Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Love for Leah (The Amish Matchmaker #4) by Emma Miller

A Love for Leah by Emma  Miller

The Widow's Second Chance 
Widow Leah Yoder married for love once. Now that she's come home to Seven Poplars, she wants a marriage of convenience that will provide a longed-for family without dishonoring the memory of her late husband. A steady, serious older man would be ideal—someone completely unlike handsome, fun-loving Thomas Stutzman. She and the aspiring organic farmer agree to court to prove that this time, the matchmaker has made a mistake! But as their friendship deepens, will Leah settle for what she thought she needed, or put fear aside for a second chance at happiness?

This was another delightful addition to the Amish Matchmaker series. It is filled with all of our usual secondary character's and is written with Ms Milller's usual light touch, a good bit of comedy and enough tragedy to really pluck at your heart-strings.

I have to admit that while reading this book I was torn in two different directions. This book is about a former Amish girl, Leah, that turned Mennonite for her late husband. They went on a mission to the jungle and there she lost her baby and her husband to a fever. She travels home and decides that she would like to re-marry; she wants an older widower with children so she can have a ready made family (and one or two of her own) and not take a chance on losing her heart again.

But destiny steps in when she goes to the local Amish matchmaker who disregards what Leah wants and gives her what she so desperately needs. And that is love with a wonderful man and a second chance at happiness.

I love the well drawn character's, the well thought out plot-lines, the emotional roller coaster that reading this book provided and the warmth I find every time I find myself in Seven Poplars. I can never wait for the next book to come out!

*ARC supplied by publisher

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown

Product Details

"New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown returns with a heartbreakingly hilarious novel about three women who had nothing in common, except their husband.Leaving one widow behind is unfortunate. Leaving three widows behind is just plain despicable. Oil heiress Kate Steele knew her not-so-dearly departed husband was a con man, but she’s shocked that Conrad racked up two more wives without divorcing her first. The only remnant of their miserable marriage she plans to keep is their lakeside cabin in Bootleg, Texas. Unfortunately, she’s not the only woman with that idea.
Fiery, strong-willed Jamie wishes Conrad were still alive—so she could kill the scoundrel herself. But for their daughter’s sake, she needs that property. As does Amanda—twenty-eight, pregnant, and still weeping over the loss of her true love. On a broiling July day, all three arrive in Bootleg…with a dogged detective right behind who’s convinced that at least one of them conspired to commit murder. One momentous summer filled with revelations, quirky neighbors, and barefoot evenings on the porch offers three women the chance to make the journey from enemies to friends, and claim a bright, new beginning. " 

I would have to give this book 3 1/2 stars if I want  to be brutally honest. I liked this book, but I was just not amazed by it.

Ms Brown writes,  as usual, with a horribly unlikable protagonist- in this case a dead man who is a polygamist. And adorable (sort of) antagonists -in this case the three wives Conrad left behind.  Each of these wives are as different as night and day and that works to the stories advantage.

Difficulties emerge when the Detective working this murder case starts having feelings for one of the suspects (one of the wives. Yes, all of the wives are initially suspects.)

The reasons I have for not being amazed by this novel is that I felt that Gracie (the child of the middle wife) was just too saccharin sweet, took up to much room in the book that could have been devoted more to the romance/murder aspect and that the conflict among the wives shouldn't have been 'fixed' so quickly.  I started to get a bit annoyed with Kate and her waffling; I could understand it, but the fact that she kept going over the same things over and over again was a little too much.

All of that aside though -this was a read that kept me going until late in the night wanting to see how everything ended.  The character's are well developed, the story was a bit unique and the mystery was, well, mysterious.

This book was written with Ms Brown's usual  mixing the funny and absurd with the serious and she had a good hand with giving each of our wives (Jamie, Kate and Amanda) a unique 'voice' and personality.  Some author's seem to have a bit of a problem with this.

If you are a fan of say, Fannie Flagg, I won't say that Ms Brown rates as highly as that - you will most likely enjoy Ms Brown's books -but she is on her way of being a very notable Southern chick-lit author with a great sense of style!

ARC supplied by publisher.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

We Were On a Break

We Were On a Break

Is it a break? Or is it a blip? 'You've just had a holiday,' I pointed out, trying not to yawn. 'Wasn't that enough of a break?' 'I don't mean that kind of break.' There's nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is. When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out. Friends and family all think they're crazy; Liv throws herself into work - animals are so much simpler than humans - and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he's dug. But as the short break becomes a chasm, can they find a way back to each other? Most importantly, do they want to?

