Friday, January 6, 2023

Jolabokaflod? AKA What to Read Next?



LUCY BURDETTE: did you have the pleasure of experiencing an Icelandic holiday book flood this year? (On Christmas Eve, they exchange books, in a tradition called Jolabokaflod.) I received an embarrassment of riches, leaving me with the enviable problem of what to read next. As my sister pointed out, I am pretty good at speaking out about what I’d love to see around the tree on Christmas morning lol. Plus I added the top two myself, including Maddie Dawson’s SNAP OUT OF IT and our own Jenn’s FATAL FASCINATOR. I decided yesterday to start THE BULLET THAT MISSED because I was in the mood for characters I already knew and enjoyed. 

How about you Reds, books for Christmas? What are you reading from your pile?



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, drop everything and read THE MYSTERY OF THE ALPERTON ANGELS by Janice Hallett. So incredibly good, she’s the most brilliant person! Here’s the pitch:

Open the safe deposit box.

Inside you will find research material for a true crime book.

You must read the documents, then make a decision.

Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police?

It’s great, truly.

Looking forward to Jordan Harper’s EVERYBODY KNOWS and Deepti Kapoor’s AGE OF VICE and Mary Kubica’s JUST THE NICEST COUPLE.

(And if you need a bargain, TRUST ME and THE MURDER LIST are each just $1.99 today!)

Oh, and so you can say you heard it here first, ALL THAT IS MINE I CARRY WITH ME by WIlliam Landay is gaspingly brilliant. Unforgettable.

HALLIE EPHRON: I finished THE BULLET THAT MISSED and loved it. Now I eagerly await the next in that series. And I’m in line for anything new from BIll Landay. His books are worth waiting for. Jenn’s FATAL FASCINATOR is on my TBR list. And I bought myself THE LAST CONFESSIONS OF SYLVIA P by Lee Kravetz… party truth, part fiction, totally fascinating, based on Sylvia Plath’s writings and her stay at McClean Hospital where she was treated for severe depression.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: For the first time ever I didn’t get a single book for Christmas! What?!? Everyone here should just send me books, that’s all I’m going to say. Grump Grump Grump.

LUCY: Wow Julia, that's shocking!!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I did give books, LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY to my daughter and the Jim Kay illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to my granddaughter. Then my friend Gigi surprised me with not one, but two, of the Jim Kay books, Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Have you seen any of the Jim Kay books? The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! They are absolute treasures and I can't wait to sit down and dip into my new copies. I do wonder, however, just how massive these books are going to be by the time Kay gets to the seven-hundred-some-odd page books towards the end of the series!

Also, I'm quite tickled that I've finally learned how to spell Jolabokaflod without double-checking it!

LUCY: Debs, our daughter asked for the first illustrated book for her family. It is gorgeous! I gave out Lessons in Chemistry too!

RHYS BOWEN: Count me as another fan of Lessons in Chemistry. Nobody gave me books for Christmas, which is fine as I always have a stack of upcoming books waiting to be blurbed. One of these I’ve just finished was Queen Wallis, a follow up to Widowland. Did anyone read that? So brilliant and chilling! The only books I gave were cookbooks. Are they still relevant,do you think, now all recipes can be found online?

JENN McKINLAY: We always give a book and a bookstore giftcard to each other for the holidays. This year’s selections for the fam were: Never Finished by David Goggins (Hooligan 2), Cheap Movie Tricks by Rickey Bird (Hooligan 1), Rory Galagher: His Life and Times by Marcus Connaughton (Hub), and Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan (me). We had a wedding in the family so I haven’t had a chance to read anything but I’m really looking forward to some downtime!

How about you Reds, did you experience the joy of Jolabokaflod??

72 comments:

  1. No books under the tree, but a gift card so that I could choose my own . . . I see a trip to the bookstore in my future . . . Jenn’s “Fatal Fascinator” is at the top of my must-get list . . . .

    Right now I’m reading David Baldacci’s “Long Shadows” . . . .

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  2. I got several books for Christmas, and I'm looking forward to digging into them. However, I pretty much had my January reading plans in place by the mid-December, so they will have to wait a month or two.

