jjares - Reviews

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All a Woman Wants
All a Woman Wants
Author: Patricia Rice
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 39
Review Date: 6/2/2015


Spinster Bea Cavendish has a problem; her father has died, leaving a heavily-mortgaged estate to his only daughter. She has no idea how to run things because her domineering father felt women were to be dependent and cloistered away from the world. Things are spiraling out of control quickly and Bea has no idea how to stop it.

Scottish-American Lachlan Warwick MacTavish, while on leave from sea travel, went to see his married sister. Instead, he found two children being abused and neglected; Lachlans sister had died and her debauched husband had left the children in the care of others. MacTavish promptly took both children from the home, looking for a nanny to care for them until he could take them to Virginia.

Instead of finding the nanny he was seeking (she had recently died), MacTavish met Bea. Bea and MacTavish agree to help each other; she will help with his four-year-old nephew and infant niece. In exchange, MacTavish will teach Bea what she needs to learn about running an estate. Mac and the children will reside in a small house on the property until he sets sail again.

Mac neglects to tell Bea that he has kidnapped the children from their self-indulgent father, the Viscount Simmons. As Bea and Mac work together, their romance begins. However, there is a huge block to any real attachment: Mac intends to sail back to America and Beas intends to live out her life on her estate.

This is a charming story that moves a bit slowly; the main characters are life-like and complement each other. Their conflict mirrors the changes taking place during that time: The difference between the way things had always been done vs. the wave of the future.


All I Need Is You
All I Need Is You
Author: J. Lindsey
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/4/2018


The Straton family returns in this book with the emphasis on Chandos and Courtney's middle child and daughter, Casey. Grandfather Straton has died and left the running of the large ranch to Chandos and Courtney's three children. However, the oldest is in college and Casey is seventeen and Dillon is 14. Casey wants to run her grandfather's large spread and Chandos refuses. Casey decides to run away and prove to her father that she can take care of herself. Unbelievably, she becomes a bounty hunter. Because she is considered a kid, she is very successful, because no one credits her with abilities.

Along the way, Casey meets Damian Rutledge, a young man who is in pursuit of his father's killer. After seeing Casey's skill, he hires her to help him find his father's murderer, who was last seen going toward Fort Worth, Texas.

There's lots of adventure and travel. Casey may be younger, but she has lots of sense. She tells Damian that they need to talk with the murderer -- there are always two sides of the story. And sure enough, there's an interesting side to Jack/Henry's story.

Straton Family Series
1. A Heart So Wild (1986)
** 2. All I Need Is You (1997)


All That Matters
All That Matters
Author: Stef Ann Holm
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 105
Review Date: 6/7/2017


Contemporary romance isn't usually my genre but I took a chance and am glad I did. A word of warning, this is the middle book of a trilogy (see below).

Boise is home to Chloe Lawson, owner of a gourmet bakery, smack dab in the middle of the best section in town. Then she is informed that her lease has been terminated; the biggest grocery chain in town will take over a large swath of the growing complex.

Chloe started her career at that grocery 'fakery' and knows their products cannot compare to hers. She decides to take legal action and meets John Moretti, a lawyer who tells Chloe she doesn't have a chance.

John Moretti, a widower with kid problems, grapples with the loss of his wife and his growing sense of despair and loneliness. The secondary romance in this novel seemed superfluous and seemed to detract from Chloe and John.


Moretti Trilogy
All the Right Angles (2007)
**All That Matters (2008)
All That You Are (2009)


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 248
Review Date: 3/31/2019


This book won the Pulitzer Prize for 2015 for good reason. The author says he spent 10 years writing this book. Doerr uses very short chapters in this book. I thought their use to be unique, plus it moved the action along smartly.

Marie-Laure, a blind Parisian girl, lives with her father near the Museum of Natural History. Her father is the locksmith of the museum, but he spends his evening hours building a model of their neighborhood, so Marie-Laure can learn to navigate around the area. As the Germans start to occupy Paris, the pair flee to Saint-Malo (on the Brittany coast), where Marie-Laure's great-uncle lives near the sea wall.

At the same time, a young German orphan and his sister Jutta, live poorly near the coal mines (where their father was killed). Werner finds a broken radio and learns how to reconstruct it. He becomes skilled at working on radios and is given a place in the German elite training school.

