Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Musts: Kill and Tell, NPR: The 'Girl' In The Title & Mar Cerdà

Monday Musts is a weekly event, started and hosted by Jessica @ Lovin' Los Libros, which asks you to highlight your must read, must listen and must see!

Kill and Tell (CIA Spies #1) by Linda Howard

From Goodreads:
Still reeling from her mother's recent death, Karen Whitlaw is stunned when she receives a package containing a mysterious notebook from the father she has barely seen since his return from the Viet Nam War over twenty years ago. Unwilling to deal with her overwhelming emotions, Karen packs the notebook away, putting it - and her father - out of her mind, until she receives a shocking phone call. Her father has been murdered on the gritty streets of New Orleans.

Homicide detective Marc Chastain considers the murder nothing more than street violence against a homeless man, and Karen accepts his judgment - at first. But she changes her mind when her home is burglarized and "accidents" begin to happen. All at once, she faces a chilling realization: whoever killed her father is now after her. Desperate for answers, Karen retrieves the only thing that links her to her father - the notebook he had sent months before. Inside its worn pages, she makes an unsettling discovery: her father had been a sniper in Vietnam and the notebook contains a detailed account of each one of his kills.

Now running for her life, Karen entrusts the book and its secrets to Marc Chastain. Together they unravel a disturbing story of politics, power, and murder - and face a killer who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the kill book....
I am a Linda Howard fanatic, especially her backlist.  I've read everything she's ever written and she, in my opinion, writes the perfect combination of romance and suspense.  Kill and Tell is my second favorite book of hers of all time and I just LOVE Rachel's recent review.

I heard this on NPR this past week and it made me think about so many books lately.  Actually writing a discussion post on this soon!


This instagram account of Mar Cerdà, depicts her mini dioramas in progress, some of which are these amazing scenes from Wes Anderson movies!  New favorite!! 

What are your Monday Musts??

Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain, translated by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce

Blurb from Goodreads:
Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There's nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there's all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?
My Review:
This is a short one and was a very quick read.   I was never not interested in the story but I felt like there was probably a little something (magic) lost in the translation.  Laurent discovers an abandoned purse in the street; he becomes fascinated with its contents and discovering the owner of the purse.  A bit of deduction through the streets of Paris ensues and, overall, the entire story was very romantic.  We learn a bit about Laurent through his search and a bit about Laure through her objects.  I won't tell you how it ends . . . but I'm sure you can guess.

I would recommend this to anyone that likes the Amour et Chocolate series by Laura Florand (mostly based on the setting) or the movie Amélie, although it's not as fantastical there is still that meeting borne from loved and lost objects.  The Red Notebook came out last year, and you can purchase HERE!  
Can you experience nostalgia for something that hasn't happened?  We talk of 'regrets' about the course of our lives, when we are almost certain we have taken the wrong decision; but one can also be enveloped in a sweet and mysterious euphoria, a sort of nostalgia for what might have been.  Meeting Laure, that might have happened but didn't and yet Laurent remembered the cafe where they had arranged to meet.  She wore that white strappy dress, her mauve bag and sunglasses.  It had been a very sunny day.  As it was fine they had chosen to sit on the terrace.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Review: Extreme Exposure (I-Team #1) by Pamela Clare

Blurb from Goodreads:
It's been years since her child's father dumped her, and since then Kara McMillan has kept men at bay - although every day she aches more for a lover's touch. But to get that, the hard-boiled journalist must become vulnerable - a feeling she vowed never to have again.

With his dangerous good looks, charm, and power, Senator Reece Sheridan could have just about any woman he sets his piercing eyes on. But he's intrigued by only one. This Kara, this gutsy investigative reporter, has a sensuality that arouses him to no end. If she's a firebrand in print, he guesses, she must be just as fiery in bed...

But this is no fling. A sudden political scandal - and attempts on Kara's life - could very well drive them apart. Or maybe, just maybe, adversity could draw them into a bond even more intense than their steamy sexual embraces. 
My Review:
This one hopped onto my radar on GR and seeing that it was a political romance with high reviews, I couldn't wait to dig in.  I devoured this one in a day -- equal parts romance, politics, and suspense.  I really liked the journalism side of this, too -- it touched on whistle-blowers, journalistic ethics and the implications of protecting a source.  But the real heart of the story is the relationship between Kara and Reece.  Senator Reece Sheridan is definitely my new book boyfriend -- If you thought the sensitive alpha was elusive, you need to read this one!  He was so amazing with skittish Kara that I didn't even care that there is a child in this story (not always my favorite thing).  This was also super steamy; I was actually surprised by how hot some of the scenes were but I am definitely not complaining!  

