Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Reviews. Show all posts

Monday, May 16, 2022

Book Review - The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds is a fictional novel based on the events that occurred during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. More specifically, how one woman from Texas - Elsinore (Elsa) Wolcott - made exceedingly difficult decisions to try to keep her children alive during the 1930s. 



Elsa Wolcott lived her childhood in solitude. Defined as medically fragile and as "not nearly pretty as her sisters" the story opens as she is turning 25 and facing a future as a spinster. 

"There was a pain that came with constant disapproval; a sense of having lost something unnamed, unknown. Else had survived it by being quiet, by not demanding or seeking attention, by accepting that she was loved, but unliked" -excerpt from The Four Winds 

Elsa had learned to entertain herself by reading and survived the cruel comments by making herself as invisible as possible while her family carried on in an otherwise tight-knit group. Things started to fall apart when she informed her family that she wanted to attend college in Chicago. Her family was relatively affluent and cultured but the answer from her parents was a resounding no. They continued to define her as ill. She quietly returned to her room upstairs to her reading.

The next morning, while walking through town to the library, Elsa stopped at the mercantile where she was told about a piece of red silk. The store owner wanted Elsa to inform her beautiful sisters of this dress material. Instead, Elsa bought it for herself. 

The resulting red dress, glittery silver headband and an secret attempt to enter a speakeasy during the days of prohibition changed everything. 

Elsa responded to the first attention she received. And Raffaello entered her life. Very quickly, Elsa went from being the daughter of the in-town-living, Christian, daughter of a successful business man who sells tractors to the farmers to the wife of a young, Italian, Catholic son of struggling farmers.

 Elsa became a farmer's wife. A mother. And she became a part of a family.

The years pass. In 1934, the Great Depression had been in full swing. And it was an extraordinarily hot August. Unknown to Elsa and her family, the Dust Bowl is coming.

As the heat and dust settled in for months, and then years, Elsa had to decide whether to remain on the "farm" (now a pile of dust) with her family or escape to California for work. 


How the Story Impacted Me

I had some vague awareness of both the Great Depression and of the Dust Bowl. I knew that both were disasters. And I knew that my grandparents were frugal - saving every little thing in case it would be needed as a result of their experience (or their parent's experiences) during this era. My grandparents have been gone for a long time now. And I wish I knew their stories. But I don't. 

Now I realize how very little I know of that era and what people went through trying to survive the times. I was aware that the Dust Bowl occurred. For some reason, I imagined that nearly the entire US was in drought for a single growing season. I did not realize that it spanned the middle US states, hitting Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico the hardest. And that it lasted for years.  I knew that crops were killed. I did not realize the enormous toll it took on all livestock and wildlife. And I did not realize the extent of human lives lost. Of course, the death toll was not accurately recorded during these crises but it is thought that hundreds to thousands died of Dust Pneumonia alone. And several hundred thousands fled the plains area to try to survive. 

This story impacts me now as I consider the current happenings in the US. Wild fires, droughts, and torrential spring rains during planting season is impacting agriculture. As is the current economic situation. Many farmers and ranchers are in a tough situation as I type this. Reading this book now reminds me of the time I read the book Jaws on my first trip to Florida and visit to Cocoa Beach. I was afraid to enter the ocean for fear of what might be lurking. I am currently concerned about food supplies, our farmers and ranchers, and what disaster may be lurking next. 

Do I wish I hadn't read this book. My answer is a resounding NO. I am glad to have read this book and recommend it to others. It is a story of a woman who had not received unconditional love as a child and who not only gave unconditional love to her children but who would die for them to save them. It is the story of navigating parent-child relationships. It is a story of proud, hard-working people who just wanted to be able to take care of themselves. Their tenacity and willingness to work hard despite the odds inspires me. Despite the very tough topic and times, this book was filled with love stories. 


Bits from Author Kristin Hannah

Ms. Hannah wrote her Author's Note in May 2020. In the three years that she was writing this book the pandemic arrived in the US. Imagine that. Writing about the death, famine, and destruction of the dust bowl during the death, near-famine, and destruction of the pandemic. 

