Friday, June 2, 2023

Pride Month

As Pride month hits I wanted to take the time and showcase some books for this month I myself haven't read them but someone might enjoy them.

So let's go: 

Two destined rivals fall desperately in love—but the fate of medieval Europe hangs in the balance.

“A pair of thrones between us, and my heart clutched like a rosary within his hands ...”

Twelfth-century Europe. Newly-crowned King Philip of France is determined to restore his nation to its former empire and bring glory to his name. But when his greatest enemy, King Henry of England, threatens to end his reign before it can even begin, Philip is forced to make a precarious alliance with Henry’s volatile son—risking both his throne, and his heart.

Richard, Duke of Aquitaine, never thought he would be King. But when an unexpected tragedy makes him heir to England, he finally has an opportunity to overthrow the father he despises. At first, Philip is a useful tool in his quest for vengeance... until passion and politics collide, and Richard begins to question whether the crown is worth the cost.

When Philip and Richard find themselves staring down an impending war, they must choose between their desire for one another and their grand ambitions. Will their love prevail, if it calls to them from across the battlefield? Teeming with royal intrigue and betrayal, this epic romance reimagines two real-life kings ensnared by an impossible choice: Follow their hearts, or earn their place in history.

A brilliant literary memoir of chosen family and chosen heritage, told against the backdrop of Chicago’s North and South Sides As a multiracial household in Chicago’s North Side community of Rogers Park, race is at the core of Francesca T. Royster and her family's world, influencing everyday acts of parenting and the conception of what family truly means. Like Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts , this lyrical and affecting memoir focuses on a unit of the author; her wife Annie, who's white; and Cecilia, the Black daughter they adopt as a couple in their forties and fifties. Choosing Family chronicles this journey to motherhood while examining the messiness and complexity of adoption and parenthood from a Black, queer, and feminist perspective. Royster also explores her memories of the matriarchs of her childhood and the homes these women created in Chicago’s South Side—itself a dynamic character in the memoir—where “family” was fluid, inclusive, and not necessarily defined by marriage or other socially recognized contracts.

Calling upon the work of some of her favorite queer thinkers, including José Esteban Muñoz and Audre Lorde, Royster interweaves her experiences and memories with queer and gender theory to argue that many Black families, certainly her own, have historically had a “queer” attitude toward configurations that sit outside the white normative experience and are the richer for their flexibility and generosity of spirit. A powerful, genre-bending memoir of family, identity, and acceptance, Choosing Family , ultimately, is about joy—about claiming the joy that society did not intend to assign to you, or to those like you.
When Camonghne Felix goes through a monumental breakup, culminating in a hospital stay, everything—from her early childhood trauma and mental health to her relationship with mathematics—shows up in the tapestry of her healing. In this exquisite and raw reflection, Felix repossesses herself through the exploration of history she’d left behind, using her childhood “dyscalculia”—a disorder that makes it difficult to learn math—as a metaphor for the consequences of her miscalculations in love. Through reckoning with this breakup and other adult gambles in intimacy, Felix asks the question: Who gets to assert their right to pain?
Felix negotiates the misalignments of perception and reality, love and harm, and the politics of heartbreak, both romantic and familial.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Review: Death of a Wicked Witch by: Lee Hollis

Title: Death of A Wicked Witch
Author: Lee Hollis
Series: Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #13
Publisher:  Kensington 
Source: Paperback ( 304 p.) Personal Purchase


Bar Harbor, Maine, is quieter in the off-season, but the population has just increased a bit with the arrival of Ted and Trudy Lancaster. Ted’s taking over for a retiring minister, and Trudy runs a food truck called Wicked ’Wiches. When she stops in at the Island Times office to place an ad, Hayley happily devours the sample sub Trudy offers—and the two become fast friends.
When Trudy tragically dies in her truck while catering a Halloween party, suspicion falls on a cranky, competitive caterer who’d made veiled threats to Trudy. But the case becomes more complicated when Hayley’s husband admits he’d seen someone dressed as a witch hurrying away from the food truck—not very helpful when countless women at the party wore the same costume. Now Hayley finds herself sandwiched between witches and witnesses as she considers a smorgasbord of suspects. If she finds the killer, she’ll be a local hero . . .

