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

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Book Review of The Golden Cup: A Cornwall Family Saga

 

Image by falco from Pixabay 


The Mysterious Photograph

This family saga by Marcia Millett is set on the north coast of Cornwall. It begins and ends with an American man who brings a letter and photograph to Mrs. Honor Trevannion, better known to her family as Mutt. She is a widow who had returned to her husband Huber's family home, Paradise, after his death in India, bringing his two young children, Bruno and Emma. Only Bruno and Mutt knew Mutt and Emma weren't who they were supposed to be. Huber's family had never met his wife. The reader knows from almost the beginning something is fishy. Because of the letters. 

Mutt and Bruno were knowingly living a lie that affected everyone around them. The American with the photograph, Dan Crosby, led all those affected by the lie unknowingly to the truth. He was seeking news of his great-aunt Madeleine Grosjean. 

As the story begins Mutt was recovering from an infected broken ankle and was in bed.  Mousie, a close family friend and  her nurse, did not let Dan in to see her. He left the letter and photo and said he'd return the next weekend.



Why Deceive?

Mutt (Madeleine) had assumed the identity of Honor Travannion suddenly in 1946. She and Honor had been nurses together in India when Honor, her husband Huber, and their young daughter Emma had died of an illness. They had been planning to go back to America and had the papers to leave. Emma was the same age as Madeleine's daughter Lottie. 

There was much civil unrest and it was likely that foreigners who remained might die in the violence. To protect herself, her child Lottie, and Honor and Huber's child Bruno, Madeleine made the quick decision to use the papers to get all of them safely out of the country. Lottie became Emma. She was too young to remember being Lottie. They returned to Bruno's family and home in Cornwall. Madeleine lived with the constant fear of being discovered. 

Bruno already loved Mutt and Emma (Lottie). They and their parents had  been like family to each other in India, so it made sense for them to stay together. But both Mutt and Bruno knew they had a secret they had to keep. That's pretty hard for a five-year-year old, but he said nothing except when he and Mutt were together. 

By the time the American arrived with the photo, Emma and Bruno had grown up. Emma was married with a grown daughter, Joss. Bruno was separated from his wife. Mutt was on her deathbed. And Joss, had read the letters. 


The Letters

Mutt had been lonely after moving to Cornwall. She missed the company of her sister Vivian. The photo the American had brought was the picture of a double wedding in which Madeleine and Vivian were the brides. Vivian lived in America with her husband and family.
 
In her loneliness, Mutt began to write to her. Writing the letters helped her connect to her past self, but she realized she should not mail them.So they piled up where she had hidden them in her desk.

 After the American came, she remembered them and asked Joss to find them. She didn't ask Joss to read them, but she couldn't resist. The letters told the entire story. Then she let Bruno know she had read them and that he needed to read them. They had determined Emma should never know, but things don't always play out as planned. 


Should You Read This Book?

If you like well-developed characters and the fun of unraveling family threads and motivations, you probably will enjoy The Golden Cup. But be ready to spend some time getting the characters sorted out. It's a bit confusing at first because there is a large cast of characters in Cornwall. They are all important to the plot. I'm glad I didn't let the beginning bog me down and discourage me from reading further. All in all it was a very satisfying book. I'd enjoying walking along the paths around Paradise to to Bruno's Lookout with Joss, Mousie, and Bruno. There are also a few romantic threads that have readers hoping they work out. 

The setting is gorgeous. It made me want to visit the Cornwall coast. It's obvious that all who live at Paradise, the family home, and on the rest of the family estate, love their land and the beauty around them. 

However some of the younger generation and Emma's husband, an outsider, would be willing to trade it for more wealth. That makes the legalities of everyone's identity important when Mutt finally dies and the search for her will ensues. Most agree on who should inherit what, but the real issue is the amount of inheritance tax. Everyone worries about what they might have to sell to pay the tax and who might lose their homes. 

As I read, I got to know a solid family bound together by shared history even where there was no blood connection. Even when the secret was exposed, it did not break their connection. Out of tragedy love survived, sacrificed, and nourished. And one wonders what would have happened if Madeleine had not become Honor.



Image by falco from Pixabay, modified







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Friday, May 14, 2021

Timeless Treasure by MaryLu Tyndall Reviewed

The book, Timeless Treasure by MaryLu Tyndall, took me by surprise! 

