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Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Book Review – Daughter of Fortune & Bonus Questions for Your Book Club

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende – Historical Fiction

Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
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About the Author

Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of eight novels, including, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories, three memoirs, including My Invented Country and Paula; and a trilogy of Children’s novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across the continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Aerts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

The Synopsis of the Book

Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaiso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquin Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquin takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.

So begins Isabel Allende’s enchanting novel, Daughter Of Fortune, her most ambitious work of fiction yet. As we follow her spirited heroine on a perilous journey north in the hold of a ship to the rough-and-tumble world of San-Francisco and northern California, we enter a world whose newly arrived inhabitants are driven mad by gold fever. A society of single men and prostitutes among whom Eliz moves- with the help of her good friend and savior, The Chinese doctor Tao Chien – California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence for the young Chilean.

Her search for the elusive Joaquin gradually turns into another kind of journey that transforms her over time, and what began as a new search for love ends up as the conquest of personal freedom. By the time she finally hears news of him, Eliza must decide who her true love really is.

Our Review

Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

This is a wonderful well-written historical fiction that begins in the British community of Chili, a culture I knew nothing about until I read this book. Set in the mid-1800’s we are taken back to a time where women are subjected to disturbing means in order to survive. Our discussion revolved around the strong women characters, the challenges they had to face and the life-threatening diseases they had to overcome.

Eliza, a young woman who was abandoned at birth and raised by a spinster named Rose and her brother Jeremy, enters womanhood and finds what she believes to be her true love. Pregnant with his child, she risks her life to follow him to San Francisco where he hopes to strike it rich by gold mining. But her journey is not easy and death is near.

This book had so many interesting facts about many different cultures which enhanced the story immensely. It was not only a great historical romance but a good history lesson too.

Having lived in the gold rush town of Sonora, I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the book and loved learning many aspects of the gold rush era that took place in California.

There were a lot of facts to process in the book. The chapters were long and the book is almost four hundred pages. For me, it took a while to read, mainly because It was a book I could easily put down and return to at a later time. Others in the group felt the same way. We all felt the ending was abrupt and left some unanswered questions, which was disappointing after investing so much time into the book.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

COVER DESIGN – 4 STARS – The cover is fitting for the book. Immediately from the image of the woman, you know it’s historical fiction.    

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – Excellent character development with plenty of backgrounds given.  

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – Not a nail-biting plot, but an interesting one but the ending did fall short.

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars and would recommend it especially if you enjoy historical fiction.

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Click on the link below for questions to ask at your book club.

Book Club Discussion – Daughter of Fortune

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Book Review The Wife Between Us

 

 

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Book Review The Wife Between Us Plus Bonus Questions For Your Book club

Book Review & Bonus Questions for Your Book Club

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Book Review The Wife Between Us

About the Authors

This is Greer’s debut novel. Before becoming an author she spent over two decades as an editor at Simon $ Schuster. She obtained her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Allure and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Manhatten with her husband and two children.

Sarah is the mother of three boys, which explains why she wrote part of her debut novel at Chuck E. Cheese. She penned her first book at the age of ten. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece, Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. She still has that letter and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true.

The Synopsis of the Book

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

Our Review

Book Review The Wife Between Us

There were mixed feelings about this book during our discussion. We all agreed it was confusing at times and prevented us from getting fully engaged in the story. A twisted tale involving an ex-wife, a mistress and soon to be the wife of the wealthy ex-husband, Richard. Vanessa who has been tormented by her husband, Richard throughout their entire marriage, comes up with a brilliant way to end their marriage. But unraveling the plot is confusing for the reader and once the marriage is over she then becomes obsessed with warning the mistress, Nellie about Richard, which I personally found strange.

Many of the readers in the group loved the roller-coaster rides of plots and surprises and the unexpected ending. For me, the first part of the book was extremely hard to get into because I was too busy trying to figure out who was who and what was going on but I didn’t give up and finished the book. I was hoping, Richards sister, Maureen would have played a bigger part and we all agreed that we didn’t like it when we were left hanging when it came to the dog Rover. It ended up being a good read with an ending that I would never have guessed, so I’m glad I didn’t give up, but I almost did.

