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A place to read about books.

A Winter’s Wish Come True

A Winter’s Wish Come Trueby Lynsey James

Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Published November 22nd 2017 by HQ Digital
3.5 Stars

 

My Review: This was a very sweet romance that I had planned to read at Christmas, but it got pushed back a bit. Cleo is still in love with her ex-boyfriend Scott who up and left her a year earlier to move to Australia. When he returns to Silverdale, he wants to get back together. He admits he has made a mistake and begs Cleo to forgive him. She is not willing to do that, at least not at first. As they run into one another a few more times, they spend one passionate night in bed. In the morning Scott is gone without even leaving a note. Once again, he has left her. When Cleo finds out that she is pregnant, she is not sure what to do. Having dealt with body dysmorphia in the past she is worried about dealing with a growing body. She is also still in love with Scott, but he had agreed to help raise the child, but not as a couple. Will they get back together? Will his old girlfriend Natalie get a hold of him again?

There is humour as well as angst in this story. Besides the fact that Cleo got herself pregnant, this could be a Hallmark Movie. Two twenty or thirty somethings dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, single parenthood, parents who dislike each other and some cranky hospital employees all add up to a nice romantic read. If you like feel good romance stories, then pick this one up, you will definitely enjoy it. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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“I” Invisible Prey

Working my way through my A to Z challenge reading only physical books I already own. The 9th one is now complete.

Invisible Prey (Lucas Davenport, #17)by John Sandford

Paperback, 441 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Berkley (first published May 15th 2007)
3 Stars

 

My Review: ‘Invisible Prey’ is the 17th book in the Minnesota state detective Lucas Davenport series. I found this book to have a mellower Lucas, married with a young son. This story integrated a local murder investigation with an unseemly investigation of a Senator having sex with a minor in an election year. Several times, the murder was put on the back burner to free up Lucas for the political investigation.

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Christmas at Conwenna Cove (Conwenna Cove #2)

Christmas at Conwenna Cove (Conwenna Cove, #2)by Darcie Boleyn

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published October 9th 2017 by Canelo
4.5 stars
My Review: This was on my list for Christmas reads, but I got behind. Better late than never they say, and I am glad I got to it. I enjoyed meeting Grace and her parents as she was helping them to relocate to the beautiful Cornish village of Conwenna Cove. She is staying with them until New Year’s then heading home to Cardiff Wales, at least that is the plan. Everyone keeps talking about the magic of Conwenna Cove and encouraging her to stay. She is an author, so can work anywhere. As she meets people from the village she becomes more and more enchanted. When she meets the handsome veterinarian, Oli, who is a widower with two adorable children, she considers it even more. Dealing with loss is tough and people may grieve for years. Grace has vowed never to get married or have children of her own due to her brother having Cystic Fibrosis and dying 9 years earlier. Can she get over this and open herself to possibilities? A great romance whether it is Christmas or not. The characters are lovely. They are caring, friendly and loyal to one another. The animals are a wonderful addition to the story. There is a greyhound sanctuary close by and several of the villagers own rescued greyhounds. An abandoned cat and three kittens found in the playground end up at the vet hospital and need to find homes. All this is woven into the story of this wonderful little village. There is a bit of talk about cruelty to animals, but it is done in discussions of saving them and how can humans be so cruel. This is a very clean romance that will melt your heart. I recommend this story to any romance lover. Grab a warm blanket of glass of whatever you want to drink (wine did it for me) and take a visit to Conwenna Cove. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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Decanting a Murder (A Sommelier Mystery #1)

For one of my Goodreads Challenges, I has to find a book about wine or with wine on the cover. I came across this series. There are already 3 in the series so I look forward to being able to enjoy them all.

Decanting a Murder (A Sommelier Mystery #1)by Nadine Nettmann

Paperback, 264 pages
Published May 8th 2016 by Midnight Ink
4.5 Stars

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Etched in Tears (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery #4)

Etched in Tears by Cheryl Hollonby Cheryl Hollon

Paperback
Published November 28th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
4.5 Stars

My Review: Etched in Tears is the fourth book in A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series by Cheryl Hollon. I have read them all, but you can read this book as a stand alone. Savannah Webb is attending the opening of Dennis Lansing’s show at the Dali Museum with her boyfriend, Edward Morris. Savannah received the invitation because she and Dennis had dated in high school. He was also one of the first apprentices in the program started by her father to help troubled youth. They do not get much time to visit at the opening, but have arranged for a lunch as well as a visit to one of her etching classes. Dennis has found a way to etch notes and letters into his projects. Unfortunately before they meet again, Dennis is found dead in the garden of the museum. The police as Savannah for help when they find a letter from her deceased father in Dennis’ pocket. She has a lot going on with a special order, issues with Edward wanting to move their relationship to the next level, a problem with her taxes as well as her classes and studio, but Dennis was her first boyfriend. So, with the help of her friends, Savannah takes the time to investigate and finally go through her father’s old records. Will they find the culprit? How does an enigma machine play into this story? Will Savannah and Edward be able to ride out the latest turmoil in their relationship?

