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Clatter Bash! A Day of the Dead Celebration
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great book for my elementary art students.


The Red Tent
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nice book.


The Girl on the Train: A Novel
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Awful! Couldn't get into this book at all...if you have nothing at all better to do, pick it up and good luck!


Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France
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I skimmed it, no one comes off very heroic in it.


The Girl on the Train: A Novel
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WOW!! It isn't often I spend an entire day reading one book, but I couldn't put this one down! While the short chapters in different time frames were at first confusing, it didn't take long to hit the stride and the story flowed smoothly. Suspense, sympathy, wonder, acceptance of all of their flaws, I experienced so many feelings while reading it. Some reviewers were annoyed with the characters' flaws. (So glad for them that they are perfect!) Gripping! Will look forward to Paula Hawkins' next novel!


Midnight Crystal (Arcane Society, Bk 9) (Harmony, Bk 7) (Dreamlight, Bk 3)
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Love the series and loved the book. Great world building makes sense.


Regency Christmas Courtship (Signet Regency Romance)
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As I had read something by each of these authors, I expected to find delightful stories. The book cover promised each of these stories was new.

WOOING THE WOLF (Barbara Metzger) Margaret Todd works for a pompous, hard-hearted older woman as a companion. Maggie finds that she has two nieces who are suddenly orphans; and they are on their way from India to her. It is nearly Christmas and Maggie's employer refuses to allow the children to stay in her home. A friendly neighbor/housekeeper offers her rooms in the empty house of Viscount Wolfram, who is with friends.

Unexpectedly, the Viscount returns home to find decorations and Christmas cooking in his home. It doesn't take long for the two 'angels' to decide that Maggie and the Viscount would make wonderful parents.

This was my favorite of the stories; it is charming and witty with two imps who have the best of intentions.

THE DOGSTAR (Edith Layton) If you like a little magic in your holiday stories, this is for you. A magical pup helps a poor governess meet a full-of-himself viscount. They do battle over the seven year old Marquess of Grenville, who was sent to London for the Christmas season.

I just don't care for pixie-dust in my Christmas stories; I wasn't particularly impressed.

LOST AND FOUND (Andrea Pickens) A British diplomat and a Russian heiress are trying to get to London for Christmas because of directives by their guardian/parent. Between show storms and problems with carriages and horses, they wind up traveling together (from their chance meeting at a roadside inn).

I found this story to be too contrived to be realistic.

CHRISTMAS WITH DORA DAVENPORT (Nancy Butler) A confirmed lover of all things London must play hostess to her moneyed beau and his mother. She hopes he will ask her to marry him. However, they want to meet her at their family's run-down country home.

A Welshman appears and helps Elnora Nesbitt and her family transform the shabby country house in record time. While they are working together, Elnora starts to wonder if she really wants her wealthy beau -- or maybe just the humble Welshman.

This story was interesting but very contrived. It just wasn't a realistic plot. Elnora's cousin really muddied the waters.

CHRISTMAS CHEER (Gayle Buck) A newly-married couple have returned from their wedding tour across Europe and are settling in at the family home. Essentially, this story is about how a couple learn to live with each other. There are misunderstandings and emotional hurts that have to be addressed.

I thought this story was the weakest of the bunch. It was so boring that I had to force myself to complete the book.


Little Girl Gone: An Afton Tangler Thriller
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I was not thrilled with this book and didn't find it a 5 star read, I thought it had way way too much descriptions in it and had to wade through each page, mostly skimmed, just to get to the story, it moves very slow, by page 200 there just wasn't much happening, well what did happen wasn't thrilling or suspenseful but events that dragged the story slong

I had no problem putting it down and not picking it up again for hours and felt like I was trudging my way through it


