Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Review: The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life’s big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?

Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles—the earned wisdom that helps her continue to “become.” She details her most valuable practices, like “starting kind,” “going high,” and assembling a “kitchen table” of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.

“When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it,” writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Review: Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale Fairy Tale by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of my favourite authors, just that I couldn't become involved in this story.

Review: The Turn of the Key

The Turn of the Key The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
This book was well written (for me) however I felt that it dragged
and you wanted to say "get to the point".

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Review: My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman

My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Critics and readers loved Lisa Scottoline's first collection of true-life stories, which only encouraged her now she's back with these all-new, exciting adventures. She's farther down the road now, and the scenery has changed ex-husbands Thing One and Thing Two are in her rear-view mirror, daughter Francesca has moved into an apartment, and Lisa's finding the silver lining in her empty nest, which has lots more room for her shoes. And some things have stayed the same Mother Mary is still the feistiest octogenarian on the planet, who won't part with her recipe for tomato sauce or her thirty-year old bra.

In this book Lisa and Francesca spill all their family secrets which sound a lot like yours, if you understand that three generations of women is the formula for spontaneous combustion.

Inspired by her weekly column entitled, "Chick Wit" for "The Philadelphia Inquirer, "this is a book you'll have to put down just to stop laughing."

Review: I Found You

I Found You I Found You by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Two women, twenty years of secrets and a man who can't remember lie at the heart of Lisa Jewell's brilliant new novel.

Personally I found this book slow moving and sluggish. It was a disappointment and especially since Lisa Jewell is one of my favourites.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Review: A Day Like This

A Day Like This A Day Like This by Kelley McNeil
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What if everything you’ve ever loved, ever known, ever believed to be true…just disappeared?

Annie Beyers has everything—a beautiful house, a loving husband, and an adorable daughter. It’s a day like any other when she takes Hannah to the pediatrician…until she wakes hours later from a car accident. When she asks for her daughter, confused doctors tell Annie that Hannah never existed. In fact, nothing after waking from the crash is the same as Annie remembers. Five happy years of her life apparently never happened.

Annie’s marriage is coming to an end. Now a successful artist living in Manhattan, she’s no longer home in their beloved upstate farmhouse. Her long-estranged sister is more like a best friend, and her recently deceased dog is alive and well. With each passing day, Annie’s remembered past and unfamiliar present begin to blur. Haunted by visions of Hannah, and with knowledge of things she can’t explain, Annie wonders…is everyone lying to her?

The search for answers leads Annie down an illuminating path far from home, to reconcile the memories with reality and to discover the truth about the life she’s living.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Review: Pop Goes the Weasel

Pop Goes the Weasel Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Detective Alex Cross is back-and he's in love. But his happiness is threatened by a series of chilling murders in Washington, D.C., murders with a pattern so twisted they leave investigators reeling. Cross's pursuit of the killer produces a suspect, a British diplomat named Geoffrey Shafer. But proving he's the murderer becomes a potentially deadly task. As Shafer engages in a brilliant series of surprising counter moves, Alex and his fiancee become hopelessly entangled with the most memorable nemesis Cross has ever faced.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Review: The Last Thing He Told Me

The Last Thing He Told Me The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mystery about a woman searching for the truth around her husband’s disappearance…at any cost.

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.

A good story.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Review: The Dream Daughter

The Dream Daughter The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caroline (Carly) Sears had been shrouded in grief for the past year, and discovering she was pregnant was a bittersweet moment. When she was just over twenty weeks along it was discovered her unborn baby had a terrifying heart problem and without intervention, she would die upon birth. But it was 1970 and there was absolutely nothing that could be done. Medical science just wasn’t advanced enough to save her baby. Carly was devastated.

Living with her sister Patti, brother-in-law Hunter and their little boy, John Paul, Carly took to walking the shores of the ocean by their cottage. She had no idea what she would do – except go ahead with her pregnancy on the slim chance that the doctors were wrong. It was when Hunter took her aside one day and told her there was something that could be done for her baby; that she just had to trust him and be strong, take her life and the life of her yet-to-be-born baby in her hands and have faith, that Carly felt a sliver of hope.

