Word of the Week: January 16, 2023

It’s Monday! Y’all know what that means: it’s time for the Word of the Week! This one is pretty commonly used in my part of the world.

Yep, it’s a good ol’ Southern expression! Have you heard this word? Have you used this word? Do you think you might add it to your vocabulary?

Add the link to YOUR word of the week here!

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Book Beginnings on Friday and Book Blogger Hop: January 13, 2023

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted each week by Rose City Reader. It’s a chance to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading this week. You can check out others’ book beginnings here. I’m also going to link up with Carrie at Reading Is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

This week’s beginning:

Synopsis:

A high profile national fair, a murdered model. Can Dodo solve the crime before it closes the fair?

The historic British Empire Fair of 1924 is set to be officially opened by the king at the new Wembley Stadium and Lady Dorothea Dorchester, Dodo, has an invitation.

The whole fair is an attempt to build morale after a devastating World War and the planning and preparation have been in the works for years. So much is riding on its success.

The biggest soap maker in England has been offered the opportunity to host a beauty exhibit and after a nationwide search for the ten most beautiful girls in Britain, they build an extravagant ‘palace’ that will feature live models representing famous women of history, including one who will represent today’s modern woman. Dodo has succeeded in winning the bid to clothe Miss 1924 with fashions from the House of Dubois for whom she is a fashion ambassador.

But the fair has hardly begun when disaster strikes. One of the models is murdered. Can Dodo find the murderer before the bad PR closes the fair?

Clutching the gilded VIP invitation, Dodo Dorchester could barely conceal her excitement.

Are you in? Ann Sutton has crafted a delightful mystery series with Dodo Dorchester, and this promises to be an enjoyable read!

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. It starts each Friday and runs through the following Thursday. Each week, there’s a new prompt featuring a book-related question. It’s designed to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, make new blogging friends, and gain followers. See what others have to say on this topic and link up your own post here.

Are there any new books you’re excited to read in 2023?
(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

Lots of them! I talked about several of the books I’m looking forward to in the first half of 2023 here.

What books are you looking forward to this year? Leave a comment and let’s talk about them!

Posted in Book Beginnings on Fridays, Book Blogger Hop, Book Memes, Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

NYC Midnight 250-word Microfiction 2022 First Round Results

And the results are in….

In this challenge, participants are given a genre, an action that has to be involved in the story, and a word that has to be included. Then we have 24 hours to write a 250-word story.

I did not make the top ten, so I won’t be moving on to the second round. But I was one of five honorable mentions. In four competitions, this is my best finish, and I am ridiculously excited about it! The winners in my group wrote marvelous stories, and I wish them the best of luck in the second round.

I’ll share my little story here, should anyone be interested in reading it.

Group: 91
Genre: Fairy Tale and/or Fantasy
Action: Hugging
Word: Image

Title: Love Me Tender, Love Me Fae

She, taken because she was thought too beautiful to die.

He, because of his glorious singing voice, worthy of eternity.

This is the anniversary of their taking. They emerge in a forest clearing, walk on a gravel path. The merry skirl of bagpipes and the high notes of a recorder grow louder as they walk toward the stone gates. Her rich emerald green gown contrasts with his simple linen tunic and breeches. He carries a lute slung across his back.

Suddenly, a shriek. Their presence had been noted. 

“It’s him!” “Oh, she looks marvelous!” “So realistic!”

And finally, “Will you sing for us?”

They take the stage. Modern songs set as madrigals, rondos, and ballades. Words and melodies familiar to so many, yet it seems fewer sing along each year. Still, they sing. Solo, duet, with lute accompaniment or a capella. The music has a magic all its own.

Too soon, the sun journeys toward the horizon, and a stronger magic compels them. They smile sadly and tell the adoring crowds they must go, hugging the fans as they leave, wishing a hug was enough to keep them there.

“Thank you. Thank you very much,” he says as they draw away until next year, leaving the faire goers with the image of professional impersonators burned brightly into their minds. They would never know that Elvis and Marilyn yet live, under the hill, forever and a day.

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Blog Tour and Giveaway: Dial M for Meow by Ruth J. Hartman


Dial M for Meow (Bookshop Kitties Mysteries)
by Ruth J. Hartman

About Dial M for Meow


Dial M for Meow (Bookshop Kitties Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st In Series
Setting – Green Meadow, Indiana
Gemma Halliday Publishing (January 10, 2023)
Number of Pages 153
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BKHF9T7K

When children’s book author, Christy Bailey, receives a call from her aunt Betty to help out at her bookshop, she drops everything to go. Christy packs up her two cats—Milton and Pearl, the stars of her children’s mystery books—and leaves busy Philadelphia for tiny Green Meadow, Indiana. The timing of the call is perfect, as Christy’s letch of an ex-boyfriend has just cleaned out her savings, leaving Christy with a pile of unpaid bills and a desire to start over. And what better place to do that than a charming small town in Middle America?

