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

Friday, August 5, 2022

Silver Dollar Duke: An American Victorian Romance (Hearts of Arizona Book 1) Reviewed

Silver Dollar Duke
I am quickly becoming a big fan of historical fiction books written by Sally Britton. Previously, I read the Supposed Scandal series and loved all three books.  

Silver Dollar Duke is the first book in the "Hearts of Arizona" series and I really enjoyed the story. I have no doubt I will love the next 2 books in this series as well. I plan to start reading the second book, Copper for the Countess, immediately.

I wasn't sure how an American silver dollar would relate to an English duke, but I was rather intrigued by the title. Turns out, the silver dollar played a big part in the duke's life, but I won't ruin that touch of mystery for you by sharing that significance in this review.

This is a rather light, entertaining read that any historical romance fiction fan would enjoy. In most of the books I read, the female is the central focus of the story. While there is a prominent female character, the duke and his childhood dreams are the highlight of this book.

 

Silver Dollar Duke Synopsis

As the second son of a marquess in England, Evan Rounsevell had his life mapped out for him. He knew he would be required to “work” for his father even though all of the family property would be inherited by his older brother, and then his brother's son. 

 Silver Dollar Duke: An American Victorian Romance (Hearts of Arizona Book 1)Check PriceDuke didn't resent the expectations or family obligations, but he did have a lifelong dream. As a child, he had met Buffalo Bill and had seen him perform. Duke wanted to visit the wild west of America and experience being a cowboy firsthand before he was completely entrenched in England. He spent his childhood learning to shoot, practicing lassoing a cow by lassoing sheep, and riding horses. As an adult, he knew he would have to run away for a little while to have the opportunity to make his dream come true. That is exactly what he did! 

Duke quickly found himself running out of money as he traveled across America. He needed a job to continue his adventure and for his return ticket home. When he met the Bolton brothers in Tombstone, Arizona, they offered him a job as a ranch hand on their father’s ranch along with the promise of getting to participate in a cattle drive. Duke was thrilled by this fabulous, once in a lifetime opportunity. It was exactly what he had always desired. 

There were some unexpected experiences in his wild west journey including falling in love with the ranch owner's daughter, Daniella "Dannie" Bolton.

The last thing Dannie needed was another "temporary" man in her life. From the very beginning, Duke had made it clear that he had to return to England. They agreed to be friends and nothing more, but the "best laid plans" often go awry.



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Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Perfect Predator - Book Review


Imagine being on vacation halfway around the world when your robust loved one is suddenly struck down by a mysterious condition that is immediately life-threatening. By the time you can get your partner on a medevac from Egypt, to Germany, and then back home to San Diego, his chances of surviving are slim to none.

The Perfect Predator is as real world as it gets. This medical thriller memoir could soon be your story, or mine. Thomas Patterson's life-or-death struggle against the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the world is no longer an isolated phenomenon. By 2050, someone will die every three seconds as a result of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It's already happening far too often—death by superbug.

By the time Patterson's diagnosis is made, his medical team soon runs out of answers and treatment options. It will be his wife, Steffanie Strathdee, an infectious disease epidemiologist, who refuses to give up... refuses to lose hope. Ultimately, it will be Strathdee's detective work that saves her husband's life.

Sometimes, the way forward is backward. One hundred years ago, before the advent of antibiotics, scientists were exploring phage therapy. Phages, which are viruses that prey on bacteria, though promising, were largely forgotten when antibiotics became the golden drug, the go-to treatment for infections. 

While reading this book, I became completely blown away by the science, and wonder, of phages. They are everywhere (including within our bodies). A single drop of water may host a trillion phages! It turns out the right phage, aka The Perfect Predator, can take down even the deadliest of superbugs. 

With the assistance of a rapidly deployed dream team (including key people from the FDA, Texas A&M University, the Navy, and the University of California San Diego), Strathdee and Patterson achieve an impossible outcome: a sure death is defeated.

