Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Reviewing The Secret Book of Flora Lea

Ai creation of girl on river bank

Just when I think I've read my fill of World War II historical fiction, 
our book club picks another one for our May meeting.   After reading just a few pages I was totally engrossed in the story and happy to read another WWII historical fiction.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea is based on Operation Pied Piper, a true event during WWII.  In this plan the British Government is looking for a way to keep the children of London safe during the bombing.  They find people willing to take care of the children until the war is over, these people are located in far off lands like Australia and America and many of them are sent to the English countryside.

Brief Summary of the Book

In this book the author, Patti Callahan Henry, tells the story of two young girls, Hazel age 14 and Flora age 5 who are sent to the English countryside.  The story begins with the girls boarding a train that takes them to towns in the countryside where people choose from the children to see who they want to stay in their home.

The girls are fortunate to be placed in a lovely cottage near a small English town and the river Thames.  Here they live with Bridie and her son Henry.  They are very kind and good to the girls.

The girls spend their times going on walks and playing games, which include a wonderful fairy tale that Hazel makes up to entertain Flora and distract her from missing her mother.  In this story the girls escape to a magical land with a cast of delightful characters.  The secret place they escape to is called Whisper Woods.  All is going well until one day Flora goes missing and everyone searches for her but are unable to find her.  The police believe she fell into the river and drowned.

We next meet Hazel 20 years later when she is working in a rare book store.  She is doing well but still misses her sister and feels guilty that she took her eyes off her a few minutes and Flora went missing.  While sorting through a batch of new books that came to the book store, Hazel finds one with the title Whisper Woods.  When she looks through the book she finds many similarities to the story she made up for Flora.  The story that they hadn't told to anyone.

After this, Hazel is on a quest to find her lost sister.  Along the way she meets some Americans who have had the book published and also an English journalist who writes articles about the lost children.  

I will leave the rest of the story for you to discover as you read the book. I highly recommend this book.  

Purchase the Book on Amazon

You can find the book at your local library, or you may purchase it both in paperback, hardback or electronic formats on Amazon.  Here is a link to the book on Amazon. The Secret Life of Flora Lea

 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Reviewing The Ellie McEwan Mysteries by Joy Ellis

Book Reviews on Review This Reviews

I love Joy Ellis police series and have read them all. When I heard that two manuscripts had languished in her attic for two decades before being 'rediscovered' I immediately downloaded both titles.

An Aura of Mystery is book one and introduces us to Ellie McEwan in a crime thriller with a supernatural twist. The characters are quirky and well-rounded as all of her characters are - I find it hard to believe this was her first foray into writing. 

Ellie McEwan is a flower shop owner who has an accident while driving home late one night. Days later she wakes up with a new ability, she can see auras. Her friend Carole is well versed in the spiritual side and tries to help her learn to master this new gift, introducing her to an old professor friend of hers who is an expert in these matters. 

While Ellie is coming to terms with what this new gift is going to mean with her getting on with her life, along with her healing from her car accident; the local police force is dealing with a couple of murders.

Inevitably, given it's a Joy Ellis mystery, Ellie realises that her new-found gift could help to catch a killer. The very sceptical DCI Bob Foreman decides to involve Ellie in the investigation and I will leave it at that. You will have to read the book to discover the how, why, what & when! 

The second book - The Colour of Mystery sees Ellie and Michael set up a Healing Centre for specialty care with a variety of 'alternative' healers. While they are busy setting up the new centre and coming to terms with the circumstances they found themselves in at the end of the last book it appears that there is another spate of murders. 

This time respected and well-loved people are acting completely out of character and murdering people. DCI Forman once again asks for Ellie's help as it really seems as though the murderers may be victims themselves. After committing the murder the 'murderers' go into a catatonic state. 

The second book was a lot more obvious, but wanting to know how the characters were going to deal with things kept me thoroughly engaged. These two books will be the only books in this series which is a shame as I found them to be really easy to read and would love to see more. 

These are two perfect books to curl up with one weekend when you don't anticipate any interruptions. Enjoy them with a lovely cup of cocoa and a few nibbles. 

The series that introduced me to Joy Ellis was the Nikki Galena series that I wrote about here - Joy Ellis' Nikki Galena Series. I've read all of Joy Ellis' books as part of my Kindle Unlimited Membership which I can't recommend enough for any fellow bookworms.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

A Song of Silence, Steve N. Lee ~ A Book Review

 Everyone who has read some of my book reviews knows that I love historical novels.  I am fascinated with the World War II era, as it has impacted my family as well.

War  is horrendous and of that there is no doubt, but I think we all need reminding that war can turn "normal" humans into savage beasts.  