But when Christy reaches her aunt’s bookshop, instead of small town hospitality she finds a dead body! Even worse, her aunt is passed out in the corner, hands covered in blood. The dead woman is an old frenemy of her Aunt Betty, and while Christy knows her aunt is innocent, the local detective isn’t so sure. With Milton and Pearl prowling for clues, Christy is determined to find the real killer and clear her aunt’s name… before her story ends in tragedy!

My review:

Christy Bailey is glad to answer her Aunt Betty’s call for assistance at her bookshop. Her now ex-boyfriend has left her broke and given her no reason to stay, so she packs up her cat, Milton and Pearl, and leaves the big city behind for small-town Indiana. To her shock, when she arrives at the bookstore, she finds a woman dead inside – and her aunt unconscious on the floor with blood on her hands. Literally. And when she comes to, Aunt Betty has no memory of what happened. Local law enforcement doesn’t seem too keen on looking far for other suspects, since Aunt Betty and the deceased had a bit of history. But Christy and her cats are on the case.

What an adorable start to a new series! I love the way life imitates art in the story. Christy writes children’s books about the crime-solving kitties, Milton and Pearl. In her real life, Christy’s actual cats seem to communicate with each other and with her to help track down clues and unravel the mystery. They aren’t just pets. They have purr-sonality! Milton and Pearl are the stars of the story in my opinion.

Hartman gives us other likable characters as well. Aunt Betty is a treat! I’m not sure how old she’s supposed to be, whether she’s middle-aged like me or closer to the elderly end of the spectrum. But she is full of sass and wants to be involved in sorting out what happened. Christy’s childhood friend, Janie, is also a lot of fun. Prone to being a little more huggy/touchy than I would be, but she’s very sweet and a good friend to Christy.

I also liked the spark of potential romance between Christy and hunky ER doctor Micah. He seems like a genuinely good guy, with a personality that likely makes him a really good doctor. I hope to see their relationship develop in future stories.

The one thing that didn’t hit quite right for me was the sheer number of curmudgeonly and outright unpleasant characters in the story. Small towns have characters, sure. I grew up in a small town. I live in one now. You’ve always got those people that everybody knows, and just accepts how they are. But to have so many unlikable characters in one small town? Maybe they didn’t have to all be QUITE so disagreeable. Although that did make it a challenge to figure out which one of them was the killer, so perhaps there’s some logic to that after all!

Clever cats, likable characters, a bookshop, and a well-written mystery all add up to a five-star read for me!


Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Gemma Halliday Publishing. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

About Ruth J. Hartman

Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning mysterious tales. She, her husband, and their cats love to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies. Well, the cats sit in the people’s recliners. Not that the cats couldn’t get their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else’s.

Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, farmhouse-dwelling writer uses her sense of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women who seem to find trouble without even trying.

Ruth’s husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her despite her insistence all of her books have at least one cat in them. See updates about her cozy mysteries at Ruthjhartman.com.

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Purchase Link – Amazon (affiliate link)

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 10 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 10 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 10 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Bootsie’s Book Nook. – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Elza Reads – REVIEW

January 11 – The Plain-Spoken Pen – REVIEW

January 11 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

January 12 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 13 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

January 13 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 13 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

January 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 14 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 15 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

January 15 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTIGHT

January 15 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

January 16 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

January 16 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Check out upcoming Top Ten themes on Jana’s blog and go here to see what others have on their Top Ten Tuesday lists!

Today’s topic: books I’m excited about in the first half of 2023!

In no particular order:

What books are you eagerly anticipating in the first half of this year? Leave me a comment!

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Word of the Week: January 9, 2023

Greetings, word nerds and word nerds in training! Welcome to Word of the Week. Without further ado, this week’s selection:

So a prologue, then. I’ve made it through over half a century of life and read a lot of books, and never have I heard this word. It seemed appropriate that I share it with y’all.

Happy Monday!

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12 Challenge: 2023

Yep, another reading challenge! This is the 12 Challenge: read 12 books recommended by 12 friends in 12 months.

The books I’ll be reading:

  1. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt (recommended by Lisa Lakey)
  2. Death in St. Petersburg by Tasha Alexander (recommended by Lea Hord)
  3. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (recommended by Angela Graves)
  4. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (recommended by Mance Bowden)
  5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (recommended by Ellen Dunlap)
  6. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (recommended bMady Nancy McDowell)
  7. The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig (recommended by Christy Wood)
  8. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (recommended by Roger Thomas)
  9. The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont (recommended by Amanda Elizabeth)
  10. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (recommended by Suzanne Edwards)
  11. Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boyle (recommended by Amy Henderson)
  12. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (recommended by Kristin McGehee)

Bonus:

  • E=mc2: The Biography of an Equation by David Bodanis (recommended by Catherine Passmore)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (recommended by Caitie Drost)

And there you have it! I may read two a month, or three a month, or one a month. But the goal is to read them all this year.

Thanks to my friends for the recommendations!

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TBR 23 in ’23 Challenge

Is this the year I clean up my TBR pile, at least a little? I’m going to try!

I’m signing up for the TBR 23 in ’23 Challenge, hosted by Gilion Dumas at Rose City Reader. Hop on over to the link and sign yourself up!

