Friday, July 19, 2019

Big-Hearted Hattie Novels Warm, Exciting, and Upbeat

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Hattie Ever After, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Hattie Big Sky.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Back in 2008, I raved about an engaging YA historical novel called Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson.  It concerns a 16-year-old orphan who receives a surprise inheritance from an uncle she never knew she had.  He bequeaths her his Montana homestead—if she can "prove it up" in the next ten months, she will become its proud owner.  With nothing to keep her in Iowa, Hattie heads west.  Over the course of the novel, she has countless adventures in the wilds of Montana as she makes a go of homesteading, which proves to be a whole lot tougher than it seems.

I adored Hattie Big Sky when I read it, but I didn't realize—until just a few months ago—that Larson had penned a sequel.  Hattie Ever After came out in 2014.  The newer novel picks up where its predecessor left off, with Hattie deciding to leave Montana after failing to prove up Uncle Chester's cabin.  She's always dreamed of being a reporter, so she heads to San Francisco where she's sure she'll immediately be hired by the best newspaper in town.  Like homesteading, getting the coveted job turns out to be a little more difficult than she thought it would be.  Nevertheless, determined to make her dream come true, Hattie uses her pluck and wits to make a name for herself in the cutthroat world of journalism.  Along the way, of course, she has all kinds of adventures that test her mettle.  Will she find success?

While I didn't love Hattie Ever After quite as much as I did the first book, the sequel is still a warm, fun, exciting novel.  With colorful historical details, a lively cast, and an entertaining plot, it's an enjoyable read.  I loved learning Uncle Chester's back story and finding out what happens to Hattie after her exploits in Montana.  If you dig clean, upbeat, engaging historical fiction, you can't go wrong with Larson's heartwarming Hattie novels.


Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Hattie Ever After from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: It's Amateur Hour On BBB!


The topic du jour for my favorite bookish meme is Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors.  Since I feel like I talk about the authors I love constantly here at BBB, I'm going to go off-script today and do the freebie topic that's actually scheduled for July 30.  I'll be in Utah attending a genealogy conference that day anyway, so it works.  Last week's character freebie inspired me to list My Favorite Super Sleuths of the Book World, which was fun, but I focused on the pros—real detectives and enforcement officers as well as other professionals who work with them (criminalists, forensic scientists, etc.).  Since the book world is full of amateur sleuths as well and they're just as entertaining to read about (sometimes more so), I'm going to focus on them today. 

Before we get to that, though, I have to give a shout-out to our lovely host Jana.  You can find her over at That Artsy Reader Girl, where you can also get the 4-1-1 on all things Top Ten Tuesday.  Join in by reading some brief instructions, crafting your own TTT list, then clicking around the blogosphere to spread the love among a ton of fabulous book blogs.  It's a great time to revisit old favorites, discover new sites, and, of course, add to your always-growing TBR pile mountain mountain chain.  What's not to love?

Okay, so here we go with my Top Ten Favorite Amateur Sleuths of the Book World.  These are the folks who have no (legitimate) reason to investigate crime, although mysteries just keep falling into their laps!  Their careers range from housekeeper to archaeologist to restaurant server to journalist, but their side gigs are the same—crime solver.  Because of this, their stories are often far less believable than those of their professional counterparts, but, as I said above, no less entertaining.  I'm including the cover to the first book in their respective series so you know where to start.

Who are your favorite amateur sleuths of the book world?  Who do you love reading about, whether their crime-solving is totally, ridiculously far-fetched or not?

Top Ten Favorite Amateur Sleuths of the Book World:


1.  Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene—Nancy is probably the most well-known sleuth in this category and, as a kid, I inhaled any book that starred her.  I haven't read a Nancy Drew book in years, so I don't know what I'd think of them now, but I used to adore Nancy—and definitely wanted to be her!


2.  Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol—Another childhood favorite, Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown is a boy who helps his police chief father solve crimes in their small town.  He's whip-smart (hence his nickname) and always gets his man.  This is another series I ate up as a kid.


3.  Veronica Speedwell by Deanna Raybourn—Among the amateur sleuths I've encountered as an adult, Veronica is definitely one of my very favorites.  She's a Victorian woman, but an unapologetic one who defies convention and just does what she pleases.  For work, she sells rare butterflies and spends her days cataloging a museum full of treasures for a wealthy friend.  Along with Stoker, her handsome, querulous partner, she stumbles on all kinds of mysteries begging to be solved.  Veronica is smart, funny, and just a delightful character all-around.


