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2022 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (5)
- Colorado (3)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida (1)
- Georgia (2)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas
- Kentucky
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland (2)
- Massachusetts (5)
- Michigan (2)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (9)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon (1)
- Pennsylvania (2)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota (1)
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (2)
- Utah (2)
- Vermont (3)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (4)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming (1)
- Washington, D.C.* (1)


Antarctica (1)
Australia (2)
Egypt (2)
England (16)
France (1)
Greece (1)
Ireland (2)
Italy (1)
Malaysia (1)
Nepal (1)
Poland (1)
Portugal (1)
Romania (1)
Scotland (3)
Sweden (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:

38 / 51 states. 75% done!

2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

19 / 50 books. 38% done!

2022 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2022 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge

My Progress:

65 / 53 books. 123% done!

Booklist Queen's 2022 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Aussie Author Reading Challenge 2022

1 / 24 books. 4% done!

2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge

3 / 20 books. 15% done!

2022 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

My Progress:

36 / 50 books. 72% done!

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

My Progress:

39 / 52 books. 75% done!

2022 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 40 books. 95% done!

2022 Support Book Bloggers Challenge

2022 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gentle Family Drama Sprinkled With Pure Magic

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

There are many things 39-year-old Abby Brink doesn't know about her father—like where he's been for the last 40 years and why he left in the first place.  She's heard stories about him all her life.  Some of them can only be myths, made-up tales to explain the great emptiness her mother's felt ever since Sam Winston disappeared.  Because, surely, the skies don't weep over human folly and walnut trees don't stop producing fruit when their favorite son vanishes, never to return.  These things can't be true, but Abby believes them because she, too, has a Sam-shaped hole in her heart.

When Abby finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she doesn't know how to feel.  It's not that she doesn't want a child, it's only that she thought her time had passed.  Like her relationship with the baby's father.  Not knowing what else to do, she heads home to Missouri.  She craves the quiet and calm she can only find at Walnut Ridge, the land once owned by the Winston Family, now cared for by Abby's mother, Gretchen.  

But, a mysterious tornado blows in just ahead of Abby, leaving something odd in its wake:  a man.  The stranger can't remember who he is or how he arrived in Walnut Ridge.  Abby, Gretchen and Gretchen's blind  aunts are all convinced he's Sam Winston.  Others believe he's a con man, out to steal Gretchen's heart, along with her land.  Is the man really Sam, or are the women just seeing what they want to see?  And if it is Sam, will he reveal the damning secret Gretchen's been keeping all this time?  What will happen if the truth comes out?  Can Gretchen survive having her heart ripped apart again?  Can Abby?  

There's much to praise about Susan McBride's newest novel, The Truth About Love and Lightning.  First, there are the complex, but relatable characters; then, the vivid, atmospheric setting; also the story's gentle, engaging tone; and, of course, the mysticism that lends an otherworldly magic to this compelling family drama.  I pretty much adored everything about the book.  It kept me reading, it kept me hoping, it kept me smiling, it kept me believing.  If you enjoy uplifting stories that renew your faith in the powers of family, forgiveness and love, then this is most certainly the book for you.  Give it a whirl and you'll see what I mean.    

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can really think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  B+

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for language (no F-bombs) and mild sexual content/innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Truth About Love and Lightning from the generous folks at Harper Collins.  Thank you! 


More Proof That Cozies Just Aren't For Me ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier books featuring Lucy Stone.  As always, I recommend reading  books in a series in order.)

Spring in Tinker's Cove, Maine, just wouldn't be Spring without the annual Easter egg hunt at Pine Point.  Owned by Vivian Van Vorst, one of the richest widows in the country, the gleaming oceanfront estate screams luxury and wealth.  Everyone knows the eggs hidden all over VV's lawn are just as likely to contain pricey gift certificates as chocolate candies.  No one in the little tourist town would miss the annual Easter egg hunt, especially not VV, who looks forward to hosting the event every year.  So, when reporter Lucy Stone arrives at Pine Point with her 3-year-old grandson, she—along with many of her neighbors—is stunned to find the gates of Pine Point locked.  She's even more shocked when a giant Easter bunny stumbles across VV's lawn and drops dead just inside the gates.  

The man inside the bunny suit is Van Vorst Duff (nicknamed "Duff"), VV's 46-year-old grandson.  And, while it appears he died of natural causes, Lucy's not so sure.  Something's amiss at Pine Point, she's almost positive.  Then, Van's snooty sister and her husband move into the mansion, claiming VV can no longer care for herself.  When their shyster lawyer appears, expensive items start disappearing from the home.  Lucy's convinced the couple and their hired man are plotting ways to get their hands on the millions VV will leave behind when she dies—an event they seem intent on hurrying along.  Lucy refuses to stand by and watch VV, who's always given generously to community projects and charities, get fleeced out of her fortune.  But, sticking her nose where it doesn't belong is a dangerous pastime, one which is pushing Lucy right into a killer's path ...

I'm not huge on cozy mysteries.  That's common knowledge around here.  In general, I find them predictable, filled with lackluster writing, cliché characters, and far-fetched plot twists.  All of that is true of Easter Bunny Murder, the 20th installment in Leslie Meier's cozy mystery series featuring Lucy Stone.  The story moves along pretty quickly, so it's entertaining as long as you don't expect too much out of it.  Since I"m not big on these kinds of books in the first place, I won't be revisiting this series.  If you, however, are a cozy fan, you might want to give it a try.

P.S.  If you want a chance to win this book as well as others in the series and some chocolate-y Easter treats, click on the widget below and enter BookTrib's fun giveaway:

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other cozy mystery series, particularly Joanne Fluke's books featuring Hannah Swenson)

Grade:  C

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for mild language (no F-bombs) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Easter Bunny Murder from the generous folks at BookTrib.  Thank you!    
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