The Author notes that the timeline is not completely accurate in her fiction. She includes a suggested reading list on her website for more historically accurate information. Ms. Hannah also mentions having taken a tour of "Weedpatch" camp in Arvin, California. And a novel by Sanora Babb titled Whose Names Are Unknown. I find it interesting that Babb's manuscript was submitted in 1939 and was not published until 2004. Read more about that here. I will be reading Ms. Babb's book.


Other Books of Interest

Reading about the dust bowl reminded me of another famine. The potato famine. Like the Dust Bowl, I had known that a potato famine in Ireland occurred. But I had no idea of the extent of it until I had read Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly.  You can read my review of that historical fiction here. I highly recommend it and have read it more than once.

Apparently, the Review This Reviews! contributors are Kristin Hannah fans. Our previous reviews are listed below:




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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wish You Were Here-Book Review

 


Jodi Picoult's books are known for being thought provoking about current and past events and this book does not disappoint.  I was hooked from the very beginning when the novel starts in a March 2020 time frame.


                                       

The Story

In this book Jodi Picoult says she is exploring "the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis".

In the first pages we are introduced to Diana O'Toole and her boyfriend Dr. Finn Colson.  They are a young couple very much in love and planning on taking the trip of their dreams to the Galapagos Islands.  They are all packed and set to take their trip when Finn comes home and announces that he cannot get away to take the trip.  He is a surgical resident in New York City, and it is the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Finn convinces Diana that she should take the trip without him since they have already paid their nonrefundable down payments.  Dianna reluctantly agrees to go.

When Diana reaches the Galapagos, she takes the ferry over to the island where they are staying only to discover that due to the pandemic it is the last ferry to the island and the island is now shut down due to the pandemic.  When she arrives, there is no transportation available, so she decides to walk to their hotel only to discover that it has been shut down.  Diana is beginning to panic when a worker from the hotel is leaving and stops to talk to Diana.  She offers a place for Diana to stay in a cottage she owns.  She is very kind to Diana and offers her food and advice.

The next chapters find Diana exploring the island, meeting people along the way, and dealing with communication problems.  She tries to contact Finn, but communication is very limited, and she finally is able to get someone to let her into the hotel to use their server.  

In the meantime, Finn, is working day and night at the hospital to deal with the spreading pandemic.  When he gets a moment to send Diana an email, he never knows if she is getting them.  In one email, he lets Diana know that her mother who is in a nursing home is gravely ill and the nursing home is quarantined by the pandemic.

There is so much more to the story, but I don't want to spoil it for you by telling you about all the twists and turns.  I will tell you it is a very compelling story made even more interesting by the fact that we are currently living in the pandemic.  I highly recommend this book.

More Books I Have Enjoyed by Jodi Picoult

I have read many of Jodi Picoult's books.  Here are some that I particularly enjoyed.

The Book of Two Ways explores Egyptology and I found very intriguing. Here is a review that Diana wrote on this book. Book of Two Ways

                                     
Leaving Time is a book that explores the relationships between humans and animals.  The elephants in this story were delightful and I would recommend this book.

                                   
My Sister's Keeper is the heart wrenching story of a young girl who was conceived in order to provide bone marrow for her dying sister.  It is considered by many as their favorite Picoult novel.

                                     
Enjoy your Reading!  Books are a wonderful escape from daily life.



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Saturday, May 7, 2022

The Bone Island Trilogy – Book Reviews

 A Trilogy by Heather Graham, the author of the Krewe of Hunters series and the Harrison Investigations series.



This trilogy takes place primarily in Key West. The name Bone Island comes from the first explorers who visited the island around the beginning of 1600. They found the bones of deceased native tribes and called it the 'Island of Bones' or Cayo Hueso.  


