Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Sunday Salon and Packing a Bag of Books for Vacation...

Welcome summer! Welcome to The Sunday Salon!  And Welcome Back to Chick with Books! It's been a few months since I've peeked my head out of the pages of the books I've been reading, but my winter hibernation is over! This week I am going on vacation... destination is Myrtle Beach and I have a bag of books coming with me! What's in my bag?... Beach Reads! Let's take a look at three...

Here's the first book that caught my eye and wound up in the book bag... Isn't summer the perfect time for a little romance?

The Map That Leads to You by J.P. Monniger's... 

Two strangers take the road less traveled...

Heather Mulgrew’s world is already mapped out: she is going to travel abroad with her friends after college, come back to a great career in September, and head into a life where not much is left to chance. But that was before an encounter on an overnight train introduces her to Jack, a passionate adventurer who changes the course of her journey and her life.

Throwing Heather's careful itinerary to the wind, they follow Jack's grandfather's journal through post-World War II era Europe: Vienna, Budapest, Turkey―exotic places that serve only to heighten their feelings. As September looms, Jack urges Heather to stay with him, to keep traveling, to give in to the romance of their experience; Heather convinces him to return to the United States.

Jack has a secret that could change everything. And Heather’s world is about to be shaken to the core.
Next book to make it in the book bag is one of those "Chick" books. And I just love where the story takes place (Cape Cod) in and I like the family dynamics involved (Sisters)... this actually is more of what I think of as a beach read...

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand... 

Identical twin sisters who couldn't look more alike...or live more differently.

Harper Frost is laid-back, easygoing. She doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She's inherited her father's rundown house on Martha's Vineyard, but she can't hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking. 

Two beautiful islands only eleven miles apart.

Tabitha Frost is dignified, refined. She prefers a fine wine and has inherited the impeccable taste of her mother, the iconic fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost. She's also inherited her mother's questionable parenting skills--Tabitha's teenage daughter, Ainsley, is in full rebellion mode--and a flailing fashion boutique on Nantucket in desperate need of a cash infusion. 

One unforgettable summer that will change their lives forever.

After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha switch islands--and lives--to save what's left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they'd outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages.

Here's another book where the place is special... South Carolina's low country ( a place I love to visit).  The last book that made it into the bag for this trip is...

Same Beach, Next Year: A Novel by Dorothea Benton Frank... 

One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

Bursting with the intoxicating richness of Dorothea Benton Frank’s beloved Lowcountry—the sultry sunshine, cool ocean breezes, icy cocktails, and starry velvet skies—Same Beach, Next Year is a dazzling celebration of the infrangible power of friendship, the enduring promise of summer, and the indelible bonds of love.
One other book made it into my eReader... 

Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe... When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, an young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.

Of course the setting is still South Carolina, there's the beach and it's sprinkled with birding!
Summer vacation reads, to me, need to be light and romantic at heart. I don't want to read about police investigations, murders or kidnappings. I save those genre's for the rest of the year. Do you read differently on vacation? Do you change your reading habits in the summer?

What kinds of books do you like to read in the summer? 

It's nice to be back and to talk about books! And there are so many great books to talk about now too!  Share your summer plans and summer reading! I'll be heading for some relaxation on a beach in South Carolina with books in hand. I'll also be keeping my eye out for any great book stores on the way and there! I'll be gone for two weeks, but back to Chick with Books on Sunday, July 16th! Come back then and say hello and see what other great books I've found to share! 

Happy reading... Suzanne

Monday, January 23, 2017

In My Mailbox...

In My Mailbox... I've received some great books in my mailbox! And I decided I would join in on the fun sharing them with you and the other bloggers participating in Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday is a weekly event for bloggers to share what books arrived in their mailboxes. Mailbox Monday was originally created by Marcia of To Be Continued and is now hosted by Vicki, Serena and Leslie at Mailbox Monday's own blog.

So, here are the books...

The Girl Before by JP Delaney... The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Published by Random House Publishing, Ballantine and will be released Jan. 24th! Tomorrow!
Always by Sarah Jio... While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiancĂ©, Ryan, at one of Seattle's chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can't believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense—everything connected and felt right. But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what—and whom—she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she's willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

Published by Random House Publishing, Ballantine and will be released Feb. 7, 2017.
I Found You by Lisa Jewell... A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Published by Atria Books with a release date of April 25, 2017.

the night the lights went out by Karen White... Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....

Published by Berkey Publishing Group with a release date of April 11, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Sunday Salon and 3 Great Reads with a Southern touch

Welcome to Chick with BooksThe Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post (which is hosted by Kim at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer)!  It's the day of the week we sit back, relax and talk books! The new year has started and as a reader I am so excited to see what books are coming our way! So, pull up a chair, grab a cup of Java and let's explore some great reading!