Eventually, Werner and Marie-Laure meet in occupied France. Their lives intersect for less than a day and yet it has profound meaning for them both. The characters are so clearly drawn that I felt I knew what they felt when something frightening - or happy - happened. The writing is absolutely beautiful and enchanting. This is not a war novel; rather, it is a novel showing two young peoples' growth and ability to withstand unthinkable hardships and terrifying circumstances during a war.

The one thing I did not like was the jumping forward and back in time. It killed the motion of the story forward. The author had to rebuild momentum in the next part (there are thirteen parts). Then he repeated the process by jumping to an earlier or later time.


Allie's Moon
Allie's Moon
Author: Alexis Harrington
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 8/2/2015


This unique story was a page-turner. Allie is a mid-twenties spinster who has dedicated her life to her younger sister, Olivia. The younger Ford sister seems to have tantrums, seizures and a fragile constitution. The sisters were generally known as, "the crazy Ford sisters." The reader soon learns that Allie is a quiet, patient person of strength.

Jeff Hicks has just about hit bottom; not too long ago, she was the sheriff of this small Oregon town. However, he shot a teen in the line of his duty; he's and dropped into the bottom of a liquor bottle and stayed there for a couple of years. Now, he's been caught in a petty theft and his punishment is to work off his sentence as free labor on Allie Ford's farm (which is falling down around her ears).

Other than some repetition, this is a well-written book with some interesting secrets. To explain this rating, I would have to explain the secrets that would ruin the book for a reader. Let me just say that the outcome was a bit too pat.


Almost Eden
Almost Eden
Author: Dorothy Garlock
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 3/25/2013


This is one strange book! The action and adventure was great; Maggie was something else again. In some ways, it seemed more like a fantasy than flesh-and-blood people. I simply could not believe that Light did not consider the serious problem Maggie would have if he died - until well into the story!

Maggie wasn't real. Period. Light was fascinating and they seemed evenly matched (neither was a darling of the people who surrounded them; Maggie was considered a witch; Light, as a child of a white man and an Indian woman, was never accepted by either race).

The story between Eli and Aee was more interesting in many ways than that of the main characters; they seemed real. Perhaps Eli said it best when he told Aee that he loved her because she was strong and could take care of many things ... Maggie would always have to have someone take care of her.

There were flashes of humanity in Maggie when she admitted to Light that she hadn't known much about birthing until they spent the winter at the MacMillan's house. She also tried to learn useful womanly tasks while with the MacMillan's.

I liked the conflict between Eli and Light. The reader didn't understand the problem until just before Eli explained it to Light. How Eli got the info was a bit far-fetched, but Garlock handled the rest of this segment of the story well.

The closing scene was ...'dumber than dirt.' Talk about convenient; it ruined the story for me!

Annie Lash
1. Wild Sweet Wilderness (1985)
2. Annie Lash (1985)
3. Almost Eden (1995)


Almost Eden (Annie Lash, Bk 3)
Almost Eden (Annie Lash, Bk 3)
Author: Dorothy Garlock
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 1/24/2013


This is one strange book! The action and adventure were great; Maggie was something else again. In some ways, it seemed more like a fantasy than flesh-and-blood people. I simply could not believe that Light did not consider the serious problem Maggie would have if he died until well into the story!

Maggie wasnt real. Period. Light was fascinating and they seemed evenly matched (neither was a darling of the people who surrounded them; Maggie was considered a witch; Light, as a child of a white man and an Indian woman, was never accepted by either race).

The story between Eli and Aee was more interesting in many ways than that of the main characters; they seemed real. Perhaps Eli said it best when he told Aee that he loved her because she was strong and could take care of many things Maggie would always have to have someone take care of her.

There were flashes of humanity in Maggie when she admitted to Light that she hadnt known much about birthing until they spent the winter at the MacMillans house. She also tried to learn useful womanly tasks while with the MacMillans.

I liked the conflict between Eli and Light. The reader didnt understand the problem until just before Eli explained it to Light. How Eli got the info was a bit far-fetched, but Garlock handled the rest of this segment of the story well.

The closing scene was unbelievable! Talk about convenient; it ruined the story for me!

Annie Lash
1. Wild Sweet Wilderness (1985)
2. Annie Lash (1985)
3. Almost Eden (1995)


Almost Eden (Audio Cassette)
Almost Eden (Audio Cassette)
Author: Dorothy Garlock, Carrie Gordon Lowrey (Narrator)
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 4/1/2013


This is one strange book! The action and adventure was great; Maggie was something else again. In some ways, it seemed more like a fantasy than flesh-and-blood people. I simply could not believe that Light did not consider the serious problem Maggie would have if he died - until well into the story!

