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My Last Duchess
My Last Duchess
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 841 more book reviews


I don't usually like books with a romantic bent but this one touched something in my mind and heart. I liked the naive Cora Cash whose life as a very rich daughter with a domineering mother is so sad. Yet Cora has a core of steel that helps her cope with all of it. That is until she meets the Duke of Wareham. Sparks fly when he touches her just to help her up after a fall from her horse. Cora was knocked out and probably had a concussion so the duke insists that she stay at his estate until she is able to get up and move about.

To backtrack a bit, Cora grew up in her native America with a mother whose goal is to buy, yes buy, her daughter a title. The Cashes are extremely rich and Cora lacks for nothing. When she and her mother go to England she finds a different world, one where tradition and heritage is far more important than money. Not realizing the depth of this type of life, she says yes when the duke proposes. She is marrying for love.

Of course, Cora encounters many instances where her background conflicts with English tradition. The servants listen to her husband and his mother but ignore Cora's directions. She is misled time and again by what seems right and correct in her experience but runs afoul of English ways. Posing for a famous artist that both she and her mother admire, he portrays her as wanton and loose. Cora unveils the portrait she has not yet seen at a huge party. Of course, the English are appalled and Cora becomes the center of a great deal of gossip.

Yes, she went to England, at the insistence of her mother, to seek a husband. However, quite by accident she fell in love with the man rather than his title. In her new life, she discovered just how different she values are from those of her new homeland. Cora's love is tested often as she learns what it really means to be a duchess. I, like many others, have reacted like Cora Cash because I didn't understand what was really expected. Perhaps that is one reason I liked this novel.

All comes to a head when Cora discovers that the woman she thought was her best English friend was her husband's lover. Both have the same pearl necklace. Is the affair still alive and well? Did her husband marry her for her money or for love? One really needs to read this novel to understand Cora and how she copes with a far different life than any she has before known. Other readers may find themselves empathizing with Cora as well.


Eggnog Murder
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This is another great mystery by one of my favorite authors.


The Fisherman
The Fisherman
Author: John Langan
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 554 more book reviews


A unique horror tale. There are some really scary parts (particularly the pantry/closet scene!) and it kept me glued to the end. I did feel too much of the book was devoted to the back story with a few over the top elements there? But for horror fans, a solid read.


Cut and Thrust: (Stone Barrington, Bk 30)
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same formula


The Echo Man. Richard Montanari
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Could've been better, just overly long with too much detail not necessary


Dark Victory (Star Trek)
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One can definitely tell that Shatner was involved as Kirk is the driving force and everyone else is a bit player. Don't let the cover fool you; Picard has a minor part as little more than a cab driver for Kirk.

Many of the well known characters didn't ring true based on what I know of them from the T.V. shows and movies. Some aspects were there but then they would do something odd and out of character that would take me out of the story (e.g. Odo changing a limb into a claw like shape so he could crush a device to make a point to someone). The story is interesting but from my view it almost seems like someone had an idea for a sci-fi storyline and then pasted a Trek overlay on top to make it more marketable.


She Stopped for Death: A Little Library Mystery
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She Stopped for Death by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is the second book in A Little Library Mystery series. Jenny Weston lives with her mother, Dora in Bear Falls, Michigan. Jenny moved back home after she divorced her husband. They have two little library boxes in front of their home (one for adult books and one for children's). Jenny, Dora, and their neighbor, Zoe Zola have been spending their evenings on the screened in porch. They notice a light coming down the street, and then someone stopped at the boxes. It is the reclusive poetess, Emily Sutton. Dora calls out to Emily, and Emily quickly runs away. When they check the library boxes the next morning, they discover slips of paper with poems written on them. It seems that Emily has started writing again and wishes to share her work. Twenty-five years prior Emily had published a book of poetry. After a book tour, Emily returned to the family home and did not venture out until now. The next night Emily ventures by again and respond to Dora's greeting. Emily had lived in the family home on Pewee Swamp with her sister, Lorna. Their cousin, Althea did the shopping for them (and the local banker paid their bills). Lorna packed up and left with man according to Emily, and Althea has not been by recently. Zoe volunteers to do the shopping for Emily. Jenny and Zoe agree to visit Althea and see if she is well. Then Alex Shipley shows up in town looking for her uncle, Walter. He disappeared three years ago. Walter had corresponded with Emily and was coming to Bear Falls for a visit. What happened to Lorna, Althea, and Walter? Emily and Zoe set out to get answers but what happens when Zoe disappears.