It's the winter in Connecticut, but the temps are in the 50's! Today was like a beautiful spring day with sunshine and 57 degrees! Instead of reading dreary winter fiction, it felt like I should be reading beach reads. What I started to read and could hardly stop reading (and I really needed to if I was going to post a Sunday Salon!) was the night the lights went out by Karen White. This is the first time I've read anything by Karen White and I'm beginning to fall in love. Her writing is so unassuming and before I knew it I was absorbed in the story, these women, and read 25% on my Kindle. This book reminded me of another book I enjoyed a long time ago called The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. In fact it was a reading group selection. Another great story with Southern roots... So that got me to thinking about another book I read that I also really enjoyed called Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson. I actually listened to the audiobook and loved it. So, today I'm offering up some great stories with a little touch of Southern and a great female protagonist to show you around the pages...

the night the lights went out by Karen White... a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems....

Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail. Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past. Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world. In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....

Write this down... Release date is April 11, 2017! Published by Berkley. I just received an eGalley of this and really could not put it down. Now I'm only 25% through it, but I think it's going to be even better as I turn the pages. It's gotten a lot of pre-publishing praise.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen... It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living. 

Published by Random House (Bantam reprint) in 2011. We love Willa! Really good story, great characters, a sprinkling of magic, and I really enjoyed this! I would definitely recommend this to women fiction readers.

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson... Rose Mae Lolley's mother disappeared when she was eight, leaving Rose with a heap of old novels and a taste for dangerous men. Now, as demure Mrs. Ro Grandee, she's living the very life her mother abandoned. She's all but forgotten the girl she used to be-teenaged spitfire, Alabama heartbreaker, and a crack shot with a pistol-until an airport gypsy warns Rose it's time to find her way back to that brave, tough girl . . . or else. Armed with only her wit, her pawpy's ancient .45, and her dog Fat Gretel, Rose Mae hightails it out of Texas, running from a man who will never let her go, on a mission to find the mother who did. 

Starring a minor character from Jackson's bestselling gods in Alabama, BACKSEAT SAINTS will dazzle readers with its stunning portrayal of the measures a mother will take to right the wrongs she's created, and how far a daughter will travel to satisfy the demands of forgiveness

Published by Grand Central Publishing in 2011. You will be rooting for Rose Mae! Another great story and more good characters.

That about covers today's reading pile! Sometimes it's not always a new book I want to recommend, but a book I really enjoyed a long time ago that deserves a new audience, and that's what today is mostly about. I will have to check out other books by Karen White though... and both Sarah Addison Allen and Joshilyn Jackson have some other good books too!

Hope you found something interesting to read here today! In the meantime...

Happy reading... Suzanne

Monday, January 16, 2017

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell... TLC Book Tour!

About the Book... Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a highly suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link seems to be from her niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago.

As Scarpetta watches she comes to grips with frightening secrets about her niece. That first clip and others sent soon after raise dangerous implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, alarmed, and not knowing where to turn. The diabolical presence and singularly “depraved heart” behind what unfolds seems obvious—but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that’s the message they send when they start harassing Lucy and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.

In the latest novel in her bestselling series featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell captivates readers again with the jolting twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail for which she is renowned, proving yet again why she is the world’s number one bestselling crime writer.

What Did I Think of the Book? Patricia Cornwell never disappoints me. It's been years since I've devoured her Kay Scarpetta novels, but opening the pages of Depraved Heart felt like a homecoming in a way. All the familiar people were there and I even though I hadn't followed them in so long, I was able to settle right in without feeling lost.

This is typical Kay Scarpetta, with murder in the air and the need to solve the crime before innocent people start to be blamed. A diabolical previous character thought to be dead (Carrie) doesn't seem to be dead anymore and has come back to haunt Kay and her niece Lucy. But these once endearing characters seem to have changed a bit, and I'm not so in love with them anymore. Kay even seems to be a bit paranoid. But if you enjoy crime thrillers, do crack the spine on this one, because it's got all the ingredients of a good solid read.

About Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Anthony, the Macavity and the Prix du Roman d’Aventures. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography and two more fiction series among others. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Find out more about Patricia at her website, and follow her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

To Learn More about Depraved Heart, visit Harper Collins! There you can read an excerpt, listen to an excerpt and purchase the book! Or if you'd prefer...

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*Chick with Books received a copy of Depraved Hearts in exchange for my honest review, and as part of hosting this tour for TLC Book Tours.

In My Mailbox...

In My Mailbox... I've received some great books in my mailbox! And I decided I would join in on the fun sharing them with you and the other bloggers participating in Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday is a weekly event for bloggers to share what books arrived in their mailboxes. Mailbox Monday was originally created by Marcia of To Be Continued and is now hosted by Vicki, Serena and Leslie at Mailbox Monday's own blog.

