Surprise Me! by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

Everyone knows that Sophie’s books are my guilty pleasure! And this one didn’t disappoint.

Sylvie and Dan have been married 10 years now. With adorable girls and jobs they enjoy. After an annual check up they are both given a clean bill of health and told they would probably live a nice long life. Which leads them to question how they are going to keep this thing going for the next 7 decades!

The characters in the book are all hilarious in their own way and some of the “surprises” they come up with are beyond funny! And embarrassing.

When Sylvie suspects Dan of an affair things come out that have been hidden for years. Which leads Sylvie to ask if she ever really knew her family at all or has she been carrying around a little girl’s view of her family?

This was great fun with a bit of mystery thrown in, so go ahead and Surprise Me! anytime Ms. Kinsella!

February 13, 2018  Netgalley/DialPress


A GRAVE ISSUE (A Funeral Parlor Mystery) by Lillian Bell

A Grave Issue (A Funeral Parlor Mystery #1)

After an on-air gaffe goes viral and jeopardizes her career, journalist Desiree Turner retreats home to Verbena, California for some peace and quiet. She begins working one of the quietest jobs around: presiding over funerals for her great-grandfather’s funeral parlor. But the action seems to follow her as a fist fight breaks out between neighbors Rosemarie Brewer and Lola Hansen at one of the first funerals she’s in charge of running. It exposes a nasty dispute and Rosemarie’s husband, Alan, is found murdered shortly after.

Lola’s husband, Kyle, is immediately arrested. Desiree, whose own father’s death was devastating, has always viewed Kyle as a second father. Determined to clear his name, Desiree jumps head first into the investigation and quickly discovers that Alan had several unsavory habits at his job and in his personal life, including putting assets into his mistress’s account to hide them from Rosemarie. People murder for money and love all the time, and there’s no telling who he offended just enough to push them over the edge.

Desiree is looking in all the right places, but she better catch the killer fast before they come for her next in A Grave Issue, the clever series debut by Lillian Bell.

Ms. Bell has gotten off to a very good start with this new series, featuring Deisree, an on air news reporter who got caught with a hot mic on. With the added stress of her father presumed dead over a year ago when he went out to surf and never returned. And a pregnant sister who has been placed on strict bed rest.

So Desiree heads home to Verbena to lick her wounds and figure out what she is going to do next. It looks as if bad luck has trailed her home however when one thing after another keeps her name in the paper.

This is a very clever cozy mystery! Part serious, part funny and pretty much exactly what I like in a story. A smart, tenacious, independent woman and a bunch of people keeping secrets, which we all know never stay hidden, especially when Desiree starts pulling on threads. People get a tad touchy! Or dead.

Underneath the story is the tale what really happened to her dad? Who is leaving mysterious gifts for Desiree and her sister? So there is a good bit of layering to this series and I like it.

Well Done Ms. Bell!

Netgalley/CrookedLaneBooks   February 13, 2018


No One Can Know (A Stillwater General Mystery #2)

A Stillwater General Mystery #2

When a pregnant car crash victim arrives at Stillwater General, ER nurse Frankie Stapleton and the team must work swiftly to deliver the baby safely. After hours of grueling effort, they finally save the baby, but the mother dies. The staff is already rattled, but then they learn that the accidental car crash was actually deliberate.

Just when they thought the hard work was over, suspects begin rearing their heads one by one and no one is safe. There’s no shortage of motives. The victim was a social worker, and someone may have been seeking revenge. Or perhaps someone was trying to intimidate her up-and-coming politician husband. Then the baby goes missing.

Now Frankie must race to uncover the truth in time to catch a killer and save a child in Lucy Kerr’s riveting second Stillwater General Mystery, No One Can Know

Working in a small town ER is a lot different from Chicago for nurse Frankie Stapleton. I

Until a mysterious man shows up in the ER, giving as little detail and personal information as possible. Frankie senses he is lying but before she can chase that thread they receive a patient who has been in a motor vehicle accident. Or was it an accident?