Maggie wasn't real. Period. Light was fascinating and they seemed evenly matched (neither was a darling of the people who surrounded them; Maggie was considered a witch; Light, as a child of a white man and an Indian woman, was never accepted by either race).

The story between Eli and Aee was more interesting in many ways than that of the main characters; they seemed real. Perhaps Eli said it best when he told Aee that he loved her because she was strong and could take care of many things ... Maggie would always have to have someone take care of her.

There were flashes of humanity in Maggie when she admitted to Light that she hadn't known much about birthing until they spent the winter at the MacMillan's house. She also tried to learn useful womanly tasks while with the MacMillan's.

I liked the conflict between Eli and Light. The reader didn't understand the problem until just before Eli explained it to Light. How Eli got the info was a bit far-fetched, but Garlock handled the rest of this segment of the story well.

The closing scene was ...'dumber than dirt.' Talk about convenient; it ruined the story for me!

Annie Lash
1. Wild Sweet Wilderness (1985)
2. Annie Lash (1985)
3. Almost Eden (1995)


Almost Eden (G K Hall Large Print Book Series)
Almost Eden (G K Hall Large Print Book Series)
Author: Dorothy Garlock
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/27/2014


This is one strange book! The action and adventure were great; Maggie was something else again. In some ways, it seemed more like a fantasy than flesh-and-blood people. I simply could not believe that Light did not consider the serious problem Maggie would have if he died until well into the story!

Maggie wasnt real. Period. Light was fascinating and they seemed evenly matched (neither was a darling of the people who surrounded them; Maggie was considered a witch; Light, as a child of a white man and an Indian woman, was never accepted by either race).

The story between Eli and Aee was more interesting in many ways than that of the main characters; they seemed real. Perhaps Eli said it best when he told Aee that he loved her because she was strong and could take care of many things Maggie would always have to have someone take care of her.

There were flashes of humanity in Maggie when she admitted to Light that she hadnt known much about birthing until they spent the winter at the MacMillans house. She also tried to learn useful womanly tasks while with the MacMillans.

I liked the conflict between Eli and Light. The reader didnt understand the problem until just before Eli explained it to Light. How Eli got the info was a bit far-fetched, but Garlock handled the rest of this segment of the story well.

The closing scene was unbelievable! Talk about convenient; it ruined the story for me!

Annie Lash
1. Wild Sweet Wilderness (1985)
2. Annie Lash (1985)
3. Almost Eden (1995)


Almost Like Being in Love (Lost Texas Hearts, Bk 2)
Almost Like Being in Love (Lost Texas Hearts, Bk 2)
Author: Christina Dodd
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 267
Review Date: 5/14/2019


Jackie Porter/Pepper Prescott is on the run. She witnessed a murder and ran to the only place she felt safe -- an Idaho ranch that belonged to her foster mother. Now she finds that her foster mother has died and left the ranch to her. Dan Graham has been taking care of her ranch while he recuperated from injuries sustained while in Special Forces. Dan and Pepper have a past together; Dan hopes to rekindle it, Pepper hopes to keep him at bay.

This is my first book by this author and frankly, I'm not impressed. I'm not opposed to sensuality but this book went overboard. It became boring, not sensual. Then there's the problem with the heroine. I cannot imagine how she took care of herself all those years with her dithery mental processes. Should she trust Dan or not? On and on and on.

Then the person Pepper saw kill her assistant (in the opening chapters) is the integral linchpin to the dangerous terrorists Dan is trying to entice into his trap on the Idaho ranch (that Pepper now owns). How outlandish is that? This story is beyond far fetched. Another problem was with the language used sometimes; it bounced from corny to overly-dramatic.

Now I've found out that this is the middle story of a series (see below). I don't plan to read any of them.

Lost Texas Heart Series
1. Just the Way You Are (2003)
** 2. Almost Like Being in Love (2004)
3. Close to You (2005)
Gabriel's Gift (2014)


Always a Lady
Always a Lady
Author: Sharon Sala
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 1/26/2013


You have always been admired; you are attractive and receive constant reassurance of your value and great looks. One day, it all comes to an end with a shattering auto wreck that leaves a large scar on your face.

Suddenly nothing is the same. When your fiancée breaks the engagement two months from the wedding, your confidence is shattered. Arent you the same person? Were you only admired only because of your youth and good looks?

What is the most logical thing to do? Run and hide! Thus begins the story of Lily Brownfield. She leaves LA behind and takes a job as a temporary cook for a round-up in Oklahoma.

