Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Pub. Date: January 21, 2020
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, Wednesday Books!)
Summary: Pepper’s family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, Jack’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
Genre: YA, Contemporary

After their tiny burger joint blew up to nationwide popularity (currently the fourth largest fast food chain in the US with sights on going global), Pepper’s family packed up and left Nashville for the bright lights of New York. At least, it should have been her entire family. One extremely amicable divorce left her dad back in their once-cozy apartment where he genuinely wanted to run their flagship location. It wasn’t long before Paige’s relationship with their mother deteriorated and once she left she college, she was gone, leaving Pepper alone in a too-big, too-glamorous New York sky rise apartment to deal with her ultra elite school (her grades back in Nashville were always great, but the competition is fierce here; one night of slacking off can mean the difference between getting into an Ivy League school) along with running Big League Burger’s Twitter account.

From the moment he was born (eleven minutes after his brother), Jack has always come second. Ethan is outgoing, charismatic, uber popular. Despite having the same face, it’s Ethan everyone knows. Even at Girl Cheesing, their family’s deli, Jack is the one expected to run the register, wipe down tables, even take over one day. Although Jack absolutely loves the deli, his true passion lies in developing apps. His latest, Weazl, is an anonymous chat platform only accessible by those with an email address for his school. Once signed up, members are given an animal for their username, and no one knows who they’re talking to…unless randomly selected by the app to reveal identities. Weazl is Jack’s pride and joy, but no one knows – especially not his brother.

Despite being a New York staple for decades, Girl Cheesing only has a few hundred Twitter followers, nothing like the several million Big League Burger can claim. That is, until BLB announces a new grilled cheese sandwich that’s a little too similar to one off the Girl Cheesing menu, right down to its name. One off-the-cuff Tweet suddenly sparks a viral Twitter war between the two restaurants, a fast food David & Goliath story. Each Tweet racks up hundreds of new followers for Girl Cheesing, suddenly there are hashtags for each side, requests from journalists for comments, bloggers offering their own opinions. All the while, Pepper and Jack have no idea who they’re truly duking it out with.

Tweet Cute immediately caught my eye when I first heard about it. It sounded not only super timely, but also, well, cute. And it is. The reader can instantly sympathize with Pepper and Jack: although her family is loaded, Pepper is thrown into this elite world where her fellow classmates have make-up artists on speed dial and $200 an hour math tutors. A far cry from her worn-out cowboy boots and beloved Monster Cake, a delicious monstrosity of literally any – and every – candy and sweet in the cupboards. Jack is desperate to be seen, not mistaken for Ethan, but actually recognized as his own person.

Through Weazl, Wolf and Bluebird have formed an easy friendship. In reality, however, Jack and Pepper are anything but. After Jack offers to take on his brother’s dive team captain responsibilities (organize a fundraiser, set a schedule with the swim team’s captain – Pepper – for lane use), the pair begin an uneasy acquaintance that, over time, slowly develops into a full-fledged friendship. Until Pepper leaves her phone unlocked one day and Jack sees a drafted Tweet from BLB’s account.

Tweet Cute clocks in at over 360 pages and the story feels it. Although I was enjoying the book, every time I would check my progress, I couldn’t help but feel shocked to see I had only moved forward a percent or two. There’s definitely a fair amount that can be edited…starting with the Tweets. Yep. The whole reason the book exists! Instead of being jokey and in good humor, some of the tweets came off as brutal and vicious, turning downright malicious by the end. As a McDonald’s and Burger King competitor, Big League Burger would have had ample resources at their disposal to hire an entire team to run their social media. It struck me as odd that Pepper, the founder’s 17-year-old daughter, would be the one seemingly forced to keep up with it, particularly once it clearly began affecting her grades. Although Girl Cheesing had been around for decades, it was still a family-run deli, so it made complete sense for Ethan and Jack to be the ones handling what few Tweets the account had. Also, to go back to BLB, at one point the account is hacked on a Friday. Again, this is a nationwide chain that is in talks to take their burgers to the international market. Their tech guys? Shrugged it all off and said it can wait until Monday. Um.

While Tweet Cute had me scratching my head a few times and felt overly long, I did enjoy reading it. The romance between Pepper and Jack – and their couple name, PepperJack – really was cute and the desserts Pepper and her sister bake sounded downright heavenly. To the point where I wished the book included recipes!