But could she do it? She knew she would do anything in her power for the health of her child…

Wow! Absolutely brilliant! The Dream Daughter has a most intriguing plot which captivated me from the start and I had trouble putting it down. Author Diane Chamberlain has hit the jackpot with this one in my opinion. Heart wrenching, emotional and breathtaking, The Dream Daughter makes the unbelievable – believable, and the impossible – possible. One that will stay with me for a very long time! Highly recommended.

Love this story. Kept me reading for the first time in ages.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Review: The Hidden Women

The Hidden Women The Hidden Women by Kerry Barrett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Berkshire, 1944
When Will Bates offers to take ATA pilot Lilian Miles to the dance, he sends her heart into a flutter. But as their relationship progresses, Lilian can’t help but get cold feet. Deep down she’s always known that the secrets locked in her past would weigh heavily on her future happiness…

London, 2018
Helena Miles loves nothing more than digging into the back stories of celebrity families, making her perfectly suited for her job as a researcher on the hit show Where Did You Come From?. But when handsome superstar Jack Jones sweeps into her life, she unexpectedly finds herself trawling through her own family history.

As she explores her family’s past, she discovers that there are far more secrets hidden there than she ever expected… What really happened to her aunt Lilian during the war, and why can’t she open up about it now?

Excellent read. This book hit an emotional spot and found myself in tears at the end.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Review: The Magnolia Palace

The Magnolia Palace The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Eight months since losing her mother in the Spanish flu outbreak of 1919, twenty-one-year-old Lillian Carter’s life has completely fallen apart. For the past six years, under the moniker Angelica, Lillian was one of the most sought-after artists’ models in New York City, with statues based on her figure gracing landmarks from the Plaza Hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge. But with her mother gone, a grieving Lillian is rudderless and desperate—the work has dried up and a looming scandal has left her entirely without a safe haven. So when she stumbles upon an employment opportunity at the Frick mansion—a building that, ironically, bears her own visage—Lillian jumps at the chance. But the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the daughter and heiress of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family—pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death.

Nearly fifty years later, mod English model Veronica Weber has her own chance to make her career—and with it, earn the money she needs to support her family back home—within the walls of the former Frick residence, now converted into one of New York City’s most impressive museums. But when she—along with a charming intern/budding art curator named Joshua—is dismissed from the Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick Collection, she chances upon a series of hidden messages in the museum: messages that will lead her and Joshua on a hunt that could not only solve Veronica’s financial woes, but could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Review: The Lost for Words Bookshop

The Lost for Words Bookshop The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you. Into her hiding place - the bookstore where she works - come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries. Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?

Monday, July 25, 2022

Review: An Irish Country Village

An Irish Country Village An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Young Doctor Barry Laverty has only just begun his assistantship under his eccentric mentor, Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, but he already feels right at home in Ballybucklebo. When the sudden death of a patient casts a cloud over Barry's reputation, his chances of establishing himself in the village are endangered, especially since the grieving widow is threatening a lawsuit.

While he anxiously waits for the postmortem results that he prays will exonerate him, Barry must regain the trust of the gossipy Ulster village, one patient at a time. From a put-upon shop girl with a mysterious rash to the troubled pregnancy of a winsome young lass who's not quite married yet, Ballybucklebo provides plenty of cases to keep the two country G.P.s busy.

Not all their challenges are medical in nature. When a greedy developer sets his sights on the very heart of the community, the village pub, it's up to the doctors to save the Black Swan (affectionately known to the locals as the "Mucky Duck") from being turned into an overpriced tourist trap. After all, the good citizens of Ballybucklebo need some place to drink to each other's health. . . .

Whether you've visited in the past, or are discovering Ballybucklebo for the first time, An Irish Country Village is an ideal location for anyone looking for wit, warmth, and just a touch of blarney.

A very nice story, but at times felt a bit too cut and dried.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Review: An Irish Country Doctor

An Irish Country Doctor An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lovely story about a new doctor arriving in an Irish village.
Listened to the audio and love the beautiful accents of the Irish

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Review: When the Night Ends

When the Night Ends When the Night Ends by M.J. Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A death in custody. A life in jeopardy.

