Together Forever -Book Review

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synopsis:

Marianne Neumann has one goal in life: to find her lost younger sister, Sophie. When Marianne takes a job as a placing agent with the Children’s Aid Society in 1858 New York, she not only hopes to give children a better life but seeks to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children–firm but tender and funny. Underneath his handsome charm, though, seems to linger a grief that won’t go away–and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. As the two team up placing orphans amid small railroad towns in Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

about the author:

Jody Hedlund is the author of over a dozen novels, including With You Always, Love Unexpected, Unending Devotion, The Preacher’s Bride, and A Noble Groom, and winner of the 2014 Carol Award for historical romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog at http://www.jodyhedlund.com.

editorial reviews:

“Marianne and Drew’s friendship and romance bring a delectable sizzle and emotional intimacy to this historically informative, beautifully layered, and spiritually inspirational tale about loving someone enough to let them go.”–Booklist

 

“This second book in the Orphan Train series is a poignant and historical anecdote about courage and forgiveness. It is a great read for fans of Julie Lessman and Tracie Peterson.”–Christian Market

 

Praise for Jody Hedlund’s Orphan Train Series

“The first book in her Orphan Train series is a heart-stirring story of survival and love filled with memorable characters.”–Booklist (starred review)

“A powerful and historically grounded story about finding your own strength and worth through faith.”–Christian Market

my thoughts:

Orphan trains are a unique part of our country’s past and I was glad to see a book on this subject. I liked the author’s description of the orphan train, both its good qualities and seedy underbelly.

However, the good parts stop there.

There was so much cliché and run of the mill tropes that I wanted to puke. Each character was exactly the way that they should be. She, delicate and elegant. He, handsome, strong jaw, dark past. Their romance? Completely unbelievable.

There were so many makeout sessions in front of the orphans that I felt scandalized for them. This is 1912, mind you, not 2018 where this type of behavior is acceptable.

Also, the ending made me throw the book across the room.

Why is this type of writing accepted? Do we have no standards anymore?!

I find it amusing that Marianne is so worried about her missing sister, yet does nothing to further the search. I guess she’s too busy, looking for her lost tongue. Oh wait. There it is, shoved down Drew’s throat.

Give me a break.

You can get your copy of this truly disappointing book here.

I received this book in exchange for my review from Bethany House. All opinions stated above are my own.

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A Rebel Heart -Book Review

 

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synopsis:

Five years after the final shot was fired in the War Between the States, Selah Daughtry can barely manage to keep herself, her two younger sisters, and their spinster cousin fed and clothed. With their family’s Mississippi plantation swamped by debt and the Big House falling down around them, the only option seems to be giving up their ancestral land.

Pinkerton agent and former Union cavalryman Levi Riggins is investigating a series of robberies and sabotage linked to the impoverished Daughtry plantation. Posing as a hotel management agent for the railroad, he tells Selah he’ll help her save her home, but only if it is converted into a hotel. With Selah otherwise engaged with renovations, Levi moves onto the property to “supervise” while he actually attends to his real assignment right under her nose.

Selah isn’t sure she entirely trusts the handsome Yankee, but she’d do almost anything to save her home. What she never expected to encounter was his assault on her heart.

about the author:

Beth White’s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride, The Creole Princess, and The Magnolia Duchess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at http://www.bethwhite.net.

editorial reviews:

“Full of intrigue, grit, and grace, A Rebel Heart is Beth White at her finest.”–Jocelyn Green, award-winning author of A Refuge Assured

“With great skill, Beth White combines intriguing history with inspiring romance, and then adds a good measure of mystery and suspense. Well done!”–Carrie Turansky, award-winning author of Shine Like the Dawn and Across the Blue

“Beth White’s careful historical research shines throughout this novel, as do her wonderful characters. Highly recommended.”–Robin Lee Hatcher, Lifetime Achievement Award-winning author of You’re Gonna Love Me

my thoughts:

A Rebel Heart is one of those quick, heartwarming reads. It is neither spellbinding nor boring. It is just one of those, “That’s an OK book” books. I probably won’t pick it up and read it again.