Bone Island Trilogy



Ghost Shadow


The Bone Island Trilogy begins with Katie O'Hara who is drawn into a years-old murder when David Beckett returns to Key West. David, a photographer and film maker, had been gone from his island home for many years, working in his craft around the world. His fiancé had been murdered and some suspected that David was guilty of the crime. He returns home to deal with the paperwork involved following the death of his grandfather and perhaps to find a way to clear his name. Katie becomes involved in the mystery surrounding the decade-old murder, despite warnings from her spectral friend Bartholomew, an 18th century ghost. 


Ghost Night


While filming a slasher movie, two actors are murdered on Haunt Island, a remote island in South Bimini. Two years later, survivor Vanessa Loren meets up with Sean O'Hara in Key West where plans are underway to film a documentary about the storied region, including the unsolved crime that haunts Vanessa. As they begin filming along the coral reef, the discovery of authentic pirate treasures deepen the mystery. Spectral help is needed once again before more murders occur.


Ghost Moon


Officer Liam Beckett of the Key West police force finds an old man has died in his home. His granddaughter, Kelsey Donavan, returns to her former Key West home to catalog her grandfather's collections of artifacts and antiquities. But the old family home ~ Merlin House ~ gives Kelsey the feeling she is being watched. Is the house haunted; are the ghost stories true? Liam vows to protect Kelsey and discover the truth. 


Characters in the Bone Island Trilogy


Photo Credit: Pedro Lastra on Unsplash


This trilogy has continuing characters that are either related or have been good friends since childhood. They are all 'conches' – the name given to those who were born and raised in Key West. There is Katie and Sean O'Hara ~ brother & sister, David and Liam Beckett ~ cousins, Jamie O'Hara ~ Katie & Sean's uncle who runs a popular bar and restaurant where Katie does 'Katie-okie' 4 nights a week and where most of the friends congregate regularly, and several couples who make regular appearances throughout the trilogy. 


Then there is Bartholomew Miller, the most interesting of all the characters. You see, Bartholomew was a 'privateer' during the time pirates and privateers wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. He plied the seas for England for years and finally found a home on Bone Island. His home at the time is the house Katie now lives in, so Bartholomew shares the house with her. Katie has been able to see ghosts most of her life. Later, the ghost attaches himself to her brother Sean, and eventually to Liam. Bartholomew plays a part in helping solve the crimes and strange goings-on that occur throughout the Bone Island Trilogy.


Summary



I just recently discovered that there is a prequel  to the Trilogy – Ghost Memories - and it's all about Bartholomew!


I enjoyed this trilogy very much and recommend it to readers who enjoy mystery stories that are also 'ghost stories'. 


More Series by Heather Graham





*The Bone Island Trilogy book reviews written by Wednesday Elf.


+Intro Photo by Lynn Danielson on Unsplash 






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Saturday, April 23, 2022

Review of Harrison Investigations

 Book Series by Heather Graham




“Harrison Investigations specializes in the bizarre ~ the unexplained ~ the things that go bump in the night.:

There are those who walk among us who are no longer alive, but not yet crossed over.  They stay to seek retribution or to help or watch over and protect those they love.

Among the living, few sense their presence ~ but some can!


The Harrison Investigations Series


Adam Harrison began Harrison Investigations after his son, Josh, died. Adam started putting together a team of people to look into cases with a paranormal angle because, although he didn't have the ability, Josh did, and Adam is able to recognizes it in others who can see and talk to ghosts. 


Available on Amazon

Throughout this series of ten books, we meet many people, all trained as Private Investigators, who are able to see what exists in a slightly different dimension.


This series fits into several genres – mystery & thriller, suspense, fantasy, paranormal, Historical Romance and romantic suspense. Each story takes place in a different place and, quite often, we are given a history lesson from earlier times. You learn a bit about the history of the place going back to Civil War times and other events that occurred in the 1700s and 1800s. The current story is taking place in modern times, but the ghost(s) will be from the past. The ghost has stayed around to help or have a wrong righted.


Books in the Series 


Haunted - Book 1


The series begins with Haunted, which takes place in an historic Virginia estate that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Suspecting that the house is haunted, owner Matt Stone finally allows Harrison Investigations in the form of paranormal investigator Darcy Tremayne to try and discover the truth about some strange happenings at the house.


