Sunday, June 8, 2014

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

Hello All,

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews is a humorous novel about a woman who is quite a bit down on her luck. Cara Kryzik is a florist specializing in weddings, and is just about to break into the high society wedding scene in Savannah. That is, if her dad calling in the money he loaned her, the big name florist expanding from Charleston into Savannah, her dog being kidnapped, her landlord deciding that she should move out of her shop/apartment by the end of the month (June, high wedding season), and her lone employee starts behaving erratically instead of reliably.

The wedding goes off well, and gets Cara another big wedding, though with a small window of time to also be the wedding coordinator. This event includes the bride, the mom, and the stepmom, which means lots of very tactful maneuvering to attempt to keep everyone happy.

All of the above is complicated by Cara meeting an amazing man, Jack Finnerty, from an old Savannah family. She meets him over and over, as he seems to attend every wedding she arranges flowers for.

How Cara handles all of the above makes for a very enjoyable story. I like Cara, Jack, their respective dogs, and the Savannah setting. Cara is a strong woman and even though the going gets tough, and Cara occasionally makes interesting choices, her strength and sense of humor gets her through. Mary Kay Andrews does romantic comedy very well, and I love a good romantic comedy!

Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!
Patti

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews St. Martin's Press 9781250019691

This book was sent to me for review by St. Martin's Press; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Reading Plan

Hello All,

I've been going through a phase where I have been enjoying what I'm reading, but I've been feeling overwhelmed. Making the list I made last October and the list I'm making today helps me to feel less overwhelmed, and then I feel excited about what I'm currently reading and what I have in my To-Be-Read pile/list.

The list below is Advance Reader Copies I am grateful to have received; the month is when the book will be released for sale or available at your local libraries (as of this writing)*:

April
Heart of Gold by Beverly Jenkins (A Blessings Novel #5)
A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable
Vintage by Susan Gloss
My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak (YA fiction)

May
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (debut mystery)
On the Rocks by Erin Duffy (fiction, & I loved Bond Girl)
The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison (fiction, Zambia)
The Devil's Workshop by Alex Grecian (historical mystery)
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl (food fiction)
Glorious by Jeff Guinn (western)
A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon (SJ) Bolton (Lacey Flint #4)

June
That Summer by Lauren Willig (non-series)
The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker (debut mystery)
Only in Spain by Nellie Bennett (travel memoir with flamenco dancing)
Cradle to Grave by Eleanor Kuhns (Will Rees #3, 1790s Maine)
All Day and A Night by Alafair Burke (Ellie Hatcher #5)
Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft (Fina Ludlow #2, Boston PI)

July
The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear (non-series)
Landline by Rainbow Rowell (who, so far, can do no wrong)
The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal (historical mystery)

August
Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech

*This doesn't mean I will get to these books before their publication date.

I'm doing a little re-reading of favorite authors who have new books coming out in 2014--
Mary Robinette Kowal (historical [regency] fantasy)
Shades of Milk and Honey 
Glamour in Glass
Without a Summer

Beverly Jenkins (fiction)
Bring on the Blessings
A Second Helping
Something Old, Something New
A Wish and a Prayer

and Deborah Harkness (fantasy, magic, time-travel)
A Discovery of Witches
Shadow of Night
(Book of Life is due out in July!)

Other books I've got in my To-Be-Read pile
Thrown for a Curve by Sugar Jamison (romance)
Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (Lacey Flint #1)
The Trickster's Hat by Nick Bantock (nonfiction)
Hot Rocks by Randy Rawls (female PI, #1)
Jewels in Paradise by Donna Leon (non-series)
Laws in Conflict by Cora Harrison (historical mystery, Ireland)
Death of a Dyer by Eleanor Kuhns (Will Rees #2, historical mystery,1790s, Maine)

I am currently reading A Wish and a Prayer by Beverly Jenkins, and Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal 

I've also been exploring my artistic side, but I have nothing I'm ready to share yet; no, I'm not writing.

I hope you all see one or two books that pique your interest, and I hope to share more about these books I'm reading and planning to read.

Happy Reading!
Patti  



Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Of My Librarian Mentors Retires

Hello All,

I heard from my parents in Michigan that one of my first mentors is retiring (article link is at the end of this blog entry). This cannot be possible, as I am not getting any older, which means she cannot be old enough to retire; but, I digress.

My first job was working as a page and a circulation clerk at the Huntington Woods Public Library (Huntington Woods, Michigan). I worked with two women who strongly influenced my decision to become a librarian.

Elizabeth Gulick worked with me at the Huntington Woods Public Library for several years. At the time, she was the Adult Services Librarian, and I definitely got to see a good librarian in action. Elizabeth was one of those librarians who wouldn't let a challenging patron question get the best of her. She was kind, she listened, and asked good questions to make sure the patron would get the exact information they were looking for.

As Elizabeth was my supervisor, she came up with creative ways (I thought at the time) to keep track of what the pages were doing. Reading in the stacks as I was shelving seemed to be frowned upon... We had a little time sheet where she asked the pages to record what we did during each of the three hours we were there for our shift.