I would not hesitate to recommend this to fans of contemporary romance and fans of romantic suspense and political romance (♥♥♥).  Definitely going to read the rest of this series!
For a moment they just stood there, just held one another.  He was warm from his climb up the stairs, his scent and the strength of his body both familiar and reassuring.  But for the first time since she'd met him, Kara felt the vulnerability beneath that strength.  Somehow, his anguish seeped into her.  Her heart gave a painful lurch, and hot tears came from nowhere to blur her vision.   
She wanted to tell him, wanted him to know how much he meant to her, but she couldn't bring herself to say the words.  Instead, she stood on her toes, brushed her lips over the day's growth of stubble on his cheek, and left a trail of kisses down his jaw to his throat.   

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Relief Map by Rosalie Knecht

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on:  
Relief Map by Rosalie Knecht

From Goodreads:
In the heat of a stifling summer in her sixteenth year, Livy Marko spends her days in the rust-belt town of Lomath, Pennsylvania, babysitting, hanging out with her best friend, Nelson, and waiting for a bigger life to begin. These simple routines are disrupted when the electricity is cut off and the bridges are closed by a horde of police and FBI agents. A fugitive from the Republic of Georgia, on the run from an extradition order, has taken refuge in nearby hills and no one is able to leave or enter Lomath until he is found. As the police fail to find the wanted man and hours stretch into days, the town of Lomath begins to buckle under the strain. Like Russian dolls, each hostage seems to be harboring a captive of their own. Even Livy’s parents may have something to conceal, and Livy must learn that the source of danger is not always what it appears. Rosalie Knecht’s wise and suspenseful debut evokes the classics while conjuring the contemporary paranoia of the post-terrorist age. Relief Map doesn’t loosen its grip until the consequences of this catastrophic summer, and the ways in which a quiet girl’s fate can be rerouted and forever changed, are made fully apparent.
I recently saw this one on NG and couldn't stop thinking about the description. I hope it is as suspenseful and chilling as its description! Relief Map is scheduled to be released on March 28, 2016, and I am so curious about it!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Review: The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Blurb from Goodreads:
In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled. 
My Review:
This was such a quick and captivating read!  I loved the story of four different teenagers in Alaska, just post-statehood and their struggles that are probably just as fresh today.  Not only was the setting interesting (and so different from a typical suburban setting) but the characters were each unique, with their own voice and so well written.  I seriously loved them all -- actually, one thing I could say about this book is that everyone was so good in it (except Dora's father).  Seriously, all of the characters were so likable in their own way, which is not an easy feat especially given some of the complicated situations and hardships  into which these characters were thrown.  

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of beautifully written and enchanting YA.  Something about the way the story culminated in so many entangled lives reminded of another recent favorite, The Tsar of Love and Techno.

The Smell of Other People's Houses comes out today, February 23, 2016, you can purchase HERE, and I highly recommend it!
If the seasons bleed into each other like a watercolor painting, it means not enough fish and berries to last the winter, not enough wood chopped for the stove, not enough meat in the freezer.  One year winter came so fast and so hard, the leaves on the birch trees didn't even have time to turn yellow and fall off; they froze solid green on the branches.  They clung there for months on skinny skeleton arms, the color so blindingly wrong it was creepy.  Every year it's a race between the seasons, and that year fall lost.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Musts: On An Edge of Glass, Rich Robinson & Social Media, Book Promotions and FTC Disclsoures

Monday Musts is a weekly event, started and hosted by Jessica @ Lovin' Los Libros, which asks you to highlight your must read, must listen and must see!

On an Edge of Glass by Autumn Doughton

From Goodreads:
A boy.

A girl.

A missed opportunity. 

No matter how much she studies, Ellie Glass can't prepare for every aspect of life. She realizes this after a chance encounter with a young musician. Scruffy, long-haired, and undeniably sexy, he is the exact opposite of her type. So why is it that Ellie can’t stop thinking about him?

When fate intervenes and the two are thrown together for a second time, Ellie gets more than she bargained for. With the help of her friends and a newfound romance, she begins to redefine herself. 

This is the captivating story of an undeniable attraction, the choices that we make, and ultimately, the unexpected power of love. 
This is my favorite NA of all time, I cannot recommend it enough!


Rich Robinson - Trial and Faith -- one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite artists!
A billowing sunset comes in like the fog 
Stagnate unchanging until the dawn 
The dawn my love, the dawn my love 
Crushes my ire like the birth of new sin

One of my favorite bloggers, Nereyda @ Nick and Nereyda's Infinite Booklist posted the BEST discussion last week entitled: SOCIAL MEDIA, BOOK PROMOTIONS AND FTC DISCLOSURES. This is a must read for all bloggers!

What are your Monday Musts??

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I love this trope, sub-genre, setting: Political Romance!

