Now out:

The Secret Halloween Costume

With 2-Way Sequins!

by Sophie Vaillancourt

#TheSecretHalloweenCostume #NetGalley

Charlotte is a young witch. As Halloween approaches, she does not want to follow her family tradition of dressing as a scary witch. Can she do something different? What costumes will she reject? What plan will she carry out? What is the message of this holiday story for young children?

Add this to your list if you are looking for stories about independent girls this October.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

What is unleashed? The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny

The Madness of Crowds: A Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Book 17) by [Louise Penny]

The Madness of Crowds follows on last year’s novel, All the Devils are Here. That was a book that I absolutely adored. The Madness of Crowds is a book that I respect and one that has made me think.

Layered on the mystery of why the victim was killed and, if she was even meant to be the victim, are topics about community, the responsibility that we owe to one another as individuals and members of society, the high cost of tragedy and trying to save others, other ethical issues about practices in psychology and much more.

Among the characters is Abby who has a theory that some agree with and others find abhorrent. I don’t want to have spoilers so will not say more. Abby is close to Debbie who is a long time friend and her assistant. Their relationship turns out to be complex as is her relationship with a university chancellor. Then there is Haniya, a stranger to Three Pines and a controversial figure, even if she may be proposed for the Nobel prize.

The residents of Three Pines in all their eccentricity are here. So are Jean-Guy, Isabelle and the ever good man with a strong conscience Armand Gamache and his thoughtful wife Reine Marie. All are tested over the course of the novel.

This story is long, complex and thought provoking. Those of you who have read it, what did you think?

What happens: Under the Southern Sky

by Kristy Woodson Harvey

This is the first novel that I have read by this author. It will be embraced by those who enjoy the stories that have been penned by authors like Dorothea Benton Frank or Nancy Thayer. Under the Southern Sky is women’s fiction. It has a good story line, engaging characters and some things to think about. I recommend this one.

This is the story of Amelia and Parker who were friends in childhood. For very different reasons (no spoilers) neither is in a relationship. When Amelia finds out something that she feels compelled to tell Parker, she knows that this truth may complicate both of their lives.

How Parker and Amelia each deal with their respective former relationships and how they may move forward forms the basis of much of this novel. Readers will be interested in seeing what happens to them, both separately and together.

Under the Southern Sky is an involving novel and one that is also enjoyable.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Now out:

How to Greet a Grandma

by Donna Amey Bhatt

#HowtoGreetaGrandma #NetGalley

This sweetly illustrated book celebrates grandmothers all over the world. Customs, ways of greeting, special advice and more are offered regarding the ways of Omas, Mamgus, Babushkas and many other grandmothers in the places where they live. There are some general observations at the beginning of the book and then the individual country fun begins.

Children who are curious about how their lives are the same/different from others may well enjoy looking at this book with that special family member.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

From the Publisher

Various items around the words "How to Greet a Grandma"

There is no one quite like a grandma.

Grandmas can take on many roles: teachers, playmates, heroes, life-coaches… They can be funny, wise, warm—and they come with a variety of hairstyles!

Grandmas are found in every country in the world. You might know yours as nanna, granny, grams, memaw, gran-gran, or something else. Every grandma is one of a kind, although they often share some similarities.

In this book, you’ll travel the world and visit different grandmas. You’ll learn how to greet them and discover some of the traditions and wisdoms they might share with you.

Can you recognize any of these glorious global grandmas?

Let’s celebrate every one of them!

An adult playing maracas with two kids.An adult reading to a child in their bedroom.A child and an adult flying a kite.
Bonjou, Grann! (gra-anne) WHERE TO SPOT A GRANN: Haiti HOW TO GREET HER: A kiss on the cheek GRANN WISDOM: Hope makes one live In Haiti, a Grann’s job is often a bit like the boss of the family. She might help make decisions, set an example, and stay clued up on everyone’s activities! Many Granns are also very social, often going to market with their friends and helping others at community events.Kumusta po, Lola! (low-lah) WHERE TO SPOT A LOLA: The Philippines HOW TO GREET HER: Take her hand and touch it to your forehead saying “Kumusta po” LOLA WISDOM: Whatever you do, think about it seven times first Would you like to see your grandma every day? If so, a Lola would be perfect, since Filipina grandmas often live with their grandchildren. Sharing a home with a Lola is a way for her family to thank and take care of her, and also means a Lola is around to help, play, and tuck her grandkids in at night!Salam, Bibi-jan! (bee-bee-jan) WHERE TO SPOT A BIBI-JAN: Afghanistan HOW TO GREET HER: Place your right hand over your heart and say, “Salam” BIBI-JAN WISDOM: A river is made drop by drop When you’re feeling kind of lost, you can always depend on a Bibi-jan. In Afghanistan, grandmas are very respected and families often turn to their Bibi-jan for help and advice. Many Bibi-jans live with their families—this way, they can share their wisdom and skills every day of the week!