January 2020 releases I’m excited for!

Happy New Year! I want to kick 2020 off by bringing back a fun monthly series: releases I can’t wait to read! Without further ado, here are the novels coming out this month that sound fantastic.

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone | January 7
An 11-year-old boy goes on a road trip with his grandmother through the segregated south as he learns the world hasn’t always been a warm and welcoming place for kids like him.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano | January 7
One summer morning 12-year-old Edward boards a plane along with nearly 200 other passengers including a Wall Street prodigy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, and a woman fleeing her controlling husband. Then tragedy strikes and suddenly Edward is the sole survivor of a horrific plane crash, instantly gaining national attention. That alone sounds like a thrilling story, but this is based on a true event?!

The God Game by Danny Tobey | January 7
What initially seems to be a thrilling, harmless new video game – albeit one run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God – soon turns deadly as threatening messages appear and shadowy figures track players in real life.

A HUGE thank-you to St. Martin’s Press for an ARC!

House on Endless Waters by Emuna Elon | January 7
An author reluctantly agrees to visit his birthplace of Amsterdam to meet with his Dutch publisher, despite promising his late mother he would never return to that city. While touring the Jewish Museum with his wife, his eye catches on a looping reel of pre-war photos of Dutch Jewish life…and to his surprise, Yoel sees his mother’s face staring back at him, along with her husband, York’s older sister, and a baby he doesn’t recognize. What follows is a search for the truth, revealing Amsterdam’s dark wartime history and underground networks of havens for Jewish children.

A HUGE thank-you to Atria for an ARC!

How to Speak Boy by Tiana Smith | January 7
Quinn and Grayson have been debate rivals for years, they can’t stand each other. But when their AP Government teacher mixes up their cubbies, they begin exchanging anonymous notes, completely oblivious to the other’s identity. Over time, they become friendly – even falling for each other, but with the state tournament looming in the future, they need to figure out what they really want out of life…or risk their own happiness.

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz | January 7
This novel tells the story of a 17-year-old girl who, after being held captive for seven months, managed to flee her abductor and is now struggling to reconnect with her family and the girl she once was.

A HUGH thank-you to Wednesday Books for an ARC!

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin W. Pearson | January 7
There’s no room in Granny B’s house for regrets or hand-holding; you best take your worries up with Jesus. Then her granddaughter appears on her doorstep, burdened with secrets of her own. As Beatrice and Evelyn ease into cohabitation, a box of old letters is uncovered, revealing a painful past.

A HUGE thank-you to Tyndale for an ARC!

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen | January 7
Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn: gone is the strict educational program in Taiwan. In its place is Loveboat, a free-for-all summer with zero supervision. Despite the carefree attitude and numerous hook-ups, Ever soon learns there’s much more to these students than meets the eye.

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley | January 7
Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

A HUGE thank-you to Berkley for an ARC!

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones | January 14
When her father passes away, Leslie receives a rude awakening: she will only get her part of the inheritance if her sister – her estranged sister who ran away as a teen – also collects. They get the inheritance together or not at all. When she learns her sister is dead, Leslie needs to find a way of getting that money and hires a woman to play the role of Robin, just for a week, just until the cash comes through. But as the days wear on, Leslie quickly realizes this stranger holds secrets of her own.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain | January 14
Set in North Carolina, this novel bounces between 1940 and 2018. Anna Dale wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone and desperate for work, she accepts and soon finds herself where prejudice runs deep. In the present day, Morgan finds herself serving a three-year sentence for a crime she took the fall for. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

A HUGE thank-you to St. Martin’s Press for an ARC!

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks | January 14
On Zoe’s twelfth birthday, she receives a letter from the father she’s never known. He tells her he’s innocent of the terrible crime he’s been convicted of…but can she believe him? While her father weighs heavily in one hand, Zoe also struggles to prove herself worthy of an audition for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

Lucky Caller by Emma Mills | January 14
When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster. The members of Nina’s haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she’d hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life. The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina’s family is on the brink of some major upheaval. Everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control―but maybe control is overrated?