I have read several books by Tyndall and always loved them.  She is one of my favorite authors because I know I can depend on her for a great story with clean content. However, Timeless Treasure is more than a great story.  It is an exceptional historical fiction that I would highly recommend.

When I read historical fiction, I want historical accuracy.  Tyndall certainly did her "homework" for Timeless Treasure.  The story is based on a real pirate, Stede Bonnet, who was executed in 1718.  The author built a romantic story around Bonnet's real life with a fictitious tale of why he turned to pirating even though he was a well educated, wealthy landowner, married and with children. 

So many things in Bonnet's real life story seem unexpected, contradictory, perhaps even unbelievable, but they were true.  He was factually known as "The Gentleman Pirate" because of his own behavior, yet his association with Blackbeard, who was certainly no gentleman, is well documented. It should also be noted that he knew nothing about sailing prior to becoming a pirate.

The fictional suggestion that he was in love with someone other than his wife and wished to secure a separate fortune to support their life together, would be a plausible explanation for why a wealthy gentleman would turn pirate. Thus the reason this book is exceptional! 

 

Timeless Treasure Synopsis

 Chapter One takes place present day and introduces us to a decedent of Stede Bonnet.  Lexie Cain has just returned from her mother's funeral to a home where she is no longer welcome since it belongs to her step-father.  She is there only to retrieve an ancestral chest containing photos, school papers, a scrapbook, and some old letters. Flipping through the letters she discovers they were written by Bonnet. Those letters change the course of her life.

The opening paragraphs of chapter two introduce us to Stede Bonnet and the woman he loves, Melody, at the burial site of his firstborn son. We discover just how bereaved, miserable and unhappy Stede is with his life.  When Melody informs him that her father is moving her family away from Barbados to Charles Town, a city in the colony of Carolina, Stede's desperation intensifies. He must do something to change the course of his life.

Current day Lexie Cain moves to Charleston in the hopes of finding buried pirate treasure.  She gets a job in the local museum, takes the first "Bonnet" letter to a college history professor for authentication, and then finds herself the target of criminals.

As Lexie reads through the letters with the professor, Barret Johnson, we are all hearing Bonnet's tales of piracy, his longing for a life with Melody, and his plans for a happy future together.  In spite of the fact that we know from the beginning that Bonnet is hung, we hold on to the hope that it was somehow not him that was executed. That he somehow managed to find the happiness he so desperately sought.

_______________________

 

There is no way I will tell you more of the story, yet there is so much more than this brief introduction of the book, including the romance that develops between Lexie & Barrett.  

I would never wish to ruin this marvelous book for anyone else.  You deserve to be able to "walk" through this adventure for yourself.  It would be dastardly indeed for me to rob you of this experience and I refuse to do that.  After all, I am no pirate!


Books by MaryLu Tyndall Previously Reviewed

The Liberty Bride


Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




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Monday, May 3, 2021

Book Review - The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson

Have you ever read a book that makes it hard to start another book because you have a hard time moving on from the characters that you just finished reading about? Or a book that was so good that you read it at least one more time? The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel is one of those books for me. I have started reading it for a second time. This novel, inspired by historical programs and people, includes issues of remote Appalachian living in the 1930s, literacy, poverty, spinsterhood, and the impact of having a different skin color. This is the personal story of one woman's life. A woman who is both astonishingly brave and who is as uncertain as most of the rest of us.

Historical Fiction Review on ReviewThisReviews.com

I was hooked from the opening paragraph:

"The librarian and her mule spotted it at the same time. The creature's ears shot up, and it came to a stop so sudden its front hooves skidded out, the pannier slipping off, spilling out the librarian's books. An eddy of dirt and debris lifted, stinging the woman's eyes. The mule struggled to look upward, backward, anywhere other than at the thing in front of it."    -- The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Cussy Mary Carter lived with her father in their one-room log house in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. Her mother had passed away and her father was desperate to find a husband for his grown daughter. While his goal of her being a respectful woman and safe as someone's wife, it did not fit with her chosen career of librarian. A pack horse librarian to be exact.

From 1935 to 1943, The Pack Horse Library Project ran through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) (part of President Roosevelt's New Deal programs. The WPA focused on work relief programs). Librarians were hired to circulate books to families on their routes. The routes were up to 18 - 20 miles per day and the librarians rode these routes on horseback. The routes were often rugged and dangerous but the librarians were determined.

