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Guest Post – The Catnapped Lover by Rue Allyn

I’m excited to bring you a preview of Rue Allyn’s new book – The Catnapped Lover – A short contemporary romance.

 

Excerpt

Balancing an armload of mail, an overloaded briefcase, and a gym bag with two yogurt cups teetering on top, Dierdre Clancy rushed to her cubicle. For the fourth time this week, and the umpteenth time this month, she was late. Once again, a power outage in the decrepit apartment building where she lived had caused her alarm clock to fail.

Please, Lord, don’t let my chauvinist pig of a boss realize I’ve been missing.

The yogurt cups threatened to topple off the gym bag. Dierdre wasn’t about to let her lunch decorate the linoleum. The mail showered to the floor. The briefcase hit her foot. With her free hand, she plastered the cups to her side. The gym bag slid down her arm. The webbed strap twisted, tourniquet style, around her wrist.

She managed a couple of sideways hops that brought her to the edge of her desk. The gym bag swung wildly. Leaning against the arm weighed down by the bag’s stranglehold, she managed to dump the yogurt cups onto the desk without mishap. She pulled herself upright and reached for the strap at her wrist.

Somehow, during all the hopping, the bag had swung around her legs and gotten wedged in the narrow space between her desk and file cabinet. The same strap that cut off circulation to her hand pressed into the backs of her knees, pinning her neatly to the desk. Only an act of extreme dexterity could save her from her own folly. Imbecile, why didn’t you make two trips?

Because I didn’t want to risk having the boss see me coming in late.

“Clancy! You’re late.”

Dierdre’s heart hit the ceiling. She knew the shout—a cross between an operatic tenor and a pig at slaughter. Still, she hadn’t been prepared to hear her boss’s screeching quite so soon.

Guest Post - The Catnapped Lover by Rue Allyn

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Hero Bio: Adam Talcott was born rich. He went into business with his best friend from college and made even more millions. His methods may be unorthodox, but he nearly always succeeds. Now he’s been challenged to live for two months without any of the privileges and resources he’s known all his life. Adam is confident that he can conquer this challenge as he has all others. But he didn’t count on Dierdre Clancy and that danged cat.

Heroine Bio: Dierdre Clancy grew up in a family of givers. Her parents were missionaries and often too busy saving other, less privileged people to realize how lonely and abandoned Dierdre felt. When she reached her teen years, she was shipped back to the USA to live with her Aunt Shea on Shea’s rundown farm and animal shelter. Finally, she was in a stable environment with an adult she could count on. Dierdre went on to gain a degree in social work and took up the Clancy family tradition of helping others. Most of the time helping others was easy. But Adam Talcott broke that mold and every other box she tried to put him into. How could one man be so difficult to manage?

About the author

Guest Post - The Catnapped Lover by Rue Allyn

Hi, I’m Rue Allyn, I write heart-melting romance novels. Books about characters and adventures in which love triumphs at the darkest moment. The kind of hopeful, steal-your-breath romance that melts a reader’s heart. The type of book I like to read. Hope you will too.

