Monday, February 22, 2016

Where Is Your Bookmark? (02/23/2016)

It has turned into such a lovely day. I hate to be cooped up in the office all day. Oh well. There are bills to pay and mouths to feed. Or as my daughter would say, "We don't want to live in a cardboard box, Mother." (Yes, she calls me "Mother;" I miss "Mama".) I currently am enjoying North of Here by Laurel Saville, which I will be reviewing next week for a tour. In the meantime, I thought I would share a bit of the last book I read, Death Sits Down for Dinner by Tessa Arlen. This is the second in Arlen's Lady Motford Edwardian mystery series.




Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a book they are reading or thinking about reading soon. It is also where I share my first impressions about the book I am sharing.


A wet and miserable late-autumn day had turned into a bitterly cold winter night as the sun sank unseen below a horizon obscured by a bank of thick gray clouds. The wind veered to the east and the first strong gust gathered force from the estuary and bellowed up the Thames, blowing sprays of puddle water into the air and plastering wet leaves against the legs of those unfortunate enough still to be hurrying homeward. 
Tucked away in the quiet comfort of her bedroom at Montfort House, Clementine Talbot, the Countess of Montfort, and her maid, Pettigrew, were absorbed in the leisurely business of dressing her for dinner. As they went diligently about their work, engrossed in the particulars of choosing the right shoes for her evening dress and making difficult decisions on the appropriate jewels for the occasion, they enjoyed an intermittent exchange of information on the new cook who had recently taken up her appointment at Montfort House.

Every Tuesday, Jenn from A Daily Rhythm hosts Teaser Tuesdays at which time participants grab their current read, open to a random page, and share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page while avoiding any spoilers.

Teaser from 12% of Death Sits Down for Dinner:
A wave of nausea burned her throat and she heard herself observe in a neutral and dispassionate voice, "I think that's a knife handle sticking out of his chest." 
and at 75%:
"So what will you do if you discover who killed Sir [. . .]? Will you make a citizen's arrest?" He was laughing now, no doubt at the thought of his mother and her housekeeper tracking down a desperate killer. Did he think this was some sort of parlor game she had invented to while away the empty hours?
*[. . .] Name removed to avoid spoilers.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?  

I love a historical setting, and in this one, we leave the English countryside and spend time in London. While the opening two paragraphs are more set-up than revelation as to what is to come, they do set the tone nicely. The first of the teasers is much more to the point, I'm sure you would agree. And the final one, well, her son makes a valid point.

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it anything you would recommend?


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at Broke and Bookish.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is Top Ten Book I Enjoyed Recently (yearish) That Weren't My Typical Genre/Type of Book.

Poetry ~ Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost have been favorite poets of mine since childhood. I enjoy reading and writing poetry, but I am also intimidated by it. I am so sure I will miss the deeper meaning behind the words. I find it hard to review poetry, and yet, when offered the chance to be a part of three different tours within the past year, I decided to give it a try. I set aside my insecurities and went with how the poems made me feel and what I got out of them, trying hard not to think about how I might get it wrong. Each of the collections brought me something different, and reminded me of why I enjoy poetry. From the sparse beauty and sadness of the poems in Wet Silence to the relateable poems of Paradise Drive, and the joy and self-discovery in Joy Street.


Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust



Wet Silence: Poems About Hindu Widows by Sweta Srivastava Vikram



Joy Street by Laura Foley


Nonfiction ~ While I enjoy nonfiction quite a bit, I tend to pass it over for fiction all too often. I was proud of the fact that I read two nonfiction books this past year, after having read none the year before.  Both books were historical in nature--oh, how I love history!


by Alex Palmer



by Denise Kiernan


Science Fiction ~ I actually have a handful of science fiction novels I am eager to read this year.  It is not a new to me genre, but, like nonfiction, it is one I do not read often. I have long been a lover of fantasy, and science fiction doesn't fall far from that tree. Both of the science fiction novels that made my list are quite different from one another. One takes place in outer space and is action packed, and the other is more literary, set in near modern times on Earth.


Erased by Liz Strange  




The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan


Contemporary Romance ~ I went from not reading straight romance for over two decades to slowly coming back to it. My common refrain for many years has been that I prefer romance on the side and not as a main course. The urban fantasy/paranormal romance cross-overs and romantic suspense are among my favorite types of romance novels--and remain so. In the past couple years, I have been reading more contemporary romance than I have in a long while. It's been hit and miss, but I have read some good ones, and these titles are among them. Admittedly, they are both holiday romances as well.  


A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne



Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan


Contemporary Young Adult (YA) & Audiobooks ~ I am combining these two because they both fit on today's list. My history with audiobooks is hit and miss. It is not my preferred way to take in a book, but I keep at it, hoping the format will grow on me. I enjoy a good YA novel now and then, especially one that is fantasy based. I find myself less drawn to contemporary YA, although I do read it too on occasion.