Cussy Mary was devoted to the families along her route. All of her families. Those who were avid readers as well as hesitant readers. She was often the only outside contact families would have for long periods of time. She was a hero to these families.

She was also a pariah. Cussy Mary was one of Kentucky's Blue People. I had never heard of this family group who (partly due to geographical region and partly genetic) had noticeably blue skin. Superstitious people in the region blamed the blue people for bad things that happened. These people were shunned, ignored, or abused. The opening of this story includes a victim of a hanging.

When testing and a possible "cure" for Cussy Mary's colored skin is offered she finds that fitting in may or may not be as easy as the doctor would lead her to believe. She has some difficult decisions to make. 

From the Author:

After the end of the novel, Kim Michele Richardson includes very interesting information in her Author's Notes.  She writes:

"I've modified one historical date in the story so I could include relevant information about medical aspects and discoveries"

In other words, The Pack Horse Project was not ongoing when the "cure" for Cussy Mary's blue skin was discovered. 

At times, when I notice that an author adjusted factual information in order to create a more interesting story I am a bit disappointed. But in this case, I was not bothered.  In fact, I was very interested by the information about the causes and cure of the congenital disease. I am still amazed that prior to this book, I had never heard of either the Pack Horse Project librarians or the Blue Fugates of Kentucky and the things they experienced in their daily lives. 

Other Recommendations:

The ReviewThis! contributors clearly love to read. Click our Book Reviews tab at the top of this page to see all our collective book reviews.

A few other historic fiction reviews I have written are: Galway Bay (a must-read that begins in Ireland during the potato famine),  Chesapeake (a James Michener tale that is set on the Chesapeake Bay and spans 400 years), and Nickel's Luck (a cast of fictional characters living in the real town of Indianola, Texas in the 1800s. Indianola is no more and I bawled learning the history of that town and it's people). 





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Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Last Mrs Parrish - A Book Review

The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine is a book about Amber, Daphne & Jackson.   It's a book where entitlement leads to manipulation and manipulation has its consequences.


The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine



I love that I've discovered a new author in Liv Constantine she (or I should say they) captures Amber's character really well and as you're reading it you so want Daphne to find out.   As the twist comes you almost want to read it again to see how one of the characters (with your fresh information) isn't actually the person you thought.

This kept me up reading late into the night even though I knew I had work the next day there was just no way I could put it up!  Amber reminded me a little of Tom Ripley and I found the duplicity of the novel absolutely delicious, I would never have known that this was a debut novel.

After reading the book I discovered that Liv Constantine was actually two sisters writing as a partnership, luckily they have written a few more books which will definitely be added to my long, must-read list.

I'll leave you with this, Amber's father really should have warned her to beware of the green-eyed monster that calls itself envy.

I read this as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership and I thoroughly recommend this if you're a voracious reader, I think of it as a library card for Amazon!




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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Cotillion Brigade: A Novel of the Civil War - A Book Review

 Historical Novels seems to be my latest niche for reading!

I love reading stories of bygone times and how life was lived in those days.  It takes me a while to get my mindset on the times, but once I 'm there, it's like I'm living it right along with all the characters in the book.  To me, this is part of what makes reading so enjoyable.  

The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney, is the latest Historical Novel that I have slipped into.  
 
Cotillion Brigade



Set in the South, this book will take you on a "tour of duty" that several  Southern women joined.  Now everyone has pictures in their minds of the South during the time of the Civil War.  Large plantations, huge homes, gaily dressed ladies who spend their afternoons doing needlepoint or watercolors, or some such hobby, while their homes are being looked after by the slave help.  No one in the South thought that this "silly" war would last more than a few months.  They were wrong, so wrong!

Grand parties and lots of social engagements are the norm for the plantation owners and their families.  But something is afoot!  There is talk about abolishing the Slave Trade and all of the Southerners are in Disbelief that anything like this could happen.  Even with the Underground Railways and slaves being moved to the north, no one thought that a Civil War would last any length of time.  

Well today we know what happened and that the South lost the Civil War and slavery was indeed abolished.

During the War though, there was much  discussion about what would be happening to their so well ordered lives.  No one thought that the war would last for 4 years at the onset.  But it did and the men of the South were gone from their homes and families, leaving their wives and girlfriends alone.

