Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan—and a Giveaway!

the-bookshop-on-the-cornerThe Bookshop on the Corner
Jenny Colgan
William Morrow, September 2016
ISBN 978-0-06-246725-6
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Sometimes a book just reaches out to you because it triggers things within, you know? No one who knows anything about me will be surprised that I wanted this one, considering my past as a bookshop owner, but there was another enticement pulling me in….one of my all-time favorite countries I’ve had the pleasure of visiting is Scotland. So, I ask you, did I have any hope of resisting? In fact, as the Borg would say, “resistance is futile”😉

Just a side note before I forget: this book is also available in hardcover but, if you think the synopsis sounds a little familiar, it came out back in February in the UK under a different title, The Little Shop of Happy Ever After.

Ahh, Nina, what a lovely protagonist. She is by turns overly shy, brave, vulnerable, adventurous, a little sad with life and especially with the closing of the library, and full of quixotic hope for her future. Nina overcomes her reluctance to stand out in the world and throws caution to the wind, reinventing herself while she brings treasure to a small corner of Scotland. She personifies librarians and booksellers everywhere with her passion to share the right book with the right reader.

So, Nina sets out to Scotland to the little village of Kirrinfief, a place where people are mostly content but don’t know what they’ve been missing until Nina brings books back to the community. Slowly but surely, Nina finds her new home and heart and is surrounded by folks who take in this newcomer and perhaps give back as much as they’re getting.

Another side note: Ms. Colgan includes a Message to Readers that’s an absolute must-read. Trust me, don’t skip over this even if you’re so inclined—you will be rewarded😉

I’m adding this to my favorite books read in 2016 list and it may just be #1 because it gave me pleasure in so many ways including charming characters and a setting…and dream…that took me back in time in my own life. The Bookshop on the Corner is my introduction to Jenny Colgan but it certainly won’t be the last book I read by her. She has an extensive backlist and I intend to get started on it ASAP.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2016.

************

Goodreads

Purchase Links:

  Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Amazon

HarperCollins | Indiebound

************

About the Author

jenny-colganJenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

Find out more about Jenny at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

************

Follow the tour:

Tuesday, September 20th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, September 21st: I Wish I Lived in a Library

Thursday, September 22nd: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Friday, September 23rd: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Monday, September 26th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Tuesday, September 27th: Kahakai Kitchen

Wednesday, September 28th: Wall-to-Wall Books

Thursday, September 29th: Buried Under Books

Monday, October 3rd: Books and Bindings

Tuesday, October 4th: BookNAround

Wednesday, October 5th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Thursday, October 6th: Melissa Lee’s Many Reads

Friday, October 7th: A Bookish Affair

************

TLC Book Tours Button

************

I’d love to send somebody my very
gently used print advance reading
copy of The Bookshop on the Corner.
Leave a comment below and I’ll draw
the winning name on Sunday evening,
October 2nd. This drawing is open
to residents of the US & Canada.

Waiting On Wednesday (45)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Continue reading

Book Review: The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti

the-vanishing-yearThe Vanishing Year
Kate Moretti
Atria Books, September 2016
ISBN 978-1-5011-1843-2
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

From the opening lines, we learn that Zoe has lived with uncertainty her whole life. Yes, she had a true mother who fills her thoughts every day but it’s the girl who left her behind at birth that Zoe dreams about now, wondering about what might have happened. Sometimes, these dreams are violent, and it’s a far cry from such a start in life to the world she inhabits now of wealth and prestige. Zoe’s husband, Henry, expects her to take her place in society and she does, reluctantly, that reluctance perhaps coming from more than just shyness.

The tone set by Ms. Moretti is just slightly ominous in those first pages but, in her capable hands, the tension ratchets up until I started getting those creepy crawlies, the kind that ripple up and down your spine, and I couldn’t sleep for needing to know what was coming next. The secrets and lies, the twists and turns, kept showing up without warning and leaving little time to contemplate their true meaning before the next surprise. It’s the unknown that really frightens, isn’t it? And, yet, here the known will become even darker. more of a morass, than Zoe could possibly imagine.

It all begins when someone calls her “Hilary”.

If I have anything negative to say at all, it’s that a cast of characters would have been welcome, considering the plethora of players. Kate Moretti is a writer to be reckoned with, one who wrapped her story around me until I could barely breathe but, when all was said and done, she left me with good feelings and wanting more. This is a writer who knows how to tell a tale😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2016.

************

Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Books-a-Million // Apple
Amazon // Blio // Google // IndieBound

************

About the Author

By Pooja Dhar at PR Photograph

By Pooja Dhar at PR Photograph

Kate Moretti is the New York Times bestselling author of Thought I Knew You, Binds That Tie, and While You Were Gone. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Find out more at katemoretti.com, or follow her on Twitter (@KateMoretti1) or Facebook (KateMorettiWriter).