So, here are the books...

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian... From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire—the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night.

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee's disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee's husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs' Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee's disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?
     Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers.

This sounds like a great read! I've been so into murder mysteries lately, this was a nice surprise from Doubleday Books as an eGalley to my Kindle! Thank you! Published by Doubleday Books with a release date of January 10, 2017.

The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge... From the award-winning author and New Yorker contributor, a riveting novel about secrets and scandals,  psychiatry and pulp fiction, inspired by the lives of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle.

Marina Willett, M.D., has a problem. Her husband, Charlie, has become obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft, in particular with one episode in the legendary horror writer's life: In the summer of 1934, the "old gent" lived for two months with a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow, at Barlow's family home in central Florida. What were the two of them up to? Were they friends--or something more? Just when Charlie thinks he's solved the puzzle, a new scandal erupts, and he disappears. The police say it's suicide. Marina is a psychiatrist, and she doesn't believe them. A tour-de-force of storytelling, The Night Ocean follows the lives of some extraordinary people: Lovecraft, the most influential American horror writer of the 20th century, whose stories continue to win new acolytes, even as his racist views provoke new critics; Barlow, a seminal scholar of Mexican culture who killed himself after being blackmailed for his homosexuality (and who collaborated with Lovecraft on the beautiful story "The Night Ocean"); his student, future Beat writer William S. Burroughs; and L.C. Spinks, a kindly Canadian appliance salesman and science-fiction fan -- the only person who knows the origins of The Erotonomicon, purported to be the intimate diary of Lovecraft himself. As a heartbroken Marina follows her missing husband's trail in an attempt to learn the truth, the novel moves across the decades and along the length of the continent, from a remote Ontario town, through New York and Florida to Mexico City. The Night Ocean is about love and deception -- about the way that stories earn our trust, and betray it.

I've heard so many wonderful comments about this book, I was thrilled when I found this in my mailbox! Thanks Penguin! Published by Penguin Press with a release date of March 7, 2017.

The Lady's Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran... The next steamy historical romance in USA TODAY bestselling and RITA award-winning author Meredith Duran’s “wonderfully indulgent” (Publishers Weekly) Rules for the Reckless series.

Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...

How do you get through a cold winter?! With some HOT reading! Both this book by Meredith Duran and the story collection below, by some of the top romance writers of the decade, make for some steamy reading on a cold winter’s night! Thank you Pocket Books! Release date of Feb. 28th, 2017.

What Happens Under the Mistletoe, a story collection by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp and Meredith Duran… New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, and Candace Camp, and USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran come together for a sizzling historical romance holiday anthology.

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, "The Heiress and the Hothead". 

In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in "Twelve Kisses" when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle. 

In "By Any Other Name", Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss. 

In "Sweet Ruin", will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?

In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.

This story collection was published by Pocket Books and released in October of 2015, which means you can pick up a copy NOW! 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Sunday Salon and... Wandering around an Indie Bookstore

Welcome to Chick with BooksThe Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post (which is hosted by Kim at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer)!  It's the day of the week we sit back, relax and talk books! The new year has started and as a reader I am so excited to see what books are coming our way! So, pull up a chair, grab a cup of Java and let's explore some great reading!

Last week my local Indie Bookstore was having an amazing end of the year sale, right before they had to take inventory. I wandered in to see what books could tempt me, which is always fun. There is always so much debate about Independent bookstores versus that giant online monster or your box store bookstores, but when it comes right down to it, there is no comparison. How would it be NEVER to be able to physically leaf through a book before you bought it? Or to wander and look over the books that are casually laid out on a table? At Barnes and Noble, some publisher pay them to have a big display near the front door, but at your Indie bookstore, it's the eclectic tastes of the people working at the bookstore that await your arrival. Books are lovingly displayed because they mean something to someone there! I wander the store to find little treasures I would not have found otherwise. And as usual I found some great books. Here's what I took home with me...

History of Wolves by Emily Frilund... Linda has an idiosyncratic home life: her parents live in abandoned commune cabins in northern Minnesota and are hanging on to the last vestiges of a faded counter-culture world. The kids at school call her 'Freak', or 'Commie'. She is an outsider in all things. Her understanding of the world comes from her observations at school, where her teacher is accused of possessing child pornography, and from watching the seemingly ordinary life of a family she babysits for. Yet while the accusation against the teacher is perhaps more innocent than it seemed at first, the ordinary family turns out to be more complicated. As Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit, she realises they are hiding something. If she tells the truth, she will lose the normal family life she is beginning to enjoy with them; but if she doesn't, their son may die.

This is the January Indie Next pick and it sounds like a great read!

Help For The Haunted by John Searles... It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter. As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family's past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years. 

I love a good ghost story (and horror film) and when I read the title of this book on its spine I had to pull it out and take a better look. This sounds so interesting!

