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

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Reviewing A Day Like This by Kelley McNeil

 What mother hasn't momentarily taken her eyes off the road to glance back at their child in the backseat, especially when said child is sick and you are on your way to the doctor?   Imagine if this resulted in an accident and when you woke up in the hospital everyone insisted that you didn't have a child.

Reviewing A Day LIke This by Kelley McNeil
Image created by Lou6 using Canva


This book (A Day Like This) by Kelley McNeil kept me captivated and I really didn't know what to expect, do I recommend it?   Absolutely, but clear your day before starting it as you are not going to want to be disturbed!

The medical opinion is that it appears as though Annie's memories are false memories caused by a brain injury (that doesn't show on scans) from the accident, or maybe she is going a little crazy, we are introduced to the mental instability that besieged her mother while Annie and her sister were growing up.

Of course, there is another idea that could explain what's happening - could she have crossed over to a parallel universe?   In which case, can she get back?   There are so many questions and we are right there inside Annie's mind as she's asking them, investigating them and trying to unravel them.

At one stage I wondered if she was perhaps dead and she actually asked this question herself, but no this book is not trying to be The Sixth Sense!   You'll have to wait until the end to see which happy ending Annie gets, but it is well worth the wait.

You are basically following two storylines in this novel, but they are very easy to keep track of and I was surprised once I finished reading it to discover that this is a debut novel.   I cannot wait to see what else Kelley McNeil will write.

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Friday, October 15, 2021

With Love, Louisa: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 3 Reviewed

With Love, Louisa Reviewed
The Larkhall Letters book series has kept me reading, and laughing, for days! 

I've quickly moved from one book to the next.  Most recently, I finished reading With Love, Louisa.  Sadly, I now have to wait for the next book in the series to be published to continue following the lives and escapades of the ladies and gentlemen of Larkhall. However, you can start the series today, then wait along with me in eager anticipation of the 4th book.

In book 3, as you would expect from the title, Louisa Rosemeyer is the main character. Previously, she has been a likable support character in the series.  We first meet Louisa in book 1, The Ace of Hearts.  She and her older sister Alice (the main character of book 1) visit Larkhall for the summer in hopes that one or the other will find a lovable husband so they can avoid being forced into arranged marriages by their stepfather. 

In book 2, The Captain's Confidant, Louisa had become Bridget Northcott's companion, which allows her to safely remain at Larkhall and travel with the Northcott family. 

Book 3 opens with Louisa feeling uncomfortable with continuing to live at Larkhall with Bridget's brother, Matthew, her self-appointed older brother, and their elderly aunt. She believes it will cause a great scandal if she remains in the home with a single man.

Unexpectedly, the shy Louisa manages to find herself in an extraordinary situation that had me rolling with laughter as she winds up in the very worst place while seeking a hiding place in an unfamiliar home.


With Love, Louisa Book Synopsis

 With Love, Louisa: A Regency Romance
(Larkhall Letters Book 3)
Check Price
When Louisa Rosemeyer decides it is time for her to leave the protection of Larkhall, she pens a letter to her wealthy widowed aunt, Mrs. Irwin, whom she hopes would welcome a companion. Louisa hasn't met Mrs. Irwin, but she knows she owns an estate, Benham Abbey, in Folkswich. To her happy surprise, Louisa receives a response to come as soon as possible.

However, Mrs. Irwin did not write the letter.  Her tenant, Jack Warwick, replied to Louisa and signed Mrs. Irwin's name. He believes it would serve his disagreeable landlord right to be required to receive unwanted company and believes it would be a grand joke on Mrs. Irwin.

Upon arrival at Benham Abbey, Louisa is mistaken by the housekeeper as a hired maid and escorts her to the servant's quarters. Because it is already bedtime, Louisa believes this is a mistake that can be rectified in the morning and she is exhausted from travel.  However, she can't sleep due to hunger.  She decides to venture to the kitchen for a snack. When she hears a man's voice, she is frightened.  After all, why would a man be in her elderly aunt's home?  Fearing that it could be an intruder, she decides to hide, but she has to keep moving further away as it seems the man is following her.  

Both the man and Louisa are shocked by what happens next!

 

Conclusion

It is rare for me to find a book series that every individual book deserves a separate review.  However each book in the Larkhall Letters by Ashtyn Newbold has an excellent plot with wonderful characters and could easily be enjoyed without having read other books in the series.

With Love, Louisa is a delightfully entertaining story with several difficult situations that must be dealt with properly and in accordance with societal rules.  

In the end, I feel I have made a few new friends and I wish them every happiness.  


Read My Other Reviews of Books in the Larkhall Letters Series

 The Ace of Hearts Review The Captain's Confidant Review




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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Fascination with the Past Leads to Lots of Reading - Book Reviews

Oh the books that are available on a myriad of topics that can keep a reader going for a long, long, time!