Lily arrives with an Oklahoma-sized chip on her shoulder and her emotions raw with rage. She literally dares anyone to comment on her face or show any interest in her personally. She is surprised when most of the cowboys are more concerned with her cooking skills than her looks.

The owner of the ranch, Case Longren, is attracted to Lily but senses there must be quite a story as to why a lady of quality would agree to come to the hinterlands of Oklahoma to cook for 3 months.

This is a fairly common story line but Sharon Sala breathes new life into it with her insights and writing style. This is Salas first published book and is part of a short series.

Brownfield Family
1. Always a Lady (1993)
2. Gentle Persuasion (1993)


Always a Lady (Kismet, No 130)
Always a Lady (Kismet, No 130)
Author: Sharon Sala
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 39
Review Date: 4/1/2013


You have always been admired; you are attractive and receive constant reassurance of your value and great looks. One day, it all comes to an end with a shattering auto wreck that leaves a large scar on your face.

Suddenly nothing is the same. When your fiancée breaks the engagement two months from the wedding, your confidence is shattered. Arent you the same person? Were you only admired only because of your youth and good looks?

What is the most logical thing to do? Run and hide! Thus begins the story of Lily Brownfield. She leaves LA behind and takes a job as a temporary cook for a round-up in Oklahoma.

Lily arrives with an Oklahoma-sized chip on her shoulder and her emotions raw with rage. She literally dares anyone to comment on her face or show any interest in her personally. She is surprised when most of the cowboys are more concerned with her cooking skills than her looks.

The owner of the ranch, Case Longren, is attracted to Lily but senses there must be quite a story as to why a lady of quality would agree to come to the hinterlands of Oklahoma to cook for 3 months.

This is a fairly common story line but Sharon Sala breathes new life into it with her insights and writing style. This is Salas first published book and is part of a short series.

Brownfield Family
1. Always a Lady (1993)
2. Gentle Persuasion (1993)


Always in My Dreams (Dennehy Sisters, Bk 4)
Always in My Dreams (Dennehy Sisters, Bk 4)
Author: Jo Goodman
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 4/6/2014


Of the stories in this series, this is my least-favorite. Skye doesnt want to return to college; she wants adventure. Her father, Jay Mac, sends her to investigate the situation with the invention he is supporting with his money. To do that, Skye must become the head housekeeper; this is no small trick for a pampered princess.

This story does not move to the West as the other Dennehy stories; Skye must be hired as the housekeeper in a mansion in New England. The spying moves along quickly; Skye is in the house only a week before she is fired.

She meets Walker Caine, the protector of the inventor Jonathan Parnell (the man Jay Mac wants Skye to study). Skye is soon attracted to a man she doesnt understand (Walker); however, Walker thinks Skye needs a keeper (shes reckless and impulsive). Caine also recognizes that he and Skye are very much alike.

Instead of a simple investigation, Skye finds herself in the middle of a dangerous situation. Don't let this review persuade you to pass on this series; as a whole, it is excellent.

Dennehy Sisters
1. Wild Sweet Ecstasy (1992) aka More Than a Touch
2. Rogue's Mistress (1993)
3. Forever in My Heart (1994)
4. Always in My Dreams (1995)
5. Only in My Arms (1999)


Always in My Dreams (Dennehy Sisters, Bk 4)
Always in My Dreams (Dennehy Sisters, Bk 4)
Author: Jo Goodman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 6/2/2014


Of the stories in this series, this is my least-favorite. Skye doesnt want to return to college; she wants adventure. Her father, Jay Mac, sends her to investigate the situation with the invention he is supporting with his money. To do that, Skye must become the head housekeeper; this is no small trick for a pampered princess.

This story does not move to the West as the other Dennehy stories; Skye must be hired as the housekeeper in a mansion in New England. The spying moves along quickly; Skye is in the house only a week before she is fired.

She meets Walker Caine, the protector of the inventor Jonathan Parnell (the man Jay Mac wants Skye to study). Skye is soon attracted to a man she doesnt understand (Walker); however, Walker thinks Skye needs a keeper (shes reckless and impulsive). Caine also recognizes that he and Skye are very much alike.

Instead of a simple investigation, Skye finds herself in the middle of a dangerous situation.

Dennehy Sisters
1. Wild Sweet Ecstasy (1992) aka More Than a Touch
2. Rogue's Mistress (1993)
3. Forever in My Heart (1994)
4. Always in My Dreams (1995)
5. Only in My Arms (1999)


Always to Remember
Always to Remember
Author: Lorraine Heath
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 27
Review Date: 9/24/2012
Helpful Score: 3


This isn't your usual book: Hate and anger drip off each page for the first 2/3's of the story.