Dead Ringer (Audio CD) (Abridged)
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This book is part of a series, though it can be read by itself without feeling as if you need to go to the other books. The narrator Kate Burton does an excellent job, as always. The change in voices is not distracting or annoying, but pleasant and distinctive. As to the story I wasn't a huge fan, I guess due to the good quality of the author's other books were so good I expected more from this one. As to the story.... The owner of a law firm, has issues with her credit cards, wardrobe, colleagues thinking she was somewhere she wasn't, that she acted in a less than professional manner, etc... Leads her to discover her twin is trying to take her identity. The mayhem ensues - a little to unbelievable (I know, I know its fiction, its a story, not real life, but...)that those around the lead character are a little to susceptible to my way of thinking or are also not very observant of their surroundings. Soon all is tied up in a neat little bow and the devious, rotten, wayward, devil of a sister is forgiven. Ugghhh


The Black Rose
The Black Rose
Author: Tananarive Due
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
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I have loved reading biographies since I was a teenager and I found this one was especially interesting. First, I had never heard of Madam C.J. Walker, her life and her company. She was driven by her heart which told her that Negros are just as intelligent as white people. Her life, her company and her passion was to help the women of her race and their families live a better life made so much sense to her during a time when the whites believed that black meant poor, uninteresting and of lesser intelligence.

Second, Madam (Sarah) had two great loves of her life. She lost the first one when he was killed in a demonstration of black workers seeking equal wages. The second she lost when he betrayed her with other women. She loved both and could forget neither. With her divorce from C.J. she devoted every minute she had to her company and expanding it. One goal was to make it succeed. Another goal was to support her daughter and herself. Yet another was to help black women support their families so their children may have a better life through education. And, as time passed, she realized that she wanted to further her race as much as possible.

This is her story. A story of being poor, humiliated and ignored. With determination and persistence, Sarah discovered a hair growing solution that helped her own miserable hair condition improve to a point where she no longer had bald patches and covered her head to hide it from others. The tale is emotional, tragic and sad in many ways but it's an excellent read. I commend the author for telling readers about this ambitious woman whose life spanned poverty to wealth. Well done.


Final Appeal (Audio CD) (Abridged)
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This not part of a series, this is a stand alone book.
It's a fast paced story about a single mother who is re-entering the working environment. She takes a job with a Federal Appeals Court Judge which should allow time for her to spend with her daughter but soon the situation devolves into crime and intrigue. The judge who hired her commits suicide but she doubts that conclusion, his wife has just won a contest for the Senate, and the three law clerks are all too ambitious and na´ve for there own good. Along the way she attempts to get to know the man (judge) outside of his office, who was he, what he meant to others, what he had hidden from those close to him - is all very different from the image that is portrayed to his subordinates and colleagues. She is also trying to build a relationship with her mother after many years of discord and a father who left the family when she was a child - she wants better for her daughter (this side of the story is a good distraction but it also adds to the intrigue of the case). The narrator Kate Burton does an excellent job conveying the voices without it being distracting or jarring.


Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice (Jesse Stone, Bk 11)
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Another fast-paced entry in the Jesse Stone series. This is the second book in the series written by Brandman after the passing of Robert B. Parker. I actually read this one in one afternoon. As usual, it was filled with crisp dialog which made the pages turn really fast. The novel was typical of the series and included a few different storylines. First, a movie crew moves into Paradise to make a film with a leading lady whose husband is seeking revenge against her for filing for divorce and giving him a worthless check right before she travels to Paradise for the movie. Then there are complaints about the cost of Paradise's water being more than what is being actually used by the residents. And there is the problem of a young girl who disregards the law and causes an accident while texting on her cell phone. Jesse works his way through the cases as usual and as usual has a new love interest...this time an assistant working on the movie. Overall, I thought this one was a little below par for a Stone novel but would still mildly recommend it for fans of the series.


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Too scary for my 12 year old daughter but I guess good for a boy. lol.


The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians of the Old West
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This is an eye-opening view of how women came to be doctors. It seems the women didn't just have to deal with the prejudice of the men physicians and the general population. More often than not, these women divorced in order to follow their calling. Husbands did not easily accept working wives at this time in America.