I liked our main character Selah, and the setting of just after the Civil War ended. I also liked the Southern perspective. Although the Northern-Southern love affair was entirely predictable, I still found it cute.

You can get your copy here.

 

This book was given to me in exchange for my review by Revell. All opinions stated above are my own.

The Girl’s Guide to Conquering Life -Book Review

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Synopsis:

 

There’s a lot a girl needs to know as she grows up and makes her way in the world. Having a reference guide of practical how-to life skills and character traits can empower her to become a confident and capable woman. Coauthors Erica and Jonathan Catherman offer this collection of step-by-step instructions on 100 things girls need to succeed, including how to

– introduce yourself
– change a flat tire
– respectfully break up with a guy
– leave a tip
– apply for a job
– ask for a promotion
– behave during a police stop
– create a personal budget
– calculate square footage
– wash your face
– clear a clogged drain
– iron a shirt
– wear a scarf
– shoot a basketball
– sharpen kitchen knives
– and much more

In fact, if it’s in here, it’s an important skill or character trait practiced by capable and confident women. With great illustrations and sidebars of advice from world-class experts, this all-in-one reference tool for young women in the making is the perfect gift for birthdays, graduations, or any occasion.

About the Authors:

Erica Catherman has spent more than twenty years mentoring young women as a coach to middle school, high school, and college students. Committed to raising up the next generation to be kind, confident, and capable, Erica has served as a youth group leader, community volunteer, and advocate for gender equality in sports. She is a certified Yoga Alliance and Group Fitness instructor.

Jonathan Catherman is the author of the bestselling The Manual to Manhood and The Manual to Middle School. An award-winning cultural strategist and a leading education trainer specializing in the character and leadership development of youth, Jonathan speaks worldwide about the principles and strengths that empower greatness in children, teens, and young adults.

The Cathermans live in North Carolina, where they work together to raise their family, which includes teenagers and a couple of big dogs. Learn more at http://www.jonathancatherman.com.

My Thoughts:

When I got married, (VERY young, oh my gosh I was just a baby) I didn’t know how to do ANYTHING. I’m for real. Fold towels? No. Boil water? Um, no. Cook? Hold my coffee while I laugh, please.

My poor, poor husband.

Growing up, I never had any responsibilities, which probably lead to me being so ill-equipped and my husband being shockingly skinny those first couple years. Again, bless his pea-pickin heart.

My mom was wonderful with telling me that “You can do anything!”, and “Reach for the stars!”. I am the product of the 90’s generation, of business woman Barbie and all that. Yet, with all the encouragement of all the things I could be and do in my life, I never really got any true life skills.

Man, oh man, I wish I would have had this book back then.

When I had a daughter, I resolved that she would know how to do all those things that I didn’t have a clue about. Whether she decides to be an hematologist or a homemaker, my girl is going to know how to make a bed.

I jumped all over this book. I read it with my daughter in mind (she’s still a little young to need to know how to talk to a guy or change a flat) but I found myself learning so much, and realizing I’m doing a few things wrong.

I’m so grateful to have a handbook to be able to learn from, and then turn around and give to my daughter when she flies the coop one of these days.

I think that if you were the product of the 90’s (the GREATEST era, mind you) or if you have a daughter, you need this book.

You can pick up your copy here.

Don’t forget your sons! The Catherman’s deliver a great Manual to Manhood as well! Get it here.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Revell. All opinions stated above are my own.

The Road Home -Book Review

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Synopsis:

Sent from Michigan to Pennsylvania following the tragic death of her Amish parents, Lena Rose Schwartz grieves her loss and the separation from her nine siblings. Beside the fact that Lena has never been so far from home, she hasn’t met the family she will now be living with. But worse than that is having to live apart from her close-knit brothers and sisters. How will they manage without her to care for them–especially six-year-old Chris? And will her new beau, Hans Bontrager, continue to court her despite the many miles between them?