Today I'll tell you about four books that had me totally captivated and left me with bags under my eyes for days.  (That for me is the sign of a really good book, or two or three or more!)


Lately I have found myself totally captivated by World War II novels.  Most of these books are historically true, although some license has been taken with character names and places.  

The three books by Heather Morris are stories that are actually true stories.  Heather had met and spoken with several people that lived the nightmares that were part of the European history of this War.  The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Cilka's Journey and The Three Sisters are her stories.  The Book of Lost Names written by Kristen Hannah is also in this genre of WWII novels.

While this is a genre that I don't normally gravitate towards, I can honestly say that these books kept me turning pages and finding excuses to read more rather than bookmarking my page.  That is a sign of a good book, don't you think? 

Each of Heather Morris' books can stand on their own, but together they really paint a troublesome, difficult and dangerous time in our history.

You can read more about these books and some of the controversy that ensued in Brenda's Review, right here! 

The latest book in this genre that really took me by surprise was one written by Viola Russell called, "Love at War."


This book takes a look at how, why and when the Americans got involved in this War that touched so many lives.

While I have seen and been at the American Memorial to Pearl Harbor and heard the story of how the American's became involved, this book managed to put me right in the middle of all the turbulence and sacrifices that American men and women made during this bleak period.




All the other books focus on the beginning of the war and the hatred Hitler had for Jews and anyone standing with the Jews.  Viola Russell with her book,  Love At War, takes us into the lives of American families who got involved after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The missions and how many New Americans who were bilingual (many had fled Germany after WWI) helped to get secrets from the Germans to help their new homeland win this battle.  

It is the story of women, who were brave enough to enlist and carry out top secret missions right in the heart of enemy territory.  Some of these women were drawn to these missions by extreme hatred for what the German's had done to their brothers, husbands and friends during all the fighting.  Hatred is a very powerful emotion, as we see in some of the missions that are written about here. 

I don't want to give away too much of the story, but suffice it to say that I'm sure if you pick up Love at War, you will have a hard time putting it back down again.  



I hope you get a chance to read all of these books as each of them has something unique for us to learn about.  History should never be forgotten and the sacrifices that people made during this War should also never be forgotten. 

                                       God Bless America!  



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Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Christmas Riddles Book - Stumped Riddles Book Seven

Christmas Riddles - #Stumped Volume 7

When I write a new riddle book, I'm always excited when it's completed! "Christmas Riddles" is the seventh book in the StumpedRiddles Book series and is officially completed, published, and available on Amazon.

What is the Stumped Riddles Book Series?

I've always had this crazy ability to write riddles. Since learning how to self-publish books, I took the leap from publishing a poetry book to writing riddle books. To date, I've written and self-published seven riddle books, with Christmas Riddles being the seventh.

Christmas Riddles - The Book's Details

Like the other riddle books in the Stumped Riddle Book series, Christmas Riddles features eight chapters with ten original riddles per chapter. This book's chapters are broken down into riddle topics as follows:

  1. Santa Claus
  2. Christmas Trees
  3. Holiday Lights
  4. Winter Season
  5. Holiday Foods
  6. Festive Things
  7. Family Time
  8. The Meaning of Christmas
Here's a Sample of a Riddle in the Book:


Riddles for the Whole Family

The StumpedRiddle Book series is written for teens, adults, and bright kids. Ages 8 and up should be able to solve at least some of the riddles. The riddles featured range from easy to slightly difficult, thus giving everyone a chance at solving one or more.

These riddle books can also be played as a game. The game rules are simple:

Game 1

. Use a timer
. Decide on the amount of time to allow for a riddle to be solved
. Choose a person to read the riddle out loud
. The first person to shout the answer out correctly gets the point

Game 2

. Choose a person to read the riddle out loud
. Everyone writes down their guess of the riddle answer
. Put all the answers in the middle of the table
. Each person who guesses the correct answer gets the point

Additional Ways to Use The Stumped Riddle Books:
  • Teachers can use them to challenge students
  • Gifts for teens or teachers
  • A family hostess gift
  • Stocking Stuffers
  • Contest Gifts
  • Party Prizes
  • Personal Challenge
  • Distraction
Amazon eBook Preview Below - If you're unable to see the preview below, here it is directly. 



Stumped Riddles Social Media:
I'm excited to announce my expansion into another series of activity books - keep your eyes peeled for these ones!




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Saturday, October 2, 2021

Reviewing Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

I loved Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney but be warned you need to concentrate when reading it as it has some delicious twists in the storyline.


Sometimes I Lie reviewed - a dark psychological thriller with a number of twists
Image created via Canva by Lou16

When I was looking for a new book to read I came across this one and this is how it was described on Amazon:

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.

1. I’m in a coma

2. My husband doesn’t love me any more

3. Sometimes I lie

Unnerving, twisted and utterly compelling, you won’t be able to put this thriller down. Perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl on the Train and The Woman in the Window.