If ever there was a timely read, this is it. The Perfect Predator is not only an exceptionally enlightening examination of the state of medicine in a world battling rampant global health emergencies, but it is also the kind of hero's journey that proves the power of one (plus one, plus one). One individual can make a difference, especially in combination with even a small community of people willing to go all out to achieve the impossibly possible. 










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Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Brighter the Light- Book Review

 

The Outer Banks

I always love stories that take place in locations I have seen on my travels.  When I saw Mary Ellen Taylor's latest book takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I was instantly drawn to the book.  The Outer Banks are wonderful and full of beautiful beaches and lighthouses.  I looked forward to an interesting story based on this locale and I was not disappointed.




Main Characters


There are two main characters in this story and the author takes us back and forth between both their stories.

          Ivy


We first meet Ivy when she comes to the Outer Banks to settle things after her grandmother has died.  Ivy had been raised for much of her young life by her grandmother, living in the Outer Banks.  When she graduates from high school she leaves for a new life in New York.

          Ruth


 Ruth is the grandmother, and we meet her through flashbacks to the 1950's when Ruth is running a resort on the Outer Banks.  She is a very colorful character that works hard and runs the resort.   She is an excellent cook who passes on her skills to Ivy.

Summary of Story


At the beginning of the story Ivy is returning to Nags Head, North Carolina in the Outer Banks. She has inherited a beach cottage from her grandmother and now she must return to sell the cottage and sort through all the belongings in the cottage.  Ivy dreads returning and seeing the best friend and ex-boyfriend who betrayed her.

Folk lore from the area talks about a ship that rises from the sea after strong storms and the secrets it holds.  After a storm, Ivy looks out the cottage window and sees the ship has again risen in the tides.  

The secret of the ship is not the only secrets that Ivy uncovers during her stay at the cottage.  She is conflicted about staying after a budding romance and memories from the past resurface.


My Recommendation


I really enjoyed this book.  It had a great setting, interesting characters, and a memorable story line.  I would recommend it for anyone looking for an interesting and thought-provoking summer read.






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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Erin Napier The Lantern House Book Review

Discover HGTV Home Town's Erin Napier's children's picture book - The Lantern House.

Erin Napier’s The Lantern House is exactly what you would expect from a mother who also happens to be the designer of a hugely popular HGTV decorating show like Home Town. It’s a children’s picture book, which tells the story of a house as it becomes a home, effectively sharing the life cycle of a house. 

Napier’s simple, sweet pose combine to take us on the house’s journey. The story starts with a new 1940s-era house and follows as the house grows and develops when a family moves in, when children are born, when they grow up and leave and when the couple grows old until just one of them remains and finally, the family’s ownership or stewardship of the house comes to an end. The house waits until a new family arrives and it starts the process again. There's a lot to think about here. The book shares as a house does both life's happy and life's sad moments.

What started as a story for Erin and Ben Napier’s daughters is now available for all of us to enjoy. According to People magazine, Napier said, "The house is a watcher, a keeper and a guardian of the families that live there.” It starts as a shell but the occupants make it become more human, taking on life along with those who take up home within the walls.

Napier says it seemed natural for her to write a story about a house for her children because she has worked with and learned the story of so many houses. On one page of the book, the family’s daughter is married at the hearth, a story directly taken from the history of the author’s own home. See what the author has to say about the book in this short video:


FAST FACTS:


Author - Erin Napier
Illustrator - Adam Trest
Format - Hardcover picture book
Pages - 40 
Publication Date - May 2022
Publisher - Little Brown
Size - 9 inches x 9 inches x 0.4 inches
ISBN Number - 9780316379601
Age Recommendation - Preschool to Grade 3

The book is illustrated by American artist Adam Trest. He illustrates this particular story with a lively blue house, a red-headed family and a spirited dog that everyone will love.

The Lantern House is a lovely story book for any child, sharing the story of both family and home. However, besides being appropriate for children, I think it would also make an unusual but interesting gift choice for any book-loving young couple taking up residence in a house and beginning the process of growing their own home and family or even for anyone who simply loves houses. Find The Lantern House here on Amazon.

See you
at the bookstore!
Brenda

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Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Match – A Novel by Harlan Coben – Book Review

 

We first met Wilde in The Boy From the Woods, reviewed earlier here on ReviewThisReviews!