One reader was unable to finish the book. She just didn’t like it and quit reading in chapter five.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review The Wife Between Us

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – A well-designed cover showing the same person in different profiles. Now that I’ve read the book it makes sense why they wanted the same person for both profiles.   

CHARACTERIZATION – 3 STARS – The characters came across as shallow with not much history and lacked personalities. 

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – Great storyline and plot but confusing at times.

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review The Wife Between Us

Click on the link below for questions created by the author, Greer Hendricks for questions to ask at your book club.

Book Club Discussion – The Wife Between Us 

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New Reviews for Reckless Beginnings  Since My Last Blog

Beautiful written and so riveting! Can’t wait for the next one! – Miki

The book was very well written. The story paints a true to life story of the struggles that women endure when they are young and naïve – trying to have a good life, but choosing the wrong paths. I highly recommend. Dyana Hulgan

After reading a few pages, I could not put this book down!
Wonderful first effort.
Looking forward to her next book. – Tracy P.

 

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Book Review My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

Click image to buy from Amazon

Book Review – My husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

Intrigued by the title, this is a book I’ve been wanting to read for some time. How did the book measure up? Read my review below.

About the Author

Jane Corry is a writer and journalist who has written regularly for numerous newspapers and magazines including The Daily Telegraph Weekend Section, The Mail on Sunday and Woman. She has spent time working as the writer-in-residence on a high-security prison for men. An experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her debut thriller.

Jane runs regular writing workshops and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. She was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University until her recent move to Devon. She is also an associate member of the Royal Literary Fund.

The Synopsis of My Husband’s Wife

When young lawyer Lily Marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start and leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe, a convicted murderer to whom Lily is strangely-and for whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything.

But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants.

When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep twelve years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.

My Review

This book began well and had me intrigued but as the story progressed it began to lose me for many various reasons. As mentioned before, I was intrigued by the title. I assumed it was about a bigamist. Well, that wasn’t the case and after finishing the book I found the title to be deceiving. I also had a problem with the female on the cover. If this is supposed to be Lily, it doesn’t match the description in the book where she describes her self as overweight and a size fourteen. That is not what the image portrays on the cover.

The author is British and many British terms are used in the story. Being English myself, I didn’t have a problem with that but if you don’t know some English terms it might be an issue for you.

It was a confusing tale with too many plots and twists that had no connections. It had too much going on and not enough background about the characters. I felt like I didn’t really get to know any of them.  Out of the blue, the characters began behaving strangely for no apparent reason or explanation. I found it odd that the character Lily was written in the first person and Carla was written in the third person. That just added to the confusion. For me, none of the characters were likable and there really wasn’t anyone to root for. The plots were weak and somewhat far fetched with no concrete conclusions. As much as I tried to like this book, I just couldn’t.

My Overall Rating

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

COVER DESIGN – 1 STAR– The cover and title didn’t represent the story at all. I found it very misleading.

CHARACTERIZATION – 2 STARS – The characters were very shallow and at times confusing. None were likable.  

STORY & PLOT 2 STARS – The story was too confusing and just seemed to drag on with no level of excitement.

OVERALL RATING – 2 STARS – Overall I gave this book two stars. It was a hard book to read that left me disappointed at the end. 

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See what readers are saying about Reckless Beginnings

It was a wonderful book and also a great ethical thriller especially for this being the author’s first book. I am definitely looking forward to reading more by this author. I would also definitely recommend this book to other members of my book group and my literary friends. – Anoynomous

 

AMAZING STORY. So well written, I could not put it down. I CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOK 2… I sometimes read so fast, I can skim over words.. not this book. I hung on to every single line.. so well written, such good detail, I felt and knew each character and felt each feeling.. was just great.. thank you! Sad I am divine with it! So glad Judy hit him with the poker! – Jennifer Dobos-bubno

 I loved this story, it was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. I did nothing for the rest of the day but read even though I had a long list of stuff to get done. Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is a well-written story based on the author’s life. This is such a touching story about surviving. I personally find her work amazing in every way. Her writing is so good. The book is exceptionally well written and beautiful. The characters are all well developed and relatable. you can feel all their emotions and they grow beautifully as the story progresses.  – Stewart’s Book reviews

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Book Review A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Book Review A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron & Bonus Questions

My book club recently finished reading A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. Oh my, what a read. Below you can find our detailed review and also questions to ask at your club relating to the book.

