April 3, 2014

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie is a continuation of the writer’s series featuring London detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones. Fans of the series and newcomers can both enjoy this well written mystery novel.

Book Description
In the past . . .

On a blisteringly hot August afternoon in Crystal Palace, once home to the tragically destroyed Great Exhibition, a solitary thirteen-year-old boy meets his next-door neighbor, a recently widowed young teacher hoping to make a new start in the tight-knit South London community. Drawn together by loneliness, the unlikely pair forms a deep connection that ends in a shattering act of betrayal.

In the present . . .

On a cold January morning in London, Detective Inspector Gemma James is back on the job now that her husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, is at home to care for their three-year-old foster daughter. Assigned to lead a Murder Investigation Team in South London, she's assisted by her trusted colleague, newly promoted Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot. Their first case: a crime scene at a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace. The victim: a well-respected barrister, found naked, trussed, and apparently strangled. Is it an unsavory accident or murder? In either case, he was not alone, and Gemma's team must find his companion—a search that takes them into unexpected corners and forces them to contemplate unsettling truths about the weaknesses and passions that lead to murder. Ultimately, they will begin to question everything they think they know about their world and those they trust most.” – The Sound of Broken Glass

My Thoughts
The Sound of Broken Glass is another well written mystery by the author of this series. The plotline is multi-layered, and the characters are well developed, which equals a story that I can really get into.

I don’t want to unveil any twists or turns in the story, so no spoilers here! I will however tell you that, yes, some are predictable, but not all that you may think will happen will! It is a very good book that kept me interested right up to the end. I definitely recommend it, and I personally will be looking forward to reading more books by this author.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Sound of Broken Glass, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Wedding Bees by Sarah Kate Lynch

The Wedding Bees by Sarah Kate Lynch is a witty romance that is a pure joy to read. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and relax in a most comfortable spot to read this book anytime of the year.

Book Description
Sugar Wallace did not believe in love at first sight, but her bees did. . . .

Every spring Sugar Wallace coaxes her sleepy honeybee queen—presently the sixth in a long line of Queen Elizabeths—out of the hive and lets her crawl around a treasured old map. Wherever the queen stops is their next destination, and this year it's New York City.

Sugar sets up her honeybees on the balcony of an East Village walk-up and then––as she's done everywhere since leaving South Carolina––she gets to know her neighbors. She is, after all, a former debutante who believes that manners make the world a better place even if they seem currently lacking in the big city.

Plus, she has a knack for helping people. There's Ruby with her scrapbook of wedding announcements; single mom Lola; reclusive chef Nate; and George, a courtly ex-doorman. They may not know what to make of her bees and her politeness, but they can't deny the magic in her honey.

And then there's Theo, a delightfully kind Scotsman who crosses Sugar's path as soon as she gets into town and is quickly besotted. But love is not on the menu for Sugar. She likes the strong independent woman she's become since leaving the South and there's nothing a charmer like Theo can do to change her mind . . . only her bees can do that.

The Wedding Bees is a novel about finding sweetness where you least expect it and learning to love your way home.” – The Wedding Bees

My Thoughts
The Wedding Bees is above all else, an enjoyable book to read. It is the type of book that is excellent to read to just forget about the nonsense of your everyday worries. Sometimes all you need is a good book, and this is one of those that is just a fun read.

The author does a marvelous job of creating the characters, the setting, and the vibe of the story. The bees are of course a character unto themselves, which only a very talented writer could capture. When you pick up this book, you will be transported into the story, and get lost, if only for a bit inside of it, living right along with the characters.

This book is charming and uplifting, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys getting lost in a good book.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Wedding Bees, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

April 1, 2014

The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell

The Bride Says No by Cathy Maxwell is the first book in “The Brides of Wishmore” series. For those who love romance, historical romance, and enjoyable books, this is definitely one you want to read!

Book Description
New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell returns with a delicious new series, The Brides of Wishmore

What happens when a bride says no?

He is the bastard son of a duke, arrogant, handsome, a little bit dangerous, and, of course, one of the most sought-after bachelors in London. He is also about to be publically jilted by some chit of a girl! Blake Stephens' pride isn't about to let him be humiliated, so he charges after his bride to the wilds of Scotland, determined to bring her to the altar.

What happens when the heart says yes?

He is promised to one woman, but discovers his soul stirred by . . . the chit's sister! Lady Aileen Davidson's reputation was ruined ages ago, which is why she's buried herself in the country, but her fiery spirit and bold beauty threaten to bring Blake to his knees, making him wonder if he has proposed to the wrong lass.

And now he must make a choice: marry for honor . . . or marry for love?” – The Bride Says No

My Thoughts
The Bride Says No is a well written historical romance that kept me interested in the story and characters from the beginning to the end, even if many of the plotlines were rather predictable.

Not all of the characters are very likeable, in fact a few you will probably hate. For instance, the fathers. Another one is Tara, who is a spoiled brat that takes up too much of the book, at least in my opinion.

I did quite like the characters of Aileen and Blake though, and I enjoyed reading it. Overall, I think that this is a very good read that fans of historical romance will definitely enjoy as well.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Bride Says No, Avon Books, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

March 30, 2014

Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love by Marcia Naomi Berger

Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love by Marcia Naomi Berger is a book to help married couples at any stage of marriage. It encourages people to have a short meeting once a week to discuss things on a positive note about one another, and how this small step helps much more than one may think.