Despite these harsh conditions :), Elizabeth and I found out we were both big mystery readers, and have exchanged titles of books and author both then and more recently. When I decided to become a librarian, I cited both Elizabeth, and the director of the Huntington Woods Library, Shelley Gach Droz, as my influences. Both remain supportive of my library career today, despite my having moved to Tucson to continue my career.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for your inspiration. May your retirement be joyful.

Sincerely,
Patti

http://www.dailytribune.com/lifestyle/20140321/clawson-librarian-to-close-the-book-on-long-career

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Patti's Picks 2013

Patti’s Picks 2013

Here is my list of favorite books of 2013. I don’t have a strict list of criteria for a favorite book; sometimes I just love it, or it makes me happy, or I read it at the right time, or it’s wonderfully written. The books are in alphabetical order by author’s last name. I love sharing lists and books that I love. Happy 2014 and Happy Reading!!!

Fiction:
Crombie, Deborah; The Sound of Broken Glass (#15 in series, mystery)

Deveraux, Jude; Knight in Shining Armor (time travel romance)

Faye, Lyndsay; The Gods of Gotham (#1, historical mystery)

Grecian, Alex; The Yard (#1, historical mystery)

Gunn, Elizabeth; Eleven Little Piggies (#9, mystery)

Harrison, Cora; Deed of Murder (#7, historical mystery)

Harrison, Cora; The Sting of Justice (#3, historical mystery)

Hoffman, Beth; Looking for Me (fiction)

Kelly, Carla; The Admiral's Penniless Bride (romance)

Kowal, Mary Robinette; Without a Summer (#3, historical, fantasy)

Krueger, William Kent; Ordinary Grace (fiction)

MacNeal, Susan Elia; His Majesty's Hope (#3, historical mystery)

MacNeal, Susan Elia; Princess Elizabeth's Spy (#2, historical mystery)

Penny, Louise; How the Light Gets In (#9, mystery)

Robins, Madeleine; The Sleeping Partner (#3, historical mystery)

Rowell, Rainbow; Attachments (fiction)

Rowell, Rainbow; Eleanor and Park (YA fiction)

Rowell, Rainbow; Fangirl (YA fiction)

Scott, Jerry; Triple Shot, Double Pump, No Whip Zits; A ZITS
Treasury (comic collection)

Stabenow, Dana; Bad Blood (#20, mystery)

Weber, David; Fire Season (#2, YA science fiction)

Willig, Lauren; The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (#10, historical mystery)

Winspear, Jacqueline; Leaving Everything Most Loved (#10, historical mystery)

Nonfiction:
Hanagarne, Josh: The World's Strongest Librarian: a Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
(autobiography)

Schwalbe, Will; The End of Your Life Book Club (memoir)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Reading Plan Check-in

Hello All!

I've made a dent in the To-Be-Read pile since the beginning of November, and I've been having a wonderful time! Here's the update:

Books that unfortunately didn't work for me:
Adams, Ellery; A Killer Plot (mystery)
MacLean, Sarah; A Rogue By Any Other Name (historical Regency romance)
Donaldson, Julianne; Blackmoore: A Proper Romance (historical romance)
Weber, David; Treecat Wars (with Jane Lindskold) (young adult science fiction) [I think with this one, it was the timing--I've loved this series, but it didn't grab me when I started it]

Books I've read & enjoyed have been:
Jenkins, Beverly; Destiny's Embrace (historical romance, western)
Rowell, Rainbow; Attachments (fiction)
Miller, Leigh Rae; The Summer I Became a Nerd (young adult fiction)
Hines, Jim C.; Libriomancer (fantasy)
Copperman, E. J.; Chance of a Ghost
Jamison, Sugar; Dangerous Curves Ahead (mystery/romance)
Parker, Robert B.; Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel (with Helen Braun) (mystery)

Still reading:
Aaronovitch, Ben; Midnight Riot (mystery)
Shalvis, Jill; Christmas in Lucky Harbor
Willis, Connie; Miracle and Other Christmas Stories

Still hoping to get to some of the following over the holidays:

(From the library)
York, Sheila; A Good Knife's Work (mystery, 1940s)

Checked out the following since the original post :) :
Price, Kalayna; Grave Dance (fantasy)
Robertson, Imogen; Instruments of Darkness (historical mystery)
Shaber, Sarah; Louise's Gamble (mystery, 1940s)
Brennan, Marie; A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir (historical, fantasy)
Harrison, Cora; Laws in Conflict (Ireland, historical mystery)
Hall, Patricia; Dead Beat  (1960s, England, mystery)
Rosenfelt, David; Bury the Lead (mystery)

(At home):
Michaels, Barbara; Ammie Come Home (romantic suspense)
Balliett, Blue; Wright 3 (children's mystery)
Nguyen, Bich Minh; Pioneer Girl (advance copy) (fiction)
Allen, Sarah Addison; Lost Lake (advance copy) (fiction)
Crusie, Jennifer; Tell Me Lies (romance, fiction)

Recent books by the following authors:
Jenn McKinlay/Josie Belle, Julie Hyzy, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Juliet Blackwell, Naomi Novik and John Scalzi (all at home).