Once again I flew through this story. Cheryl Hollon writes a mystery that is interesting, has a great plot and is easy to read. Her descriptions of the art work (i.e. the Green Bench at the museum), the museum itself, the methods used in her classes etc. enabled you to picture what she was talking about. The characters are such great friends and so well developed, it seems like I know them by now. I love how the character of Jacob (he has aspergers) is trying new things and feeling more confident with the glass shop, his customer service and working with others. Savannah and Edward’s relationship is easy to relate to. Again, it is not rushed and he is able to understand her hesitation, although he is not giving up. The mystery itself was not the easiest to solve. I did figure it out before the reveal, but I really liked how the clues were dealt in the story and how the use of glass was so important to the mystery. I definitely recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers as well as those who are interested in glass art and who live or visit in the St. Petersburg area. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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“H” High Noon

I am working my way through my A to Z challenge reading only physical books that I own. I am reading them in alphabetical order, and I just finished H. Tomorrow I will be starting on I – Invisible Prey by John Sandford.

High NoonHigh Noon

Hardcover, 467 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Putnam
4 Stars

 

My Review: This Nora Roberts standalone novel starts off with a bang. Phoebe McNamara is the top hostage negotiator for the Savannah Police Department and she is called in to talk down a man threatening suicide. She heads out on the ledge with him and is able to get him to put down the gun and come inside. This is just part of the job for Phoebe as she has worked suicides, kidnappings, hostage situations and robberies gone wrong with very few fatalities. The man who is talking to “suicide Joe” when she arrives is Duncan Swift who recently won several millions in a lottery. He falls for Phoebe and will not give up until she agrees to go out with him. Phoebe is not looking for a relationship as she is a single mother to a 7 year old daughter and she is the breadwinner and caretaker for her agorophobic mother. Unfortunately for Phoebe, something is happening and she does not know what. Someone is stalking and tormenting her. Dead animals are tossed on her porch steps, a man she has spent hours negotiating with is shot down as he walks out with his arms in the air, and Phobe doesn’t have a clue who is taunting & terrorizing her. She is also dealing with a suspended police officer who hates her and when she is attacked in the stairwell of her own police building he is fired and only given community service. As the violence escalates, she fears for her family and the man she is falling in love with, Duncan Swift.

Nora Roberts never fails to deliver action, suspense, intrigue, chemistry, and romance. The plot development and action were well written. The suspense kept building and building as the stalker grew more violent and brash. I was never sure who the stalker was and neither was Phoebe until just before the final showdown (hence the title, High Noon). The family dynamics and history added another interesting storyline which added another dimension to the characters. The chemistry between Phoebe and Duncan was believable even if it did happen very fast. He was a great character, honest, loyal, loving and putting Phoebe’s family right up there with her. He was the prince on the white steed, but not mushy or unbelievable. My only complaint was the abrupt ending. I would have loved an epilogue of what happened after that final scene where the showdown takes place. I assume they got married, but would love to have had something end the story a little less abruptly. A great romantic suspense novel for anyone who likes reading this genre.

 

When the Grits Hit the Fan (Country Store Mysteries #3)

When the Grits Hit the Fan (Country Store Mysteries, #3)by Maddie Day

Paperback, 343 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Kensington
4.5 Stars (rounded up on Goodreads)

My Review: When the Grits Hit the Fan is the third book in the Country Store Mystery series and is the best so far. Robbie Jordan is renovating the upstairs of Pan N’ Pancakes in South Lick Indiana. She talks to the old owner and her daughter about finding artifacts in the walls that she is tearing out to add some rooms as a Bed and Breakfast. They would love to see what she has found. Meanwhile business has slowed down a bit so she has closed for a couple of days a week to do the work. Her friend Lou, has set up a dinner for the Sociology department from the University every other Friday. It is at one of these dinners that a couple of arguments break out. The next day, Lou and Robbie are out snowshoeing. Taking a shortcut across the lake, they find the dead body of the professor that was involved in the arguments the previous evening. He is frozen under a light crust of ice in a large fishing hole. Because Lou was on of the people he argued with the night before, and she was one of the people to find the body, she is the number one suspect. Of course, Robbie wants to prove her innocence and begins to investigate on her own. The side story going on is that Robbie finds a hidden ladder and secret tunnels under her property and thinks someone has been using them. Things heat up with accusations, threats, questions and an eventual showdown. This was a great mystery.