4.  Dr. Ruth Galloway by Elly Griffiths—Ruth is an archaeologist in Norfolk, England, who prefers the solitude of her isolated home and her own company to anywhere and anyone else.  When the police ask for her help with a discovery of bones near her property, Ruth becomes a consultant to the department and goes on to have many adventures.  She's an understated character, but one whose intelligence and wit make for enjoyable reading.


5.  Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters—Another unconventional lady, Amelia is a wealthy spinster living in late 19th Century England.  She has a disconcerting, scholarly obsession with Egypt, which leads her to many adventures and mysteries involving the ancient land. 


6.  Kat Halloway by Jennifer Ashley—This new kid on the block is a sought-after cook in a posh mansion in Mayfair.  Her central position in the household means she's a key witness to all kinds of wrongdoing.  Kat's efficiency and no-nonsense ways make her not just a master of the kitchen, but also a pretty darn good detective.


7.  Lady Kiera Darby by Anna Lee Huber—As the wife of a cruel anatomist, Kiera was made an unwitting partner in her husband's unnatural schemes.  Now a widow, she's trying to put her past behind her.  And yet, she keeps finding herself at the center of mysterious happenings.  Using her intelligence, her powers of observation, and her natural curiosity, she and an enigmatic friend are earning themselves a reputation as a detective team that is second to none.


8.  Lana Lee by Vivien Chien—After her temper gets the better of her at her lucrative corporate job, Lana's empty pockets force her to return to Ohio.  The last thing she wants is to wait tables at her parents' Chinese restaurant under her mother's shrewd eye, but she has little choice.  Turns out, life in the Asian Village strip mall is a lot more exciting than one would think.  An alarming amount of dead bodies are turning up in the small community, and Lana's keen powers of observation are coming in handy for the handsome detective assigned to investigate the crimes.  Lana's spunky but self-deprecating, making her a fun heroine to follow.


9.  Jazz Ramsey by Kylie Logan—Jazz, a cadaver dog trainer, only has one book under her belt, but I'm excited for more to come.  She's smart, brave, and caring, all traits I love in an amateur sleuth. 


10.  Nichelle Clarke by LynDee Walker—I just "met" Nichelle, an investigative reporter in Richmond, Virginia, in Front Page Fatality, but I'm enjoying the book and its heroine.  Nichelle is skilled, confident, and not afraid to take a risk.  So far, she's making an excellent amateur sleuth.  I can't wait to read more of this series.

There you have it, ten of my favorite fictional amateur sleuths.  Who are yours?  I just realized that all of mine (but one) are females.  Are there any great male amateur sleuths out there?  I'd love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT!     

Monday, July 15, 2019

Cute Bookish Rom Com a Fun Romp

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Usually, I write my own plot summaries, but I think the one on the back cover of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman sums things up perfectly, so I'm not going to bother reinventing the wheel.  Not this time, anyway.

Meet Nina Hill: a young woman supremely confident in her own shell.

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, and a cat named Phil.  If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified.  They all live close by!  They are all—or mostly all—excited to meet her!  She will have to...Speak.  To.  Strangers.  And as if that was not enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her.  Does he not realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options:

1.  Completely change her name and appearance.  (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2.  Flee to a deserted island.  (Hard pass, see: coffee.)
3.  Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth.  (Already doing it.)

It is time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she is not convinced real life could ever live up to fiction.  It is going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.  

Cute, right?  Although Nina is not quite as adorkable as the summary makes her sound, she's still a highly relatable character, one in whom any book lover will recognize themselves.  It's easy to root for this introverted bluestocking as she navigates the rocky worlds of family, romance, and newfound wealth.  The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is chock-full of fun, interesting characters.  It also features an engaging, upbeat plot and some life lessons that are especially pertinent to those of us who are wont to stick our noses in a book and ignore real life.  While the novel has a couple raunchy parts that will stop me from recommending it as widely as I otherwise would, I still enjoyed this light, entertaining, bookish read.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:



for language (1 F-bomb, plus milder expletives), mild sexual content, rude humor, illegal drug use, and innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill from the generous folks at Penguin Random House.  Thank you!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Tenth Installment in Beloved Mystery Series Not My Favorite, But Still Satisfies

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for The Long Way Home, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from previous Armand Gamache mysteries.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

