I love books of any type, ebooks, print in a variety of genres. I review and have been since 2009...
As with any book by Nancy, I always learn something. I never knew that the color blue had such a significant place in history. Genevieve Planché is an English born woman but is actually a Huguenot and absolutely hates the French and all they stand for, including the King. She aspires to be an artist, but of course, women in 1758 London are not taken seriously so she paints porcelain. She lives with her grandfather on Spitalfields, a questionable area to live in.
She meets Sir Gabriel Courtenay who wants her to spy for him regarding the color blue, he wants the formula for the color. She is tasked with going to Derby and is expected to infiltrate the lab where the color is formulated. The main obsession of Sir Gabriel is with getting the information on a new shade of blue on porcelain that is a perfect shade.
She wants to be able to go to Venice as Sir Gabriel has promisedto fulfill a lifelong dream of being able to study so she agrees. Things don't go as planned though and she finds herself in France, the very place she hates. She is concerned though that the task she has to undertake could cause problems for her grandfather. Spying is not something she has wanted to do but in order for her to fulfill her dreams, she must do this.
Like I said before, Nancy's novels always seem to teach and thrill at the same time. An exciting story that is character driven, and has a female protagonist that is strong and goes after what she wants and does not let society tell her what she can and can't do. The addition of a love story keeps the story fluid and easy to read. When I look at some of the porcelain figures I have, I just never realized nor cared how they were made or about the colors that they are painted with. Well, I will now..lol.
I always look forward to a new book by Nancy and this one did not disappoint! Go get your copy when it is released, you won't be disappointed!
This book is the first in the Victorian Ladies Series and is about Eleanor Sheffield and her family business. Her father has recently passed and she is trying to keep the business afloat. Her uncle, who was a twin to her father, has recently exhibited signs of dementia. Eleanor is an evaluator of antiquities and very talented. The death of a long time client of the business, Baron Lydney, left a provision in his will that Eleanor is supposed to evaluate the collection that he has. After evaluation, she is to determine whether the collection stays in the family in the care of his son Harry, or have it go into a museum.
Eleanor had had a relationship with Harry and when he never returned to her and propose she became disillusioned with him and does not trust him. Harry does come back but she does not think that there is a future for them, he has brought back an Italian beauty and she is not sure what their relationship is. Harry is nothing but persistent and the more time she spends with him the more her trust returns.
The problem is that her uncle has not paid any bills and the debt collectors are at her doorstep. In those days there was debtors prison if bills were not paid. Because she is a woman and her uncle is not well, the remaining clients of Sheffield Brothers have developed a distrust to her. She must do all she can to reclaim their trust. As time goes by and with her investigation, she does turn out to be a lady of a thousand treasures as she makes her determination about the Lydney collection.
As usual, Sandra Byrd has written another enjoyable first book to what I hope will be a great series. A gothic novel set during the mid to late 1800s in Victorian England, a time where women were not allowed to do much except stay in the home, Eleanor turns out to be a strong woman in a time dominated by men. I love reading about strong women and I love anything by Sandra as she does remarkable research. She always tells a great story and the characters are more than memorable! If you love a great historical fiction novel, then give this one a try!
This book is about Emily Ryder, a guided tour guide. She takes a group to England, Lydfield-in-the-Moor to do what is called twinning, with Lydfield, CT and attend a fete that celebrates the two villages. While trying to get the next trip organized with elderly siblings, a mentor of hers, Chris, is badly injured and later dies, after falling off the roof of a house that had just had some work done on it.
A shady developer is trying to get her to get her mother to sell property and issues threats because Emily refuses. She is 'working' with Will and his dog Oliver, there is a state trooper who doesn't believe that her mentor died under suspicious circumstances, but handyman Will agrees with her t hat something is not right. Her friend Babs who is a sassy reporter who keeps pushing Emily for a story. Then there is Emily's mom who is trying to keep her B&B afloat.
With all of the characters in the book, I got a kick out of the arguing siblings. The trip to England was a bit more exciting to the story, as there was another murder and then when Emily's life is in danger it becomes a page turner. All in all I enjoyed this book, reminded me more of a British mystery than just a mystery that takes place in America.
I think that I would love to see a sequel or ongoing series with Emily Ryder and her adventures as a guided tour guide. Maybe it is in the works? If you love a good mystery, I think you would enjoy this one.
