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Murder of the Bride (Hillary Greene, Bk 3)
cyndij avatar reviewed on + 1013 more book reviews

Third in the Hillary Greene series, but there's a lot of backstory and a new reader could easily start here. It's a very fast read, no big twists or surprises. Hillary is super competent - her late husband's hijinks and her dilemma with the money give her a little zip, otherwise she'd be too perfect. And I like the members of the team. I think I can see a formula developing for the series, I'll have to see if number 4 follows it.

The Summer Kitchen (Blue Sky Hill, Bk 2)
smileen avatar reviewed on + 236 more book reviews

Another heartwarming book by Lisa Wingate.( She, of the Tending Roses series I always recommend!)
This is written from two views, SandraKaye, a mother going through a major upheaval in her family life, and Cass, the young orphan she befriends who is going through more than any 12 year old should be. This story contains domestic violence, drug addiction, poverty and homelessness, but tugs at your heartstrings in every chapter.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
sphinx avatar reviewed on + 97 more book reviews

I cannot read or speak Persian/Farsi, so this refers only to the English interpretation, without reference to the original.

I found this to be a beautiful, touching, and contemplative poem, which can be read literally, as a celebration of wine and the beauty of the world that surrounds us, or symbolically, as a reminder to welcome in to one's soul the 'wine of divine light'. Khayyam implores the reader to remember that life is short and a beautiful gift, and that one needs no church or priest or holy book to access heaven, as it is available all around us, if only we can sense its presence. This is the sort of mysticism found in Walt Whitman, and if you like one, you'll probably like the other.

The translation seems very fluid and expresses the dual meaning of the text well.

Marry & Bright (Love, Unveiled, Bk 3) (Harlequin Special Edition, No 3021)
scoutmomskf avatar reviewed on + 2467 more book reviews

Terrific conclusion to the series. Addison has been working her tail off for years to earn the editor-in-chief job when her boss, Colette, retires. She's so close now she can practically taste it. So, imagine her shock when Colette's nephew, Carter, shows up in New York, also ready to take the helm. Carter is also stunned, as he had been promised the job years earlier.

I definitely got the impression that Colette had ulterior motives for setting up a competition between Addison and Carter. They start with sharing an office, which grinds on their nerves. They are given competing assignments, which Colette will judge. It was fun to see how much alike Addison and Carter were, with their laser-like focus on work, lack of social lives, and disinterest in romantic relationships, though neither could see it at first. Underneath the antagonism were sparks of attraction that they tried to ignore.

I loved watching their relationship develop. They got off to a rough start with an awkward meeting that set the stage for some of Addison's anger at Carter. But as the days passed, Addison couldn't deny that Carter was good at his job. I had a good chuckle at Carter's bemusement over his attraction to her, and at the same time, he was trying to beat her for the job. Addison also tried denying it to herself and others. I liked watching their antagonism turn more towards teasing and snark as they grew to appreciate each other's abilities.

As the competition deadline grew closer, Carter and Addison had one more hurdle to overcome - whose idea would come out on top for the magazine's main spread? Both had fantastic visions, and it was easy to see how each idea was a winner. I liked how Collette had both follow through with their ideas. It was heartwarming to see how Addison helped Carter with his. But things get complicated when he shows up the next day to help with her photo shoot. Thanks to a blizzard, he and Addison have to become the models. The effect on each of them was undeniable, and it became harder to resist their growing feelings. Trapped together by the weather, they give in.

Imagine their shock when they discover that the fake wedding ceremony they went through for the photo shoot was all too real. Now, they are faced with the dilemma of whether to stay married. What effect will Colette's decision have on that question? I did not see Colette's plan coming, though Addison's reaction didn't surprise me. The twists and turns of the final resolution were fun to follow and were the perfect ending.

The secondary characters were terrific. Addison's besties, Daphne and Everly, were fantastic in their support roles. I loved how they were TeamAddison all the way, though that didn't stop them from commenting on Carter's looks and abilities. They could see what was happening before she did and had no trouble pointing it out. I laughed out loud when Everly gave Sabrina the dog to Addison. Despite Addison's insistence that she wouldn't keep her, it was easy to see the writing on the wall. It was hilarious to see Sabrina's reaction to Carter. I liked getting to know Colette a little better and seeing a more personal side of her. My favorite secondary character was Joe, the man at the marriage license bureau. His commentary was great, and I'm pretty sure he played a significant role in their fake marriage that wasn't fake.