In
The Match, Wilde returns in a new thriller by that 'Master of Suspense', Harlan Coben.


Synopsis


Available on Amazon
Readers of The Boy From the Woods may remember that more than thirty years ago Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past, not even his name. He was eventually rescued and raised in a wonderful foster home, but his past remained a mystery. The policeman who first found him named him Wilde because of the way he had been living alone in the woods. He then grew up in a normal household, going to school and making friends, and later serving in the military.  But, despite all this, he still feels he belongs on his own, living in the woods away from the comforts and constraints of modern life. His simplistic life style is lived in the Ramapo Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains located in New Jersey and New York.  He is not completely isolated, as he keeps in touch with friends and the world via computer and cell phone.


But suddenly a DNA match on an online ancestry database brings his lost past closer than he ever dreamed when he finds a match to his father. Wilde tracks his father down only to find the man extremely hesitant to establish a relationship. So then Wilde reaches out to his last lead ~ a second cousin. Before they can connect, he discovers that the cousin has disappeared after experiencing a fall from grace that can only be described as a waking nightmare. This is connected to a Reality Show where the cousin was very famous and popular, only to have lies told about him and his wife that brought about his downfall. 


Summary


How Wilde discovers the circumstances surrounding his cousin's life and exposes a family's darkest secret, while also discovering the shocking truth of his own past, is a thrilling story that will keep you reading deep into the night. 


Another outstanding novel by Harlan Coben.


*Book review of The Match written by Wednesday Elf









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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Sparring Partners by John Grisham

 

Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse

Sometimes, especially if I've just finished a rather long book, I am in the mood for a shorter story.  In his latest book, John Grisham, delivers three interesting short stories that can each be read in one or two afternoons.  I downloaded the book when I saw a photo of the Gateway Arch on the front cover.  Since I am from the St. Louis area, I always find it interesting to read stories about my hometown.  It is fun to read about places I recognize and to see the St. Louis sports teams mentioned. I am also a fan of John Grisham's thrillers, so I know I will always find an interesting read when I pick up one of his books.





I really enjoyed all three of the novellas in the book.  Below is a brief synopsis of each of the stories.

Homecoming

This story brings back a familiar Grisham character in Jake Brigance and returns to Ford County the scene of other Grisham books.  In this story however, Brigance is no longer in the courtroom but is contacted by a former lawyer in town in a mysterious way.  The lawyer, Mark Stafford left town three years earlier in the middle of the night without letting anyone know.  It was discovered he had stolen money from his clients and then disappeared.  Why is he back and what does he want with Jake Brigance?  You will want to read this story to find the answers.

Strawberry Moon

In the second story in the book, we meet Cody Wallace, a death row inmate with only three hours to live.  When all appeals have ended and the last chance for clemency from the governor has gone by, Cody has one final request.  It is a very unusual request that you will have to read the story to discover.

Sparring Partners

Sparring Partners is the third story in the book and the one that takes place in St. Louis.  I enjoyed the St. Louis references and the story was intriguing.  In this book we meet two brothers who are partners in a major law firm that they inherited from their father.  The firm had been very successful under the father's watch, but he is now in prison charged with the murder of his wife, the boys' mother.  The firm is now in a financial turmoil and the brothers do not know how to work together.

In fact, the brothers will not even talk to each other except through the only person they both trust, another attorney in the firm named Diantha Bradshaw.  

From here the story takes several twists and turns and keeps you engrossed until the very end.



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Saturday, July 9, 2022

Nothing to Lose by J.A. Jance - Book Review

Bestselling author J.A. Jance has written four different series in the Mystery genre. Her Joanna Brady Mysteries and the Ali Reynolds Novels have both been previously reviewed here on ReviewThisReviews!



The third series is the J.P. Beaumont Novels. My review today is of the newest Beaumont suspense novel titled Nothing to Lose


Synopsis


Years ago, J.P. Beaumont was a homicide detective with the Seattle PD. His partner, Sue Danielson, was murdered by her ex-husband when he came after her in her home. Terrified, Sue's teenage son frantically called Beaumont for help. Beau urged Jared to grab his younger brother and leave the house. As a result, Beau's plea and Jared's quick action saved the two boys from their father's murderous rage. 