Yet even as Lena Rose holds on to hope for a reunion with those she loves most, she discovers that Lancaster holds charms of its own. Is she willing to open her heart to new possibilities?

About the Author:

Beverly Lewis

I’ve had my nose in a book, for as long as I remember. When I was about 9 years old, I started writing my own stories. By sixth grade, I’d hand-written a 66-page semi-autobiographical book titled, “She Shall Have Music.”

After I was married and our three children were in middle school, I began submitting articles and short fiction to various magazines.

My first book (Holly’s First Love) was published in May 1993, the start of a 14-book series for pre-teen girls. Soon after, my first chapter book was published for 7-10-year-old readers (“Big Bad Beans”) which later became part of my 24-book series, The Cul-de-Sac Kids. I wrote another long-running series for girls, titled “SummerHill Secrets,” which was set very close to Neffsville, PA, where I grew up–near the heart of Amish country.

But it was the story of my grandmother Ada Buchwalter’s shunning by her ultra-strict father and subsequently her old order Mennonite community that nudged me toward writing adult fiction. THE SHUNNING was published in 1997 by Bethany House Publishers, and along with its sequels, has touched a nerve in millions of readers intrigued by the Plain tradition of Lancaster County, PA. Many readers have enjoyed the Hallmark Channel’s adaptation of this book and the other books in the Heritage of Lancaster County series.

My passion for Amish-related stories continues to keep me up at night, and I’ve written over three dozen novels for adults set in Lancaster County.

When I’m between writing deadlines, I enjoy hiking in the Rocky Mountains with my husband. Cooking from scratch, playing Mozart at the piano, and making family memory albums, as well as traveling to meet my devoted readers during book tours, are some of my very favorite things. I also adore reading biographies and memoirs, as well as classic literature.

Editorial Reviews:

From the Back Cover

As the sun began to rise, Lena Rose leaned against the cool pane of the bus window and gazed out at the familiar landscape of her life. I’m leaving my family and everything I know behind. She sighed, trying to keep her composure.

Grieving the death of her Amish parents and the separation from her nine close-knit siblings, Lena Rose Schwartz consoles herself that her new life in Lancaster County won’t be forever. Surely someday soon she will return to her beloved Michigan settlement, including her beau. But even as she holds on to hope for a reunion with those she loves most, she discovers that Lancaster holds charms of its own. Will she find the courage to open her heart to other possibilities?

“Lewis’s new book is a stand-alone Amish novel filled with charming characters and surroundings amid a heartwarming storyline of love, overcoming grief, and trusting God with our future.”–Christian Market

My Thoughts:

I LOVE HAVING AN AUTHOR I CAN ALWAYS DEPEND ON TO HAND ME A WONDERFUL STORY.

Should I say that again?

Seriously. How wonderful is it that there are a handful of authors that, no matter what they write, I know that it will be a great read. Off hand, I can think of about four. Four, out of the thousands of authors, that I can honestly say I love everything they write.

Beverly Lewis is one of those four.

Yes, I love those gritty, true to life books. I love those books that keep me on the edge of my seat, that make my stomach roll or my heart race, that bring tears to my eyes, or even the ones that keep me up at night.

But sometimes, I just need a book that is soft. A book that I can fall into and know there are no sharp edges to get caught on. A book that delivers a sweet story of hurt and redemption. And when I need a story like that, I always turn to Lewis.

The Road Home is just what I thought it would be. A comforting story that came just at the right time in my reading life.

The Road Home gives us a feel-good family story. Although the mourning and grief is there, Lewis still delivers a book about the love between siblings and the strong ties to the community in which they live. A true, Beverly Lewis story.

You can get your copy of The Road Home here.

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Bethany House Publishing. All opinions stated above are my own.