Frankie can’t shake the feeling that he has something to do with their current patient and even more so when he slips out while the team tries to save two lives.

In a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, Frankie’s own mother seems to be the head of the gossip mill. And between her mother trying to get information out of her and marry her off at the same time, things are a bit tense around the house. But Frankie is only here for a few months she says so she tries to keep her info to herself. But she is nosy and is determined to see justice done for Kate and her baby.

This was not what I would call a cozy mystery even though it had quite a few of the elements of one. I would call it a cozy with an edge. The characters that were at the forefront of the story I felt were fleshed out well. Although this is book two and I would have liked to have seen a bit more development in the others.

It has all the ingredients of a good mystery; Greed, Politics, Money, Jealousy and Drugs in a small California town.

There were a lot of loose lips and insider information from the police as well as the hospital workers and that I didn’t care for.

She is an author that I will read again.

Netgalley/Crooked Lane Books   February 13, 2018

Night Moves by Jonathan Kellerman

Night Moves (Alex Delaware, #33)

The new novel from Jonathan Kellerman, ‘MASTER OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER’, perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and David Baldacci.


A brilliant criminal psychologist, Alex works with the police to help solve the most complex of crimes in Los Angeles, city of illusions, glamour and infamy.

An affluent family returns home from Sunday dinner only to find the murdered and brutalized corpse of a total stranger in their house. This baffling, twisted tale tests Alex and Milo to their intellectual and emotional limits.

This is number 33 in the Alex Delaware Series and Kellerman keeps pulling me in. His writing style and my reading style mesh perfectly.

Once you begin to read, you know you aren’t stopping until the end. Alex and Milo have an easy-going friendship and working relationship. When Milo gets the call for this case, he calls Alex, as there are children traumatized as well as the adults who all came home to find a corpse in the den.

Right from the beginning something is off. About the crime, about the family and even the neighbors. There were so many red herrings in this book I wasn’t sure who did what, who was just shady and who was downright insane!

None of what they had made sense. And in the end, well they always say beware of the quiet ones!

If you haven’t tried Kellerman’s books, why not? The writing is great, the pace is quick and the characters are always off the wall!

He has also written books with his wife, Faye Kellerman as well as his son.

Netgalley/Random House/Ballentine  February 13,2018


A 3-Week Kick-Start Guide to Eat & Live Your Best

With a 3-week meal plan that you can stick to, The Plant Based Diet Meal Plan makes it easier than ever to start―and enjoy―a plant based diet.

The plant-based diet has been praised by leading medical authorities such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta as a healthy and humane diet, but no matter how beneficial it is―if it’s not easy, you won’t stick to it. Heather Nicholds knows this firsthand. Prior to her training in holistic nutrition, Heather was a devoted omnivore who found the idea of abandoning her comfort foods for a plant based diet a bit daunting. In The Plant Based Diet Meal Plan, Heather combines her proficiency in whole-food nutrition with her love of exciting food to deliver everything you need to enjoy the taste and benefits of a plant-based diet.

In The Plant Based Diet Meal Plan you’ll find:

  • A 3-Week Plant Based Diet Meal Plan that includes weekly shopping lists and plant-based diet menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • A Plant Based Diet Overview that addresses specific health concerns, offers guidance for losing weight without feeling deprived, and reviews the top 10 plant-based superfoods
  • More Than 100 Plant Based Diet Recipes from smoothies and salads to mains and desserts, plus key macronutrient information
  • Tips for Stocking Your Kitchen with the essentials for your new plant-based diet

Set aside your concerns about not knowing what to eat or feeling unsatisfied on your plant-based diet. With The Plant Based Diet Meal Plan you’ll enjoy delicious, simple plant-based diet meals that you’ll want to eat time and again.

I have never been so happy to see something in my inbox! As a plant-based eater I have been through a ton of Vegan, Plant-Based, and even Vegetarian Cookbooks. With the Thug Kitchen 101, which I love, this book is going front and center in my kitchen!