South Towards Home, Travels in Southern Literature by Margaret Eby... What is it about the South that has inspired so much of America's greatest literature? And why, when we think of Flannery O'Connor or William Faulkner or Harper Lee, do we think of them not just as writers, but as Southern writers? In South Toward Home, Margaret Eby—herself a Southerner—travels through the South in search of answers to these questions, visiting the hometowns and stomping grounds of some of our most beloved authors. From Mississippi (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright) to Alabama (Harper Lee, Truman Capote) to Georgia (Flannery O'Connor, Harry Crews) and beyond, Eby looks deeply at the places that these authors lived in and wrote about. South Toward Home reveals how these authors took the people and places they knew best and transmuted them into lasting literature.

Side by side with Eby, we meet the man who feeds the peacocks at Andalusia, the Georgia farm where Flannery O'Connor wrote her most powerful stories; we peek into William Faulkner's liquor cabinet to better understand the man who claimed civilization began with distillation and the "postage stamp of native soil" that inspired him; and we go in search of one of New Orleans's iconic hot dog vendors, a job held by Ignatius J. Reilly in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. From the library that showed Richard Wright that there was a way out to the courtroom at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird, Eby grapples with a land fraught with history and mythology, for, as Eudora Welty wrote, "One place understood helps us understand all places better."

I love these kinds of books - books that delve a little deeper into an author and their influences growing up or the influences surrounding them. I can't wait to dive in.

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe... Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape from reality? For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions. In each chapter, he discusses a particular book—what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world.  These books span centuries and genres (from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even cookbooks), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honor those we’ve loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully. Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”

If you love to talk books, this is probably a book for you too. I love the premise.

Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children's History of Art by Michael Bird.. An enthralling journey through the story of world art, from early cave paintings right up to the present day. Discover artists and their art around the world, in 68 exciting and imaginative tales about artists and the way they created their work. 

Written by educator and art historian Michael Bird, and beautifully illustrated by Kate Evans, the book also features reproductions of the famous artworks discussed, a comprehensive timeline of events, and extra feature spreads on places connected with art.

As someone who loves art history ( I was an art major in college), this book just warmed my heart. It's meant for children, specifically 8 - 12 year olds, but adults can appreciate the stories behind the artists that Michael Bird talks about within these pages. He really brings art through the ages alive with his stories and insights. Get this for some young artist in your life or just for yourself to enjoy.

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Weekly Update...

Monday, I had some great books come my way and talked about them in In My Mailbox.

Wednesday, I REVIEWED The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron. Need a heartwarming book? Check out my review and then buy this book!

Friday was First Lines Friday, and I shared the first paragraph of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Read the book before the movie comes out!

Friday I also posted what I was reading this weekend! Check it out HERE! And then tell me what you are reading this weekend!

Well, that about does it for this week. Hope you found something interesting to crack a spine on! Enjoy your weekend and come back for more next week!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekend Reading...

This weekend I'm leisurely enjoying a book. Some weekends are hectic, full of work and"chores, but this weekend I have some time to myself and am enjoying... Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent When I spotted this at the library, I didn't realize it was a memoir. The true story of the friendship Isabel Vincent discovered as she began to visit one of her friend's elderly father who recently had lost his wife of 60 years...

When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter--who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York--Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflĂ© will end up changing her life.

As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.

Published May 2016 by Algonquin Books

What are YOU reading this weekend?

First Lines Friday...


The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.

Conor was awake when it came.

He'd had a nightmare. Well, not a nightmare. The nightmare. 
The one he'd been having a lot lately. The one with the                 
darkness and the wind and the screaming. The one with the
hands slipping from his grasp, no matter how hard he tried 
to hold on. The one that always ended with--

                                               ...A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

                                                                      Inspired by Siobhan Dowd

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron... A Review

Sometimes you just need a "feel good" book. A story that just warms your heart and that you can casually read without too much effort. The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron is such a book. And if you are a dog lover, this book is a hands down winner and something you should be buying right now!

A geeky, but hunky guy finds himself stuck with a pregnant dog, and eventually 5 puppies. He's never had a dog before, let alone a pregnant one, and tries his best to get out of the situation, but is such a nice guy that he resolves himself to temporarily "helping" out, until finally he is totally in love with the dog, the puppies and the girl from the animal shelter that he turned to for help.

A little romance, a warm your heart story, a little heart break and a whole lot of fur, makes this a must read for every dog lover I know. It is a sweet story that will make you smile, and if you enjoy "dog stories" you will enjoy this. It's a small book, perfect as a stocking stuffer or gift, and under 240 pages. I read it in a few days and loved it! It was chosen as my reading groups Holiday read and everyone that I've talked to has enjoyed it too!

5 stars from this animal lover! 
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