Monday, January 24, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past three weeks are:

National Grographic Ocean by Sylvia Earle
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

Reviews posted this week:

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Before the Coffee Gets Cold
The Last Noel by Michael Malone
Travels in Mauritania by Peter Hudson
Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Fire and Ice by Rachel Spangler
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tiddas by Anita Heiss

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Monday Mailbox

This past week's mailbox arrivals:

Mrs. Lorimer's Quiet Summer by Molly Clavering came from me for me.

The story of two middle aged woman authors who live in the same village and are friends, this novel with autobiographical aspects definitely calls to me.

An Atlas of Extinct Countries by Gideon Defoe came from me for me.

I thoroughly enjoy Defoe's sense of humor so I'm very curious to see where this book about 48 countries that no longer exist in our world takes me.

The Cuckoos of Batch Magna by Peter Maughan came from me for me.

I can't wait to dip into this first book in a series about an American who inherits and title and estate in Wales and promptly decides to turn it all into a rural English theme park. It just sounds completely batty and delightful.

Trouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel came from me for me.

A mystery set in 1930s Ceylon? Of course I want to read this one.

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee came from me for me.

I can only imagine this sociology/history/food book about Chinese food in America will make me hungry but I'm willing to risk it.

If you want to see the marvelous goodies in other people's mailboxes, make sure to visit Mailbox Monday and have fun seeing how we are all doing our part to keep the USPS and delivery services viable.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Review: Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis

The epigraph, an ancient Chinese proverb, for this sweet and heartwarming romantic story is perfect: "An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance. The thread may stretch and tangle. But it will never break." For readers looking for a sweet novel about Fate and love, look no further than Lia Louis' newest novel, Eight Perfect Hours.

Thirty two year old Noelle Butterby finds herself trapped on the M4 motorway in a snow storm with an almost dead phone and a malfunctioning charging cord. She's returning from an event at her old college where she received the letter her best friend wrote to future Noelle way back then. The letter is bittersweet since Daisy died the night everything was put in the time capsule and the camera that was supposed to be with the letter, the camera that has the last picture of Noelle and Daisy together, is missing. Then Noelle's ex-boyfriend, who has been gone for two years and who is also at the reunion, doesn't even acknowledge her when he sees her, hurting her heart just that little bit more. The shutdown of the motorway and the state of Noelle's phone are just the cherry on top of an already difficult evening. But then a tall, handsome American man, Sam Attwood, knocks on her window and offers to let her charge her phone in his car. Wary of the offer, Noelle eventually decides to take him up on it since her mother, who suffered a stroke six years ago and depends on Noelle, will worry about her. As Noelle's phone charges, she and Sam spend a perfectly lovely eight hours talking and laughing and enjoying each other's company. When the motorway opens up, each of them go their own way never expecting to see each other again. But it seems that they cannot escape each other and their slowly growing interest in each other that easily. Now they just have to decide if their exes are the people for them or if they need or want to move on.

This is a cute novel with a fun premise. Noelle and Sam's continual meetings are random and very, some might say overly, coincidental and yet the reader happily cheers for each and every coincidence, not bothered that the final coincidence is telegraphed long before it's revealed. Both characters carry guilt and grief over the untimely loss of someone they loved and it has affected them in different ways. For Noelle, it is the driving factor in her continued dedication to her mother, despite her inflexible devotion derailing all of her future plans. She has allowed it to contribute to the end of her long time relationship and keep her from pursuing her dream to become a florist. For Sam, a mountaineer who is rarely home, his feelings of failure have pushed him to live only in the moment, unable to slow down and make a stable life. But Fate keeps pushing these two together and together they just might be brave enough to get unstuck.

The novel is heartwarming and charming. The meet cute is delightful and it's even better than Noelle and Sam start off getting to know each other with no stakes other than to keep each other company on a lousy night. Noelle's friend Charlie is a wonderful secondary character, making up for the less appealing characters of Noelle's brother Dilly, who needs to grow up, and her ex Ed, who is suspicious and frustrating. Although the novel is told in the third person, it is definitely centered on Noelle rather than Sam so the reader understands what is going on entirely from her perspective. The romance simmers slowly but stays quite clean. Noelle's constant awareness of Sam and the zinging feeling she gets around him does get a little old after a while but overall, this is the feel good, happy ending kind of engaging story we can all use these days.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

Love and Saffron by Kim Fay

The book is being released by G. P. Putnam's Sons on February 8, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: The #1 Indie Next Pick, in the vein of the classic 84, Charing Cross Road and Meet Me at the Museum, this witty and tender novel follows two women in 1960s America as they discover that food really does connect us all, and that friendship and laughter are the best medicine.