Book #3 (Ghost Walk) finds us in New Orleans where Nikki DuMonde manages a successful haunted-tour company. Nikki doesn't scare easily until she wakes up at 4 a.m. to see her newest employee standing at the end of her bed begging for help. The next day she discovers that the employee had been killed. Nikki doesn't believe in ghosts, and no one believes her until Brent Blackhawk, a paranormal investigator able to communicate with the dead, arrives to help. 


Unhallowed Ground (Harrison Investigations Book #7) takes place in Florida where Sarah McKinley has bought an historic mansion that she has always loved.  While the house is being renovated, remains of dozens of bodies – some dating back over a century – are discovered in a wall.


Meanwhile Caleb Anderson, a P.I. With Harrison Investigations, is in town investigating several missing-person cases. He soon comes to believe that his cases are linked to Sarah's house and its dark past. Sarah and Caleb are compelled to research the history of the house to discover the truth.


For all ten books in the Harrison Investigation series, click here.


Summary



The characters in each book are always interesting and the ghosts are delightful.  There is usually a romantic interest between the main male & female characters, of course. And the historic background of each area and place is fascinating.


An interesting fact is that the Harrison Investigation Series pre-dates the Krewe of Hunters series reviewed earlier here on ReviewThisReviews. From being private investigators for Adam Harrison, the group's crime solve-rate is so good that eventually the FBI becomes interested and the Krewe of Hunters become a group of unusual FBI agents who are called upon when something complex (and usually paranormal) is going on.


I have now read my way through both series and really enjoyed them. Therefore, I recommend them to anyone interested in this type of genre. Classic paranormal romantic suspense by Heather Graham.



*Harrison Investigations Book Series reviewed by Wednesday Elf






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Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Library of Lost and Found Reviewed

 If you're feeling like curling up with a hot drink and a feel-good book then have I got a recommendation for you.

Image created by Lou16 on Canva

It's getting a little cooler in the evening for me here in Australia so I love pulling a throw over me, having a nice cup of tea (Twinings Chamomile, Honey & Vanilla is my current favourite for this activity) and reading a good book either in paperback version or on my Kindle.

I read this charming novel by Phaedra Patrick on my Kindle (for free with my Kindle Unlimited membership).   I had never heard of the author before, but looking at the reviews this seems to be her best novel to date.   I had just finished reading a couple of psychological thrillers so wanted something easy to read and with a feel-good vibe - this one sounded like it would suit.

When we are introduced to Martha she is a single, middle-aged woman who people seem to walk all over, somewhere along the way she seems to have lost her voice and confidence.   She loves books which makes her job as a volunteer librarian or in her words, 'a guardian of books' perfect for her (although she can't seem to get employed as a full-time librarian - that's another story, prepare to be frustrated on her behalf!).

I will admit there were times when I wanted to shake Martha and get her to stand up for herself, but mostly I felt very sad for her.   The book went back between the present time and earlier times in her life, I couldn't help but think how different Martha's life might have turned out if her beloved grandmother Zelda had lived.

It appears as though the loss of Zelda in Martha's life saw her become more introverted and subservient, just as her father wanted.   I must admit that after finishing the book I did stop and reflect on my own life because the loss of people in our lives really does have a huge impact on the things we do - but back to the review!

When Martha was younger she would write her own stories and share them with her grandmother who loved to hear them and encouraged Martha with her imagination, enter the mysterious part of the book.

Martha finds a parcel addressed to her outside of the library where she works.   Inside the parcel is a book missing its cover and title page and looking very battered.  On top of the book were a business card and a handwritten note from the owner of a used bookstore indicating that the book had come into his possession and was obviously unsellable, but could be of interest to her because of the message inside.

When Martha turned the pages to find what the bookshop owner meant she came across an inscription "To my darling, Martha Storm...." it was signed by her grandmother, however, the date was three years after she had died.   To make it even more mysterious when Martha looked at the stories in the book she recognised many of them as ones that she had written as a child.