Pixie Pushes On by Tamara Bundy | January 14
Pixie’s defenses are up, and it’s no wonder. She’s been uprooted, the chickens seem to have it in for her, and now her beloved sister, Charlotte, has been stricken with polio and whisked away into quarantine. So it’s not surprising Pixie lashes out. But her habit of making snap judgments–and giving her classmates nicknames like “Rotten Ricky” and “Big-Mouth Berta”–hasn’t won her any friends. At least life on the farm is getting better with the delivery of its newest resident–a runt baby lamb. Raising Buster takes patience and understanding–and this slowing down helps Pixie put things in better perspective. So too does paying attention to her neighbors, and finding that with the war on she’s not the only one missing someone. As Pixie pushes past her own pain to become a bigger person, she’s finally able to make friends; and to laugh about the fact that it is in places where she least expected it.

The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler | January 14
Detective Joona Linna is finishing out a sentence at Kumla prison for assaulting an officer in the course of his last investigation when he is summoned to a meeting with the Swedish Prime Minister. The Foreign Minister has been brutally murdered. There’s a chance more political figures could be targeted. The police need Linna to find the killer and neutralize the threat, so he’s granted a temporary release from prison. But when another murder occurs, Linna realizes he’s dealing with something far more complex, and far more terrifying, than anyone imagined.

A HUGE thank-you to Knopf for an ARC!

Gone by Nightfall by Dee Garretson | January 21
It’s 1917, and Charlotte Mason is determined to make a life for herself in czarist Russia. When her mother dies, Charlotte is forced to put her plans to go to medical school aside to care for her unruly siblings. Then a handsome new tutor arrives. Charlotte has high hopes that he’ll stay, freeing her up to follow her dreams of becoming a doctor. But there’s more to Dmitri that meets the eye. Just when she thinks she can get her life back, Russia descends into revolution and chaos. Now, not only does Charlotte need to leave Russia, she needs to get her siblings out too–and fast. Can Charlotte flee Russia, keep her siblings safe, and uncover Dmitri’s many secrets before she runs out of time?

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord | January 21
Pepper’s family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, Jack’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

A HUGE thank-you to Wednesday Books for an ARC!

The Wife and the Widow by Christian White | January 21
Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and The Widow is an unsettling thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside when she’s forced to confront the evidence of her husband’s guilt. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.

A HUGE thank-you to Minotaur Books for an ARC!

The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne | January 21
Bouncing between present day New York and 1936 England, this novels tells the story of a chance discovery inside a vintage typewriter case that reveals the gripping story — and heartbreaking secrets — of two sisters on opposite sides of World War II.

A HUGE thank-you to Ballantine Books for an ARC!

Forever Strong by Piper J. Drake | January 28
Jiang Ying Yue assumed her kidnapping was random, that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. After all, who would want to harm her? But then her rescuer—a charismatic former soldier who takes her breath away—uncovers a traitor in her father’s organization. Now, Ying Yue realizes that she’s become a pawn in a dangerous game, and her kidnapper won’t be satisfied until she disappears for good.

A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate | January 28
Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but beneath the surface, Sam’s still recovering from a failed business. His coworker—start-up expert Kimberly Foster—is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but her mother’s rejection from a young age till now has left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks are flying. When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and flies home to Australia to help his family save their struggling farm—much to Kimberly’s chagrin. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. To what lengths will she go to get him back?

Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday | January 28
Eve Abbott has a problem-actually, make that a lot of problems. And they’re all going to get worse the moment her toes hit the sand in Matchmaker Bay. Once a blissful summer escape, now the tiny town just reminds Eve of loss. Inheriting her aunt’s beloved Mermaid Inn is the only reason Eve is coming back. She’s definitely not ready to handle nosy neighbors, extensive renovations, or the discovery that a certain heartbreaker still lives down the street… Police Chief Sawyer Collins always does the right thing, even when it costs him everything. Like Evie. He’s spent the past ten years trying to forget her–to forget how right she felt in his arms, to forget the pain in her eyes the day she left. The last thing he expects is to see her back in town or to find that the spark between them is as strong as ever. Sawyer knows this is his only chance to prove that his feelings have always been real… before Eve turns tail and leaves for good.

A HUGE thank-you to Forever for an ARC!

The Other People by C.J. Tudor | January 28
Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl’s face appear in the rear window. She mouths one word: ‘Daddy.’ It’s his five-year-old daughter, Izzy. He never sees her again. Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead. Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe’s daughter. Then, the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found, in a lake, with a body inside and Gabe is forced to confront events, not just from the night his daughter disappeared, but from far deeper in his past.