This totally intrigued me so I then looked at some of the reviews and a number of the reviewers said that they were left confused or that their minds were messed up and I just knew I was going to enjoy it.

If psychological thrillers are your thing then you will really love this, but it's certainly not one you can read with distractions as there are a number of twists to this story.

The book is absolutely amazing for a debut novel and I cannot wait to read more of Alice Feeney's work.

There are three storylines running through the book: firstly the present where Amber is in a coma; secondly in the days leading up to the accident that put her in a coma and thirdly there are diary entries from fifteen years prior.

I enjoy a dark psychological thriller and this book ticked a lot of boxes for me, I found it really chilling in places (especially the diary entries).  It is definitely not something you can read while doing anything else though as there's a lot of things to keep track of and, remember, do not take anything at face value!

I don't want to put much information about the storyline as I don't want to ruin it for anyone, just trust me this is a book for you if you loved The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie or The Three Women by Valerie Keoch.

Do you enjoy psychological thrillers?





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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Review of the Mickey Bolitar Series of Young Adult Books

 


By Harlan Coben


Mickey Bolitar is the teenage nephew of Myron Bolitar, first introduced in Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series.  This series of three books (to date) are in the Young Adult genre, and all of the main characters are teenagers. Thus it is written to appeal to teen readers. 


Recently I have been reading (and in some cases re-reading) all of the Myron Bolitar series ~ in order. I reached #10 (Live Wire) and immediately went on to the latest book in the series #11 of 11 (Home). I spotted what I thought was a discrepancy between books #10 and #11 and felt that I must have missed one of the books, which would have explained the discrepancy.  After double-checking dates published, I realized that Harlan Coben had paused the Myron Bolitar series after writing Live Wire and written the three Mickey Bolitar YA books before continuing on with the Myron series. Thus I had a pretty strong feeling that what was missing was explained and solved in the Mickey Bolitar series.  I was right – and now I understand.  


I am also delighted that I decided to read the Mickey Bolitar series, even though I don't normally read the Young Adult genre, because it turned out to be a wonderful written series and filled in a lot of blanks in the background of Myron Bolitar.  Settling once and for all (in my mind) that if you like and enjoy an author, it doesn't matter what genre he/she decides to write in, you will enjoy it just as much. 


The Mickey Bolitar Series Plots


Shelter (Book 1 of 3)



Shelter by Harlan Coben

In Shelter, teenager Mickey Bolitar (first introduced in Book #10 of the Myron Bolitar series) has gone to live with his Uncle Myron because his dad had died and his mom was in rehab. 


Forced to switch high schools, Mickey is a lonely and unhappy 15-year-old. Slowly he begins to make new friends (plus a few enemies of the group who always seems to make life miserable for the 'new kid' at school). He even acquires a new girlfriend, Ashley, and thinks perhaps his train-wreck of a life is beginning to improve.  Then ~ Ashley disappears!


Mickey is unwilling to let yet another person walk out of his life, so he follows Ashley's trail into a seedy underworld that reveals this sweet, shy girl is not who she claimed to be. And neither was Mickey's father. Eventually Mickey learns about a conspiracy so shocking that it makes high school drama seem ordinary.  What he finds out leaves him questioning everything about the life he thought he knew.


Seconds Away (Book 2 of 3)


Seconds Away by Harlan Coben

In Book Two, Mickey Bolitar, along with his loyal new friends—sharp-witted Ema and dorky, yet charming, Spoon—find themselves involved in a terrifying mystery

After the shooting of their friend Rachel.  Mickey now not only has to continue his quest to uncover the truth about the Abeona Shelter, the Butcher of Lodz, and the mysterious death of his father, but he needs to figure out who shot Rachel. 

Mickey has always been ready to help his friends, but how can he protect them from a danger he doesn't understand when he's not even sure who – or what-- he's protecting them from?


Found (Book 3 of 3)


Found by Harlan Coben

Book Three in the Mickey Bolitar series sees mysterious clues continuing to surface as Mickey strives to uncover the truth about his father's death. Was it accidental? Murder? Or, is his dad still alive?


With the help of his Uncle Myron, along with his loyal friends Spoon and Ema, Mickey begins to unravel the mysteries of the Abeona Shelter and the elusive “Butcher of Lodz”.  At the same time Mickey tries to navigate the ins and outs of everyday life in high school and his dream of making the basketball team.


Summary


Mickey Bolitar is as quick-witted and clever as his uncle Myron, and eager to go to any length to save the people he cares about. Follow Mickey Bolitar on his action-packed adventures in Shelter, Seconds Away and Found.


With this Young Adult series, Harlan Coben introduces a whole new audience to his superb writing. 


