Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Recommended To Others #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is a freebie, so I decided to choose Top Ten Books I’ve Recommended To Others. I got the idea from Taylor Fenner’s Bookish World, who chose Top Ten Books I’ve Recommended to Others in the Last Three Months.

Being a book blogger, I have recommended lots of books, so ten is a pretty low number. I settled on either books I’ve recommended over the last few years or books I have loved for a long time. There are so many others I could have added so I will revisit this topic again.

My favorite genre is historical fiction, but science fiction (especially time travel) is right up there with it, and a mashup of the two creates my favorite series, The Chronicles of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor. The cover I posted is the first book in that series, Just One Damned Thing After Another.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is a smash hit novel that blends chemistry with television cooking, child-rearing, and crew rowing. It is such a fun read.

Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary is so fascinating to me because here is an author that puts math and physics into a fictional work, and makes me enjoy it!

Gail Meath’s Agustina de Aragon is a wonderful saga about the “Spanish Joan of Arc” that should not be missed. Her Jax Diamond Mysteries series (first book Songbird) is a fun series about a private detective and his German Shepherd set in the 1920s.

Robert Heinlein’s The Door Into Summer is my favorite book of all time. It is about a man who uses time travel to change his circumstances. And it has a very important cat, Petronius the Arbiter (Pete).

A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver is book one of the Electra McDonnell series, about a family of criminal safecrackers who become spies for their country during World War II.

In The Middle of Hickory Lane is a small-town fiction/mystery that just draws you in and makes you want to be a part of this community.

The Girl Who Feared Trains is about a young girl who loses her mother during the 1918 pandemic and has to board a train, along with her sister, to go live with her grandmother.

In The Ingenue, a former piano prodigy comes home after her mother’s death to discover that her mother has left the family mansion not to her, but to the most improbable person she could have imagined. I loved this because of the unexpected turns it takes.

What are some of your favorites?

Sunday Post: Life is Good. #SundayPost

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post

No sickness this week! Life has returned to normal and I’m catching up on everything. Getting a much-needed haircut tomorrow. Funny how the little things fall by the wayside when you’re sick. Went out antiquing with my husband yesterday. We didn’t buy anything (a first), but it was nice to get out and look. I’m actually going to have to sell some of my vintage glassware collection to make room when we move to our retirement home, which is less the half the size of our current home. So anything I buy right now will have to be really special to “make the cut.” We also went to Lowe’s to look at stain for a new bookcase, and then we checked out some stoves. I still don’t know what kind of stove I want. It was just a nice, normal day, which we haven’t had in a while.

Tonight my beloved Cincinnati Bengals play for the AFC title, so I’ll be rooting them on. I’ve been a fan of this team for over 40 years, and there have been a lot of losses and disappointments in that time. I’m hoping for another chance at a Super Bowl and a victory this time.

LAST WEEK ON BONNIE READS AND WRITES

On Wednesday I reviewed Last Summer Boys by Bill Rivers

On Friday I reviewed The Marriage Season by Jane Dunn as part of a blog Tour for Rachel’s Random Resources.

I also participated in Book Blogger Hop on Friday. The question was, “Do you prefer to read in a quiet or noisy setting?”

For Indie Weekend I have reviewed The Great Loveda Brown by Jolie Tunnell.

NEXT WEEK ON BONNIE READS AND WRITES

On Monday or Tuesday, I will review the audiobook of Spare, narrated by Prince Harry. It was ghostwritten by J.R. Moehringer

On Tuesday I will participate in Top Ten Tuesday if time permits.

On Wednesday or Thursday I will review Murder in the Cathedral by Cora Harrison

On Friday I will participate in Book Blogger Hop if time permits.

And for Indie Weekend I’ll review or spotlight Indie Books.

BOOK HAUL

I am reading Murder in Postscript and The Echo of Old Books for the Historical Novel Society, so those reviews won’t be posted until after they are published on May 1st. This Other Eden is an audiobook I picked up on Netgalley.

Have a great week, everyone!

Indie Weekend: The Great Loveda Brown #IndieAuthors #HistoricalMystery

After some time off due to illness, I’m happy to resume Indie Weekend. Indie Weekend is my effort to promote self-published and indie books. If I can help even a little bit with marketing, I’m happy to do it. Below is my review of Book One in the Idyllwild Mystery Series, The Great Loveda Brown. I was first introduced to Loveda Brown when I read Book Five out of order, but I enjoyed it so much I was determined to go back and read them from the beginning. The Book Description, Review, and Buy Links are below.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Determined to outmaneuver a past that is quickly catching up to her, Loveda Brown takes a side road into the middle of nowhere. The secluded mountain town seems like an ideal hiding place… until a body appears on the road at dawn.