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  3. Get books for Christmas, you say? I have the most wonderful tradition, probably going on 15 years now, of giving myself a big (and I mean big) bag of books for Christmas. This is the time I order those books I might not the rest of the year, usually a coffee table size book or two. And, I order some non-fiction that interests me. Of course I include mystery/crime reading, too. And a quirky choice or two, like the illustrated Route 66 book. Some of the titles in my bag include three non-fiction--Slow Birding, Beaver Land (blame this one on Karen Dionne who posts pics of the beavers in the lake they live on), and Dying of Politeness by Geena Davis. Some fiction ones are Murder Most Royal by S.J. Bennett, Paperback Jack by Loren D. Estleman, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen, and The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks. I gave gift cards from Murder by the Book and Amazon. Julia, next year you will have to give yourself a big bag of books

    Rhys, I am so excited that you read Widowland by C.J. Carey! It's on my list of favorite books for 2022, and it was indeed brilliant and chilling. I'm really looking forward to Queen Wallis. Lessons in Chemistry is one of the books I gifted myself, and I hope to get to it soon. Debs, I've been buying the Jim Kay books every year since they started coming out. I buy one for the granddaughter for Christmas and one for me. Even though Isabella has already read all of the Harry Potter books, she loves these illustrated tomes, too. Hank, I have The Twyford Code on my short list of books to read, and I'll add The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels now. I'll have to order it from Book Depository, as it's not out yet in the states.

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    1. I meant to add that I have Fairy Tale Cupcakes by Jenn to give my granddaughter, and, although it wasn't in my Big Bag of Books, I got myself It Happened One Christmas Eve, too. Since Christmas was a bust because I got Covid two days before, I haven't read it or any of the other books yet because I just couldn't focus on reading until this week.

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    2. so sorry about the Covid Kathy, but I love your tradition of giving yourself a big bag of books!

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    3. Hope you and your hubby are on the mend, Kathy.

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    4. Kathy, I intend to get myself a bunch of books for the New Year, so I'm very grateful for all the recommendations I'm seeing here!

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    5. Hank Phillippi RyanJanuary 6, 2023 at 1:41 PM

      Hooray! Cannot wait to hear what you think of the Janice Hallett books… She is amazing!

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    6. Kathy, It Happened One Christmas Eve is the perfect recuperation treat!

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    7. I always give myself a book or two and then spemd Boxing day with left ovets, a cuddly blanket and coffee.

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  4. I got gift cards for future book purchases.

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    1. that's perfect Dru, isn't it burning a hole in your pocket??

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    2. Already spent it. Reading Fatal Fascinator now.

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    3. Dru Ann, that made me laugh out loud for real. Probably the answer for anyone in this community: how long did the bookstore gift card last? 30 minutes, tops.

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    4. Though Julia, RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison CT send me a gift card for being one of their top customers. (aka, spending bundles on books!) I am still pondering what to spend it on...

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  5. I didn't get any new books either, Julia! But I got myself A World of Curiosities and finished reading it (late) last night. I have Sherry Harris's Rum and Choke to read next, and I think I'm going to have to get Jeri's Courting Dragons cued up on my kindle, stat.

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    1. We'll join the ranks of the unjustly deprived, Edith - which in my mind gives me the green light to go ahead and spend $$$ on books for myself!

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  6. Not a book gift related comment bur I wanted to thank Lucy for the black bean soup recipe in Death on the Menu (Book 8 in the Key West Food Critic Series). I copied it out at the time and resolved to try it some day. After quite a few years, today is the day! My husband turned 79 yesterday and we are celebrating today. Our first meal out together 50 plus years ago was at a Cuban/Chinese restaurant on upper Broadway (NYC). We ordered rice, black beans and plantains so this is a sentimental meal.

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  7. While I didn't celebrate Jolabokaflod myself, my sister decided to surprise her husband and I by doing exactly that.

    She gave my Mary Keliikoa's HIDDEN PIECES and then gave me an even bigger (but oh so welcome) surprise by giving me this smaller sized hardcover "Sherlock Holmes Selected Stories". To the best I can figure from the information inside the book, it was published in the 1950's and in Great Britain. She found it at a used book sale and it makes a great addition to my small Sherlock Holmes collection.

    My friend Ann gave me Paige Shelton's WINTER'S END and a gift card. I ended up using the gift card to get Olivia Blacke's VINYL RESTING PLACE, James Grippando's CODE 6 and Ausma Zehanat Khan's BLACKWATER FALLS.

    As for what I'm reading, I just finished my "Christmas season" book, A KNIFE IN THE FOG by Bradley Harper. Because what is more festive than a story featuring Arthur Conan Doyle as a character and trying to track down Jack the Ripper?

    Next up is this month's Mystery Book Club selection: MAISIE DOBBS by Jacqueline Winspear.

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  8. I did read and ate chocolate as part of Jolabokaflod on Christmas Eve.
    No books for Christmas, but I have so many books on my TBR.

