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When the Grits Hit the Fan (Country Store, Bk 3)
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This book was a lot of fun. Robbie owns (and runs) Pans 'N Pancakes, a small town Indiana diner that specializes in breakfast and good home cooking. She has a lot of regular customers and hosts a variety of different groups, including the university's sociology meetings. After a heated meeting, one of the members of the group ends up dead, and Robbie's diner is host to a whole lot of suspects. Was it someone in the sociology group who'd had enough? Was it a family member, or someone from his past? And things get even more interesting when Robbie decides to renovate her diner and discovers secrets in the walls. There are plenty of colorful characters, good food, and lots of secrets and suspects. I was wrong more than once about who the killer was but it all tied together nicely at the end. I haven't read the first two books in the series yet, but I definitely will.


Coyote Waits (Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, Bk 10)
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Chee and Lt. Leaphorn learn more about one another, including their very different strengths and weaknesses, based on their life experiences.

Their different personal experiences make them a formidable foe for criminals.


Walking in Circles Before Lying Down
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Wish there would have been more "insights" into what the dog was thinking and less about the interactions of the family.


Just One Look
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My first Coben. I normally only read female authors, but this storyline caught my interest. Wow. Really enjoyed the writing style and kept me intrigued all the way through. Will be reading more Coben for sure. Highly recommend if you like Karen Robards, Lisa Gardner, etc. Yes it was a bit far fetched, and some overly gory details, but it was a realistic story with depth of characters so it gets a thumbs up from me.


Wyoming Brave (Wyoming Men, Bk 6)
Wyoming Brave (Wyoming Men, Bk 6)
Author: Diana Palmer
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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Just how many times can Diana Palmer go to the well with the same plot and continue to sell books? This author is known for her formula books, but this is one isn't very good. This is a contemporary romance with Ren Colter as the cynical, experienced, older man who has seen it all. He's rich, handsome, graduated from Harvard, served his country in the military and raises cattle worth millions.

Meredith Grayling is a twenty-three-year-old who was emotionally and physically abused by her domineering father. She has 200 million dollars and gives away her museum-quality paintings. In her spare time, Merrie shares her understanding with animals (a horse whisperer type character). Merrie's been so sheltered that she's never been kissed. Do you hear the strings of the violin yet?

In spite of the abuse she has already been subjected to, Merrie tolerates Ren's snarling orders and rules. Frankly, I couldn't finish the book. The author kept repeating facts that I got the first time. Before long, I realized that I didn't care anything about the characters. Fortunately, this was a library loan.


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I love resolutions and self improvement goals, so I really wanted to like this book. The first half I had to force myself to continue reading. I felt it was so shallow and nothing that I hadn't heard many times before. Around the middle of the book, the information improved, and I did find helpful insights. I never felt connected to the author's personality, and just didn't find her interesting or likeable - maybe because our interests are so different. I'm glad I read it, but wouldn't recommend the book to others.


Spaceman of Bohemia
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I started reading Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar expecting a story like The Martian by Andy Weir. Both are about an astronaut surviving the elements and loneliness. This is about where the similarity ends. The Martian is a book about survival; Spaceman of Bohemia is a book about a space journey, a metaphorical journey through a man's past, and a somewhat satirical, absurdist commentary through Czech history and current events. Best of all, it is a book that makes me think and leaves me thinking.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/spaceman-of-bohemia.html

Reviewed for NetGalley


Snowblind
Snowblind
Author: Christopher Golden
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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This was interesting, loved the story idea but didn't really have the ring of a true horror story. I am measuring it against SK which may not be fair but that is my stick.
Characters were well developed, story seemed to fall flat in the middle then picked back up towards the end. I didn't think the suspense part was that well developed and the suffering tortured if I only characters were definitely well done.


Fatal Storm (Chase Dagger Mysteries)
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I have not read any of the previous books in this series, so I came into this very late, hoping it might serve as a stand-alone book.
Half way through I just became so confused and yet so bored I couldn't continue the story. I did not like this book at all, Im sorry to say that. It moved from place to place in short amounts of time. I wont be reading any further books in the series.


Druids
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This was an interesting historical fiction book. There were some insights into how the druids lived that were realistic and it was set in the time that they would be interacting with Caesar. I am a little sad there isn't a series, but it did tie up all the loose ends.


