Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

The Dial Press

Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Happy Publication Day for Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella! I remember when I first read Confessions of a Shopaholic and I fell in love with Becky Bloomwood, now Becky Brandon.  I just love this character so much and I’m so glad I got an opportunity to revisit this series with this latest installment, just in time for some holiday cheer.  In this new book, Becky is taking over the Christmas dinner for her  entire family since her parents have temporarily relocated and can’t host the dinner.  So now Becky has to have the dinner all cooked, the shopping all done and her house looking festive for the holidays.  

If you’ve read any of the books in the Shopaholic series, you can probably imagine the trouble on the horizon as Becky goes into overdrive planning for the holiday!  If you haven’t read the series, never fear!  You can leap right into Christmas Shopaholic without any problem at all.  This book is warm, charming and funny and it’s perfect to lift your spirits.  I definitely want to go back and read some of the books I’ve missed in this wonderfully fun series!  I loved it!

Thank you to NetGalley and The Dial Press #partner for my copy!

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Evvie Drake is a young widow living in a big old house in a small town in Maine.  She doesn’t leave her house much except to go out to breakfast on Saturdays with her best friend, Andy.  Andy wants to find some way to help Evvie because he thinks Evvie is mired in grief. Andy’s childhood friend, Dean Tenney was a former star pitcher for the New York Yankees.  Dean can’t throw anymore because he’s got the “yips.”  He can’t pitch the way he used to and he has no idea why.  Dean wants to escape NY and Andy has a way to help him out.  Andy asks Evvie if Dean can rent the apartment in the back of Evvie’s house.

It would be easy for someone to dismiss or overlook this book, but you would be missing out on one of the best books I’ve read this year. I loved this book and I felt an immediate connection to the story, the setting, and to the characters. This book is the reason I love Bookstagram. I probably would have never heard of it or given it a chance without the recommendation from so many fellow readers. This is just the perfect, late-summer read. It has characters I couldn’t help but root for. The writing is wonderful. And there’s baseball. ⚾️ .

But no one thing overwhelms the story. And this story is really about Evvie, a young woman who must face her past and begin to really live her future. It’s a book about friendship and loss and grief and bravery in the face of reinventing yourself. 4.5 ⭐️

This is one of the books I read for #readwhatyouown September! I will be going through my backlist for the rest of 2019, hoping to find hidden gems on my bookshelves. Happy Sunday everyone!

UR by Stephen King

#readwhatyouown September

I love novellas, especially  Stephen King’s, because they can lift me out of a reading slump very quickly.  UR is a story about a college professor named Wesley Smith. He’s quite the book lover, but has staunchly refused to buy a Kindle.  Perish the thought!  But after a fight with his computer-savvy girlfriend, Wesley breaks down and buys a Kindle.

Only the Kindle that Wesley receives is unlike any other.  Wesley’s Kindle has a category called UR.  What happens if he clicks on this mysterious link?  Well, things get a little interesting and scary for Wesley.  This novella, along with N, is probably among my favorites of King’s many short stories.  There are nods to The Dark Tower and 11/22/63.  I’ve heard some people say the first part of the story is boring.  To me, that’s called character development.  I have recommended this one to readers who want to start reading some of King’s work.  And this creepy tale, along with many others, can now be found in the anthology The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

UR is one of my choices for #readwhatyouown September.

I’m still here!

I know I haven’t posted in awhile. I have been over on Instagram, posting my favorite books, covers only, for a book challenge. It’s been a bit of a break for me, aside from trying to choose seven of my favorite books!

Sometimes life can be a struggle, so I just need to regroup. I did read two books from my backlist for #readwhatyouown September, and I’m happy about that. Or sometimes, I need to take a lesson from Henry and Benny and just be in the moment. Or just be.

Never fear, I will be back soon! Here’s one of my favorite books of all time to remind myself that reading is my escape.

Book Review

The Second Chance Supper Club by Nicole Meier. Publication Date: September 10, 2019. Lake Union Publishing

Thank you to @getredpr #partner for my copy of this lovely book by @nicolemeierwrites.

I enjoyed this book so much. It’s about two estranged sisters, Julia and Ginny. Julia is an anchorwoman on a morning show in NYC. She has a hedge fund manager fiancé and a high-pressure job. But when Julia makes a major miscue on live TV, she flees to Arizona, where her older sister, Ginny lives with her daughter, Olive. Only problem is that Ginny and Julia haven’t spoken in three years.