Twenty years later, Jared reappears in Beau's life seeking help again. His younger brother, Chris, is missing. Beau, who is now a retired cop working as a private investigator, and still haunted by the events of that tragic night, doesn't hesitate to take the case. 


Beaumont follows a lead to the wilds of wintertime Alaska where he finds a tangled web of family secrets and where a killer with nothing to lose is waiting to kill again.


Summary


The entire J.P. Beaumont Mystery series by J.A. Jance is excellent, as are all her books. I am a huge fan of her writings. The Beaumont series is a continuing one, but each story in the series can stand alone as well. Therefore, you do not need to begin with Book #1 to enjoy the story in Nothing to Lose. But, that said, I do highly recommend reading the entire series in order to follow the adventures of Beau from the first book to this latest one. 


Book review of Nothing to Lose by J.A. (Judith Ann) Jance 

by Wednesday Elf


This book (Number 23 of 23 in the J.P. Beaumont series) is an Amazon Editor's pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense:






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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Thunder Dog Book Review

 


8:46 a.m. Michael Hingson, along with his faithful guide dog, Roselle, had been experiencing a normal morning at work. And then, suddenly and violently, their building was rocked by a massive explosion. Everything began to sway and tilt at a severe angle. Debris rained down on them. What was happening? 

No one knew yet that American Airlines Flight 11 had just slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 500 miles per hour. With 10,000 gallons of fuel on board, everything was soon engulfed by flames, smoke, shattering glass, and dangerous fuel mist. Michael, blind since infancy, knew something was very wrong, but he took comfort in the fact that Roselle was completely calm. 

Though surrounded by chaos, and screaming, panicked people, Roselle did not act afraid. Michael knew they needed to head to the staircase and make their way out. It would be no simple thing, as they were on the 78th floor of Tower One. Safety was 1,463 steps away. There was only one thing to do: Give Roselle her command. Forward.

It would ultimately take an hour to get to Ground Zero and out the door to what they hoped would be their escape. As they took step after step after step, burn victims passed them in a hurry to get the medical help they needed. Firemen, and other emergency personnel, though rushing up the stairs to help other victims, paused to see if Michael and Roselle needed assistance. 

Shortly after exiting the first twin tower, the second tower, just 100 yards from them, began to collapse. Michael and Roselle ran for their lives, choking desperately for air, as an atom bomb-like cloud of dust surrounded them. The nightmare seemed never-ending. It would be hours before survivors could even begin to make their way to loved ones.

Lives were forever changed on 9/11. Because this day will always be one of our nation's most memorable, and important days, Michael Hingson and Roselle's story, as told in Thunder Dog, is one that needs to be heard. Not only is there healing in telling our stories, but their story is much more than an account of making the descent out of the World Trade Center. 

The real story is the ascent story: How Hingson and Roselle rose to be there in the first place. How does a blind man and a yellow lab end up living successfully in a world that is not always set up to support a thriving life? What are the lessons we can learn from them? Michael shares with us the vital messages of trust, of faith, of the importance of working together. These themes are especially timely as our nation continues to be in crisis.

Thunder Dog helped me gain a greater perspective and understanding of what it means to be disabled. In some ways, we are all disabled. It was incredibly enlightening for me to learn more about how differently abled individuals navigate through the challenges, and opportunities, presented every single day. I was astounded by Michael Hingson's adaptability (especially his use of echolocation) and full of admiration for how his family supported Michael's growth and actualization into his current fullness of being.

And, of course, I so respect those who pour themselves into the nurturing and training of guide dogs. What an amazing journey that is. Roselle, rightfully, has earned numerous awards and accolades for her exceptional service to humanity. Well done, Roselle. Good girl!

I will end with one of Michael's quotes that spoke to me: Don't let your sight get in the way of your vision. May we all take that to heart as we learn to see with the kind of wisdom that makes a true difference for others. We are all in this together.





