Monday, April 27, 2020

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green
Meg Townsend and her sister, Sylvie, seek a quiet existence managing the family bookshop. Meg feels responsible for caring for their father, Stephen, whose spirit and health are both damaged from his time as a prisoner during the Civil War. Her one escape is the paintings she creates and sells in the bookshop.

Then the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago's business district. The fiery explosions and chaos stir up memories of war for Stephen as he runs from the blaze and becomes separated from his daughters. Days later, when the smoke has cleared, Meg and Sylvie manage to reunite with him. Their home and shop are lost, and what's left among the ashes may be even more threatening than the flames, for they learn that a close friend was murdered the night of the fire--and Stephen has been charged with the crime. After he is committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum, where they cannot visit him, Stephen feels as lost to them as the shop that now lies in rubble.

Though homeless and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life but prove the truth of what happened that night, before the asylum truly drives her father mad.


This story is has many historical facts written into it, but the actual main characters are works of fiction.  From the historical point of view this story was interesting.  However I struggled to read this book, as it seemed to be all bad news for this family.  It just wouldn't capture my imagination and I will admit to putting the book down a few times.

However I perservered and I found that by the last third of the book I was starting to enjoy the book a bit more.   The love story between Meg and Nate was the only uplifting thing to me in this book. This is the first book in The Windy City Saga, and I hate to say this I don't think I will be reading the rest in the series.

Star out of 5 : 2.5  When reading a book it shouldn't be hard work; this was hard work.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".


"More Than We Remember," by Christina Suzann Nelson

"More Than We Remember," by Christina Suzann Nelson

When Addison Kilbourn's husband is involved in a car accident that leaves a woman dead, her perfectly constructed life crumbles apart. With her husband's memory of that night gone and the revelation of a potentially life-altering secret, Addison has to reevaluate all she thought she knew.

Emilia Cruz is a deputy bearing a heavy burden far beyond the weight of her job. After a traumatic brain injury, her husband is no longer the man she married, and Emilia's determined to prevent others from facing the same hardship. When she's called to the scene of an accident pointing to everything she's fighting against, she's determined to see justice for those wronged.

Brianne Demanno is hiding from reality. She once thrived as a counselor, but when tragedy struck a beloved client, she lost faith in herself and her purpose. When her neighbors, the Kilbourns, are thrown into crisis, Brianne's solitary life is disrupted and she finds herself needed in a way she hasn't been for too long.

As the lives of these women intersect, they can no longer dwell in the memory of who they've been. Can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?


This book was interesting, but a bit too complicated at times for me.  It took too long for everything to knit together in the story with the three main characters.  You knew their stories were intertwined pretty early on, but I personally found the back story lengthy.

Each woman has been hit hard with problems in their lives, and this book show's you how they deal with those problems and come though the other side of them, stronger women.

Stars out of 5 : 3.5  Too long to weave the story together for me.  Bit depressing of a story also to read during these times.  However I think when reading this book a lot of people will be able to relate.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 



Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Library at the Edge of the World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

The Library at the Edge of the World, by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

In the bestselling tradition of Fannie Flagg and Jenny Colgan comes Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s U.S. debut about a local librarian who must find a way to rebuild her community and her own life in this touching, enchanting novel set on Ireland’s stunning West Coast.
As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip.

With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined.
I purchased this book at our local bookstore in the clearance section.  You know the ones where you pay $10 for three paperbacks?

I thought it was a bit slow to start with this book.  It took a while for me to warm up to the story.  I found Hanna a hard person to like.  Her standoffishness (is that such a word?) was very off putting.  However when the story got to the part of the threatened closure of the library, her personality became more appealing.

One thing I did enjoy though was the descriptions of the area.  You could visualize the wind sweeping in off the sea and how green everything was...….they do get a lot of rain in Ireland!!  The restoration of the cottage was a good part of the story as well as that was where the character Fury came into play and he truly was a "right character."  Again I found him easy to visualize thanks to the author's great description of him.

Stars out of 5 : 4 If you can hang in there through the first few chapters, this book becomes more and more interesting, and is well worth the read.

This is my own review, I purchased the book myself.

"Secrets of My Heart," by Tracie Peterson

"Secrets of My Heart," by Tracie Peterson

Portland, Oregon, 1879

Nancy Pritchard finds herself widowed and with a world of problems when her deceased husband's shady business schemes start to come to light. As she sifts through the shadowed memories of their loveless union, Nancy realizes there is a lot she didn't know about the man she married.