I moved the request date for the following until after the holidays:
Gilbert, Elizabeth; The Signature of All Things (fiction)

There have been several blocks into my reading time--I'm expecting out-of-town company (this is a very awesome thing!), so I'm in the process of a major housecleaning, and I had to go out and buy a new computer (in the end, also an awesome thing), requiring some research and some shopping.

Additionally, this reading plan does NOT stop at the end of the year. I'm going to keep on going, reading WHAT I WANT TO READ, though throwing more nonfiction into the mix. With my original plan, I have been reading only fiction. Here's the link to the original post: 

http://pattispenandpicks.blogspot.com/2013/10/reading-plan-for-rest-of-2013.html

I hope all of you find some time during the holiday season to do some reading of exactly what you want to read!

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!!!
Patti


Monday, October 28, 2013

Reading Plan for the Rest of 2013

Hello All,

I'm going to do something radical for the next 2 months. I'm only going to read fiction, and I'm only going to read WHAT I WANT TO READ. Crazy, I know!

By no means have I been reading books I don't want to read. But I seem to be reading things that I think I should read (new fiction, nonfiction books regarding health or maybe a social issue); this isn't working for me right now, and I'm not enjoying reading like I should be.

I do realize I will never run out of things to read--I read new books, old books, and I re-read books I love. And I also re-read books to get back on track with a series that somehow I've missed a few of the more recent entries. So I decided to take care of me and have a lot of fun, because that's what reading, and life should be all about!

Some of the books in the To-Be-Read pile of fiction include:

(From the library)
Adams, Ellery; A Killer Plot (mystery)
York, Sheila; A Good Knife's Work (mystery, 1940s)
Jenkins, Beverly; Destiny's Embrace (historical romance, western)
Aaronovitch, Ben; Midnight Riot (mystery)
Rowell, Rainbow; Attachments (fiction)
Miller, Leigh Rae; The Summer I Became a Nerd (young adult fiction)
Hines, Jim C.; Libriomancer (fantasy)
MacLean, Sarah; A Rogue By Any Other Name (historical Regency romance)
Jamison, Sugar; Dangerous Curves Ahead (mystery/romance)
Weber, David; Treecat Wars (with Jane Lindskold) (young adult science fiction)
Parker, Robert B.; Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel (with Helen Braun) (mystery)
Donaldson, Julianne; Blackmoore: A Proper Romance (historical romance)
Gilbert, Elizabeth; The Signature of All Things (fiction)

(At home):
Michaels, Barbara; Ammie Come Home (romantic suspense)
Balliett, Blue; Wright 3 (children's mystery)
Nguyen, Bich Minh; Pioneer Girl (advance copy) (fiction)
Allen, Sarah Addison; Lost Lake (advance copy) (fiction)
Crusie, Jennifer; Tell Me Lies (romance, fiction)

Recent books by the following authors:
Jenn McKinlay/Josie Belle, Julie Hyzy, Julia Spencer-Fleming (actually catching up on her series), E. J. Copperman, Juliet Blackwell, Naomi Novik and John Scalzi (all at home).

And some Christmas reads and re-reads will be thrown in during December, especially those by Connie Willis, and Jill Shalvis (romance, Christmas in Lucky Harbor, which contains the 1st 2 Lucky Harbor books, plus 2 Christmas novellas). And possibly Charlotte Macleod's Rest You Merry (mystery, almost an annual read for me), Miss Read's No Holly for Miss Quinn (fiction, another annual read) and Sandra Boynton's Christmastime (long out of print, but worth tracking down; it's hilarious).

And who knows what else might catch my eye over the next 2 months...?

Happy Reading!!!
Patti

PS No, I do not intend to hibernate over the next 2 months; there will be sports-watching, socializing and, of course, working :).



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig

Hello All,

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig was a lot of fun for this reader. It combined romance, adventure and mystery in a classic Regency setting.

Gwendolyn Meadows has been second-in-command to the spy the Pink Carnation in Paris. She returns to England to help find the Pink Carnation's younger sister who has gone missing from  her boarding school. Young Agnes has run away accompanied by her friend Lizzy, whose father has returned from India to be with his daughters. Gwen ends up joining Lizzy's father, William Reid, and together, with compatriots, they search the English countryside for the girls.

Gwen and William's adventures include witty banter, each taking care of the other as situations arise, and a romance begins despite their worries.

One of the best things about this book for me was the age of the characters. Gwen admits to being in her forties, and William is in his fifties. Yet they are not kept on the shelf or made to be comic characters on the sidelines. This is their story and their romance is front and center. As a reader in my late forties, I thank the author for writing this particular book.

Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!
Patti

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig 2013 Penguin 9780451414724

This book was sent to me for review by Penguin; no other compensation was offered or accepted for this review.