About the Author

W. Bruce Cameron is the New York Times Bestselling author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, The Dog Master, and the A dog’s Purpose series. In 2011 he was named Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. he lives in California.

The Synopsis of A Dog’s Purpose

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud, A Dog’s Purpose is not only an emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives but also a dog’s-eye, commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautiful crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.  Now a major motion picture.

Our Review

This was such a heart rendering book that pulled at every emotion from sad, happy and at times funny. We all felt it was such an emotional read that at times it had some of us in tears. Told from the perspective of the dog who lived three different lives. From living with a dog hoarder, a faithful best man’s friend that many of us could relate to and a service dog. It was an enlightening story that showed just how dedicated our dogs are, no matter what the circumstances are. They are loyal, loving and truly a man’s best friend.

If you’ve ever lost a dog, this book will bring you much comfort during the difficult times while you mourn their loss. It makes us want to believe that our best friend served his purpose while with us, in the best possible way he could, with what seemed like such a short time on this earth. It was soothing to read when after living his first life the dog is reborn as a puppy with memories of his previous life that he carries with him while he finds another purpose to fulfill. In the end, everything comes full-circle which helps when grieving the loss of a dog.

I am a dog owner and have had many dogs but like Bailey in the book, we all seem to have that one special dog that we just bonded with. Mine was Harley. I’m so grateful he came into my life and I feel blessed that I was able to spend thirteen glorious years with him. He was constantly on my mind while I read this and I mentioned it at the meeting, and even though it’s been three painful years since he passed, I began choking up, just mentioning his name and I had to abruptly end my discussion about him. After reading this book, I want to believe he is now giving the same love and loyalty to another family that he gave me.

My sweet boy Harley

For me, the ending was extremely sad and I did cry heavy tears when I finished reading it. With that said, it is a book that I will not soon forget. I know it will stay with me for years to come.  A must read for every dog lover.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – Love the cover. Who cannot resist such a cute, adorable picture of man’s best friend?

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – Told from the dog’s perspective, it was really well written and comical at times when we are put inside the dogs head. Especially his thoughts about cats.  

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – At times it was a hard book to read that pulled at your heartstrings constantly from one extreme to another.  

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars because of the sad factor that seemed to be present throughout the book.

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

1 – What did you find most disturbing about the book?

2 – How well do you think the author did, telling the story from the dog’s perspective?

3 – What do you think a dog’s purpose is?

4 – Do you have that one special dog that came into your life? Talk about him/her. How did he touch your life?

5 – Do you believe in reincarnation?

6 – What are your thoughts on the human behavior in the book?

7 – What did you think about the ending of the book?

8 – After reading the book, will you be seeing the movie?

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This story was easy to read and involved enough to keep my interest. It didn’t take me long to read and I had a hard time putting it down. It’s not deep but it sure isn’t a cozy. It’s a somewhat different storyline with both good and bad characters. Each character has his or her own personalities and even though there are several, I never had one problem keeping them separate. This is a very important aspect for me. Having to turn back to figure out “who is who” is a great irritation to me. I found none of that here.

So, in conclusion…a good storyline, interesting characters, and a very interesting read. Not much more you can ask than that is there? – – Bookaholic

AMAZING STORY. So well written, I could not put it down. I CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOK 2… I sometimes read so fast, I can skim over words.. not this book. I hung on to every single line.. so well written, such good detail, I felt and knew each character and felt each feeling.. was just great.. thank you! Sad I am divine with it! So glad Judy hit him with the poker! – Jennifer Dobos-bubno

 I loved this story, it was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. I did nothing for the rest of the day but read even though I had a long list of stuff to get done. Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is a well-written story based on the author’s life. This is such a touching story about surviving. I personally find her work amazing in every way. Her writing is so good. The book is exceptionally well written and beautiful. The characters are all well developed and relatable. you can feel all their emotions and they grow beautifully as the story progresses.  – Stewart’s Book reviews

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Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd
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Book Review and Bonus Book Club Questions – The Mermaid Chair

As many of you know, I run the book club at our local library. We just finished reading The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. We had quite a discussion about this book. The author is new to all of us and at the end of our review, you will find questions to ask at your own book club.