After a long, distinguished career as the chief inspector of the Sûreté du Québec, Armand Gamache has happily retired to the quaint town of Three Pines.  Although he's used to a life full of danger and risk, he's found peaceful contentment in walking his dog, reading on his favorite park bench, spending time with his family, and enjoying the company of his many friends in Three Pines.  Police work is far from his mind.  Until he's approached by Clara Morrow, who's anxious over her husband's failure to return home.  After a trial separation of one year, the couple agreed to reconnect at their home.  Peter is overdue.  Clara has not heard a word from him in the last twelve months, but the man she knows would not fail to show for such an important appointment.  Considering her husband's mental state when he left, Clara can't help but worry.

Nothing if not loyal, Armand agrees to take the "case."  With the help of Jean-Guy Beauvoir—Armand's former partner and new son-in-law—and their friend Myna, a Three Pines bookshop owner, they set off to find Peter.  The further the trio travels into the depths of Québec, the more concerned they all become.  What has happened to Peter?  Has his tortured soul soured completely?  Is he even still alive?  The closer the three come to the truth, the more anxious they grow.  What has happened to the complicated, but good man they all once knew and loved? 

Frequent readers of this blog know I'm a huge fan of the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny.  I love me a meaty mystery, but I especially adore one that features interesting characters, a vivid setting, and skilled prose.  This series hits every one of those spots every time.  Some of the installments are better than others, of course, and I have to admit that The Long Way Home—the 10th book in the series—is not my favorite.  That being said, it's still an enjoyable read featuring a lovable cast of characters, a twisty plot, and the incomparable Armand Gamache, who continues to be one of my favorite literary characters of all time.  Since there are currently fourteen books in this series, with the fifteenth coming out in August, it's obvious that Armand will not truly be retiring from sleuthing anytime soon.  I can't wait to see what he does next.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other books in the Armand Gamache series, including Still Life; A Fatal Grace; The Cruelest Month; A Rule Against Murder; The Brutal Telling; Bury Your Dead; The Hangman [novella]; A Trick of the Light; The Beautiful Mystery; How the Light Gets In; The Nature of the Beast; A Great Reckoning; Glass Houses; Kingdom of the Blind; and A Better Man.

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Long Way Home from Changing Hands Bookstore, my local indie.

Friday, July 12, 2019

A Lot to Love in Engaging, Atmospheric Native American Mystery Series Debut

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Fire-Sky tribal member Sandra Deering had everything going for her, including a college degree she was about to receive.  Why would she have committed suicide just when she stood on the cusp of getting everything she'd worked so hard for?  It doesn't make any sense, especially since Sandra's is the latest in a string of suspicious deaths linked to the Fire-Sky people.  Like Sandra, the victims appear to have been murdered by a killer familiar enough with the tribe's beliefs to make sure his/her victims cannot receive proper burials, dooming their spirits to wander the earth forever.    

Monique "Nicky" Matthews, a sergeant and special agent working with the Fire-Sky Pueblo Police, is called in to investigate.  Along with her partner, a suave newcomer she's not sure she can trust, Nicky begins looking into the odd deaths.  Guided by good police work as well as the strange visions that have always been a part of her life, she uncovers some very sinister goings-on on the rez.  

Determined to catch a murderer and bring closure and peace to the victims' families, Nicky will stop at nothing to solve the case.  With the people she loves being threatened and her own neck on the line, she'll have to risk everything to bring the cold-blooded killer to justice.  Can Nicky catch the culprit in time to save lives or will her spirit be the next to join the tortured souls already on eternal walkabout?

In the tradition of Tony Hillerman, Carol Potenza has penned an exciting, well-written mystery steeped in Native American tradition and culture.  Although the Fire-Sky people are fictional, their beliefs are based on those of known tribes, giving Hearts of the Missing an authentic feel.  The characters in this satisfying debut are well-drawn and complex, the setting is vivid and atmospheric, the plot is taut and twisty, and the prose is skilled and readable.  In short, there's a lot to love here.  I thoroughly enjoyed this series debut and can't wait to see what the next installment brings.