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Monday, July 4, 2022

Reviewing Sugar Birds: A Novel by Cheryl Grey Bostrom

One way to describe Sugar Birds is to call it a coming of age story. Which it is. But it is also a look at parenting, families, relationships, survival, and faith. Each of these characters were unique. However, their common bond (for the most part) was having gone through some hard times then deciding how they would treat others. All of this while they are on a search and rescue mission to locate poor little Aggie. I was completely absorbed in this book from the beginning.




The story is told by Aggie and Celia in alternating chapters. 

Aggie

Agate Esther (Aggie) is a just-turned 10 year old girl who lives with her parents and her brother. She is consumed with bird-watching. She is familiar with the forest around her and just cannot follow her mother's directions to stop climbing the trees to observe the birds. Aggie documents the birds in her notebook and is encouraged by her father to do so. However, she defies her mother's directions to stay out of the trees. After they have conflict about the issue again, Aggie decides to try to get back into mom's good favor by making kindling as a gift. Unfortunately, she inadvertently causes a house fire.

"Her chest clenched, wringing her insides hard, like a dishcloth. Dad. Mama. She killed them with those sticks. With her fire. She beat her legs with clenched first, bit her cheeks, tasted blood." - Sugar Birds

Believing she has killed her parents and will be arrested, she panics and flees to the forest to hide. She has plenty of survival skills but will she survive the predators? 

Celia

"We're on track for the cabin by eight tonight, Daddy" I flipped down the visor mirror and twisted the stud in my infected earlobe, my teeth set against its sting." - Sugar Birds

Celia is a 16 year old young lady, who thinks she's going to the family lake cabin in Washington state with her dad. Her mother, not the most warm and attentive on any day, has left them. Celia is trying to move on from that betrayal when her father discloses that he's not taking them to the cabin. He's taking her to her grandmother's home while he goes on a remote work assignment for several months. Celia is furious that her father is also leaving her and she immediately starts to formulate a plan to runaway. She believes that she'll find a way to return to Texas on her own and will stay with her friend Meredith. The very same friend that her dad doesn't approve of. 

I hope that I'm not making Celia sound like a run-of-the-mill ungrateful adolescent character. She is not. Celia is a high school math nerd, cross country runner, compassionate young lady who helps her grandmother rescue and rehabilitate birds. However, with Meredith's tutoring, she has just begun to catch the attention of boys.

"Dancing flames didn't cause those astonished stares when I walked through that crowd in Meredith's hand-tooled cowboy boots with Luke hanging on me. I swear Meredith sensed that I was about to ditch him and run to the ladies room to scrub my face and calm my hair down a little. She trotted up beside us, looped her arm in mine and whispered that I was a Harrison County version of Sandy in Grease." - Sugar Birds
After her father drops angry/hurt Celia off with her grandmother, she quickly catches the attention of Cabot. 

Mender

Marta Burke a.k.a Mender a.k.a Gram is an aclaimed biologist who has retired but who is active rehabilitating birds. She gardens. She prays. And she cares deeply for others. Mender has taught Celia the skills needed to handle and rehabilitate birds; raptors being Celia's favorite. Will Mender be able to keep Celia from being the prey?

Burnaby

Burnaby. Aggie's older brother and Loomis' employee. Burnaby has difficulty with interactions, eye contact, and affection. But his is a good employee, following rules and routines. He too loves the natural world and is very specifically drawn to bird and animal bones. 

I absolutely loved Burnaby's character. 

"Mama says I give speeches when I should be conversing. Misplaced monologues are selfish, she says. Talking should be reciprocal. Unselfish. Like tossing an apple back and forth so each hearer can catch it. She says I should listen without having a speech ready. Consider. Respond. Listen again."  - Sugar Birds

Harris & Bree

Harris is Aggie and Burnaby's father. He moved them to the area, after he left the Alaska Forest Service, in order to be close to family. He nurtured the children's love of the outdoors and knowledge base; such as foraging for edible plants and water that is safe to drink. Bree also loved the outdoors. And once-upon-a-time, she collected Agates from a cliff. And this is how they chose Aggie's name. Bree struggled with mental illness and Aggie resented the change.