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, 
narrated by: Rebecca Lowman & Sunil Malhotra

While it is hard for me to classify some of the above books as outside my comfort zone because they all have elements in them that intrigue and interest me, they do fall into categories I do not read often--or at least not in the last several years. Mysteries and general fiction tend to make up most of my reading, with fantasy, particularly urban fantasy, come in soon after.

What have you read recently that was outside your usual norm?


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

73 comments:

  1. I added poetry to my list, too. I have come to think of it as a life source.
    My TTT

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    1. Anne - I really enjoy poetry when I read it. I need to remind myself of that every time I find myself hesitating to try it for the wrong reasons.

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  2. I have had The Girls of atomic city on my TBR list for such a long time and keep not picking it up for some reason. Thanks for reminding me :)
    You have a fantastic list here! I love too see all the different genres :)

    My TTT: http://booksbeautifylife.blogspot.de/2016/02/top-10-tuesday-books-different-books-i.html

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    1. Dawnie - It's worth reading if you get the chance. I had it sitting on my shelf awhile too before I finally decided to read it.

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  3. This sounds like a delightful whodunit. I like the way the author sets the mood in the opening - a cozy scene indoors while there's unpleasant weather outside. I get the feeling that mother and her housekeeper are going to prove the son wrong!
    My Tuesday post features ROUND THE BEND.

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    1. Sandra - I have the feeling they'll prove him wrong too! I enjoyed this mystery.

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  4. Oh, I LOVE the introductory paragraphs of "Death Sits Down to Dinner"! The writing is very evocative;the reader sees and feels everything in the first paragraph, and in the second, the coziness of the scene is totally palpable. And it's set in Edwardian times! Oh, I have to add this one to my Goodreads shelves!

    You know, I have several science fiction books that I've been meaning to read, as well. I have quite a few classic Star Trek novels, as well as some volumes from Donald Wollheim's World's Best SF series. The SF novels you've featured look really interesting! I will investigate further!

    I also love your Christmas romance picks; they're both on my Goodreads shelves. So is "Eleanor and Park".

    GREAT picks all around!

    I only posted this meme on MINDSPIRIT BOOK JOURNEYS this week, BTW. : )

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    1. Maria - I really liked the opening paragraphs too. I just love Tessa Arlen's books. I highly recommend them!

      I love SF movies, so it seems only natural I would like SF books too, doesn't it?

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  5. I like those first two paragraphs. They made me want to sink right in. Your Top Ten is interesting.

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  6. I'm not surprised you want out of the office when you are involved in a book which talks about diligently getting dressed - oh what a different type of life!

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    1. Cleo - It is! I can't imagine someone dressing me and doing my hair every day. I wouldn't mind to have a daily hair stylist, now that I think about it. Haha

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  7. While I do read a lot of contemporary YA and still avoid straight-up romance, the other categories of poetry, sci fi, and nonfiction are all genres I rarely read, but often enjoy when I do.

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    1. Wendy - I find that too. If only there weren't so many books out there I want to read . . . It's a good problem to have, at least. :-)

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  8. Thanks for sharing the snippets from Arlen's latest. I can't wait to read that one after enjoying the first one.

    Nonfiction is one I don't read much of either, although a few years ago I was reading some history as I was into it at the time. Science fiction too- as close as it is to fantasy sometimes, it's funny that I don't read more of it. It seems like lately if I read sci fi it's YA stuff, oddly enough.

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    1. Greg - I hope you enjoy it when you read it!

      That's probably true for me too--when I read SiFi, it more often than not tends to be YA.

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  9. Your excerpts do set the tone nicely, and the cold wintry night and dark clouds feel like a foreboding. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain - Yes, there is a definite sense of foreboding. The title helps with that too, I think. :-)

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  10. Wendy, I think that intro sounds really good - bet the mystery will be good one. SO many new to me titles included in this post.

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    1. Diane - It definitely was an intriguing mystery. :-)

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  11. I like the sound of the Arlen book. Have not read the first one yet, but still. The first part reminded me of a Downton Abbey scene, from the first part of the series. The lady and the maid deciding things. As to outside the scope of my reading, well, all the above that you listed (mostly). I need to go hunt up the Arlen books.

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    1. Kay - I really liked the first book in Arlen's series, and this second one was good too. The marketing campaign for the book says fans of Downton Abbey would enjoy the books, and I think that's probably true.

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  12. I love historical fiction and a good mystery! I Hope you can stop by:

    http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2016/02/teaser-tuesday-brentwoods-ward-22316.html

    Colletta

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    1. Colletta - It's a great series. I highly recommend it!