Who was going to protect them?  Certainly not the slaves as they were very eager to be free.   So what was to become of these plantations during the invasions of the army from the North?  

Well as genteel women did not do any kinds of manual work, it was up to a small handful of "progressive" thinking women to organize themselves.  They needed to be able to defend what was theirs.  After all, they were alone and everything that was theirs could become part of the invading army's arsenals.  But who was going to teach them how to defend themselves, especially under these circumstances.

Glen Craney takes us on a journey with the Women of the South and their determination to protect their homes and themselves!  

The "Nancy Harts" were a group of women from LaGrange Georgia, who when their husbands and brothers had all left for the war, organized themselves to protect what was theirs.  While many of them had never needed the skills to shoot a gun, when left to fend for themselves, they needed all the help they could get.  Nancy Morgan Hart (whom this band of women were named after) was originally from Pennsylvania (not historically proven).  She was a strong woman who had the skills that her contemporaries were lacking!  She was adept at using what was at her disposal to feed and help the women to survive!  She was a great marksperson and taught her friends to shoot.  While they were not officially part of the army, they trained and trained as if they were! These women were always to be at the ready, for invasion from the North.  
Review this Reviews.com
                                                                                    Photo taken from Wikipedia!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Hart


Not only did they protect their homes and town, but they also learned how to take care of their wounded soldiers as well.  

These women managed to keep their town from being ravaged by a war that was going on all around them and even to capture some of the Yankees!  

Glen Craney has done a great job in taking us into the heart of what it must have been like for these "genteel" ladies, who had been left to care for themselves.  It is an interesting and very well written story that we don't think too much about today.  

The Nancy Harts, did themselves proud during four years of deprivation and managed to spare their homes and families until the end of the war!  

This book is well worth reading and I'm sure you will learn something about the history of this time period as well.  

Thanks Glen Craney for a book that was easy to sink my teeth into!



  


 
 
 If you would like a copy of the book it is available right here!

This book was made available to me by Glen Craney, and an honest review was promised!




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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Story of Walt Disney World Book Review

The Story of Walt Disney World: A book review of the 1971 souvenir book, which features pictures, information and illustrations of the park when it first opened.

Walt Disney World enthusiasts are always wanting to learn more about one of the world's most famous destinations.  This book, The Story of Walt Disney World, is a big square paperback book with 50 pages of information, lots of photographs and even a few colorful illustrations from the park. The first page has the date of October 25, 1971. I believe it was probably released as a souvenir to celebrate the opening of the theme park, which occurred on October 1, 1971.

The first page includes a dedication taken from the plaque in Town Square on Main Street at Walt Disney World by Roy Disney O. Disney that reads, "Walt Disney World is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney...and to the talents, the dedication and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney's dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place...a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn together."  If you have experienced the park, you know that Disney delivered on those promises. Millions and millions of people have visited, enjoyed and created many fond memories of time spent at the park. 

This vintage book offers a look at what the park offered and looked like when it first opened and even includes a map from the year 1971. A lot has changed since then! 

The Story of Walt Disney World would make a wonderful gift idea for those who have fond memories of visiting the park in the past or for those who are interested in the history of the park. You will find The Story of Walt Disney World on eBay by clicking right here.

See you
on eBay!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Disney:

Grab a sketch-themed 20th Anniversary Toy Story coffee mug.

The Story of Walt Disney World: Discover things about the park when it was first opened!




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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Book Review of The Ali Reynolds Series by J. A. Jance


Author J. A. (Judith) Jance is the best-selling author of 3 mystery series and four inter-related thrillers featuring the Walker family.


This review is about her Ali Reynolds series.


Characters


Ali Reynolds – Main Character


Ali Reynolds is the main character is this series of suspense stories. Once a well-known TV News Anchor in L.A., Ali returns to her hometown of Sedona, Arizona after her career and her marriage come to sudden ends. 



Bob and Edie Larson – Ali's Parents


Ali grew up in Sedona where her parents run the Sugarloaf Cafe, a restaurant started years ago by her grandmother and later inherited and run by her parents and her mother's twin sister. 


Ali's parents and the Sugarloaf Cafe play a large part in each book in the series. Some special culinary delights of the Sugarloaf Cafe are mentioned throughout this series of books. Interested readers may want to check out the 'Sugarloaf Cafe' section on the J.A. Jance author website for fun background stories and recipes. 