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I read this earlier in the century and am disappointed it found no reader at the old soldiers' home. Although we have few readers, they saw Jim Crow arrive in the days of McKinley. They made successful lives in NYC.


Get Me To The Grave On Time (the  Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins  Mysteries)
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One of the most delightful books I have read in a while. What a pair - Henry Higgins and the irrepressible Eliza Doolittle. Still with Colonel Pickering and all living with Professor Higgins under the firm hand of housekeeper, Mrs Pearce, the trio are about to attend what Higgins deplores as too many weddings. Eliza's beau, Freddie, is pushing for marriage too and driving Eliza to distraction. Then the grooms in the weddings are being killed or attacked and Higgins and Eliza try to figure out what makes them all a target. The attacks just might be about some Indian temple treasure now in the hands of Englishmen. A fun read.


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This audio book was nothing like I expected. I thought it was going to be a love story, plain and simple. There's nothing simple about this book...at all. It's about being unable to have children. It's about invtro. It's about being a lesbian. It's about church, doctrine, judgments, and high emotions. It has a lot of music on the audio CD as a singer sings the songs written for this story. It didn't have the touchy feely love story I've been searching for since listening to "Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway. It was well-written and kept my attention. It made me think about a lot of things that I rarely think about. Life is so complicated for some people. I felt like I was in the middle of a very drama-filled family feud. It's wonderful that a book can carry you away like that, but this one left me a bit stressed out. The subject matter seemed very timely.


Deck the Hallways (Fixer-Upper, Bk 4)
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A light innocuous mystery with too many tangential story lines to always be coherent. Contractor Shannon Hammer is coordinating the renovation of an huge old Victorian for needy people. From the first she moans about her romance, her run ins with volunteers, the funding bank's nasty vice-president, and her dad and his friends who are helping out. She decides that the chief of police can't do a good job when her dad seems to be a suspect in a murder and proceeds to poke her nose in the investigation. She finds another victim, helps organize the community Christmas event, and comes across an abandoned baby. Just too much distraction from the murder mystery I find.


Eruption (Supervolcano, Bk 1)
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Anyone familiar with Turtledove's novels knows that sometimes he takes a while to get to the meat of the conflicts and the way the conflicts affect the main characters. This novel is no different. I felt as if the whole purpose of the book was to set up the second two in the series. I, personally, have no problem with that sequence of events as I am a big fan of the author. Having family that live in the Yellowstone area and having just watched a Nat Geo show on the super-volcano that lies under Yellowstone made the reading a lot more enjoyable.


Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
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This was a fun action read with some interesting questions about the role of technology as it relates to the acquisition and storage of knowledge. It felt like a mashup of a Dan Brown book and the movie National Treasure with a tech twist.


A Song for the Dying (Ash Henderson, Bk 2)
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Book Description
A heart-stopping crime thriller and the fourth consecutive No. 1 Bestseller from the author of the Logan McRae series and Birthdays for the Dead.

He's backâ¦

Eight years ago, âThe Inside Man' murdered four women and left three more in critical condition â all of them with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside.

And then the killer just ⦠disappeared.

Ash Henderson was a Detective Inspector on the initial investigation, but a lot can change in eight years. His family has been destroyed, his career is in tatters, and one of OldCastle's most vicious criminals is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison.

Now a nurse has turned up dead on a patch of waste ground, a plastic doll buried beneath her skin, and it looks as if Ash might finally get a shot at redemption. At earning his freedom.

At revenge.

My Review
I think when you read Stuart MacBride's Ash Henderson books, you have to read fast over the violence and gore and just enjoy the humor, interesting characters and the layered plots. I can't believe that I actually like these books enough to give them 5 stars but I really do enjoy them that much. They are definitely not for the faint of heart as they are dark, violent and sometimes unbelievable as to what is actually happening. It's almost like reading a comic book as you have to overlook a lot but I would read another one in a moment. In this book, Ash is back for revenge on the woman who set him up in the first book. He is also on the search for The Inside Man and he will not rest until the murderer is caught. The book is action-packed, fast-paced and kept me guessing until the very end. I especially enjoy the characters of Ash, Alice and Shifty in this one and hope they will be back in future installments. I would highly recommend reading this series in order and if you don't like violence and brutality mixed with your thrillers then "STAY AWAY' from this series.