My Thoughts:

Hayley and Bruce and company are getting ready for Halloween when Hayley meets Trudy who runs a food truck and everyone soon is falling in love with her sandwiches.  When Trudy gets sick and winds up in the hospital people start to wonder if something is going on?  Then the minister whose about to leave starts acting really weird around Trudy Hayley wonders what is going on with the local priest.  

At a Halloween party where Trudy is serving her food someone else has decided to serve Trudy something.  Trudy winds up dead and people are wondering who killed her.  Was it her husband whom she was having problems with?  Or the local priest who was acting love struck around her or someone else?  

I love this series it's was one of the first one's I read I was so engaged in the writing style and it being told with Hayley and her friends who are fabulous.  They always crack me up like no tomorrow.  This one didn't disappoint especially as we got to see Gemma as a grown woman now instead of a teenager.  I can't wait to see what is next in this series!

Friday, May 26, 2023

Review: Doom with A View by: Victoria Laurie

Title: Doom with a View
Author: Victoria Laurie
Series: Psychic Eye Mystery #7
Publisher: Berkley
Source: e-book ( 314 p.) Personal Purchase


Business has been frustratingly slow for Abby who needs any new commission she can get, even if it means agreeing to a job with the FBI that puts her at the center of an internal political struggle between two powerful agents, one of whom is the flinty lead investigator and confirmed skeptic Brice Harrison.  Abby's skills are continually tested – along with her patience – as she works to convince Harrison that she's not only the real deal, but can help him locate three college teens who've mysteriously disappeared.

Abby's intuition tells her these are no random abductions—and foresees another victim being kidnapped. To get to the bottom of the case, she and Harrison will have to put their differences aside and work together to find the connection between the missing kids. And to do that, Abby will have to win Harrison over, while keeping her psychic eye wide open.

My Thoughts: 

Abby and Candice find themselves up against a hard skeptic who doesn't believe in intuitives regardless of how good they are. Abby finds herself getting flustered trying to prove that she is the real deal. Candice finds an instant dislike to Harrison. They spend most of their time being threatened with going to jail. And on four separate occasions being sent back to Michigan which apparently becomes a running gag. As every time you think they are going home they turn around and go back. In the end Abby ends up saving both Candice and Harrison when they need it the most, which turns the hard skeptic to her side.

Review: The Secret Life of Violet Grant by: Beatriz Williams

Title: The Secret Life of Violet Grant
Author: Beatriz Williams
Series: Schuyler Sisters #1
Publisher: G. P/ Putnam and Sons
Source: Hardcover ( 432 p.) Personal Purchase


Passion, redemption, and a battered suitcase full of secrets: the New York Times-bestselling author of A Hundred Summers returns with another engrossing tale.

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.

My Thoughts: 

Sassy mouthed Vivian Schulyer goes to the Post Office to pick up a suitcase sent to her.  The suitcase isn't hers it's her aunt.  She decides the the help of the adorable Dr. Paul a customer at the Post Office as well to find out what she can about Violet Grant.

Violet Grant is an amazing scientist but naive in the world of romance so when her professor seduces her she thinks she's in love.  She's in for a lot more than she thinks and finds comfort in Lionel.  

This book had so much going on with the drama in. both  Vivian and Violet's life.  I loved it and found Vivian refreshing and funny at times.  Typical socialite of the 60's that is until she opens her mouth I love the freshness of just speaking her mind regardless of what others think.

Definitely worth checking out this series I think more a summer read then winter but still fun!

Monday, May 8, 2023

Review: Madame Pommery Creator of Brute Champagne by: Rebecca Rosenberg

Title: Madame Pommery: Creator of Brute Champagne
Author: Rebecca Rosenberg
Publisher: Lion Heart Publishing
Format: e-book ( 400 p.) Netgalley ARC


A Champagne Widows Novel
Champagne, France, 1860. Madame Pommery, an etiquette teacher and orphanage founder, loses her husband and is forced to support her family. With no experience, the forty-year-old widow decides to make champagne. Her unique vision is to change it from a sweet dessert beverage to a dry, crisp wine to be enjoyed anytime. When champagne makers refuse to teach her their craft, she forges ahead on her own and secretly begins the excavation of champagne caves under the Reims city dump.

Soon after, her son and her entire crew are conscripted to fight the Franco-Prussian war, leaving Madame Pommery alone to struggle with her champagne dreams. After Napoleon and a hundred thousand French troops are captured, the Prussians invaded France, and Prussian General Frederick Franz occupies Madame Pommery’s house as his army headquarters. Undaunted, Pommery uses her secret wine caves to hide the Francs-Tireurs, resistance fighters for France, while she plans to build a spectacular castle winery above the caves.