A Song of Silence is a book that is hard to read and harder to put down.  Steve Lee's characters are all based on true life people that were able to corroborate the "horrors" that were inflicted on so many people all over Europe, during the uprisings in 1938-1939 and beyond!


https://amzn.to/4azNU8d


A Song of Silence is a love story and a story of unbridled heroism and self-giving. 

Mirek Kozlowski is running an orphanage for children who have been displaced by marauding Nazi henchmen.  Mirek takes in all the children that are brought to him.  People in his village know that he will take care of them and give them some much needed "normalcy" in a world gone crazy.  His orphanage houses over 80 youngsters,  Mirek feeds and houses them all and treats each one of them like they were his own son or daughter. There is the classrooms where Mirek insists the children learn to read.  It is what a child between the ages of 6 to 13 should understand, schooling!.  Mirek's hope is to give these children a loving and caring home where they should have no fears.  So many of them have already seen much more than a child should.  

His little town in Poland so far has not been noticed by the Nazi's and he hopes that it will stay that way until the war is over.  But, that will not be the case.  

Mirek knew it was a long shot that they could remain unscathed from the realities that was happening all over Poland.  But he was an optimist at heart. reality tells him to have the children ready for anything!  The worst case scenario would be to taunt the Nazi's with "Polish" sentiments and identity.  He needs to train the children on what to do if that worst case scenario actually happens.  Everyone has been trained on what to do in case of an "unexpected visit" by the Nazi's.


Everything Polish has been put away and all things German now fill the classroom.  It was a sickening sight for Mirek and the children, but needed to be done.  Safety of the children was most important and after all and this was just window dressing.

Ania (Anne Maria) Kisiell comes to work with Baba Hanka (the housekeeper) and meets Mirek for the first time.  Ania and Hanka work to keep the children fed and the house in a reasonable state of order.  Hard to do with so many youngsters.

This is the background of Mirek and Ania's story, the start of a love story that you will not soon forget. But I must confess that I won't tell you anymore now!  This book has to go on your reading list and I know that you will be touched by the self-sacrifice and love that both Mirek and Ania shower down on the children in their care.

I could not put A Song of Silence down and I have read many World War II novels over the years.  This one will be etched on my mind for a long time.  A Song of Silence is one book that you should not miss!

This book gets a ***** (Five) Star rating from me and I don't give those up too easily.  

It is out on May 12 and available to you through Amazon.com, Kindle edition and many national book retailers. Steve N. Lee is a masterful story teller, you will not be disappointed!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Review of Cozy Mystery Genre

Bar Harbor Maine
Bar Harbor Maine 
Photo by mbgphoto

 The "Cozy Mystery" Genre for stories has become very popular.  I thought this was a newer genre until I did a bit of research.  Actually, it has been around for a while.  Think about the TV program "Murder She Wrote" with Angela Lansbury and you find the perfect ingredients for a cozy mystery.  Like so many cozy mysteries this program features a woman who finds herself falling into the role of amateur sleuth.  She is an intelligent woman who also has main career.  The program takes place in a small, coastal town, where everyone knows each other.  She also has a good friend in law enforcement.  As I read more cozy mysteries, I find that these features are common to many of the books.

Why I Like Cozy Mysteries

I like cozy mysteries because they are fairly short, they feature a mystery that keeps my interest throughout the entire book, and many times there is a romantic interest in the story.  Often, they take place in places I have visited and really enjoyed.  In the past year I have read cozy mysteries that took place on the coast of South Carolina, in a small Irish village, small Colorado town, and along the coast of Maine.  I find this genre of books to be a wonderful way to relax and I often pick one up after I've been doing heavier reading.  They are great reads for a day at the beach or to bring along on a vacation.  Many cozy mysteries are part of a series of books with the same characters.

Cozy Mystery I am Currently Reading

Currently I am reading a book by Carlene O'Connor.  It is called "Murder in an Irish Churchyard".  It has an amateur sleuth named, Siobh'an who also runs a bistro.   It takes place in a small Irish village where everyone seems to know everyone and is willing to talk about it.  The book begins with a body being found in the local churchyard among the gravestones.  Siobh'an finds the body and the mystery begins.   All of these are common traits of the cozy mystery. Oh, and yes, there is a love interest with one of the local garda's (police).

As the story progresses, we meet a group of American's who are in Ireland researching their ancestors.  Do they have anything to do with the dead body? I will leave you to read the book and solve the mystery.  You can purchase the book on Amazon at the following link.  https://amzn.to/3TPHOKA


Review This Writers Review Cozy Mystery Books

Many of the writers for Review This have reviewed cozy mystery  books.  Here are a few that are in the RT archives.