The Last Chance Christmas Ball
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My True Love Hath My Heart by Joanna Bourne

A longtime love is rekindled, with a chance to strike at injustice, a future to determine and jewelry theft thrown in for good measure.

Claire, daughter of a Swiss jeweler and talented jeweler in her own right, is masquerading as a maid at a Christmas house party. She is determined to get revenge on a man who cheated her and damaged her reputation as an artisan. Nick is an English nobleman who spends his time traveling throughout Europe, doing work for the English government. Nick has followed Claire, determined to make her see that they can have a life together. Claire loves him too much to allow him to marry someone as far beneath him as she is.

I enjoyed this story, as Nick helps Claire carry out her revenge, while at the same time wearing down her objections to their love. I liked the way that he loved her for who she was, and wasn't worried about the social niceties. I liked the ending, as he revealed the depth of his feelings for her. His visit to her family was a sweet touch.

I liked the revenge story and Claire's plans to carry it out. I also enjoyed the adjustment to the plan, which involved helping the daughter of her target. The scene in the library with Claire and Mary was terrific.


A Scottish Carol by Susan King

A doctor fresh from the horrors of Waterloo is reacquainted with his mentor's daughter.

Henry is a doctor and viscount who served in the army during the war. Since his return to Scotland six months ago he has been filling in as a lecturer at the university. At the beginning of the story he speaks with the most talented of his students about an assignment, only to discover that the young man is actually the daughter of his former mentor. She is also the woman he had loved and lost. He is haunted by the things he saw during the war and has buried his emotions as a way to protect himself.

Clary is a widow after the husband forced on her by an arranged marriage dies in an accident. After moving back with her father and losing him recently, she needs something to occupy her time. When she discovers that Henry is back, she sneaks into his lectures, just to be near the man she always loved. She never understood why he had left so abruptly those years ago.

A series of events ends up stranding Clary at Henry's country home during a blizzard. Alone together, Clary senses Henry's turmoil and wants to help him learn to feel again. I enjoyed seeing her open his heart to the joys of the holiday again. After so many years apart, they also rediscover all the things they have in common, including a love that never died. The dog, Max, was a great addition to the story.


Christmas Larks by Patricia Rice

Returning home from war, damaged and disoriented Ivor Whitney-Harris hears mice in the walls and rekindles his childhood acquaintance with Sarah Jane Langsdale.

A reunion story. Ivo has returned to England months after the war ended. First he was recovering from an injury, then avoiding seeing his father again. After receiving word of his father's death, he heads home. He's attacked by footpads not far from his childhood home, and arrives to find an empty house before he collapses. Sarah Jane grew up with Ivo. The house was willed by Ivo's father to soon become an orphanage. While checking on the house, she discovers Ivo injured and babbling of talking mice. With no one else to do it, she stays to nurse him back to health.

I ached for Ivo, who is haunted by the things he saw during the war. A talented artist, even in his illness he is compelled to put what he sees on canvas. Being in his childhood home brings him comfort, as he has dreamed of settling there after the war. He doesn't know that he no longer owns the house. Seeing Sarah again, he begins to see her as more than his childhood friend. Sarah has always loved Ivo, but he never saw her as more than a friend. Seeing how happy he is to be back in the house, she dreads telling him the truth.

I liked seeing them get to know each other again. Sarah's love for him is obvious in the way she takes care of him and worries about him. Ivo had a little more trouble realizing what it was he felt for her. His anger when he finds out about the house is understandable, but he says some terrible things to her. I ached for Sarah and her belief that Ivo hates her now. I liked his big moment at the end, as he finally finds the words to tell her how he feels.

The talking mice were an interesting addition to the story. I really wondered what kind of hallucinations Ivo was having, until Sarah heard them too. I liked the truth behind it, as it was another insight into the effects of the war on more than just the men who fought it.


In the Bleak Midwinter by Mary Jo Putney

A wounded soldier's final return to those who love him is ensnarled by his wounded anguish.

