A Very Merry Match by Melinda Curtis

Kindergarten teacher Mary Margaret Sneed always liked to dance, but she never thought she’d be dancing in a burlesque show. However, after the death of her husband leaves her responsible for his severe gambling debt, she doesn’t have a lot of options. So when night falls, she dons her wig, her mask, and struts across the stage as Foxy Roxy. The only problem? She might be a little too good at her new job. As word spreads about the stunning new show, more locals begin turning up at the club, including her crush, Mayor Kevin Hadley. The last thing either of them needs is a scandal, and Kevin knows he should be settling down with someone safe and lowkey—someone like Mary Margaret. But he just can’t stop thinking about Roxy. With a little outside push, though, they each might get exactly what they want in time for Christmas.

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A Spooky First Line Friday

It’s officially October, and that means I’m starting a month devoted to books filled with magic, monsters, mayhem, and … Well, to be perfectly honest, I’m a bit of a mood reader, so there’ll also be romance and passion and … realistically, a Christmas-focused read or two will sneak into the mix. However, when I am in the mood for a spooky read, I’ll have plenty of choices. For this week’s First Line Friday, I’m sharing one of those reads—a book that matches the macabre with an equal side of cute.

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Can’t Wait for … Miracles and Menorahs by Stacey Agdern

There are a few things that automatically make me perk up when reading a blurb for a book—certain plots, character traits, or other bits that make a book instantly something I want to check out. Recently, I stumbled across a future release that involves two of my favorite things: a plot that revolves around a festival and a holiday backdrop. There’s something so much fun about the hustle and bustle and sense of community that stems from festivals, and I love when a holiday is mixed in because they’re a time of big emotions and—when romance is involved—ramped up sweetness. The one downside to finding this seemingly perfect read? We still have a couple of weeks before its official release. I can’t wait.

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The Quotable Gastronome: Ten Quotes from Foodie Nonfiction

Food can be the great equalizer. We all have to eat, though our different backgrounds, tastes, and conveniences all influence exactly what, why, when, and how we eat. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to food-focused nonfiction. Not only does it combine two of my favorite things—good food and good books—it also allows me a window into someone else’s culinary world that I’m already vaguely familiar with. Sure, I know how to whip up a potato salad and dress a turkey, but how do other people do it and, more interestingly, why? Or better yet, why would someone avoid these foods altogether? We all share ingredients, but I find it fascinating when authors actually exam what exactly that means to them.

So for this Top Ten Tuesday, I’m happy to share quotes from ten of my favorite foodie nonfiction books.

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A Vastly Underrated First Line Friday

One of my favorite writers of all time is Daniel Handler. Like many people who say this about an author, I’ve read pretty much everything he’s ever written. As a kid, I fell into his unsettling and extremely popular A Series of Unfortunate Events thanks to a suggestion by a well-placed librarian. As an adult, I’ve devoured his novels, like The Basic Eight, and short stories, including those collected in Adverbs. But with an author who’s so prolific, there’s bound to be a few books that don’t quite garner the attention as his most popular ones. So for today’s First Line Friday, I’m sharing an opening from one of his books that I feel is vastly underrated.

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Peachy Scream by Anna Gerard

Nina Fleet is happy to welcome a troupe of Shakespearean performers into her bed and breakfast—mostly because she didn’t realize Harry Westcott, her sometimes enemy, serves as their director. As the campy group settles in, though, Harry quickly becomes the least of her worries. Backstage drama, personal squabbles, and a series of pranks regularly derail rehearsals. However, the production is stopped cold when the lead actor is found murdered. But the show must go on, and it’s up to Nina to find the killer among a reticent cast before she’s forced to make an untimely exit herself.

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Can’t Wait for … Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Cozies. Cozies. Cozies. I feel like cozies are taking over my life this week. Whether I’m reading them, writing about them, or talking about them—they’re everywhere. But honestly, how can I complain about that when there are so many great upcoming releases? I’m constantly on the lookout for new series, because I really enjoy starting cozies right as the first book comes out. Sure, I also have no problem speeding through twenty books in anticipation of a future, interesting-looking sequel, but there’s some benefit to actually hopping on the cozy train right at the first stop. And this week? I’ve found the start to a new series that I just cannot wait to read.

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There’s Been a Murder! Twenty-Two Autumnal Cozy Mystery Covers

Leaves are changing. Night is falling faster. Pumpkin are finding their way onto porches. It’s finally cool enough that I can open my windows and let some fresh air into my home. Yup, fall is definitely on its way, which is why my TBR pile is currently being stacked with cozy mysteries. For me, there’s nothing like wrapping myself in a blanket and dipping into a cozy novel on a cool fall evening. So for this Top Ten Tuesday, here are some cozy covers that put me right in the fall spirit. As it turns out, though, it was hard to weed items down to only ten, so this week’s list is a double dose (and then some).

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Home for the Holidays by Sara Richardson

If the Buchanan sisters can agree on one thing, it’s their love for Juniper Inn. Their childhood memories are filled with them baking cookies, playing in the snow, and having fun with their dear Aunt Sassy. So when each receives a letter from Sassy, asking them to spend one last Christmas with her, how can they say no? However, a lot has changed in the fifteen years since they last visited the inn—and not always for the better. Though their reunion stirs up old drama and new feelings, with family, love, and a hint of Christmas magic, each sister might just realize exactly what they need in their lives.

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Love Me Like You Do by Aimee Brown

It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, but when her fiance leaves her at the alter, Parker walks right out the door … and straight into traffic. Thank goodness Liam, a good-looking stranger with a southern twang, was there with his Jeep. Sure, he wasn’t exactly planning on whisking a woman in a wedding dress off to the emergency room, but Liam feels strangely taken by her—and she might just feel the same way about him. If the two can navigate broken hearts and guarded pasts, they just might turn a chance encounter into a beautiful future.

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