Review This Writers Review Cozy Mystery Movies

Cozy mysteries are also very big in movies.  Here are several that Cynthia reviewed for Review This.
Enjoy a Cozy Mystery!!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Lake of Lost Girls ~ A Book Review

 The Lake of Lost Girls is a novel that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat right up until the very end.  

Stella and Rachel are two podcasters who follow up on cold cases involving murder!

book cover
Their followers are also tracking the evidence and speculations run rampant about the "Whodunit?"

Synopsis:

Lindsey has been living in the shadow of what ever happened to her sister so many years ago.  All of a sudden out of the blue, the lake, the police and the crime scene tape is being played out yet again.

Body parts have been found by some young boys fishing in Doll's Eye Lake!  Could it be they are the remains of  Jessica (Jessie)?  Will her disappearance finally be solved?  Can Lindsey finally get out from under the cloud of grief and loss?

This story will have you turning pages and not wanting to put this book down for anything including coffee!

Jessica is a college student who comes home for a visit and her little sister is the last person to see her.  It took ten seconds for her to disappear and never be seen again!  How can anyone live with that kind of torment?  Lindsey was only 6 years old when her sister disappeared.  Twenty four years later body parts are coming to the surface.

Now back in the 1990's more than one college girl went missing, so could this be one of those girls or could it really be Jessie?  

Back in the day when these girls first were listed as missing, the police did not have enough evidence to charge anyone with a crime.  They also didn't have any bodies!  No evidence and only a lot of hearsay about some of the professors  and young men on campus!  

What was going on here?  

Well let me tell you, I had to read the book from start to finish in less than four days!  My husband was busy cooking, because I was busy reading!  He's great though and didn't mind.  He's also a great cook, but I digress!

What I'm trying to tell you is that this book, The Lake of Lost Girls, should be on your MUST READ LIST!

It is available for pre-purchase as it is only coming out on November 5th,  of this year.

If you have family or friends that love true crime novels, this one is for you!

I am a member of NetGalley (www.netgalley.com) and this book was made available to me for my honest review.  The Lake of Lost Girls,  does not leave you disappointed as you will engage with the disturbing and quick downfall of a responsible girl who does not cope well with college life .  The aftermath of her disappearance leaves her younger sister with emotional scars too.  All of this is very understandable and I think in a way relatable.

Bring in a few "shady" characters and you start to see how lost a young person can become when their lives change so quickly.  No one gets out of this mystery without being touched by it in some way!  

~ Mark your calendar for this release date!  November 5, 2024!~







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Book Review of Flawless by Jan Moran

 Flawless is an exciting book by Jan Moran.  It is part of her Love, California series.
Book Review heading

If you like to read books about strong career women with a bit of light romance on the side, this is a book for you.

The Author

Jan Moran is a best-selling author of women's fictions series, beach books, family sagas, and twentieth century historical novels.

Flawless

This book features Verena Valent who is the heiress to her family's skincare empire.  When Verena was 18 her parents both die in an automobile accident and her grandmother is undergoing cancer treatments.  This leaves Verena to both care for her younger twin sisters and take over leadership of the family business.

The book begins several years later when Verena is leading an expansion of the business into Asia.  Everything is set to begin when a banking crisis leaves the company short of the funds needed for the expansion.  Along with this, unethical business associates and an ex-fiancĂ© are giving Verena bad advice which could lead her to lose the family business.

Verena is sour on romance after a bad time with the unethical ex-fiancĂ©, and for the time being is content with running the business and leaving romance for when things are more settled.  Could this all change when she meets Lance Martel a celebrity chef?  Then when Verena is on a business trip to Paris, she runs into Lance again.

I will leave you to discover "the rest of the story" when you read this real page turner of a book.

Other Books in this Series

There are six books in this series.  Each book can be read alone, or you may want to read the entire series, as I will.  The books each feature a different main character, and all are strong women in the beauty field.  Here are the books in order.
  • Flawless
  • Beauty Mark
  • Runway
  • Essence
  • Style
  • Sparkle
The books are available on Amazon in paperback, electronic versions and audible versions.  Here is the link to Flawless

HAPPY READING!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Thursday, February 1, 2024

Reviewing Prom Queen by Laura Wolfe

Prom Queen book cover
Prom Queen by Laura Wolfe 

I'm not sure what made me want to read this book by Laura Wolfe, but I will definitely be diving into more of her books as I really enjoyed it.

The cover of the book says, 'We were all there 20 years ago....Only one of us killed her', that was enough of a hook for me!

This book runs in two timelines one is the present day and one is twenty years ago when the small town of Cove Haven's Prom Queen died.