This may be a book that is mostly enjoyed by the quit young> I'm older (maybe 20 years older than the main characters)and I did not find this a funny book at all.

What I did find was that this was a sad look into dating and I am thanking goodness that I don't have to do it anymore. I also found this to be a book filled Constant reiterating of what was happening/had happened.

It held my interest enough for me to finish it and I would recommend this to a younger crowd, but other than that, I would not put this in my 'to be re-read' pile.

*ARC Supplied by publisher

Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson

 Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson
The New York Times bestselling author of New Leaf returns to Mystic Creek, Oregon, where a wounded heart finds a place to call home. . . .  After a career on the rodeo circuit, Ben Sterling longs to settle down on his farm and start a family like his brothers. He’s searched all over for the woman of his dreams. Yet the only one to spark his interest is the new owner of the local café. Getting her attention, however, won’t be easy. Sissy Sue Bentley has worked hard to make it on her own, and she doesn’t need another man in her life. From her alcoholic father to the men she’s dated, who were after only one thing, they are nothing but trouble. Except Ben keeps showing up whenever she really needs help. Sissy struggles to deny her growing feelings for him—but soon Ben’s tender concern has her hoping for a happier future. Then her past comes barreling back into her life, and it will take more than the love in Ben’s heart to hold them together. 

Well it looks as though I am going to be one of the very few not as enamored of this books as all the others. I know that Ms Anderson writes some very sweet romances (I adored her book Blue Skies to the point that I've worn the backing away). 

But this book just made the heroine Sissy into a very childlike (and for me unrealistic and nearly unlikable creature -come on? A Pack Rat???) and Ben into a 'prince charming'; again unrealistic outside of a Christian romance. I understand that Sissy was abused to some point (and you will find that point near the ending of the book), it was hinted at all though out the book. I also understand that Ben does not want to hook up to any woman that doesn't share his likes and dislikes. I found this to be unrealistic and a bit on the cruel side - he wanted his women to adore his animals; ALL of his animals as much as he did and he wouldn't settle for anyone who merely liked them - with him it was all or nothing. I do NOT like characters that 'give' ultimatums -on either side. This is what I felt Ben to be doing with his other relationships.

This book felt to me as if it had been hurriedly written with a lot of thinking about sex and once you get to the act it was like a deflated balloon -disappointing. Don;'t get me wrong, I don't like or dislike sex in books- this just seemed to be especially poorly written and not engaging at all.

Had I read about Ben's chest just one more time - I would have tossed my Kindle out of the window.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Dr. Do-or-Die (Doctors in Danger #2)by Lara Lacombe

Dr. Do-or-Die (Doctors in Danger #2)

Book DescriptionTwo doctors are on thin ice as they race to save the world from a deadly disease.
Epidemic researcher Dr. Avery Thatcher has studied countless illnessesbut nothing prepares her for what she finds at a remote Antarctic base: the man she never wanted to see again and a mysterious ailment ravaging inhabitants. Avery will do whatever it takes to discover the illness's cause, and she vows to keep her heartbreaking history with Dr. Grant Jones in the pasteven if reignited passion brings them dangerously close.
For Grant, ending this outbreak and regaining Avery's trust are vital. As their hunt to contain a lethal pathogen escalates, he'll put everything on the line to avert disaster. But will another insidious threat stop them both cold?" 

Quit simply, this was a very typical Harlequin romance with the added quirk that it was set in Antarctica. The idea that the CDC is involved and that our heroine is a hot-shot doctor FOR the CDC even at such a young age, is even better but again, Harlequin can be contrary that way LOL! 

While the plot may be difficult to swallow (terrorism via an ice core sample from the Antarctic)it is not ALL that difficult to swall and the author did a great jopb in making me beleive that it can really happen. The plot was a little cliched (what's new?) and the rest of the story had the proper amount of the angst that Harlequin is famous for, rapid character growth ( because the books are so short) and a set up for the next book in this trilogy (series?).

