Thursday, March 4, 2021

What I'm Reading Next (43)

It appears this month is mostly all about historical reads.  There's been some good ones coming out lately! Next month I am starting to read all the beach reads (can you believe it!), so meanwhile, I am going to enjoy being transported to different times in history.  Are any of these books on your TBR list?



Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

 


I actually don't know much about the "Titanic of the South" otherwise known as the steamship that sank in 1838 with a lot of Savannah's best aboard. Savannah is one of my favorite cities, so I am looking forward to reading this historical novel.



Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig

I am a big fan of Willig, especially the novels she writes with Karen White and Beatriz Williams. I am looking forward to reading this historical novel all about a group of women from Smith College who help out in World War I. I love that it's based on a real life story. 



Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman 

This debut novel follows an Irish family through three generations. I love a good family drama and I heard this one has some humor in it, too.



The Last Apothecary by Sarah Penner

This book has received some great early reviews and I am looking forward to this historical mystery with strong female protagonists.



Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

I really enjoyed Lilac Girls, so I've had my eye on this historical novel which follows Caroline's ancestor as a Union nurse during the Civil War.



Eternal by Lisa Scottoline


Rome during WWII? Yes, please! I'm looking forward to checking out Scottoline's first historical novel perhaps while I am enjoying a glass of red.


What do you hope to read this month? Are any of these books on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below.  


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Talk Bookish to Me

Can't Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

 

Talk Bookish To Me by Kate Bromley

Pub. Date: May 25, 2021

 


 

Goodreads says, "Inspiration can come from the most unlikely—and inconvenient—sources.  Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential Bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.   But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.   With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?"

 

How fun is this synopsis?  It think it sounds like the perfect summertime read to throw in your beach bag or bring with you to the pool. What do you guys think?

 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

February Confessions

Well, I went into the month of February thinking I was going to read allllll the books since I was recovering from surgery. That wasn't the case. I found it really hard to concentrate after my surgery. My brain from all the medication was a bit fuzzy for quite sometime, so I found myself gravitating towards TV shows for the most part. I was able to tackle a decent amount of books towards the end of the month, so I am happy about that.  I am also happy I made time for Kristin Hannah's latest novel. In one more month and I'll be breaking out all the beach reads!  
 
Books Read in February:
1.  The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn (Adult Romance/Audio Book) - 4 out of 5 stars - Review to come!

2.  The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck (Adult Historical Fiction) - 4.5 out of 5 stars  

3.  The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George (Adult Historical Fiction/Romance) - 4 out of 5 stars
 
4.  The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (Adult Historical Fiction) - 4.5 out of 5 stars 
 
5.  The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry (Adult Fiction) - 4 out of 5 stars 
 
6.  Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson (Adult Fiction) 3.5 out of 5 stars - Review to come!

7.  HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style by Elizabeth Holmes - 3.5 out of 5 stars - Review to come!

 

 



1. Favorite Book: I really liked The Four Winds and The Invisible Woman.....both are excellent historical reads. 

2.  Biggest Surprise: The Heiress Gets a Duke surprised me in the sense that I wasn't sure I'd like a traditional romance novel, but I really enjoyed this one. It was the perfect escape after surgery and I'll definitely be picking up book two this summer. 

3.  Biggest Disappointment: Every book I read this month was really enjoyable. I did think I'd like HRH a bit more than I did. I loved all the pictures, but some of the commentary was a bit tedious and repetitive at times.  It's a decent coffee table book though with the pictures being the biggest appeal. 

5.  Favorite Part of February: I really enjoyed spending time with my Valentines. I was recovering from surgery, so it has been nice to slow down a bit and take it easy. 
 
So, what was your favorite book that you read this month? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Blog Tour: The Lost Apothecary


Today I'm happy to share that I am part of Harlequin's blog tour for The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, which comes out March 2nd. This book has been creating a lot of buzz! Newsweek, Oprah Magazine, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, and many others said it was one of the most anticipated books of 2021.  I can't wait to read this debut filled with secrets, historical details, suspense, and powerful female characters. Thanks to Harlequin, I am able to share with you guys an official excerpt from the novel. 


Learn More about The Lost Apothecary:

 


Goodreads says, "A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.  Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.  Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.  One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.  In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive."