(Readalikes:  I've read very little Hillerman, but Hearts of the Missing definitely reminds me of his novels, as well as the Wind River Reservation mystery series by Margaret Coel.)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (two F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, blood/gore, references to illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Super Sleuths of the Book World


I've been a bit absent from the blog of late thanks to a huge genealogy project I'm working on.  It's the first step in earning accreditation from ICAPGen and it's been a doozy!  The finish line is in sight, so I'm taking a break from that to give my blog a little love today.  It's been feeling neglected, poor baby!  I'm just about ready to submit my genealogy project; after that, I'll be back to BBB to post long overdue reviews, announce the winner in the giveaway I hosted recently, comment on your posts, answer emails, etc.  In the meantime, let's riff on today's fun Top Ten Tuesday prompt:  Character Freebie (any topic you want that deals with book characters). 

As always, TTT is hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.  Click on over to her blog to read some quick instructions, then join the party.  It's an enjoyable way to show your love across the book blogosphere, find new blogs to enjoy, and, of course, add to your always-growing TBR list.  What could be more fun?

For today's topic, I'm going to go with my Top Ten Favorite Fictional Sleuths You've (Probably) Never Heard Of.  It's no secret that I love me a good psychological thriller/crime novel, especially if it's set in an exotic locale.  Even though they're often gritty, gory, and disturbing, giving me nightmares and corroding my delicate soul, I can't seem to stay away from my guilty pleasure!  So, when I saw today's topic, I immediately knew I wanted to use this freebie to highlight some of my favorite crime-stopping stars of the fictional (book, not screen) world.

To be clear, I'm going to be talking about professionals (we'll save amateurs for another time), or at least characters who work closely with the police department, even if they're not coppers themselves.  Even though a list like this would usually include household-name sleuths like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Harry Bosch, etc., the truth is, I'm not much for classic mysteries and I haven't read a lot of the popular modern(ish) crime writers like Michael Connelly, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, etc.  So, yeah, the police personnel in this list might be folks with whom you're not familiar at the moment, but they're characters you're definitely going to want to get to know if you enjoy crime fiction.  All the folks featured are series leads, so the first book in their various series is shown.

Interestingly enough, my list features five police(ish) investigators from North America and five from the U.K.  I threw in a new favorite from Australia just to even things out.  I know I'm missing awesome detectives from all over the world, so please let me know which I should be getting to know.  Who are your favorite fictional detectives?   

Top Ten Eleven Favorite Fictional Sleuths You've (Probably) Never Heard Of: 


1.  Armand Gamache (Canada)—My hands-down favorite fictional detective of all-time is Louise Penny's delightful Chief Inspector Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec.  A consummate gentleman, he's intelligent, kind, and honorable.  He's also shrewd and tenacious when he needs to be.  I love him and his comrades so much that I'm reading this series slowly so I can savor every delicious word! 



2.  Dr. Temperance Brennan (Canada and U.S.)—Tempe is not a police officer, but she is a forensic anthropologist who works closely (very closely sometimes) with a sexy detective to solve murders both in Montreal and in the U.S.  Like her creator, Kathy Reichs, Tempe is a knowledgable, dedicated scientist.  She's also spunky, funny, caring, and just a whole lot of fun.  I've read all the books in this series and am stoked that a new one will be out soon.


3.  Bell Elkins (U.S.)—I've talked about this series, penned by Julia Keller, a lot, so this name may ring a bell (see what I did there?).  Belfa is the prosecuting attorney for a fictional, down-on-its-luck county in West Virginia.  Working with her friend in the local police department, she solves crimes committed by a host of quirky Appalachian characters.  I'm caught up on this series and anxiously awaiting the newest installment, The Cold Way Home, which comes out next month.


4.  Lincoln Rhyme (U.S.)—A brilliant creation of Jeffery Deaver, Lincoln is a quadriplegic forensic criminalist.  He's smart, sarcastic, self-deprecating, shrewd, and determined to put bad guys behind bars, even if, these days, he has to do it from a wheelchair.  I'm behind in this series, but it's one I enjoy, especially because of its unique hero.


5.  Anna Pigeon (U.S.)—Admittedly, I've only read the first book in Nevada Barr's series starring Anna, but I like her and will definitely read more about her.  In Track of the Cat—the series opener—she's a 39-year-old widow working as an enforcement ranger at a national park in Texas when she comes across the body of a dead colleague.  Unable to convince her superiors that the death is suspicious, Anna decides to investigate on her own.  As a sleuth, she's brave, compassionate, and likable.  I'll definitely pick up more books in this exciting series. 