Ginny was a celebrated chef in Manhattan before returning to Arizona after the death of their parents. Now Ginny is running a secret supper club in her house while trying to deal with her daughter, Olive when Julia arrives in the mix.

This book is filled with emotional moments, second chances, food 🥘, the beauty of Arizona and the relationship between sisters. I don’t have a sister, so I’m always interested in books that focus on that relationship. I also enjoyed reading a book that is set in Arizona. I spent many years visiting there, primarily in around the Mesa/Scottsdale area. But I also got to explore much of the state on my visits there. This book captured the uniqueness of Arizona quite well, and it was a pleasure to read.

If you’re looking for a book to read this fall on a cold, rainy afternoon, this is a great book to pick up. Julia and Ginny tell their story in alternating chapters, so the reader knows both of their points of view. This wonderful, heartwarming read is available now!

Book Review: 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

St. Martin’s Press. Publication Date: September 10, 2019

“Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.”

Book Summary:  Sarah is a young professor struggling to prove herself in a workplace controlled by the charming and manipulative Alan Hawthorne. A renowned scholar and television host, Hawthorne rakes in million-dollar grants for the university where Sarah works—so his inappropriate treatment of female colleagues behind closed doors has gone unchallenged for years. And Sarah is his newest target.

When Hawthorne’s advances become threatening, Sarah is left with nowhere to turn. Until the night she witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young child on her drive home, and impulsively jumps in to intervene. The child’s father turns out to be a successful businessman with dangerous connections—and her act of bravery has put this powerful man in her debt. He gives Sarah a burner phone and an unbelievable offer. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that can make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No traces. All it takes is a 29-second phone call.

My Thoughts: A thriller for the #metoo era.  Kudos to the author for tackling some very difficult subject matter— sexual harassment in the workplace.  The main character, Sarah, is in a weakened and vulnerable state.  Her husband has left her with her two young children to care for which makes her desperate to keep her job.  I don’t think I’ve read quite an awful character like Alan Hawthorne in a long time.

I enjoyed the author’s previous book, Lies, and I really wanted to read this one.  I struggled to write my review because the subject matter hits close to home.  I really felt for Sarah in one aspect—the feeling of being trapped in a situation, in this case, her job.  I could feel her desperation, her vulnerability, her pain.  This thriller zips along with twists and turns and then, that ending!  This book made me think about what I would do if I were in a similar situation.  Would I make that call?  Would you?

Many thanks to St. Martins Press #partner and NetGalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour! @suzyapprovedbooktours Every Thing You Are by Kerry Anne King

Thank you to @suzyapprovedbooktours for inviting me on the blog tour for this book! I am so excited to tell you about this book because I really loved it! And look at this gorgeous book cover! ☺️

What it’s about: One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.

When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?

Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music. 🎼

My Thoughts: I really loved this book!  It is beautifully written and it combines music and magical realism with an emotional story of overcoming addiction, healing and forgiveness.  The story is told from three POVs: Braden, Phee, and Allie.  With each alternating chapter, I felt so connected to all the characters.  I couldn’t help but root for them, and I really enjoyed the musical aspect of the story and how it tied all the characters together.  The magical realism aspect fit in well with the story, and it gave light to the darkness in the story. I highly recommend this book and if you have Amazon First Reads through Amazon Prime, you can get this book for free in September! It’s so worth checking out! Every Thing You Are will be available on October 1st.

About The Author:

Kerry Anne King is the author of the international bestselling novel Closer Home. Licensed both as an RN and a Mental Health Counselor, she draws on her experience working in the medical and mental health fields to explore themes of loss, grief, and transformation, always with a dose of hope and humor. Kerry lives in a little house in the big woods of the inland northwest with her Viking, three cats, a dog, and a yard full of wild turkey and deer. She also writes fantasy and mystery novels as Kerry Schafer.

Social Media:



Twitter: @Kerry_Anne_King

Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond by Alexandra Horowitz

Thank you to @Scribner #partner and @Netgalley for my copy of this book which is available today!

There is so much history and science about the symbiotic relationship between ourselves and our dogs in this new non-fiction book. I struggled with it at times, but when I focused, I really learned many things about how the relationship between humans and dogs came to be.  I have loved dogs my entire life and I currently live with two, an elderly dachshund, 14,  and a black lab, who is now 7. My blog is named for them.