    I am currently reading ARCS that are publishing in January/February: KILLER STORY by Matt Witten, WHERE THE GUILTY HIDE by Annette Dashofy (new series), IMPLIED CONSENT by Keenan Powell, NO HOME FOR KILLERS by E.A. Aymar.
    And I got BLUE BAR



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    1. HMMM, gremlins struck before I finished that last sentence.
      BLUE BAR by Damyanti Biswas was the first book read in 2023 on First Chapter Fun by HANK.

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    2. The Blue Bar is a Kindle Unlimited if you are a subscriber. I definitely want to read it.

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    3. I'm excited about WHERE THE GUILTY HIDE, Grace!

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    4. thanks for mentioning WHERE THE GUILTY HIDE, Grace, I just requested it from Netgalley. Wish me luck

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    5. Hank Phillippi RyanJanuary 6, 2023 at 1:43 PM

      Yaaayyyy! Xxxx

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  9. I think that I treated myself every day for the entire month of December. Many books were pre-ordered ( Rum and Choke, Fatal Fascinator) but some were Kindle books so well-priced, who could resist? Because I also am an Audible subscriber, many audio books are included in the subscription and I put several of them in my library.
    Speaking of the library, I also have a stack that needs to be read and returned. As for best books read over Christmas, DEATH ON A WINTER STROLL by Francine Mathews and BOMBAY MONSOON by James Ziskin. Just terrific.
    Lucy, I am delighted to see the first two books in Iona Whishaw's Lane Winslow series in your pile. Please let me know what you think when you've read one. You know how some characters become real to you? I adore her books.
    One more thing, we took Rachel's boys to Browse About Books when we were down visiting them and let them choose their own. That was fun!!

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    1. JUDY: Good to know DEATH ON A WINTER STROLL was a great read. I got it as an audiobook. And I enjoyed reading an ARC of BOMBAY MONSOON last summer.

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    2. Judy, my sister gave me those Lane Winslow books as she loves the series. I'd never heard of them!

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    3. Agree about Bombay Monsoon, Judy!

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    4. It is impossible to keep up with all of the authors we meet here or the series that are suggested when we do "What we are Reading "days. One of Iona Whishaw's books was featured on FCF near the beginning of the pandemic and I received her first book from her. After that, I have kept up with her series. I recommended her here and Gigi read her then Debs, too. We are all huge fans!

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    5. Edith and Grace, I couldn't wait to read Bombay Monsoon which I pre-ordered. Irwin got ahold of it first and it wasn't for him, but I did know that you had both thought it was great. I loved it.

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  10. So many great recommendations!

    I bought a bunch of Nook editions to read on our trip, and downloaded them to my small tablet. Then changed my mind and took the slightly bigger tablet, but those same books did not end up on that device, despite having Wi-Fi access for most of the trip. Well, I muddled through anyway, since there are loads of unread books in my account. And there wasn't as much time to read as I had thought there would be, anyway.

    Can I remember a single title this morning? No. It took us 31 hours to get home. What's my name, again?

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  11. Interesting collection of books – many of which I have read. Love Iona Whishaw, so enjoyed book 3 of Richard Osman (and can’t stop recommending him to others), Harold Fry is good, but book 2 is even better – gave it a 10/10 in book club! Try Rachel Joyce’s Benson’s Beetle.
    We had a death in the family so have been to Halifax twice – it is 6 hrs both ways. Usually we listen to Louise Penny (a favourite of both of us), but I introduced Jack to Bryce Courtenay, and have ‘been in South Africa’ both trips (same book – it is a long one!). We should finish it the next trip and then Louise’s new one is up.
    I am on my 3rd new book of 2023, and the first two were terrible. This one is American Dirt, which came double recommended, but so far – ehhh.
    I see it will soon be mandatory that all audiobooks from the library are ‘read’ through the Libby app, so I have to have a cell phone for that. GRRRRR! I don’t have a cell phone mostly because we can’t afford the fees!
    I gave Jack a book on butterflies, but it is more an encyclopedia about pests – should be good for research while on the deck.
    Grilled for Murder is currently on the bedtime reading agenda. I only read cozies in bed, unless I have to read a book club book – only because it does not come as an audio.

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    1. I use Libby on both my laptop and my Surface tablet.

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    2. I just downloaded Libby and now I want to get the book that Jenn and Debs loved, THANK YOU FOR LISTENING.