They Called Us Enemy
sphinx avatar reviewed on + 97 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

This book is an important record of a shameful period of US history, where many thousands of US citizens and legal residents were imprisoned and deprived of their property for no other reason than racism (how many times has this happened in the US so far...?).

You didn't learn about the internment camps for Japanese Americans if you were "educated" in US public schools, so pick up this well-written graphic novel to learn about what happened from the point of view of a man who was there and lived through it with his family when he was a child.

If you're thinking the author's name sounds familiar, you're right: this is the same George Takei who famously appears in Star Trek as Sulu. It's fortunate he had such strong and supportive parents, or the trauma he and his family went through could have destroyed his creative capabilities and deprived the world of a great actor and, later, activist. As it was, those hard times strengthened him and helped make him an admirable person.

The book offers several perspectives on the events of the 1940s: George's own childhood memories, the memories shared with him when he was older by his parents, and a broader perspective from news archives of those difficult times. This paints an immersive story for the reader, helping bring history vividly to life. George does not hesitate to name names of those who either stood up for justice or who behaved badly at the time, and I personally really appreciate his frankness in that regard. People who wield power should be publicly acknowledged and held accountable for their actions, whether they use it for good or evil.

Very remarkable to me is George's unswerving faith in the possibility of a just political system in the United States, even after all he witnessed in his life demonstrating enormous corruption and failure in that very system. George comes across as a true patriot and his book is well worth a read for anyone who wishes to avoid repeating the pain and suffering of the past.

4.5 stars.

All That Is Mine I Carry With Me
reviewed on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

My oh my! This was a great book! One of those I couldn't wait to get back to reading; I finished it in a couple of days. Not a lot of characters (to confuse me!); told by different characters; just a good read!

The Letter Tree
VolunteerVal avatar reviewed on + 545 more book reviews

I enjoy novels that include correspondence so the title of The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham definitely caught my attention. Even though the exchange of letters is a relatively small part of the plot, I liked this novel I read via the audiobook narrated by Kira Fixx.

Laura Bradshaw leads a lonely life in 1920s Buffalo, NY. Ever since her beloved mother died seven years ago, her father spends all of his time running the family shoe factory, and her only friend is a mystery man with whom she's exchanged letters for years by leaving them at a tree within the Buffalo Zoo.

Isaac Campbell is a very eligible bachelor who is heir to, but has little interest in, his family's business. Once his father and Laura's father were best friends and business partners, but the relationship ended badly, and they've been fierce competitors ever since. Laura and Isaac's childhood friendship was severed by this rift, and they're forbidden to have any contact with each other. When love interests come into both of their lives, are their motivations true, or are they pursuing bigger objectives?

This plot is a clever historical spin on You've Got Mail with representatives of rival companies unknowingly communicating with each other. It's also a subtle homage to Romeo and Juliet with a much happier ending. I feared two plot points would be drawn out due to lack of communication, but thankfully both were resolved within realistic timeframes.

The novel includes a secondary storyline that added an intriguing element. I also appreciated the Niagara Falls historical facts woven into this part of the story. I liked the characters Laura and Isaac and the pursuit of their goals. I also enjoyed Mrs. Gaskin, the Bradshaw housekeeper and Laura's confidant.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and UpLit Reads for the review copies of this novel.

The Wonder of Christmas: A Family Advent Journey
reviewed on + 5 more book reviews

Melody Carlson is a great writer.
This book takes you into the lives of a family. I highly recommend everyone to read this book.

The Stones
bjmoore avatar reviewed on + 3 more book reviews

Not my favorite book- hard to follow, too many names that are hard to keep track of - can't remember whose who and what they are to the story. Too bad, I wanted to enjoy this one.

The Cat Sitter's Cradle (Dixie Hemingway, Bk 8)
Readnmachine avatar reviewed on + 1421 more book reviews

Fun cozy mystery in the "Cat Sitter" series. This time, Dixie is dealing with a dead body in a swimming pool and an apparent undocumented alien who just gave birth in a local park.