6.  The Dublin Murder Squad (Ireland)—This is a bit of a cheat since the squad is made up of more than one detective, but still ... I've enjoyed all of Tana French's books starring this collection of coppers solving crimes in The Fair City.  French only publishes every two years, which makes die-hard fans like me very impatient for each new installment!


7.  Maeve Kerrigan (England)—This Irish-born detective constable works the mean streets of London in a constant effort to convict bad guys while proving herself to her mostly-male colleagues.  While the male coppers ridicule her for her "womanly" empathy, it's a big part of what makes her a great detective—and an eternally likable character.  Jane Casey has created a tough, but caring police professional of whom I just can't get enough.  Maeve's newest adventure, Cruel Acts, comes out soon.  I can't wait!


8.  Lacey Flint (England)—A detective constable assigned to locate London's stolen property, Lacey is just as enigmatic and complex as her oxymoronic name suggests.  Intent on proving herself capable of more than tracking down missing bicycles, she takes on risks and danger in an effort to show her male colleagues just how valuable she can really be.  Sharon Bolton is a master of gritty crime novels and Lacey Flint is, in my humble opinion, her greatest creation to date.


9.  Cormac Reily (Ireland)—With only two books under his belt, this detective sergeant working in Galway is a new kid on the block.  But he's definitely one to watch.  Cormac is an understated character, one who's going to be very intriguing to watch as his series moves on.  Dervla McTiernan has definitely caught my attention with the first two Cormac Reily books. I'm anxiously awaiting the third! 


10.  Fin Macleod (Scotland)—In The Blackhouse, the first book in a trilogy starring Fin, the Edinburgh detective is sent to his native Outer Hebrides to investigate a murder there that bears an unsettling resemblance to one that has just occurred in Edinburgh.  Fin is a complex, empathetic character who's as moody and broody as the islands he once called home.  I've read a number of books by Peter May and Fin is my favorite of his many creations.


11.  Aaron Falk (Australia)—Like McTiernan, Jane Harper has published two crime novels featuring an intriguing male detective about whom I'd like to read more.  Aaron is a Federal Police investigator who's as underrated as Cormac Reily, but also committed and compassionate.  I was a *little* disappointed to discover that Harper's third novel doesn't feature this intriguing character (even though it was an excellent crime novel just the same).  Here's hoping her next one does.

There you go, eleven fictional detectives I enjoy reading about.  Which police(ish) sleuths do you dig?  What are your favorite crime novels (and/or writers)?  I'd love to know, especially if they're similar to the ones I've listed above.  Leave me a comment on this post and I'll gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Lazy Dazey Summer Reads

Seasonal TBR lists are my favorite Top Ten Tuesday topic, so I'm excited for this week's prompt.  With over 5000 titles on my Goodreads "Want to Read" list, I certainly don't need any more book recommendations.  Does that stop me from adding tantalizing titles from other people's lists to mine?  Heck, no!  Book recs are my favorite thing about TTT.

I won't hit you with all 5000-whatever books on my TBR list (you're welcome), but I am going to show you ten that I'm hoping to get to this summer (BTW:  I live in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, so summer lasts from about May until November!).  Before I do that, though, I want to encourage you to join in the TTT fun.  It's super simple—check out That Artsy Reader Girl for a few instructions, make your own list, and start clicking around the book blogosphere.  Nothing to it!  Have a great time spreading the love to other book blogs and get some fantastic reading suggestions while you're at it.  What's not to love?

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway (see sidebar) for A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards.  It's a mystery novel about a woman searching for her always flawless older sister, whose frantic phone call indicates her life might not be as picture-perfect as it seems.

Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List (in no particular order):


1.  The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman—I've heard a lot of positive buzz about this book, which features a shy bookstore employee who suddenly discovers she has a big, noisy brood of sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews.  What's a terrified introvert to do when she has to face the chaotic outside world instead of hiding behind a book?


2.  The Chocolate Maker's Wife by Karen Brooks—This novel concerns a poor, abused young woman in 17th Century England whose life changes when she's almost run over by the coach of a nobleman who offers her a job at his luxurious and exclusive chocolate shop.  Cue intrigue, danger, family secrets, and more.  I love historical fiction and this one sounds compelling.


3.  Dancing with the Sun by Kay Bratt—A friend of mine recommended this author to me.  I'd never heard of Bratt before, so I'm starting with her best-rated book on Goodreads.  It's about a grief-stricken mother who travels to Yosemite to see her daughter, who's doing an internship there.  The two embark on what is supposed to be a short hike only to find themselves lost and fighting for survival in the unforgiving wilderness.  I always like mother/daughter novels and this one sounds intriguing to me.