RAmblin’ Notes from the author — Time Travel Possible, No Machine Required

Yes, time travel is possible. How? Read a book. The old-fashioned kind of book, made from paper, isn’t technically a machine, so no Time Machine is required. However, for purists, we have computers, tablets, cell-phones, dedicated reading devices and a whole host of other machines that can transport you back in time via the printed page (or screen if you prefer).
Now some may protest that reading about the past is not traveling there. I won’t argue. For me, reading about the past or stories set in the past is a transportive experience. Lately, I’ve been transported to Wyoming territory in the year 1875. Much was going on at that time. The Lakota nation was fighting for its rights to its holy lands and hunting grounds. Gold had been discovered in the Black Hills–smack in the middle of those holy lands. Settlers were pushing westward at the urging of the Union Pacific railroad.
The railroad needed passengers, and it held rights to land along the path of the railway. Land that the railway owners hoped to sell to settlers at a huge profit. If all of that wasn’t enough fights were brewing not just among the Lakota and the settlers but between cattlemen, sheep owners, and farmers. Stagecoach and railway robberies were commonplace and towns sprang up to provide services to the far-flung ranches, farms, and mines
Use that marvelous time machine, the internet, and drill down a layer or three on any one of these topics and you find time travel gold. Be present at the skirmishes that led to the Battle of Little Big Horn and later to the tragedy at Wounded Knee. Get shaken to the bone on a runaway stagecoach as it flees road agents who to steal everything on board, including your own personal treasures. Follow Ferdinand V. Hayden (surveyor), William Henry Jackson (Photographer), and Thomas Moran (artist) and their party as they survey what is now Yellowstone National Park. They “compiled a comprehensive report, including large-format photographs Guest Post - The Catnapped Lover by Rue Allynby William Henry Jackson and paintings by Thomas Moran. The report helped to convince the U.S. Congress to withdraw this region from public auction,” and by 1872 President U. S. Grant signed The Act of Dedication law that created Yellowstone National Park. Jackson’s photographs were of particular interest to me even though I’d visited the park in person twice.
My most recent time travels took me to the trail from Laramie to Devil’s Tower. I caught a ride with a muleskinner who was making deliveries from the railhead at Laramie to outlying ranches. This particular skinner had a good relationship with the Lakota, respected their lands and would trade with them honestly. No cheating, no shoddy goods, no spoiled stores. The skinner had earned the trust of the Lakota bands that lived in the area of Devil’s Tower. That was a feat few settlers could manage, simply because prejudice and ignorance took precedence over common sense and courtesy.
Guest Post - The Catnapped Lover by Rue AllynSadly my mule skinner didn’t spend long with any one group, so I didn’t learn much about the Lakota other than that they were folks with the same kinds of worries, hopes, and dreams that most folks have. I did learn quite a bit about the low-lives taking advantage of not just the Lakota but every person who gave trust too easily. That’s how I discovered that my mule skinner–a major character in my current work in progress–falls victim to the machinations of a villain who is actually trying to increase tensions between the Lakota and the settlers. That villain figures that he can get land at very cheap prices if the area is deemed unsafe. Then he can have the army clear the Lakota off their lands and lay claim to those too.
All of this, we normally call research, is what I call time travel. The great thing is that anyone can do it. So the next time you go online or pick up a book ask yourself not what you want to know, but instead, when you want to be. Please leave a comment and share some of your time travel experiences.

 

Freebie~~Get a FREE download of Rue Allyn’s May 2019 release Forever Hold My Heart, a Scottish historical novella. Just sign up for her newsletter here https://www.rueallyn.com/ravonsubscribe/.

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Book Review – Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison

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Book Review – Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison& Bonus Questions for Your Book Club

My book club read this last month – as always, I like to share our review with you 🙂

About the Author

John Elder Robison grew up in the sixties before the Asperger diagnosis came into common use. After dropping out of high school, John worked in the music business where he created sound effects and electronic devices, including the signature illuminated, smoking, and rocket firing guitars he built for KISS. Later John worked on some of the first video games and talking toys at Milton Bradley. After a ten year career in electronics, John founded Robison Service, a specialty automobile company in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Today in addition to running the car company, John is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William & Mary, and advisor to the neurodiversity program at Landmark College. He is a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee which makes the Strategic Plan for Autism for the US government.

In addition to his autism advocacy work, John is a lifelong car enthusiast, an avid hiker, a photographer, a music lover, and a world-class champion eater. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The Synopsis of the Book

Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits – an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them) – had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself – and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account – sometimes alien yet always deeply human.

Our Review

Book Review - Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison

This was a well written and at times a funny book that we all enjoyed immensely.  For some, like myself it was an eye-opener. I knew nothing about Aspergers and the author did a fantastic job of bringing me into his world.  For others, it was a book they could relate to because of family members that have Aspergers. They said he was spot on with all the struggles he experienced during his childhood.

The most fascinating part of the book was reading about what he has achieved in his life. He didn’t look at his condition as a failure but as an asset. He has accomplished so much including having a family and this brings hopes to others suffering from Aspergers’ I think it’s a wonderful message that will help many families.

It’s a story that is beautifully written, easy to read with no fluff. The author tells you exactly how it is and you can feel it through his writing.

Our Overall Rating

Our rating Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – Like his writing, his cover is spot on and grabs your attention. 

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – Being memoir he did a great job describing all his characteristics from childhood to adulthood.

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – Even though everyone loved this book some felt a five star was too generous

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars and highly recommend it.

Questions to ask at your book club

Questions-Book Review - Look me in the eye, my life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison

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

Book club discussion – Look Me In The Eye

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Did you know I now have a Facebook Readers’ Group?

It’s a place where you can interact with other readers that are following me. I host weekly giveaways, do live video chats and talk about on-going projects.

You can join by clicking on the link below.

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How To Get ARC Copies Of Books From Your Favorite Authors

How To Get ARC Copies Of Books From Your Favorite Authors

I often hear readers asking how can they obtain ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of authors books? You might be surprised that it’s not that difficult to do and I thought I would give you some tips on how to obtain them.