Join Martha on her journey, solve the mystery and see how with a little help from Suki, Owen and Siegfried Martha learns to be less of a doormat and becomes more confident in herself.   I thoroughly recommend this novel for some stress relief reading on a winter's evening.   If you do read it please come back and let me know your thoughts.





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Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Adorable Amigurumi – Craft Book Review

 A crochet pattern book for Cute and Quirky Crocheted Critters




Adorable Amigurumi Craft Pattern Book


Serious cuteness in Japanese Amigurumi crochet – the yarn-filled world of “small, crocheted stuffed toys”. This book contains patterns for new characters that are adorable and cuddly.  


Marcel the Monkey
Craft a Koala Bear or a not-so-fearsome Yeti. Try out a darling dragon or a Dachshund Dog.  Pick a zoo or jungle animal with these patterns for a cute giraffe, a lovable lion or Marcel the Monkey.


Then there are funny characters to crochet, such as a Dust Bunny or Sy Clops.



Dragonfly


A Dragonfly, a Butterfly and a Bug-eyed Ladybug will flit around your child's toy room. 


For fans of sea creatures, Adorable Amigurumi has patterns for Tubs the Whale, Olive Octopus and Cal I.Mari. 


Toucan


Don't forget Bella la Batty – a fun toy bat, or a colorful Toucan bird.




Author of Adorable Amigurumi


Erin Clark, a crochet crafter since age six, calls herself Voodoo Maggie online. She admits that her crochet crafting at such a young age first only consisted of the chain stitch. In fact, she once chained a whole skein of yarn! (Fellow crochet crafters will understand what this would look like – LOL). 


Eventually she mastered scarves and afghans. These turned out fine for gifts, but soon it became boring to crochet only flat things.  After looking around for something more challenging, Erin discovered the magical world of Amigurumi. The reason she gives for loving Amigurumi so much is because, to her, it's like 'sculpting' with yarn.


After mastering this craft, Erin began to create her own patterns in the style of Amigurumi crochet.  The end result is Adorable Amigurumi ~ filled with patterns of delightful and unique crocheted critters from the imagination of Voodoo Maggie.


Summary



Adorable Amigurumi Craft Book crochet contains patterns for 18 animals done in the Amigurumi style of crochet. The instructions in the book will walk you through step-by-step directions to make your own creations of these delightfully playful Japanese amigurumi animals. The book is also full of over 300 colorful photos to help guide you.


So, get out your favorite yarns and crochet hooks and pick a pattern to begin your collection of these cute toybox toy stuffies.



*Adorable Amigurumi Crochet Pattern Book reviewed by Wednesday Elf






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Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Broken Way - Book Review

Read an Excerpt

So much of life is paradox.  Like, for instance, how the having is in the giving.  Or, how abundance flows through generosity.  And, as Ann Voskamp models in The Broken Way, how healing emerges from the shattering pain of brokenness.  

Truth be told, we are all broken, yet few of us want our broken laid bare for all the world to see.  Voskamp, with astonishing vulnerability, makes it safe for us by being the one to expose her cut lines, her cracks, and those moments when bad brokenness made way for good brokenness.  

As is especially apparent right now, we live in a broken world.  Yet, it is those things that break our hearts that provide us with the openings needed for a healing that can only come through union with other broken hearts.

In the introduction, Ann asks us this: How do we live with our one broken heart?  This is a book that challenges us to take our time with that question.  What else is time for if not for that?  

Voskamp shares:

Maybe what matters isn't what we want from the time we have to live... but what time wants from us.  There is a time to be broken and given into all the world's brokenness.  

With Easter fast approaching, I cannot think of a better time to reflect on what that means.  

This book came to me when I needed it most and I know there is someone reading this who will feel the same way.  A sure sign of an impactful reading experience, for me, is how much I write while absorbing a book.  I filled an entire journal with notes, insights, reflections, and quotes.  

Ann Voskamp's broken heart met up with mine through her exquisite way with words, her raw honesty, and her immense capacity for communion.

How do we live with our one broken heart?  We live by giving it away.  We live by connecting our broken to another's broken.  