Loomis & Nora

This couple is Aggie's Aunt and Uncle and Mender's neighbors. They own a dairy farm. They employ Burnaby and Cabot.

Cabot

Twenty-year-old Cabot likes Celia. As have the others, twenty-year-old Cabot has been through some rough times and he has chosen to hang on to his anger and lash out at others. He is the villain, and his behaviors are a perfect example of a budding abusive relationship. 

I LOVED Sugar Birds: A Novel by Cheryl Grey Bostrom


I am rarely able to read a book in a matter of 2-3 days. Not only did I read this in 2 days, I stayed up last night after 2:00 am trying to get to the end. I wanted to learn who survived and whether or not some of them didn't. Granted, I'm on vacation so it was an easier decision to stay up many hours past my bedtime. But I'm not so sure I would have put the book down even if I had to work the next morning. Not only were the characters interesting, but the descriptions of the setting painted the picture perfectly.

I do not feel that I've been able to review this book as it deserves. I hope you will take a peek at it on Amazon for not only the long list of awards this book has received, but the reviews from the other readers. 

If you read Where the Crawdads Sing and loved it, you'll enjoy this story. 




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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Killing Season by Faye Kellerman – Book Review

A really good book is one you cannot put down.  An excellent book is one you literally cannot stop reading! In my opinion, Killing Season by Faye Kellerman is such a book. 




Synopsis


Sunset in New Mexico - Pixabay
The setting is New Mexico – a small town close to Santa Fe.  Benjamin Vicksburg was barely 14 when his 16-year-old sister went missing. Her body wasn't found for a year. She had been kidnapped and strangled. 

Ben, his parents and younger sister had all suffered the anguish of not knowing what happened. Later, the family also becomes friends with another local couple whose teenage daughter Katie went missing and she has never been found.


As the story begins, Ben, now seventeen, has committed himself to finding the monster who abducted and strangled Ellen. The police continue to investigate, but there is nothing new. But Ben, who is a math genius, sees patterns that don't fit and conducts his own investigation. As he gathers data, he discovers clues to other similar unsolved murders. 


As Ben's senior high school year begins, he becomes friends with the new girl in school, Ro Majors. They bond over the fact that Ro lost a sister to cancer around the same time Ben lost Ellen.  Ro ends up helping him with his research, and together they discover 3 other unsolved cases of teenage girls whose murders were almost identical to Ben's sister. And then.... they go on a hike in an area Ben has figured out is a logical place to find where the killer might have buried Katie, and they find her grave.


The police are not happy that Ben is investigating on his own, even though the police detective who was lead investigator on Ellen's case likes Ben and is as anxious as the family to solve her case. 


As Ben gets closer to discovering who the killer is, his obsession marks him as a threat. The police want him to stop investigating, but Ben is worried about Ro and about his little sister Haley and her best friend Lilly. The little girls are now going on 15 and Ro is 17, all in the age-range the killer targets. 


Learning the truth may not be enough to keep Ben and those he loves from this relentless killer. 


Summary



I have never been as absorbed in a book to the point of ignoring everything else until I finished as I was with this one. Killing Season is so well written and captures your attention from the beginning. I enjoyed it very much. 

I have been reading books by Faye Kellerman since 1986 when she began the 26 books in her Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series. I've always enjoyed those books, and now am enjoying her stand-alone thrillers. Killing Season is the first one I have read that wasn't in the series I have been following and, as much as I liked the series, I like this one even more. Kellerman has done an outstanding job capturing this mystery fan's attention. 


Note: Faye Kellerman is married to Jonathan Kellerman, also a writer, and together they are the parents of Jesse Kellerman, who has had several books published on his own and has co-authored several other books with his dad, Jonathan.  A real writing family.  


Links to other Kellerman books reviewed here on ReviewThisReviews:



*Killing Season Book Review written by Wednesday Elf






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Friday, June 24, 2022

4th of July Cookbooks - Free on KindleUnlimited

cookbooks
4th of July Cookbooks Reviewed -
Books Above Shown on My Kindle Fire

I was recently seeking inspiration for new 4th of July food to try for our upcoming celebration. 