A Refuge Assured -Book Review

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synopsis:

 

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia but finds the same dangers lurking in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers threaten the life of a young boy left in her care, who some suspect to be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement, Azilum, offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate the land of his hard-won farm near Azilum, but soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they will be drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

About the Author:

Jocelyn Green

Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and have been honored with the Christy Award, the gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America, and the Golden Scroll Award from the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at http://www.jocelyngreen.com.

Editorial Reviews:

From the Back Cover

“A stunning story. . . . Green leaves no stone unturned in depth and detail and crafts a tale as passionate as the time period itself. A Refuge Assured and its enduring characters will leave you both speechless and satisfied by novel’s end.”
Laura Frantz, author of The Lacemaker

Fleeing One Revolution to the Aftermath of Another, She Seeks and Dreams of Peace

Lacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement Asylum offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

“The storyline is fast paced and has numerous unexpected twists and turns. . . . Jocelyn Green weaves her fiction with impeccable research and brings to life long-ago events that have been mostly forgotten.”–RT Book Reviews Top Pick

“Green outdoes herself in this grand novel that instantly ranks as a must-read work of historical inspirational fiction. . . . Her characters and their predicaments are captivating, especially Vivienne, a female protagonist with both moral and political resolve. Green’s writing is almost overwhelming in its sensory detail and very special power, and readers will remain breathless to the very end.”–Booklist starred review

“Historical fiction readers will appreciate the writing detail, strong characterization, and fast-paced suspense.”Christian Market

“Green has written a complex, compelling historical romance that brings a less-familiar part of American history to life. Its themes of faith and perseverance will appeal to many readers of the genre.”–Library Journal

 

My Thoughts:

Sometimes I feel like book blurbs give books a little too much credit. Sometimes I feel like they are over-sensational and very promising, yet when I pick up the book it does nothing but let me down. Well, not so with A Refuge Assured ! That’s why I included the blurbs and editorial reviews on my blog post, because they are all entirely accurate.

This is truly an amazing read. I’ve never really understood the history of France around the American Revolution time period, the persecution of lace makers to be exact. I know that this is historical FICTION, but it really gave great, truthful, insight into what it was really like in France during those dark times.

I thought the characters were real and genuine to the time period, plus the different cultures they were from. I did feel as though I could predict the book, but that didn’t take away from enjoying my reading experience in the least. Green’s writing is SUPERB, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every page.

Hopefully by now all my readers know that I can be a pretty critical judge of the Christian Historical Romance/Christian Romance genre of books, so I hope that by me saying this is a great read will hold some water.

As to the spiritual side of A Refuge Assured , I felt like it was just enough without being overly cheesy. I really loved the following quote:

“God is the Creator, is He not?” she had said with a smile. “So when we create, even if it is a mere length of lace and not the stars of the heavens, we honor Him. We bear His likeness when we work.” 

As an artist, that rang true in my heart.

You can get your copy of A Refuge Assured here.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions stated above are my own.

Return to Bella Terra -Book Review

Return to Bella Terra: Book 3 of The Italian  Chronicles Trilogy (The Italian Chronicles) by [Diorio, MaryAnn]

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Synopsis:

A mother, her son , and the man who threatens to come between them . . .

When Maria Landro Tonetta receives word that Mama is terminally ill, Maria travels to her Sicilian homeland with her son Nico. She finds herself yearning for the life she once knew as a child on Bella Terra, the family farm, now on the verge of bankruptcy.

Caught between two worlds, Maria dreams of moving back to Sicily with her husband and children to save the farm.
When, however, Nico’s biological father unexpectedly appears at Mama’s funeral, Maria faces a new enemy to her dream.

But is there an even greater enemy within her own soul?

About the Author:

MaryAnn L. Diorio

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a follower of Jesus Christ who is passionate about writing compelling and entertaining fiction that transforms lives. Her fiction has won several awards, including the Silver Medal for eBook Fiction in the Illumination Book Awards Program sponsored by the Jenkins Group; First Place in Inspirational Fiction in the 2011 Colorado RWA Heart of the Rockies Contest; and First Place in Inspirational Fiction in the 2011 Space Coast Authors of Romance (STAR) Launching a Star Contest.