The vignettes were lean but pithy; the photos added so much to the book. I cannot believe, with so many obstacles, that so many women entered the medical field. Women owe them a debt of gratitude for their dedication to their patients and their medical craft.


An Untimely Frost (Lilly Long Mysteries)
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An Untimely Frost is the first book in the Lilly Long Mystery series. It is 1881 in Chicago, Illinois. Lilly Long is an actress with the Pierced Rose Theater Troupe. Lilly married Tim Warner a few months ago, but it has not been an ideal match. Tim is threatening Rose Wainwright. Rose and her husband, Pierce (manager of troupe) raised Lilly after her mother passed away. Rose has been keeping Lilly's savings for her. Lilly made the unfortunate mistake of telling this little tidbit to Tim. Tim is a scoundrel, thief, liar, and philanderer. This incident propels Lilly to respond to a Pinkerton National Detective Agency. They are looking for female agents. Lilly meets all the qualifications except for her age (she is too young). Lilly schedules an interview anyway and hopes for the best. Lilly is interviewed by Allan Pinkerton's sons, William and Robert. Robert is against hiring women, but William is opened minded (especially since his father ordered them to hire women). Lilly impresses William with her abilities/skills, but she is turned down for the position (age). She then proceeds to use her make-up and acting skills to interview as other women. One of them gets a call back (technically a letter for a second interview) and Allan Pinkerton himself is present for this interview. After Lilly reveals her deception (which outrages Robert), Lilly is hired. Lilly's first assignment is to find the owner Heaven's Gate (a house) in Vandalia, Illinois. Pastor Harold Purcell and his family disappeared twenty years ago (I sense a juicy scandal). Lilly is excited to start her first case (even if it is an easy one). After talking with a few people in Vandalia, Lilly finds out that there is nothing simple about this assignment. Join Lilly on her investigation in An Untimely Frost to see how she fares with the case of the missing pastor.

An Untimely Frost was an enjoyable historical mystery. I liked Lilly Long as a character. She may have been bamboozled, but she was not going to let this keep her down. Lilly took the experience and was using it to help others. The mystery in An Untimely Frost was very good (complex). I was able to figure out most of it, but there was one twist I did not see coming (I like to be surprised in a mystery). The book is well-written and easy to read (good pace). I love it when a villain gets his just desserts! I give An Untimely Frost 4.5 out of 5 stars (I more than liked it). You can tell when I enjoy a novel because I stay up late reading it (and I give it a good review). Penny Richards did a excellent job at capturing the era or time period portrayed in the book as well as the two cities. I will definitely be reading the next book in the Lilly Long Mystery series.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly m own.


This Charming Man (A Queen City Boys Book)
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This is the first book I've read by Ajax Bell but I doubt it will be my last.

Taking place in the early 90s, this is about Steven and a man he meets. Instantly taken with the older John (his name), Steven decides that he wants to be a man that John would be happy to have in his life.

His truly poisonous best friend, Adrian, almost derails any type of relationship that Steven and John might have.

I really enjoyed the slow ride this book took me on. Steven does his very best to become the best him, deserving of John. John does not put these expectations on Steven, he puts them on himself.

We see Steven struggle to become the person he wants to be, sometimes falling backwards, but never giving up. Enjoy the ride!


Uncle Tom's Cabin (Signet Classics)
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This book is a classic in American literature and history. I learned a lot about system of slavery in the 19th century as well as the horrors of it.


The Intern's Handbook
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I wanted to like this book. The synopsis on Amazon sounded really cool, and heck - I'm an intern! What's not to like?

Unfortunately, this was a disappointment. There was something about the author's voice - it was too glib, he was trying too hard to sound cool or something. Whatever it was, it didn't work. Usually I like first-person narratives, but by the end of the 3rd or 4th chapter, I was praying for him to shut up. He didn't. Ever. Shut. Up.