I loved this story. Kimball and Roxie had grown up together, and moved from friends to a couple. But Kim felt as though he'd had things too easy all his life, and was compelled to join the army and fight against Napoleon. Roxie wasn't happy with his decision, but had no choice but to accept it. Then Kim was badly injured, his life seriously altered. The doctor who saved him (Henry, from The Scottish Carol) made it clear that Kim would improve only if he made a determined effort to do so. So Kim went home, but he locked himself away, refusing to see anyone but his servant, including Roxie. No matter how many times she tried, he always turned her away.

I really liked Roxie. She is fun and she is kind, but she is also stubborn. When Kim's brother Edward offers to marry her instead, since Kim is refusing to follow through, Roxie agrees that it might be a workable solution. They are friends, after all, and have always gotten along. But Roxie is determined to see Kim face to face before she will commit to Edward. She still loves him.

I liked Kim, but certainly wanted to shake him. I loved that he wanted to do something worthwhile with his life, which is what sent him to war. I even understood his desire to hide himself away at the beginning, but I felt that he should have been working through his fears by that time. He still loves Roxie, but wants to protect her from being tied to a "cripple".

I loved Roxie's conversation with Kim's servant, and how it set things up for her confrontation. I really enjoyed seeing her knock down all his arguments, with her ballgown being the icing on that particular cake. I loved their big moment at the end, as she brings him out of darkness back into the light of love.


Old Flames Dance by Cara Elliott

A long lost love returns from a far flung place. Too late or can all be set right?

Good second chance story. Lily and Edward had been in love ten years earlier, but his parents thought he was too young to marry and refused to allow the match. Lily's father was in financial difficulties, so Lily agreed to marry a much older man who agreed to help. She went to India with him, where he died, and she married yet another man. After his death, Lily came back to England, and arrived in time to attend her godmother's Christmas ball. There she ran into Edward again. Her love for him had never died, but it is rumored that he is about to announce his engagement.

I liked Lily. She's smart, beautiful and honorable. She doesn't want to come between Edward and his potential fiancée. I also liked Edward, who is now caught in a tangle.

I liked the rekindling of their relationship. The scene in the library, where they first saw each other again, was great. I loved that he knew her right away, even though she had changed a lot. Every time they were together, the attraction between them grew. I loved the advice that Lily got from the dowager duchess, though she was undecided about taking it. I liked her method of choosing, though I suspect she had some assistance in the outcome. The final scene in the library, then the ballroom was fantastic. I especially enjoyed how well it blended with the previous story.


A Season for Marriage by Nicola Cornick

What can you do when your husband spurns you? Why flee to the arms of your loving family and hope!

Very emotional story. Caro has been married to Piers for six months. He is her brother Edward's best friend and used to visit when they were younger. He was always nice to her and she's been in love with him for years, though he never seemed to notice her that way. They were forced into marriage because he had accidentally compromised her, and she has been trying to make it up to him ever since. She's gone overboard in shopping, trying to buy herself a boost in confidence, so that she can be the political wife he needs.

After a disastrous wedding night, Piers has avoided her, spending all his time on his political work. He is fascinated by her wit and kindness, and fears that he's falling in love with her. His experience with love was that of seeing his parents' obsession with each other to the exclusion of everything else, and he wants no part of that loss of control.

After a confrontation regarding her spending, Caro knows she has to do something to rescue her marriage. While he is away from the house, she leaves for her family home and the Christmas ball, hoping that he will follow, and fearing that he won't. I loved his reaction and what he did, and ached for him and the turmoil of his feelings.

I loved seeing Caro stand up to him and let him know why she has been so unhappy. He was so oblivious to the effects his actions had had on her that it was quite a shock. He was still having trouble dealing with his feelings and managed to hurt her yet again with his words (or lack of them). It took an unexpected bit of jealousy and a waltz to drive him to finally admit his feelings to her and himself. I loved Caro's understanding and willingness to forgive.


Miss Finch and the Angel by Jo Beverley

A lowly companion captures the gaze of a well-intentioned rake.

Good story. Clio was introduced in the prologue as the companion of Lady Holly. She's very quiet, content to stay in the background. Gabriel is Lady Holly's godson, the second son of a duke, and something of a rogue and a rake. She has summoned him to the ball to help her make the wallflowers look good. He is more than willing, but also finds himself intrigued by Clio.