Find Kate online:

Website: www.katemoretti.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katemorettiwriter

Twitter: @KateMoretti1

Instagram: @katemoretti1

************

Enter the drawing for a signed
copy of The Vanishing Year

Rafflecopter

************

“Kate Moretti’s The Vanishing Year is a Rebecca
for the modern age—a novel filled with doubts and

deception, secrets and history. Society wife Zoe Whitaker
must confront the age-old question of whether
forgetting our past dooms us to endless repetition
and more heartache and danger than one woman can bear.”

—Jenny Milchman, author of As Night Falls

The Vanishing Year is more than an engaging tale of utter
betrayal. It’s an intricate dance of realities, full of twists
and turns you won’t see coming. Kate Moretti has outdone
herself. You’ll miss your bedtime, guaranteed.” —J.T. Ellison,
New York Times bestselling author of No One Knows

Book Review: Convergence by Michelle Grey

convergenceConvergence
Long Shot Series, Book Three
Michelle Grey
CreateSpace, February 2016
ISBN 978-1530169436
Trade Paperback

Whether we call it a romantic suspense or a mystery/romance, the chase is on in Convergence. The plot and characters satisfy detective story lovers and also please readers of romance novels. It’s told from two points of view. Tori Whitlock, the beautiful, hard-nosed tornado chaser isn’t looking for commitment, and Jack Mathis, the hot FBI detective intends only to chase the serial killer threatening Tori’s life. Their worlds collide when the detective must take up residence in Tori’s home to protect her.

Tori has become a celebrity from her electrifying tornado chase videos, and she’s totally upfront about pursuing Jack for a roll in the sack. But she’s also running from demons and ready to lash out with her sharp tongue against the idea of being protected. Jack finds himself drawn to the intelligent, strong-willed lady but won’t let himself act unprofessionally. He’s also still healing from past heartbreak.

The detective fits right in with Tori’s tornado chase team, but he must investigate each member in case the killer of women meteorologists has infiltrated the group. The reader learns how chase teams work while following the increasing fearfulness and also the sexual tension. As soon as we think we don’t know much about the inner Jack or about Tori’s motivations, the author gives us more. Gradually, the characters become rounded until we care as much as they do.

Convergence gives us two main characters, two intertwined plots, and two climaxes (no pun intended). We turn pages to learn whether the serial killer will ever be identified and whether the protagonists will be able to share their feelings with each other. It’s a twisted path, but worth the turns.

Reviewed by Joyce Ann Brown, July 2016.
http://www.joyceannbrown.com
Author of cozy mysteries: Catastrophic Connections, Furtive Investigation and Nine LiFelines, the first three Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries.

Book Review: Murder Most Fowl by Edith Maxwell

murder-most-fowlMurder Most Fowl
A Local Foods Mystery #4
Edith Maxwell
Kensington Books, June 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4967-0025-4

It’s spring in Westbury, Massachusetts. Organic farmer Cam Flaherty is busy tilling and planting and raising baby chicks when her neighbor, Wayne Laitinen is found dead. It soon develops that he’s been murdered. The question is why. He’s always seemed a pleasant hardworking man, generous with good advice for his fellow farmers. Could it be a wealthy neighbor wanted to buy some of his land to pasture her daughter’s horse, and Wayne said no, he didn’t want to sell? Or was it the group of animal rights activists who vandalized his farm? Or even his wife because money (the lack thereof) problems have derailed their marriage?

Cam, who is a concerned neighbor, discovers a vital piece of evidence, which she promptly⏤and correctly⏤turns over to the police. Helpful to her police detective boyfriend, but it will take Cam, who in the final denouement ends up shot and wounded, plus the whole department to bring the murderer to light.

I liked the premise of this story. I liked Cam and her boyfriend Pete Pappas. They seemed to work well together without getting in each other’s way. Rare, as quite often the larger part of tension in a cozy seems to be between the main character and her policeman boyfriend.

The writing is competent, the plotting tight and fast moving. The animals in the story serve a purpose besides just being there. The book is an enjoyable read with which to while away an evening.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, July 2016.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder and Four Furlongs.

Book Review: Time of Death by Mark Billingham

time-of-death-billinghamTime of Death
A Tom Thorne Novel #13
Mark Billingham
Grove Press, June 2016
ISBN 978-0-8021-2499-9
Trade Paperback

Tom Thorne and his significant other, Helen Weeks, arrange to take a short trip to the Cotswolds, leaving her baby to be cared for by her father, but the vacation is cut short when two young girls go missing in Helen’s home town. She decides to go to support a girlhood friend she hasn’t seen in 20 years when the woman’s husband is arrested for the abductions.  Tom, of course, accompanies her, and can’t resist sticking his nose into the investigation, especially when the first girl turns up dead.

Tom becomes convinced that the man jailed for the offenses did not commit the crimes, but the police are convinced they have the right man.  But how to prove his theory?  With the help of his good friend, the pathologist Phil Hendricks, the first clue emerges and the quest for additional evidence goes on.