More Book Reviews of Harlan Coben Books




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*The Mickey Bolitar YA Series review written by


~Wednesday Elf





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Friday, September 24, 2021

The Captain's Confidant: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 2 Review

I previously reviewed the first book in the Larkhall Letters series. Because it was such a delightful book to read, I immediately started the second book in the series, The Captain's Confidant

We originally met Bridget Northcott in book 1, The Ace of Hearts. I instantly liked her!  She was a gracious hostess, sweet friend, and clearly someone who could keep secrets.  In book 1, Bridget didn't even tell her brother, Matthew, Alice Rosemeyer's real reasons for visiting his estate, Larkhall.

When Bridget shared her own secret with Alice and told her why she wasn't interested in considering any would-be suitors, it is obvious why keeping confidences was so important to Bridget. She had a big secret of her own!  For years, she had been in love with her brother's friend, Captain Colin Foster.

Any romantic reading the book would hope that Bridget's captain returned her love. However, at the beginning of book 2, when we discover that Captain Foster is engaged to someone else, that hardly seems likely. 


The Captain's Confidant Synopsis

 The Captain's Confidant: A Regency Romance (Larkhall Letters Book 2)Check PriceWhen his older brother dies in an accident, Captain Foster is forced to return home and assume his place as heir and master of Thorncarrow.  Colin resents having to leave his career and his beloved sea. He has been living the life he wanted.  Now, he is choked by obligations, debt, and an unwanted estate. Captain Colin Foster is a very unhappy man.

When they find out that Colin is back at Thorncarrow, Matthew and Oliver Northcott make plans to visit him.  They hope they might be able to help him ease into his new role as owner of an estate. Plus, they are interested in how he had so quickly become engaged to their neighbor, Miss. Tabitha Terrell.  

Bridget is heartbroken to hear of Colin's engagement and questions how he could even consider marrying Tabitha. He knows firsthand of the spiteful things that Tabitha did to Bridget when they were kids. She is determined to find out how he could possibly love her and convinces her brother, Matthew, that he should allow her to accompany them to Thorncarrow.  However, upon arrival, is seems Colin is not thrilled to see Bridget. He sends her and her companion to stay in the dower's house with his mother.

In her own state of distress, Bridget decides to vent her anger through a letter that is never meant to be delivered.  However, a maid finds the letter and promptly takes it to the addressee, Captain Colin Foster.  After Colin reads the letter, he decides to write one of his own and that is how Bridget becomes the Captain's confidant. 


My Conclusion

Sharing secrets with someone you trust is something we all need to be able to do from time to time. Knowing they would never betray you is paramount.  

This is a sweet story of an old friendship that is reestablished after years of separation.  It is also the story of forgiveness and reconciliation of other broken relationships.  No doubt, there is a message of encouragement laced within the pages of this story for all of us if we take the time to reflect upon it.

 




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Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Lighthouse Keeper by Cynthia Ellingsen Reviewed

If you're after a cozy, feel-good romance with a touch of mystery and intrigue then let me transport you to a little place called Starlight Cove.   Want to know more?

The Lighthouse Keeper by Cynthia Ellingsen Reviewed
Image created using Canva

I read a lovely cozy book called A Bittersweet Surprise as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership and when I finished it I realized that the author (Cynthia Ellingsen) had created a few books based in Starlight Cove so I decided to read another one!

The Lighthouse Keeper was written before A Bittersweet Surprise so there were a couple of things that I already knew would happen, but that didn't deflect from the feel-good feeling this novel gave me.   This certainly isn't the novel for you if you want to have to think hard about things or get caught up in some psychological thriller.   This book is like a comforting blanket on a cold winter's evening when you just want to be left alone.

The main heroine of the book is the daughter of treasure hunters and when her life gets thrown a couple of curveballs she decides to bid on a lighthouse.   As you can probably tell from the title of the novel her bid wins and she moves to Starlight Cove to restore the town's lighthouse.

Her parents have settled down in Starlight Cove and are running an antique shop there, she also meets some of the town's residents along with some not-so-nice non-resident treasure hunters.   Did I mention that there was a long-lost treasure to be found too?

While she endeavours to try her hand at a little matchmaking between her first friend in Starlight Cove and one of the hunky Henderson brothers she also finds herself falling a little in love herself.  As with any romance, there's a little bump in the road which has her overthinking things (a trait I can totally relate to myself!).

With The Lighthouse Keeper, Cynthia Ellingsen has once again shown how well she can create her characters as I can totally relate to a few in this book, just as I did in the other book.    Now I need to grab the only other book I can see in the Starlight Cove series to see if it's as good.   An extra bonus is that all three of these are free to read with a Kindle Unlimited account!