Her latest work of fiction is A SICILIAN FAREWELL, Book 2 in The Italian Chronicles Trilogy. The first book is THE MADONNA OF PISANO.

MaryAnn also writes for children. Her latest children’s book is titled THE DANDELION PATCH and deals with the unusual topic of Eminent Domain. MaryAnn has also written CANDLE LOVE, a picture book to help children deal with sibling rivalry. TOBY TOO SMALL is a story about a little boy who learns that it’s not how big you are on the outside that matters; it’s how big you are on the inside.

MaryAnn holds the PhD and the MPhil in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Kansas and the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She writes a popular blog titled “Matters of the Heart” (www.maryanndiorio.com/blog) that, like her fiction writing, deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. In her spare time, she loves to read, paint, and make up silly songs for her grandchildren.

Dr. MaryAnn resides in New Jersey with her husband Dom, a retired ER physician. They are the blessed parents of two wonderful daughters, a fantastic son-in-law, and five rambunctious grandchildren.

You may contact Dr. MaryAnn at the following social media venues:
Website: http://www.maryanndiorio.com
Blog (Matters of the Heart): http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog/maryanndiorioblog
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/author/maryanndiorio
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/DrMaryAnnDiorio
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/@DrMaryAnnDiorio
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6592603
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=45380421
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/drmaryanndiorio/
Google+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/+DrMaryAnnDiorio
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/drmaryanndiorio/

My Thoughts:

Return to Bella Terra is the third book in this series. Readers have loved following Maria Landro Tonetta’s story throughout the series. In this particular book, Maria returns to Sicily with her husband at her dying mother’s wish.While there, she encounters her son’s biological father and a whole new set of problems ensue.

I loved Maria’s relationship with her son Nico, and the way that her heart is torn between wanting Nico to know the truth, but worrying over what the truth will do to him and their relationship. I also appreciated Nico’s perspective as he learns the truth about his own identity.

I also appreciated the spiritual aspect in this story. It was a wonderful read, and I really enjoyed the Italian setting. Sign me up for a trip to Italy!

You can get your copy of Return to Bella Terra here.

You can also get book one here ,

and book two here.

Return to Bella Terra: Book 3 of The Italian  Chronicles Trilogy (The Italian Chronicles) by [Diorio, MaryAnn]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Book Crash. All opinions stated above are my own.

Pelican Point -Book Review

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In the midst of life’s storms, unexpected love is a beacon of hope.

 

Synopsis:

A crumbling lighthouse is not part of an inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from the years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home- and she’s determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head-to-head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. Can Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

Come to Hope Harbor- Where hearts heal…and love blooms.

About the Author:

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels. Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA’s elite Hall of Fame.

IRENEHANNON.COM

My Thoughts:

If you like predictable insta-love stories with a stalker thrown in, this is the book for you. Perhaps it’s because this book is the fourth in a series that I haven’t read, or the lack of authenticity, but this book just didn’t jive. I’m really getting tired of finding books that seem to promise so much, yet fall into that lukewarm, so-so, trophish, let me down ways. I guess that the characters were okay. There was nothing remarkable that stood out about them, and I found them to all be confusing and annoying at times. Marci (can I just cringe at that name now….) is way too clingy. Ben is just off in a lot of ways. And then there is this WHOLE other story happening on the side that has nothing to do with the main plot of the book. What is that about? Please, just pick a story and stick to it.

Ok, ok, rant over.

If you are looking for a very quick read, maybe something fluffy for the beach, then this would be perfect. If you have higher expectations for books (better writing, less predictability, a supposedly Christian book where the characters ACTUALLY act like Christians, ect. ) then I would skip it. I personally don’t think I will be picking up anything else written by this author.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing. All opinions stated above are my own.

The Summer I met Jack -Book Review

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The Summer I Met Jack: A Novel by [Gable, Michelle]

“[The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all.” —Kirkus Reviews

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.