*ARC Supplied by publisher

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Days Like These by Sue Margolis

Days Like These by Sue Margolis


"Book Description: In the new novel from the author of Losing Me, one woman is about to discover what happens when you take the “grand” out of “grandma.”
Recently widowed, Judy Schofield jumps at the chance to look after her two grandchildren for six weeks while their parents are out of the country. After all, she’s already raised her own daughter—and quite successfully, if she may say so herself. But all it takes is a few days of private school functions, helicopter parents, video games, and never-ending Frozen sing-alongs for Judy to feel she’s in over her head. As weeks become months, Judy feels more and more like an outsider among all the young mothers with their parenting theories du jour, especially when she gets on the wrong side of the school’s snooty alpha mom. But finding a friend in another grandmother—and a man who takes her mind off all the stress—almost makes it worthwhile. She just needs to take it one incomprehensible homework assignment and one major meltdown at a time. . . ".

I thought that this book would be right up my alley. An older woman taking care of her grandchildren while her daughter and son-in-law leave the country to help an impoverished nation through a tragedy of massive destruction. I thought that this would be a humorous read per the books description - what with an older woman trying to fit in with the modern idea of raising a family and instead I found it to be a book about taking sides, class distinction, no humor to be found and more neurosis than you can shake a stick at. Very unoriginal and done with little finesse.

What I did take away from this book is that the parents of these children are quite selfish for putting their careers ahead of their family. I DO understand that what they did was extremely altruistic and I should be admiring them, but I did not. These parents are already helping people just by being Dr.’s and one could have left to tend to this devastated country while the other stayed home and then switched places.

I also realize that if both parents hadn’t left at the same time, there would be no book. 

The Britishisms and slang started to get on my nerves and I had to use my dictionary more times than I spent reading the actual novel. Yes, this book was by a Brit author, I GET IT. But seriously if a book is going to be marketed to the USA then tone down *some* of the Brit speak please. 

I also found the character’s to be very annoying, dislikable, selfish, spoiled, one dimensional and a bit clichéd. So was the plot (what there was of a plot). Some authors can do a wonderful job of writing simply about the days in the lives of their characters with nothing guiding these character’s but to get to the end of the book -this was not one of these books.

I could go on about why I thought that this wasn’t a good book, but it IS a good book, and therefore why I gave it a higher star rating than I normally would have. However, it was just not for someone like me (who is actually the age of the Grandmother) who was raised to believe that family came first in most cases; a career (both mothers AND fathers) came in second. Not always, but mostly.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Product DetailsThe riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Liar.


Book Description:

“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.” 

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. 

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away."


This book is so much like The Witness that I wonder if Ms Roberts is just using a template and filling in a few (very few) new details.  This book starts off with and interesting premise, though a little clichéd. 

A young girl follows her father through the woods on a moonless night expecting to find a hidden treat for her Birthday and finds something completely horrible instead.  Naturally this colors her life from then on.  Now other women in Naomi’s new neighborhood are falling victim to the same thing.  Is there a serial killer on the loose?  Or a stalker?

Sounds good, right?  Well this book would have been if ¾ of it hadn’t been taken up with DIY details on the new ‘old’ house she bought.  It would have been better without the endless repetitious details on repairing this house and let us not forget the details on the meals she cooked for the new man in her life. Let us also not forget that this man is so dislikable, he is almost to the point of being caricature of the Alpha male in werewolf books!

The dialogue is tedious and written in a very odd style.   When I read, I want to ‘hear’ inflection and emotion in the characters’ voices.  In this book, nobody (and I do mean nobody) had any inflection, emotion, no tone of voice.  They are talking about murder but could have been talking about the price of milk for all the emotion that was put into the dialogue.

Then there is the problem with this book being written in what I call -text speak.  It seems like extraneous words and punctuation are left out.  There is an over use of commas instead of inserting a simple ‘and’ where appropriate.  We have sentences like these:

“That got your attention. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I have to keep pressure on it.” Xander fixed his mouth on hers. “I have to hurt you. I’m sorry.”

Or this doozy:

“She took Harry’s hand as Xander carried her.  “When did you come? How did you get here so fast?” “Private jet. We’ve got connections…”

All in all, I feel sorry for all the readers who paid the asking price for this book.  I’m lucky that I got it during a sale and only paid 5 bucks or I would have had to have returned it and gotten my money back.

I feel so ashamed for Ms Roberts. Then I must wonder, did she even write this tripe or did someone else do the honors?