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  12. The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama is excellent. Bookclubbed to Death by Valerie Burns, look forward to Fatal Fascinator, and want to check out The Mystery of the Alperton Angels.

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanJanuary 6, 2023 at 1:44 PM

      Oh, who is this? Cannot wait to talk with you about Alperton! Xx

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  13. Although I gave many books there were none under the tree for me, but that's fine because it would be rather risky if my family tried choosing books for me. I just finished a new book by a new and local author, No Comfort for the Undertaker. Very interesting and I think there will be at least a couple more.

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  14. The only book I received this year was RUN ROSE, RUN the collaboration between Dolly Parton and James Patterson. I gave THE BULLET THAT MISSED as a gift and now I need to get a copy for myself. LOL

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  15. So many great recommendations! If I didn't have to sleep, I would have more time to read. The only book I received is a book by Matt Yglesias from my son. Said son is a big fan and often reads me pieces by Yglesias--so I will read it at some point. I also received a Powell's card which will be spent in due time.

    I gifted three books this year--Barbara Nickless's DARK OF NIGHT to my sister. We loved the first Dr. Evan Wilding book, AT FIRST LIGHT, which I got from the library. Many thanks to JRW for hosting Barbara (A personal aside: when a character appeared who was a professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago, I felt like my life was somehow complete--I so love mysteries, and my son is doing his PhD at the U of C in Germanic Studies) I gave a copy of BLIND FAITH by Alicia Beckman (Leslie Budewitz) to my friend Nettie because Nettie grew up in Billings where the book is set (thanks again JRW). The third book I gave was THE GREAT AIR RACE by John Lancaster, because Mike is a pilot and loves history and it looked like the kind of thing he would like.
    I'm currently reading COMO LAS MUCHACHAS GARCIA PERDIERON EL ACENTO for book group. The only copies available at the library were in Spanish, so I am challenging myself. Luckily, my sister finished her English copy, so I will have a couple of days to check my understanding. For Spanish class, we are staring VIOLETA by Isabel Allende. I'm also reading THE MAPPING OF LOVE AND DEATH, the next in the Maisie Dobbs series and have two more books waiting at the library... and so many more recommendations on this page. Thanks to all you writers and readers.

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanJanuary 6, 2023 at 1:44 PM

      Oh, I so agree! Barbara Nickless is fabulous !

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  16. I just love the sound of the word, Jolabokaflod, doesn't it bounce off the tongue? So, my grand daughter, Audrey loves to be read to-- I could buy books for someone again. She received The Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature, and Dragons love Farts. I was tickled to be a 'cool grams' and send scatological material through the mail. Me? I dove into my tbr mountain and chugged away at Zen Sourcebook tradtional documents from China,Korea and Japan; dense yes, however the selected poetry by Chinese Nuns is well worth the read.

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    1. CORALEE: Not sure if this link still works but this widget gave me invited access to ANNETTE'S new book.
      https://www.netgalley.com/widget/444383/redeem/ee1f3674dd111993170a35d03ac235a902f0f96be33acd7a2c2dba044f761063?fbclid=IwAR2nrKOX7WLzfgZjudPCPST5Xi8tQgfmk68bsTRvspfRTeedEADVJXUQ4oM

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    2. thanks Grace it immediately loaded to my Kindle. You are a gem. cnh

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  17. I"ve been battling some sort of winter crud since Christmas. (NOT covid, but classic head cold symptoms that get better for a while then relapse.) At times I haven't even been able to muster the energy to read with my eyes, but thank God for audiobooks. So thank you all for these wonderful suggestions!

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  18. Hmmm . . . I really like the looks of Roberta's TBR pile. THE BULLET THAT MISSED is great fun, and I have also enjoyed all of Iona Wishaw's Lane Winslow mysteries. Other recently read and enjoyed books include Rhys's PERIL IN PARIS, Paige Shelton's WINTER'S END, and Liz Milliron's HARM NOT THE EARTH. A friend who shall remain nameless loaned me her advance copy of Francine Matthews' DEATH ON A WINTER STROLL, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Last night I finished Elly Griffiths' BLEEDING HEART YARD. Jenn's FATAL FASCINATOR is up next.

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  19. I gave books from the lists I was provided with, and got the one book I asked for. Ducks, by Kate Beaton. Waiting for another snowstorm so I can curl up with it all day and night.

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  20. I always give everyone a book for Christmas, but not Christmas Eve like the Icelanders. This year I had purchased them all at the Savannah Book Festival back in February. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to find something for each person on my list and spent quite a bit of time in the book tent doing so. Not to worry, I bought some for myself too!
    Trying to reduce my TBR while gazing upon two gift cards I received as Christmas gifts. Currently reading A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz that I won on A Mighty Blaze Crime Time with Hank and have the next one, The Twist of a Knife waiting for me on Libby.