Christopher


Ali has a grown son, Chris, who is just finishing college as the series begins. Chris, who had been living in California with his mother, eventually also returns to Sedona and takes a job at the local high school as a teacher. He is also a metal artist.  As the series progresses, Chris meets a fellow teacher, Althena, falls in love and gets married. Thus, Althena then also becomes a regular character in the series. 


Other Regular Characters


Leland Brooks – an English Butler who is introduced early in the series and becomes an integral part of each subsequent story. Aged, but entirely capable, Mr. Brooks becomes Ali's personal assistant when she takes over the house where he worked as a butler to a wealthy lady and her daughter for many years. 


Dave Holman – A good friend of Ali's who works for the local Sheriff's Department.


Sister Anselm. A Sisters of Providence Catholic Nun who works as a patient advocate for severely injured or ill patients who arrive unidentified and/or are non-English speaking. Sister Anselm speaks a number of languages and helps translate needed information between patient and hospital personnel. She also helps locate the patient's relatives. Sister Anselm is introduced several books into the series and quickly becomes a good friend to Ali. Thereafter, she becomes another regular character in subsequent Ali Reynolds books.


Bishop Francis Gillespie.  Sister Anselm's superior. Introduced to the series in the same book as Sister Anselm, he becomes another favorite character in the series. 


Bartholomew Simpson – Computer Expert


B. Simpson, known simply as B. due to the unfortunate connotation related to his name matching that of a cartoon character (Bart Simpson), is an expert computer  programmer (and sometimes Hacker) who owns and runs a successful cyber-security company called High Noon Enterprises in Sedona.  When Ali needs help in one of her investigations, B. comes to her aid with his computer skills. As the series progresses, B. eventually becomes much more than just a friend. B's computer skills also often help solve crimes Ali becomes involved in. 


Other characters who start out in the early books in minor roles ,and soon become regular characters in subsequent books, include computer experts Stu Ramsey and Cami Lee of B's company High Noon Enterprises. 


Summary


Edge of Evil - Book 1 


In the first book in the series “Edge of Evil“ Ali finds herself caught up in an investigation into the death of her best friend. While evidence appears to point to the death being a suicide, Ali discovers that her friend was actually murdered. By the time Ali figures out who the murderer was, she is almost murdered herself.


The subsequent books in the series feature a continuing story.  Each book can be read as a 'stand alone' novel, but be forewarned that references in each book refer back to past stories. Thus, it is best to begin with Book One and read forward to understand who all the characters are and how they interact. Besides, the characters are as interesting as the stories themselves.  


The Ali Reynolds Books in Order


Ali Reynolds Books


Ali (Alison) Reynolds, a 40-something newscaster fired for aging by a Los Angeles TV network, who returns to her hometown of Sedona, Arizona, and takes up blogging (and subsequent crime solving):


  1. Edge of Evil (2006)
  2. Web of Evil (2007)
  3. Hand of Evil (2007)
  4. Cruel Intent (2008)
  5. Trial by Fire  (2009)
  6. Fatal Error (2001)
  7. Left for Dead (2012)
  8. Deadly Stakes (2013)
  9. Moving Target (2014)
  10. Cold Betrayal (2015)
  11. Claw Back (2016)
  12. Man Overboard (2017)
  13. Duel to the Death (2018)
  14. The A List (2019)
  15. Credible Threat (2020)



Ali Reynolds Book #16

NOTE: Ali Reynolds Book #16 – due out June 1, 2021

I highly recommend this Ali Reynolds series, and any and all of the books by J.A. (Judith) Jance to mystery readers everywhere. Especially for those who enjoy having a woman as the main character. 


Related Links:



The Ali Reynolds Series by J.A. Jance – book series review by (c) Wednesday Elf






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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Reviewing Sidney Sheldon’s Mistress of the Game by Tilly Bagshawe

 

As a teenager I read Sidney Sheldon’s Bloodline, I was hooked on his books from that time onwards.   When he passed away in 2007 I thought we would never hear anything else about the Blackwell Clan.   Enter Tilly Bagshawe...