When Ben Holdsworth dies alone in a police cell, riots erupt in Manchester. But after a post mortem, the authorities have decided nobody was to blame.

DI Ridpath is asked to investigate by the coroner before an inquest, and immediately uncovers some discrepancies in the witness statements.

Why was the CCTV not working that night? Where was the custody sergeant, and did he know the victim? Wherever he turns there are lies and gaps. It’s a dangerous game and the net is closing… On Ridpath himself.

There is only one way out: uncover what really happened in the prison cells on that dark Manchester night.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Review: The Making of Us

The Making of Us The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a hospice in Bury St Edmunds, a man called Daniel is slowly fading away. His friend Maggie sits with him every day; she holds his hand and she listens to the story of his life, to his regrets and to his secrets. And then he tells her about the children he has never met and never will. He talks of them wistfully. His legacy, he calls them. Lydia, Dean and Robyn don't know each other. Yet. And they are all facing difficult changes. Lydia is still wearing the scars from her traumatic childhood and although she is wealthy and successful, her life is lonely and disjointed. Dean is a young man, burdened with unexpected responsibility, whose life is going nowhere. And Robyn wants to be a doctor, just like her father - a man she's never met. But is her whole life built on an illusion? Three people leading three very different lives. All lost. All looking for something. But when they slowly find their way into each other's lives, everything starts to change.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Review: Washington Black

Washington Black Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Part 1. The first part was exciting and grabbed my interest.
Part 2. I thought the writing was very good.
Part 3. Second part of the book, good, but things were starting to not hang together.
Part 4. The third part I became fed up with its disjoint.
Part 5. Dragging boredom of the unlikely things that happen and the unlikely rationales.

I made the effort and finished the book. It had a
strong start with an unusual twist on slavery
in the West Indies. Any good plot lines seemed
to be abandoned.

The part in the Arctic didn't make any sense at
all to me.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Review: The Third Wife

The Third Wife The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the early hours of an April morning, Maya stumbles into the path of an oncoming bus.
A tragic accident? Or suicide? Her grief-stricken husband, Adrian, is determined to find out.

Maya had a job she enjoyed; she had friends. They'd been in love. She even got on with his two previous wives and their children. In fact, they'd all been one big happy family.

But before long Adrian starts to identify the dark cracks in his perfect life.
Because everyone has secrets. And secrets have consequences. Some of which can be devastating.

The ending was excellent.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Review: Girl Last Seen

Girl Last Seen Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots. I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can't bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago. If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw's whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact... I've spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow. Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn't been another girl. And now there is.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Review: Killer Smile

Killer Smile Killer Smile by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All Mary wants to do is immerse herself in a case everybody else calls "The History Channel", a pro bono representation of the Brandolini estate. The roots of the matter sink deep into the past, when Amadeo Brandolini emigrated to Philadelphia, started a family, and built up a small fishing business. At the outbreak of World War II, Brandolini was arrested by the FBI as part of a mass internment of Italian-Americans and was sent to a camp in Montana, where he eventually committed suicide. Now, more than sixty years later, his son's estate hires Mary to sue for reparations.

Mary vows to vindicate Amadeo even though it won't be easy. With only a lock of hair, an old wallet, and a sheet of paper filled with odd doodles to go on, the tenacious lawyer begins to research the case but finds instead puzzling new questions. Someone doesn't want Mary to find the truth, and before long, her life is threatened. Suddenly, the quiet, squeaky-clean good girl who never left Mercer Street is risking life and limb to finger a killer and lay a beloved ghost to rest.

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline delivers a stunning new tale filled with witty dialogue, vibrant characters, and breakneck pacing, in which true-life history reinforces her hallmark themes of justice and family. As entertaining as it is poignant, Killer Smile is a surefire bestseller from a writer at the peak of her talents.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Review: The Radleys

The Radleys The Radleys by Matt Haig
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Radleys are an everyday family who juggle dysfunctional lives. Except, as Peter and Helen Radley know but their children have yet to find out, the Radleys happen to be a family of abstaining vampires. When one night Clara finds herself driven to commit a bloodthirsty act, her parents decide to explain a few things.

