Saturday, October 31, 2015

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in October 30

This was a tough week. Friday was supposed to be my last day of week but I had to move that up to Tuesday due to a family emergency. I spent Wednesday and Thursday at my sister's watching my 2 nieces, which was fun, but quite tiring...and I'm heading back there for a few days again next week.

Here's how my week went: 

Oct 24:  8,169 steps
Oct 25:  5,624 steps
Oct 26:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs,
9,388 steps 
Oct 27:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 6,570 steps
Oct 28:  6,529 steps

Oct 29:  12,350 steps
Oct 30: 
2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 4,712 steps
Audiobooks listened to this week: 

  • Shadow Play by Iris Johansen, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.

Review: Gossamer Ghost by Laura Childs

Title: Gossamer Ghost   
Author: Laura Childs    
Series: A Scrapbooking Mystery, #12     
Published: October 2014, Berkley  
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages   
Source: Library  

Carmela Bertrand knows that Halloween in New Orleans means a week of rabble-rousing, costumed craziness—and she can’t wait to get the party started. But when a local antiques dealer turns up dead, Carmela suddenly finds herself in a real-life danse macabre…

An evening’s work deciding on the class schedule for her scrapbooking shop has put Carmela in the mood to kick up her heels. But after some strange noises draw her into Oddities, the neighboring antiques shop, Carmela’s night is abruptly put on hold when a bloody body falls out of a curio cabinet—and into her arms.

While shop owner Marcus Joubert was known for being an eccentric with a penchant for eclectic merchandise, Carmela never thought he was the kind of man who could inspire the passion required to kill. But when Marcus’s assistant—and fiancĂ©e—Mavis reveals that a priceless death mask was also stolen, it becomes clear that murder wasn’t the culprit’s sole intention.

Carmela can’t resist the urge to investigate the growing mystery, but as the list of suspects increases, she realizes it’ll take every trick in the book to unmask the killer thief before there’s another night of murderous mischief…

My thoughts: This is the 12th book in Laura Child's A Scrapbooking Mystery series and I just love this series. I love the setting and I love the characters and I loved that this one was set during Halloween - it just seemed to add an extra sense of spookiness to the story!

Finding a dead body in the store next to her scrapbooking store is the last thing Carmela expects to happen in the week leading up to Halloween and yet of course, she can't just walk away. I love, though, how her best friend Ava is just as willing to help out with the sleuthing this time as Carmela is. These two balance each other out quite nicely - Ava is quite spontaneous where Carmela is more methodical when it comes to her sleuthing - they definitely earn the nickname "Lucy and Ethel!"

It turns out that there is more than just a murder to be solved. There is also a rare mask missing from the antique store and that might have been the motive for the death. This adds a new layer to the mystery and provides some interesting history as well. 

I love that these books are quick, fun reads. This time around I was quite shocked at the guilty party, never once having guessed they had done it, but that's half the fun in reading these types of books. I also love all the fun scrapbooking tips and recipes that are included both throughout the book and at the end.

Books in this series:
  1. Keepsake Crimes                         9.  Skeleton Letters
  2. Photo Finished                            10.  Postcards from the Dead
  3. Bound for Murder                      11.  Gilt Trip
  4. Motif for Murder                        12.  Gossamer Ghost
  5. Frill Kill                                          13.  Parchment and Old Lace
  6. Death Swatch
  7. Tragic Magic
  8. Fiber & Brimstone  

Book Spotlight: The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

Title: The Barter     
Author: Siobhan Adcock   
Published: August 2015, Plume  
Format: Paperback, 320 pages   

In today’s “lean in” era, debut novelist Siobhan Adcock casts the issue of whether women can ever “have it all” into a superbly written novel that will have readers everywhere talking. Bridget has given up her career to raise her daughter, but now a terrifying presence has entered their Texas home—and only Bridget can feel it. In 1902, motherhood spurs Rebecca to turn her back on her husband, despite her own misgivings. As Adcock crosscuts these two women’s stories with mounting tension, each arrives at a terrible ordeal of her own making.

About the author: Siobhan Adcock received her MFA in fiction from Cornell University, and her short fiction has appeared in several literary magazines. She has worked as a writer and editor for Epicurious,,, and The Knowm among other digital publishers. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

*** Thanks to BookSparks for the heads up about this Spooky Read!!! 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Untimely Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan (Giveaway Closed)

Title: Untimely Death   
Author: Elizabeth J. Duncan     
Series: Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery, #1     
Published: November 2015, Crooked Lane Books  
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages   

A Catskills resort’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes a wickedly ironic turn when the leading lady, Lauren Richmond, is first poisoned and then stabbed. Who would extinguish the life of such a beautiful young thespian? Who wouldn’t? Seems like just about everyone had a motive to pull the ropes on her final curtain call.