Torch in His Heart by Anna Belfrage is a time slip story of Jason, Helle and Sam. The two men have been searching for Helle for over 2000 years. In an earlier life, as a young girl, Helle had died, Currently, Helle is a successful woman and starts working for Sam. In a short time, Sam starts to show his true self, being sexually intrusive, making things very difficult for Helle, that he will have Helle no matter what, even if it means killing Jason and forcing Helle to do as he wishes. Nothing matters to Sam then to have what he has been after for so long. Helle tried to quit her job but Sam is insistent that she keep working for him. She finally has the courage to just not report to work and take her chances with Jason. After that the friction between the three increases until Jason and Helle are fighting for their lives
Helle had few memories of her long ago past, or any other lives she had, Jason fills her in on most everything, he does keep from her how serious Sam is to fulfill his destiny. It takes Helle awhile to come to terms with what is happening. What transpires is a dangerous, suspenseful paranormal steamy romance that will keep you turning the pages. I have read everything, except for a novel or two in her Graham saga and I have to say that she never disappoints. I love a time travel story and this one is unique in that it involves more than one past live.
I look forward to the next in the series, The Wanderer which continues the story of Jason and Helle.
As a fan of Jodi Picoult for years now, I of course was more than excited to get her latest novel A Spark of Light. While nothing she writes will compare to My Sister’s Keeper (in my humble opinion), one of the things I love most about Jodi is her ability to tackle tough subjects and turn them into a conversation via a fictional story with rich characters.
Her latest novel is centered around the age-old argument of pro-life or pro-choice regarding abortion, as well as women’s rights.
The description of the book on Goodreads reads:
The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.
After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.
But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester, disguised as a patient, who now stands in the crosshairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.
Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.
One of the most fearless writers of our time, Jodi Picoult tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.
As a woman and parent myself, I don’t necessarily condone or support the abolishment of abortion; however, I am neither pro-life or pro-choice, but rather pro women’s rights. I believe every woman has a right to choose what happens to her body, even if that involves pregnancy. I also understand that we are talking about a potential human growing inside of her and what rights that future child should have, but I also have the opinion that a baby is not “alive” until it is born, so how can something that hasn’t been born yet be “murdered”? And how can it be murder if it’s just tissue when most abortions occur? Do we allow tissue to have rights? By the time a fetus has a functional brain and fully developed heart and other organs, it is far too late to abort, so allowing the baby to have rights when it is more a baby than tissue makes sense, but do we value those rights over the rights of the woman carrying the potential baby?
I can’t answer these questions, nor can anyone, which is why we have such extreme opinions on both sides. These are the types of issues Jodi Picoult tackles in this novel. Every character is different and comes from a different angle regarding abortion and women’s rights. It is amazing to me how she can take such a controversial topic, include all sides of the argument, and interweave them into a crazy Venn diagram where all the opinions overlap and we are all left wondering, what is the right answer? How can we come to some sort of understanding as a country, and why do we have to resort to violence to be heard and feel understood?
While I don’t think this was her best novel to date (again, I'm biased with My Sister's Keeper), I do love the fact that she wrote this book during such a difficult and pivotal time in our country. Women died for their rights, to be equal to men, and it’s unreal how in 2018 this is still such a hot topic. There are many moments in this novel where she makes some poignant points through various characters’ dialogue, but perhaps the best thing she wrote was included in her author’s note, which reads as follows:
“Honestly, I do not believe we, as a society, will ever agree on this issue. The stakes are too high, and both sides operate from places of unshakeable belief. But I do think that the first step is to talk to each other—and more important, to listen. We may not see eye to eye, but we can respect each other’s opinions and find the truth in them. Perhaps in these honest conversations, instead of demonizing each other, we might see each other as imperfect humans, doing our best”.
One of the only issues I had with the book is there is a character, a background character that had a purpose and was the catalyst of the events of the gunman, but her story was not wrapped up in an appropriate way. Jodi sometimes leaves things to our imagination but this particular character inadvertently started the entire chain of events, yet we don’t know what becomes of her. While that was disappointing, the novel itself is still definitely worth a read. Especially if you’re a woman and especially if you have opinions about abortion and women’s rights. Perhaps reading this book will open your eyes to other perspectives.
And thanks to Jodi Picoult for once again working her magic and tackling such difficult issues and making her readers do some critical thinking and possibly reevaluate where we stand, or how we treat each other.
Guest Review: Kara Kelly
Whenever I read a book by Peter Murphy, I feel transported right into the era or timeframe of the story. This novel is about a dysfunctional family, pretty much like anyone's family, we all have dysfunction at a certain level.