I always like Matt Haig's writing, but this one was just not my cup of tea.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Review: Wildflower

Wildflower Wildflower by Monique Mulligan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully written story on the topic of domestic abuse. Jane Kelly is bullied and a very lonely girl until Acacia moves into the house next door. They become fast friends but things are happening in Acacia's home.

It was hard to put this book down even though you were worried about what was going to happen next. Interwoven between 1979-80 and current times.

This is a very important book with a very important message for women.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Review: Have a Nice Guilt Trip

Have a Nice Guilt Trip Have a Nice Guilt Trip by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella are back with another collection of warm and witty stories that will strike a chord with every woman. This four book series is among the best reviewed humor books published today and has been compared to the late greats, Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron. Booklist raved of the third book in the series, Meet Me At Emotional Baggage Claim, "readers can count on an ab-toning laugh session, a silly giggle, a sympathetic sigh, and a lump in the throat as life's moments are rehashed through the keen eyes and wits of this lovable mother-daughter duo." This fourth volume, Have a Nice Guilt Trip, maintains the same sterling standard of humor and poignancy as Lisa and Francesca continue on the road of life acquiring men and puppies. Ok, to be honest, Lisa is acquiring the puppies, while Francesca is lucky enough to have dates with actual men. They leave it to the listeners to decide which is more desirable and/or or easier to train.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Review: Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim (

Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim ( Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim ( by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the best-selling mother/daughter writing duo comes another hilarious collection of essays about motherhood, daughterhood, womanhood, and "does this hood look good on me?"

Love and tomato sauce are thick in the Scottoline/Serritella household, and Lisa and Francesca’s mother-daughter-turned-best-friends bond will strike a familiar note to many. But now that Lisa is a suburban empty-nester and Francesca is an independent 20-something in the big city, they have to learn how to stay close while living apart. How does a mother’s love translate across state lines and over any semblance of personal boundaries?

You’ll laugh out loud as they face off over the proper technique for packing dishes, the importance of bringing a coat in the summertime, and the do's and don’ts of dating at any age. Add feisty octogenarian Mother Mary to the mix, and you have a Molotov cocktail of estrogen, opinions, and fun.

Booklist raved that Best Friends, Occasional Enemies was "one big gabfest with your best girlfriends, whatever their age," and now, in Meet Me at the Emotional Baggage Claim, the mother-daughter duo of Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella continue the conversation with more hilarious and honest tales of life inside an ordinary, extraordinary family. These stories will make you laugh, cry, and call your mother, daughter, and all your girlfriends.

A lovely, entertaining read. Made me miss my mom.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Review: These Tangled Vines

These Tangled Vines These Tangled Vines by Julianne MacLean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If Fiona has learned anything in life, it’s how to keep a secret—even from the father who raised her. She is the only person who knows about her late mother’s affair in Tuscany thirty years earlier, and she intends to keep it that way…until a lawyer calls with shocking news: her biological father has died and left her an incredible inheritance—along with two half siblings.

Fiona travels to Italy, where the family is shocked to learn of her existence and desperate to contest her share of the will. While the mystery of her mother’s affair is slowly unraveled, Fiona must navigate through tricky family relationships and tense sibling rivalries. Fiona both fears and embraces her new destiny as she searches for the truth about the fateful summer her mother spent in Italy and the father she never knew.

Spilling over with the sumptuous flavors and romance of Tuscany, These Tangled Vines takes readers on a breathtaking journey of love, secrets, sacrifice, courage—and most importantly, the true meaning of family.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Review: I See Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses: True Stories and Confessions

I See Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses: True Stories and Confessions I See Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses: True Stories and Confessions by Lisa Scottoline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lisa and daughter Francesca are such great writers, warm and humorous and a joy to read. This collection of stories are so human and gives us an insight into their lives in such a generous way.