Brokenness is our unity... our common ground... our gift to one another.  










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Saturday, April 2, 2022

Rick Mercer Talking to Canadians Book Review

Rick Mercer Talking to Canadians A Memoir is a fun read for anyone who appreciates Mercer's comedic genius.

Rick Mercer's autobiographical book appeared under many a Christmas tree in 2021. I myself gifted it to a number of family members after watching a program on which the 
Ottawa International Writers Festival featured Canadian journalist Linden MacIntyre interviewing Mercer and reviewing Mercer's life so far as depicted between the covers of this book. 

For those who might not know, Rick Mercer is a Canadian celebrity. He is a comedian who had great success on television on shows that included This Hour Has 22 MinutesMade in Canada, Talking to Americans and his biggest success and the program with which my family was most familiar, the Rick Mercer Report. When he eventually ended the Rick Mercer Report after 15 seasons, a question arose. What was Rick Mercer going to do now? 

The answer? He went back to stand up comedy, performing to packed shows wherever he went. That is, until the pandemic arrived. 

CELEBRITY REVIEWS


Mercer had to pivot again and this time his pivot found him writing this book, Rick Mercer Talking to Canadians: A Memoir. For once, Mercer was talking about his own life instead of about the lives of others.  It is an interesting tale, telling the story of his development from that of an unsuccessful student to that of a very successful comedian. 

On Twitter, Canadian author Margaret Atwood, said that the book is a "funny, pitfall-strewn, no-holds-barred memoir from the ranting TV uproarist, edge-walker, envelope-pusher and pot-stirrer who once talked me (Atwood) into impersonating a goalie!" On the Rick Mercer Report, Mercer talked many people into doing things out of their comfort zone.

Policy Magazine called the book "alternately funny, moving and always heartfelt." Touché!

Jann Arden, another Canadian comedian and songwriter, endorsed the book when she said "I laughed so much reading this, I kept waking up my dog in bed. Rick is a determined writer - he never stops pulling you into his stories and he never stops looking for the punchlines in everyday life. He made me realize how funny ordinary things are, how funny and how incredibly interesting. It's heartfelt and honest and generous and edgy - just like Mercer himself. Read it! It's fabulous!" I agree.

My only quibble with the book is that it isn't finished but then again, Mercer isn't finished. Who knows what the next book will have to share.

WHO SHOULD READ RICK MERCER'S MEMOIR? 


For one, anyone who is familiar with Mercer's television programs and comedic abilities will love this book. If you know his work, you will particularly enjoy learning about his background. If you enjoy true stories and autobiographies you will likely enjoy this book. If you have a Canadian connection in particular with Newfoundland and Labrador, you will enjoy it. It is an easy to read, funny book and I do find funny books hard to come by.  They say that writing humor is difficult. Obviously, Rick Mercer does not have that problem. Apparently, the audiobook is particularly enjoyable because Mercer himself reads it. With the audiobook, you will not only 'hear' his way of speaking in the words on the written page but you will literally hear them. Find your copy Rick Mercer's Talking to Canadians of the book on Amazon here

See you
at the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

MORE READING:






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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Lessons in Chemistry Written by Bonnie Garmus ~ A Book Review

Warning Warning Warning:

Lessons in Chemistry is a book that will make you smile, get hot under the collar, shed a tear or two and make you turn the pages and not put it down.

Bonnie Garmus has written this book and it's a winner in my opinion. Today is the day that you can get this book in hardcopy or  you can read it from Kindle Unlimited!



Lessons in Chemistry takes place in the late 1950's early 1960's.  For anyone who grew up during that time period, you know as many women today still know, there is a disconnect in society when it comes to intelligent, talented, women in sciences.  It is getting better these days,  but for Elizabeth Zott life was not easy at all.

Elizabeth was a scientist, a chemist to be exact.  Her intelligence and understanding of complicated chemical processes is far superior to many of her male counterparts.  She, herself,  is never taken seriously though!  