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  21. I didn't receive any books. My family knows too well that I would rather choose my own. So I always have a reasonable stack at home, enough to make me feel secure and not so much that I feel threatened with bodily harm. But here's the funny part. Just yesterday I realize they are all bulky hard cover. And we are going on a trip in a few weeks. I prefer paper for traveling. Easy and light to throw in a purse or carry on, and leave behind if I need more room coming home. (Yes, I have an ereader but I don't like it) And all the new ones I want most are also only in hard right now. So I spent some time looking around my ownself, for books I want to read that are in paper. Do you think I found a few? More than I need? :-) BTW I too read Bullet That Missed lately. Love that series. So hard to write something genuinely funny...and what a gift to us readers.

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  22. Alas, no books for me this year, but my TBR pile is teetering with suggestions from this blog!

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  23. My buddy in Arizona gave me two mystery books, as is our tradition. My husband has no idea what I'm reading and have read so he always gives me a gift card from B&N. My sister gave me a book of photographs called Forgotten Virginia, with stories of abandoned places. I haven't looked through it yet. So that was my haul this year.

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  24. I’ve received so many books for Christmas and my birthday in the last couple of years that I’ll never run out of things to read, between the gifts and the books already on my TBR pile. (And I still want more!)
    Right now I’m reading one of the books I got this year, Nina Totenberg’s DINNERS WITH RUTH, a memoir about her friendship with Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Next up will probably be A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles. Last year I received his book THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY, and I still think about the characters.

    It’s so nice to be book-rich!

    DebRo

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    1. DebRo, please report back about the Totenberg book. I really want to read that one.

      Both the Towles books are good, but A Gentleman in Moscow is one of my favorites of all time. Such a sweet story.

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    2. DINNERS WITH RUTH is in my TBR stack, too.

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    3. Karen, I agree about A Gentleman in Moscow. I loved that book so much.

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    4. I loved Dinners with Ruth - I saw Totenberg talking about it in person, and the price of a ticket included the signed book!

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  25. Yes! I experienced the joy of Jolabokflod again. I received Rhys Bowen's YE MERRY CHRISTMAS (?) paperback and Jenn McKinlay's FASCINATOR hat shop mystery on Christmas Eve. Every year I get wonderful novels on Jolabokflod. I also got Michelle Obama's new non-fiction novel. And Elle Alexander's MUFFIN BUT THE TRUTH. I am awful at remembering titles, Rhys and Jenn! And I got the new romance novel from Makenna Lee.

    Love books!

    Diana

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  26. So many great books! It's like another flood - LOL!

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  27. We just got home from two weeks away, visiting our son and his fiancĂ©e. Managed to pretty much outrun the storm that hit Northern and Central California, but the crosswinds made driving a challenge. We were in Portland, which necessitated a visit to Powell’s. I bought many cozies, a Chronicles of St. Mary’s book by Jodi Taylor, some kids’ books to fill out our future d-i-l’s classroom library and just generally enjoyed myself immensely! For Christmas I, too, received Michelle Obama’s latest book. I traveled with two paperbacks and my Kindle so was able to read a lot! I am now adding to my TBR list with suggestions from all of your comments! Thanks and happy new year of books!
    ~Pat S.

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  28. I feel like I never know what's coming out these days until I see it on Hank's First Chapter Fun or my editor asks me to blurb someone. So I love, love, love our semi-regular book suggestions/currently reading/TBR conversations!

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  29. Hank Phillippi RyanJanuary 6, 2023 at 1:47 PM

    Yes, thank you Julia! First Chapter Fun – – every Tuesday at 12:30 PM ET on Facebook! – – Is a great way to get introduced to new books! So much fun. Make sure you all join the Facebook page @FirstChapterFun. Coming up, Kaira Rouda, and then Pam Jenoff and then Mary Kubica… whoa.

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  30. ps ANN MASON, I also gave out copies of Ann Cleeves's SHETLAND. (One for John so I could read it too.) What a gorgeous book!

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  31. The Cincinnati Symphony had a book exchange at their first concerts this year. The audience was encouraged to bring new or gently used books, which volunteers wrapped during the concert, and then take home a surprise book.

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  32. My gift rule: everyone gets a book for every event. Just curious, any info on when the new Janice Hallett title will publish in the US?

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