About The Author

Sue Monk Kidd’s first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list, has sold nearly six million copies, and was chosen as the 2004 BookSense Paperback book of the Year and Good Morning America’s “Read This!” Book Club pick. It was adapted into an award-winning movie in 2008.

Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times Bestseller, won the 2005 Quil Book Award for Best General Fiction and was adapted into a television movie. Her novels have been published in more than thirty countries. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs and the recipient of many awards, including a Poets & Writers Award. She lives near Charleston, South Carolina.

The Synopsis of The Mermaid Chair

Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.

When Jessie Sullivan is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable behavior, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life “molded tot he smallest space possible.” Jessie loves Hugh, but once on the island, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk about to take his final vows.

Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and majestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right and the immutable force of home and marriage.

Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie’s life? What happens will unlock the roots of her mother’s tormented past, but most of all, it will allow Jessie to come to discover selfhood and a place of belongings as she explores the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic.

Our Review

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

Jessie the main character, seems to be going through a mid-life crisis and begins to question her marriage to Huge after twenty years. At the same time her mother Nellie is having mental-health issues. Jessie travels alone to tend to her mother’s needs who has lived alone since the death of Jessie father when Jessie was only six and had always thought it was her fault.

While visiting her mother, Jessie has an affair with a monk called Witt and is ready to leave her husband. The speed at which she came to this decision, seemed unrealistic and was when our dislike for her began. (I believe it was after their first encounter). 

The story then unfolds many truths, some of which are shocking. Surprisingly we all had different opinions about the book. One member absolutely loved everything about the book, from the author’s style of writing, the main character Jessie, whom she related to and in some way, Jessie reminded her of herself.

A couple of us didn’t like Jessie or the way she treated her husband and left us feeling only anger toward her. We asked ourselves,  Why didn’t she talk to her husband about how she was feeling? A big bombshell was dropped in the story about her father’s death that none of us were expecting and also created more feeling of anger with some of the other characters.

We all felt sorry for Jessie’s husband, Huge because of the way he was treated by Jessie. (Well I know I did.) Huge seemed like a really nice guy but toward the end of the book, he disappointed a majority of us.

Overall it was a good story with some unexpected twists. Parts of it dragged on and became too descriptive for some of us, to the point where we had to backtrack because we had forgotten what the author was describing. This happened numerous times throughout the book and prevented us from keeping engaged with the story. 

Our Overall Rating

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – It’s an intriguing eye-catching cover that entices you to pick up the book and read more.  

CHARACTERIZATION – 3 STARS – We disliked the main character and was disappointed with Huge. Some of their actions seemed unrealistic and rushed. 

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – The storyline was good. At times it dragged on and wasn’t engaging.

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

1. How does a woman like Jessie become “molded to the smallest space possible”? What signs might appear in her life? What did Jessie mean when she said part of the problem was her chronic inability to astonish herself?

2. Jessie comes to believe that an essential problem in her marriage is not that she and Hugh have grown apart, but that they have grown “too much together.” What do you think she means by that? How important is it for Jessie to find her “solitude of being”? How does a woman balance apartness and togetherness in a relationship?

3. How would you describe Nelle before and after her husband’s death? What is your interpretation of the mysterious factors that led her to cut off her finger? What do her fingers symbolize? How does the myth of Sedna—the Inuit mermaid whose severed fingers became the first sea creatures—shed light on Nelle’s state of mind?

4. Jessie feels that she has found a soul mate in Whit. Do you find this word inviting or repellent? When we speak of looking for a soul mate, what do we mean? Is there really such a thing?

5. Why do you think Whit came to the monastery? Would you describe him as having a crisis of faith? In what ways does he vacillate between falling into life and transcending it? What do you think of his decision at the end about whether to leave or to stay?

6. Islands are often places of personal trial and distillation of self—such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest or Golding’s Lord of the Flies. What are the emotional islands upon which each character is stranded? What is the significance of the Egret Island setting? How does each character finally escape the island of his or her making? What does the trial on the enchanted island reveal about each character?

7. St. Senara only becomes a saint once an abbot hides her fish tail and prohibits her from returning to the sea. On one hand, she has lost her wild nature and freedom to swim away, but on the other hand, she has gained sainthood among the humans she has grown to love.