Have read all of the series and now am planning on rereading them.

Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella’s delightful essays are sure to strike a chord with every woman. Their nine book series is among the best reviewed humor books published today, and has been compared to the late greats Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron.

Can you hear me now --
Please put the lid down --
Trick question --
Do me a favor --
Christmas with the flying Scottolines --
Ad that stole Christmas --
Very Happy New Year --
Lost and found --
Happy birthday to me --
To boldly go

Friday, May 6, 2022

Review: The Absolutist

The Absolutist The Absolutist by John Boyne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a package of letters to the sister of Will Bancroft, the man he fought alongside during the Great War.

But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He can no longer keep a secret and has finally found the courage to unburden himself of it. As Tristan recounts the horrific details of what to him became a senseless war, he also speaks of his friendship with Will - from their first meeting on the training grounds at Aldershot to their farewell in the trenches of northern France. The intensity of their bond brought Tristan happiness and self-discovery as well as confusion and unbearable pain.

The Absolutist is a masterful tale of passion, jealousy, heroism, and betrayal set in one of the
 most gruesome trenches of France during World War I. This novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats until its most extraordinary and unexpected conclusion, and will stay with them long after they've turned the last page. 

Have always enjoyed this writer's books. This was very emotional and private. Excellent read.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Review: Secrets She Left Behind

Secrets She Left BehindSecrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book before reading the first in the series. It was fine with enough explanations as to what happened previously. An excellent read once you get the characters sorted out.

One afternoon, single mother Sara Weston says that she's going to the store - and never returns. In her absence, she leaves her teenage son alone with his damaged past and a legacy of secrets.

Keith Weston nearly lost his life in an act of arson. He survived - but with devastating physical and emotional scars. Without his mother, he has no one to help him heal, no money, nothing to live for but the medications that numb his pain. Isolated and angry, his hatred has one tight focus: his half sister, Maggie Lockwood.

Nineteen-year-old Maggie Lockwood spent a year in prison for the acts that led up to the fire. Now she's back home. But her release cannot free her from the burden of guilt she carries. She grew up with Keith Weston, played with him as a child…and recently learned they share the same father.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Review: The Full Cupboard of Life

The Full Cupboard of Life The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another winning story. Life at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency keeps on rolling along. Now the assistant has her own thriving little business teaching typing to men in the evenings. Precious has a few cases that she is finding interesting, and the manager of the orphan farm is throwing her weight around and trying to get donations for her children.

Just a great series. It has kept the cold and horrible weather outside and a nice warm feeling for reading these stories inside.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Review: Tears of the Giraffe

Tears of the Giraffe Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

In 1999 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency received two Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the ‘International Books of the Year and the Millennium' by the Times Literary Supplement.

Tears of the Giraffe takes us further into the life of the engaging and sassy Precious Ramotswe, the owner and detective of Botswana's only Ladies' detective agency. Among her cases are wayward wives, unscrupulous maids and a challenge to resolve a mother's pain for her son, who is long lost on the African plains. Mma Ramotswe's own impending marriage to that most gentlemanly of men, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, the promotion of her secretary to the dizzy heights of Assistant Detective and new additions to the Matekoni family, all brew up the most humorous and charmingly entertaining of tales.

I love this series.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Review: A Study in Stone

A Study in Stone A Study in Stone by Michael Campling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Faced with a mystery, some people walk away, but others are driven to solve it.
Dan Corrigan never walked away from a problem in his life, but burnt out by the pressures of corporate troubleshooting, he needs to escape, to disconnect.
His hideaway in a quiet rural village should be ideal, but it soon throws up a mystery of its own.
An ancient legend, a coded message on a stone slab, and a secret concealed in a country manor house: these are the clues that will take Dan on a journey into the past, delving deeper into a hidden history.
Uncovering the truth might give him the confidence to rebuild his life, but if he fails, there’s no going back.
Take the first step alongside Dan as he begins a Study in Stone.

I am looking forward to this new series.

Review: The Joy and Light Bus Company

The Joy and Light Bus Company The Joy and Light Bus Company by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was so much fun to revisit The Ladies' Detective Agency.

Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni attends a course hosted by the local chamber of commerce entitled “Where Is Your Business Going?” But rather than feeling energized, he comes back in low spirits, unsure how to grow the already venerable and successful Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. Then an old friend from school approaches him about a new business venture that could be just the ticket. When it turns out he will need to mortgage his property in order to pursue this endeavor, Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi wonder what this will mean for his current business―as well as their own.

Even as she puzzles over mysteries on the domestic front, Mma Ramotswe’s professional duties must take precedence. When a concerned son learns that his aging father’s nurse now stands to inherit the family home, he begins to doubt her intentions and takes his case to Botswana’s premier detective agency. Fortunately, Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are committed agents of justice and agree to investigate.

Tricky as these matters may be, Mma Ramotswe knows that the most creative solutions are often found with the support of loving friends and family. Working together over a cup of red bush tea, she and Mma Makutsi will rely on their tact, humor, and goodwill to ensure that all involved find the happiness that they deserve.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Review: The Last Thing I Saw

The Last Thing I Saw The Last Thing I Saw by Alex Sinclair
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Had really looked forward to this book but have found that it fell flat for me.

This is when I question myself because basically it probably should have been really good. For me I believe that I knew the story and how it was going to end. It repeated itself so much that my eyes just hazed over.

The characters didn't draw me in or make me feel close to them.

I am sorry that I can't give this a better review.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Review: Animal Instinct

Animal Instinct Animal Instinct by David Rosenfelt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Corey Douglas and his K-9 partner, a German shepherd named Simon Garfunkel, are recently retired police officers turned private investigators. Along with fellow former cop Laurie Collins and her investigating partner, Marcus, they call themselves the K Team, in honor of Simon.

The K Team’s latest case – a recent unsolved murder – gives Corey a chance to solve "the one that got away". Corey knew the murder victim from his time on the force, when he was unable to protect her in a domestic dispute. Now, he is convinced the same abusive boyfriend is responsible for her murder. With some help from Laurie’s lawyer husband, Andy Carpenter, the K Team is determined to prove what the police could not, no matter the cost. What they uncover is much more sinister than they could have imagined.

Known for his dog-loving stories and addictive characters, bestselling mystery author David Rosenfelt presents Animal Instinct, the second installment in this engrossing new series about a dynamite investigative team and their canine partner.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Review: Darling Rose Gold

Darling Rose Gold Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes. And Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling...

And she's waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

A very good read.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Review: The Last House on the Street

The Last House on the Street The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In two voices, Ellie from the 60s and Kayla from current times.
Kayla has lost her husband to an accident that happened while
he was working on their new-build house which they both designed.
Kayla father helps look after their little girl Raine but has
decided that its time for them to move to the house. It is a huge
house and far too big for them, but she does move in.

Meanwhile we are hearing about Ellie's involvement in the civil
rights movement, going to the houses of the poor in the south and
helping them know how to sign up for the vote. They are all waiting
for LBJ to sign the bill putting this voting rights into law.

Current time; Kayla has moved in and has visited her neighbour, Ellie.
She is back from where she has lived for the last 30 years to care for
her brother, Buddy, and her mother. Buddy has congestive heart failure.
Originally Ellie seemed friendly and invited Kayla to practice yoga, but
she has all of a sudden done a turn about and has told Kayla that she 
doesn't have time because of caring for her brother and mother. Kayla was
perplexed by this, but said that she understands.

The next time Kayla drives past their house she notices smoke coming from
the back, then flames. She got out of her car and went running to try to
see what was happening. She was able to get help and they were able to put
the fire out.

The story is told by two voices, Kayla and Ellie. Ellie from back in the
1960's and Kayla 2010. As it goes we learn all about Ellie as a young person.
She joined the civil rights movement and worked hard one summer. But we learn
a lot about what it was like back then and a lot about the KKK. Ellie had
been going out with Kayla's father back then until she met the love of her
life during her time working for civil rights.

