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

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Reviewing Her Last Breath by Hilary Davidson

Today I'm going to review a book that is set for release on 1st July 2021 which I was able to read prior to release as part of the First Reads for Amazon Prime Readers

Her Last Breath by Hilary Davidson Reviewed


One of the things that made me choose this book to read was in the blurb about it, "On the day of her sister Caroline’s funeral, Deirdre Crawley receives a message her sister wrote before she died: If you’re reading this, I’m already dead." That hook was irresistible for me so I downloaded the book and settled down for what I hoped would be a great read, I have to say I have very mixed feelings about this book. 

I have never heard of the author before so I had no expectations. I actually read the book in one sitting and two of the things I loved about the book were the plot and the way that the pandemic was handled. I mention the pandemic because the book was based in NY and it's the first book I've read where it's even mentioned - it has been done so in a way that is easy to miss, but to me added another dimension and makes me surprised at the biggest failing this book has. 

As I said the plot was great and I would recommend reading it just because I did enjoy the plot, but the characters were another story. They seemed very one-dimensional. Even with a character that wasn't very fleshed out, there were a few things that Diedre said that just didn't seem in line with other things. 

I, personally, think one of the best characters in the book was Theo, the person who Diedre's sister claimed had killed her. If this book was a first draft I would have given it really high marks, but as a completed book it's disappointing. 

I don't usually like to write book reviews that I have mixed feelings about, but this author shows amazing talent. I see so many glimpses in this book that tell me she can write and I truly believe that she could have made these characters more real to me. 

If you like suspenseful thrillers do I still think you'd enjoy the plot lines of this book, but if you are more into sinking your teeth into the characters then you may want to pass. I will definitely be happy to read this author again though as I did see a lot of promise in the pages. 

I should clarify it's not that I disliked the characters, I reviewed a book called Girls Night Out where I really didn't like the characters, but they definitely seemed real to me. In this particular book it's that I couldn't envisage these characters as being real. When I read a book I can almost see things happening in my mind like I'm watching a movie - this time the characters wouldn't appear clearly for me.




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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – A Book Review

Fredrik Backman is an absolutely delightful writer from Sweden. He writes about people in a special way that portrays who they are, what they are and who and what they appear to be, yet often are not. He describes their hurts and grievances, secrets and passions in a way the reader can relate. Oh, yes, the reader thinks, I recognize this character in my brother, father, best friend, maybe even myself.


Backman's stories take place in Sweden, but it could be anywhere, as people are the same all over. 


Synopsis



Available on Amazon

In Anxious People, we meet a group of people who are attending an apartment open house. Then a failed bank robber bursts in and takes them hostage.  The captives range from a retired couple who hunt down fixer-uppers, a wealthy banker who only cared about making money and can't relate to people, a young couple about to have their first baby and an 87-year-old woman. Then there is the mystery man in the bathroom and the flustered, but still-ready-to-make-a- deal real estate agent. Even the bank robber has issues. 


Add in the authorities trying to negotiate the hostages release. The main ones are a father and son who both work for the local police department. They fluster each other and take care of each other.


As the book progresses, we learn who the bank robber is (who failed to rob the bank because it is a cashless bank) and why an attempt was made.  We are given some backgrounds on the people who became hostages. We hear about the police involvement.  The story goes back and forth between what is happening during the hostage situation in the apartment to the individual people and what brought them to this open house on New Year's Eve (a strange day to have an Open House, for sure) to the interviews the police try to conduct with the witnesses after their release. All through this they try to figure out what happened to the bank robber who was no where to be found after releasing the hostages.


As The Story Begins.... in the Author's Words


A bank robbery, a hostage drama, a stairwell full of police officers on their way to storm an apartment.  It was easy to get to this point, Much easier than you might think. All it took was one single really bad idea. 


This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So it needs saying from the outset that it's always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is.  Especially if you have other people you are trying to be a reasonably good human being for.