I Love This Trope, Sub-Genre, Setting is a new feature on my blog in which I discuss a trope, sub-genre or setting that I love and tell you about books that are shining examples of said trope, sub-genre or setting.  Feel free to play along and please let me know about your favorite books in this realm and whether you like this trope, sub-genre and/or setting as much as I do!
Today I am spotlighting the sub-genre of: Political Romance, which I would define as romance in which one (or both!) of the love interests is a politician, works for a politician or is involved in politics in some manner!

Maybe it's just me but I LOVE politics!  This sub-genre of political romance is a fun twist on the typical billionaire/movie star/sports star/rock star sub-genre. I have read and loved all of the books above and there is some variety in them -- some are also military romance or romantic suspense, some are NA, some are YA.  Obviously, Mary Whitney is the queen of this sub-genre, IMO!  All of her books are five star reads for me that I also re-read all the time.  I am on the hunt now for a historical political romance -- have you heard of such a thing?!

Have you ever read political romance?  Does it sound interesting to you?  Ask me any questions below or recommend to me your favorite political romance!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Us (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on:  
Us (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

From Goodreads:
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He's living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There's just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It's not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn't help that his new job isn't going as smoothly as he'd hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes's nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?
If you haven't read Him, what are you waiting for?! I cannot recommend it enough. Us is scheduled for release on March 8, 2016, and I can't wait!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Monday, February 15, 2016

Top Ten Songs That I Wish Were Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fab ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

1. Flashing Lights by Kanye West

She don't believe in shooting stars
But she believe in shoes and cars
Wood floors in the new apartment
Couture from the store's departments
You more like "love to start shit"
I'm more of the trips to Florida
Ordered the hors d'oeuvres, views of the water
Straight from a page of your favorite author
2. Ambulance Blues by Neil Young

Back in the old folky days
The air was magic when we played.
The riverboat was rockin' in the rain
Midnight was the time for the raid.
Oh, Isabella, proud Isabella,
They tore you down and plowed you under.
You're only real with your make-up on
How could I see you and stay too long?
3. Houston Don't Dream About Me by The Black Crowes

Loose change days and motel nights
Day old coffee, dollar postcards
State trooper's flashing lights
As we listen to the thunder
As we talked about our past
So we see our coming future
You tell me you know love can last
While staring out the window
Just looking for a place to hide
A place to ease our minds
A place away from yesterday
Close to tomorrow, away from the sorrows
Of living other people's time
4.  You Got Me - The Roots ft. Erykah Badu

Somebody told me that this planet was small
We use to live in the same building on the same floor
And never met before
Until I'm overseas on tour
And peep this Ethiopian queen from Philly
Taking classes abroad
She studying film and photo flash focus record
Said she workin on a flick and
Could my click do the score
She said she loved my show in Paris
At Elysee Montmartre
And that I stepped off the stage
And took a piece of her heart
5. T.B. Sheets by Van Morrison

Now listen, Julie baby,
It ain't natural for you to cry in the midnight.
It ain't natural for you to cry way into midnight through,
Until the wee small hours long 'fore the break of dawn,
Now Julie, an' there ain't nothin' on my mind
More further 'way than what you're lookin' for.
I see the way you jumped at me, Lord, from behind the door
And looked into my eyes.
Your little star struck innuendos
Inadequacies and foreign bodies
6. Carry Me Ohio by Sun Kil Moon

Can't count to
All the lovers I've burned through
So why do I still burn for you
I can't say
Sorry that
I could never love you back
I could never care enough in these last days
7. The Ballad of El Goodo by Big Star

Years ago, my heart was set to live
And I've been trying hard against unbelievable odds
It gets so hard in times like now to hold on
But guns they wait to be stuck by, at my side is God
And there ain't no one going to turn me 'round
8. Talullah by Jamiroquai

She's gone away
Flying out on a jet plane
Told me, she won't be back again
And Talullah, Talullah is her name
Well, I got this thing, girl
I wanted to say to you
"Talullah, I'm still missing you"
Baby, can't you stop that plane?
Turn it around, I still love you, babe
Tell the captain that I'm to blame, I'm to blame
9. How Do You Say Auf Wiedersehn? by Mel Tormé (but only because I can't find a video of Freddy Cole's version)

How do you say auf wiedersehn
To things you'll never see again?
The Wilhelmstrasse in the rain
The day we ran to catch the train
That puffed along the river Seine
Remember Paris
And best of all the Pyrennes
Who could forget such memories
That crazy trip how typical of us
To miss the bus, the plane, too
How do you say auf wiedersehn to these?
The war was over
And the spirit was broken
The hills were smokin'
As the men withdrew
We stood on the cliffs,
Oh and watched the ships,
Slowly sinking to their rendezvous
They signed a treaty
And our homes were taken
Loved-ones forsaken,
They didn't give a damn.
Try to raise a family
End up an enemy
Over what went down on the Plains of Abraham.
Acadian driftwood,
Gypsy tailwind
They call my home,
The land of snow
Canadian cold front,
Movin' in
What a way to ride,
Oh what a way to go
So basically I just picked a lot of my favorite songs rather than super lyrical songs (although some of these are), more for the feeling they give me than anything else . . . and most of these are definitely about pining. 