What Happens: When Sparks Fly

by Helena Hunting

Meet Avery and Declan. They are good friends but will their relationship become something more? Even if you think that you can answer the question, this book will provide a nice diversion. There may even be some surprises in store for you.

Avery and Declan are different from one another, kind of a convention in some romance novels. Avery enjoys working in her family business and spending time with friends. She isn’t sure that she wants to pursue dating. Declan is portrayed as more of a playboy. When a particular event recalibrates their lives, what will happen? How will the past show its impact?

Note that Avery’s last name is Spark. That makes a bit of word play for the title. Will the sparks fly for you? Find out as you read this one.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

A Darker Reality is out today

#ADarkerReality #NetGalley

A Darker Reality is the third title in Ms. Perry’s Elena Standish series and it is definitely worth reading. Those who enjoy the Maggie Hope or Maisie Dobbs series will want to give the Elena Standish stories a try. They are best read in order. That having been said, this third novel may be my favorite.

In A Darker Reality, Elena is in Washington DC; the earlier books were set in Europe. She has traveled there with her parents in order to attend her maternal grandparents’ sixtieth anniversary party. While there, she meets the absolutely stunning, charismatic and intelligent Lila Worth. Lila’s fate, what she was doing and who she was propel much of the narrative. How do Elena’s grandfather, Elena and others become embroiled in these events? No spoilers, so no more.

The novel takes place before WWII but when Germany is showing its ugliest side. How do events there connect with the story? What is America’s role in the history that is unfolding? Pick up the book to find out.

Readers will learn about an isolationist movement in the novel. And yes, there are parallels with more current events in the U.S.

Elena is a photographer. This feels like an apt metaphor for her keen way of viewing the world and those around her. She is a most likeable protagonist.

I think that this series may be my current Anne Perry favorite. For those who don’t know, she has also written the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries, the William Monk stories, the Daniel Pitt investigations and a series of Christmas novellas. She also has a series that begins just prior to WWI. All are worth exploring.

I highly recommend this title to those who enjoy good characters, good plot and good pacing. I also enjoy some of the truths that are in Ms. Perry’s sentences.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

From the Publisher

A personal trip. An extravagant party. A murdered British spy. mystery;detective;historical fictionYou must be Elena. Welcome to Washington.mystery;detective;historical fiction;darker reality
Elena Standish faces down dark family secrets. darker reality;mystery;detective mystery;anne perry

The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova is published today

#TheMoontheStarsandMadameBurova #NetGalle

I absolutely adored Ruth Hogan’s novel, The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, so I was quite eager to read The Moon, The Stars and Madame Burova.

Around the plot, Ms. Hogan looks at some emotionally resonant issues. These include identity, race, the nature of love, how to treat others and also how to treat one’s self. All is skillfully done and is not too heavy handed.

Madame Burova’s mother, Shunty Mae, was a reader of tarot cards, palms and crystal balls. Her daughter, Imelda (aka Madam B) has taken on her mother’s vardo and profession. She is very good at it and her booth becomes a confessional for many. In the present, Imelda Burova is considering retirement; in the past she led an active life.

Imelda spent time at Larkin’s, a family holiday camp, when she was a young woman. There were many people and acts there. Imelda was close to Jeannie, a talented young singer and to Cillian Burke, a man who was of great importance to her. Readers will find out how Cillian influenced the title of the novel. Also at the camp is Vivienne; she wants Cillian and is used to taking whatever she feels that she needs.

In the present, Billie’s parents have recently died. She finds something out in a note that her father left her. This leads her to connect with Imelda and connect they do! In the present, Imelda offers Billie some answers and all the wonderful aspects of the kind of person she is. Readers will root for both of them.

This book is not a cliffhanger. It is a slow-ish read that I enjoyed and recommend. Not quite as good as Sally but very good nonetheless.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

From the Publisher

The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova Ruth Hogan From the wildly popular
The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova Ruth Hogan Daily MailThe Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova Ruth Hogan It's never too lateThe Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova Ruth Hogan Annie Lyons