She Stopped for Death contains good writing and interesting characters. Jenny has several "issues". She is jealous of her sister (Lisa), upset over her divorce, does not know what she wants to do with her life, has trust issues, and has trouble communicating especially with Tony Ralenti (the guy she is attracted to). Jenny stews about her relationship with Tony, rants about her sister, and has no clue what to do with her future (you just want to shove a sock in her mouth). Zoe Zola, the neighbor, is a quirky character. Zoe is a little person who writes fairy tales. She has fairy houses all over her yard with fairy occupants (she moves them around, gives them stories, and talks to them). I am not a fan of Zoe. Instead of funny, I find her unlikeable (really dislike her dialogue). I give She Stopped for Death 3 out of 5 stars (am I being too kind?). I figured out the mystery early in the novel (it was not complicated). While She Stopped for Death is the second book in the series, it can be read alone. The author provides the character background and details from the first book in the series. I was hoping the second book in the series would be an improvement upon A Most Curious Murder (which is why I gave the series a second chance). A Little Library Mystery series is just not for me. I believe it is supposed to be quirky and humorous, but instead I found it foolish and nonsensical.


The Heart of a Killer (Killer, Bk 1)
The Heart of a Killer (Killer, Bk 1)
Author: Jaci Burton
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
reviewed on + 27 more book reviews


Fabulous!! loved it!! great romanic suspense.


Much Ado About Magic (Enchanted, Inc., Bk 5)
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These books are so much fun! This is a rare series that seems to get better with each book. The characters and their relationships are evolving, while staying true to character. I was happy to get answers to questions about Owen's past in this one.


Shipwreck (Island, Bk 1)
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A group of troubled kids are sent on a character building experience at sea and are stranded. This would be a great book for reluctant young readers. The kids come from a variety of backgrounds, so I think any kid would find a character to identify with and the action will keep them interested.


Soy Sauce for Beginners
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Gretchen Lin is separated from her family when she leaves her San Francisco home to return to Singapore to work for her family's artisan soy sauce company. The story is a somewhat typical story of self discovery. What I found more fascinating was the behind the scenes information about the making of soy sauce, which I knew nothing about.


Vinland Saga 8
Vinland Saga 8
Author: Makoto Yukimura
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 2126 more book reviews


I adored this most recent volume in the Vinland Saga. Thorfinn is back home and trying to decide what to do with his life, he really wants to settle Vinland and goes about trying to find funding for that. Meanwhile Gudrid is supposed to marry Halfdan's son and would rather be sailing.

This volume has a lot less war and action in it but it is still very engaging and entertaining. That being said we do still see how the war in the region has a huge impact in people's lives. There is also more discussion on the lot women have in this region as Gudrid struggles against the expectations laid on her.

I love that this book has great characters, great dialogue, an epic story, and some humor. This continues to be an absolutely amazing series full of adventure. The illustration is phenomenal; there is so much detail and care.

Overall a spectacular continuation in this series. This is my absolute favorite manga series out there. Every aspect of this story is just so well done. I would recommend to everyone. This is one fantastic historical fiction manga series and has remained constantly awesome.


Happiness 1
Happiness 1
Author: Shuzo Oshimi
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels
Book Type: Paperback
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I got this through the Amazon Vine program to review. This was a pretty typical modern vampire story. Not a lot happens in this first volume. I thought it was okay but wasn't really impressed by the story all that much. I know it can take awhile for some of these manga to get moving, but this one definitely didn't grab me with the first volume.