Book Review Sidney Sheldon's MIstress of the Game by Tilly Bagshawe
I had read a couple of Tilly Bagshawe's books and thoroughly enjoyed them (if you like the chick lit genre then give her a read).  So when I was in a local bookshop quite a few years ago (after Sidney Sheldon's death) and saw that Tilly Bagshawe had written a sequel to Master of the Game I just knew I would love it.   For some reason didn't end up buying the book (Mistress of the Game) then and managed to forget all about it until earlier this year.

I was on a weekend away and discovered a lovely little shop that had used books in the back, old records in the middle, and served takeaway coffee at the front!   As I'm looking at the books I came across this book again and this time I was not going to let it get away, I was determined to read it!

I am so glad that I got it and it was easily read on a Sunday afternoon and I have to say I loved it.   Tilly Bagshawe may have written it, but if her name wasn’t on the cover I would’ve thought it was Sidney Sheldon himself.   I felt she captured the characters really, really well.

Whereas The Master of the Game was centred on matriarch Kate Blackwell, the Mistress of the Game is her great-granddaughter Lexi Templeton.  Breathing life into the Blackwell clan Tilly Bagshawe allows us once again to get caught up in the twists and turns of the Blackwell family and the massive family company Kruger-Brent.

Fans of Sidney Sheldon will really enjoy this book and if you enjoy following family sagas then maybe you should read it too.   Although I did read Master of the Game (it was many, many years ago) I believe that you could easily enjoy this book as a stand-alone book.  There were so many twists and turns that it will make you grateful for your own family!

This book includes manipulation, kidnapping, murder, deception, and mental illness.   I haven’t read a family saga in a while, but this book has me feeling like reaching for a few more of this style of books.   I may even have to revisit Sidney Sheldon’s books, I definitely have to read a few more of Tilly Bagshawe’s books (her sister Lousie Bagshawe is also an author in this vein).

How Did Tilly Bagshawe Come to Write Sidney Sheldon Books?

Tilly has written two other books based on Sidney Sheldon's and from reviews I've read it seems as though she has again captured his characters really well.   There is a very good reason for that - she was a massive fan of Sidney Sheldon and actually wrote to him when she had finished her first book and he wrote back (she still has the letter).   

When Sidney Sheldon passed away the Sheldon family thought it would be a great idea to get someone to keep his characters alive.   Tilly Bagshawe and Sidney Sheldon actually shared a publishing agency (his agent was the father of hers).   The family was really happy with Mistress of the Game and the way in which Tilly has definitely written it in his style as opposed to her own.

How to Best Enjoy Mistress of the Game

This book is best enjoyed when you have time to kick your feet up and read without interruptions, accompanied by a lovely big mug of tea and something yummy to snack on.  I enjoyed Chamomile tea and homemade chocolate mint cookies, but here’s some other suggestions:


 

Peppermint TeaPeppermint Tea
A refreshing tea that is perfect for drinking while reading a good book on a lazy afternoon. There's just something about the smell and taste of mint that is pretty special.


Aveda Tea ReviewedAveda Tea Reviewed
Aveda tea is a herbal tea that combines licorice with peppermint, I haven't actually tried this brand before but I have had other teas that combine these two and would imagine that like them this would be a refreshing and sweet tea to enjoy


Arbonne Essentials Herbal TeaArbonne Essentials Herbal Tea
I enjoy a cup (well actually a mug) of this tea every single day, it is really delicious while also having a lot of great health benefits to drinking it so why not enjoy a healthy tea while reading?


Carrot Cake CupcakesCarrot Cake Cupcakes
If you love carrot cake then this cupcakes are a great idea as a snack while reading - being cupcakes you could hold them in one hand so that you don't have to put your book down and being carrot cake .... well you just know they'll be delicious!


Dream Bars Cookie RecipeDream Bars Cookie Recipe
Tea, cookies and reading really go well together and these dream bars sound like a great alternative to whipping up a batch of choc chip cookies or opening a packet of custard creams. With coconut, nuts and brown sugar in the ingredients you just know this will be moorish.


Homemade Cinnamon RollsHomemade Cinnamon Rolls
If getting time to read a book uninterrupted is a rare occasion then why not plan well and bake some cinnamon rolls ahead of time for an indulgent snack as you eat, my mouth is drooling just thinking about them!





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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Book Review: A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance

 

A Splendid Ruin


I just finished a wonderful historical novel by Megan Chance and I couldn't wait to start this post and review it for you.  The novel takes place in San Francisco before and after the historic earthquake of 1906.