At the center of this Shakespearian tragedy is Charlotte Fairfax, formerly the costume mistress of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Upstate New York is a long way from the royal stage, but Charlotte is always the queen of her domain. As this small production’s costume designer, she has stitched her way into everyone’s lives, learning more than anyone could possibly imagine about the rise and fall of Lauren Richmond. But curiosity killed the cat. And it might well kill the costume designer.

Witty and wise work, Untimely Death, the first in Elizabeth J. Duncan’s charming cozy series, is sure to delight.

Early Praise for Untimely Death:

“What could have more charm than a cozy set in the Catskills?…Duncan drops just enough clues and red herrings to keep the reader guessing whodunit to the end.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Duncan introduces a charming new sleuth and plenty of quirky characters sure to appeal to her base and to cozy fans in general.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Sympathetic, well-drawn characters and fascinating details on Shakespeare’s plays and costume design add to what is a satisfying mystery.” —Booklist


GIVEAWAY DETAILS - (US and Canada only)  
Thanks to the publisher, one reader can win a copy of  Untimely Death  by Elizabeth J. Duncan. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the form by November 6th.

Form closed

This giveaway is open to US/Canada residents only and ends November 6th.  
Good Luck!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Nine Lives by Wendy Corsi Staub

Title: Nine Lives   
Author: Wendy Corsi Staub         
Published: October 2015, Crooked Lane Books  
Format: ARC Paperback, 288 pages    
Source: Publisher  

After the death of her husband, Bella Jordan and her son need a fresh start. But on their way to stay with family in Chicago, they stop in Lily Dale, New York and a storm forces them to spend the night.

Brimming with psychics and mediums, Lily Dale is just the kind of quirky little town Bella's late husband always talked about settling down in. So when the local hotel's owner, Leona, passes away, Bella agrees to step in and help temporarily. The longer she and Max stay there, the more Lily Dale starts to feel like home.

But for Bella, finding a home means finding danger, too. Leona was murdered, and it's up to Bella to track down the killer before her sanctuary comes crashing down in bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub’s warm and witty series debut.

My thoughts: I was fortunate to pick this gem up at BEA this past Spring and to meet Wendy Corsi Staub during a book signing. I haven't hadn't heard of her before BEA, but ended up with two of her books and after reading this one, will certainly be checking out her other books. 

I really enjoyed this book and while it does have that little bit of paranormal, it was still a fun cozy mystery and I think I'm going to stick with this new series, at least enough to give the next book a try. Lily Dale is certainly an interesting town - what town wouldn't that's filled with psychics and mediums? But what I loved is that when things happen, the answer as to why they happen is just vague enough that there could be a logical explanation for it or it could be more of a paranormal/supernatural explanation for it happening - and that totally won me over.

Things always happen for a reason and while Bella might not always believe that, something has brought her and her son to Lily Dale. She keeps saying that she's only staying for a day or two, but something keeps preventing her from leaving. Does she really want to live with her mother-in-law? It seems like Lily Dale might be a good place to put down roots, even though there's a murder to be solved.

This was a great introduction into what I think will be a fun cozy series. It's faced-paced and kept me guessing all the way until the end. I loved all the characters that we got to meet in this first book and even the town itself is like a character - it has so much charm and personality. I can't wait to see what happens next for Bella and Max and the residents of Lily Dale.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams (Giveaway Closed)

Next week, Along the Infinite Sea, the latest book by Beatriz Williams comes out (November 3rd!) and I'm super excited about this one. This is the third and final book of the Schuyler sisters and I've been looking forward to reading it since finishing the last one, Tiny Little Thing over the summer.  I had the please of meeting Beatriz quite a few times and will be seeing her again next week. She's delightful and I have really enjoyed the books I've read of hers. In anticipation of release day, I have a giveaway for you - see below for details (2 copies are up for grabs!!!).  

Title: Along the Infinite Sea    
Author: Beatriz Williams    
Published: November 2015, G.P. Putnam's Sons   
Format: Hardcover, 464 pages   

Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler's problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she's finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician.

But the car's new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle's life from World War II stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts.

Indomitable heroines, a dazzling world of secrets, champagne at the Paris Ritz, and a sweeping love story for the ages, in New York Times bestselling author Beatriz William's final book about the Schuyler sisters.