The artwork is okay but not spectacular. It's better than some manga I read but not as good as say Vinland Saga or Black Butler.

This volume mainly introduces us to Makoto; who undergoes some small amount of bullying at his school. When he is attacked by a vampire one night he notices that his temper and needs are slowly changing. Nothing really surprising or all that creative here. This is a pretty typical vampire story set in modern day Japan.

Overall this was okay but I wasn't that impressed and probably won't continue the series. I guess I would recommend to those who enjoy modern vampire manga set in a high school setting.


Desolation
Desolation
Author: Kristopher Rufty
Genre: Horror
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 261 more book reviews


This was an okay book. Not really that scary. It's a slasher type book where a man has gone crazy and set on revenge. I tend to get more into horror when either the atmosphere is set right or the story could pertain to me. Neither of this happened. The author writes well enough and will look into reading more of his work.


Must Love Mistletoe
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One thing I've learned from Christmas books and Hallmark movies: if your family owns a Christmas store, you will be a Scrooge that hates Christmas. The good news is that some family emergency will come up forcing you to run the store and realize that you secretly love the holiday. Oh, and you'll fall in love along the way. While it's a very predictable formula, that's what I like at the holidays. A feel good story with a happy ending.


Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day
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I got this book to review through NetGalley. This is a short and quick ghost story that was well done. I ended up enjoying it a lot. It's beautifully written and very creative.

There are two main things that drive this story. The first is concept that everything has a "time" it's supposed to die. If it dies early than it can give time to living people in order to get closer to its death date and eventually pass. Ghosts can also take time from living humans to extend the time to their own death date and visa versa...humans can trap ghosts and steal their time extending their lives but forcing the ghost to it's death date quickly. It's a concept that is a bit confusing at first but it's very creative and makes for an intriguing story.

The second thing that drives this story is the mystery as to why ghosts have started disappearing all around New York. Jenna is a ghost who is committed to helping people and for every minute she helps someone and gives them more life she moves closer to her final death.

The book is thoughtful and beautifully written with occasional humor throughout. It flows well and is a quick read and I enjoyed it. This is a story that really makes you think about the lines between life and death.

Overall I enjoyed this little urban fantasy ghost story a lot. It was creative, fast-paced, thought-provoking, had a great mystery, and was engaging. I would recommend to those who enjoy ghost stories.


Blood Harvest
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I love this author. Some of the creepiest books Ive read. This was no exception. Highly recommend!


Dawn Study (Study Series)
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I got this book to review through NetGalley. I really loved the original Study trilogy but haven't enjoyed Snyder's other series all that much. I haven't been a huge fan of the Soulfinders extension of the Study series either but this book did a decent job of finishing up this series.

The high point of this series has been learning more about Valek. This book doesn't focus quite as much on Valek as previous books. This book is more balanced between Yelena, Valek, Leif and Onora. Valek is still having some issues damping down his incredibly alpha tendencies (which popped up in the last book in this series). However, him and Yelena have come to the realization that they don't trust and listen to each other enough. So some of the book focuses on them finding a balance.

I continue to dislike Yelena intensely (she is just so dumb and makes such bad decisions all the time). This book starts out with Yelena doing just that; she ignores everything she knows about Valek and everything he's said to her and makes a very rash decision with broad-reaching consequences right from the get-go. I just really don't like how little Yelena uses her brain and past experiences when making decisions. She is just so rash and stupid.

The story ties up the whole deal with the Cartel enthralling those in power and trying eliminate magic. Things are tied up well. My main problem with this story is that it was just plain boring. This just kind of lays out the rest of the story, no huge surprises or anything. I ended up skimming some portions of the book because there are large sections where not much happens. However, it was nice to see the storyline tied up and our characters left in a good spot.

