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    This is my little corner of the world where I can do whatever I some of my favorite (and not so favorite) books, whine about yet another gray sky, or just share a little of what it means to live in the Pacific Northwest after a lifetime of living in the sun.

    Reading As you spend time on my blog, you may notice that my reading tastes are a bit eclectic. I used to be what I call a "book snob". That was before I began work on my master's degree and needed light recreational reading and discovered that while some books might not be "critically acclaimed", they could still be some great fun to read! Now I read a little bit of everything.

    Writing One of my lifelong dreams (besides meeting John Taylor from 80's Duran Duran fame) has been write the next great American novel . I'm sure many of you share this dream (you might even share my dream of meeting John Taylor, who knows). I've always been afraid to start writing. I put "writing" in the sub-title of the blog hoping that it will force me to begin writing something or else I will have to crawl away in shame...

    Living I'll also be sharing stories about my experiences living and parenting in the PNW. If you're expecting great tips on how to organize your schedule or how to prepare gourmet meals on a shoestring budget...sorry, you won't find that here. I am chronically messy, chronically disorganized, and chronically planning gourmet meals that never get prepared. It's just going to be me...sharing my trials and tribulations of not only leaving 365 days of sunshine for 350 days of gray skies but also the oh so fun adventure of parenting two "tweens" who think they know more than me.

Book Review: King and Maxwell

Title:   King and Maxwell
Author:   David Baldacci
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing/Hachette
Genre:  Thriller/Suspense
Source:   Publisher & Netgalley
Rating:  2

David Baldacci brings back Sean King and Michelle Maxwell–former Secret Service agents turned private investigators–in their most surprising, personal, and dangerous case ever . . .

It seems at first like a simple, tragic story. Tyler Wingo, a teenage boy, learns the awful news that his father, a soldier, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Then the extraordinary happens: Tyler receives a communication from his father . . . after his supposed death.
Tyler hires Sean and Michelle to solve the mystery surrounding his father. But their investigation quickly leads to deeper, more troubling questions. Could Tyler’s father really still be alive? What was his true mission? Could Tyler be the next target?
Sean and Michelle soon realize that they’ve stumbled on to something bigger and more treacherous than anyone could have imagined. And as their hunt for the truth leads them relentlessly to the highest levels of power and to uncovering the most clandestine of secrets, Sean and Michelle are determined to help and protect Tyler–though they may pay for it with their lives.

My Thoughts:

It’s been years since I’ve read a novel by David Baldacci.  He was one of my go-to suspense authors so when I saw his new novel, King and Maxwell, available as an ARC I jumped on it.  Unfortunately, I did not like this newest Baldacci.  It was simplistic and unconvincing with choppy dialogue.   One scene has a character talking with his father-in-law.  The father-in-law tells the son-in-law how he had met the character’s father in a way that one would at a first time meeting, not a reminiscing between two people who have been a part of each other’s lives for many years.

King and Maxwell is the sixth book in series.  The earlier books may have been better but I don’t know.  Maybe one day, when I have nothing else to read, I will read the first book in the series…

*I received a digital copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Cookbook Review: A Kitchen in France

Title:   A Kitchen in France
Author:   Mimi Thorisson
Publisher:   Random House
Genre:   Cookbook
Source:   Publisher/Blogging For Books
Rating:  5
Locate It:

With beguiling recipes and sumptuous photography, A Kitchen in France transports readers to the French countryside and marks the debut of a captivating new voice in cooking.

When Mimi Thorisson and her family moved from Paris to a small town in out-of-the-way Médoc, she did not quite know what was in store for them. She found wonderful ingredients—from local farmers and the neighboring woods—and, most important, time to cook. Her cookbook chronicles the family’s seasonal meals and life in an old farmhouse, all photographed by her husband, Oddur. Mimi’s convivial recipes—such as Roast Chicken with Herbs and Crème Fraîche, Cèpe and Parsley Tartlets, Winter Vegetable Cocotte, Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water, and Salted Butter Crème Caramel—will bring the warmth of rural France into your home.

My Thoughts:

This book is gorgeous both inside and out.  It’s a cookbook but I actually left it out on my coffee table for a few days because it is so beautiful.   The recipes look delicious and are nicely laid out with easy to read instructions.  Life in the Medoc region revolves around the seasons and the fresh vegetables/fruit available in the local markets so the recipes are arranged by season.  It works well especially with each season having it’s own special menu.   Even better than the gorgeous recipes were the personal stories and descriptions of the author’s corner of the Medoc region.  Can I call a recipe gorgeous?  Because these were!   Who wants to move to France with me?