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  13. I am having a hard time with this winters weather and being cooped up, too! We normally have such a horrible winter... Right now the sun is shinning and it is not too cold. I wish I could go out and enjoy it!

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    1. Kailana - I hope you will be able to enjoy nice weather soon!

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  14. Sadly lacking on my list are poetry also (I do love hearing it spoken, but I have a hard time reading it) and sci-fi and fantasy--but when I do I love it. You have some good 'out of box' books listed. I have Eleanor and Park on my coffee table right now...just waiting to be picked up.

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    1. Debbie - I hope you enjoy Eleanor and Park when you get to it!

      I don't think I could read poetry as a steady diet, but now and then, I really appreciate it.

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  15. I love historical mysteries, but I don't read enough of them. The snippets from Death Sits Down for Dinner sound great!

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    1. Diana - They are among my favorite kinds of mysteries. :-)

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  16. I'm not big on mysteries, so I'd probably not keep reading. And - I'm curious about The Santa Claus Man...I love a good con man story and I lived in NYC for years! And Girls of Atomic City is on my TBR as well! Poetry is definitely out of my comfort zone...so far out that I haven't read a book of poetry since probably high school...haha!

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    1. Sarah - The Santa Claus Man was interesting. Maybe with too much extra, but still a good story. I hope you enjoy Girls of Atomic City when you get to it. It's a good one.

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  17. Vance went through all kinds of phases as to what he called me - mommy, mama, ma, mother, etc. Mother is VERY southern - kids in the south call their parents Mother and Daddy.

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    1. Kathy - Mouse has done that too since she began talking. :-) Everyone finds it so funny that she calls me "Mother". It's considered very formal here. :-)

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  18. I would keep reading. I like historical mysteries very much. My teaser this week comes from The Infamous Heir by Elizabeth Michels. Happy reading!

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  19. Just got a book of Anne Sexton's poems, but haven't started it yet. I've had The Girls of Atomic City on my list for a while. Reading Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley and When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris. :) Went to the library to see if I could catch up on some of the Sebastian St. Cyr novels I've missed.

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    1. Jenclair - I have only read Anne Sexton's poetry here and there. I like to pull my Emily Dickinson collection off the shelf now and then and read a little from it. I am glad you are enjoying the St. Cyr novels. I love the name Sebastian. I think it stems from The Neverending Story movie (I really need to read the book).

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  20. Your current read sounds like my cup of tea. You had me at London.

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  21. I love the pictures with your cats! They are so cute!
    Great list!

    My TTT.

    Also, feel free to check out the last week of our
    giveaway!

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  22. Love your post today-- so many good titles to check out! I am a fan of poetry in small doses. Hate to admit it, but I prefer a mainstream mystery over verse.

    I'm interested in the beginning of your selection about London. Is it an historical series or a cozy mystery series... have to find out. Anyway, sounds intriguing.

    Also The Santa Claus Man as I was born and raised until young adulthood in NY.

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    1. Rita - Thank you! I'm with you. I enjoy poetry, but I don't think it will ever edge out my love for mysteries. Or the novel, for that matter.

      Tessa Arlen's books are historical cozy mysteries.

      The Santa Claus Man was interesting. I learned a lot about Christmas time in New York in the early part of the 1910's.

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  23. I really like the opener and the teasers. I'll have to see if my library has this book.

    I'm playing today too at Beth Fish Reads.

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    1. Beth - I am not sure this one is out yet, but you could probably find the first in the series if you haven't yet read it. It's called Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.

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  24. I LOVED A Cold Creek Christmas Story. It was so sweet without being sappy. I definitely want to read Death Sits Down to Dinner and both of your nonfiction selections are on my TBR because of your reviews!

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    1. Katherine - Me too! I think it was my favorite of the Christmas themed books I read last year. :-) I think you'd like Tessa Arlen's series. I thought of you as I read it since the main character doesn't really have a good excuse in this book to investigate. I loved that the author brought it up through the son during the mother/son conversation. :-)

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  25. I like the sounds of Death Sits Down to Dinner. Not exactly a cozy mystery maybe but it sounds fun to read. I really enjoy your Tuesday Teasers too.

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    1. Judy - It is labeled as a cozy and has that feel, although it's not as light as some, I suppose. I have enjoyed the series so far.

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  26. I missed typed... I enjoy your Top Ten Tuesday entries.

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  27. I read a few nonfiction titles a year generally, but I don't read enough of it! Pretty much all these genres are outside my wheelhouse, especially romance. I used to read poetry, but lost the habit. Might be good to try again!

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    1. Priscilla - I wish I read more nonfiction than I do. I have several nonfiction books in my TBR collection ready to read, but I just never pick them over the novels.