It’s divided into 3 parts, simple language, a primer, meal plans, and recipes with blank meal plan templates and shopping templates. Nothing could be any easier than this.

So, what makes this any different from the thousands of other books out there? For one, there is no Soy. No Tofu. The ingredients for every recipe are simple and few. I am already making a list of everyone who needs this book in their life and sending it to them!

Thank you to Heather, you have made our year here at the Pirate Nation!!

plant based diet, vegan cookbooks, nutrition, health, vegan cookbook, plant based cookbook plant based diet, vegan cookbooks, nutrition, health, vegan cookbook, plant based cookbook

plant based diet, vegan cookbooks, nutrition, health, vegan cookbook, plant based cookbook

Rockridge Press (February 13, 2018)

Heather Nicholds is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist dedicated to helping you get all the nutrients and energy you need from plant foods. She helps vegans (or veg-curious) nourish their bodies through easy, wholesome, and delicious plant-based meals.

She has spoken at BlogHer Food and Toronto VegFest. Her work has been featured on Shape, One Green Planet, Huffington Post, and Greatist. She’s also a runner, environmentalist, Canadian, figure skater, small airplane pilot, and mango aficionado.

Heather Nicholds


Best Friends by Carys Jones (Aria) BlogTour

Best Friends

Four friends, a terrible secret, and one week to stay alive…

Grace doesn’t have a family. That was taken away one dreadful day when she was just six, and her twin brother Peter was killed. Instead she has her best friends and flatmates – Jasper, Franklin and Aaron – and nothing can tear them apart.

Living in London, and trying desperately to make a living, the four friends are rapidly running out of money and hope. So, when they find a discarded suitcase in a skip, they can’t believe their eyes when its contents seem to answer all their prayers.

But then there is a knock on their door, and a very disgruntled thug with revenge on his mind, gives them one week to return his belongings, or they will pay with their lives. Soon the fractures in their friendships begin to show, and when one of them ends up fighting for his life, the stakes are raised even higher.

Will any of them get to the end of the week alive, or will the best of friends become the deadliest of enemies..

I read this straight through with no stops. The room mates are all struggling to make ends meet and not give up on their dream jobs. It was the characters themselves that made this read so good. I liked every one of them!

Grace, the petite ballerina, has a tragic past but is struggling to achieve her dream of working for a ballet company, and overcome her self-doubt. With no family of her own to speak of, the flat mates have become her family.

Jasper, who wants to be a writer. Aaron, who puts his all into making it in the music industry and Franklin, an as yet undiscovered actor as well as one of the funniest characters in the book.

With the rent looming over their heads the lure of easy money is easy to succumb to. But someone was watching them remove that case from the dumpster. And that someone wants his money back. With the money already spent they all scramble to get enough money to be able to breathe easily again.

When one of them has a horrible accident they are all the more terrified. Positive that the thuggish guy had something to do with it and afraid they will be next, they will give up what they thought was most precious and find what actually is.

Well Done Ms. Jones!

Netgalley/ARIA   February 01,2018

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What’s Everyone Reading This Week?

The First Family: A Novel by [Palmer, Michael, Palmer, Daniel] “The First Family is adrenaline-fueled entertainment that twists, turns, surprises and satisfies!” -John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author

Baby Teeth: A Novel by [Stage, Zoje] “Unnerving and unputdownable, Baby Teeth will get under your skin and keep you trapped in its chilling grip until the shocking conclusion.” —New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline.

After Anna by [Scottoline, Lisa] “Readers can be assured that the author nails the high school milieu, from athletic rivalries to sexting…they’re in for one thrilling ride.” —Kirkus on One Perfect Lie

The Recipe Box: A Novel by [Shipman, Viola] In The Recipe Box, bestselling beloved author Viola Shipman spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.

What is everyone reading this week? I am finishing up The Recipe Box and as always it is a charmer!  We are in Day 5 of The Plague here at the Pirate Nation. Never in my life have I had to put new batteries in my thermometer! Good news  is I have books!

xx Patricia