What is an ARC?

Arc is an abbreviation for Advanced Reader’s Copy. It is a pre-released copy given to certain people to read before publication day. The book may be in print copy or ebook format. It is required when you receive an ARC copy that you leave a review on one if not all of the major platforms – Amazon and Goodreads for example.

Sign up for newsletters

If your favorite author has a newsletter or blog, I highly recommend you sign up for it or follow their blog. This will be one of the places they will announce that they are seeking ARC readers or they may have a giveaway that you could enter.

Sign up for my newsletter

Follow the authors on their social media accounts

How To Get ARC Copies Of Books From Your Favorite Authors

Most authors have at least one social media account. The most popular being Facebook. It’s another place where authors will promote their books and seek ARC readers or host giveaway. Many of the authors on Facebook have readers groups – be sure to join those too.  Other accounts to look into are Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads. (Goodreads is a great place to get ARCs.

Here are my social media accounts

Contact the publisher

If you are a book blogger and do reviews you might want to try and contact the publisher directly and request an ARC copy. Keep in mind you will stand a better chance if your blog is at least six months old and you have at least five hundred followers.

Net Gallery

Net Galley is a huge library of electronic ARC books where many can sign up to read books before they are published. It is required, that you leave a review. You can request books and the site will notify you if you have been picked.  It’s free for readers to use. Authors have to pay a membership fee. In order to request a book from Net Gallery, you must meet certain requirements which you can read about here.

Goodreads

On the Goodreads site, you can follow your favorite author, ask them questions and be notified when they hold a giveaway for ARC copies. Many authors use this site for promotional purposes prior to a book launch to spread the word and giveaways are extremely popular.  Your chances of winning an ARC book is pretty good.

Library Thing

This site posts a monthly list of  ARC books available for review. I’m not sure how the program works but I’ve heard good things about it. More information is available here. 

Here is my Library Thing profile https://www.librarything.com/profile/tinahogangrant

If you know of any other methods of getting ARC copies, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

Final Word

Did you know Reckless Beginnings is now available on Kindle Unlimited?  – You can read for free in the program or buy for $1.99 Click on the image to order your copy and start reading today.

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Book Review-The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
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Book Review-The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris & Bonus Questions for Your Book Club

About the Author

Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who had a story to tell. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay-which ranked high in international competitions before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

The Synopsis of the Book

April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tatowiere (The German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism-but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing and ultimately hopeful re0creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament tot he endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Our Review

Our review - Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Many of us are aware of the horrific events that took place at Auschwitz, and for that sole reason, most of us were leery about reading this book. We feared that it was going to be gruesome and depressing. Let me tell you, even though the subject matter is heart-wrenching, the story focuses on the bravery of these prisoners and is uplifting. This was a beautiful, well-written story that gently touched the horrors of Auschwitz. The subject matter was handled delicately, allowing the reader to let the story go as deep as they wanted it to.

It is a love story that takes place amongst the darkest times of two peoples lives, whose main objective is survival. Every day they managed to find something to be thankful for and found goodness in the bad. The bravery these prisoners portrayed and survived to tell their stories is superior. Trust me when I say, We have nothing to complain about.

This is a story that will stay with you for a long time. We should continue to write these kinds of stories to remind us of the sacrifices that were made and to never allow this to happen again. It is the perfect book to introduce high school students to their ancestor’s history and what they endured without horrific descriptions.

After reading this book, I can guarantee, you will probably take a look at your own life and realize that all those things that bother you on a daily basis will suddenly seem so trivial. Be thankful for what you have.

Our Overall Rating

Our rating-Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

COVER DESIGN – 5 STARS – A beautiful well-designed cover, with soft colors that immediately tells you it’s historical fiction.

CHARACTERIZATION – 5 STARS – The characters were believable and well developed  

STORY & PLOT 4 STARS – A few members questioned the accuracy of some facts mentioned in the book 

OVERALL RATING – 4 STARS – Overall we gave this book 4 stars and highly recommend it.

Questions to ask at your book club

Questions-Book Review - The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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

Book Club Discussion – The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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Book review - the wife between us
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Order your copy of Reckless Beginnings – Now available in Kindle Unlimited.

Book Review The Wife Between Us

 

 

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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
Buy the Book from Amazon

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

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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

Everything books

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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See what readers are saying about Reckless Beginnings

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

Everything books

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd

Book Review THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd
Click image to buy from Amazon

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