Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Book Review - Carolyn Keene's The Secret of the Old Clock

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
Published by: Grosset and Dunlap
Publication Date: 1930
Format: Hardcover, 180 Pages
To Buy

I will fully admit that until recently I was never really on board with Nancy Drew. As a kid I never read her adventures, though I do remember the spinning book rack in my middle school library, the one my mom worked at for many, many years, was larded with Nancy Drew books and I did pick up The Secret of the Old Clock one day and stopped about two pages in. The story just didn't grab me and at that time in my life I was a reluctant reader. I remember Northern Exposure's Nancy Drew parody with Maggie more than the books themselves! So while not being a Nancy Drew fan I still enabled my mom's addiction. She adored the books when little, checking them out from the library as summer reading. So needless to say when they started issuing reproductions of the original books my mom was over the moon. I helped her hunt them down in our local stores. From Borders to The University Bookstore for Kids, we anxiously awaited the new re-releases was scanning the shelves for any other books that might want to come home with us. I now have these reprints and can not wait to read them for the first time as I have become a Nancy Drew addict because of the new CW TV show. I didn't expect it. I only watched it at first because it was paired with Riverdale and was another "dark retelling" but this time the supernatural aspects were real. As time went on Nancy Drew quickly became my favorite show, and Riverdale fell by the wayside, though I did like their own take on "Nancy Drew," AKA Tracy True, this season. The only real regret I have is that my mom never got to see this adaptation and the resurgence in Nancy Drew's popularity. I think she would have been on board.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Tuesday Tomorrow

Under a Gilded Moon by Joy Jordan-Lake
Published by: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 414 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From the bestselling author of A Tangled Mercy comes an enthralling novel of secrets, a tumultuous war of ideas, and murder as classes collide in the shadow of Biltmore House.

Biltmore House, a palatial mansion being built by the Vanderbilts, American "royalty," is in its final stages of construction in North Carolina. The country's grandest example of privilege, it symbolizes the aspirations of its owner and the dreams of a girl, just as driven, who lives in its shadow.

Kerry MacGregor's future is derailed when, after two years in college in New York City, family obligations call her home to the beautiful Appalachians. She is determined to distance herself from the opulence she sees rising in the Blue Ridge Mountains, however close its reach. Her family's land is among the last pieces required to complete the Biltmore Estate. But something more powerful than an ambitious Vanderbilt heir could change Kerry's fate as, one by one, more outsiders descend on the changing landscape - a fugitive from Sicily, a reporter chasing a groundbreaking story, a debutante tainted by scandal, and a conservationist prepared to put anyone at risk to stoke the resentment of the locals.

As Kerry finds herself caught in a war between wealth and poverty, innocence and corruption, she must navigate not only her own pride and desperation to survive but also the temptations of fortune and the men who control it."

Murder! Biltmore! YAS!

Murder on a Midnight Clear by Sara Rosett
Published by: McGuffin Ink
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 282 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A snowbound country mansion, a missing butler, and a Christmas case...

Olive and Jasper have never been closer-except in one area. Jasper is still reticent about his frequent disappearances from polite society. With the holidays approaching and no paying client on the books, Olive decides to shadow Jasper when he's unexpectedly called away. Her search brings her to Holly Hill Lodge where an eclectic group has gathered to celebrate an old-fashioned English Christmas.

The guest list includes a celebrated lawn tennis champion, a fussy scientist studying snowflakes, a persuasive luggage salesman, a famous lady explorer, and the family's eccentric aunt who has a fondness for the newfangled drinks called cocktails.

When the butler goes missing, Olive and Jasper must work together to solve the Christmas crime-as well as the secret Jasper hides. Murder on a Midnight Clear is the latest installment in USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett's popular High Society Lady Detective series.

Unwrap this 1920s Christmas mystery with all the trimmings-carols, a Yule log, plum pudding...and murder."

Now THIS is exactly the book for me in December. EXACTLY!

The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard
Published by: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The day after Burning Lake’s notorious, debauched Halloween celebration, Detective Natalie Lockhart uncovers a heartbreaking scene - a young woman, dead and lying in a dumpster. There’s no clue to who she is, save for a mystifying tattoo on her arm, and a callus underneath her chin. She’s not from around here. No one knows who she is.

As Natalie retraces the young woman’s steps leading up to her death, she uncovers a deeper, darker horror - a string of murders and disappearances, seemingly unconnected, that may have ties to each other - and explain the abrupt disappearance of her best friend years ago.

As she digs deeper within the mind of the hunter, Natalie finds a darkness she could never have imagined. And as she draws closer to the truth, the killer is weaving a trap for her that may prove inescapable."

A book perfect for the waning year with melancholy and murder.

Criminal Deluxe Edition, Volume 3 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Published by: Image Comics
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Brubaker and Phillips' hard-to-find Criminal hardbacks are finally back in print, and joining them is the long-awaited Criminal Deluxe Edition, Volume 3.

This oversized deluxe hardback collects several short stories and novellas from the most award-winning team in the history of comics in a fantastically-designed book full of extras - illustrations, selected articles, interviews, behind the scenes looks, painted covers... and much much more Collects the Savage Sword of Criminal and Deadly Hands of Criminal magazines, the novellas My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies and Bad Weekend, and issues 1 and 4 of the newest run of the Criminal monthly series, two full length short stories about the Lawless family.

A true collector's edition must-have for any fan of the best in crime comics."

Plus in five months you won't be able to find it anywhere so get it now! 

My Little Golden Book About Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Shana Corey
Published by: Golden Books
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 24 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A Little Golden Book biography about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, written for preschoolers.

This Little Golden Book is a compelling introduction to an inspiring woman, written for the youngest readers. From a young age, Ruth Bader Ginsburg knew that she wanted to fight for girls and women to have equal rights. She studied and worked very hard and became just the second woman - and the first Jewish woman - to be a United States Supreme Court Justice. This is a terrific read for future trailblazers and their parents! Look for these other Little Golden Book biographies: My Little Golden Book About Frida Kahlo, My Little Golden Book About Jackie Robinson, My Little Golden Book About Martin Luther King Jr., My Little Golden Book About George Washington, My Little Golden Book About Abraham Lincoln, My Little Golden Book About Balto, and My Little Golden Book About Johnny Appleseed."

I literally can not think of someone more deserving of a Little Golden Book.

Sometimes You Have to Lie by Leslie Brody
Published by: Seal Press
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"In this inspiring biography, discover the true story of Harriet the Spy author Louise Fitzhugh - and learn about the woman behind one of literature's most beloved heroines.

Harriet the Spy, first published in 1964, has mesmerized generations of readers and launched a million diarists. Its beloved antiheroine, Harriet, is erratic, unsentimental, and endearing - very much like the woman who created her, Louise Fitzhugh.

Born in 1928, Fitzhugh was raised in segregated Memphis, but she soon escaped her cloistered world and headed for New York, where her expanded milieu stretched from the lesbian bars of Greenwich Village to the art world of postwar Europe, and her circle of friends included members of the avant-garde like Maurice Sendak and Lorraine Hansberry. Fitzhugh's novels, written in an era of political defiance, are full of resistance: to authority, to conformity, and even - radically, for a children's author -  to make-believe.

As a children's author and a lesbian, Fitzhugh was often pressured to disguise her true nature. Sometimes You Have to Lie tells the story of her hidden life and of the creation of her masterpiece, which remains long after her death as a testament to the complicated relationship between truth, secrecy, and individualism."

The life! The legacy! I can't think of anyone who shouldn't read this book! 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Book Review - Eve Titus's Basil of Baker Street

Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus
Published by: Whittlesey House/ McGraw Hill
Publication Date: 1958
Format: Hardcover, 96 Pages
To Buy (different edition than one reviewed)

Basil of Baker Street is a long lost book in that it's been subsumed in the wake of Disney's The Great Mouse Detective. I'm glad that everyone got to watch the adventures of Basil on the big screen, and no one could have been happier than my mother who audibly told me she was so glad to not have to see another My Little Pony or Care Bears film, I was only seven at the time and my brother was four, so those type of films were kind of our wheelhouse, but we got on board with Basil. It's not just that it's a clever reinterpretation of Sherlock Holmes for a younger audience, if you hunt up the books which were just re-released in a beautiful boxed set, you will see what a gifted author Eve Titus was. She was able to create a gripping mystery as well as a loving homage to Conan Doyle. This series combined the great literature loves that my mother instilled in me, a love of mysteries and a love of anthropomorphic animals. It's murder meets Wilbur and Charlotte! Though Charlotte's Web is already a little bleak... and the adding of murder would kind of skew it towards Animal Farm... but digression aside, these books are my jam. My mom and I spent hours pouring over the shelves in used bookstores trying to find all of Basil's adventures. I remember one time I was out and found a copy of Basil in Mexico at Half Price Books in one of those paperback boxed deals and when I got home my mom was beyond excited I'd found a missing Basil! Though ironically not Basil and the Lost Colony.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Book Review - Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Published by: Everyman's Library
Publication Date: 1910
Format: Hardcover, 318 Pages
To Buy

Here's a not very secret secret I'll let you in on, I hate The Secret Garden. Love the concept, love most of the adaptations of it, hate the actual book and the pompous little shits Dickon, Mary, and Colin. They are spoiled obnoxious brats who happen to be cruel and taunt the locals by imitating their Yorkshire accents. So if you're into books with kids who have cold-blooded superiority in their hearts this book is for you! And yet it is easily one of my mom's favorite books. I'm not saying she necessarily found the children's bad behavior amusing, though that could have been a factor, I know it would have bemused my paternal grandmother, I'm saying she loved it for the garden. My mom loved her garden, an inheritance from her own mother. She spent years getting it perfect, making it all the more sad when her Parkinson's made it impossible for her to work in it. When we were recently moving I found several photo albums of our garden during different years. All those flowers brought to life and loved, from those that were at the house when we moved there to those transplanted from other family gardens and loved for their ancestry. Therefore her love of The Secret Garden makes sense, a perfect garden tucked away that is all your own. She collected many editions because she adored the illustrations of all the different flowers. Her favorites were those done by Tasha Tudor and Inga Moore. At one point I suggested culling her numerous editions and she agreed as long as we kept the ones with the best illustrations. I think maybe one left our shelves that day.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Tuesday Tomorrow

Masterpiece: America's 50-Year-Old Love Affair with British Television Drama by Nancy West
Published by: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers
Publication Date: November 24th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 264 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"On a wintry night in 1971, Masterpiece Theatre debuted on PBS. Fifty years later, America's appetite for British drama has never been bigger. The classic television program has brought its fans protagonists such as The Dowager Countess and Ross Poldark and series that include Downton Abbey and Prime Suspect. In Masterpiece: America's 50-Year-Old Love Affair with British Television Drama, Nancy West provides a fascinating history of the acclaimed program. West combines excerpts from original interviews, thoughtful commentary, and lush photography to deliver a deep exploration of the television drama. Vibrant stories and anecdotes about Masterpiece's most colorful shows are peppered throughout, such as why Benedict Cumberbatch hates Downton Abbey and how screenwriter Daisy Goodwin created a teenage portrait of Queen Victoria after fighting with her daughter about homework. Featuring an array of color photos from Masterpiece's best-loved dramas, this book offers a penetrating look into the program's influence on television, publishing, fashion, and its millions of fans."

Wait, why does Benedict Cumberbatch hate Downton Abbey!?! I NEED to know! 

Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory
Published by: Atria Books
Publication Date: November 24th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory’s new historical novel tracks the rise of the Tidelands family in London, Venice, and New England.

Midsummer Eve 1670. Two unexpected visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the River Thames. The first is a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted twenty-one years before. James Avery has everything to offer, including the favour of the newly restored King Charles II, and he believes that the warehouse's poor owner Alinor has the one thing his money cannot buy - his son and heir.

The second visitor is a beautiful widow from Venice in deepest mourning. She claims Alinor as her mother-in-law and has come to tell Alinor that her son Rob has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon.

Alinor writes to her brother Ned, newly arrived in faraway New England and trying to make a life between the worlds of the English newcomers and the American Indians as they move toward inevitable war. Alinor tells him that she knows - without doubt - that her son is alive and the widow is an imposter.

Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the tensely contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home."

I'm always here for a new Philippa Gregory book, but start it on Midsummer's Eve and it's a must read no matter the author! Unless it's the play Miss Julie.

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 24th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 192 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Return to the captivating world of Elfhame with this illustrated addition to the New York Times bestselling The Folk of Air trilogy that began with The Cruel Prince, from award-winning author Holly Black.

Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.

Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone. #1 New York Times bestselling author, Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame's enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan's perspective.

This new installment in The Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector's item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old."

I love ancillary books! 

Read Player Two by Ernest Cline
Published by: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: November 24th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The highly anticipated sequel to the beloved worldwide bestseller Ready Player One, the near-future adventure that inspired the blockbuster Steven Spielberg film.

AN UNEXPECTED QUEST. TWO WORLDS AT STAKE. ARE YOU READY?

Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything.

Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous - and addictive - than even Wade dreamed possible.

With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest - a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize.

And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who’ll kill millions to get what he wants.

Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

Lovingly nostalgic and wildly original as only Ernest Cline could conceive it, Ready Player Two takes us on another imaginative, fun, action-packed adventure through his beloved virtual universe, and jolts us thrillingly into the future once again."

"The highly anticipated sequel" is it though? Also I hate Joust. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Book Review - Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Published by: Everyman's Library
Publication Date: 1908
Format: Hardcover, 256 Pages
To Buy

The Wind in the Willows has always been odd to me. There's a disconnect between the animals being occasionally very animal like and then occasionally being anthropomorphic with Toad and his car. Unlike many of my mother's other favorite books she never read The Wind in the Willows to me, just bought me a lovely slipcased edition and expected me to read it on my own, which I don't think I did until I was in my twenties. Therefore I think I was too old to gloss over the more annoying characteristics of Toad and suspend disbelief. The result of this is I have been drawn to the art more than to the story, something that helped enable my mom's love of buying beautiful editions of all her favorite books. There's our edition illustrated by Michael Hague, a little cartoonish but nice, the newer Robert Ingpen edition, the anniversary Ernest H. Shephard edition, cohort of A.A. Milne, my slipcased edition illustrated by Inga Moore, Everyman's Library's Arthur Rackham edition, and favorite of all, the Charles van Sandwyk edition. Charles van Sandwyk is a Canadian artist whom everyone should know. He has the technique of Rackham but there's more richness and humor than Rackham was ever able to capture. Sadly this edition during various moves has been misplaced. So the least we can do to honor my mother is buy myself, buy yourself, this edition and try to suspend disbelief and go along for a ride with Mr. Toad.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Book Review - Laura Ingalls Wilder's On the Banks of Plum Creek

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 1937
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
To Buy

If you're a girl from Wisconsin there is one given, and that's you're a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's in our DNA. It was sure in my DNA. I don't know if I remember a time before I knew about Laura and her family up in Pepin but that's all down to my mom. She didn't just love the stories she loved the illustrations. Garth Williams will forever be a favorite illustrator of our family inculcated from some of my very first picture books to my earliest chapter books; Three Bedtime Stories, Bedtime for Frances, Little Fur Family, The Cricket in Times Square, and of course, Charlotte's Web. But back to Laura. I think growing up on a dairy farm in Lone Rock made my mom see a lot of herself in Laura. But interestingly enough my mom's favorite book in the series wasn't when Laura and her family lived a typical pioneer life but when they lived an atypical one in a sod house on the banks of a creek. My mom would talk rapturously about living in this little hideaway made of dirt and grass. She loved the story about when Garth Williams was researching his illustrations for the reissue of the books that he went to Minnesota and found the indentation of where their house was. I think this was my mom's favorite in the series because it appeals to the very heart of what it is to be a child, making a home out of the nature around you and living a carefree life. Of course the life Laura lived in this book was far from carefree, but that house does spark in the imagination something primal, something fantastical, something straight out of childhood daydreams.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Tuesday Tomorrow

Hot to Trot by M.C. Beaton
Published by: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 256 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Beloved New York Times bestseller M. C. Beaton's cranky, crafty Agatha Raisin - now the star of a hit T.V. show - is back on the case again in Hot to Trot.

When Private Detective Agatha Raisin learns that her friend and one-time lover Charles Fraith is to be married to a mysterious socialite, Miss Mary Brown-Field, she sees it as her duty to find out what she can about the woman. Coming up empty, Agatha - out of selfless concern for Charles, of course - does the only sensible thing she can think of: she crashes their wedding, which ends in a public altercation. Nursing a hangover the next morning, she gets a phone call from Charles, with even more disturbing news: Mary has been murdered.

Agatha takes on the case, and quickly becomes entrenched in the competitive equestrian world, in which Mary had been enmeshed - as well as the victim’s surprisingly violent past. Agatha finds no shortage of motives among a wide range of characters, from Mary's old riding competitors, to enemies from her schoolgirl days, to her surly father, who threatens Agatha to mind her own business. Meanwhile, the police department has its money on another suspect: Agatha. Will she track down the criminal in time, or end up behind bars herself?"

It seems fitting that my mother is no longer around now that M.C. Beaton is no longer around. At least her characters will live on.