The main character in the book is Brooke and she has returned to Cove Haven on the shore of Lake Michigan after her mother's death planning to renovate and sell the family home. While she's in the coffee shop she bumps into a woman who is wearing a silver locket around her neck that she instantly recognises. The necklace is one that she gave her long-time best friend for her 17th birthday and the last time she saw it was on the evening that her friend (the Prom Queen in the title) died.

The person in question was a true-crime podcaster who had decided to investigate the Prom Queen's death and she raised lots of questions as podcasters do. Bailey's death had been put down as a suicide, but her friends had often thought it could've been something more sinister. As the podcaster, Hannah probes more she and Brooke discover more things and the twists start coming.

I really enjoyed it even though I did suspect who the killer was before the end, I will confess to falling for a red herring for a few moments. I won't reveal more about that as I want you to fall for it   enjoy the book with no preconceptions!

If you like thrillers and whodunnits then you should enjoy this book. There were a couple of cliched characters in the book, but the main cast was really good.

The only thing that I didn't really like was the epilogue. I enjoyed the ending with the reveal and think it could've ended there. When I read the epilogue I said to my husband, 'that's not a nice ending, I really don't like that ending' I think it was to set up for another book, but I just didn't like it. I would recommend not reading that part, but if you're like me curiosity will get the better of you. 

For an entertaining read I do recommend it. It is marketed as a 'totally addictive and gripping psychological thriller with a heart-stopping twist' and that does sum it up although I would probably replace the psychological thriller with whodunnit as it wasn't as dark and suspenseful as a lot of psychological thrillers.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Taverner's Son by Leslie Park Lynn ~ A Book Review

 The Taverner's Son is a well written deeply moving novel that has a beautiful story line that everyone can really sink their teeth into.  Family secrets, tragedy and a small village help to make this book a real page turner.  I love the characters and each one of their with own "quirks".  

The Taverners Son



What family doesn't have some sadness and misunderstandings that get in the way of family connections?  I don't think there is one family out there who can't relate in some way.

So it is with Will Kendrick.  He has lived most of his adult life away from the small town that was his home.  Misunderstandings and pride make it difficult to get through to the part where we still love each other.  And sometimes it's too late to do anything about it!  

Will gets a phone call letting him know that his father has passed away.   Living on the west coast for many years,  Will had not given his father too much thought.  Now he is in shock and trying desperately to make sense of it all, realizing that there is no more time left.

Will makes the plans to return to the little fishing village of Apalachicola.  First he had to make his way from California to Tallahassee and then drive from there to what had been his home.  As he drives the roads back to his "home" memories come flooding back to him. 

Of course there are the people of the town whom he had known growing up and many that had left the small town for bigger and better opportunities.  But there was also one of his oldest and dearest friends from his childhood who remained.  Jess, his long time friend from grade school, who had always been there during his childhood, made her life in the small town of Apalachicola.

Will is making his way around town and sees the tavern where he spent many days helping his father.  Homework was done on one of the small tables in the back.  Penny, the cook and keeper of the kitchen took Will under her wings when Will's mother had died.  Will was only 3 years old when his mother died.   Penny and her husband were the imaginary parents that Will wanted.  His father had become distant and depressed, withdrawn from his son and anything that reminded him of his beloved wife.  Will was the spitting image of his mother.  So that made things even harder for Will's father.  And now Will is standing in the Tavern that now belongs to him.  


Will has a lot to learn about the father he didn't know so well and more about his mother too. When you lose your mom at 3 years of age, you really don't know too much about her.    As you get into the book, the story takes on a life of it's own and you will be hard pressed to put the book down.  So many questions that Will has and so few answers, yet, there is something going on that doesn't make sense.


I don't want to give too much of the story away, but, I would encourage you to pick this book up.  It really is a riveting story of family, family secrets and how they impact the people who are being "saved from the truth".  This book is masterfully written, a love story with twists and turns that you will not see coming.  It is a page turner that you won't want to put down.

I received this book from VoraciousReadersOnly with the promise of sharing a review.  It was my pleasure to read this book and review it for you here.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Sci-Fi Lovers, Project Hail Mary is For You! A Book Review

Anyone who has been reading my reviews knows that I am a typical Historical/Suspense novel lover.  Once in a while I get out of my comfort zone and delve into something completely different.  Project Hail Mary was one of those leaps into a genre that I normally don't gravitate towards!

I can imagine that anyone who loves Science Fiction and Mystery stories would absolutely love this book.  So if there is a Sci-Fi Lover on your Christmas List this book is one for them.

Project Hail Mary

 This book is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon and has won much acclaim!