Suddenly the prime suspect in a murder she didn’t commit, she’s trapped until she can prove her innocence. Loveda’s inquiries trigger a haunting local history that’s about to repeat itself. As she races to unearth buried secrets, the murderer strikes again.

Will Loveda become part of the deadly legacy in a town time forgot, or can she stop the killer before she becomes the next victim?

BOOK REVIEW

I really enjoyed this mystery set in Idyllwild, California.  Loveda Brown is a strong character, full of wit and determination.  In fact, she’s often the smartest person in a room full of men, although they wouldn’t acknowledge that much in 1912.  The description of the setting in Idyllwild is excellent, and I felt immediately transported there.  Loveda’s first investigation is for an intriguing reason that will captivate the reader.  Her past as an abused spouse and the effect this has had on her is well described. 

The cast of town characters is intriguing, and I want to visit them again, which will be easy to do since this is the first of eight books in the series so far.  The mystery is full of twists and turns, and the villain is quite a surprise.  Historical events of that era are woven into the story.   If you enjoy reading books about strong women, you will connect with Loveda immediately.   Historical mystery fans will also be delighted and intrigued to visit Idyllwild and solve a mystery with Loveda. 

I downloaded a copy of this book via Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read all eight books for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jolie Tunnell, award-winning and Amazon best-selling author, brings the past to life with suspenseful historical mysteries. She lives in Southern California with her hubby, five kids, and a pear-shaped cat. Minus the murders, Idyllwild has been her summer retreat for years.

Cozy up with a cuppa and enjoy her mountaintop mysteries with a feisty small town community, hidden villains, and the unsinkable Loveda Brown. She offers readers a historical whodunnit with the flavor of turn-of-the-century Wild West.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | AMAZON UK

LINK TO ALL EIGHT BOOKS

*Kindle Unlimited subscribers, remember you can read all eight books for free.

BEFORE YOU GO

*If you buy/read the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help Indie authors go a long way!

BOOK BLOGGER HOP: Reading: Quiet or Noisy?

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Billy @ Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the hop on February 15, 2013. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book-related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blog.

It truly doesn’t matter. I guess because I grew up with seven brothers and sisters, I am used to noise. I also have some hearing loss, so things are a bit quieter for me than they might be for others anyway. I think reading with music in the background can be nice as well.

What about you? What is your preferred setting? Quiet or Noisy?

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Marriage Season #RegencyRomance

BOOK DESCRIPTION

It’s not a fair world I’m afraid. Beauty or fortune carries the day. You have the beauty and I the fortune, so there’s every chance we’ll succeed’

In Regency England, marriage is everything. For young widow Sybella Lovatt, the time has come to find a suitable husband for her sister and ward Lucie. Male suitors are scarce near their Wiltshire estate, so the sisters resolve to head to London in time for The Season to begin.

Once ensconced at the Mayfair home of Lady Godley, Lucie’s godmother, the whirl of balls, parties and promenades can begin. But the job of finding a husband is fraught with rules and tradition. Jostling for attention are the two lords – the charming and irresistible Freddie Lynwood and the preternaturally handsome Valentine Ravenell, their enigmatic neighbour from Shotten Hall, Mr Brabazon, and the dangerous libertine Lord Rockliffe, with whom the brooding Brabazon is locked in deadly rivalry.

Against the backdrop of glamorous Regency England, Sybella must settle Lucie’s future, protect her own reputation, and resist the disreputable rakes determined to seduce the beautiful widow. As the Season ends, will the sisters have found the rarest of things – a suitable marriage with a love story to match?

BOOK REVIEW

I enjoyed this visit to Regency England during marriage season. The book, however, started out in the British countryside and we met our main characters in that setting. Once we get into the marriage market in London, however, the story gets more interesting. We are transported to that era with its proprieties, rules, lavish balls, and yes, hypocrisy. I liked the fact that the two main characters were strong women. The romances are easy to see coming, but that did not deter from my enjoyment of the story. Some slight criticisms: I felt the portrayal of the child was a little overdone, and I didn’t find his dialogue believable. I also felt parts of the book moved a bit slowly.

Overall, though, this is an enjoyable romance that looks at the Regency Era marriage market with a bit of sarcasm and irony. My rating is 3.6 stars, rounded up to 4 on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Dunn is a historian and biographer and the author of seven acclaimed biographies, including Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters and the Sunday Times and NYT bestseller, Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens. She comes to Boldwood with her first fiction outing – a trilogy of novels set in the Regency period, the first of which is to be published in January 2023. She lives in Berkshire with her husband, the linguist Nicholas Ostler.

Social Media Links 

Twitter

Instagram

Bookbub

BUY LINK (CLICK ON THE COVER)

Book Review: Last Summer Boys #Vietnam #comingofagefiction

This is another book I read last fall for the November issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society.

