Five boys grow up together, a loose gang of outcasts. Sometimes they get along. Most of the time they tolerate each other, akin to brothers who don’t really like each other, clutching a long list of grievances with each other, but who keep getting together to ride bikes and swear and leave secret messages anyway. One summer they discover a dead body and a few days later the murder is solved.


Until they’re all grownups and someone starts leaving them secret messages, then killing them, one by one.


This thriller leaves room for laughs. (“Now that is a pile of stinking buckaroo” is our new household phrase). Tudor perfectly captures the attitude and voice of pre-adolescent boys. She creates characters you feel you know, even if you don’t like them much. It’s a roller coaster ride of a story. Written by a Brit, set in the U.K., the British language nuances just add to the delight for an American reader.


Win the book! I am giving away the review copy I received to one Book Buffet reader. To enter to win, just leave any comment on this review post. Be sure you are a subscriber so I can contact you when you win. Contest closes January 25, 2018 at midnight EST. Open to US residents only, please.

Chalk Man

  • Note: adult situations, language



Book ordering info here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/556729/the-chalk-man-by-c-j-tudor/

To learn about the author C.J. Tudor go here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/2149259/c-j-tudor/




Required Blogger’s Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, and I am giving away the review copy sent to me by the publisher. Shipping expense to send physical book to winner is paid by me and not reimbursed nor was I compensated in any other fashion.


but sometimes you don’t.


I was in a ladies book club for several years. We were a different kind of book club. In most book clubs everyone reads the same book, then they discuss it when they get together. This group read whatever they wanted to and then, when we got together, we each shared about her own book with the group – kind of a book report club. We loved it! No one had to read a book she didn’t enjoy – or at least if she did, she didn’t have to finish it – or at least if she did, she could gripe about it while drinking wine with the girlfriends!


So in that spirit, what have you read lately that you wished you had spent the time doing something else or reading something else? Or perhaps you didn’t even finish the book . . .


I did that during Christmas break. Even stayed up until 2am one night reading, trying desperately to like the main character, but I wanted to give her a swift kick in the butt. The next day, groggy with a reading hangover, I pulled out my bookmark and threw the book in the trash! I gave myself permission to quit on that book and went on to another book (after a few hours of beachcombing and bike riding).


The book was even an Oprah pick. But it wasn’t mine. One of the things we discovered in our book report club was how often a book could be loved by one reader, but rejected by someone else. Kind of like food. It is what makes us all unique and so much fun (or irritating depending upon whether you are a + or – person, I guess).


So what book have you quit on lately? Here’s mine.

Shes Come Undone


Jacqueline Thompson Graves lives in the Atlanta area reading, baking and blogging about books. She and her family spent the Christmas break at Edisto Island, South Carolina, where it was unseasonably chilly and windy, yet Christmas Spirit bubbled forth. She has only thrown maybe 3 books in the trash in her entire lifetime.

Congrats to Sue our winner of The Chilbury Ladies Choir. Sue, I think you will enjoy this war era tale. Please send your snail mail to me at JacquelineinAtlanta (at) gmail.com (use the @ sign, of course). I’ll get your next read in the mail to you right away!


If you aren’t Sue, check your local library for a copy or order yours today!


Chilbury Ladies Choir

Chilbury Ladies Choir

The year is 1940. Germany has overtaken Poland, Czechoslovakia and Finland. England’s able-bodied men march to stave off an invasion of their own country, leaving the village of Chilbury with no men for the church choir. The vicar nails up a sign announcing the dissolution of the choir. Distraught, the women come up with the preposterous idea of a ladies only troupe. Intended at first just to encourage themselves during the War, the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir becomes a singing sensation while serving to unite the women left behind at the Battle of the Homefront.


Jennifer Ryan creates a compelling story, filled with characters both admirable and despicable, sometimes even in the same person. Themes of love, loss, sacrifice and greed repeat in every war, and Ryan’s historical research shows us these elements of World War II in the U.K.


Written as a series of letters and journal entries by various characters, the novel reveals the thoughts and motives of players as subplots build to a satisfying conclusion.


Now that I’ve read the book, I’m ready to see the movie! Please tell me someone is making a movie.


YOU can win this copy of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. (The book contains a guide in the back to use for a book club or other discussion.) Just leave a comment on this post. You must also be a subscriber to the blog in order to be contacted if you win. Enter by midnight EST December 31st.


Required Blogger’s Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, and I am giving away the advance copy sent to me by the publisher to one lucky reader. Shipping expense to send physical book to winner is paid my me and not reimbursed or compensated in any other fashion.