What is the significance of this tale in Jessie’s life? When she leaves her husband to return to Egret Island, is she the wild mermaid or the stranded saint? How does the duality of the mermaid and the saint play out in women’s lives? Can a woman contain both? Why do you think mystics and poets have drawn comparisons between sensual delight and godly delight?

8. The mermaid chair is a central image in the novel. What does it symbolize? What role does it play in the novel? In Jessie’s life? In her father’s? How does it become a place of death and rebirth for both of them, literally and figuratively?

9. How would you describe Jessie’s relationship with her father? How did having an absent father affect her? How did it affect her relationship with Hugh? What do you think Kidd was suggesting, by the image of the Whirley girl?

10. Jessie breaks away from creating her tiny art boxes and begins to paint, finding her true gift. Why is she unable to take up her authentic creative life before this? What role do her paintings play in her metamorphosis? How does Jessie’s series of paintings of diving women reflect her own experience? What role does the motif of diving play in the novel?

11. The novel celebrates the hallowed bonds of women and suggests how a true community of women can become a maternal circle that nurtures a woman toward self-realization and helps her to give birth to a new life. How do Kat, Hepzibah, and even Benne play a role in Jessie’s transformation? What has been the importance of female communities in your own life?

12. In perhaps the most moving and cathartic moment in the novel, Jessie goes to Bone Yard beach and speaks vows of commitment to herself—“’Jessie. I take you, Jessie…for better or worse…to love and to cherish.’” What does it mean to make a “marriage” to your self? Paradoxically, Jessie discovered that belonging to herself allowed her to belong more truly to Hugh. Does an inviolate commitment to oneself enhance one’s commitment to a relationship?

13. In your mind, was Jessie’s father’s death a sin? Jessie isn’t sure if choosing to end one’s life in order to spare oneself and one’s family extreme suffering was horning in on God’s territory and usurping “the terrifying power to say when,” or whether it was usurping God’s deep heart by laying down one’s life as a sacrifice. What do you think?

14. The Mermaid Chair suggests that a love affair may be a common response to a marriage that has lost its way, but that in the end, it is not a solution. In what way do you think the novel is a cautionary tale? Why do you think Jessie is unable to heed the warnings from Kat and Hepzibah? How could Jessie have found awakening without betraying her marriage?

15. Upon her return home, Jessie says, “There would be no grand absolution, only forgiveness meted out in these precious sips. It would well up from Hugh’s heart in spoonfuls and he would feed it to me. And it would be enough.” Why does Jessie return to Hugh? Why is Hugh able to accept her back into his life? How has their relationship changed since she left for Egret Island? How has Jessie changed?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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New Reviews for Reckless Beginnings  Since My Last Blog

IThis story was easy to read and involved enough to keep my interest. It didn’t take me long to read and I had a hard time putting it down. It’s not deep but it sure isn’t a cozy. It’s a somewhat different storyline with both good and bad characters. Each character has his or her own personalities and even though there are several, I never had one problem keeping them separate. This is a very important aspect for me. Having to turn back to figure out “who is who” is a great irritation to me. I found none of that here.

So, in conclusion…a good storyline, interesting characters, and a very interesting read. Not much more you can ask than that is there? – – Bookaholic

AMAZING STORY. So well written, I could not put it down. I CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOK 2… I sometimes read so fast, I can skim over words.. not this book. I hung on to every single line.. so well written, such good detail, I felt and knew each character and felt each feeling.. was just great.. thank you! Sad I am divine with it! So glad Judy hit him with the poker! – Jennifer Dobos-bubno

 I loved this story, it was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. I did nothing for the rest of the day but read even though I had a long list of stuff to get done. Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is a well-written story based on the author’s life. This is such a touching story about surviving. I personally find her work amazing in every way. Her writing is so good. The book is exceptionally well written and beautiful. The characters are all well developed and relatable. you can feel all their emotions and they grow beautifully as the story progresses.  – Stewart’s Book reviews

Everything books

Who Made it on to the New York Times Bestsellers List in 2018?

Are you like me and love to know who made it to number one on the New York Times Bestsellers list in 2018? Many times I find quite a few surprises and discover new authors and often I’m disappointed that a book I enjoyed didn’t make the list.