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Friday, September 17, 2021

The Ace of Hearts: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 1 Review

The Ace of Hearts
I've only read a few Regency romance novels and I don't remember ever recommending one in the past. While they are clearly romantic fiction, which is my preferred genre, there is no guarantee they will be clean and wholesome.  When I search for a new book, I have learned to use the term "clean and wholesome" and have had much greater success finding a romantic fiction book that doesn't include graphic sex.

I've seen Regency romance novels in the "clean and wholesome" search results, but past experience has made me hesitate to choose one again. However, when I saw "The Ace of Hearts" was included in my KindleUnlimited membership, I felt I had nothing to lose if I tried a Regency romance again.  After all, I could stop reading if it became too racy and know that I had not spent a dime on the novel.  I'm really glad I gave that genre another chance!

I love historical fiction and thanks to Pride and Prejudice, I am very fond of the British Regency era depicted in books, especially if the book includes a touch of humor. While I am fascinated by the aristocracy, I admit I am glad I don't live under their rigid rules and expectations for women.  The "Larkhall Letters" book series reminds me, once again, to be grateful that I was not subject to an arranged marriage because my family estate needed an infusion of cash, or because someone was in the right social class.

In "The Ace of Hearts", Alice Rosemeyer went to great lengths and engaged in socially unacceptable activity in order to avoid her stepfather's arrangement for her marriage and life.  Given her circumstances, I'm sure I would have been inclined to run away too.

 

The Ace of Hearts Book Synopsis

 The Ace of Hearts: A Regency Romance
(Larkhall Letters Book 1)
Check Price
Alice thought she had found a way out of having to marry her stepfather's choice when she and her step-brother, Isaac, colluded to help Isaac win the heart of a wealthy heiress, Diana Herring.  He had agreed to use some of Diana's dowry to setup a dowry for Alice that would attract a more desirable gentleman for her to wed.  Alice's hopes, along with her stepbrother's hopes, were dashed when his hopeful bride's brother refused Isaac as a suitor for Diana. 

While Thomas Herring may have made a very wise decision for his sister, Diana, that decision made Alice desperate to devise another way to gain her independence.  Without telling anyone, including her stepbrother, she made plans for her and her younger sister, Louisa, to visit a friend in another city for the summer.  Bridget Northcott was excited to have the two Rosemeyer sisters join her at Larkhall and was more than happy to introduce them to prospects, which happened to be her brothers friends and guests for the summer.  Surely the sisters would catch the eye of a more desirable suitor.  

But, Alice did not wish to be bound by matrimony. She much preferred the idea of being independent and able to provide for herself and her sister if necessary.  When she found a like-minded ally, as well as financial backing, in Diana's aunt, she was thrilled to consider a different future.  It was one, however, that would require careful planning and anonymity. Together, they made a plan.

Thus, the Ace of Hearts was established and open for business!

 

My Conclusion

I found this to be a delightful read that occasionally made me laugh. I could easily envision the characters as described by Ashtyn Newbold. Their actions, unusual, yet creative schemes, and antics were rather entertaining.  Plus, the parlor games were quite amusing! 

This is one Regency Romance Novel I can highly recommend! I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.





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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Blind Turn - Book Review

Forgiveness... let's just lay it out here right at the start.  Chances are every single one of us is going to need an extra helping of it more than once in our life—maybe even today.  The probability is 100 percent.

As we read Jess's story, which swirls like a catastrophic, Category Five hurricane, we will not only think about her mistake, but we are likely to reflect on our own lapses in judgment.

The thing is, it's pretty easy to err when you are sixteen years old.  Despite the fact that Jess is that absolutely model student, athlete, daughter, babysitter, friend, and girl most likely to succeed, she is also human.  And to be human, is to fail at something, or to fail someone—sometimes spectacularly.

In life, there will be devastation.  Blind Turn is about how you handle the devastation of humanity—your own and that of others.  It is about how you find your way to forgiveness when it seems you have done the unforgivable... when you feel unworthy of ever being forgiven.

This isn't a simple accounting... this story of a teen driver involved in a fatal accident.  The extreme fury of the allegations against her, Jess, would be enough to level any one of us.  Who could survive such sustained force of judgment and hatred?  Who could love themselves afterwards?  

Lest you think this too dark of a read for these stormy times, let's take a moment to speak hope.  I found, and I trust you will also find, the eye within the storm.  Inside that calm, even if temporary, are the insights that make this a read for this turbulent time.

The real blind turns in life aren't just in the roadway.  We will encounter some blind turns in our relationships.  There are things we just won't see coming.  As the lives of the main characters unfold before us, the thing that is striking is how they have each been shaped by that which was blinding at the time.  

I found that I especially loved the high school guidance counselor and the truly beautiful Miss Helen, who was widowed as a result of Jess's actions.  She lives and breathes the forgiveness, the love, the light of what it looks like to be the best possible version of ourselves.  Helen is the one I want to be.  I will carry forth her humanity.