 

You can learn more about Sarah Penner by visiting her website, and connecting with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  You can also pre-order your copy of The Lost Apothecary at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and Bookshop.org.  
 
 

 
 

 

An Excerpt From The Lost Apothecary: 

Nella
February 3, 1791

She would come at daybreak—the woman whose letter I held in my hands, the woman whose name I did not yet know.
I knew neither her age nor where she lived. I did not know her rank in society nor the dark things of which she dreamed when night fell. She could be a victim or a transgressor. A new wife or a vengeful widow. A nursemaid or a courtesan.
But despite all that I did not know, I understood this: the woman knew exactly who she wanted dead. 
I lifted the blush-colored paper, illuminated by the dying f lame of a single rush wick candle. I ran my fingers over the ink of her words, imagining what despair brought the woman to seek out someone like me. Not just an apothecary, but a murderer. A master of disguise. 
Her request was simple and straightforward. For my mistress’s husband, with his breakfast. Daybreak, 4 Feb. At once, I drew to mind a middle-aged housemaid, called to do the bidding of her mistress. And with an instinct perfected over the last two decades, I knew immediately the remedy most suited to this request: a chicken egg laced with nux vomica. 
The preparation would take mere minutes; the poison was within reach. But for a reason yet unknown to me, something about the letter left me unsettled. It was not the subtle, woodsy odor of the parchment or the way the lower left corner curled forward slightly, as though once damp with tears. Instead, the disquiet brewed inside of me. An intuitive understanding that something must be avoided. 
But what unwritten warning could reside on a single sheet of parchment, shrouded beneath pen strokes? None at all, I assured myself; this letter was no omen. My troubling thoughts were merely the result of my fatigue—the hour was late—and the persistent discomfort in my joints. 
I drew my attention to my calfskin register on the table in front of me. My precious register was a record of life and death; an inventory of the many women who sought potions from here, the darkest of apothecary shops. 
In the front pages of my register, the ink was soft, written with a lighter hand, void of grief and resistance. These faded, worn entries belonged to my mother. This apothecary shop for women’s maladies, situated at 3 Back Alley, was hers long before it was mine. 
On occasion I read her entries—23 Mar 1767, Mrs. R. Ranford, Yarrow Milfoil 15 dr. 3x—and the words evoked memories of her: the way her hair fell against the back of her neck as she ground the yarrow stem with the pestle, or the taut, papery skin of her hand as she plucked seeds from the flower’s head. But my mother had not disguised her shop behind a false wall, and she had not slipped her remedies into vessels of dark red wine. She’d had no need to hide. The tinctures she dispensed were meant only for good: soothing the raw, tender parts of a new mother, or bringing menses upon a barren wife. Thus, she filled her register pages with the most benign of herbal remedies. They would raise no suspicion. 
On my register pages, I wrote things such as nettle and hyssop and amaranth, yes, but also remedies more sinister: nightshade and hellebore and arsenic. Beneath the ink strokes of my register hid betrayal, anguish…and dark secrets.
Secrets about the vigorous young man who suffered an ailing heart on the eve of his wedding, or how it came to pass that a healthy new father fell victim to a sudden fever. My register laid it all bare: these were not weak hearts and fevers at all, but thorn apple juice and nightshade slipped into wines and pies by cunning women whose names now stained my register. 
Oh, but if only the register told my own secret, the truth about how this all began. For I had documented every victim in these pages, all but one: Frederick. The sharp, black lines of his name defaced only my sullen heart, my scarred womb. 
I gently closed the register, for I had no use of it tonight, and returned my attention to the letter. What worried me so? The edge of the parchment continued to catch my eye, as though something crawled beneath it. And the longer I remained at my table, the more my belly ached and my fingers trembled. In the distance, beyond the walls of the shop, the bells on a carriage sounded frighteningly similar to the chains on a constable’s belt. But I assured myself that the bailiffs would not come tonight, just as they had not come for the last two decades. My shop, like my poisons, was too cleverly disguised. No man would find this place; it was buried deep behind a cupboard wall at the base of a twisted alleyway in the darkest depths of London. 
I drew my eyes to the soot-stained wall that I had not the heart, nor the strength, to scrub clean. An empty bottle on a shelf caught my reflection. My eyes, once bright green like my mother’s, now held little life within them. My cheeks, too, once flushed with vitality, were sallow and sunken. I had the appearance of a ghost, much older than my forty-one years of age. 
Tenderly, I began to rub the round bone in my left wrist, swollen with heat like a stone left in the fire and forgotten. The discomfort in my joints had crawled through my body for years; it had grown so severe, I lived not a waking hour without pain. Every poison I dispensed brought a new wave of it upon me; some evenings, my fingers were so distended and stiff, I felt sure the skin would split open and expose what lay underneath. 
Killing and secret-keeping had done this to me. It had begun to rot me from the inside out, and something inside meant to tear me open. 
At once, the air grew stagnant, and smoke began to curl into the low stone ceiling of my hidden room. The candle was nearly spent, and soon the laudanum drops would wrap me in their heavy warmth. Night had long ago fallen, and she would arrive in just a few hours: the woman whose name I would add to my register and whose mystery I would begin to unravel, no matter the unease it brewed inside of me.