What is your song themed TTT today??  Link up below!

Mini Reviews: Battle of the Norwegian Mysteries

Blurb from Goodreads:
From the internationally bestselling author of 1222, called the “godmother of modern Norwegian crime” by Jo Nesbø, the next book in the Edgar Award–nominated mystery series: Hanne Wilhelmsen is on the case when someone murders the prime minister of Norway.

Less than six months after taking office, the Norwegian Prime Minister is found dead. She has been shot in the head. But was it a politically motivated assassination or personal revenge?

Hanne Wilhelmsen, Chief Inspector of the Norwegian Police, is on leave in California but when the death shakes the country to its core, she knows she can’t remain on the sidelines of such a crucial investigation. The hunt for the Prime Minister’s killer is complicated, intense, and grueling. When secrets begin to unravel from the Prime Minister’s past, Hanne and her partner, Billy T., must piece together the crime before a private tragedy becomes a public outcry, in what will become the most sensitive case of their career.

Filled with lies, deception, and the truth about government, The Lion’s Mouth questions who truly holds the power in Norway, and how far they will go to keep it.  
My Review:
Something about winter puts me in the mood for Scandinavian mysteries so I read these two back to back!  I didn't even realize that this book is the fourth in a series until I was about 20% in and I had no problem getting the context of the characters so you could definitely read this as a standalone -- that being said, I will probably go and read the first three books in this series because I liked it and it scratches a certain itch for me in the Scandinavian mystery genre.  Although the first half of this was a bit slow paced, it did pick up and get really interesting.  I really liked Hanne, who actually has a smaller role in this book than the other ones (at least that was the context I perceived) and will read more about her.  The ending, however, is abrupt and maybe that is just the nature of this series but as soon as the mystery was (pretty much) solved, the book ended in literally the same paragraph.  Kind of odd but the solving of the mystery was still good and I was still surprised.
Billy T. thought about his youngest son and reflected on how life would never be the same again.  Norway would never be the same.  He sat facing a young girla poor, neglected little scrap of humanitywho apparently held the key to it all.  She could tell him what had actually happened on the evening of April 4, 1997, on the fifteenth floor of the government tower block; she knew the answer, and if he coaxed a little here and cheated a little there, she would share everything she knew with him.  However, Billy T. was not sure if he had the energy to cope with it.

Blurb from Goodreads:
A six-year-old girl is found in the Norwegian countryside, hanging lifeless from a tree with a jump rope around her neck. She is dressed in strange doll's clothes. Around her neck is an airline tag that says "I'm traveling alone." 

A special homicide unit in Oslo re-opens with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. Holger's first step is to persuade the brilliant but haunted investigator Mia Krüger to come back to the squad--she's been living on an isolated island, overcome by memories of her past. When Mia views a photograph of the crime scene and spots the number "1" carved into the dead girl's fingernail, she knows this is only the beginning. She'll soon discover that six years earlier, an infant girl was abducted from a nearby maternity ward. The baby was never found. Could this new killer have something to do with the missing child, or with the reclusive Christian sect hidden in the nearby woods?

Mia returns to duty to track down a revenge-driven and ruthlessly intelligent killer. But when Munch's own six-year-old granddaughter goes missing, Mia realizes that the killer's sinister game is personal, and I'm Traveling Alone races to an explosive--and shocking--conclusion.
My Review:
I have been really, really craving a juicy mystery and this one hit the spot!  It was intellectually stimulating and not too terribly slow paced.  I also couldn't figure out the connections and really wanted to find out what was going on! The team of Mia and Munch were perfect-- even though they are so different, they work so well together. Fantastic descriptions, story and pacing! There is a bit of a cliffy at the end but nothing that would prevent you from reading this as a standalone, it's just a bit abrupt and you are left wondering what the future will hold.  I definitely want to read more in this series!
Mia Krüger woke up with a feeling that there was someone in her hotel room.  She was unable to open her eyes properly, enveloped in a fog, half asleep, half awake.  She forced open her eyelids enough to establish that she was alone.  There was no one there, just her.  A depressing thought.  Her life was reduced to this? A hotel room and a murder case.  Not that it really mattered.  This was only temporary.
If you are in the mood for Scandinavian mystery, I also highly recommend A Small Indiscretion by Denise Rudberg, the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbø and, of course, you can never go wrong with the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (the Swedish movies are also fantastic!).

The Lion's Mouth and I'm Traveling Alone both come out this month and they are worth a read!

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