She does manage to get a job at a Research Facility and there meets Calvin Evans another scientist who has the same intense understanding of Chemistry as Elizabeth.  He takes her seriously and they work side by side making good progress on their existing projects.  

Falling in love wasn't quite in the books for either Calvin or Elizabeth, science was their first love.  But another type of chemistry starts to blossom.  

Calvin, because of his "elevated" position at Hasting Research, is able to pave the way for Elizabeth to continue working in the research labs.  She has him to thank for the position she currently has.

But, like all things, nothing is static and things are always changing.  When Elizabeth is no longer welcome in the labs(due to changes in her personal life), her natural good looks and a sense of desperation,  take her to afternoon TV and a cooking show.  

There are so many twists and turns coming that I would be giving away too much of the plot to tell you more here.  

Let me just say that I could not put this book down.  

Smart women, glass ceilings, misogenistic groups all play a part in Elizabeth Zott's life.  What she does about it, is what makes this book such a good read.  

Put this book on your "TO READ" list, you won't be disappointed!






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Saturday, March 26, 2022

One Step Too Far – Book Review

 Book 2 in the new Frankie Elkin mystery series by Lisa Gardner. 



Last June I reviewed Book 1 (Before She Disappeared) in the Frankie Elkin series. At last, Book 2 has arrived ~ One Step Too Far


Frankie Elkin is a recovering alcoholic who travels the country searching for missing people. She does this for no money or recognition. Her reason is known only to her, but she feels compelled to search for those whom the police have given up on due to too many other cases that CAN be solved, and when the public no longer remembers and the media has never bothered to care. 


Synopsis of One Step Too Far


Wyoming Wilderness -Image Source: Pixabay

A young man goes missing in the wilderness of Wyoming. He and his 3 best friends had gone on a camping trip in the mountains for his bachelor party prior to getting married. The trip was Timothy O'Day's choice of a pre-wedding time with his friends. Tim was a very experienced camper who knew the woods and surrounding wilderness well. 

A set of circumstances caused Tim to leave the campsite and somehow disappear completely. He left behind his guilt-ridden groomsmen, two heartbroken parents, and a pile of clues that don't make any sense. Numerous searches were conducted, yet no trace of him was ever found.

Five years later, Tim's father is organizing one last search in an attempt to find what surely has to be nothing but bones now. But it's time for closure. The rescue team is made up of eight people, including the 3 best friends from that fateful night, a trained woodsman friend of the father, an experienced guide and a woman with her search & rescue trained dog.

Frankie Elkin doesn't know the woods, but she knows how to find people. She joins the rescue team, despite their reluctance. As they hike into the mountains, it becomes apparent that something dangerous is at work in the woods. Someone seems to be trying to stop their search. Time is running out and Frankie and the search party soon discover that evil waits for those who go one step too far..... 


Summary 


Amazon gives mixed reviews of this book. Some readers love it, some hate it. I liked it. I liked the character in the first book in the series and was interested in seeing what happens with Frankie in Book 2. I am also a fan of author Lisa Gardner and her 23 other suspense novels. I enjoy her style of writing. I particularly like the fact that she ends the story, then does another chapter of an Epilogue, filling you in on all the things that happen after a situation is resolved. Many books leave you to wonder. Lisa answers the questions you may have been left with. 

So, if you are a Lisa Gardner fan and like suspense stories with a continuing character, I recommend One Step Too Far. I would suggest you begin with Book 1 – Before She Disappeared – as the author makes a few references to things that happened to Frankie on her first missing person's case in Boston. 


Related Links of Lisa Gardner Book Reviews:




*Book Review of One Step Too Far written by Wednesday Elf




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Thursday, March 24, 2022

Book Review Smoke on the Whiteadder

 

This thrilling historical novel takes place in Scotland in the 1500's.  It is very well researched and in addition to following the  tale of the Cowan family you will learn about historical figures such as Mary Queen of Scotts, Queen Elizabeth, King James I, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many more memorable people from this time period.  