It is 1968 in rural Pennsylvania when Jack Elliot overhears the bartenders in his town complaining that famous boys don’t have to go to war. He sets out on a mission to make his brother Pete famous and keep him out of Vietnam.  Enlisting the help of his visiting cousin, Frankie, they begin to plan a mission, led by Pete, to find an old fighter jet crash site.  Thus Jack begins an adventurous summer with his brothers Pete and Will, and his cousin Frankie.  Pete bravely says being drafted would be an honor, while Will is a big fan of Bobby Kennedy and follows him closely in the news.  Then there is Frankie, the visiting “city-boy” cousin, out to prove he is strong enough to run with them.

In a volatile time when Martin Luther King has just been murdered and tensions are at a breaking point, we travel to Pennsylvania to watch Jack try to save his brother’s life.  At the same time, bullies abound on all sides.  There is a childhood bully, biker gangs, and the biggest bully of them all—the government, who is trying to take their land and flood it for a reservoir.  As he enters this life-saving summer, we watch Jack’s coming-of-age story as his plans take an unexpected detour.  We feel the aftermath of Bobby Kennedy’s murder through Jack’s grieving brother Will, and we see what happens when people join together to fight injustice.  The characters are wonderfully complex and the story takes meaningful twists and turns, from adventure to mystery to small town politics.  This well-woven novel will keep you captivated and immersed in the politics and family struggles going on at that time.   I recommend this book to anyone interested in beautifully written coming-of-age stories or in Vietnam-era fiction set in the U.S.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Rivers grew up along the creeks of the Brandywine Valley in Delaware and Pennsylvania. A graduate of the University of Delaware, he earned an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania as a Truman Scholar, one of sixty national awards given annually for a career in public service. Bill worked in the US Senate before serving as speechwriter for US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, developing classified and unclassified messages on national security and traveling throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. He and his family live outside Washington, DC, where he still keeps a piece of a crashed fighter jet they found in the hills of southeastern Pennsylvania. Find him on Twitter and Instagram.

BUY LINK (Click on Cover)

Sunday Post: Shout-outs and Getting Back to Normal

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post

We got a really cool shout-out this week from Cinnabar Moth Publishing. In their weekly podcast, The Writer’s Triangle, they were talking about setting up author websites and how important they are. They used my site as an example of what a fledgling author can do while they are trying to get their name out there. They mentioned book reviews and a lot of what I do on this site. They gave us a lot of compliments.

The Youtube video is here if you want to listen. Bonnie Reads and Writes is mentioned at about 8:25.

So I am starting to sound like a broken record, but I was sick again this week, a majority of the week. This makes the third virus since mid-December. It’s never COVID, but the doctor told me there are about twelve different viruses going around out there. Hopefully, this is the last one. Once again I caught it after my grandkids visited. This time, I sent my husband to our other house in Bryson City while the kids were here so that at least one of us would be healthy. That plan worked. Here are some beautiful pictures he sent me while he was there:

Also, Indie Weekend has been neglected due to my illnesses in December and January. I am getting back to it in a big way next week, with more than one review.

Here’s to getting back to normal!

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOG

On Monday I did mini reviews of And Justice for Mall and Twice in a Lifetime.

On Thursday I reviewed Patches Through Time.

On Friday I participated in Book Blogger Hop.

NEXT WEEK ON THE BLOG

I plan to participate in Top Ten Tuesday and Book Blogger Hop if time permits.

On Wednesday I will review Last Summer Boys by Bill Rivers.

On Friday I will review The Marriage Season as part of a blog tour for Rachel’s Random Resources.

And Indie Weekend resumes Friday through Sunday!

BOOK HAUL

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Book Blogger Hop: Keeping up with Authors on Social Media #BookBloggerHop

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Billy @ Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the hop on February 15, 2013. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end the following Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book-related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blog.

Absolutely! I’ve gotten to know a lot of authors from reviewing books, and I follow their social media. Two of them especially became dear friends. You know who you are, Gail and Louise! You can learn more about these wonderful authors by clicking on their name.

If I review a book I especially like, I keep track of the author on social media so I can request their next book.

I also see a lot of poignant posts on author sites. Liz Gauffreau wrote a book review yesterday that blew me away. Joy Neal Kidney provides fascinating posts about the history of Iowa and her family. They are also both fantastic authors. There are so many others whose posts I follow and enjoy.

I also help promote them by retweeting, sharing, etc. That is part of making my page a community of writers, reviewers, and readers who support each other.

Blog Tour and Book Review: Patches Through Time

**Book review at the bottom of the page.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Patches through Time

An unbelievably believable time travel escapade.

Casual antique dealer Jake Patch picks up an unusual object and can’t put it down. Literally. His find is a time travel device, and he hatches a bold plan to acquire objects from the past and sell them at modern day prices. But when the mysterious Infinity Glass leaves Patch stranded in a dangerous past, it falls to his teen daughter Cass to save him.

