Tag Archive: contemporary



The Art of HidingThe Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poor girl becomes rich wife, becomes poor mom. Except for the rich part, that’s the story of my life! Almost sounds boring. But for some reason, I truly enjoyed this read. It is well-written. The characters felt real to me. Even though they were British and rich. The troubles were scary. I could relate. I’ve never owed that much money, though I don’t have a conversion table handy after midnight. But I have owed more than I had. It had forced changes in my behavior and where I was to live. As the main character learns in a very hard way.

A teenage boy for a son. Been there three times. I can relate. And this mother was far more patient and sweet about it all than I could be. Wish I could have been that sweet. But my kids would have, oops, did laugh at me when I approached their rebellions that way. And it wasn’t a good laugh. At least we were in her head as she thought through her responses.

This review isn’t doing the book justice. It was good, I loved it. I stayed awake a long time finishing it. It wasn’t fantasy or adventure or murder-mystery. It was a peek into someone else’s life and how she manages to get through and thrive. And I think this is the kind of book teens should read, especially girls. Though women (and men) will relate and learn throughout the story.

I wish I had less pain and more brain. This review sounds horrible. Believe me. It was worth the read. I loved it!

Netgalley gave me the ARC of this book. Thank you!

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Seeking SarahSeeking Sarah by ReShonda Tate Billingsley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jerry Springer eat your heart out! Oh, the drama!

Okay, I didn’t mean to start with that. There were things about this book I liked. I love that we have a diverse character, though the cover picture doesn’t give that impression. On the other hand, the blurb grabbed me about a young woman that wants to find her mother who she previously thought had died.

What seems to be set up to be an exciting adventure learning why mom left, and possibly reconnecting, the main character, Brooke, is hooking/breaking up with a guy that shouldn’t even get a female. Even in the process of getting to know her mom, she takes every opportunity to jump to conclusions to be angry. I guess my way would have solved Brookes problems within minutes and there wouldn’t be a book but a short story.

I was lucky to get to read this book from Netgalley. I’d love to see what others think of this novel. It is different.

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Emily, GoneEmily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bette Lee Crosby writes good stories. This did not disappoint.

At least this mystery wasn’t about murder. I knew that could be done. Still, it is about a kidnapping. It was interesting to see the crime from all sides. The characters are well developed. They keep you reading to see what each person was going through, how would they solve their personal problems. The book showed how love could make their choices harder, or drive them mad in trying to live with it all. Still, it was a hard book to put down.

Though a spiritual path is evident, it isn’t overdone. The characters believe a certain way and it is part of their journey.

By the way, this was free through Kindle Unlimited. Though I like reading Ms. Crosby’s work it is usually more expensive than I can afford, so I am glad they made this one available this way.

As a genre, I think that this could be called a cozy mystery sans murder. I think women may find it better than men, though the men in this book are strong and level headed. But the stories are more about birth and baby loss, so it might be hard for those who have lived through this kind of circumstance.

Otherwise, try it, you might like it!

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Have You Seen Luis Velez?Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I give this book ten stars? I loved it so much that from 60% I couldn’t get up to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, turn off the fan (I was getting cold!). I barely moved! I was so immersed in this book!

As a writer, unpublished, I hear that a book needs lots of tension. I didn’t feel that in this book, at all! All I can see is that I loved the characters, right from the start and adopted them into my heart. Then I didn’t want to leave their world.

I usually don’t read books with the main character male. Especially a teen. Since I entered my sixties I go for strong fems by fem authors. That is because most of my life I was subjected to only males by males and I want to see more people like me in books and movies. All I heard growing up when I asked about that, was that boys needed encouragement to read. Then why I would ask as an adult, did those non-readers, lower grading people get better jobs? Why did the world circulate around the males?

But this book didn’t center on a male of privilege. This seventeen-year-old had none of the usual adolescent angst. When would that girl give it up to me; didn’t seem to be on his radar. Rather he was more anxious about his family where he felt he didn’t belong, or how he didn’t even feel he fit in his skin. He only seemed to have one friend and that one is leaving as we meet this guy. And he is sweet to a little kitten. Heart won over!

Then our protagonist befriends an elderly blind woman. Both characters are so well built that they feel like family members to the reader.

The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is a genius! She keeps the reader engaged. I should mention, she is the author of Pay It Forward. I loved that book, too, and the movie. Well, I love the concept but it was an extreme tear-jerker. This one was more heart-warming (fewer tears more cheering the characters on) with a similar message of how positive life can be by being kind and caring for other people. I may need to actually buy this book and study it!

By the way, I got this book through Kindle Unlimited along with the Whispersynched Audible. The narrators brought the book to life.– I just looked up the book on Audible and it seems there is only one narrator! Michael Crouch. That was a surprise! I don’t normally like male voices doing females. But Mr. Crouch did an amazing job! I actually thought there were about three narrators acting it out! Wow!

Maybe this should be required reading for the world?!!! I highly recommend it! In case you haven’t noticed.