There is no particular order to the books and this is for fiction books only. I’ll let you know at the end of the page which ones I’ve added to my TBR list.

So with no further ado, here’s who made it. I hope you find some books to add to your TBR list. Let me know if you do. Oh and all of these books can be purchased on Amazon by simply clicking on the image. Happy reading!

New York Times Best Sellers of 2018

Origin by Dan Brown

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The People vs Alex Cross by James Patterson Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

City of Endless Nights by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Judgment Road by Christine Feehan

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Dark in Death by J. D. Robb

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Burning Bright by Patricia Briggs

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Rising Sea by Clive Cussler & Graham Brown

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

 

Accidental Heroes by Danielle Steel

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Disappeared by C. J. Box

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Theif by J.R. Ward

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Fallen by David Baldacci

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Twistee Prey by John Sanford

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Seventieth Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Cast by Danielle Steel

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Outsider by Stephen King

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The President is Missing by James Patterson & Bill Clinton

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Other Woman by Daniel Silva

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Tailspin by Sandra Brown

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Leverage in Death by J. D. Robb

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Juror #3 by James Patterson & Nancy Allen

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Vince Flynn: Red War by Kyle Mills

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Holy Ghost by John Sanford

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

The Reckoning by John Grisham

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Past Tense by Lee Childs

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Of Blood & Bone by Nora Roberts

Who Made it on to the New York Times Best selling List in 2018?

Books I’ve added to my TBR list

  • The People Vs Alex Cross by James Patterson
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • The Disappeared by C. J. Box
  • The Theif by J. R. Ward
  • The Other Woman by Daniel Silva
  • Tailspin by Sandra Brown
  • Juror # 3 by James Patterson

Now I just need to find the time to read them 🙂 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We’re expecting some well-needed rain over the next four days here in Southern California. May even get some snow.  A perfect excuse to curl up with a good book.

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Purchase my Book Reckless Beginnings From Any of These Fine Retailers

 

 

New Reviews Since My Last Blog

I loved this book, could not put it down.😎 It shows the struggle of a very brave, strong but trusting woman who overcomes numerous hardships, but always finds a way – Chicadeepatti

I loved this book. The main character displays the kind of strength and resiliency that all women will find impressive. It is well-written and inspirational. – Avidreader

 I loved this story, it was amazing!! It totally captured me from page 1. After reading the first few chapters I was addicted and couldn’t put the book down. I did nothing for the rest of the day but read even though I had a long list of stuff to get done. Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is a well-written story based on the author’s life. This is such a touching story about surviving. I personally find her work amazing in every way. Her writing is so good. The book is exceptionally well written and beautiful. The characters are all well developed and relatable. you can feel all their emotions and they grow beautifully as the story progresses.  – Stewart’s Book reviews

Everything books

Book Review THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot

Book Review and Bonus Bookclub Questions

Book Review THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

This was our bookclubs pick this month and we had quite the discussion after finishing it. As always I like to share our review with you.

About the Author

Rebecca Skloot is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine and Discover. She has worked as a correspondent for NPR’s Radiolab and PBS’s NOVA scienceNOW and is a contributing editor at Popular Science magazine. She is a former Vice President of the National Book Critics and has taught creative nonfiction and science journalism at the University of Memphis, the University of Pittsburg and New York University. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was her debut novel and became an instant New York Times bestseller. It won the Chicago Tribune Heartland and the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. It was named best book of 2010 by Amazon.com. and the best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, O Magazine, The New York Times, Washington Post, US News, and  World Report.

The Synopsis

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her a HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer, whose cells taken without her knowledge in 1951-became one of the most important tools I medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine,c cloning, gene mapping, and more.  Continue reading “Book Review THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot”

Everything books

Book Review STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel

Book Review STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel

Our book club recently finished reading STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel and as always I like to share our review with you. Also at the end of this post, you will find questions to ask at your own book club.

About the Author

Emily St. John is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven.

The Synopsis of STATION ELEVEN

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devasting flu pandemic arrived in the city and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and  Continue reading “Book Review STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel”

Everything books, Uncategorized

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS’ TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

Our book club just finished reading  THE WHOLE TOWN’S TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG and as always I like to share our thoughts and review with you.

