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Queen of Easter (Ann Estelle Stories)
reviewed on + 1844 more book reviews

Beautiful book with Ann Estelle doll and Easter outfit.
Ann Estelle has always wanted a beautiful hat for Easter covered with ribbons and flowers. Instead, her mother gets her a traditional, classic hat with only one blue ribbon. Try as she might, Ann Estelle simply cannot like the hat so she thinks nothing of leaving it on her front porch one afternoon. A few days later, her mother discovers the hat, but with a surprise. The hat turns into a beautiful Easter surprise for Ann Estelle, and she discovers that having the best Easter hat doesn't always have to do with how many ribbons or flowers adorn it.

I have reviewed children's books, but I picked this book up on a whim as I am a huge fan of Mary Engelbreit. I love her colorful, fun illustrations! This book was cute, had adorable pictures, and a great storyline. I read it and I enjoyed the story even though it was about a little girl. This book is a beautiful, fun read.


Around India in 80 Trains
reviewed on

Average self obsessed travel tale. Good idea of trains to travel on through India.

Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, Bk 1)
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The beginning of a marvelous series featuring amazing people, parallel worlds, family drama and magic, magic, magic. One of my favorite authors draws us into the worlds of Chrestomanci in such a way that a part of us never leaves.

Longitude : The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
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The book starts off dry and a bit pedantic. Then it becomes a treasure trove of interesting history, filled with fascinating tidbits and intriguing anecdotes.

Child 44
Child 44
Author: Tom Rob Smith
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback

Best book I've read this year, so far. Usually, I like a book to get right to the action and have little patience with authors that take their time setting the scene. TR Smith is such a good writer that he quickly draws you into, first, the back story, then the present day with all of its complexities and atrocities. The latter is so interesting that you don't even realize that half the book has been read before the focus turns to the child murders. Truly a story within a story!

The setting is post-revolutionary Russia just before and after Stalin's death. The protagonist, Leo Demidov, is a war hero turned security officer working for the state. He believes to his core in the righteousness of the laws, but is somewhat troubled by the ruthlessness and zeal with which they are enforced. Smith provides a chilling description of life during this time which was really no life at all when you consider the constant fear of being arrested for absolutely nothing.

It is in this surreal world, and after some personal tragedy and hardship, that our hero realizes that a serial killer is in their midst and dedicates himself to hunting down this creature and killing him. Because the existence of a serial killer would contradict the government's portrayal of their state as "crime-free", Leo risks his and his wife's lives by insisting that the killer exists and in pursuing his illegal investigation.

The tension builds and the atrocities against Leo and his wife (and those who assist them) continue until you simply can't put the book down. Very satisfying ending with a twist. You will NOT be disappointed in this book. Can't wait to read his second book!

Choosing Naia : A Family's Journey
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A wonderful, candid, professional and informative look into a family's decision to continue their pregnancy after receiving the diagnosis of Down Syndrome. This book would be very helpful to anyone facing this situation or who has a family member doing so. Even though the disability my daughter has is different I found this book to be incredibly helpful and relate-able.

This Island Earth (Forrest J Ackerman Presents)
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I read this novel when I was in school and still remember it. Much as I love the old movie with Faith Domergue and Rex Reason that was made from it, the book is vastly better. If you remember the movie, it follows the book quite closely as the hero builds an interocitor from parts supplied by a mysterious catalog company, flips it on and is contacted by an alien being. From there the movie is quite a bit different (and a lot more Hollywood silly) than the novel; the interstellar mental war that the hero has stumbled into and for which the interocitor is a weapon doesn't appear in the movie, which kinda loses the whole point of the alien contact. The book is for some reason rare and out of print, so if you have a copy, hang onto it. It's pretty exciting old fashioned science fiction.

Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
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I love non fiction and it happened to me, stuff. My year as... a blank. So this book has been on my Dusty TBR pile for some time. Then I saw about 3 episodes of the Netflix show of the same title, somewhat based on this book.