Book Description
Couples can make love last, says psychotherapist and clinical social worker Marcia Naomi Berger. They just need to learn how. Her prescription is deceptively simple: have an interruption-free thirty-minute (or even shorter) meeting each week and follow an agenda that includes the kind of appreciation and planning for fun that foster intimacy and pave the way for collaborative conflict resolution. With this book, you’ll learn how to effectively communicate and connect with your spouse each week, and for a lifetime, with step-by-step guidelines that walk you through the four parts of a marriage meeting: expressing appreciation, coordinating chores, planning for good times, and resolving problems. Inspiring real-life stories demonstrate how transformative these brief meetings can be. The communication tips and techniques Berger has gleaned from helping hundreds of couples will guide you toward a deeper, more lasting love.” – Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love

My Thoughts
Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love is a really good book that can be applied to people in any relationship, not just marriage. I get that it is definitely for marriages, but being that I am not married, I can see how it could work in different aspects as well.

I really like how the author uses this meeting to encourage the positives. Sometimes people like to focus on the negative things that their partner is doing, but this is really not very helpful. She also encourages communication skills that again, can be used well beyond a marriage. Very instrumental techniques to learn for everyone!

I think that this is a great book that would benefit so many couples. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

March 27, 2014

The Life Organizer by Jennifer Louden

The Life Organizer by Jennifer Louden is an essential book for people of this generation to read to help organize their life, but also to get on the path to the life they want to live. Take some time out of your super busy schedule to reorganize your thoughts, and see life in a much more fulfilling way.

Book Description
We all yearn to have time for personal needs and creative dreams — after all, this is our life to make the most of. And we all know how hard it is to remember what really matters. With distractions from jobs, aging parents, and children — not to mention women's perennial fear of being labeled “selfish” — following our own desires and dreams can become ever more elusive. The Life Organizer aims to help you shift your focus, augmenting traditional goal setting with the ease that comes from steady inner listening and mindfulness. It will become your trusted companion — and maybe the most important book you'll ever own.” – The Life Organizer

My Thoughts
I really like that you can do these exercises quickly and effectively. You can do them in the morning before work, while getting ready for work (or school), etc. I also think that focusing on just being alive, and realizing that hey we are here not just a slave to our machines and screens is something that I think too many people are losing sight of. I am also a big “To Do” lister. The ways to categorize these tasks is also helpful. Not everything is a “have to do”!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and think that so many people could benefit from reading it and doing these exercises. I highly recommend it for everyone to read!

* Thank you to the publisher of The Life Organizer, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

March 24, 2014

Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson

Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson is a historical novel set during World War I. During the time where women had limitations placed on them from the time they were born, it was especially felt by the upper class women, such as with the main character in this story. Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford is a woman ahead of her time, and longs for independence and the simple things in life, like marrying a man for love – and not for titles or riches that her parents think is best for her.

Book Description
In the dark and dangerous days of World War I, a daring young woman will risk her life to find her destiny,

Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lilly from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps—an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front.

Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lilly is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend. The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lilly's dreams. She doesn't care that Robbie grew up in poverty—she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more. Lilly is the most beautiful—and forbidden—woman Robbie has ever known. Fearful for her life, he's determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart.

In a world divided by class and filled with uncertainty and death, can their hope for love survive...or will it become another casualty of this tragic war?” – Somewhere in France

My Thoughts
Somewhere in France is a truly beautiful novel that the author did an excellent job weaving together. As someone who enjoys historical settings and novels, I really liked this book. The main character is someone who you cheer on and as a reader, you really want her to find her place in life, and be happy. However, this is written in a setting with war and devastation surrounding her, so it may not happen as you intended.

I found myself reading this book for longer periods than I had intended because I wanted to know what happened next. It is truly a perfect mix of historical romance that not many authors could pull off. There will be moments of joy, tears, and sadness, but it all pulls together to make for an excellent read! Fans of this genre and of shows such as “Downton Abbey” will definitely like this too.

* Thank you to the publisher of Somewhere in France, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

March 17, 2014

Road to Reckoning by Robert Lautner

Road to Reckoning by Robert Lautner is a novel set in the early pioneer America era. It is written with such detail that you get the feeling like you are there, and seeing it play out, without overdoing it.

Book Description
Twelve -year -old Thomas Walker has never left New York City. His father, a traveling salesman hoping to earn money by selling Samuel Colt’s recent invention, the “Improved Revolving Gun,” takes young Thomas with him on the road. But even the world’s first true revolver cannot save them from danger, and what starts as an adventure soon turns into a nightmare.

Thomas soon finds himself alone, and must rely on his own wits, courage, and determination, as well as a wooden replica of the Colt revolver, to protect himself. Luckily, an encounter with a surly ex-ranger, Henry Stands, leads to an improbable partnership, and the two set out in perilous pursuit of vengeance. That is, if they can escape the thieves who lurk around each trail, river, and road—and who have already stolen so much from Thomas.

In the spirit of The Sisters Brothers and True Grit, this spare, elegant, and emotionally resonant story conveys, through a boy’s eyes, a beautiful father-son story, as well as the fascinating history of how the birth of the revolver changed the course of violence in America. Road to Reckoning offers a window into the history of the American West and the heart of a boy yearning for love.” – Road to Reckoning

My Thoughts
Road to Reckoning is a beautifully written coming of age story. Thomas Walker is the type of character that you truly want to succeed and accomplish, even if it is vengeance. This story is sad, adventurous, and compelling with every turn of the page. The characters will stay with you long after you finish, and don’t be surprised if you want to read it for longer periods of time than you originally intended.

Although I loved the story, I especially have to give the author props on his fine attention to historical detail and setting. This is my favorite part of the book, and makes me want to read more that the author has written. He shows what a great writer he truly is with his fine use of detail.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone who loves a good story.

* Thank you to the publisher of Road to Reckoning, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.