Gloria, the matriarch of the family, gathers her family, children and grandchildren, to the lake cottage that has been in the family for years. Johnnie, Buddy, and CC all bring along with them the family drama that they are dealing with, or not dealing with. They learn when they arrive at the lake cottage, that their estranged father will also be in attendance yet they don't know why they have been summoned. They all assume that Gloria is dying and getting her affairs in order. The three adult children, all have different reasons for not having a relationship with Jake.
The plot of this novel is very moving and relatable, as I said, everyone has drama and dysfunction, the characters are very believable, emotional and the story is fast-paced. A very moving story! Like I said, I always love a Peter Murphy novel, I don't think he can write anything bad and I look forward to the next book!
The Coroner is a story of a young woman, Emily Hartford, an up and coming surgeon and recently engaged is called home because her father has had a heart attack. Her father is a medical examiner in the small town that Emily grew up in. She and her father are estranged because of the death of her mother. Emily was never told how her mother died, all she knew is that she died in a car accident, but she knows that there is more to the story than what she was told by her father.
A young girl is found murdered and Emily is asked by her father to do the autopsy. She does this and finds herself drawn into the investigation. She renews her friendship with an old flame, the sheriff, Nick Larsen. Her fiance wants her to come back to Chicago to resume her life there with him, but as time goes on, Emily is not so sure she wants to. Emily is threatened and time races as she and Nick try to find the killer. This is a bit difficult as there are numerous suspects.
This novel is written as a good murder mystery, good plot and is exciting enough to keep the reader turning the pages. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more by this author! Love a good mystery? Then this book is worth taking a look at!
A young lady, Ashley Lambert, jumps 18 stories to her death in an apparent suicide. Ashley was the perfect person, according to her parents and they want to know why their daughter jumped. They decide to hire the PI team, Griff Cole and Britt Calahan to investigate. In another story within a story, Britt and Griff purchase a home and move in together. Britt befriends the neighbor, and when she witnesses bruises on the woman's arms and back she becomes suspicious. The two stories intertwine and create a chain of events that become dangerous. Against Cole's wishes, Britt digs further into what could be happening with their neighbors and the husband/wife relationship, why does Rhea have bruises? The investigation into Ashley's death leads them to question the coaches, her parents, and her peers. Ashley was an athlete who was near perfection in her performance which leads to the question of performance drugs.
I have read one other Cole and Calahan and enjoyed that one. The writing keeps the reader engaged and even though the book is less than 200 pages, it does pack a punch. I enjoyed the characterizations and especially the relationship between Cole and Calahan. A genuine respect between the two.
If you are looking for a mystery that will keep your attention, then give this series a try!
Every once in a while, if you're lucky, you come across a book that is always on your mind. You find yourself at work, the grocery store, yoga class, wondering what the characters are doing, if they're okay, what adventure lies ahead.
1939: Lily Shephard is on her way to Australia to work as a domestic. On board she meets some entertaining characters. There is a wealthy couple, Eliza and Max, who prefer to be below decks than their own deck. There is Edward who develops an attraction to Lily, and his sister who appears to be overprotective, Maria who is a Jewish refugee and then there is George, a fascist who is really an unlikeable fellow.
Lily finds herself caught up in the world that she would normally not be in. Dress balls, cocktail parties, a world that takes her to Naples, Cairo and Ceylon. All is well until it isn't, meaning that Maria disappears and it is thought that she jumped overboard. Lily also begins to see that Eliza and Max are not who they appear to be and George is sounding more dangerous in his beliefs as time goes on and his fascination with Lily proves to be dangerous to her. Who are these people that Lily has befriended? It seems that they are all running away from their past lives and secrets. Then there is a murder that has everyone reeling.
This novel starts out seeming to be one of a romantic voyage for Lily and a new life for her. Based on the diaries that the author found that belonged to Joan, a friend of her mothers. The diaries detail the voyage that Joan took to Australia. In it Joan told a myriad of details that included, the clothing, the price of things, who she met etcetera. I found this to be interesting in that Rachel Rhys was able to tell a story that contained a lot of real facts from a real person.
I really enjoyed this book and read it in two sittings! A historical fiction novel that had the world on the brink of war.
Years later, in a small mill town, Eva grows up watching her father create magical inventions in his small backyard shed. His most famous and troublesome invention is based on plans he holds dearly. Plans written by Thomas Edison. Yes, the Thomas Edison, the lightbulb guy. One of the most famous inventors of the modern world.