One single really bad idea. That's all it takes.


There is also the part about how ten years ago a man was standing on a bridge. This seems to be a non sequitur, because this is a story about a bank robber and a hostage situation and the people involved. So why does the author keep bringing up the bridge throughout the story? 


Summary


So, to summarize, we have a charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common then they ever imaged. Oh, and don't forget the bridge! 


If you have read any of Fredrik Backman's previous books, two of which have been reviewed here on ReviewThisReviews, you will be drawn to Anxious People immediately because they were such delightful reads. This one is the same – a very enjoyable read; a book you can't put down to the final page; a book whose ending is as delightful (and surprising) as the rest.


Backman's books are so good that when I finish the last paragraph on the last page, I feel a strong pull to return to page one and begin the book all over again. It's that hard to leave this world of words that is so humorous, compassionate and wise. 


More...


For your future reading after you finish Anxious People, check out these other Backman book reviews on ReviewThisReviews.



Anxious People, a book review written by

~Wednesday Elf





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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Joanna Brady Mystery Series – Book Reviews.


The Brady Novel of Suspense series is written by J.A. Jance, the New York Times bestselling author of the J.P. Beaumont series and the Ali Reynolds series, plus five interrelated thrillers about the Walker Family.


The Joanna Brady series are filled with beloved characters, small-town charm, vivid history, intriguing mystery, all with the scenic Arizona desert as a backdrop.

~ Quote from the book jacket of Book #18 'Field of Bones'



Joanna Brady (main character) 


Desert Heat - Book 1 in the Joanna Brady Series

When the series begins in “Desert Heat”, Joanna is a young widow with a 9-year-old daughter (Jenny). Her husband Andy, a police detective in Bisbee, Arizona, was running for sheriff when he was killed by a hit man sent by the Mexican Drug Cartel he had been investigating. Encouraged to run for the office in his place, Joanna, who is also the daughter of a former Bisbee Sheriff, may have originally been elected on a sympathy vote, but she goes on to prove herself as a boots-on-the ground law enforcement officer. 


Cochise County in SE Arizona is 80 x 80 miles square with the southernmost county line the international border with Mexico and the eastern country line the state line with New Mexico. The stories in this series of books take place in and around the town of Bisbee, AZ and throughout the 6400 square miles of the sheriff's office domain.  As you can imagine, this large of a territory to police produces a wide variety of crimes which often have to be investigated under extreme conditions of difficult 4-wheel drive locations and desert weather.


Each book begins with a Prologue which sets the scene for the storyline and introduces you to one or more of the characters. Sometimes the character is a victim; sometimes it's the protagonist whose identity we learn as the story progresses.


Another interesting thing about this continuing series is quite often when a new character is introduced in one book, we find that character appearing in subsequent books. We meet the character in one book and when they appear in later books, the author gives a brief summary of who they are as a reminder to the reader. It is a great way to keep track of who they are and what parts they played. From book to book, the characters all become very familiar to the reader. It also becomes a good way to know what happened to that character we first met, and what they are doing now. 


*Note: It's rather like your new neighbors who just moved to town. They are strangers at first, but after awhile they become familiar friends. 


The storylines in the Joanna Brady series may have murder and mayhem, but they are also filled with family life, interactions with friends and neighbors, introductions to new babies and the latest dog or cat or horse. After all, the sheriff, the deputies and detectives and support staff of the Cochise County Sheriff's Department are also people with family lives that exist outside of work. The stories also give fascinating descriptions to the countryside of southeastern Arizona filled with both desert and mountain areas complete with the sizzling heat of desert summers and the cold of mountain winters. 


Summary


If you enjoy novels of suspense with a good story-line which also gives you the back-story of the interesting characters, you will enjoy this Joanna Brady book series. 


Book #19 in the Joanna Brady Novels of Suspense


List of Joanna Brady Books:


Joanna Brady, a deputy sheriff's widow, daughter of a former town sheriff, and now elected sheriff in Cochise County, Arizona.


