Perfect for a cold afternoon

When the temperature dips into the single digits, I look for a book cuddle up with and escape.   This was just what I needed.  The book is written in a series of letters between Evie Elliott and Tom Hardy during World War I (plus letters from their friends and family)  Truly, it is the letters between these two that I had to read.   The two are childhood friends along with Evie’s older brother, Will.  It is 1914 in England, and Tom and Will enlist in the to fight to win the war.   The letters begin as friends sharing their different experiences of the war.  Evie is at home living a privileged life while Tom is in the trenches facing the horrors of war.   They share their dreams, hopes, love of literature, and so much more.

The war was expected to be over by Christmas 1914, but this is not to be.  The correspondences continue through tragedy and unimaginable events. They dance around their feelings, and will it be too late for them?  Evie makes a decision that puts her in harm’s way and in the thick of all the danger.   Will the war, influenza, typhoid, or the love of another come between them?

I fell in love with the characters and found myself begging for the two of them to speak their mind honestly…but that is not the decorum of the day.  All prim and proper….the tragedy of it all.  You must read to discover what comes to be.

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A classic mystery

Let me start by saying that I adore Agatha Christie….I have adored her books since I was in junior high school.  I started with And Then There Were None and devoured many of her mysteries soon after.   I became obsessed and would read the books and watch all the Agatha Christie movies….my favorites were with Peter Usinov  as Hercule Poirot.  So when I was offered to review Murder on the Orient Express, I quickly jumped at the chance.

The movie will be out this week (November 9, and I cannot wait to see this version directed by Kenneth Branagh.  Though I recommend everyone read the book first before seeing the film.)   The book is addicting!  The whole mystery takes place on the Orient Express which is stuck on the tracks in a snowdrift.   It is during this time that Samuel Ratchett is murdered.  He is found in a locked compartment stabbed 12 times….no murder weapon is found.   The murderer is among one of passengers or employees of the train.  Hercule Poirot is on the case before the murderer can strike again.  Trust me…this is one fantastic read for any mystery lover.  I love Hercule Poirot and the characters are so well developed, and I felt like I was on the train with them all watching everything unfold in front of me.  Go out and read this…now….and then see the movie!

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Twists and turns…very dark

  

 

I have read several book by C.L. Taylor and have enjoyed them.  She writes thrillers that visit your deepest fears and will haunt you.   This is a story of 15 year-old Billy who goes missing in the middle of the night.  There are no clues as to where he could be or what could have happened.  Forward 6 months, and the family has fallen apart.  His older brother is drinking, mom is having blackouts and can’t remember things that she has done, and the father is distant and hiding some secret that could cause more agonizing news.

Throughout the book, we, the reader, are given clips of text conversations between two people who use aliases.  We come to learn quickly that one is Billy, but when we discover who the other is…we are shocked.

Fast-pace and engaging…I had to finish it before I went to bed last night.

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Delightful, Warm, and Sweet

  

I just finished reading the third book in this trilogy, and I am bittersweet over it.   It was such a delight to read, and I am a tad bit sad that I read the last one first.   I know I can go back and read the first two and pretend that I know nothing….I will certainly have to do that since I do love the characters so much.

The stories take place in a Cornish coastal village only connected to the mainland by the causeway…no road.  Polly is the baker of the bunch and has her own little bakery and she has two dear friends whose stories are both heartbreaking and lovely.   I do not want to tell too much about this book, but I do recommend it.   I would first read The Little Beach Street Bakery and then Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery and then finish with Christmas at Little Beach Bakery.  With the cooler temperatures coming soon…these books will warm you this winter.

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Timely novel

 

This novel tackles a timely topic that we are seeing every day in the world.  Racial divide and fear.  This story takes place in England.  The two main characters are two best friends.  Two 15 year-old boys.   One with terminal cancer.  One who is white.  The other is a Somali refugee.  They are quiet, nerdy boys who play chess and do everything together.

One night during a sleepover, Noah convinces Abdi to sneak out after his parents have fallen asleep.   Noah knows that his time is running out and he wants to do something mischievous.  Abdi is not so sure, but he reluctantly agrees.  Tragedy strikes when Noah ends up in the canal and is unconscious.  He ends up in the hospital in a coma.  Abdi is silent and refuses to talk about what happens.  People begin to assume that Abdi is the one responsible for what happened to Noah.  Both their families fight to find the truth and protect their sons.

Enter Detective Jim Clemo who is back on duty after a mandatory leave.  He begins to piece together the truth to that night, but he has to fight the media who wants to sensationalize the story and make Abdi and all Somali refugees the problem.   They blame Abdi and this fuels the belief for a White Nation as tension builds in Bristol.

Very hard to read at parts, very real, and a shocking ending.  Highly recommend!

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A new favorite mystery series!

 

This is my first encounter with  Stewart Hoag (Hoagy) and his sidekick….an anchovy-eating Bassett Hound named Lulu. And I loved it! This is number 9 in the series!   Number 9!   This means I have 8 more books that I need to read in order to complete the mysterious adventures Hoagy and Lulu.  Here is a rundown of who Hoagy is:

In the past, Hoagy wrote one best-seller and was the talk of the town…he had it all.  However, this was followed by an extreme case of writer’s block and a second novel has not come to be.   He lost his fancy home, the fancy life, and his marriage to movie star Merilee.   He now lives in small apartment in New York with Lulu and spends his time ghostwriting.  His new career has provided him not only with the opportunity to write fascinating and interesting stories, but to use another of his skills…amateur sleuthing.  He natural ability to deduce and reason helps him solve some fairly scary and dangerous cases…all that start with a new ghostwriting assignment.   Who knew writing could be so dangerous?

The Girl with the Kaleidoscope Eyes reunites Hoagy with Reggie….a beautiful, yet wounded poet who he spent three passionate and wild years with. Reggie’s father is a famous author who has become a recluse (think a bit J.D. Salinger).   No one has heard from him in years….not since his wife committed suicide.  That is no one has heard from him until now — twenty years later.   Reggie and her sister Monette (who have not spoken in 20 years) receive letters from their father….or someone pretending to be their father. He wants something from his daughters.   The public is intrigued.

Enter Stewart Hoagy.  He has been hired to author the story of the reunion of Richard Aintree (recluse author) and his two daughters. Hoagy flies out to Monette’s home in LA and discovers that Monette’s empire is crumbling away after a Hollywood scandal.  Hoagy gets thrown into the scandal when bodies begin to pileup in Monette’s LA mansion.  Hoagy immediately tunes into the detective part of himself and starts to uncover the truth.

Fun, witty, fast-paced….I recommend this for an rainy weekend read…make sure you have some coffee and pastries to keep you fueled through the read.

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A little bit of history, religion, and science.

 

 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry is a cleverly written novel of intellect and historically interest.   It is written in a Charles Dickens-style…rich in details and flourishing vocabulary.  The story is about a woman, Cora,  whose husband has died.  In some circumstances, this would make for a sad story, but Cora’s husband was not kind and loving.   Cora, who is a woman not of her time, is interested in science and nature and travel.   She now has her chance to focus on her interests without her horrible husband around.   She has an unusual child, a boy of 11 , and a companion whose name is Martha.  The three of them embark on a journey which leads them to the coast of Essex where a rumor of a serpent resides.  A young man is found dead, and people believe it to be this serpent, but Cora who does not  believe in myths and fantasy is determined to discover the truth behind the murder.   Think of her as Scully (X-files)….the truth is out there, and she does not believe in the supernatural.

 

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