Grilling burgers and hot dogs are our tradition, plus my mother makes her annual 4th of July cake, which is always colorful and pretty, but I wanted something new to add this year just for a new touch of fun.

I was thrilled and amazed to discover dozens of 4th of July cookbooks that are free with KindleUnlimited, however, I was greatly disappointed to find that most did not have photos. When searching for inspiration, photos are "essential".  

I wasn't really looking for a new recipe as much as I was seeking a new presentation for our standard Independence Day fare. I don't need step by step photos, but I do want to see the actual food prepared.  In the end, I found only 2 cookbooks that met my criteria and included photos. 

Surprisingly, not only did I find presentation inspiration, I also found a few new recipes in these cookbooks that I want to try!

 

Fourth of July Cookbooks 

Patriotic Recipes: Full Color Version1. Patriotic Recipes: Full Color VersionCheck PriceWe think of outdoor, summertime food for the 4th of July celebrations.. Sides like corn on the cob, potato salad, skewered veggies or kabobs, french fries, etc are the norm and Popsicles are a wonderful cool-down treat.  Of course, the red, white & blue (strawberries, bananas, & blueberries) fruit salad is a necessity.

How about adding Fourth of July jello shots!¹  Simple layered gelatin and condensed milk make a lovely presentation.

Or, perhaps the Patriotic Ice Sandwiches¹ with a cheesecake center or Firecracker Milkshakes¹ would be fun and delicious to serve.

I was also reminded of my grandmother's ambrosia salad¹ . Why have I never considered serving it for the 4th of July? Just because I was raised seeing it served for Christmas doesn't mean it should be limited to December parties & meals.

4th оf Julу Recipes: Selected Mouthwatering meals to celebrate the Independence day in the United States and also enjoy all through the summer and holidays. A special occasion cookbook2. 4th оf Julу RecipesCheck PriceI laughed out loud at the idea of serving Fourth of July Toast!¹  Easy to make, yet would be a totally awesome way to start the day.

Cookies, oh, yeah! Red, white and blue cookies¹ or Strawberry Graham Cracker Bites² (with teddy bear mini graham crackers) for an all day, anytime snack. 

I'm also pretty jazzed about trying the Lemon Cupcake with Blackberry Buttercream² in the "4th of July Recipes" cookbook. 

Now I have so many new fun food ideas that I need a week's worth of 4th's in the month of July.  Plus, I am purchasing the two cookbooks instead of just borrowing them now that I have discovered them thanks to KindleUnlimited offering them for free.


¹ Patriotic Recipes by Laura Sommers
² 4th of July Recipes by Ilene Butts


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 4th of July Cookbooks - Free on KindleUnlimited Review by:
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Saturday, June 11, 2022

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom – Book Review

 A little girl, an earthquake, and the making of a family.



Mitch Albom is the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, the best-selling memoir of all time.  Anyone who has read 'Morrie' or any of Albom's other books, will already know the wonderful way with words he has.


Synopsis



Finding Chika, a little girl, an earthquake and the making of a family is a true story about a young Haitian orphan and how her short life impacts the author and his wife. Mitch and Janine Albom are a childless couple in their 50s with a busy life. In addition to Mitch's writings and his work as a sports writer and radio program host, he & Janine also operate the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage in Port-au-Prince.


At age 3 when little Chika joins the 50 other children in the orphanage her self-assurance and happy outlook quickly charms all the other kids and teachers. Even despite having lived in extreme poverty and then having her mother die and her 2 older sisters and baby brother farmed out to other families, Chika is blessed with boundless optimism and a delightful humor. 


Mitch & Janine travel to Haiti and the orphanage every month and get to know Chika, along with the other children. Then, at age 5, Chika is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and there is no one in Haiti who can help her. 


The Alboms bring Chika to Detroit, hoping that American medical care can soon grant her a healthy return to her homeland.  Sadly, little Chika is found to have a rare brain tumor for which there is no cure. The Alboms are told that Chika probably has 4 months to live.


Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of the Alboms' lives and they embark on a two-year journey to find a cure.  Along the way Chika teaches them that a relationship built on love, no matter how short, can never be lost.


Summary


Available on Amazon

This is a beautifully written memoir that is simply told and becomes a celebration of children and how they change our lives and make us a family. 


“A Child is both an anchor and a set of wings. Your pace and space are forever altered.” 

~Mitch Albom in Finding Chika.



*Book Review of Finding Chika written by Wednesday Elf


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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Hard Word Search for Adults - 60 Various Word Find Topics


I'm happy to announce that I've completed my fourteenth activity book, Hard Word Search for Adults.

Some of you already know about this fun self-publishing adventure I've been traveling on since 2019. Yep, the trip continues.

I have a crazy goal of self-publishing 100 activity books, and I have to say, I might be 120 years old when I accomplish that milestone! Honestly, I'm not sure if I can do it! But I'll keep moving forward.

Why It Takes Me Longer To Complete a Book

To date, I've written 7 riddle books, 4 word search books, 1 poetry book, and 2 books on what to write on a card. I started writing activity books in 2019, and as I mentioned above, I plan to continue until I reach 100 books published .... if it can be done?

There are ways to create and publish word search books quicker than the several months it's taking me. However, I prefer to carefully research and choose the words for each puzzle, which takes more time. Also, I personally handle all aspects of the publishing process, not just the writing.

All of the word search books are theme-based, and the words you'll be looking for are related to each of the puzzle topics.


What Does "Hard Word Search for Adults" Include:

  • There are 60 unique word search puzzles.
  • Each puzzle is a challenging topic.
  • You find not only single words but also multiple words.
  • Multiple words are strung together (think Hashtag), offering an additional challenge.
  • Each puzzle has a place where you can put your name and the time it took you to complete the puzzle. You can compete with yourself, or friends and family.
  • The Book is the size of a standard piece of paper, 8.5 inches by 11 inches.
  • The puzzles are easy to read.
Examples of Puzzle Topics:
  • Lost in Space
  • Math is Hard
  • Positively Big Words
  • Weird Animal Names
  • Climb these Mountains
and 55 more.



The Answers Are Included

If you find yourself stuck, you can peek at the answers at the back of the Book.



The Book is the Size of a Standard Piece of Paper, Making it Easy to Read.


You can find the Book via StumpedRiddles.com or Amazon.



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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Mistress of the Ritz-Book Review

 


This book was introduced to me by a friend who read it for her book club.  She said it was a book all the club enjoyed.  After reading it, I can see why.  It has everything I like in a story: history, romance, secrets and true to life characters.  The story is inspired by the true life story of Claude and Blanchette Auzello.  Claude was the French director of the Ritz and Blanche was his American wife.


The Story Line

This compelling novel takes us to the glamor of the Ritz and introduces us to all the wonderful characters who enter its doors.  We see bits with Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many more memorable characters from the 1940's.

The story begins in the 1920's when Claude Auzello meets Blanche, an American who has come to Paris in the hopes of becoming an actress.  Claude sweeps Blanche off her feet and they settle into life at the Ritz, where Claude becomes the director.  Life at the Ritz is glamorous and the guests are pampered by Claude and his staff.  Blanche enjoys meeting all of the memorable characters in the Ritz bar.

Life goes along at the Ritz with the glamor of the place and the work of Claude putting a tamper on their marriage.  Blanche and Claude get along but sometimes their differences also draw them apart with each of them living their own lives and keeping secrets.  Everything changes in June 1940 when the Nazi's invade Paris and take over the Ritz as their headquarters.  The Ritz staff is kept but moved to the back of the building and now must cater to the Nazi's every wish, all the while being afraid of every move they make.  

I don't want to spoil more of the plot but the French Resistance plays a big part in the rest of the book and secrets are kept, even from those they are closest to.

The Book on Amazon



My Thoughts on the Book

I really enjoyed the book.  It is the first book I had read by Melanie Benjamin, and I will certainly check out more of her books.  I highly recommend this compelling book.



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