Knitting
Knitting
Author: Anne Bartlett
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on


While Sandra - a rigidly focused academic - struggles to navigate her way through life without her husband Jack, whom she recently lost to cancer, she is absolutely certain that nothing will ever be the same again. She had once thought that the well-ordered life that she had lived with her husband would just continue along in the same way it had since his passing. However, the intervening months have tested that belief. In the ten months since his death, Sandra has felt like she is wrapped in a layer of ice-cold glass - numbed by her grief, Sandra is certain that she will never feel warm again.

A chance meeting with a woman who could possibly be Sandra's polar opposite leads to a very unlikely friendship between them. Sandra meets Martha McKenzie after both women become Good Samaritans to someone suffering from a medical crisis in the street. Martha is an extraordinarily gifted knitter with her own secret store of grief. She spends her days knitting an astonishing variety of projects - each one of which is an elaborate creation - imbued with an incredible wealth of personal meaning.

While Sandra's own grief has constrained her spirit, Martha appears to wear hers very lightly. However, neither woman realizes just how how much their differences will ultimately spark their own unique friendship. It is actually a shared fascination with knitting that ultimately draws these two very different women together.

Sandra is a self-taught textile artist, although her true talent for the domestic arts lies in her study of them. As a matter of fact, Sandra whole-heartedly believes that it is her avid interest in all types of domestic handiwork which has kept her fully grounded in reality for the past ten months. So, as the two women subsequently open up their lives to each other, their collaboration on an exhibition of 'Retro and Contemporary Knitting and Women's Handiwork' sets in motion a series of events that will help to heal them both in miraculous ways.

I was initially intrigued by the story because I have always enjoyed knitting and was curious to see how the story would evolve. To be perfectly honest, I found the story to be slightly anticlimactic although still very enjoyable. I liked so many of the characters, and found the plot well-developed yet easily paced. In my opinion, this was a delightful debut novel and I would definitely give it an A!


Relic Worlds - Lancaster James & the Secret of the Padrone Key (Volume 2)
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This was an intriguing book in that it takes place in the 24th century --- it felt like a combination of MacGyver and Indiana Jones thrown together in the future! Not being the first of the series and having not read others in the series a couple of minor details I had apparently missed but the whole effect was quite affective and enjoyable! The whole series together has to be astounding! I look forward to reading the rest of the series!


Gullali of Panjshir Valley
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I'm always intrigued with foreign cultures and want to thank Zia Rehman for shining a light on Gullali, the unlikely heroine of women's rights in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Reading how quickly a society can change is frightening but not more so than actually experiencing it. The book is a bit choppy but the details are exquisite and heartbreaking and remind us all that it takes is one voice to sound the alarm and make a change for better. No matter what your religion, you will see the everyday villagers in a new and more humane light than the terrifying daily news of zealots.
An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


Magical Thinking
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This is an honest book. Maybe the author sometimes tries be someone he's not -like we all do on occasion- but his writing does not try to be something it isn't. This book is humorous, satisfying, and perceptive.


Taken (Joe Pike, Bk 4) (Elvis Cole, Bk 12)
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Set in the Coachella Valley of the Southern California deserts, it's an action-packed thriller dealing with human trafficking of Korean, Central American, Russian, or Middle Eastern workers. A teenager and her boyfriend are swept up in a mass kidnapping of these workers and held for ransom. Cole and Pike are on the job to rescue the kids. Elvis and Joe are private investigators of the damaged-but-morally -upright variety. Former cops and military Ranger/Special-Ops guys, they break a lot of rules, but those are really BAD guys out there. Could you start here? Probably. There are no old friends making an appearance that needs a lot of explanation. I enjoy this series for a fast summer entertainment. I give it 4 Stars. The author got experimental with structure, jumping forward and backward in time (about 10 days). A little confusing, but that's just me.


Tuscan Rose
Tuscan Rose
Author: Belinda Alexandra
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
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WWII story set in Italy was an unusual setting, as it dealt more with Mussolini than Hitler. I enjoyed the story, felt her "gift" was not needed, and scanned the torture scenes. Antonio was wonderful, a life mate, not just a heart mate. Story bites off a huge chunk in location and issues, but is an enjoyable read.


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