And since the Mount Blanc level will only have me reading one more book (24 books), I’m also signing up for the Mt. TBR challenge hosted by Bev at My Reading Block. Perhaps I’ll go farther than Mount Blanc and clear even more books off my precariously perched stacks!

Some of the books I’m choosing are hard copy books that have been languishing on my actual shelves. Some are on my Kindle and have been for an embarrassingly long time. Some are NetGalley scores that I didn’t read early on because I didn’t fully grasp the concept of NetGalley.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. The Storyteller by Traci Chee
  2. Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel
  3. A Place to Land by Kate Motaung
  4. Cane River by Lalita Tademy
  5. The Book of Dragons: An Anthology by Jonathan Strahan
  6. A Good Family by A. H. Kim
  7. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  8. Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
  9. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
  10. And It Was Good by Madeleine L’Engle
  11. Twenty by Debra Landwehr Engle
  12. A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle by Sarah Arthur
  13. On Borrowed Crime by Kate Young
  14. Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake
  15. Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden
  16. Operation Zulu Redemption by Ronie Kendig
  17. A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Sophie Hudson
  18. Lowcountry Bookshop by Susan M. Boyer
  19. Crooked Man by Tony Dunbar
  20. Till Death Do Us Tart by Ellie Alexander
  21. Prologue to Murder by Lauren Elliott
  22. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
  23. Miss Seeton Flies High by Hamilton Crane
  24. One more for Mt. TBR: Crime & Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett

There! Are you signing up for either of these reading challenges?

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Book Beginnings on Fridays and Book Blogger Hop: January 5, 2023

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted each week by Rose City Reader. It’s a chance to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading this week. You can check out others’ book beginnings here. I’m also going to link up with Carrie at Reading Is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

This week’s beginning:

Synopsis:

How does a man show his love – for country, for heritage, for family – during a war that sets the three at odds? What sets in motion the necessity to choose one over the other? How will this choice change everything and everyone he loves?

Jacob Miller, a first-generation American, grew up in New Berlin, a small German immigrant town in Ohio where he endured the Great Depression, met his wife, and started a family. Though his early years were not easy, Jacob believes he is headed toward his ‘happily ever after’ until a friend is sent to an internment camp for enemy combatants, and the war lands resolutely on his doorstep.

In An Enemy Like Me, Teri M. Brown uses the backdrop of World War II to show the angst experienced by Jacob, his wife, and his four-year-old son as he leaves for and fights in a war he did not create. She explores the concepts of xenophobia, intrafamily dynamics, and the recognition that war is not won and lost by nations, but by ordinary men and women and the families who support them.

For the first time in his short life, William heard his parents yelling at one another.

Are you hooked yet? You should be! If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend Teri M. Brown’s works. You can find my review of her first book, Sunflowers Beneath the Snow, here. You’ll want to read that one, too!

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. It starts each Friday and runs through the following Thursday. Each week, there’s a new prompt featuring a book-related question. It’s designed to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, make new blogging friends, and gain followers. See what others have to say on this topic and link up your own post here.

What was the first book you read this year?
(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

The first book I read this year was Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman. It was also the first book I reviewed this year!

What was your first read of this, the new year?

Posted in Book Beginnings on Fridays, Book Blogger Hop, Book Memes, Fantasy, Historical Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: A Spoonful of Madness by Katherine H. Brown

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights books soon to be released, the ones we’re excited about but haven’t read yet. It’s hosted by Wishful Endings, and was formerly hosted by Breaking the Spine. Y’all can check out all of this week’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday posts here.

Title: A Spoonful of Madness

Author: Katherine H. Brown

Genre: Steampunk Cozy Mystery

Publication Date: January 1, 2023

Publisher: Katherine Brown Books

Synopsis:

Anna-Marie and Ambrose are in more hot water than a kettle of tea for this anticipated sequel!

What do you do when you steal a book from the queen and have it stolen from you?

Grovel. At least, that is Ambrose’s solution.

Anna-Marie doubts it will work but when the Queen Victoria agrees to give them a chance to get Moonstone’s Promise back, she knows they have to succeed or die trying.

When she faces betrayal once more, Anna-Marie makes the best of her sudden kidnapping by planning how to retrieve the book when she is turned over to Jack of All Traders, the man she has been searching for, the friend she lost when his ambition drove out his compassion.

Unfortunately, London is in chaos. The Moonstone’s Promise unleashed more of a curse than anything, the Lychan curse turning men into little better than snarling, drooling beasts.

Can Anna-Marie turn the chaos to her advantage? Will she find and destroy the book before it’s formula destroys the city and the man she loves? Or will she be too late? Will she have to watch London burn while her heart breaks?

My thoughts:

If y’all have been reading along, you know Katherine H. Brown’s first steampunk cozy mystery, A Spoonful of Gunpowder (affiliate link), made my favorite books of 2022 list. (See my full review here.) So it shouldn’t surprise you that my reaction is like this:

And what’s really fun? Since it just released, it’s ALREADY ON MY KINDLE! The only thing I’m waiting on is myself, to get to reading it! WOO HOO!!!!!

What do you think? Would you read this one? If not, what are you waiting for? Leave a comment!

Posted in Book Memes, Can't-Wait Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments