Behind Her Eyes

By: Sarah Pinborough

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What is worse than finding out that the guy you hooked up with at the bar last night is your new boss? Finding out that is wife is crazy! This is exactly what happens to Louise, a single London mom. After discovering the secret of the man in the bar, David, she secretly befriends the wife, Adele.

Becoming more and more entangled in what seems to be an abusive marriage, Louise finds that she can’t stay away from either one of them. She finds herself falling in love with David, while at the same time, Adele is helping her get in shape and get control over her night terrors.

The twists and turns in the plot make it kind of hard to really like any of the characters, but that is what makes it a really well written psychological thriller. The ending will throw you for a loop, even if it is a little unbelievable.

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1)

By: Deanna Raybourn

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We get introduced to Veronica when she is fleeing the house where she lived with her elderly “aunts” until their deaths. After the house is broken into and the intruder seems intent on kidnapping Veronica, she is whisked away by a mysterious Baron who insists that she is in mortal danger.

Veronica is a bold, young lady who enjoys adventuring and traveling all over the world in search of butterfly specimens, the selling of which is her source of income. She creates her own outfits that include hidden weapons, pockets and very intricate hats.

Veronica and the Baron arrive in London, where she is left with our second main character, Mr. Stoker. These two are great together. Mr. Stoker is hiding a checkered past and lives in a warehouse with his dog, where he also taxidermys animal specimens that he collects. Their conversations are wonderful reading. They have great arguments.

After the introduction of the characters leads up to the death of the baron, the books picks up speed and never lets up. It is a very entertaining read and I certainly look forward to the next book in the series.

Shylock is My Name

By: Howard Jacobson

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I really wish I could start this off by saying how intelligent this book was and how it changed my world view and some more really smart things, but that would just be a lie. In truth, I didn’t even finish the book. I started several times and most recently almost made it to the middle of the book.

I enjoy Shakespeare so I was looking forward to reading this modern day version of A Merchant in Venice. Maybe this play is just not meant to make it to modern times. Amidst all of the talk of persecution of Jews and how hard it is to raise daughters, there was just not much else going on.

The writing, while very eloquent, was hard to follow and choppy. Unless the subject matter really interests you, I cannot suggest picking this one up.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.

This entry was posted in Books.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

By: JK Rowling

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After the horrific experience that was The Cursed Child, I had hopes that Fantastic Beasts would be back on the right track. I was not disappointed. I have not seen the movie yet, I wanted to read the book (or screenplay) before I went to see the movie. I am really glad that I did it in the right order. Screenplays are always a little hard to follow and I am not quite sure how this will make a whole movie, it seemed to be pretty short. However, after reading through the screenplay, I can’t wait to see it come alive on the screen.

Expanding the magical world that she has created, Fantastic Beasts takes place in New York City. Newt Scamander has brought his beloved creatures with him in a suitcase, but when some of them escape, it is bedlum. A MACUSA (the American equivalent of the Ministry of Magic) official joins Newt in his hunt along with an unsuspecting Muggle (or No-Maj as they are known in the US).

It really made me want to see the movie now. The story was fun and fast paced. There wasn’t the depth of character development that we have with our favorite Harry Potter characters, but this is the first time we have met them. The beasts in the case carried by the main character Newt, are the best part of the book. I can’t wait to see what they look like in the movie. They seem to have such fun personalities, I almost like them better than the people in the books.

Not quite a page turner, since the screenplay format is a little clunky. Still a great read if you are a Potterhead!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

Tradd Street Series- Part 3

Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways

Traditional, Contemporary and International

By: Jennifer Brule

Brule made all of the themed appetizers for the cocktail party on the opening night of Tradd Street Weekend. There were Nola’s Lowcountry Shrimp, Ginnette’s pimento cheese biscuits and my favorite, James Middleton’s Charleston Corn Chowder. While some were better than others, they were all very interesting taste combinations. And we all know, Charleston is famous for it’s food.

Later in the weekend, we spent some time at the Buxton Books shop and they had copies of her new cookbook. It sounded like a very interesting concept. She takes southern cooking classics, such as mac and cheese or Coconut cake and gives a recipe for how to make the original and then two more recipes, one of which gives the classic a makeover, mostly healthier and using today’s hip ingredients. The second give the dish some international flair, think Chicken Fried Steak with lime and cilantro.

I decided to take the book home and give it a try. I made one of the recipes and my husband made one. They were both really easy to make and had simple ingredients. Just what you would expect from southern cooking.

We made classic Chicken Fried Steak. It seemed to turn out just like it should, but I am not a huge chicken fried steak person so I may not be the best judge of the flavor. Then we moved to the cobbler section. The contemporary version of the fruit cobbler, was vegetable cobbler with a quinoa crust. It wasn’t as easy as I would have hoped to half the recipe and it didn’t turn out quite like it was supposed to, but was still yummy.

The one problem I had with the cook book is the pictures. They just weren’t very appetizing. It could just be that the dishes are not as pretty as some, but I always expect the pictures in the book to look better than what ends up coming out of my oven.