Early Morning Rounds : A Portrait of a Hospital
Readnmachine avatar reviewed on + 1421 more book reviews

Quick overview of general hospital specialties, aimed at student markets. Written in the early 1980s; some information about techniques and treatments is now outdated

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
esjro avatar reviewed on + 883 more book reviews

There is a lot of interesting material here, but much of it wasn't really what the book was supposed to be about. It was all over the place: philosophy, neuroscience, the history of printing.... I guess my heavy internet usage has scrambled my brain too much to keep up with the meanderings.

Honoring the Enemy (Honor, Bk 14)
hardtack avatar reviewed on + 2466 more book reviews

Sadly I'm nearing the end of this epic naval fiction series. It begins with Lieutenant Peter Wake leaving the merchant marine and serving as a Union U.S. Navy officer in Key West. Wake's adventures will literally take him around the word, into the strangest places, even the Sahara! All of Macomber's tales have their basis in history. As Wake, after his initial tours of duty at sea, who then was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, often interacts with historical figures important to U.S history, as well as other countries.

In this novel, he is finally a U.S. Navy captain, doing intelligence work in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. A number of the novels take place in Cuba where his deadliest enemies often lurk.

Hunted Down: The Detective Stories of Charles Dickens
hardtack avatar reviewed on + 2466 more book reviews

Although I've read some of his major novels, Dickens was never one of my favorites, due to his writing style. That style was what made me almost stop reading this book in the middle of the very first story. But I kept at it until I couldn't tolerate it any more. The irony is that I love British mysteries, especially by British female authors of the early and mid-20th century.

Maybe I'm being patriotic in disliking Dickens, as during his first visit to America he came to loathe the country and its inhabitants. It was only during his second visit to the U.S. that he changed his mind and promised not to denounce them again.

Hearts Entwined (The Kingsleys)
Hearts Entwined (The Kingsleys)
Author: M.A. Nichols
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Paperback
jjares avatar reviewed on + 3144 more book reviews

Simon and Mina Kingsley's worst nightmare reemerges (from FLAME AND EMBERS) when their son Oliver falls for Sophie Banfield (Susanna Banfield's daughter). Susanna Banfield was the woman Simon thought he could never get over and it almost destroyed his marriage to Mina (from FLAMES AND EMBERS). This story brings up old hurts, and the Kingsleys ask their son to avoid Sophie, to whom Oliver has formed an attachment. Reluctantly, he does.

The story resumes five years later, with Oliver about to commit to marriage with Victoria Caswell. They are all invited to a house party of one month's duration. However, Sophie, her mother, and the Kingsleys are at the same party. Suddenly, things that seemed so clear and easy became anything but that.

This story is a fascinating interplay of emotions, personalities, old hurts, and new situations. It is also interesting to watch young women search for husbands. Without a significant dowry, most women are stuck with spinsterhood or a disadvantageous marriage to a man of poor means (vicar or city worker). Oliver will inherit significant lands and property. Thus, Victoria has to battle with herself not to marry him just because she doesn't love him. Marrying Oliver would solve her family's problems.

One of the most interesting interplays is between Mr. Caswell, Mrs. Caswell, and Victoria. It is near the end of the book but shows why the family is nearly destitute. Mrs. Caswell has been caught up all her life being related to a baron and viscount. She had to spend money to show her standing in the community. This staggering discovery shows much about "being related to the aristocracy." Keeping up appearances can bankrupt a family, even though the relationship is tenuous at best. Tragic.

Kingsley Series
Flame and Ember (2018)
** 2. Hearts Entwined (2020)
3. A Stolen Kiss (2020)

The Neighbor (D. D. Warren, Bk 3)
perryfran avatar reviewed on + 1139 more book reviews

I have read a few other suspense novels by Gardner including HIDE, CRASH & BURN, and LOVE YOU MORE. I found all of these to be compelling reads. THE NEIGHBOR is the third book in the D.D. Warren series. D.D. is a female Detective Sergeant who works for the Boston PD. In this one, a young mother and sixth grade teacher, Sandra Jones, has disappeared from her South Boston home in the middle of the night leaving behind her four-year old daughter, Ree. Her husband, Jason, reports his wife's disappearance to police several hours after he had returned from his night job as a reporter and found his daughter sleeping and his wife missing. This immediately makes him the number one suspect in her disappearance by D.D. and the BPD. But there is also a registered sex offender living a few houses down. Could he be a suspect? Jason also seems to be involved in some illicit activity using his computer and he has over $4 million in his accounts. Where did the money come from? Then there is a young eighth grade student who teaches Sandra how to look into her husband's computer history. Could he be involved in her disappearance? And what about Sandra's father who shows up from Georgia after Sandra disappears? So was Sandra murdered and if so, who did it?