If you are a huge fan of the show, you do know that it has graphic nudity, but it does a great job of telling some of the other inmates stories. So the writing on the show is good. Some of it does line up with the book. Crazy eyes makes a very small appearance in this book.

This book was obviously popular before the Netflix Show. I think that there are many reason why this book was so well received and later turned into a show. Piper is honest, and repentant, and forgiving, and scared. I think the book is different from the show, but equally as good.

If you are looking for scintillating T and A lesbian love stories, just stick to the show. The book covers more about the lives of hopeless women, and a system that is very flawed, not just corrupt, but flawed. She doesnt get preachy, but she does really see how much her choices have an effect on others.

Template-Free Quilts and Borders/Book 4
reviewed on + 30 more book reviews

So far so good, I 've used this a couple of times and it has been helpful.

Polite Lies : On Being a Woman Caught Between Cultures
reviewed on

A truly insightful booking into Japanese-American cultures. The author gives light to the tight rope walk of those with mixed background, trying to fill the shoes of what is expected of them. What is Japanese? What is American?

Anyone interested Japan, cultural expectations, or frank honesty, will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Enthralled: The Devil's Due / The Curse of the Black Swan / Salvage / Ecstasy Under the Moon
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I only read The Devils Due by Lora Leigh and that is one great story of a girl- Katie- the was breed with wolf DNA with her mothers egg and her fathers sperm. Her parents never knew they had a daughter until she was 9 and in need of rescuing from the labs that wanted to kill her because her genes were so deeply recessed she past as human for a while until she was 21. Devil is a hardcore wolf/ assassin for the BBA but he has been keeping his eye on Kate since she was 16 but now the news in Ireland found out what she was and her life is in danger. Cassie has a big hand in getting Kate to safety in her mates- Devil's arms. There will be more questions for Jonas in this story as well as more on the future mate for Cassie.

The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk Through Japan (Origami Classroom)
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This -could- have been an amazing book. Sadly, it falls short. The author's tone is dry and at times rambles. I found myself thinking, "What is he talking about?" even though I am familiar with Japan is a country, as well it's language and culture.

Suppli Volume 1
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Not all romance drama mangas involve middle or high school students. Suppli is a well-written story of a professional woman, 27, with a boy friend she's been dating for seven years. She's a workoholic and very good at what she does, but it usually involves nonstop overtime, poor meals and often sleeping in the office. Her coworkers are just as bad off as she, so they are not surprised when her boy friend politely ends their relationship (she was thinking about doing the same thing, as well.) From there on, the story is about her and her coworkers (she doesn't have time for friends) as they go about their lives, dealing with losses and successes. By the end of the first volume the main character has a possible new love interest and even turned down the approaches of another male coworker. The author doesn't drag down the characters, but doesn't sugar coat their lives, either. There are some great lines about the differences in expectations for men and women in work place, told with a dry humor.

Cop of the Year (Count on a Cop) (Harlequin Superromance, No 774)
reviewed on + 1032 more book reviews

Captain Mitch Lansing has just transferred to the Bayview Heights Police Department when he finds out one of his assignments is an Outreach Program that helps troubled kids at the local high school. Mitch is not happy about this since he has trouble relating to teenagers. Teacher Cassie Smith has trouble relating to cops. Her past run-ins with police as a teenager has left an impression...and it's not good. Now Mitch and Cassie are stuck together for ten weeks, clashing about their teaching styles and what is right for the children.

Kathryn Shay always writes a unique, thoughtful story. This book deals with delinquency, gangs, and families in need of help. It also deals with the Vietnam war and how those who fought in the war were affected by it. My rating: 4 Stars.

Thirteen (Women of the Otherworld, Bk 13)
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Supernaturals have always laid low and tried to blend in with the humans. They know if word ever gets out that they exist, chaos would ensue. Now a group calling themselves the Supernatural Liberation Movement plans to make it known that witches, vampires, werewolves and ghosts exist. Young witch Savannah Levine is helping the Interracial Council find the culprits while trying to find an antidote for a drug that was given to her half-brother. Now Demons, Supernaturals, and Fallen Angels are picking sides on a war that could bring down the world as we know it.