Clio is a young woman who was deceived by a man and spurned by her family afterward. She has settled on a life of service, knowing that marriage is no longer an option for her. She does her best to blend into the background, though it isn't really her nature.

I loved Gabriel's determination to help Clio find a man, even though she was reluctant. What was even more fun was how personal it became for him. It was great to see him start thinking of her as his, though he resisted at first because of what might be her reputation. They had a couple encounters where they got to know each other a little, and Gabriel was more entranced by her. I loved seeing them at the ball together, and how he brought her out of the background.

The ending was great, with the unexpected appearance of Clio's father. I loved Gabriel's immediate protectiveness. I especially enjoyed Gabriel's conversation with Mr. Finch. I liked seeing Gabriel get what he didn't know he wanted until it was right in front of him.


Mistletoe Kisses by Annie Grace

French verbs and mistletoe kisses. Life for Allie Fenton was set upon a oath that seemed unlikely to waiver.

Another good story. Allie is a young woman whose father has died and whose cousin has inherited the house she grew up in. Rather than stay and become an unpaid servant in his household, she plans to become a teacher. But Lady Holly isn't going to let her get away before attending the Christmas ball, and has even provided a beautiful dress for her. Allie agrees to attend.

For the few days before the ball, Allie has given her servants the time off and is staying alone in her home. Two travelers have a carriage accident near her home and she takes them in. Lord Kelsey and his sister Lucilla are also headed to Lady Holly's for the ball.

I liked both Allie and John. She is kind, pretty and practical. She has been running the estate for years and has the confidence of someone who is used to being in charge. It was fun to see her bossing John and Lucilla around. John changed his own holiday plans so that he could take his sister to Lady Holly's, which I found very sweet.

I enjoyed the development of their romance. Snowed in over the next several days, the three become good friends, sharing meals, chores, cards games and even a little dancing. Sister Lucilla is a bit mischievous and has a heavy hand with the mistletoe, leading to several passionate encounters. Allie comes to Lucilla's rescue, when her ball gown is discovered to have gotten ruined in the accident, and gives up her own and her chance to attend the ball herself. I loved John's reaction to her absence, and the assistance he received from Lady Holly to bring the ball to Allie. Those hours together were sweet, and he promised to be back the next day.

But an emergency at home had him otherwise occupied, and his note of explanation goes astray. I ached for Allie and her belief that she'd been forgotten. I loved John's big moment at the end, and the assistance he received from an unexpected source.


Marrying Jonah
Marrying Jonah
Author: Amy Lillard
Genres: Romance, Christian Books & Bibles
Book Type: Paperback
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Marrying Jonah by Amy Lillard is the sixth book in the Wells Landing series. Sarah Yoder has been smitten with Jonah and everyone knows it. But Jonah is in love with Lorie Kauffman. Unfortunately, Lorie decided to leave the Amish and recently married another. Jonah is still pining for Lorie. Sarah has decided to turn over a new leaf. She is going to ignore Jonah and find a way to move on. One night after a youth event, Jonah happens upon Sarah who is walking home (the young man who was driving her home became fresh). While driving Sarah home, Sarah asks if they cannot find a way to be friends. They end up stopping by the lake to talk, and Jonah ends up seeking comfort from Sarah. Six weeks later, Sarah discovers that she is with child. Jonah does the honorable thing and offers to marry Sarah (after adjusting to the news). She wanted Jonah as her husband, but Sarah wanted him to love her. The last thing she wants is a man who does not love her in return. Unfortunately, they are not given an alternative and are quickly married. The marriage gets off to a rocky start when the pair must live with Jonah's parents. Gertie Miller, Jonah's mother, is not partial to Sarah and makes her feelings quite evident. Jonah decides to make things easier by finding a house for them. Slowly, Jonah begins to see the kind, caring and lovable woman he married. But then tragedy strikes, and it looks like their relationship is doomed. Is there a chance for these two-young people? If they are to have a future, Jonah needs to prove his love to Sarah and open the lines of communication.