This was really a very compelling suspense novel from Gardner. It contained a lot of twists and turns and I was really surprised by the ending. I have enjoyed everything I've read by Gardner and will be looking forward to reading more.

Once a Spy (Rogues Redeemed, Bk 4)
Once a Spy (Rogues Redeemed, Bk 4)
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
reviewed on + 4 more book reviews

Enjoyed the series.

Eye of the Beholder
Eye of the Beholder
Author: David Ellis
Book Type: Audio CD
reviewed on + 359 more book reviews

3.5 Book about a serial killer. Like this author. Good story. Will read more of his books.

Faking a Fairy Tale (Love, Unveiled, Bk 2) (Harlequin Special Edition, No 3002)
scoutmomskf avatar reviewed on + 2467 more book reviews

Fun enemies to lovers story. Daphne and Jack have been at loggerheads since he started his job as the magazine's fact-checker. It seems that he annihilates every article she writes with his red pen. She gets even by messing up the items on his desk - he's a little OCD about their arrangement. Everyone on staff has noticed the tension between them, and they are all holding their breath for when their boss catches wind of it.

Daphne is afraid that the day has come when she is called to Colette's office and finds Jack there, too. It's a great relief that she seems unaware of their feud until she assigns them to work together on an undercover story by pretending to be an engaged couple. They are horrified by the idea, and Jack refuses by claiming he has other commitments. But when his mother tries to rope him into her society galas, suddenly working with Daphne doesn't seem so bad.

Watching the relationship develop between these two totally different people was so much fun. Jack is a planner, always in control of his life and emotions, and a by-the-book guy. Daphne is spontaneous, bubbly, and over-the-top in fashion. Neither expects the sparks of attraction that flare between them as they pretend to be in love. For two people who seem to dislike each other intensely, it was intriguing to note that they knew each other very well. I loved seeing them realize there was more to each other than they previously suspected. I enjoyed seeing how their differing approaches to writing the required articles blended to make something stronger than either could do individually.

Matters become more complicated when Jack and Daphne encounter his former fiancée in their undercover class. The next thing they know, Jack's parents know about their "engagement" and pull out all the stops to celebrate. I loved Jack's growing protectiveness toward Daphne as he began to understand her insecurities. There is also a sweet scene where Daphne comes to Jack's rescue when he has a family emergency. At this point, each realizes that their relationship no longer feels fake, and neither knows what to do with those feelings.

I loved the ending and seeing how each one found a similar way to let the other know how they felt. It was fun to see the boss lady, Colette, show a more human side than before.

I loved the secondary characters. Daphne's besties, Everly and Addison, do a terrific job supporting her, whether listening to her, advising her, or calling her out when she's lying to herself. The whole "fashion closet" routine is a riot. I also adored little Olivia and her effect on Jack's life.

HELP!  A Bear is Eating Me!
caffeinegirl avatar reviewed on + 114 more book reviews

This short novella of Merv's outraged misadventure was surprisingly fun. At first, it was the fun of watching an inconsiderate jerk get what he has coming to him, then the grim horror of realizing that he is in serious trouble, and might not make it out alive, followed by mounting suspense as we wait to see if a rescuer arrives...or not.

Recipes for art and craft materials,
caffeinegirl avatar reviewed on + 114 more book reviews

This book includes recipes for glues, pastes, clays, papier-mache, inks, and paints. It also has some project ideas and a few patterns. I found just reading the recipes gave me ideas for projects. Reading that you can make a flower-drying compound with cornmeal and borax makes me want to go out and pick fall flowers. Overall, it's a great resource for home crafters and artists.

The Book of Bright Ideas
Readnmachine avatar reviewed on + 1421 more book reviews

Using a child narrator for a novel intended for adult readers is a tricky proposition, but Sandra Kring pulls it off with perfection in The Book of Bright Ideas.