Based on a real story – in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.

Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.

My Thoughts:

Aren’t the Kennedys one of the most interesting American families? I think so. This book takes an imaginary look into the real lives of Jack Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark. I loved it!

Praise for The Book of Summer “A sure bet for women’s-fiction fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Nantucket novels.” –Booklist “Gable cleverly illuminates the past, revealing how it mirrors the present. This is a splendid multigenerational novel about the strength of the women of Cliff House.” –Publishers Weekly “Gable develops fully rounded characters that readers feel as if they could reach out and touch. We want to know more about them and Gable gives us plenty.” –Richmond Times-Dispatch “These laid-back books epitomize the term ‘beach read.'” –Coastal Living “A must for any summer reading list.” –The Boston Herald “This time of year is meant for books to devour. Vacations, the beach, lazy afternoons all call for a good book that allows you to escape. Michelle Gable knows how to deliver.” –Newport News Daily Press “It’s Gable’s ability to weave a family’s tale through the musings of summer visitors, war, relationship drama and a smattering of sexual tension that makes it a must for any summer reading list.” –Fort Worth Star- Telegram “A deep look at the strength of women, this will tantalize readers as they, along with Bess, learn of her family.” –Parkersburg News + Sentinel

 

The Summer I Met Jack: A Novel by [Gable, Michelle]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

The Fairfax Incident -Book Review

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The Fairfax Incident by [McCauley, Terrence]

1933 NYC. When is a suicide not a suicide? When it’s murder. Hired by a wealthy widow to investigate her husband’s mysterious death, private detective Charlie Doherty finds himself face to face with not only some of the most powerful people in New York City, but the most evil men in the world.

A riveting new novel of historical thrills from an author who: “Merges the brilliant old school spycraft of Charles Cumming and John le Carré with the technology and contemporary feel of Alex Berenson.” (Library Journal)

My Thoughts:

I love thrillers set in the 30’s! Especially ones that are ALSO set in New York City or Chicago. Is anyone else as intrigued with the 1930’s Mob as I am??

I really liked this book. It kept me hooked. McCauley’s writing is excellent.

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the novels of Terrence McCauley

“In our new reality, Terrence McCauley’s A Conspiracy of Ravens is not far from the realm of possibility. He hits all the right notes while creating an simultaneously entertaining and frightening scenario. Read it.” ―Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of What You Break

“Two parts noir and three parts adrenaline-packed intrigue, A Conspiracy Of Ravens is gritty and fast and taut―all the right stuff when it comes to a good, no, a great thriller.” ―Marc Cameron, New York Times bestselling author

“Boasts tech savvy, international settings, nail-biting action, and an arsenal of twists.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Stunning set pieces…Solid fare for no-nonsense spy fans.” ―Booklist

“This exuberant thriller is, as they say, torn from today’s headlines…McCauley is also a wonderful dialogue writer…this one really sparks.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“Terrence McCauley has written an exciting, fast-paced thriller. Readers of conventional spy novels will discover that today’s intelligence community and work bear little resemblance to what in retrospect are the tamer Cold War politics.”
―Bookreporter

“A fast-moving spy-vs-spy thriller.”
―Kirkus Reviews

“A fascinating, fast-paced spy thriller for the modern age, equal parts techno-wizardry and old-school tradecraft, and featuring a terrorist plot that reads like its been ripped from the headlines, SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL is an exciting first entry in what’s already a gripping intelligence saga.”
―Owen Laukkanen, New York Times bestselling author of THE PROFESSIONALS

“Hard to put down…the story line succeeds in large part because of the gritty and stylish narrative, the virtually nonstop action…those looking for some top-shelf adrenaline-fueled escapism will be rewarded.”
―Publishers Weekly

“Merges the brilliant old school spycraft of Charles Cumming and John le Carré with the technology and contemporary feel of Alex Berenson. The action is fast and furious in this hard-as-nails thriller but what sets it apart is McCauley’s grasp of how modern spy technology finds and tracks its targets. ”
―Library Journal