Marrying Jonah is a sweet and nicely written Amish novel. I liked the characters and the storyline. It was interesting to see Jonah's reaction to Sarah once she quit paying attention to him. The book had a good flow and can be read in a few hours. There are some good lessons in this novel (forgiveness, doing the right thing). Readers get to see how important love and communication are to a relationship. While Marrying Jonah is the sixth book in the series, it can be read alone. Each book is about a different set of characters. I give Marrying Jonah 4 out of 5 stars. I did become frustrated at times at the lack of communication between Sarah and Jonah. I wanted to tell these two to grow up and start talking. Sarah, though, did not make things easy for Jonah. Marrying Jonah is my favorite book in the series. It is a moving novel with a special ending. I really appreciated the epilogue and how the author provided updates on the characters from the other novels in the Wells Landing series.


The Angel and the Jabberwocky Murders (Augusta Goodnight, Bk 6)
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Good story- hard to figure out whodunnit, which I always like!


Why I Killed Peter
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A sensitively created and emotionally satisfying memoir of a boy's encounters with a child-molesting priest and the aftermath of this event.

I wasn't enchanted by the art style, but that's just personal taste. It's skilfully drawn in a deliberately loose, messy style.

The author/protagonist goes through a long, painful journey as he comes to terms with what happened to him, and comes out the other side in a better state, feeling stronger and more whole and integrated.

Good read for survivors of childhood trauma at the hands of abusive adults, or anyone who wants to understand how this kind of abuse affects people.

Note that this is NOT a book that preaches forgiveness for those who don't deserve it.


The Red Siren (Charles Towne Belles)
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This novel seems a bit disjointed. I really couldn't get into it nor love the characters. There is a lot to like about it. I love the spiritual themes, especially how some of the characters grew in that regard. The story seems wordy, yet much went unexplained. I loved the Charles Towne setting in the early 1700's and was able to really get into that. If you like historical fiction of this era and setting, you might want to give this one a try. I do plan to read the next book in the trilogy.


The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook
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I originally bought this Young Adult book for a friend's children, but of course I needed to read it first to make sure it was age-suitable. It certainly was! I laughed. I snorted. I giggled. I cried. This YA novel ought to be required reading for ANYBODY.
Oona's whole family still misses their beloved Dad horribly. Why did he have to get sick and die? But the discovery of Zook, a lost and injured cat, helped ease some of the pain.
But then Zook gets sick; he might even die. Oona is worried that another such loss will wound her little brother past recovery.
Then Dylan (the Villain) shows up. He helps Zook and maybe her mother, too-- but Oona knows something about Dylan, something, something she's not sure she should tell anyone.
* * * *
From back cover: Oona and her brother, Fred, love their cat Zook (short for Zucchini) more than anything. When he gets sick, the only way they can break him out of the vet's office and bring him home where he belongs is to tell a few whoppers. Luckily, Oona has a talent for whoppers. (Her best whoppers come in the form of stories, many of which she learned from their father, who died two years ago. Oona comforts Fred by telling him that Zook is only on the fifth of his nine lives, and then she invents wild and wonderful stories of the previous ones. But Oona's whoppers can't hide the surprising truth about Zook forever.


The Queen of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling, Bk 1)
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I really wanted to love this book, but it left me wanting to go back and reread the Hunger Games and the Lord of the Rings instead of picking up the next volume in this series. It has the feel of a great epic, but was overtly preachy at times. I'm a forty something female who is in complete agreement that slavery and tobacco addiction are bad things and strong female leaders are good things. I don't need to be directly told this. Making the story show me how and why would have been a more powerful reminder. I'm still not sure if the intended audience is YA or adult. It felt YA in terms of overall tone, but some of the graphic violence makes me hesitate to suggest it for younger and/or sensitive readers.


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This book has a fairly scholarly approach to its subject, and shows evidence of more research than I expected. It's not just a compendium of typical recipes, family anecdotes, and some background information on the Depression era, but a broader and deeper look at the whys and hows of American nutrition of the time. It discusses the Dust Bowl and the popularization of frozen foods; it looks at bread lines, school lunches and the logistics of feeding the military. It talks about the surprising ways that changes which occurred during the '30s still affect our cooking and eating habits today. The authors gave me a better understanding of the stories I've heard from family members who went through those times. This is a very interesting bit of American and culinary history, worth reading.


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