This novel goes deeper into developing Tom, Phil and Helen as characters, showing their human frailties, as well as their professional talents.  Moreover, the theme of the novel is one that the author uses to demonstrate the terror and helplessness of victims of violent crimes.   Another fine book in this top series, and one that is recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, May 2016.

Book Review: Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere by Dr. Bo Brock and The Room with the Second-Best View by Virginia Smith

crowded-in-the-middle-of-nowhereCrowded in the Middle of Nowhere
Tales of Humor and Healing from Rural America
Dr. Bo Brock
Greenleaf Book Group Press, June 2016
ISBN 978-1-62634-264-4
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere: Tales of Humor and Healing from Rural America is a collection of humorous and poignant stories from a veterinarian in a small, dusty farming and ranching community in rural West Texas. Dr. Brock gives you an intimate look into his small-town and big-hearted perspective on life, animals, and their owners. His unique perspective and tales of doctoring beloved pets, cantankerous livestock, and occasionally their owners will make you smile, laugh, cry, and evoke every other emotion under the sun.

Mention the words “veterinarian” and “book” to me and I’m a very easy mark. In fact, I’m a pushover. My near-obsession started years ago with James Herriot—I re-read and re-listen on a regular basis—and I’m always on a subconscious mission to find more vets/authors like him. So far, I’ve never been disappointed though some are slightly less successful than others.

Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere falls into the latter end of the range but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, not at all. The main thing I found missing was a sense of time, of when things were happening and my other quibble had to do with the brevity of many of Dr. Brock‘s stories, making it difficult to get invested sometimes. This book is a collection of vignettes, some as short as a few paragraphs, rather than the longer episodes you usually see that give you the chance to get to know the vet and other characters and, of course, the animals.

Still, this gave me a few hours of pleasure and I must say I won’t soon forget the pregnant mouse or the indestructible little red pig while Leonard’s horses brought tears to my eyes. In fact, Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere gave me both tears and smiles and that’s what a vet book should do. Should Dr. Brock write another one, and I hope he will, I’ll certainly want to read it.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2016.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Room with the Second-Best ViewThe Room with the Second-Best View
Tales from the Goose Creek B&B #3
Virginia Smith
Harvest House Publishers, September 2016
ISBN 978-0-7369-6481-4
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

The B&B Is Open for Business!
Shhh…

Excitement is in the air in Goose Creek, Kentucky, as the small town prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary and the veterinarian’s upcoming wedding. But trouble is brewing in this provincial paradise…

Al Richardson agreed to open a B&B with his wife after his retirement in two years, but Millie secretly invites some guests to stay for the wedding. She plans to be the most gracious Southern hostess—until a tumble down the stairs leaves her unprepared for their quirky and cantankerous first guest.

Meanwhile, the town’s anniversary plans are in a state of chaos as the celebration committee scrambles to raise the necessary funds—an effort spearheaded by a “newcomer,” which ruffles the townsfolk’s feathers.

Goose Creek has lasted 150 years. Can it survive the next month?

When I first made the acquaintance of the folks in Goose Creek back in July (see my review of Renovating the Richardsons), I fell in love with the town and its citizens and I could hardly wait to catch up with the rest of the books in the series. I haven’t yet gotten to the first book, The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade, or Dr. Horatio vs. the Six-Toed Cat, a novella that was published following Renovating the Richardsons but chronologically precedes the first book. Instead, I jumped right into the third novel and I couldn’t be happier.

Al and Millie are moving ahead with the renovations on their large house, turning it into a B&B that they plan to open when they retire but Al’s suspicions are raised by Millie’s culinary bribery tactics. When he hears she wants to do a “practice run”, he’s not the least bit pleased because, as he puts it, he won’t retire for another two years and eight days and they agreed on that timeline. Never mind, Millie gets her way because, after all, Al is nearly unable to seriously say “no” to this woman who’s the center of his life but a simple hosting of a few wedding guests soon mushrooms into so much more. Al has been forced into taking charge, grudgingly, because Millie suffered a mishap so when the first guest to arrive, the groom’s meddling eccentric Aunt Lorna, is three weeks early and exceedingly annoying, the problems are just beginning. One might question if Goose Creek can survive this wedding. Even if it can, will Millie be able to work on a civic program with the aggravating Lulu Thacker whose obnoxiousness is only exceeded by that of her husband, Franklin?

There are no overwhelmingly important issues in this kind of story but I love the comfort and pure pleasure to be found with no gratuitous anything…sex, violence, what have you. Humor and concern for one’s neighbors abound in this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I have no problem reading series out of order but I truly believe this one can be comfortably read in any order and you won’t feel that chunks of backstory are missing. Goose Creek, as always, is a wonderful town to visit at any time and Ms. Smith never disappoints.

Now, I really need to get those two missing books and I’m thrilled there’s another novella coming, A Goose Creek Christmas, at the end of November. I’ve pre-ordered it and, because I know I’ll forget all about it by the time it’s released, I’ll have a most delightful surprise😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2016.