The Plot Line

     The story follows the lives of the Cowan family who live in Chirnside, Berwickshire, Scotland in the estate called Edington.  They are tenants of Sir Lauder.  Sir Lauder lives in the castle on the  manor and his tenants live on his property in meager housing.  They tend the land around their homes and pay a portion of their income as rent to Sir Lauder.  Sir Lauder has great control over his tenants including what they plant and what animals they have.
      In this book we are first introduced to Paul Cowan, as he is meeting with Sir Lauder for his report of his crops.  In the book we follow the joys and sorrows of the family through three generations.  We rejoice in the marriages and births and are sad when death, famine and home burnings are way too prevalent through the years.  The book shows how the political and religious turmoil of the times effects the family and their lifestyle.

The Book on Amazon

Here is a link to the book which can be purchased through Amazon both as a paperback and in electronic form.  Smoke on the Whiteadder

The Author's Notes

The author's notes are of course at the end of the book, so I didn't realize that the Cowans were a real family until I got to that point.  For me, this made the story even more interesting,  Here is a quote from the author's notes.
     "This family saga is based on the genealogial journey of my maternal ancestors, the Cowans.  It necessarily includes mention of related families as they encoountered the Cowans.  Consequently, you will be introduced to people with many other surnames.
     I like to put my stories in context with the broader social picture, especially as it describes the conditions that resulted in particular actions on the part of the story's charcters.  For this reason, the book includes vignettes about people like Henry VIII, Mary I, known as Bloody Mary, Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh and many more."

My Recommendation

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I found  it very compelling and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  I am looking forward to the next book by the author where he continues on with the story of the Cowans.




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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Bluebird by Genevieve Graham ~ A Book Review

Bluebird is a story that just fills a whole bunch of "MUST HAVES" for a book that I would recommend.  I was given an "Advanced Readers Copy" through Netgalley (https://www.netgalley.com)

Reading is one pleasure that I enjoy immensely and now that I am retired it is what I consider my "job".  So I'm happy to be a member of Netgalley and help authors by reading their books and commenting on them!  It helps the authors to know that they are on the right track and gives them feedback before that book is actually published.

Genevieve Graham is not new to writing and has many other books under her belt.  Bluebird is the latest and will be available  April 5th of this year 2022!  

 



Synopsis:  What happens when a home renovator finds a stash of ancient looking bottles that have been hidden in a wall!  The wall is coming down as part of the renos and the stash is uncovered in the process.  It looks like these bottles are full of something, but what?  Bailey Brother's Best is on the label and whiskey is the scent that follows.  Who has ever heard of Bailey Brother's Best?  

Guessing that the local museum might have some answers, Cassie, the Curator of the museum, is astounded  and eager to solve the mystery of the hidden bottles.  She is actually quite stunned by what Matthew Flaherty (the renovator) has brought to her attention.  She knows some of the history, but not all of it.  Given her own history, she is very eager indeed to find out more.  

As you read this book you will relive some of the horrors of World War 1, and the hardships that the men endured.  You will also learn about the "Bluebirds", the nursing staff that saw as much of the horrors of war as the men who fought.  The Bluebirds was a nickname given to them because of the uniforms they wore.  Many a man was thankful for the services that these strong women performed during their confinement. I'm sure that more than one of them fell in love with the caring nursing staff too! 

I don't want to give too much of the story away because I know that you will be totally enthralled and captivated by what is happening in and out of the trenches during the war and then the return to civilization when the war is over.

This book is a history lesson, a mystery, and a love story all rolled up into a great book!  Not only is it a great read, but, because of the times, so much was changing  all around.  Hemlines were going up, dancing was becoming wilder, booze was illegal and women were becoming independent,  It was a brave new world that these men were coming home to.  

 I know for a fact that you will enjoy this as much as I did.  I could not put it down.  Congratulations to Ms. Graham on this book, it's another one that needs to be read by many.


Also By Genevieve Graham:

Letters Across the Sea

The Forgotten Home Child

At the Mountain's Edge

Come From Away

Promises to keep

Tides of Honour

Somewhere to Dream

Sounds of the Heart

Under the Same Sky

Bluebird Available April 5, 2022!






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