Can you imagine coming home and finding strangers moving into your home? That is what happens to Fiona Lawson one day. She knows she has not sold the house, she along with her husband do the co parenting thing, meaning that even though they are separated, they maintain the house for their kids and they switch off living in the house while keeping a separate flat for them to live in when they are not at the house. This arrangement works for a while until Fiona comes home on that fateful day. Not only does she come home to strangers moving in to her home, her estranged husband, Bram and her children seem to be missing.
The story is told in a unique point of view, in each Fiona's and Bram's voice via a website called The Victim, an acclaimed crime podcast where each episode tells the true story of a crime that happens to the victim. Each episode continues the story of what happened to get the couple to where they are. Because of something Bram did, Fiona's life is escalating into a devasting secret that could cost her more than just her home.
I love a good psychological thriller and this is one of the best I have read in awhile! A story that kept me wanting more even after the last page! I highly recommend it!
Dead if You Don't is the 14th in the Roy Grace series. I have read a few of the books in the series, I actually have all of them and need to get on reading the ones that I have missed. That said, I really had no problem reading this one even though I did not read them in order.
When Kipp Brown and his son Mungo arrive at a football match Mungo disappears, Kipp thinks that he is just soothing his ego after they had had an argument about a cell phone. Mungo had broken his cell phone and Kipp got upset and bought him a cheapie of which Mungo took offense to.
When he receives the message that someone has his son and they are demanding a ransom. At the same time, someone has planted a bomb in the stadium. Roy Grace is brought in and does his heroic thing in getting rid of the bomb. I turned out to be a dud. But Roy still investigates the two cases which take him deeper into the workings of the Albanian mob located in Brighton.
Kipp has a gambling problem and keeps on gambling even though he has no money to gamble with. This causes some problems as how is going to pay the ransom for the kidnapping of his son and does something illegal to get the money. The kidnapping itself is sketchy and as the story gets deeper we find that this is a complex story of murder and kidnapping, two as a matter of fact, that I was not expecting. But of course that is how Peter James writes, always leave the reader wanting and expecting more. It took me a while to get into the story but that was because Mr.James was setting up the plot and characterization. Once I was into the story I did not want to put the book down.
I have been a fan of the Roy Grace series from the start and will continue to do so! I actually ordered one of his older books, The House on Cold Hill, not a Roy Grace novel but one I am sure to love.
I received this book for review purposes.
"Sixteen-year-old Jamie McGuiness's sister is dead." That grabbed me right away. Plus the cover has a ghost and a lighthouse. That really had me. Jamie is 16 and his sister died in a terrible way, presumably an accident. His mother hides in her grief. His father has resorted to alcohol to hide his grief. His father also beats him and his wife. Jamie tends to stay away most of the time and spends time with his friend.
Jamie starts to get a visitation from a ghost, she is trying to tell him something but Jamie can't quite figure out what she wants. He becomes caught in the spirit's world between the living and the dead.
I was caught up in the story right away, I know this is a YA story but I didn't feel that was an issue. The characters were well written, the storyline believable, well you have to believe in ghosts of course..lol. Jamie has to come to terms with things he would rather leave alone. This is a coming of age story of love, despair, revenge, and retribution. I really felt for Jamie and cheered him on in his pursuit doing what he felt was right.
Great story!! Scary too!
The focus of this third book in the popular Sweet Lake Series is on Jada Brooks who is a pastry chef at the Wayfair Inn that she restored along with her friends Linnie and Cat. Linnie is getting married and Cat is a newlywed and they are both focused on other things. Jada is in a relationship of sorts with Philip Kettering. She is reluctant to take the relationship to the next level as Philip was kind of wild one in their school days. Philip has a young daughter that Jada has really gotten attached to and vice versa.
Phillip's deceased wife committed suicide and Jada was with her and she carries the guilt of not being able to save her.
An elderly woman arrives at the Inn asking a lot of questions about Jada and this puts Jada on edge as she does not know what the woman is after and she would rather keep the past in the past. Questions on both sides culminated in answers that Jada never expected.
I read the first in the series but not the second, which is ok because they are all stand-alone novels. I enjoyed both of the books I read, the characters are believable and the friendship of the three friends is a sweet thing to behold. A series that has the reader wanting to read more about each of the women portrayed. I think if you love a book that is a sweet charming read, then this series is for you for sure!