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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Book Review of VORTEX by Catherine Coulter

 


An FBI Thriller


Vortex is the latest book in best-selling author Catherine Coulter's FBI series. Her favorite characters, husband & wife FBI team Savich & Sherlock, once again embark on solving a case. Usually, they work together on a case, but this time there are two cases demanding their attention in two different cities.


Synopsis of Vortex


Case #1


Dillon Savich deals with one case in Washington DC. A CIA Operative, Olivia Hildebrandt, is nearly killed while on a mission in Iran to exfiltrate a betrayed undercover operative.  But by the time she is released from Walter Reed Hospital, her team member, Mike Kingman, who saved her life, has disappeared, along with a critical flash drive the undercover operative was carrying.  While Olivia worries about her teammate, she is convinced he has a very good reason for not bringing the flash drive directly to CIA Headquarters. 


When Olivia is attacked on her first night home, the FBI becomes involved.  Savich suspects that the strike is a direct result of the compromised mission and the missing team member and flash drive. The question is ~ who betrayed them?


Case #2


Meanwhile, Sherlock is in New York City, first helping to deal with a triple homicide, then working with an investigative journalist covering the political scene in NYC. The journalist, Mia Briscoe, has discovered old photos taken the night seven years ago at a frat party where a fire broke out and her best friend Serena disappeared.  Serena was never seen nor heard from again. Mia recognizes someone in those photos and begins to uncover a sinister string of events going back to that disastrous party. As the secrets begin to unravel, some very powerful and dangerous people will do anything to keep Mia and Sherlock from learning the truth. 


Summary


Available on Amazon


Catherine Coulter is known for her contemporary suspense stories and her popular characters FBI Agents Sherlock and Savich.  This brilliant new novel is her latest (#25) in her FBI thriller series. 


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Book Review of Vortex by Catherine Coulter, written by

~Wednesday Elf





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Saturday, September 4, 2021

A Bittersweet Surprise by Cynthia Ellingsen Reviewed

 Reading a book set in a chocolate shop just sounds like a delicious way to spend a few hours, don't you think?

Reviewing A Bittersweet Surprise by Cynthia Ellingsen
Bittersweet Surprise by Cynthia Ellingsen - Buy Here!

Now as much as I love a good murder mystery or dark psychological thriller I also like to read some light-hearted, feel-good fiction on occasion and this book by Cynthia Ellingsen definitely falls into that category.

I have never read any of Cynthia Ellingsen's books before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but she wrote the characters really well and I found myself invested in Emma's life.   I was really happy when I finished this book to discover that there were two other books written that are based in Starlight Cove (where this novel is based) and you can be sure they are being queued in my Kindle!

The main heroine of this story is called Emma and always wants to see the best in people and help people.  Like many other people with this trait, she's not so great at accepting help!  She is running a chocolate shop in Starlight Cove that her late father opened.

Prominently displayed in the chocolate shop is a painting of Emma as a child that is titled The Girl with the Butterscotch Hair.  We are introduced to this painting right at the beginning of the story and it is part of a mystery that runs through the book.

I love the layers of different stories that run through the book bringing it together in a delicious read that would only be better on a lazy Sunday afternoon if enjoyed with a Chocolate Dream (something served in the Starlight Cove Sweetery that we also get introduced to on the first couple of pages).

Emma's need to help anyone that needs it extends to strangers as well and one of the storylines that weave through this novel centres around a woman and her child who start off as strangers before becoming friends.   

We also get to meet Emma's best friend, her grandmother, stepmother and many other Starlight Cove residents.  Each person we read and the stories they bring to the novel helps to enrich it and create a rich tapestry of Emma's life.   There is also a little love interest that is introduced although it doesn't dominate the story, it's just another thread in the book.

If you're looking for a light-hearted book to whisk yourself away to another world for a couple of hours then I recommend reading this one and transporting yourself to Starlight Cove.

I got to enjoy this book for $0 as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership - I highly recommend this membership if you enjoy reading, I liken it to a virtual library card.





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, August 31, 2021

The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben – Book Review

 


A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller by Harlan Coben


The Plot


A high school girl who was relentlessly bullied, disappears. No one seems to take it seriously, but a classmate is worried. When Matthew asks his grandmother (the well-known television criminal attorney, Hester Crimstein) for help in finding her, Hester asks Wilde to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.


Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past, not even that of his name. But his unique tracking abilities and knowledge of the woods give him an advantage in looking for Naomi.


To do this, Wilde must also go back into the community where he has never fit in and confront the powerful whose wealth and fame protect them even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions.  Wilde must uncover these secrets before it is too late.