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Payback Royale (Payback Society Book 3)Payback Royale by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book was to come live on the 29th. (And Yay! It did!) I finished reading this book four nights ago. I hated finishing it. I always want to know what will happen after I close the book. I enjoyed the book, thoroughly! The most exciting part was about space travel and its purpose. I have to admit to nearly squealing as the main character promotes it.

I know I’m not the target audience missing the ages by five decades or so. Even so, I can remember being a young adult. I can imagine I would have loved, well, everything Miss Swanson writes. Her characters, world’s, and plots are fresh and fun. The books read themselves, okay, with the help of text-to-speech. But I don’t want to put any of them down until the last word! Payback Royale was no different. Loved it!

On the other hand… I hate the antagonist. I don’t see hope for him. Please let’s put an end to his story! Without killing our friends, please!

I can’t wait to read more by Cidney Swanson!

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The Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Um. Yeah. What if Data wrote a book? The emotions and exciting adventure are missing. Lots of telling that seem to lead nowhere.

But if you love books and bookstores, you are hooked without mercy. You don’t want to quit because there has to be a reason for all the quotes and little notes that start each chapter.

I didn’t care for A.J. Fikry. The author doesn’t paint him in any kind of good light. The other characters around him are equally yawn-producing. But BOOKS and a BOOKSTORE! Keeps the engine running, the reader reading. Weirdly, at the end I found tears flowing. How did the author do that? I even found myself wondering how the next book would look. I wanted more of the characters. (trying not to spoil here.)

A friend recommended the book. I’m glad she did. I recommend this for readers who love books. I will look into other books by this author. I may reread this to see if I can figure out how the author wrote this intriguing book in the dryest of fashions, throwing ‘show-not-tell’ and other rules of writing out the window.

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London Holiday (Americans Abroad, #5)London Holiday by Miranda MacLeod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little book! Need a beach read or a nod to fairy tales with a twist? This is it. Though it was a little predictable, I still couldn’t go to sleep until 3:00 in the morning as I wanted to see what would happen.

In our crazy cyber-gossipy world, a princess and a journalist fall in love, quite by accident. Fun and adventure happen, lots of London is explored.

Beyond these words, I am afraid I will ruin your discovery of this gem if I tell you more. This book was just a lightweight read to fill the moments between heavier books. I probably won’t read it again but I am now a fan of this author and will read more by her. Enjoy!

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The Royal Cleaner: Books 1-3The Royal Cleaner: Books 1-3 by L.C. Mawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was fun. And different. It is because of the differences that I give it 5 instead of 4 stars.

This was an ARC that I begged to get to review. It didn’t let me down. I don’t know the author so I have nothing forcing the high rating. I liked it. A lot. In fact, I want to read it again. When you read using mostly text-to-speech it is easy to get lost. Luckily, the book was so well written that I wasn’t lost for long. Still, it wasn’t repetitive. Never boring.

There is a lot of magic. Some I wish I knew, including a dream visit situation I don’t want to ruin with spoilers. As if witch and demon relationship isn’t hard enough they are lesbian. Oh, wait, reverse that.

The romance isn’t overdone or overly codependent. What a relief! And though the main characters were fantasy beings their problems seemed human and real.

I loved Coraline but Mina and her daughter grabbed my heart.

Oh, for those that see the title and think it is about house-cleaning. Think Scandal from ABC Thursday line-up. Only not Washington D.C. The kingdom of magic. Kerry Washington would have fainted at the stuff these ladies had to deal with.

If you get the chance read this three in one book. I love reading all straight in a row like that.

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Deception (Southern Comfort #3)Deception by Lisa Clark O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book three of the Southern Comfort series. But it isn’t the same people continuing a story but other secondary characters who were in the past books telling their story to continue in time.

There is a bit more romance and it leans on NA rather than YA. The crime was harder to take, too. Still, overall, I liked the story.

If you like crime and suspense stories this series is for you. I have to admit that since I read before sleep, this wasn’t for me. No, I couldn’t just back away and go to sleep. The fears came with me. I couldn’t seem to find a stopping place where I thought the characters would be safe without me.

The writer was excellent in how she kept the reader in the book. Even so, I doubt I will read the rest of the series. Let me know if you do and how you like them.

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Forbidden by Lisa Clark O'Neill

I’m not a person who likes mysteries (they are usually about murder) or crime stories. When you have lost a lot of faith in your fellow humans in society of late, these themes don’t help. I AM a fan of a series of just about anything as I love watching characters grow and plots thickening.

Since I picked up the first of this series for free I grabbed the next two to keep a story going. The first was a little too much for me as was this one. Yet with both books the budding romances with people who seemed to be real enough to enjoy, the suspense was bearable. This one was harder for me with kidnapping involved. Both books made sleep nearly impossible after reading. Just a warning.

STILL, I have book 3 ready to start tonight. What am I in for now?

Oh, I guess I should mention, I felt the author had done a lot of research on crime and the law as it all sounded plausible to me. It kept me on the edge of my nerves hoping for the safety of the characters. The author wrote very well in an ever engaging way. If you like crime and mystery, this may be a good series for you.

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