Clayton Holland is a conscientious objector during the Civil War. The book opens with the reader getting a glimpse at the horrible price Clay will pay because he couldn't just "go along with" all of his childhood friends to war.

This book is a searing expose of life immediately after the War Between the States. It delves into people's heartaches, prejudices and residual grief after 5 years of war.

Lorraine Heath weaves a wonderful tale! Over the course of the book, we come to understand the quiet dignity of this man. In fact, I think he is one of the most completely-faceted personality/heros in fiction.

Ms. Heath was smart to add the twins: Joseph and Joshua. Without them, the tale might be too hard to bear.

I simply didn't want the story to end. This book spoke to me on so many levels that I'm sure I'll have to read it again! Keep a box of facial tissue near you!

For this book, Lorraine Heath won a Rita Award (Best Novel winner (1997) : ALWAYS TO REMEMBER).


Always to Remember (Large Print)
Always to Remember (Large Print)
Author: Lorraine Heath
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 9/24/2012


This isn't your usual book: Hate and anger drip off each page for the first 2/3's of the story.

Clayton Holland is a conscientious objector during the Civil War. The book opens with the reader getting a glimpse at the horrible price Clay will pay because he couldn't just "go along with" all of his childhood friends to war.

This book is a searing expose of life immediately after the War Between the States. It delves into people's heartaches, prejudices and residual grief after 5 years of war.

Lorraine Heath weaves a wonderful tale! Over the course of the book, we come to understand the quiet dignity of this man. In fact, I think he is one of the most completely-faceted personality/heros in fiction.

Ms. Heath was smart to add the twins: Joseph and Joshua. Without them, the tale might be too hard to bear.

I simply didn't want the story to end. This book spoke to me on so many levels that I'm sure I'll have to read it again! Keep a box of facial tissue near you!

For this book, Lorraine Heath won a Rita Award (Best Novel winner (1997) : ALWAYS TO REMEMBER).


America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't
America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't
Author: Stephen Colbert
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 5/29/2017


Some of this was very funny and some of it was gross (IMHO). Humor is in the eye of the beholder, so you probably need to listen to yourself to decide. Yes, I listened to it vs. read the book.


American Legends: The Life of Barbara Stanwyck
American Legends: The Life of Barbara Stanwyck
Author: Charles River Editors
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/10/2019


This particular ebook was enlightening; I've always admired Barbara Stanwyck but didn't know a great deal about her. Perhaps the reason she played such strong women is that she had such a difficult early life. By 14, she was fending for herself. I'd often read that Barbara Stanwyck was gay. This material said that Barbara began her career working in gay and lesbian businesses (as a dancer) and that is where the rumor got started.

The most shocking thing I read here was about Barbara's unhappiness with her only child, a son. When he got old enough (in her eyes), she told him to get lost. I was really surprised by her actions. However, when I read her life, I could see that she wasn't really cut out to have children. Because of the early death of her mother and her father's abandonment (to help dig the Panama Canal), Barbara never was nurtured.


American Legends: The Life of Bob Dylan
American Legends: The Life of Bob Dylan
Author: Charles River Editors
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/10/2019


Until Bob Dylan joined the Travelling Wilburys, I was indifferent to his music. Lately, as more and more people talk about the influence Bob Dylan has had on their music, I've become more interested in him. However, he's a very private person about his life, outside of his music. Even Google offers a limited bio of Bob; omitting several of his children and love interests.

This ebook satisfied my interest in this mega-star. He's just as complicated as he appears to be. I was surprised to see how many eggs (bad albums) Dylan has produced, yet he continues to sell out in concerts. Because he has been in the business so long, he has learned that he must change to stay relevant. He is a very interesting man. I enjoyed the book.


American Legends: The Life of Carole Lombard
American Legends: The Life of Carole Lombard
Author: Charles River Editors
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/10/2019


This book was really a regurgitation of Carole's own words about 10 of the principles that she used in her life. They were common sense and didn't really show much about her thought processes except to show that Carole was a fair-minded individual who believed in taking responsibility for her actions. She's also the only movie star I've ever heard of who did not object to paying taxes.

The story of Carole covered the highs and lows of her performances, a few paragraphs about her two marriages, and a few wrap-up paragraphs. There just wasn't much there.


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