A Few of the Many Outstanding Reviews of The Boy From the Woods


"The Boy from the Woods  is as much an action as a psychological thriller, as much a riveting read as a superb character study in which Coben challenges himself by taking his story outside his suburban comfort zone. A must-read for any mystery or thriller fan."―Providence Journal


"The crafty Coben knows how to weave a compelling story with intriguing characters, and Wilde is one of his best . . . The narrative veers into such unexpected directions that even a true thriller aficionado will not see the multiple surprises the ending delivers."  ―Associated Press 


"There may be no other thriller writer alive today who has mastered that fundamental trick of the genre. When you start a new Coben novel, or just pick one up and read the jacket copy, you know that nothing will unfold as it seems. You can be assured that surprises will keep appearing until the final page."―BookTrib


My Opinion


Available on Amazon

The character study is one of the most fascinating Coben has ever come up with. And the ending was a complete surprise. I recommend The Boy From The Woods to all who love suspense, thrillers and mystery. 


More Book Reviews by Harlan Coben:


Read more Mystery book reviews on


*Book Review of The Boy From the Woods written by 

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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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Reviewing The Whitby Murders by J R Ellis

Have you ever been to an Escape Room?   After reading this murder mystery novel you may have second thoughts about participating in an Escape Room adventure.

Reviewing The Whitby Murders by J R Ellis
Image created via Canva



Apparently, this novel is the 6th in J R Ellis' Yorkshire Murder Mystery series.  I should probably have started with novel number 1.   Having said that this book stood on its own two feet and is fine to read as a standalone mystery (although I will definitely be looking at reading the rest of these).

Whitby, a Yorkshire coastal town in England's North is closely associated with Bram Stoker's Dracula and since the early 90s has hosted a music festival called the Whitby Goth Weekend twice a year.   The setting of this murder is in Whitby, during the Goth Weekend, and while taking part in an Escape Room.

I have read books that have used music festivals as a setting for murder and also some Gothic-themed novels, but I've never read a book that was actually set in an Escape Room.   I loved the idea and although I realized fairly early on about one thing, I totally missed a few other things so I loved finding out how everything tied together at the end.

If you enjoy murder mysteries then I really recommend this one.  As a book, it is not one that deals in gory as much as the mystery side of a murder mystery and is perfect for people who love putting puzzles together.

I enjoyed reading this book as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership which I always describe as a library membership with Amazon's Kindle store.

Other reviewers who have read some (or all) of the previous novels in J R Ellis's Yorkshire Murder Mystery series have said this is the weakest in the series which means I am even more keen to read the others.  I do have to agree with a few of the comments, however - the actual procedures that took place would not have been allowed to happen in real life, but it's a work of fiction so I didn't mind it!

DCI Oldroyd is the 'star' of these novels and one of the witnesses to the initial murder is his adult daughter who calls him and asks him to investigate.   As far as police procedures go it wasn't on his patch and he obviously had a personal bias.   I was able to put this aside and just enjoy the mystery, but if you like the procedures to be followed (like a number of the reviewers that I've read) then you might want to give it a miss.   I think you'll be missing out, but ...

So I have two questions to ask you - have you ever been to an Escape Room?  Also, have you ever read any of the books in this series by J R Ellis?   I must admit I have been thinking about trying an Escape Room for a while, but now I will be extremely careful as to who I participate in one with!



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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Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Soul of an Octopus - Book Review

The Soul of an Octopus
Oh! From start to finish, The Soul of an Octopus had me utterly mesmerized. Such wonder. I continue to find myself in the awest state of awe (and if that isn't a word, I hereby declare it).

Who knew this creature was so magnificent in every way?  Well, Wilson knew.  And Bill, along with Scott and everyone who had the enormous privilege of intimate engagement with Athena, Octavia, Karma, and Kali.  And now, every single one of us who accepts the invitation to be wowed, and wooed, and wonderized will know.

There is plenty to give rise to a constant state of astonishment.  Three hearts for starters.  Eight arms that function like brains.  A kaleidoscopic flashing of stunning colors and patterns—dizzying in speed and intensity.  

Suction power beyond belief.  Just imagine a quarter ton of lifting and pulling capacity in one tiny body (all contained in small suckers that can untie delicate knots, unscrew lids, manipulate intricate puzzle parts, and discern your body chemistry).  

Then, there is the escapist element.  To be the Houdini of all Houdinis is something quite spectacular.  Give an octopus an inch of opportunity and that octo will, impossibly, ooze through the tiniest of gaps with a fluidity that should be impossible.  Should be.  But isn't.

This is much more than a read.  Truly, to enter into the Soul of an Octopus is to find oneself deep-diving into the lost paradise of Atlantis.  It is a portal into great mystery, majesty, and yes, I admit, there will be mortality.  Life demands it.

From the tanks of the New England Aquarium, to exhilarating open water octopus encounters, breathtaking moments will find you, move you, and capture your heart.  

Which brings us back to the three hearts...

More than anything, I was struck by how encounters with an octopus transformed all she held in thrall: a despairing autistic teen who had recently lost her best friend to suicide; an aquarist with a wife in hospice; a developmentally different twin who exulted in being liked by Karma.  