Early Praise for Along the Infinite Sea:

“[R]iveting historical fiction that illuminates love so strong that it transcends decades.” —Boston Globe

“A world filled with elegance, charm, and bygone manners … No one does it better than Beatriz.” —Jane Green

“Passionate and starry-eyed, Williams’s latest romance is a beautiful escape from everyday life.” —Shelf Awareness

“With the killer charm of a Rodgers and Hammerstein score and a touch of du Maurier intrigue, Williams’ latest sexy and enthralling period drama (on the high heels of Tiny Little Thing
) draws readers into the parallel, luxe worlds of two sparky women in the post-Camelot 1960s.Kirkus (starred review)

“With spunky characters full of grace and grit… The swift pacing and emotional twists and turns of the plot will leave readers guessing up to the final pages. Recommended for readers who enjoyed the atmosphere and characters of Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins.”  —Library Journal


Thanks to
the publisher
, two
readers can win a copy of  Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams.   To enter the giveaway, please fill out the form by November 2nd.

Form closed

This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends November 2nd

Good Luck!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in October 23

Another week of just squeaking by with my step goal (10k/day) this week, except for Wednesday. I've had some long days at the computer this past week, trying to finish up projects at work before my last day, which is this Friday.  I foresee another long week of computer time and meetings ahead of me and then I plan on getting my butt back to the gym pronto!!! Yoga classes, long walks and strength training are all going to be part of my routine...I just need to get through this week ;)
Here's how my week went: 

Oct 17:  4,134 steps
Oct 18:  7,041 steps
Oct 19:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs,
12,982 steps 
Oct 20:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 11,169, steps
Oct 14:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 8,210 steps

Oct 15:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 10,942 steps
Oct 16: 
2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 10,042 steps
Audiobooks listened to this week: 

  • Shadow Play by Iris Johansen, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery (audio)

Title: Marry Me at Christmas   
Author: Susan Mallery    
Series: Fool's Gold, #19   
Narrator: Tanya Eby  
Published: September 2015, Brilliance Audio  
Length: 6 hours 37 minutes  
Source: Publisher 

Wish upon a Christmas star with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery's sparkling Fool's Gold romance!

To bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug, organizing a Christmas wedding sounds like a joy—until she finds out she'll be working closely with the gorgeous brother of the bride, movie star Jonny Blaze. How will a small-town girl like her keep from falling for the world's sexiest guy? Especially with mistletoe lurking around every corner!

Jonny came to Fool's Gold looking for normal, not for love. Happily-ever-after only happens in the movies. Still, nothing about this quirky town is quite what he expected, and "ordinary" Madeline is the most extraordinary woman he's ever met. Refreshingly honest, disarmingly sweet. Achingly beautiful.

Planning the perfect wedding leads to candlelit dinners and strolls through snow-covered streets. And Madeline finds Jonny in real life even more captivating than her celebrity crush. But will the action star be brave enough to risk his heart and step into the role of a lifetime?

My thoughts: This is this year's Christmas Fool's Gold story and it was a fun, charming story that really gets you in the holiday mood. I really love this series and loved this love story.

This is Madeline and Jonny's story - characters that if you've been reading this series in order, you've met before. But, if you are new to this series, not to worry, you'll be able to enjoy the story just the same! I love how Madeline and Jonny come together - she is asked by Mayor Marsha to help plan his sister's wedding because town's event planner is over-booked. Was Mayor Marsha up to her old tricks? Did she know about Madeline's secret crush she had on Jonny Blaze? 

I loved how Madeline and Jonny moved from just working together to having a relationship. It wasn't a fast move, but rather a slow progression and Susan Mallery highlighted the difference between fan worship and regular man-woman love interest. Of course, Madeline falls prey to both, but in the end, she truly does love Jonny for the man he is and she proves that. 

A Fool's Gold book wouldn't be complete with Edie and Gladys and once again they provide some good comic relief. But, they are also full of surprises - they sure do have the backs of those they care about and often show up just when you need them. 

I'm not sure how long this series is going to be around, but I'm hoping that at some point we are going to get a little more on Mayor Marsha than just her setting things up in the beginning of the book. She is like the ultimate fairy godmother/puppet master and I just know there's more to her than meets the eye!

Audio Thoughts: Tanya Eby really does a great job narrating this series...I just love listening to her and all voices she gives each character. She makes each book such an entertaining listening experience and I definitely plan to continue listening to the rest of this series as long as she continues narrating the books.