Murder in the Snow by Verity Bright
Published by: Bookouture
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 274 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"An English Christmas has mince pies, cheerful carols, a twinkling tree...and a murder? Thank goodness Lady Swift is on the scene!

Winter, 1920. Amateur sleuth Lady Eleanor Swift is feeling festive. She is playing host to the entire village at Henley Hall for gifts, games and gingerbread. She's also purchased perfect presents for each of her household - not forgetting the biggest bone in the butcher's shop for her partner in crime, Gladstone the bulldog - and is looking forward to celebrating her first English country Christmas.

As snowflakes fall, Eleanor is cheering on contestants in the traditional Christmas fun run in the grounds of the Hall. But tragedy strikes when one of the runners drops dead at the finish line. Dashing Detective Seldon is convinced it's just a heart attack, but Eleanor isn't so sure. When she finds a rather distinctive key where the man fell, Eleanor knows she'll never rest until she finds out the truth about what happened in her own home.

Next the vicar is taken ill with what looks like poison and Eleanor starts to wonder if the two cases are linked. When someone tries to frame her by planting poisoned berries in her own kitchen, she knows speed is of the essence. But the entire village was at Henley Hall for the festivities and Eleanor has enough suspects to stuff a town full of turkeys. Can she nail the true killer and clear her name in time for Christmas?

Christmas won't be complete without it! A festive treat for fans of Agatha Christie, TE Kinsey and Lee Strauss."

Yes, I am that person you know who lines up their Christmas murder mysteries in advance to spend as little time as possible interacting with anyone over the holidays.

Tales from the Folly by Ben Aaronovitch
Published by: JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 238 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Return to the world of Rivers of London in this first short story collection from #1 Sunday Times bestselling author, Ben Aaronovitch. Tales from the Folly is a carefully curated collection that gathers together previously published stories and brand new tales in the same place for the first time.

Each tale features a new introduction from the author, filled with insight and anecdote offering the reader a deeper exploration into this absorbing fictional world. This is a must read for any Rivers of London fan.

Join Peter, Nightingale, Abigail, Agent Reynolds and Tobias Winter for a series of perfectly portioned tales. Discover what’s haunting a lonely motorway service station, who still wanders the shelves of a popular London bookshop, and what exactly happened to the River Lugg...

With an introduction from internationally bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, Charlaine Harris."

While I'm very excited about a new Rivers of London book, could they at least have tried with the cover art a little?

Backtrack Vol. 1 by Brian Joines, Jake Elphick, and Dough Garbark
Published by: Oni Press
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 144 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A former criminal driver is given the chance at redemption by entering a car race but there's just one catch: each leg covers a different period in history.

If you had a chance to fix a mistake from your past, would you take it? Alyson Levy would.

Guilt weighs heavy on former criminal "wheelman," Alyson, who led an illicit life that left hers shattered. Enter Casper Quellex, an eccentric businessman who offers her the break of a lifetime: a massive cross-country car race that grants the winner an opportunity to correct a single mistake in their life. But here’s the catch - each leg covers a different period in history. As if keeping the cars on the often-questionable (sometimes nonexistent) roads and staying ahead of competition wasn’t enough, the drivers will now have to contend with medieval warriors, dinosaurs, and natural disasters…it's all a possibility. Only the one who survives it all will be proven the winner, and like that, Alyson and the rest of the drivers find themselves in a gut-wrenching race through time and quickly learn that they must band together to form any chance for survival. But for an opportunity to turn back time, Alyson will drive from the Big Bang to the death knell of the universe."

Taking the car race premise to a WHOLE. NEW. LEVEL!

The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neill
Published by: Berkley
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 2384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Chloe Neill brings her trademark wit and wild sense of adventure to a stunning seafaring fantasy starring a dauntless heroine in a world of magic and treachery.

Kit Brightling, rescued as a foundling and raised in a home for talented girls, has worked hard to rise through the ranks of the Isles’ Crown Command and become one of the few female captains in Queen Charlotte's fleet. Her ship is small, but she's fast—in part because of Kit’s magical affinity to the sea. But the waters become perilous when the queen sends Kit on a special mission with a partner she never asked for.

Rian Grant, Viscount Queenscliffe, may be a veteran of the Continental war, but Kit doesn’t know him or his motives - and she’s dealt with one too many members of the Beau Monde. But Kit has her orders, and the queen has commanded they journey to a dangerous pirate quay and rescue a spy who's been gathering intelligence on the exiled emperor of Gallia.