Robbie Jordan is a great protagonist. She is smart, capable, loyal and knows her way around tools. She sure knows how to manage time as she cooks and serves at her restaurant, investigates the murder and the tunnels as well as wielding a pry bar to tear out plaster. With all this going on, she still has time to go snow showing, out for dinner and extracurricular activities with her boyfriend, Abe O’Neill. The murder mystery was pretty easy for me to solve, but there were still a lot of suspects, red herrings and some surprises in store. The mystery of the tunnels and secret passage was a different thing altogether, I had no idea who had been in the store and why. I read this book in one day as I wanted to see if I was right about the killer. I enjoyed this book and will definitely keep reading Country Store Mysteries.

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Surprise Me

Surprise Meby Sophie Kinsella

Hardcover, 432 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Dial Press
4 Stars

 

My Review: I have read all of Sophie Kinsella’s books. I enjoy a light, fun chick-lit book and was expecting the same. It started out that way, but took a bit of a serious turn in the middle. This is a standalone book about Sylvie and Dan Winter. They are thirty-two and have to go for a physical for their health insurance. When they are told they will live to be over 100, they realize that means at least 68 more years together. This is a bit nerve wracking for them. How will they keep things interesting for that long. This is when Sylvie comes up with a great idea, Project Surprise Me. They both start planning surprises for one another and in typical Kinsella fashion, things go wrong. Sometimes it is humorous, sometimes embarrassing, but always surprising. That is, until things start to go wrong and Sylvie realizes Dan is keeping secrets that appear to be stressing him out. When she begins to snoop and eavesdrop, she comes to the conclusion that she does not know Dan as well as she thought. Is he having an affair? Is he gambling? Are they in debt? Is he borrowing money from her mother? What is the secret that seems to be pulling them apart.

Sylvie tells this story in first person so we never get to see what Dan is thinking or doing. As the story progresses, we see “Princess Sylvie” become responsible in her job and family life. She sees a side to Dan and her parents that she did not know was there. This was not the light and airy story I was expecting, but it was a satisfying read. If you are a Sophie Kinsella reader, you will see the somewhat scattered ditzy female you are used to, and in this case, she really grows and gets it right at the end. A good novel for a lover of chick-lit. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horseby Joseph M. Marshall IIIJim Yellowhawk (Illustrations)

Hardcover, 176 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Harry N. Abrams
4.5 Stars

My Review: Joseph M. Marshall III is a member of the Lakota nation and he has written other books about Crazy Horse, his childhood hero. This is his biography written for younger readers. Eleven year-old Jimmy McClean is 3/4 Lakota, but his 1/4 Scottish gave him his looks. He is teased about not being a real Lakota by older boys at school. When school gets out for the summer, Jimmy’s grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, invites him to go on a road trip. Jimmy loves spending time with his grandfather, so jumps at the chance. This is not just any ordinary trip, this trip will take them on a journey to follow in the footsteps of Crazy Horse, the Lakota hero and leader who lived in the 1800s. One of the first things Jimmy learns is that Crazy Horse was also teased as a boy because he had light coloring and brown hair. In fact, Crazy Horse’s name as a boy was Light Hair. The journey takes them through South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. At each stop, Grandpa Nyles tells Jimmy how that area played an important part in the life of Crazy Horse and the Lakota. He explains what happened and why it happened. Jimmy learns that standing up for what you believe in is important and that strength comes from within.

For most readers, you have heard these stories from the perspective of the “Long Knives” or soldiers, but this story is from the perspective of the native people. I enjoyed learning about Crazy Horse and his struggles to defend the Lakota people from the encroachment of white settlers, gold miners and the US Army. One of the interesting things noted was the monument at the Battle of Little Big Horn. It states that General Custer and his battalion were defeated and there were no survivors, but Grandfather Nyles reminds Jimmy, there were survivors, the Lakota. We also learn about the strategy of the warriors that was successful at this battle. One thing I really liked was that Grandfather Nyles repeatedly stated that war should not be glorified and that all soldiers that died need to be remembered for their bravery and honour. The final stop on their trip is where Crazy Horse surrenders. The story explains why the Native People surrendered to the soldiers.

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse is a well written story. The author explains that most of his information came from oral stories told by the Lakota as well as some other published works. The story is almost like a storyteller sharing this life of Crazy Horse with the reader. Jimmy and Grandpa Nyles are not fully part of the story except that they are the storyteller and receiver. It is an easy story to understand and follow and would make a great addition to a school or public library. A great middle grade story.

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