But when her former lover, a Scottish Baron, unexpectedly proposes marriage, Madame Pommery must choose between nobility and her passionate quest for fine champagne and the most beautiful winery in the world.

Based on a true story, Madame Pommery is a heroic novel about a mother and widow who fights the Prussians, the social class system, champagne patriarchs, and champagne tastes to create a champagne legacy.

My Thoughts:

This book follows recently widowed Madame Pommery who finds herself in need of money to keep them going she has two companies inherited by her late husband a winery and a wool company.  She decides to ditch the wool and focus all efforts on the winery.  But in a world where women are not dealt with alot can she survive?

She makes bold decisions that are unheard of in this time frame.  Changing wine to what we now know as Brute Champagne in a world where Champagne is sweet as heck. she decides to make it less sweet looking for a dryer Champagne.  

So much happens in this book and you feel pulled in wanting to see how everything plays out especially during a Napoleon France.  She is armed with her wits and a vision no could think would work.  I really enjoyed seeing what she accomplished especially during the time frame!

Anyone who likes historical novels based on things we have now like Brut will appreciate what this author has given us a heck of a story about a wonderful lady!

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Review: What The Cat Dragged In by: Miranda James

Title: What The Cat Dragged In
Author: Miranda James
Publisher: Berkley 
Series: Cat In The Stacks #14
Format: e-book (297 p.) NetGalley ARC


Librarian Charlie Harris and his faithful feline companion, Diesel, have inherited Charlie’s grandfather’s house, along with a deadly legacy: a decades-old crime scene, in this all-new mystery in the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series.

Charlie has always believed that his grandfather had sold his house to his longtime tenant, Martin Hale. So when Martin dies, Charlie is surprised to discover the house was not left to Martin but instead belongs to Charlie. As he and Diesel check out the house he remembers fondly from his childhood, he is pleasantly surprised that it is in better condition than expected. That is, until they find a literal skeleton in a closet.

While the sheriff’s department investigates the mysterious remains, Charlie digs deeper into the past for clues to the identity of the bones and why they are there. But the cold case heats up quickly when Martin’s grandson is found dead on the farm.

As Charlie delves into his own family history, he encounters many people who might have been motivated to take a life. But Charlie and Diesel know that things are not always what they seem, and that secrets seemingly lost to time have a way of finding their way back to haunt the present.

My Review: 

As we go back to Athena, Mississippi we visit with Charlie, Diesel and their friends and family.  In this book we learn that Charlie has inherited a farm away from the busy city that belonged to his grandparents and he learns this because the previous renter had died.  This was all pretty normal in the book until Diesel finds bones in the house then everything gets all sorts of crazy.   There are land disputes and people who want to own the farm and all sorts of crazy stuff but the real question is who are the bones and what happened to a family member of the deceased who winds up dead during a bad rain story,  So much going on it was great to see Charlie step back in some areas and let others work on the case.

I love the Cat in Stacks I have been a huge fan since book on and keeps on getting better all the time.  This one definitely didn't disappoint in the least.  We get to go back and see what everyone is up to and what craziness is beginning.  Loved it!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Review: Hard Bitten by: Chloe Neill

Title: Hard Bitten 
Author: Chloe Neill
Publisher: NAL Trade
Format: Paperback ( 350 p.) Personal Purchase


Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals—and they're camping outside of Cadogan House with protest signs that could turn to pitchforks at any moment. Inside its doors, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan, are tense. But then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn't help that she can't tell who's on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who's tall, dark, and part of an underground vamp group that may have some deep intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the heady, dark heart of Chicago's supernatural society—a world full of vampires who seem to be ready to fulfill the protesting human's worst fears, and a place where she'll learn that you can't be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands.

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Merit as she is helping her house after the mess that happened in the previous book.  Someone is messing with the humans again this time using a special pull that alters the mind of people.  Merit and Ethan are looking into what could be going on.  Unfortunately the council sent a representative to check on Ethan's house which puts them all under fire for anything and everything.  What a new girl vampire to do?

I love this series it's a lot of fun and keeps you on your toes.  You find you can't wait to see what is next.  I love watching Merit, Mall, Catcher and everyone else it's like when your favorite paranormal tv show comes back from a hiatus you get all excited to see what is next!

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