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  28. I'd definitely read more of Death Sits Down for Dinner; the historical setting and the premise are enough to get me hooked.

    I wish I read more nonfiction and poetry; especially the latter. Speaking of audio books, I'd one experience and found it hard to concentrate on the story. I wasn't sure if it's the story or the speaker's voice but I never pick up audio books after that experience again.

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    1. Melody - I think you would like the book and the series!

      I do too. I don't know that I will go out of my way to make the change so I do read more of both, but I enjoy them when I read them--I just need to remember that.

      I have the same problem with audios. I am distracted so easily. I find audios that are suspenseful and fast paced are the ones that hold my attention most. That and maybe essay collections. Audio is not my preferred reading method, that's for sure!

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  29. Great idea for the Top Ten and enjoyed reading your choices! And, definitely would continue reading that mystery. I do love a good historical mystery.

    Mouse - she's just too cute! I don't want to live in a cardboard box either so I guess I better get to sleep soon so I can go to work :)

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    1. Iliana - Thank you! Historical mysteries are among my favorites. :-)

      My daughter has since found a big cardboard box she can curl up in and is decorating it to make her own. Just in case. I am not sure where she gets these ideas.

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  30. I never read poetry (other than a book of poems about dogs!), partly because I feel like the meanings of the poems are just going to be over my head. I'm not great at picking up on symbolism or deciphering subtle meanings. But it's been so long since I've read any real poetry, maybe it's time to give it another try. That would definitely be reading outside my comfort zone!

    Non-fiction -- especially non-fiction that reads like a novel -- is something I enjoy, but I just never make time for it. I already have "The Girls of Atomic City" on my to-read list, I think, but I've never heard of the other one and it sounds fascinating!

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    1. Lindsay - I really want to read that poetry collection called Dog Songs. :-) I feel the same way about poetry, afraid it will go over my head. Kind of how I feel about some of the classics.

      I prefer my nonfiction to read like a novel too. Or at least to tell a compelling story. Too many facts and text book like writing will put me to sleep.

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  31. I have found some books that I really love when I have ventured out of my comfort zone. Poetry is something that I never pick up. I don't think that I have ever willingly read poetry - school really ruined that for me. I rarely read non-fiction but usually enjoy it when I do. Great post!

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    1. Carole - Same here with nonfiction. I don't read it often, but I enjoy it when I do. I was fortunate to have a very good teacher in high school who taught me to appreciate poetry--I'm sure that helped quite a bit. Thank you for visiting!

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  32. Ah, the shift from "mama" to "mother." Your almost-five-year-old is growing up!

    As for what I'm reading, I'm between books. I just finished The New Jim Crow. I think I may stick with nonfiction for a little while longer.

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    1. A.M.B. - Her teachers at school are always teasing me about her calling me "mother" now. :-)

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  33. I'm terrified to read out of my comfort zone, haha. My book club kind of helps me read more lit/fiction that I don't normally read as often. I tend to only listen to non-fiction, I don't have the attention span for fiction!

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    1. Cyn - And I'm the opposite. I don't have the attention span for nonfiction--too many facts to remember.

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  34. I've been eyeing The Girls of the Atomic City quite a bit lately - might be time to pick it up! :)

    Check out my TTT.

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    1. Lauren - It's worth reading if you get the chance!

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  35. Yeah, I'd definitely keep reading Death Sits Down for Dinner- sounds like there's a lot of interesting plot twists, just from the snippets you posted.
    There are so many amazing books I would've passed over if I ever kept to one genre. As a teen, I used to be very stuck on fantasy and historical fiction and I would never read anything else, but luckily that has changed. The Girls of Atomic City looks right up my alley as far as nonfiction goes. :)
    ~Litha Nelle

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    1. Litha Nelle - I really enjoy the series so far!

      I agree. I would have missed out on so many great books if I stuck to one genre. I always worry I'll burn out and so I like to mix things up. I do go through phases now and then though. :-)

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  36. I love it when a book that's not me actually wows me in the end. Like Me Before You (I don't read romance either). You have some great books here - I did read Curiosity but didn't have as much trouble with it.

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    1. Athira - Me too! It's a great feeling. I haven't yet read Me Before You. Someday perhaps. :-)

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  37. I can so relate to being cooped up in the office when it's nice out. I like the sound of the Lady Motford Edwardian mystery series, enjoy.
    Great top ten list, I have heard good things about Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust.
    Romance has been hit or miss for me as well lately. I find now that I prefer heroines who are stronger as opposed to ones who chase the men and wilt at the sight of them. It's too much sometimes.
    Happy weekend!

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    1. Naida - Thank you! The Montford series is a good one. I really like Tessa Arlen's books. Paradise Drive was very good. I think you might like it!

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