shore of Tràigh Lar Beach in Scotland and discovered by Erica Winchat, a young writer overwhelmed by the stress of her first book contract. From there, Erica proceeds to tell the intriguing story of each item’s owner and uncovers a series of dramatic events―from a Chicago widow’s inspiring visit to Quebec City to a shrimper’s daughter facing Tropical Storm Ruby in North Carolina.


Other stories in the collection feature a young child at a folk festival in New Orleans; a CNA working in a hospice in Toronto; a bartender in Boston; a young woman at a yoga retreat in Maine; a waitress dealing with an ex-boyfriend in Miami; a distraught young mother in Prince Edward Island; an aging screen-star in New York City; a retired amateur photographer in Newfoundland; and a diver’s widow in Nova Scotia.

Each protagonist’s name is taken from a specific wildflower that grows on the machair (the white beach) of Tràigh Lar and each story is introduced with the author’s own special rendering of the flower.    

When Erica finds the thirteenth and final item on the beach: a concert badge, she also discovers the inspiration for her own novella Fan Girls, in which the separate stories of four fans of the Scottish rock band Datha unfold, culminating in their reunion at a concert in Chicago―a show where a shooting takes place.



Dianne Ebertt Beeaff is the award-winning author of five previous books. Her poetry, watercolors, graphite drawings, and magazine articles have been featured throughout the United States and Canada. Dianne and her husband, Dan, reside in Tucson and are the parents of two children.


For more information, please visit and connect with her on Facebook @diannebeeaff


On Tràigh Lar Beach is available for pre-order at, Barnes & Noble and Amazon and wherever books are sold.



Sunday, October 18, 2020

Saturday, October 17, 2020

FEATURING: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald


Sara came to Broken Wheel, Iowa, ​from Sweden ​to meet her pen pal, Amy, but what she found when she arrived wasn't what she was expecting.

THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL is a gem and a book that is perfect for a change of pace as well as a treasure for any book lover.  



Friday, October 16, 2020

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

What a wonderful history lesson and beautifully written book.

I have never heard of these ships that took female prisoners from England to Australia to work off their sentences and who were charged with crimes of no consequence such as stealing a spoon.

We meet Evangeline who was a governess accused of stealing a ring that the son of the person she worked for gave her and who suffered through her months in a filthy prison then on the boat to Australia.

We meet Hazel a midwife and girl who knew how to heal with herbs who was on the transport ship with Evangeline, and they became fast friends as Evangeline taught her to read.

The horrible conditions and abuse these women had to endure is appalling, but the friendships made and the closeness of the women on the boat was wonderful.

In another story line, we meet Mathinna who was taken from her family by an aristocrat and his wife to live in their home. They cared nothing about how Mathinna felt to be all alone because they liked to “collect” things.

All three women suffered immeasurably in the lives they led and in situations that are mesmerizing but heartbreaking.

Ms. Kline has done impeccable research and enlightened us about this time in history and had me looking up Mathinna, the prisons, and Hobart Town.

Another outstanding read with beautifully flowing writing and definitely a book you won’t want to miss.

I didn’t want to stop reading and looked forward to returning to the book. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher and Book Browse in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Spotlight of Matrimony, Inc. by Francesca Beauman


Information in this post is courtesy of Molly Concannon of Wunderkind PR.

A clever, thoughtful, and funny history that reveals how the Union of states was built on a much more personal union of people.


From Personal Ads to Swiping Right, A Story of America Looking for Love


Francesa Beauman spent years scrolling old newspapers to bring these little-known gems to light, and is a champion for women’s history: her family bookstore, Persephone Books in London, reprints neglected work by 20th century women writers and is a fan-favorite of Lena Dunham and Benedict Cumberbatch! 

Did you know?

  • The first personal ad in America ran in the Boston Evening Post in 1759.
  • California’s first personal ads were placed by women.
  • America’s most prolific female serial killer, Belle Gunness, found her victims through ads.
  • One of the strangest ads Francesca discovered was from 1903 in The New York Times: “Young man, moderate circumstances, and who has glass eye, would like to form the acquaintance of young girl who also has a glass eye or some other deformity not more severe…”
  • From the beginning, nearly all American personal ads mentioned money.
  • Advertising for love has been uniquely affected by time and place, but has also received criticism in nearly every format, despite being around for hundreds of years!!