Plot Synopsis


The story unfolds as May Kimble, whose mother has died, leaves New York and travels to San Francisco to live with relatives she didn't even know existed. When she arrives she finds her relatives living in luxury and she is introduced to a life she only dreamed existed.  Her cousin Goldie takes her under her wing and introduces her to society and everything about San Francisco.  Goldie helps her shop for a new wardrobe, introduces her to all her friends, and takes her to see the sights of the city.  For the first time May wears beautiful gowns and attends balls.



As the plot continues to unfold May sees that everything is not what it seems and she may be in real danger.  She wonders who she can really trust and must use her wits to survive a possible terrible future.  How will she escape?  This is a compelling novel that shows just what a human being must endure in order to survive.

Main Characters


This book is full of interesting characters.  Of course there is May who is a talented undiscovered artist. 

May's relatives the Sullivans are certainly interesting.  Goldie the cousin who is all about being in societies limelight.  Uncle Jonny  is so generous to May, but is there an ulterior motive?    Aunt Florence  is May's mothers sister.  Why is she so ill she cannot visit with May?  There are so many questions May wants to ask her about her Mother and Father.  In the Sullivan household are several servants and one in particular, Shinn, is a big help to May.

Other characters of interest include Ellis Farge, an architect who admires May's artwork and Stephen Oelrichs, an attorney and Goldie's former fiance. Then there is Alphonse Bandersnitch, a writer for the society pages of the newspaper.  Don't you just love that name?  Bandersnitch is not his real name and everyone is trying to guess his identity.  He does a great job of remaining anonymous even while attending all of the society happenings around town.

Recommendation


I could go on and on talking about the book, but I don't want to spoil it for you.  Let me just say it is full of mystery and intrique with lots of twists and turns.  I recommend this as a must read!



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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Homeplace Saga Books Reviewed


The Homeplace Saga Books Reviewed

Author William Leverne Smith has Integrated his deep passion for genealogy study and family history into the Homeplace Saga series of books. He has created this fictional community and brings the characters to life in this four-book series.

Back to the Homeplace

Murder by the Homeplace

The Homeplace Revisited

Christmas at the Homeplace

Back to the Homeplace

The book begins in February of 1987, just after Mildred Bevins has passed away. The funeral and the unusual terms of the will of Frank and Mildred Bevins bring all four children and their families back to the family farm, The Homeplace.

The farm is located in Oak Springs Missouri in the Ozark Mountains and has been in the family for over 150 years. Bart Bevins is especially concerned about the terms of the will, as he is the only one who stayed in Oak Springs to run the family farm. 

You will meet and come to know each member of the Bevins family. Learn about their different backgrounds, their family secrets, and see how each of them struggles to hold onto their share of the family legacy. All while dealing with their own family secrets and problems.


Murder by the Homeplace

This is a short story that begins one week after the end of “Back to the Homeplace” A body is found on the Bevins property. This brings some of the secondary characters from the first novel to the main characters in this short story.  Introducing Penny Nixon a part-time reporter for the local newspaper. Penny springs into action and begins a series of interviews hoping for a story when the body is found. Penny is warned by her father who is also the editor of the newspaper to keep it to a human-interest story and do not get too involved. You will see how dangerously close that she comes to interviewing the real killer.


The Homeplace Revisited

The family saga continues, now in 1996 nine years later. The family has survived so much conflict, but there is more to come. 

Learn how the grandchildren of Frank and Mildred Bevins carry on, side by side with their parents to run the family business now known as the“The Bevins Trust”.

 How they continue the family legacy and continue to build Oak Springs into a thriving small community of family and friends. 

Christmas at the Homeplace

Continued in 1996 Karen (Bevins) Winslow the oldest daughter of Frank and Mildred is expecting all of her children to return home to Oak Springs for Christmas. Will they all make it? Find out, along with some other surprises that may change the inner workings of the family business “The Bevins Trust”. This one was special to me, as I finished reading it on Christmas Eve.

For me, these four books were a wonderful read, as I have a big family myself. Oak Springs and the characters in these books were so real to me; it was like I lived there and knew every one of them.

This series of books takes you on a journey with the Bevins family,  starting in February of 1987 and ending in December of 1996.

The author places news blurbs at the beginning of every chapter. I enjoyed reading what was in the news on that day. So the reader has a little history lesson.

A quote from the author William Leverne Smith: “May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind.”