A Kitchen in France is a substantial book and would be a great gift for any Francophile on your Christmas list.

*I received this book in return for my honest review

December 12, 2014 - 6:44 am

Susan Pamela Spritz Miller - I’ll go along as your interpreter! :)

Top Ten New to Me Authors in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a popular blogging meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I don’t quite have ten this week but Top Eight Tuesday doesn’t sound as good.  ;)


1.  Victoria Laurie

I just discovered Victoria Laurie this month when I read an ARC of her new children’s/teen suspense novel, When.

2.  Robert Gailbraith

Am I cheating by putting Robert Gailbraith on this list?  He “is” JK Rowling, after all.  Whether I’m cheating or not, I loved both of the Cormoran Strike novels and since the writing was so different from the Harry Potter novels, I am considering Gailbraith as a new to me author.

3.  Deborah Harkness

I finally got around to reading The Discovery of Witches this July.  I enjoyed Harkness’ writing so much that I almost immediately read the next two books in the series (in case you’re counting that is over 1700 pages of Harkness this year!).

4.  Preston & Child

This writing team is made up of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  I read the first three books in the Pendergast series.  I didn’t love them but found them enjoyable enough that I’ll likely continue with the series in 2015.

5.  Nicci French

Nicci French is a pseudonym for a husband and wife writing team.  I listened to the audio versions of the first two books in the Frieda Klein series and have the next book in the series on my TBR list.

6.  Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole writes both paranormal romance (Immortals After Dark series) and young adult (Arcana series).  I have a love/hate relationship with her adult series but really enjoyed her Arcana series for teens.  I’ve even pre-ordered the third and final book in the series.

7.  Marty Wingate

I discovered Marty Wingate via my participation in a promotional blog tour.  Marty writes cozy mysteries with garden themes.  I am looking forward to a new book in The Potting Shed Mystery series.

8.  Amy Nichols

 I haven’t read Amy’s book, Now That You’re Here, yet but I did get to read a very early version of chapter one and have been anticipating its publication date (TODAY).  Now, I just need to wait for UPS to drop it off!

December 9, 2014 - 8:26 pm

Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books) - I haven’t read any of these authors, unless you count J.K. Rowling. I haven’t read her Galbraith books — I’m kind of afraid to. The fact that you like them gives me hope, though!

Waiting on Wednesday: When

I just finished reading an digital-ARC version of When and loved it!  I can’t wait for it to be published (January 13, 2015) so I can purchase a copy for my tween & teen to read!

Title:  When
Author:  Victoria Laurie
Publication Date:  January 13, 2015
Locate It: Powell’s or Amazon

Publisher’s Synopsis

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

December 3, 2014 - 3:57 pm

Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know - I’ve seen this one around a lot. It has an interesting concept for sure! Hope you enjoy it!

Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

December 4, 2014 - 4:43 pm

Leeanna @ - I wondered how this would be, glad to hear you thought it was good. I think the premise is pretty cool. WoW

Book Review: The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Title:   The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1)
Author:   Agatha Christie
Genre:   Mystery
Source:   Library
Rating:  4

Poirot, a Belgian refugee of the Great War, is settling in England near the home of Emily Inglethorp, who helped him to his new life. His friend Hastings arrives as a guest at her home. When the woman is killed, Poirot uses his detective skills to solve the mystery.


My Thoughts:

I’ve read one or two novels by Agatha Christie in the distant past but have never read her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I picked this book up as part of a reading challenge and am so glad I did. This was a delightful short read, with quite a you-won’t-see-it-coming twist at the end .

Not only is this Christie’s debut but it is also the debut of one of literature’s best loved detectives, Hercule Poirot. I found the relationship between Poirot and his narrator,Hastings, to be quite interesting. At times, they seemed both friends and adversaries, at least from Hastings’ viewpoint. Actually, Hastings was sometimes a bit whiny and seemed to overshare a bit much which made me  wonder why as the narrator would be sharing some of his more embarrassing moments. But all that aside, I enjoyed Christie’s first novel and will be reading more of them soon. Perfhaps, I’ll even figure out which ones I’ve already read.

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