Tradd Street Series- Part 2

The Guests of South Battery

By: Karen White

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The latest in the story of Melanie Middleton, erstwhile psychic and new mom to twins has her running around, busy as ever, between the historic houses that she and her family live in as well as the ones she sells as Charleston’s premier historic home seller.

In this latest saga, Melanie has just gone back to work after giving birth to twins and getting married. She gets a new customer, a mysterious woman named Jayne who, despite the fact that she was an orphan, has inherited a large, old house on South Battery. While Melanie tries to assist with the renovations, she also hires Jayne to be her children’s nanny.

The house on South Battery is full of lots of the things Melanie dislikes, massive repair jobs, one creepy doll and plenty of the spirits that only she and the other women in her family can see and hear. In this one there is even a cat.

Melanie’s husband, Jack, is a mystery writer and get interested in the story of the why the spirits are still there and what the connection is between Jayne and the family that lived there.

This is a classic Melanie Middleton book, lots of old Charleston families involved in mysterious scandals. I love trying to figure out the story and they usually connect to Melanie personally in the end, as she is also from an Old Charleston family.

The babies are a great addition to the series, JJ and Sarah seem like such fun babies. It seems Sarah has inherited the family “gift” and her personality is so cute. Karen does a great job writing the babies characters, making them integral in the story even though they are less than 1 year old.

This mystery was a little thinner than the rest of the series. It was a little easier to figure out what was going on with the ghosts and why they were still sticking around. I am hoping as the series goes on that Rebecca and Marc go away, bleh, and that people start to ease up on Melanie about being organized!

Overall, a great addition to the Tradd Street Series!

Tradd Street Series- Part 1


The Tradd Street series is a now five book series written about a woman name Melanie and her hometown of Charleston, SC.

I am rereading the Series for two reasons. The Guests of South Battery (purchase here: Shop Indie Bookstores) was released on January 10, 2017 and I always have to go back and reread a favorite series when the new one comes out. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to pick up The Guests on South Battery, so that you can get the background you will need on the characters and the story line.

Also, my sister and I got the opportunity to take our mom (a huge Karen White and Charleston fan!) to Charleston for the Tradd Street Weekend. What a wonderful concept for an event!

Presented by Buxton Books and Tour Charleston, the event was somewhat unorganized as far as getting all the information up front that I needed to plan the trip for the three of us. But I like to be super prepared for every trip, so it may not have seemed that way to everyone. However, it was worth it to sort through the weeds to get there.

They had some great options for group hotel rates when you registered for the event. We stayed at the Harbourview Inn, which is right in the heart of the tourist district in Charleston. It was a convenient walk everywhere, just a block from Buxton Books where the tours started. It also had a great breakfast you could have brought to your room or enjoy in a hotel public area.

The weekend included a cocktail party with author Karen White at the Old Exchange Building, a trolley tour which included many of the places we read about in the books and a ghost tour that ended in the spookiest graveyard I have ever seen. It ended with a mimosa party with one final chance to get your books signed or just chat with Karen.

While the cocktail parties and the mimosa party were kind of just stand around affairs, the signature drinks and themed foods were fun for an evening out. Plus it left plenty of time to sample the yummiest of Charleston’s restaurants. Here are some of my favorites.
1. Jestine’s Kitchen – perfect for a basket of fried just about anything for lunch!

2. The Bar at Husk– a great place to just pick up a burger or just for a drink before heading next door to Husk for dinner.
3. Fleet Landing– the best place in town for fried flounder, and yes, I have tried them all. Not to mention, this is one of the few restaurants on the peninsula that is on the water. If it’s warm enough you can sit outside and watch the container ships cruise past Fort Sumter.

The two tours were fantastic. It was fun to get a visual of the houses that really take center stage in the books. I learned all sorts of things about the city and the book series. I lived in Charleston for four years, but there are still so many things to learn about the history of the city. The most interesting tidbit was that the book was originally set in New Orleans, but after Katrina was moved to Charleston. Now, I can’t imagine the book being set anywhere else.

I really enjoyed the ghost tour. Our guide was Mr. Neil and he is a professional actor and you could tell it in his zest for storytelling. It was really cold, especially for the Lowcountry but once you bundled up it wasn’t too bad. The Tour was fascinating, with stories about Charleston history included to explain who the ghosts might be and why they are still hanging around. The Tour ends in a graveyard, which is so spooky. I saw what I thought was a cat run behind our tour guide, but no one else saw the little animal, so who knows…. (one you read The Guests on South Battery, you will know why this is significant!)

Karen was a fantastic hostess. She took the time to speak to every one of the guests and make them feel special. She attended many of the events of the weekend and signed advance copies of the books. She also surprised the tour trolley with candy and an appearance by a creepy doll featured in her new novel.


See! I told you it was creepy, just wait until you read the book, which I know you will want to do now!

Overall, the Tradd Street Weekend was a huge success!!

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