Excerpted from The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, Copyright © 2021 by Sarah Penner. Published by Park Row Books.

So, what do you guys think? Is The Lost Apothecary on your TBR list? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Book Review: The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry

Pages: 304
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: February 9, 2021
Publisher: Atria
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars  
 
 


Goodreads says, "A brilliant physicist studying the nature of time embarks on a journey to prove that those we love are always connected to us, leading to surprising revelations in this fresh and unique love story.   Sophie Jones is a physics prodigy on track to unlock the secrets of the universe. But when she meets Jake Kristopher during their first week at Yale they instantly feel a deep connection, as if they’ve known each other before. Quickly, they become a couple. Slowly, their love lures Sophie away from school.   When a shocking development forces Sophie into a new reality, she returns to physics to make sense of her world. She grapples with life’s big questions, including how to cope with unexpected change and loss. Inspired by her connection with Jake, Sophie throws herself into her studies, determined to prove that true loves belong together in all realities.  Spanning decades, The Love Proof is an unusual love story about lasting connection, time, and intuition. It explores the course that perfect love can take between imperfect people, and urges us to listen to our hearts rather than our heads."

 

Sophie and Jake are both freshman at Yale.  Sophie is a brilliant physics prodigy determined to understand time and the universe.  Jake is a scholarship student and has worked very, very hard to get to Yale and his focus is on finance.  Despite their differences, they find themselves attracted to each other and feel an instant connection.  This is all well and good except that Sophie is now distracted from her studies.  The first taste of young love is all consuming and instead of throwing herself into her work, she is now spending all her time with Jake. They share something special, but as time goes on, Jake realizes that their relationship is stifling Sophie and he breaks it off.  He says it is for her own good, but Sophie really struggles with this. Readers start wondering if she will ever rebound. Will she meet her full potential at Yale or squander all of her dreams living in the past with Jake?  Meanwhile through her heartbreak, Sophie continues to examine how love and time are intertwined.  Madeleine Henry's The Love Proof is a smart and unique love story that truly made me think.  

Sophie is an interesting character in The Love Proof. Henry depicts a prodigy very well. I found her backstory to be very interesting, especially her childhood. The way that Sophie thinks about time also is very thought provoking and even if you don't have a background in physics, you can still appreciate her scientific discussions.  So, obviously, The Love Proof is a very academic story.  

Once Sophie meets Jake in The Love Proof, he balances her out in a way that I wasn't sure was even possible. He irons out her quirks and is a calming presence in her life, but the more they get involved, the more Sophie is removed from what makes her brilliant.  Once they do separate, Sophie can't help but feel like they are still connected.  This sends her on a mission to figure out the connection between love, time, and the universe.

Jake is an interesting character in his own right in The Love Proof. While I didn't always agree with his choices, I could understand where he was coming from.  As the years go on, he becomes extremely successful, but he hasn't forgotten Sophie.  I loved how even though there were times they weren't together, it seemed that in some way they were.  Jake was always keeping an eye on Sophie as the years went on, which shows how he is also having trouble forgetting his first love.

If you are looking for a heartfelt read that will make you think, look no further. The Love Proof is probably one of the most intellectual books I've read in a long time and it had me wondering about life and connections right along with Sophie.  

Is this book on your TBR? Have you read The Love Proof? Do you enjoy reading books about love during the month of February? Let me know in the comments below. 

 

 

 
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