For more info about The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir visit the website at Penguin Books:



#JacquelineinAtl #thebookbuffet #TheChilburyLadiesChoir #JenniferRyan #bloggingforbooks #bookreview #worldwar2fiction #BroadwayBooks #PenguinPress #epistolarynovel #historicalfiction


downton abbeyA friend loaned me her DVDs – the entire Downton Abbey series from start to finish. I wasn’t sure it was my kind of show. Oh boy, was it my kind of show! Here, 30 bits of wisdom, in no particular order, gleaned from the show.

  1. The bigger the house and grounds, the more work it takes to keep it going. It’s less exhausting if the work is spread around among lots of people. Poor farmers just have lots of children. The wealthy have lots of servants, which drains their wealth.
  2. Sumptuous food, opulent surroundings and fashionable clothes don’t make your home any happier when you still hate your sister.
  3. You must give way to Progress because she certainly is not going to yield to you!
  4. A beautiful woman is like a racing car – both are enticing, both look fun when someone else’s possession, both are faster than you think at first and, in the end, one mistake can be deadly.
  5. “Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”
  6. A tiny house filled with love and laughter is better than a mansion full of deceit and scheming.
  7. A Duchess can look frumpy while a maid may appear elegant and refined. The right presentation via clothes, hair and makeup can make all the difference, not just to onlookers, but to the lady’s own self-perception.
  8. Both the rich and the not rich often get closer to the animals in their lives than the people.
  9. Allies are found in unexpected places and change from situation to situation.
  10. Important things are better discussed on a long walk outside rather than the dining room where dishes might be thrown.
  11. A person who can truly and forever keep a secret of yours without using it as a weapon against you is a rare find.
  12. Those who serve a person know him better than those who think they do.
  13. Big scandals about your past are best told to others by you. Little things, whether good or bad, are best left unsaid, to be told, if ever, by another. We tend to get it backwards – to brag about the insignificant (or complain) while hiding the Big Failure, hoping no one discovers our Sad Truth which, when someone does, becomes his weapon over us.
  14. To spend one’s life in duty is drudgery, whether you are a maid or the mistress of the house.
  15. The person who is gracious will always have friends.
  16. Character has nothing to do with money. The basest traits are found in the wealthy and the best traits are found in the poor. However, wealth seems to amplify character traits, for good or evil.
  17. Power, once attained, is nearly impossible to lay down willingly. A trip to Paris and a puppy help soften the blow.
  18. When one is miserable it can be very difficult to truly wish happiness for others. Sometimes the honorable thing to do is take oneself away from others’ company before one drags everyone else down into the slough of despond.
  19. Children and animals bring out the purest and fiercest love in most people.
  20. Perhaps the best trait for lots of different people living in a house together to develop is tolerance. Or deafness. Or hobbies out of doors.
  21. The person who constantly criticizes everyone else will find no sympathizers when he himself has a failure. In fact, he may detect faint sounds of Champagne glasses clinking.
  22. It may mean leaving a place for a time to discover it was where you belonged all along.
  23. When a man chases a woman like a dog chases a fox, he is either madly in love with her or he’s got a scheme on. Only time will show his hand. A hasty marriage prevents the appearance of his true motive.
  24. Education doesn’t ensure success, but a lack of learning can certainly prevent it.
  25. Sucking up to one’s boss while ignoring one’s peers leads to indifference from both.
  26. Beautiful surroundings may make unhappiness easier to bear, but only a little. A miserable woman would shuck it all for True Love.
  27. Sometimes it takes knocking on a lot of doors to find the lucky one that saves a person’s life.
  28. Death will often out the truth.
  29. Having a lady’s maid might be nice if only so she would brush my hair every night before bed. But most of what she would do for me, I’d just as soon do for myself. Except maybe ironing.
  30. Tea time sounds like the loveliest ritual I’ve never enjoyed.

Can you match the tidbit of wisdom with the incident from the series that taught the lesson? Perhaps you have a lesson of your own to contribute. Have you seen Downton Abbey? What did you think?

copyright 2017 Jacqueline Thompson Graves

We never heard from Brian whose name was drawn as the winner of the Dead Head book giveaway.


So Linda Meehan, you are the Runner Up and now the winner. Please send your snail mail to jacquelineinatlanta (at) gmail.com so I can send your book out this week. Nothing like a good murder mystery for Thanksgiving. (And you may have had a Thanksgiving or two where you considered committing the perfect murder. In the library! With a turkey baster!)


Dead Head

Brian, You won the drawing for the book Dead Head, but I haven’t heard from you.


Please send me your snail mail to JacquelineinAtlanta (at) gmail.com so I can mail you the book.


If I don’t hear from you by Saturday, I’ll choose an alternate winner. :/


Dead Head