Books in this series:

   1.  Chasing Perfect                   12.5  Christmas on 4th Street 
    2.  Almost Perfect                    13.  When We Met
    2.5  Sister of the Bride          14.  Before We Kiss
    3.  Finding Perfect                   15.   Until We Touch
    4.  Only Mine                              15.5  Yours for Christmas
    5.  Only Yours                            16.  Hold Me
    6.  Only His                                   17.  Kiss Me                      
    6.1  Only Us                                   18.  Thrill Me
    6.2  Almost Summer             19. Marry Me at Christmas 
    7.  Summer Days                       

    8.  Summer Nights                   
    9.  All Summer Long  

    9.5  A Fool's Gold Christmas
    9.75  Halfway There
    10.  Just One Kiss
    11.  Two of  a Kind
    12.  Three Little Words  


Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Sunday Post #88 (10.18.15)

 The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. I'm also going to link this up with Kathryn's It's Monday post over at Book Date.  
Fall is definitely here! We had our first frost this morning and it has stayed in the 50s all day. I'm not complaining one bit as I love this weather - I love needing to wear a sweater and a vest or jacket with a scarf when out walking the dogs. And the dogs love the chilly air - it seems to give them a little extra energy or something - they just want to run around and play :)  Of course, I just want to sit under a blanket with a nice cuppa tea and read, so we have to compromise...a few extra walks and some good snuggle time!!! Luckily they are super warm and love sitting under the blanket with me.

Have a great week everyone!!!


Last 2 weeks on the Blog:                              
* Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Chance Harbor by Holly Robinson 

* Review: The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore 
* Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Another Woman's Daughter by Fiona Sussman 
* Review & Giveaway: Parchment and Old Lace by Laura Childs  
* Review: Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand
* Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Nine Lives by Wendy Corsi Staub
#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in October 16   
Books Read:                      
* Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery (review audio book) 
* Parchment and Old Lace by Laura Childs (review book) 

* Willow Brook Road by Sherryl Woods (review audio book) 
* The Last September by Nina de Gramont (audio book)      

* Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand (review book) 
* Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge (review e-book)    
Currently Reading:                    

* The Witches by Stacy Schiff  (review book)  

* Nine Lives by Wendy Corsi Staub (review book)  
* Where the Memories Lie by Sibel Hodge (review audio book)  
* Shadow Play by Iris Johansen (review audio book)
Books Up Next:                               
* Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini (review book)       

* Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams  (review e-book)
Recent Giveaway Winners:
* A Perfect Heritage by Penny Vincenzi...Melissa S

* Night Blindness by Susan Strecker...Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
* Chance Harbor by Holly Robinson...Anita Yancy
* Another Woman's Daughter by Fiona Sussman...Letty Blanchard
* Parchment & Old Lace by Laura Childs...Melanie Backus & Marjorie Roy  

Current Giveaway:
* Nine Lives by Wendy Corsi Staub...Ends 10/23/15


Coming Up on the Blog:
* Review:
Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery

* Review: The Liar by Nora Roberts  
* Review: The Last September by Nina de Gramont
* Review: Pop Goes the Weseal by M.J. Arlidge   
* Review: The Naked Eye by Iris Johansen

Book Haul:    
For Review:

* Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini (Courtesy of Publisher)
* The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig (Netgalley)

* The View from Prince Street by Mary Ellen Taylor (Netgalley)
*Anything for You by Kristan Higgins (Netgalley)

* Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams (Courtesy of Publisher)
* Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson
* The Murder House by James Patterson
* A Virtuous Death by Christine Trent


#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in October 16

I ended up going away last weekend and I didn't get a chance to post, so here is 2 week's worth of steps. I haven't made it to the gym in a while, but last week, I forced myself to hit my goal of 10k steps each day and I felt good doing that. It's going to be two more weeks of long days, but then things will be better - there is a light at the end of this tunnel and I can't wait to get to it!!!
Here's how my week went:  

Oct  3:  3,625 steps
Oct  4:  6,211 steps
Oct  5:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs,
13,760 steps 
Oct  6:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 7,801, steps
Oct  7:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 10,491 steps

Oct  8:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 7,583 steps
Oct  9:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 9,291 steps

Oct 10:  2,178 steps
Oct 11:  2,235 steps
Oct 12:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs,
10,092 steps 
Oct 13:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 10,632, steps
Oct 14:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 12,689 steps

Oct 15:  2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 10,760 steps
Oct 16: 
2-15 minute fitness walks with dogs, 11,554 steps
Audiobooks listened to these past 2 weeks : 

  • The Last September by Nina de Gramont, narrated by Rebecca Mitchell

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.

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