Synopsis:

Ryland Grace is the lone survivor on a mission that has been set into motion at some point in the past.  He's not sure exactly when or where and what the mission is all about.  He's been in a prescheduled coma for a while and his mind is kind of fuzzy.

Looking around he finds himself millions of miles away from earth with only his two deceased comrades for company.

What has happened and what is happening?  His memories are slowly coming back and he realizes that he has an almost impossible task ahead.  One that will be either the salvation of mankind or it's complete demise.

The sun is losing it's strength and the earth is cooling.  There is another ICE AGE on the horizon unless he can find a way to capture and/or disarm the alien entity that is causing this loss of heat energy.  

What else can possibly happen while Ryland is on this quest?  

I found this book to be a total all encompassing read.  While there were many parts that I could not wrap my head around, I think the author did an amazing job of making all of this believable, even though I don't necessarily understand all the science around it.  I let my imagination run with the possibilities!  

Is Earth the only planet that will suffer if the solution to the problem isn't found?  Are there other possible populations in outer space that will also suffer this fate?  It's time to pick up this book and find out.  I can almost guarantee that once you start, you won't want to put this book down again.  

I did have to re-read a few chapters in order to get a clearer picture in my mind's eye, but that was not a deterrent or a difficulty because I really wanted to understand the situation better.  

Would I recommend this book?  You better believe I will.  As I said earlier it's not my favorite genre of book, but I think I will need to make an exception in this case.  I might even have to get his other book, The Martian and read it too.  Broadening my horizons is part of why I love reading. 

I'm sure that a Sci-Fi lover would find this book totally engrossing and even the ending has a poignant cast to it.

I think my next read by Andy Weir will be The Martian, that's how much I enjoyed Project Hail Mary!

If you sign up for an Audible Trial you can enjoy both of these books free of charge.

Project Hail Mary


I'm sure that these books will become a favorite for any Science Fiction Lover!  Enjoy it, I sure did.

 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Panda Girl ~ A Historical Novel by Lawrence V. Drake ~ A Book Review

 So I'm going to tell you a secret!  Historical Novels are one of my favorite genre of books. It doesn't really matter what the time period is, I just happen to be very adept at getting my mind into whatever period I am reading about!

Panda Girl by Lawrence Drake is one of these books.  Set in the period of the Second World War, just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this novel had me right from the opening few sentences of the Prologue.

Based on true life experiences, Panda Girl captivates and sheds some light on a part of WWII that many people don't know anything about.  It certainly was the case for me.  We think of the war as taking part mostly in Europe, but there was a whole contingent of the War that was taking place in  China, Burma, and India. 

Known collectively as the CBI Theater of WWII,  the Americans, while fighting Germany and the Japanese in the Pacific, also vowed that Japan would not overrun China.

https://amzn.to/46vRcHz

Victor Dance (the main character) knows little about the world beyond his family's dairy farm in Montana.  He is reserved, shy, a hard worker and well liked.  He's also a talented artist in his own right.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed and the scope of destruction was realized, Victor and many of his friends enlisted in the Army to do their part for America and world peace.  Victor knew he wanted to fly!  It was a dream of his since he once witnessed Lindbergh flying over the family farm.  

When Victor and his friends had enlisted, their minds were full of thoughts of flying to France or England, they had never in their wildest dreams thought they would end up in India and  thought much less of the terrain they would be flying in.

Lawrence Drake does a wonderful job of bringing the realities of some of these missions to the pages of this book.  At times I felt that I was drowning in the heat that many of these pilots had to endure and just as I was getting comfortable in the heat,  I'd find myself freezing right along with them when they were flying at 20,000 ft.  I can't imagine the shock to the body when those kinds of extremes are happening within a short span of time. 

Missions over the Himalayas  were treacherous as winds, clouds and some of the highest mountains in the world stood between the pilots and their missions to take out Japanese tankers, railroads, bridges and transfer stations.  

Sometimes the only thing that kept these guys in the air and focused on their missions were the thoughts of those people back home who were counting on their success in this War. Letters from home were the only way many of these men kept going.  Hobbies helped too, as Victor in his "off time" was often drawing.  His talents as a pilot and an artist were in high demand, but you will have to read the book to see why.

War is never an easy thing and writing about it in a way that makes you fully understand the sacrifices is a real gift for us who have never had those experiences.  Truly it makes you even more thankful that we have not had to take part in this kind of "action".

If there is someone on your list of friends that enjoys Historical Novels, then this book gets a big Green Light from me.  I really enjoyed the story and came away with a much better understanding and thankfulness for all the sacrifices these men and women made for us.

You can get your own copy right here and I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did!