“(A) fast-paced spy thriller…tautly written, tightly plotted…delivers action and suspense aplenty.”
―Booklist

“A fast-moving noir spy thriller…a fun read for fans of classic espionage.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of Jack Bauer rejoice, your new hero just rode into town. Sympathy for the Devil by Terrence McCauley has enough gadgets to satisfy tech junkies and enough character to bring humanity to a story that is all too terrifying in its plausibility.” ―Criminal Element

“Intense to the very end, Sympathy for the Devil is a ‘must-read’ for connoisseur of the genre.”
―Midwest Book Review

The Fairfax Incident by [McCauley, Terrence]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

Who Are You, Trudy Herman? -Book Review

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Who Are You, Trudy Herman?: A Novel by [Beck, B.E.]

As a little girl, Trudy Herman is taught to stand up for truth by her much-loved grandfather. Then in 1943, Trudy’s childhood drastically changes when her family is sent to a German-American Internment Camp in Texas. On the journey to the camp, Trudy meets Ruth, who tells her and her friend Eddie the legend of the Paladins—knights of Emperor Charlemagne who used magic gifted to them by the heavens to stand up for virtue and truth. Ruth insists both Trudy and Eddie will become modern-day Paladins—defenders of truth and justice—but Trudy’s experiences inside the camp soon convince her that she doesn’t have what it takes to be a knight.

 

After two years, her family is released from the camp and they move to Mississippi. Here, Trudy struggles to deal with injustice when she comes face to face with the ingrained bigotries of the local white residents and the abject poverty of the black citizens of Willow Bay. Then their black housekeeper—a woman Trudy has come to care for—finds herself in crisis, and Trudy faces a choice: look the other way, or become the person her grandfather and Ruth believed she could be?

My Thoughts:

This is a great coming of age story, where Trudy has to find out who she is and what she stands for. I loved the setting of the book. This is a great YA read.

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This novel offers a window into a lesser-known aspect of internment in WWII…When a regular girl confronts extraordinary challenges, this novel forcefully asks what it takes to stand up for what is right.”
Booklist

“Trudy Herman’s struggle to survive adolescence and deal with the difficulties of injustice, cruelty, and self-doubt is a remarkable record of self-evolution. Her story is both engaging and revealing and the writer’s ability to capture Trudy’s conflicts and growth is remarkable. We all learn from her experiences.”

―Gloria Campbell, author of Just for Thought

Who Are You, Trudy Herman? is a strong commentary on social injustice viewed through the eyes of a young, innocent girl. Shocked and terrorized by its existence and the shame not to find courage to confront it, Trudy must reach deep within herself to do what is right. B. E. Beck’s writing style and her ability to develop her characters makes this a must read.”

–Bruce Hansen author of ALPHA BLUE

“Confronting questions of inequality, injustice, and poverty, readers will ask themselves, ‘Who would I be?’ B.E. Beck explores America surrounding World War II, illuminating the story of a girl setting her moral compass. Trudy’s struggles leap off the page, relevant now more than ever.”
–Jennifer Rainman, Librarian

“Told with deep empathy, this tale illuminates a little-known but relevant aspect of U.S. history and deftly explores privilege and injustice in their many forms.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Through Trudy Herman, B.E. Beck illustrates the toils and triumphs of looking absurdity, indifference to suffering, and condescension straight in eye, and in doing such, builds solidarity across racial, national, and cultural differences. It’s an insight into empathy, the relevance of which in many ways continues to define the United States today.”
–Kristin Gissberg, Ph.D German Philosophy, Berlin, Germany

About the Author:
B. E. Beck is an educator and writer. She taught at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, before moving to the Seattle College District. She is a member of Pacific Northwest Writers Association and is active in two writers’ groups. She and her husband live in the Seattle area.

Who Are You, Trudy Herman?: A Novel by [Beck, B.E.]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.