But wait—how can an invertebrate stir such emotions, such obsession, such desire to connect at the deepest of levels?  What is this?  Is this a soul connection?

Ah, now we are asking questions that have no neat and tidy answers.  Yet, these are questions that bring us beyond ourselves.  No matter the viewpoint, and there are plenty of perspectives regarding what constitutes soul, to embrace that there is more to this oceanic creature than meets the eye is to embrace a deeper sense of ourselves in relationship to that magnificent mystery.  

An expansion of consciousness can happen in that space between the knowing and the not knowing (if, like the octopus, we become fluid enough to flow through the impossibly possible).  

I encourage you to dive deep into this wonderland.  I consider The Soul of an Octopus to be one of the most exquisite books I have read this year.  Highly recommended.









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, August 17, 2021

Taming the Paper Tiger – Book Review


Just about everyone has – currently or in the past – had clutter in their lives. Many books have been written (with several reviewed here on
ReviewThisReviews) about dealing with that dreaded CLUTTER, including closets stuffed with clothes no longer worn, drawers so full they won't open, and random stacks of 'stuff' that have been in place so long you no longer remember what is in the pile. 


Author Barbara Hemphill, a professional organizer, has written several books dealing with clutter. This one I am reviewing – Taming the Paper Tiger – deals with MY biggest bug-a-boo – PAPER. 


Source: Pixabay

I have managed to keep the majority of unneeded clutter out of my life, but when it comes to paperwork I tend to let days ~ yea, even weeks ~ go by without dealing with it. I can't explain it – I have all sorts of file organizers and notebooks and To-Do Lists, and even a scheduled 'day' each week to deal with it – and I'm always behind because I tend to look at a pile, turn around and walk away. Now I have 'piles' of unsorted papers stacked in several places and in more than one room. Sometimes I move a pile – sometimes I even deal with a few papers from a pile – but I never catch up! Thus, the procurement of this book Taming the Paper Tiger – Organizing the Paper in your Life!


The Book


Available on Amazon
Taming the Paper Tiger deals with ~ simply ~ the 'paper' in your life. This includes bills and tax information, but also keeping track of family records, the memorabilia of your family, your photographs, and your files. There is even a section on cleaning up the files in your computer. 




Key Points


I found several key points that 'spoke' to me when I first began to utilize the tips in this book to get control of my paperwork.


One tip I particularly liked was the reminder to 'forget' about the backlog.  Barbara states that to develop an effective paper management system starts with stop feeling guilty about yesterday's piles. Instead, do something with TODAY'S. In other words, start with today's mail and work backwards. 


Source: Pixabay

One of my favorite chapter headings is called “Master the 
Art of Wastebasketry”. I can relate to that! I find it quite tempting to throw ALL my piles of paper into the wastebasket right now. But, no – something important and/or valuable would be lost forever.  So – onward in an 'organized' way. 


We all know about sorting into related piles your bills, action papers, reference papers, to read pile and to write pile, family records and – that very difficult to control pile because we (and the kids) never want any of their work thrown away – the children's papers. The author gives us outlines of each of these in this book, which all makes sense as soon as we (I) admit that I am a “Paperholic”. 


Summary


Source: Pixabay

I have purposely kept this review lighthearted, and not gone into a lot of detail as each chapter deals with learning to control your paper and the chapter headings are self-explanatory. But paper management can be a real (and sometimes a really serious) problem for many people. Personally, I DO want (and need) to get the paper in my life under control and bring 'order' to the 'chaos', and am finding that “Taming the Paper Tiger” is helping.  


So, if stacks of papers are encroaching on your space or you frequently move piles of paper from one side of the desk (or room) to the other or you plan to 'sort' everything out as soon as you have some time, than you may find Barbara Hemphill's book Taming the Paper Tiger exactly what you need to read. Her paper management system and strategies are very helpful.


Additionally, Barbara Hemphill has also written other paper organizing books, including 'for the home' and 'for the office' and 'at work', whether you work in an office or from home.  If you need to know what to toss and how to find the rest, she also has a book about that.


Whatever your paper management needs are, Taming the Paper Tiger and Barbara Hemphill's other management system books will prove to be beneficial to anyone, like me, who finds 'dealing with paper' overwhelming.


*Reviewer's Note: The book I own is simply called 'Taming the Paper Tiger'. It is the fourth edition published in 1997. The current book available is called "Taming the Paper Tiger at Home" - Fifth Edition. Same book with expanded title and different cover.


Quick Links to Other Clutter Control Books and Organizing Suggestions Reviewed by our Contributors here on Review This Reviews



For more organizing tips and tricks reviewed here on Review This Reviews, just do a search for 'clutter'


*Taming the Paper Tiger by Barbara Hemphill – book review written by ~

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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