Evelyn Peters (aka âButtonâ) is the heart of this tale of childhood friendship that grows with the intensity that only eight-going-on-nine can muster when an unconventional pair of siblings burst into their staid midwestern town like the fireworks on âMarty Grawâ. Freeda Malone is a fiery redhead with the mouth of a sailor, the body of a temptress, and a perhaps too-healthy appetite for male company. Her baby sister Winnalee is an impatient bundle of energy, dubious fashion choices, and big ideas (which she writes down in the titular book). That the two girls should instantly become best of friends is almost inevitable, as Button's imagination is nurtured by Winnalee's flights of fancy, and Winnalee finds stability and loving acceptance from Button's Aunt Verdella.

What's perhaps less to be expected is that the free-spirited Freeda also opens doors for Verdella and for Button's mother, Jewel â a process Button sees and describes, without fully understanding what's at the base of it all. She knows only that, bit by bit, her world is getting just slightly bigger, though sometimes the grown-ups around her make choices she can't really comprehend.

Kring keeps the point-of-view firmly with Button, even as events unfold in the adult world that will change everything in heartbreaking ways. Most readers will have winkled out the main revelation long before it's made, but can still feel the pain the knowledge brings to everyone touched by it.

Definitely worth the read.

Ill Will
Catwoman avatar reviewed on + 24 more book reviews

Probably one of the worst books I have ever read. Makes no sense, characters are not interesting at all and the ending is just plain stupid.

The Book That Wouldn't Burn (Library, Bk 1)
dragoneyes avatar reviewed on + 769 more book reviews

When you see a book with such a lovely cover written by an author you think highly of, it is hard not to greedily devour it but, instead, slowly savor each word. I had to make sure I paced myself. Even so, it feels like a book that I'll need to reread in the future. Just a sense that there is so much magic in there that my mind didn't catch it all.

The story is made up of two POV's. On one end we have Livira who is from the Dust. When her settlement is attacked she finds herself and other villagers on a long journey. She winds up in a city where she ends up working in the library. Then there is Evar who has always been in the library and knows of nothing but its walls, his four adopted siblings and his caretakers. This is a library where if you are not careful you can get lost. It holds much knowledge but also many secrets. Through the labyrinth of books, you can find time traveling portals, android type assistants, and (my favorite) animal guides. Between their two tales, the story weaves a lovely tapestry that you just want to wrap around yourself.

I really enjoyed Livira's parts the best. I felt a connection. Especially reading about her always asking questions. I couldn't ask enough questions when I was younger and still find myself needing to know how everything works. Made me chuckle a couple of times when I read those parts. One thing that I've always enjoyed with Lawrence's books is his characters. He really makes it easy to bond with them. On top of that, he writes a story that you can see vividly and words that flow beautifully. So excited to read the next book in the series.

The Premonition at Withers Farm
VolunteerVal avatar reviewed on + 545 more book reviews

The cover and description of The Premonition at Withers Farm promised a perfect novel for Halloween season, and author Jaime Jo Wright crafted a story that is both spooky and has substance.

While published as Christian fiction, it would be enjoyed by readers who are looking for an atmospheric novel without gore and other horror elements. Ms. Wright is a trailblazer in creating a "creepy suspense" subgenre within a genre that isn't known for this type of story. In her trademark style, this is a dual timeline plot set in Michigan.

The 1910 storyline centers around Perliett VanHilton, a young woman who considers herself a healer, quietly questions the authenticity of the seances her mother conducts in their home, and mourns her father. When two sisters are murdered, everyone in their quiet community is on edge. And then a disturbing discovery is found on Perliett's porch, pulling her even deeper into the mysteries deaths. Will she be the next to die?

In the current timeline, Molly Wasziak is the main character, and her life is nothing like she imagined it would be. She and her high-school-sweetheart husband are very distant in their marriage, they have experienced several heartbreaking miscarriages, and they just bought an old farmhouse that has mismarked gravestones as part of its foundation. When Molly begins seeing and sensing unexplained things, she fears she is losing her fragile grip on reality.

I rarely award books five stars, but this one deserves it. I was deeply invested in this reading experience to the point of avoiding having my back to dark hallways due to a deep feeling of unease. I appreciated how well the two timelines were connected, and the creepy nursery rhyme "Who killed Cock Robin?" was woven perfectly into the novel. Molly's losses were addressed tenderly yet realistically; the topic could be triggering to some readers.

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the review copy of this delightfully creepy read.

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