Happy Reading, until the next Review!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Reviewing Worlds Apart by Jane Crittenden

Book Review - Worlds Apart by Jane Crittenden

If you're after an easy-to-read romance with a dash of teen angst then Jane Crittenden's debut novel, Worlds Apart is perfect for you.

Amy moved to New Zealand with her family as a pregnant eighteen-year-old and has made a life for herself and her daughter in Auckland, New Zealand. As she is nearly finished with a day of celebration at her cafe on the beach in walks her high school sweetheart.

The novel switches between four friends in the sixth form (16-18 years of age for people who aren't familiar with the UK schooling system) in the UK to the present time in Auckland, NZ. As teens Amy, Olivia, Chris and Paul are in Sixth Form together and hang out outside of school. Amy and Chris are in love with each other, Olivia is in love with Chris and Paul is mooning over Olivia.

When Amy finds herself pregnant as her parents are planning to emigrate to New Zealand she ends up writing a letter to Chris to let him know about the pregnancy and gives it to her beloved dad to deliver. She then moves to New Zealand with her parents and waits for him to follow. He doesn't and she ends up raising her daughter as a single mum and also using her baking talent to make a name for her cafe set beachfront in Auckland.

There are some twists and misunderstandings abound in this book, along with a second chance at romance - can the flames between first loves be reignited 18 years later?

It was definitely an easy read so if you're looking for something non-taxing to read while relaxing this fits the bill. I read it in less than a day. I think if you like authors such as Jo Jo Moyes or Barbara Davis I think you'll enjoy this book.

As a side note, I found it interesting as to how different a personality her best friend in her late 30s, Shannon, was to her best friend in her late teens, Olivia, was. It made me think about how different my circle of friends has become in different stages of my life.

I read this as part of my Amazon Prime membership, if you enjoy getting sneak peeks at new books as well as access to the Prime Reading as well as Amazon Prime videos then this is definitely something to consider getting. You can watch every episode of Jack Ryan, among other things.

If you've read Worlds Apart, let me know what you thought in the comments.

Book Review of a Second-Chance Romance, Worlds Apart
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Friday, August 25, 2023

Book Review of A Forgiving Heart (Seasons of Change Book 2)

forgiving heart book cover
Seasons of Change is a historical Christian romance book series that is written by multiple authors.  The books do not share the same characters.  They simply share the same theme.

A Forgiving Heart by Kasey Stockton could easily be read as a stand alone book and is one I would recommend even if you do not wish to commit to the entire series.  The main character is quite believable.  She does, indeed, possess a forgiving heart, but not in a way that seems beyond reason.  While she has forgiven childhood mistreatment by other children, it is clear she still struggles with the memories of the selfish adult who was filled with anger and took it out on her.

This is a book that has stayed with me for days.  I realize it is fiction, but the injustices are all too real.  Children can be cruel, and people who should be looking out for you, often take advantage of their power.  Even if our own lives have been easy, comparatively speaking, I think we all need the opportunity to consider how others may well have very painful pasts.  Just telling someone they need to forgive someone seems trite and unsympathetic.  Giving them time and room to work through something step by step is a more thoughtfully considered response.  That is the reminder this book offered me, while also entertaining me with a romantic story.

I will warn you in advance.  This is not a light reading romance.  There is a pervasive evil throughout the story, starting with the uncle and continuing with someone viewed as a friend.  Perhaps, that is another life lesson we should all be reminded of.  People are not always who or what they seem.

 

A Forgiving Heart Synopsis

 A Forgiving Heart
(Seasons of Change Series)
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Kate Kingston is now an adult, content with her life as a teacher.  When an attorney arrives one day at the school to inform her of her uncle's death and her inheritance, she is thrown back into her past.  A past she would prefer to leave behind. 

When she was 4, her parents were killed.  Her uncle moved into the ancestral home in Larkfield and sent her to live with strangers.  When she returned to Split Tree Manor at the age of 9, he treated her as a house servant and would not let her go outside.  When she was not working in the house, she had to remain in a room with a hired woman.  The one day she did manage to slip out, she was assaulted by two male neighbors while trying to defend a smaller boy.  When she returned home, she was switched by her uncle for disobedience.  Finally, at 12, she was sent off to school, which turned out to be a much needed reprieve.

Kate returns to Split Tree Manor, where her only real memories are dominated by her cruel uncle.  She was simply too young when her parents died to remember Split Tree Manor as anything other than an unhappy place.  But, this was her father's home.  As the older brother, her father had inherited Split Tree Manor.  Unbeknownst to her, Uncle Bartholomew was only managing her inheritance until she reached the age of 20.  She had been 20 for six months, yet her uncle did not contact her or inform her of her inheritance.  Had he not died, she would not have known that she was the rightful heir of Split Tree Manor in Larkfield.