  1. Desert Heat(1993)
  2. Tombstone Courage (1994)
  3. Shoot, Don't Shoot (1995)
  4. Dead to Rights (1996)
  5. Skeleton Canyon (1997)
  6. Rattlesnake Crossing (1998)
  7. Outlaw Mountain (1999)
  8. Devil's Claw (2000)
  9. Paradise Lost (2001)
  10. Partner in Crime (2002)
  11. Exit Wounds (2003)
  12. Dead Wrong (2006)
  13. Damage Control (2008)
  14. Fire and Ice (2009)
  15. Judgment Call (2012)
  16. Remains of Innocence (2014)
  17. Downfall (2016)
  18. Field of Bones (2018)
  19. Missing and Endangered (2021)


*Reviewer's Note:  Author J.A. (Judith) Jance grew up in Bisbee, Arizona, a small copper mining town in SE Arizona. I find it interesting that she bases her stories in a real town. one she is so familiar with, and includes real location descriptions. It makes the fiction stories appear very real as if they are happening right now, along with giving you a bit of history of the town and the area. It's a history lesson, a murder mystery, and a suspenseful story, all with interesting characters  who, although fictional, seem like people you have always known. 


I highly recommend the 'Brady Novels of Suspense' series by J.A. Jance.


Related Links:

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


(c) The Joanna Brady Mystery Series book review written by Wednesday Elf





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Friday, May 21, 2021

The Widow and the Highlander Book Review

Widow and the Highlander
The Widow and the Highlander by Martha Keyes is the first book in the Tales from the Highlands series.  After I finished the first book, I immediately wished to move to the second book in the series. It isn't that Keyes didn't wrap up the first novel.  She did. It was simply that I wasn't ready to move on from the story. 

You know you have found a wonderful series of books when you hate the idea of starting a different book by another author. Unfortunately for me, the second book in Tales from the Highlands has not yet been released. 

It is doubtful the I will forget the MacKinnon clan and I have added the The Enemy and Miss Innes (Tales from the Highlands Book 2) to my wishlist so I will know as soon as it is released. I am certain, no matter what else I have started reading, I will move back to this series to continue reading about Catherine and her sister, Elizabeth.

I highly recommend this historical fiction and I am certain I will enjoy the entire series once it is published. 


The Widow and the Highlander Synopsis
Historical Fiction - Scotland 1762

 The Widow and the Highlander
(Tales from the Highlands Book 1)
Check Price
Christina isn't certain what to do next!  She is actually relieved, perhaps even happy, to be a new widow.  After her abusive husband, Gordon, dies due to illness, she finds she can breathe again. That is, until his cousin, Angus MacKinnon, "suggests" she marry him.  Angus and several of his family members had taken up residence at Dunverlockie after the funeral, and don't plan to leave.

Because Christina's father invested deeply in Dunverlockie, he made MacKinnon sign a will that would legally transfer ownership of the estate to Christina if Gordon died before a child was born, Christina now solely owns Dunverlockie.  That does not bode well with the MacKinnon clan and they are determined to regain control of the estate one way or another.

The MacKinnons had originally established ownership of Dunverlockie after Gordons' father betrayed a friend, then set back and watched him executed for treason.  MacKinnon's reward for turning him in as a traitor to the crown, was Dunverlockie.

Christina was not married to Gordon at the time of the execution.  In fact, she would have been a child.  Therefore, she did not know the family that had been removed from the home.  What she did know, was that the MacKinnons were a vicious clan and she didn't wish to remain a part of their family.  However, she had her own siblings to consider and she needed the income Dunverlocke provided.  When she suspected she was being poisoned, she knew she had to do something whether she wanted to or not. After all, aside from her own sister, she didn't know who was an ally and who was an enemy inside or outside of the castle.




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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.



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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


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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.  
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                                                                                    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!




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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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!




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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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!





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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