With hints of The Time Traveller’s Wife and Back to the Future and a smattering of LovejoyPatches through Time will send you spinning headlong into the past, then spit you back into the twenty-first century.

This book contains occasional profanities. Trigger warning: bereavement (parent, spouse).

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sian Turner was born in Wales, but lives in East Sussex. She has recently started learning Welsh (and can categorically testify that Welsh is difficult).

She works as a part-time volunteer in her local RSPCA cat re-homing centre, from where she keeps adopting new family members (only one or two at a time).

Sian enjoys reading and reviewing some of the many truly amazing novels by Independent Authors, and she is secretary of her local writers’ group, Shorelink Writers.

Sian’s Social Media Links–

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

BOOK REVIEW

This is a combination of YA, Fantasy, and Time Travel. The official book blurb says it’s reminiscent of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Back to the Future, and it is in one way, which the reader will soon see. The rules of time travel are very firmly set by the author, which I liked quite a bit. The method of time travel is both an object and a magical creature, which I feel worked in this book.

The plot did not go the way I would have liked, but the premise of the story was good. It appears there are more books to come, as this one ended on a cliffhanger.

I received a free copy of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

Two mini reviews: And Justice for Mall and Twice in a Lifetime #minireviews #cozymysteries #timetravel

I’ve been out of pocket due to work and watching grandkids, but I’m back now and I wanted to share some mini reviews with you. They’re both four stars, or will be rounded to four stars on sites with no partial star option. I am going to occasionally do mini-reviews more in the future. My mini reviews will include overall impressions and do not have an author bio. Click on the covers to buy the books. My impressions are below.

AND JUSTICE FOR MALL

BOOK DESCRIPTION

When Riley Schoenberg strides into family lawyer Sandy Moss’s office without knocking and coolly sits down, Sandy’s more irritated than amused. She has a client meeting to prepare for, and being interrupted by an eleven-year-old girl is not on her to-do list.

But then Sandy hears Riley’s pitch, and it’s a killer one: Riley’s father’s been convicted of murdering her mother … and the oddly intimidating pre-teen will do anything to get him out of jail.

Sandy, in turn, will do anything to get Riley out of her office. Which includes agreeing to look into her dad’s case for free. A decision she regrets when it turns out Riley’s inheritance has made her a multi-millionaire.

Still, Sandy’s determined to get Riley the answers she needs. There’s just one tiny problem: Riley might be convinced her father’s innocent, but Jack Schoenberg is insisting he did it.

MINI REVIEW

This is the fourth Jersey Girl mystery series and the first I’ve read. The characters were engaging, and there was a bit of humor running through the book, even in dangerous situations. The book had a great tone that kept me intrigued. The plot was interesting and the mystery had some twists and turns that were fun to figure out.

My rating is 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions are my own.

TWICE IN A LIFETIME

AUDIOBOOK DESCRIPTION

Isla has fled the city for small-town Missouri in the wake of a painful and exhausting year. With her chronic anxiety at a fever pitch, the last thing she expects is to meet a genuine romantic prospect. And she doesn’t. But she does get a text from a man who seems to think he’s her husband. Obviously, a wrong number—except when she points this out, the mystery texter sends back a picture. Of them—on their wedding day.
 
Isla cautiously starts up a texting relationship with her maybe-hoax, maybe-husband Ewan, who claims to be reaching out from a few years into the future. Ewan knows Isla incredibly well, and seems to love her exactly as she is, which she can hardly fathom. But he’s also grieving because in the future, he and Isla are no longer together.
 
Ewan is texting back through time to save her from a fate he is unwilling to share—and all she can do to prevent that fate is to learn to be happy, now, in the body she has, with the mind she has. The only trouble is the steps she takes in that direction might be steps away from a future with Ewan.
 
Melissa Baron’s time-crossed romance features a quintessentially endearing and brave protagonist, and an engrossing plot that will keep you turning pages until its breathtaking finish.

AUDIOBOOK MINI REVIEW

This time slip story has a little bit of a vibe of the Sandra Bullock movie The Lake House, a bit of The Butterfly Effect, and situations that show that changing the future has consequences.

Twice in a Lifetime is not exactly a time travel story, but more of an exchange of messages from one time to the other, which is what reminds me of Sandra Bullock’s movie The Lake House. The rules set by the author give consequences for changing the future. I liked the whole premise. There are also serious themes of traumatic brain injury and depression that are well presented.

Megan Tusing does a good job with the narration, and I liked the conclusion. My rating is 4.2 stars, rounded down to 4 stars on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Dreamscape Media via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

BUY LINKS: Remember to click the covers for the buy links.