I laughed at some things in this book:  how people come to name their dogs, what they say tp their dogs. How they buy clothing for their dogs. (Guilty!) Both of my dogs have lengthy origin stories of how they got their names.  They both have silly nicknames. Beanie, Boba Fett, Monkey. PoochTerrific. Love Bug. Just to name a few. I routinely talk to my dogs and I’ve never questioned whether or not they think.  I know they know what certain words mean. Cookie, walk, ride in the car. Toys. STOP! I love you.

 My dogs (and all the ones who came before them in my life) have taught me more about compassion, loyalty, grace, and unconditional love than most humans I’ve met. I am grateful for the fellow animal lovers that I have met through my dogs. And  I think you truly need to be a dog lover to enjoy this book. It’s so densely packed with science, psychology and the history of dog ownership.

  I made a choice in my adult life to have dogs and they all became part of my family.  They made me laugh, they were there through some really hard times and I experienced more sadness than I can possibly convey when I had to lose one of them.

I wouldn’t trade a moment of time with any of them.  For me, there has been no greater joy than sharing my life with these amazing animals.  This book gave more so much insight about them and about myself.  Thank you to Scribner for the privilege of reading this book and thank you to all the dogs I’ve known for the privilege of being your guardian.  Your souls will live forever in my heart.

I think this book would make a great gift for dog lovers and for those readers who enjoy non-fiction books!

About The Author: Alexandra Horowitz is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know and On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation. She teaches at Barnard College, where she runs the Dog Cognition Lab. She lives with her family and two large, highly sniffy dogs in New York City.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

This creepy cover is hard to resist!

I am dedicating September and the rest of 2019 to tackling my TBR.  I have unread books all over the place in my house.  It’s getting on my nerves a little bit.  I will never read all these books before I die.  And I can’t seem to stop buying books, so I’m in a quandary.  I figured I can at least try to read some backlist titles.

And so we arrive at this book.  I saw rave reviews all over Bookstagram earlier in the year and I purchased this book because I love a good thriller.  For me, they are quick, escapist fare. This book was creepy, crazy, and just plain twisted.  The Husband narrates the entire book.  He has about an ounce of likability, if that. He tells us about his wife, Millicent, and how they met and got married.  About their life together in Hidden Oaks, Florida.  He tells us about their two kids, Rory and Jenna.  And of course, he tells us about their side hobby. 


Set aside a few hours to read this book because once you start it, you won’t want to stop reading.  The chapters are short.  I literally couldn’t put this book down.  I didn’t even find myself trying to guess how it would all end.  The twists and turns were ones I didn’t see coming.

If you’re a thriller fan, this is definitely one worth reading.  But for some reason, I don’t think it will wind up on my top ten thrillers list for 2019.  I truly couldn’t stand the characters, so for me, it’s a 3.5/5 ⭐️

The Long Walk by Stephen King

How do you talk about a book that you loved and hated?  


Let me explain. I have been a fan of Stephen King’s books for many years.  When I first read The Stand, I read it with a high school friend many years ago. I have vivid memories of reading The Shining, my first King book.  I adore many of his short stories.  Night Shift is one of my favorites. I have an entire bookshelf filled with SK books.  11/22/63 is also an all-time favorite.


Yet, I never read The Long Walk.  It’s set in a dystopian vision of America.  Every year on May 1, one hundred teenage boys compete in “The Walk.”  There is only one winner. He will receive The Prize.  Anything he wants for the rest of his life.


I finished this book in one afternoon, two weeks ago. Once I started it, I was on that walk with those boys.  I was all in.  This was a book where I shut out everyone in my life (except the dogs).  I felt everything.  This is not a behemoth of a book.  It’s sparse.  The prose is tight.  I don’t know too many authors who could write a book like this, a book about 100 kids walking, a book that left me psychologically drained.


When I finished this book, I hated it.  Seriously.  My first knee-jerk reaction was, “WTAF was that?”  But then I gathered up some brain cells and started thinking about it. Because most of the time my knee-jerk reactions can be pointless. This book was published in 1979, when King was writing under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman.  But King actually wrote this book much earlier when he was a student at the University of Maine.  King came of age during the Vietnam War.


I gave my copy of The Long Walk to my dad.  He said, “Will I like it?”  I told him I couldn’t answer that for him.  After I thought about this book for two weeks, I decided I loved it.  This book is one of the many reasons I love to read.  I’m not doing a monthly wrap-up for August. Because this is the one book that stood out for me. That isn’t to suggest that the other books I read this month were less worthy. But this was my favorite book, the one that mattered to me the most.