Seth Carpenter, a childhood friend of Nancy's, has recently returned to Portland and is delighted to see her again. As a lawyer, he offers to help her sort through the legal ramifications of her husband's death. But there is more to Seth than meets the eye, and his job will take him into the dark side of Nancy's husband's life--a side she didn't even know existed.

As the two search for the truth behind her husband's death, a mutual attraction creates complications. When Nancy's own life is threatened, can Seth be honest with her about who he really is and why he's come back to Portland? And can Nancy bear another betrayal?

I read this book during the Covid-19 crisis and will say it was a perfect book to read during that time as it was one of those light hearted books that didn't need you to concentrate too hard on.  Although I like Tracie's books, I didn't find myself going over the story in my mind after I read it.  If I really enjoy a book I tend to mull over the story afterwards.

The main characters of Nancy and Seth were well suited for one another.  One thing that was stressed throughout the book was the social etiquette of the day and what was acceptable and what wasn't.  

Stars out of 5 : 3.5  There are no real surprises in this book.  You sort of know what is going to happen early on.  However it was a book that relaxed me.  This is the first book in the Willamette Brides series; the second one is due out in June 2020.  I am sorry to say I probably won't be rushing out to read it.



"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 


Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

"Collateral Damage," by Lynette Eason

"Collateral Damage," by Lynette Eason

Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others, but her days of helping military personnel are over. She's got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she's not equipped to take on more.

Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.

Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor. When he arrives at her office, she isn't there--but a dead body is. When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack--and that her secrets go even deeper than his own--Asher vows to protect her no matter what. 


This book reminds me of a whole bunch of small streams that join together to form a huge river.  For the first few chapters there are multiple stories that in themselves don't make a whole lot of sense; but as one joins on to the other they bring each separate story together and you begin to figure out what's what.

This is a fast paced book and when things start to fall into place, you will not want to put the book down.  I have to say I am a huge fan of Lynette Eason and this book is as good, if not better than her other works.

Each character is thought out with such great detail, you can almost believe they are real.  The "secret" in this story is so far out there, that it will take you a while to figure out what is really going on.  

Stars out of 5 : 5 This truly is a well worth read if you like fast paced, action packed books.  I loved it and can't wait for the next in the Danger Never Sleeps series which is due out in August 2020.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Thursday, January 9, 2020

"One More River to Cross," by Jane Kirkpatrick

"One More River to Cross," by Jane Kirkpatrick


In 1844, two years before the Donner Party, the Stephens-Murphy-Townsend company leaves Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada. They enjoy a safe journey--until October, when a fierce mountain snowstorm forces difficult decisions.

The party separates in three directions. Some go overland around Lake Tahoe. Others stay to guard the heaviest wagons. The rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River awaiting rescue. The months ahead will be long and at times terrifying. But with friendship, family, and enough courage to overcome their fear, these intrepid pioneers will discover what truly matters in times of trial.

This book keeps you on your toes the whole time, but more so when the party splits up into three.  It makes you wonder the whole time why they put themselves through so much.  I found the courage especially of the women was remarkable.  The men, or should I say some of the men, were so selfish.  I guess back in the 1800's the attitude the men had towards women was different and this book highlighted that.

As well as enjoying reading the actual book, I found the author's notes and acknowledgments as interesting and answered some of the questions I had.  My only negative with the book, is trying to keep track of all the characters, as there are many characters in the book and it did get confusing from time to time remembering who was who.

I loved how Jane managed to weave the actual real events into a fictional book.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 Loved this book through and through.  Just found it difficult remembering who was who.  Well worth the read.

****I BORROWED THIS BOOK FROM MY LOCAL LIBRARY****

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis

"The Tinderbox," by Beverly Lewis
With her parents' twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller finds her father's cherished brass tinderbox left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life and alter everything for her close-knit Old Order Amish family. As the long-kept secret emerges into the light of day, can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness?

If you enjoy reading about the Amish way of life you will enjoy this book.  Beverly Lewis takes us into the lives of the Miller's and how an event from the past can rear it's head unexpectedly and cause a multitude of problems.  The tinderbox should be called "Pandora's Box" as when it is opened a whole lot of issues escape.

This book is part of a two book series, with the second book "The Timepiece," being released in September of 2019.  You have to read that book also to find out what happens as this book's ending is very open ended.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5 A very solid book; easy to read and not over taxing on your brain.  If you like Beverly Lewis' books you'll enjoy this one.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
".

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Gree n Meg Townsend and her sister, Sylvie, seek a quiet existence managing the family bookshop. Meg feels res...