Find more Book Reviews here: ReviewThisBooks.com




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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Crisis by Felix Francis – Book Review




The title given to a book often reflects what the story is about. And sometimes the meaning of the title only becomes clear as you read further into the story.


In Crisis, a horse-racing thriller by Felix Francis, we learn in the opening paragraph that the main character, Harrison Foster (known as Harry), is a legal consultant and that his specialty is crisis management. 


And today's crisis involved a murder – not that anyone knew it at the time.


Synopis


Harry is sent by his London firm to Newmarket, the well-known center of thoroughbred horse racing in England, to investigate a fire which destroyed a stable block in the Chadwick family's stables and killed seven very valuable horses. One of the horses – Prince of Troy – was the odds-on favorite for the Derby. Turns out that there is far more to the  'simple' fire than initially thought when human remains are found in the burned out shell of the stable.  Since all the stable staff are accounted for, who is the mystery victim?


Harry knows almost nothing about horses; indeed, he actively dislikes them. But since he represents Prince of Troy's Middle Eastern owner who wishes to learn the circumstances surrounding his prize horse's death, Harry is thrust unwillingly into the world of thoroughbred racing. 


Soon it is clear to Harry that the Chadwick family who own the stables where the horses died in the fire is a dysfunctional racing dynasty. There is deep resentment between the generations and sibling rivalry is rife beneath a thin crust of respectability. As Harry delves deeper into the unanswered questions surrounding the fire, and as he learns more about the secrets held by the Chadwick family, his life is put in danger. Can he solve the riddle before he is bumped off by the fallout?


Author Felix Francis


Author Felix Francis
Felix Francis is a British author, son of the famed author Dick Francis (former steeplechase jockey for the Queen of England and fictional crime writer of numerous horse-racing mysteries). Felix co-authored with his famous father on the last four of his novels. Since Dick Francis' death in 2010, Felix has continued writing Dick Francis Novels in the same vein, with 9 current books to date.  Number 10 (Iced) will be published in 2021. 




Summary


Crisis is available in
several formats on Amazon


Crisis by Felix Francis is an edge-of-your-seat horse-racing thriller in the Dick Francis tradition.


Related Links:


A book review of Crisis by Felix Francis, written by (c) Wednesday Elf.





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Saturday, March 27, 2021

The Return by Nicholas Sparks – Book Review

The Return by Nicholas Sparks


. . . in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.


The above quote from the jacket of The Return, rather speaks to the meaning of the title of Nicholas Sparks' latest novel.  As always, Sparks brings together fascinating characters and a love story for the ages. 


Synopsis


The Return
By
Nicholas Sparks

The Return is the story of Trevor Benson, an injured Navy doctor, and the two women he meets whose secrets will change the course of his life. 


Trevor has returned to New Bern, North Carolina, to his grandfather's home he has inherited, to try and get his life together after the devastating injuries he received in a mortar blast in Afghanistan.  He finds that the familiarity of the home he spent so many happy childhood hours in, and tending to his grandfather's beloved beehives, is beginning to bring peace and healing back to his life. 


Then things get complicated.  First, he meets Natalie, a local deputy sheriff. From their very first meeting, Trevor feels a connection to her and soon realizes he is falling in love.  But even as Natalie seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains distant and Trevor wonders what she is hiding.


Later, Trevor meets a sullen teenage girl – Callie – who knew his grandfather.  Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances surrounding his grandfather's death, but she appears reluctant to discuss it with him. 


Suddenly a crisis triggers a  race to uncover the true nature of Callie's past.  While attempting to unravel what his grandfather's last cryptic words meant, and to discover the secrets both Callie and Natalie are keeping, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness. 


Author Nicholas Sparks


Author Nicholas Sparks
One of the world's most beloved storytellers, Nicholas Sparks has had over 100 million copies of his books sold, plus has had fifteen #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition, eleven of his books, including Message in a Bottle, have been adapted into major motion pictures. 

You can visit him at NicholasSparks.com




Related Links:

  • Two By Two - a Nicholas Sparks book review by Wednesday Elf
  • The Choice - a Nicholas Sparks movie review by Sylvestermouse Cynthia
  • Safe Haven - a Nicholas Sparks movie and book review by Sylvestermouse Cynthia.



Book Review of The Return is written by (c) Wednesday Elf.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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