Kate doesn't return alone.  She takes an ally with her.  Alice James, the cook from the school, is thrilled with the opportunity to become Larkfield's cook.  She is also joined by another married friend, Emily Nielsen, whose husband is away at war.  Her hope is that these two friends can help her establish a home and re-enter society, a place where she belonged by birth, but was previously denied.

Shortly after her arrival, she meets Martin Evans who reveals that he is the younger boy from that day long ago and how he has always remembered her as his valiant defender.  He wishes to repay her kindness, but he also expresses his interest in courting her.

One afternoon, when Emily doesn't return home from horseback riding, Kate and the house staff set out to find her.  Kate is not the only person who finds Emily unconscious.  Sir Peter Evans is there and he is carrying Emily to his own horse.  Kate does not recognize Peter as one of the boys from years ago, nor does she realize he is the owner of Evanslea, but she had seen him several times recently.  She acquiesces to his plans and allows him to carry Emily away while she tends to Emily's horse.   

As the days pass, Kate finds unexpected friendship with one of the brothers and isn't quite sure why she is hesitant to get too close to the other one.  There is something there that she doesn't quite understand or trust.

 


 

Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. I stayed up late into the night reading. After a few hours sleep, I awoke ready to start reading again, forgetting any work I was supposed to do that day. It is an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a combination of romance and mystery.



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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Summertime and the Reading is Easy ~ A Book Review

Summertime is a great time to catch up on reading material that has been stacking up and this past week I found myself in need of an easy read while waiting for x-rays to be done in the hospital waiting room.

As luck would have it I happened to download a book called The Waiting Room by Joan S. Peck, that I was waiting to read.  I did not quite expect to be reading it while I was doing my own waiting in the Waiting Room, but that is exactly what happened.

As I am writing this review for you, I am nursing a broken shoulder!  That is making my life a little more difficult than Allison's, Bella's and Marianne's.

These three women met while undergoing their yearly Mammograms.  Every woman knows how wonderful these tests are (not) and how they can bring you to your lowest common denominator!  But it's a great way for three very diffferent women to meet.  Allison the most outgoing of the three asks the other two if they would like to go out for a coffee after their mammograms are done.  

Bella and Marianne had not made any other plans for that day, so going out for a nice brew after a stressful test seemed like a great idea.

For the first little while these three are testing the waters of friendship.  They are learning a little bit about each other and after a few awkward moments, laughter is sounding around the table.

https://amzn.to/45F06SV

Each of these women knew that they had found something that they needed from each other.  Nothing was more important than having someone to share life's moments (good ones and bad) with.  Someone who understood what life was like from a woman's perspective.  Who knows, this could be the start of a great friendship.

After that first girl's coffee date, they all decide that they will do this again in a weeks time.  After all, they would be meeting back at the Waiting Room to get the results of their mammograms. 


The Waiting Room is a lovely book that I'm sure many women could immediately relate to.  There are crazy things happening in each of their lives and a good observation from an outside party is sometimes what is needed so badly.  These three become sounding boards for each other and yes, they become the best of friends.

I really enjoyed this book as a summertime read, it's not heavy in details that you need to remember to make sense of the story line, but there are details in there that I'm sure most women could understand and have an  opinion about.

Sit back, grab a good cup of coffee or lemonade and open this book.  You will find yourself transported to another time in your life when you wish you had a really great friend to share your problems with, while finding solutions that work for everyone.

I'm sure you won't be disappointed!  


HAPPY SUMMERTIME READING








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Monday, July 31, 2023

Book Review - Lethal Range (A Matthew Redd Thriller Book 2)

Matthew Redd is a former elite Marine Raider, a fighting machine with special skills, whose current mission is to locate one specific bad guy. Anton Gage is an obscenely rich biotechnology celebrity whose idea of saving the world's population and of ending world hunger is through reducing the amount of humans who need fed. Gage is not alone in his quest. He has the technology and the support to pull this off. Unless Matthew Redd and small group of men can locate and stop him. 

Lethal Range by Ryan Steck

Note: I received a copy of this book to review. I rarely accept books or products for review because I am not comfortable with the commitment of having to review something I may not like. Fortunately, I really enjoyed this story! So much so that I'm going to read the series.

Lethal Range (A Matthew Redd Thriller Book 2) by Ryan Steck

Fifteen months prior, the FBI counterterrorism division was closing in on a bioweapons scientist who was a primary person in this plot to reduce the world population. The Marine Raiders, inlcuding Matthew Redd, were sent to capture this scientist but they were ambushed and all but Redd were killed. Leaving Redd as the only "good guy" to know what Anton Gage looked and sounded like.