4.  The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan—I enjoyed The Bookshop on the Corner when I read it back in 2017, but I've yet to try another novel by this author.  Her newest sounds like another warm, engaging story about a woman looking for a new start in small-town Scotland.


5.  When We Were Sisters by Emilie Richards—After reading A Family of Strangers recently, I'm totally up for another novel by Richards.  This one concerns two women who grew up in foster care together reuniting to film a documentary.  As they reconnect, they struggle to come to terms with current woes and the past that haunts them both.



6.  The Bungalow by Sarah Jio—Jio is another new-to-me author, but this historical, about a nurse who finds a new love and an intriguing mystery on the island of Bora Bora, sounds like a tale I would enjoy.


7.  Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan—I need to read a whole trilogy for one of the reading challenges I'm doing and I've heard great things about the one that starts with this novel.  It's about a New York woman who decides to spend the summer with her boyfriend in his native Singapore.  She's shocked when she discovers that the humble childhood she imagined for him was nothing but.  Finding that her boyfriend is the country's wealthiest, most eligible bachelor means she has a target on her back.  Sounds fun!


8.  Never Look Back by Clare Donoghue—The first in a mystery series starring DI Mike Lockyer, this novel is about a police hunt for a dangerous killer.  I'm always looking for new detective series and this one sounds compelling.


9.  All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung—Stephanie over at She's Probably at the Library highly recommends this memoir about a preemie born in Korea who is adopted and raised by white parents in a small, sheltered Oregon town and her subsequent search for herself as an adoptee, an Asian-American, and a mother.  As my life has been touched by premature birth and transracial adoption, this book sounds like an intriguing read as well as an important and eye-opening one.


10.  Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly—I'm a big Kelly fan, so I'm highly anticipating her newest, which concerns a woman with dark secrets who must return to the place where they're buried.  I always dig a secrets-from-the-past-coming-back-to-haunt-the-present type novel, so this one is right up my alley.

There ya have it, ten books I'm hoping to read during the long, scorching months of summer.  Have you read any of them?  What's on your summer reading list?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I'll gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT! 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Second Mayfield Family Regency Romance As Diverting As the First

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The Season is the time to show off the beauty and social graces of London's newest crop of debutantes.  Maryann Morrington doesn't have much of either, but the 22-year-old does possess a hefty inheritance.  Despite her advanced age, her money is more than enough to draw a crowd of suitors to her side.  Well aware that, for most men, her wealth is her most appealing asset, Maryann nevertheless longs to marry a gentleman who appreciates her for her.  

Timothy Mayfield (nephew of Elliott Mayfield from Promises and Primroses) has an enthusiastic zest for life that makes him popular among the ton despite his almost penniless existence.  In London to find a wealthy wife, the 27-year-old experiences a sudden change of fortune allowing him to pursue any woman who appeals to him, regardless of her net worth.  He has come to know Maryann, whom he began courting as a means to an end, as a dear friend whose honesty he finds refreshing.  As he launches on his quest to find the perfect wife (blonde, blue-eyed, feminine, artistic, etc.), Maryann (who is none of those things) endeavors to help him.
Unbeknownst to Timothy, Maryann regards her friend as much more than just a pal or, heaven forbid, an older brother.  When Timothy meets Miss Shaw, a young woman who seems to fit his every requirement for a flawless mate, Maryann knows she must give up any fantasy involving herself and the man she loves.  Timothy will never see her as anything more than a steady companion and trusted advisor.  Or will he?  Caught in a confusing game of "he loves me, he loves me not," Maryann must learn to trust her own heart before it is crushed to pieces.  Again. 

I enjoyed Promises and Primroses, the first book in Josi S. Kilpack's Mayfield Family series, so I was eager to give the second installment a go.  Like its predecessor, Daisies and Devotion offers a light, entertaining story that's clean, uplifting, and fun.  I like my Regency romances short and sweet, so this one ran a little long for me.  Still, overall, I enjoyed it and will definitely continue with the series.

(Readalikes:  Promises and Primroses by Josi S. Kilpack; also reminds me of proper romances by Sarah M. Eden, Jennifer Moore, and Julianne Donaldson)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for very mild innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Daisies and Devotion from the generous folks at Shadow Mountain in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
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