This is the last book in the Savannah Levine trilogy and the 13th and last book in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. I thought it was a good end to the series, even though there were still some loose ends in the story. The story is told from Savannah Levine's point-of-view, but all of the heroines and heroes from past books in the series make an appearance...and not just a quick cameo. They each take part in the investigation.

The story itself is fast moving with lots action. Savannah is still having problems with her magic (see previous book) but her relationship with Adam is changing for the better. A few past villains are brought up in this book. I had to really stop and think for a while until I remembered how they had been involved in the series. I probably should have done a quick review before reading the last book. I'm sorry to see this series end. I'm going to miss it. Luckily, I have several Otherworld novellas that I have yet to read. My rating: 4.5 Stars.

Distant Shores
Distant Shores
Author: Kristin Hannah
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 7 more book reviews

I love Kristin Hannah's books but this wasn't my favorite. It was kind of slow and predictable. I enjoyed the story line but I could easily read a chapter and put the book down to do something else. I did, however, envy the main characters life ~~ has a husband who loves her and is faithful, lives in a beautiful home, no need to work outside the home due to no monetary worries! I had a hard time feeling her "pain".

Batgirl Vol. 4: Wanted (The New 52)

Let me inform you of a bias. I generally do not like graphic novels that are simply reprints of published comics. I want my stories to have an introduction, build some conflict, come to a crisis point, and reach a resolution. This typically doesn't happen with reprint anthologies, which are usually simply "the next X issues of the series", however many fit in the projected page count.
Having said that, I have decided to make an exception for Gail Simone's Batgirl. This is the 2nd collection I've read of the first 4, and both have proven to be excellent investments of my time. Plotting and pacing are well done – better than the average comic book writer, in my opinion – but Gail Simone has an incredible understanding of characterization which serves her well in this series,

I found the most interesting characters in this edition to be Barbara Gordon and her father, Commissioner James Gordon – given the richness of some of the other characters in this book, that is indeed high praise! The Commissioner must deal with a family issue, one in which his job and responsibilities may have contributed to causing or exacerbating – one in which Batgirl may have been a contributing factor if not the cause. (Readers who have finished the 3rd volume of this series will already be aware of the situation – I will not provide a spoiler for the rest of you.)

Still, the volume DOES suffer from some of the shortfalls I mentioned at the top of this review. The book jumps immediately into a crisis which began in the previous volume – new readers (of which I was one – the "earlier volume" I mentioned was the first one) will have to pick up on the run. There is little to no attempt to introduce or explain the majority of supporting characters – this is a general issue with the comics genre; another thing which is fine for ongoing readers, but makes it harder for new readers to catch on. Plus, the main villain of the piece, "The Ventriloquist", is still on the prowl by the time we've reached the end of this volume – and THAT isn't the biggest cliffhanger that Simone drops on us!

Overall, this is an above average example of the genre, and I encourage readers to consider checking it out.

RATING: 4 1/2 stars, rounded down to 4 stars.

DISCLOSURE: I won this book in a contest from the publisher. There was an expressed hope for a review (and implied hope for a good one), but neither was a condition set or agreed to as a condition of receipt.

The Chicago White Sox (Team Spirit Book)

This is a children's book designed to give a very high level introduction to the history of a long-running baseball team. In my opinion, it succeeds – the vocabulary is simple without being insulting. As might be expected, the book has wonderful photographs scattered throughout. I hope it not only informs and entertains, but inspires its readers to learn more about baseball and its history.

RATING: 4 stars

Paradise Screwed: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen

Fans of Carl Hiaasen's novels, which humorously point out some of the foibles of living in southeast Florida, may not realize that the author sharpened his wit (and various spears) by writing about the real-life escapades of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe Counties (with occasional forays into Palm Beach county, Tallahassee and even Washington D.C.).