Lively… She [Beauman] is a companionable and witty narrator and an excellent curator of primary source material. History buffs will be entertained.”—Publishers Weekly

"Ever since there were newspapers there were personal ads. Reading them is a peek into the romantic hopes and dreams of people who felt the desire to reach out in this public way. Francesca's book gives us a window into the history of the U.S. and the politics of how marriage shaped this country.  Fascinating, just like Francesca.”—Joey Soloway, creator of Transparent

"Who among us hasn’t been a voyeur of the personal ad? Francesca Beauman’s deep historical dive into a person’s most naked ask into the universe is hilarious and shocking and heartbreaking, and reveals through these incredible finds how the needs and expectations of what we look for in a mate have evolved, and what has stubbornly remained the same. You won’t be able to hear the phrase “swipe right” quite the same way again."—Kathryn Hahn, actor

"Enchanting. Matrimony, Inc. is a history not just of personal ads over the past two and a half centuries, but of America itself. Funny, outrageous, revealing, and impossible to put down.” 

"Beauman writes with elegance, wit and profound intelligence. A wonderful book full of impressive original research which charts how personal ads shaped the course of American history. A joyous and clever read.”—Elizabeth Day, author of The Party and How to Fail

"A fascinating, hilarious, and occasionally heartbreaking work of history. With wry wit and a trained eye for the absurd, Beauman takes a cultural artifact that seems so perishable and rescues it from the scrap heap. These lonely-heart epistles tell a larger story about social life in America, homesteads, cities, newspapers, gender relations, and the enduring appeal of ‘a good set of teeth.’”—Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Say Nothing, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

"Lively, illuminating, and entertaining, Beauman's book amounts to nothing less than a history of love as we've lived it through the centuries. Considering all the competing needs—emotional, logistical, geographical, and fiscal—the elastic institution of marriage has been forced to encompass, it is a wonder that it can be successfully solicited in several sentences on the pages of a frontier newspaper or the scratched screen of an iPhone.”

Ariel Levy, journalist and author of The Rules Do Not Apply

 A gorgeous book. It turns out that the search for love actually was always funny, sad, weird and wonderful.” —Richard Curtis, writer of Love Actually, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral

“Lively...[Beauman] is a companionable and witty narrator and an excellent curator of primary source material. History buffs will be entertained.”—Publishers Weekly

"Fascinating. A peek into the romantic hopes and dreams of people who felt the desire to reach out in this public way. Beauman’s book gives us a window into the history of the U.S. and the politics of how marriage shaped this country.” —Joey Soloway, creator of Transparent

“Beauman has uncovered a treasure trove of fascinating detail. Matrimony, Inc. is the ultimate proof that we humans are fools for love. But also desperate, courageous, and occasionally lucky.”—Dr. Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire



Putting our current methods of dating into an intimate and fascinating perspective, Matrimony, Inc. explores a little-known aspect of American history: how the emergence of personal ads ultimately shaped the progression of American society. 

At a time when many people were limited to courting one of only a handful of eligible individuals in their community, personal ads connected people across states and regions, offering opportunities that previously wouldn’t have been possible. 

The Boston Evening Post published America’s first personal ad in 1759: “Any young lady, between the Age of Eighteen and Twenty-three . . . of good Morals . . . No trifling Answers will be regarded.” 

With our current options for online dating now nearly limitless, connecting the entire world with potential partners, much of what we know as modern dating can be traced back to these very ads.

With captivating and quirky personal ads from each major period of American history, Beauman explores how our desires have changed, and what has stayed the same over the last 300 years. 

She highlights a number of women’s experiences, from widowed single mothers and immigrants eager for a new life to the intrepid women of California, who placed the state’s first personals. 

However, not all of the personal ads were used for good. 

Scammers, con artists, and even serial killers took advantage of the new anonymous format. 

In fact, America’s first known female serial killer, Belle Gunness, notoriously used ads to find her victims, luring them to her country home and disposing of the bodies around the property.

Matrimony, Inc. will leave you wondering what happened to those long-lost souls who placed ads, and readers will revel in the experience of those who connected through them, changing the course of history as we know it.



After a decade as a T.V. host, Francesca Beauman is now a writer, historian and part-time bookseller at London’s most beautiful bookstore, Persephone Books. Francesca is the author of six books, including a history of the pineapple and a history of British personal ads. 

She also runs the popular book forum “Fran’s Book Shop” (@fransbookshop).

Connect with Fran!

Author Website



Fran’s Book Shop