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This was one of those books that you want to read in one sitting. You know the kind, you are racing to the end to find out how it all works out.

While the plot was a bit predictable, I really enjoyed this book. I was rooting for Elliott and Zoe all the way. I would like to have heard more about Zoe’s house and gotten a bit more backstory though. There were some interesting and unexpected developments as they raced against the clock. I never once lost interest in this book and look forward to more from McFadden.

Four out of five stars.

Full disclaimer: I was given this as an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

As a Stephen King fan (or at least an early Stephen King fan), I had to grab his latest book and read it as soon as it came out.

Once again, though, King has disappointed me. While it was a good story, it just didn’t have the classic King horror that I love.

This was a continuation from Mr. Mercedes (which I think will be a trilogy). Bill Hodges, along with his sidekicks, Holly and Jerome, get tangled up with a young boy who has gotten in over his head. It was a well written story, but lacked some oomph.

If you are a King fan and have read Mr. Mercedes, you will probably want to read this like I did. But, otherwise, I would probably pass on it.

Three stars out of five.

This was quite an undertaking. I typically prefer 300 -350 page books and this weighed in at well over 600 pages. But it didn’t feel like it was dragging at any point of the book and I’m not sure how it could have been cut down.

It was a fictionalized story of the life of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. I love his music and thought I would enjoy this book. At first I was put off by the sex scenes of Pyotr, who is gay. However, I kept reading and found that these were not sensationalized, nor were they overblown. It truly was a story of Tchaikovsky and his life and troubles.

I enjoyed this book very much and have found myself thinking about him more and how well written the book was. I would recommend this and I would suggest that playing Tchaikovky’s music while reading made it even more enjoyable.

Four out of five stars.

Originally posted on Legends of Windemere:

Today is the day!  Grab your dollar & get the first adventure of Ichabod Brooks!

Cover Art by Nio Mendoza

Book Blurb

In a time of heroes, a man will take any job to provide for his family.

Ichabod Brooks has earned a reputation for taking the jobs most men and women fear to challenge. This reputation has brought him to the charred remains of a small village nestled within the hills and forest of Ralian. The ruins are a source of strange monsters that terrorize the countryside and repeatedly elude the local guards and hunters. The few brave souls who have entered the creatures’ lair have yet to come out alive or dead.

The chances of survival are slim, but that generous payment is too much for Ichabod to resist. After all, a man and his family have to eat.

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Vacation Reading Blitz

While this was a book about embracing life, it was also a sad book. And it just felt too close to home. The writing style of Steven Manchester is one that draws you into the lives of his characters. I felt like I was a part of the family. I laughed, but I also cried buckets throughout this book. While I enjoyed the book, I can only recommend it if you are not dealing with death in your own life right now. I gave it four out of five stars (mostly because of the sensitive nature of the content).

I love Chiaverini’s historical fiction novels around the time of the Civil War. They draw me into a time period that I love reading about. This book didn’t quite have the draw of her other books (Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival and Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule) that I had grown to expect. However, it was still very well written and had great characterizations. I felt it could have been a tad bit shorter as some places the book seemed to drag a bit.

Delightful historical fiction featuring a young woman determined to make a difference. She defies her family and gives up her comfortable lifestyle in order to do just that – and, of course, be near a man she has fallen in love with. This was an easy read and I cannot wait to read the next book.

Laugh out loud funny! The writing style was easy to read and the adventures and foibles of Daisy Fay as written in her diary were charming. Fannie Flagg never disappoints, and this book was no exception as it followed Daisy Fay from a young girl through adulthood. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a fun, easy read.

Continuing on with my period reads, The Butterfly and the Violin was a darker piece from Nazi camps. I can’t say it was a totally enjoyable read, but it was definitely a toned down read from what it could have been. The Auschwitz camp stories of the women alluded to what was happening around them, but didn’t have to give the details. We already know the horror and can fill in the blanks ourselves. This was a love story – a unique love story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who reads from that time period. The two points of view helped break up the horrors and added a different perspective.

I also read Dark Blessings by Sarah Cradit, which I had read earlier as a part of an anthology (Face the Music). A bit of a departure from the normal paranormal writing that Cradit excels in, this lagniappe delves into a world of vampires – but still within the Sullivan/Deschanel family. It was well written and weaves a story that is so believable as one of the Sullivan triplets pursues a vampire life.

My idea of a perfect vacation is plenty of time to read outdoors where it is warm. I have just returned from a week in Florida. I stayed with a girlfriend and she appreciates and understands my need to be quiet and do nothing but read. We did, however, enjoy plenty of time together laughing and eating and drinking. We went to a lighthouse and climbed to the top (and I survived!).IMG_2694 IMG_2680

We also took the brunch yacht cruise up (maybe it was down) the intracoastal looking at the beautiful multi-million dollar mansions. I think I will stick with my house and six acres though.IMG_2702 IMG_2705

And we lunched at the beach – the very crowded beach. I love the beach but I prefer a quieter beach so I’m not right next to other people.IMG_2711 IMG_2710

But I also got lots of reading done. Be sure and see the next post with my book reviews of the things I was able to complete on vacation.

Book Reviews en masse

I have been lax in posting book reviews, both here and on Goodreads/Amazon. So, rather than just go on, I am going to post a few from recent books I’ve read.

Katie Sullivan, of D/A Dialogues fame and author of Changelings: Into the Mist, has written a short novella. Three Ghosts illustrates the depth of Katie’s writing and gives us the viewpoint of multiple characters. I really enjoyed it but had wished it was longer. Perhaps this could be the start of a novel? Five stars

I typically do not read non-fiction, or if I do, I only read the first half before I quit out of boredom. To me non-fiction is telling a story that I basically already know and am familiar with. I gave this five stars for the story content. I was compelled to keep reading. While the Wright Brothers is a story we think we know, there is so much more that is commonly not known.  However, I only give this book three stars for the writing. I know that David McCullough is a popular biographer, but the sentence structure was really awkward in several places, causing me to re-read sections to be sure of the meaning. That is unfortunate because with improved writing this would be a five star book for sure.

I love historical fiction, particularly Nazi Germany and Civil War books. This book did not disappoint. The story was told from the slave point of view, but also from his childhood friend, who was the slave owner’s son. Freedom means different things depending on your perspective. This tale was not filled with slave whippings (which I abhor reading about), but was instead how these two boys lived their lives. I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone. Five stars


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