An excellent read, couldn't put it down.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Review: The Story of Our Secrets

The Story of Our Secrets The Story of Our Secrets by Shari Low
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Colm O’Flynn was loved by his close circle of family and friends, however his death came too soon for everyone to make peace with their past.

Shauna, his second wife, adored him. But one night she broke their marriage vows, and didn’t get time to ask Colm’s forgiveness.

Jess was the first Mrs O’Flynn. Her heart is set on someone new, but will the last one night stand she shared with Colm come back to haunt her?

Colm’s best friend, Dan, is recently divorced. Can he take a second shot at happiness if it means betraying the one person who always had his back?

What no-one knows is that somewhere out there Colm left messages that could set them free to start over again.

Can divine intervention help them find Colm’s last wishes before it’s too late to love again?

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Review: The Scottish Rose

The Scottish Rose The Scottish Rose by Jill Jones & Jill LaForge Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Taylor Kincaid is the host of a popular television series that debunks myths and legends. So when she travels to Scotland after receiving notice of an inheritance, she hopes to unravel the mystery behind a local legend surrounding the disappearance of locals through the  “Ladysgate,” an archway of stones just off the Scottish coast. Despite the warnings of rugged sea captain Duncan Fraser, Taylor sails toward the arch. But when a vicious storm strikes, she is thrown overboard and through the portal, with Captain Fraser close behind her.

Together, they come to grips with the inconceivable—they have somehow ended up in 1651. Taylor and Duncan soon find themselves thrust into a desperate plot to save the Scottish crown, sword, and scepter amid imminent peril.  As they attempt to re-cross the centuries, they risk losing the love they've found in a time long past.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Review: The Secrets of Roscarbury Hall

The Secrets of Roscarbury Hall The Secrets of Roscarbury Hall by Ann O'Loughlin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this as a buddy read on a book group and I wanted to really like it. Unfortunately it fell short of my expectations.

The book in general had very good bones but the character development was slow and confusing. It tended to jump around and instead of concentrating on the important issue in the book, it spent a lot of time discussing two sisters who were not speaking. I felt that time spent that way could have been put to much better use.

Sisters Ella and Roberta O'Callaghan haven't spoken for decades, torn apart by a dark family secret from their past. They both still live in the family's crumbling Irish mansion, communicating only through the terse and bitter notes they leave for each other in the hallway. But when their way of life is suddenly threatened by bankruptcy, Ella tries to save their home by opening a café in the ballroom – much to Roberta's disgust.

As the café begin to thrive, the sisters are drawn into a new battle when Debbie, an American woman searching for her birth mother, starts working at the Ballroom Café. Debbie has little time left but as she sets out to discover who she really is and what happened to her mother, she is met by silence and lies at the local convent. Determined to discover the truth, she begins to uncover an adoption scandal that will rock both the community and the warring sisters.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Review: Bono: The Amazing Story of a Rescue Cat Who Inspired a Community

Bono: The Amazing Story of a Rescue Cat Who Inspired a Community Bono: The Amazing Story of a Rescue Cat Who Inspired a Community by Helen Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Helen Brown arrived in New York for a much-anticipated visit, a fellow animal lover talked her into fostering a shelter cat. Helen visualized a sweet-natured cuddler who blinked and dozed a lot. What she got at Manhattan's Bideawee shelter was a wide-eyed and unpredictable Persian with a punked-out haircut and a feisty attitude.

Bono had become homeless during Hurricane Sandy, had survived a serious infection, and needed daily medications. As a "special needs" cat, he was an unlikely candidate for adoption. But as affection between them grew, Helen resolved to see that Bono found his forever home. She didn't know that he would change her life in ways she never dreamed possible and teach her lessons she would cherish ever after. Just as this sweet, beleaguered, and hopeful guy deserved a fresh start, Helen too was ready for new beginnings. And so began a heartwarming, uplifting, lasting kind of love .

I started reading this book because I love cats and have had an angel for many years, sadly now has passed. A new little fellow has now found his way into our lives.

Review: The Other Side of the Bridge

The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson My rating: 5 of 5 stars A beautifully written novel. A book ...