What We Are Reading!

BookishLifeAnne: I’ve had a wonderful reading month, with two books set in bookshops, and a new-to-me favorite historical romance author with a fabulous backlist.
 
First the bookshop books, both about young (ish) single women who work in bookshops, and both relatively content with their single lives, though in each book there is a tentative but developing romance. And both women are dealing with unexpected family connections.
 
In The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman Nina is shocked to discover the father she knew nothing about — not even his name — has died and left her not only something in the will, but a large extended family. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is full of wonderful, wry and funny observations about people and life in LA and I found myself (for the first time ever) bookmarking passages I especially enjoyed. Abbi Waxman’s writing is clever and original and thoroughly enjoyable.

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What We are Reading

From cozy mysteries, grumpy billionaires and nerdy theoretical physicist looking for love to high-flying thrillers and our own Anne Gracie's Regency romance, the Wenches have been reading up a storm this month!

Double twistPat: I found a lot of good mysteries this month! Here's a couple: Double Twist (A Mia Murphy Mystery) Stephanie Rowe. Oh my, this was a fun one. Definitely not a cozy although we have a small town and a heroine restoring an old business, a marina. Mia Murphy grew up with a con for a mother, married a drug dealer, and once she gets free of all that, still manages to buy a marina owned by a drug dealer. But she’s determined to put the past behind her and build a beautiful life in rural Maine where nothing bad ever happens. Until it does. Her background is bound to be a criminal magnet. But at least there’s a hunky cop to catch her when she falls, which she does fairly often. Instead of packing pistol hardware, she swings real hardware—hair dryers, pencil sharpeners, anything with a cord she can swing. Her comrades in arms are a baton twirling/body builder mail woman and a septuagenarian café owner/race car driver. So we may have a few murderous thugs and a lot of local skullduggery, but Mia can handle it all. Somehow. I even laughed out loud a few times, which never happens. If you're just looking for a little fun, give it a try!

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What We Are Reading!

The key to deceitMary Jo: I just read the second of Ashley Weaver's Electra O'Donnell historical mystery series, set in London right at the beginning of WWII, and the books are narrated by Ellie, who was taught the skills of a safe cracker by her Uncle Mick.  The family runs a legitimate locksmith business, but when money is tight, Ellie and Uncle Mick quietly break into unoccupied houses of the rich for a spot of burglary. 
      The first book, A Peculiar Combination, begins when Ellie and her uncle break into a house and are ambushed by Major Ramsay, a British army intelligence officer who needs a skilled safe cracker and is quite willing to blackmail the O'Donnells into helping him. 
       Ellie is happy to use her nefarious skills and is reluctantly attracted to the rigidly controlled Major Ramsay.  She also has a possibly developing relationship with a talented forger friend of the family, Felix Lacey. She's smart, stubborn, and determined, and in the first book, she finds that she enjoys the danger and satisfaction of  risking her life for her country. And she wants to do it again.
       In the second book, The Key to Deceit, Major Ramsay turns up again needing her skills.  The body of a well-dressed young woman with no identification has been found in the Thames, and she has an unusual bracelet locked around her wrist.  Ellie unlocks the bracelet, and soon she and Major Ramsay and her friends are chasing a Nazi spy ring around London.  
      The advancing war is palpable, and at the end of the book, the Blitz has begun as masses of German bombers begin pounding London.  It only makes Ellie, her friends, and her fellow Londoners more determined to remain unbroken.  Clearly there is much more that can be done with this series and these characters, and I look forward to the next installment!

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What We Are Reading!

LastbookshopAndrea here, posting this month’s eclectic (as always!) array of books we’ve been reading this month!

Pat: I hate WWII books. I know the horrible, depressing history and simply don’t need to wallow in it. But I cannot resist bookshop books, and Anne recommended this one, so I gave The Last Bookshop In London, by Madeline Martin, a try. I almost quit after the first chapter—boring, formulaic, whatever the excuse. But I was in a crummy mood and didn’t like anything else either, so I kept on reading. The heroine is timid and never does anything unless pushed. It takes the death of her parents, and her aunt shoving her out of the house, to accept the offer of her mother’s best friend to live in London. It’s 1939. We know what’s going to happen.

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What We Are Reading—The September Edition!

Andrea here, putting together our monthly feature on What We Are Reading. As usual, there's a wonderful range of intriguing books—so sharpen your pencil and start making a list! And be sure to tell us what YOU have been reading!

DessenJustListenAnne: This month I'm recommending a new YA author and some re-reads — one a contemporary rock band series and the other historicals set in Europe in the 1930's and onwards.

The new YA author was recommended to me by a friend.  Sarah Dessen's Just Listen  was the first one I started with. It's about a young woman in her last years of high school. Annabel's life seems pretty perfect, until something devastating happens. She tries to deal with it by blocking it out and withdrawing, avoiding all confrontation. But when school starts up again after summer, her problems all come crashing back. She's lost all her friends and all her confidence. An unlikely friendship with another loner, Owen, shows her the way back. He's a music buff in an anger management program, and he helps her realize the dangers of holding in her emotions. 
I loved this book and went on to read three more of Sarah Dessen's books. When YA books are this well written, they're not just for young adults.

The rock band reread came about from a wench discussion with Christina, when we were talking about our love of Kylie Scott's rock band series, and I suggested she read Karina Bliss. Rise is about Zander, the charismatic, outrageous singer and leader of the incredibly successful rock band Rage. After the old band split up, he's started the band again with new members, taking huge risks to rebuild their popularity in a Resurrection Tour. 
At the same time, he's invited Elizabeth, a prestigious and award-winning academic writer to write his biography — a controversial move for them both. But Zander is hiding secrets, and one that could explode all his efforts to rebuild his band and reputation. 
I read this (and the others in the series) seven years ago and I loved them all over again.

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