Traveling With T’s Best Books of 2013

Best Books of 2013

It’s that time of the year- the time of year where numerous “Best Books” list are published. And so, it’s time for Traveling With T to publish a list- a list of the books I loved, some books that made me a better reader, and a few honorable mentions.

Best of 2013

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman  

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Lori Nelson Spielman’s debut is heartwarming, loving and and has some thought-provoking moments.  I cried, I laughed, I LOVED. Here is my review. This is 1 of the 2 hands down favorite books of Traveling With T. Read on for #2!

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Kimberly McCreight’s debut, Reconstructing Amelia, was called 2013’s Gone Girl. While many books in the mystery/suspense was compared to Gone Girl- this one probably was most deserving. Dark. Twisty. Kate’s anguish over what happened to Amelia, realizing how she did not know her daughter- and wondering if past sins of hers played a role in Amelia’s death- of if the sin of not being there for Amelia in her time of need was why Amelia is gone. Each character- each section of the book- carefully crafted and wonderful. You, as a reader, might think you have it all figured out- but Kimberly takes twists and turns- and creates a story in unforgettable. Here is my review.

A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

When I was emailed a request to review this book, I wasn’t familiar with Susan’s work. But, I had a good feeling from the description and the cover was beautiful. I’m glad I trusted my instincts- because this book is a Southern Lit treasure. Love, finding yourself, feeling nourished, and acceptance are themes of this book- and it truly is a gem. Here is my review.

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

I yearn for the latest Kinsey book well ahead of Sue Grafton’s 2 year publishing schedule. I curse the the day I discovered A is for Alibi and thought “Years and years of mass market paperback books will keep me busy for some time.”  It did not. Thus began the waiting game. Each year a Sue book is published- I’m so happy. Kinsey rocks as a character. Seriously. If you like a mystery- Sue Grafton is great.

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

My first J. Courtney Sullivan book was a treat. JCS weaves a story of fiction with some real-life truths about how “A Diamond is Forever” came about. Criss-crossing from 4 viewpoints, 4 different time frames- and how a diamond plays a role in all their lives. Here is my review.

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Mia March books just scream “SUMMER” to me. Light, funny- sometimes fluffy- I love to read a Mia book. Finding Colin Firth, her 2nd novel, tells the story of  3 women- women who are each dealing with troubles of their own. To add to the mix, a movie is being filmed- and rumor has it that Colin Firth is in town- which adds to the fun of the book.  Here is my review.

Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Thriller. Terrifying at times. Suzanne’s look into the dark side of a marriage is worth a read. Here is my review.

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

A mother’s love. Love and trust in WWII. Secrets and betrayal. Grief. And much more. Kristina McMorris weaves 2 stories together to make 1 compelling book. Here is my review.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Magical-realism. That phrase made me hesitant about reading this. But, I did. And I’m so glad. It was so much more than I expected. Don’t let the magical-realism label scare you! Here is my review.

The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Haunting and beautifully written. A Southern Lit tale that will stay with you far after the last page is turned. Here is my review.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams– Love, lust, betrayal. Secrets. And a hurricane. Here is my review.

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

honorable mentions for 2013

Books that def require a mention!

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Enjoyable- very enjoyable! Here is my review.

You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Entertaining and enjoyable. A tale of friendship- the highs and lows. Here is my review.

Buried Leads by LynDee Walker

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Photo Credit: Henery Press

Smart. Funny. Nichelle is high-heel loving, Moscato-drinking, and funny as all get out reporter. Enjoyable read! Here is my review.

The Affair by Colette Freedman

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Normally an affair can be seen as pretty black and white issue. But Colette Freedman takes this topic- and paints in shades of grey. By the end, you’re not sure who is right or wrong! Here is my review.

The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

A lie. A harmless lie. And a girl turns up missing. But, that is just a section of the story. Page turning- and you are never quite sure who is innocent or guilty. Here is my review.

What do you think? Find any books to read? Did I miss a book you thought was “Best of 2013” worthy? Tell me!

*This list is just my opinion. I fully realize that I may have over-looked a book that should be ranked. My apologies!

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Buried Leads by LynDee Walker (EWD 2.A)

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Photo Credit: Escape W/ Dollycas

Nichelle is back! Wearing her fabulous designer high heels (size 9, by the way) One night, Nichelle hears some news about a dead body on her police scanner. Never one to let a scoop pass her by, she grabs her fancy Manolo’s and heads to the scene of the crime! When Nichelle gets there, she sees the body in an Armani suit and wonders how and why this man arrived at his fate. Poking around the crime scene- she finds something that the crime scene techs missed- and wonders how important the clue is.

The dead man is a tobacco lobbyist- which in the land of tobacco and politics is making Nichelle see a potential big story in her future. Good for Nichelle because there is a copy-editor wanting her courtroom beat and a TV reporter trying to out-scoop her. In the land of politics- where Nichelle is fiercely longing to be- Nichelle begins to investigate Senator Grayson, a local politician who might be up to his eyeballs in dirty politics. Nichelle has a hard time deciphering what a tobacco lobbyist and politician who is against tobacco have in common- but she discovers a link, a link that appears innocent at first,  which leads to a whole set of other questions.

When Nichelle’s sexy Mafia boss friend, Joey, stops by to warn her off the search into Grayson’s background- Nichelle does not want to listen. She wants to get the political scoop of the year- so she can move up in the world of news. Nichelle gets deeper and deeper into the world of politics and tobacco- and just to complicate matters further- her ex-boyfriend, Kyle, is now living in Virginia being a hottie ATF agent. Kyle wouldn’t mind heating things up again with Nichelle, but the sexy Mafia boss might prove to be a crimp in his plans.