Overall this is an okay book in this series and does a good job of tying things up. If you liked previous books in this series you will probably like this one. I personally won't be reading any more of Snyder's books because they have been more miss than hit for me.


Throne of Glass
Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Teen & Young Adult
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 24 more book reviews


Readers are immediately introduced to Celaena Sardothian- a woman who has spent a year of slavery in the Salt Mines as punishment. She is escorted everywhere she goes in shackles and at sword point. She is known as Adarlan's most notorious assassin. All of these accomplishments, all of these punishments, all for an 18 year old. The King of Adarlan imprisoned her, and now the King of Adarlan has given the opportunity for some of the most notorious villains, army men, and general trouble makers to prove themselves worthy of being a champion for hire.

For the full review, please visit:

https://quitterstrip.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/we-all-bear-scars/


Open and Shut (Andy Carpenter, Bk 1)
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I have never read any of David Rosenfelt's books before, but I plan to do so as quickly as I can. This book is just what I like in a mystery intricate plot, well developed characters, and humor. The hero is a lawyer, Andy Carpenter, who takes on an appeal case that his father asked him to do before he died. How he works it from a chance that the client might be innocent until he firmly believes he is innocent is an amazing journey. It is well worth reading.


Too Much Temptation (Brava Brothers, Bk 1)
Too Much Temptation (Brava Brothers, Bk 1)
Author: Lori Foster
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
reviewed on + 762 more book reviews


Good book, with some great humor, emotion tugging, and a good bit of heat. Noah is the grandson of Agatha Harper, a local society dame, restaurant owner, and bit of a snob. Noah was a street rat before she found him at the age of sixteen, the illegitimate son of her son. While she has accepted him, she doesn't seem to have that high of an opinion of him. He feels like he owes her, and has been engaged to the daughter of her good friends for the past two years. That all changes when he finds her in bed with someone else. Naturally, he breaks off the engagement, but being a good guy at heart, he doesn't tell anyone why. Agatha is furious, disowns him, and tries to figure out how to fix the problem. Noah isn't about to change his mind and stands up to Agatha, only confessing the truth to his half brother Ben during an evening of drinking.

Grace is Agatha's personal secretary, who has kept Agatha's life on track for the last three years. She's pretty enough, very curvy (she calls it fat), sweet, innocent, and has had a crush on Noah since the beginning. When she finds out what has happened, she is worried about Noah and goes to see him. Caught in a rainstorm, she arrives soaking wet, but determined to make sure he's okay.

I loved her arrival and her combination of worry and amusement. Noah is surprised by her immediate declaration of support, since everyone has made it plain it must be his fault. Suddenly he's looking at her with different eyes and seeing a woman who looks like a "goddess". He's somewhat the worse for drink, which lowers his self control, and he gives in to the urge to kiss her. His desire shoots up, but he knows he's in no shape to do anything about it, but convinces her to stay with him anyway. A slightly awkward next morning gets worse when she arrives late to work and gets fired by Agatha for being with Noah. It's a scene that is both funny and emotional, as Grace tries to protect Noah from his grandmother's anger.

Because Grace has had the hots for Noah for years, when he makes it plain he wants her, she's all for it. She doesn't have any experience, but she's happy to learn whatever he wants to share. Noah feels a bit guilty because he has no intention of any more relationships for a while, and he sees Grace as the settling down type. But she insists she fine with it, and off they go.

I absolutely loved the protectiveness they had for each other. Grace was quite familiar with Noah's reputation and had no illusions about him. But she also saw beneath the "street rat" persona he wore for public consumption. She thought that he was a lot more sensitive than anyone, including himself, gave him credit for. I loved the looks she got when she would put herself between him and whoever was mad at him. Though Noah started out looking at Grace as just a bed partner, he quickly became very protective of her. I loved the way that he worked so hard to show her what a sexy woman she really was. It was also really funny to see him watching over her when she went to work at Ben's bar.