When twenty-seven-year-old Joan Bergstrom sends a fan letter--as well as a gift of saffron--to fifty-nine-year-old Imogen Fortier, a life-changing friendship begins. Joan lives in Los Angeles and is just starting out as a writer for the newspaper food pages. Imogen lives on Camano Island outside Seattle, writing a monthly column for a Pacific Northwest magazine, and while she can hunt elk and dig for clams, she’s never tasted fresh garlic--exotic fare in the Northwest of the sixties. As the two women commune through their letters, they build a closeness that sustains them through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, and the unexpected in their own lives.

Food and a good life—they can’t be separated. It is a discovery the women share, not only with each other, but with the men in their lives. Because of her correspondence with Joan, Imogen’s decades-long marriage blossoms into something new and exciting, and in turn, Joan learns that true love does not always come in the form we expect it to. Into this beautiful, intimate world comes the ultimate test of Joan and Imogen’s friendship—a test that summons their unconditional trust in each other.

A brief respite from our chaotic world, Love and Saffron is a gem of a novel, a reminder that food and friendship are the antidote to most any heartache, and that human connection will always be worth creating.

Monday, January 17, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thank goodness I get to start over with a new year's selection of books! Some older books may still get reviews written but then again, maybe not. ::shrug:: This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past three weeks are:

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley
A Very British Christmas by Rhodri Marsden
How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
Vanishing Falls by Poppy Gee
Love Songs for Skeptics by Christina Pishiris
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
The Last Noel by Michael Malone
Ultimate Visual History of the World by Jean-Pierre Isbouts
Travels in Mauritania by Peter Hudson
Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Fire and Ice by Rachel Spangler

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

National Grographic Ocean by Sylvia Earle
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Reviews posted this week:

nothing yet

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Before the Coffee Gets Cold
The Last Noel by Michael Malone
Travels in Mauritania by Peter Hudson
Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
Fire and Ice by Rachel Spangler

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Monday Mailbox

This past week's mailbox arrivals:

The Layover by Lacie Waldon came from a friend in a book swap.

A romance about a retiring flight attendant and a former pilot with a history together who are stranded at a luxury resort, this looks like it will be perfect reading to drive away the winter blues.

The Next Everest by Jim Davidson came from St. Martin's Press.

I have a healthy obsession (healthy in that I like to sit in a safe, comfortable chair to read about it) with Everest and the people who tackle this deadly mountain so this memoir about a man who was on the mountain during an earthquake that stranded his team and killed many people and who finds the courage to eventually go back and summit the mountain should fill my armchair travel bug beautifully.

The Lost Manuscript by Cathy Bonidan came from St. Martin's Press.

An epistolary novel? Why, don't mind if I do. This story of a long lost manuscript found in a hotel drawer, the woman who finds it and contacts everyone who has had the manuscript in the 30 years since it went missing, and the mystery author of the second half sounds amazing!

To War with Whitaker by Hermione Ranfurly came from me for me.

If you knwo me, you know why the title made it impossible for me not to buy this. Also, I would always have been interested in a diary by a woman who followed her new husband to WWII, vowing not to go home without him.

Kiss Myself Goodbye by Ferdinand Mount came from me for me.

This memoir about Mount uncovering the truth about his Aunt Munca looks completely fascinating and madcap and I'm here for it.

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas came from me for me.

A woman assuming the name Sherlock Holmes to clear her sister and father when they are suspected of being involved in the trio of unexplained deaths, this Victorian set mystery looks fantastic.

Kilimanjaro Snow by Gaile Parkin came from me for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed Parkin's first novel so I am curious to read this third novel about a daughter reading her late mother's diaries and the surprises she find in them.

If you want to see the marvelous goodies in other people's mailboxes, make sure to visit Mailbox Monday and have fun seeing how we are all doing our part to keep the USPS and delivery services viable.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

The book is being released by Berkley on January 25, 2022.

The book's jacket copy says: They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.

Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten book topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven't spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.

Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they're forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they'd do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they've hated each other for the past three years isn't easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.

While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.

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