Politics, tobacco, gambling and call girls- how do those things go together?  Will Nichelle get the scoop? Or will she get scooped? Read Buried Leads to find out!

Traveling With T’s Thoughts

This is the 2nd book in the Headlines in High Heels mystery series- but my first to read. Nichelle is delightful- fun, entertaining, cute, drinks Midori Sours and Moscato (my kind of girl!) and has some funny one-liners. Cute and fun- a good mystery with enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing. Plus, enough romance- Nichelle has 2 very fine men in her life- one a sexy Mafia boss, the other a hottie ATF agent. While this is not exactly like Lacey Smithsonian’s Crimes of Fashion series written by Ellen Byerrum- there are some similarities- which I think is one reason I enjoyed Nichelle (I adore Lacey!)

This is not a  cozy mystery- although it does has cozy elements. The language is bit spicier, the mystery has a bit of a harder edge. Enjoyable, entertaining, and definitely worth a read!

 

To see other reviews, giveaways, interviews and more- please visit the Buried Leads Tour Page!

Interview with LynDee Walker, author of Buried Leads (EWD Tour 2) + Giveaway!

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Photo Credit: Escape With Dollycas

Today at Traveling With T, LynDee Walker, author of Buried Leads is being interviewed about her book, why Buried Leads isn’t a cozy-mystery, and favorite actress to play Nichelle!

I’m the last stop on the Buried Leads tour sponsored by Escape With Dollycas– but be sure and check out the other blogs that hosted LynDee!

Want to win an awesome swag pack? Simply comment on this post- and you are entered to win! Need more giveaway? Oh ok, twist my arm! Here is the kick-butt Rafflecopter giveaway: Cool Gift Package- Including a 25 buck gift certificate to Bookstore of Winner’s choice! (I know! Shut UP!) See below for rules of giveaway!

Interview with LynDee Walker

LynDee- thank you for stopping by Traveling With T!

Thanks so much for having me! I’m excited to be here.

Can you describe Buried Leads in 15 words or less?

Apparently not. But I got it to 16.

Sassy reporter sees scoop when dead lobbyist turns up in woods. Plus sexy guys, great shoes.

Is the main character, Nichelle, based on you, LynDee?

Sort of. Nichelle has my work ethic, and I used to be a journalist. But she’s sassier, and she can run in those amazing shoes. I tend to think of things I should have said in a situation hours or days later, and I can barely walk in stilettos.

Should readers read the first book, Front Page Fatality, before Buried Leads? Can the books stand on their own- or are they better read in order?

They definitely don’t have to be read in order. Each of my mysteries is written to be a stand-alone, but there are some storylines that arc through all the books. So readers won’t find any spoilers in BURIED LEADS that would prevent them from reading FRONT PAGE FATALITY later, but they’ll get to know Nichelle and her friends better if they read the books in order.

Is the Headlines in High Heels a typical cozy-like mystery or does it have a harder edge than most cozy books?

I think it’s definitely edgier. I would personally call my books traditional mysteries with humor and some cozy elements. There is some spicy language and a touch of romance mixed into the mystery.

When FRONT PAGE FATALITY first launched in January, I actually spent a lot of time waving my arms and going “it’s not a cozy!” But I’ve found that I don’t care so much what people call the books, as long as they’re reading and enjoying them.

If Headlines in High Heels was made into a TV series or movie- do you have ideas for dream cast?

Oh, goodness! This question is so hard for me, because the characters look like themselves to me, not like actors. But in the interest of not copping out, I’ll say I like Anne Hathaway or Natalie Portman for Nichelle. Or maybe Alexis Bledel. What I’d really like is a time machine and a 28-year-old Lauren Graham, because she’s closest to how I picture Nichelle.

I think Trevor Donovan would make an excellent Grant Parker. Joey could be played by Christian Bale, if he could hit the accent. Kerri Russell would be good as Jenna. Christina Ricci could be Shelby Taylor, and I would (selfishly, perhaps) love to see Channing Tatum or Paul Walker as Kyle Miller.

What’s next in the world of writing, LynDee? Are you working on another book?

Always! I just turned the third Headlines in High Heels novel, SMALL TOWN SPIN, over to my lovely editor. Nichelle is investigating a suspicious string of what the local cops are calling suicides in a bitty little town on the Virginia coast. It’ll be out in April 2014. Before that, there’s a Nichelle novella in the anthology HEARTACHE MOTEL, which will be on sale everywhere Dec. 10. She gets locked in Graceland at Christmas. It’s fun!

Plus, I’m working this fall on revising a women’s fiction/magical realism novel I love, that has nothing to do with Nichelle. I hope to have news about that to share soon.

And I’m sure I’ll be starting the fourth Nichelle novel somewhere in there. I have the plot worked out in my head, and I can’t wait to get into it!

lyndee walker

Photo Credit: Escape With Dollycas

LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. Her debut novel, Front Page Fatality (A Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery), is an amazon new humor #1 bestseller. LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel. You can visit her online at www.lyndeewalker.com.

Find LynDee on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

*Giveaway is open to US only (sorry!). For swag pack, comment for a chance to win. For Rafflecopter giveaway, visit the Buried Leads tour home page! Giveaway ends November 2nd.