About the author

Fannie Flagg began writing and producing television specials at age nineteen and went on to distinguish herself as an actress and writer in television, films and the theater. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling Daisy Fay and The Miracle Man, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (which was produced by Universal Pictures as Fried Green Tomatoes). Welcome to the World, Baby Girl, and Standing in the Rainbow. Flagg’s script for Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for both the Academy and Writer’s Guild of America Awards and won the highly regarded Scripters Award. Flagg lives in California and in Alabama.

The Synopsis of  THE WHOLE TOWN’S TALKING

Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it’s called, is anything but still. The Whole Town’s Talking, tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.

Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting Place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking.

With her wild imagination, great storytelling, and deep understanding of folly and the human heart, the beloved Fannie Flagg tells an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people. In The Whole Town’s Talking, she reminds us that community is vital, life is a gift, and love never dies.

Our Review

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

This is the first time any of us had read anything by this author. No one knew what to expect. We had decided to pick a light-hearted book because the last two were somewhat depressing. This book certainly fit the bill. It’s a quick read and would make a perfect book to take to the beach. We all agreed that it was a cute story and was probably how most people hoped life would be after death.

At times the story was humorous and took us on a trip down memory lane, pointing out certain nostalgic events. The book began well with the founding fathers and we felt like we were getting to know them but as soon as we did, they passed away and the book moved on to the next generation. After that, the book began to go downhill. There was just too much crammed into the story. As soon as we began to get to know a new character, Poof, they died. It was really hard to keep track of them and because of that, we had a hard time connecting with the story. We also felt what happened to the town, in the end, was depressing and quite unexpected. Overall we were somewhat disappointed with this book.

Our Overall Rating

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – We all agreed the cover was great with eye-catching colors and a theme that was fitting for the storyline. 

CHARACTERIZATION – 3 STARS – Too many characters to keep track of and were short-lived in the book, prevented us from connecting with the characters or story.

STORY & PLOT 3 STARS – It was a cute idea for a story but fell short to engage us or get us excited.

OVERALL RATING – 3 STARS – After having high hopes for this book, we left feeling somewhat disappointed. It was just okay. 

Questions to ask at your book club

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

1- Lordor met his wife Katrina by placing an ad for a mail-order bride. Did this surprise you and does it remind you of online dating?

2 – Why do you think Lordor and Katrina’s marriage was so successful? What did they do that many couples overlook?

3 – The book chronicles the history of one small town in America, beginning in 1889 and ending in 2021. Do you see any similarities between Elmwood Springs and the town you or your parents grew up in? If so, what are they?

4 – Do you know of any towns that have simply turned into ghost towns?  Why do you think the towns didn’t make it. Did you live in any of the towns you mentioned?

5 – Do you believe in life after death? How do you vision it?

6 – Were there any particular characters you could relate to? If yes, explain why.

7 – The book spans over many decades. Which is your favorite era and why is it? What do you remember the most about that time?

Buy the Book From Amazon

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More Reviews

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

 

BUY RECKLESS BEGINNINGS HERE

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG

RECKLESS BEGINNINGS is currently available in paperback only. The Kindle/ebook edition will be available in about six weeks.

Ordering the book is easy from any of these fine online retailers.

 

 

BOOK DEPOSITORY

Other News

Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by ARTIST FIRST RADIO NETWORK. Listen to the entire interview below.

Book Review THE WHOLE TOWNS' TALKING by FANNIE FLAGG
CLICK IMAGE TO HEAR INTERVIEW.

 

 

 

 

 

Everything books, Uncategorized

Spooky books to read on Halloween & bonus interview with one of the authors

Spooky books to read on Halloween

A list of Spooky tales for Halloween

I’m not sure how many of you curl up in a darkened room, illuminated with a few candles and read horror stories by flashlight during the Halloween festivities.  This was something I loved to do when I was a teenager.  Sometimes I’d take it a step further and bury myself under my blankets with the light and read a super scary book from there. Now I do it with my grandkids.

In case you like to celebrate Halloween with a good horror book I’ve composed a list of new books released in 2018 from some Indie Authors, I’ve come across on Facebook.  I’m always looking for Continue reading “Spooky books to read on Halloween & bonus interview with one of the authors”