Kit can lead her ship and clever crew on her own, but with the fate of queen and country at stake, Kit and Rian must learn to trust each other, or else the Isles will fall...."

I always listen to my friend Johnnie's book recommendations and Johnnie says to read this book.

The Rise of Knight and Sword by Miriam Wade
Published by: Zenith
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Paperback, 318 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Avalon, city of kings. Sky towers and airships dominate its skyline, dinosaurs roam freely throughout its parklands, and bounty hunters lurk in its shadows.

Guinevere has always lived on the outskirts of Avalon, working as an archivist in the central library. While corruption runs rampant throughout the city, her life is fairly mundane and predictable. That is, until she discovers the map to Excalibur and uncovers a plot to usurp the throne.

Finding herself on the run from these would-be king-slayers, Guinevere sets out to find the mythical sword. But with no one to trust and no where to hide, she must form an uneasy alliance with a pair of notorious bounty hunters.

"My future, and the future of Avalon are forward."

Rise of Knight and Sword is the first installment of the One Sword Saga. It reimagines Arthurian legend in a steampunk fantasy world at the height of the 1920's. Follow Guinevere and crew as they face off against smugglers, wild dinosaurs, hidden motives, and mistrust."

This ticks all my boxes, 1920s, Camelot, Steampunk!

This is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Nothing is as it seems in this chilling, twisting tale by bestselling author Andrea Portes, perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux and Danielle Vega.

Rife with dark humor and chilling twists, This Is Not a Ghost Story is American Horror Story meets There’s Someone Inside Your House. It will have readers flipping back to the very first page after the shocking finale.

I am not welcome. Somehow I know that. Something doesn’t want me here.

Daffodil Franklin has plans for a quiet summer before her freshman year at college, and luckily, she’s found the job that can give her just that: housesitting a mansion for a wealthy couple.

But as the summer progresses and shadows lengthen, Daffodil comes to realize the house is more than it appears. The spacious home seems to close in on her, and as she takes the long road into town, she feels eyes on her the entire way, and something tugging her back.

What Daffodil doesn’t yet realize is that her job comes with a steep price. The house has a long-ago grudge it needs to settle...and Daffodil is the key to settling it."

Yas, houses with grudges!

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton
Published by: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 380 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics is a landmark celebration of the remarkable life and career of a country music and pop culture legend.

As told by Dolly Parton in her own inimitable words, explore the songs that have defined her journey. Illustrated throughout with previously unpublished images from Dolly Parton's personal and business archives.

Mining over 60 years of songwriting, Dolly Parton highlights 175 of her songs and brings readers behind the lyrics.

- Packed with never-before-seen photographs and classic memorabilia

- Explores personal stories, candid insights, and myriad memories behind the songs

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics reveals the stories and memories that have made Dolly a beloved icon across generations, genders, and social and international boundaries.

Containing rare photos and memorabilia from Parton's archives, this book is a show-stopping must-have for every Dolly Parton fan.

- Learn the history behind classic Parton songs like "Jolene," "9 to 5," "I Will Always Love You," and more.

- The perfect gift for Dolly Parton fans (everyone loves Dolly ) as well as lovers of music history and country

Add it to the shelf with books like Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton, The Beatles Anthology by The Beatles, and Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen."

I have seen Dolly on so many talk shows lately I think I'm now obligated to buy this book. 

Egyptomaniacs: How We Became Obsessed With Ancient Egypt by Nicky Nielson
Published by: Pen and Sword History
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Format: Hardcover, 224 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The Greek historian Hecataeus of Abdera declared during the 4th century BCE that the Egyptian civilization was unsurpassed in the arts and in good governance, surpassing even that of the Greeks. During the Renaissance, several ecclesiastical nobles, including the Borgia Pope Alexander VI claimed their descent from the Egyptian god Osiris. In the 1920s, the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings prompted one of the first true media frenzies in history. For thousands of years, the Pharaonic culture has been a source of almost endless fascination and obsession. But to what extent is the popular view of ancient Egypt at all accurate?

In Egyptomaniacs: How We Became Obsessed With Ancient Egypt, Egyptologist Dr Nicky Nielsen examines the popular view of Egypt as an exotic, esoteric, mystical culture obsessed with death and overflowing with mummies and pyramids. The book traces our obsession with ancient Egypt throughout history and methodically investigates, explains and strips away some of the most popular misconceptions about the Pharaohs and their civilization."

I feel so seen.

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