The development of their relationship was pretty sweet. Besides their compatibility in the bedroom, they actually had a lot more in common which helped draw them closer. As the days went on and they were together so much, Noah began to realize that he wanted more than just the fling he had first insisted on. This freaked him out a little bit because it was so unexpected. Grace, while she dreamed of him falling in love with her, believed that she wasn't anything like the kind of woman he would really want. There were no big misunderstandings to drive them apart, but it took a crisis with Agatha to bring them fully together in a really fun hospital bedside scene.

The supporting characters were really wonderful too. The ex-fiancee, Kara, really wasn't the bad guy that she could have been. She was a bit spoiled and selfish, and could be really silly, but at heart she was a good person. I enjoyed seeing the progress of her relationship with the "other man". Noah's brother Ben was terrific. Though they are half brothers and hadn't known each other until they were teens, they are always there to support each other. The scenes that they had together were always fun, but I especially liked the morning after scene at the beginning of the book. Ben also has a much more contentious relationship with Agatha, whose attitude toward him gives him ample reason for his behavior. I really enjoyed seeing how he stood up to her at the end of the book, and how their relationship changes. Agatha was a real piece of work. She snobby, snotty attitude toward Noah's breaking of the engagement made me really mad, and I loved seeing him stand up to her. Her fixation on how she thought he "needed" Kara to make him acceptable was horrible, and I loved seeing him thwart her. Seeing the changes in her at the end was terrific, and I can't wait to see more of her in Ben's book.


Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter (Ivy & Bean, Bk 4)
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I think that I'm going to raise my rates, maybe to cover insurance.


An American Duchess
An American Duchess
Author: Sharon Page
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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This was such a fun read and could have easily ended half way through and been a great HEA but the author did so much more with this story. It has a "Downton Abbish" vibe that had me missing the Grantham family but was so much deeper with the repercussions of the War affecting so many characters in the book in tragic ways. It wasn't all fun, lavish parties and beautiful clothes, but a combination with the loss and horrors of the war. I love historicals from the 1920's and you get to see England, New York and California during this era which is always fascinating to me.
My only fault with the book were the main characters, though I loved both Nigel and Zoe, I felt like both were a bit over the top. Nigel was deeply in love with Zoe but ended up hurting her time after time with his unbending upper crust British coldness when he was trying to "protect" her. Possibly as an American, I saw this as slightly abusive rather than protective. And Zoe was pretty unbending herself and rather selfish. Yes she was only 20 but I think the two of them could have compromised a bit more. But then alas, it is a story not real life.
Still, this book managed to captivate me over two days and ultimately one I'd definitely recommend. Off to snag a copy of book two, has a murder mystery with it.


An American Duchess
An American Duchess
Author: Sharon Page
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 225 more book reviews


This was such a fun read and could have easily ended half way through and been a great HEA but the author did so much more with this story. It has a "Downton Abbish" vibe that had me missing the Grantham family but was so much deeper with the repercussions of the War affecting so many characters in the book in tragic ways. It wasn't all fun, lavish parties and beautiful clothes, but a combination with the loss and horrors of the war. I love historicals from the 1920's and you get to see England, New York and California during this era which is always fascinating to me.
My only fault with the book were the main characters, though I loved both Nigel and Zoe, I felt like both were a bit over the top. Nigel was deeply in love with Zoe but ended up hurting her time after time with his unbending upper crust British coldness when he was trying to "protect" her. Possibly as an American, I saw this as slightly abusive rather than protective. And Zoe was pretty unbending herself and rather selfish. Yes she was only 20 but I think the two of them could have compromised a bit more. But then alas, it is a story not real life.
Still, this book managed to captivate me over two days and ultimately one I'd definitely recommend. Off to snag a copy of book two, has a murder mystery with it.


The Journey of the Flame
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Story of a boy (aged 11 to 13) travelling the length of California (Cabo to San Francisco) around 1810. This is mainly an adult book, unless you have a REALLY precocious 12 year old adventurer.


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