First Line Friday: Starting From Scratch

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.


Starting From Scratch by Kate Lloyd has been on my radar since the author began promoting it on Instagram, so I couldn’t resist ordering a copy when she captioned a picture of it with the news that the paperback was available for $3.50 on Amazon (US).

With a cover blurb from one of my favorite Amish fiction authors, Laura V. Hilton, and praise from @themaryreader on Instagram, this promises to be an enjoyable read.

Here is the description: Continue reading “First Line Friday: Starting From Scratch”

Night Night, Sleepytown by Amy Parker, illustrated by Virginia Allyn (boardbook review)

nightnightsleepytown_parker_tnelsonFilled with colorful, cute, and slightly whimsical illustrations, this bedtime book is a delight with a calm, rhyming text.  As the narrative moves around the town, identifying how the townsfolk contribute through their different professions, each time ending with “Thank you all for what you do,” there is a warm feeling of gratitude as each character is given value and respect.  And the book ends by addressing the importance of Continue reading “Night Night, Sleepytown by Amy Parker, illustrated by Virginia Allyn (boardbook review)”

First Line Friday: Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.


I was so excited when there was an actual publication date announced for a new Jasper Fforde book, only to find out that Early Riser would be out in the U.K. months ahead of the U.S. release.  Book Depository came to my rescue (though it took over two weeks to cross the country once it arrived in the states) and now I can gush and middle-aged fangirl to my heart’s content in the privacy of my own home (because middle-aged fangirling is not a pretty sight).

Here is the description from Hodder and Stoughton UK: Continue reading “First Line Friday: Early Riser by Jasper Fforde”

Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano (review)

caughtbysurprise_turano_bethanyhouseLet’s get one thing out of the way first.  The humor in Jen Turano’s stories is a big part of their appeal.  Some of my favorite bits are the situational humor involving her heroines.  This is an author with a talent for putting those heroines into the most unexpected and hilarious situations.  But this time out, there are two characters used for comedic effect where it just struck a wrong note for me.  These characters provide comedy through their inexperience and ineptness, and it does serve the plot well, but it seemed to veer into a parody of the uneducated lower class.  However, that was quite likely just my reaction and not the author’s intent, so enough said.

Miss Temperance Flowerdew, the most timid of the put-upon wallflowers initially introduced in At Your Request, the prequel novella of the series, has decided to throw off her mild-mannered ways and Continue reading “Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano (review)”

True Grit by Charles Portis (review)

truegrit_portisHaving seen the 1969 film starring John Wayne and Kim Darby, the novel True Grit was at once familiar and utterly new.

The first person narration was unexpected, as was the narrator’s voice.  Told from the perspective of a much older Mattie Ross, relating the events of the winter following her father’s murder, she is forthright and, one feels, reliable in the retelling.   Continue reading “True Grit by Charles Portis (review)”

Cowboy Charm School by Margaret Brownley (review)

cowboycharmschool_brownley_sourcebksIt has been some time since I’ve read a Margaret Brownley novel, and I was immediately reminded of why I so enjoy them – her signature combination of sweet romance, old west adventure, and gentle humor.

Though not many begin with a Texas Ranger crashing the wedding of a candy maker, mistaking the groom for an outlaw Continue reading “Cowboy Charm School by Margaret Brownley (review)”

First Line Friday: True Grit

Welcome to First Line Friday,

hosted by Hoarding Books.


One of the things I love about the bookish communities online is how we share our love of books and our discoveries of authors, whether it is a debut author, an established author, or one who is, for whatever reason, no longer publishing.  I also love how international the pool of readers and authors is in these communities.

On the recommendation of a librarian in Norway whose account I follow on Instagram (search for @booktomas if you want to follow him), I’ve checked out a library e-book of True Grit by Charles Portis.  First published in 1968 and adapted into a movie more than once, I’ve only seen the Kim Darby/John Wayne version, and I’m strongly considering re-watching it after I read the book.

Here is the first line:

Continue reading “First Line Friday: True Grit”

Deadly Treasures by Vivian Conroy (quick review)

deadlytreasures_conroy_carinaThe third outing in the Lady Alkmene Callender Cosy Mystery series finds Alkmene on a jaunt out to an archaeological site to reacquaint herself with the son of the family she spent childhood summers with.  While this trip has been partially orchestrated by her father from abroad in hopes of making a match for Alkmene, she arrives to find her potential husband being arrested for murder. Continue reading “Deadly Treasures by Vivian Conroy (quick review)”

Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber (review)

cottagebythesea_macomberA summer read, a beach read, a cozy up in the fall read – depending on when you read it, this fits all of those categories.  Debbie Macomber has taken inspiration from a very real tragedy that is still in the memory of many in the Pacific Northwest, myself included, and crafted the story of a woman’s struggle to go on after losing her entire family in a devastating landslide that occurred in Washington state. Continue reading “Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber (review)”