The chase has brought Redd and the US FBI counterterrorism fly team to the Isle of Majorca, Spain. They are surveiling a Villa perched in the island's hills and with all of the modern technology available they are spying on the occupants in an attempt to give Redd a chance to ID Anton Gage. 

While no one is killed during this mission, it again goes terribly wrong. Gavin Kline, sends Redd home to Montana. To his wife and infant son.

While he was away, Emily, Matthew Redd's wife, is harrassed on the highway while trying to take her son to the hospital. Their son has been ill with an unexplained fever so she makes the 90 minute drive to Bozeman hospital. En route, a grotequely huge and terrifying biker began to follow her and taunt her. When he was joined by two handfuls of gang members they surrounded her and beat on her truck.

The Redd family has muliple issues to deal with at the same time. Their son is ill. Matthew has failed the mission, again, which endangers the world. The local bikers are targeting them. Gavin Kline is Matthew's biological father but not the man who raised him. The man who raised him, B.J, has passed away and left the ranch to Matthew. Matthew tries to handle these things alone and Emily is not going to allow that to happen.

I received a copy of this book to review. I rarely accept books or products for review because I am not comfortable with the commitment of having to review something I may not like. Fortunately, I loved this story! So much so that I'm going to read the series.



I'm in love with Matthew Redd. He is an elite marine who is very protective of his country and his family. He's a killing machine and would sacrifice himself for others. However, he is neither perfect nor a superhero. Redd gets his butt kicked. And his relationship with his father, and quite frankly with others, can be fraught with conflict. But it's easy to imagine this handsome Marine cowboy riding his horse on his ranch in Montana in between biker bar brawls. I'm in love with his wife Emily. She's a strong woman, a nurse, who takes care of others and who responds calmly during crisis. She tells Matthew repeatedly that he doesn't have to do these things alone. And she means it.

I believe people who are fans of the Taken movie series will love Matthew Redd and Lethal Range. This is not a carbon copy of that story but the similarities are the spy technology, the men with a special set of skills, and the imperfect men who deeply love their family. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Saturday, July 22, 2023

A Review of Blueberries for Sal, The Cookbook and the Children's Book

The month of July has been designated as National Blueberry Month. Thus, it seemed appropriate to tell you about two charming books with a blueberry theme: The classic children's book Blueberries for Sal, and a recent blueberries cookbook based on the book. 


Blueberries on a bush


The Author


Robert McCloskey (1914-2003) was an American writer and illustrator who wrote and illustrated eight picture books, winning two Caldecott Medals for his work. Blueberries for Sal has become a children's classic and has now been used as the basis for a blueberry cookbook.


Blueberries for Sal Storybook


Blueberries for Sal storybook by Robert McCloskey

Published in 1948, this charming book has won the hearts of young readers everywhere. Recommended for children 2 to 5 years old, it tells the story of a little girl (Sal) and her mother who go picking blueberries one day. At the same time, a mother bear and her cub also go searching for a feast of blueberries - all on Blueberry Hill.

Somewhere along the line both Sal and the bear cub wander off and end up following the wrong mother. Will each mother go home with the right little one? 

The story takes place near the sea in the pine-covered Maine countryside. It has expressive line drawings in dark blueberry blue to illustrate this charming story.


Click here for Blueberries for Sal Children's Book on Amazon


Blueberries for Sal Cookbook


Illustration from Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

At the end of Robert McCloskey's beloved children's classic Blueberries for Sal, little Sal and her mother brought their blueberries home and started canning their harvest to enjoy all winter long. But there, the story ends. 


Blueberries for Sal Cookbook

With the publication of this Blueberries for Sal Cookbook (June, 2023), you can now share Little Sal's love of blueberries.  The cookbook has thirty family-friendly blueberry-based recipes, giving you many sweet ways to enjoy your own blueberries. 

The recipes include the classics, such as blueberry pie and blueberry muffins, along with breakfast favorites like blueberry coffee cake and delicious desserts of cookies and cupcakes.

The recipes are simple, and many of the steps are easy for children who like to help in the kitchen, like Sal. Most of the recipes work just as well with frozen berries, so you can have these blueberry treats any time of year.

The cookbook uses many of McCloskey's original line drawings, plus a few new illustrations based on the author's distinctive art style. 


Click here for Blueberries for Sal Cookbook on Amazon


Summary


Both the original Blueberries for Sal children's book and this new cookbook for blueberries are delightful additions to anyone's home library who love blueberries as much as Sal. 


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*Blueberry Book Reviews by Wednesday Elf







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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