So I had heard about this book as folks chatted about it in the blogisphere. Everyone seemed to love it, so I was immediately suspicious. I find that if everyone loooooves a book, I can’t stand it. Then I end up feeling rather clumsy and socially awkward, like something is wrong with me. However, I got this one with my audible credit and listened to it during my commute. At first I was wondering where it was going, but then I was drawn in and grew to love Eleanor and Raymond and Eleanor’s story. I ended up laughing and cheering and crying and generally being a possible road hazard. It was also delightfully read by Cathleen McCarron and I loved her accent.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes…

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

Review: WHAT YOU LEFT BEHIND by Samantha Hayes

When I was going through my “murder mystery thriller” phase this winter, I pulled this novel from Net Galley. It is part of the Detective Lorraine Fisher series, which was new to me.

When Lorraine takes a holiday with her young daughter to visit her sister in the English countryside, she is drawn into a series of teen deaths that look like suicide; but Lorraine thinks they may be something more sinister. Her nephew, Freddie, is acting strange, and he is apparently struggling with some online harassment. Two years earlier there had been a cluster of teen suicides, and now it looks like it is happening again. Lorraine jumps in to solve the mystery before any more deaths can happen, and especially before something bad happens to Freddie.

There were a lot of characters to keep straight in this story — Lorraine, her sister Jo, husbands, children, friends, friends of friends, employees, shady folks, sinister folks, mysterious folks, dead folks, etc. Even with that I was able to pretty much figure out what had happened, though there were a lot of twists and turns, with new information given near the end of the story. I liked it though, and I kept reading until the end.

Have you read the other Detective Fisher story, “Until You’re Mine”? If so, please let me know and tell me how you liked it! let me know if you’ve read this one, too.

Thanks, Net Galley and Crown Publishing, for my copy!

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Review of the latest ‘Her Royal Spyness’ Cozy: “Naughty in Nice” by Rhys Bowen

Last month while at the library I noticed a new release of the latest Royal Spyness mystery: Naughty in Nice. If you read me, you know I love this cozy series, centering on the likable but less-than-perfect Georgie (related to royalty) in 1930’s England. This time around, the Queen herself has sent Georgie on a mission to retrieve a “borrowed” snuff-box, and Georgie is sent to Nice, France – winter playground of the wealthy. Before Georgie can get the box back, her neighbor is murdered; and after floundering her way through a fashion show of Coco Chanel’s line, the priceless necklace Georgie is wearing is stolen. Now she must find two items and solve a murder!

Love this series!

Review: I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

Love, love, love.

I just love the character of young chemistry wiz Flavia deLuce in this series of books by Alan Bradley. I know they are often billed as YA, but I think they are fine for adults. If you follow me, you know I just adored “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” and while I continued to love the characters and writing in the next two books, I was disappointed in the plot lines.

This time, however, I was thrilled. In this installment, it is Christmas time, and Flavia is determined to “trap” Father Christmas up on the roof to prove his existence to her two unfeeling and scornful sisters. Meanwhile, her father has rented their home estate to be used for a movie featuring a famous actress. In all the excitement of filming and house guests, along with Christmas and snowstorms, a murder occurs, and Flavia is determined to figure out who the murderer is (while they are all snowed in!).

If you’ve read the other books, or even if you haven’t, I highly recommend this one!

(and thanks to Father Christmas who brought me mine!)