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald | January 28
For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast born with Alcohol Fetal Syndrome who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules. But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.

weekly wrap-up 12/22

• Good morning and happy Sunday! I hope you’re enjoying an extra long weekend – I know I am!

• Every year I set my reading goal at 100 books which, admittedly, is pretty low for me. Whenever I reach 100 books by June, I always try to double it to 200 books by the end of the year. I’m currently on book 189 and am hoping to use this time off to really power through – I’m so close!

• The three books I’ve read this week (so far – there’s still plenty of time left in the day to squeeze in more!) have all been spur-of-the-moment reads, aka nothing I should have been reading. I’ve got a few blog tours coming up that I need to get posts scheduled for, but instead I opted to read two library books (one a time travel Middle Grade novel and the other a nonfic about royalty) and the one ARC I read…doesn’t come out until April. But it was a book that was calling to me and the second I started, I was hooked! What did you read this week?

BOOKMAIL
Meet Me on Love Lane by Nina Bocci is the second in her Hopeless Romantics series, but doesn’t seem to be a novel where I’d need to have knowledge of events from the first book. After losing her job, Charlotte heads back home to Pennsylvania, tail between her legs. Expecting to find the same dreary, boring town she left, she’s shocked to discover the town is now thriving. Planning on sticking around just until she’s back on her feet, no one is more surprised than Charlotte herself when she reconnects with childhood friends, steps up to run the local florist shop, and even falls for – not one, but two of the town’s most eligible bachelors. With her heart torn between two men and two cities, what’s a girl to do? Thank you, Gallery Books!

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK?
The Kill Club by Wendy Heard was an intense, action-packed read that kept me turning the pages. Eager to get her little brother away from their foster mother (Carol believes Joaquin’s diabetes will be cured through faith rather than medicine), Jazz does everything she possible can do to prove she’s financially responsible and dependable. Unfortunately her past, which includes a record, stands in her way. Then she receives an anonymous phone call from someone sympathetic to her plight. In fact, they’d love to help Jazz get rid of Carol once and for all, the only catch is Jazz would need to help someone else first.

I also shared a phenomenal recipe I finally got from a friend after drooling over it for years: baked penne with roasted vegetables.

THIS WEEK ON INSTAGRAM
Seriously, this penne, y’all. My pups are all about relaxing weekends and now that it’s officially winter, I’ll be hibernating until spring.

recipe: Baked Penne w/Roasted Veggies


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About 4 or 5 years ago, my coworkers and I decided to have a potluck lunch at work. One of my friends brought a dish filled with pasta, gooey cheese, and packed with veggies. All these years later I’m still thinking about this and over the weekend I finally got the recipe!

First off, imagine my shock when it turned out to be a FOOD NETWORK meal!! I honestly would have never guessed!

Second, this made more than enough for me and Matt. We got several days of leftovers (lunches AND dinners) out of it! Score!!

BAKED PENNE WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES
adapted from Food Network

Ingredients
2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips

2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes

4 cremini mushrooms, halved

1 bunch asparagus, chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1 tablespoon herbs de Provence

1 pound penne pasta

3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)

2 cup Italian bled shredded cheese plus 1/3 for topping

1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and asparagus with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheese, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup cheese and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Y’all.

So good.

It does get a little time-consuming, but I promise it is absolutely worth it!!

Blog Tour: The Kill Club by Wendy Heard

The Kill Club by Wendy Heard
Pub. Date: December 17, 2019
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, MIRA!)
Summary: Jazz will stop at nothing to save her brother.

Their foster mother, Carol, has always been fanatical, but with Jazz grown up and out of the house, Carol takes a dangerous turn that threatens thirteen-year-old Joaquin’s life. Over and over, child services fails to intervene, and Joaquin is running out of time.

Then Jazz gets a blocked call from someone offering a solution. There are others like her—people the law has failed. They’ve formed an underground network of “helpers,” each agreeing to eliminate the abuser of another. They’re taking back their power and leaving a trail of bodies throughout Los Angeles—dubbed the Blackbird Killings. If Jazz joins them, they’ll take care of Carol for good.

All she has to do is kill a stranger.
Genre: Thriller, LGBT

There is no one in this world Jazz loves and adores more than her little brother Joaquin. So much so, in fact, that she’s willing to toe the line, walk on eggshells around her former foster mother (and Joaquin’s adoptive mother). Carol’s a religious zealot who wholeheartedly believes that 1) Jazz is doomed to eternal damnation because she’s attracted to females and 2) Joaquin’s diabetes can be controlled – even cured – if they just have enough faith.