"Paradise Screwed "collects some of Hiaasen's columns from the Miami Herald during the late 1980s, the 1990s, and early 2000. Most Americans will not have heard of the politicians, public officials, developers, and other assorted, uh, let's politely say "civic leaders" rather than the "goobers" that the author would probably prefer. However, the fact is that everyone can picture a greedy developer who cares more for his bottom line than for the environment – or for the laws designed to protect the latter. Everyone has an image of a low-paid politician who has managed to stretch his income to allow for custom-made suits, luxury automobiles, and exclusive housing. And everyone in the country of a certain age remembers the fiascos of not being able to determine who won the 2000 Presidential election due to a confusing ballot – think "hanging chads" - in Palm Beach county.

Fans of Hiaasen's fiction will likely enjoy his take on the events of the day – even if "the day" occurred 20 years ago. However, I found that I needed to read this book in short doses – there's only so many short stories about corrupt politicians I could absorb without diverting my attention in another direction. At 418 pages, and columns taking about 1 1/2 pages each, it did take me quite awhile in real-time to reach the final column in the book.

RATING: 4 1/2 stars, rounded up to 5 stars (which is rare for me to give to a collection of reprinted materials).

When a friend advised me that he had been diagnosed with prostate trouble, I rushed right out and accidentally stumbled across a used copy of this book while I was looking for something else. Seeing the title, however, I grabbed it and promptly read it – it was a quick understandable read at 140 pages, including a few diagrams.

I found the book to be quite informative, and provided a lot of hope for men who might be concerned after getting a diagnosis of an enlarged prostate, or even prostate cancer. Still, the book is copyrighted 1994, some 20 years ago. While the information is presented quite clearly and provides a lot of hope – realistic hope – to sufferers, it should at best be a starting point to research more current material. (Even if nothing HAS changed, it would be nice to be able to verify that with something published more recently.)

RATING: 5 stars (cannot penalize it for its age).

They Came in Ships: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record (3rd Edition)
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THEY CAME IN SHIPS is comprehensive – whether your ancestors came from Europe, Central or South America, Asia or Africa. Author John P. Colletta provides understanding for the myriad of sailing records available. I have found this to be an essential tool and purchased a copy for my genealogy library.

This is an incredible resource for genealogy buffs who are trying to claw their way over brick walls in relation to ancestors' arrival by ship. I particularly liked the scenarios he presents and then showed how to glean more info from those same records.

He also helps those who do not find their ancestors in the National Archives.

True Sisters                Large Print
True Sisters Large Print
Author: Sandra Dallas
Genre: History
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 41 more book reviews

This story of true events left me wondering how people could be so led by others. The pain and suffering these people went through on this trip is hard to comprehend.
No matter what your belief or religion may be, I think you will be shocked at what these people were led into.

By What is Sure to Follow
reviewed on

Editorial Reviews From the Publisher

Don Burton's ‘By What is Sure to Follow' takes us from carefree college days into the Vietnam War's pit of hell, and it's a pit Mr. Burton knows something about. This book will suck you in, then punch you in the gut."

-- Mike Farrell, best known as BJ Hunnicutt of M*A*S*H, is the author of Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist and Of Mule and Man.


"Donald Burton's By What is Sure to Follow is a riveting book. It reminds me of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but with a twist. The main character changes from a carefree college kid to an instrument of war in one afternoon of reading. It is hard to put down, and you feel helpless, as the character, Luke, becomes Eyes. It is a slow but inexorable transformation for this American Dr. Jekyll who becomes Mr. Hyde over one tour of duty in Vietnam. Sadly, as we have learned from the veterans who have returned from war, PTSD, or Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, can have a terrible impact on a soldier. If you are a veteran, you will empathize with Luke Sims, and you will understand how it happened. Burton's book informs the reader that the bonds formed in war are permanent and that there is a price for everything. It is a great book, but it is gut-wrenching at the same time. I highly recommend it."

-- Leo Barron, former U.S. Army captain and military historian, author of Patton At The Battle Of The Bulge (Available November 2014) and with co-author Don Cygan: No Silent Night: The Christmas Battle For Bastogne

A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher, Bk 17) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
reviewed on + 53 more book reviews

excellent as Jack Reacher!!!

Micah (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Bk 13)
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Another great Anita Blake story.

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