Because the siblings have spent years sneaking insulin through barred and boarded-up windows, the few child services visits that managed to happen never found cause to remove Joaquin. Jazz might have been beaten black and blue, but Joaquin seemed to be cared for in their eyes and there was nothing Jazz could do about it. Joaquin might desperately want to live with his sister, but with her past, her record, meager paycheck, and closet-sized apartment, there was little hope of Jazz ever gaining custody.

Until the day she received a phone call offering an end to her problems with Carol. An underground group of people willing to assist those in similar situations. All Jazz has to do is assist someone else. Meanwhile the police are on the hunt for a serial killer who’s been leaving a trail of seemingly random bodies around Los Angeles.

The Kill Club is a ride. Don’t go into this one expecting to chip away at it a few chapters at a time. Between the pace and the short chapters, before I knew it I was halfway through the book! This is an action-packed read that barrels forward at a rapid-fire pace and it was all I could do to keep up. I normally finish novels in a single sitting on the weekends when I literally have an entire day to devote to lazing about. But I read this during the week. When I needed to be up extra early the next morning for work. And still I managed to inhale the entire book in one go.

In an ongoing effort to protect Joaquin, Jazz ends up meeting the assistant principal at his school. In commiserating over Joaquin’s situation, Jazz and Sofia become close. Close enough to where Jazz begins to develop feelings for the woman. Close enough to learn Sofia is harboring her own pain: her ex used his wealth to ensure he won custody of their little girl. The deeper Jazz gets involved in the kill club, the sooner she gets to her own ending – until she’s assigned her target. Sofia’s ex-husband.

The action doesn’t slow for one moment. If Jazz isn’t following her target she trying to stay alive after she herself becomes an assignment. All the while Carol retains a hold over Joaquin.

There are a few twists and reveals within The Kill Club‘s pages that add an additional layer of urgency and drama to the story. While I feel the ending wasn’t nearly as intense as the rest of the novel, I was still right there the entire time and truly could not put this book down. I suffered for it the following morning but I have no regrets. If you’re looking for an incredibly engaging, thought-provoking, fast-paced read, look no further.

weekly wrap-up 12/15

• It’s been an extremely quiet week here and I am okay with that, especially after the frenzy that was last Sunday’s cookie-baking extravaganza! Total we made four different types of plus brownies – dozens upon dozens of cookies!

• I’m not sure if the holidays are causing reader burn-out or what, but I’ve noticed several people on Instagram (myself included) have had a string of lackluster reads – or straight up DNFs. In my case, the past two books I’ve read have been total disappointments.

• Probably the best thing to happen to me this week was discovering Murder She Wrote is on Prime. Hanging out with my girl Jessica Fletcher has been the highlight of my evenings.

BOOKMAIL
Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier (Out 4/21) sounds excellent. College sweethearts now married, Derek runs his own company while Marin has a string of upscale hair salons. They have a picture-perfect life until the day their world is shattered. Four hundred and eighty seconds is how long is took for someone to kidnap their little boy. A year later the media has moved on to other stories, the FBI search has gone cold. Desperate to continue to search for her boy, Marin hires a private detective and uncovers a cold truth: Derek has been having an affair with a social media influencer, and the more Marin digs, the more she suspects Kenzie might know something about what happened to her son. (Thank you, Minotaur!)

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike (out 6/4) is a hulking behemoth of a novel, clocking in at 520+ pages. Pitched as “Outlander meets Camelot,” this novel, the first in a trilogy, tells the story of Languoreth, a sixth-century queen of Scotland and twin sister of the man who inspired the character of Merlin! (Thank you, Atria!)

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK?
It’s been a quick week on the blog as well, only one post went up: The Saturday Six.

The Saturday Six

How The Nutcracker became a holiday classic

An overlooked novel from 1935 by the godmother of feminist detective fiction

Graham Greene and the art of the opening paragraph There is one book I read about a decade ago (not by Greene), and the opening sentence was so vivid it’s stuck with me ever since!

James Patterson is back with his holiday bonuses!

Sesame Street characters do impressions of each other Cookie Monster doing Ernie killed me. And his “lilting, soft cute voice” for Big Bird.

FCC approves plan for 3-digit suicide prevention number like 911